‘Umbrella Academy’ offers stepping stone into the world of superheroes

Joining the ranks of superhero teams like the Avengers and the Justice League, Netflix’s newest superhero show, “Umbrella Academy,” once again takes the battle of saving the world to the streets of New York.

“Umbrella Academy” is based off a comic book of the same name written by Gerard Way and illustrated by Gabriel Bá. Way was the frontman of the band “My Chemical Romance” from its conception in 2001 until its split in 2013. Way began writing the comic while still playing with the band, and the Netflix show is loosely inspired by the first series of the comic, which was released between 2007 and 2008. The two were also the executive producers of the Netflix show, which premiered on Feb. 15 this year.

Without giving too much away, in 1989, Sir Reginald Hargreeves, an eccentric billionaire adopts seven mutant babies, six of whom turn into a superhero team called The Umbrella Academy. Flash forward 30 years to the present day, the now grown-up team gather to mourn their adopted father. This regrouping triggers a chain of events which exposes that the apocalypse is set to happen eight days after their father’s funeral. Armed only with their own powers, a talking butler monkey and with a team of assassins after them, the first season follows the Hargreeves children’s attempt to save the world.

Featuring big names like Ellen Page, Mary J. Blige and Kate Walsh, the cast and crew of “Umbrella Academy” is full of familiar faces that portray realistic, yet sometimes annoying and disgusting, characters. While the acting itself is well done, there are certain characters one just can’t help but pull their hair out from frustration, or curl away from the screen after a creepy scene that leaves viewers questioning whether or not what just happened was technically legal.

“Umbrella Academy” is packed full of tropes that viewers of all genres can get behind, somewhat making up for the frustrating characters. There’s buddy-cop shenanigans, typical sibling rivalries and even romance, making it a crowd pleaser all around in terms of satisfactory content.

The show can be best described as a mix between Marvel’s “X-Men” and DC’s “Watchmen,” with the main superhero cast working as a team to prevent the apocalypse while also dealing with darker themes than the ones found in Marvel’s “Avengers” and “Justice League” movies.

“Umbrella Academy” joins an ever-growing list of team superhero shows across both TV and streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. One difference, however, is that viewers need no context or background information to be able to watch, enjoy and, most importantly, understand the show.

The problem with so many of the current DC and Marvel movies and series is that to best comprehend exactly who each character is and what their backstory is, one needs to have seen the past movies, spinoff series and comics to understand exactly what happened and how that impacts their respective universe going forward.

This problem does not arise with “Umbrella Academy.” The universe is it’s own, so no backstory is needed besides the one given in the show, however lackluster that may be. The show is a stepping stone into the world of superheroes for people who may have never taken an interest in them before.

The show leaves off in a good spot to begin Season Two, but both Netflix and the cast have yet to reveal if the second season has been green lit yet.

“Umbrella Academy” is available to stream on Netflix.