Morning Glories #8 - Untitled - Spencer, Eisma & Esquejo
Story - When it was first being promoted, Morning Glories was touted as a sort of 'Runaways meets LOST', and while such high-concept tag-lines are often a load of bull, this one actually makes sense. It's Runaways in that it features fairly realistic portrayals of teenage characters and feelings in a heightened fantastical setting, and it's LOST in that it has a lot of mysteries. Fair enough.
But with this issue and the last, the relationship this book has to LOST has become even more apparent, and as a huge fan of that series, I couldn't be happier that the medium of comics is now the place for such storytelling, what with network television turning it's back on this sort of thing for remakes of Charlie's Angels and Hawaii 5-0. Comics are better than TV, bitches.
So anyway, look at it this way, the first 6-issue of arc of Morning Glories was kind of like the pilot episode of LOST, a lot of strange shit happens, we are introduced to all the main characters, and mysteries are set up, but we don't get much insight beyond that. Beyond the pilot however, we got Flashback episodes, we found out Locke was in a wheelchair, we found out Hurley was cursed by numbers, and now Morning Glories is doing the same. First Zoe, and now Hunter are getting Flashback episodes, and it's working out a treat.
This issue is split into two main chunks, you've got the present day events at the Morning Glory Academy, where Hunter asks Casey to go out on a date. As I said before, the strength of this book is that it has realistic teenage emotions in and around the weird spinning things and evil Nurses, and Hunter and Casey's interactions here form a solid, recognisable centre for Spencer to hang all manner of crazy stuff. Like characters turning from good to evil in seconds, to evil Twins, and even monsters. It's all interesting stuff, and with the Twin thing, we finally get an answer to one of a zillion mysteries.
But the Flashback is, for me, where the real action is at. We discover that somehow, whenever Hunter looks at a clock, he sees the same time, 8:13. Whenever he's in a rush, he sees 8:13, and as such, is never on time. But this isn't just insanity, there's a reason behind this, there's someone manipulating him, and stopping him from finding out the truth about why he only ever sees 8:13. This is a crazy idea, and it works brilliantly. It's something I've never seen before, and also seems exactly like the kind of thing you'd get on LOST. I am instantly more invested in Hunter and his life, because before, I didn't really like him, Spencer committed a fairly transparent attempt by making him an audience surrogate character by having him be a comics fan and be bad with girls and kind of absent-minded. A pretty obvious attempt to elicit an 'OMG he's just like me' response from fans. But Spencer has made a habit of deconstructing stereotypes, and he does so here. Hunter is more than I thought.
All of this told with Spencer's usual strong and snappy dialogue, his work isn't as stylised as say, Bendis, but it really flows well, and reminds me of a sort of cross between Brian K Vaughan and Bryan Lee O'Malley, which is damn cool. I'm not sure about the Yeasayer reference however, fuel to the fire for any critics to call the book 'Hipster Nonsense'.
Overall, this was another excellent issue of Morning Glories, it furthered the crazy events of what in the heck is going at the school, and provided some great backstory on a character I was previously on the fence about. Plus, to further my half-baked LOST analysis, Hurley made a little cameo. Some readers may balk at a book having so many similarities to a TV show, but I think Morning Glories is different and original enough to set it apart, and hey, 80% of comics take all their cues from other, older comics, following a TV show is vastly preferable to that.
Art - I was initially pretty down on Joe Eisma. I think because I had been spoiled by Rodin Esquejo's amazing photo-realistic covers and promo images. But Eisma is probably more suited for the events going on inside the book, his work is nice and expressive, and he does action sequences well. In my opinion he just gets better and better. It's just a shame the cover art is so good!
Best Line - 'He'll be amazed I sent him a girl who isn't pregnant for once'