Hazel & Cha Cha Save Christmas: Tales from the Umbrella Academy – Gerard Way, Scott Allie, Tommy Lee Edwards & John Workman (Dark Horse Comics)

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When does Gerard Way find the time to sleep? Between the just announced My Chemical Romance reunion,  his almost certainly not inconsequential involvement in the filming of the second season of The Umbrella Academy for Netflix, teaming up with Scott Allie, Tommy Lee Edwards and John Workman to produce this new Hazel and Cha-Cha one shot for Dark Horse and all of the other mundane stuff that life undoubtedly throws at him, he’s probably left with around four point three minutes in every single day to do everything else that he wants, and needs, to do. And that includes getting enough shut-eye to function at something approaching normal levels.

Maybe he doesn’t need to sleep. Maybe he’s some sort of super-cyborg from a future where the need for downtime has been rendered obsolete and all that matters is the urge to create. If he was a robot though, Temps Aeternalis would have noticed and attempted to correct the timeline by sending Hazel and Cha Cha to have a “word” with him. And as they haven’t nullified him, it means that Gerard’s almost certainly* not a robot from one of a myriad of possible futures. He probably just doesn’t do the sleep thing.

Talking of everyone’s favourite semi-psychotic Temps Aeternalis agents, in Hazel and Cha Cha Save Christmas, following a new agency directive designed to minimise collateral damage, the deadly duo are sent back to the eighties to do a job involving one of their own. It’s a mission that just happens to coincide with the “truth” about the greatest Festive conspiracy being accidentally discovered and almost blown wide open by a small town teenager loner, who along with Santa and the subject of their latest assignment,  pops up on Hazel and Cha Cha’s radar.

Wildly imaginative and built around the sort of late night, fuelled by way too coffee, discussions that every single geek obsessive has had while sat in a booth at a twenty four hour diner, Hazel and Cha Cha is a wonderfully inventive alternative take on the traditional Christmas special that offers a strange, and oddly comforting, variety of hope and good cheer while musing about the futility of faith, belief and the cold, harsh reality of existence.  Even though Way’s usual partner in all things Umbrella Academy related, Gabriel Ba, is missing in action, Tommy Lee Edwards dynamic, hyper-detailed, photo realistic art is a perfect substitute for that of the absent Ba and he does a magnificent job of enabling Hazel and Cha Cha to do what they do best while the world goes to merry Hell around them. Christmas, unlike Hazel and Cha Cha, has arrived a little early this year… Tim Cundle

*He could be from the future and he might be a robot. The powers that be just might not have noticed him. Yet.

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