Umbrella Academy by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba
Posted September 10, 2010on:
I’ve been eyeing this one for a while now. Alluring cover art, and how could I say no to Gerard Way, lead singer of one my favorite emo punk bands? I’m still humming Helena and Welcome to the Black Parade.
Once upon a time, there was a wealthy patron who adopted seven very special children. These children were all born on the same day, and they all have super powers, except for number seven, who can’t do anything except play the violin. Their adopted father felt he could give them a place to grow up where they would be safe, where they could learn to use their powers, where he could mold them into the perfect superheroes. The children and their home became known as The Umbrella Academy.
But like an emo love song, it’s all doomed from the start. Dad has some pretty high expectations, including that the children call him The Monocle instead of “Dad”, and he refers to them only by number. Yikes, talk about method acting. Not surprising, the kids grow up pretty f’ed up.
After some action sequences, we’re in the “now”. The Umbrella Academy has long since been disbanded and everyone has gone their own way. Some continue to be superheros, some settle down and try to live a normal life. But there is no hiding who they are.
Ahh, poor number seven, poor Vanya. all she can do is play her violin and watch as her siblings leave her behind. That is, until the Symphony Verdammtem finds her, and shows her what she can do, the things her father hid from her all this time. What they turn her into is beautiful, and heartbreaking, and dangerous, and could mean the end of the world. She spent her childhood being manipulated by her family, and now she’s being manipulated by the symphony. Is she strong enough to escape? And can her siblings get past their bickering long enough to help her?
For such a short volume, Way packs a lot in. flashbacks, flashfowards, funerals, personality conflicts, emergency surgery, lunatic bad guys. . . . There were a few parts where I felt like I was missing something, but I trust more flashbacks will be showing up in future episodes, and come on, it’s a comic. there’s just not that much space. Be sure to pay close attention to Gabriel Ba’s artwork, much of what you might think is missing from the conversations can be found on posters and newspaper headlines plastered on the walls behind the characters. Oh, and his artwork? Just plain Excellent.
Pick up Umbrella Academy because it’s got great artwork and an even better story line. Pick this up because it’s the last thing you’d expect from the lead singer of an emo band. Pick this up because you’ll enjoy the hell out of it. Just go get the thing, would ya?
And YES, volume two, Dallas, is available, along with rumors that Umbrella Academy has been optioned for a film.