The Five Minute Recap: Morning Glories

By Alex Zalben

Getting into a comic book mid-way through its run is hard! So we’ve made it easy for you: in just five short minutes (or less), we’ll get you caught up on a comic book you need to pick up tomorrow… Today! Oh, and in case it wasn’t clear: spoilers on.

This week, we’re focusing on Morning Glories, Image’s hot new series written by Nick Spencer (Action Comics, Existence 2.0), with pencils by Joe Eisma. Issue five comes out tomorrow, and though it’s the end of the first arc, we’ll get you up to speed lickety-split.

Six high schoolers from different backgrounds are all sent to the elite prep school, Morning Glory Academy, only to find out nothing is what it seems. They’re unable to call their parents, who we discover have been told to disavow all existence of their children: one set of parents who doesn’t listen meet a rather brutal end. They all have the same birthday. And beyond the ghost-type-thing who is going around the school killing people, there also seems to be some sort of cult running things, and the Teachers have a mysterious agenda we don’t yet know a lot about.

The six main students are:

– Casey, who at first comes off as hippy and ditzy, but is emerging as our strong willed hero, like Buffy Summer before her

– Ike is the relentless cad – think Ryan Phillipe from Cruel Intentions.

– Jun is the strong guy kick boxer, and seems determined to just wait things out and see what happens.

– Hunter is the pop-culture referencing nerd; Xander Harris with red hair.

– Jade is the emo chick, who is currently the focus of most of the plot (we’ll get to that in a second).

– Zoe is the group slut… To put it bluntly. She’s the Cordelia, to keep referencing Buffy the Vampire Slayer; or to go a little deeper on the ref, she’s Mitsuko Souma from Battle Royale.

At the end of issue one, Casey found out that her parents were killed. By seeing them chained, dead, to a wall. She reacted not by freaking out, but by taking charge, and trying to hatch an escape plan. That ran into its first hitch when the Teachers at the school decided to flood the Morning Glories’ classroom with water, until Casey agreed to cooperate – which she did. On the surface at least.

Unfortunately, Jade didn’t react so well, and got sent to the Nurse’s office. Too bad for Jade that no-one comes back alive from the deranged Nurse, who has proceeded to “test” Jade for… Something, we don’t know what yet, only that the Teachers believe one of the students have “it,” and the test is extremely painful… And possibly deadly.

Jade briefly escapes, only to find a hallway of prisoners deep below the school, including one who may or may not be several hundred years old – yet also extremely deadly, the only thing so far that the Teachers seem to fear. She also learns the phrase (which we see turn up several times, the equivalent of LOST’s “numbers”), “The Hour of Our Release Draws Near.” Guess whether we know what this means yet! (Answer: we don’t).

Meanwhile, Casey rallied the rest of the Glories (minus Jun, who doesn’t want to get involved) to save Jade, only to be betrayed by Ike, who leads the enemy right to their location. The Teachers are now ready to take down the students, Jade is about to be killed by the Nurse, and you’re all caught up!

As you can probably tell, a lot of these first five issues are set-up, mostly opening up questions, rather than answering them. However, Spencer promises that answers are forthcoming, both in the end of this first arc, and in the next issue, which will be a stand-alone introduction to the series. And the whole series is planned out for a seventy-five (or so) issue run, so we’re just at the beginning.

A hot new writer, a burgeoning artist, a cool intriguing premise: even with four issues out, you should be able to jump right in. And that’s your Five Minute Recap!

We spoke with Morning Glories writer, Nick Spencer at the 2010 New York Comic Con. Check out what he had to say about the success of his fantastic series.

Also, take a look at a preview of Morning Glories #5

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