Comic Corner: Morning Glories Issue 2 Review

Reaction Shot

Reaction Shot

Continuing on with my series of Morning Glories, we arrive at Issue #2, which features one of the more memorable covers and scenes, as well as introductions, hints, and foreshadowing for a number of different plotlines and flashbacks that appear later on. Full review after the break.

The curtain has been lifted. We are in the know. Morning Glory Academy (MGA) is a downright evil place, doing downright evil things to its students. Torturing Casey is a quick way to remind us of that, especially since discussion of how unethical torture is has been such an important debate in the last few years. I don’t mean to say that the murder of Casey’s parents was anything other than evil, but consider that there are cases where society condones killing: self-defense. War. To protect others. Torture doesn’t. In even the worst of circumstances (e.g., the aforementioned war), it’s still a crime. So by starting up this issue with it, it’s a clear sign and reminder that MGA is pure evil.

One other point about this scene: The depictions of Mrs. Daramount show that she clearly enjoys the violence (see the 3rd page of the issue). Despite claims of doing this for beneficent reasons (ostensibly teaching students, helping them succeed if they ever get out alive), she likes this part of her job as well.

Detention

Then she’s placed into detention. Like the others, she’s there because she’s gone against the rules, in this case not answering Mrs. Daramount’s question about Jonathan Bell. (Is there a layman’s explanation of this theory somewhere? I googled around a bit but didn’t find anything that could explain it to a non-physicist, and I’m curious to learn more about it.) Setting up the episode as detention works well for a few reasons:

Detention brings the group together (practical!) and creates the opportunity to explain how they all got there. Consider if they’d simply placed Casey into a regularly scheduled class. No reason there to explain what the characters were up to prior, since we assume they just got up and went to class. It also allows for the great reaction shot that reminds us what our various characters’ basic traits are (at least what we know of them so far). And after that quick reintroduction, we see how they got to detention.

Hunter and Ike

Latin is a great tool in fiction. It immediately makes you think something mystical is going on, and also that it’s something old. Robes and chanting do this as well, but the Latin gives it a nice touch. For reference, the Latin they speak roughly translates to (Thanks Google!):

Panel 1: the difficulty lies in front

Panel 2: the man is a coward, but his fortune is assured

The robed dudes and torches and such are also important because they show that the school is more than just teachers torturing students and doing other horrifying things to them. Previously we’ve seen the big whirry doodad, but this is a whole other level of mystery. The first two issues of MG are very much about setting up the kinds of mysteries we’ll see later on. Some technological (whirry thing), some standard-horror stuff (evil nurse, in the next issue, and mentioned at the end of #2), and outright fantastic. The fantasy elements are picked up in the next issue, with the flashback at the beginning of #3, and this scene with the monks provides a thematic link—you may notice that the stone walls of this scene and the scene at the beginning of #3 are very, very similar. At the very least, readers are likely to connect the two scenes.

Zoe and Jade

This story’s main purpose, for me, is its depiction of Zoe. Here she does something totally out of character from what we’ve seen before: she helps someone else. And not reluctantly, slowly, anything. She just jumps up and grabs crazy Pamela (whose mouth remains agape in all scenes, which is both amusing and terrifying). It also gives us this amusing action sequence where Jade throws a blanket, but the image makes it out to be a very heroic act.

Jun

Jun’s story is a bit less telling—it continues the trend of showing him as mysterious and clearly knowing more than the other characters. All we learn here is that there’s someone who looks like him at the school. It’s not as interesting as the Zoe bit in this issue, which shows us a new aspect of her personality that plays a significant role in her backstory later on. I like where the Jun story goes later on (though it’s always a bit of a braintwister for me), but his bit in #2 doesn’t move it along very far.

The Big Scene with the Water, or Hunter Makes Inappropriate References to Star Wars, #1

Jokes in the midst of danger, or at least jokey references, are a hallmark of series like MG.  Stargate SG-1 did a lot of that, same with Buffy, Veronica Mars, etc. MG overall is darker than those other examples, so at first it seems unrealistic here. But Hunter’s deliberations over how he acts in dangerous situations make this totally worthwhile. So far, MG is very good at paying off things that seem confusing. (Gives me a lot of hope that it will continue at a high level, and end well.)

The biggest question this scene raises is about Jade: why does she try to commit suicide (at least that’s what it looks like to us). Does she know something we don’t? Mr. Gribbs and Mrs. Daramount think so. It’s a very different way of setting her apart from the group, as compared to how Jun is made different. Jun very clearly knows things about the academy. Specific things. Here we get an inkling that maybe Jade is somehow special  (Gribbs: “You think she knows?”), in ways that make absolutely no sense to us now. This scene is the first where she is more than just extremely sad—here she is determined, so much so that she pushes Casey away. Given that she hasn’t attempted suicide earlier, I’m inclined to think this might be more than just an attempt at suicide. But we’ll see.

The later events involving her, the nurse, and the past and future make her out to be unique among the group, and we see a bit of that in #3, which I’ll get to next week.

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  1. […] saw similar-looking bricks in issue 2, when Ike and Hunter ran into the men in robes. So maybe they’re in the academy, but otherwise, […]



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