by Nick Spencer (writer), Joe Eisma (art), Alex Sollazzo (colors), and Johnny Lowe (letters)

The Story: Casey tries to rescue Jade, who discovers another secret on her way to the nurse’s office.

What’s Good: There’s some really awesomely powerful stuff going on at Morning Glories Academy.  From the first page onward,  Spencer is great enhances the power and scope of the Academy and its secrets.  The menace is, as a result, more palpable and there’s a greater sci-fi/fantasy edge to it all.  Basically, we’re able to get a better handle on the sort of mystery we’re dealing with here, and it’s one that is ancient, powerful, and seems to involve human experimentation (maybe?).  Either way, I’m interested, and thinks get a whole lot bigger and, at time, portentous than last month.

Spencer also gives us some really good dialogue between Casey and Ike.  It’s one of the many unique dynamics between MG’s characters.  The conversation between the two characters also makes Ike into more of a Lex Luthor type figure; he’s an arrogant rogue and an SOB, but he’s always just about ready to be a good guy.  Regardless, his voice is bang-on and a joy to read.

Casey is also positioned quite expertly by Spencer.  On the one hand, it’s clear that Spencer intends her to be the “hero” of the story, and the group.  However, despite this, she’s easy to relate to and root for and she never comes across as bland.  She’s a fully realized character with real emotions and qualities and I find her to be a sympathetic and strong lead character.

Joe Eisma’s art, while not stunning, continues to grow on me.  While some of his close-ups still need work, there is something undeniably likable about his artwork.  He balances the accessibility and menace of the Academy quite well and the kids feel very human.

What’s Not So Good: This is a frustrating issue of Morning Glories and how you take to it may be dependent on how patient of a reader you are.  I myself felt a little irritated at Spencer’s need to introduce even more incomprehensible mysteries despite our current abundance.   There are a great deal of questions that are already in the air, and all of them are intriguing, yet Spencer not only doesn’t even ruminate on any of these, questions, he also goes on to bring in even more questions.  It’s frustrating when a writer doesn’t follow-up on what he’s introduced, and that’s sort of what this feels like.  I feel like we got very little information this month and even more things to be confused by.

Case in point is the cliffhanger that last month’s issue ended on.  This is never address, nor discussed.  In fact, Jun isn’t even present for this issue.  That’s truly aggravating.  Instead of actually dealing with the cliffhanger, or even discussing it, Spencer moves on to the next thing.

Speaking of Jun’s absence, only Casey, Ike, and Jade are present this month and I felt that affected the quality of this issue and made it feel somewhat lighter as a package.  I don’t demand every one of the group to be present for every issue, but having half the cast disappear in only the third issue feels like a mistake.  The characters haven’t had enough time to grow, individually or as a group, for Spencer to narrow his focus.  The end result is that it just felt weird.

Conclusion: Still good, but compared to the last two fabulous issues, this is a bit of a misstep.

Grade: B –

-Alex Evans