There are best of the year lists all over TV, magazines and media outlets and Behind My Byline is no different. I start off by listing one of the best comic books of the year, if not the very best. It’s Umbrella Academy “God Save the President”#1. Although this Dark Horse masterpiece written by Gerard Way (Of My Chemical Romance fame) and illustrated by Gabriel Ba is listed as a #1 issue, it’s actually a continuation of the earlier mini series which launched the entire enterprise.
In God Save the President, Way continues the story of the Umbrella Academy, even after their lives have been both literally and figuratively shattered and his adroit use of flashbacks and narrative structure craft one of the most enjoyable stories in comics. Ba’s contributions are excellent, his style is well suited for this quirky type of comic book featuring exaggerated but poignant facial expressions and dynamic action sequences from giant statues coming to life to attack the heroes to a standoff in a parking lot which is both beautifully rendered and action packed.
It’s the way in which Umbrella Academy takes risks in virtually every panel by conforming to superhero conventions and then using those conventions to launch off into a magical new visual feast for the eyes and the senses that gives this book a special place on my pull list.
Sometimes, as good as Way’s dialouge is, it becomes irrelevant as the comic’s sense of pacing and Ba’s expert renditions move the story along with both flare and nuance. This is by far one hell of a comic book series, always an enjoyable read and as such, one of the best comics of 2008.