action-adventure / comic books / Guest blogger / sci-fi / superheroes / Suspense / thriller / Writing

Guest blogger Stacey Bryan – “The Umbrella Academy”

Its 11:21 am
cold/gray

 

Michael here….So I was brainstorming with the cheetah on what our next Round Table should on and once we agreed on our topic,I started looking for our esteemed guests to come by and share their thoughts and opinions.
One invite with to writer Stacey Bryan who has an excellent blog called “Laughter Over Tears” of which the cheetah and I think you should be following. But me being me,I sent a totally confusing email about the topic and asked if Stacey would like to share. She indeed agree to contribute but because of my SNAFU sent the following entry instead.
Now I’m not one to discard strong writing and especially since it was my fault,I decided to ask Stacey if I could run her Umbrella entry as a guest spot and STILL have her chip in on the Round Table…..and she graciously said “Yes”. So get ready for two doses of the talented Stacey Bryan…..

SB2

Years after everyone else, my husband and I finally started watching “Lost,” and we’re still suffering from “anticlimactic/nonsensical series PTSD” to this day. We were able to recover enough, in the meantime, to eventually experience and savor, among a few, “House of Cards”, “American Detective,” and “Breaking Bad,” and apart from cutting “House of Cards” from our list after two seasons (and only because the rise of Trump and all that followed began to make “House of Cards” seem boring and/or redundant) our series PTSD was safely put to rest.

SB3

It was with this newly-restored sense of possibility that we jumped into “The Umbrella Academy,” an adaptation of a comic book series created by Gabriel Bá and Gerard Way, published by Dark Horse Comics, and developed for Netflix by Steve Blackman and Jeremy Slater.

The story, per the blurb on IMDB: “A disbanded group of superheroes reunites after their adoptive father, who trained them to save the world, dies.” Although I’m super-sick of superheroes these days, other parts of the premise reeled me in: the heroes were born in 1989 to 43 pregnant women who hadn’t been pregnant the day before. 7 of the mysterious infants were adopted by Sir Reginald Hargreeves, a billionaire captain of industry, who engaged them in special training  focusing on each one’s particular gift—except for one, Ellen Page’s character, who doesn’t seem to have any powers. Throw in a cultured talking chimp, a robot caretaker, and time travel, and you’ve pretty much got a smorgasbord of mystery, comedy, action, and fun.

SB4

Squash “Mystery Men” and “Watchmen” together and you might get a feel for how “The Umbrella Academy” came across with its neurotic, quirky characters maneuvering through the everyday world, darkish, muted colors, and dysfunctional family squabbles, all a backdrop for an ultimate untold power that threatens humanity’s very existence.

While the cast is pretty solid, 15-year-old Aidan Gallagher did a particularly compelling job as Number Five, behaving very convincingly like a 50-year-old man trapped in a teenager’s body. Which might be somewhat of an issue if there’s a season two, because while the conclusion of season one was a cliffhanger and a half, what we do know is that the 30-something cast of adults all digress into their younger selves, like Number Five had, in the final scene. If the younger cast is prominent in season two, I’m wary of any of those kids matching the acting chops of Aidan Gallagher. But we shall see!

SB5

I know one thing for sure: when I was a kid, I wasn’t into comic books or graphic novels at all, except for “Mad Magazine,” if that even counts. But considering, to name only a few, “300,” “Happy!” “30 Days of Night,” “Preacher,” “The Walking Dead” and “Snow Piercer”—because we can never forget the line, ‘Babies taste the best,’ now, can we?—I missed out on an entire art form, the rich, inventive, and complex medium of comics and graphic novels, and I have a lot of catching up to do.

4 thoughts on “Guest blogger Stacey Bryan – “The Umbrella Academy”

  1. I’m at episode seven of season one and this series is so much fun!

    You do have to slog through episode one as it sets things up, but there are a couple of wonderful moments in that as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, Michael, for your kind words. I still say it wasn’t a SNAFU as much on your part as mine, but thank you for falling on the sword, as it were. And for the double invites on your very eclectic movie blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Really loved the Umbrella Academy! Dysfunctional superheroes trying to save the world.
    I have to give some credit to Mad magazine. It wasn’t a graphic novel but it provided laughs.
    I remember one month back in the day they wrote a cartoon satire about TJ Hooker, the cop crime show starring William Shatner. Cops were running down the street with guns drawn. Shatner was running too, with a Star Trek Phaser in hand. That scene was funny without words. So Mad counts as a comic.

    Liked by 1 person

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