MGA Study Hall: Issue #4

By and | June 2nd, 2011
Posted in Annotations | % Comments

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

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

As always, our very lovely/supremely awesome column header was designed by the graphic designer for the actual book, Tim Daniel! For more of Tim’s work, please visit his site Hidden Robot. Many thanks to Tim for being fantastically awesome and providing it to us.

Click behind the cut for the discussion!

Previous issues: #1, #2, #3, #7, #8, #9

Matthew MeylikhovHello, and welcome back to Study Hall! We’ve got issue #4 with us, which brings rebellion, betrayal, and the return of everyone’s favorite resident psychotic! Say hi, Crit!

Crit Obara: Hi, Crit!

MM: As we open today’s issue, we start with a conversation between Ike and Casey in which she lays out a plan before him of how they are going to rescue their missing friend Jade. Is it just me, Crit, or is this scene a subtle discussion between Nick Spencer and his assumed critics?

CO: I didn’t think of it that way when I read it, but I can certainly see what you mean by that!

MM: Well, I read the bit where Ike says, “The whole thing depends on other people too much. No way will they ever go along with this.” I can just imagine Nick Spencer thinking this in his head while prepping a pitch. It’s a big concept mystery book! Even LOST had it’s detractors.

CO: I like it! Very tricky, subtle writing. Something I should be used to by now! Especially in this book!

MM: Exactly! So Ike critiques Casey a bit, with specific reference to “the hour of release draws near.” Casey replies “It’s from something I read once.” Here’s a fun bit of fact that you may not know: While that line is obviously a reference to the mystery of how Casey ended up writing that in her journal at the end of the last issue, did you know that line actually is contained in a book in the real world?

CO: I did not! What book?

MM: It’s a book by Charlotte Dacre, who wrote under the pen name Rose Matilda a book called The Libertine. That line is used towards the end of the book (page 221 in the copy I found) as a man cries it while nearing death. I couldn’t find out TOO much about the book because apparently it’s not very popular (according to the wise Internet), but it’s a Gothic romance novel about, quote, “This is the story of Gabrielle and Angelo, and the various people destroyed through their love. While still quite young, Gabrielle becomes pregnant by Angelo; however, he had already abandoned her. Unwilling to raise her child alone, Gabrielle abandons her daughter, Agnes, with a friend and follows Angelo to Naples.”

CO: Interesting!

MM: I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that I don’t think Spencer has read this book though. He doesn’t seem the Gothic romance novel type…

CO: Hahaha. You never know!

MM: So we proceed to get some flashbacks of Casey getting the gang together. Hunter is in immediately, and even Zoe joins up without too much of a fuss. I particularly love the line where Casey asks Zoe what she’s going to do, and Zoe replies “I know what I’m doing.” Given that I’ve posited that Zoe has been controlled by another force in previous Study Halls, that line seems amusingly specific (if I’m right).

Continued below

CO: Indeed… Either that or it’s false bravado. Your idea is much more interesting though!

MM: It’s interesting that when telling this to Ike, Casey notes “I don’t think she’s as tough as she likes to act.” Given that we’ve seen Zoe jump into action for Jade, and we know of Zoe’s past when she killed the teacher playing rape games, that line feels like nice quiet foreshadowing.

CO: And then there’s Jun.

MM: And more foreshadowing!

CO: He has interesting things to say, aka foreshadow. “You don’t understand the dangers in this place,” he says. Continuing, “what these people are capable of.” “It’s too dangerous. Trust me.”

MM: He has “other problems” to deal with.

CO:Which we know a bit about.

MM: I love that when discussing him, Ike says, “he seems pretty important here.” Thanks to his twin brother at the school who is part of the security team, obviously he seems pretty important! (Which is one of the pros of doing Study Hall for the first arc while reading the second arc – we already know some of the fun secrets!)

CO: Aw yeah!

MM: So the Glories are all in, except Jun. He has other things to do. Ike is only joining because he likes, quote, “upending authority, destroying power structures, and wreaking general havoc” – which is a line that is all too appropriate.

CO: Haha. From what we know about Ike, it seems like that’s his forte.

MM: Not to put a big spoiler in an article when all we do is talk about spoilers, that line rings pretty true to his inevitable betrayal.

CO: The conversation can’t be heard because Casey recorded the sound of the wind on her phone and then looped it, so as long as she and Ike whisper, Daramount and Gribbs can’t hear it. Daramount remarks that the children aren’t the only ones being watched, insinuating (I think) that the headmaster (or someone else?) is always watching them and what they do at the school.

MM: Gee, I hope Daramount isn’t watch us as we sit in Study Hall right now… that’d be a bit meta. There are a lot of great bits of dialogue in this scene, though. Gribbs begins, “Reminds me of-” and Daramount cuts him off. “DON’T say it.” Gribbs then remarks about how he hopes “this one” is more cooperative. It seems to be insinuating that this has all happened before, which is something we posited in an earlier Study Hall as well. I also like the bit with, “If we can’t find the-” “Yes, yes, of course.” THE WHAT?! Dammit, Gribbs! And, of course, “Little point in finding IT if we can’t bend IT to Headmaster’s will.” So what is the “it”?

CO: I know that’s a hypothetical and you’re not asking me, but I still wish I could answer it for you. Daramount: “I have a plan of my own.”

MM: Daramount is really intent on breaking Casey. I know we’ve referred to her as the “leader” of the group, but … you just gotta wonder why her?

CO: Is she somehow the most “special” of all the “special” kids? Why?

MM: I suppose that’s one of the big questions of the book!

CO: I like the sequence where the kids find notes and then head downstairs. Well done.

MM: So all the kids get their notes. Zoe gets hers from an unmarked book (although I wish it had a title so I could have googled it!), Ike gets his from behind a “For A Better Future” poster (because every issue has to have one), and Hunter’s is under a table in the cafeteria. All of the notes lead the kids to a basement somewhere, which once again continues the trend of the kids consistently going DOWN stairs instead of UP them.

CO: Basements don’t usually mean good things. And that’s true of this book for sure.

MM: It’s especially true for this book! So Jun isn’t joining, but it’s ok. Casey has a plan, and Jade is counting on them. Speaking of Jade, Jade isn’t doing too well, is she, Crit?

Continued below

CO: Nurse Nine asks her what she saw when her eyes opened. She saw little streaks in the sky. That meant nothing to us at the time, but now that we’ve read issue #10, this is big.

MM: And prettiest smiles.

CO: Getting closer now…

MM: But that’s the wrong answer. Cue vomit!

CO: “I expect we’ll be putting her down first thing in the morning.” GULP!

MM: Jade also wakes up with that weird distorted/blurry vision we’ve been told in the past to look out for, and I think that it’s very interesting Nurse Nine’s line here is “when your eyes WERE opened,” not just “when your eyes opened”. While we know a bit more about it thanks to Issue #10, it still seems like an interesting phrase. Nine also says Jade is “empty inside.” What does that mean?

CO: “Nothing but fairy tales and vomit.” I’m not sure what it is that they’re looking for inside her. Whatever it is, they don’t find it, which doesn’t bode well for her future.

MM: On the plus side, we learn our bald friend from the previous issue is named Megan, and she “took to her.” Whatever that means. I can’t decide if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, that a “crazy” Spanish speaking girl murdering a bunch of guards in Jade’s defense is something to be happy about.

CO: Very strange. Megan doesn’t seem like a very Spanish name, but that’s a minor gripe, I think.
Maybe they gave her the name Megan due to lack of identification?

MM: It’s possible they somehow “acquired” this girl for their weird basement experiments, and just decided to call her Megan.

CO: Very possible.

MM: Either that, or just picture Gloria from Modern Family saying “MEH-gan!”

CO: Hahaha. YES!

MM: There is also a mention of the Headmaster here, and that he’ll want to be notified of the events that have taken place. That can’t bode well, can it?

CO: Not at all.

MM: Poor Jade. Poor, poor Jade. It’s funny – I used to not trust her and think she was evil. Now? Kinda like her. But we’ll talk about that in Issue #10. So we hop back to our four Glories prepping to go up against the faculty in a mad dash to save their friend Jade. Casey is showing everyone how to make tear gas. Good thing she’s a science nerd, right?

CO: As they pointed out before, they don’t have any muscle…so yes, it’s a great thing. They talk about getting out. and they don’t all think they can ever do so.

MM: This then becomes the first polite bonding experience the kids have. It’s nice to know they can reasonably get along when someone isn’t trying to drown them all.

CO: “I’ve never even seen a plane fly overhead” is an interesting tidbit.

MM: I’m telling you, man! The school is on an island! Or something!

CO:That line helps your case, I’d say. And then we have the “at least I got to see how LOST ended” line, which is awesome.

MM: That was one of your favorite bits originally, wasn’t it?

CO: Absolutely.

MM: I love that Hunter loves LOST, and he “works at” “Mr. Clucks.”

CO: My kinda guy.

MM: We learn some other little tidbits of information here as well. Zoe is a Chem major, which I don’t think we knew, and a klepto. She also has MASSIVE parent issues, which I’m sure is important. She says she plans to fake a pregnancy to get back at her foster parents, and she also screams at Casey when Casey brings up her “real” parents, saying “Where I was born, nobody filled out any fucking papers, got it?” Thanks to issue #7, we know what she means. Poor girl.

CO: “Poor ____” seems to be a recurring theme here.

MM: Spencer is doing a good job of giving us reasons to care about the characters beyond just “these are your characters; love them!”

Continued below

CO: Definitely. Now, just when the next step of the plan is about to happen…Daramount walks in with men in gas masks. Somehow, they knew tear gas was involved in Project Basement.

MM: I didn’t even know tear gas was involved!

CO: Ike mentioned it!

MM: I was joking!

CO: Okay, good!

MM: But Crit, how did Daramount know tear gas was involved?

CO:Ike sold the plan out to her.


CO: “And now my darlings, it’s time for a punishment most severe,” says Daramount. Uh oh!!!

MM: Ike also mentions that they made him an offer. Wonder what that was?

CO: He was the one saying “face it, we’re not getting out of here” a few pages ago…but you don’t think they’d let him leave do you? I don’t.

MM: I’m not sure Ike wants to leave.

CO: Then maybe he now gets VIP treatment, daiquiris by the pool, massages, etc!

MM: I don’t know if I would ever want to get a massage at MGA. I bet it would be invasive… and probably kill me.

CO: True. Very true.

MM: It’s far too easy to hate Ike, though. There’s something more than meets the eye here. Ike said earlier, he likes “upending authority, destroying power structures, wreaking general havoc.” ell, he just did all those three things to Casey’s little troupe – but what’s to stop him from turning on Daramount and her crew as well?

CO: Maybe his deal is the first part of a bigger plan to wreck havoc at MGA?

MM: Ike is the bastard of the group, but he’s still part of the group whether we like it or not. He’s got to have some kind of weird plan going.

CO: Earn Daramount’s trust, then kill her in her sleep.

MM: Or switch her birth control pills to sugar pills and start a website called

CO: Now that’s a hot plan. He doesn’t seem like the type to recycle his cons, though.

MM: That was me joking again!

CO: That’s the end of the issue, correct?

MM: True.

CO: I thought so! Just making sure, since I have the trade and not the issues. Any theories to drop now, or should they wait until our next chat?

MM: Not in particular, no. This isn’t a mystery heavy issue, except for the Jade bit. I suppose if we hadn’t read issue #10, we would probably have talked a LOT more about that, huh?

CO: Ohhhh yes.

MM: Our issue #10 chat will be up soon, though… and boy. That’s gonna be a fun one. Did you have anything to add?

CO: I do not. Like I said, I didn’t have too much on this one, it was by far the shortest note section of the 6. I liked it though, seeing the Glories working together and scheming…only to be sold out.

MM: Curse Ike and his inevitable betrayal!!!!! Man. For the huge geek that Hunter is, I’m surprised Spencer didn’t give him that line at any point.

CO: Hahaha.

MM: Well, it looks like the battery on my phone is about to die and the looped wind sound I’ve placed by the cameras so Crit and I can do Study Hall are about to hear what we’re talking about. Looks like it’s time to wrap!

CO: I’ll leave now. You wait and read for a few minutes and then leave so they’ll think we weren’t together.

MM: Deal.

//TAGS | MGA Study Hall

Matthew Meylikhov

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


Crit Obara

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


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