If you're in need of another unlikely team of heroes based on a comic book, you're in luck with Netflix's latest, The Umbrella Academy. This team, based on Eisner Award-winning Dark Horse Comics series by My Chemical Romance frontman, Gerard Way, and Gabriel Bá streams Feb. 15. Though with the dark overtone to the new series, you might wonder ifThe Umbrella Academy appropriate for kids under 10. Honestly, the answer depends on how mature your 10-year-old is.
The recommended age to watch the new series begins at 14, due to dark elements typically seen in other comic-related material. Of course, every child is different and can handle different elements. The official Netflix description explains the plot of Season 1 of The Umbrella Academy, saying, "Reunited by their father's death, estranged siblings with extraordinary powers uncover shocking family secrets — and a looming threat to humanity." Sounds super mysterious. What makes this one special is the entanglement of two miniseries comics — The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite and The Umbrella Academy: Dallas. For a 10-episode season, it'll be interesting to see how the chronological plot plays out with so much going on. If you're not familiar, The Umbrella Academy follows 43 kids born to spontaneously pregnant women. Uh, I know what you're thinking — being a woman is awesome, right? In the series, some of those kids — seven, to be exact — are "lucky" enough to get adopted by a mega-rich scientist, Sir Reginald Hargreeves, who trains his "kids" to be superheroes. They're not surrounded by love or affection, aren't even identified by name but rather, a number, and undergo intense training in lieu of said attention and affection to be the best superhero they can be. Sounds like a loving home.
The longer these kids rein in their unique powers though, the more the resentments grow toward one another. They're split up as adults but are reunited when papa (aka Hargreeve) kicks the bucket. And, as dark comics go, his death is mysterious and force the superheroes to band together to figure it all out. They eventually make themselves superhero official as The Umbrella Academy, but these heroes are far from perfect. They include: a vigilante, a drug addict with the ability to speak to the dead, a time-traveler, a man in a gorilla's body who lived on the moon, a former actress, and the seventh child who has no special power but remains front and center. If they're to succeed, they each have to rely on what Hagreeves taught.
The show has some stellar talent, including Ellen Page as Vanya AKA Number 7, Tom Hopper, David Castañeda, Emmy Raver-Lampman, and Aidan Gallagher. The cast has some seriously impressive credits to their names including shows and movies such as Juno, A Million Little Things, Mortal Engines, Switched at Birth, Game of Thrones, and Modern Family, respectively. With the Apocalypse a short time away, these misfits who were put together by happenstance may or may not save the world. With that, it'll be like anything else you stream — viewer discretion is advised, probably due to any world-saving fight scenes. If your 10-year-old can handle the darker elements of Harry Potter or Spiderman, The Umbrella Academy may be an OK addition to your TV lineup — if you take into account the maturity level of your child and what he or she typically handles. If you'd rather stick to something lighter, maybe watch the series on your own first to see where the trouble spots might be and open the dialogue with your children. That's what parenting is all about.
If you're unsure of the comic adaptation, there's always the book route. Either way, The Umbrella Academy is another chance for more unlikely superheroes to save the world and at the very least, there's a little comfort in that.