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The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite #1
Story Gerard Way
Art by Gabriel Bá
Dark Horse, $3.99 Kindle, $17.99 PB, 23pp
Published: October 2015

Created and written by Gerard Way with art by Gabriel Bá, THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY is based on the idea that one day, thirty years ago, forty-three special children were born at the same time at locations across the globe, many of them to single women who had no idea they were even pregnant. Out of those who survived, many were orphaned or put up for adoption. Seven were adopted by Sir Reginald Hargreeves, “world-renowned scientist and wealthy entrepreneur.” When asked why he chose to adopt the children, he answered, “To save the world, of course.”

Hargreeves trained the children and raised them to be superheroes, as each was endowed with a special power of their own—all but one, number 7, Vanya. Hargreeves tells her there is nothing special about her.

The children made their public debut ten years later when the Eiffel Tower, under the control of zombie-robot Gustave Eiffel, attacked France. The children ended its reign of terror and their legend was born. This section is a brief introduction only and didn't make it into the Netflix adaptation.

Twenty years later, we find the enstranged children, now adults, gathering once again in their old home, this time for the sombre, bittersweet funeral of Hargreeves. They find hurt feelings and old rivalries returning, yet must put them aside and learn to work together once again, for the reason behind their adoption by Sir Reginald is coming to light and The Umbrella Academy must try to save the world from destruction.

I admit, until watching The Umbrella Academy series on Netflix, I had never heard of this comic. I really liked the casting in the show and felt the showrunners found the right actors to portray these characters. I really enjoyed the series and wanted to see where it all began.

I liked the writing and the art of the comic and will happily read the rest of the volumes—there are three graphic novels at present—but I can honestly say that I prefer the look and fleshed out characters from the series over the source material. I read more than a few reviews from folk who feel the same, but who weren't as polite in saying so. I may prefer the series, but that doesn't mean that I'm opposed to reading the comic for extra background and insight into the characters, especially as Volume 1 includes some interesting sections of plot that weren't in the series.

If you are a fan of comics and the series, I think you might enjoy the read as well.

Interesting facts about the Author: Gerard Way is a singer, songwriter and comic book writer who is best known as the lead singer of the band My Chemical Romance. He found fame and acclaim recording and touring with that band from 2001 to 2013. In addition to his music, Way is the Eisner Award-winning writer of The Umbrella Academy and The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. ~~ Dee Astell

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