Welcome to the Morning Glory Academy, We Hope You Survive the Experience...
This deluxe hardcover of the first twelve issues of Morning Glories is the best comic release of 2011. The hardcover itself is gorgeously bound, the writing and plot by Spencer is intelligent and engaging, the covers by Esquejo are absolutely beautiful, and the interior art by Joe Eisma is expressive and wonderful to look at. All that said, I was extremely hesitant to buy anything related to this series. Morning Glories at first glance looks like a Gossip Girl style drama set at a prep school.
This is why I decided to pass up the first two trade paperbacks. When I saw this oversized hardcover I caved in and purchased it. I'm extremely glad I did. This is much more than teenage romance and pregnancy scares. Morning Glories combines mysterious plot elements much like Twin Peaks and Lost had with the interesting characters that anyone could relate to.
The Morning Glory academy is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. What looks like an innocent prep school for the rich and snobby is actually a diabolical testing ground where no one can be trusted. In the first arc, For A Better Future, six teenagers, half girls and half boys, are chosen to attend this prestigious prep school. Each of them has their own mysterious past and their own reasons for attending. Each of them are bright and intelligent but have a troubled past. They will learn that the Academy has dark secrets and there is no escaping from them. The faculty is sinister in intentions. These six new students will learn that few can be trusted... not even each other.
There are many things to love about this series. The first is Joe Eisma's art. I'm unfamiliar with his work, but I love what I saw in Morning Glories. Not only is his artwork detailed, Eisma has that rare ability to convey a story through body language. Combine this with his realistic facial expressions and there is a deep immersion factor to this series. Characters come off as being a little too similar looking sometimes, not enough to be overly noticeable though. Rodin Esquejo's cover's are exquisite. They are sexy and very well drawn.
Spencer's characters are engaging and interesting. The main character Casey is described in teasers as “Most likely to save the world.” When first introduced, she comes off as being the most invested in the Academy and a little bit naïve. By the end of the second arc she had really grown on me. My favorite character was Hunter. He's best described as the nerd in the group. I found myself relating to him the most. Others might enjoy Jun, the level headed know it all teenager, or Jade, the “crazy” girl who can't keep it together. Each character has their own mysterious past, some of which is revealed in the second arc. The faculty of the Academy are just as mysterious as the students. Overall Spencer's writing of everyone is fantastic. His stories move at a great pace and always leave one asking questions. Even when answers are revealed, they usually leave you with more questions.
Overall this is something I highly recommend for anybody. This is quite possibly the best release of 2011. There's something here for everyone. This earns a rare 5/5 from me. I'm surprised that I was so hesitant to buy this. Anyone else feeling the same should put their hesitations aside and purchase this. I'm very much looking forward to the next deluxe volume.