Hello and welcome back to Morning Glory Academy Study Hall! In this column, MC contributor (and TV Overmind writer/FuckYeahLost’s head honcho) Crit Obara and I sit down and analyze the latest issue of Morning Glories.
In today’s edition of Study Hall, Crit and I tackle the 17th issue, which brings us back to Jade and Ike, giving us a few answers, leaving us with some open ended questions, and confirming both of our differing tastes in fashion.
So join Crit and I after the cut as we discuss the issue, its story and possible hidden secrets that we may or may not be picking up on. We should also note: this discussion contains massive spoilers for the issue. Colossal. Ginormous, even. The issue is out today, so make sure to read it first before you read our thoughts. It helps to give the issue a few read throughs before coming to us, but consider this your warning about impending spoilers.
As always, our very lovely/supremely awesome column header was designed by the graphic designer for the actual book, Tim Daniel! For more of Tim’s work, please visit his site Hidden Robot and be on the lookout for Tim’s upcoming comic debut, Enormous! Many thanks to Tim for being fantastically awesome and providing it to us.
Previous issues: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13, #14, #15, #16
Previous audio podcasts: second arc interviews, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, second arc wrap-up
Matthew Meylikhov: Hi everyone, and welcome back to Study Hall. I am, as always, your co-host Matthew, and sitting with me as always is the intrepid Crit!
Crit Obara: I am sitting, I am intrepid, I am Crit!
MM: Alright, let’s dive in to this book before that jerk Biology study group kicks us out of the library again. We open three years ago from when Morning Glories is currently talking place with Jade being picked up by her mom at soccer practice, although intrepid readers will note that this very quickly is a remixed sequence from the scene in issue #10 when we first met Jade’s mother.
CO: Indeed. And if I remember correctly, the LGN 31E license plate was a reference to Logan Eisma?
MM: Yes sir. That was the first time Joe ever hand delivered us an easter egg, with that referencing his son and the inspection sticker representing Logan’s birthday. I also want to point out that back when we discussed issue #10, we totally guessed correctly as to what that scene was. Then again, I’m sure everyone did. It’s a very clever sequence of events, though, and if you hold this scene up to issue #10, the dialogue matches up. What’s neat here is that if you look at the panels, they actually become disjointed as the crash occurs, moving from straight lined panels to more jagged edged ones to display the violent reality.
CO: Right, definitely a very clever way of enhancing the disorienting effect of the crash. And the art itself does a great job of showing the bloody mess of Jade and her mother.
MM: As we move on, we get a nice scene of decompression of Ike and Jade sitting together that I like quite a bit. It’s a bit of a talking head issue, all things considered, and it’s an amusing way to start everything off considering how heay the issue gets.
CO: There’s a big shift between a bloody, deadly crash and then heavy dialogue, but it works just fine. With all the craziness that has been going on, I really liked having a few characters sit around and say “okay, what’s going on here?”
MM: The issue is also nice in that our main characters are Ike and Jade — one who is very much willing to go along with the weirdness of the school, and one who is opposed to viewing things as supernatural.Continued below
CO: Much better to have two different viewpoints if you’re going to have two characters sit down and have a long conversation. And speaking of long, this issue is huge!
MM: 34 pages for $2.99!! What a bargain!
CO: Hopefully everyone who reads this has already purchased it! In fact, why would you read this if you haven’t read it yet!?
MM: A good point indeed.So Ike and Jade begin their conversation. Ike is very jaded (pun intended) about the situation they’re in as he doesn’t believe in what Casey and Hodge are doing while Jade drops a completely non-humorous “that’s what she said” and begins explaining why she believes in Casey. What’s interesting here is that Ike is very distrusting of Casey, kind of like me. I know she’s the “main character”, so to say, in that she’s sort of destined to be the hero of the book, but I have always been rather distrustful of her and her methods. Now we have a full speech from Ike as if it was pulled from my own head. I loved it! And, don’t forget, it was only two issues ago that Zoe gave her own anti-Casey speech.
CO: Can we be sure you didn’t write it?! I gotta say, I think I agree with you that there’s something about Casey that we can’t trust, and this conversation reinforced that. I think I take your/Ike’s side here. Maybe that’s his ability to bullshit, maybe not. But I found myself agreeing with him.
MM: I do like Ike’s line, “A liar can always spot his own kind.”
CO: I wonder if the anti-Casey rhetoric is foreshadowing something big. Something that either blows it up or corroborates it.
MM: I wouldn’t be surprised if Casey returns as the next Daramount. I’ve only said it’s going to happen about a billion times! (Of course now it might not happen because Nick just wants to prove me wrong.)
CO: Haha. I wouldn’t be surprised either, and I hope nothing changes just to prove you wrong. I really hope that happens, because it just sounds plain awesome.
MM: So as the conversation continues, Ike brings something to light that actually starts giving us some answers in ways I don’t think people expected. Jade’s reasoning for following Casey’s leadership is that Casey saved her life, but Ike calls her out on this. He says that he saw her try to kill herself back in detention, which she gets very touchy about. Ike basically pushes her to a breaking point and she screams at him, saying that she doesn’t WANT to die, she HAS to.
CO: I liked his response. “Well, sure — we all have to.”
MM: But that’s not what she meant!
CO: So she asks him if he believes in god, and he says he saw a film where just a few seconds after a woman asked that, she drove a car off a bridge. Do you know what film he’s referring to?
MM: Vanilla Sky, I believe.
CO: I haven’t seen it.
MM: It’s Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise in a car, and she is in love with him but he doesn’t have reciprocating feelings. So she sort of “kidnaps” him and drives their car off a bridge. It’s not a popular movie, I don’t think, but I enjoy it. He also says “I’m not very up on my Meyer,” which is a reference I didn’t fully get, honestly. I assumed that it’s a reference to philosophy, but Googling “meyer philosopher” gets you a bunch of different philosophers with the last name Meyer.
CO: Or STEPHANIE MEYER, author of TWILIGHT!
MM: ….That would make so much more sense. Wow. That is beyond an epic fail on my part.
CO: See, the funny thing is, that’s the first thing I thought of when I read it, but I laughed it off, found nothing that made sense via Google, gave up. When I read it again, I thought that again, but honestly felt weird thinking that. Haha.Continued below
MM: Nono, I think that makes a lot of sense. I mean, Jade is kinda sorta the target market for those books. It feels right for Ike to be picking on her about it.
CO: I agree. I think that’s gotta be it.
MM: So there’s some nice dialogue here I think we can pick apart a bit, just to clarify a few things: 1. Ike references his father being a “very religious man.” We now know Ike’s father is Abraham, with the obvious biblical reference there being fairly obvious I believe. 2. Ike mentions being an only child, which is interesting given what we know by the end of the issue.
CO: Indeed. And then Jade acknowledges that she stopped believing, due to her mothers death in the wreck we saw earlier.
MM: Which brings us to a flashback in which we see Jade’s brother picking her up from the sheriff’s office. The sheriff’s name, by the way, is P. Wilson III, which is the name of the artist of Stuff of Legend. Last issue had a character from Stuff of Legend appearing in Casey’s bedroom, and now the artist gets a namecheck. I think it is safe to say that there is some fondness there.
CO: Interesting. I would just like to say that I’ve gotta get me a shirt like Jimmy’s. And then a cowboy hat. Okay, probably neither.
MM: I need to get me an outfit like Jade’s.
CO: So Jimmy bails Jade out and takes her out for lunch at a place that reminds me of Pulp Fiction, featuring a waitress who looks like she’s one of the 2 Broke Girls.
MM: I can confirm that that IS one of the 2 Broke Girls. Joe’s a fan of Kat Dennings!
CO: Aww yeah!
MM: I’ve gotta say, I like rebellious Jade here. We always see her through one distinct lens, and while she’s still that stereotypical rebellious youth, the parallel of her in the beginning of the issue — happy, playing soccer, has friends and likes boys — and where she is now is kind of a tragic and staggering difference.
CO: It’s definitely about as far as she can be from happy, soccer playing Jade. Total 180. She said she stopped believing in god and all of that when her mom died, and it really does appear that everything has changed for her.
MM: Of course, NOW she believes again. She begins to tell Ike all about her trip to the nurse’s office and her weird mind trip and how she learned about her assumed destiny and how she has to die. She even mentions that the events that happened in issue #2, where she tried to drown herself, were directly tied to this epiphany she had, although then she just had this voice in the back of her head telling her she had to die. This is interesting because, if you remember, Gribbs asks Daramount back in that issue if she thinks that Jade “knows.”
CO: That sounds like what she was referring to. Ike asks her what the grand purpose is, but she still isn’t quite sure. So she asks him why he thinks they’re there, why nobody is asking the important questions. He too seems to be wondering what the place is, but Jade thinks it’s all a test, using Job’s test as an example.
MM: Job’s story is probably the single most used Biblical story in media, I think. You see that story everywhere. It was even on South Park once, of all places! But for the readers, the basic summation is this: God and the Devil have a contest at the Devil’s behest. The Devil says that this guy Job only loves God because God is such a swell guy, and God says, “Oh yeah? Watch this!” and screws up Job’s life. Yet Job’s faith never falters, and God wins the bet. Of course, Ike’s response to this is pretty much perfect: “What is God doing entertaining an audience with the devil?”Continued below
CO: Classic Ike.
MM: So if the school is in fact a place to test the faith of the students “for a better future,” it ultimately doesn’t change the fact that they’re doing it under incredibly auspicious purposes. No matter what good they are ostensibly trying to do for the ultimate benefit of all, they’re still doing it under incredibly shady circumstance.
CO: Right. Playing around with teenagers and their lives are at risk. It’s almost as much torture as it is a test.
MM: You also have to ask yourself, if we compare the school with the story of Job, who is “God” and who is “the Devil” in relation to Morning Glory Academy?
CO: Hmm…and also, without knowing which side is which, we might think someone is God and they could turn out to be the Devil.
MM: Very true. Honestly, if there was ever a time I had a LOST flashback with this book, it’d certainly be now. If we’re kind of assuming here that there are polar opposite forces influencing what happens, in my head I’m picturing Jacob and the Man in Black. And again, I’m assuming here that there are specifically two people manipulating events.
CO: Abraham comes to mind here as someone who could be in one of the roles, maybe the headmaster…. but I’m not sure.
MM: I could buy that, sure. As the scene continues, Ike begins debunking all the mystery of the school. I think we basically take everything at face value when reading the book; if something crazy happens, we don’t question how it could make sense, but rather what the mystical or supernatural cause is. Yet here, Ike basically knocks everything down — the phone calls are redirected cells and voice-changing, the shadows on the wall are projectors, etc. However, the one thing he can’t exactly debunk exactly debunk — and the thing that gives us a HUGE answer — is the events of issue #10. Jade mentions that she didn’t hear conversations, but she could remember them happening despite everything being a dream.
CO: So, for the record: Issue #10? The “Dallas” Issue. The events of that issue replayed during this arc? The actual events.
MM: Ike calls it a “false memory”, which Jade does not agree with, which brings us back to the past as Jade spots her mom across the street from the diner her brother took her to. Here’s an easter egg for you: the truck that drives by has a logo for the Pork-Chop Express. That same logo appears on Kurt Russel’s truck in Big Trouble In Little China, which is a faaaaantastic movie.
CO: I loved that movie! I saw it when I was probably 12 or so at a friends sleepover party. That’s a fun and unexpected Easter egg.
MM: Those are the best kind!
CO: Jade makes a deal with Ike: if he prays with her, he can go.
MM: Their shadows begin to match up in this sequence. I can’t imagine that’s not on purpose.
CO: Definitely not.
MM: Of course, this entire upcoming sequence gets a bit odd. As they hold hands, Casey and Hodge do their teleport thing. Now we need to ask if they aren’t directly responsible for Casey and Hodge being able to teleport in the first place. Not only that, but we flash forward to future Jade in the future destroyed Academy when she gets sick and vomits in a trashcan, and I think it is safe for us to assume these two things are connected.
CO: Are you thinking “connected” as in “happening at the same time in different timelines” or another kind of connectedness?
MM: Both and/or either!
CO: Okay, I mean I’m still not sure how or when these times are happening, but that’s the feeling I had.Continued below
MM: I do believe Nick confirmed during the Study Hall chat we did a while back that that Jade is indeed in the future. Even with that information, however, it’s a bit difficult to reconcile how these two things could happen concurrently based on basic understanding of time.
CO: Very difficult.
MM: Then again, it’s a comic book, and a science fiction comic book at that, so basic understandings can be thrown out the window.
CO: I suppose that is true.
MM: So what do you think, Crit? Were Hodge and Casey only able to time travel because of Jade and Ike praying?
CO: I’m really not sure. It makes sense…kind of, I’m just not sure I have any real reason to believe it. What do you think
MM: I’d be willing to bet it’s related, but it’s not one I’d fully take. If you remember, it’s mentioned that time is different between where Jade and Ike are and Casey and Hodge are, so the timing here could honestly just be coincidence. However, thematically, it certainly has a specific resonance with the rest of the story.
CO: That’s a good way to put it. I’m just not ready to make the leap to commit to them being related.
MM: What do you think about Future Jade’s appearance? I had initially thought she might be pregnant and vomiting accordingly, but further thought made me feel that was pretty wrong.
CO: I’ll repeat what I have in my notes on her: She says “we need to hurry,” but why? Did she somehow feel past Jade’s action, and what is she hurrying to do? Try to undo it? I’m not sure I’d buy the pregnant thing, just because we have no reason to think that? But I’m not really sure how to explain her appearance.
MM: Well, I’m not sure she would try and do something to hinder herself in the past. I think Future Jade basically wants to help her past self accomplish tasks, so I don’t think whatever she needs to hurry to do would in some way go against herself, you know?
CO: That’s a good point. So it could be something to assist her, not to undo. I also kind of thought of that one episode of LOST with “future” Jack shouting, “We have to go back!”
MM: Ha! Yeah, I can see that. As the issue draws to a close, we move away from Jade and now focus on Ike as he reveals what he needed help with at the beginning of the storyline: something with his father. This brings us to Abraham, who is still alive and locked up, being beaten up by Mr. REGINALD Gibbs. We didn’t know Gribbs’ first name up until now, and I must say it amuses me quite a bit that it is Reginald.
CO: Haha, it’s quite a name.
MM: Reginald assumes that the kids being warped to some other place is Abraham’s doing, but Abraham refuses to say anything until he sees his son — assumedly, Ike. Of course, Gribbs agrees, opens the door, and who do we see? David.
CO: Another WTF ending!
MM: Now, Ike mentioned in this issue that he was an only child, but I also seem to recall him saying something about his father being unfaithful to his wife. So some lines are beginning to cross: we know that Zoe has some sort of relationship with David, and we know that Abraham visited Zoe as a young girl after her parents died. Is it possible, do you think, that Abraham took Zoe home, where she and a young David grew up together for some time?
CO: I think it’s hard to not be leaning towards that.
MM: We’ve always assumed Abraham has some sort of history with the school (because why else would he be in the book?), but this scene adds to that a history with Gribbs that could have an interesting pay-off somewhere down the road.Continued below
CO: I noted Gribbs’ line: “Ah, Abraham. That’s what I love about you. You never change. But then, I suppose that’s the point.” I think that suggests a history between the two.
MM: That’s a good call. We’ve had theories about how Daramount can’t get hurt or whatever in the past, but maybe that’s true for Abraham? We’ve seen him at multiple points in time now, and he never seems to get younger or older.
CO: I was thinking Richard Alpert.
MM: I could see that, sure, albeit perhaps more important than Richard since Richard was second in command and Abraham doesn’t seem to answer to anyone but himself.
CO: Yeah, a little different but on the same idea with the possible agelessness seeing him always appear the same through multiple times, and as a kind of guide, steering people.
MM: Indeed. So Crit, is there anything from your notes we didn’t cover?
CO: Things look good on my end. I will say that my notes ended with “WTFFFFFFFFFF…” because I just wasn’t sure what to think about the ending haha. How about you?
MM: All covered here!
CO: Well then, that’s a wrap like a mummy!