The Umbrella Academy: 10 Things From The Comics That Were Left Out


Based on the bizarre, surreal comic book series created by Gerard Way, Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy was a welcome addition to the pantheon of edgy comic book shows. Critics and audiences were delighted with the show’s tones of drama and humor that centered around a dysfunctional superhero family that dwells in the shadow of a stern patriarch who recently died. Thrown in the mix are police investigations, time travel, a dead member who appears as a spirit, and many more whacky elements, making it a show worth watching.

As its second season approaches this month, here’s a look back at the show’s debut season and how it omitted some of the elements from its original source material.

10 Inspector Lupo

The original comics featured a character by the name of Inspector Lupo, who is a Gordon-like figure (from Batman comics). Lupo is a grumpy detective who usually spends time with his partner (who’s a chimp) or helping the knife-throwing vigilante Diego. Both Diego and Lupo often share sensitive information on crime and have a subtle friendship. This is why Lupo never uses the law to stop Diego from delivering his own brand of justice.

The show doesn’t feature Lupo but introduces another police officer, Detective Patch. Patch and Diego share a similar relationship of sharing information. She often grows wary of Diego’s safety in his missions, but hardly stops them. Also, they were exes, so their friendship is more amusing.

9 The Ethnicity Of Characters

The Umbrella Academy is an adoptive family of diverse superheroes, but in the comics, this diversity is just limited to powers. In contrast to the comics, the Netflix series makes some diverse and welcome casting choices, making Diego a man of Mexican heritage, while Alisson is African-American, and Ben is Asian.

Even Mary J Blige’s Commission Agent Cha-Cha, who soon became a fan-favorite character, was a white woman in the source material.

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8 Sir Reginald Hargreeve’s Physical Form

The comic gets weirder in the sense that the head of the Academy, Sir Reginald Hargreeves, is a reptilian alien in the guise of a human male. That might explain his general remorse and emotionless towards his adopted ‘family’. The show, on the other hand, doesn’t give any extra-terrestrial background to Hargreeves. He’s just shown as an aristocratic British man who moves to America.

He’s also slightly more emotional compared to his comic-book counterparty. Hargreeves from the show gets darker while facing the trauma of his wife’s death, and while he did have plans to take care of his children (especially Luther), he could never really show his emotions properly. His emotions, instead, take the form of a certain sternness that makes the heroes very organized and yet, very competitive.

7 Klaus’s Powers

One of the most amusing, sassy, yet moving characters in the series is Klaus. A dazed and confused hipster, he doesn’t have many powers to boast about, unlike his colleagues from the Academy barring the fact that he can talk to dead people, like his childhood friend and tentacled hero Ben. But, in the comics, Klaus is much more powerful with a vast set of telekinetic abilities.

He seems to lose his powers whenever he removes a magical pair of shoes. He even goes on to protect Earth by single-handedly deflecting a large chunk of the Moon, an event that seems unbelievable considering the note on which the first season ended. But being that the show gives a lot of attention to Luther and Alisson’s powers, it seems like a smart choice to make Klaus weaker and more emotionally conflicted.

6 Vanya’s Backstory

Vanya, a comparatively ‘powerless’ member of the Academy, faces a major inferiority complex as her siblings take the spotlight with all sorts of powers. In the show, she eventually gets manipulated by a man called Leonard, who eventually becomes her love interest. Leonard makes her realize her true potential and hidden powers eventually making her adopt the identity of White Violin.

While in both cases, Vanya eventually almost brings the world to an end with this persona, the reasons are different. In the comics, instead of Leonard, a music collective called the Orchestra Verdammten controls her. The reason? They want to destroy the world with music!

5 The Origin Of Luther’s Body

Number One aka Luther has the body of a Martian gorilla. The show’s backstory reveals that this was because Hargreeves injected Luther with chimpanzee DNA once when he about to die. In its trademark ridiculous fashion, the comics reveal that Hargreeves just transplanted Luther’s head on the body of a Martian gorilla, creating some sort of Earthling/Martian hybrid.

The whole mythos of The Umbrella Academy does seem to have some fascination with apes, as can be seen from Lupo’s partner, intelligent Martian Gorillas (as can be seen in the comics), and the chimp Pogo, who serves as the custodian of Hargreeve’s house.

4 ‘Monumental’ Villains

As of the first season, the Netflix series has omitted several enemies that would deviate from the narrative or would seem too ‘comic-bookish.’ Case in point, the times when the team had to engage in combat with literal monuments! Not only did they fight the Lincoln Memorial, but they have also battled the Eiffel Tower.

It turns out that the classic French monument is actually a spaceship controlled by an undead version of Gustave Eiffel. If these villains make it to the show’s future seasons, they would definitely make for some of the most interesting TV villains.

3 Hargreeves’ Monocle

Hargreeves’ monocle is featured as a regular accessory whenever the character appears in the flashback sequences of the show. After his death, Diego tosses the monocle in the ocean, ending its story. In the comics, however, his monocle plays a more significant role. It’s almost like Wonder Woman’s lasso that makes people say the truth.

The wearer of Hargreeves’ monocle makes anyone see the truth about people and to even see their past, at times. Omitting such minute fantasy elements from the comics, the show makes an attempt at a more grounded and believable approach to its source material.

2 The Conductor

Early on, it was mentioned that The Umbrella Academy comics featured a crazed orchestra as the forces that manipulate Vanya’s mind, instead of the meek, seemingly kind-hearted Leonard from the show. The character that comes closest to Leonard is The Conductor from the orchestra, a villain with pretty vague details. Readers get to know that he got access to Hargreeves’ notes in some manner and now aims to use Vanya’s powers to destroy the world.

Not much background is given on The Conductor and why he chooses to engage in this madness. The show totally cuts off The Conductor’s character and instead adds more depth and reasons behind Leonard’s actions.

1 Vanya’s Costume And Relationship

Ellen Page plays the troubled ‘unintentional’ antagonist Vanya with a lot of passion as we see her grow from a shy nobody to an overpowered superhuman. The show makes certain changes to the character, apart from adding her aforementioned love interest.

In the comics, it seems that Vanya and Dating shared romantic feelings for each other at one point! This makes no sense, as there was no Detective Patch in Way’s stories in the first place. Further, when she takes the form of White Violin, Vanya dons a bizarre costume that’s a full body-suit resembling a violin. The show ditches this look for a plain white suit and an ephemeral glow.

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About The Author

Shaurya Thapa (736 Articles Published)

Shaurya Thapa is an Indian freelance journalist who mostly dabbles in writings on cinema, music, and human interest features. When it comes to Screen Rant, he writes lists on a wide array of subjects ranging from international films to mainstream Netflix series and comic book trivia. He also hosts a podcast called ‘BhindiWire’, an Indian parody of IndieWire.

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