Review: YOU LOOK LIKE DEATH: TALES FROM THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY #1
Writers: Gerard Way, Shaun Simon
Artist & Colourist: I.N.J. Culbard
Letters: Nate Piekos
Reviewed by: Alex McDonald
You Look Like Death #1: The first Umbrella Academy spin off series! When 18-year-old Seance gets himself kicked out of the Umbrella Academy, and his allowance discontinued by Hargreeves, he takes to a place where his ghoulish talents will be appreciated–Hollywood. After a magical high on a vampire-drug-lord’s stash, Klaus needs help, and doesn’t have his siblings there to save him.
More than a decade after the first issue of The Umbrella Academy, Séance is the character to helm the first spin off series. This is a real treat for Umbrella Academy fans. With a fan favourite character, no less. Getting to see the team (momentarily) while they were younger adds to the series without taking anything away.
Gerard Way is joined by Shaun Simon this time around, whom Way worked with on The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. The series focuses on 18-year-old Séance as he’s kicked out of the Umbrella Academy and must make his own way in the world. Of course there’s also some vampire monkeys. As an opening issue this ticks all the boxes for readers both attached and new to the Umbrella Academy. Knowing Séance from the main Umbrella Academy series one must ask what he can possibly learn during this spin off but that’s some of the fun.
It must be said that seeing art from anyone other than Gabriel Bá on an Umbrella Academy book took some getting used to. But I.N.J. Culbard’s artwork manages to fit exactly with the tone of this story. The softer edges and stronger colours add to the youthful adventure feel of the book.
For fans of the Umbrella Academy there’s little to complain about. However there is a feeling that this series is written with the trade in mind. The issue is paced well but one would assume it’s paced even better when read as an opening chapter for the eventual trade paperback release. Readers will be able to fly through this book in minutes and while it’s enjoyable it is something to consider.
It goes without saying that a Séance spin off book will appeal to fans of The Umbrella Academy. On top of that however Way, Simon and Culbard have crafted a story that any comic reader can get hooked on. Appealing to the rebellious teenager in all of us this series is sure to take readers to many unexpected places.