Netflix they have felt magnanimous and has decided to give The Umbrella Academy a third season. The news would not give much more of itself if it were not for the fact that the series has almost completely detached itself from the comic on which it is based.
So put on your best schoolboy outfit and enjoy this review of the differences between ‘The Umbrella Academy the comic and The Umbrella Academy the Netflix series.
The musician who wanted to be a comic book writer
The first thing that catches your eye when opening the ‘The Umbrella Academy’ comic, apart from the excellent drawing by Gabriel Ba is the overflowing energy that its pages give off. It is also appreciated if you are a reader of superheroes with certain tables Gerard Ways love for the medium.
It is thanks to his times as an intern that he meets a legend of comics, the screenwriter and magician Grant Morrison with whom he becomes friends. It is no coincidence, therefore, that to script his most famous comic Umbrella Academy he looks at the bibliography of the Scottish screenwriter and above all at his stage within the Doom Patrol or Doomed Patrol as veteran readers know her here
The Umbrella Academy daughter of a thousand parents
If this comic had to be classified apart from as superheroic it would be with the label that I call pandemonium comic characterized by an endless stream of ideas per panel something that only this artistic discipline can do thanks to its capacity of pouring an inordinate amount of information onto the pages and letting the reader dwell on them as he sees fit while decoding whatever he wants.
As I have told you up there, this aspect of the comic comes from long ago and can be traced back to works such as The Doom Patrol The Invisibles or Disgust by Grant Morrison, The Adventures of Luther Arkwright by Bryan Talbot, or the works of the most unleashed Jack Kirby that of the Fourth World for DC and that of the return to Marvel in the 70s
They are comics that need rereading and some rest to digest what happens in them, although they run the risk of sacrificing character development in favor of action and extravagance … something that happens often in this The Umbrella Academy.
Be careful that does not mean that it is a bad comic and proof of this is the favor of the critics and the public but it is true that sometimes you cannot build a personality with four phrases, curiosity, and extravagance.
Gabriel Ba for his part throws himself into the ring with the same enthusiasm, very capable of keeping up with a scriptwriter who asks him to draw an Eiffel Tower taking off as well as an improvised torture room inside a cafeteria an elegant jumpsuit that does not clash between children in uniform and assassins with the heads of cartoon characters.
How to adapt to this chaotic symphony Well passing her of course!
Differences between the comic and the series
And we finally get to this point. As the “pandemonium comic” is unadaptable per se, it must go to the big screen distilled. It is not necessary to take all the ideas developed, but the most important ones for the story while carefully scrutinizing which parts can grow differently. And how has this process been carried out in the Netflix series?
Greater character development.
Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá do a great job of characterization based on small brushstrokes one in the dialogues and situations, the other in the character’s bearing and their way of moving in the vignettes and still fall short. Let’s also say that some ideas work better on the superhero reader by honoring pillars of the genre like the X-Men. The series does an even better job, although it is less repetitive in having to fill so many chapters
Diversity and awareness.
Gerard Way does very well in the comic but together with Ba, they pull by the default options for everything all the protagonists are white and ahem they have an Indian servant because this is England. What’s more the colorist has more work on the pages of the comic to color impossible machines or chimpanzees than different skin tones.
Netflix, with its successful policy of diversity, is betting on the obvious that Hargreeves children have different backgrounds and, therefore, different nationalities and races.
Not to mention sexual inclinations as well something that will be interesting to see how Netflix addresses Vanya Elliot Page’s character who is bisexual on screen in the face of vagueness White Violin is not that memorable in the comic beyond his iconic suit.
Other times and other places.
The comic is set in England and the most current time represented is the 80s, not by chance the year of the boom of English scriptwriters in superheroes and the appearance of works such as Watchmen Miracleman or the headers that led to fame to Grant Morrison.
As they usually do in the United States when adapting they have taken the action to their own country, which makes it even more obligatory to show that diversity mentioned before. And the time is the current one although then it gets messy and well.
What the comic sins of concrete, the series does of derivative especially in the first season. As I have mentioned, the comic of The Umbrella Academy’ is a machine gun of concepts and there is no room for anything other than cool ideas in a parade of three. The series, for its part, accuses those chapters of almost an hour. The solution The middle ground hence the second season is far superior to the first.
Variety of villains. Like a good superhero comic the Hargreeves brothers have to fight against different and crazy enemies, from a crazed Gustave Eiffel to robots activated when the brothers get together again passing through the statue of Abraham Lincoln, the murderers Hazel and Cha-Cha, or the Temps Aeternalis agency.
In the series, however, the threats are more mundane a resentful along with Hazel and Cha Cha in the first season and the Commission the Temps Aeternalis of the comic passed through the filter of the Ministry of Time along with the Swedes and some surprise in the second. No outlandish threats just more mundane and cheap. At least they’ve left Carmichael everyone’s favorite anthropomorphic exoskeleton fish.
One less bite of cruelty and bad drool.
In its extravagance the world of comics is quite cruel in the first miniseries robots to make a declaration of intent by setting fire to a living uncle with children in the second Hazel and Cha Cha are not friendly professional killers but sadists to the point of torturing a cook the unspeakable for a recipe. It goes according to the tone which is intended to be a twisted version and an emo point of superheroes, but in the television series, it had no place. And almost better.
That they did not leave the Kennedy assassination as in the comic, be careful gut: blackmailed by the Temps Aeternalis Rumor pretends to be Jackie Kennedy and lets the president know that he has heard the rumor that he is going to explode head. Sparkly.
Let’s get Crazy!
The comic is very wacky and that’s great. There is the white violin with its very tight violin-like suit, the intelligent chimpanzees that populate the city and even help the police, the Martian apes … None of that is present in the series, which is a bit sad because it would have served to differentiate it from other superhero series and avoid similarities with, for example, the Marvel Television Universe.
In the passage to the screen of a comic an actor usually shines who takes the role as if it were the last, he will ever do. Who knows how to glimpse the nuances of the original and, together with the script, pulls out interpretive muscle
Almost, almost, I would also add Elliot Page because his Vanya, in the comics, has little flavor beyond “the traitor from within but it is that Robert Sheehan eats the stage as he has not done since .well since Misfits nothing more and nothing less. That is the series ends up founding a sect Boy seeing him on screen it doesn’t surprise me in the least.
The differences between the comic and the television adaptation can be traced back to the strengths and weaknesses of each medium. The art of a comic is limited by the imagination of its authors and uses the cadence of the reader The art of a film has restrictions you cannot show everything you want or if it is shown it cannot be done with a limited budget and you must coordinate the visual and the sound.
Here it seems that I am singing the truths of the ferryman, but it never hurts to remember it to avoid for example that the precious monologue of Doctor Manhattan in Watchmen becomes a leaden piece, saved by the hair thanks to a couple of shots and the best piece of the film’s soundtrack.
Come on unlike The Boys where the series is much superior to the comic on which it is based here it is more difficult to reach a conclusion, a thousand ideas in a beautiful packaging or a few developed to the end under a somewhat ped