Ben Hargreeves (#00.06/The Horror)

We’re finished with the characters appearing in the trailer, and we can now take a look at the (few) other characters from the comics popping up in The Umbrella Academy tv series. First of all, of course, the last member of the Umbrella Academy: Ben Hargreeves, aka Number Six. We meet Ben as a kid, portrayed by Ethan Hwang, in the flashback at the beginning of We Only See Each Other at Weddings and Funerals, the very first episode, and he keeps appearing throughout the whole series as a ghost in his adult form, portrayed by Justin H. Min. Number Six is definitely the one we know the least about in the comics, and the fact that he never appears, not even as a ghost, and we only see him in brief flashbacks, doesn’t make things easier. As usual, we’ll try: let’s see what we’ve got.

Ben Hargreeves was one of the forty-three kids who were born at the same moment, all around the world, from women who weren’t pregnant prior to the delivery; he was also one of the seven among them that Sir Reginald Hargreeves, a world famous scientist and inventor, found and adopted. As a newborn, he was brought to The City, in Hargreeves’ mansion, and there he began since his childhood a harsh training that was meant to make him and his siblings be ready to face the upcoming end of the world. Just like his brothers and sisters, Ben had superhuman powers, in his case he was a living portal for Lovecraftian monsters from another dimension; Sir Reginald found his skills incredibly fascinating, but he ended up branding him only Number Six because of how disgusting he found him. Ben, on his side, never complained about his position or on how his father treated him: he was in desperate need of attention, and he let himself be easily manipulated by the cold-hearted Hargreeves under the illusion of family affection. When the time came, Number Six was presented to the world as an integral part of the Umbrella Academy, the superhero team Sir Reginald had been working on for ten years, and he debuted along with the others in Paris, where the Eiffel Tower had started to kill people. Number Six’s powers proved to be quite useful in keeping the rogue monument at bay, while Number One and Number Two took care of the one that was maneuvering it, Zombie Robot Gustave Eiffel; he even saved Number Four‘s life, as he had been trapped by the Tower’s gears. At the end of a successful mission, Number Six was awarded with an ice cream by Sir Reginald: his life as a superhero had just begun.

After his first mission, Number Six received a battle name like his siblings, but since his powers scared even the people he aimed to save, he was called The Horror… nothing he was too proud of. He participated to many other missions with his siblings as a kid, and he even fought yet another monument: President John F. Kennedy, in fact, called for the Umbrella Academy when the statue of Abraham Lincoln from the Lincoln Memorial came alive and started wreaking a havoc, a mission that was successfully accomplished thanks to The Rumor. Years later, when The Rumor found her own body sawed in half in an alley (actually, the body of a copy of herself she had created with her powers), Ben followed his brothers in a battle against the Murder Magician, the culprit, but the team found the villain prepared. During a talk show, the Murder Magician unleashed his powerful Murderbot, a giant killing robot, and The Horror attacked it in full force along with Spaceboy and The Séance. The combined powers of the three brothers destroyed the mechanical abomination, and peace was restored once again. There’s still one mission we know of, that took place when the Umbrella Academy heroes were young adults: John Perseus IX, a rich businessman, began a murderous tantrum aboard a weird car, controlled by some sort of mechanical being in the form of a creepy steel mask. The Horror pursued the car, flying after it with Spaceboy, while The Kraken managed to jump on its hood. When the car finally was led to crash, The Horror saved Kraken by grabbing him in midair and preventing him from becoming a red spot on the wall in front of him, but instead of thanking him his brother remarked that he would have been fine even without his help. After this, something tragic happened, and during an unspecified mission The Horror lost his life, according to most due to an error in Spaceboy’s leadership. Lately, however, some words from The Séance, immediately after he came back from the dead, shed some doubts on The Horror’s real condition, and the possibility that he survived whatever accident caused his death became not so unlikely…

Ben Hargreeves is a gentle and meek man, in constant need of a place to belong to and of a family… and this makes him far too easy manipulable by someone as The Monocle. As The Horror, he is a living portal for terrifying monsters from another dimension, that usually manifest as tentacles sprouting from his torso; he’s also able to fly. The most mysterious member of the Umbrella Academy yet, The Horror is a constant fuel for the team’s sense of guilt and inadequacy, and his death is the proverbial last straw that led the team to disband… but the word “end” may not have been pronounced yet for the shy and powerful hero.

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Mr. Bennett

Still late on schedule, let’s move to Deadly Class, that last week delivered quite a solid and incredibly trippy episode. In Saudade, Marcus agrees to help Billy kill his father, and the two organize a road trip to Las Vegas with other students as a cover. We merely heard the voice of Billy’s dad in the previous episode, and this is the first (and most likely last) time that he makes a full appearance, even if only for dying as a consequence of Marcus’ stoned dance. In the comics, Billy’s father (who’s never named) is a jerk like his live action counterpart, but having no wife nor other children his story is a bit different. Let’s take a look.

Little is known of Mr. Bennett, and even his birth name has never been revealed. What we know is that he was a cop, most likely living and working in Nevada. He wasn’t one of the good ones, though: corrupt to his core, he was a brutal and violent bastard who used his job as a position of power, to obtain everything he wanted from everyone. He took a lot of money from criminals and crooks to close both eyes on their activities, but he also was addicted to gambling, so the money never lasted much. He had also one other major vice: women. What he didn’t lose gambling, he spent on prostitutes, and it’s most likely from one of these paid one-night stands that his son Billy was born. For some reason, Billy was left with his father, and grew up with him… nothing that Mr. Bennett liked much. His son was skinny and fragile, and he considered him a total loser. He tried to “man him up” by beating him and yelling at him and beating him again, but nothing seemed to work. The two cordially hated each other, and it was only by some miracle that the crooked cop never killed his son during a drunk rage. Then, finally, Mr. Bennett found from one of his contacts in the underworld the perfect tool to either toughen his boy up or to get rid of him once and for all: a secret school for assassins, King’s Dominion Atelier of the Deadly Arts.

Mr. Bennett sent Billy to the school, hoping that he would have finally become a real man, or died trying, and disposed of the boy that way. For some months at least he knew some peace, and he kept doing what he loved the most: brutalizing suspects, taking bribes, attending casinos. It was during one of his trips to Las Vegas that he saw first hand the results of his son’s instruction… and they were quite disappointing. As he was residing in the Circus Circus Hotel, one of the many hotels with casino included in Vegas, Mr. Bennett was attacked in his own room by Billy, who at least proved to have grown some balls in taking him on. The boy didn’t lose time in words or speeches, and he went straight for the throat… quite literally, as he tried to strangle his father with his necktie. The two fought for a while, but eventually Mr. Bennett’s size and weight proved to be decisive, and the man managed to overpower his son and to pay him back with the same coin. Just as he was about to kill that utter disappointment that was his son, another kid, visibly high, broke into the room. Mr. Bennett didn’t pay much attention to the newcomer, busy as he was with his Billy, but this proved to be a fatal mistake: as stoned as the other kid was, he somehow managed to get back to his feet and to smash the cop’s head, killing him instantly. This actually was the first time that Mr. Bennett could have complimented his son for a job well accomplished… if he was still alive, of course.

Mr. Bennett is a far too real and far too common monster, a brutal and violent man who uses that little power he has to make other people’s lives a living hell and to obtain as many advantages as he can. As a cop, he’s supposed to have some military training, but everything he might have known in the past is now submerged by pounds and pounds of fat. Mr. Bennett is a parasite and a small tyrant, a man who knows no other language but the one of fists and guns and who’s deeply committed to spread his evil and corruption as much as he can… and he’s doing quite a terrific job in that.

Hazel & Cha-Cha

The Umbrella Academy is undoubtedly funny, and part of the reason is the pair of baddies hunting for our heroes: Hazel and Cha-Cha, the duo of temporal agents we spotted in the trailer. Armed to the teeth and wearing creepy kids’ masks, the two are portrayed by Cameron Britton and Mary J. Blige, respectively, and they’ve been changed quite a bit from the comics, where they’re not so differentiated, even in character: they originally never take off their masks, they’re both men, and they’re both equally addicted to sugar. Also, of course, they’re both terribly blood-thirsty. Let’s take a look.

Temps Aeternalis employed a number of more or less stable sociopaths and psychopaths to act as assassins throughout the entire timeline, and among them Number Five was without a doubt the best… but not far behind there were Hazel and Cha-Cha, a duo that at least deserved the award for the bloodiest, fiercest and most brutal killers at the service of the time agency. Unlike their colleagues, who changed cloths, hairstyle and equipment to match the one of the year they had been sent to, Hazel and Cha-Cha always wore masks of cartoon characters, a pink dog with long black ears for Hazel, and a blue bear with a sailor hat for Cha-Cha. The thing that distinguished them the most from all the other assassins of Temps Aeternalis was the way they enjoyed what they did: the loved killing almost as they loved sugar and sweets, and they made sure to accomplish their mission in such a disturbing and bloody way that nobody could forget it. Even if they were total psychos, though, they did their job, and Temps Aeternalis kept employing them, relying on their undoubted efficiency. It was no surprise that, when Number Five went rogue, killed some fellow agents and escaped in the timeline, the leader of Temps Aeternalis Carmichael enlisted Hazel and Cha-Cha to find him and execute him. The first part wasn’t too hard: an entire team of agents had been brutally murdered in a diner in The City, in 1977, and the M.O. pointed at Number Five as the culprit. The first thing to do, of course, was to go there and question whoever they found inside.

Being the sugar-addicts they were, of course, Hazel and Cha-Cha first ordered something to eat, and they were dazzled by the best pie they had ever eaten. They asked the waitress, Agnes, about the recipe, but she said that only the chef knew it, and the chef confirmed he had a secret ingredient he wouldn’t have revealed even if they chop his arms and legs off… but he shouldn’t have been so graphic at the presence of the two psychopaths with weird masks. Hazel and Cha-Cha tied up both waitress and chef in the back of the diner, and brutally tortured them, literally sawing off the chef’s limbs. Unfortunately, they had forgotten the real reason why they were doing it, and they killed the chef before realizing they wanted to inquire on Number Five’s whereabouts rather than the secret ingredient of the pie. They were luckier with the next stop, as they managed to kidnap a known associate of Number Five, his brother Klaus, who they found completely drunk, trying to contact the spirit of his dead friend Pogo. The duo brought Klaus in their temporary hideout, along with the dead chef and the traumatized Agnes, and repeated the same routine, torturing the guy to get the information they wanted… but not before putting shoes on the hostage’s feet, as they knew The Séance could access his powers only while barefooted. Spaceboy came to the rescue, but Cha-Cha knocked him out with a surprise attack from behind: with also his brother’s life in peril, Klaus finally talked, but instead of revealing Number Five’s location he spilled the beans on some nuclear bombs in possession of Sir Reginald Hargreeves at the moment of his death. This wasn’t exactly the goal of the mission, but a free Armageddon was something nevertheless: Hazel shot The Séance in the head, killing him, and then proceeded to retrieve the nukes with Cha-Cha. That would have definitely been a mission to be remembered…

Hazel and Cha-Cha are two murderous psychopaths with a common passion for murder and sweets, constantly high on sugar and enthusiastic about everything (maiming and torture included, of course). As assassins from the Temps Aeternalis, they are terribly proficient in their job, and they can use literally any known weapon, from Roman gladius to chainsaw to machine-guns, from every epoch and every nation; they’re also skilled in a variety of martial arts, and they’re skilled trackers (albeit their low attention span often makes them forget what they were looking for). Just as efficient as they are deranged, Hazel and Cha-Cha are among the best assassins working for the most powerful secret organization the world has ever known: quite a dangerous combo, especially when they are low on sugar.

Membrain

The Gifted keeps hitting a high score, this time briefly adapting the Mutant Massacre storyline for a breathtaking episode. In calaMity, the Purifiers make their move on the Morlocks, and the audience is struck by two notable deaths. Among the Morlocks introduced in the episode, by the way, there’s Membrain, a monstrous guy covered in some sort of slime that also allows him to spy the moves of the Purifiers if rubbed on a surface. Portrayed by Fedor Steer, Membrain is the only new addiction from the comics, where he’s a secondary character as well… and where he’s not exactly a guy covered in slime, but the slime itself. Let’s take a look.

Membrain, real name unknown (if he had any), was a descendant of the first Morlocks transported by the deranged Mikhail Rasputin on The Hill, an alternate dimension where time ran much faster than on Earth. Here, the mutants lived in a Darwinist dystopia, and they had to fight one another to earn any privilege, reaching Mikhail’s stone Citadel… and then keeping on fighting to maintain their position. Only the strongest survived The Hill, and Membrain was among them. When the time came, a group of mutants from the Hill, calling themselves Gene Nation, finally returned to Earth to avenge the Morlocks who had been killed decades before (“decades” for them, at least: a few years had passed on Earth since the event), hunted in their tunnels like rats. Membrain was part of said group, and he followed the leadership of the Dark Beast, the mad scientist that Gene Nation recognized as the creator of Morlocks. Following Dark Beast’s orders, Gene Nation was sent against Generation X, in a conflict they believed was part of the great revenge they had been waiting years to complete. Membrain, due to his unique powers, was sent as a spy, and he camouflaged on a wall of Massachusetts Academy, stalking the students to gain information on the enemy. Finally, after long waiting, he eavesdropped Jubilee, Gaia and Synch complaining about the new students at their school: he finally had a lock on the target, and data on their location. He telepathically transmitted what he had found to Dark Beast, and he was ordered to attack. Along with Hemingway, Vessel and Fever Pitch, Membrain launched an all-out attack on Generation X.

Splitting targets with his teammates, Membrain used the sewers to reach the tattoo shop where Synch was meeting with M, and attacked them both, launching his psi-sensitive mucous to them. The girls resisted the psychic attack with their training, and M even managed to punch him across the street, but this only got her covered in more mucous. Eventually, both of them collapsed, overwhelmed by the psychic effect of the substance covering them, and Membrain dragged them away, disappointed by their weakness and lack of battle prowess. His teammates met a similar success, and all the targeted students were apprehended and brought to Dark Beast, who started experimenting on them. As Gene Nation waited for other instructions, Membrain waited outside the base, knowing that a rescue team would have soon be sent for the students. He was right, obviously, as he sensed Gaia, approaching with Emma Frost and X-Man. Membrain transmitted the information to Dark Beast, then he used his camouflage skills to set an ambush for the trio, waiting for them in the sewers. Unfortunately for him, Frost was a much more powerful telepath than he was, and she sensed him despite his camouflage and his attempts to psychically shield himself from her. Without even waiting to see who her opponent was, Emma Frost hit Membrain with a powerful psi-blast, reducing him to a catatonic state instantly. While he was senseless, Dark Beast and the rest of Gene Nation were defeated as well, but it’s unknown what happened to him after the battle, if he died during the explosion of the fortified sewer base, or if he hid somewhere, waiting for the right moment to resume his vengeful quest.

Membrain is a powerful and committed mutant raised in a harsh and violent environment, used to fight to prove his value in any situation. His mutant powers turned his body into a mass of sentient mucous with psychic abilities: he can leave parts of his body around and use them as security cameras, he can project images and sounds via telepathy, he can sense the presence of other people and even shut people’s minds down if his mucous is on them; his body has also other qualities, as he’s virtually impervious to damage, he can take a liquid form, he possesses some degrees of super strength, and he can also change his color to camouflage with the surrounding environment. Forced to reach the full potential of his abilities with constant combat, Membrain only understands the language of violence, and he’s been brainwashed since his birth with a belligerent ideology that is now his creed: no surprise that he’d follow even a madman like Dark Beast to the end of the world to be faithful to such an ideology.

Phinneus Pogo

The Umbrella Academy has been released, and we can now take a look at the secondary characters from the show… starting from the ones we already saw in the trailer. Let’s start with Dr. Phinneus Pogo, who’s very recognizable: he’s the only chimpanzee with a suit, eyeglasses and an umbrella seen around. Voiced by Adam Godley, Pogo is the smart and loving mentor of the kids from the Umbrella Academy, providing all the care and the attention Sir Reginald Hargreeves never bothered to give them. In the comics, his role is pretty much the same: let’s see together.

Phinneus Pogo was born as a regular chimpanzee, whose life was similar to far too many of his kind. Captured as a young ape, he was subjected to a number of cruel and painful experiments, with his body constantly torn apart and stitched back together for some unspecified research. His life, as well as the one of all the other chimps in the world, was changed when the acclaimed genius scientist Sir Reginald Hargreeves found a way to drastically increase chimpanzees’ intelligence, making them sentient and forcing them to reach the level of human evolution. Pogo was the first one Sir Reginald improved (it may as well been him the one who performed all those gruesome experiments on him), and who received the legal status of “person”. While this work earned Sir Reginald a Nobel Prize, Pogo remained to Hargreeves’ side for all his life, becoming intelligent and cultured enough to be his associate. A scientist as well, Pogo helped Hargreeves locate all the “special children” born the same night from women who weren’t pregnant at the moment of the delivery, and they managed to get seven of them. Sir Reginald adopted them and started to train them since their very childhood to be superheroes, but Pogo served another function, as he became their teacher and tutor, mentoring them and trying to be also emotionally close to them, something that Sir Reginald was clearly avoiding to do. He refused to call them by numbers, and only used her names, forming a particularly close bond with Luther, who considered Pogo his best friend, and with Vanya, who he kept encouraging despite Hargreeves’ psychological abuses, insisting on the fact that she was special as well, and even better than her siblings, being not as destructive as them.

At a certain point during his youth, Pogo was called to Vietnam by time-displaced versions of Spaceboy, The Séance and The Kraken, in the middle of a mission to prevent President Kennedy‘s assassination. The three “boys” were adult versions from the future, but despite Spaceboy tried many times to warn him about something, Pogo refused to learn anything of what awaited him, as he knew how dangerous time paradoxes could be. He helped the trio build a Televator to reach Dallas, and then came back to The City, resuming his usual work. In the following years, Pogo helped the kids grow up, and he even became the copilot of Spaceboy, helping him to fulfill his dream and go to space like his idol Saint Zero, and accompanying him in his first space-adventures. Then, under his very eyes, the family started to fall apart: first Number Five got lost in time, then Vanya ran away from home, then The Horror died. Finally, after being humiliated by the public opinion and the press for a false alarm on an impending apocalypse, the Umbrella Academy disbanded, and all its members tried to start a new life somewhere else. Pogo stayed with Hargreeves in his manor, and kept him company until the day he died, ten years later. The very next day, the long-lost Number Five appeared again, much older albeit it looked like he hadn’t aged a day. In order to celebrate Hargreeves’ funeral, Pogo called all the members of the Academy back home, even Spaceboy who was stationed on the Moon, and reunited the family for the first time in years. The old tensions and rivalries immediately resurfaced, but as usual Pogo did his best to keep peace and act as a mediator between them. This time, however, it would have taken much more than the usual kindness to keep together a family that was about to face its gravest challenge yet…

Phinneus Pogo is a central figure in the Umbrella Academy’s life, a kind and gentle chimpanzee who provides them with all the care and the affection their human (actually alien) adoptive father doesn’t. As Hargreeves’ assistant, he’s terribly smart, with incredible proficiency in engineering in particular. Albeit being an ape, Dr. Pogo is much more humane to the kids than any human in the manor, and takes care of them like only Mother besides him can do. In a world of humans who despise them, an ape and an android are the only sources of true love for the seven orphans.

Shakedown

Last episode of Black Lightning introduced a new villain, the first of a series, as Tobias Whale obtained the pods of all the members of the Masters of Disaster. The first to wake up from his icy slumber in The Book of Secrets Chapter Three: Pillar of Fire is Shakedown, a man who can emit vibrations from his hands. Named Marcus Bishop (in the comics his real name is unknown), he’s portrayed in the show by Hosea Chanchez, receiving the same change of ethnicity that most characters undergo in the series. Also, the original Shakedown has much more lethal and impressive powers than his live action counterpart: let’s see together.

Shakedown’s past is pretty much unknown: nobody knows what his true name was, where he came from, and not even how he acquired his powers. He had the ability to cause earthquakes by emitting powerful vibrations from his hands, and this skill was exactly what the super villain New Wave was looking for forming her team of mercenaries, the Masters of Disaster, as she was collecting people with powers similar to natural catastrophes. Despite his appearance and the nature of his powers, Shakedown was (almost) gentle, and had a kind heart; plus, his stuttering made him quite shy. It was no surprise that, inside the team, he was the one who always tried to keep the peace among its members, mainly defending Coldsnap, Heatstroke and Windfall from the psychotic New Wave… Windfall especially, and for two reasons: first, she was the favorite target of her violent sister, and second, it was pretty obvious that Shakedown had a crush on her. As a mercenary, he made his public debut with the Masters of Disaster when the team got hired by Mrs. Shelton, a woman who had just lost her daughter, Trina, and who wanted to get revenge on the superhero (unwillingly) responsible for her death: Black Lightning. The Masters attacked with quite a display of power, but much to their surprise the hero surrendered, guilt-ridden and not wanting anybody else to be hurt. Black Lightning’s intentions didn’t pay off, as when the Outsiders intervened to save him, Heatstroke hit Mrs. Shelton with one of his blasts by mistake, killing the contractor and thus making the Masters of Disaster abandon their mission, with nobody left alive to pay them. This was the first but definitely not the last time the Masters of Disaster clashed with the Outsiders.

The second clash between the two teams happened when the Nazi criminal Maxwell Tremaine hired them to kidnap Sapphire Stagg on her wedding day. The Outsiders intervened once again, and this time Shakedown had the chance to test his powers against the ones of Geo-Force, that were quite similar to his own. The two earth-manipulators fought for a while, but eventually Geo-Force, who was more proficient in long-distance attacks, emerged victorious. Shakedown obtained his payback when the Masters were hired by Baron Bedlam to attack Markovia, the hero’s kingdom, and not only he defeated and imprisoned Geo-Force, but also the Outsiders who came to his aid. Ironically, Shakedown found it more difficult to keep peace between New Wave and Windfall than to fight superheroes, and he intervened a couple of times to reconcile the sisters… but to no avail, as Windfall eventually got tired of her sister’s cruelty, and she defected to join the Outsiders. This betrayal, summed to the unexpected intervention of Looker, brought the Masters of Disaster to yet another defeat. New Wave had her sister kidnapped, and successfully cloned her and sent the copy to infiltrate the Outsiders; while the clone did her spy work, though, it was Shakedown the one who defended the original Windfall from her sister’s cruelty, even risking his own neck to protect the woman he loved. Also this plan failed, mostly thanks to Batman‘s paranoia: the clone got killed, Windfall was freed and rejoined the Outsiders, and the Masters of Disaster got imprisoned in the Slab. Not much time later, another unexpected inmate arrived: Geo-Force, who had been framed for a crime he did not commit. Seeing an opportunity, New Wave, Shakedown, Heatstroke and Coldsnap manipulated the hero to join them into a prison break, and they all found freedom again… but now Shakedown had to be very careful to his next moves: with all the disobedience and insubordination he had shown to New Wave, the greatest danger for him came from his ally rather than his enemies.

Shakedown is a contradiction of a man: a hulking brute who works as a mercenary and has no problem in using violence to cause severe damage to things and people, but also a gentle giant who always tries to keep the group together and bring peace in conflicts. He has the power to cause earthquakes by projecting vibrations to the ground with his hands, and he’s also unnaturally strong and durable. A walking natural disaster, Shakedown unites strength and kindness, brutality and care… the moral pillar of a group with no morality to spare.

Vanya Hargreeves (#00.07/The White Violin)

Just in time, as The Umbrella Academy is going to be released today on Netflix, we see the last (living) member of the dysfunctional superhero family: Number Seven, portrayed by Ellen Page. Just as in the comics, Seven is the only member of the Umbrella Academy (apparently) without powers, a trait that didn’t help her in adapting in such a harsh environment such as The Monocle‘s house. Unlike the comics, though, she seems to have a much bigger role in the show, and apparently her story is going to develop in a different direction. Waiting to see what will come of her, let’s take a look at the original one.

The girl who would have become Vanya Hargreeves was one of the forty-three babies born at the same moment, all around the world, from women who weren’t pregnant before giving birth to them. She was also one of the very few ones that Sir Reginald Hargreeves, an eccentric but brilliant inventor, found and adopted. Hargreeves was sure that the kids would have developed extraordinary abilities growing up, and he had collected them with the precise intention of training them to save the world, in a not so distant future. His first prediction proved to be right, as all the babies developed some special powers… all but Vanya, who was branded Number Seven, the last in order of potential and usefulness. Her adoptive father never lost an occasion to remark on how “utterly useless” she was, and she was even ostracized by her super-powered siblings. Her only talent was music, but even her way to play her violin didn’t satisfied Sir Reginald, who belittled her even in that. When the Umbrella Academy made their public debut in Paris, taking care of a murderous Eiffel Tower, Number Seven stayed behind with The Monocle, aboard The Minerva, watching her siblings fighting the monument. She asked to reach them, but her father stated that there was nothing she could possibly do. Vanya’s frustration only grew with time, as The Monocle performed on her a variety of experiments to force her powers to manifest, always failing. This, summed to her constant sense of isolation, brought her near to an emotional breakdown when she was still a kid. As a teenager, though, she found some relief in a rebellious streak, and in the friendship that she created with Diego, one of her older brothers, who shared her same resentment towards their father.

Together with Diego and with a chimp friend, Body, Vanya founded the Prime8s, a punk band. She played the guitar, and she enjoyed her talent with music for the very first time in her life… but of course, Sir Reginald didn’t approve of it, and he insisted that she went to Paris to learn “true music” (classical one, of course). Vanya didn’t want to go, and it was Diego who came up with a solution: the Prime8s would have played one last gig, and with the money earned they would have escaped from The City, touring with their band. Vanya agreed, and that night she waited with Body for Diego… who never came. The band lost the gig, and it inevitably disbanded. Looking at the news, Vanya realized that Diego had preferred to join the Umbrella Academy for a mission, rather thankeeping his promise to her: he had made his choice, and she couldn’t do anything else but leave, directed anywhere but there. In the following years, she kept practicing with her violin, but she reached true fame with her autobiographical book: Extra-Ordinary: My Life as Number Seven, a tell-all book that exposed all the dark secrets of The Monocle and the Umbrella Academy, and that contributed to the disbandment of the team. This wouldn’t have been the gravest damage she inflicted on her adoptive family: the day Sir Reginald died, she was contacted a mysterious man interested in making her join his orchestra. Once she went to the Icarus Theatre for the audition, she found out the man was the supervillain The Conductor, who wanted her as the first violin in his death-worshiping Orchestra Verdammten. Not only that, The Conductor revealed a secret to her: she was actually the most powerful member of the Umbrella Academy, and all the experiments The Monocle had performed on her weren’t meant to develop her powers, but to suppress them, as even Hargreeves feared her. The Conductor used his machines to truly unleash her potential, transforming Vanya into the White Violin: as a cosmic irony, Vanya realized she was the end of the world his siblings had been trained to stop since their childhood…

Vanya Hargreeves is a young woman who’s been psychologically abused for all her life: belittled, humiliated and verbally assaulted by her adoptive father every day during her childhood and adolescence, it’s only normal she developed a resentful and bitter personality, as well as a crippling depression. As the White Violin, she’s able to manipulate the music she creates with her violin into extremely powerful sound waves, whose effects can vary depending on the intensity: she used them to slit Number Three‘s throat, to blow Pogo‘s head up, and even to bring meteorites, satellites and a chunk of the Moon on The City. Just as powerful as she is damaged, the White Violin spent her life believing that she was a worthless and useless nobody: now that she found out she’s the harbinger of the apocalypse, she can’t wait to show the world what she’s really capable of.