After the bright and charming first issue, this second issue of Umbrella Academy is rather darker. Death is the main motivating force in two of the three plotlines in this issue. It’s a bit grim, but what makes this issue remain quite entertaining is two things. First, Gabriel Ba’s artwork is gorgeous. He does a wonderful job of portraying each character as unique, showing the relationships between the family members in subtle and interesting ways. He really does a nice job of displaying their personalities of the people, robots and the monkey in this book. As well, Ba’s unusual line work and scene composition gives the whole book a very unique feel. His use of blacks on page 14, for instance, is wonderful. On that page, we see the father’s coffin lowered down into a grave, and the panels are constructed in a way that emphasizes the drama and sadness of the scene, while also accentuating the ambivalence that many of the characters have towards the man being buried. It’s a nice, subtle touch.
The second thing that makes this issue entertaining is the clever touches that Gerard Way adds to the story. My favorite bit is the scene where Vanya, the child who ran away, is recruited by the forces of evil. The crime that she’s asked to commit is wonderfully bizarre. It feels like something out of the comics of Grant Morrison, a crime so odd and unique that it’s literally mind expanding just to consider it. The clever way that the villains try to recruit Vanya is interesting, too. As a reader you just know that a statement like “Could your father have been wrong about you, after all? Could you really be …capable of something great?” will stick in her craw. I can’t wait to see how this storyline plays out.
This is a very nice second issue that deepens and broadens the storyline. It’s a little bit jarring after the charm of the first issue, but this comic is still interesting and surprising.