Friday, July 21, 2017

[Graphic Novel Review] The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 1: The Apocalypse Suite by Gerard Way

Graphic Novel Review of The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 1: The Apocalypse Suite by Gerard Way

Wow. This is the first comic that I’ve really disliked.

So let’s just dive in...

The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 1: The Apocalypse Suite by Gerard Way review

The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 1: 

The Apocalypse Suite by Gerard Way

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.

My thoughts:
So right away, I didn't like that we just dove into the story without understanding who each of the characters are and what their specific powers were. We got a few flashbacks to their childhood here and there throughout the collection, which were okay. But again, because we didn't learn much about the characters to begin with, the flashbacks were just meh to me.

Further, these flashbacks still didn’t give me enough information to understand, or even like, any of the characters. The characters themselves were so very bland to me. Partially because we didn’t get any background information, but also because they were all so childish and rude.

I didn't love the way the narration flows either. It was pretty rough throughout, but specifically in the first few pages... It's very choppy and some of it just does not flow at all. For example, "the children were either abandoned or put up for adoption… ... The ones who survived.” Then we’re off on another topic. Granted it eventually leads back to where we were, but it was still rough.

I couldn’t stand that things weren’t explained at all. I need some level of world building here. I also would have appreciated more explanation about the siblings relations. We know that they were all born at the same time from various women that weren’t even pregnant. But are they related? Whether they are or not, they were still raised as siblings…so the weird romantic relationships were super gross to me.

I didn’t care for the artwork or the storyline. Some of the panels were better than others, but most seriously lacked a level of detail that I appreciate in comics. There’s not much else I can really say here, overall it just wasn’t for me.

The ending also seemed incredibly rushed. And ew, how old is that carton of milk with the missing child’s photo on the very last page?! The kid had been missing for 20 years. Gross.

To end on a positive note, the one thing that I did like was how some of the chapter titles flow right from the storyline. Specifically, there is one chapter where a waitress is talking and someone asks her what was said, the next panel was the chapter break which was titled, "Thank you for the coffee.”

This page made me chuckle:

I gave this graphic novel one star. I highly doubt that I will pick up Volume 2. Part of me wants to, just to see if it improves…. We’ll see.

Thanks for reading!
Have you read this graphic novel collection? What were your thoughts? Should I take a stab at reading the next collection?


  1. I haven't read this but I think the lack of backstory/ world building would be a problem for me too. That seems to be a trend lately that some comics or graphic novels just drop you in and try to make up for lack of backstory with a breakneck pace or occasional flashbacks. I like a little mystery and flavor but I don't like feeling clueless about the characters! The art style doesn't look like my thing either.

    Sorry this one didn't work for you.

    1. Yeah, it's such a bummer! I've run into the lack of world building a few times this year with the comics I've picked up. I wonder if Gerard Way's other series, Doom Patrol, falls victim to the same methods.

  2. I like a graphic novel that is properly fleshed out, this one sounds like it hits the mark and despite my love of My Chemical Romance(!) I think I'll give this a miss.

  3. I've ordered a couple of books that are comics! You must be having an influence on me LOL

    Great review. Love your pics.

    Hope you're having a great weekend.


  4. I don't feel like I'd like the style either!

  5. I haven't read this either, and I think I might only read it because it's Gerard Way, but I think lack of world building would be a problem for me too.

    Deanna Reads Books

    1. Yeah, it was such a let down! I was hoping it would be so creative like all of his other work. Maybe Volume 2 is better!