New series provides fresh take on comic book superheroes

‘The Umbrella Academy’ offers entrancing story, characters


Fair use from Netflix

Jenna Cook

After DC and Marvel have spent so many years shoving comic book content down the average consumer’s throat, I thought I had seen all the genre had to offer. Netflix’s “The Umbrella Academy” proved me wrong.

The pilot episode follows a family of superhero siblings reuniting for their father’s funeral after years of separation. Shortly after their homecoming, they discover they have a week to stop the world from ending — a slightly overused plot point in this day and age, but the show makes it work.

Overall, the set design and soundtrack are two of the most commendable pieces of the show. The scenery is set up in a way that makes this universe feel believable while still maintaining the comic book aesthetic. Each frame is filmed such that it would fit seamlessly into a comic panel. The music adds to the general tone of each scene, carefully selected to enhance undertones from tense to playful.

The cast is full of incredible actors who bring the bizarre and baffling story more depth and complexion. Ellen Page, who plays the isolated Vanya, communicates the thoughts and feelings of one of the most complicated characters on the show flawlessly. Robert Sheehan, portraying Klaus, breathes life and purpose into a character surrounded by death and drugs. Tom Hopper, who plays Luther, gives light to several sides of what comes off as a one-dimensional character whose sole purpose is to lead.

The character with the most enticing backstory, however, has to be the mysterious Number Five (Aidan Gallagher). Five disappeared into an apocalyptic future when the rest of the siblings were in their early teens. He grows up on his own, accumulating wisdom and knowledge, only to later return to his own 13-year-old body. This leaves Gallagher, a teenager, with the challenging job of portraying a 58-year-old man. He does a fantastic and convincing job, conveying experience beyond his years and commanding the older actors with authority.

“The Umbrella Academy” is chock-full of plot twists and surprising revelations that kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end. The final scene of the series carries more weight than any other, and an unbelievable cliffhanger left my jaw on the floor. This show is incredible and offers an energizing new take on what has begun to feel like a worn out genre.

“The Umbrella Academy”: ★★★★★