With the release of Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy, Netflix is working hard to solidify its reign as king of the comic book adaptations among streaming services. The Umbrella Academy, which was first released back in 2007, is a comic book that revolves around the reunion of a group of super-powered siblings after the death of the man that raised them.
So as the series has now made its debut on Netflix, let’s go through some of the key things you might’ve missed out on if you haven’t read through the original comics, which, by the way, are definitely worth the read. Gabriel Ba’s art is the perfect companion to the story’s dark humor.
10 Temps Aeternalis
When one of the main character’s powers involve time travel you kind of have to expect that things are going to get a little chaotic. Well, Temps Aeternalis are here to make sure that things in the timeline don’t get so messed up that you’d think Barry Allen somehow showed up. (The fastest man alive? More like sloppiest. Get your house in order, Barry.)
While The Umbrella Academy doesn’t have Barry to screw up everything in the timeline, it certainly has its share of time paradoxes. Little mishaps the folks at Temps Aeternalis decided to send Number Five (The Boy) to fix all throughout the timestream. But now that he’s not following along with their plans anymore, it looks like Temps Aeternalis are coming after him and maybe even the rest of his family.
9 Shubunkin Goldfish
While Number Five initially mistaken labels him as an oranda goldfish, Carmichael, the Shubunkin Goldfish, is Number Five’s trainer commanding officer in Temps Aeternalis. Carmichael is a hyper-intelligent, cold, efficient killing machine that shows up to make sure that Five goes through with his mission and assassinates Kennedy like he’s supposed to, otherwise he’ll have his mother killed before she can give birth to Five and his twin brother Spaceboy. He may look like simple fish floating aimlessly on the shoulders of a man's body, but that fish is dangerous and should never, ever, be underestimated. After all, he taught Five everything he knows about killing his way through the timeline.
8 God Is A Sam Elliot Inspired Cowboy
The Umbrella Academy certainly isn’t a series to run away from the tough questions.
“Is there intelligent life out there?”
Yes. And it’s pretty gross.
“Is it considered incest if they’re adopted siblings?”
Yes. But we’re nowhere near Cersei/Jaime levels, so we’re good.
“Is there a God?” For sure. And he looks like Sam Elliott circa any film where he plays the “gritty cowboy/ Marlboro Man” type. In the comics, when Klaus’ prefrontal cortex has a less-than-chill date with a hollowpoint, he winds up talking to the big ghost himself, Sam Elliott — err God, who basically tells him to man up and make with the murder. Solid advice.
7 “The White Violin”
Throughout the early issues of the comics, it is made abundantly clear that, while her siblings are all quite talented and powerful in their own ways, Vanya, or Number Seven, is not as capable as the rest of her family. While the rest of her family is out saving the world from the threat of evil national monuments and whatever else may be thrown their way, Vanya was left at home, alone, with nothing to do but watch from the sidelines. Vanya’s isolation from the family and her desire to join her siblings, like many other pure intentions, becomes corrupted, which leads to her becoming The White Violin, a woman obsessed with destruction.
6 Orchestra Verdament & “The Apocalypse Suite”
The Orchestra Verdament is a group of musicians bent on performing the Apocalypse Suite, a performance, they believe will bring about untold levels of destruction and suffering. Unfortunately, their plan involves some seedy, back-alley surgery on an already unstable Vanya. After receiving her ability to manipulate sound energy, one of Vanya’s first target is the conductor of Orchestra Verdament, the man who turned Vanya into The White Violin. Once Vanya discovers what she is truly capable of she sets her sites on the next logical target: Earth. Yep, the whole thing.
Talk about ambitious. Who even cares about being first chair?
5 Little Big Brother
The story of the original comics mostly takes place when most of the members of the Umbrella Academy have reached adulthood. However, while his siblings may have been afforded the luxury of remaining in their own timeline and aging normally, Number Five was not so lucky. After an unfortunate experiment with his time travel abilities, Number Five finds himself stuck in the future — what’s worse is that he’s jumped so far ahead that civilization has but been destroyed. All but Delores, that is, the beautiful half-mannequin that Number Five grows to call his friend, confidante, and perhaps, something more. By the time Number Five finally gets back to his siblings not only has he aged more than all of them, making him years older, he’s also somehow ended up in his ten-year-old body.
4 Hazel & Cha Cha
During his time trapped in the future, while working for Temp Aeternalis, Number Five made acquaintance with many top-level temporal assassins, but none like Hazel and Cha-Cha.
Number Five was experimented on for years, until becoming the top assassin for Temps Aeternalis, but Hazel and Cha-Cha, two psychopaths killing through time, were right on his tail reaching for his top spot. And when Number Five breaks protocol by refusing to kill JFK and seeking out his siblings, Cha-Cha and Hazel are granted the perfect excuse to follow him and prove once and for all just who exactly is the most lethal.
3 Eisner Award Winner
For anyone not very familiar with comics, the Eisner award—inspired by comics legend Will Eisner, is essentially the Oscars of the comics industry. Each year the industry recognizes the top creators in the field. Those who are pushing the limits of what kind of story can be told on the page, and how these stories can be told. With their win for best limited series of 2008, Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba have secured their work among legends like Frank Miller (for his work on 300 and A Dame To Kill For) as well as Mark Waid (for Kingdom Come) and Jeph Loeb (for his work on Batman: The Long Halloween).
2 Gabriel Ba
Fans of the comics may already be familiar with Gabrial Ba’s award-winning art from the beautiful pages of The Umbrella Academy, but avid fans will have recognized his work from some other award-winning series as well. Take, for instance, his work on Daytripper, another one of his projects that won the Eisner for best limited series just 3 years later in 2011.
Fun Fact: Daytripper was written by Fabio Moon, Gabriel Ba’s twin brother. The two have worked on many projects together throughout their lives, as one might imagine, but Daytripper seems to have been recognized as where their storytelling is at its best.
1 Gerard Way
Probably one of the first questions asked by people getting into the Umbrella Academy comics is, “Wait, is this written by the guy from My Chemical Romance?” The answer is a resounding yes. Regardless of how comics fans felt about the work he produced with his band, they certainly didn’t hesitate to embrace him in the (sometimes) loving arms of the comic book industry. Since his work on The Umbrella Academy, Gerard Way has been seen all throughout the comic book industry. He’s written for Marvel as well and even introduced fans to Peni Parker, who many people were introduced to in the recent Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse.