Friday, March 29, 2019

The Umbrella Academy: Volume 2 by Gerard Way

The Umbrella Academy: Volume 2 by Gerard Way, Gabriel Bá, and James Jean
Release Date - September 16, 2009
Publisher Website - Dark Horse Comics
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  192 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**borrowed from library**

** Spoilers For Volume One ** 

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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 was eager to dive into the second volume of The Umbrella Academy after thoroughly enjoying the first one and devouring the Netflix television show. Sadly, some of the things I loved about the first volume felt missing in this follow up. I wanted more character stuff and instead got a plot heavy story that didn't quite connect with me in the same way.

The art of Gabriel Ba, once again. captures the imagination. It is bright, vivid, and done in way that matches the comedic and violent elements of the story Gerard Way has written. They work together with the art enriching the story. The panels scream out for you to linger and examine them and is one of the highlights of this volume.

Vayna had something really traumatic happen to her at the end of the first volume. I anticipated and looked forward to that being dealt with or addressed in some way. Sadly, Vanya gets very little mention in this installment. We don't deal with the fallout of what she did to Rumor or what was done to Vanya. It felt like a lost opportunity to deepen the relationship between the characters and a major plot point that was just left hanging without any real payoff (at least in this installment).

Luthor (Spaceboy)'s plot is mainly used to highlight how awful he feels and for some laughs. Klaus (Seance) gets some more to do but it doesn't quite feel fleshed out enough. Number Five gets a large part of the story arc and it really works when focusing on those parts. The plot involving the assassination of John F. Kennedy is, I felt, the strongest part of this story arc. I just wish the plot had given us some character moments. I didn't feel the sibling connection the way I did in the first one and I missed it. A large part of what I love about this comic is the Hargreeves siblings and I want to see them interact and have conversations in ways that matter.

The addition of Hazel and Cha Cha was delightfully fun. I loved them as much as I did in the Netflix series. They're larger than life, vivid characters who offer comic relief and the type of antagonist that works for the tone of the overall story. Their sugar obsession is just one of the many things I loved about them. They're fun villains in a story that needs its villains to be as fun as its heroes.

This is a rare case where I think the adaptation has surpassed the source material. I can appreciate them both for what they are but the television show focuses on the character development instead of just running with a plot at breakneck speed. I predict many will love this comic more than I did, but while I found the plot engaging enough, I was left wanting more from the other elements of the story.

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