umbrella academy

Netflix is bringing subscribers a different kind of comic book adaptation.  While their Marvel shows have been very successful, the streaming service is looking to the quirkier side, by turning the Dark Horse book ‘The Umbrella Academy’ into a series and they’ve enlisted a pretty major star.

Ellen Page
Kathy Hutchins /

Ellen Page has been cast to play Vanya Hargreaves, the only member of the Hargreaves family that doesn’t possess superpowers.  As a result, she is an outcast among them– a wallflower with no self-confidence.  Her only skill is her ability to play the violin, which holds no interest to her powerful siblings. But her family’s neglect could lead to the greatest destruction the world has ever witnessed.

‘The Umbrella Academy’ comic was created by singer Gerard Way of the emo band My Chemical Romance, with art by Gabriel Bá.  The first miniseries appeared in 2007 and won the 2008 Eisner Award for Best Finite/Limited Series.  A second miniseries ‘Dallas’ was published in 2008, but the third, entitled ‘Hotel Oblivion’ has yet to see the light of day.  Despite that, Way announced plans for a fourth volume to follow it.

The storyline follows Sir Reginald Hargreaves, a mysterious genius inventor, who adopts and raises seven children born to women who never realized they were pregnant.  Hargreaves addresses the children only by their numbers and insists they refer to him as The Monocle.  He is assisted by brilliant chimpanzee Dr. Pogo.  Besides Vanya, who is #00.07, the children include: 00.01, Luther a.k.a. Spaceboy, whose head has been transplanted onto that of a Martian gorilla; 00.02, Diego, The Kraken, the rebellious child, who can hold his breath indefinitely and who acts as a vigilante on the side; 00.03, Allison, The Rumor, a divorcée with a child she has no contact with,  with the power to alter reality when she lies; 00.04, Klaus, The Séance, a goth with the power to talk to the dead as well as telepathy and telekinesis; 00.05, known only as Number Five or The Boy, who has unpredictable time travel powers and as a result is stuck at the age of ten, while his siblings are all 30; and 00.06, Ben a.k.a. The Horror, who is dead before the series starts, but who had monsters from other dimensions trapped within his body.  Even though they are adopted siblings, there are romantic connections between some of them.

The ‘Umbrella Academy’ series is a joint venture between Universal Cable Productions and Dark Horse Entertainment.  Steve Blackman (‘Fargo’) serves as executive producer and showrunner.  Jeremy Slater (‘The Exorcist’) penned the pilot script.  Way will serve as co-executive producer with Mike Richardson and Dark Horse’s Keith Goldberg as executive producers.

It’s unclear how much of the comic the show will adapt or what will happen should they run out of material.  Perhaps this could lead to Way and Bá completing the comic series… but then again, that didn’t work for ‘Game of Thrones’/’A Song of Ice and Fire’, so no guarantees.

Page was most recently seen in the dud ‘Flatliners’ but she is perhaps better known for films like the ‘X-Men’ franchise in which she played Kitty Pryde, ‘Inception’ and ‘Juno’.

‘The Umbrella Academy’ is expected to be available on Netflix in 2018.