Writer: Gerard Way
Art: Gabriel Ba
Colors: Nick Filardi
Letterer: Nate Piekos
What They Say:
The heroes face a mortal showdown with Perseus and the villains from Oblivion, as a new threat arises, deepening the mystery of the Umbrella Academy.
* Netflix live-action series premiers February 2019!
Content: (warning, spoilers)
This seventh issue of Hotel Oblivion is meant to be the final issue of this arc, and yet I finished it without feeling any inkling of closure whatsoever.
People can argue that a story doesn’t have to end with all its plot points tied. And they’d be right. A story doesn’t have to have a precise ending point, nor does it have to have an ending that goes as far as satisfying the reader. A story is allowed to have any means of messy, vague, unsatisfying endings as long as it at least abides by a single rule of telling a story with an arc (artsy-fartsy Criterion Collection tier things notwithstanding, I guess).
And that’s the problem with Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion. For as many characters, and concepts, and explosions, and one-liners, and intrigue as it has, it never has enough common sense to make any of those points come to any kind of head. The world as crafted by writer Gerard Way and artist Gabriel Ba is beautiful from a technical standpoint, but is never able to do anything of worth with what’s in front of them. In the case of this latest arc, we have Purseus seeking revenge for his father, who died in the cartoonishly large jail that is Hotel Oblivion. And for as underdeveloped as Perseus’ character was, it could have still been a satisfying story if things were kept straightforward. But of course, things are never that simple when it comes to an Umbrella Academy story.
From space travel to time warping to family drama, to tertiary characters introduced with more heft than they ultimately end up with, Hotel Oblivion has a lot on its plate and never knows what to do with any of it outside of shining a spotlight and hoping something interesting happens. And it’s in this fashion that the arc has gone from issue to issue, this final one not being an exception. Bouncing between space exploration, mysterious arctic hideouts, the Perseus Corporation, and the ensuing battles outside, there’s just too much going on with too little focus on any to read all that cohesively. And while this issue does at least bother concluding Perseus’ arc as a villain that ultimately falls from his pedestal, it feels just as unsatisfactory as his buildup to becoming a villain in the first place. There’s just this certain lack of pomp and circumstance that messes with the story’s already problematic lack of pacing.
Furthermore, the arc’s final reveal of what’s supposedly an alt-world Umbrella Academy saving the day and cleaning up the original team’s mess feels messy and unearned. It’s clear that the ending acts as a way to open up the series for more issues to come, but if we had to go through such a slog of a 7-issue series to get there, I’d rather it not have happened at all.
Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion issue 7 was ultimately a hasty means to an end. Its heroes, villains, and even secondary characters act less as a way to weave a single cohesive story, and more as a way to expand its own world. It’s not the worst story out there, but the fact that it clearly prioritizes series longevity over quality of life is a large problem I have with Western comics in general.
Age Rating: T+
Released By: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: June 12, 2019