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 of the collected Transformers/My Little Pony: Friendship in Disguise. 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?
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While this is going on the Decepticons are in battle with the Autobots while they attempt to use a malfunctioning space bridge. 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.
From here we spin off into a series of stories pairing up ponies and bots. ‘Shine Like a Diamond’ has Arcee and Rarity fighting Starscream who has, once again, wasted no time in proclaiming himself king of Manehatten. The other seekers also show up to mix things up a bit, but none of them are prepared for the FABULOSITY of Rarity and Arcee working together.
‘Inspiring’ has Spike pairing up with Grimlock in a combination of brain and brawn to fight against the awesome might that is the Constructicons and their combined form – Devastator. It’s nice to see Spike get a chance to shine in this. It’s all very Yoda-esque “Judge me by my size, do you?”. Moving on we have ‘They Eat Ponies, Don’t They?‘ which has Gauge being dragged into a cooking show with Pinkie Pie that is rudely interrupted by Shockwave who wants to know how many ponies you need to grind up and render down to make one energon cube. Kinda dark, but okay. Pinkie probably contains enough energy to make a small mountain of them all by herself.
‘Pet Sounds’ has Fluttershy and Discord running up against Soundwave and his cassettes who Fluttershy promptly treats as she would any animal pet. Cuteness ensues. The dialogue here is just great, it’s almost impossible to read without hearing it in the voices of the characters. ‘The Flyin’ Foxtrot‘ pairs Windblade up with Equestria’s favourite speedster – Rainbow Dash, the two of them facing off against the trio of Decepticon jets known as the Rainmakers. There’s also a brief cameo from a stylish robot unicorn because we all remember that mobile game that was a big thing in 2010, right?
‘Strength in Numbers‘ sees the Apple Family defending Sweet Apple Acres from an Insecticon infestation (it also features an Avengers: End Game reference), and ‘Finale‘ sees the massed forces of Autobots and Ponies facing down the Changelings and Decepticons in the Crystal Empire and features the line “Transform and trot out” which I don’t see catching on, really. Megatron also gets to feel the power of FRIENDSHIP LASERS first hand.
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Let me say this again. At face value this simply shouldn’t 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. Doctor 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 back in Gen 1. Hell, they even fought with Spider-Man 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. This series is an utter delight to read. Sure the plots are a little simplistic compared to what IDW are doing with the bots these days, but as a crossover with cutesey ponies? Everything about it just works. 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. There’s even a second series out now, and I really need to get reading it.
And remember, Friendship is Magic, even if you’re a giant robot.
Transformers/My Little Pony: Friendship in Disguise is out now from IDW Publishing.