Review – Tales from the Umbrella Academy: You Look Like Death #1 (Dark Horse)

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer(s): Gerard Way, Shaun Simon
Artwork: I.N.J. Culbard
Lettering: Nate Piekos
Release Date: 16th September 2020

Klaus has pushed Hargreaves too far this time and the 18 year old suddenly finds himself kicked out of the Umbrella Academy and cut off from his allowance. Forced to survive using only his wits and charm, The Séance might be in trouble. When a particularly ill-conceived venture finds him stealing drugs (a lot of drugs) from a vampire chimp mobster, Klaus’ luck goes from bad to worse – and he doesn’t have his brothers and sisters to help him this time.

Woo Hoo! More Umbrella Academy, and a solo series for The Séance which has to be good news. Umbrella Academy is a title that I always get excited about when new material hits the stands and I’m loving the fact that the success of the TV series seems to be driving Gerard Way to produce more comics. These comics are good. They’re not just spinning out filler as a way of signal boosting the far more lucrative TV output, they’re great (if somewhat insane), surreal stories that comfortably traverse the genres of thriller, sci-fi, comedy and horror without missing a beat.

You Look Like Death is not, as far as I’m aware, the promised 4th volume of the series but is a standalone spin off which I’m assuming will lead to other similar spin offs with the rest of the cast over time.

If you’ve followed the series from the start then you’ve probably realised by now that there are huge holes in the timelines of our protagonists which leaves a lot of scope for expanding the universe in the future, and where better to start than with the ultimate black sheep of the family?

Let’s address what was my first concern with the series, and that is the Gabriel Bá isn’t providing the pencilling this time round. Don’t panic though, it is safely in the hands of I.N.J. Culbard, best known for titles such as Wilds End, Brass Sun and a host of H.P. Lovecraft adaptations, and Culbard does a fantastic job of maintaining the style of the previous entries but does add his own influence to make this his own interpretation. There is nothing jarring in any of the changes in style, nothing to take you out of the story as changes in artist can sometimes cause and as I’ve been a fan of Culbard for a number of years, it’s easy to just fall back into Gerard Way’s narrative.

The story itself as you’d expect is a surreal and psychedelic journey that very much seems like you’re watching one of those long slow motion takes in a movie where the hero swaggers out of danger as everything collapses or falls over or explodes around him, except the “hero” here is a supernaturally gifted teenager with a wonky moral compass, in search of his next fix.

I like the more surreal moments in these stories. I love the fact that our antagonist this time round is a talking vampire Chimpanzee, although to be fair talking chimps seem to be popping up all over the place at the moment.

If you’re a fan of Umbrella Academy then this is a no brainer, go pick up a copy of You Look Like Death.

Rating 4/5.


The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek ‏

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