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The Umbrella Academy: Dallas TPB

The Umbrella Academy: Dallas #1–6 by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba

I really enjoyed The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite, the first storyline by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba – even going so far as to include it in my list of favourite comics from 2008 – so it was only a matter of when, not if, I bought the trade and enjoyed the second storyline. And I knew I was going to enjoy it before reading it because I had liked everything about the first book: the story, the characters, the dialogue, the art, the wonderful oddness.

A story that uses the words ‘Mr President, I heard a rumour …’ twice in the same story but in totally different contexts and with effectiveness is quite impressive, but that’s to be expected in a book about the dysfunctional family of superheroes. So when a man in a child’s body shoots a parking lot full of soldiers from the future wearing gas masks and shouts, ‘I am a gazelle and the jungle is my home!’, you just smile and enjoy the show.

As before, this book is packed with inventiveness and story. We learn about Number Five and his time with the Temps Aeternalis, Séance is killed but gets sent back from heaven because God (in whom he doesn’t believe) doesn’t like him, Séance, The Kraken and Spaceboy get shot back in time and end up in Vietnam, and Number Five has to stop his future/past self from preventing Five from killing JFK, which was the reason why he left the Temps Aeternalis. Got all that?

This is a hoot – it’s fun and funny, with great lines and a wonderful collection of interesting people. Ba does an amazing job with the art – his style makes me think of a European version of Mike Avon Oeming but with a dash more humour in his line work, if that makes any sense. It’s all good stuff, from the flashback material, to the scene in heaven, to the over-the-action scenes, and he never seems to put a foot wrong. Way seems to be enjoying himself writing this, infusing it with a lot of Grant Morrison (as I said in the previous work) but with his own sensibility and identity stamped all the way through it. Way has set up the next series within this book, so he’s going for the Hellboy publishing system of a series of mini-series, which is just fine by me – it just means a long wait until the next great trade.

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