I'll be honest, this one was a bit of a slog. There's lots of 'stuff' going on in this comic arc, but the parts that seem relevant to worldbuilding are so fractured and the order of events seem confused. There are a couple of references dropped into the arc by the creative team that seems to indicate they did this deliberately to mess with analysis. Which makes anything derived from this arc suspect. That's annoying to me. If you don't care about continuity, that's fine. There are lots of shows/fictions/whatever that ignore continuity or constantly change continuity to suit whatever the story is at that time. Great, that's more fodder for the mill and it's fun to try to make sense of it all. However, deliberately sabotaging continuity just to annoy people is mean spirited and diminishes your own efforts.
Reflections (Comic Issues 17-20, March 189h, April 30th, May 28th, June 25th 2014)
Behold the Secrets of Star Swirl the Bearded
If anyone knows the difference between a waxing crescent or a waning gibbous... she said waning gibbon. Huh? The term is gibbous, as in 'hunchback', not gibbon as in a type of lesser ape. That's a very strange mistake for Luna to make, and not know which phase of the moon it is. What's being shown there is a crescent moon, and if their moon has the same direction of phases as our, it is indeed a waxing crescent. Gibbous is the exact opposite where most of the moon is lit an there is a crescent of darkness on it. Waxing meaning the lit part of the moon is getting bigger. Waning meaning it's getting smaller.
Rod Sterling pony? Maybe? Someone has told me this is supposed to be a character from Fringe, called 'Observer', but I've not watched Fringe so I can't tell.
A very similar mirror to the Equestira Girls one, but slightly different in coloring.
There's a batpony in the background, more evidence that the comics are hewing closer to fancannon continuity than the show.
Ha, pink Celestia. Hasbro will never live that toy line mistake down. Also, Luna is being shown manipulating the sun, but with considerable effort. Which wasn't mentioned in the previous comic where Luna took over Celestia's day duties, I think.
Establishing the mechanics of this mirror is different from... wait. 'Once during each cycle of the moon', that's not the same rule as specified in Equestria Girls? Or is it? If it is, then 30 moons (as said in the movie) is a *cycle* of the moon? Then 30 moons is a month, not 30 months... Huh? They're using 'moon' to represent an approximate day? Weird.
And here they mention that Star Swirl (two separate words by the way, not Starswirl), has been gone for hundreds of years. Not a thousand, but hundreds. And Star Swirl's library is hidden in the caverns below Canterlot, not the Castle of the Two Sisters, and Luna was not privy to where it is. Fascinating. Does that mean that this was all built after Luna was exiled, or that Canterlot existed but wasn't the capital while the Castle of the Two Sisters was up and running.
The large door into the caverns has a vague resemblance to the secret door into the Mines of Moria from the Lord of the Rings. Given the similar theme 'Speak Friend and Enter' to 'Friendship is Magic' I'm kinda surprised they don't make more of that here.
Luna seems to think Star Swirl was borderline insane like Pinkie. Interesting.
Star Trek reference in the sign, stellar cartography and jeffries tubes. Lucre cellar? A cellar for profit? Lucre is Middle English, from the Latin lucrum meaning profit. It's where we get the term 'lucrative'. And Pinkie is making fun of Rainbow, but in a rather nasty way because the sign says 'Besom Repository', which only a limited number of people (and ponies) will know means Broom Closet.
Flashback to hundreds of years ago... but is before Luna was exiled. So ponies do have a weird sense of time, as that's over a thousand years ago now. Technically, yes a thousand is several hundred, but in my experience people tend to stop thinking about hundreds when a thousand ticks over.
These caverns are huge. There's an entire city down here.
Technically Athenaeum isn't a library so much as a temple devoted to the goddess Athena. Which has been applied to libraries, museums, laboratories, universities, etc. So I can see the confusion.
Ha, it's a ponified Bat Cave from the 80's comics. And three oddly historical banners. A Caravaca Cross from Spain, something black and red that looks familiar but I can't place it, and a naval Japanese Flag from WWII. I'm a bit confused as to the choices there.
Plus Applejack seems to have found the disassembled parts of Scaramanga's gun from 'The Man with the Golden Gun'.
Ha! Dentist. Cute.
Again establishing that the mirror portals may have different rules depending on the destination to be reached. It's not a simple as just knowing the 'address'.
And in this continuity, it is implied that the 'Kingdom of Equestria' is new and growing. So the Equestria that exists in the 'modern age' is larger than the Equestria that Celestia and Luna first ruled over.
It is also specifying here that the reason why the technology (and magic) of Equestria is all over the board historically is because the anachronistic parts were brought over from alternate universes by Star Swirl.
Bat Poles from the 60's tv series. Which turns into the crazy contraption bits from a variety of cartoons, including Hong Kong Phooey, and Darkwing Duck.
All the games Luna and Spike have been playing are ponified versions of Hasbro games. Cute.
Back to Where You've Never Been Before
Excelent answer Rainbow Dash, "I stopped asking."
Okay, so this alternate universe is truly 'Through a Mirror Darkly', in that everything is reversed in some way. Interesting that they came through as the base of a statue again. This time of a statue of a superhero version of Discord...
Trying to do parallels between Celestia & Star Swirl in the past and the Mane 6 in the now.
It's looking like they *do* have something equivalent to the Elements of Harmony, but they're a different set. Fairness, Humility, Wisdom, Love... No mention of another two though to make a set of six.
Celesta referring to Star Swirl as her only friend. Which is odd, but there was a previous reference to Luna becoming distant. Which is good because it give a bit of a time-span for Luna's fall, rather than the strange 'suddenly NM' version we got in the show.
Alright, here we actually have something... odd. Unless that cloak covers wings, Sombra here is depicted as a Unicorn, *not* an Alicorn. But in order for this all to make sense, he has to be over a thousand years old right now. So he's effectively immortal, just like Celestia. But his physical form isn't the oddly distorted version we saw in the regular universe. So in this case his immortality isn't from dark magic corruption.
So why is he still alive?
And the alternate versions of Celestia and Luna. In rather silly looking costumes, to be honest.
And Celestia's costume is constantly changing. Cute. Some of them are actually interesting as a variety of Disney villain costumes.
I'll be Your Mirror
So in this reality, the Castle of the Two Sisters is still intact, and looms above Ponyville.
I love all the notes tacked to the wall, except one. 'If you're reading this, you may be overthinking this comic book'. Yes, I'm reading this. Otherwise, why did you put it there? Some interesting changes between worlds. Cloudsdale is in ruins, several villages like Rainbow Falls and Dodge City don't exist. Spelling differences, what appears to be an evil Cadance to mirror a good Crysalis, so on and so forth. Oh, and Don't Blink. And Twilight and Pinkie complaining that continuity is pointless.
Also, this version of King Sombra is easily the match for Celestia height-wise, but his horn is standard unicorn length rather than the longer version Celestia sports.
So the rule here is that the more you travel to a parallel world, the more parallel it will become. To the point of bonding the parallel ponies together so one feels what the other feels... Which means that Twilight & company being here is still causing the parallelism to continue. Especially with the powerful Elements of Harmony along for the ride. This... isn't going to end well.
That's a real custom in Japan, as I understand it. Writing a wish on a piece of paper and tying to a tree. Actually, writing a wish on a piece of paper and placing on some special location shows up in several cultures. And the lantern in the forest does recall the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
And the lyrics to I'll be your Mirror, a Velvet Underground song from 1967.
Okay, so Twilight at least considers the idea of a male alicorn. Though she does burst out laughing at the idea of that specific male alicorn.
... Okay, now I'm confused. This is indicating that Canterlot is in construction in this time-frame. But they visited Canterlot right at the beginning of the flashbacks. Unless that's a flash-back within a flash-back.
Thank you, that's exactly what I expected to happen.
So... alternate Luna was around while regular Luna was banished to the Moon, while alternate Sombra was around while regular Sombra was vanished with the Crystal Empire. Did anyone get exiled in this reality?
The fracture images have a couple of implications that the good/evil mirror isn't perfect. A couple of the background ponies are... mirrored, but not necessarily by alignment. It looks like Vinyl/Octavia swap places, and Doctor Whooves is using a different incarnation.
I'm not following the logic here, but okay. The idea seems to be to force parallelism instead of mirroring, which will again separate the worlds. But I thought more parallelism was the problem... I'm a bit lost.
How Star Swirl Got His Hat
Several alternate stories around this idea. Nothing stands out here for worldbuilding.
And a double page spread with the alternate Mane 6, making a joke about how they didn't show up in the main comic.