Comic Review: The Umbrella Academy Volume 3

I recently started season two of Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy, and with that in mind, I figured I should catch up on the most recent trade.  Or I read the trade first and then started the show again, but the write-ups I do won’t be available for a few weeks since I write those things way in advance.  One of those.

Regardless, I did read the third volume of the Dark Horse series, subtitled Hotel Oblivion.

It’s been some time since the end of Volume 2 where the Hargreeves siblings prevented Number Five from preventing the assassination of JFK, thus preventing the end of the world.  Now time has passed and the group has splintered a bit.  Luther and Diego, who hate each other, are doing a job in Japan for one of their father’s old colleagues.  Five is something of a spy for hire while looking into places to invest money and dragging Allison along for the ride.  Klaus is part of a scam being run by some bikers to bilk rich people out of money.  And Vanya is recovering with some unexpected help.

However, their father’s meddling is causing problems of its own.  At one point in time, he had an otherworldly prison set up for all the supervillains his kids captured in their youth, the Hotel Oblivion.  It’s a nice hotel in the middle of an alien hellscape with no known means of escape.  The problem there is these criminals aren’t stupid, and it’s only a matter of time before they find a way out.  And there could be some real problems there if they all get out at once in the same place.

Now, it’s generally nice to visit the world of the Umbrella Academy, even if the different Hargreeves siblings seem to be incapable of getting much of anything done without making things worse and bickering each other…or making things worse while or even because they bicker with each other.  None of them are all that psychologically healthy, and fate has thrust them together for some reason.  That said, this one seemed more like a grab bag of weird ideas, and while Gerard Way’s writing is still fine, Gabriel Ba’s artwork was a bit harder to follow than usual.  By the end of the volume, when the Umbrella Academy faces off against who-knows-how-many bad guys, I had a hard time telling what was happening.  That’s partly on Ba, but also Way’s script jammed all that into the last few pages mostly to put another shock ending there involving Vanya’s plotline.  It seems their father might have done more to mess things up for these people than they thought.

I’ll probably get a fourth volume, but I don’t think I’d rush out to read it once it becomes available.  7.5 out of 10 hybrid villains who won’t go away.

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