Morning Glories #16 Review

My first encounter with "Morning Glories" came at Baltimore Comic-Con last year. I was getting some Marvel stuff signed by writer Nick Spencer and we were talking about the Marvel Ultimate universe and the future of Ultimate X-Men (he was super accommodating). People kept coming up to him to get issues of Morning Glories signed. I'd seen the issues in my local comic shop (the covers are generally hard to miss), but I'd never picked it up. I asked Spencer about it, and I can't remember exactly what he said, but I know "Lost" came up as a comparison.

It wasn't until a few months later that I finally picked up the first two volumes of the trades, and immediately fell in love with the book. I know the "Lost" comparison has been made over and over again, but it's really a spiritual successor to the TV show -- moreso than any of the warmed over imitators that tried to capture the same feel of "Lost" -- and Issue #16, which came out last Wednesday, is a perfect example of that.

The issue focuses on Casey, who, when we last left her, had been transported through time and space to her father's army base, 13 years in the past. That cliffhanger happened at the end of issue #13, and yet Spencer felt he could go away from it for two issues to focus on Zoe, a storytelling technique "Lost" used often in the early seasons. This issue also uses the most famous "Lost" storytelling technique: flashbacks. In between scenes of Casey's interrogation in the past, we get to see what happened with her and her parents when she was accepted to Morning Glories Academy, which provided the emotional backbone and character developing moments the issue needed.

Because Casey's parents were murdered shortly after she entered the academy, this issue adds a level of pathos to her story. I can't imagine how much it must kill her to be so close to what she wants (to get her parents back) but not be able to really do anything about it. Except, later in the issue, it turns out she can, via some magic hypnotic power of suggestion that she shares with Ms. Hodge. It's not entirely clear if this is some ability she's always had or if it's something she only gained access to in the past, but she ends up having to use it on her father to aid in her escape -- an escape that leaves her in the past, headed to New York, with Ms. Hodge headed back to the present and the academy.

I can't imagine Ms. Hodge was really helping Casey without some nefarious purpose behind it, and I'll be interested to see where this story goes from here. This has continually been one of the great things about this series; every time it answers some questions and something amazing happens, it also brings up another set of questions and leaves the door open for more awesome things -- again, much like "Lost" did in the early seasons.

I know I keep focusing on the story, but it must be said that Joe Eisma's art is incredible. Every panel feels cover quality, with a nice mix of character models. I love how he uses slightly different angles in certain panels to give the impression that something is just slightly "off" with a situation -- it dovetails perfectly with Spencer's storytelling technique.

"Morning Glories" is regularly the best book I purchase each month, but it must be said that it's also the best value. It's 32 pages, with no unnecessary storytelling or artistic filler, for just $2.99. Considering I regularly pay a dollar more for books that are sometimes 10-12 pages shorter, I'm always impressed with what Spencer and Eisma are able to deliver each month, and issue #16 is no exception.

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