Gerard Way / Gabriel Ba - The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite (Cover Artwork)

Gerard Way / Gabriel Ba

Gerard Way / Gabriel Ba: The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse SuiteThe Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite (2008)
Dark Horse

Reviewer Rating: 4

Contributed by: jamespastepunkjamespastepunk
(others by this writer | submit your own)

"...And I eagerly await the trade paperback" was the sentence I ended my review of issue four (not volume four, good call el_matt!) of the six-part Apocalypse Suite, and now it's here. I'll reiterate my admission of ignorance of the medium here. I've now read "V for Vendetta" more carefully, skimmed.

"...And I eagerly await the trade paperback" was the sentence I ended my review of issue four (not volume four, good call el_matt!) of the six-part Apocalypse Suite, and now it's here. I'll reiterate my admission of ignorance of the medium here. I've now read "V for Vendetta" more carefully, skimmed through The Long Halloween somewhere and a couple random trade paperbacks of whatever Joss Whedon did the X-Men, so now I know more fully that I don't know much.

$20 later and four readings later, I'm not entirely satisfied with the purchase. The mathematics of the situation paint a different picture. Six issues, at, roughly, three dollars each ($18), plus the Free Comic Book Day issue, all the James Jean covers and a two-page mini-story that made me smile from ear to ear, so, call that an extra two bucks ($20), and with most of the preliminary sketches for the superhero team by Mr. Way gives some interesting background, along with short (page and a half or so) essays by everyone involved ($20-something?), except (of course) Gerard Way -- this all seems fair on a purely economic level. Hell, Mr. Way's inspiration for The Umbrella Academy, Doom Patrol author Grant Morrison provides the introduction, but Mr. Way's thoughts on his own book aren't here. Perhaps this is his way of saying let the work speak for itself.

Regarding the stories themselves, the Seance is my new favorite character, if only for his response to the house / Umbrella Base of Operations getting destroyed: "There goes all my shoes." I wrote in the earlier review that I enjoyed Mr. Way's black humor, pathos and pacing. It still holds true in this book, which has some fantastic moments -- that frankly, text only can't do justice to. Mr. Ba and Way successfully evade a "walk into the sunset" ending, leaving one character in the hospital undergoing critical surgery, three dead and a good portion of the set pieces destroyed by the end of the story arc.

And now, I think I know my $20 gripe: The book just doesn't feel heavy enough. I don't mean in the metaphorical sense, either. It doesn't weigh enough to feel like it justifies the purchase. It's silly, because as soon as I care to open it and read, the money becomes worth it.

I admit I don't know much about comic books, but that doesn't stop me from loving The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite. It's eccentric. It's got black humor and the heroes involved aren't one-dimensional hacks, and the straight man to it all is the one in a monkey suit with a jetpack, sitting on the moon's Annihillation Control station, waiting for disaster. For better or for worse, disaster brings the Umbrella Academy family together. Here's hoping their lives don't get boring.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
ak3punk (July 29, 2008)

I enjoyed this.

Great NON super hero comics you people should check out:

The Walking Dead - its zombie shit, if you loved Dawn of the Dead this is kinda how the world would function after the fact. Its very very good...

Y: The Last Man - All the men on earth die and the earth is ruled by women except for one man.

DMZ - America is in the midst of a new civil war and a photojournalist becomes trapped in the middle, giving out the only source of credible media about what is actually going on in the warzone.

Preacher - pretty much known as the essential graphic novel of all time, just wikipedia it, its fucked up, funny, and awesome...

timorous_me (July 26, 2008)

This book just won the Eisner for best limited series (for whose who don't know, the Eisner is like the Oscar or Emmy for comics).

jamespastepunk (July 24, 2008)


Yeah, I forgot to mention what the premise of the book was (I'm facepalming now), and that would have at least been forgivable had I linked back to the review of the original, which, I didn't. My bad. It's about a team of heroes who are brought together by an alien benefactor to save the earth from destruction. And yes, this compiles the entire first arc.

Why Mr. Way? Why not? But, to really answer your question, because I'm trying to avoid using people's first names whom I'm not on a first name basis with, even in review. It's a quirk.

el_matt (July 23, 2008)

Hey, i am mentioned in this review. Sweet!

I still haven't read this thing.

el_matt (July 23, 2008)

Hey, i am mentioned in this review. Sweet!

I still haven't read this thing.

damnitsderek (July 23, 2008)

The cover looks like a Cute is What We Aim For cover.

DrGunn (July 23, 2008)

it really blows my mind the comics people would rather be reading than lee/ditko amazing spider-man.

wyzo (July 23, 2008)

Found the first 2 volumes of league of extraordinary gentlemen at a half priced books for 7 each in preparation for volume 3, which I'll wait for the reviews before I commit since I've heard so-so things about the black dossier league oneshot that came out.

Why can't Jonathan Hickman write faster, I've been waiting for the next issues of transhuman, pax romana, and red mass for mars FOREVER.

Don't dig this title, but I do wish this review had mentioned what the premise is.


punknewscommenter (July 23, 2008)

I came away from this review learning nothing of what this comic is about. oh well.
To be honest, I tried reading it (the actual comic) but it didn't intrigue me.

As for Secret Invasion, Im up in the air about it. It doesn't help that I learned this was originally supposed to be a strictly Avengers storyline but the higher ups wanted Mr Bendis to stretch it out for the entire Marvel Universe.

Im surprised punknews hasnt posted the news about the whole controversy between Fallout Boy and the comic of theirs.

I think the only book that has continued to impress me has been The Sword by the Luna Bros. uncanny x men has been OK. I did like hippy emma frost however.

minus_20_scene_points (July 23, 2008)

Secret Invasion is kind of a drag right now. Plus, in order to get the whole story, they're basically telling you to go buy avengers disassembled, house of M, civil war, world war hulk, etc etc etc. I might just wait for the tpb's to come out. Although i'm stoked for the new deadpool title launching during SI.

mattramone (July 23, 2008)

Holy fuck, why did no one tell me Strangers in Paradise was this awesome?

timorous_me (July 23, 2008)

I was really looking forward to Secret Invasion but have been underwhelmed so far. Most of the cool stuff is happening in the New and Mighty Avengers tie in. I feel that nothings happened during the past few SI issues.

I love Bendis but I feel he is just a bad fit for events. I had the same feeling with HoM, which really didn't have anything going on in issues 2-6.

red_eye_inc (July 23, 2008)

Why does it say "Mr. Way"? Is this the Wall Street Journal? Where's the black and white pencil sketch of the author?

kidgotham (July 23, 2008)

I have been reading the Secret Invasion comics and have liked them all so far. I Also really enjoyed the first issue of the Front Line version as well. My score is for those.
I have yet to read the Gerard Way stuff but I have heard it is pretty good.

thus_spoke_sean (July 23, 2008)

thanks for reviewing these. It's nice to see a different medium every now and then in here. also, i'll probably check these out based on what you've said so far.

is anyone reading "Secret Invasion" ???

I thought it was going to suck and basically be a "Lets Take Your Money!!" Campaign (eh...it probably still is....) but through the first four issues it is steadily bgetting better. I went from thinking it was ok in issue one to thinking it was awesome by 3 and 4.

Allular (July 23, 2008)

Is this compiling the first few issues? I've been wanting to get into this but I don't know where to start.

timorous_me (July 23, 2008)

If you like the art, I recommend you pick up Casanova Vol. 1: Luxuria by Matt Fraction (Iron Fist, The Order, Iron Man, Punisher WJ) and Gabriel Ba, the artist from Umbrella Academy. It's a great little espionage comic, and you can get the collection for like four bucks used on amazon (or 12 at your local comic shop).

asxyouxwish (July 22, 2008)

i hate that i like the art for this. story sucks.

timorous_me (July 22, 2008)

Dark Horse trades always cost more. They don't have the kind of backing Marvel and DC have.

That said, this book was surprisingly great. I'd highly recommend it. It had a real early Grant Morrison feel.

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