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Family Drama With Superpowers – ‘The Umbrella Academy’ Explainer

6 Minute Read
Nov 15 2023

The Umbrella Academy members have an interesting mix of powers and quirks—meet the seven super-powered misfits!

Do you think your Thanksgiving is difficult? Try having an argument when your sister can control your mind and your brother has gorilla strength! That’s just two of the characters you’ll meet when you hang out at the Hargreeves Mansion. The Umbrella Academy is a great show for lovers of the comic or anyone who likes off-beat stories with heart (and violence and weirdness). If you like Doom Patrol, The Boys, Legion, or Jessica Jones, you’ll like The Umbrella Academy.

Here’s a character primer before you jump in.

What is The Umbrella Academy?

It’s a comic written by Gerard Way and illustrated by Gabriel Ba.

It’s also an organization made up of seven super-powered siblings. All seven members of The Umbrella Academy were born on the 12th hour of the first day of October 1989. They were all adopted by Sir Reginald Hargreeves who had a purpose for them—protecting the world from various forms of evil and possible destruction. It didn’t work out so well—at least not in this universe.


Let’s meet the bunch!

The Umbrella Academy comic
via Dark Horse, art by Gabriel Ba

Number One aka Luther

Luther was born with super strength. As a child, he was able to lift and throw an average-sized person across a room. He’s also very durable and is able to shake off most physical impacts easily. His natural powers are now augmented by ape physiology, which he gained after a life-saving operation by Sir Hargreeves. Luther is also a born leader and strategist, but his lack of confidence after The Umbrella Academy fell apart hides it.

In the Comics: Luther is known as ‘Spaceboy’ due to being the the youngest person ever to become an astronaut. His adventures in space led him to dangers – his head was attached to the body of a Martian Ape after a near-fatal accident. The comic book Luther is also Five’s twin.

Tom Hopper as Luther Hargreeves, via Netflix

Number Two aka Diego

Diego has perfect aim and the ability to manipulate objects in flight. He can curve or even stop anything he throws and has shown he can even curve bullets being shot at him. His main weapons are a set of double-sided knives and his fists. Diego is a talented and highly trained hand-to-hand combat fighter with considerable physical strength.

Diego is a horrible planner because of his emotional volatility, but he’s extremely loyal to those he cares about and ideas he gets stuck on. He also holds grudges like his life depends on keeping them. He is constantly at odds with Luther because he thinks he can lead The Umbrella Academy better.


In the Comics: Diego is known as Kraken because he only has one eye. He was born with the ability to hold his breath indefinitely and learned knife-throwing as a child. The rebellious academy member also played bass in a band called the Prime-8s.

David Castañeda as Diego Hargreeves, via Netflix

Number Three aka Allison

She, like most of her siblings, has had combat training. Allison can also control minds with a phrase – she can manipulate both thoughts and perceptions of the person by commanding them. She grew up being treated more like a science experiment than a kid and was often used as a means to an end by Sir Hargreeves. Despite that, she’s kindhearted and tries her best to do right by those she loves.

In the Comics: She’s known as Rumor and her manipulation powers are controlled by telling lies. If she utters a lie, the world around her adjusts so that it’s true. She uses the same catchphrase as Netflix’s Allison—’I heard a rumor…’

Emmy Raver-Lampman as Allison Hargreeves, via Netflix

Number Four aka Klaus

Klaus can speak to the dead and it’s really messed him up—along with Sir Hargreeve’s attempt at training him to use his ability. He’s dealt with his trauma and inability to control his powers in not exactly good ways over the years. Klaus has even led a cult to get away from himself and responsibility; it enabled him to get sober for a few years, at least. Deep down, Klaus is just a guy that wants to have a more average life.

In the Comics: In addition to his Netflix show powers and substance abuse issues, Klaus aka Séance can be resurrected from the dead. This is due to god not liking him. He has limited telepathic and telekinetic powers and can project his spirit. He cannot use any of his powers while wearing shoes.

Robert Sheehan as Klaus Hardgreeves, via Netflix

Number Five

Five (that’s the name and he’s sticking to it) was born with the ability to teleport and time travel. He has a genius-level intellect and a dry wit. His actions are part of why The Umbrella Academy members are where they are, and he won’t stop trying to fix it till he does. In his journey across time and space, he worked for Temps Commission which trained him as a hitman who excels at intimidation. Five has been driven a bit mad by his exploits.

In the Comics: When Number Five went forward in time he ran into Temps Aeternalis who spliced his DNA with several serial killers, making him a perfect killer with a 100% success rate. He is an un-aging ten-year-old.

Aidan Gallagher as Five, via Netflix

Number Six aka Ben

Ben was born with the ability to summon eldritch tentacles from his abdomen that can be used to grab things and fight bad guys. He died during a mission when he was a kid and has been dead for most of the Netflix series. Ben’s spirit keeps Klaus company while he’s not endlessly annoying him or trying to take over his body.

In the Comics: Ben is known as The Horror due to his abilities, which included channelling inter-dimensional beasts through his body as well as the eldritch tentacles.

Justin H. Min as Ben Hargreeves, via Netflix

Number Seven aka Viktor (Formerly Vanya)

Spoilers for Season One Below

Viktor can absorb and project massive amounts of sound and energy. His powers are universe-ending, which was discovered by Sir Hargreeves during childhood training. In order to protect everyone around him, Hargreeves lied to him and went so far as to brainwash him. He grew up thinking he had no powers and watched as his siblings went on missions. This turned out not to be a wise choice.

Everything he’s capable of hasn’t been revealed.

In the Comics: Vanya aka The White Violin channels her power through music. She uses her violin to focus it from tiny cuts to toppling buildings and more. She is extraordinarily powerful.

Elliot Page as Viktor Hargreeves, via Netflix

So…Who Are the Sparrows?

Friends or Foes?

The Sparrow Academy is the result of the Umbrellas’ actions during Season 2. Different children are selected by Reginald for his program, with unique and interesting powers. Ben is still chosen, but with the history change, he survives into adulthood. Their powers range from summoning hordes of crows and gravity manipulation to…hallucinogenic spit. They aren’t Umbrellas, but they have a lot of the same idiosyncrasies. Unfortunately, the Kugelblitz meant we didn’t get to know them very long.

Author: Mars Garrett
Author: Clint Lienau
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