Title: The Umbrella Academy.
Story-arc: Hotel Oblivion.
Writer(s): Gerard Way.
Illustrator(s): Gabriel Bá.
Colourist(s): Nick Filardi.
Letterer(s): Nate Piekos of Blambot.
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics.
Release Date: September 17th 2019.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆.
Previously on The Umbrella Academy:
The Umbrella Academy (Vol. 1): The Apocalypse Suite.
The Umbrella Academy (Vol. 2): Dallas.
If you thought that writers who gave up on their series are not likely to come back to continue where they left off, here comes another creative team who looks to prove you wrong and make a comeback in the comic book business. After a decade of waiting, with each individual issue released intermittently, the dynamic duo that developed the hit comic book series that is now an original Netflix TV series is back with their third volume, just as explosively ridiculous, bizarre and splashy as ever. Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá now look to revisit their heroes by steering this story into some of the rowdiest directions unimaginable while keeping the complex family dynamics at the foundation of Hotel Oblivion.
What is The Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion about? Taking place after the events in Dallas, the story now looks at a suspicious and ambitious creation by the founding father of the Umbrella Academy, Sir Reginald Hargreeves, that is the mysterious Hotel Oblivion. While the idea behind it is mind-boggling, it now comes back to haunt our heroes, a fractured team troubled by recent events who have not had the chance to reconnect in a while. In fact, Number Five is back as a hired gun doing the unimaginable, Spaceboy is battling crime as an out-of-shape crime-stopper in the streets of Tokyo, Vanya struggles through her physical therapy following the near-fatal injury she was inflicted, Rumor continues to reflect on her marriage, Séance remains in a pitiful state as he deals with questionable individuals and the Kraken is off looking for answers. With only their bond as a family still holding them together, they are once again brought to reassemble their broken selves to face new revelations that are bound to change their lives.
While fans of this original series have waited pretty long for this volume to finally release (and probably not the last), it doesn’t deliver the dramatic and sensational return you’d have wished for it. The story introduces many new characters while splitting it in almost half a dozen arcs that imperfectly stitches together by the end, leaving you in awe at the unwarranted cliffhanger. It’s only around the halfway mark that the story finally starts to make any sense, although it isn’t surprising with this series to see its readers being tossed around in unpredictable directions, as they finally grasp Sir Hargreeves intention behind the Hotel Oblivion and what is actually going on in this volume. Nonetheless, the underlying theme of family continues to run through this series but unfortunately see a lot less development as the focus is centered around setting the table for what will come next.
What’s interesting about this volume is that it doesn’t necessarily look to blow anyone’s minds by revolutionizing the genre but it does introduce the Afterspace, an unknown portion of the universe, which essentially expands the world in uncharted territory. It is not surprising from Gerard Way to pull the story in that direction, considering that the previous volume looked into time traveling. What this volume indubitably does for this series is getting the pieces moving once again for something fun to come in the next story arc. Where this volume does not disappoint, however, is Gabriel Bá’s artwork, beautifully complemented by Nick Filardi’s colouring. It continues to portray the colourful, frenzied and anarchic universe in which unfolds this series, and they achieve it with even more vitality and glamour this time around.
The Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion is an exuberant yet unstable continuation of the dysfunctional superhero family’s story as it shovels up buried truths culminating to a confrontation with a reality they are unprepared to face.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!
Although the trailer isn’t out yet, how excited are you for season 2?