New Netflix series puts original twist on superhero genre


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The show is based on a comic book series created by Gerard Way.

Netflix’s newest series “The Umbrella Academy” is a story of a disbanded group of superheroes reuniting after their father’s death in order to save the world. They’re no ordinary superheroes, though.

From the first episode, viewers are immediately left to attempt to answer the following question: How could 43 women around the world have given birth at the same hour, on the same day, having not even been pregnant?

Of these 43 supernatural children, Sir Reginald Hargreeves—an eccentric billionaire and adventurer—resolved to locate and adopt as many of the children as possible and got seven of them. Of these seven, six remain.

Hargreeves was harsh and cold in his upbringing of the children, refusing to give them names and instead naming them by ranking them in order of his importance to him. From number one to number seven, montages reveal what they have been doing and what talents they possess.

Number five is the only remaining absent member. When he returns in strange circumstances  with troubling news, the band of superheroes is forced to reunite and save the world from oblivion.

“The Umbrella Academy” is a refreshing twist on the oft regurgitated superhero plotlines viewers are forced to navigate, while maintaining elements at the heart of a successful superhero assembly such as love interests and deceptive, infiltrating bad guys. Netflix has listed its newest production under “Armageddon,” “time travel” and “action,” although this series is definitely worthy of being branded a Netflix original.

The crime-fighters in this series (based on the hit comic book series by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá) are brought to streamable life by directors Steve Blackman and Jeremy Slater in a succinct way, directly contrasting the “super, dysfunctional family” they feature. It is evident that Slater remains as true as he possibly can to the authenticity of the original comics, conveying deeper moral undertones of the story as efficiently as the plotline.

This is not simply a story of an apocalypse and fight to save the world — there is more to it than that. Blackman and Slater examine the complexities of the prodigious child, demonstrating the backstory of  the children and their father. They delve into the complex world of adoption and how this affects the family dynamic.

While action scenes may seem far-fetched at times, the stereotypical demands placed upon the superhero are balanced with a moving, humane story that is at the heart of “The Umbrella Academy.” Each hour-long episode is packed, and acting performances across the board provide a wide-ranging spectrum of personalities among characters. There is even a role for singer Mary J. Blige, whose character Cha Cha is an assassin, a very different role to those she has previously taken on in her developing acting career.

Way has recently confirmed that the series will return for a second season. Fans desperately hope that the series’s promotional tagline is faithful, and that “when it rains, it pours.”