The comics are great. I like the art style, I like the darker stories, I like the funny little references they throw in. (Well, some of the artist OC cameos get a bit annoying, but eh) Some are better than others, of course, but overall, they're a hoot.
The question is, are they canon? Or should they be considered an alternative continuity? Can we use the comics as evidence for headcanon theories in the same way as the show itself? Join me as I examine this question.
The first 4 issues deal with Queen Chrysalis, which puts it chronologically after the Season 2 Finale.
The second arc is the... sigh... "Nightmare Rarity Arc" (reasons for the sigh to be addressed when I've saved up enough anti-nausea medication to consider reviewing it... it might be a while...)
And here is where things get interesting. You see, Luna is shown in this arc, but as she was at the end of the pilot, her "depowered" form.
During the events of the comic, she gets powered up by the POWER OF LOVE!
This restores her to her default Season 2 appearance... wait a minute... Season 2?
This is where we apply our brains (or whatever reasonable facsimile thereof I can muster...) You see, Season 2 has Luna in her new form by the 2nd (I have a different counting scheme... just go with it) episode, while the comic has her in her old form as late as following the Season 2 premiere. So we have a contradiction... oh, wait... no.
You see, I was assuming that the comic arcs are presented in chronological order, but actually, there's no reason to make that assumption. The "Nightmare Rarity" arc could in fact be placed chronologically before the Queen Chrysalis arc, which wouldn't contradict the show. Thus proving conclusively that the comics do in fact follow the same continuity as the show...
Well, unfortunately, there's more to the story. You see, during the "NightRarity" arc, we get this panel.
There is not much else that this could be referring to, except the CMC being kidnapped in the events of the "Queen Chrysalis" arc.
We still have the comic contradicting the show's timeline, so I have to conclude that the comics cannot be canonically linked with the show itself. I would consider it an alternative timeline of sorts, personally.
Since generalizing from only one example could be misleading, I do have another example of a mismatch between the show and the comics. For this example, we turn to the comic featuring Princess Cadance and Shining Armor in High School, “Neigh Anything”. At the party during the climax, we have a scene where the past!Mayor Mare (one hopes that’s her title and not her real name, because otherwise her parents are clairvoyant) is talking with the past!Cheerilee about what their aptitude test results were.
Cheerilee states that hers says she should be a teacher, and she disparages the notion (for those not fluent in Eighties Dudespeak, “grody” means gross, so she definitely is poo-pooing the idea of being a teacher here.) According to the show, Cheerilee’s cutie mark only appeared after she had decided to become a teacher and bring joy and learning to fillies and colts. Hence we have another contradiction of the show. Huzzah!
Well, Sunny Fox, one might say, you can’t see her cutie mark with Mayor Mare in the way, so you can’t be sure she has one yet. Fair enough point, but luckily, I have an answer for it. From a previous scene with Cheerilee, we can clearly see that she already has her cutie mark.
Thank you, comic writers!
At any rate, I'll be reviewing the comic themselves in this section too, to give my own impression about each of the major arcs, along with ranking, a list of pros and cons, and of course a list of the references I got in each one. I hope you'll join me in my endeavour.
Until then, stay sunny side up!