Tales from the Umbrella Academy: You Look Like Death #1 shows a hard look into Klaus' biggest binge on drugs and the urge to chase that high into the void. The long and complicated history between Hargreeve's fourth child is often alluded to but rarely shown in a cohesive story. Still, finally, the repercussions of tough love from the alien patriarch are explored in this spin-off series from Dark Horse Comics.
This first issue does more than show Klaus' junkie tendencies. Further, it shows his relationship with his adoptive siblings and the complicated lives they were subjected to under their father's tutelage:
Luther sneaks snacks from the house's pantry, where Klaus critiques the binging will destroy the Space Boy's physique.
Diego violently confronts Klaus, promising that their father's callous dismissal is only part of the punishment he feels his drug-addicted brother deserves.
Allison practices her human dissection while gently dismissing her brother. In line with other issues in the series, Vanya is nowhere to be seen, Five is already stuck in the future, Ben is gone, and Mother insists she sends Klaus out to streets with at least some fresh homemade cookies.
Being cut off from his family allowance and thrown into the streets in an act of tough love, Klaus does little to examine or appreciate his plight. In true drug-addicted fashion, he instead seeks out his next fix from a vampiric chimpanzee called Mr. Shivers. You Look Like Death is more than the story of what a man possessed will so to seek his next high, but rather the hard choices of what it really means to live with addiction.
Gabriel Way joined with Shaun Simon (Neverboy), tastefully leads through Klaus' powers in conversing with the dead, and how he utilizes this for his next big score. Although the comic does lack the charm brought with Gabriel Bá's, this is still a worthy read for Umbrella Academy fans seeking more insight into the background of fan-favorite Klaus. Like his adventure into the afterlife, fans saw on the Netflix adaptation, number four, once again goes a little too far in his debauchery and inevitably finds himself somewhere where he can finally feel calm.
The bright and whimsical art of typical Umbrella Academy stories plays thoughtfully into this storyline, especially in art and colorist I.N.J. Colbard's (New Recruits) use of greens to eerily play off the supernatural elements of Klaus' world. There are no issues in story flow either despite the ins and outs of drug use and the propensity for chasing down the dead to see if they can lead to the next big fix. Although it is a sad look into what Klaus' teen years looked like, the talent behind this issue works well enough together that the realism of this story doesn't weigh too heavy until another visual or comedic interruption brings levity to the more serious subject matter.
This miniseries was released on September 16th of this year at $3.99 per issue and is a great flip through for anyone left wanting more from the original series. Just make sure Klaus is your favorite because other Academy members do hardly appear in this first release at all.