Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY: HOTEL OBLIVION #1 by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá Plot Characterization Art Summary THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY came into the world with a bang, and the latest issue in the series, HOTEL OBLIVION #1 is no different. Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá start off the new issue with the same chaos and absurdity as ever. 90 % First Rate! Nine years have passed since THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY last saved the world in the second arc, DALLAS. Now, Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá bring their dysfunctional family of superheroes back together in THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY: HOTEL OBLIVION #1 from Dark Horse. With Bá’s signature chaotic art and Way’s intensely dry humor, HOTEL OBLIVION #1 executes absurdity to great effect. Indeed, Way’s family of superheroes — Spaceboy, the Kraken, the Rumor, the Seance, Number Five, and the White Violin — manage to repeatedly put their differences, as well as their disdain for their “father” Sir Reginald Hargreeves, on hold long enough to stop the apocalypse. And despite the overall pessimism surrounding the family, THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY series avoids complete nihilism. HOTEL OBLIVION #1 is no exception. Image courtesy of Dark Horse. Journey into the Absurd If meant to be taken more seriously, one might read THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY: HOTEL OBLIVION #1 next to Albert Camus. Indeed, it is sometimes challenging to make logical sense of the entire series. THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY embodies Camus’s assertion that the absurd is essential, and consequently, life is absurd. But as Camus also said, “If the world were clear, art would not exist.” So, Way and Bá complete the circle: absurd world? Create absurd art. HOTEL OBLIVION #1 delves into a creation of genius space alien Sir Reginald Hargreeves, the Hotel Oblivion. Much like the Eagles’s Hotel California, at the Hotel Oblivion you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. Indeed, Hargreeve’s hotel is designed to keep criminal masterminds in. Alluded to in previous issues of THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY, this six-issue series checks into the Hotel and its strange guests. But that’s not all. HOTEL OBLIVION #1 offers the return of the series’s many absurd characters. From the gorilla-cyborg Spaceboy (AKA Luther AKA No. 1), to his diminutive brother, Number Five (AKA the Boy) whose body stopped aging after a jaunt through time. The character details almost overshadow the plot, but Way ensures that is equally over the top. Image courtesy of Dark Horse. Organized Chaos HOTEL OBLIVION #1 opens on the Hotel, but wastes no time jumping between the series’s favorite characters. While Spaceboy depressively marauds around Tokyo, Number Five hires himself out as a hit-man. Meanwhile, The Rumor (Allison) and her sister the White Violin (Vanya) continue their recoveries from previous series’s accidents. The characters readers know and love are exciting to see in action. However, at least for this initial issue, previous knowledge of the characters’s motives and emotions is useful. Little time is spent on character development in this fast-paced opener. Matching the chaotic feeling of the narrative, Bá’s artwork is sketchy and erratic. This is a strength of Bá’s craft. The jumbled scenes force readers to slow down and take in the many details and scattered parts. It is as if Bá’s artwork mimics the inevitable scatterings and collisions of the series’s heroes.Image courtesy of Dark Horse. HOTEL OBLIVION #1: The Exciting Return! As dysfunctional as the team may be, the members of the Umbrella Academy are always thrilling to see. Although the new developments in the team’s lives are only just hinted at, HOTEL OBLIVION #1 is a riotous start to the new series. Readers who are unfamiliar with the cast may want to check out previous series’s arcs. Nevertheless, the first issue suggests a dangerous new threat to the world and exciting challenges for the Umbrella Academy. HOTEL OBLIVION #1 arrives just in time to reintroduce Way and Bá’s characters before the Netflix adaptation slated to air in 2019. Clearly, there is plenty to be excited about for fans of THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY! And HOTEL OBLIVION #1 is high on the list! THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY: HOTEL OBLIVION #1 is available October 3rd, 2018 on Comixology, from your local comic shop, or direct from Dark Horse here!