It took a while and a bit of reading, but I’m finally all caught up on Umbral! And my thoughts are that it is alright… its first arc was not bad. I felt it needed some more work done and a lot more fleshing out of its universe, but it wasn’t too bad. Now that the second arc is about to get started, let’s see what this comic can bring us now! Is it good?
Umbral #7 (Image Comics)
So Rascal, Dalone, and the rest continue on their way to Blackrede and beyond to find a way to destroy the Occulus, that magic gem thingy that Rascal has. They make a stop at a little farm in the middle of nowhere to rest for a bit before they continue on, while Rascal and Dalone continue to have these nightmares about the Umbral. Meanwhile, the villains continue to be up to no good.
Sadly, the best I can say about this issue is that it’s ultimately alright. The story feels unexciting and slow, with nothing much really happening. We learn some minor things, like getting a glimpse of Dalone’s past (I assume at least), but that’s it. Everything else is just not that engaging and the ending just sort of happens. There’s no real buildup or tension with it, it’s just, “Bam! That guy from that minor scene at the beginning is dead and this means something big that you already know about.” It’s ultimately just kind of lackluster.
At points the story jumps around a lot and breaks up scenes abruptly. The pacing is slow and the story feels like it drags at points. The dialogue is okay, but again, not much to say. I think what I have most trouble with is that the book still feels a bit hard to get into because it feels vague at points and some terms and mythology still haven’t been elaborated on, so I have no idea what people are talking about.
The characters aren’t very memorable nor do they have much depth to them. Dalone is an exception and he is rather interesting, especially with the glimpses we get into his dreams. The rest don’t do much to stand out, though. Rascal herself is not particularly compelling, doesn’t have much in the way of a backstory, and doesn’t really seem to do much outside of occasionally getting herself and characters out of danger. The main villains, while a reasonable and threatening force, don’t seem that deep or have much complexity to them. They are just evil and trying to awaken their evil master from what I can tell. Nothing more and nothing less. The others are also not very interesting either and I’m just not finding any form of attachment to them. I’m more or less waiting for when the other shoe drops and the story reveals who is the traitor amongst them, because that may actually be interesting.
The artwork is honestly not my cup of tea. It’s fine for the right audience and there are some great designs, the layouts are fine, and the magical elements are well depicted. But there’s just something about it that makes it hard to get into for me. Otherwise, the only real problems with it is that some of the coloring is rather drab, some of the word balloons feel out of order, and sometimes Rascal seems to be older than she is in panels (then again, how old is she again?).
You should speak with that glass blower, but his workmanship with this little glass vials is horrible!
Is It Good?
Umbral #7 is a rather lackluster way to get this new arc started and remains plagued by some problems I have had with previous issues. It’s rather slow and unexciting besides some minor hints being tossed around and the transitions between scenes feel abrupt. It continues, though, with underdeveloped characters and feeling ultimately hard to get into. This is a series that has a lot of good ideas and potential, but it still needs a lot more work done. Hopefully things will be looking up as this new arc continues on.