The competitive spirit seemingly encouraged at American schools comes into focus with three plot threads running through this book. Having heard that only the School President has access to the headmaster, to this point mentioned but unseen, Casey has decided to run for the post, a task made easier as she despises the incumbent. Elsewhere Guillaume has a plan to subvert the school towerball game in which it’s been decreed that the red team always wins, and so it has been, and Vansessa’s going to win the science project in a challenging fashion. Don’t expect conclusions, though, because as ever these matters move in glacial fashion.

Thus far in the series, his early betrayal apart, Ike has been the vehicle for some wonderfully snarky dialogue from Nick Spencer, but little else. While the importance of the other sixteen year olds introduced in the first issue has been displayed, Ike has stood apart, and we’re now told why. It comes as rather a shock to him also, and is delivered in an interesting manner.

Accept Morning Glories as an ongoing soap opera of a particularly sadistic nature and the entertainment is there. Start wondering about all the hints as to the bigger picture and the unexplained purpose of the Morning Glory Academy and you’ll either go nuts, start a web page annotating every reference, or go away and find something that has a conclusion to read. Much the same applies to the art. Accept the posed figures and the irritatingly sanitised backgrounds, but admire the way Joe Eisma can tell a story, and how he can distinguish an already large and constantly expanding cast at different ages. A hanging scene, however is particularly poor, looking instead as if the person is floating into a noose that’s not even taut.

The consequence of the expanding cast is a frequent reliance on the plot bomb that’s not dealt with for a considerable number of pages, if at all during the book. Since volume six Spencer’s approach has been to rotate the spotlight around the cast, dealing with one student at a time, and he now has so many spinning plates that it can take a long time before anything is answered. Want to know how that dangling plot thread featuring the newspaper from the previous book is followed up? No answers here, move along. We do, however, take a look at the startling revelation about Jade dropped in three books ago. That’s the way the plot works, like it or lump it. Expulsion is next.