Updated August 14th, 2016 The comics are so obscure, that how I first found out about them was repeatedly checking Queen Chrysalis's page to see if she would make a possible return. When we last saw her in A Canterlot Wedding, she took a fall that should definitely be fatal. Yet many were inclined to think that she survived out of wanting her to, not to mention the actual falling being more like Team Rocket's "blasting off" which they always survive.
Then I read part of her article which says she will be returning in the comics. Normally I take IDW comics as non-canon, but I decided to give these comics a chance, so they could put a more definite final fate on Chrysalis. I ordered Issues 1-3 on amazon and got the rest at West Edmonton Mall.
What I liked about them
As much as I'd like to think Chrysalis fell to her doom in ACW, she is my favorite villain and it is cool to see more of her. Also cool to see just how dark she can get, villains like her haven't appeared in MLP since G1. She was dark enough in the show, but in the comics, she kills a cat in front of the Cutie Mark Crusaders, plans to drain Twilight's magic, destroy her, and let her changelings eat her friends when their emotions peak, then later decides to drain Twilight's love, turn her evil, and make her kill her friends.
On the subject of returning villains, it was sorta cool to see Nightmare Moon possessing somepony else, Rarity. Not to mention confrontations between her and Luna.
The picture quality in the comics was cool too. Not exactly the same as the show, but still pretty cool, especially with the eerie green you get in Chrysalis scenes, and the dark blue of the night you get around Nightmare Moon and the Nightmare Forces' scenes.
Princess Celestia and Spike fighting the cockatrice in Canterlot was cool too, we get to see Celestia doing something besides breaking up chaos and doing the Harry vs. Voldemort with Chrysalis, not to mention Celestia and Spike fighting alongside each other.
And of course, Luna having a major role in the second arc, and it being her who decorrupts Larry and the other denizens of the moon turned Nightmare Forces.
I also liked that they depicted Chrysalis's survival as with Team Rocket immunity, surviving her fall as if it were one of Rainbow's crashes, as I said time and time again that she'd have to be faster than Rainbow Dash to use her wings and recover, and her only chance of survival was to be resistant to long falls like Team Rocket. In the comics' continuity she definitely is, but most people who thought she survived said she recovered with her wings.
And establishing Nightmare Moon as a separate entity from Luna and Rarity (as Lauren Faust had hinted at a while back), the way Nightmare Rarity says "you defeated me before" and speaks of Rarity as a separate pony on more than one occasion, even talking to her at one point. Not to mention actually destroying her at the end, which to the extent of my knowledge is a first for IDW as they usually retcon villain deaths like Terrorsaur and Scorponok (I'll always consider the Beast Wars comics non-canon), and needless to say, did the same with Chrysalis and revived Nightmare Moon. And correct me if I'm wrong there. (atleast the Serenity comic written by Joss Whedon kills the villain whose death was retconned, Lawrence Dobson, and even finishes the Hands of Blue) Also the fact that Spike does the final blow to destroy her, now people can stop saying King Sombra is pathetic because he got defeated by Spike a baby dragon, Spike retrieved the item that Cadance and an entire empire used to destroy him, here Spike directly destroys Nightmare Moon even though the other Mane 5 had to weaken Nightmare Moon's control over her first. Of course this has no power to people who take the comics as non-canon.
That Chrysalis and Nightmare Moon even get defeated, considering how I thought the second arc would end.
That Chrysalis gets to know the horror of being annoyed by the Cutie Mark Crusaders like Fluttershy in Stare Master.
That Spike's love for Rarity is what kills Nightmare Moon and releases Rarity, making it a huge Sparity moment and comic-canonizing their love for one another (if Secret of My Excess hasn't already done that), also with them together in the final scene.
And that Twilight's the one who beats up Chrysalis after what she put her through in A Canterlot Wedding.
Rarity styling Pinkie Pie's mane the same as her hairstyle.
That Chrysalis's name is mentioned, because it wasn't given in the show. (but Fluttershy is the first to say her name, how does she even know?) And that the whole Chrysalis arc is named after her.
Pinkie Pie saying "dink" when the subject of the plural of "dingus" comes up. (btw what's a dingus?)
Of course who (besides those 10 manipulators) doesn't like that scene where a changeling impersonates Derpy and another changeling bashes him on the head to make him cross-eyed like her. Not to mention Pinkie Pie saying "Pegasister".
The mirror world with a good version of King Sombra.
That the way Nightmare Moon possesses her victims is contradicted by the way Nightmare Moon manifested in Princess Twilight Sparkle, thus proving that the comics - or at least the Nightmare Rarity arc - are non-canon.
That Rarity defeats Chrysalis in Siege of the Crystal Empire after the hell the Nightmare Rarity arc put her through, even if it wasn't her intention. (In comic canon she is now the third unicorn to defeat Chrysalis, first two being Shining Armor and Twilight Sparkle, which is significant because two villains Chrysalis is similar to, Voldemort and Lamia, killed unicorns)
Finally, all the cameos and references. Mola Ram, Pennywise, the twins from The Shining, and the Phantom of the Opera appear ponyized in Chrysalis's castle, and a giant marshmallow pony (obviously a ponyized Gozer) is mentioned to attack Manehattan. Of course there's reference to Lord of the Rings, with a cave troll (though friendlier than the one the Fellowship fought in Moria), talking about going over or through the mountain, and Chrysalis saying "The Filly-ship has broken". Mabel from Gravity Falls, even if she was only part of a nightmare sequence, cameos by Sailor Moon, Sailor Jupiter, and possibly Sailor Venus, and Big Macintosh saying "By the mane of Miyagi!"
What I didn't like about them
First and foremost: Not killing Chrysalis. They should have at least left her off "presumed deceased" from Twilight's final attack, and let us decide (for the time being) whether she was vaporized or simply blasted over a cliff (knowing she can survive the latter that leaves open possibility for return). I don't mind other fates for other villains so long as they're not karma houdini, such as Discord and Sunset Shimmer turning good, but when it's an extremely dark, malevolent, and threatening villain like her, especially after what she did to Twilight in A Canterlot Wedding...
On that note, Katie Cook said (she thought) Hasbro would never have allowed her to kill Chrysais. Which confused me because in Issue 3 she violently murders a sentinent cat in front of the Cutie Mark Crusaders and Hasbro was obviously fine with that. And what does Chrysalis have over Sombra and Nightmare Moon that they can't destroy her the way the show destroyed the former and the comics destroyed the latter (kinda the show too but it was more subtle)? Unless... I heard Meghan McCarthy keeps tabs to prevent the comics from not fitting in with the show, as if she intends them to remain canon to those who want them to be... could she be considering a possible Chrysalis return? (if so I hope she finishes Chrysalis herself)
Second, well, that scene involving Rarity, Pinkie Pie, and a hot tub. You know the one. Mentioned in Issue 7, shown in Issue 8. I wanted that left out of MLP, and didn't like that they did that to Rarity. Yet another way of picking on her, she didn't deserve that. Probably to pander to the guys who draw that kind of picture of her. I know it was done in a kinda subtle way but I'm afraid that this might cause some to turn her into a symbol of that, since it wasn't done to any other ponies in official material. On a side note I am a bit perplexed as to how Rarity is the last pony you'd expect for that kind of scene, yet people are showing as surprisingly little reaction to it as they are to Metal Sonic dying in Sonic Generations.
One thing I later found out is that Heather considers this her most proudest moment. Really? I mean, if you find that funny or even if you have a fetish for it I suppose I can accept that, but doing that to Rarity, after all the neglect she's been getting from the writers? That's not the kind of attention she wants. Even Rainbow Dash would've been better (doesn't mean I have to like it, and she kinda did do that to her in Issue 14, but that hardly affected me at all compared to the Rarity thing). What, will this "proudest moment" be topped by doing that to Fluttershy later on? (Although I'm confident they won't have that kind of scene in the show since apparently they couldn't even have a whoopee cushion in Testing, Testing, 1 2 3 and used a horn as a "G-rated stand-in" instead)
Edit: They did use a whoopee cushion in 28 Pranks Later, thus canonizing that element in the show, but by this time it doesn't bother me as much and didn't affect me at all. (So that wasn't a factor in my review of the episode, though it might have been four years ago)
Third, that they didn't give the second arc a title, which makes it kinda hard to name it or list it. (even if fans unofficially dubbed it "NightMares Arc")
Fourth, that they didn't explain the Nightmare Forces very much. Maybe I'm missing something, but Luna says "the dark forces knew what to say to convince me" (to make ponies fear her), that the dark forces withered and died when Luna was restored from Nightmare Moon but came back to life through the cycle of the new moon, and when it did it "needed a form to take". Leading us to assume that the dark force was possessing Larry and the denizens of the moon, but it really corrupted them kinda like Discord did with the other Mane 5. Also the dark force possesses Rarity directly, and from what Nightmare Rarity says, "Nightmare Moon" possessing Luna and Rarity is actually this "dark force", which possessed Luna a thousand years ago the exact same way as Rarity. That's the best I can make of it, but if that's the case, that would go against what the first episode said about her transformation being caused by the bitterness in her heart. Although I always believed Nightmare Moon was a separate entity after I heard what Lauren Faust said on the subject, I assumed she was the embodiment of her jealousy and bitterness magnified by the "outside force" into an entity of its own to possess her, but the best I can get from the comics was that it was a completely different entity that had nothing to do with her before.
Edit: I think it's clear now. Nightmare Moon is a dark entity from the moon who took Luna to the nightmare dreamscape, taking advantage of her jealousy of Celestia, and convinced her to let her possess her. Destroyed by the Mane 6, but revived through the cycle of the new moon and corrupted Larry and the others before possessing Rarity the same way, and destroyed for the second and final time by Spike. (of course, in canon this happens much differently, Luna becomes jealous enough (possibly due to jealousy being magnified by King Sombra) to move against Celestia which causes her jealousy to manifest into Nightmare Moon before Celestia, while if it happened as in the comics she'd be Nightmare Moon before the confrontation with Celestia)
Edit edit: Though in show canon, it's established Nightmare Moon and Luna are one and the same
Fifth, Celestia doesn't do anything in the Nightmare Forces battle. This was the polar opposite of her in the cockatrice battle. All the other ponies fight the Nightmare Forces, Luna decorrupts them, and the other Mane 5 and Spike defeat Nightmare Rarity, but Celestia doesn't do anything. This is fuel for Celestia haters who think she is useless. She's already least favorite alicorn, why create more hate for her? Why not try to redeem her like Katie Cook did in The Return of Queen Chrysalis?
Sixth, the way Reflections ended. I usually like the darker scenes because they show MLP isn't just some "little girl show" but what they did with the good Sombra at the end of Reflections was going too far. They take Celestia's lover and have him do a Heroic Sacrifice to reform the evil Celestia and Luna and save both worlds and Celestia. I'd have liked it better if he died, but instead he becomes just like the evil Sombra, and will presumably stay that way for eternity unless you believe Chrysalis destroys the evil in him through the power of love. Aside from what Chrysalis did to Twilight in ACW, this was the only dark scene that truly affected me.
Seventh, Chrysalis getting off a karma houdini in her final comic, Siege of the Crystal Empire. They didn't even imprison her again in the end, as soon as she found out Sombra was releasing the Umbrum, she flew across the sea with her army and is probably taking over new kingdoms and either killing or enslaving everypony there. She's probably killed all the griffons right now. Sure, she's not getting as much power as she would have liked since other kingdoms don't have the love that Equestria has, but still, alive, unimprisoned, irredeemably evil, and taking over kingdoms with possible mass murder or slavery. Sombra of the show was this evil and he is the only villain to unambiguously die in the show.
Canon or not?
Andy Price said we choose for ourselves whether the comics are canon. Before I was willing to go "canon", but because I want Chrysalis to be dead so badly and can presume her dead from her fall in ACW, I chose "non-canon". But I still like them, like Dragonball Z movies. (see there were more likes than dislikes listed)
On another note, if they're trying to fit in with the show, wouldn't it be a bit risky to show the "outside force" that made Luna Nightmare Moon in the comics when the show might establish it as a different character entirely? The show could even make it Tirek for all we know. If Meghan really is keeping tabs to make sure the comics fit in, how did she approve that and what explanation could be given if the "outside force" does appear in the show that would support "comics are canon" people? That they created the dark force or what?
Possible plot hole: Fluttershy shows an interest in spiders in The Return of Queen Chrysalis and is disappointed that a giant spider turned out to be mean. While she shows a fear of star spiders (which are quite small and apparently harmless) in the Season 4 episode Castle Mane-ia. (No, she is clearly not afraid of spiders in Maud Pie, in Castle Mane-ia she was probably afraid of stepping on the spiders and killing them)
Four plot holes: 1.) In the show, the changelings are scattered in different directions, and only one goes flying in the same direction as Chrysalis. In the comics, they all - or at least three, plus Chrysalis - land in the same spot. 2.) The above mentioned inconsistency between how Nightmare Moon transformations/possessions work. 3.) Princess Amore's cutie mark is a snowflake, while in the Journal of the Two Sisters, as written by one of the show's writers, her cutie mark is a crystal heart like Cadance's. 4.) Dragons are lavaproof in the show, as shown in Dragon Quest, but in the comics Chrysalis severely injures - maybe even kills - the dragon Sergio by knocking him into lava.
Edit: The official word from Meghan is that they are in a parallel universe, kinda like the Dragonball Z movies.
The amount of comments this blog has gotten says it all. I typed this paragraph a month and 20 days after writing the blog and not a single comment.
Furthermore, the only store near me that carried them closed down sometime after Siege of the Crystal Empire.