The first day of winter is upon Equestria and, having cleared out both weather and Wonderbolt duties, Rainbow Dash is ready to go on vacation when Spitfire makes an unexpected arrival in Ponyville. Apparently, fellow Wonderbolt Soarin has been feeling low since making a flub at the last Wonderbolt performance and has gone to make dangerous medicine deliveries from an outpost at Mt. Everhoof through life-threatening weather in an attempt to get his confidence back. As Spitfire is still worried about how Soarin feels about her in regards to what happened in “Rainbow Falls”, she sends Dash to bring him back. On arrival, she finds Soarin but is initially unable to convince him to come back to the Wonderbolts, especially since Spitfire didn’t come herself confirms to him that she doesn’t think he’s worth it. However, when Muffins arrives with a letter saying how Yakyakistan needs an emergency medicine delivery during extreme weather and Soarin volunteers to deliver it, Dash goes along for a chance to talk with him. When both are grounded and forced to wait for the weather to subside, Soarin confesses that because his talent didn’t come naturally as it did with Rainbow Dash, he’s always felt like less than a Wonderbolt. Dash, however, assures him that all of the Wonderbolts accept he simply had a bad day and want him back, Spitfire included. On completing the delivery and returning to the Mt. Everhoof outpost, Soarin is surprised to see Dash contacted Spitfire (via Muffins) and had her come up personally to apologize for not doing so in the first place and for what happened in “Rainbow Falls” again. The two reconcile and all three decide to head home, but not before the three of them decide to take a race down the mountain.
The Wonderbolts have been around and specifically named since Season One, but in spite of that most of the members are still largely virgin territory. Most Wonderbolt interactions on the show have been with Spitfire and Rainbow Dash. However, in both “The Best Night Ever” and “Rainbow Falls”, a bit was touched on Soarin, who definitely had the appearance of the most laid back and down-to-earth of the Wonderbolts. However, it’s been some time since he was touched on since then and not much more was expanded on, in spite of the fact some fans went so far as to ship him with Rainbow Dash. So the fact that both of them would be highlighting an issue of Friends Forever seemed to be a good bet.
Unfortunately, only a little happens in this issue plotwise to expand on Soarin or his relationship with Rainbow Dash and the Wonderbolts. Most of the panels are devoted to painting a great picture of Mt. Everhoof and the climate situation around it. It makes for some good artwork, but it also takes up a lot of panels needed for the storyline. Boiled down, there isn’t too much to the overall story. Soarin gets depressed and goes off. Rainbow Dash goes to talk to him to bring him back. Soarin comes back. Aside from a surprise turn of making Derpy/Muffins part of the plot and Spitfire herself showing up, it’s a very basic story.
We do get a bit more into Soarin, and what the comic put out was kind of interesting. To fall in with his down-to-earth nature and attitude, it’s a nice detail that Soarin himself isn’t naturally talented like the other Wonderbolts but had to work at it. That can be kind of intimidating in real life, and his feelings are understandable in that he had to devote himself to training to become a Wonderbolt while everyone else seemed to already be destined for it. Nevertheless, it doesn’t expand too much on his relationship with the Wonderbolts aside from them as a collective unit. And if you’re looking for fanservice moments between Soarin and Dash or even Soarin and Spitfire, keep looking.
Again, there’s nothing wrong with it expect it’s very straightforward. In the first two pages Spitfire spells out the conflict and…there aren’t any other twists in the plot. It’s exactly the way she says it is, which makes for not a particularly interesting story.
This issue serves not only as a follow up to Season Four’s “Rainbow Falls”, but also, in a sense, “The Best Night Ever” in Season One, which was the only episode that generated the Rainbow/Soarin shipping. Some fans had been hoping for more to develop from either episode, and this issue was likely service for them.
The girls get buried under snowdrifts three times in the opening two pages, prompting Applejack to move the meeting indoors. 😛
Another issue with Derpy as mailpony, which would eventually become canon in Season Six.
2.5 Stars out of 5