Comic Review: Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion #1 (Dark Horse)

The Umbrella Academy returns with Hotel Oblivion #1, from Dark Horse. If you’re like me and have only ever seen the Umbrella Academy name in passing, this may not be […]

The Umbrella Academy returns with Hotel Oblivion #1, from Dark Horse.

If you’re like me and have only ever seen the Umbrella Academy name in passing, this may not be the comic for you.
Writer Gerard Way and Artist Gabriel Ba have composed a very puzzling issue indeed. Where many creators, upon revisiting their characters and setting for a third time (Wikipedia explains that “Apocalypse Suite”, the first mini-series, came to us in 2007, followed by “Dallas”, in 2008) would give the reader a summary to help them jump on board.

Not so this team. Rather, it’s Hotel Oblivion, with a clever opening ‘menu’ showing the creator credits, and then we jump right in. Twenty-eight mind-boggling pages later, we are done, ready for the next issue. Or not.

So, for us new readers, here is the lowdown on things, in a brief summary: The comic takes place in 1977. It’s an alternate reality, so some things that happened for real on earth have NOT happened in this comic’s timeline. A group of superheroes, all born to women who had shown no previous sign of pregnancy, come together and form a loose, dysfunctional fighting team. Things don’t go well. One of the group has become a supervillain.

Okay, and now in issue 1 of Hotel Oblivion, perhaps the team is about to reassemble, from its fragmented union.

Story is fractured, confusing and baffling to the outsider/ new reader, even with the gracious assistance of Wikipedia in terms of backstory. The art is funky and kind of fun, with some good caricature and exaggeration.

It would be an exaggeration to say that I enjoyed dipping my toes into the Umbrella Academy’s narrative adventures, but perhaps you have been a steady reader of their previous books a decade ago, and are jumping in with both feet, If so, bravo, and let’s look ahead to issue 2!

Dark Horse, The Umbrella Academy, Hotel Oblivion #1, $3.99 for 28 pages of content. Assume Teen +

Alan Spinney

About Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!