Recap for Review Group Week 266! Morning Glories #8 by Nick Spencer and Joe Eisma as selected by Punchy.
The Review Group is a collection of posters who get together and review a new comic each week. Our threads can be found in The Outhouse's News Stand forum and is open for anyone and everyone to participate.
Few comics have generated the buzz that Morning Glories has over the last year, the Review Group however scoffs at buzz. So how does Morning Glories hold up when you take the speculator profits out of the equation?
Review by thefourthman
how hard is it to write a morning glories review anyhow?
some crazy shit happens, then more crazy shit happens, then there is a twist ending from way out of left field.
Review by AMS
In preperation for this week I picked up the first morning glories trade, and issue 7. I'm glad I did so because, despite Punchy's recommendation for last week, I don't think this issue would offer much to someone without some background to the premise of the book.
The first arc of the book focused mostly on what appears to be the lead of the series, Casey. Since then each issue focuses on other supporting characters in the series. Last month focused on Zoe, and this time around we see a bit more about Hunter. We see what might have drew the attention of morning glories academy to him, and we also see his efforts to gain a date with Casey. Some mysterious things happen from there.
Reading this series through the last two days has left me somewhat indifferent to it. I think the mystery is intriguing and makes me want to continue to read the series, but I'm not sure I actually like any of the characters at this point. The focus on Hunter helps this a bit, him and Jun are probably the only two characters that I really care for at this point.
The art is something I'm not too fond of on this book. I think it is well done but I don't personally care for the style. I don't hate it, but I don't love it, it's just meh.
Review by john lewis hawk
Shit happens. Some other shit doesn't happen. Art's alright.
Review by daringd
I picked up the first trade along with issue 7 last month and absolutely LOVED IT! The series really reminds me of LOST Which I'm sure ticks off a few readers of the series but I have to say I love the mystery elements of the book. I really dig the art don't love it but I'm not going to complain Nick Spencer is crushing it on story and character development. Issue 8 was nearly flawless in execution and I loved that the chicken restaurant manager kinda looked like Hurley from LOST. I love the book and thing everyone needs to be reading it one of the best books coming out.
Review by Sweet James Jones
As this is my first issue of Morning Glories I expected to be thrown into the deep end and drown. Not quite this time around as the story was fairly self-contained and what little I'd heard about it helped me bridge the gap: The story is set at the Morning Glory academy and certain students are somehow "special" for reasons unknown. And this issue was a spotlight of one of the said students called Hunter.
So there's something up with Hunter where whenever he looks at a clock he see's the time being 8:13, making checking the time or sticking to an appointment a pain in the ass. Like in this issue when Hunter sets up a date with a girl he likes for 5pm and has to rely on Jun let him know when it's time. Then things go of the rails as he gets mixed up with some school bullies led by a guy who is either Jun or his twin brother.
The other part of the story was the backstory of Hunter and how his 8:13 problem began with a stranger giving him his watch that happened to be set at 8:13 at that time. This is when the story got Lost-like for me. We got strangers giving people mysterious presents whose numbers eventually destroy his life in a very Hurley-esque manner (There's even a Hurley cameo :P ) mysterious brain scans that are covered up by equally mysterious gunmen, and finally in the tradition of Smokey an unseen monster-like character that strings up and disembowls people for the obligatory twist ending.
This very much felt like Lost set in a school in comic book form. And I mean that in a good way as from the solicits and this issue I'm getting that everything is being built around some far-out-there machination that goes beyond the walls of MGA. Hope for the book's sake that it isn't dragged out for too long to result in hurried resolutions like Lost did.
On the writing, I see shades of Bendis in Nick Spencer's dialog structure thanks to some of the quick back and forth exchanges, such as the scene where Hunter asks Casey out on a date, that simultaneously portray a character's personality. The art really helps in that regard as Joe Eisma's art effectively portrays the emotion of every word a character speaks as if it was rolling off their speech bubbles.
Overall, I liked the book enough to order the first trade. I had reservations about it initially since the only Nick Spencer book I've checked out was T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents and that was not my thing...but I'm willing to take a punt on this book through a trade because of this issue. And if it's solid I guess this will go to my "wait for trade" list.
Review by Punchy
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'
Review by guitarsmashley
Morning Glories is good but, there is something that isn't quite right. Y the Last Man did something incredible where every issue ended with a cliff hanger, hell in it's own way the series ended on a cliffhanger. But it's a series that read both great in monthly and trade format. Having read volume one of Morning Glories in trade and then reading 7 & 8 in singles I can say it's not the same at all. The cliff hangers build in the trades but these stand alone stories serve to move the story forward and develop the characters at the same time. Unfortunately this issue didn't expand on the two most interesting characters, the blond and the asshole kid who maybe the best character in the entire book. The art is serviceable and works for the series.
Review by starlord
I had never even heard of this book when it was chosen by Punchy so I figured just like Scott Pilgrim, I was really going to dislike this. I stand corrected. I'm intrigued even though I don't have a clue what any of this is really about. When it comes out in trade, I will be the first in line to pick it up.
That said, it was alright.
My Score: 7.75
Review by BlueStreak
I've really been enjoying the series thus far. It's a great book, even if it gets a little absurd at times with the death count. This issue proves to be no exception for the Nick Spencer "Morning Glories" formula. There's a bit of normalcy smashed to bits by extreme violence with a level of intrigue fueled by the revealed backstory of one of the main characters. Luckily, Spencer knows how to exploit this formula to prevent the series from growing stale.
The art's alright but nothing spectacular.
Review by SilverPhoenix
There is always an amount of risk when you write a story, especially one where many aspects of the overall plot line are not transparent. On one hand, you keep your readership guessing as to what might happen next, which if done right helps to build investment in what happens in that story (which in turn hopefully builds investment in the characters themselves). However, you also run the risk of not only having proper pay off, but also having your audience lose interest in even seeing said pay off happen. The sources of such results usually have to do with bad writing, but another result that may be independent of such is having the mystery become more important than the story. The balance that Nick Spencer has to strike is critical for Morning Glories to continue the success it has already attained, and Morning Glories #8 does just that for the most part.
Even though Morning Glories has more questions than answers, there are quite a few saving graces which include the well written dialogue, the compelling base story arcs and World building that makes you want to learn more. Beyond those aspects, the big draw for Morning Glories is the amazing work that Nick Spencer has put into each of the 6 main characters, and Morning Glories #8 is no exception. To spare everyone the superfluous expletives at this point, Nick Spencer shines the spotlight on Hunter, who adds quite a twist to this "Nice Geeky Guy" by giving him a Rare Mental Condition that could be link to quite an exceptional gift in the future. By doing this, Morning Glories #8 gives Hunter a needed dimension, along with giving the reader a reason to cheer for him to be successful in his pursuits. It all adds up to another successfully written Issue of Morning Glories.
To those who read my review of Morning Glories #7, you know that I have my issues with some of the art design choices of this book, and while Morning Glories #8 doesn't answer my biggest concern by design, it does go a quite a bit of a way to show that the artist is beginning to get his grove. The Issue of incomplete finishes on the characters (by way of out of place lines) is greatly reduced in this Issue, as Joe Eisma seems to have the look of these characters down, as we're given the first glimpse of what will more than likely become the signature looks of these character's teenage selves. The backgrounds and coloring also continue to give this book the contradictory nature that makes it hard not to examine as the nightmare continues to unfold all around our protagonists. Overall, this truly the first time that I can truly praise this art, and I hope it only continues to get better.
Now as I said in my first paragraph, the way this story is being told has its risks, and one of those risks came to light with this Issue, especially if you were expecting that the Solicit to Issue 8 would begin to deliver us closer to some of the answers that we've been seeking from the beginning, and while this Issue does give us quite a bit of insight on Hunter, I can't help but feel that we didn't get as close as the Solicit led us to believe we would. Of course, that could be my own fault for expecting too much, but I did feel a little bit burned when I closed the book the first time. Despite that, there's too much good to have that let down become a reason for me not like this book. For those who have followed this series from the beginning Morning Glories #8 is another example of why this series continues to be a worthwhile investment of time and money. As for those of you who haven't begun this journey, it is not too late to get the first trade, and catch up to the rest of us. I guarantee that'll it'll be worth your time.
Final Judgment: 8
Review by Frank Einstein
Apart from the sweet speculator profits, I didn't care much for the first issue of Morning Glories. It's a good thing the first trade was cheap, otherwise I might not have given the series a second chance. The first arc of the series turned out to be a lot of fun and this issue is probably my favorite of the series so far.
The initial setup wasn't anything extraordinary but the stuff with time and clocks was a cool mystery to add on top of everything else already going on. As far as every issue ending on a cliffhanger goes, it works for Walking Dead, no reason it can't work for Morning Glories as well and the double cliffhanger in this was one of the better cliffhangers up to this point.
While I'm still not a fan of the aesthetic of the art in this series, I do think Eisma is growing a lot as a storyteller. The whole exchange in the library was really well done, especially the subtle glances.
I'm not going to do anything crazy like start to read this in single issues, but this issue did increase my excitement for the second trade quite a bit.
That gives Morning Glories #8 a group score of 7.50. So the MGS probably won't be buying any new cars off the profits off of MG8, that's still a score well worth the $2.99 cover price.
For what McKegan calls "all the geeky, bitchy arguing about comics you'd expect from a comic message board condensed into absolute awesomeness", check out our Morning Glories thread and post your own review in The News Stand forum.
Written or Contributed by: John Martin