Review: Morning Glories (Vol. 1 & 2)

Morning Glories
Morning Glories

Morning Glories
Image Comics
Nick Spencer (writer)
Joe Eisma (art)
Rodin Equejo (covers)
Nick Spencer’s Morning Glories is what you would get if you crossed Lost with Tower Prep (sort of obscure but I did enjoy that show). There are no tropical islands here instead there is a prestigious private school, Morning Glory Academy, where all the students seem to share a birthday and the teachers may enforce a lesson by trying to drown you in a flooding room trap. Spencer has gone on record saying that there is a planned 100 issue arc and, assuming the whole isn’t just the afterlife, I can’t see being disappointed (we’re only 13 issues in).

The Lost connection is seen easily in the high-concept, seemingly out of nowhere mysteries that run rampant throughout the school. Of course there is also a moment in the second collection where, in a flashback, where Hunter appears to be working at a Cluck-U managed by Hurley. Messages scrawled in blood on a wall, a mysterious ghostly figure, experimentation, cults, time-travel, murder and physics cover just a small number of the twists contained in just the first 13 issues.

Spencer has taken a cast of characters primarily built on cliches and slowly built fascinating back stories to create some rather curious characters. As a result in addition to the high-concepts mysteries, centered on what the goal of Morning Glory Academy is exactly, you have some engrossing personal mysteries centered on each of the lead characters. Throw in teenage hormones as well as life or death situations and you have an entertaining, if occasionally melodramatic, mix.

Morning Glories, despite its teenaged protagonists, doesn’t shy away from graphic violence. Much like in Invincible, particularly in its early run, the sudden spats of intense violence serve as a useful means of shaking readers out of their comfort zone; of course the violence also serves to underscore the stakes for our heroes. Joe Eisma’s art is vibrant though it lacks a certain kineticism and heavy line work and bright color palette contrast nicely with the thematically dark elements of the story. Rodin Esquejo’s cover art is pretty and at there best when they show a little bit of action (issues 5, 6, and 9 especially).

I plowed through both the trades and moved Morning Glories to my pull list. I have no idea where the story is going and each issue brings a new surprise whether it be a plot twist or a revelation. The characters, even the insufferable Ike, continue to grow on me and I am definitely looking forward to seeing where things go from here. If you like twisting, bizarre and completely unexpected mysteries I highly recommend giving Morning Glories a shot.

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