It's no secret that Umbrella Academy is my favorite series. I'll vouch for it any time anyone asks for a series recommendation. It's probably about time I said WHY. So here we go:
Don't Judge a Book by its Writer
One thing I hear a lot about why people won't read TUA is that 'it's by the singer of My Chemical Romance, it's probably trash'. This is absolutely untrue. Well, not entirely, the writer is Gerard Way of MCR, but that's really besides the point. I knew nothing of the band when I picked up this series. The only things on my iPod were Guns 'N Roses, Styx, Rolling Stones, and a few musicals.
Gerard Way actually went to art school, and was going to become an animator before starting up his band [here's a pilot for a show if you're curious]. He knows how to do page layouts, put together a story, etc.
Though actually, if you want to judge this book by its literal cover, you should. That is some cool imagery right there.
You will say or think this at least ten times when reading this book. It's truly creative...you won't know where it's going to go, but it makes sense when you finish it. All the characters have strong personalities, and feel like they could be people. There's a bit of everything...fighting, romance, zombie robot French engineers, witty banter. There's a glimpse into a world not that far removed from our own where the extraordinary is mundane. The story is compelling, and avoids clichés, while still possessing the most powerful of imagery and metaphor.
I really don't want to say more simply because it might give away the story. But I've read this book many times and I always find something new and exciting hidden in a panel or a scrap of dialogue.
And the Séance is still the best.
While Gerard Way can draw, this book is illustrated by the incredible Gabriel Bá. (He illustrated the acclaimed Daytripper series). He works heavily with shadows and depth, lending a macabre cartoon feel to the book. He can get a lot across with little detail, or sneak details in that prove important later. It's extremely distinctive and suits the tone of the book perfectly. His art here isn't quite as good as it is in the sequel, but it's still better than much of what's on the market right now.
There's also a sketchbook section in the back that shows process and character designs.
BUY THIS BOOK.
Right now. I don't care if you have to go without food for a day, this thing is worth it. Get the sequel while you're at it.
Rating: Eleven out of Ten.