Monday, 8 October 2012

‘Morning Glories: Volume Three’ - Spencer, Eisma, Esquejo (Image Comics)

Yep, I decided that I really ought to review ‘Morning Glories: Volume Three’ before I take on the ‘Hobbit’ graphic novel. After all, this poor book has been sat on the shelf for a few months now; it’s waited for long enough…

The big question though is why I’ve held out on reviewing this title for so long. Especially when I enjoyed the first two books so much (reviews Here and over Here).
The bottom line is that I really should have re-read those first two volumes before tackling this one.
In its comic book format, I’m guessing that the ‘Morning Glories’ plot must be fairly easy to keep up with if you’re only waiting a few weeks at a time for the next issue. If you’re like me, and waiting for the trades, though… Well, that’s a few months wait, at least, between each book. I was lucky enough to be able to read the first two books really quickly but the wait for the third book (and all the other books that I read in the meantime) meant that I really didn’t have much of a clue what was going on when I picked up Volume Three. That’s my advice to you guys then; if you’ve got your hands on Volume Three then you should really take some time out to read the preceding books before you get going.

I persevered though because, well… ‘Morning Glories’ has proved to be a really intriguing read, posing questions that I really want to see answered. I wasn’t going to let something like ‘a few months between books’ stop me working this one out :o) It took me a while to get my head round this one but here I am, ready to go.

So, we’ve already established that your experience of Volume Three will depend on how recently you’ve read the last two books. Once you get past that you will find that this book is, structurally, very similar to Volume Two. The further you get into the book, the more you find out about the mysterious ‘Morning Glory Academy’, certain of its students and the sinister faculty staff that runs it. The more you find out though, the more questions Spencer poses for you; there is a lot more to both the plot and the Academy… or is there? I’m not sure. Answering a question with another question is a great hook (hey, it got me) but it does raise questions over the shelf life of the series. After all, there’s only so long that you can string out this kind of approach before you run out of meaningful questions to ask.
Funnily enough, I’m more than ok with ‘Morning Glories’ being a story that will eventually end instead of being spun out. I’d much prefer to see a plot that remains true to itself rather than being diluted by the urge to make a few more dollars. We’ll see which way it goes but I’m happy to stick around in the meantime.

I digressed a little bit there, sorry. The latter half of the book really begins to let you know what (or least ‘part of what’) this setting is all about. When you see what is hidden in the grounds of the school, and where it sends Casey, not only will things start to become clear (in terms of certain ‘flashbacks’) but you will find yourself with yet another hook that will have you back for more if you’re anything like me. If you’re still not sure then the cliff-hanger, right at the end, will definitely ensure your return.

There is a lot to get your head around then but there’s no question that it’s all worth the effort. The main cast all get a little more depth and I challenge you not to feel for them as they struggle to survive against the backdrop of a school where strange laboratories are hidden in the woods and ‘sacrifice’ is discussed in dark corridors (all beautifully rendered by Joe Eisma). I’m still in for the long haul, I’ll just make sure that I read the first three volumes before tackling Volume Four.

Nine out of Ten

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