An ongoing comic book series written by Nick Spencer
and illustrated by Joe Eisma. It tells the story of six new students (Casey, Ike, Jun, Zoe, Hunter and Jade) at the very prestigious Morning Glory Academy. Each one of them has a dark and/or strange past and they all share the same birthday. The plot follows the six students separately and as a group as they explore the mysterious and shadowy purpose of this dizzying Boarding School of Horrors
. The phrase "for a better future" is thrown around a lot by the staff, but it's hard to tell what that entails. The teachers are down right sadistic, the campus contains strange horrors and there's a ghost-like man stalking around who really enjoys making a mess of people
. To top it all off, Daramount, the woman in charge of the these six students (nicknamed the Morning Glories) is trying to systematically break them in increasingly creative ways.
The tone and feel of the story so far is something akin to Lost
in its earlier seasons: lots of character exploration and flashbacks amid completely baffling events that seem to hint toward a bizarre and complicated machination
. It has also been compared to Gunnerkrigg Court
in that it's about students exploring the weirdness of a boarding school with possibly dark purposes.
Warning: spoilers are beyond this point.
- The Ace: Casey, with heavy hints of being broken.
- Action Girl: Casey and Irina fit this. Possibly Vanessa and Akiko as well.
- Adorkable: Oh, Hunter.
- Ancient Conspiracy: Complete with a multi-generational Omniscient Council Of Vagueness.
- Anyone Can Die: Set up in the very first issue when Brendan is suddenly and brutally killed by David. Becomes active with the deaths of Jun and Hisao's mother, Vanessa, Maggie, and Zoe. These deaths become even more confusing considering that the story alternates between past, present, and future, and implements time travel.
- Arc Words: So far we have...
- "The hour of our release draws near."
- "All will be free."
- "For a better future... "
- "What did you see when you opened your eyes?
- And we have an Arc Person in Abraham.
- Ax Crazy: Pamela and the faculty in a HUGE way. And maybe Zoe.
- Bilingual Bonus: SO MUCH in #23. You have about six characters suddenly and unintentionally all speaking different languages.
- Blessed with Suck: Poor Hunter. His apparent "ability" is that all clocks read 8:13 to him most of the time and he can't hear alarm clocks.
- Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Casey (blonde), Zoe (brunette) and Jade (redhead).
- Break the Cutie: Daramount's goal for Jun, Hunter, Casey and Jade.
- Also Daramount to Hodge as children, in a way.
- Break the Haughty: Daramount's goal for Zoe and Ike.
- The Caligula: Ike. He's like a character out of a Brett Easton Ellis novel. At least, that's how he wants to be seen.
- The Cheerleader: Zoe's facade.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: On a regular basis.
- The Comically Serious: Jun to a degree.
- Creepy Child: Nurse Nine was one in her youth.
- Damsel in Distress: Jade in particularly horrifying form.
- Dangerous Sixteenth Birthday: Or more accurately, dangerous May 4th birthday, though Casey, and presumably the other new students, are celebrating their sixteenth birthday at the start of the series.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Morning Glories is the epitome of this trope.
- Deadpan Snarker: Mainly Ike, and mainly of the Jerkass variety. Zoe, Casey, Miss Daramount and Miss Hodge occasionally get in on the fun too.
- Depraved Bisexual: Ike alluded to making out with guys because it was "in" and he's none too shy with a knife.
- Dimensional Traveler: Possibly Jade depending how you interpret her scenes with her older self and the mysterious lover she sees when she's asleep or unconscious Also Miss Hodge, on a regular basis.
- Emo Teen: Jade. Lampshaded by Zoe.
- Evil Twin: Brainwashed!Jun to Hisao.
- Unfortunately for Hunter.
- Five-Man Band: Interestingly, the roles shift around a lot. Casey is almost always The Hero and Jun is almost always The Big Guy.
- Foreshadowing: The story thrives on it.
- Gentle Giant: Jun.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: The title of the comic book is slang for nocturnal penile tumescence in the UK.
- Guy on Guy Is Hot: Akiko seems to think this way.
- Hidden Depths: A recurring theme, along with Beneath the Mask.
- Ho Yay: Jun has some with Hunter. Lampshaded by Ike.
- Jerkass: Ike personifies this.
- Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: In spades! Good luck figuring out any of the mysteries on your own.
- Locked in a Room: Zoe and Hunter, alone together in the woods during Woodrun. Character Development, naturally, ensues.
- Manslaughter Provocation: Zoe thought her best friend was being raped by their English teacher, so she bashed him on the head. They burned the body in an incinerator.
- Murder Is the Best Solution: Alarmingly common.
- Never The Selves Shall Meet: Averted with Jade, who frequently encounters and has discussions with future versions of herself.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Zoe.
- Oracular Urchin: Zoe, as a small child in India.
- And her Arc Words: "Faith is putting your hand in someone else's and learning to take the good with the bad."
- Ostentatious Secret: A few members of the staff love waving it in the students' faces that there's things going on that they don't know about.
- Portal To The Past: The cave.
- Platonic Cave: Played straight with younger Miss Hodge, where the shadows and fire in the cave actually happen.
- Really Gets Around: Zoe and Ike.
- Rich Bitch: Implied with Zoe and played very straight with Ike.
- Sadist Teacher: Daramount really enjoys messing with the kids under her charge.
- Self-Made Orphan: Ike's mother isn't sure whether or not he killed his father.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Casey tries to prevent her future self from going to MGA. Doesn't work when she orders her dad to forget everything.
- Shout Out: Usually courtesy of Hunter.
- Slasher Smile: Oh boy.
- Stalker with a Crush: Implied with Jade. Apparently she had fallen hard for a teacher named Marcus.
- Straight Gay: Guillame and Hisao are very casually revealed to be gay and in love.
- Subliminal Seduction: A possible case with the slide show in the beginning.
- Trigger Phrase: For Casey's dad, the MGA logo.
- Twin Switch: The character we know as Jun is really Hisao and vice versa.
- Wham Episode: Every issue has a WHAM moment of some kind.
- Perhaps issue 1 sets the tone the best, when Jade attempts to contact her father, only for him to tell her that he's never had a daughter. She tells the others, and Casey asks for an explanation from the RA, who tells her that it's part of the protocol for the Academy to encourage parents to pretend to their children that they don't exist as a way to cultivate independance. Casey, horrified, says that her parents would never do that, and the RA says that indeed her parents refused— and then opens a door to reveal Casey's parents' mutilated bodies
- Wham Line: "You are not Hisao. I am."
- "Hello, father."
- "Call me Jade."
- You Already Changed The Past: Casey and Miss Hodge, at least- it could also be the main way time travel works in this universe, as we don't have too many details.