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    MGA Study Hall: Issue #8

    By and | March 16th, 2011
    Posted in Annotations | 2 Comments


    Hello and welcome to a brand new column from Multiversity Comics! We here at MC love a little title that you may have heard of from Image Comics, Morning Glories (by Nick Spencer and Joe Eisma)! Starring 6 kids mysteriously brought to a private academy of learning, the characters quickly find themselves thrust in a dangerous mystery that threatens to take their lives on a daily basis.

    I suppose it’s fortunate then that myself and MC contributor (and TV Overmind writer/FuckYeahLost’s head honcho) Crit Obara not only both love the comic, but happen to attend Morning Glory Academy! Yes, you read that correctly. While you might think it’s a fictional school, it turns out that by coincidence and luck Crit and I were both born on the same day, and our attendance to such a prestigious academy was ensured. We also happen to have the same Study Hall period, in which we like to sit together and gossip about school things and the latest issue of the book (and it helps that we figured out how to sneak onto an internet connection to upload our conversations afterwards.)

    So join us as Crit and I put on our school uniforms and meet up during our Study Hall period to discuss the latest issue, it’s story and possible hidden secrets that we may or may not be picking up on. We should also note: this discussion contains massive spoilers for the issue. Colossal. Ginormous, even. The issue does come out today, so be sure to go to the store, buy it, read it TWICE, and take some notes before jumping past the cut for our discussion. 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. Many thanks to Tim for being fantastically awesome and providing it to us.

    Matthew Meylikhov: So Crit, welcome to our first Study Hall period!

    Crit Obara: Thanks, Matthew! Great to be here.

    MM:I’ve taken a slew of notes, both from classes that we’ve had today, and this neat book we’ve read. Have you got some too?

    CO: I do indeed. I’m a good student

    MM:I would hope so. Bad students don’t have a very long life span here.

    So let’s start right at the beginning! Just as with the previous issue, Issue #8 features a similar opening sequence of our new character, “Abraham.”
    CO: Abraham, a name straight out of the Bible.
    MM: This is our second time meeting him, but he honestly feels rather familiar, doesn’t he?

    CO: I’d say so. My initial thought was that he is to Morning Glories what Jacob (or Richard Alpert) was to LOST.

    MM: Who, in turn, had their own similar Biblical references.

    CO: Bingo. The similarity between this book and the show are right out there, plain to see. But at the same time, I don’t feel like it’s copycat. There’s an influence, but it doesn’t feel corny at all.

    MM: Agreed. And what’s interesting is if you look at the Biblical story of Abraham, he’s known as the father of the Hebrew nation, with abraham literally meaning “the father of a multitude.” With him visiting all of these characters as children – obviously in some kind of connection to the Academy – it feels like this could have SOMETHING to do with the kid’s fathers, or perhaps his future role as some kind of… patriarch. Maybe.

    This might be weird, but when he gives Hunter the watch, I was also somewhat reminded of the famous “watch story” from Pulp Fiction. Probably no legit connection there, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t note it popping up in the back of my mind while I was reading.

    CO: I didn’t think that, but that’s a nice connection. I also now am wondering just how far back that Morning Glories was “scouting” these kids. And perhaps they knew that birthdate was significant for some reason, and then took a close look at everyone born that day throughout their lives before choosing the ones who were best suited for their school.

    Continued below

    MM: That makes sense to me. I think it’s also important to note that Abraham calls Hunter by his name before Hunter even has the opportunity to offer up his identity. That, coupled with Abraham showing up “on time” to keep Hunter from running in the street (which, by the way, we don’t know what he’s running from… just that he’s late, which could be important in the future) shows that his arrival in their life is very much a planned thing.

    CO: The good ol’ fate vs. free will, fate vs. destiny, etc!

    MM: Well hey, the hour of their release draws near, doesn’t it? Clearly SOMETHING is planned for them!

    CO:Dun dun dunnnnn!

    MM: The next thing to note from this opening is Hunter’s number – 8:13.

    That becomes a recurring element for the rest of the issue in the same way that Hurley from LOST had his numbers – and even to the extent that Hurley has a cameo in the issue!

    CO: Yes! And “Hurley” is working at a chicken-y restaurant, nonetheless!

    MM:I’m 99.9999% that Hunter is definitely a Mr. Clucks employee.

    CO: I quite enjoyed that page. A nice nod to anyone who’s ever watched the show.
    MM: Very much so. I think that’s one of the reason this issue almost more than others feels particularly LOST-esque. I mean, Nick and Joe are very much wearing their influences on their sleeves with this one. And I like that Hunter has a mysterious set of recurring numbers. Like, what exactly is the importance of the time 8:13?
    CO: It really felt like an early episode of LOST, where we had a story in the present timeline as well as a flashback that further illuminated what was happening in the present, this being Hunter seeing 8:13 on the clocks and not being able to hear alarms. It led to him missing his mother’s funeral as well as being fired by “Hurley,” among other things. In school, he misses his date and runs himself into trouble, and ends up seeing something quite disturbing on the last page. As for the importance of 8:13, I’m not quite sure yet what it means, but I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of it. The hour of their release draws near, and “all will be free.” That time has haunted him for years, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it coincided with one or both of those lines that we’ve seen painted in blood.
    MM: I’d also like to throw out there that this is the 8th issue of the series, and while I’m not sure if this is planned or that important, the 13th page is the one where Hunter misses his mother’s funeral. It’s quite possible that I’m thinking excessively outside of the box, but I’ll certainly be keeping his mother’s death in my “Important Notes” list for that. I also tried to find if 8:13 was perhaps a biblical reference to the Book of Abraham, but Google didn’t help me much there.

    CO: Nice catch. I wonder if his mother’s death has something to do with Morning Glories in general? I don’t believe it’s ever said how she died.

    MM: They don’t say, no. Just that Hunter missed it. But the issue of the parents has already been a big deal in Morning Glories before, especially that now the parents don’t respond to their kids anymore… although given that it was Jade who tried to contact her parents, that could’ve been a ploy. It was Jade, right? I don’t have the issue in front of me.

    CO:I think so. Casey is the one who had her parents killed, and Jade was freaking out about not being able to contact hers.

    MM: Nice. My memory powers work!

    And speaking of Casey, this is a nice segue into Hunter asking her on a date. The first thing I think that we can “read into” of this scene is her mentioning of the Great Fire of Rome. How much do you know about that, Crit?
    Continued below

    CO: None!
    MM: Well, a quick trip to Wikipedia when compiling my notes allows me to tell you about it! The Great Fire was in 64 AD in which 10 districts of Rome burned for five and a half days, with only 4 escaping the fire and 3 being completely destroyed. The trick about the story, though, was that supposedly Nero (who was the emperor at the time) wanted to destroy the city, paying men to pretend to be drunk while lighting the fire on city. He then watched the city burn while singing and dancing. Of course, when he was accused of this, he blamed the Christians, who he then ordered to be thrown to dogs and crucified/burned alive.

    Now – if LOST taught us nothing about noting references, it’s that everything matters. So I’m going to go ahead, step out on a limb here and say that this story is probably important to Morning Glories.

    CO: Indeed. Perhaps an indicator that someone inside Morning Glories wants it to burn, whether literally or figuratively?

    MM: I would hope so. No offense to the school or anything… heh. I should also probably note that the story I just told you is disputed, and some scholars don’t think Nero caused the fire. However, I also think there’s something to be said about the conflicting versions of this story and the unclear elements of Morning Glories, especially given what we’ve seen with other cast members Ike (who betrayed the group and then tried to rejoin), Jun (whose duality we’ll get to later), and Jade (who may or may not be the main villain now?).

    We also very quickly get a reference to the Dead Poet’s Society, specifically with Hunter mentioning the Carpe Diem theme of the film, which is obviously very important to the characters right now.

    CO: Definitely. We are at a point now where it’s unclear just where the characters stand on many things, like the school, themselves, each other. I liked the “carpe diem” theme mention, and that’s really what Hunter did. He carpe’d that diem. And it got him into trouble.

    MM: I just think this notion of Hunter wanting to seize the day is kind of … darkly funny, given that time is quite literally against him. How can you seize the day when you can only see one hour and minute?

    CO: Hah, good point.

    MM: So Casey agrees to go on a date with Hunter (telling him to meet at the apple tree, with the apple thing once again popping up in relation to Casey), and Hunter goes out singing “Ambling Alp” by Yeasayer. Here’s a fun factoid about the song (once again found on Wikipedia while doing research): Keating, whose grandfather was a boxer in the late 1930s and early 1940s, was inspired to write “Ambling Alp” after reading about American boxer Joe Louis. The track’s title comes from the nickname of one of Louis’ adversaries, Italian Primo Carnera, while the lyrics, including the lines “Stick up for yourself son / Never mind what anybody else done”, are from the perspective of Louis’ father.

    Not sure what that might have to do with anything, but again, it never hurts to know as much as possible about the things Spencer references in the script.

    CO: Nice research, buddy!

    MM: Haha, I may have went a little overboard in looking up references. I figured listening to the song might help me get a frame of reference for the scene in mind, so I googled the lyrics and this is what I found! I’ve gotta say though – given that Hunter does look a tad like Fry from Futurama (right down to the color of his attire), I was a little sad he didn’t sing “Walkin’ on Sunshine!”

    CO: ….I don’t think I get the joke!

    MM: Well, I can’t win ’em all.

    So now we get to meet Chad. What are your thoughts on Chad, Crit?

    CO: Well, when he bumped into Hunter in the hallway, I was taken aback by how nice he was to Hunter. Something didn’t quite feel right with their exchange.

    Continued below

    MM: And as we see later, Chad is not as nice as he first appeared.

    CO: No. Not even slightly!

    MM: In fact, he’s kind of a huge dick. With the last issue, we had Zoe “betrayed” by the cheerleaders at the behest of the headmaster, as we saw at the end of the issue. Do you think perhaps Chad’s odd duality is a similar thing?

    CO:I think that’s not only possible, but likely. And as we learn, Jun has a brother at Morning Glory Academy. That’s pretty weird, and I bet we’ll learn more about Jun and his mysterious lookalike brother soon.

    MM: That’s probably our first big answer, because we’d seen his brother before, and I’d honestly assumed it was a clone. Heck, it still might be! I have some additional notes for in between scenes, but let’s stick with this because I think there’s a lot to talk about here. Chad beats up Hunter with Jun’s brother and another student, and they throw a bag on his head and bring him to a greenhouse. Now, before when the headmaster had used other students to manipulate events, those students made it out alive…. but with this, Chad and his friend very much don’t. Granted, we didn’t know it was Jun’s brother at the time, which made the scene a hell of a lot more odd considering that Hunter and Jun had just shared a rather nice moment together in their dorm.

    CO: Right. So the fact that they end up dead perhaps means they were working on their own, and not with the guidance or approval from someone at the school? I think that’s possible, and if that’s the truth, we can begin to wonder if someone at the school was responsible for their deaths, though I’m not sure I’m ready to lean in that direction yet.

    MM: Well, we know it was SOMEONE at the school, because they say – quote – “There’s somebody up there, one of the new girls..” Which means: Casey, Zoe, or Jade. Assumedly, anyway.

    CO: Oh yes, I forgot that line.

    MM: So this whole scene gives us two questions: why did they grab Hunter, and who killed them?

    CO: I can’t think of anything Hunter did that might raise ire around school, except maybe the date proposal – though I can’t understand who would be upset about that.

    MM: Well, I’d like to postulate here that whatever caused Chad to go at Hunter was against Chad’s will, which once again brings us back to the “free will” question. See, we KNOW that time is against Hunter, and despite his best intentions something always happens to cause him from being where he needs to be. We know that there is a reason for his inability to keep time (shown by the scene where we see scans of his brain), but we don’t know who or what is causing it. I think it can then become inferred that Chad had no choice but to attack Hunter due to this “higher power” acting against Hunter to make sure he is never on time for anything.

    CO: Very well thought out!

    MM: Thanks! I also kind of believe that this is Abraham’s fault. Like, whatever is going on with Hunter is a result of being “touched by” Abraham.

    CO:So Abraham set in motion the entire series of events. Do you think he also visited everyone else involved at some point?

    MM: Given that this arc shows flashbacks for all the kids and how they got to Morning Glory Academy, I would say yes, Abraham has probably met all these kids before. I’m curious to see what his connection to the Academy is.

    CO: Me as well. I hope we don’t have to wait too long to find out, a la Richard/Jacob.

    MM: So now we look at our second question, and that is who killed Chad and his friend? We have three options! The first is Casey, but she was supposedly waiting for Hunter at the tree (although I suppose we should note that we don’t see her arrive at the tree until AFTER the other boys are dead). The second is Zoe, who we have seen capable of murder. The third is Jade, who we already have a curious eye on due to the reveal of issue #6. So who do you think killed the boys?
    Continued below

    CO: My initial thought was Casey. I don’t have much of a case for her, but that’s what I thought. The fact that she even agreed to the date was strange – I really didn’t expect her to at all. As you said, we only see her after the murders.

    MM: We’ve also seen her writing mysterious messages before.

    CO:That helps my case, I like it. Who do you think did it?

    MM: I HAD a theory that it was Jade, because I don’t trust Jade, but I was proven wrong. I actually e-mailed Joe Eisma (artist extraordinaire!) after reading the issue to ask what kind of flowers were in the greenhouse, because a) I don’t know anything about flowers and b) I thought they may be “Jade Flowers.” However, he e-mailed me back to say they were Morning Glories (duh!). So what did I do? I did research! Did you know, Mr. Crit, that morning glories represent “love in vain” according to the Victorian Language of Flowers?

    CO: I did not, but now I do!

    MM: Indeed. So if you think about visual clues, I’m actually willing to join you in thinking that it might be Casey, given that he misses the picnic due to this…. but part of me still imagines it might be Jade. I don’t think it’s Zoe at all, though.

    CO: High five!

    MM:The mysterious message certainly doesn’t do Casey any favors. So that’s every bit of note that I have! Do you have anything left on your list?

    CO: My other notes were about Hunter’s CT scan, which was called “incredible” by the nurse, who also said she had “never seen anything like it before.” We were unable to find out just what was so incredible about it, as someone put a gun to her head and demanded that she tell Hunter the results were normal and to also refer him to a therapist.

    MM: I wonder who held the gun to her head? I’m going to guess either Abraham or Jade at this point, but that’s because I’m overly suspicious.

    CO: My thought was Abraham, if not then perhaps someone we haven’t met yet. Morning Glory Academy could have some “muscle” type person who does the dirty deeds like putting guns to the heads of nurses.

    MM: I mean, I said earlier that I think everything is basically Abraham’s fault, soooo….. hahaha.

    CO: It certainly could be him. I can’t wait to learn more about him.

    MM: I have a feeling that we might find out who he is at the very end of the arc. Like, right now we’re seeing how he interacts with the kids, but at the end of issue… I guess 12? We might see him show up at the Academy once his relations with all the students are more clear.

    CO: I hope so!

    MM: So just in general, how did you like the issue?

    CO: I thought it was great. There hasn’t been a bad issue in the series. I think they’ve done a nice job of giving us little peeks but never giving too much away; we’re always left wondering about what’s going on with the school, the main characters and the secondary characters as well. And most importantly, as soon as I’m done reading the last page of each issue, all I want is the next issue. Immediately.

    MM: Ugh, tell me about it. I really love the current format for issues with this arc, giving us tiny peeks at the character’s lives pre-MGA. Very LOST-esque, but it never feels like they’re ripping off LOST like other things have (Flashforward, the Event). It feels more like an appropriate homage, and given the intensity of the mystery here, I’d say the team is quite literally on a hot streak.

    CO: Agreed on all counts

    MM: Well, this Study Hall is over! I suppose we should both get back to class, and we’ll reconvene soon for the next issue.

    CO: The bell is about to ring, so we should pack up our laptops and straighten out our uniforms!

    Continued below

    MM: Which class are you heading to? I’ve got “How To Hold Your Breath Underwater For Extended Periods Of Time 101.”

    CO:That sounds much cooler than my next class. I have Botany.

    MM: ….well, you enjoy that!

    CO:You too!

    We’ll be back next month with more MGA: Study Hall!

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    //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

    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 fuckyeahlost.com and you can follow him on Twitter @crittweets.

    EMAIL | ARTICLES


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