Awesome Umbrella


The Umbrella Academy #1

This comic, from its meager description in the previews, sounded like pure stunt casting. The writer is a guy named Gerard Way, and he’s the lead singer for an emo-punk band called My Chemical Romance. I figured it was about a bunch of moody pale white kids wearing school uniforms and domino masks, mainly produced to snap up some quick sales from the band’s fans before they move on to a new musical obsession.

Color me flabbergasted, because this comic kicks much booty.

First, yes, it does star a bunch of creepy little white kids wearing school uniforms and domino masks who have strange and vaguely goth powers. But this one breaks out of the stereotypes early and chugs down the entire bottle of Awesome Juice. The kids’ origins? Once upon a time, a professional wrestler knocked out a squid monster from outer space. Simultaneously, a bunch of kids were born to women who had not previously been pregnant. They were adopted by Sir Reginald Hargreeves, also known as the Monocle, a wealthy and hyper-cultured scientist, inventor, entrepreneur, athlete, and secret space alien. Hargreeves takes seven of the kids — including a superstrong, hyper-competent leader-to-be, a superhuman liar, a kid who can levitate, a kid with tentacles growing out of his stomach, and a completely, hopelessly normal nobody — calls them only by numbers, and trains them to be a superteam.

Flash forward ten years — the kids, now known as the Umbrella Academy — visit Paris to find that the Eiffel Tower has apparently gone nuts and has started throwing people to their deaths. And shooting death rays. Who could possibly be responsible for this?


Yes, you heard right. Zombie-Robot Gustave Eiffel. That’s officially the awesomest thing in the universe.

And after the kids save Paris, they are given the key to the city and one scoop of ice cream apiece.

After that, we jump forward a couple decades into the future, when the hyper-competent leader kid now lives on the moon and has a gorilla body in place of his old body. We also get a glimpse of the normal nobody, who’s become estranged from her old teammates. And the rest of the team is showing up next issue for a very important funeral.

Verdict: Thumbs up times twenty. This is like getting an endorphin rush directly through your eyes. I hope Gerard Way keeps writing comics, ’cause he’s seriously got The Stuff.

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