Twilight and friends, along with Princesses Luna and Celestia, use their combined magic to lasso the moon closer and climb up the rope. Once there they are confronted by the shadowy essence that corrupted Luna and turned her into Nightmare Moon. They are all faced by their worst nightmares, but are able to break free when they discover what has happened to Rarity.
I really need to get better at reviewing books that I like. It's easy finding things to complain about, but without any kind of negative counterpoint I find myself at a loss for positive things to say. That, in my roundabout way, means that I liked this issue too much to complain about it. Which leaves my review in danger of being completely unentertaining. But we shall prevail, and somehow a review about this will be written.
The reason this review is hard to write is because when I like something I don't really register why I like it. And in this case the fact that I like this issue has more to do with the fact that the overall story was competent and entertaining. I can't really point out one specific thing that was excellent, rather the whole was good.
Though, there are some points that I feel need to be addressed. First of all, lassoing the moon and climbing up the rope to it is wonderful. It'st he kind of thing that could only be done in a fantasy story, and even then only in a fantasy story aimed at children. My one complaint about the scene would be that we never really get an idea of how grand the scope is. This would have been really impressive in animation, but as it stands in the comic we don't ever really get the feeling that they're very far from the ground. The moon is brought closer, and it looks like they could just jump to it. Personally I would have stuck with lassoing the moon and climbing up. Having a really long rope makes more sense than having a really long rope and moving the moon! It would also have allowed for a greater sense of wonder as they left their atmosphere and climbed into space.
Pinkie mentions that they are in space, but I never really get that impression from the art. Until, that is, the line snaps, and the ponies find themselves well above the planet. A bit more of imagery like that would have been appreciated. After all, this is a story about ponies going to the moon. A bit more wonder and grandeur would be appreciated.
The moon itself is a mess of dark colors that make it difficult to distinguish shapes or patterns. This certainly adds to the eerie atmosphere, but it does make it difficult to actually realize that they are on the moon. A clearer sense of setting is needed.
There are a few goofy lines, such as, "Your lack of knowledge has killed friendship" and "Oh no! I can't fly!" But overall I'd have to say that the dream scenes are handled quite well for the most part. They are a bit rushed, but I can chalk that up to a large cast not being the best for trying to tell a story at any kind of brisk pace with a limited page count. This is why most episodes focus on just one or two of the mane six, trying to give them all their screen time in the same episode is not something that works every time.
Twilight's nightmare seems reminiscent of the season three opening, but having it there to contrast against the other characters' nightmares works. Overall I enjoyed this issue. The final reveal of Rarity's fate works a lot better than I thought it would. But ultimately I think I enjoyed the first story more than this one. This issue is certainly quite good, but in comparison I find myself enjoying it just a little bit less than the first time around. Again, I'm not saying I didn't like it, I liked it a lot, I just wasn't quite as invested as I feel I should have been.