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The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 1 Paperback – July 22, 2008
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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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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.
This first volume, “Apocalypse Suite”, collects the original six-issue run of the series in one book and it’s definitely worth picking up if you like comics, humor, science fiction, fantasy, absurdity … basically, if you like anything at all, THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY is going to make you smile.
Way’s writing is like the work of someone who’s been writing comics all his life. His pacing, his use of dialogue and flashbacks and captions and suspense, it’s all there. While the book focuses primarily on only a few of the members, everyone is developed enough that you get a feel for who and what they are in the grand scheme, and Way even manages to use what’s NOT said in helping to establish enough background detail that we can fill in the blanks and create an entire backstory for them.
I can only imagine how entertaining the script alone must have been for artist Gabriel Ba, who also shines here.
His sense of drama and tension and panel layout all coalesce into this perfect thing that grabs your attention and sweeps you along, and before you know it, you’re looking at the last page wondering how the hell did I read that so fast? And why does it have to be over?
I wasn’t expecting much going into this book, to be honest. I know she mentioned it, but didn’t really elaborate and I only got it because I spoil her, but I’m glad she did because I really feel my general well of knowledge is improved by having experienced THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY.
My only wish is that more people got it. I know this book’s got tons of great reviews, but I’ve read a few negative ones that make me wonder if they read the same book I did, because this made perfect sense to me, it made me laugh, it made me feel, and it shocked and surprised me many times. For me, THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY: Apocalypse Suite is 100% recommended.
I think she doesn't like the art, which is also why she doesn't like Steven Universe I think. Which is a problem, because I'm running out of ideas for wedding themes, and it's coming up in like 2 weeks.
Had a great time going into the world Gerard Way has created. Gabriel Ba translates so much meaning and drama into the corresponding visuals. The colors standout and it's a fun, dramatic comic read.
Great recommendation for fans of X-Men, Doom Patrol. This is a team that I am invested in from the first issue.
Great job for everyone involved.
When I've heard that Gerard Way - the singer of the band - was the writer of this piece, I didn't get that excited. I was instantly draw to the series because of Gabriel Bá's artwork.
To my surprise, the writing in very good! Great storytelling that wonderfully matches the drawings.
The team is focused in narrating a good story, and if by that a monument should be destroyed, a character needs to die or the world must explode... well, that will sure happen!!! It's not exactly a new take on the superhero genre but a great tale. Most importantly: there is a whole world in which this story fits, but don't expect they will be explaining it to you. Using a Japanese storytelling technique, Gerard Way lets the world be uncovered little by little, not explaining anything before it's strictly necessary.
Add to this the awesome colors of Award Winning Dave Stewart and the flawlessly creative covers of James Jean and you've got yourself an instant classic.
Do yourself a favor and read it.