Last time we introduced the various folks who comprise (and created) the Umbrella Academy. This time around, let's have a look at their first two collected adventures:
As before, I'll avoid discussing the specific delights and twists and turns each story offers. Which kind of kills me, as there's so much Awesome in these pages, but the pleasure of discovering these things for one's self should probably be preserved. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few (or the one) yadda yadda.
So here's what we're going to do - I'll give you a quick plot summary (spoiler-free) provide the title pages (which are gorgeous and worth showcasing) and then some hand-picked panels and sequences that will make little, if any, sense out-of-context but will hopefully capture some of the fun and spirit of these stories. And then a covers gallery for each series.
Those of you who were hoping for a tad more analysis (or get annoyed with too many screencaps) I apologize in advance.
In the words of The Wiggles: Lets Go!
THE PLOT: Number Five returns from the far future with news that the world will end three days after the Umbrella Academy reforms, which they do for the occasion of Professor Hargreeves' funeral. But it's really the story of repairing (in some cases through violent conflict) the interpersonal dynamics between the siblings. Number Seven - told her entire life that she isn't special - is transformed into the White Violin and seeks revenge against the family that she perceives to have rejected her.
That could be the best alternate title ever. (Certainly better than "Finale." I mean, come on.)
THE PLOT: The secrets of Number Five's time-traveling lead, in no particular order, to Vietnam, Dealey Plaza, and the destruction of Planet Earth (as witnessed by Spaceboy's lonely robot on the moon.) Along the way, Seance examines his agnosticism via a meeting with the Man Upstairs (who bears a striking resemblance to Ronald Reagan,) and the JFK assassination is examined in great (if surreal) detail.
This last one leads to some great dialogue between Number Five and Hargreeves. ("I know where the Earth is, you idiot.")
The two main baddies in Dallas are:
Two sugar-demented assassins from outside of space and time. They very nearly steal every scene in which they appear.
This story is just dynamite. I'd very much like to discuss the final plot twists, but there's just no way to do it with ruining the surprise(s). And they are so genuinely surprising (at least to this reader) that it's best not to try. But hats off, messrs Way, Bá, and Stewart - there are four or five panels (and one splash page) in issue 6 alone that I'll place in the top 20 best comics-panels/splashes I've ever seen.
I'd also like to give special mention to Way's dialogue. Almost every panel has some memorable turn of phrase.
In the words of Jack "the King" Kirby:
I leave you with these two leftover screencaps - until next we meet, friends and blogging neighbors.