Ciel has a new assignment from Queen Victoria. There are children going missing right after a certain circus comes to town. He and Sebastian have been tasked with finding out if the circus is involved.
This ends up being a rather hysterical assignment. Sebastian’s cat fanaticism runs rampant at getting to meet a tiger. Much to Ciel’s horror, Sebastian not only gets a job with the circus but gets him one too. Ciel, a pampered rich boy in spite his horrible past, is pretty much hopeless at performing. Sebastian, on the other hand, meets his match in a Grim Reaper who wants him dead.
And everyone in this circus have some kind of issue, at least two are missing limbs, replaced by ceramic prostheses (including a skeletal hand that some short alchemist would probably covet if he could convince his mechanic to do it). Sebastian and Ciel manage to get into one ridiculous situation after another until the cliffhanger ending. This one is just plain fun.
The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite by Gerard Way & Gabriel Ba
Grant Morrison calls this graphic novel ‘an ultraviolet psychedelic sherbet bomb of wit and ideas.’ Yeah, I’m not entirely sure what that’s supposed to mean either but this was just…nowhere near as good as I hoped it would be and mostly I think that I was so repulsed by Ba’s art that I didn’t even want to continue reading. Ba is an Eisner-nominated artist and all I could think is THIS scratchy ugly art is the reason I stopped reading American comics (granted Ba is South American…). The proportions were a nightmare, varying from frame to frame and what made it worse was this edition brought together the whole mini-series and its cover art (which was beautiful) and had Gerard Way’s own artist renditions.
Gerard Way, for those who don’t know, is part of My Chemical Romance and wrote this on his tour bus (meanwhile Ba’s art looks like it was drawn while being dragged behind the bus, sorry. I usually try to find SOMETHING good to say about things but I just can’t here. Okay, he draws good chimps). Too bad that left no time for him to draw his own work. His art is lovely. He has a ton of talent.
Okay enough ranting about the art, so what’s this story about? Oddly, forty odd babies were born at the same time to various women who were not pregnant only moments before. Most of these babies died or disappeared. Hargraves adopted seven of them, not even bothering to name them. They just had numbers and he trained them to use their superhuman powers, well six of them. Vanya seemingly had no powers but was a prodigy with a violin. They fight super villains as children.
Fast-forward a few decades and the Umbrella Academy have all gone their own way. Space Boy their default leader (who somehow suddenly has a gorilla body and two hose coming out of his tights) tries to keep his very dysfunctional family together after their ‘father’ died. Too bad they mostly hate each other but little do they know that one of their own will be tapped to destroy the world and their own inability to care about each other is the tipping point.
Honestly, the story is solid and interesting but all of the characters aren’t just dysfunctional they’re unlikeable. I didn’t care about any of them so in the end I had trouble caring about anything that happened. This reminds me of The Watchmen another well received work that I disliked mostly because all the characters made me want to hit them. Maybe Ba’s art was meant to look as ugly outside as these people were inside. Overall, not my favorite read but I’m still glad I read it. I think Gerard Way does have a love of this medium and is a talented person.