A New Student To Umbrella Academy Reviews Hotel Oblivion #1

by Josh Davison

[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]

As that headline implies, I am new to the Umbrella Academy canon. I’ve not read the prior installments of the series, so Hotel Oblivion #1 is my initiation into the celebrated Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba series.

Explaining the plot is difficult, consequently, but I’ll still do my best to parcel it out for you. Sir Reginald Hargreeves welcomes a newcomer to Hotel Oblivion, and that said newcomer starts tripping a bit while watching cartoons. We find Number Five committing assassinations as a mercenary elsewhere. Finally, in Japan, we find Spaceboy taking down a television-themed rogue for the locals.

Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion #1 cover by Gabriel Ba
Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion #1 cover by Gabriel Ba

All in all, it’s about as strange as I expected from Way. That said, I did find myself enjoying it. It’s esoteric and not especially approachable for a new reader such as myself, but the on-goings are made clear enough and leave enough breadcrumbs to be enticing.

There isn’t a lot I can say about the characters yet. Hargreeves, Number Five, and Spaceboy are left as strange and quirky figures in this opening issue to Hotel Oblivion. I don’t know who they are exactly, but they are made interesting enough for me to want to know more.

I certainly enjoyed all this a lot more than Way’s Doom Patrol and especially the Milk Wars crossover from DC’s Young Animals titles (except for Shade the Changing Girl/Wonder Woman and Mother Panic/Batman, which were great).

Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion #1 art by Gabriel Ba and Nick Filardi
Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion #1 art by Gabriel Ba and Nick Filardi

Gabriel Ba’s art does a lot of the legwork. I am in love with the aesthetic of this book. The strange and disparate body shapes, the expressions, and the texturing are unique and look great. The color work of Nick Filardi is cold, pale, and almost alienating, and that jives so well with the line art and overall presentation of the story.

Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion #1 is a strange, vague, yet enticing read for a newcomer like myself. I’m not clear on what all is happening, but I can follow enough to be intrigued by the characters and scenarios. Gabriel Ba’s artwork is downright gorgeous and watching him render this world is almost enough for a recommendation on its own. Whether one is new to Umbrella Academy or an experienced fan, I can recommend checking this one out.

Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion #1 comes to us from writer Gerard Way, artist Gabriel Ba, color artist Nick Filardi, letterer Nate Piekos of Blambot, cover artist Gabriel Ba.

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