Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite by Gerard Way Illustrated by Gabriel Bá YP FIC WAY

The Umbrella Academy is a group of seven misfits all born miraculously from women who showed no previous signs of pregnancy. Adopted by Reginald Hargreeves an eccentric billionaire who is also secretly an alien, they become a super hero group dedicated to saving the world from a unknown future threat, but it never showed. They are Space Boy: the first boy in space (later a head attached to a gorilla body), The Kraken: a burnt out vigilante, Rumor: the girl who’s lies always come true, The Horror: he has tentacles, Number 5: a boy that travelled through time and is exceptionally good at killing, Séance: he can communicate with and channel the dead, and Vanya: she plays the violin really really well. Decades later they are living separate lives and are drawn back only by the death of their adopted father, but this meeting turns out to be the opening notes to the Apocalypse Suite that they were formed to prevent.

Umbrella Academy: Dallas

After the events of the first book, the Academy’s surviving members try to make sense of their lives while trying to find the missing Number 5. They find out just what he had to do to travel through time and the consequences for his action. The Academy are unknowingly split on two sides one trying to stop the very old Number 5 from the future in the past from saving the president and the other side trying to help the young Number 5 from the future in the present to kill the president or psychotic time travelling assassins Hazel and Cha Cha will destroy the world, which they already have. Time travel gives me a headache.

You may know Gerard Way as the lead singer and songwriter for his band My Chemical Romance. His bombastic, bizarre, and over the top influences find a perfect medium in comics. Umbrella Academy is a wonderful mix of dark comedy, gory action, pop culture, literary references, and classic super hero goodness. Think a mix of Hellboy, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, a few dashes of Lemony Snicket, and a whole boat load of other influences and styles in a wonderful bizarre mix. The story jumps from past to present abruptly keeping the reader guessing at the full story behind the Academy and what tragedies broke them up in the first place. Apocalypse Suite throws the reader head long into the story and you don’t really catch up, so much as run head long through the chaos. Dallas is my new favorite presidential assassination time travel comic. The demented Hazel and Cha Cha are two insane assassins wearing colorful children’s mascot heads and black suits. It’s like Pulp Fiction meets Saturday cartoons. Together these two volumes are a weird, dark, funny, action packed good time.

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