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    MGA Study Hall: Issue #22

    By | October 10th, 2012
    Posted in Annotations | 20 Comments

    Hello and welcome back to Morning Glory Academy Study Hall! In this column, MC contributor (and FuckYeahLost’s head honcho) Crit Obara and I sit down and analyze the latest issue of Morning Glories.

    Before we begin, just an update: we have updated the bandwidth and space being used to house the MGA Study Hall Commentary Podcasts, so if you have not yet checked them out, you can find all them on Podomatic as well as on iTunes.

    This week we’ll be doing things a little bit differently, as we at Multiversity are preparing for New York Comic Con in quite an earnest fashion. With that in mind, I will be writing this edition of Study Hall solo, using both my notes and Crit’s notes to show off what it is we think we learned this week.

    That said, this week there are colossal spoilers. Spoilers so big, your head will explode if you read this column without actually reading the issue. We always have a spoiler warning at the beginning of the column, but it stands worth heavily repeating:

    Do not read this unless you’ve read the issue.

    You’ve been warned.

    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 comic debut, Enormous, now in stores! Many thanks to Tim for being fantastically awesome and providing it to us.

    Issue #2 Revisted

    As the issue opens, the Truants are in a detention situation similar to the one that the Glories were in in issue #2. While the Glories all arrived through various misdeeds before the room was flooded, the Truants situation is obviously a little different; they show clear understanding of the situation they’re placed in, to the point that when Irina begins to challenge the validity of the fire in the room while Ian mentions that he thinks she’s breaking cover.

    As you may be aware, the two stories play out similar but different. Both in issue #2 and this one did one of the students get knocked unconscious, only to be brought to the nurse’s office. In both, it was up to the lead female of the group to stop the attack — but the key difference lies in which one broke: in the Glories’ version, Casey broke to Daramount’s wishes in order to save the rest of the group. In this one, Irina pushed Daramount to the limits, up to the point of accepting the potential for self-immolation before the room is doused in water so the fire is put out.

    This essentially proves two things: one, that the teachers didn’t just bring the students to the Academy to kill them (what a relief, I know!), and two, that “this has all happened before, and will all happen again.” The fact that both the Glories and the Truants were placed in the exact same situations, both in their introduction and in this issue, makes for a compelling argument that there is an element to the curriculum of repetition — not just because the Academy is testing their students for something, either. Everything that happened to the Glories “accidentally,” the Truants were prepared for and accept, up to the point where they know how to react to everything.

    Why? Well, we saw Daramount (or what looked to be Daramount) at Abraham’s compound a few issues ago, and we’ve long since suspected some aspect of subterfuge at play. Only time will tell if Daramount is truly amazed because of Irina’s lack of fear, or at how well she plays her part in the overall farce.

    Nebuchadnezzar (or, Not The Ship From The Matrix)

    During the same scene, Irina tells a story of “King Nebuchadnezzar of mighty Babylon” (remember this, as it is important) from the book Daniel, chapters 1-3, in which the King builds an idol and tells his officials they need to bow to it or be cast into fire. Three men refused, and the king said that if they were thrown in the fire that God would not protect them. The three men refused a second time and were thrown into a furnace seven times hotter than normal, and when the king looked in he saw four men dancing in the fire, one who appeared to look as the son of God.

    Continued below

    The story is important for two reasons. One, it shows exactly why the school lit the room on fire and filled it with water. The students are essentially given two options: either “worship the idol”, obey the school’s rules and allow themselves to be indoctrinated into this new religion/cult (which Casey falls victim to by breaking), or enjoy the flames and hope for the protection of “God” (Abraham?), which Irina does. Given that the Truants know more about surviving the school, this stands as a perfect parable to relay given the situation and who exactly sent them into action. This would also somewhat explain how all the other students at the school seem to accept their fates (beyond Stockholm Syndrome, anyway).

    For two, the mention of Nebuchadnezzar seems too specific to be just a throwaway reference for a story, and further understanding of him can in fact potentially bring to light additional elements of the overall story. We’ll touch on this a bit more soon, but to start with, Crit sends along this quote from a Bible study website:

    As powerful as Nebuchadnezzar was, he did not conquer the people of Judah of himself. God didn’t just allow it to happen, He actually brought it about. (2 Chronicles 36:15-20). The people had become extremely corrupt and idolatrous. They ignored all of the Prophets that God had sent to warn them (2 Chronicles 36:15-16), and they refused to repent. They trusted in themselves, in the city of Jerusalem, even in the physical Temple, rather than in The Lord Himself. So, God, through Nebuchadnezzar, destroyed it all in order to make them realize, in no uncertain terms, that they had turned their backs on Him.

    As Crit explains in his notes, “Are we to think that someone at the school through the students is going to destroy everything to show them they should have believed? The miracle of the men surviving induced King Neb to praise God, so if we’re trying to draw a parallel here a miracle or something crazy could turn the students into believers?” Which, again, would add up with everything else we’ve discussed. The question, though, is is Abraham in the role of God here? Is Abraham truly the savior of the students? Is someone or anyone at the Academy in that role? After all, Daramount didn’t let Irina burn.

    “We’re Here”

    This part was incredibly exciting. As you read this at home or work, you will not have any idea how excited this splash page made me. Not just because Joe and Alex kill it, which is the first part that got me excited, but because of what this is.

    Anyone that has listened to MGA Study Hall’s special commentary tracks with Nick and Joe know that both of them know where the school is and what’s on the campus. There is an order to things built in so that they know certain aspects of the campus that stand as of yet unrevealed, such as this. And this? This is like the Lighthouse in LOST. Or perhaps even the four-toed statue.

    Here’s why: it would appear that this would either be the remnants of Nebuchadnezzar’s aforementioned statue, or this could be the legendary Tower of Babel (which is my pick of the two). It could be the location of the statue because, at the very least, Nick went to the trouble of inserting the story into the book earlier, and we don’t believe in throwaway references that serve but a singular purpose within a scene.

    However, it is more convincingly the Tower of Babel, for two very good reasons.

    The first is an upcoming scene in the issue (which we will talk a LOT about) in which the gang are warped to the past and all end up speaking different languages, which is the outcome of the story of the Tower of Babel. It’s a very famous story, but for the purposes of clarification, the story tells a tale in which men tried to build a tower to Heaven and God, and when He saw everybody getting along and working together He decided to change everyone’s languages, which resulted in everyone who was working on the tower abandoning it because no one could understand each other any longer. Thanks, God. This aspect  of a lack of common tongue seems to match-up well with the upcoming scene, as well as when Irina mentions that once they are inside, they will no longer be able to understand each other.

    Continued below

    And the second? Well, if you do a Google Image Search for “Tower of Babel,” the majority of the pictures on the first page look somewhat similar to what Joe has illustrated here — a cylindrical building that indents upwards toward the center, with several associated pillars along the side. Have some examples: one two three four. Seeing is believing.

    Ok, all that and Guillaume and Irina both specifically refer to the building ruins as “the tower:”

    Given all of this, it would appear that the students have indeed arrived at the Tower of Babel. And that is pretty awesome.

    Of course, limiting ourselves to two options is — as always — foolish. This could be any number of ruins, fictional or not. In fact, Ian immediately points out one major inconsistency to this idea: that this ruin was built by the Sumerians, who were not involved with the Tower of Babel. Oops.

    Well, luckily for us, there is a Sumerian parallel! Sumerian myth has a story called “Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta,” in which Enmerkar builds a massive ziggurat in Eridu and demands homage from Aratta, and he prays to the god Enki (keep this name in mind) to restore a form of linguistic unity to the region so they can all speak to one another. It’s sort of a reverse Tower story.

    There also happens to be an actual ziggurat built in the city of Babylon entitled Etemenanki, which in Sumerian means “the temple of the foundation of heaven and earth” and which was rebuilt by — ready for this? — the aforementioned  Nebuchadnezzar. You can even see it on Google Maps, although now it’s one giant ruin.

    With things like this, when we’re pulling our “facts” from an admittedly unreliable source (the Bible), it’s best to look at things in how they potentially could have happened vs. how they supposedly/actually did. Given that the story of the Tower of Babel is fictional yet has a real-world similarity in Etemenanki, things certainly line-up in a nice and orderly fashion, allowing us to keep our assumption.

    That and refer to it as the Tower of Babel, because “Babel” and “Tower” is easier to remember/type.

    SO. LONG STORY SHORT: They have arrived at the Tower of Babel, which would mean that the school is in what we now know as Iraq.

    Hey, wasn’t Casey’s dad stationed in Iraq?

    The Explanation of Time Travel

    In our podcast commentary (and in other places), Nick has noted that “Morning Glories” has it’s own sense of time travel that is not strictly beholden to any of the preconceived notions given to us by science fiction. He basically wants to make it a bit harder on us by not sticking to what others have done in the past, which leaves us a bit boggled — up until now, anyway.

    To that end, this issue gives us a nerdy example of how time travel works, thanks to Ian and for Hunter: Twelve Monkeys -> Primer -> Back to the Future.

    I’m going to do my best to try and explain what this probably means, with emphasis on the “probably” portion if only because I’m comfortable admitting that I didn’t “get” Primer when I saw it. As a note, spoilers for all of the films involved.

    Continued below

    FilmHow Time Travel Works
    Twelve MonkeysThe time travel logic of this film represents an infinite loop scenario (which, for the record, was something that we and others had mentioned as a potential issue in the advent of issue #16’s revelations of the opening events of issue #12). Bruce Willis portrays James Cole, a man plagued with visions from his childhood, who is sent back in time to try to uncover and stop a terrorist cell that destroyed the future with a virus, a group known as the 12 Monkeys. It is revealed at the end that the man Cole saw die as a child was himself in the future, and that stopping the true villain was impossible due to the misinformation they had in the future. The events repeat themselves for infinity.
    PrimerThis one represents a loop albeit a changeable one, of sorts. Essentially, there is a time machine. You set the time machine to activate with a delayed switch and then leave, and your future self/double emerges from the machine. You then wait the desired amount to time travel (such as an hour), enter the machine, again wait the desired amount to time travel (an hour) and emerge from the machine an hour in the past and in turn become the future self/double that emerged earlier. You can then change the future, with influence on both your current timeline and the original timeline. At the point where the original self entered the box (an hour into the future self/double’s new existence), the future self/double now exists in an alternate future that ONLY exists for that future self/double, and the original is forever screwed since his only purpose is to enter the machine, creating the loop aspect.
    Back to the FutureThis film plays largely off what is commonly referred to as the butterfly effect, in which the tiniest of events result in a large change elsewhere. Michael J Fox plays Marty McFly, who went back in time by accident and changed a few things in the past (also by accident) relating to his parents. Because of this, when he finally did go back to the future, he ended up in a different (but better) version of his present. Much more simple to grasp than Primer!

    So, given these understandings, the “translation” of Ian’s explanation of time travel would seemingly round-about to this: “Time travel is traditionally understood as a loop, but the loop can be broken and the future can be changed.” And to think that the upcoming Babel scene was hard to understand.

    However, it is important to note that all films have an additional unifying element: the protagonists are always traveling in time to fix something. In Twelve Monkeys, James Cole is trying to save the future from ruin. In Primer, the protagonists Abe and Aaron are trying to “fix” the future to their benefit by playing the stock market. In Back to the Future, Marty McFly is mainly trying to get back to the future from the past, although he ends up fixing his parent’s marriage. Given this, it seems reasonable to believe that the Truants and Hunter are going back in time to “fix” something — which would additionally make sense given a later piece of dialogue. We’ll get there soon.

    The Why of it All

    As is explained by Vanessa and Ian, the reason that they are doing all of this is to save Abraham. It turns out that Hunter remembers the man and is not fond of him, due to Hunter instilling all of his time-related woes on Abraham. Vanessa assures him and us that he did this for a reason, and Ian clarifies that whatever Abraham “did” to Hunter, it was all for this express purpose, which we will see in a bit.

    So here’s a question with no real answer: if this is Hunter’s purpose, and Hunter’s purpose is related to the freeing of Abraham, then did Abraham always know that he would be captured, to the extent that he needed to come into contact with a child who could one day rescue him? And, if that’s the case, how legitimate is this entire ploy? Did Abraham purposefully allow himself to be captured so that he would need to be freed? And if so… why?

    We’ll get back to this a bit in both the “Babel scene” and the Fortunato section at the end.

    Of course, there’s a bit more to this than just freeing Abraham, it seems. Whatever it is that the Truants are about to do, it involves changing something in the past. As Irina states, “once the change is undone, the others should be in position to strike.” So, something happened in the past that had an effect on the future, one that somebody noticed, and the Truants assumed mission is fix this; that’s how the elements of time travel play into this — time is a loop, but a loop that can be changed. Irina goes on to explain that once they “fix” things, that all of the time-travel wonkiness will be returned to their appropriate places in time, and Abraham will have been freed.

    Continued below

    So was the “change” transporting all of the kids from Woodrun into the future? Or is there something else? It would seem unlikely that the “change” would just be Woodrun, since the Truants caused this (Guillaume specifically takes credit), btu what other changes could have occurred? (We’ll throw a few theories out there soon.)

    Whatever the case may be, a signal is given — revealing either where Fortunato is the whole time (more on this later) or that Irina’s mention of “others” (plural) are others of Abraham’s children somewhere in the Academy — and then Irina says, “and now we tell you how to be as gods.”

    “So we created our own Gods.”

    That’s a familiar line, right? Remember the hooded men in robes from issue #10?

    Let’s keep this phrase in mind. I’m going to take you on a wild ride in a bit.

    Time-Traveling Temple Shenanigans

    When they reach the top of the stairs, the Truants and Hunter flash through time (in a similar fashion to when Casey did in issue #13) and wind up in some form of Sumerian temple, with a priest standing in front of an engraving of the god Enki (remember this name?), which would certainly help line up the Babel/Etemenanki connection established earlier. There is a LOT to discuss with this sequence, so lets start with the setting.

    First, lets start with Enki. Enki is a god of life and replenishment in Sumerian mythology, as well as the god of crafts, mischief, intelligence and creation. While the translation of Enki is uncertain, the common translation is “Lord of the Earth,” where “lord” is translated as ‘en’ in Sumerian (usually a title given to a Priest) and ‘ki’ meaning Earth. As seen in Joe’s illustration here, he has two streams of water emanating from his shoulders — one representing the Tigris, the other the Euphrates — which would explain the pool created in front of him and potentially establish location. Enki is often also seen alongside of trees, which held aspects of man and woman that he would use to create life, which will be important to keep in mind for the phrase I just mentioned moments ago and something I will talk about later.

    Now, whether this is a specific form of Sumerian ceremony, I’m unsure. I did a tiny bit of research on the subject, but didn’t find anything conclusive. Sumerians did practice sacrifices within sealed tombs (perhaps such as this one), in which the king was in attendance of his people. That seems to be the case here, but the interference of the Truants seems to mess up any other elements of reality that could conceivably exist — unless I’m missing something, which is entirely possible.

    As for the stone platform surrounded by smaller storms that Hunter steps on, your guess is as good as mine about what that could really be beyond a pedestal.

    Babeling On

    And so, our intrepid heroes time travel into the past, coming amongst a Sumerian ceremony of some kind. On top of that, all of the kids are now speaking different languages, which helps to enforce the theory that they are in what is commonly referred to as the Tower of Babel. Whether where they are now strictly relates to where they were, or if they moved in space as well as time (like Casey assumedly did back in issue #13 — although the school possibly being in Iraq now seems to change our perception of this), the issue that we now have is that we can not understand the dialogue as easily as we could.

    So, I’ve translated it. It was actually fairly easy for the most part. Using Google Translate, I was able to come with the translation for the text, of which I’d say has a 90% accuracy to what everyone is saying give or take a few words. The break down of language is pretty simple, actually. In order of who speaks first:

    Continued below

    CharacterLanguage
    HunterSpanish
    IanSwedish
    PriestSumerian
    IrinaGerman
    JunItalian
    GuillaumeChinese
    VanessaHebrew

    And I’m proud to say that Vanessa’s one piece of dialogue was the only one I didn’t have to Google, thanks to going to a Jewish high school for two years.

    Here is the translation to the scene:

    Hunter: Why do I sound like..? FUCK! (Note: the original translation of this through Google gave me “Why dream to… Host!”, which made little to no sense. For clarification, I asked for help on Reddit, and was explained the following thanks to username Ritoki: “I think Google flubbed on ‘sueno’ versus ‘sue~o’, the ‘n’ with a tilde. In that case, yeah, it’s dream. And in Spain and other Spanish speaking countries, ‘Hostia’ means both ‘the Body of Christ’ used for communion, and is a frequent swear word in times of frustration and rage, which is fairly apropos of the story you’re translating.”)

    Ian: It always feels so strange the first time.

    Priest: ????

    Irina: Ahem. What have we discussed?

    Hunter: Ah, yes. Go.

    Irina: I told you, priest, that we will return. You do not need to sound so surprised. (Note: my first pass at translation gave me “pastor,” but priest sounds more… correct. It all means the same thing.)

    Priest: ????

    Irina: We have our goal. For us, and for all we represent. Say it, Hunter.

    Hunter: Someone please tell me what is happening? Because I do not speak other languages. Apart from that I’m talking right now, obviously. Although I would like to… 81300217 3025385 7109246 1720861360 26150000 000000 00000 (Note: I do not think — emphasis on think — that there is any discernible information that can be gleaned from the numbers at this time, other than than that perhaps Abraham used Hunter to distribute some kind of code/prayer and that this is said cod/prayer. More on that later.

    Second note: a few people have mentioned that the first three letters are Hunter’s Numbers. This is very true. I didn’t mention it because I thought it was too obvious. I guess not!)

    Priest: ????

    Jun: Brother?

    Guillaume: At this time this must occur, Hisao, there is no other way. (Note: this is the hardest to translate because Guillaume’s dialogue is written phonetically rather than with the Chinese characters he is speaking. I will assume this was done to make it a little bit easier to attempt to translate. However, since language/text is different in China, the translation I’m giving is as close as I can get.)

    Jun: No… whatever it is — if I allow it, I’d say that the first you would have asked me for permission before — — this is a trap. Hunter, RUN! (Note: not sure about that middle part, but like I said, 90% accuracy. Now clarified by Katrina in the comments. Additionally, Joe has commented on this post to note that the original script called for the word “run,” not “escape.”)

    Hunter: What?

    Jun: RUN!!! (See above note re: escape/run.)

    Vanessa: NO!

    Give or take a few things here or there, that’s the dialogue of this scene.

    There’s just one problem: the priest/pastor is speaking in an “untranslatable language.” I know — I asked both Nick and Joe if either of them would give me hints, and both simply said that it is untranslatable. And, wouldn’t you know it, Googling for hours and downloading apps that translate text via your camera all came back with the same result: bupkis. Sumerian is a dead language after all, so whatever they’re speaking here is in something that simple Googling will never tell you.

    So what if I told you I can tell you exactly what the priest says?

    What the Priest Says

    Throughout the entire endeavor of translating the above sequence, the fact that I couldn’t translate the priest’s section bugged me. I felt like I was letting everyone down who reads this column for annotations by not being able to give a solution to this puzzle, since the whole goal of this very column is to make reading this book easier for others. That’s why we get the book in advance, after all. The fanbase behind “Morning Glories” is very passionate, and I’m pretty sure most people are going to want to know what the priest says — and if the people who read this column came here and didn’t get just that, then I’d just not be doing my job.

    Continued below

    So after hours of playing a guessing game, I did the only logical thing I could think of: I asked someone smarter than me.

    Thanks to redditor CreepyOctopus, it was explained to me that this is simply an example of classical cryptography, where the text is simply based around a cipher. When operating under the basic assumption that it translates by letter to English text, then everything else was based around substitution. It’s basically the creation of a cool effect to hide a message at a surface value.

    I shared with CreepyOctopus but a small portion of the text and a vague description of the scene in question, and he gave me back the phrase it most likely was after a short period of time. Given the little bit I had given him, I was pretty impressed.

    I then went into Photoshop to align text to symbols, creating the following:

    which I then used as a base to translate everything else the priest says in the sequence, in what was probably one of the most exciting fifteen minutes of my “Morning Glory” annotations ever.

    So, with all that taken into consideration, here is the fully translated scene:

    Hunter: Why do I sound like..? FUCK!

    Ian: It always feels so strange the first time.

    Priest: Who disturbs this place of worship? Who would stand amongst our gods and claim their power? Who but the gods themselves?

    Irina: Ahem. What have we discussed?

    Hunter: Ah, yes. Go.

    Irina: I told you, priest, that we will return. You do not need to sound so surprised.

    Priest: You who are amongst us and yet before us, what would you have of this place?

    Irina: We have our goal. For us, and for all we represent. Say it, Hunter.

    Hunter: Someone please tell me what is happening? Because I do not speak other languages. Apart from that I’m talking right now, obviously. Although I would like to… 81300217 3025385 7109246 1720861360 26150000 000000 00000

    Priest: And who will be your sacrifice this time, child?

    Jun: Brother?

    Guillaume: At this time this must occur, Hisao, there is no other way.

    Jun: No… whatever it is — you would have asked me for permission before– — this is a trap. Hunter, RUN!

    Hunter: What?

    Jun: RUN!!!

    Vanessa: NO!

    Bam. Take a few moments to pick your jaw up off the floor.

    What the Scene Means

    Ok, now that we have all of that excitement out of the way, let’s talk about the actual purpose of the scene.

    As I mentioned earlier, back in issue #10 we had the mention of “creating gods,” and with the translation of the priest we find that they refer to the kids as “the gods.” It’s an interesting little aspect to the scene that’s honestly very telling. Given their knowledge of the future, their technology and their different mannerisms, the Truants definitely come off as god-like to what can be referred to as the primitive minds of the Sumerians. They do not have any perception of our culture, so anything that “we” would bring back with us could be claimed as magic, or power akin to that of their own gods. The priest also refers to them as “you who are amongst us and yet before us,” which would imply that the Sumerians believe these Truants to be of a supreme existence.

    Throw all of this in with the aforementioned stuff about Enki and how he creates life, and we can conceivably have the creation of gods.

    Therefore, “creating our own gods” could simply tie into the wonkiness of time travel. If any sort of religion or cult exists at Morning Glory Academy (and we’re prone to believe that it does, what with their ceremony), the religion could be entirely manufactured to the extent that people are purposefully sent back in time to influence the past towards the creation of deities, thus potentially giving the Sumerians Enki (and creating a loop) which the kids can then influence (change).

    However, the priest also refers to Irina as a child, which does seem to change things a tiny bit. If we’re willing to prescribe to the idea of manufactured gods, it is entirely possible that the Sumerian Priest does not actually believe they are gods at all, as one would probably not refer to his god so fliply (and Irina does mention that he doesn’t need to pretend to be surprised). It is clear, though, that he recognizes their power enough to fear and/or respect them, certainly to the extent that he and his congregation will do their bidding.

    Continued below

    Once we get into the scene a bit, certain aspects get tricky — especially once you take into consideration the translation of the priest. The priest says to Irina, “And who will be your sacrifice this time, child?” This time. The implication being that they have done this before, or at the very least that Irina has been here before. This could tie into the aforementioned change Irina stated that they needed to undo, although I can’t claim that to any specific certainty.

    Additionally, there’s the whole issue of Hunter’s purpose, or “activation”. As I said before, the best guess I can give is that some sort of prayer/code was placed into Hunter that, in addition to the blood Irina pours into the water, allows for some sort of rift to open between time and space that could conceivably allow for the murder of Jun’s brother, in order to offer him up as a sacrifice and/or course correct some misconstrued element of the time stream that will allow Abraham to get free. That would explain the extreme nature of Irina’s weapon; it’s probably easier to fire a bullet through time with a sniper rifle if hitting the target is the big concern. (More on Hunter and his activation later.)

    So, if we’re going to pretend we “get” what happens, it would seem that the scene finds the Truants masquerading as gods and going back into the past to perform a ceremony that will result in the sacrifice of Hisao (the real Jun), using Hunter to access the right moment in time to do so (right before Hisao performs the ceremony at Morning Glory Academy back in the “Now” time period of the book). Jun (the real Hisao) refuses to sacrifice his brother to free Abraham, so the Truants subdue him. I suppose that the sacrifice of Junisao’s brother would correct some sort of mistake, which would in turn allow for Abraham to be freed. With that, we can assume that the “mistake” made could be the “wrong brother” going to the school, even though they both ended up there eventually.

    Whatever the sacrifice is for (and remember, the mention of a sacrifice being needed has been quite prevalent as of late, even by Abraham to Jun), Jun doesn’t stand for it. It’s also important to note Vanessa’s reluctance to everything, because while she previously stated that the whole thing was for Abraham, when Jun is attacked by the other Truants she can be seen covering her mouth before attempting to stop Irina from shooting Hunter (which we’ll talk about). Given what Irina will say in a following scene (and we’ll discuss in the next section), it’s possible that Vanessa — whom we know to be generally good-hearted from issue #20 — does not know what Irina is up to.

    I also want to mention that, in the panel when Irina prepares to shoot, the Sumerian priest looks on rather quizzically, almost to an amusing extent:

    What is this boom stick?

    However, there is an additional caveat to take into consideration.

    The Missing Fortunato

    I’ve skipped writing about this whole aspect of the issue until the end, if only because the other things in this week’s issue that needed to be discussed seemed more challenging. That and the discussion of what happens in the past seems to make more sense when you know what happens in the future.

    So, two years ago, after the Truants survive their particular bout with detention, Fortunato is taken into the nurse’s office to be given what we’ll refer to as “the Jade treatment.” We don’t know the specifics of what he goes through, although based on what we know about Jade — that she mentally time-traveled into the future (kinda sorta) in the weirdest of dream sequences — we can probably guess that either something similar happened to him, or perhaps nothing happened at all. Irina does ask him what he saw when his eyes were opened, so I’m prone to guess that when Nurse Nine injected him with some kind of drug, he did indeed have his own little spirit walk.

    Whatever the case may be, the fact that this character is being downplayed so much is admittedly a concern, and a red flag to me that we really need to pay attention to, wherever he is.

    Continued below

    But what’s important about the scene is what it reveals about Irina. We’ve questioned Irina’s motives a lot since she was introduced, if only because she’s so chaotic. She gets put into the same situation that Casey does in issue #1, but she laughs off the “death” of her “parents” and assaults the guy who took her down to see them. Then, when put into detention, she “breaks character” to laugh at Daramount’s attempt to break her. And what it all comes down to is the revelation that she cares little for Abraham, who put her into action in the first place.

    That’s a pretty big deal. Considering that a lot of whatever sort of subterfuge is going on here has rested on Abraham’s shoulders, Irina saying that she will not be following his instructions any more literally changes everything. Now, everything the Truants have done under direction from Irina is suspect; whether they truly believe they are following Abraham’s orders or if she has revealed her plan to all of them is unknown. All we know is that she wants to “kill the one who built this place,” (more on this soon) but if our theories about Abraham wanting to take down the school is true then that would seemingly be in line with his goals. Her disparaging remarks could relate to a disdain for him, or it could simply relate to his methodology. Irina could honestly just be a wild card who decides to do the same task in a less clever fashion.

    Which, of course, brings up the idea that if Abraham did willingly put himself into the hands of the Academy to be chained in the basement, that could be his plan of attack that Irina doesn’t care ofr.

    Additionally, considering that Irina is the Truants’ version of Casey and considering that we have often mentioned that it seems Casey will destroy the school, the two may be more similar than we have previously thought.

    So what happened to Fortunato? Irina mentions that the Truants will fail to save him, and we certainly have not seen him in any of the current goings on. He could be the one who fired off the flare in the previous scene, sure, or something worse may have happened. He asks Irina for some form of instruction that is not seen in the scene, so your guess is as good as mine as to whatever happened with him.

    Now, for the part that we’ll have just as much fun with as translating the Priest.

    Shooting Hunter (or, why Hunter is probably the single most important character in “Morning Glories”)

    So why did Irina shoot Hunter? Crit mentions in his notes that her wanting to kill the person who made the school lines up with the sequence of her shooting him in quite a curious/too-coincidental-to-be-coincidence way — to the extent that if we take the effects of time travel into consideration, it could be Hunter that she wants to kill.

    It’s a wild theory, sure. Please don’t ask us to explain this too much yet; the thought is a bit maddening, like most time travel related sequences. Just take into consideration the fact that Nick has mentioned Hunter as a personal favorite character, that he has alluded to us already knowing who the Headmaster is in previous commentary podcasts done on this very site, that the book has stated to a rather definitive end that the Headmaster us a man, and that Hunter is now involved in time travel, of which loops (albeit changeable ones) are involved. Add that to him meeting future Jade in the ending and, well, is it so crazy that a future version of Hunter is the Headmaster of the school? If there can be a future Jade…

    It’s also possible that she simply shot him because he tried to get away. She may never have meant to hurt him, just stop him from leaving. Vanessa could have simply seen a gun raised and acted out of basic human instinct, and perhaps if she hadn’t Irina may have just shot Hunter in his other leg to stop him from leaving. Who knows.

    However, one thing is certain: Hunter is probably the single most important character in “Morning Glories.” Just keep something in mind: we know that Hunter was needed to accomplish whatever it was that was accomplished in the temple scene. What you may need to realize (and you may not have remembered yet) is that Hunter is important to more than just the Truants where time-travel is involved: Hunter was needed by Hodge when she time-traveled with Casey, and the fact that she didn’t get him caused some kind of issue.

    Continued below

    There’s something about Hunter.

    If you made it this far and your head doesn’t hurt just a little bit, congratulations. The rest of you, sound off in the comments and get the discussion going.

    If you’d like to contact contact Crit or I with thoughts and comments about “Morning Glories,” shoot us an e-mail at mgastudyhall@multiversitycomics.com.

    Previous Issues: #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9#10#11#12#13#14#15#16#17#18#19,#20, #21

    Previous audio podcasts: second arc interviews#7#8#9#10#11#12second arc wrap-up, NSRFQRthird arc interviews, #13#14, #15#16, #17#18, #19third arc wrap-up


    //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."

    EMAIL | ARTICLES


    • Archi-m9

      This Issue was awesome i really enjoyed every thing about it

    • macey

      oh man, it would be pretty creepy to respond to this with “i love you” or something but dude, this is an amazing job you put into this one. i can’t even imagine how long this took. HUGE props, dude, huge props.

      i literally just read the issue an hour ago and i’m still fully processing it, but i do want to point out that it’s more than likely that the time the truants have sent the students to is the time when older jade’s running the school, considering the end. older jade must’ve wanted to hurry at the end of #17 because she knew she needed to meet up with hunter, too, rather than let him bleed out.

      i feel like we have THREE sides to this story, now; the teachers on the school’s side, abraham with his side (which i’m inclined to believe older jade is on, for reasons i need more time to eloquently explain), and then irina leading the truants on a side against both of those, believing they can save the world themselves. which side is in the right- if ANY- is yet to be seen.

      • Hahaha, thank you. I appreciate it.

        And yes, I would agree about that. We’d seen the school wrecked back in issue #6, which is the “future Jade” location. With Jade showing up at the end, there is definitely some timelines crossing now.

        • macey

          to be fair, we also saw parts of the school wrecked in the past in #20, when hodge was born. but it does look just a bit worse for older jade.

    • kenaustin

      Excellent article! As soon as I finished reading it twice, this is the first place I came to. I’d like to add…

      1) The string of numbers that Hunter spouts off, although I haven’t a clue what they mean yet, do start with his obsessed over time of 8:13. A quick Google look for times yielded no viable results.

      2) Maybe its me, but I couldn’t help but thinking during his recitation of the above number sequence, while he is standing on the pedestal surrounded by swirling energies (electro-magnetic maybe?) that Hunter resembled a human version of everybody’s favorite spinning cylinder.

      Keep up the great work!

      • Haha, honestly, I thought the 813 thing was “too obvious” to mention. With three people mentioning, I guess not.

        As for part two, that’s a great call.

    • Katrina

      Hi! I take Italian, and you did a pretty close translation for Jun’s, but it would prolly be more like, ‘No…whatever it is…you would have asked me for permission before…this is a trap. Hunter, escape!’ I’m only a novice, but I feel like that’s a more nuanced translation

      • Ahhh, thank you. That sounds much more accurate.

        • Joe Eisma

          And actually, I will say Matt that the line in my script was ‘RUN!’ and not ‘ESCAPE!’ So some fudging there on Nick’s part. 🙂

    • Patrick

      Do you ever consider trying to get these published? I would enjoy reading these with the main series. Probably in trade form would work the best? But it would be a really awesome “companion” to the re-read along with the series. I’d certainly put my money on them. Great article once again, I’m amazed how well you can figure all this out.

      • Ha, no, I have not. But I have offered to Nick and Joe that if they ever want extra material for a hardcover, or anything of the sort, they are free to use MGA Study Hall to their heart’s delight. That is probably the only way any of these would ever get published in a book.

    • Timsmithy

      This has probably been said somewhere before, but it’s interesting that Hunter’s name is Hunter, although he is being hunted in this issue. He doesn’t really come across as a ‘Hunter’ definitely something dodgy there!

    • Upguntha

      Hunter looks like he’s in a cylinder

      “Who will you be sacrificing this time”

      maybe that’s what happened to David

    • great article!!! Im going to have to delve into your archives cause ive been reading MG since issue 1 and i STILL dont know whats even remotely going on!

      thanks for the breakdowns and commentaries; i will be spending some time on this site tonight reading lol

    • seismic-2

      I’d like to comment on Hunter’s number. Have you seen the movie “Pi”? (Check out the reviews on IMDB if you haven’t.) The premise is rooted in the Jewish Kabbalah mysticism, and specifically it related to finding a 216-digit numerical equivalent to the Hebrew “true name of God”. (Each of the three verses in Exodus 14:19-21 has exactly 72 letters in Hebrew, and in the Kabbalah tradition these are used to give one 216-letter name of God, or 3 72-letter names, or 72 3-letter names, depending on just what “decoding” algorithm you use.) Anyway, the premise of “Pi” is that if this 216-letter name of God could somehow be converted into digits, it would in effect be the “base code of our universe” (which may be just one among an infinite number of alternate universes, all with their own unique number) that relates all the apparently random fundamental physical constants that appear on the mathematical formulae that govern the laws of nature, and so much more. By using this number in various calculations you in effect invoke the name of God, and you could eliminate all apparent randomness, correctly forecast the future, and basically exercise God-like power. The movie posits that various scientists, mathematicians, philosophers, and religious figures have gone mad or committed suicide either trying to convert the Hebrew letters into the proper sequence of digits or else because they actually succeeded and then found their brains inadequate for controlling the knowledge and power it gave them.

      I think Hunter’s number is this Kabbalah “God number”. Hunter has it locked away inside his brain in a computer chip (if that is in fact what the neurologist sees in Hunter’s cranial X-ray in Issue #8, or maybe his brain tissue has been surgically “wired” to store the number). Anyway, he is safe from the power of this “God number” since he can’t consciously retrieve it, and the other students in the ceremony are safe from it because Hunter is reciting the digits in English, which they can no longer understand.

      I really don’t know anything about Jewish mysticism, but I have read that there are at least some Kabbalah traditions that claim numerology can be used to determine your future, based on the name that you were given when you were born and the exact time and date of your birth. (Gee, that sounds familiar!)

      In any case, the Kabbalah mystic tradition fits in well with the allegory of Plato’s cave (and, for that matter, with Bell’s theorem) in that it posits that what we perceive as reality is only a shadow of the real structure, which takes the form of nodes on a 3-column “tree” diagram. You can learn just enough to be as confused as I am about the concept by watching an 8-minute university lecture on the subject at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHc3xQd0WmQ .

    • Hey man- great column. I’m brand new to the series and have just caught up and was looking for something like this on the web. About Hunter, having binge read the series, it stood out that there were a few times that it’s mentioned that Hunter is heavy for his size, the last time being when Zoe saves him after he spazes out in that shack. The code he speaks in this issue and the way he’s shown with the cylinder make me question whether or not he’s entirely human. This also may shed some light on what the Dr. who examined him about his time issue saw in his cat scan. I think there’s a chance he may be a cyborg of some sort or something or even the cylinder itself in some kind of way.

    • If you do a Google image search for “216 digit name of god” (without quotes), you will see an increasingly bizarre and tangental series of things… Numerological conspiracy theories from Stonehenge to Teotihuacan, large primes, bible wheels, crop circles, the Pixies album with the Monkey song that was going through my head the whole time, and a couple of familiar images of the Tower of Babel… Not much of direct relevance to the comic, but enough to give you the dubious sense of a vast interconnectedness that it may be part of.

    • Jon M Wilson

      This column was hugely amazing in helping to understand the nuances of this issue. Damn, as I reread this series, your columns and podcasts have added so much to my appreciation for and understanding of what Nick and Joe are doing here.

      However, I do have to take issue with your explanation of 12 Monkeys, but only because I just watched it last night. Before the latest viewing, I was right with you, but last night it occurred to me: James Cole is not in any way trying to change the past. A running theme throughout the script is that the past has already happened, and the “loop” of young James having grown up with memories of seeing himself die only reinforces that. (Now, Dr. Hailly may have wanted to make changes, but that was not the initial mission.) Rather, James is going back to get information about how and why the virus was released, procure a sample of the virus, and get that back to his time so they can develop a cure. He’s not trying to change the past; he’s trying to learn about it. For a better future.

    • Moss

      @Matthew Meylikhov. Translating all the temple dialogue is loyalty and ingenuity beyond the beyond. I was going to quit this comic out of frustration until I joined the study hall. I know less with every comic and column and user comments but the feeling of camaraderie is sustenance for an internet geek.

    • Thy Brother

      Your satanic language can’t fool the LORD. The LORD is watching. HE knows about your wrongdoings. HE knows about your perverted adoration of Satan through this unholy writings, these filthy comic book. Comic books are nothing but the lies of Satan, an abomination in the eyes of The LORD.

      REPENT, for there is One Who is coming, One Who baptises with fire. And he will burn your filthy, satanic comic books. Your hands will go weak and numb for holding these evil books, your eyes will go blind. For The LORD will punish your sins through the fire of the Second Messiah, and then you will know that He is truly The Lord thy GOD.

      Do not read these books. They are the work of Satan.

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