Review: The Umbrella Academy (graphic novel) by Gerard Way and Gabriel Wa



So as a follow-up to last week’s Wednesday Reads post about feeling a bit naughty over the content of the book I was listening to (am still listening to, and freaking loving!!), allow me to bring you The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite by Gerard Way and Gabriel Wa, a graphic novel with an awfully graphic cover. Sorry, moms and dads who read my blog, there was no way around including an image of a naked woman who resembles a violin.

An evil genius adopts a few orphaned kids, essentially turning them into superheros. But before they hit double-digits they grow to despise their adoptive father and even one another. Fast forward twenty years and they are spread across the universe (yes, universe), but come together for the funeral of their father. They each have their special powers, their own bad memories of their childhoods, and their own concoction of anger and resentment that lead them to one disastrous mistake or another. One turns against her raising and joins the dark side, The Orchestra Verdammten (orchestra of the damned, I think…).

I was waffling between telling you I don’t really read much manga (will they think me unqualified to review it?) and proclaiming a false love for it (liar!). Truth time: I rarely read it. I enjoyed volume 1 of both Black Butler and A Bride’s Story, but rarely (read: ever) pick out manga on my own. I’m just not drawn to it. But I was drawn to A Bride’s Story because of the stunning graphics on the spine label. Similarly, I was drawn to Umbrella Academy because of the woman-as-violin creation that adorns the cover. I just had to read it. Forget that I don’t go for superhero stories, or that I don’t read much manga. I just felt compelled. And I’m glad I read it!

I enjoyed reading/looking at this book. And I feel validated, because in 2008 the book won an Eisner Award (for Best Limited Series) so clearly I know good manga when I see it.

(Or I judge books by their covers, and I’m a good judge of covers.)

Recommended for
Superhero fans, graphic novel fans, My Chemical Romance fans, people who like graphic novels set in Paris, fans of evil orchestra conductors. Right, because people with that particular interest actually exist.

I, um…graphic novels?

Okay okay, seriously, um, maybe other graphic novels by Gabriel Wa?

2 Thoughts

  1. Wait, let me put on a pair of glasses so I can push them up my nose as I say with a distinct nasally voice, “Well, actually, manga is Japanese comics. Gerard Way and Gabriel Wa are from New Jersey and Brazil, respectively.”

    Okay, so you want some read-alikes to Umbrella Academy? That is to say, the dysfunctional superhero team, try: Irredeemable, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Watchmen, The Ultimates, and Civil War.

What's On Your Mind?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s