by Nick Spencer (writer), Joe Eisma (art), Alex Sollazzo (colors), and Johnny Lowe (letters)
The Story: Backed into a corner, Casey and Zoe try to evade their pursuers while doggedly continuing on with their rescue attempt.
What’s Good: This was my favourite issue of Morning Glories since the series debut blew me away. It’s compulsively readable and it’s a book that keeps you on the edge of your seat, flipping the pages, marveling at Spencer’s expert storytelling.
Let’s start with how he structures and plots this issue. Spencer alternates between a monologue by the rather intimidating Mr. Gribbs and the actual action at hand. Gribbs, we learn, is very different from Daramount, but no less intimidating. He does something terribly disturbing in the most mundane fashion at the end of the conversation that is guaranteed to haunt you. More than that, his dialogue is simply superb and unveils Gribbs to be a fully realized character and a very different antagonist from Daramount.
Better still, however, is how Spencer has Casey’s plan unfold. At the end of the issue, it’s hard not to be blown away by how things work out. By the end of this issue, Spencer reveals that he has misled us just as Casey had misled the teaching staff. We were led to believe exactly what they were. When we’re told what the plan really was, it’s absolutely brilliant and causes us to respect Casey and, of course, Spencer by extension. It’s a genius piece of misdirection by Spencer and one that makes us question the faith we have in the text itself; we readers can be tricked just the same as the characters we’re reading about.
But let’s talk briefly about Casey. Wow. With this issue, Casey is, in my opinion, emerging as one of the best female characters in comics today. Not only is she full of personality, but she’s absolutely brilliant in her manipulation, planning, and strategizing. The way things work out by the end of the issue, it’s clear just how intelligent and downright badass she is. It’s a stunning turning of the tables where, suddenly, she’s two steps ahead of the institution instead of the other way around, and it’s a beautiful thing to watch. Of course, there’s also a satisfying beatdown that she delivers at issue’s end; I’ll leave you to guess at the recipient, but it’s no real surprise. Suffice it to say that his one line reaction to the beating was just as brilliant and if part of the series is going to be he and Casey counter-plotting and trying to use and play each other, we’re in for a hell of a ride.
But Spencer’s not content to leave Casey at that. He still reinforces the character with vulnerability and humanity, making it clear that she simply stows it away in order to lead and be the hero. It makes for a touching conclusions that contrasts well against an issue where she’s the raging badass, while also leaving a great opening for Hunter to develop as a character.
Joe Eisma’s art has also never looked sharper, as he continues to improve every month. This is a far cry from his disappointing work on the first issue and I’m finally starting to feel that his art is doing this series justice. It still may not be my pick for best looking book, but at least it now doesn’t do any disservice to Morning Glories.
What’s Not So Good: Nothing, really. I guess the brief phantom zombie encounter was a little too weird/incomprehensible, but I’m just nitpicking.
Conclusion: Pure dynamite. This is Nick Spencer and Joe Eisma at the very top of their games.