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Morning Glories: For a Better Future (Image Comics, 2010; #1-6)

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200 down, 165 to go.

Six brilliant teenagers start school at the prestigious Morning Glory Academy.  As soon as they arrive, their families forget them.  The faculty tortures and experiments on them.  So they do what teenagers do best:  they rebel.

Morning Glories reminded me less of a teenage superhero team comic than it did of the William Sleator sci-fi novels I mainlined in the fifth grade—characters don’t just question the world around them, but their core identities are upended.  There’s an existential dread that hangs over the students as they fight against the Academy.  That makes this read like Nick Spencer’s take on YA stories, but as with successful teen superteam books, there’s no condescension here.

Joe Eisma and Alex Sollazzo’s visuals rely on clean, geometric linework and simple, well-textured and -lit colors.  They give Morning Glories a sterile look that evokes both the prison-like ambiance of high schools and dystopian sci-fi.  As much of the book’s harsh, foreboding tone comes from their art as Spencer’s writing.

I know there are probably some out there who will scoff at the comparison to YA books, but if that reaction comes from pretension rather than preference, I’d advise those people to reconsider.  The first arc of Morning Glories is an engaging read that raises a lot of questions and answers almost none.  With nine more volumes to go, it’s a pretty long run to jump into, but I’m onboard for more and think that if these kinds of stories are up your alley, it’s worth looking at.

Collected in

  • Morning Glories, Vol. 1: For a Better Future (#1-6)
  • Morning Glories Deluxe Collection, Vol. 1 (#1-12)
  • Morning Glories Compendium, Vol. 1 (#1-38)


Writer: Nick Spencer | Artist: Joe Eisma | Colorist: Alex Sollazzo | Letterer: Johnny Lowe | Covers: Rodin Esquejo | Designer: Tim Daniel

Princeless: Save Yourself (Action Lab Comics, 2011; #1-4)

Justice League International: Volume One (DC Comics, 1987; JL #1-6, JLI #7)