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Comic Book / Morning Glories

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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.

Tropes Include

  • Abusive Parents: Sprinkled throughout, but most notably Kseniya to Irina and the Headmaster to Daramount.
    • Possibly Hunter's dad, too.
  • The Ace: Casey, with heavy hints of being broken.
  • Action Girl: Casey, Vanessa, and Irina fit this.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: Complete with a multi-generational Omniscient Council of Vagueness.
  • The Anti-Nihilist: Vanessa's application essay was titled "Why It's Not Too Late to Save the World."
  • 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 Casey's Parents, Jun and Hisao's mother & Maggie, along many students. These deaths become even more confusing considering that the story alternates between past, present, and future, and implements time travel. It starts hitting increasingly close to home with the deaths of Zoe and Hisao. Taken even further with the deaths of past!Vanessa, Guillaume, one of the Ian clones and Fortunato.
  • 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 your eyes were opened?"
    • And we have an Arc Person in Abraham.
      • And also in David.
    • Not a word per se, but 8:13 (or 813) appears a lot of times throughout the series.
  • Audience Surrogate: Hunter, arguably, since he's the most "normal" of the Glories. Possibly lampshaded in #27 when he's spouting off theories about what the hell is going on to Future Jade and bombarding her with questions the audience almost definitely has.
  • Ax-Crazy: Pamela and the faculty in a HUGE way. And maybe Zoe.
    • Definitely Zoe.
  • Befriending the Enemy: Hunter, arguably, if the Truants can be considered "the enemy."
  • Beneath the Mask: Everyone.
  • Big Bad: The Headmaster also known as the Scientist, with Miss Daramount acting as their muscle.
  • 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 just about all of them, but especially Casey, Jade, and Fortunato.
    • Also Daramount to Hodge as children, in a way.
    • And arguably Hodge to Vanessa.
  • 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.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Ike to Abraham, on two occasions.
  • The Cameo: Zoe's lawyer in #15 is Saul Goodman.
  • Clone Jesus: Ian was created in a laboratory (one of six) with abilities taken from some kind of divine force, although it's unclear which.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: On a regular basis.
  • The Comically Serious: Hisao and Fortunato to a degree.
  • Condescending Compassion: Zoe accuses Casey of this, being nice to Hunter only because she can't imagine him getting the attention of a pretty girl any other way.
  • Covered with Scars: Irina's mother, Kseniya, with a bonus Eyepatch of Power.
  • Creepy Child: Nurse Nine was one in her youth.
  • Damsel in Distress: Jade in particularly horrifying form.
    • And perhaps Megan.
  • Dangerous 16th 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, Daramount, and Hodge occasionally get in on the fun too.
    • So does Hunter, once his little trip with the Truants starts.
    • Also, Ian. Oh, Ian.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Jun spent years pretending to be his brother Hisao, believing him to have died in a fire as a child. Following Hisao's final, fatal twin switch, he's pretending to be Hisao, pretending to be Jun.
  • Deity of Human Origin: Honestly, possibly all of the kids, but canonically Ian.
  • 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.
  • Driven to Suicide: Akiko's father.
  • Drowning Pit: The death trap in #2.
  • Emo Teen: Jade. Lampshaded by Zoe.
  • Evil Twin: Brainwashed!Jun to Hisao.
    • Unfortunately for Hunter.
  • Everyone Can See It: Hunter's crush on Casey.
  • Eye Scream: Fortunato in #35.
  • Fiery Redhead: Jade starts out being on the weepier side of things, but she definitely has a Berserk Button.
    • Plus, she is a redhead who literally sets fires. She has a history of committing arson.
  • Foreshadowing: The story thrives on it.
  • Genre Savvy: Hunter is the most prominent example, even going so far as to Lampshade the mystery tropes he and the other kids are all falling prey to and proposing that they try being honest and upfront with each other instead of keeping secrets. He's promptly shot down by Jun.
    • Casey dabbles in this, too, if her Meet Cute scene with Hunter is anything to go by.
    • So are the AV Club kids, for obvious reasons.
  • Gentle Giant: Hisao.
  • Give Geeks a Chance: Hunter and Casey. Discussed Trope when Zoe tells him he shouldn't be with a girl who thinks she's doing him a favor by being nice to him.
  • Good Is Not Soft:
    • Casey in spades. She's not even a little afraid to get violent.
    • During her time as Danielle Clarkson, she kills people. Like, many people.
  • Great Big Book of Everything: Hunter seems to find one in his "dream" in #28, titled "Morning Glory Academy Test Answers Book." We don't see what's inside it, but based on his reaction, it's the answers to everything.
    Holy shit—this is it, isn't it? It's all in here! And I can just—I can read it?
  • Guy on Guy Is Hot: Akiko seems to think this way.
  • Hand Behind Head: Hunter's defining Character Tic from the get-go.
  • Hidden Depths: A recurring theme with literally every main character, along with Beneath the Mask.
  • The Idealist:
    • Despite Hunter's occasional cynicism (i.e. in #31 in regards to life after death), Nick has stated that he is most definitely The Heart of the Glories and that any stories that feature him at the center are "slightly sunnier" because of his unfaltering "hope and optimism."
    • Akiko is the very same except without an ounce of any cynicism whatsoever, especially as of #37, her issue. She could even make Jade smile.
  • Implausible Synchrony: Hunter's ability tampers with his perception of time displayed in clocks, which results in this trope. Every clock he sees reads it's 8:13 down to the second.
  • Jerkass: Ike personifies this.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Ike again. Whenever you think he might be starting to show a soft side or losing the mask, surprise. The vague niceness was an act. He's still terrible.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: In spades! Good luck figuring out any of the mysteries on your own.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Hunter is the most guilty of this.
  • Locked in a Room: Zoe and Hunter, alone together in the woods during Woodrun. Character Development, naturally, ensues.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Ironically, Casey, for now. It remains to be seen whether she'll ever get her memories back from her time as Clarkson, and she definitely missed a lot while Woodrun was going on.
  • Killed Off for Real: Hisao.
    • Although Nick Spencer repeatedly said that Zoe was this trope in #19, as of #38, it looks like she's back.
  • 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.
  • Meaningful Name: Abraham. And Isaac, or Ike.
  • Meet Cute: Hunter and Casey.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Oh, Zoe.
  • 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.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Both of the main groups of kids, to a degree, but the AV Club is definitely this on the lighter side.
  • Really Gets Around: Zoe and Ike.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: There are many potential combinations, but the most obvious one is the Fukayama twins. Jun is the red to Hisao's blue.
    • Ms Daramount is the blue to Ms Hodge's red.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Isabel, the student council president of Morning Glory academy - and also apparently someone who Casey knew. While Isabel's absence is explained as being undercover, she doesn't appear until she talks to Casey in a flashback and then suddenly... there she is.
  • Rich Bitch: Implied with Zoe and played very straight with Ike.
  • Rousing Speech: Irina has what she certainly thinks is one in #28.
    • Jade gets one that's slightly more well-received in #34.
  • Ruins of the Modern Age: We're treated to a double-page splash of the ruins of Morning Glory Academy itself, when Future Jade takes Hunter to them in #27. When he asks, shocked, what happened, she replies with, "War. Destruction. Death. You know—human being stuff," heavily implying that the future as it currently stands is not exactly sunshine and roses.
  • Sadist Teacher: Daramount really enjoys messing with the kids under her charge.
  • School Club Front: The AV Club.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Ike's mother isn't sure whether or not he killed his father. He did. Or did he?
  • 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.
  • Shadow Dictator: The Headmaster. Possibly doubles with Shrouded in Myth.
    Casey: You know, I'm starting to doubt this guy is even real...
  • Shout-Out: Usually courtesy of Hunter.
    Oh, man, we are about one dianoga away from the trash compactor scene in—
    If we don't win this game I have a feeling Zoe's gonna go the full Gogo Yubari on us...
    ...And I'm stuck living out Futurama. Except I don't even know what year it is. ...It was 2999. On Futurama.
  • Slasher Smile: Oh boy.
  • Spiritual Successor: Lost as a Teen Drama.
  • 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.
    • And although it hasn't been explicitly stated in canon, Word of God says that Hannah and Esi are dating.
  • Subliminal Seduction: A possible case with the slide show in the beginning.
  • Theme Naming: Important characters are named after Biblical patriarchs (Abraham, Issac, David).
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: Headmaster turns out to a very non-threatening looking background character previously referred to as the Scientist.
  • Trigger Phrase: For Casey's dad, the MGA logo.
  • Twin Switch: The character we know as Jun is really Hisao and vice versa. Twice.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Lampshaded by Casey in regards to her and Hunter the moment they meet, although she wants to avert it, saying that she doesn't have the time for it.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Arguably Ike.
  • 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 independence. 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
    • #19 is pretty high up there, too, with Zoe's death.
      • Even more for #38, later on, when we see on the last page that Zoe is alive.
    • And #33, with the reveal of Hisao and Jun's final "swap."
    • #49. Guillaume breaks the towerball law, Vanessa overcomes the communications interference around the academy, and as the grounds are rocked by tremors, Casey finally comes face to face with the Headmaster.
    • #50 past!Vanessa, Ian, Guillaume and Fortunato are all killed and Casey is seemingly thrown into the past
  • Wham Line: "You are not Hisao. I am."
    • "Hello, father."
    • "Call me Jade."
    • "I am Jun."
  • 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.
  • You Killed My Father: Casey, to Daramount.
    You killed my parents. Go to hell.