WARNING: The following contains spoilers for The Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion #6, from Gerard Way, Gabriel Bá, Nick Filardi and Nate Piekos for Blambot, on sale now.
When it comes to Dark Horse Comics' The Umbrella Academy franchise, fans have been enjoying how trippy and over-the-top Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá's stories are. These adventures are filled with talking animals, space aliens, cosmic conquests, mutant kids and, of course, the dysfunctional Hargreeves family putting aside their problems to be the best superheroes they can be.
From the start, though, one of the biggest complaints people have had is that every member of the team got their due in the limelight apart from one: Ben, aka The Horror. Well, in the current third volume, Hotel Oblivion, Way and Ba finally rope Ben into the narrative, and it closely follows his arc from Netflix's live-action adaptation.
In Issue #6, we find Klaus (aka the Séance) disenchanted and more or less an outcast. He's distanced himself from the family after their time-traveling adventures led to the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, and has regressed into being a junkie. Klaus has been spending his days and nights moonlighting with satanists who trick people into trying to communicate with loved ones in the afterlife. They think Klaus is getting them secrets to treasures and money their loved ones hid from them, but it's all a setup; Klaus' crew is actually stealing the valuables for themselves.
But the ghost heist business isn't going too well for Klaus, who's so far lost down the rabbit hole, he's not even working for money. All he wants is drugs and booze, and after a bullet-ridden encounter in the last issue, an overdose lands him in the Huxley General Hospital, on the verge of death. He's barely begun to recover when a shadow in the corner cuts a familiar figure, startling the addict and revealing itself as an older Ben. The Horror warns his brother that he's wasting his potential. More importantly, Ben alludes to something big coming, something maybe even apocalyptic, disappearing just as the other siblings come barging in.
It's Ben's first truly important scene in the comics since we saw him as a kid in non-speaking roles in the first issues of Apocalypse Suite and Dallas. Earlier on in Hotel Oblivion, we did see him older helping Sir Reginald Hargreeves and the rest of the Umbrella Academy take down the villain known as Perseus, unleashing his tentacled-monster on the criminal, but other than that, Ben's not factored into the franchise's plot at all.
That is, until now.
If you've seen the Netflix series, you can see how this new dynamic is similar to what showrunner Steve Blackman crafted for television. There, Robert Sheehan's Klaus was constantly haunted by the ghost of Justin H. Min's Ben. Though there, the Horror wasn't rotting and decayed as we're now seeing in the books. He was his adult self, without a costume, and seemed more at peace with his passing.
Ben's relationship with his brother mirrors the same beat, however, with the show having Klaus alone able to see Ben, and Ben trying to get his brother clean and back towards being a hero. Ben also warned Klaus of the dire horror to come later down the line for the family, which seems to be the angle Way is working in the books once more, with Ben as a glimpse into the future.
It remains to be seen what this clairvoyance means, but like the TV show, fans are eager to find out what happened in Ben's death. Blackman dropped hints that Klaus may have been responsible for it in the Netflix-verse, and the same could certainly be revealed here. Either way, The Umbrella Academy just got its own Dynamic Duo, and we can't wait to see how this partnership evolves as they try to save their family... and the world.