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ADVANCE REVIEW: Morning Glories #11

Posted: Tuesday, August 9, 2011
By: Nick Hanover

Nick Spencer
Joe Eisma, Alex Sollazzo (c), Johnny Lowe (l)
ADVANCE REVIEW! Morning Glories #11 will come out on Wednesday, August 10, 2011.

After the meta-heaviness of last issue, issue #11 of Morning Glories is a welcome bit of reader friendliness. While still focused on a lone Morning Glory, in this case Ike, #11 is a breezier, more direct read that fortunately doesn't go cheap on the reveals. In fact, the reveal in this issue may just be one of the most important to the story in the long-run.

But we'll talk about that after you've read it.

For fans worried that this issue might have somehow cleaned up Ike or made him more palatable, that is thankfully not the route Spencer takes. Instead, Ike's past is tragic but it doesn't turn him into one of the angels by any means. After starting the story with Ike at the scene of a murder he committed, the murder of his own father, we're then treated to a glimpse of the "high life" Ike is living thanks to his turncoat antics, a juxtaposition that's meant to immediately deflate any notion of a secret heart of gold you may have expected from Ike.

Having revealed himself as a traitor whose loyalties only go as far as his needs, Ike is called on by Mister Gribbs and presented with another task that, if completed, will net him his freedom from the academy. The catch is that the task is another murder, a murder of someone Gribbs won't reveal before Ike has said yes. The story then becomes split between Ike pondering Gribbs' offer in the present and reaping the benefits of his crime in the past, ruling over his father's company like a spoiled heir and even showing up to his father's funeral with a bus full of Girls Gone Wild hopefuls.

Given that devious offers and ominous pasts make up the bulk of this issue, it's more talky than normal but it moves with a speedy efficiency that recalls the first arc of Morning Glories. Ike's dickish personality has made him an entertaining presence throughout the series but with a character like Ike there's always a huge risk when you put him in the spotlight. Because his personality is built around conflict and antagonizing the true protagonists of the story, Ike could have been dangerous to build a story around. But luckily Spencer has a mastery over all of his characters that makes each of them equally capable of being front and center without getting in the way of their development or contradicting the development that has already happened.

Joe Eisma, as always, nails the acting in this issue, which is even more important than normal given how big a role subtle character expressions play here. The only real flaw to the issue comes from the odd decision to make most of Ike's past unfold in sepia tone; considering that other "origin" stories in Morning Glories have been in full color and the first part of Ike's is as well, it's a little distracting and doesn't make much sense. It's also just ugly, a poor use of Alex Sollazzo's otherwise esteemed talents.

Still, that's a pretty small blemish on what is mostly an incredibly dynamic and economical issue. Considering how action-packed and exciting Spencer's "detours" from the main plot have been, the return to the A story is likely going to be totally fucking crazy, especially given the reveal that happens at the end of this issue which accelerates the plot in a far more fluid way than Lost ever showed itself capable of. Spencer and company are only getting better as the story progresses and even with the extremely high bar Image has set this year, Morning Glories continues to stand out as one of the most impressive comic series on the market.

When he's not writing about the cape and spandex set, Nick Hanover is a book, film and music critic for Spectrum Culture and a staff writer for No Tofu Magazine. He also translates for "Partytime" Lukash's Panel Panopticon.

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