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Comic Book / The Umbrella Academy

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The Umbrella Academy is a Comic Book written by Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance and drawn by Gabriel Bá, published by Dark Horse Comics.

One day, 43 extraordinary children were all spontaneously born on the same day to women who had shown no signs of pregnancy. Of these children, seven are adopted by the inventor (and space alien) Reginald Hargreeves and groomed into superheroes. However, Hargreeves does not prove to be a good father figure and his inability to give emotional warmth to the children, along with his unwavering ambition to push them to their limits, inevitably scars them all as adults. In many ways The Umbrella Academy is both a deconstruction and Affectionate Parody of Gold and Silver Age comics, joyfully embracing absurd and wonderful classics like talking monkeys and space squids while exploring the real psychological effects of being groomed from birth to be a hero in the care of a wealthy man of intrigue.

The main series takes place after Hargreeves's death where the team reunite at his funeral. Comics include:

  • "Mon Dieu!" (2006)
  • "…But the Past Ain’t Through With You." (2007)
  • "Safe & Sound" (2007)
  • The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite (2007-2008)
  • "Anywhere But Here" (2008)
  • The Umbrella Academy: Dallas (2008-2009)
  • The Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion (2018-2019)
  • Hazel and Cha Cha Save Christmas: Tales from the Umbrella Academy (2019)
  • You Look Like Death: Tales from the Umbrella Academy (2020-2021)
  • "Letters to Athena" (2021)
  • "Safe" (2023)

A live-action series was released by Netflix. Three seasons are available, with the latest being released on June 22, 2022.

A Kickstarter campaign to fund The Umbrella Academy Game was held in 2020

Unrelated to the Umbrella Corporation.


  • Abbey Road Crossing: Gerard Way had an idea to do two drawings of the group walking in a line (one of them as children, the other where they're adults). He likened to the image of apes evolving into men but everyone at Dark Horse thought it was more like The Beatles crossing Abbey Road.
  • Abusive Parents: Reginald Hargreeves. He would chide his adopted sons and daughters if they called him 'Dad'. In one story, he sicced a murderous supervillain on The Rumor when she lied about sneaking out for the night to see a boy. Jerkass doesn't begin to cover it.
    Vanya: "Dad.. ? I mean, Mr. Monocle, sir? Why can't I play with the others?"
    Reginald: "Well number seven... there's just nothing special about you."
    Vanya: "Oh."
  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: Played straight with Luther during the start of Dallas, but subverted with Klaus.
  • Alien Blood: Following Vanya's transformation into the White Violin, she has grey blood.
  • Alien Space Bats: Aside from the superheroes, villains and Hargreeves' technology, John F. Kennedy originally lived in this universe until he got assassinated by time travellers.
  • Almighty Janitor: Due to their gentler temperaments and underdeveloped abilities, Hargreeves ranked Klaus and Benjamin rather low among the members of the Umbrella Academy, but they would grow to become two of the most powerful members of the team. Vanya was put in the very last spot to hide her apocalyptic potential from everyone, including herself.
  • Alternate Landmark History: The series reveals that the Eiffel Tower is a deadly robot built by... zombie Gustave Eiffel.
  • Ambiguously Evil: Scientific Man's motivations are unclear. At first he's implied to be some kind of superhero who checks that no one escapes the Hotel Oblivion but when they all break out to Earth, he starts fighting the academy.
  • Asian Babymama: The Seance makes a baby with an Asian Babymama. You don't see said Asian Babymama, just the baby, and the Asian Babygrandmama with whom he leaves the baby.
  • Back from the Dead: Klaus. Technically twice.
  • Badass Family: The Hargreeves siblings, all adopted but a family nonetheless. Reginald Hargreeves shaped them into a Super Team, however unstable each of them become. They have saved the day many times against multiple supervillains and keep saving the world.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: Pogo appears in a full suit, necktie and eyeglasses, but no shoes.
  • Bedsheet Ghost: One of the escaped criminals from the Hotel Oblivion is one.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Gustave Eiffel (designer of the Eiffel Tower) was apparently a Mad Scientist Zombie-Robot.
    Luther: And just as I expected? Zombie Robot Gustave Eiffel!
    Ben: Alive! After all these years—!!
  • Bizarre Baby Boom: The premise. The same year "Tusslin' Tom" Gurney knocked out the space-squid from Rigel X-9 with a flying atomic elbow "... forty three extraordinary children were born to mostly single women, who had shown no signs of pregnancy, in seemingly random locations around the world." A wealthy entrepreneur tracked down and adopted seven of these children to raised them as a superhero team.
  • Brick Joke: The Eiffel Tower is revealed to be a spaceship built by Gustave Eiffel, with the siblings accidentally launching it to fly off to parts unknown in the very first issue. At the end of Apocalypse Suite, it crash-landed on the Hargreeves mansion, capping off a very rough time for the siblings.
  • Brown Note: In The Apocalypse Suite arc, the antagonist has constructed an orchestra of the sadistic and suicidal to play a symphony that will end the world. Similarly, The White Violin is capable of making heads explode and bodies tear themselves apart by just barely scraping her strings.
  • The Cape: The Horror, considered to be one of the most grotesque and useless of the group by Hargreeves, not only dressed the most like a traditional superhero, but acted the part as well. While the surviving members of the Academy bicker and insult each other, no one has a bad thing to say about Benjamin and Vanya prefaces her Moral Event Horizon of killing Pogo by destroying the Horror's statue to lure him out.
  • Captain Ersatz:
    • The Kraken is Wolverine without claws, although his power makes him a parody of Aquaman and his popular criticism of having a rather pointless power.
    • Officer Lupo is basically Commissioner Gordon.
  • Cat Folk: Two of the Hotel's escaped inmates are anthropomorphic cat people.
  • City with No Name: The one they live in is only ever referred to as The City.
  • Civilized Animal: Genetically enhanced chimp Dr. Phinneus Pogo.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: The Séance. Although admitably it's his constant use of drugs that cause him to be as crazy as he is, he still qualifies.
    "Ever wonder what a vegetable thinks about? Firecrackers... bee stings... happy face eggs."
  • Despair Event Horizon: Klaus hits it pretty hard at the end of Dallas after all of his earnest plans to save President Kennedy not only fail, but result in him watching Number 5 eat his boss alive. By the time we see him in Hotel Oblivion, he's back on hard drugs and has hooked up with a biker gang that uses his powers to scam people.
  • Determinator: The Kraken. Despite having the near-useless power to breathe underwater, he's one tough mother, and probably the most formidable and successful crime-fighter on the team.
  • Deus ex Machina: Klaus is able to negate White Violin's powers by playing Rite of Spring at the right tempo. This weakness was never alluded to prior.
  • Domino Mask: The whole family, until they disband, even though they don't have secret identities. The Rumor puts on the mask during the first story to help her get in the groove of being a superhero again.
  • Dreamville: During the "Dallas" arc, an unconscious Luther finds himself briefly dreaming of an idyllic life with Allison in a 1950s-style suburbia, complete with children. However, something's clearly off: his children are chimpanzees, nobody seems to find anything unusual about his gorilla body, and dinner is the shredded body of Klaus. Then a massive explosion tears through the dream, killing the kids and reducing Allison to a charred skeleton in Luther's arms.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Well, you couldn't known who is that character by the moment, but you would remember seeing The White Violin, aka Vanya near Hargreeves's rushed up funeral in the second issue cover... but it doesn't really happen in the comic. The funeral happens, but she's not present.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: When the Academy gets destroyed at the end of volume one, the gang go on using its vast basement as their home base.
  • Elegant Classical Musician: In Hotel Oblivion, the image of Vanya in Diego's heart is of her playing the violin in a rundown apartment, eyes closed- completely oblivious to the grime and poverty surrounding her. It is one of the few panels in which she is truly content. (They used to be in a band together before things went to hell.)
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Technically happens twice throughout the series. Five warns them of the first one when he time travels back, which is prevented by Klaus using his telekinesis to stop a chunk of the moon from fully crashing into Earth. The second one is caused by Hazel and Cha-Cha getting ahold of Reginald Hargreeves' secret stash of nuclear weapons to cause armageddon, but due to all of the Umbrella Academy members time travelling for various reasons before it happens, they only learn about it after Carmichael tells them they changed the timeline.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Perseus' huge scheme that he's been working on since the events of Dallas? Saving his father from Hotel Oblivion. He's noticeably devastated when he finally gets there only to find that said father was Driven to Suicide by the horrors of the prison.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: The Rumor's hair gets longer and shaggier between the end of The Apocalypse Suite and where Dallas picks up.
  • Extranormal Prison: The Oblivion Hotel. Thanks to a contract with higher powers, Hargreeves has had a luxurious "hotel" built in an almost unreachable location in spacetime to imprison the supervillains the Umbrella Academy has defeated. It functions as a quasi-inescapable Gilded Cage of a sort where each prisoner has his own relatively comfortably room, but little to no service. Some of the occupants have committed suicide out of despair. Moreover, a powerful "scientific man" acts as its warden.
  • Eye Beams: A prisoner from the Hotel whose head is a giant eye can do this, a member of the Sparrow Academy does it shortly after.
  • Famously Mundane, Fictionally Magical: The series shows the Eiffel Tower being a spacecraft/weapon piloted by Zombie Robot Gustav Eiffel.
  • Foreshadowing: Allison uses her powers to reenact the assassination of a US president while they fight the giant statue of Abraham Lincoln in the first part of Dallas by summoning a statue of John Wilkes Booth. She does it again for the final part of Dallas by rumoring JFK's head into exploding from a bullet wound.
  • Freudian Excuse: Arguably every member of The Umbrella Academy, and definitely Vanya. Hargreeves is a dick and terrible parent, for instance his habit of sorting his children by their apparent worth.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Vanya is transformed into a nude White Violin.
  • Funny Octopus:
    • Opens up the first issue with a man wrestling a giant space squid. For no real reason.
    • And then there's the character Horror, who's actually pretty squidish himself, for obvious reasons.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Vanya Hargreeves. Vanya is a diminutive of Ivan in Russia: a male name, although in Brazil it's became a girl's name.
  • Historical In-Joke: The reason given in the Dallas arc as to why Jacqueline Kennedy doesn't remember going to the back of the limousine during JFK's assassination is because she was swapped out for Allison who would cause the assassination with one of her rumors.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: In the first story, they fight against a weaponized Eiffel tower controlled by... Zombie Robot Gustave Eiffel.
  • Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: This trope is inverted but nonetheless explored in the Dallas arc, when it is learned that saving JFK from being assassinated would result in no change whatsoever, save for something that the Time Police caused in the first place while trying to bring back the "correct" timeline.
  • How Did You Know? I Didn't: Issue 1 of the Dallas arc features the Lincoln memorial statue come to life and terrorize the District of Columbia. To stop it Rumor says "Mr. President. I heard a rumor you were assassinated." This conjures up a statue of John Wilkes Booth who shoots the rampaging Lincoln. Hargreeves arrives on the scene and ask how she knew that would work. She replied "I didn't."
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Vanya, who really wishes that she had superpowers beyond playing the violin really well. This is largely because her father figure and some of her adoptive siblings at the titular academy frequently put her down for it. It turns out that the abuse was her father figure's attempt to hide the fact that Vanya had enormous potential as a Musical Assassin, potential so great she could destroy the world if she tried. She does try.
  • Infallible Babble: This is the Rumor's power, anything she says, preceded with "I heard a rumor that" or something to the same degree automatically becomes true.
  • Intelligent Primate: As a result of Sir Reginald Hargreeves's "work in the cerebral advancement of the chimpanzee", monkeys are seen taking part in general society. Two notable examples are Dr. Phinneus Pogo, one of Hargreeves's assistants, and The Shivers, one of the major villains seen in You Look Like Death.
  • Irony: Diego and Hargreeves mutually despised each other, but the man could tell even while the Kraken was still a child, that he'd be the most effective and reliable of the children following Luther.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: God kicks Klaus out of Heaven under petty pretences, but it's ultimately an act of Tough Love done to goad him into taking charge of the situation and save the world. The last thing he says to him as he rides off is a gentle command that he stop hurting himself with harmful drugs.
  • Killed Off for Real: As of the start of the series, The Horror is dead, and will stay dead for the time being. While it hasn't be stated how he died, the only thing that reminds us he's dead is the statue that is (or was, as of the end of The Apocalypse Suite) on the garden outside the mansion. The preview story, however, shows him alive and well, fighting alongside his siblings.
  • Lovecraftian Superpower: The Horror is pretty much the embodiment of this. He's said to have several monsters hidden under his skin. Whether or not they're from space or another dimension or something else has yet to be stated. However, according to some people in universe, they're horrible and disgusting.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: In Issue 6 of the Dallas arc, it's revealed that Number 1 and Number 5 are biological siblings (they were adopted siblings before this point).
  • Mad Artist: The Orchestra Verdammten is a collection of musicians gathered for the singular purpose of performing The Apocalypse Suite, a composition that will destroy the world when performed.
    The Conductor: The finest musicians in all of the world. But very unique… A collection of madmen and murderesses. Hearts and deeds as black as the very instruments we play…
  • Magic Music: The Apocalypse Suite is a composition described as a combination of Faust, La Bohème, Messiah, and original work that, when played correctly, destroys the world.
  • Makes Just as Much Sense in Context: Cowboy God.
  • Monumental Battle:
    • In The Apocalypse Suite, the Eiffel Tower is actually a space-faring warship built by robot zombie Gustave Eiffel.
    • The Lincoln Memorial becomes a giant monster in opening to the Dallas storyline, only to be shot in the head by a giant, stone John Wilkes Booth.
  • Mood Dissonance: The series uses the bright, clean style of Gabriel Ba, while the plot is a mix of dramatic confrontations, violence, and absurdist humor.
  • Musical Assassin: The antagonist seemingly destined to cause The End of the World as We Know It in The Apocalypse Suite arc is the appropriately-named White Violin.
  • The Needless: The Murder Magician says that Scientific Man doesn't need to eat or breathe.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Zombie Robot Gustave Eiffel.
  • Not Blood Siblings: Happens not once but twice; first between the Rumor and Spaceboy, and then the Kracken's obvious unrequited feelings for Vanya, as well.
  • Not Worth Killing: Instead of killing a drugged-out Klaus for abandoning him to die in the desert, a heavily injured Quinn instead tosses him into the trash and calls him "garbage."
  • Parental Abandonment: Played with for drama. During Hotel Oblivion, Klaus resents Hargreeves for never being there for him, but had previously abandoned his own half-Vietnamese child during the final act of Dallas instead of taking it with him to the future.
  • Prison Dimension: The Hotel Oblivion arc is focused on the titular hotel, a prison residing in the mysterious Afterspace built by Reginald that he threw any rogue or criminal in, notably without any apparent external jurisdiction and very little governmental oversight. While Reginald intended it as a Gilded Cage by providing fine cuisine and other kinds of entertainment, it was regarded as a stagnant Hellhole Prison by most of its inmates because they had no chance of ever being let out, and his death has resulted in even less oversight and it's become incredibly run-down by the present.
  • Psycho for Hire: Hazel and Cha-Cha. A diner chef makes the mistake of saying they'd have to chop off his arms and legs to get his secret pie recipe. They do just that. All while wearing adorable furry masks!
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Hazel and Cha Cha, they love their sugary sweets as much as the next kid while still packing machine guns and saws to violently tear apart their enemy.
  • Reality Warper: The Rumor has the ability to tell lies that come true, which she usually does by saying "I heard a rumor that...". As her power is speech-based, it can be disabled if anything happens to her voice.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Number Five is an eighty-year-old man trapped in a ten-year-old's body. There's no telling how old he really is, however, as his aging was halted by The Temps Aertanalis.
  • Rent-a-Zilla: The giant rampaging Abraham Lincoln at the beginning of the Dallas arc.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Subverted. Mrs. Hargreeves has a human face but a transparent body and obviously artificial limbs. However it appears she also has a full system of working organs, which can be seen through her transparent body.
  • Running Gag: "Televator's broken."
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Spaceboy at the end of Dallas.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: The only reason Hargreeves adopted the children was to prevent The End of the World as We Know It. His abuse and ostracism of Vanya is what leads her to the Orchestra and to attempting to destroy the world in the first place.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: What Number Five travelled back in time to accomplish. Namely, preventing the Apocalypse.
  • Signature Instrument: Vanya's instrument of choice changes to reflect her age. When she was younger and angrier, she played guitar; now that she's more solemn and honest about her feelings of alienation, she plays the violin. To cement her status as a Tragic Villain, it is a violin with which she plays the Apocalypse Suite- her sadness that ends the world, not her rage. Newspapers call Vanya "the White Violin". She actually feels more comfortable playing her Signature Instrument than talking, a trait which frustrates her siblings.
  • Slashed Throat: The Rumor's throat is slashed with a note from a Musical Assassin. It's a rare case when the victim doesn't end up dead, though she was immediately rushed to a hospital and bears an ugly scar afterwards.
  • Squick: In-universe, Number Five's "disposal" of his superior, Carmichael.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: The Rumor's solution to a giant berserker Abraham Lincoln statue: A giant John Wilkes Booths statue, complete with a stone derringer. Afterwards, the Booths statue is seen escaping, with the police chasing after him.
  • Superhero School: The titular institute, though its seven students are never actually shown together in a classroom or studying. The closest it ever comes to actually serving as an educational facility is when Number Five is asked to demonstrate his scientific knowledge for physicists, which he chooses not to in order to spite Reginald.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: The Kraken can only, as creator Gerard Way said, "hold his breath and throw knives." He also said he was "fucking useless" and compared him to Aquaman. Ouch.
  • Surprise Pregnancy: Exaggerated in The Umbrella Academy, when 43 women who hadn't been pregnant to begin with suddenly all give birth all the same time with no warning, right in the middle of whatever it was they had been doing at the time.
  • Talking with Signs: The Rumor, for most of the Dallas arc, communicates on a notepad, mostly with scathing sarcasm. She gets better just in time to use her power to resolve the plot, assassinate JFK, and (inadvertently) save the world.
  • Teleportation: One of Hargreeves' famous inventions is the Televator. It seems to link up with normal elevators and is capable of reaching whatever planet or dimension the Hotel Oblivion is in.
  • Time Police: The Temps Aeternalis. It seems like their main function is to carry out assassinations, or as they call them, "corrections". Their purpose is to maintain the status quo.
  • Trapped in the Past: Seance, Spaceboy, and Kraken end up time travelling to three years before JFK's assassination and are dropped straight into the Vietnam War, to boot, in Dallas. They end up taking a very downplayed version of The Slow Path in Vietnam and only get back to the US with the help of a young Dr. Pogo.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Klaus giving his Vietnamese associates free access to a televator snowballs into the latter discovering Hotel Oblivion and Afterspace and that eventually leads into all of the Hotel's inmates being freed.
  • Uplifted Animal: Hargreeves invented a method for making chimpanzees smarter. There's usually a clothed chimp or two in every crowd scene.
  • Weaksauce Weakness:
    • Seance's powers only work when he's barefoot. He apparently collects shoes.
    • Likewise, the Rumor can make practically anything happen, but only as long as she can speak aloud. (You can also always tell when she's using her powers, because she has to use her Catchphrase or something similar.)
  • Weaponized Landmark;
    • The Academy's first public adventure is stopping the Eiffel Tower that's been converted into a laser-firing spaceship.
    • At the start of volume 2 the Academy are fighting an animated Abraham Lincoln statue. They defeat it by having The Rumor animate a John Wilkes Booth statue to shoot. The gang lampshade the trope by complaining that they're fighting another weaponized landmark.
  • Weight Woe: Luther Hargreeves had gotten out-of-shape between the first and second volumes of the series from doing nothing but eating cookies and watching infomercials all day out of depression.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Despite being an awful father and husband, Hargreeves' motivation was to save the world.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?:
    • The Kraken's power is apparently the ability to hold his breath forever. It probably makes him the world's best swimmer and a top athlete, but it doesn't quite compare to, say, re-shaping reality at will. He compensates with excellent knife-fighting skills, to the point where he takes down a pack of Vietnamese vampires with a pair of knives. Gerard Way actually said in a lecture at SVA that he made him "fucking useless" on purpose, but at the same time also said that, in a world where no one else had super powers, something as simple as that is a big deal.

      Hargreeves, for all his intense dislike of the boy, ranked the Kraken as #2 among the children, placing him right under his favorite pupil and above the Reality Warper, the psychic, the time traveler, the boy with a Lovecraftian Superpower, and the White Violin in that order.
    • Vanya has the power to… play the violin really well. She ends up being so upset over this (plus a good amount of ostracization and emotional abuse from her peers and father figure) that she eventually becomes the main villain and, using a deadly violin, becomes a Musical Assassin powerful enough to destroy the world.
  • Who Shot JFK?:
    • The Apocalypse Suite alludes to Number Five being involved in the Kennedy assassination, but the point is never elaborated on.
    • Dallas reveals that Number Five was sent by the Temps Aeternalis to kill Kennedy, but he changed his mind and instead killed the other assassins. Later (in his personal timeline), he goes back to that day to stop his past self from stopping the assassination. He does so by having his teammate The Rumor pose as Mrs. Kennedy and use her reality-warping powers to kill JFK.
  • You Are Number 6: The seven adopted children who form The Umbrella Academy respond to their respective numbers up until they receive real names and proper superhero codenames, respectively. Number Six himself dies very, very early on in the series. What more, Hargreeves numbered the children from the most useful to the least useful, 00.01 being useful simply because he was zealously obedient.