Damn you, writers for IDW. You blew it up. Damn you all to hell. Wait, no, wrong script. But seriously, I’m looking at you James Asmus and Ian Flynn. How dare you. How DARE you? How dare you cross My Little Pony and Transformers and somehow create a coherent story that, within the canon of both universes, actually works!
The first story is called ‘Transformation is Magic’ and the setup is really simple. In the land of Equestria we have Chrysalis, Queen of the Changelings, who is casting a massive spell designed to reach out and find other Changelings. Other beings that can shapeshift. Other beings that, you could say, transform? While this is going on the Decepticons are in battle with the Autobots while they attempt to use a malfunctioning space bridge.
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Before you can say “confluence of inter-dimensional events” the Autobots and Decepticons are whisked through dimensions to appear in Equestria. Megatron meets up with Chrysalis and, well, if you’ve ever wanted to see a tank in Equestria then this is the issue for you. Optimus, Bumblebee and Windblade meet up with Twilight Sparkle and the stage is set for robotic shenanigans.
The second story ‘Shine Like a Diamond’ shows that Starscream has been busy doing what Starscream does, which is declaring himself ruler any chance he gets. Specifically ruler of Manehattan, enslaving the local ponies which includes Rarity. Help arrives in the form of Arcee who, along with Rarity’s magic assistance, manages to drive off Starscream and the other Seekers, making a new friend in the process.
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Let me say this again. At face value this simply SHOULD. NOT. WORK. Millenia old warring robots blundering into a cutesy magical land filled with pastel-coloured ponies? Does not compute. But then the crossovers have been getting slowly sillier as time passes. Dr Who/Star Trek? Okay, sure. Both sci-fi shows, both deal with time travel, makes sense. Transformers/GI Joe? Fair enough. There’s precedent for that from way back in Gen 1. Hell, they even fought with Spiderman at one point. Transformers/Ghostbusters? Uhm, okay, sure. We’re maybe reaching a little but I’ll go with it. Transformers and Ponies? My initial response was to roll my eyes and declare that they were just running out of ideas at this point.
But it works. It actually works, and as a fan of both these franchises/settings I’m really happy to be proved wrong. It’s still a little jarring to see Starscream standing in the middle of Manehattan or Chrysalis riding atop Megatron, but it’s played with such sincerity that it becomes something, if you’ll pardon me, magical. The Autobots/Mane 6 both focus on peace, freedom, standing with your friends no matter what and all that good stuff, while Chrysalis and Megatron are all about the pursuit of power and destroying their foes by any means necessary, these simple but powerful themes at the core of each franchise’s respective show/comic series.
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Artists Tony Fleecs and Jack Lawrence do a great job of rendering the iconic Transformers characters in the somewhat simpler art style of the ponies while still staying faithful to their original designs, making them stand out from their surroundings without being too jarringly different. The dialogue is full of quick little jokes and ironic comments and works well, even if it’s nothing particularly stand-out… yet.
There’s so much potential here, especially because we know that there are still other Transformers like Shockwave and the Insecticons who have also joined the party and while things are unlikely to escalate to the point of the main series in terms of the action/violence, I’m surprised to find myself genuinely looking forward to the next issue.
Bravo, folks. You’ve made me a believer.
My Little Pony/Transformers: Friendship in Disguise #1 is out now from IDW Publishing.