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.
We are going to be continuing with the “new format” for the time being due to continued scheduling conflicts: Crit sends me all his notes and I solo-write laboriously for you about the in’s and out’s of the issue via our mutual findings. Please send me Keebler Coconut Dreams in the mail if you enjoy the write-up, as writing makes me hungry for a very specific kind of cookie.
So join me as I discuss the issue, its story and the possible hidden secrets that we may or may not be picking up on. I 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 comic debut, Enormous, now in stores and serializing here on MC! Many thanks to Tim for being fantastically awesome and providing it to us.
One more thing before we begin, as I’d like to continue to throw out this short plug:
For more details, click the image above. As for myself, I’ve got theorizing to do. Let’s kick it off:
Starting Easy: The Full Cover
Just to make things nice and easy at first, I’ve gone ahead and photoshopped the three covers to “Morning Glories” #25 together so you can see how it all looks together:
Click to embiggen that of course, but it’s nice, isn’t it? Your cast, from left to right: Abraham, Vanessa, Hunter, Irina, Nurse Nine, Lara Hodge, Hisao (Jun) Fukayama, Guillaume, Pamela, Casey Blevins, Georgina Daramount, Ian, Akiko, Susan Dagney, Reginald Gribbs, Jade, Ike, Fortunato. Wonderful work there by series cover artist Rodin Esquejo.
A Series of Repeating Images
This issue features a lot of flashbacks to events we’ve seen before, about half an issues worth. It would appear that, among other things, this issue seeks to establish a timeline of events occurring, showing us how things unfolded to bring us to where we are at the end of the season. Given the wonky timeline of the book in general, this is a great help – but, well, only to a degree. It’s not like all answers are given or anything. That’d be too kind.
As such, I’ve done my best to point out every instance revisited in this issue, as well as point out any differences should there be any new information:
- Page 1: The events of Irina being thrown out of the greenhouse was originally seen in issue #23, and the third panel featuring the guards (based on Joe’s artist friends) is taken directly from that issue. Daramount’s reaction is in reference to the shock of what had been done to her father, and the last panel is assumedly Irina’s cut up face in the glow of the fire she sits at with Fortunato in the same issue. Continued below
- Page 8: Ike arriving in his father’s office and stabbing him were events we saw in the last issue, #24, with the aftermath seen in issue #11. Casey getting the letter accepting her into the Academy was alluded to in a scene in issue #16, and Hunter standing at his mother’s grave with his acceptance letter was seen in issue #19.
- Page 9: Zoe at a funeral, assumedly that of her friend Sarah, was seen in issue #15, although who she’s there with is still a mystery. Jade in jail is from issue #17. The other two installments are new.
- Page 12: All of the events we see in on this page are from issue #1, detailing the initial sequence of Akiko, Brendan and Vanessa launching a poorly executed attack on Daramount.
- Page 13: Apparently after the planned attack, Vanessa was put in jail (explaining her orange jumpsuit in issue #19 and beyond), Akiko is given to Nurse Nine (explaining how she was found in issue #23), Brendan is dead (originally confirmed on our podcast with Nick for issue #12, but not visually confirmed before) and Casey arrives, as seen in issue #1.
- Page 16: The first two panels are a reference to Woodrun events from issue #14, and the last panel is a reference to the end of that arc in issue #19. The third panel is something we didn’t see, but assumedly happened at the same time.
- Page 17: This is a reference to the last page of #19 where Irina, Vanessa and Ian were first seen. The next three panels are all from issue #22 – the Truants and Hunter arriving in a Sumerian temple, Hisao figuring out the double cross and Hunter running away only to get shot by Irina.
- Page 18: This is a reference to the events of issue #23, with the death of Jun at the hands of David, as well as the weird occurrence that happened when David touched Akiko.
- Page 19: The first panel is a reference to issue #23’s final page, with the next two panels being events that occurred in the last issue. The final panel was one of the final moments of issue #22, where future Jade rescued Hunter.
So what can we do with all of this information? We can create a timeline!
With all the above information in mind, it would appear that this is the chronological series of events for Season One of “Morning Glories,” not including the present events of issue #25 which we’ll discuss but including anything from #25 that was shown to happen in the past:
- A long, long time ago, Abraham is told by God to sacrifice his son Isaac, which turns out to be a test. This later becomes a repeated fable and lesson in faith.
- Sometime in the second millenium BC – Hunter, Irina, Vanessa, Guillaume, Hisao and Ian arrive in a Sumerian temple, most likely the same temple that is known more commonly as the Tower of Babel (or in this case, Etemenanki) and interact with a Sumerian priest as part of an unknown ritual.
- 1490 – Somewhere at what appears to be a monastery of sorts, a dark haired woman is held captive (in robes torn but similar to the robes later seen at the Academy) and has a discussion in Spanish with a mysterious stranger on the other side of the wall who has written “the hour of our release draws near” all over the wall.
- 1693 – During the Salem Witch Trials, a woman named Mary is interrogated by a man (assumedly of the church) about her future visions while the man she love is crushed beneath stones. She details the events of Woodrun, albeit in slightly obtuse terminology due to not fully understanding what she sees.
- 1760 – Benjamin Gerhardt designs a monastery that would later become Morning Glory Academy, although it remained a monastery for over two centuries.
- 1964 – John Stewart Bell writes “On the Einstein Podolsky Rosen paradox,” showing that reality must be non-local.
- Roughly 30 some odd years ago, Georgina Daramount is born.
- 25 years ago, Lara Hodge is born and something strange is done to her mother.
- 20 years ago, a young Lara and Georgina are attacked by a strange homeless man named Ted who is rambling about people being held underground while they are playing on their grounds, although they’re protected from any violence by Susan Dagney and quickly responding guards. Continued below
- 16 years ago, the mysterious (and potentially Biblical) Abraham visits his newborn son in the hospital, assumedly baby Ike, and is driven away in a car by Reginald Gribbs, who appears to be his friend. On the same day, Casey Blevins, Hunter, Zoe, Jade, Hisao and Jun Fukayama, Irina, Akiko, Fortunato, Guillaume, Ian, Brendan and Vanessa are also born, all on the same day – May 4th.
- 14 years ago, the Academy purchases the monastery Gerhardt designed and turns it into a school (according to information given by Casey in issue #1, although we’ve since seen previous events with the Headmaster’s daughters occurring on campus grounds before this making the purchase date potentially inaccurate). Around this time, a now teenage Hodge and Daramount are educated by Dagney, particularly about how important it is to love their father. In the night, Hodge is visited by a time traveling Vanessa, who has traveled back in time from some point in the future and takes her to a cave that we will later learn is similar to Plato’s cave. Vanessa teaches her about how to time travel so that Lara can see her mother, and Lara responds by killing Vanessa for her father. Dagney becomes the first teacher of the first class at the Academy, while Lara’s role is a bit unstated (though we later see her as the guidance counselor).
- 13 years ago, young Zoe is found in Mumbai, India by Abraham. Casey and Hodge arrive in the past outside of a military base in an undetermined location, where they are taken into custody by soldiers under orders from Casey’s father. Lara helps Casey escape, then travels from the base to some strange underground and somewhat nuclear-radiated time travel device, moving her to what we know as the present. Before Casey leaves, she alters her father’s memories, then catches a plane to an unknown location. Meanwhile, a young Guillaume is brought to Abraham’s camp.
- 10 years ago, Abraham comes home to find his wife cheating on him with Raul, yet ignores their infidelity and instead visits young Ike, telling him about the story of Abraham and Isaac, its relationship to keeping faith, and doing his best to explain why he’s not around often enough.
- 7 years ago, the Academy becomes established as one of the most respected prep academies in the country – although which country is perhaps up for debate. Somewhere at an unnamed location, presumably a military base, young Casey trains with her father.
- 6 years ago, a young Hunter is approached by Abraham and given a watch. Abraham also takes his son Ike to Coney Island before disappearing at the behest of Dagney and the Headmaster, leaving his son abandoned.
- 5 years ago, Daramount and Gribbs visit the home of the Fukayamas, kidnapping Jun (who becomes Hisao) and killing the boy’s mother, lighting the house on fire as they leave. Hisao (who becomes Jun) is saved by Abraham from the burning home.
- 4 years ago, a young Hisao trains at Abraham’s compound in the desert and has an innocent little relationship with a young Guillaume before Guillaume, Vanessa, Fortunato, Akiko, Ian and Irina are sent away to prepare for induction into Morning Glory Academy as sleeper agents.
- 3 years ago, Jade’s mother and Jade get in a car crash after Jade is picked up from soccer practice. Jade’s mother dies.
- 2 years ago, the Truants are enrolled at the Academy. Vanessa meets Brendan, Irina fails to kill the Headmaster and subsequently goes into hiding, officially bailing on her role as a student although not implicating any of her conspirators. Abraham bails Ike out of jail after Ike sets fire to one of the family’s facilities.
- 1 year ago, Daramount and her crew find and burn down Abraham’s school, taking him into custody. Zoe catches her friend Sarah and her teacher playing rape games and kills the teacher. Hunter’s mother suffers from cancer and he suffers from an inability to stay on time for anything. Ike murders his father Abraham when he finds out he is not in his father’s will, is helped cover up the murder by his father, is arrested but immediately released, attends his father’s funeral in a party bus and takes over his father’s company. Continued below
- In between this and the next bullet point, Casey receives acceptance to the Academy, though her father initially does not allow her to attend. Hunter’s mother dies and he misses her funeral due to his strange affliction, but also receives entry to the Academy. Hunter also receives a cat scan from Doctor Ingram who is threatened not to reveal the shocking results of his test. Jade is bailed out of jail by her brother after setting a fire on someone’s property. Zoe murders her friend Sarah and smugly attends her funeral. Hisao hides abroad. (It is safe to assume that the other students also receive some kind of entrance to the Academy during this period, although we never see how or when.)
- One month before the events known as “now,” after months of hiding, the Truants (Vanessa, Ian, Fortunato, Akiko, Guillaume and now Brendan, whom Vanessa recruited) plan an attack to save Abraham, which is detailed in the opening sequence of issue #1. Brendan is killed by the mysterious David, Akiko is drugged and placed in the basement and Vanessa is put in prison. At the same time, the Glories (Casey, Ike, Zoe, Hunter, Jade and Jun) head to and arrive at the Academy, and Casey’s father has a headache induced by the effects of Casey’s time travel.
- The start of “Now” (sometime at least post-May 23rd, 2010 due to Hunter’s reference of the finale of LOST, although in an unspecified year), the first arc begins: the kids learn the school is weird, are distanced from their parents (with Casey’s parents ending up dead), being put in detention for various reasons (including the events of issue #9 that reveals the Fukayama relationship), Jade being taken by Nine (and having the strange drug-induced dream seen in issue #10) and meeting Megan while the others attempt to rescue her, ultimately being betrayed by Ike. This perhaps represents the first week or so at the school.
- At some point around the time of the Glories’ arrival on campus, Irina forms a plan for the Truants to rescue Abraham and kill Ike.
- The second arc begins, featuring the series of character vignettes – Zoe almost joining the cheerleading squad but murdering Amanda, Hunter and Casey having the worst of dating luck and more students ending up dead, Ike being rewarded for betraying the Glories in the first arc before being reunited with his father, Hodge arriving at the school after traveling from the past and introducing herself to the Glories – roughly filling out the rest of the month in terms of events.
- About a month after the kids arrive at the school, the events of the third arc — the Woodrun — begin. During Woodrun, Zoe, Hunter and Jun disappear in time. Ike, Casey, Lara Hodge and Jade journey to Plato’s cave, where Casey and Lara go back in time. Jade and Ike hang out in the cave for a bit, are captured by guards and taken to meet with Gribbs and Abraham, whom Gribbs has just tried to kill using David. Ike shoots Gribbs and demands answers from Abraham. Meanwhile, Miss Daramount is lashed by her father because of the missing children, and is taken in by her sister and nursed back to health.
- At some point between then and soon, Julie Hayes is taught to love science by her father, graduates from college, goes to work for her father and (assumedly) creates what we now know as the Cylinder.
- At some point, Jade grows up and takes charge of the Academy’s future, which is in bad shape due to some previous event and has also acquired Hayes’ Cylinder.
- At some point in the future but a week before the events of the next bullet point, Julie Hayes is on the run from the Chinese during what sounds to be wartime, and is approached by Doctor Ellsworth (aka future Jade) with a job offer.
- At some point in the undetermined future, Zoe, Hunter and Hisao arrive in the future with other students from the Academy. Zoe and Hunter wind up on their own, and then after a small misunderstanding between Hunter and Zoe over the body of a girl named Maggie, Irina, Ian and Vanessa (whom Irina and Ian rescue at some point after arriving in the future) show up just in time to stop Zoe from killing Hunter. Hisao, having separated from Hunter and Zoe earlier, reunites with childhood beau Guillaume, and the two fool around in the ruins of the school, and Jun arrives to perform a ceremony to fix the timeline while Guillaume and Hisao leave to meet up with Irina’s crew. Fortunato rescues Akiko from the basement of the Academy and fires a signal flare for the rest of the Truants, who now go back in time to ancient Sumeria. Jun is killed by David while Fortunato and Akiko watch, and Akiko sacrifices herself to David. Hunter returns and meets with future Jade. The rest of the Truants return and Hisao leaves to save his brother from the ceremony. Continued below
- The events of issue #25.
There’s also the matter of the first page of “Morning Glories,” featuring a man reading a note that says “For a better future” in what would appear to be a hospital. No idea when to fit that into the timeline. Most of the events in issue #10 aren’t gone into detail, due to the dream-like nature of the issue, including Jade’s visit to a strange lab and the location from 1490. This timeline also doesn’t properly reflect Casey flashing back through time in issue #13, where we see a war, the man from Jade’s lab, men in a bath house, a man stabbing another man, a young girl crying in a closet, pyramids being built, (what I assume is) Rome burning, a waitress in a diner and a crowd throwing stones.
But, well, it’s a start, right?
Update: @upguntha on Twitter points out that my timeline can be wrong in regards to Vanessa. It is never shown how Vanessa is captured, so it is entirely possible that when she disappears in #1, she actually goes to time travel to her appearance in #20. It is also possible that when she got bashed in the head with a rock, she didn’t die (which is what we assumed), but rather was knocked unconscious and then imprisoned, only to be later freed by Ian and Irina. There are only two real inconsistencies here, one being that in “Morning Glories” #25 we see Vanessa imprisoned immediately after the events of the attack without a bandage under her eye (either an error or the implication that whatever caused that injury hasn’t happened yet) and how Vanessa would have survived so long in the past without aging only to be rescued in the future (unless she was sent forward in time to be imprisoned, or that time doesn’t matter?), but it’s a great theory none the less and certainly more optimistic about Vanessa’s future. Lara is still dubious and untrustworthy, though.
Houses on Fire
One recurring element in “Morning Glories” is things on fire. Hisao’s house burned down, both Jade and Ike were arrested for starting fires, and as a test the Truants’ detention session featured them trapped in a room on fire. Now, in a scene set a year before the current events of the book, Abraham’s camp is ablaze as he returns to it from some unknown event.
A few things are important here. The first is that as Abraham arrives, he calls out for a few characters, such as Art and Olivia whom he finds dead and dying, but most noticeably for young Hisao. It seems important to remind you here that Hisao is the child he rescued from a burning building, so his angst at Hisao’s absence seems like a noticeably big deal on multiple levels. We’ll later see Hisao in the issue in some kind of interim place, but it would seem clear that Abraham didn’t send him out there, an idea which is made a bit more valid due to the fact that Abraham calls for Megan, whom you may remember from “Morning Glories” #3 as the bald girl who helps Jade down in the basement. This may explain how she got there, but where is Hisao? Did he escape the flames on his own? Did he, Megan and the mysterious Walid (whom Abraham also calls for) go on an adventure, split up and/or get captured later? Or is something else amiss?
And speaking of missing people, where is Miss Richmond? We know very little about her, other than she’s a teacher at this school and is potentially related to Vanessa due to a panel from issue #21 featuring Richmond’s dismay that Vanessa was being sent away. But perhaps there’s something to that — do you suppose that she perhaps betrayed Abraham in some fashion, leading to the school being burned down, due to some kind of disagreement or the loss of her daughter? Granted, we’ve seen Daramount at the school before (or whom we assumed was Daramount from the visible bob back in issue #18, which a line from Abraham – “we have an agreement!” – would seem to confirm this), but Richmond’s lack of appearance is one of those things that we have to take note of. (More on Daramount’s role in a bit.)Continued below
Oh, and Olivia refers to Abraham as “father,” which is the same name that the Daramount and Hodge give to the Headmaster. We don’t know if Abraham is actually Olivia’s father to the same degree that we don’t know if Daramount and Hodge are actually the daughters of the Headmaster. Some interesting similarities there, although nothing we haven’t openly speculated upon in the past.
The other thing to think about in this sequence is how often we’ve talked about a school burning down in this column. It’s one of the most prevalent theories we have, actually – that Casey will burn down the school. And now we have Abraham’s “school” on fire, having been set ablaze by Daramount, whom we’ve theorized Casey may grow up to eventually emulate. It’s almost like Nick is just toying with us now, isn’t it? Somebody call Prodigy, we’ve got a good opportunity for a dance-punk soundtrack!
Miss Daramount as Richard Dawkins, and More about Fire
As Abraham comes out of the flames, Daramount and a squad of goons await him, teasing him with her words and immediately taking him into some form of custody. A few things from what she says shines a lot of light on a few situations. First, missing children (Hisao not withstanding, Megan assumedly involved) are being taken to the school to “continue” their “education.” Second, whatever Nurse Nine does directly involves this, which would seem to imply that what the fluid that resides in her needles and what you may see when your eyes were opened are the direct result of some kind of drug-induced hypnotism or related brain washing. Three, Abraham is indeed attempting to infiltrate the Academy (resulting in the Academy’s violent response here), which is something we’ve been theorizing about for a long time, although for what purpose and who is the “good guy” in this situation is still relatively murky.
There’s always more to these things than just what we get at a surface level, though. Take, for instance, the following: we know that there’s religious imagery in the book, right? Spencer and Eisma haven’t exactly been subtle about it (Abraham and Ike, etc). So it’s probably important to take note that there is a story in the bible involving Abraham coming out of flames, albeit a mistranslated one. You can read more about it here, but the fact that Abraham goes into a burning building and comes out unharmed calling for God seems more than just one of those throwaway moments where a person in trouble just calls out for a higher power. While Spencer has (I believe) stated in the past that there is a mix of religious aspects within the book, this one instance in particular seems rather on the nose in terms of the book’s thematic debate of the place of faith — which, if you’ll remember, was a huge central focus of the last issue. Daramount laughs at Abraham for this, for calling to God when he should know better, but the fact that Abraham does call to some kind of deity does imply a larger scope and importance to the religious overtones of the book.
Not only that, but Daramount refers to Abraham as an “old man.” Not for nothing, but they look to be about the same age, don’t they? It could be a turn of phrase, ort could be a very specific chastisement, because what if the relationship between Abraham and Ike and the biblical Abraham and Isaac isn’t just happy coincidence, and Abraham is much older than he appears to be? Every time we see him he seems to be about the same – never older, never younger. A comparison to Richard Alpert from LOST seems perhaps apt here, no?
Theres also the matter of a certain set of rules that Daramount alludes to. She states that the Headmaster said Abraham’s life is his to keep, so in the last issue when Gribbs failed to use David to kill Abraham, this would assumedly be why David was unable to do any damage to him. Possibly. Keep this in the back of your head, though, as it’s central to a theory I’ll present later in the column.
The general implication of this scene, though, is that Abraham and the Headmaster — whomever he may be — are old rivals of sorts, perhaps in the same sense that Magneto and Xavier are frenemies. And whatever came to pass, certain rules were made that stand in place to keep a peace between the two of them, but Abraham went against those rules. This would, for all intents and purposes, make it seem like Abraham is the bad guy. Not only that, but since we know that Abraham was involved with people currently at the Academy in the past (his relationship with Dagney and Gribbs from last issue, and that Gribbs seemed to work for Abraham) yet now he’s sending children to infiltrate the Academy, it would seem to me that this whole situation is generally implying that Abraham was kicked out of the school or whatever organization may truly be behind it, and he is now trying to fight his way back in — which would, again, make it seem like he’s the bad guy. And what we’re seeing now is the Headmaster saying “not in my house.”Continued below
Daramount also notes that they (assumedly the Academy) will be taking his son. So the question is, which one? The school has David and apparently uses him as a security system of sorts. In the last issue, we saw that Abraham had a photo of himself with a young child, who we speculated was David, and Gribbs has referred to David as Abraham’s son. With Daramount stating that the school will take the children that didn’t die in the fire, is it possible that they took David during this time and did some sort of experiment with him to turn him into what he is (perhaps related to the Cylinder)? This could conceivably answer some elements of his otherwise unanswered relationship with Zoe, given that we know she has some kind of relationship to Abraham and his strange school/camp. Abraham didn’t call out for David when he arrived, just Hisao, Megan and Walid, and the school also visibly seduced Ike, so either one is fair. My money is on David, though.
We’ll talk a lot about Ike’s relationship with the school later, though.
Last but not least, Daramount says “there is no end to this” to Abraham, which, if you’ve been paying attention to solicits, seems to be a new recurring idea — no end, no beginning. We’ll touch on this lightly throughout this week’s column when it’s all referred to as a game, but this just seems to further the notion that everything we’re currently seeing has happened before and will happen again indefinitely, a prevalent theory Crit and I have made known we believe in during MGA Study Hall.
However, one tricky aspect (in a sea of tricky aspects) is that Daramount notes that they had to work to find his camp. Given that Daramount assumedly knew about the location of the compound, that she had been at his school and knew about the infiltrating members (based on what we saw and/or assumed we saw in issue #18), something seems amiss about that line of dialogue. In fact, it doesn’t make any kind of sense, unless … well… what if there’s another Daramount? Or someone that dresses just like her? … Lets not open that can of worms just yet.
Oh, THERE’S Hisao
It’s a blink and you’ll miss it moment (kind of), but apparently Hisao, in the wake of Abraham’s compound being destroyed, went to Paris — which we can infer since he’s looking out his window at what looks to be the Eiffel Tower and given that Guillaume is a French name, meaning it’s probably safe to say that he went to Paris in order to find him since Guillaume left the compound years ago and Hisao wouldn’t know that Guillaume is at the school already. True love.
At least, I assume he’s in Paris and that that is the Eiffel Tower. Given that the tower is surrounded by buildings and the Eiffel Tower in real life is not, he could also be in Las Vegas looking at the Paris casino (unlikely) or in Tokyo looking at the Tokyo Tower (most likely that, given the red coloring of the structure). But I want him to be in Paris.
I just want there to be some happiness in the book, OK?
But Where is Irina? and, On Superpowers or More
First off, two quick notes. Earlier, I did my best to lay out the timeline of the book and the events that we’ve seen. During a large period of the book (two years), Irina was missing, because she was “blowing up shrines.” This strikes me as an important piece of dialogue, although I’m not sure what more I can pull from this than just that. You’ll forgive me if I focus on a few more complex sequences this column, but that seems like a line that shouldn’t be ignored. What shrines are on campus, and what does Irina get out of blowing them up? Is it just her version of sport or something?
Also, I’d like to point out that Vanessa has a phone of sorts in the scene where the Truants congregate, which seems a bit amiss. I’m not sure what can be additionally extrapolated from this, though.Continued below
Anyway, after failing to kill the Headmaster, Irina goes into hiding on campus. And, as it turns out, Irina can float — and that’s a big deal. Now, Nick has said on our podcast that the kids do not have superpowers or even special abilities. I’ve personally put him up to task on Casey’s mind control abilities, Jade’s mental time travel-y adventures, Zoe’s split personalities and more, under the assumption that these are their “powers” a la the X-Men rather than some manipulation of science or magic. Maybe not on the scale that your average comic has superpowers, but just something to set them aside and make them special in a way that no others are. And Nick said, point blank, that this isn’t the case.
Nick is clearly lying.
It’s a bit hard to come up with any other explanation for her abilities. Some googling does bring up a few biblical passages, though, as a sign of the Devil attempting to seduce you with wild abilities (Matthew 7:13-15, “Enter in through the narrow gate; because wide is the gate, and broad is the way which leads to destruction, and many are those who enter in through it.How narrow the gate, and confined the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it! But beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.” and Matthew 24:24 “For false christs and false prophets will be raised up, and they will show great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”) It’s also “possible” through transcendental meditation to float (possible in quotes because, well, it’s not) or yogic flying, and when your body floats upward it is a sign of great clarity of consciousness, energy, exhilaration, and unboundedness.
So, OK. Either Nick is lying, or Irina just had a mental breakthrough. Both make sense, don’t they?
“The game is all there is.”
I don’t know, guys. Either Nick wanted to reference the Wire, or our previously mentioned theory about how what we’re seeing has happened before and will happen again in cycles is true. Your call.
In the meantime, I’ll go ahead and get to the good stuff.
All the Hunter Stuff, aka Hunter For Headmaster!
So, when we last saw Hunter he was with Future Jade, although he didn’t know it was her. As it turns out, he thought she was a teacher. Oh, Hunter!
He complains to her that he’d been shot, but she quickly gets him to take a look at it and reveal that just the opposite is true – there’s blood, but there’s no wound. There’s a couple possibilities here. The obvious one is that Hunter has some kind of healing ability like Wolverine. The less obvious one would be that this is in relation to the same uncanny ability that Miss Daramount has in her inability to get hurt, no matter how many times she gets blown up (something that Nick has denied as a power, but lets just continue on the stream of thought that he’s lying to us when he says there are no powers). The other and more complicated possibility is that because he was shot in the far off past, the time travel aspect allowed the wound to heal at some sort of uncanny rate, or that seeing as he was shot as he was running out the door, there was some sort of glitch in the matrix and the bullet’s impact was skewed by the time travel.
Or, I suppose, Jade could have healed him, which is what Hunter believes (and, again, would insinuate the existence of some kind of power). I suppose that could be true as well, if you want to take things at face value. But that’s clearly not what we do here!
Jade leads Hunter to the above curious location, which seems like a stage of sorts. It’s full of strange elements – an upside down bag of leaves, suspended in mid-air; a desk set sideways against the boards, with what looks to be a fishbowl full of muck or some other kind of dark substance; a worn door on the left, presumably to nowhere; a circle, saying “stand here.” This somewhat seems like Spencer and Eisma’s version of the Black/White Lodge’s Red Room from Twin Peaks, an extradimensional place that exists at a crossroads of uncanny power. Or, that’s what it seems like at least in that it’s a curious location with no known explanation at the moment, just a very curiously designed set-up that seems too specific to not be important to the fabric of the show.Continued below
However, my theory on all of this would be that this is the future equivalent of where the Truants went to in issue #22, the Sumerian temple. The main clue here is the “stand here” circle; in the past, Hunter had to step on a pedestal to unlock his magic binary powers, which did something (the greater extent of which we’re unaware) that the Truants needed in relation to Irina’s plans to “rescue Abraham.” Given that they had to travel back in time to a holy place, a place of some kind of perceived power based on the layout of the room, it’s perhaps safe to assume that this is something similar. Jade tells Hunter that he built this, and it’s perhaps possible that at some point in the past Hunter built this set-up to operate as a place of power for him to activate his ability, in order to do whatever it is he does in the future that helps his friends stranded across time. It is, after all, a stage; perhaps he needed some kind of specific string of activating memories (the upside down bag, the worn door, et al) in order to properly call up his ones and zeroes?
The line of “Who built this stuff?” “You did.” could also be indication that my theory that Hunter is the Headmaster is correct, assuming that Jade’s line about him building “this” is in reference not to just this stage. Lets assume that Hunter is the Headmaster for now, then, because that’s fun: if the Headmaster is indeed some kind of computer (as we’ve theorized in the past) and Hunter has some kind of computerized aspect to him (or something of the sort, which we’ve seen in the past), the two could intertwine, given certain knowledge of events, to create a safety measure in the future that is this stage. With all the time travel involved, generally anything is possible, and it wouldn’t seem to far off to think that in the future, Hunter created a series of events within the timeline of this book that allowed him to do something to save his friends. After all, “Morning Glories” is a bit of a chess match – pieces being manipulated by unseen figures for an outcome of “winning” a game. Hunter is just as capable of being the man on the other side of the board opposite Abraham, assuming Abraham is a main player and not a pawn.
The ultimate point being: Hunter is special. Hunter being Headmaster could explain a lot. The issue’s solicit reads “8:13”, and while I can’t find any specific instance of the time here in this issue, that clue and this sequence with Hunter is clearly momentously important.
Whatever it was he did, though, knocked the floating bag out of the air (and from his left to his right, assuming he stayed in one position and didn’t rotate or something), caused some streaks across the sky (which we still don’t know what they are, although I think a safe bet to make at this point is that they represent people traveling through time based on their appearance in issue #10 and issue #16 – perhaps the streaks are the people?) and apparently caused Casey to come out of the cave she entered in issue #13 and did not exit in issue #16. So the question is this: did Hunter reset an aspect of the timeline and bring Casey to that cave? Or did Casey return there of her own volition after whatever adventure she went on at the end of issue #16? That will most likely be answered in issue #26, I’d wager, as this is our first cliffhanger of the issue.
All the Truant Stuff, aka Ike for Headmaster!
One half of the Truant gang come out of the woods to see the fire in the sky as a result of Akiko and David touching, only to reveal that this was not part of the plan. What that did truly is still unknown, beyond sending up some kind of massive incursion in the sky, but the curious aspect of it all is that Irina seems to not only know what it is but also not to care too much. As it turns out, it has very little to do with her plans: she’s here to kill Ike, and that’s about the gist of it. You see, Irina has had her eyes opened, something that hasn’t happened to the rest of the gang yet, and while I’m not sure what way Irina is referring to – whether this is the “eyes being opened” you get after being injected with Nurse Nine’s needles or just the fact that she’s aware of more of what’s going on after her confrontation with the Headmaster – there’s a lot to be extrapolated upon based on her need to kill Ike.Continued below
You see, Irina’s insistence that Ike be killed could potentially be a clue that he is the Headmaster. Maybe the way to save Abraham is to take away his enemy, and if his enemy is the Headmaster and the Headmaster is Ike then this would be a massive timeline reset that could result in her “saving the world,” similar to what I just theorized about for Hunter’s role in this issue. I like Hunter as the Headmaster a bit more (if this was all just part of Ike’s inheritance or potential inheritance, it all seems a bit easy), bu the new evidence for Ike being the Headmaster is much more compelling than Hunter’s Guy Trying To Save Friends Through Time theory.
Why? Well, Abraham did talk about how he was attempting to groom Ike for some kind of role. We’d assumed that this meant taking over Abraham’s organization that acts against the school, but what if the difference isn’t so grand? In fact, perhaps that’s what all the conflict is about? We believe, as discussed earlier, that the Headmaster and Abraham butted heads about the ownership of the school, which Abraham (with his potential ties to the biblical Abraham) perhaps felt was his right to own. Abraham was kicked out, his life ultimately spared, but he sent spies to infiltrate the school in order to get it back so he could bequeath it to his son from the usurper. Irina is aware of this (which I’ll show how in a minute), and since the Academy already has one of his sons, David, taking his other son Ike out of the equation would seemingly just end all the battles. Like going back in time and stopping Hitler before he came to power.
Ike being the Headmaster would also explain why Abraham isn’t allowed to die – if Abraham dies, Ike would cease to exist (Back to the Future rules), which could cause a paradox in the grand scheme of events, but as we know the laws of time travel aren’t so simple. Then again, a paradox could be exactly what Irina wants in order to save the world: reset everything. And Abraham seems unwilling to do the job himself according to Irina, so perhaps Abraham’s attempts to raise Ike as a good boy was in order to prevent a Dark Timeline, in which Evil Future Ike is the Headmaster of the school and all of this bad stuff happens.
After all, wouldn’t that clear up the events that took place in the greenhouse between the Headmaster and Irina? Irina goes in, fights a mysterious figure and then talks about how “he” deceived her, how “the devil” lied to her. If that “he” and “the devil” refers to Abraham, which is a huge possibility since Irina doesn’t seem to really like Abraham (especially not since her eyes are opened), then his deceiving her would mean that he didn’t tell her that the Headmaster was his son. And now, to prevent that boy from growing up to become the evil Headmaster, she’s going to kill him in the past. Perhaps that what her big floating moment of clarity was about.
Not only that, but if Ike does grow up to be Headmaster, and we know (assume) that he has some kind of relationship with Jade based on her comments in the future and their current interactions, it would conceivably explain why in the future Jade is in charge of the school. Ike is nowhere to be seen and we don’t quite know why (Time traveling? Turned into a machine? Dead?), but future Jade asking young Jade about Ike and the interactions we see between the two of them do imply a greater connection that could result in a Headmaster who bequeaths the school to the love of his life.
Ike being Headmaster could also potentially explain some elements we’ll discuss in the section about the events surround him in the issue, but that’s the big theory coming out of the issue: Ike is the Headmaster, and everything is his fault.
There are a few more remaining threads for the Truants, though. Hisao’s brother, the real Jun who we knew as Hisao originally, is dead, although his ability to still be alive while having holes in his head and potentially through his brain is uncanny. Jun’s dying comments, however, reveal that he was indeed brainwashed by the school; that he was not suddenly a heartless “bad guy,” but rather a victim of whatever kind of mind control the school manages to assert over its students. That’s key information that seems to match up with what was said about Nurse Nine earlier, although it does bring up the question of how the Glories and the Truants managed to not get brainwashed during all their time at the school. After all, the Truants encountered kids similar to the Glories when they first arrived; perhaps their association with Abraham allowed for some sort of resistance to the Academy’s power?Continued below
Meanwhile, Fortunato carries Akiko’s body out of the basement, which would seem to confirm that she is also indeed dead given how motionless she is for the rest of the book. Sorry, Akiko fans. But an interesting bit of dialogue does sort of skew one element of the book: Fortunato states that Akiko tried to “save him,” and that the sacrifice failed. The question is, who is the “he” in this sentence? It’s probably safe to say that the sacrifice is Jun at this point (although I hate confirming anything at this book, because after 25 issues I’ve realized it only takes 1 additional issue to prove me wrong about any theory or idea), but who was Akiko trying to save: Jun or David? It doesn’t seem like Akiko would have tried to save Jun – he died and then she acted – but if the Truants knew David at the camp, which is a prevalent theory, then they/she might want to de-ghost him. Perhaps what Akiko did was her trying to save him, and the interaction between their bodies and whatever power Akiko may have potentially done something for David, which resulted in her dead beyond just ghost hands going through her.
However, it’s clear why they needed the sacrifice to happen: in order to fix the timeline they messed up in the first place by bringing all the kids to the future ruins of the Academy. And it didn’t work, as Guillaume will state, because now their placement in time and when they’ll return is in flux. This is important for a reason we’ll talk about soon.
Never the less, Irina runs down into the basement (into a hallway that suspiciously looks like the hallway where Zoe murdered Amanda in issue #7), everything around her begins to go white, which is most likely related to Hunter’s actions in the future, and this brings us directly to…
All the Ike Stuff, aka (Arguably) the Biggest Headfuck of Issue #25
The last time we saw Ike (in the last issue), he was demanding answers at gun point, which seemed a cute little nod from Joe and Nick to their fans (a similar joke is present in this issue between Hunter and future Jade). However, Abraham of course does not deliver any answers because he is trying to warn Ike of Irina’s impending arrival. Ike simply responds by locking the door, and when push comes to shove he demands to know how Abraham survived his murder. This brings us back to references from issue #11, where a second Abraham helped Ike figure out what to do after Ike murdered Abraham, which Abraham “explains” by dropping the biggest bomb of the issue: that that hasn’t happened yet.
Ike had been complaining about gaps in his memory and issues remembering the events that happened between his father and he (which would seem perhaps to relate to Casey’s father’s headache in issue #16 after meeting his daughter in the past and then realizing this when sending her off to school, although Ike’s memory resurgence is much more violent), let alone how it all made sense which we’ll get to. Suddenly we see a litany of things:
- Chains everywhere, perhaps metaphorical ones that Ike’s memory is trying to break out of. Or they’re a literal reference to the chains around Abraham, but come on, we’re playing in the brain here! It’s a metaphor, fool!
- Future Jade’s assistant Alicia Wyatt (see: issue #6) surrounded by hooded men similar to those we’ve seen at the school for the ceremony or in Jade’s dream, now in what would appear to be some kind of masquerade masks (more on this in a bit) repeating the “so we created our own gods” line which was heard originally in issue #10 when Jade was hallucinating/dreaming. Given the new connection here to Alicia thus creating a tangible connection to future Jade, this would appear to mean that at some point in the future, the people behind the Academy created whatever rules the Academy now and sent back in time (which seems possible due to the Sumerian priest acknowledging the Truants as having been there before, implying things from the future get sent into the past with modern technology, thus “creating gods”). Continued below
- Ike in a pit of snakes, which is most likely a reference to an ancient European torture “device” or sorts, as seen in legends and fairy tales as a possible execution method. Or an Indiana Jones reference. Ike hates snakes!
- An angry barking dog. I have no idea.
- Ike tearing at his face and bleeding. This appears to be all mental, as we’ll later see him with no injuries or blood around him, so it seems safe to assume that Ike had some memories tampered with and that all of this coming out now because of Abraham is creating this violent reaction as his brain tries to make sense of all of this — and fails.
- Jade with a wound similar to Zoe’s when Zoe got shot. This would match well with Irina’s appearance in a few panels, although I would assume it’s also not real. Then again, she is missing in the rest of the sequence, so you never know.
- A gambling man, rolling dice on the second round of some bet. I have as many ideas about this as I do the dog.
And then Irina shows up. But lets quickly back up.
First, the easier bit to discuss: the masks. The closest thing this resembles, as I said, is a type of masquerade mask worn at various balls, which you probably guessed if you’ve seen any period piece film ever that featured a masquerade ball. However, thanks to the most random of remembrances, I recalled the episode of An Idiot Abroad series 3 in which Warwick Davis and Karl Pilkington where the two attend a masquerade ball in Venice — and, wouldn’t you know it, a search for Venetian masquerade masks on Amazon revealed that this style of mask is called a Volto mask, also known as a “larva” mask from the Latin word of “mask” or “ghost.” And, while it took a while to find (fifth page on a search for “venetian volto mask“), the one used here appears to be a Volto Losanghe mask. Beyond the connection to ghosts and Venice, I can’t find any particular translation of what “Losanghe” means or how it can influence the title here, but I probably just made the life of a few cosplayers a little bit easier.
The pose of the guy in the back is a bit beyond me as well. “So we created our own gods! Come at us, bro!”
Ok. Lets talk about the big part of this scene, with Abraham’s bombshell of a reveal. Moving away from the “what the what?!” aspect of it all, it does offer us a huge insight into the last issue. Abraham being drunk and defeated in the last issue, having placed a will on the table in front of him seemed rather odd; this guy seems in charge most of the time, even when chained up in a basement. What would bring Abraham down to such a low point? We assumed that it was probably involved in the battle between Abraham and the Headmater (which, remember, is maybe Ike), but what if it’s bigger than that? What if Abraham knew he had to die, and the only way he could do it was getting drunk enough to be able to take the pain?
After all, that’s the implication, isn’t it? While talking to Ike here in the cell, Abraham doesn’t seem phased by the fact that he’s been murdered by his son, even though it hasn’t actually happened yet. It implies that Abraham knew, and that’s why the will and the special (potentially sacrificial, since a sacrifice is always demanded) knife were laid out so perfectly alongside a photo that would conceivably trigger Ike’s rage. And if the theory about Ike being the Headmaster, or at least that Ike has the potential to become the nefarious being known as the Headmaster that results in Irina doing her best to kill him, it would seem that this is all just part of the game — and even though he has to die, Abraham’s going to do his best to save his son one last chance before it’s too late.
Or, put simply: Abraham is in a war against his son, who grows up to become the Headmaster. Abraham does his best to teach Ike to grow up to be a good man, nature vs. nurture, but Ike’s destiny prevents this, leading Abraham to resign to his fate and have his son kill him. However, with this knowledge, Abraham goes back in time to try and repeatedly save his son from growing up to be the Headmaster, thus creating the infinite loop where there is no beginning, there is no end and all there is is the game. But Irina becomes aware of this and decides that nature vs. nurture won’t work, and the only way to stop all of this is to kill Ike before he becomes the Headmaster, thus negating the need for the infinite loop of actions.Continued below
So what we’re essentially seeing in this scene is some of Abraham’s actions in order to keep his son blind to his future. Ike’s nature would be to become the Headmaster, but Abraham’s attempt to nurture him him to be a better man involves keeping certain memories locked up tight so that Ike doesn’t become aware of who he is or what he’s capable of. Except it doesn’t work, because it can’t work and it won’t ever work. There is no beginning. There is no end. You get it.
At the very least, this theory would go a long way to clear up some of the headaches that thinking about all the time travel in this book causes.
So Irina races down her hallway and through a door that became engulfed in a white light, a light very similar to what we’d seen when Hunter did his magic in his special circle. The white light has become the recurring visual for time travel in the book, such as when the Truants time traveled back to the Sumerian temple, and is a clear indicator that Irina traveled back in time – which, of course, makes sense because she was in the future and Ike and Abraham are not. The question, though, is whether or not Hunter sent her back in time, the sacrifice (or failure to create one) sent her back in time (remember, Guillaume stated that they “can’t know when they’ll go back”) or something through her own powers.
Either way, it doesn’t stop her from firing off her gun in the issue’s second major cliffhanger.
Who did she shoot? Was it Ike, to stop him from becoming the Headmaster? Was it Jade, who was not seen at all post-mental breakdown? Was it Abraham, who I don’t think Irina particularly likes much? Smart money is on Ike, but in the words of the gambling man from Ike’s breakdown, I’ll take the best two out of three.
The Problems with Timelines
The last thing I want to talk about before this epic session of Study Hall ends is Abraham’s bombshell, the “this didn’t happen yet” line. As you saw earlier, I did my best to create some kind of timeline of events for “Morning Glories” as we perceive them. Yet, as we all know when taking into consideration things where time travel is involved, that’s pretty much impossible; it’s not that easy to create a straight line through a tangle. Now with the whole “this didn’t happen yet” thing… well, it only gets harder to figure out. Assuming we can take it out of the context of just that one instance between Abraham and Ike, of course — assuming we can take that line and use it in reference to the school itself.
So lets take into a consideration a few things. We now know that glowing white light means time travel, and that streaks in the sky are perhaps related to that. However, what I want you to think back on is issue #12, where we first met Lara. When she arrived at the school, she walked through some kind of gate that was glowing white, and we had assumed it meant that she was passing through some kind of gate to the school which was located in some kind of underground bio-dome or something. Later, in issue #16, we figured out that she actually traveled through time, having gone through that time gate a decade ago. So when we see things going white, it means people are moving through time, if there was any doubt in your mind.
It is with this in mind that it is perhaps safe to assume that the school, whose main location is still currently a mystery (though we’ve possibly placed it in Iraq due to the tower of Babel being on campus) and whose gate we’ve never seen the other side of, is actually in some kind of time displaced environment. This could explain a lot of the potential discrepancies our various theories create, where Ike or Hunter is the Headmaster and Ike has killed his father who then appears alive next to him. After all, don’t forget Bell’s theorem about reality being non-local. From MGA Study Hall #2, “…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
That’s why Daramount was so insistent on Casey being aware of this (and by this I mean Nick making sure we were are of it): because due to everything being non-local, the fantastical aspects of this can simply take place on another plane of existence entirely. It would tell us why no one knows where the school is or how to get there, seeing as all the kids are knocked out on their way to the school. It would explain all the weird stuff on the campus (Plato’s cave, which should technically be in Greece; the Tower of Babel, which should be in Iraq), because they all exist on this plane where reality as we know it is not reality as the characters experience it, just like how the magical island in LOST existed in its own special location unto itself.
Because Morning Glory Academy doesn’t need reality for a better future.
So what did we learn today? Everyone’s a Headmaster, and writing timelines for books with time travel is horribly difficult. Don’t try this at home. In the meantime, take a fistful of Advil sound off in the comments and get the discussion going.
As I’ve noted, I 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. For those unaware of its purpose, it’s a podcast that I do with Nick Spencer and Joe Eisma in which we discuss each individual at length, offering up commentary tracks to go alongside your reads. It’s pretty much the tops.
Look forward to podcasts about issues #20-25 … uhm, eventually.
If you’d like to contact contact Crit or I directly with thoughts or comments, shoot us an e-mail at email@example.com.