Umbrella Academy Review

Courtesy of

Erin Krska, Copy Editor

On the 12th hour of the first day of October 1989, 43 women around the world gave birth. Eccentric billionaire Reginald Hargreeves adopted 7 of these children. These gifted children grew up in an unconventional household their father claimed was to help them [with their powers].

The Umbrella Academy was a comic book long before it became a Netflix series. The first Umbrella Academy comic was released in 2009, ten years before the release of season one on Netflix. Not only is it an Eisner award winning comic book, but one of its creators is world-famous former front man of the band My Chemical Romance, Gerard Way.

The series is set in a parallel universe with a strange timeline. It is mentioned at one point that the year is 2019, but it’s definitely not our 2019. This is evident when you observe their technology. On one hand, you have humanoid robot caretakers and genetically engineered monkeys, and on the other, the cars are from the 80’s, no one has cell phones, everyone is using typewriters, and there appears to be no internet, as one of the characters is shown researching with microfiche at the library.

Although this is a show about superheroes, it is not your typical marvel or DC story. Instead of focusing mainly on the powers of the members of the Umbrella Academy, the series concentrates on the trials and tribulations the Umbrella Academy, known only to their father as Number One through Number Seven, suffers from due to their adoptive father’s lack of parenting.

The Umbrella Academy, after all having moved out of their father’s mansion at the age of 17, are brought together 13 years later by the mysterious death of Reginald Hargreeves. Before the funeral had commenced, the family’s estranged brother, Number Five, is seemingly teleported back to the Hargreeves mansion after being missing for 17 years. Not only does he return in the body of his 13-year-old self despite being 58, but he also has some shocking news for the rest of the Umbrella Academy. That the world ends in eight days, and that they need to find a way to stop it.

The show displays the characters own personal hardships as well as their relationships with each other very well. Luther (Number One) had an unceasing devotion to his father until even after he died. It isn’t until later in the series that Luther realizes that his father wasn’t as great of a man as he believed and consequently falls into a depression. Diego (Number Two) continued his career as a child superhero by becoming a knife-wielding vigilante which isn’t well received by any of the people in his life. Allison (Number Three) is an actress who has a daughter and an ex-husband. Allison’s power being her ability to make any rumor she says come true, she was used to getting everything she wanted by abusing her unique power. That power backfires after her then husband catches her using it on their daughter. They get a divorce, go to court, and Allison must jump through some hoops just to have a supervised visit with her daughter. Klaus (Number Four) has the power of being able to commune with the dead. In his youth, his father pushed him the hardest to fully control and explore his power, going to the extreme of locking Klaus in the basement for several hours to get rid of his fear of the dead. Due to this especially traumatizing childhood, Klaus developed and addiction to drugs and alcohol to keep the spirits at bay. Number Five (Number Five) Has the ability to travel through space and time. After an argument with his father about whether not he can fully control his ability to travel through time, he run out of the house and jumps into the future, moments after the apocalypse happens. He survives the remainder of his childhood in the post-apocalyptic wasteland until he returns to his family in 2019. Ben (Number Six) is dead, and only Klaus can see him, so we don’t know too much about he was treated by his father yet. Vanya (Number Seven) Seemingly has no powers and is treated like an outcast amongst her adoptive siblings. She’s used to having to get out of the way and apologize her whole life because no one had ever made her feel special.

This series is amazing, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to see a different kind of superhero story. The Netflix adaptation ties in very well with the comic series and doesn’t leave out too many details from the comics. It has officially been approved for a second season and we are excited to see what’s next.