I heard a rumor…
It is not a rumor. The Umbrella Academy is back. And there’s a Netflix show!
My little old heart is surprised and giddiness at this double dose of awesome.
For years, I dropped the mention of The Umbrella Academy to everyone who ever uttered a breath of interest in comics or a fan of My Chemical romance. Whether or not my incessant seeding of the comics offered any help in boosting the signal, it is high time this happened.
So what makes Umbrella Academy special?
If you are a fan of My Chemical Romance, then you already know . Gerard Way, singer of MCR, is the creator of the comic series. On the surface, MCR is instantly dismissed as “that” emo rock band until you hear the strain of any MCR song and then it expands it’s lyrical reaches into you, injecting the raw energy and passion. That kind of power has expanded beyond staffs and notes on the page and right onto comic panels. Partnered with the artistic style of Gabriel Ba (Daytripper, Two Brothers), the series is a blend of weird but passionate story with a flair of spooky style. Something about Ba’s art style is captivating and eerie.
It all begins with the instant of the finishing blow in a cosmic wrestling match. 43 babies are born with superpowers to random, unconnected women who had shown no signs of pregnancy. Of the 43, only seven babies survived. Sir Reginald Hargeeves a.k.a the Monocle (who is really an alien) takes all seven babies to raise them as superheroes. So begins the series of this dysfunctional superhero family.
There is the “leader”, Spaceboy. His adventures into space did not end well as most of his body is a suit. Seance has psychic and metaphysical tricks. Rumor can manipulate anything with just a few words. Number Five is master at time traveling. Vanya is just an ordinary girl.
The comic series is not weird, it has a bunch of familiar tropes which morph to create this comic. The comic series takes in time travel, romance, quirky villains, psychotic killers, and so many emotions. Just like the music, it may not be something new but it resonates deeply.
The first arc, The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse, is not an origin story. Here we already find the heroes at a low point. They are tired of each other and of themselves. Until an apocalyptic possibility is presented and the team is forced to work together. Unfortunately it also turns one of them in to a super villain.
Umbrella Academy: Dallas is the second arc that just continues on. The team has to deal with the aftermath and with themselves. And of course there are more villains to bring down.
After Dallas, there was nothing. Fans have been waiting since 2009 for the next portion. Hints of a continuation and false dates just kept that hope beating strong. Until 2018. Nine years later, we have The Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion.
The series is now five issues deep into this seven issue series. There is indeed a Hotel Oblivion but it is definitely not a hotel that you want to check in. Created by Hargreeves, the hotel is a hotel of torture for the most dangerous villains residing in the pocket galaxy. A sort of dangerous and unstable galaxy hidden within time and space. With the help of their father’s friend and an ally from the past, Spaceboy and Kraken set out to the Minerva, Hargreeve’s personal vessel to explore the pocket galaxy.
As those two are finding themselves in space, Vanya works on her physical therapy with low spirits. Rumor is in no better place she struggles to reach out to her family with dollhouses. Number Five is now a hired hand nursing a drink as a bloody trail of bodies lies behind him. Poor Seance. He’s just dealing with it the best way he knows how.
It wouldn’t take things to go wrong. As the superhero team deal with their own issues, a whole stampede of bloody trouble is coming their way.
The characters in The Umbrella Academy #5 are all making futile efforts at fixing wrongs and doing right. Most notably is Mother forcing Vanya to face her disabilities and become stronger. Since Vanya was the reason for all the destruction only to end up being blind. Even Number Five is doing what he could to deal with it all. Seance is just tragic all round.
Everything seems to be getting ramped up but there are so many unanswered questions: Who is the lady in the bus? Who is the baby? Was that a space chicken cowboy?
Nudging those questions aside, it was so fun slipping back into the Umbrella Academy. The strange but sentimental comic story with the artistic style Ba, creates a high contrasting and dramatic piece of work. The story is not written in a linearly fashion often jumps time plots. No matter. Just once more excuse to re-read the previous issues. I definitely cannot wait until the next issue!
I heard a rumor….
The Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion #5 is out now at your local comic book retailer.