Review by Ian Keogh
The second Deluxe hardcover edition of Morning Glories is even larger than the first, but the content does little to draw together what we learned in that previous book. In fact it introduces many more mysteries, and by the end everything we’ve read to date may have been reconfigured, but you’ll have to wait for the third Deluxe book for confirmation one way or the other.
The first Deluxe Collection introduced us to six children, Morning Glory Academy’s intake, and concentrated on their induction and orientation while delving into their pasts. The cast increases considerably here as we’re introduced to several existing pupils, some already known to the primary cast, and artist Joe Eisma is extremely impressive. By the end of the book there are around thirty significant characters in play (including variants) and without the default of costumes to fall back on, Eisma’s good enough to ensure they’re all distinctive, and his storytelling’s very clear. On the downside, despite a polished sheen to the art, look closely and the shaky proportions of the cast become troublesome.
Early in this book events appear to move beyond the control of the school staff for the first time. Every child at MGA is sent off for a run in the woods, and almost immediately things start to go wrong. As with the previous book, the blood runs free and the body count is high. Nick Spencer’s extremely good at perpetuating a sinister mood of danger, one where it’s never entirely certain whether anyone at all can be taken at their word. Many people claim to know the bigger picture, but all are reluctant to divulge it, which some might consider a cop-out Spencer relies on a little too often. Also problematical is his habit of ending a chapter with a shock from nowhere, then waiting for fifty pages, and often longer, before returning to that scene.
Waiting is the frustration or the joy of Morning Glories. By the end this book we’re 25 chapters into the series and really little the wiser about the bigger picture. What we do know is that the children selected to attend Morning Glory Academy are there for reasons beyond privilege and academic achievement. Each has a greater purpose even if this may not at first be apparent. Time travel is introduced to the many existing mysteries, as we learn the significance of some already revealed idiosyncrasies of the cast, and that whatever is going on at MGA it’s more than a battle for the obedience of children.