Thanks to the Netflix series, The Umbrella Academy has been introduced to the mainstream, allowing TV fans to get to know the deeply dysfunctional family. However, as is generally the case with adaptations, not every character detail has made the jump, and Diego’s tragic original romance has seemingly fallen by the wayside. The comic follows the six surviving members of Sir Reginald Hargreeves’ shortlived superhero team, which he created by adopting seven super-powered children from around the world. Only two of them – Luther and ‘Number Five’ – are biologically related, and all share complex relationships in adulthood due to their adopted father’s neglect.
In both the comics and the show, Luther and Allison Hargreeves have a hesitant romance, but they’re not the only ‘siblings’ with romantic potential. In the original comics, it’s suggested that Diego has similar feelings for Vanya Hargreeves – feelings which are so far unrequited, and an ongoing plot thread in the comics. It should be noted that while Viktor Hargreeves has come out as trans on the show – as has actor Elliot Page, who portrays him – the character in the comics hasn’t, and so will be discussed as ‘Vanya’ and with female pronouns in regards to that medium.
Throughout the three current volumes of The Umbrella Academy from Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá, it is heavily hinted that Diego is in love with Vanya. During a moment in which Luther and Diego must focus on a shared experience in order to traverse dimensions, it’s shown that the thing they most have in common is love – Luther’s for Allison, and Diego’s for Vanya. This is surprising given Diego’s anger at Vanya in the story’s first volume, though the reveal recontextualizes this as resulting from a feeling of betrayal. Indeed, in the short story ‘Anywhere But Here,’ it’s shown that during their adolescence, Vanya and Diego were bandmates and he had volunteered to leave the family with her, but Hargreeves’ machinations ultimately tear the two apart.
Typical to the dense, thoroughly plotted story told by the comics, Diego’s love for Vanya recontextualizes all their previous interactions, as well as his hatred of Sir Reginald and tendency to guard his emotions. It’s not yet known if Vanya returns his feelings, but this would again redefine her decision to leave the family, and her later decision to publish a tell-all expose. These aspects of the characters survive in the TV adaptation, however there’s been no sign their relationship does, with new romantic interests added for both. Some comic fans have expressed worry that since the comics are still ongoing, the show dropping this plot line may mean that future comics neglect to explore it in the name of synergy, though the content of the comics so far has offered little cause for concern.
While the TV adaptation already had a tragic ‘sibling’ romance with Luther and Allison – and Diego and Viktor’s new romantic partners have been integral to several TV plot lines – the comics make this tragic romance integral to multiple characters in some fascinating ways. Not everything can or should remain the same between different forms of media, but hopefully The Umbrella Academy comics will remain true to the story they’ve set up and bring a satisfying conclusion to the love and anger that exists between Diego and Vanya.