The Morning Glory Academy is not like other elite boarding schools. Sure you have the uniforms, the rich kids, and the secret societies. You also have crazy kids, teachers who murder students, and weird ghost/demon/apparitions. That’s just in the first volume of this series.
This first volume by Nick Spencer and illustrated by Joe Eisma sees Casey, Ike, Zoe, Jun, Hunter and Jade arriving at the school. Casey just turned 16 and can’t wait to start life at her new school. Less than 24 hours later she finds out that her parents have been murdered by the school to keep them from contacting her. She also finds out that all of her new classmates have the exact same birthday as she does. They have all just turned 16 and have all been seemingly forgotten by their parents and loved ones.
The story is engaging. Things happen in it that are equal parts disturbing and perplexing. Much of this first volume is spent trying to figure out what is going on. This volume only raises questions, but you do get to experience the present, past and future in different mysterious doses. The only thing that is certain is that it all has something to do with physics. Maybe demons, but definitely physics. In that sense it is (as the creator describes it) like Runaways (the comic) meets Lost (the TV show).
Eisma’s art in this first volume is strong if a tad unfinished in places. His characters are all distinct and easily distinguishable from one another. He adds an element of sharpness to the features of the insane or seemingly evil characters which creates a more sinister feeling throughout the whole volume. Perhaps more importantly he takes this base and couples it with very distinct facial impressions that tell their own wordless stories. It is exciting to see where the story will go, because Eisma has a strong foundation with which to progress out into the supernatural or wherever else the story heads.
This is a classic young adult story where the protagonists are all 16, and the adults are, on the whole, evil. The graphic violence may be off putting for some libraries, however the title is still clearly appropriate for older teens (10th grade and up) because the entire attitude of this comic is more insane smiles and less deep thoughts which, when coupled with the ages of the protagonists, makes it more of a teen story. Furthermore while some of the violence is shocking, it is not shocking solely because it is violent, but rather the fact that we don’t know why the violence is being perpetrated.
The other thing worth mentioning is that this is an inexpensive collection. For $9.99 you get six issues of creepy goodness that you can take a chance and see if it will thrive in your library environment. Given the quality and the subject matter, it should circulate well in most libraries that cater to people in high school or older. I can’t wait to see what happens next. On some level isn’t that what we all look for when reading? You find it in Morning Glories.