Review – You Look Like Death – Tales from The Umbrella Academy
Art: I.N.J Culbard
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
You look like Death
If you haven’t heard of The Umbrella Academy, what rock have you been living under? It’s the wacky and wild tale about 7 of 43 super-powered babies born on the same morning. Whose mothers had no idea they were pregnant. These special 7 are adopted by Billionaire Industrialist and extraterrestrial Sir Reginald Hargreaves.
They are given numbers rather than names by their adoptive father and taught to be a “family” of Heroes.
Also there is a massive Netflix show which is brilliantly cast. One of said cast members who plays the lead character in this particular comic, is Robert Sheehan who plays Klaus or number 4 and gives a great description of his character in the introduction of this book.
You Look Like Death is the first Umbrella Academy spin off and focuses on Klaus. He has seance abilities allowing him to talk to the dead and amalgamate his body with their spirit, taking on their abilities.
What’s it all about?
After a falling out at home, in the Umbrella Academy mansion, Klaus leaves to find his own way. He is broke and in need of his fix, his drugs, which allow him to go into the Void. The Void to me seems like a waiting room for heaven or hell where the ghosts learn to accept their death.
After a ruckus at the drug dealers, Klaus finds himself in Hollywood making dollar for his talents. He is picked up by an agent who isn’t all she seems. He has a vampire drug lord chasing his tail. Not to mention the vast array of ghostly figures that make an appearance to help and hinder his progress to stardom. All of which, for Klaus is just a means to an end, in order for him to get his drugs.
Klaus, actually being a really good guy, but reluctantly, soon uncovers a murder mystery. He manages to get hired by Hollywood’s controllers. Fends off a vampire drug Lord and gets vengeance for murder victims. Klaus manages to do all this, whilst being totally resistant to doing anything at all and on a plethora of drugs. You can almost hear him sighing!
Writing and Art
It is a great collection, a nice, easy read, but intelligent and challenging enough to keep the reader involved. Especially in its questioning of perceived human nature, often found in comic books to be just black and white. Let’s face it in real life there isn’t just good and bad. As a result, the writers have done a great job of creating multicoloured and multi dimensional characters. Ones that have a little of everything human nature can provide, even in the monsters!
The Art work is very good. I liked at the end they showed their process of developing one of the characters with old Hollywood glamour. Over all it was a bit dark, gloomy and angsty, which for the majority of the time suited the subject. But I think, personally, the best art was often the really simple stuff, to be found between the pages. These had an almost 3D effect, like the green and red glasses gave you from the 90’s. The colour choice reflected this kind of throw back too. It just caught the eye so much, I just loved the effect
Overall, it’s a good read and one that throws you straight back into the world of the Umbrella Academy. It was a good choice of character for the first spin off. Klaus is probably one of the most likeable characters, with his rogue like fashions and reluctance to do anything. But he always seems to make the right choice anyway, like he can’t fight his own nature. Which just makes him very loveable even if he can’t see it in himself. The volume fits together nicely and is well worth the read. The at times psychedelic art is fitting for the type of story we soo. find ourselves embroiled in.
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