Tuesday, 20 December 2011

‘Morning Glories: Volume One’ – Spencer, Eisma, Esquejo (Image Comics)

I’ve been after a new comic to try out for a while now. It’s not that I’m not enjoying what I’m reading, not at all, I just realised that I was after something new to spice up my comic book reading. Circumstances being as they are (my job is due to end in the middle of January...) I was loath to follow my usual practice of throwing stacks of cash at Forbidden Planet, and seeing what worked out, and the comic book shelves at the local libraries weren’t much help either so... I asked a good friend of mine what he was reading at the moment; he knows his comics and I trust his recommendations so... ‘Morning Glories’ was the recommendation, a series that was far enough away from my usual reading (zombies, horror and a little Conan here and there) to sound intriguing and just what I was after. I was able to get myself copies of volumes one and two and have found myself in the position where I’m having to stop myself cracking open volume two and finding out just what the hell is going on at the Morning Glory Academy. If I start reading too soon then I’m only going to have to wait for volume three that much longer. ‘Morning Glories’ is by no means a perfect read but it has proven to be an addictive story already; I’m well and truly hooked.

Morning Glory Academy is one of the most prestigious prep schools in the country but when six new students arrive to start the school year they find life at the Academy to be very different to what they had expected. Psychotic room mates and armed guards in the corridors are only the least of their worries and it soon becomes clear that their lives are at stake. Luckily for these students though, they were selected for this academy for any number of reasons that can be turned against the teaching staff. Some of these reasons aren’t even clear to the students themselves, yet.

I’ve got misgivings about ‘Morning Glories’; I’m eager to get cracking on volume two but I’m already wondering if volume one is the pivotal book where things either go on to greater heights or, well... they don’t.

Nick Spencer’s plot is nothing short of compelling reading with an underlying mystery wrapped up in a layer of smaller (yet no less important) questions that all need to be solved. There is so much going on and Spencer leaves his reader with the nagging suspicion that the answer is right there in plain sight, if only you could see it... That’s what ultimately kept me reading, the sure fire feeling that I would work it all out on the next page. Nice going there Nick, getting me all confident about working the mystery out and then leaving it all hanging on the last page. I will be back to see if any of my questions are answered in volume two.

This approach does have its drawbacks though. To be blunt, there were so many questions being raised that I had real trouble remembering the names of the six new students and that’s never a good sign. In fact, I couldn’t tell you those names right now... Having said that, the emerging dynamic of the group does throw up a few surprises here and there and I want to see how that develops as well.

While I’m sure that all these questions will be answered over the course of the series, the scattershot approach to raising these questions does make the plot seem a little piecemeal, there’s not really much to tie things together at this stage which does make me wonder how things will go in the next book...
At the end of the day though, it’s Spencer’s ability to pose these intriguing questions that means I will be back for the second volume, you just can’t argue with that kind of storytelling.

Joe Eisma’s art tends to veer towards being a little too simplistic, for me, but is never anything less than eye-catching. Rodin Esquejo’s cover art is gorgeous and had me half wishing that I’d collected single issues when the series kicked off. I can’t complain too much though, not when all of it wrapped up in this trade :o)

Right now, the jury is out regarding which way ‘Morning Glories’ will ultimately go but there is more than enough here to have me back for volume two. If you’re stuck for a comic book to read then you should check this book out.

Eight and a Half out of Ten

1 comment:

Elfy said...

I'll have to keep an eye out for that one, Graeme, although the plot does sound a little Tower Prep. I'm currently reading The Ultimate Danger Girl collection, and thoroughly enjoying it, I think I'll even review it, though aside from Fables I don't generally review comic collections. Sadly I just can't see anyone else drawing Danger Girl as well as the co creator J. Scott Campbell, and I think he only did these 7. Sigh.