Alright, let’s do this again! If you haven’t read my review of the first volume of The Umbrella Academy feel free to go back and see what my initial thoughts on the series were.
I’d like to say that this time around I had a better idea of what was happening but…well, I think I was left with more questions than anything else. I did finally get around to watching the Netflix series and, while I enjoyed it, it kind of tripped me up because I read the comics first and they take some of the plot points from later story-lines and put them into the first one (if that makes sense). But Robert Sheehan is in it as Klaus so I’ll forgive them for pretty much anything.
The team is despondent following the near apocalypse created by one of their own and the death of their beloved mentor Pogo. So it’s a great time for another catastrophic event to rouse the team into action. Trouble is – each member of the team is distracted by some very real problems of their own. The White Violin is bedridden due to an unfortunate blow to the head. Rumor has lost her voice – the source of her power. Spaceboy has eaten himself into a near-catatonic state, while Number Five dives into some shady dealings at the dog track and the Kraken starts looking at his littlest brother as the key to unraveling a mysterious series of massacres… all leading to a blood-drenched face-off with maniacal assassins, and a plot to kill JFK!
I feel like I spend a lot of time talking about what bothers me about this series because it’s easier to point to something and say I didn’t like that one thing. It’s much more difficult for me to pinpoint why I enjoyed every minute of reading both these volumes. There’s something about the world and the characters–and just the overall style of the comics–that intrigue me. I find that this happens a lot with Gerard Way‘s writing even outside of this series. I get pulled into the world immediately but I don’t really know what’s going on half the time.
Part of it is the characters. They have such big personalities–along with their unique abilities–and a tangled past I’m desperate to find more about. This is something I did think the series did better since it gave more time to each character and added to the interactions between the siblings. This volume did seem to me to be a little more character focused and I think that has something to do with there no being a time limit in the plot–as there was in the last volume. Or maybe I was just paying more attention this time around.
I will say that it was easier this time around to settle into the world because I already had some idea of what I was getting in to. But there were definitely moments when I would be looking at a set of panels and asking myself “what am I even looking at?” Like, I’d love to tell you that the page below makes more sense within the comic but I–I got nothing.
Like, it’s a gorilla-man punching a giant, reanimated mummy in 1960’s Vietnam after soldier fought an army of vampires. What does this have to do with the overall plot? Nothing. Then why is it here? Ummmmm, because it looks cool? Honestly, at this point I stopped thinking too hard about the plot. Just know that this kind of thing happens.
That might seem a bit high considering how on-the-fence I am about this series but I mean it when I say I enjoyed every minute I was reading it–and watching the Netflix series too. But I also acknowledge that this isn’t a series for everybody. There’s not a lot of common ground to ease your way in, even as someone who LOVES Dark Horse comics and graphic novels in general, this is a difficult series to get into.
But it’s too late for me. I’m so into this world now that I could not wait for the third volume to be released.