Review: 'The Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion' #1 Is a Surreal Homecoming

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(Photo: Dark Horse)

It has nearly been a decade since The Umbrella Academy released new material, but Dark Horse is fixing that. Gerard Way is back at the desk with Gabriel Bá to revisit the fan-favorite series, and The Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion is a welcomed reintroduction to the comic darling.

This week, the debut issue of The Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion hits shelves, and it reunites fans with the now-separated family of superheroes. In the wake of The Umbrella Academy: Dallas, the team's morale is shattered as much as their trust in one another. John F. Kennedy may be dead now, but their world isn't suddenly rid of its problems. So, when readers meet up with the team again, they are in for a surprise.

The issue begins with Sir Reginald Hargreeves jailed in the mysterious Hotel Oblivion, and that is just the start of things. Number Five has gone rogue with his work as a hired gun while Spaceboy trounces around Tokyo as a willy-nilly crime stopper. All the while, The Kraken is shadowing the team's former leader, and Vanya becomes increasingly convinced she will never walk again after taking a bullet to the head. The fractured team kicks off the issue at a low point, but when the team's past comes to threaten their future, the heroes must find a way to piece together their broken parts.

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(Photo: Dark Horse)

When it comes to artwork, Bá returns with a familiar style that will warmly welcome fans of The Umbrella Academy. Nick Filadri embraces a gritty color palate readers expect from the series, and this issue's cover art will take fans back to lessons on Kafka. The atmosphere that settles over this new arc is thick in the best way, and its artwork can be described as something deliciously sordid.

Of course, Way shifts back into The Umbrella Academy with expected ease. The plotting, pacing, and dialogue found in this first issue will likely make readers nostalgic. By the issue's end, fans will be eager for more. There is something curious going on within the cosmos, and it seems like The Monocle is involved with the lumbering chaos. And, in usual style, it will fall to The Umbrella Academy's once-tight family of superheroes to save the world (if not reality itself) from what is in store.

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(Photo: Dark Horse)

As a welcome home, The Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion #1 reads like a familiar friend, but it doesn't aim to revolutionize the series Way and Bá created so many years ago. Readers will slip back into the series with ease, but its slow push back into publication will leave fans who hoped for a more explosive comeback scratching their heads. Still, this run's debut issue sets up a narrative hook that promises to expand a full-on thriller, and it does so with a touch of surreal poise.

Published by Dark Horse

On October 3, 2018

Written by Gerard Way

Art by Gabriel Bá


Colors by Nick Filardi

Cover Art by Gabriel Bá