So let’s kickoff with the “Why you should read Morning Glories if you’ve liked X” portion of things first. If you’ve dipped your toes, or gone all in for television shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The X-Files, Supernatural, etc. Really if you’ve enjoyed character based Sci-Fi or Fantasy in general, this could be for you. Also, according to my good buddy Seth, there are people who like stories about boarding schools. So if you liked the Harry Potter series, The Catcher in the Rye, or the third Mighty Ducks film, this could be for you too. Also, the book’s writer, Nick Spencer, has pitched it as “Runaways Meets LOST.” So to expand on that, if you have enjoyed Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona’s comic book, Runaways, or the TV show LOST by JJ Abrams, Damon Lindelof, and Carlton Cuse, this is probably for you. You can buy it physically or digitally in any of the ways I’ve told you about (Your local comic shop, Amazon, Comixology).
Morning Glories is about a group of teens selected to attend the prestigious Morning Glory Academy. Very quickly, they learn that things are not what they seem, and there’s danger around every corner. And mystery. Oh, the mystery.
Spencer, along with artist Joe Eisma, are about 20 issues into this series. They’re not revealing much yet. The two are layering mystery upon mystery. It’s a seven layer cake of mystery, and I’d say roughly only 2-ish layers are done. (Supposedly this book is planned to run 100 issues, so my math kind of works here). But what I’m getting at, is they’re in this for the long run. There isn’t a rush to reveal anything. Morning Glories is a slow burn book that re-uses phrases as well as scenes without feeling repetitive or padded.
Within the first six issues, the phrases “For A Better Future” and “The Hour Of Our Release Draws Near” are seen frequently. Below are just three examples of this:
The students are imprisoned at the academy, but somehow, I don’t think the phrase is that literal. I don’t think it has anything to do with their being freed from the school. If anything, the phrase is more likely to involve (crazy theories to follow) the afterlife, moving onto another plane of consciousness or breaking free from a time loop.
On top of everything else, this is probably also a horror comic, too.
That gentleman’s death comes courtesy of a ghost-like (or possibly unstuck in time??? my own theory–plus there’s a shit ton of travel through time AND space in this book) wraith who appears to be named David and seems to get off on moving around creepily and reaching through people’s heads. Eyeballs are falling out everywhere.
Now while the mystery and horror are all nice, as is the snappy dialogue (which is almost on the verge of being too heavy on the pop culture references), without a solid artist, it would all fall pretty flat. Eisma’s art has really grown in a short time as the series has progressed, really giving each character their own unique personality. He’s also done a great job at conveying emotion. See? Terror!
I mentioned this comic involves time travel, yes? Not only in a Pulp Fiction-y, jumping around the narrative way, but actual time travel! Jade, who’s a pretty insecure character as seen in the panel below:
…grows up into a confident, assured woman, who seems to have a real good idea of what’s going on with everything. And Eisma does a great job of keeping Jade looking like herself, while also gaining that physical and emotional maturity. There are some artists who can make you feel like you’re in an action movie, and there are also those like Eisma who can make their characters act (and act well!).
So again: Mysteries, murder, teen characters. Plus some romance, some bromance, some betrayal…really, there’s a lot of everything in this series. Another phrase that’s repeated is “What did you see when your eyes were opened?” The characters often don’t have an answer. Their eyes haven’t been opened yet. Well, most of them haven’t. And those that have, I don’t think they fully understand things yet either. They’re like those of us reading the book, thinking we have an inkling of what’s going on, when in reality, we know nothing. But I’m excited to keep reading Morning Glories to see if I’m right about …well…anything.