A plot planned! A rebellion foiled! A vomiting in a bucket! These exciting moments and more in this installment of The Major Spoilers Dueling Review, as your two favorite meat bags examine Morning Glories #4 from Image Comics.

Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Joe Eisma
Colors: Alex Sollazzo
Letterer: Johnny Lowe
Covers: Rodin Esquejo
Editor: Kristen Simon
Publisher: Image Comics

Previously in Morning Glories: Strange things are afoot at the Morning Glory Academy. Students who are admitted into the school all share the same birth date, and are immediately brainwashed into being part of the program. Those that resist are slowly tortured until they conform, or else they are put down. After taking a wrong turn, Jade encounters one of the schools special students, and immediately falls under the influence. Unless something happens soon, she’s going to be killed. Good thing she has a few friends. Too bad one of them is a complete dick.

STEPHEN: So… fourth issue… still on board?

MATTHEW: Yes, indeed. There’s twists and turns galore in this issue, as Jade’s situation gets worse, Casey’s ingenuity comes to the forefront, and a tiny little tantalizing bit of exposition comes. Why are the kids at the Morning Glory Academy, you ask? Because the faculty is looking for “something.” Taunt me some more, why don’t you? Casey seeks to assemble the players from the teaser material and puts together a plot to bust Jade out of solitary confinement, but sadly, not everybody is on the same page as it plays out. And one of the kids shows his and/or her true colors in the cliffhanger, which ought to be interesting…

STEPHEN: While we do get to see Casey planning a way to break everyone out, the fact that we see the overlords counter planning kind of ruins any hope that these kids will succeed. The issue started really slow, but the slow burn to the big reveal was worth the heel turn at the end.

MATTHEW: Not necessarily… I am going on record now, as a long-time fan of professional wrestling, as stating the existence of something called the “False Heel Turn.” While you more commonly see the “False Face Turn,” switching sides is a lovely way to get intel on what your opponents are up to and perhaps even access resources that you wouldn’t normally have. As for the dual plot tracks, I don’t think that the existence of a counter-plot this early in the series proves that the kids are doomed in their attempts to escape. What if the “something” the Academy if searching for is the kind of mind that could hatch a brilliant escape plan?

STEPHEN: I wish there was more to the issue. I don’t mind a lot of mystery, but in order to continue to string me (and the reader) along, a few truths need to be shared. Why is everyone concerned about the headmaster? What is going on with the crazy girl and her visions? What does the message mean? I know this is an ongoing, and eventually some of this stuff will be explained, but at this point I’m starting to get the feeling we’re being set up for another LOST.

MATTHEW: I don’t know a damn thing about LOST, other than the guy from the Weezer album cover, but I can tell you that it seems a bit early to worry about revealing the mystery. Issue four of a six-issue arc is the point where I normally start whining about drawing things out, but I didn’t get that here. This issue brings our first real screen-time for Chase and Hunter, and the complications draw out the plot naturally, for me.

STEPHEN: Have you seen the television series Tower Prep? If you watch that series and read this book together, it will mess with your mind.

MATTHEW: I have not. But I do remember the movie where Buffy the Vampire Slayer made out with Selma Blair, and imagining this going on in THAT prep school is likewise fun. Joe Eisma does wonderful things with the art in this issue, as well, giving a wonderful air of menace to the proceedings, while keeping the drab institutional trappings intact. How’d you feel about the visual side of things?

STEPHEN: The art is pretty good. Can’t go wrong with girls in uniforms…

MATTHEW: Oy… Here we go again.
STEPHEN: Honestly, I like the fact that Eisma mixes up the layout and camera angles from page to page, where sometimes were presented with a very stagnant layout suggesting slow, methodical planning.

MATTHEW: Yep. And his use of facial expression and body language is pretty amazing, too. Casey isn’t just another comic-book blonde teenager, she’s got a specific build, stance, and a unique facial layout that makes her stand out, even when other girls in the room are wearing the same thing. It’s comics after all, and for years, the only way to tell people apart was the color of their costumes, so I’m very impressed with the work on display here.

STEPHEN: Bottom Line for me – As far as fourth issues go, this fell right in line with the idea of stretching out the story to fill the book. I’m still on board with Morning Glories, I find the story interesting, and at least one character is more fully developed than the others. I’m frustrated that we haven’t been given any real answers, something that needs to occur soon before people start leaving. The art is fine, though the over tint toward pinks and purples is a little odd. Overall, a nice issue and worth 3.5 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: ★★★½☆

MATTHEW: You’re too impatient. Casey may be the ensemble leader for now, but if the series is to survive, there will be more development of the others as we go. For me, I’m still wondering what happened to Jun last time, and what’s up with Jade, and who the headmaster is… You don’t suppose this secretly takes place in the Marvel Universe, and the headmaster is Professor X, do ya? Cause that’d be an amazing twist! Either way, I’m still intrigued by what’s happening here, and the Tabasco sequence alone was enough fun to keep me along. Morning Glories #4 earns 4 out of 5 stars overall from Matthew, and I’m willing to let them draw out the mystery a little bit more before I start getting irritable.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

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  1. Rob
    November 18, 2010 at 11:11 pm — Reply

    Number 4 is out??? There’s only 2 on iPad! Get with the program Image,

    • Damascus
      December 9, 2010 at 12:52 am — Reply

      And that’s why the iPad sucks!! Muah ha ha ha!!! Alright fine, it’s a decent piece of tech, from a company I don’t particularly care for. I just can’t justify (on my budget and with two small children) dropping that much money on one thing.

  2. Ocho
    November 19, 2010 at 10:25 am — Reply

    I must have missed something. From the very beginning, with the opening advertisements, there has been a buzz about this title. My reaction was (and still is) “Meh, not interested.” But there is a draw to it with comic readers. I’m not attempting to criticize; I simply do not understand the draw.

  3. Damascus
    December 9, 2010 at 12:53 am — Reply

    Stephen, I was totally thinking the same thing about this series and Tower Prep. I thought it was some weird timing that they came out so close to one another and they’re so similar (sorta).

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