The Social Event of the Season: Morning Glories, Issue Forty-Seven

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MORNING GLORIES #47 IMAGE COMICS
ARTIST: JOE EISMA WRITER: NICK SPENCER
COLORIST: PAUL LITTLE LETTERER: JOHNNY LOWE
COVER ART: RODIN ESQUEJO DESIGN: TIM DANIEL

Real talk, fellow former high schoolers: did you ever go to any killer parties? I sure didn’t, so the setting of most of Morning Glories #47 is a bit foreign to me, and I can’t confirm whether or not the idea of rockin’ dance parties in secret places is legitimate. Fiction tells us it is, though, and Morning Glories has had so much fun doing its own spins on high school cliches (especially this season) that there’s no way the book would have gone on without one. Of course, this isn’t just a party- we’re nearing the end of Season Two, and that means we need to cover our bases.

So it’s time for another ensemble issue, akin to #42 in its attempt to further the plot on as many fronts as possible, even if only a bit. That’s the inherent genius of placing the party now, on a narrative level; not counting a couple brief two-page breaks, this issue lets us catch up on everyone in a single setting, which makes it seem a lot more conjoined than the fun but piecemeal #42. Not only does this give us a fun place to see our characters interact, but it gives those interactions more room to breathe than they’ve had in awhile. Most of the cast has been stuck within unchanging groups for the last few arcs- Hunter and Ian have mostly been bouncing off the AV Club kids for awhile, for example- but here many of those characters (though not all) get a chance to branch out. Casey, especially, finally gets to reconnect with Hunter and have that long-planned chat with Vanessa, but her most delightful catch-up is with wacky roomie Pamela, who gets her first substantial scene since early Season One. Pamela is the perfect combination of hilarious and horrifying; she’s the kind of unhinged you would expect more Morning Glory Academy students to be, but she’s also so devoted to the place that her morals are all over. Hearing she’s on Casey’s side of the election rather than Isabel’s comes off as a surprise (which Casey lampshades), but her justification that Isabel hasn’t stabbed enough people to be the ideal MGA student is surprisingly fitting from what we know of her. It also opens up more opportunities for Pamela to interact with the cast on her new mission to get Casey the presidential seat, which is too good of an idea not to mine.

Capture

Brushing aside all that fun, there’s a lot of serious plot development in this issue, much of which seems to be gearing up for the upcoming #50. The party ends in disaster, with Gribbs following Isabel into the party and then siccing the guards onto the crowd, but it all works in our protagonist’s favor. Ike incited the riot by throwing a bottle at Gribbs’ head, and his seemingly spontaneous (but actually planned) idea worked wonders- everyone’s going to blame Isabel for the end of their extravaganza, and it makes Casey’s fight against the system seem a lot more appealing. But the issue’s most surprising developments may come from outside of the main event. First, in a conversation between Future Vanessa and Ellen, we learn that there’s a decent amount of time before Vanessa will travel to the past- enough time that she’ll at some point find out Casey is Clarkson, and that she’ll come to consider Casey a dear friend. More ambiguous is Ian’s final conversation with Ike, in which he states his upcoming science project with the Cylinder, previously unrelated to the election plot, will win Casey the election. Connecting these characters to Casey is a surprising but sensible move; the election is the most important thing going on at this point in the book, and connecting the two science projects with it should streamline the next few issues a bit.

All in all, Morning Glories #47 manages to connect disparate points into one solid whole with surprising ease. And it’s a lot of fun, to boot, combining Nick Spencer’s undervalued comedic skill with Joe Eisma’s always excellent character work (see those panels of Pamela above for a perfect example of how Eisma’s grip on facial expressions and movement). While the end of Season Two doesn’t yet feel as frenetic and high-stakes as the end of Season One, it’s still managing to deliver.

EXTRA NOTES: 

  • I liked Paul Little’s colors in this issue a lot more than in previous issues, especially the coloring of the party, which is a really splendid mix of blues and pinks that manages to convey the party’s feel without straining the eyes.
  • How doesn’t Hunter know what a vagina looks like? He’s sixteen! What kind innocent flower is he?
  • The bug-eyed faces Andres makes at the fellow party-goers are amazing.
  • In unintentional hilarity: Ian’s over dramatic “no…not everyone” when he remembers Akiko isn’t around.
  • Ellen looks really cute with her dreads down.
  • A shout out to Guillaume, in pink skinny jeans and a green tank top, asking DJ Sina Grace to play Kitsune. It’s the most European thing I’ve ever seen.
  • “I want you to know that, for me, the past is dead and buried. Just like your murdered parents!”
  • I absolutely love the detail of Ike taking Pamela’s brownies from Casey, giving them to Hunter, and then automatically assuming Hunter made them.
  • “Do you know what it is?” “Something I don’t care about?” “It’s my science project.” “See? I was right.”
  • Today is Morning Glories’ five year anniversary! Congrats to the whole crew, and here’s to another forty-seven issues (or more).

MACEY’S THEORY CORNER: 

  • What exactly is Ian’s plan? If it just involved the Scantron, I’d get it; the election ballots are probably on Scantron sheets, and Ian could rig the machine to make it seem like Casey won. But we know the Cylinder is also part of Ian’s plan, and that’s where things get messy. Ian’s goals ostensibly involve erasing Fortunato (whatever that means) and getting Akiko back- but how is Casey winning going to lead to that?
  • Future Vanessa says that she and Ellen are going to leave MGA together soon. Is she going to use whatever happens when 1. Ian uses the cylinder, 2. Jun and Guillaume try to sacrifice Jade, or 3. both to get out?
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