We open this episode with Twilight suggesting Spike needs some sleep. But he’s reading comics, probably as scary as the real MLP comics. It’s a Mission Impossible-style story about the Power Ponies. (Another defictionalisation episode?)
Twilight is still working on the Castle, so she urges Spike to get to sleep. She allows him two more minutes with the comics.
I do like the new credits with the bigger photograph of the Mane 6 and their friends.
Basically the ponies are giving the castle a magical makeover. Spike announces his arrival, but the ponies seem to have everything under control. So she suggests, natch, that he finds a place to finish his comics and find out if a certain Humdrum will defeat the villain. But Spike does’t seem so keen to read this anymore. And he ends up feeling in the way because he sees himself
His comics seem to have finished prematurely, with a tiny message in the corner of the page. “You can return to the place you started when the maniac is defeated. Take a closer look to join the adventure in this book…”
And he’s sucked into the comics just as the other ponies take a break and come to find him. So it doesn’t really seem like a defictionalisation. Rather, the ponies find themselves in Maretropolis. (Yup, the names just keep on coming.)
The ponies have created an Avengers-style line-up, the Power Ponies, in order to fight a new villain.
And the Mane-iac must be defeated. It took me, oh, three paragraphs to get that one. :P.
Pinkie has become a speedster flung half-way across the city, Applejack has a nice ability with a lasso which gets rather tangled. Twilight is the Masked Matterhorn, who can do blinding tricks which go nowhere fast. RD is a lightning and tornado generating filly who has just sucked up Pinkie, herself and other ponies into a spinning whirlwind. Fluts is Saddle-Ranger, but she thinks using her talent is not very polite. Rarity can build items from jewels, but conjures a tea-set.
Mane-iac is pretty far out herself, a veritable mane-dusa. Then Spike realises he’s Humdrum, inducing frustration mentioned earlier in the episode.
This is a fun episode, and I think it’s a nice story for young girls to get them interested in comics and show that superheroism is for girls as well as boys. That’s the social bit over for the moment. The ponies need to stop Mane-iac from destroying the world using the electro-orb or whatever it is. She’s based in the shampoo factory. And RD has just ruined their surprise.
The ponies try practising their powers again, and find, when tangling with anonymous goons, they are learning to control and build on their talents. Rarity, for instance, manages to create a “functional accessory”. Unfortunately Maneiac is a little free and easy with a paralysing agent in a hairspray can, and only Spike and Fluttershy end up alone. (At this point I’m asking why they’re using a hair motif for the villain, but of course, like with so many things, it’s “why not”, and therefore I need to get back to enjoying the episode.) Fluts is taken out because she can’t summon the anger needed to confront Maneiac, but when the mane-dusa confronts Spike, she …ignores him. “Why should I use the spray on you?”
Indeed. Because Humdrum is just, well, humdrum. And you have to have a flaw in the villain’s plan in order for Spike to learn something bla bla bla friendship bla bla. Not that there’s anything wrong with it in a cartoon for six year olds but it is a little as if the writers have painted themselves into a bit of a corner and now they have to get out of it, a bit like using ninjas during NaNoWriMo to pad out your word count.
This is also possibly an homage to the weird IDW comic series, in which the ponies are in genuine peril a lot of the time and the backdrops and artwork can best be described as far out. Maneiac’s speech is an obvious pastiche of evil overlord speeches. So this is very definitely tongue in cheek enough to get the episode a better rating than it would if this was being played for serious. Because I couldn’t really decide about five or ten minutes.
So the goons take the frozen ponies into the factory. And Maneiac has a super-hair-tonic cannon to grow everyone’s manes wild.
The Mane 6 know that Spike, even as Humdrum, will come through for them. Humdrum sneaks towards a tarp, gathers the goons up and sprays them. Fluttershy tries to summon up her anger, and the ponies’ abilities have finally come fully online just when they need them. Nothing is making her mad enough to challenge Maneiac. Maneiac hurts a firefly and Fluts becomes the Incredible Flutterhulk. Or something. I’m normally good at off-the-cuff puns, but…
And that’s how Humdrum and his friends destroy another gibberingly evil mad villain.
And get sucked back out of the comic book back into real pony life. It turns out to be a comic from the enchanted comic book store in Canterlot.
6/10. It’s a very weird episode, and the moral is “you don’t have to have superpowers to be a superfriend”, which is a basically saying, “you don’t have to be useful to other people to be their friend”. I don’t have a problem with that, but basically the episode seems a bit like it was written on some interesting cocktail of stimulants (maybe Pinkie Pie’s cupcakes) and it’s come a bit too soon after the other defictionalisation episode involving Daring Do. But it’s a fun way to spend half-an-hour, so I’m not going to complain at all much about it.