It’s thrilling to find a truly compelling mystery. Properly strung along, an audience can enjoy following a tricky story for a while, until the thread either leads to a massive “promised land” of a twist, or unravels. But just following the thread can be a lot of fun – if it leads through interesting places, with interesting characters along for the ride.
Morning Glories is a new “mystery” comic from Image, mixing the charm and vulnerability of The Breakfast Club and Runaways with the tantalizing rabbit-hole spiral of Lost and the X-Files at their best, and ladelling on some “1984” for good measure. There’s a lot to recommend from Image these days: aggressive, idiosyncratic titles like Skullkickers and Chew, which shine through the field of pedestrian superhero fare like laser pointers on a foggy day. But not every comic needs to be a bloody send-up of low fantasy or a weirdness-laden subversion of detective procedurals. Rich in character, Morning Glories gets great mileage out of just how scary it is to be a teenager at a new school, laden with expectations from faculty and parents alike.
Of course it’s not quite that simple. The school – ostensibly an elite institution for gifted students – is anything but ordinary, the teachers are terrifying, possibly insane, and horrible things are surely happening just out of sight. The kids aren’t unblemished saints either. What will surprise you is just how much writer Nick Spencer (also of Ultimate Comics: X-Men and the last pre-New 52 run of Action Comics) is willing to put these characters through during a “routine” school day. More shocking still is how far these characters – distinctly rendered by artist Joe Eisma, which is important when, unlike in a superhero comic, there are no wild costumes and gimmicks – are willing to go to push back against their mad surroundings.
The first twelve harrowing issues are collected in the Morning Glories Deluxe Collection, which you can order from Amazon.ca here. As Morning Glories is an ongoing series, it won’t take you to the end of the thread, but serve as an introduction to the school, the characters, and the big questions awaiting you. The large format also features the fantastic character-study cover art of Rodin Esquejo, which is absolutely not to be missed.
Feel like following a thread through the most terrifying school you’ve ever seen? Morning Glories Deluxe Collectionis your wake-up call!