With season 3 in production, now has never been a better time to revisit the original Umbrella Academy comic series. Especially with the new spinoff series Tales from the Umbrella Academy: You Look Like Death spotlighting one of the most popular characters in the Netflix series. 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.
You Look Like Death diverts in several ways from the main Umbrella Academy series. For one thing, Ian Culbard is handling the art duties whilst series artist Gabriel Ba is just on covers this time round. In addition, series writer Gerard Way is joined by his The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys co-writer Shaun Simon. The series still fits right into the aesthetic Way and Ba established in the main book, so readers need not be concerned over these changes. More significantly though, being a team book, Umbrella Academy doesn’t afford the best opportunities to spotlight certain character for a significant amount of time. You Look Like Death does not share this restraint and can therefore delve into fan-favourite characters in more detail. Klaus – being one of the Netflix series breakout characters – is a natural choice.
Being one of the primary sources of humour in the series, Way and Simon give Klaus plenty of opportunities to create plenty of funny moments. This is mainly done by putting him into unusual situations and surroundings he is not used to as he tries to find his way back to the Academy. Upon arriving in Hollywood, he manages to fit in fairly well, but is soon up to no good, including but not limited to getting himself thrown out of a funeral parlour, causing trouble at adoption agencies and even travelling to The Void. There are some wacky characters encountered on the way too, which gives Klaus even more to play off.
Ian Cullbard manages to keep the feel and style that Gabriel Ba established in the main series whilst also leaving his own mark. He has a slightly less cartoony approach than Ba that suits the more fish out of water direction the story takes, but he does amp it up for the trippier moments like the aforementioned trip to The Void.
You Look Like Death will appeal to both Netflix and comic fans who are starving for more Umbrella Academy content. Fans of Klaus will also be more than satisfied with this wildly entertaining character study.
Tales from the Umbrella Academy: You Look Like Death Volume 1 is out 30 March 2021 from Dark Horse
(9781506719108, p/b, £16.99)
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