The Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion – September Graphic Novel of the Month

Since its debut in 2007, Gerard Way (of My Chemical Romance fame) and Gabriel Bá’s Umbrella Academy series has become a favourite amongst critics and comic fans. Cementing Way as a top talent in comics, the series has recently reached an even broader audience with a hit TV adaptation on Netflix that is one of the most viewed series on the service in 2019. It’s therefore perfect timing that the latest collection hits shelves this month.

Faced with an increasing number of lunatics with superpowers eager to fight his own wunderkind brood, Sir Reginald Hargreeves developed the ultimate solution… Now, just a few years after Hargreeves’s death, his Umbrella Academy is scattered. Number Five is a hired gun, Kraken is stalking big game, Rumor is dealing with the wreckage of her marriage, an out-of-shape Spaceboy runs around the streets of Tokyo, Vanya continues her physical therapy after being shot in the head ─ and no one wants to even talk about what Séance is up to…

Many creators over the years have provided unique twists on the superhero genre, but Way and Bá’s take goes even further against the mould. Hotel Oblivion is no exception in that regard. Even with the usually tight-knit team disbanded at the story’s opening, Way amps up the craziness in a big way. And by the arc’s conclusion, things are taken to a suitable cosmic and epic scale with some battles and chaotic moments that are some of the best you’ll see anywhere in the genre. That’s not to say Way isn’t good at the more subtle aspects because he’s great there too. Whilst there have been two previous volumes to build up the connection between the team, there continues to be plenty of great character moments in this volume also – with Number 5, 3 and 4 particularly standing out.

One of the keys to the series continued success has been Bá’s unique artwork and this volume continues to deliver in that department. The characters in the series are far out of the realms of what would be considered conventional looking and his highly stylised approach is – as always – a perfect fit for this series. He is no slouch when it comes to action department either with some of the most dynamic and exciting sequences you’ll see anywhere in comics. This extends to the non-action parts too with a drug trip and subsequent body dumping running the gamut from trippy to darkly funny.

It has definitely been worth the wait for this latest volume of Umbrella Academy and it will more than satisfy anyone who has been following the series. Additionally, with the series now fresh in the minds of a whole new audience, it is the perfect excuse for new readers to jump on board.

The Umbrella Academy Volume 3: Hotel Oblivion is published on 17 September from Dark Horse (9781506711423, p/b, £16.99)

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