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The Umbrella Academy #1

The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 1: Apocalypse Suite

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In an inexplicable worldwide event, forty-seven extraordinary children were spontaneously born to women who'd previously shown no signs of pregnancy. Millionaire inventor Reginald Hargreeves adopted seven of the children; when asked why, his only explanation was, "To save the world."

These seven children form the Umbrella Academy, a dysfunctional family of superheroes with bizarre powers. Their first adventure at the age of ten pits them against an erratic and deadly Eiffel Tower, piloted by the fearsome zombie-robot Gustave Eiffel. Nearly a decade later, the team disbands, but when Hargreeves unexpectedly dies, these disgruntled siblings reunite just in time to save the world once again.

Collecting: The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite 1-6, as well as out-of-print short stories and an expanded sketchbook section featuring work by Gabriel Bá, James Jean, and Gerard Way

184 pages, Paperback

First published October 17, 2007

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About the author

Gerard Way

138 books3,832 followers
Gerard Arthur Way (born April 9, 1977) is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and comic book writer who served as frontman, lead vocalist, and co-founder of the band My Chemical Romance from the time of its formation in 2001 until its breakup in 2013. He is the author of the Eisner Award-winning comic book series The Umbrella Academy (now a Netflix original series) and The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. In January 2014, he announced via Twitter that he and artist Gabriel Ba will begin work on Umbrella Academy Volumes 3 & 4 in late 2014/early 2015. His debut solo album Hesitant Alien was released on September 30, 2014. Way lives in Los Angeles, California, with his wife Lindsey (bassist of Mindless Self Indulgence) and their daughter, Bandit.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,521 reviews
Profile Image for Zoë.
328 reviews66.4k followers
August 2, 2020
One of the few instances in which the adaptation is way better than the source material.
Profile Image for Zedsdead.
1,065 reviews65 followers
April 10, 2019
Great concepts, lousy execution.

The Umbrella Academy is a seemingly-random collection of plot points stapled haphazardly together in a garbled attempt at creating a story. The attempt fails. Rarely has so little been communicated in so many panels.

43 babies are suddenly born to random non-pregnant women. The seven survivors are adopted and raised by a wealthy inventor who is an alien. His alienness is immediately set aside and forgotten.

At age 10 the heroic children do battle with the admittedly awesome Zombie Robot Gustave Eiffel. Suddenly it's ten years later and one of the seven has, for no discernible reason, died. Another is now, for no discernible reason, a giant gorilla. A woman suddenly appears that the kids call "Mom", but wait she's actually a talking dress mannequin. For no discernible reason. It continues in this vein.

The lack of immediate character-info should appeal to me; I generally hate having books spell things out like I'm an idiot. In this case it just made the story difficult to follow. What the hell just happened? Oh, that guy now has a new relevant ability...I think. It put me in mind of a Simpsons episode in which Batman, confronted with a runaway carousel, pulled a can of Carousel-Reversal Spray from his utility belt. Not a good sign.
Profile Image for Anne.
3,792 reviews69k followers
June 28, 2019
2.5 stars


This is one was fast-paced and cool, but at the same time, it teetered on awful.
Does that make sense?
The ideas thrown about in The Apocalypse Suite were interesting and clever, but they were just that - thrown about. It needed to be about double the size of itself to properly tell the story (I think) it was trying for, in my opinion.
Unless, of course, everything and everyone gets some sort of a flashback-y kind of origin that goes quite a bit more in-depth in volume 2. The only way I even kinda/sorta understood any of what the plot might be going for is because I watched a few episodes of the tv show. And I didn't quite manage all of those in their entirety, so I'm just half guessing at a lot of the comic.
Usually, I could type out the gist of the comic and it would leave quite a bit left over for another reader to discover on their own. With this? Not so much. The general ideas, while extremely cool, are all you get. There's nothing else.
And, in the case of most of the characters, their personality, powers, & motivation are so paper thin that you don't really get anything other than the barest look at what they might be. The same thing goes for the storyline. There just isn't much there to hang onto because the plot is just splatted onto the page with the smallest explanation possible.

Weird babies are born to women who weren't pregnant because of an alien boxing match and an alien posing as a human adopts them to save the world from destruction.
These kids save the world with comic book powers and fight comic book villains except for the one girl with no powers who feel left out.
The father figure/alien/billionaire guy shits on all of them and ruins their childhoods.
There are a talking chimpanzee and a robot-mom who help raise the kids.
The violin-chick gets her feelings hurt and quickly turns evil because nefarious music composers hook her up to a machine that turns her into a world-ending villainess.
This sort of storytelling didn't impress me.


Now, on the flip side, everything about that sounds like it could be amazing. And I did finish this in one sitting. <--partly because it was interesting and partly because there really wasn't much to read.
But there was also a more nuanced storyline about the kid who accidentally got trapped in the apocalyptic future, and I truly would like to read more about him.


The art was ok. Kind of reminded me of a Hellboy comic for some reason? I don't know.
The whole thing is 50/50 for me, but I'm not calling a time of death on it until I read at least one more volume.
Profile Image for Baba.
3,505 reviews738 followers
June 21, 2022
The hardest thing about reading this after watching the TV show, is the surprising revelation, that for me, the TV show is a lot better! One day 43 virgins gave birth to healthy infants around the world. Sir Reginald Hargreaves set out to find and adopt as many as he could. He found 7. They were the Umbrella Academy who made a dazzling debut aged 10 as a super hero group. Many years later, those that are still around pull together for Sir Reginald's funeral.

There are lots of innovative concepts, character designs and plotting, but the art is sometimes difficult to understand; and the nature of the antagonists doesn't really sit well in the constructed reality; and the motivations, depths and hearts of the main characters are not really shared. Still a good read, especially as the creator is/was an established famous singer. 7 out of 12

2020 read
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,691 followers
February 28, 2019
3.5 to 4 stars

I had been seeing this graphic novel in my Hoopla list for quite some time. I had not been giving it much thought, but it is amazing how seeing that a title is being made into a series on Netflix will move it to the top of your list! I thought this was interesting because I hadn’t heard anything about it other than the cover popping up in passing, so I will be curious to find out what led to interest in making it into a show.

This is the story of a dysfunctional family of adopted miracle super babies. It has hints of X-Men and Suicide Squad (am I allowed to cross DC/Marvel lines in my comparisons?) If you like the troubled team dynamic, you know what to expect here. However, there are some interesting twists! And, while there is a lot of world saving going on here, there is a lot of world destroying happening as well.

The art work was okay. In some cases, it drew me in. In others, it was not all that enthralling. While I could make some comparisons to the impressionistic/outlandish stylings of titles like Chew and American Vampire, it just felt a little too obscure to me at times. Not necessarily bad, just not my cup of graphic novel tea.

So, I suppose it sounds like I wasn’t really digging this title. I was, but not super into it yet. I plan to continue the next volume and I might check out the series on Netflix to see how it translates to the big screen.

Profile Image for Trin.
1,723 reviews546 followers
March 11, 2019
I found Netflix's The Umbrella Academy joyous and silly and energetic and fun. The source material absolutely pales in comparison.

Literally pales: the lack of diversity in the comic, compared to the show, is just one of many profound bummers one gets to experience by coming to this in reverse order.

But there's also:

--comparatively moronic character motivations
--the characters reduced to thinness and blandness all around
--Allison rendered utterly useless
--Diego rendered unsympathetic (and his touching relationship with Mom excised)
--Klaus' love interest excised
--an icky and pointless "loyal servant" character who, with all the kids whitewashed, is the only character of color in the story, yet has no lines
--the really gross way Vanya's body is portrayed/sexualized

It's just a mess. I hated it. I'm amazed that it inspired the adaptation that it did. I guess the one thing I'm grateful for is that I only read this after I watched, because otherwise, I absolutely never would have tried the show.
Profile Image for mark monday.
1,620 reviews4,960 followers
November 18, 2011
as the back cover states, this is a comic with an arch Victorian sensibility. steampunk superheroes, i love it! in an alternate world, "43 extraordinary children were born..." and seven of them were collected, to form a super-powered super-team. they have powers like time travel and mind control and super-strength and super-agility and the ability to spawn cthulhic tentacles. they are pretty awesome. my favorite is the devious, cold-blooded little killer Number Five, a 10-year old with a 50-year old mind, whose sinister travels in the timestream have earned him a host of implacable enemies.

apparently steampunk will never go away... yahoo! possibly i'm one of a diminishing number of folks who still feel such affection for this overly-hyped mongrel genre. ah, so what. this was a smart, witty, and sometimes dark pleasure from beginning to end. well, i could have done without the - ugh, disgusting and unnecessary. but overall this was great. if i called the shots, there would be a lot more flashbacks to our heroes as super-kids; hopefully there will be more to come.

there was a feeling of being shown very small, sometimes random parts of the narrative and the history of the characters themselves. that can be frustrating, but i enjoyed it as well. it leaves a lot of room for growth in future episodes, and if not, well i personally love questions that aren't answered, that let me try to connect the dots and figure things out. the narrative and the characters live in a fully-realized, lavishly detailed world, one i'm looking foward to jumping into again.

the art by Gabriel Ba is fantastic. the idea-smith is Gerard Way, apparently a member of a band called My Chemical Romance. i don't know them - do they do the theme song for some tv show or movie? eh, whatever, the writing and the ideas on display are a lot of fun and surprisingly moving at times. good job, Gerard Way, whoever you are! what a clever and multi-talented lad. i hope he sticks with this.
Profile Image for Sam Quixote.
4,427 reviews12.7k followers
September 17, 2013
Umbrella Academy looks like another case of Saga - a comic everyone loves that I didn’t like at all. I honestly don’t know what people see in UA that makes it so beloved. It’s a mix of sci-fi and superhero comics starring a group of weird kids with powers that on paper reads a bit like a Grant Morrison comic - the Eiffel Tower goes “crazy”, one of the characters turns themselves into a living instrument - all of which I should love except Gerard Way has none of the artistry of Morrison.

The plot of the book is threadbare at best - some kids born at the same time are arbitrarily given superpowers. Why, how, it’s never explained. Flash forward several years and one of them has grafted his head onto a giant ape’s body (why?) and lives on the moon with a robot servant (why?). Again, reads like a great idea but never goes beyond its description. Anyway, the others all have similarly bizarre situations - one of them travelled forwards in time for some reason then went back and somehow became a kid forever or something (why?!) - except for one girl who’s somehow included with the other kids but doesn’t have any special powers and isn’t included in their superhero outings so I’m not sure why she’s part of the UA. And why is it called Umbrella Academy anyway?

So a bad guy wants to kill the world with music for some reason and recruits the poor girl without superpowers who does know how to play the violin really well, turning her into the human violin you see on the cover (why death by music?). Because she’s been left out, etc., she becomes evil and tries to blow up the world with a death song or something and the UA have to stop her.

Events happen without any rhyme or reason, they just happen because, while the characters are completely flat. I couldn’t tell you their names or their character traits, or why they were whisked away by some alien professor, or why anything that happened in this book happened at all. It’s just one big blur of derivative nonsense.

As most people will know, Gerard Way is the frontman for the rock band My Chemical Romance (who I do like) so its easy to see where the musical themes central to the book come from and the chapter titles read like rejected song titles for MCR: Apocalypse Suite; The Day The Eiffel Tower Went Beserk; We Only See Each Other At Weddings and Funerals; Baby, I’ll Be Your Frankenstein; Brothers and Sisters, I Am An Atomic Bomb. Each could fit in nicely on their records The Black Parade or Danger Days.

The best thing about the book by far is Gabriel Ba’s art, which is, as usual, sublime. Ba does a simply gargantuan task of bringing Way’s hyper-crazy script to life, creating the bizarre cast of the Umbrella Academy in imaginative and interesting styles while imbuing the comic with shades of surrealism, gothic horror and classic sci-fi. If you enjoyed the art in this book I highly recommend checking out his and his twin brother Fabio Moon’s books Daytripper and De:Tales.

Way is a gifted songwriter and lyricist and while he definitely possesses one hell of an imagination, Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite shows that he’s a long way from becoming a good comics writer. UA is all swagger, bombast, and barely engaging with zero substance.
Profile Image for Ashleigh (a frolic through fiction).
441 reviews6,541 followers
September 28, 2020
This is...something, huh??
I flew through this comic even quicker than you would expect to, largely because there’s very little build up to anything. Stuff just kinda happens and that’s that. Nothing about it felt authentic, too much was crammed into one volume, and the art style just wasn’t for me. I could barely tell the characters apart for half of it. I won’t say it’s awful, because it has so many interesting concepts and storylines that have potential. But it wasn’t fleshed out enough at all, and so just felt like someone shouting “we have aLIENS AND TIME TRAVEL AND APOCALYPSE AND ORCHESTRAS AND FAMILY DRAMA AND -“ ...you get the idea.

I will admit I’m coming into this having seen the tv show first, and falling head over heels with that. So my perspective was always going to be biased towards that. But had I not seen the tv show first, I honestly don’t think I would’ve had the foggiest clue what was going on - even though the story was changed pretty dramatically. A story of this scope needed more time than the comic gave it, so I’m glad to see it got a tv show at least.
Profile Image for A.J..
603 reviews33 followers
July 13, 2022
While I liked this, I do now understand why some people dislike this comic and enjoy the show. It does just throw you into the deep end and expect you to care about a bunch of absurd shit constantly thrown at you without explaining any of it. A lot of the characters feel more like drawings than characters, which makes sense since Way picked the team based on the most interesting-looking characters in his sketchbook. There’s also next to no backstory or clear motivations for most characters, but I still liked it a bit. I do have to stress though I doubt I would be nearly as nice to this if I didn’t already love the show, hear most of these complaints beforehand, and find the library editions at my library.

Way’s story is chaotic and the script may be a bit too unfocused at times, but the smaller moments between characters are always fun and these first couple of issues manage to form a genuinely interesting world that I’m intrigued to see explored further down the line. The whole thing with the apocalypse is take it or leave it though, and I think the show handled that whole aspect better. Gabriel Bá’s art is gorgeous and easily the most consistent aspect of the book. You can see a lot of Moebius's influence in it too, which Way even mentions in his afterword. His designs for the characters are unique and the way he brings Way’s absurd world to life is breathtaking. I was also shocked by just how violent this was. The show has gore as well, but it was totally insane and more of a constant in the book. Bá makes it all work though, with one page coming back to me now that’s particularly mind-blowing.

The OHC library edition that I read this in is by far the best way to experience this series. Bá’s art in a blown-up format helps it immensely, and the extras in the back are well worth the time of any fan of this franchise. Some really cool tidbits and sketches from Way in there as well as tons of designs and covers from the artists. There are even the cover credit pages from individual issues with newspaper clippings from the world, pages from an encyclopedia on the history of the UA themselves, and diary entries from Pogo that give the reader some tidbits on the characters during their teen years before the Horror died but after Five disappeared. I hope these were accessible in other printings of this volume because they do add a ton to this world and I hope a bunch of readers didn’t miss out on some cool world-building and character tidbits.

I liked this a lot though. I get everyone’s complaints about it and I do agree that the show has been a lot more enjoyable, but I still found this to be a lot of fun. I’ll definitely be checking out the other 3 volumes that seem to be available at the moment since they are all available at my library. If you like the show, I’d honestly give these library editions a shot. They have a ton of cool information on this franchise that can appeal to any fans of it in the back and the story itself ain’t too shabby. And it helps this is the best format to read the story in. There are also two bonus stories included here, and found below are two mini reviews for those extra stories included in the back.

Mon Dieu! ☆ ☆

Just a comedic two-page story of Five and Seance goofing off with time travel and their powers. Not much of note here besides a fun story.

...But the Past Ain’t Through With You ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ 1/2

This was published for FCBD back in 2007 for Dark Horse and shows the UA in their prime fighting the villain Murder Magician. It is really cool seeing the team in action sometime before the Jennifer Incident. Fun little one-off issue and I wish they did more of these in between the long waits for the rest of the books
Profile Image for Layla.
317 reviews351 followers
August 14, 2021
~ 2 stars ~

I only read this because I love the T.V show, but, the show was better. I hate to say it, but it's true. I'm pretty disappointed.

I know it may be unfair of me to judge this harshly considering I am not a comic book connoisseur, I think this actually might be the first I have ever read, but alas, I can't really name anything that I liked about this book. I guess I thought the art was unique, but that's it.

It had pretty bad pacing, I felt like I was getting wiplash the entire time. I didn't like any of the characters. The idea was there, but the execution was wack. It was honestly just all over the place and didn't capture my interest at all. I will not be continuing this series.
Profile Image for Juliet Rose.
Author 7 books313 followers
July 13, 2022
I think it's important to try and not do a side by side comparison of the show and the graphic novel. They are two completely different mediums. In true graphic novel style this is very black and white (haha pun). The art tells much of the story and perception. It's quirky, weird, and meant to let the reader put their own take on it. I loved the art style and dryness of the graphic novel. I love the show as well but see them as different art in their own right.
Profile Image for Calista.
3,792 reviews31.2k followers
December 18, 2017
The art is stylish and compelling. The story was difficult for me to follow and keep up with what was going on. They didn't do a lot of connecting dots so the story moves fast and I had to simply flow with it. I had to fight to keep up.

I can't say that it was an enjoyable story. There was no joy in it, simply pain and angst. The hero's were hard and burnt out and the world burned around them.

I might continue on with this one.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books3,851 followers
December 14, 2020
So I'm coming at this from the wrong side of things. I watched two seasons of the great TV show based on this comic and then got the bright idea to pick up the comic.

Sometimes it works out fine. Even great. But this time, I'm all... Where's the depth, the pathos, the brilliant timing?

This volume is QUICK. So many of the iconic details are there but if you blink, you miss them. But the CORE of the story is all there if you have eyes to see and not only the core -- but the tiny and wonderful interpersonal interactions as well.

I can totally get why normal comic readers might have picked this up in the deluge of so many other titles about superheroes and go... Wait. This really is edgy and totally adult and it has some really messed up portions and yet it still has heart, tragedy, and oh, wow, did THAT JUST HAPPEN?

Taken in isolation without seeing the great tv series, it really IS good. But when compared directly to what came after IN the tv show?

Give me the tv show.

I wonder if I would have said something different had I read these before the show. *sigh*

Profile Image for Alejandro.
1,107 reviews3,542 followers
September 10, 2013
Wow!!! I got this TPB since I had read good comments about this Umbrella Academy stuff but without knowing about what was about. Wow!!! I never had read something so creative, original and entertained that it wasn't written by Alan Moore and in my case, it's the best compliment that I can do to a comic book. Gerard Way & Gabriel Ba did a joint work so good, so exciting to read and watch that it's without a doubt one of the true new masterpieces of the modern age of comic books. Even I want to compliment the work of Nate Piekos as letterer. That's why I tend to compare with the works of Alan Moore since he always look for not only good artists but also good letterers that many time people tend to overlook and not to value the weight of a good letterer in a comic. I like that this is not a static book, people die, people change, nothing is ever the same on each issue. They created even their own reality to make function the story of the team. Highly recommended!!!
Profile Image for Sam.
82 reviews10 followers
November 8, 2009
If you:

A) hate comic books

B) love comic book

C) feel indifferent about comic books

D) have never picked up a comic book in your life


This is one of the greatest comic books ever written, drawn, inked, etc. I hate to oversell it, but it's totally true. A group of kids, adopted by a scientist, time-traveling, killing for the good of mankind and having all of the dysfunctional problems kids have. In this installment, we jump back and forth between their childhoods and their adults lives, slowly putting pieces together, and are never given the whole story. Which makes this trade (and the 2nd trade known as "Dallas") impossible to put down.

Backstory: Gerard Way of MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE (yes, the crappy band that you've never given a chance, that the kids are always talking about) knows the comic genre, and has created one that redefines the genre. Artwork by Gabriel Ba is phenomenal (for those who know of Mike Mignola's style, this will remind you of it).

PICK THIS UP. If you hate it, I'LL refund you money.*

* offer not valid.
Profile Image for Salwa Marwan.
43 reviews79 followers
June 1, 2022
كوميك ظريفه
لكنها مع الأسف مخيبه أوي للآمال

1- دخول سريع في الأحداث
2- ترجمه ممتازه

1- مؤلف غير متمكن من الحبكه
2- حوارات قليله وضعيفه
3- عدم وجود خلفيه كافيه عن الأطفال وقدراتهم.
4- شخصيات غير جذابه
Profile Image for Grecia Robles.
1,413 reviews312 followers
August 15, 2020
*** 4 Disturbed Superheroes STARS ***

Yep yep yep, llegué aquí por la serie de Netflix. Tras el final de esta necesitaba MÁS es por eso que me decidí a leer el cómic.

Tal vez fue un error haber visto la serie primero porque el cómic se me hizo un poco superficial pero creo que fue lo mejor porque no perdí el factor sorpresa.


La historia va sobre un grupo de 7 superhéroes atípicos que nacieron el mismo día junto con otros 35 niños más el mismo día de manera sorpresiva porque las madres nunca tuvieron un signo de estar embarazadas y dieron a luz en donde estuvieran y fueron adoptados por un millonario excéntrico.

Han crecido en una familia disfuncional con un padre que no los ha tratado como tal y no tuvieron una niñez “normal”.
En su edad adulta presentan traumas y resentimientos a causa de su crianza alejándose de su padre y tomando caminos distintos.
Se vuelven a reunir después de la muerte de su padre.

Ahora gracias a que uno de sus miembros viajo al futuro trae una noticia devastadora que el fin del mundo se acerca y empezará en 3 días por lo que están en contrarreloj para detener al responsable del detonante.

Es una historia de superhéroes muy diferente a lo acostumbrado con unos miembros muy humanos con anhelos y problemas.
Me gustaron mucho el arte y las escenas sangrientas, los personajes también me gustaron mucho y al igual que en el serie mis favoritos siguen siendo Klaus y Number five.

Me hubiera gustado que en la serie se mostrara todo el potencial de los podres de Klaus como en el cómic y que aquí en el cómic él tuviera más protagonismo.

En unos días continuaré con la segunda parte que por cierto vi por ahí que a pesar de que la serie es una adaptación de este volumen se complementa con el segundo.

PS: Confirmé que soy una despistada y nunca me entero de nada, no sabía que el autor era Mi Gerard Way de My Chemical Romance, me siento mal fan.
Profile Image for Tina Haigler.
288 reviews95 followers
November 20, 2021
Honestly it was a little weird, and there was practically no backstory. It truly blurs the lines between sci-fi and fantasy without any regard to actual science. Which in some cases is fine, but occasionally that made it bizarre in some places, and hard to follow in others. It was a little less weird the second time I read it, but there were still a lot of things that made absolutely no sense. It also had a lot of moments that felt like a movie with too many scenes cut; you just couldn't be sure how you got there. I wish there was more content from when they were kids. I couldn't quite fully understand why they were so dysfunctional with each other. So in the end not my favorite, but it was interesting enough for me to want to know what happened next. On to Volume 2.
Profile Image for Chad.
7,310 reviews851 followers
March 22, 2019
I decided to do a re-read of this before watching the Netflix show. Before becoming a rock star as the lead singer of My Chemical Romance, Gerard Way ran a comic book shop. His love of early Vertigo comics shows through in his storytelling. This has the same weird strangeness of Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol run. That shouldn't surprise anyone at this point now that Way just wrote a year's worth of Doom Patrol stories himself.

The basic premise is that these kids with superpowers were adopted by an eccentric genius and eventually became superheroes. I think readers' biggest complaint with the series is that there's not enough backstory. There are a few flashback scenes, but what other little nods to the past are very subtle, often told through a device like a framed newspaper headline on the wall. Overall, I enjoyed the nonstop action and weirdness, it worked very well with Gabriel Ba's art.
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,396 reviews7,273 followers
October 22, 2020
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

I’m not going to waste much time on this review because it was simply a case of this just wasn’t for me. I’m not a huge graphic novel reader to begin with and when I do pick one up they aren’t often superhero/save the world types of stories. Buuuuuuuuuuut my kid totally geeked out and binge watched the new season of this when it debuted awhile back to the point where I thought he might get a bedsore, so I decided to give it a whirl. And also, that one illustration. You know what I’m talking about . . . .

It was my misunderstanding due to being completely unfamiliar with the plot that had the title leading me to believe the story would center around these sorts of characters . . . .

Little did I know that only about 12 seconds would be spent providing an “origin story” regarding 47 women simultaneously giving birth like some sort of awful TLC program where none of them even knew they were knocked up. Seven get adopted by a Daddy Warbucks and that’s pretty much all you ever get to know about that. Then they save the world . . . . twice and rather than ever experiencing life in any sort of “Academy” like I was hoping for, the children I was so looking forward to getting to know are all instantly groweds up and look like this instead . . . .

Profile Image for Marnie  (Enchanted Bibliophile).
795 reviews119 followers
September 8, 2020
This was a quick re-read, from last year.
I remember reading it and wanting to get my hands on the rest of the volumes and then life happened...
So getting all 3 volumes at once seemed to be the best solution to my problem.

I must say reading this the second time was way more fun. I remember the first time there was a lot of going back to check and refresh my memory. This time I knew all the characters and just enjoyed the ride.
And what a ride…

Family, you have to love them, right? Or you can try and kill them.
Now on to the next one...

“It's okay to be different”

Profile Image for Pine tree leaf stick.
181 reviews303 followers
April 24, 2021
This was...interesting.

I don't really read comic books. Ever. My only reason for reading this was because it was written by Gerard Way.

Based on my questionable reasons for reading this, it was better than I expected. Kind of confusing, but it was enjoyable.

I have nothing else to say because I've never reviewed a comic book before.


Profile Image for Jordi.
207 reviews
April 8, 2010
"Our souls are tainted...painted black by the very deeds that make us so wonderfully individual..."

Dark yet hopeful, sinister and yet has a hint of innocence, cruel yet witty, full of love and hate, music, family, neurosis, heros that hate, villains that love, aliens, robots, superheros, war, the eiffel tower, the end of the world, and a full orchestra. This isn't just a comic book, this is an accumilation of a lifetime of talent and pain. If i had not known that Gerard Way had written this graphic novel, i would have guessed it by page two.
Apocalypse Suite is not your usual comic book of normal superheros (yes, there are normal and abnormal superheors), it touches upon subjects of creation, of immaculate conception, of original sin, of evolution, and the plight of the human race. A story of murder and music, and the beauty of them both.
Vanya is me. Her low self esteem and lack of confidence in being special drives her to hurt those who love her the most, and those she loves the most. Love and distruction sometimes go hand in hand, and create a plot full of crazy common sense.
Gerard put his soul on the papers of this comic, and was not afraid to reveal himself in each and every character exploding in a mix of blood and creativity.

Who says that a rock star can't tell a story?
Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
2,864 reviews10.5k followers
April 11, 2016
Years ago, an unrevealed number of children were spontaneously born to women who weren't pregnant. Reginald Hargreeves, aka The Monocle, gathered all of them he could find, 47 of them, and formed the Umbrella Academy. Why? To save the world!

I picked this up because people said it's a lot like Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol. While I thought it was, it reminded me more of The Royal Tenenbaums. There are sequences were the academy members were youngsters but the series is mostly about them as adults and coping with their relationship with the now deceased Monocle. And they take on an old foe and deal with one of their own but that's secondary in my view.

The writing was delightfully weird and the art suited it perfectly. I enjoyed the characters even though I'm still not clear on some of their powers. Number 5 is easily my favorite though I love that Spaceboy's head is on a gorilla's body.

I recommend this to anyone that likes something different from their comics. I could see this appealing to fans of the Doom Patrol easily, as well as Madman and the early issues of Generation X. It's a quick read but very interesting.
Profile Image for Bea.
195 reviews107 followers
March 11, 2019
My friend gave me her copies to borrow of this series since she was really excited about the new The Umbrella Academy TV series that has just come out. She really enjoyed the graphic novels and therefore recommended them to me, hoping I'd become just as interested.

This was a nice read although confusing at times since the art style (although unique) was not the easiest to comprehend what was going on in every box. I liked the concept of the story very much but don't think the execution was as good as it could've been.

I will the checking out the new TV series after reading this. Would recommend. 2.5 stars.
August 4, 2013
This one's been in my tbr pile for a long time, and I finally got around to reading it.

I don't follow the music group My Chemical Romance, but I did see one of their videos, and I found it visually appealing. I can definitely see the artist in Gerald Way from that video sequence, and it carries over to this graphic novel.

The story takes the concept of superhuman abilities and the onus to protect humanity at one's personal cost and examines it closely. In this case, it focuses on seven children who were born under strange circumstances, and subsequently adopted by an eccentric older man. He goes on to raise these children to be superheroes who step in to counter threats against humanity on earth. The story goes twenty or so years into the future, and the remaining children are dealing with the aftermath of years under the tutelage and dubious parenting of their father. Each and every one of them is emotionally scarred, but one in particular. These emotional scars are ruthlessly exploited to create a very vicious instrument that could lead to the apocalypse.

The artwork is by a Brazilian artist (known for his work with his twin brother) based on scripts and concepts by Way, and there is a real meeting of the minds and collusion evident in the pages. Like a good graphic novel, a mix of dialogue and action tell the story very well. The story is relatively easy to follow, although it leaves this reader with some questions that probe me to continue the series. This is dark, but nothing less than expected. Dark subject matter is the obvious result when a story centers around children who were reared from birth to be superheroes by a poor substitute for a parent who has a specific endgoal and ruthlessly exploits his children to achieve that goal. Despite that darkness, there is also a bit of welcome and quite quirky humor. Of course, even with this dysfunctional family, we see a sibling dynamic that feels realistic for the situation. A tenuous, but surprisingly strong bond of loyalty between the erstwhile adopted siblings that is reactivated as a result of their recent reunion and the need to go back to work defending the denizens of earth.

This is a good graphic novel to experience, especially for aficionados of the visual arts. Different, but recognizable for readers who appreciate the superhero theme. The characters are tortured and broken, morally conflicted to some extent, but yet no less heroic; and the dark, twisted villains that exist only in the fictional landscape of superhero fiction.
Profile Image for Jonathan.
692 reviews74 followers
August 17, 2022
For me, Gerard Way seems to shine when doing original things. This is in reference to the fact I'm reviewing a ton of books back-to-back here to catch up on GR. (I'm directly referencing his first two Doom Patrol volumes, which I reviewed and read right before starting Umbrella Academy)

I can appreciate what others have said, the lack of backstory, etc., but for me, it just helps this story along to a large degree in the pacing and feel department. The whole thing is barely contained chaos, much like these heroes' births, upbringing, and life issues. 

Looking forward to the next two volumes to see where this takes us, and then I can start the Netflix series!
Profile Image for Craig.
4,802 reviews103 followers
August 26, 2021
This is an excellent book in many ways; the story is fresh and compelling, with humor, angst, and mystery, and is quite original and very well-written. The characters are deep and engaging, despite their age and abilities. The world is obviously very detailed and we see only a bit of it, but somehow that's an enticement to continue rather than a frustration. The art is splendid, a richly-colored and detailed style that reminded me of early Mignola with a hint of Barry Windsor-Smith. I don't have anything to add to the other thousands of endorsements posted here... (Yes, I liked the Netflix version, too, but not quite as much.) UT MALUM PLUVIA !
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