COMICS: John Reviews “The Umbrella Academy: Dallas #1” by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba

Dallas #1

Alt. cover to Umbrella Academy: Dallas #1

It’s that time again, ladies and gentlemen!  My Chemical Romance front-man and aspiring comics superstar Gerard Way has teamed with industry legends Gabriel Ba and  Dave Stewart (who is quite possibly the greatest colorist in the history of comic books) to bring the world another chapter in the saga of those troubled twentysomethings, The Umbrella Academy. The name of the game this time is “Dallas,”  which resumes the story sometime after the events of “Apocalypse Suite,”  though it begins with a flashback to the Academy’s pre-pubescent days.

Ready, kids?  SPOILERS ON!

Seventeen years prior to the events of the first story arc, that heartless-yet-lovable Professor Hargreeves dispatches his team of adopted super-children to save America from yet another rampaging monument.  Things have taken a more patriotic turn this time around, and a gigantic stone Abraham Lincoln is tearing Washington apart.  Thankfully, Rumor saw enough episodes of “Super Adventure Team” and “South Park” to know that the only way to stop a gigantic rampaging Abraham Lincoln is with a gigantic rampaging John Wilkes Booth.  I’m fine for homages, but Mr. Way is just getting sloppy here.  Perhaps he didn’t know that this exact gag had been pulled on “South Park” years ago, and a slightly different version on my beloved “Super Adventure Team” years before that?  At least someone in the editorial staff should have picked up on this.  How many more gigantic rampaging Abraham Lincolns will I have to sit through?  Why no FDR robots with weaknesses to some sort of Polio computer virus?  Hmm, I’d better save that one for a rainy day…

Back in the present, the remaining members of the Academy have lost their way and begun to indulge in the vice of their choice:  Spaceboy is glued to the television (sloth), Seance is getting makeovers for his TV appearances (vanity), Number 5 is betting at the track (greed), Kraken is taking out his aggression on every street hood he can find (wrath) and Rumor is busy being jealous of Vanya’s intact vocal chords (envy.)  It takes until the last nine pages for the story to begin moving at all, as a cadre of time-travelling operatives calling themselves the Temps Aeternalis attack Number 5, not realizing that it is well within his power to kill them all.  Eight pages of the most beautiful carnage I’ve ever seen later, Number 5 discovers that one of the Temps Aeternalis managed to call for reinforcements before he died.  Judging by his reaction, the team of “Hazel” and “Cha-Cha” may be a force too powerful for even the Academy to handle.  Thus ends chapter one.

Dallas #1.  Professor Pogo lives!

An interior page from Umbrella Academy: Dallas #1. Professor Pogo lives!

Okay, SPOILERS OFF.

While the writing style still feels like Gerard’s fanboy love letter to Grant Morrison and Wes Anderson, the highlight of The Umbrella Academy (for me) continues to be the unbeatable team of Ba and Stewart.  The last nine pages of action alone make up for the exposition-heavy opening (giant Abraham Lincoln battle notwithstanding.)  Stewart’s use of reds, oranges and yellows is truly a sight to behold, especially against a purple page backdrop.  The Temps Aeternalis uniforms are wonderfully designed as well (it actually took me a minute to notice that the “tiger stripe” pattern actually spells out the name of their agency.)  If you liked the first series, there’s no reason not to pick up this new arc.  If you missed the first series and are thinking of starting here, you might be a bit lost when it comes to the story.  There’s a recap page on the inside cover, but it can only give the reader so much information.  You’re better off picking up The Apocalypse Suite in trade paperback or in its super-spiffy slipcased hardcover edition.   If you just want to read a really breathtakingly good-looking comic, you will get your $2.99-worth here.

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One Response

  1. […] getting a slew of reviews! Read at your own risk because they do contain spoilers here and there. WitWar Review Hero Sandwich Comic Book Resources Review Cosmic Comix Orlando Comics Examiner Review The Secret Of […]

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