Wednesday, 5 December 2012

So I Read The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite

A 250 word (or less) review of the first volume of The Umbrella Academy
By Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba, Dark Horse Books.

The Umbrella Academy starts with a pro wrestler delivering an atomic flying elbow to a giant space-squid which caused the spontaneous birth of 43 children with amazing powers. Seven of these children are collected by The Monocle, Sir Reginald Hargreeves, an adventurer, inventor, and secret space alien who raises the seven in his mansion/school The Umbrella Academy. And this is pretty representative of the in-the-past part of the comic: it’s a big goofy, superhero romp, with kind of a Victorian-orphan-fiction vibe that captures the childlike wonder of comics. The other half of Apocalypse Suite, set years later, starts with the death of The Monocle and the reunion of the grown up Umbrella Academy
seven. This half of the story, while still campy and comicky is much more adult, rife with violence and death and stakes which makes it feel designed for a more mature audience. The way the two halves of the story play off one another makes me think that The Umbrella Academy is really trying to contrast the different ways children and adults experience comics. The Umbrella Academy is written by Gerard Way, who is apparently the lead singer of My Chemical Romance, which doesn't really matter since the writing is quite clever and exciting and well paced. The artwork by Gabriel Ba is amazing and really elevates the good script and makes The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite a pretty great book. I'd recommend The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite as a nice alternative fix for a superhero comic.

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