Overview

Morning Glories #1

Review

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Morning Glories #1

Credits

  • Words: Nick Spencer
  • Art: Joe Eisma
  • Colors: Alex Sollazzo
  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Aug 11, 2010

Emerging this past year as an indie creator to watch, Nick Spencer (Forgetless, Shuddertown) takes us deep into the strange and macabre nature of perhaps the most sadistic preparatory school ever created. Morning Glories, his newest creation is a mix and match of genres in the tradition of his most recent stories. Just like the melding of professional assassins and the rave scene in Forgetless, Spencer takes the pop culture knowledge of prep schools and twists it with a horror story reminiscent of the fantastic supernatural slasher films of the 80s.

Glories chronicles the acceptance and admittance of six teens into a prestigious and mysterious boarding school, Morning Glory Academy. After a harrowing and mysterious opening that only teases the nastiness behind MGA's walls, we're introduced to each very different boy or girl getting ready to attend. An emo farm girl, a prissy gold digger, and a brilliant young physicist round out the girls while a Tokyo born whiz kid, latch key hero, and straight up sociopath consist our boys. Spencer gives us just enough information to define these young souls, warts and all. Already we get to postulate all the wonderful and gory things he can do with these adolescents under pressure.

Morning Glories oozes with the same nasty pleasure my generation derived from watching Troma movies or late night cable on the weekends. Not to say that this book is cheesy, because it’s not, but it definitely elicits the same “this is so wrong, but I love it” vibe. Especially in relation to the fetishist head mistress, Miss Daramount, and the positively evil new recruit, Ike. Spencer must be having the time of his life writing Ike, because it sure is fun to read. Most notably the farewell dinner with his mother where they discuss his more vile exploits, dating back to when he was only seven years old. The scene is two-pages long, but ripe with so many possibilities that it can spawn a whole other miniseries, just about Ike.

Spencer also seems to be channeling the skill of placing divergent characters in an extreme situation and seeing how they grow and change, if at all. It’s a time honored tradition in all forms of fiction, from The Breakfast Club to Lost, even in comics with teams like the Runaways. All of these groups are brought together against their will, forced to come together and battle a common foe. Whether it’s a bogus principal, super villains, or polar bears, through extreme adversity they must rely on one another or all fail. It’s a gripping conflict that you can tap into from any setting and in any situation. The creator wisely juxtaposes this primal response to survival with something frivolous like a boarding school. Add in some supernatural, occult-ish baddies, and you have something that’s both oddly original and strangely familiar.

The art chores by Joe Eisma blend well with Spencer’s premise. He has an expressive style that’s not too photorealistic, but also not cartoony. It adds to the pulpy nature of the premise. Most notably with his renderings of the main characters, sometimes channeling expressive artists like Stuart Immonen, but a little sketchier. Colorist Alex Sollazzo also knocks it out of the park, keeping the color palette bright and even a little hopeful. Doing so makes the more shocking aspects of the story all the more jarring, but in a way that’s good for the story.

All in all, this is another strong and inventive first issue from Spencer and solidifies his burgeoning reputation as a capable genre writer. With just the right amounts of nostalgia, gore, caddy behavior, and mystery, Morning Glories could turn into a really fun series to follow.

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