The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 2: Dallas - Gabriel Bá, Gerard Way, Neil Gaiman heaps and heaps of fun. this second collection of The Umbrella Academy never loses sight of its primary purpose - mining the past of slaughter-happy 'child' super-agent Number 5 - while cramming its narrative with wall-to-wall digressions including various character bits, parallel plots, the pros & cons of time travel, the Vietnam War, guardians of the timestream (including a particularly cold-blooded goldfish), genetically enhanced chimpanzees, a monstrous Lincoln Memorial, two vicious assassins named Hazel & Cha Cha, the afterlife, and the nuclear destruction of the Earth. man this shite is fookin' dense! and yet it really works. this installment is focused on the Kennedy assassination and other bits of americana, and the satire hits just as succesfully as the last volume's lampoon of various British institutions. it all comes together beautifully in the end, and even better, the ride there is completely enjoyable. it is like Gerard Way decided to stuff every single idea his brilliant mind ever had into an already-complex narrative. he really went for it, and the creative genius on display is rather awe-inspiring. this is an at-times savage and bleak adventure but it is so full of sardonic wit and buzzing life that a reader can almost overlook the darkness while enjoying this rollercoaster ride of an experience. but hey, i like the dark, so i enjoyed that too. and that darkness comes wrapped up in such colorful and hallucinogenic packaging, done up with ribbons of genuine sweetness and empathy, that the whole gift box is a delight to open. and the art is flawless, a real pleasure and a perfect embodiment of the ideas on display. if you liked the first volume, READ THIS ONE NOW.