It’s the second issue and Morning Glories keeps bringing more questions to the table: secret cults? Murderous room mates? Find out what it’s all about after the jump!
A Bad First Day
Previously, in Morning Glories: several new students have arrived at the prestigious Morning Glory academy – snooty Ike, hyperactive Zoe, nice-guy Hunter, goth Jade, hard-working Jun; and our obvious lead, Casey. There are some strange goings-on at this school, though, as our cast soon finds out. Not only do they all have the same birthday, but when Jade attempts to contact her parents, they don’t remember her. Casey finds out her situation is worse: thanks to the academy, her parents are dead!
We begin this issue with Casey being questioned by a teacher – a Physics question, no less – and as she refuses to answer she is hit with a cattle prod. Eventually, without answering the question, she is thrown in detention, where the rest of the cast already reside. We see that Ike and Hunter are there because they walked in on some strange cult ritual during the night, and Zoe and Jade fought their older room mate after she tried to kill them. As teachers look on through a two-way mirror, the room begins to fill rapidly with water, and the group narrowly escape drowning only after Casey shouts the answer to the Physics question. The book ends with the reveal of how Jun got into detention.
I didn’t have much in the way of expectations when I bought issue one of this series, so it is a testament to that issue that I not only enjoyed it, but found myself very much excited for the next; and indeed, this issue maintains that level of quality. Being the second issue, the plot is still in the process of forming and this book manages to keep the interest from the first issue going by adding to the mystery of what is going on at the academy and offering a bit more characterization for some of the cast. Jun’s reveal at the end (which I won’t spoil) definitely holds a few possibilities for the coming months, and serves as an effective cliffhanger.
Although some of the cast does get some good characterization, I was quite disappointed to not see much in this area for Casey and Hunter – our obvious female and male leads. Casey is pretty strong, I suppose, and Hunter is typically heroic, but we don’t get anything beyond the basic lead-character templates (hence why I couldn’t really find any other word to describe Casey earlier). Instead, characters with already-strong personalities (like Ike and Zoe) receive development – which is no bad thing, as I already find myself preferring them to the mostly-dull leads. The dialogue is fine – not exceptional, but everyone sounds natural, there are a few funny lines from Ike, and the main teacher-antagonist takes on a suitably malevolent tone.
Art with Surprising Restraint
For a book entitled ‘Morning Glories’, which features teenage girls in school uniforms – and, in this issue, has them soaked with water – this book features a surprisingly small amount of cheesecake art. There is still a hint of it about (and, if you like that sort of thing, Eisma draws very pretty girls), but I must admit I expected near-porno levels from a book with such a combination of cheesecake-inducing factors, and was pleasantly surprised to see art with restraint.
Indeed, Eisma does an admirable job of drawing this issue. Most importantly, in a book with a main cast of six characters, each of our heroes has a distinct look and is therefore easily distinguishable. This not only makes the action easier to follow, but adds some variety to the talking scenes. The action scenes all flow well and figuring out what’s going on is never an issue. The colouring is also very pleasant, with the art as a whole having a nice feel to it in that respect, and the lighting is notable for also being well-done.
The cover is also very enjoyable, and Esquejo exhibits a style that, to my mind, seems to blend photo-realism and a more illustrative style of drawing very well. It features three of our cast, namely Casey, Hunter and Zoe, struggling for breath in the detention room as the water rises. The faces of the students look very realistic, meanwhile some objects (a floating chair in the foreground, and the character’s clothes underwater, for example) very much look like they are drawn. It is an image that is sure to catch the eye – three young people on the verge of drowning – especially as Casey has her arms raised as if she is about to beat on the cover for help (intentional or not, it is a nice touch). It is also, as in the interior, full of plenty of colour (at least in the above-water part), and I also like how the title and credits are located at the bottom of the page, looking as if they are sinking. My only complaint with the cover is that neither Casey nor Hunter are wearing the clothes they wear inside the book, but that is only a minor detail; not only is this cover eye-catching and clever, but it also represents events from the actual book, which also earns points with me.
Get On Board Now
This book is a great follow-up to what was a great first issue: it continues to develop the plot and provides some characterization for our cast. Combine that with great art and you’ve got a book you really want to be picking up this week. If you didn’t grab issue one then don’t let number two go the same way – this series looks set to be first-rate, and this book earns four and a half stars out of five.