WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the first season of The Umbrella Academy, streaming now on Netflix.
A rare examples of an adaptation that actually improves upon the source material, Netflix's The Umbrella Academy has already become a fan favorite, if social media is any indication. Based on the Dark Horse comics by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba, the series centers upon a dysfunctional family of superheroes reunited by the death of their adoptive father, billionaire adventurer/inventor Sir Reginald Hargreeves, and by the looming apocalypse.
In October 1989, 43 women around the globe who previously displayed no signs of pregnancy suddenly gave birth; Sir Reginald adopted seven of the peculiar infants, and trained them to become child super-soldiers, the Umbrella Academy. Instead of naming the children, Sir Reginald assigned them numbers, determined by overall abilities and effectiveness. However, as we learn over the course of the first season, the Hargreeves children, even as adults, are capable of surprises, turning on its head our notion of who's the most powerful.
What follows is our Umbrella Academy power ranking, in ascending order, from least powerful to most powerful. Although we consider both the Netflix adaptation and the source material, we lean more heavily into the television series, which means, for instance, that Klaus can't stop a chunk of the moon from striking Earth (at least yet), and Luther's head was never transplanted onto the body of a Martian ape.
Despite being designated as Number One, Luther Hargreeves (played by Tom Hopper) is actually the least-powerful member of the Umbrella Academy. Born with superhuman strength and endurance, Luther is basically the standard-issue super-tough guy. Even after gaining an enhanced, gorilla-like body from an experimental procedure that saved his life, Luther is far from invulnerable. Even time-traveling assassin Hazel, who's little more than a burly man with fighting skills, suplexes Luther into submission. Then again, Luther walks away from having an iron chandelier dropped on him, with little more than a wardrobe malfunction to show for it.
Despite seeing himself as team leader, Luther has no tactical prowess. Luther's battle plan for going to the Icarus Theater in an attempt to avert the apocalypse is, literally, "Let's go to the Icarus Theater." Incidentally, Luther is such an invaluable asset that Sir Reginald sent him on a bogus, four-year moon mission, just to make Luther feel useful.
Described in the comic as "[expletive] useless," the rebellious Number Two, or Diego (David Castañeda) has the ability to hold his breath for an indefinite amount of time and throw knives with unerring aim. To compensate for his limited power set, Diego is not only proficient in martial arts but is also a solid detective.
Originally, we were going to rank Luther above Diego, but the determining factor was the fight between the two during Sir Reginald's funeral, in which Diego draws first blood. Also, Diego is clearly the better dancer.
Also known as Number Six, or The Horror, Ben Hargreeves (Justin H. Min) can summon eldritch tentacles through a portal to another dimension beneath his skin. Although Ben has some degree of control over his monster bits, they appear to cause him pain.
While Ben's powers are great and terrible, we seldom get to see him in action, as he died years earlier under mysterious circumstances. However, because of Klaus' ability to communicate with the dead, Ben's spirit uses his newfound perspective on life to serve as his brother's moral compass and offer saving throws to the others. Of course, being deceased also lowers Ben's ranking. Flashbacks notwithstanding, Ben is useless without Klaus. Speaking of whom ...
Serving as the team's unwilling medium, Number Four, or Klaus (Robert Sheehan) can conjure and converse with the dead. However, because Klaus is unable to turn off that ability, he abuses drugs and alcohol in an effort to dull his senses. Sobering up strengthens his power, enabling spirits to physically interact with the environment. From the perspective of everyone without Sixth Sense-style abilities, this "Patrick Swayze-ing" looks like telekinesis. At the height of his power, Klaus summons Ben to rip and tear through a squadron of temporal assassins with his ghost-monster tentacles. As Sir Reginald's ghost explains to his adoptive son, Klaus has only scratched the surface of his potential.
Incidentally, Klaus cannot die. That is to say, God doesn't like Klaus, and ejects him from heaven. In the comics, Cowboy-God clarifies that the Devil doesn't want Klaus, either.
Don't be fooled by his 12-year-old form: Number Five (Aidan Gallagher) possesses one of the more useful powers of the Umbrella Academy. That is, he can teleport through space and time. While Number Five has spacial teleportation down, temporal jumping is more of a gamble. Marooning himself in the future, he becomes a survivalist, spending 32-years alone on post-apocalyptic Earth. Impressed by his skills, The Commission -- a sort of time police -- recruits Number Five, plucking him out of time to train him as one of the greatest temporal assassins.
Even if he weren't a time-traveler, Number Five still ranks high due to his abilities as a tactician, managing to simultaneously turn Hazel and Cha-Cha against one another, and sabotage The Commission. Others may argue his time in the future left Number Five disconnected from humanity, evidenced by his affection for a mannequin, but we're not here to judge.
If we were ranking based solely on the comics, then Number Three, aka Rumor, aka Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman), would be at the top. As Luther explains in the comics, "What Rumor says ... always turns out to be true." That means that Allison can reshape reality with a simple lie: If Allison claims an animated Lincoln Memorial was assassinated, then a marble John Wilkes Booth will suddenly appear. To curb her potential plot-solving powers, live-action Allison's lies resemble a form of mind control. Regardless, she's "depowered" before the season finale when her vocal cords are severed, as she would have otherwise stopped the apocalypse with a single sentence.
Not unlike Professor X, Allison abstains from utilizing her fantastical fibbing due to the unethical potential of her power. That said, Allison lies to not only further her acting career, but also make her husband fall in love with her.
Without question, Vanya (Ellen Page) is the most powerful member of the Umbrella Academy; the entire first season is centered her siblings failing to stop her from triggering the apocalypse. Although the comics never explicitly state it, the Netflix series defines Vanya's power as converting sound into energy, unleashed as shockwaves, precise throat-letting slashes and an inexplicable life-draining ray. She prefers using her violin as her weapon of choice, but she can use any sound as ammunition, best demonstrated when she utilized her own heartbeat to escape her sound-proof cell.
Sir Reginald realized Vanya is far more powerful than her adoptive siblings, and prescribed her ability-suppressing sedatives disguised as anti-anxiety medication. Additionally, Allison was prompted by their father to make Vanya believe she never possessed any abilities -- that she was ... ordinary. Despite that gas-lighting, Vanya remains powerful enough to destroy the moon.
Streaming now on Netflix, The Umbrella Academy Season 1 stars Ellen Page, Mary J. Blige, Tom Hopper, Cameron Britton, Robert Sheehan, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Adam Godley, Aidan Gallagher, David Castañeda, John Magaro, Ashley Madekwe and Colm Feore.