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The Penalty For Truancy Is Death

Alix reviews Nick Spencer and Joe Eisma's Morning Glories, Vol. 4: Truancy, and she almost understood what was happening this time.

The Penalty For Truancy Is Death

BOOK REPORT for Morning Glories Vol. 4: Truants by Nick Spencer and Joe Eisma

Cover Story: Sweet Jesus, No
BFF Charm: Never
Swoonworthy Scale: 2
Talky Talk: Puzzle Pieces
Bonus Factors: Time Travel, Being Awesome
Relationship Status: My Prison Pen-Pal Husband

Cover Story: Sweet Jesus, No

Guys. GUYS. We were doing so much better with Vol. 3! Why did you have to revert back to implied schoolgirl fantasy porny comic? MORNING GLORIES DESERVES SO MUCH BETTER THAN THIS.

The Deal:

The rest of this review contains spoilers for Vol. 1-3, so read at your own risk.

Lord, who knows. We’re 25 issues in, and I still have no idea. Where we last left off, all the students (except Ike and Jade, who remain in the sunny present with all the faculty, and Casey, who was shunted off to the past before any of this happened) experienced some sort of temporal displacement wherein everything went dark all of a sudden. Then shit got real when a gang of unknown students FUCKING SHOT ZOE THROUGH THE CHEST, who I guess had it coming being kind of a crazy murderer and all.

Vol. 4 gives us a look into the pasts of these new characters, who we’ve only seen glimpses of in previous issues, while continuing to pull the rug out from under us regarding all the characters we already know. Oh, and in case you thought you’d get a breather to figure everything out, nope! The present action continues to lurch forward at breakneck speed.

BFF Charm: Never

I’ve expressed my concern about trusting these MGA kids in the past, and Vol. 4 reaffirms that inclination. I want to stay far, far away from these little sociopaths. It’s like watching a trainwreck reality show: everyone is terrible, but you can’t look away. Sometimes you might accidentally buy into their world and see that sliver of humanity for just a moment, and then you snap out of it, because no, Sister Wives, polygamy is actually a really bad idea.

Swoonworthy Scale: 2

Given the aforementioned trust issues and the fact that all the characters are usually too busy shooting each other to worry about romance, Morning Glories is not the swooniest. I will award 2 points to Hisao and Guillaume for having an almost functional relationship, and also as an excuse to post another picture of Lee Min Ho, since I can’t contrive a reason to include him in the casting call again.

Are you sure you don't want to make Jun and Hisao have a secret triplet, Spencer and Eisma?

Talky Talk: Puzzle Pieces

The art and writing haven’t really changed since the first three volumes, but what makes Vol. 4 even better than its predecessors is the sense that you’re finally getting a view of the big picture. I don’t know about your family, but in mine, it is tantamount to murder to look at the picture on the jigsaw puzzle box, leaving you with a mess of pieces to try to sort out. Then, eventually, you get the edges assembled and add some big sections together. The number of pieces dwindle, things are going faster and faster, and you start to feel a sense of accomplisment at last. Then you realize that Eisma and Spencer are hoarding pieces under the table and you actually have no idea what is going on.

Despite my ongoing frustrations with the storytelling, I love how well-crafted everything is. Things that didn’t make sense previously suddenly gain new meaning. Panels from previous issues are recycled in a new context, becoming clear where they weren’t before. The way information is withheld to be revealed just at the right moment is brilliant. For instance, the first panels of the first issue are finally explained (kind of) hundreds of pages later. That kind of careful planning reassures me that whenever Morning Glories does finally unravel, the conclusion is going to be EPIC.

Bonus Factor: Time Travel

It’s still unclear exactly what the mode or impetus for time travel is here, but it is definitely happening. I can’t wait to see how this plays out.

Bonus Factor: Being Awesome

Have I mentioned that Morning Glories is kind of the best? Cause it is.

Casting Call:

I will continue to cast characters at random, as there are far too many to cast them all:

Lana Parrilla as Ms. Daramount

Young Mila Kunis as Irina

What? Time travel IS involved.

Relationship Status: My Prison Pen-Pal Husband

Now, I know what you’re all thinking. “Alix! This relationship is not healthy! This book is seriously unhinged! It has a history of violence and probably tortures animals in its spare time. Also, have you seen that cover? Like, for realsies, no.” Whatever, world. STOP TRYING TO DENY OUR LOVE.

Alix West's photo About the Author: Alix is a writer and illustrator who spends way too much time reading Jane Austen retellings of varying quality.
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