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Storytelling Is Not Dead – Student Suggestions – Post Three

Please check out my previous Storytelling posts here.  And my 365 Reviews here.

Part of the stories that I get to experience comes right from my students.  I get offered suggestions for films, comics, and television shows all the time.  And I try to do a decent job of watching or reading those suggestions.  I dig that my students feel comfortable sharing with me, so I want to imbibe the media and have a conversation about it when I can.

This week, with the exception of Wednesday (NCBD) and Sunday (Sunday’s For Teachers), I will be reviewing comics that this semester’s students have given me to read.  Today’s title is one that I did not expect to be so awesome, and now…I can’t wait for the TV show!

Title: The Umbrella Academy

Author(s): Gerard Way & Gabriel Ba

Publisher: Dark Horse (2008)

Age Rating: Suggested for Mature Readers

This soon to be Netflix (dropping tomorrow, Feb. 15th) original series comes from the Dark Horse Comics series of the same name, and if Volume 1, “Apocalypse Suite,” is any indication of how the show is going to be, well then Netflix better save up some money because this joint has some mad special effects!

I’m sure the show will not start with the craziness of the first run of issues; how could they?  This book is packed with more action and big explosions than a Fast & Furious/Transformers movie set in space!  Well, maybe not that much…

The opening plot is intriguing: 43 orphans born to mostly single women, who had shown no signs of pregnancy, on the same day, around the world…seven of them adopted by a space alien/Olympic gold medalist/Nobel Prize winner/entrepreneurial scientist.  And he adopts them to save the world.

Each with their own baggage, history, and special abilities, the book throws us into the lives of these orphans after they have aged a bit and are now young adults with even more history and baggage.  And while the death of their father brings most of them together for the first time in a long time, it also brings them closer to the end of the world, for the first time in a long time.

The six issue trade is a well thought out, expertly paced journey that leaves just the right amount of questions unanswered for the reader to keep guessing throughout the book and to excite us for future Umbrella Academy stories.  This first trade does have a nicely packaged ending, don’t get me wrong.  It’s the uniqueness of the entire situation that will keep readers engaged for trades to come.

Gabriel Ba’s masterful artwork is a given.  I love this guy.  His style is modern and uniquely him: slightly cubist with smooth, bold coloring.  The marriage of Way’s words and Ba’s art is close to perfection.  If I would have read this book during my 365 quest, it would have made the top 100.

I’m thankful for the recommendation, and I’m excited to read the rest of the series.  I don’t know if the Netflix show can live up to this, but I’ll try it.  The cast does look pretty dope…

Happy reading!


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