After inhaling the first "Morning Glories" trade paperback, released last week, the first logline that popped into my head was "'Lost' meets 'The Breakfast Club'." Here was a comic that had all the mystery and intrigue of the television show while focusing squarely on a distinct and concise set of individual protagonists, all stuck in the same boat: a boarding school that's a cross between Xavier's School For Gifted Youngsters and any random five minutes of Pasolini's "Salo." With this issue, however, which focuses pretty much exclusively on Zoe, I'd like to revise my logline to "'Lost' meets 'Glee'."
In this story, which is partly about Zoe's mysterious past, writer Nick Spencer also broadens the scope a bit to give us a better glimpse of the other students at the school. (They are always all over the place, walking around in the background, so such a focus is certainly welcome). We meet a member of the cheerleading squad and also incidentally learn that the Academy actually has a cheerleading squad. That's among the lesser blockbuster revelations in the issue, I'll just say that.
The one Achilles Heel of this strong title is that artist Joe Eisma just doesn't yet have the consistency that a title like this deserves. At times showing shades of Adrian Alphona or Pete Woods, stylistically, he is a good fit for a comic about teenagers (in that they actually look like young people). There are, however, many instances where the line work just doesn't have enough polish. I sort of feel like Image should provide a steadier editorial hand as a publisher, as opposed to letting the creative teams fend for themselves like this. It's not really Eisma's fault. If this was a book at a major publisher, it might not even exist in the first place. He clearly has a huge career ahead of him, but he's just not at the level a title this well written should have.
Overall, though, "Morning Glories" is a miraculous title. In a world where so many works across all mediums have tried to capture the same feeling that "Lost" had, Nick Spencer has found the perfect balance between mystery and character and delivers a riveting comic that also has believable characters with realistic motivations. These are the sorts of things that add weight to the intrigue and keep you interested, not just following bread crumbtrails of clues. This issue focused mostly on Zoe. Hopefully it's the first in a series of closer looks at each character. It would be the only thing in this book that wouldn't surprise me.