With Princess Twilight Sparkle’s help, Princess Cadance uses Sombra’s own darkness spell to reopen his secret chamber and find his personal study, where they find his diary and read it. They discover Sombra was discovered as a foal by the Crystal Ponies years ago, with no memory and only able to say one word: “Sombra”. Hence, that’s what his name became. While he was welcomed by the older Crystal Ponies and helped out by the teacher, Chestnut Falls, to learn to speak and write, he was shunned for being a non-Crystal Pony. His only friend became another “special” Crystal Pony named Radiant Hope. On one outing, the two went to see the Crystal Heart, which was said to reflect the true nature of the individual inside it. Radiant Hope saw herself as Princess of the Crystal Empire…but Sombra saw himself as an evil thing of shadow. Shortly thereafter, he met with the ruler of the Crystal Empire, Princess Amore, who said no matter what he saw, he had the power to change it. From that day on, Sombra was scared that a dark shadow would consume him. Soon after, Sombra and Hope were going to see the Crystal Faire for the first time, only for Sombra to come down with a severe illness. Hope ended up staying at his side the whole time. While he recovered afterward, every year at the Crystal Faire he would be stricken again and neither he nor Hope ever saw it. Finally, when both were adults, a year came in which Sombra nearly literally broke apart, but was saved by Hope…who, as an adult, finally got her Cutie Mark – a healing emblem, showing her destiny was to be capable of restoring any injury. Soon after, Hope got a letter from Celestia and Luna to begin to teach her to be a new Equestrian Princess. Fearing that her leaving would mean he would shatter at the next Crystal Faire and, also, that it meant the destiny he saw in the Crystal Heart would come true for him as well, Sombra fled into the wilderness. There he encountered a strange red crystal growing from the ground which called itself his mother. It explained that he was an Umbrum…a pony made of shadow and darkness. The rest of the Umbra were sealed away beneath the Crystal Empire, and he alone was brought out with the goal of freeing the others. The crystal unlocked Sombra’s true power, causing him to abandon everything good and kind inside him and fully give in to darkness and evil. He returned to the Crystal Empire to steal the Crystal Heart or be destroyed by it the next Crystal Faire. Princess Amore stopped him, telling him he still had a choice not to do this, but Sombra, feeling betrayed by her as she knew he was an Umbrum all along but intentionally never told him, turned her into a crystal. Radiant Hope saw this and ran up to Sombra, saying she could restore Amore and undo everything, but Sombra refused, saying everything is already “all right” and telling Hope to join him and be the new ruler of Equestria. When Hope refused, Sombra, angry at her rejection, shattered Amore so she could never be restored. Hope ran to Celestia and Luna and rallied them to stop him, so to further hurt her he set up the Crystal Empire to be sealed away for a thousand years so she could never go home. Twilight and Cadance, uncomfortable after reading this, depart the study while puzzling over a curious sound they hear. The panels reveal it’s Sombra’s severed horn…and it’s slowly reforming Sombra’s body around him…
And so begins the “Fiendship is Magic” series…another limited series designed to go through the origins of the various villains. The IDW comic already handled Sunset Shimmer in a limited edition release earlier, and the fact they don’t include Discord is likely a nod to Hasbro planning to give him a formal origin themselves, as IDW has to double-check all of their plots with them. So…that leaves five others: Sombra, Tirek, the Sirens (Dazzlings), Nightmare Moon, and Queen Chrysalis. And for starters, King Sombra.
How does it rate?
…The IDW Comic writers sure love Sombra, that’s all I can say. It seems they felt he got too much of the “MacGuffin” treatment on the show. First the “Reflections” arc shows the Sombra that could have been and had that end on a sad note…but then comes this.
Until now, Sombra has been the biggest joke in the fandom. Barely able to string words together and popping in only to get pwned by the Crystal Heart…he was more of a plot device than anything else, even if the show directors claimed he was supposed to be the worst villain yet. However, this arc is something else. It’s definitely a setup for a future IDW arc, but even so…it shows just how heavy Sombra can be. I give it some points off for making it that Sombra was never a unicorn to begin with but an “Umbrum”, and a few more for making the entire ending look like a playbook from “Revenge of the Sith”. It makes sense, though. The fact is villains who are just out “For the Evilz” are usually boring. Tragic backstories are more interesting. Plus there’s the plain fact that a show like MLP:FIM usually goes out of its way to show no one is “really evil”…they just lost their way at one point.
Besides, in spite of that, it shows that Sombra is still quite evil. Nothing actually “turned him evil” directly. He became evil of his own accord, mostly because he liked the power and he wanted the ability to hurt others and grind them beneath him. Sure, part of the reason was he only needed to live, as the Crystal Heart would have killed him, and his desire to “live without rules” is kind of like whiny Anakin Skywalker, but the fact that he’s genuinely evil out of not necessity but pure cruelty and the desire to bring pain is something else. He straight up murders (…alright, technically they threw in gloss that Princess Amore can be restored and probably will be later in the arc…) Princess Amore in cold blood and out of a desire to make his friend suffer, and then he sealed away the Crystal Empire simply to make her die without ever seeing her home again. That’s pretty heavy. Kind of makes me feel a bit better to watch him get destroyed in the Season Three opener, you know? 😛
So…yeah, this is great. It’s a fantastic way to launch the “Fiendship is Magic” series and I hope to see more of the same.
Princess Amore is not an IDW creation. She was created by Amy Keating Rogers, one of the show writers, for “The Journal of the Two Sisters”. It was revealed that she met Princess Celestia and Princess Luna when they were still foals without their Cutie Marks before they took over the duty of raising the sun and lowering the moon. That story further makes it canon that Celestia and Luna are not immortal but simply having extremely long life spans. Based on the timing of this arc, it’s unlikely that the events took place shortly after the events of “The Journal of the Two Sisters”, indicating that Princess Amore also had unnaturally long life instead of only being a unicorn.
3.5 Stars out of 5