Time For A Change To Stay The Same
First off, the combination of the doubling in length and only a single dollar price increase is proof that Image Comics loves the readers the most of any company. Nick Spencer really knows how to make a 'Season Finale" for a comic book, because this here... this is just... Three different covers that make a connected image featuring every character in the series? Double length!? And then there's the content... holy every single deity imaginable.
This issue really does mark a huge turning point in the series, several in fact. Certain major plotlines are actually resolved to a degree, and though this issue is chock full of the most mind blowing revelations raising all sorts of questions, something about the overall mystery is actually starting to make a bit more sense. Contrasting to the first big landmark point with #12 where the appearance of Miss Hodge threw everything we thought we knew into question and chaos, this issue actually helps compile the overall scope of the series into something more sensible. We're still a long ways away from knowing all the answers, but I feel like we finally have something of a direction to work towards when sorting things out.
Nick Spencer's always been great at very misleading transitions, especially used as cliffhangers, and this issue actually has a bunch of moments resembling those, but plays with our expectations, giving us a lot of transitions that seem misleading but actually aren't; and other moments that twist seemingly misleading cliffhangers from the past back into what they originally implied. Certain big revelations are fully cemented rather than implied, and the whole notion of time travel being such a huge part of this series is much more concrete.
Something that really makes this issue stand out as a landmark is that it does retrospect upon the entire series preceding it, but in such a way that it's infused into the main narrative and actually drives the story just as much as everything else. Keeping in tune with all the time travel and possible time looping, this issue just about walks through key moments of the series from the start hand in hand with the moment of the story in the current time frame of the issue's main focus. This issue is every issue before it rolled into one, but not. It's the unstable twisted second version in the stable time loop. It is everything all over again, and yet it's completely new.
In Conclusion: 6/5
As I said on FB after finishing the issue; All aboard the mind**** train express, cross country tour, round trip, no stops, full throttle. This issue is a key representation of everything this series is, doubling on itself after the first issue of what should be the third year, if this series had a normal release schedule. This issue has a greater balance of answering questions to raising them than any other, but it's still far from giving us everything. But it reminds me why I love Morning Glories so much, and makes me love it even more.