Today I want to talk about one of Netflix’ most anticipated and successful releases of 2019: The Umbrella Academy. Not only does the show give us a lot of material to take a look at, but I also checked out the comic book series it is based on.
After 43 women around the world give birth at the same moment in 1889 without being pregnant before, 7 of those babies are adopted by an eccentric billionaire. All of them exhibit certain powers that are not to be messed with.
In the present day the estranged sibling have to come together once more not just for their adoptive father’s funeral, but to save the world…
Comics vs. Series:
First things first. Let’s talk about the comics. I picked up The Apocalypse Suite which was the first Umbrella Academy comic series and Dallas, which was #2.
I usually don’t read comics as they are a super-fast read but rather expensive at the same time. However, The Umbrella Academy was available at my library so I was excited to give it a go.
What did I like? The artwork was beautifully done and the idea behind the story is both unusual and fascinating.
When it comes to the execution, however, I am not that thrilled. both comic books had rather confusing and irritating storylines. I’m still not sure I fully understood all that went down. Apart from the fact that the stories didn’t make all that much sense, they also lacked depth. I’m not sure if I had that feeling because I’m simply not used to reading comic books, but I had hoped for more. My favorite thing about both books was that in Dallas, #5 gets a dog (who is absolutely adorable). If that doesn’t tell you all about the stories…
So, the adaptation has elements of both comic books but leans more towards the first one, Apocalypse Suite. Both TV series and comic start the same way, but then at some point, the comic takes a different (and irritating) turn and ending.
Anyways, the is quite a lot to take in. There’s lots of color, music and characters and it takes a moment to get used to it. Even the pacing is a bit out of the ordinary, so I get it when some people say The Umbrella Academy is just not for them.
However, if you give the show a chance, you’ll be amazed. The depth I felt lacking from the comic books is to be found here. It’s impressive how they managed to create such intricate characters in such a short time. Season 1 has only 10 episodes but 6 superheroes to present (and some other great characters)!
The story seemed better thought through as well and made far more sense to me. It’s still a complicated plot that needs to be unraveled but you can certainly follow it in this form!
Furthermore, the show provided some genuinely heartbreaking moments that I hadn’t expected. I don’t want to add any spoilers but those of you who already saw it will know what I mean.
Apart from the sad moments, there’s a ton of great jokes and some outstanding musical scenes as well. I think we’re alone now from Tiffany may be my favorite use of a song in a TV show ever.
The casting was also perfectly on point. While I thought all of the heroes were extremely well-chosen, I was most impressed by 15-year old Aidan Gallagher who is nothing but outstanding and Robert Sheehan. I hadn’t known those two previous to watching The Umbrella Academy so I was blown away by there performances.
Of course, Ellen Page was also wonderful but with her, I knew it would be a stellar performance.
It’s hard to do a comic adaptation or a superhero movie without making it look too fake or gimmicky. With The Umbrella Academy Netflix managed to give us a realistic looking and feeling version of the story. Many elements of the show could have easily gone downhill, but instead turned out to be perfect.
While I found the comic books rather irritating and somewhat disappointing (although I had tried hard to like them), the show blew me away. The Umbrella Academy is impressive in just about every way and I can’t wait for season 2!
Did you prefer the book or the movie? Let me know in the comments!