Archive for Umbrella Academy

A Quintet of Quick Qualitative Queries

In other words: Five lightning-fast reviews:


The Spirit #11

It’s the final battle — the Spirit vs. the diabolical El Morte and his army of zombies!

Verdict: Thumbs up! Good art, good story, great drama. Next to the last issue of the brilliant Darwyn Cooke’s stories and art, so pick it up!


Sugarshock #1-3

As far as I can tell, this is only available on Dark Horse Comics’ MySpace page. It’s written by Joss Whedon, creator of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Firefly,” and it’s about a really weird but really fun rock band and their long, long, long journey to a Battle of the Bands contest.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Holy guacamole, was this one fun. Just wild, wild fun. Tons of wonderful, awesome, funny stuff. Go read it — it’s pretty short and extremely entertaining.


Umbrella Academy #3

What’s left of the Umbrella Academy takes on the Terminauts. Spaceboy appears to be the only one of these guys who’s much good in a fight. Also, Vanya tries to rejoin the family, gets rejected, and runs back to the evil Orchestra Verdammten.

Verdict: Thumbs up. But not as good as the previous issues.


Teen Titans #53

The Future Lex Luthor (from the future!) unveils the all-future, all-evil Titans Army. Starro attacks everyone, Miss Martian kacks her future evil self, Robin mopes.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I’m a sucker for stories about future evil doppelgangers from the future.


Grendel: Behold the Devil #1

A sociopathic super-assassin/acclaimed novelist kills a whole bunch of people and is just too wonderful and smart and cool and unstoppable and perfect for anyone else. Oh, and he wears a stupid mask.

Verdict: Thumbs down. The “Grendel” series was one of the things that irritated the tar out of me in the ’90s, and ten years hasn’t made the concept the slightest bit more appealing.

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No Weddings and a Funeral


The Umbrella Academy #2

The Academy’s “father,” Professor Hargreeves, is dead, and they can’t even get the whole family together for a nice funeral. Spaceboy, the responsible leader with a gorilla’s body, tries to keep everyone in line; the Kraken, the rebellious outsider, starts trouble; the Rumor, the beautiful lie-teller, tries to make peace; the Seance, the morbid psychic, smirks at everything; the Horror, the tentacled hero, is dead; 00.05, the time-traveller, has mysteriously returned and is still just 10 years old; and Vanya, the estranged, unpowered violin-player, doesn’t even show up for the service.

There’s a colossal amount of drama, from the Terminauts attacking the city, to 00.05’s tales of a looming apocalypse, to the ominous Orchestra Verdammten, who want Vanya to help them destroy the world with her violin. And there’s the funeral, which is just completely buried in family dysfunction, as Spaceboy and Kraken fight each other, the family’s mother actually gets disrobed (she’s a robotic “visible woman” model who hates wearing limbs because they’re uncomfortable), and Pogo, the Academy’s chimpanzee administrator, tries to keep everything civil. And with the prophesied end of the world only days away, can the Academy bring themselves to work together?

I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the first issue, but it’s still pretty great. The dysfunctional relationships make the family feel very realistic, and the introduction of the diabolical Orchestra Verdammten is very dramatic and impressive. There are plenty of moments of brain-popping inventiveness, including 00.05’s time spent in the future, where he grows old trying to remember how to travel back to the present, only to be reminded by a statue that he made a math mistake in his chronal calculations twelve years ago.

Verdict: Thumbs up. This is turning out to be an incredibly fun comic.

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The Return of Friday Night Fights: Tower of Power!

After a two-week hiatus, it begins anew! Bahlactus commands: Let Fridays be devoted to violence, pain, and brutal, merciless beat-downs! Let Friday Night Fights commence!

From the first issue of “The Umbrella Academy” by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba:

A ten-year-old boy beats the rivets off an evil, death-ray-shooting Eiffel Tower!

Beaucoup brutalite!

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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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