MGA Study Hall: Issue #2

By and | May 31st, 2011
Posted in Annotations | 2 Comments

You guys demanded it. Nick and Joe encouraged us to do it. Now we’ve done it: my partner in crime Crit Obara and I have sat down and studied the first six issues of Morning Glories! Today we’ve got the second issue, and we’ll have a new version of this column up daily this week, with our studies of #6 and #10 up next week! Get excited.

As a note, these columns contain massive spoilers. The issue has been out for quite some time now, but as a note if you have not read the issue yet you will have the ending ruined for you, as well as other key elements of the book. While a lot of what we say is just theorizing and speculation, some of it is a reflection of the latest issues as well up to the 9th issue. So. Read the issues. Then read our thoughts. Agreed? Good.

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. Many thanks to Tim for being fantastically awesome and providing it to us.

Click behind the cut for the discussion!

Previous issues: #1, #7, #8, #9

Matthew Meylikhov: Hello, and welcome back to Study Hall! Today, Crit and I are going to be tackling issue #2! Say hi, Crit!

Crit Obara: Hi, Crit!

MM: I gotta say – this is one of my favorite issues of the whole series. I loved it when it first came out, and I love it now. I honestly think that it’s better than the first issue.

CO: It certainly kept up the intensity that began in the first issue, so there was no let down at all after the superb kick off of the series.

MM: The first issue definitely peaked my interest, but the second is what put the book in my pull.

CO: Matthew, I have a question for you.

MM: Yes?

CO: Whose theorem established that all reality must be non-local?

MM: Go to Hell.

CO: Hey, I didn’t kill your parents! I was just curious if you knew.

MM: Oh. Well, it’s John Stewart Bell!

CO: Oh, yeah, that’s the guy! Not Jon Stewart.

MM: Nope, wrong Stewart! So the issue opens up with Casey being tortured by Miss Daramount. Casey is still in shock after the death of her parents in issue #1, and Daramount is rather insistent that she answers the question Crit just asked me. The answer is, obviously, John Stewart Bell, who established Bell’s theorem which is regarded as one of the most profound theories in science. It also comes up again later, but we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. What are your thoughts on reality be non-local, Crit?

CO: It’s certainly a head-scratcher. It’s way over my head, but what I get out of it is that there’s more to life than what meets the eye.

MM: Do you know the scientific definitions of “local” and “non-local”?

CO: Non-local has to do with the influence one object has on another object that is a great distance away. This is from Wiki: “In Classical physics, nonlocality is the direct influence of one object on another, distant object.”

MM: Oh? I guess I completely botched my research on the subject then, hahaha. The explanation I found is very different.

CO: Let’s hear yours!

MM: Keep in mind science is not my strong suit at all, and I don’t fully understand what I’m about to say. But here goes: Basically, there is local phenomenon and non-local phenomenon. Local phenomenon is basically all things in space and time that can act upon each other, and non-local is something that we know to exist yet isn’t tangible in the same way that… I dunno, a table is. So I guess the table would be local, but my thoughts on the table are non-local, or (as Nick Herbert wrote in a book called Quantum Reality), “non-local is an unmediated action-at-a-distance.” So non-local is more psychological. So if reality is non-local, then it just IS without a logical proof behind it’s existence other than the fact we know it to be true. And I guess, according to further research I did, Bell’s theorem technically proves that there is another form of reality beyond the existence that we ourselves can comprehend that interacts with our “local” reality and is the cause of our “local” reality.

Continued below

CO: So…cogito ergo sum. I think, therefore I am? No, that doesn’t work. Nevermind!

MM: No, I don’t think that’s quite it. It’s kind of like… I don’t know, I hope I’m not REALLY fucking this up, but it’s kind of giving scientific proof to God, or something like God?

CO: So it’s saying that there is something else out there that we can’t and have no way of comprehending?

MM: Right, and that “something else” is directly influencing the world we live in.

CO: So that’s where your idea about God comes in. Got it.

MM: Yes. For posterity, my source was this: That was the only explanation of Bell’s Theorem that I could read and comprehend, to be truthful.

CO: Bookmarked! Okay, now looking through my notes, I have this about the non-local level of reality. It is said to be “a timeless spaceless place.”

MM: I think all of this could play into the bigger picture of Morning Glories. I mean, whatever is going on at the Academy is clearly done for some kind of “greater” purpose. If we look at some of the influences of the story, like LOST and the Invisibles, both stories talk about these great and undefined entities that the characters have to work for/against due to crisscrossed notions of fate versus science. Spencer spends a LOT of time pointing out Bell’s Theorem, so I think somewhere in between what you and I both read and learned is a clue that a higher power of some kind is involved and influencing what we see.

CO: It’s definitely important to the story, and I think that it kind of puts into perspective that there’s something big and unseen going on here, beyond the halls of MGA.

MM: Definitely. And future issues certainly indicate as such.

CO: It’s important (and nice) to have that early in the series. For me, it makes me more excited, honestly.

MM: So. Casey won’t give in to Daramount’s torture, which leads to her being carted off to detention! Daramount chats with Gribbs and notes that the mysterious headmaster thinks Casey is quite a find, adding – quote – “that may well be, but gifts or not she lacks control of her own emotions.” She also says she killed her parents because – quote again – she “didn’t do it to the rest of them.” So Daramount is clearly gunning very specifically for Casey, which adds interesting elements to Daramount greeting Casey at the academy in the last issue, and begins a dynamic that plays throughout the rest of this issue and much further into the first arc. Thoughts?

CO: She definitely has a great interest in Casey right from the moment she greets her upon arrival, and I wonder what about Casey it is that makes Daramount so into her. (Maybe she just has a crush!) Knowing what we know about Casey, I wonder if she is taking Casey on as her protege, or maybe sees something in Casey that reminds her of her younger self. Perhaps the physics scholar thing.

MM: That’s a very interesting point, which plays into a theory I have to discuss when we get to issue #6! I really like the line about Casey having a “gift” of some kind, because – as we discussed in our Study Hall’s for the later issues in the second arc – I theorized that Casey might actually be psychically controlling the other students at times. Right now she’s kinda brazen because she doesn’t understand what’s going on. In the second arc, she’s a much more calm and assertive character, to the point that she actually doesn’t get a solo issue, which leaves me curious. On top of that – and I’m going to try and not be a dick here and ruin things for you – but I’m reminded of the show Fringe, how the main character has a “power” that she can kind of use psychically, but it’s not one she understands.

CO: So maybe she’s pulling strings (figuratively) and doesn’t even know it yet? Interesting.

MM: That’s my thoughts, yeah. Casey is like… a natural born leader. And we’ve discussed what her not coming from a broken home could mean. I’ll talk more about her “gift” in issue #3 (and I’m sure you know what I’m alluding to), but I think it’s similar, and I think Daramount wants to train her to use whatever this gift is, perhaps for the Academy’s own goals.

Continued below

CO: Hm…veryyy intriguing. Maybe this goes back to my thought about her doing her own little work that might not be totally headmaster approved.

MM: I could buy that. So Casey is thrown into detention, beaten but not broken, where she finds all of the Glories waiting for her. This is when we learn why everyone is here, starting with Hunter and Ike. Ike tried to get Hunter to go out for fun and girls, but the two ended up walking in on what we know as “the ceremony”, which is Gribbs and four others in robes chanting Latin in front of some kind of pedestal and what I think is a mirror.

CO: I translated the Latin. “A boundary mark to lie scarcely before … man is fainthearted but her fortune is contest.” Not sure it’s totally right or if it even makes sense, but yeah!

MM: I got a similar translation from Google translate. Mine was: “The border lies scarcely before, a man is the fear of fortune of their own but is a certain.”

CO: So, fortune (money? good luck?) fears man?

MM: I can’t pretend I fully get this one, hahaha. But I imagine that’s due to the literal translation. If I’ve learned one thing about Google translate, it’s that it just translates words and not phrases.

CO: True!

MM: So if anyone out there took Latin (and by took Latin, I don’t mean go to a class where the teacher hands you a dictionary and then puts on the movie Troy, which is what happened when I tried to take Latin in college), please send us a note!

CO: Sounds like a shitty Latin class!

MM: To say the least. So Ike and Hunter are caught at the Ceremony, because Hunter drops his iPhone and causes a noise. This will be the first time the Ceremony is interrupted, as we learn in the second arc. Next we learn why Zoe and Jade are in detention, and it’s because their RA/room mate Pamela IS PSYCHOTIC.

CO: She is indeed. At least before, she was just annoying. Now she’s nearly knifing people.

MM: Right. Pamela tries to stab Jade in her bed, but the dialogue she starts spouting is pretty odd. She starts screaming about how Jade needs to be aware of her environment, because someone might randomly attack you with a knife in your bed while you’re sleeping.

CO: Think stuff like that happens often at MGA?

MM: Probably fairly often. The first thing I started thinking in this scene was – given what we now know from the end of the arc, does Pamela know that Jade is “special”?

CO: Hm, I don’t think so. She doesn’t seem like it. I didn’t really think that before, but wondering about it now, I don’t feel like she is capable of being in the know…she just seems spastic and out of her mind.

MM: Do you think that Pamela is broken? It’s not like the school doesn’t.. uh.. torture the students.

CO: That could be. They broke her down and this is all that’s left of her.

MM: She’s also very quick to act like nothing was happening, because Miss Dagney shows up and Pamela is all, “I LOVE YOU, JADEY WADEY! WE’RE BFFS!!!!” She’s just… mental.

CO: Bipolar, at the least.

MM: I think it’s also important to note that Pamela does NOT get sent to detention for her actions. So she might not be “in the know,” but she’s certainly not part of whatever group our Glories are considered to be.

CO: No, she isn’t. I’m not convinced she’s much more than just a loony who they keep around to watch the Glories, though.

MM: She seems like a plant. She does lead Casey directly to her dead parents in the first issue. I suppose with her being an RA, there could be something more we haven’t seen to how she interacts with the teachers.

Continued below

CO: That is true. She could have a past at the school, too.

MM: I’m sure she does! Other students do go there, after all. Maybe there was something special about her that got her the RA job. And perhaps that special thing led to her crazy behavior? The other thing I like about this scene is that Zoe springs right into action to save Jade, despite being rather negative about her in the first issue. She doesn’t even question anything about it, she’s just selflessly heroic. The scene makes perfect sense after reading the Zoe centric issue (#7), and I love that when Casey asks her about it Zoe just shrugs it off, as if she didn’t just do an amazing thing by protecting Jade.

CO: That’s a good point.

MM: So the kids briefly talk about the parent situation, continuing to reinforce the importance of their homes that you and I keep mentioning, and Zoe even adds that what their parents are now doing was “part of the brochure.” So the kids all mention that their parents are still alive, just forgetting about them – and Casey LIES about her parents being dead.

CO: Think Daramount let her know that something could happen (though what’s worse than what already happened?) if she mentioned it? Or is Casey just deciding to withhold that info?

MM: I think Casey is just withholding it for a personal reason. I mean, Casey is the “leader.” Maybe she doesn’t want to see weak, or let her emotions get the better of her right now?

CO: That would make sense, viewing herself as the leader and wanting to be strong in their views.

MM: Even Daramount calls the line “interesting.” And then Casey immediately tries to rally the troops, so to say, starting a “if we stick together” speech when Daramount suddenly floods the room And Jade goes underwater and clutches a pole.

CO: Gribbs asks “you think she knows?” What did you make of that?

MM: That’s probably one of my favorite lines in this whole scene. Spencer noted that the Daramount/Gribbs dialogue, and given what we now know of Jade due to everything after this issue, I think that’s a huge clue to “something.” Especially because Daramount replies “she doesn’t know anything.” It’s a hint that there is some kind of larger element to Jade’s character, which is reinforced with the next issue. Of course, all of this ties into a larger theory I have that I don’t want to discuss until issue #6, but I’ll give a brief tease: I think Jade is a puppet. And I mean that in both the figurative and literal sense.

CO: Dun dun dunnn!

MM: What did you think of that line?

CO: It seemed like she was trying to kill herself. Not knowing they were being watched, drowning in a room that’s full of water is a pretty unremarkable way to die…it just makes sense. No one would be expected to survive. So that leads to this. Whether or not she was trying to kill herself, why wasn’t she fighting for breath, for life?

MM: She actually tries to bat Casey away when Casey tries to save her.

CO: And what would she “know” that would make him make that comment?

MM: So you’re saying that Jade knows something she doesn’t know, but doesn’t know she knows it, yet knows she doesn’t want to survive due to whatever this thing she knows is?

CO: Basically. Yes.

MM: I can dig it. There’s a lot of additionally interesting tid bits of dialogue from Gribbs and Daramount. Gribbs says he likes Jun, which Daramount says makes him predictable. We understand this comment now that we know that Jun has a twin brother, Hisao, who is part of security under Gribbs. Daramount also likes a student that Gribbs notes is “predictable”, but I actually can’t fully tell if she is referring to Hunter and his Star Wars comment or Ike telling Hunter to be quiet.

CO: I think it’s interesting that they “like” students, especially so early, they already have favorites.

Continued below

MM: And I thought Daramount’s favorite was Casey! I mean, this whole drowning endeavor is to break her, right? Daramount also adds a sinister note when Gribbs notes they work well together, which alludes that these kids were assembled as a “group” on purpose, and Daramount says “for NOW they do,” which is FORESHADOWING!

CO: This is all for her, or to show her their power, and only she can stop the water from filling. So perhaps they all have different roles in this “group” and Casey, being the most important and the leader, had to be given this big lesson right away?

MM: Daramount really wants to prove that she can break Casey. For whatever reason, it’s important that Daramount shows dominance over Casey, despite the teachers being “servants” to the students.

CO: And this certainly does that, putting everyone in jeopardy all for her, and she knows she can end it. And finally she yells the answer to the question I began our study hall with, and the drains are opened.

MM: Daramount is such a jerk! It’s funny that even Gribbs is worried that the kids might all die, trying to bring up the headmaster, and Daramount just shoots him down until Casey caves to save the group.

CO: Haha, what a heart he has!

MM: He gets a little worried about Jun when Jun gets knocked out. It kind of makes me wonder what Daramount and Gribbs really know about the Jun/Hisao mix-up conundrum. And once the water is drained and a passed out Jade is carried out, we learn why Jun was in detention – he was trying to break into what we theorized is a weapon’s locker before his brother Hisao puts a gun to his head. But we won’t really know about all that stuff until issue #9.

CO: And if we hadn’t already read #9, we’d use this time to theorize about who had the gun. But we’ve seen that scene with the gun to his head and know about it.

MM: Right. Like I said earlier – this is one of my favorite issues so far. SO much happens, and when I originally read the issue I had all these crazy thoughts about what was going on. Now that I know a bit further in the story, obviously some of my thoughts have changed… but the fact remains that there is a lot hidden in this issue worth really discussing, as we have. We get to learn a lot about the school itself, the kids, and the evil faculty all in one issue!

CO: Like I said earlier, it really kept up the pace and intensity from the first and the two together are one hell of a great way to kick this series off.

MM: As we did yesterday when we wrapped, do you have any additional theories to add to the melting pot of ideas that have been influenced by this issue or what we have discussed today?

CO: My notes have been covered for this one. How about you?

MM: I guess I’ll just note that I think our discussion about non-local reality and what that means was really interesting, and also that this issue – upon my re-read – was the issue that really sparked my madman theory about Jade being a puppet (which I promise I will explain in full detail later).

CO: I look forward to that!

MM: It’s funny – I posted on Twitter after my re-read of this issue that I thought I figured out a big mystery of the story? And then Nick e-mailed me asking what it was, at which point I offered a very incomplete answer to force him to have to read these articles!

CO: Multiversity +6 page views!

MM: BOOM! Well, that wraps up today’s Study Hall! Crit and I will be back tomorrow for what may or may not be the most important issue of the first arc (dun dun dunnnnn)!

CO: Class adjourned!

//TAGS | MGA Study Hall

Matthew Meylikhov

Once upon a time, Matthew Meylikhov became the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Multiversity Comics, where he was known for his beard and fondness for cats. Then he became only one of those things. Now, if you listen really carefully at night, you may still hear from whispers on the wind a faint voice saying, "X-Men Origins: Wolverine is not as bad as everyone says it issss."


Crit Obara

Crit Obara is a longtime friend of Matthew's. He previously covered LOST for MC, and now co-writes MGA Study Hall. He is the man behind the curtain of and you can follow him on Twitter @crittweets.


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