I should warn you right now, reading “The Umbrella Academy: Dallas” #6 will make you want to sit down and re-read all twelve “The Umbrella Academy” comics to date. I have to give Gerard Way credit, though; what was originally envisioned as a one-shot special has blossomed into an important stepping stone for its characters.
Normally, I’m sick of stories involving time travel and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It’s overworked and honestly, I have yet to figure out why those two elements seem to go hand-in-hand. It works here, though, for two different reasons. First, the actual moment of truth in “The Umbrella Academy: Dallas” #6 regarding the assassination is so surprising and clever that it’s hard to not appreciate the twist on the lone/multiple gunmen theory that Way springs on the readers. But second, and more important, the comic really isn’t about JFK’s death, or Dallas in November 1963. It’s about the shattered remains of the team, and how some of them are coming together again even as others are pushed further away. The final scenes with the different characters are touching in ways, as some characters seem to have lost everything while others are regaining bonds. It certainly puts everyone in a different position by the time the story is over, while at the same time having fleshed out the mysterious Number 05 in disturbing ways.
I also have to say that as much as I missed Gabriel Ba’s art on the second “Casanova” mini-series (fortunately his twin Fabio Moon did an excellent job), I’m so glad that Ba is drawing “The Umbrella Academy” because his sharp, angular art just looks fantastic. From the wide-eyed look of Number 05 as he finds the missing Earth model, to the moment where the Rumor enters the ambulance and sees the rest of the team waiting inside, there’s such a strong sense of body language that it really helps bring “The Umbrella Academy: Dallas” to life. It lets Way have the art speak for itself rather than pepper the page with numerous narration boxes, thought balloons, or dialogue, and those silent moments are more powerful than any words could be.
In many ways, “The Umbrella Academy: Dallas” really isn’t a second mini-series, it’s issues #7-12 of “The Umbrella Academy” as an ongoing series. This is some seriously top-notch and strange stuff, but it has such heart and punch to each story that I can’t even imagine people not liking this comic. A recent interview with Way said that it’ll be a little while until the next “The Umbrella Academy” story-due to his band My Chemical Romance recording its new album-but if that means I just have to re-read the twelve issues that are out until then, I’m ok with that. Seriously fun.