‘The Umbrella Academy’: How is Allison Different in the TV Series Versus the Graphic Novels?

Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá ‘s graphic novels The Umbrella Academy inspired the Netflix series of the same name. The series premiered in 2019 and features a family of dysfunctional superheroes who have all gone their separate ways in their adult lives. While the series does stick pretty close to the comics’ plot, there are a few changes in Hargreeves siblings.

Allison Hargreeves, also known as Number 3, has subtle differences in her character versus the novels’ character. Here are just a few of those changes.

Allison, played by Emmy Raver-Lampman, in a production still from 'The Umbrella Academy'
Allison, played by Emmy Raver-Lampman, in ‘The Umbrella Academy’ | Netflix

Allison is more sympathetic in Netflix’s version of ‘The Umbrella Academy’

While other characters have many visual differences from their portrayal in the novels, this difference in Allison is more of a personality change. In the graphic novels, just like the series, Vanya, Allison’s sister, is the outcast of her family. The majority of her siblings ignore her because she’s believed to not have any superpowers.

Allison treats Vanya like an outsider, just like the rest of her siblings in the novel. In fact, she doesn’t seem to find any real issue with making Vanya believe she doesn’t have any powers. 

In the television series, she’s much more sympathetic to Vanya’s plight. We see her trying to reconnect with her sister throughout the majority of The Umbrella Academy Season 1. Plus, in a flashback, we see that young Allison is upset about using her powers against Vanya.

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Allison’s style is very different on screen

In the comics, Allison is a white woman who sports blue hair and dons a black trenchcoat. Readers sometimes see her wearing a single black glove on one hand, and for the most part, her style is pretty forgettable. 

The TV version of Allison is much different. In Netflix’s version of The Umbrella Academy, she’s a black woman and a famous movie star (in the first season) typically seen in bright colors and designer clothes. She’s feminine and confidant. This is most likely so different from the graphic novels because, in the comics, Allison doesn’t use her power to bring her fame and fortune. It makes sense that a celebrity would be decked out in the latest fashions instead of a plain black trenchcoat.

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Allison can do more than ‘rumour’ people to her will in ‘The Umbrella Academy’ graphic novels

Almost all of the characters have more powers in the graphic novels than we see on screen. For one, we don’t know if showrunner Steve Blackman plans to introduce these powers in later seasons. Plus, according to Dave Castaneda’s interview with Digital Spy, Blackman wanted the characters to be more relatable.” [Showrunner Steve Blackman] wanted to ground the comic book even more,” he said. “So for example, Klaus doesn’t levitate in the show, whereas in the comic book he does.”

In both the graphic novels and the TV series, Allison’s character can “rumor” people to do whatever she wants by simply speaking the words. In the comics, however, she can also manipulate space and time. She can essentially create whatever she wants out of thin air because she can change the fabric of reality around her. This would have been really cool to see in action, but we understand how it could lead to potential plot holes in the story.

With The Umbrella Academy Season 3 expected to arrive sometime in 2022, we know there are more adventures for the Hargreeves to have in the future. They’ve already saved the world from two different apocalypses. This upcoming season will see the Hargreeves face off against the new Sparrow Academy. The Umbrella Academy Seasons 1 and 2 are currently streaming on Netflix.