The "Umbrella Academy's" superhero troop possesses the ability to sprout octopus arms in battle, travel through time, commune with the dead and blow their enemies' minds — literally — with the power of suggestion.
But it's not the clan's crime-fighting skills that set it apart from television's crowded field of onscreen avengers. Netflix's highly entertaining adaptation of Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba's comic book series continues to mine the Hargreeves' family dysfunction in Season 2, ratcheting up their sibling rivalry to mushroom-cloud, apocalyptic levels.
The series, which returned Friday with 10 new episodes, picks up where Season 1 left off: The seven Hargreeves children, who were selectively adopted for their abilities by an eccentric billionaire and then trained in the art of saving the world, are now adults who barely escaped a 2019 apocalypse. They transported back in time with the hope of averting the End Times.
But now we find that doomsday has followed them back to 1963, where they haphazardly landed in Dallas and must face another cataclysmic chain of events. But why?! It turns out the crew are such a squabbling mess, they brought the Rapture with them — and now they must band together to avert it. God help the planet.
Their race to stop nuclear war is a blast unto itself. The misfits are digital beings in an analog era, with myriad psychological hangups, daddy issues, "Star Wars" references and weird powers that they don't even understand. They love and hate one another yet bond over a collective anger toward their late father — a dynamic that anyone with siblings will appreciate.
The gang's neuroses tangle with the call to action when they drop into a city that's still home to segregated lunch counters and is days away from hosting President John F. Kennedy's motorcade through Dealey Plaza. Hulu's "11.22.63," based on the novel by Stephen King, covered similar terrain but in "Umbrella Academy," with its interest in special powers and family dynamics as well as the past itself, there's more to 1963 than an impending apocalypse.