Morning Glories is becoming one of Comics most thrilling, daring and mysterious rides. Does Issue #7 continue to exemplfy all of those qualities? Click the Link to find out.
Credits & Solicit Info:
Writer: Nick Spencer
Art: Joe Eisma
Covers: Rodin Esquejo
Colors: Alex Sollazzo
Letters: Johnny Lowe
Design: Tim Daniel
Editor: Jade Dodge
Greetings Ladies and Gentlemen, and welcome to the debut Review of the latest Outhouse Review Column, The Knight's Shelf. The main aim of this Column is to take one comic a week (hopefully), and analyze it from many different aspects that focus on the actual comic, and beyond. It is this writer's hope that such analysis will lead to deep discussion about the book, and the Industry at large, with comments and constructive criticism welcome. With that said, on with the show.
As this story goes along, it seems that the overall picture is beginning to slowly come into focus, but can things still be enjoyable when you have more questions than answers?
Now that 2011 is in full swing, I can safely look back on 2010 and say that Morning Glories was a runaway choice for one of my Top 5 new series of 2010, and a solid contender to be on my Top 10 Series list, as well. Now this reviewer could go into many reasons why Morning Glories has become one of the strongest things he's read since he started reading Fables, from the strong introductory story arc, to the amazing world building, and the questions that keep this book extremely interesting because of it. Beyond those things, what impresses this reviewer the most is the amazing character work that has helped this already well-written title stand out even more, which is something that shines brighter when you read the first collected edition. It is also due to those things, that it seems like the wait for Morning Glories #7 was a lot longer than it should've been, due to last issue's barn burner revelation. Does this issue screw with people's minds' less? Not if the Creative Team has anything to say about it.
When it comes to this title, one of the things that this reviewer feels that must be discussed is the extensive work and care that has gone into the characters of this book. From Issue 1, this book has gone out of its way to not just introduce its protagonists and their agonists, but to give each of these characters distinct voices, personalities, motivations, quirks, and other qualities to motivate us to care about what happens to each one, whether we love or despise the characters in question. The result of such touches (especially a Scene in the First Issue where one of the character is afraid to look at a person she bumped into, due to her fear of falling in love just like the movies) have produced that has made its characters more 3-dimensional in a 5 issue span, than some others that have decades of stories behind them, and Morning Glories #7 adds to those dimensions.
Without spoiling too much about this issue, Morning Glories #7 primarily gives us a much better look at Zoe, as we learn that not only is she adopted from the Streets of Mumbai, but possesses some kind of clairvoyant abilities that makes her a subject that the academy has sought out for a higher purpose that we've only received scant clues about from the arc preceding it. Once that is established, we spend a full day with Zoe; with Nick Spencer using the opportunity to not only flesh out the focus character more, but to expand the scope of the Morning Glories Academy, as well.
From a fundamental writing standpoint, there is plenty to like about this story, as Nick Spencer continues to write some of the best dialogue in comics today (which only helps to enhance the individuality of these characters) which has helped make a great concept stronger issue by issue. Another thing that also stood out was the fact that that the story was moved along at a nice pace, as it is beginning to come to light that the protagonists' lives before the academy may have been engineered all along, and not just from the moment they stepped into academy, which raises even more questions, but not in a manner that turns people off. Overall, Nick Spencer continues to not just write well, but build a world that's going to be quite compelling in the years to come.
With such high praise for the writing, it kind of saddens this reviewer that he cannot laud such Universal Praise overall art package. Of course, this doesn't mean that the art is terrible, quite the opposite. Joe Eisma continues to draw excellent teenagers (especially if you want them to look like teenagers), with his backgrounds looking as sharp as ever, with the bright colors serving as a nice Gilded Shell to all of the darkness inside of the book. We also need to note that Rodin Esquejo continues to make amazing covers, which deserve all the praise they get. So with all of that out of the way, I bet you're asking, what's wrong with the art, exactly? Well, the two things that catch this reviewer's eye are the Inconsistent finishes to characters, and the wonky inconsistent coloring for Zoe.
In regards to the first issue, as the book went on, this reviewer noticed that the art felt unfinished on some pages, as the lines would end up distorting the character art, leaving me wondering if the art was rushed in some places, something that adds up to a damn shame as Joe Eisma has the goods to be excellent month in and month out, something that a stronger editorial hand would see to. As for the second issue, it's been established that Zoe is Indian, but from her coloring I mistook her for Korean in the first Issue (I got the 2nd printing of said issue), but I learned I was wrong the next month. Now this reviewer is not trying to say that Lighter Skinned Indians do not exist (because that would be a gross lie), but when your cover artist draws her in a much darker hue, something is very wrong with how she's visually portrayed in the book, which falls on the colorist. This is a problem that has reared its ugly head since this reviewer got back into Comics 3 years ago, and it's one that needs to be pressed until there's an onus for the Industry to do better. It's just a damn shame that I have to lay the hammer on one of my favorite titles and the company that produces it.
When all is said and done, Morning Glories continues to be one of the best ongoings being produced by the industry at large and Issue 7 continues to keep this series in that territory. This is not only a comic that continues to produce a world that continues to take elements from other worlds in such a unique way, but continues to leave us guessing as to what will happen next without making this a game where the only thing that matters is the clues. As long as this comic continues to be written well, present us with characters to care about, and give us stories that worthy of being told, the Journey will be just as thrilling as the destination, should things continue to break right.
Story ****1/2: Nick Spencer continues to write some of the best characters in the Industry, with stories worth following and a mystery worth solving.
Art ***: Flashes of Brilliance are hampered by mediocrity and issues that should be unacceptable in 2011.
Accesiblity ****: Even if you were to read this blind, the great dialogue and excellent character work will make the read worthwhile.
Final Judgement (A Combination of the Three Scores Above plus Intangibles): **** (Excellent)
Review by: Linwood Earl Knight