the Little Red Reviewer

Umbrella Academy by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba

Posted on: September 10, 2010

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.

5 Responses to "Umbrella Academy by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba"

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Happy Friday!


OMG I have not thought about My Chemical Romance in years, and you’ve just inspired me to dig out my CDs! This looks like it’s pretty interesting 🙂 I’ll have to check it out!


My Chemical Romance rocks! and I love their videos! Umbrella Academy isn’t very My Chemical Romance, but it is super good.


Love these comics! And the band. The comics a little more, though. I wish I could cosplay as Vanya, but I simply don’t have her body type. Or violin skill lol. Maybe the Rumor, though….hmmm….

I got my UA comic signed at Comic-Con 2009 and I was all prepared to speak Spanish to Mr. Ba so I could totally, like, be impressive. Luckily I read his bio again right before the signing and went, “Brazilian. Damn. I don’t speak Portuguese.” Dodged that bullet.


Cosplay Vanya? I say go for it! you don’t need to play violin, just carry a fake one, or borrow a case from a friend. Bah to bodytypes!

lol about the Spanish, reminds me of something I overheard a work a few weeks ago. A few girls were planning a vacation to Portugal, and the one girl said “But I don’t speak Spanish!”.


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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
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