Netflix's 'The Umbrella Academy' Breaks The Superhero Mold

The Umbrella Academy is a Netflix original series based off the comics by Gerard Way that follow a dysfunctional family of superheroes that reunite after the death of their adoptive father.

Superheroes have emerged into pop culture with such vigorous speed, claiming the attention of all different kinds of people, not just your typical comic book fans. While the characters are powerful and beloved by all, there seems to be a sort of formula concerning the majority of these heroes.

First, the tragic past—something so traumatic that it damages the character, setting them on their journey.

Like losing their parents, 

Or their uncle,

Or their planet.

Add that to an ingrained sense of justice and morality, which makes the characters inherently good and likeable, and voila! You've got a superhero.

The Umbrella Academy takes this idea and makes it slightly off-kilter. The characters do have a traumatic past—the difference is that it's due to the fact that they were superheroes in their youth.

The eccentric billionare that adopted and raised them, Reginald Hargreeves, focused solely on making the children ultimate crime-fighting machines through strict training and lack of love and other important things that children need to develop properly. So, it's no surprise that as adults, the siblings are more than a little messed up.

Number 1, aka Luther, is super strong and knows nothing about the real world.

Number Two, aka Diego, can hit any target with his knives and has extreme authority and anger issues.

Number 3, aka Allison, abuses her ability to influence people in order to stay famous.

Number 4, aka Klaus, can communicate with the dead. He struggles with drugs. And alcohol. And everything else.

Number Five is a murderous 58-year-old time traveler trapped in his teenage body (it's a long story).

Number 7, aka Vanya, thinks that she's completely useless and will never amount to anything.

And Number Six, aka Ben, is dead.

The Umbrella Academy delves into the psychological toll that superpowers take on children and how it affects them later in life. Most characters become superheroes because of their tragic past. The Umbrella Academy's characters are tragic because of their superhero past.