Quinn's Reviews > The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 1: The Apocalypse Suite

The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 1 by Gerard Way
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's review
May 06, 2011

did not like it

I picked up this volume on the promise of a showdown between the superpowered students of the titular Academy and a robot zombie Gustave Eiffel as the latter rampages around Paris inside his famous tower; when this scene ended abruptly after about two pages, I got a sinking feeling that I was in for a lot of wasted potential. And that's ultimately what this little story arc is. There's an undercurrent of clever ideas throughout, but those ideas never amount to much more than flimsy setpieces that end so quickly they almost seem embarrassed of themselves.

The story follows seven superpowered youths who have grown up and grown apart, but are brought back together by the imminent end of the world. Their meager character development leans toward the cliche, when it's there at all: there's the stoic no-nonsense leader, the brooding antihero, the girl who gets to be a vague love interest but nothing else. Their motivations are unclear and often confusing. It's never even explained what exactly their powers are, so there's precious little to hold on to among our supposed protagonists. Meanwhile, the story barrels along at top speed without ever pausing to give a sense of atmosphere or meaning to the proceedings, and then it just ends anticlimactically without resolving half of the plot threads.

At least the art has a distinct style and charm to it. However, a few visuals in the book seem to be references to Watchmen, and believe me, this volume does not benefit from that comparison. Perhaps the series gains some stronger footing later on, but I'm not interested in finding out.
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