Gerard Way (Writer), Gabriel Ba (Artist), Dave Stewart (Colors)
The Story: It all comes down to Dallas. After various altercations with the Temps Aeternalis, the crazed killers Hazel and Cha-Cha, and a talking goldfish, Number 5 and his “family” have to stop a past version of himself from stopping the Kennedy assassination.
Trust me, it makes more sense if you read the whole thing.
The Good: Umbrella Academy hardly disappoints; while the writing is a little off-kilter in parts, Gerard Way proves he can write a strong narrative and bring the characters to life. The content is distinctive, hyper-violent, and bizarrely funny. It’s almost as if Douglas Adams and Chuck Palahniuk got together to write a comic.
Getting the series for Gabriel Ba’s art alone, however, isn’t a bad idea at all. His distinctive character designs really flesh the strange shape of the universe out; to the point where I think that he may be the only artist in comics who could’ve done this series.
All in all, it’s a fitting end to the Dallas arc, and the twisted turn-abouts will definitely please the die-hard Umbrella Academy fans.
The Bad: While many of us in comics are used to the kind of schizophrenic narratives that characterize usual continuity, Umbrella Academy’s continuity is a kind of patchwork quilt with pieces missing all over, thanks to the delightful use of time travel. It’s a book for people of a particular mindset and sense of humor. My advice? Go check out the first collection, The Apocalypse Suite, and see if that appeals to you. If it does, you’re in luck. If not, you’ll probably be unable to stand the book. Also, if you’re unable to get over the stigma of sharing comic book tastes with scores of teenage girls (due in great part to Gerard Way’s day job and ensuing fan base), you may want to steer clear of Umbrella Academy entirely.
-Brian St. Claire
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