Chrysalis has returned! She and her changelings are going around kidnapping and replacing ponies. Once the mane six figure out what is going on, they realize that the cutie mark crusaders have been kidnapped. So it's up to Twilight and her friends to travel to Chrysalis' realm to save the fillies.
It took me a while to get my hands on one of these, since then this review may be a little behind, but I feel the need to add my voice to the praise being spoken. This really is a great comic, it's age appropriate for the intended audience, but it also keeps the unexpected fandom in mind. Actually, the entire thing comes across as a love letter to the brony community. Some of the minor background jokes don't quite make sense unless one is familiar with the ins and outs of bronydom. For example, if you only watch the show you won't get why the changelings lure a certain pegasus using muffins.
There are a lot of pop culture references made, which is in tune with the appeal to adult fans of the show. The most obvious one being the overt Invasion of the Body Snatchers theme this issue has going on. Especially when the Donald Sutherland pony makes his cameo appearance.
The art style was interesting, while initially I was a little sceptical about a style different from that of the show, since the art of the show was part of why I started watching in the first place, I think what we're given fits very well for the medium. Using a show similar style wouldn't have worked, especially since the cheapest comics around are those that just use still frames from cartoons. Mimicking the art of the show would have felt far too much like that.
The writing is great, with the characters acting like theirselves, and the story ramps things up a bit from the show. MLP:FIM by no means has infantile stories, but they are still tailored to the proper age group. It just happens that the writers believe the children watching the show have a higher comprehension level than most writers of children's material do. Hence the appeal to the older audience.
This comic, while still remaining age appropriate, does take a step forward where the story is concerned. It manages to feel a bit more mature, in the loosest sense of the word, compared to the stories of the show. This is mostly accomplished through the use of a more serious threat than the average episode contains. Using Chrysalis is a briliant move, considering how much the fandom attached to her during the season two finale.
The comic is promising to be more like what Lauren Faust reportedly wanted the show to be. More adventures and longer stories than the slice of life kind of approach the show currently takes. This is a great approach, since it allows the comic to be its own thing, rather than apeing the style of the show. For fans of the show this comic is a must read, and given the sales numbers, I think most of you have read it anyway.
As for the grade, was there ever any doubt?