Adapted from the Dark Horse Comics by Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance) and Gabriel Bá comes The Umbrella Academy, boasting a roster of seven new heroes for fanatics to feast upon, and it's sure to tick all the boxes.
Queer narratives are on the rise, and this show has no aversion to making them an integral part of the narrative. Netflix have spearheaded the way, employing the talents of an openly lesbian actress and activist, as well as highlighting the importance of allies.
When forty-three women mysteriously fall pregnant on the same day, conceiving and delivering children in a matter of hours, an eccentric billionaire recluse attempts to adopt as many as possible. Only managing to acquire seven of the children, they are aptly named after their respective purchase. Number 1 is Luther, the head strong leader built like a brick house. Number 2 is Diego, a knife wielding martial-artist. Number 3 is Allison, queen of the rumour brigade. Number 4 is Klaus, our clairvoyant, human Ouija board. Number 5 has the ability to teleport through space and time, but no name, save ‘The Boy’. Number 6 exists, but only through Klaus. Ben is unfortunately dead, but that doesn’t stop him. Lastly, Number 7, ‘The Anomaly,’ otherwise known as Vanya. Compared to the others, she’s seemingly powerless, but was it always so?
For the Hargreeves, a life of super-heroism isn’t easy. There are endless twists and turns, new developments and the return of those thought lost. But what is it exactly about this show that proves Netflix doesn’t need a Marvel roster to satiate fans? Perhaps it’s the exploration of familial ties, and how seven unrelated people build a connection in order to save the world. Or maybe it’s the absurd, wacky nature of the entire universe. Featuring a robot mother, a talking ape named Pogo, or even the two hired assassins, Cha-Cha (Mary J. Blige! Whose genius idea was this?) and Hazel.
In the end, what makes The Umbrella Academy a truly stellar work, are the performances from Number 7 and Number 4. Ellen Page, aka Vanya, guides the show with an emotional, outcast perspective. When the world is watching her siblings flourish, she fades into the background of their lives until all seven of them are explosively forced to realise just who she is, and the power she holds. Ellen Page is already an LGBTQIA+ icon to be reckoned with, only now she translates that into her character seamlessly. How wonderful to have our hearts played like the strings of a violin.
Clairvoyance sounds ridiculous as a super-power, but trust me when I say not to underestimate the abilities of a single character. Klaus battles with drug addiction, using it as a way to suppress his power. When the voices become too hard to bear, he takes the edge off and parties like the world isn’t watching. But we are, so vehemently. As the only LGBT character, he personifies the indifference the world doesn’t see. The small moments of being different that you can only know, if you yourself are. An exceptional piece of acting from Robert Sheehan, so convincing, that when his love dies, we cry along with him.