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The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 1 Paperback – July 22, 2008

4.4 out of 5 stars 98 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The newest superhero kids on the block are just that—kids. At least they start out kids in the first Umbrella Academy collection, written by the lead singer of My Chemical Romance (Way) and superbly illustrated by Brazilian graphic artist Ba. When the diminutive orphans turned masked crime fighters first appear in the public arena, with their wealthy patron, Sir Reginald Hargreeves, keeping watch, their nemesis is a mobile, death-ray-zapping Eiffel Tower. Twenty years later, it takes Hargreeves’ death to bring the gang members, now grown and separated by their own idiosyncratic ambitions, back together to face a new enemy: estranged sister Vanya, the only one of them presumed to be powerless. Newly gifted with destructive powers by a race of robotic aliens, Vanya will stop at nothing to destroy the world unless her siblings stop her. Way and Ba provide all the ingredients of a superhero team to rival the X-Men and make its colorful adventures a hit. --Carl Hays
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Product Details

  • Series: Umbrella Academy (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Books; 1st edition (July 22, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593079788
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593079789
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.3 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,045 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By H. Bala TOP 500 REVIEWER on August 3, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A rocker writing comics? What's that about? And, yet, Gerard Way, of the rock band My Chemical Romance, comes up with a humdinger of a comic book in THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY: APOCALYPSE SUITE, a wonderfully strange and inventive six-issued limited series published by Dark Horse Comics. It's an auspicious debut, really, and, now, count me as completely sold on Gerard Way, comic book scribe.

So what's this thing about? Well, some time ago, around the globe and in the same instance, at 9:38pm, forty-three gifted children were born to women who had before shown no signs of pregnancy. An extraterrestrial masquerading as a human adopted seven of these children and trained them to save the world. But theirs was a cold and callous father, so it's no surprise that the kids grew up as a dysfunctional family. However, the training took hold and the kids did become superheroes.

But the story really begins years after the team, called the Umbrella Academy, had disbanded as most of the siblings reunite for their father's funeral. I say most, because one had perished (we don't know how), while another is too bitter and disinclined to pop in. During this sad gathering, a world-threatening menace promptly surfaces, forcing these bickering capes to quit the bellyaching and work together...except that, of course, they don't quit the bellyaching.

For those looking for something different, something original and wonderfully off-beat, THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY: APOCALYPSE SUITE will fit the bill. I don't know how much of Gerard Way's experiences and life style influenced him in his writing, but his stuff reads as from an askewed perspective. APOCALYPSE SUITE is inventive and surreal and keeps on surprising.
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I bought this for my 13year daughter who is in LOVE with Gerard Way...she has the whole series downloaded to her Ipod so i figured the paperback would be a great gift. When it arrived I read the book just to see what it was like...and to my suprise it was a great book. The story is great and the art work is stunning, not to mention it includes a few of Gerards original drawings which made her love it even more. I am going to order the rest of the books in the series.....definately worth it! From a family of comic book lovers, this is a series we all will follow....I hope he continues writing!!!!
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One could be forgiven for expecting that a comic miniseries by one of the members of the band "My Chemical Romance" would be a gratuitous vanity project. That is, however, not the case. While I do not rate is as highly as many others here do, Gerard Way has produced a genuine story, with nice art by indie favourite Gabriel Ba (also known for Matt Fraction's Image series "Casanova").

As the description says, an unexplained global phenomenon saw numerous children born to women who had not previously shown signs of pregnancy. Seven of these are adopted by an eccentric millionaire, Sir Reginald Hargreeves (secretly a space alien), and raised to fight evil. This is the classic superhero setup of the X-Men. Well, it is, and it isn't. Way subverts some of the basic idea, particularly regarding the Professor X figure, Hargreeves (aka The Monocle). Hargreeves is a cold and demanding person who is not interested in providing the children with a genuine father figure; he is merely their boss. He even refers to the children by numbers, rather than names (their names are supplied by the 'mother' he deigned to provide, an animated clothes dummy; the kids are split in how they treat her, with some accepting her, while the rebelious Diego sees her as just another layer of artifice in their upbringing). Hargreeves' parental neglect is the catalyst for the primary villain plot, revolving around #7, Vanya, who has no powers, and thus was just not "special" as Hargreeves tells her directly. However, she may indeed have some purpose for an eccentric villain out to bring about the end of the world.
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Sometimes you have to listen to your kids. I’d never heard of Dark Horse’s UMBRELLA ACADEMY until my daughter mentioned one day she’d like to read it. So I saw it at my local comic shop and picked it up for her. She still hasn’t read it yet, but I thought it looked interesting, so I gave it a go. And I’m glad I did.

Created and written by Gerard Way with art by Gabriel Ba, THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY is based on the idea that one day, thirty years ago, forty-three children were born at the same time, many of them to women who had no idea they were pregnant. All but seven of these mysterious children died. Those seven were adopted by Sir Reginald Hargreeves, “world-renowned scientist and wealthy entrepreneur.” When asked why he chose to adopt the children, he answered, “To save the world, of course.”

Hargreeves trained the children and raised them to be super heroes as each was endowed with a special power of their own--all but one, number 7, Vanya, who appeared to be completely ordinary in every way. The children made their debut ten years later when the Eiffel Tower, under the control of zombie-robot Gustave Eiffel, attacked. The children ended the reign of terror and their legend was born.

Flash forward twenty years and the children haven’t spoken to each other in a while, each going off to live their own variation on “a life.”

They only reconvene at their old home for Hargreeves’s funeral. And the old rivalries return. Unfortunately, they must set aside their differences because now, after so long, is the thing they’ve waited for so long. The world is about to end and the children of the Umbrella Academy must save it.
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