#999 Reading Challenge Reviews: (11-12) “Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite & Umbrella Academy: Dallas″ by Gerard Way & Gabriel Bá (Dark Horse)

May 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

Despite constant insistence from my peers that Gerard Way’s comic series was really good, it still took me years to finally purchase and now read the two volumes. I’m not a big My Chemical Romance fan (though I do love The Black Parade in all it’s ridiculousness), so why would I want to read a book by the guy? Also just from looking through pages, I thought that the books were just super-powered and violent children fighting supernatural baddies. Like a more souped-up Lemony Snicket story or something.

Once again, I was wrong.

Though being wrong does not mean I’m ready to heap all the praise I’ve seen this series get over the years – it’s certainly a pretty amazing debut and definitely a fun read.

“Apocalypse Suite”, the first volume of the story won the Eisner award for Best Limited Series, and while the ideas presented throughout the series are pretty good, I can’t help but feel that it gets a bit confusing and disjointed in places. I don’t connect all the stories, I don’t feel emotionally invested in the characters and don’t really understand who they are or what they do as adults. I didn’t understand that Luther was part Ape or that Seánce could take over other people’s bodies. And what was Kraken’s power? Just a badass fighter? Rumour on the other hand is awesome – and one of my favorite characters I’ve discovered in comics in a long time. I don’t know, it’s good, it’s enjoyable, but it doesn’t really build up or even conclude in a way that I care about. It’s just “fun” and I wanted more.

“Dallas” on the other hand was incredible front to back. I guess a little less than a year passed between the first and second series, but you can see Gerard mature as a writer. By choosing a singular event for the team to focus on, and delving more into the team’s back stories we start to get the whole world fleshed out a lot more. Who everyone is, what they can do, why we should care. It’s trippy, it’s awesome and while there are still some transitions that aren’t that smooth (at least for me), it moves along a lot like Matt Fraction’s “Casanova” series, jumping back and forth through time, introducing lots of new characters, really building a world (or destroying it). Oh and it has two of the most badass, terrifyingly hilarious assassins I’ve ever seen in any media anywhere.

Throughout the story, Gabriel Bá kicks ass obviously. If you’ve read anything him or his brother do, you know it’s great. Insane character design, awesome and really violent action scenes, great layouts, huge amazing splashes. The brothers are treasures and am now going to make sure I seek out everything they’ve done, because I find their work so kinetic and invigorating.

I liked both stories, but liked “Dallas” a lot more. I’m glad to have finally delved into the world of the Umbrella Academy and am hopeful that a third series comes out sometime.

3.5/5 and 4.5/5

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You are currently reading #999 Reading Challenge Reviews: (11-12) “Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite & Umbrella Academy: Dallas″ by Gerard Way & Gabriel Bá (Dark Horse) at In A White Room.

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