The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite
By Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba
Reviewed by Munawar Mobin
I will admit, I picked up this book for two reasons: the title - because of its possible affiliation to Resident Evil; and eventually, the artist, Gabriel Ba - because of his previous works (most notably 'Daytripper'). However by the end of the book, the writer, Gerard Way seemed to do himself enough justice to warrant a special mention in this article. He is also a member of 'My Chemical Romance', which explains a lot about his story and the course it so effortlessly travels through.
Dark Horse's “The Umbrella Academy” is about a group of superheroes whose birth was a weird phenomenon, tinged with a combination of both randomness and extreme connection in a world where humans have mastered space travel and men fought with aliens in boxing rings. The story starts off with a simple origins extract and then suddenly jumps through to a timeline about twenty years later.
Under the guidance and tutelage of Sir Reginald Hargreeves, the Umbrella Academy was once a group of special super-humans who would swoop in and save the day whenever necessary. The book then takes a tragic turn as it's revealed that that Umbrella Academy twenty years later is in the dust, and all that remain are the fragments of memories and ember from burnt bridges of a group torn apart by the death of one of them a few years back.
The novel comes to a pivot when the Umbrella Academy is forced to come together due to the death of Sir Hargreeves. A new threat arises and the Umbrella Academy is once more forced to be a team.
This would've been an okay graphic novel if that was all there was to it, but fortunately, it's not just an okay graphic novel. This novel has twists and turns of unimagined possibilities; the artwork is, of course, brilliant to the point where you stare at the figures and landscape before reading the text. The book shows a much harsher, yet more real side to being in a team of superheroes.
The Umbrella Academy, in all its sorrow and weakly cemented relationships, represents a better picture of a superhero group than most comics have done. They aren't as happy go-lucky as the Justice League or the X-Men. They fight real-life human problems of trust and love, and sometimes, they even come out and lose.
It's a superb piece of work and a must read for all of you Dark Horse fans.