Review by Ian Keogh
Nick Spencer’s template for Morning Glories appears to be the TV series Lost, in which the bigger mystery was addressed a crumb at a time while we were entertained with assorted stories from the characters’ pasts. Eventually viewers of Lost tired of being strung along, concluded they weren’t going to be getting any meaningful answers, and stopped watching. Will graphic novel readers be any more patient than TV viewers? Particularly as by the end of this graphic novel an eraser appears to have been taken to much of what’s previously occurred.
Morning Glories creates a superbly sinister mood, but there’s extremely little in the way of plot progression. Once the repetition of murder and brutality dulls the shock value, we’re left with this book pretty well recycling what we’ve already seen, with very few injected new ideas, and little further indication of the bigger picture. The intention is to perpetuate the mysteries, and to prompt some thought about them, but that’s a dangerous game as it prompts thought about the logic underpinning the series as well.
As has been habit, the shock ending of volume three is buried for later disinterment, and we open with a glimpse at the adolescence of two sisters teaching at Morning Glory Academy. Georgina has repeatedly proved herself completely on message with the sadistic relationship between teachers and pupils, while guidance teacher Lara appears to be looking for a way to bring the whole house of cards tumbling down. As we’ve already learned, though, deceit is a way of life.
Spencer’s gradually been introducing further pupils to the cast, most of whom appear to have some connection with those introduced in volume one. Several take centre stage here, and most are around for the long term.
The big heads on stiffly posed bodies characterising Joe Eisma’s art continue throughout this book, but credit has to be given for a superb job in designing a cast that can be distinguished at various ages. A brief sketch section in the back of the book estimates he’s created just under a hundred characters to this point. Meanwhile Spencer weaves more background, adds more connections, expands the mysteries to include mythical and biblical references and yet reveals very little. Are you up for volume five?