Netflix’s ‘Umbrella Academy’ is equally weird and wonderful: Review


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SUPER DYSFUNCTIONAL. Gerard Way’s “The Umbrella Academy” comic book was released in 2007 to widespread acclaim, garnering the series an Eisner award for Best New Series. When it came time to adapt the comic to Netflix, Way was actually really happy with the results.

Surprise! Streaming juggernaut Netflix has another hit on their hands. After recently offing all of their original Marvel programming (including “Daredevil” and “The Punisher”), the platform has debuted another superhero series that is, admittedly, pretty crazy.

Based on the Dark Horse comic series written by “My Chemical Romance” singer Gerard Way and artist Gabriel Ba, “The Umbrella Academy” combines superheroes and violence with a dysfunctional family dynamic.

The setup is that one day, 43 different women gave birth at the exact same time, without any previous signs of pregnancy. An eccentric billionaire adopts seven of them, six with special abilities, in order to “save the world.”

Several years pass, and the children, now adults, reunite after the death of their adoptive father, just in time for them to be forced into saving the world from the imminent apocalypse set to arrive in eight days.

One of my favorite aspects of the Netflix adaptation is how well the comic’s premise is translated to the screen. Something I had initially felt weird and unnecessarily convoluted in the comic felt right at home on the small screen.  

And honestly, I think that this is where the story belongs. “The Umbrella Academy” works better as a television show more than it does as a comic book.

A lot of this reasoning has to do with the characters, and how they are portrayed both in the show and in the comic.

In the comic book, the action is brought more to the forefront, as there are a limited amount of pages to completely tell the story. This leads little room for smaller moments that further the story a tiny bit, such as slight character development.

There is a lot more room to explore character development in a ten-hour-long series, where everything cannot be action all of the time. The viewers now actually have a chance to get invested in the unique and interesting characters.

And indeed, these characters are incredibly interesting. You have Aidan Gallagher as the 50-year-old time traveler stuck in his younger self, Robert Sheehan as a drug junkie who can talk to the dead, and Ellen Page as the powerless violinist.

The interactions between all of these weird and wacky characters were my favorite aspect of the show. I was incredibly invested in all of the main cast in a way that I was not when reading the comic.

The action, while not as insane and bizarre as the source material (the first issue of the comic had the Umbrella Academy fight the Eiffel Tower, don’t ask), is still incredibly stylish and fun to watch, with the classic rock soundtrack adding a lot to those moments.

Despite how similar the show is to the comic, the Netflix series does have a lot of original moments, including a completely different ending, making the show feel fresh and exciting the same way the original comic was too many.

“I haven’t seen it yet, but since I am a fan of the guy who wrote the comic, I am really excited to check it out,” said Olive Bringle, 11.

While I was not the biggest fan of the original source material, I can safely say that Netflix’s adaptation of “The Umbrella Academy” is a fun, fresh, and wonderfully weird foray into the superhero genre that I found to be better than the comic.