Review: Umbrella Academy, Vol 1: The Apocalypse Suit
Title: The Umbrella Academy, Vol 1: The Apocalypse Suit
Author: Gerard Way
Artist: Gabriel Ba
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Published: 22 July 2018
Format: Graphic novel, library book.
Rating: 2.5/5 stars
Synopsis: For reasons no one can explain, 47 women gave birth to 47 children on the same day. This doesn’t seem weird, except when the day began, none of those women showed any signs of being pregnant. 7 of these children were adopted by millionaire Reginald Hargreeves “to save the world”.
These children made up The Umbrella Academy with their unique abilities. Despite their dysfunctional family life, they were superheroes. But then they grew up and moved on with their lives until Hargreeves dies unexpectedly. Now, The Umbrella Academy must reunite to save the world from an unexpected threat.
Honestly, I could have just used this gif as a synopsis and saved everyone reading time. Some of you might have seen, or at least heard of, the Netflix adaptation of The Umbrella Academy. I’m gonna try not to compare the graphic novel to its Netflix counterpart, but I’m not gonna lie – I enjoyed the show way more than the graphic novel.
Here’s the thing, the idea behind The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite was fantastic. It has everything I love in a story – mistfits with crazy abilities, banter, quick pacing…. but the story itself falls apart because it really isn’t a story as much as it is a bunch of somewhat-related scenes hastily thrown together.
That being said, everything in the graphic novel is paper thin. Nothing is given a proper explanation, and character depth is practically non-existent (although I appreciate Luther not mentioning “dAd SeNt Me To ThE mOon” every 5 seconds… that gave the graphic novel an extra .5 rating). After 184 pages, I don’t really feel like I know any of the characters at all. Their actions were random and they seemed like entirely different people on each page. The lack of consistency was tiring.
If I hadn’t already seen the show, I think I would have been even more confused because everything is so scattered, like the story was told in a train-of-thought sort of way.
The show provided a great deal of character depth and important information that made the story stronger, while the graphic novel struggled to find its footing throughout its entirety.
While the graphic novel was interesting and clever, it simply lacked actual story telling. Maybe it gets better in the second installment, but I’m not sure I’m going to check it out.
The art took a while to grow on me, but I did appreciate its unique style, especially the color palette.
My biggest issue (and this makes me feel old) is that I found the font really challenging to read. It was tiny and close together. I felt like I was constantly squinting at the dialogue.
Overall, I would actually recommend the show over the book. Or watch the show before reading the graphic novel. I think I would have been way more confused had I started with the book.
That’s about all I have to say! Have you read The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite ? What did you think! Let me know!