While attending the Equestrian Geological and Gemological Survey convention looking for new gems for her designs, Rarity runs into Maud Pie attending to study for her rocktorate. They attend a lecture by Professor Deep Strata where she reveals she discovered a new set of caves beneath the Crystal Mountain Range but has no time to discover them, and announces that the first pony to do so will get full credit for the discovery. Rarity immediately volunteers Maud for it, in spite of her seeming lack of enthusiasm, but they soon get competition in the form of Buried Treasure, a rival student who wants credit for the discovery herself. Rarity leads Maud on through a series of mishaps and adventures, taking Maud along the way but getting put off by her lack of enthusiasm or even emotional interest in everything. They finally reach the caves only to have the one bridge leading to them crossed by Buried Treasure first, who burns it down. Rarity laments their failure but, while going to write in her diary about it, accidentally picks up Maud’s diary instead. Maud, however, encourages her to read it, and she discovers that Maud actually has been emotional and nervous the entire trip and has been relying on (as well as extremely grateful to) Rarity for helping her get this far; it’s just that she doesn’t express herself so overtly. Rarity apologizes for thinking Maud “lacked passion”, and Maud herself finds an old lava tunnel that deposits her and Rarity right in the caves moments before Buried Treasure can arrive. Rarity goes home after thanking Maud for helping her realize there are beautiful things buried everywhere, and Maud settles down to begin her studies of the cave.
Personally, I think this is one of the best “Friends Forever” issues. Rarity always seems to lend herself well to these one-issues, but I liked even better that it went a route most wouldn’t think of from the series. The fact was, at the end of “The Gift of the Maud Pie”, Rarity was invited along to Pinkie Pie and Maud Pie’s next sisterly event, indicating that Maud had accepted her as a closer friend. While that hasn’t really been explored too much in the series since (instead focusing on Starlight Glimmer), this issue nailed it.
The IDW Comic often proposes ideas that later on get rejected or contradicted by the show, but this one, at least so far, is spot on canon. Maud’s character is perfect given the revelations she’s given about herself in the series as well as her odder habits, so everything in here seems believable with the main series. And, in all honesty, it’s a very sweet climax that really does highlight the friendship between the two better than most of the “Friends Forever” issues do. In addition, it also has plenty of humor and good action, making it just perfect for the IDW series.
I am just a teeny, tiny bit thrown off by the OC introduced just to be a rival, but it makes sense. Heck, they even manage to stay canon with the show at the end. While it’s mentioned Buried Treasure is a fellow student, at the end she quits and goes to law school, so it makes sense Maud is the only student left in “Rock Solid Friendship”.
This all makes for a “rockin'” good time. Ha ha ha! Yeah, that was lame.
Based on the storyline, it seems this takes place after “The Gift of the Maud Pie”.
One of the gremlins is at the EGGS convention.
“Cantertine” gets mentioned again. Originally, it was used as a smidge of comic relief in “Siege of the Crystal Empire” in a scene that was a knockoff of “Star Wars: A New Hope”.
In this issue, Maud hits a seemingly random wall and opens a tunnel passage. This is rather similar to a scene that eventually became canon in “Rock Solid Friendship”.
The bat that hitches a ride on Maud’s head is “big-eyed” on beholding the caves.
Similar to in “The Gift of the Maud Pie”, Maud is able to stare down Buried Treasure.
4.5 Stars out of 5