Umbrella Academy: DALLAS #3

How good was the latest issue of Umbrella Academy: Dallas? Not good enough that I jumped on my laptop within minutes of finishing it like I did #1 and #2, but good enough that two weeks later I still feel the need to comment on it.

The first two issues I compared to the apocalyptic slow-burn of Morrison's Final Crisis, well issue three's the mind-bending headfuckery of Morrison's Doom Patrol. Like that series, Way's developing this sense of "anything can happen" and then filling every storyline and characterization with this palpable, awful sense of dread and doom, and then just when it gets too heavy, you get something really insane and playful like The Seance apparently in Heaven, only heaven's a color-less Monument Valley or something and God, a world-weary cowboy. Imagine the metaphysicality Sam Elliot's "The Stranger" from The Big Lebowski magnified and made really fucking explicit.

Meanwhile, Gabriel Ba's doing his simple jagged ugly line thing with perfect inking real uh, perfectly, and channelling like Moebius' Blueberry and Geoff Darrow's Shaolin Cowboy minus the obsessive-ness of those masterpieces. There's an especially brilliant panel where God rides away on his horse telling Seance "And stay off the drugs, Klaus" and Ba's punctuated the empty white with western movie settings signifiers (cacti, jagged rocks) and sticks God in the corner of the frame drawing some stretched-out M's to convey dust floating from the horse's feet stomping the arid ground and forgetting all other details so like, if you aren't looking closely it kinda looks like God and the horse are rocketing through the air and not clomping away into the desert. Or maybe that's the intention? Okay, it totally is, this weird secondary, more conventional idea of God going back up to heaven.

And then you turn the page and in that swiped-from-Wes Anderson-Futura-font, you get "DOWNTOWN." just as you got "HEAVEN." (which is perfect because both heaven and downtown are these weird idealized non-places) when the narrative bounced from sick fuck hitmen Hazel and Cha Cha electrocuting the pathetically fat Spaceboy to Way and Ba's John Ford-country heaven. What else happens is sort of messy and confused and involves a lot of time-travel insanity connected to wiping-out people so shit doesn't happen and it's all interesting but sort of weird because like, Umbrella Academy does this thing of sort of always being in quotes--with the constant referencing to everything and anything--but it's also really emotionally affecting and somehow, an ever-twisting mess of time-travel settings and history-erasing murders and history-creating assassinations seems a little too "in-quotes", know what I mean? We'll see.

No comments: