One of the best things about the first season of Netflix’s adaptation of The Umbrella Academy was the way it developed Klaus. In the comics, he wasn’t depicted as much more than a troubled drug addict who could talk with the dead. But the show dove deep into his past, expanding upon the trauma he undergoes by exposing himself to these unrestful spirits, and giving him a heartbreaking love story and an unhealthy amount of Vietnam PTSD. The show turned a character who was merely quirky in the comics into a character that was multi-layered and deeply complex. So, in the wake of this, the announcement of a Klaus-centric prequel comic was exciting. What kind of a past would the character’s creator, Gerard Way, (and co-writer Shaun Simon) give him? How much would it differ from the show? What happened to eighteen-year-old Klaus after he was expelled from the Umbrella Academy? As it turns out, these aren’t really the questions at the front of the comic’s mind. While it does explore some of Klaus’s trauma and psyche, You Look Like Death is more of a fun romp with a fan-favorite character than an intimate character study. But honestly, it’s so much fun that that’s not much of a problem. (4.5 out of 5 wands.)
NOTE: I was provided an advance copy of this book from Edelweiss and Dark Horse Comics. This review may contain mild spoilers, but will mostly be spoiler free.
“Tales From the Umbrella Academy: You Look Like Death” Written by Gerard Way and Shaun Simon Art and Colors by I.N.J. Culbard When 18-year-old Klaus gets himself kicked out of the Umbrella Academy and his allowance discontinued, he heads to a place where his ghoulish talents will be appreciated—Hollywood. But after a magical high on a stash stolen from a vampire drug lord, Klaus needs help, and doesn’t have his siblings there to save him.
I enjoyed the first season of Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy. Sure, it wasn’t entirely faithful to the comics, but they did a great job at capturing what felt like the spiritual essence of what Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá did in the comics. And a lot of the character work in the first season was excellent. So, of course, I was excited to see what a second season of the show would look like. After all, season one’s ending had departed so far from what the comics did that I genuinely had no idea where the show would go after that. Well, as it turns out, season two would go on to loosely adapt the comics’ second arc, Dallas, to mixed results. It retains all the positives and negatives of the first season, with the positives being even better and the negatives being more blatant. It’s an enjoyable, if flawed, watch. (4 out of 5 wands.)
Five warned his family (so, so many times) that using his powers to escape from Vanya’s 2019 apocalypse was risky. Well, he was right – the time jump scatters the siblings in time in and around Dallas, Texas. Over a three year period. Starting in 1960. Some, having been stuck in the past for years, have built lives and moved on, certain they’re the only ones who survived. Five is the last to land, smack dab in the middle of a nuclear doomsday, which – spoiler alert! – turns out is a result of the group’s disruption of the timeline (déjà vu, anyone?). Now the Umbrella Academy must find a way to reunite, figure out what caused doomsday, put a stop to it, and return to the present timeline to stop that other apocalypse. All while being hunted by a trio of ruthless Swedish assassins. But seriously, no pressure or anything.
I remember reading the first volume of Gerard Way’s comic, The Umbrella Academy, back when it first came out in 2008 and I adored it. It was this really weird, really unique little comic that was unlike anything else my little middle school mind had encountered. As I got older, I continued to adore the series – and was always sad as year after year passed with no sign of a third volume. Thankfully, that third volume eventually came, as did the announcement of a Netflix adaptation of the series. Of course, any time an adored property gets adapted, there’s a risk of that adaptation not being any good or not really respecting the source material. This is especially true with comic book adaptations, even more so with adaptations of weirder comic books. So, as The Umbrella Academy premiered last Friday, I approached it with a massive amount of trepidation. Happily, the show is very, very good. (THERE WILL BE MAJOR SPOILERS IN THIS ARTICLE)
Based on the popular, Eisner award-winning comics and graphic novels created and written by Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance) and illustrated by Gabriel Bá, The Umbrella Academy is a live-action series that follows the estranged members of a dysfunctional family of superheroes (The Umbrella Academy) — Sir Reginald Hargreeves/The Monocle (Colm Feore), No.1/Luther/Spaceboy (Tom Hopper), No.2/Diego/The Kraken (David Castañeda), No.3/Allison/The Rumor (Emmy Raver-Lampman), No.4/Klaus/The Séance (Robert Sheehan), Number Five/The Boy (Aidan Gallagher), No.6/Ben/The Horror (Justin H. Min), and No.7/Vanya/The White Violin (Ellen Page) — as they work together to solve their father’s mysterious death while coming apart at the seams due to their divergent personalities and abilities.