The afterlife version of Ben is drastically different in The Umbrella Academy comics from the Netflix show.
Although the sacrifice is inevitable when one opts to become a superhero, it’s not something you can brace for, particularly if the loss is massive.
In the comic version of The Umbrella Academy, Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba presented us with seven kids who were adopted, educated, and conditioned to use their abilities to defend mankind as superheroes.
Regrettably, the troubles of The Umbrella Academy become too much to endure when one of their own, number six aka The Horror bites the dust during a mission.
Ben sacrifices himself on The Umbrella Academy season 2.
Source: TV Fanatic
Ben Hargreeves possessed one of the most frightening abilities among the entire Umbrella Academy, capable of channeling primordial and horrific creatures. They usually manifested themselves as strong tentacles, through a vortex that he opened in the upper body.
At the start of the ‘Apocalypse Suite’ plot when distant members of the Hargreeves family assemble to mourn the loss of their father, there is a monument commemorating Number Six in front of the Academy’s residence.
His adoptive brothers and sisters rarely spoke to him, and Spaceboy blamed himself for Ben’s passing, seeing it as a result of his weak leadership. Ben is only seen in the memories of the Academy’s history, and his sculpture is cut in half as Vanya Hargreeves, now the White Violin, ruins her old home.
Ben is not visible to any of his siblings till The Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion #5. When his brother Klaus collapses due to an overdose of drugs and is left to die in the trash, a frayed and hooded Ben picks him up and takes his body to the nearest hospital.
As the still-breathing Klaus improves in the hospital bed in the next issue, Ben lays by his bedside, moaning that Klaus continues to inject himself with medication instead of getting access to his full ability.
Astonished at the sight of him, Klaus encounters his departed brother, like the superhero Jacob Marley, asking him to make better decisions before alerting him of great, impending danger.
Ben leaves just as some of his living siblings burst into his room, eager to see if he’s still alive, and alerting him to their new, world-wide crisis.
Ben’s presence as a spirit is significantly different from his depiction by actor Justin M. Hin in The Umbrella Academy series. In the comics, Ben is a rotting body still dressed in his superhero suit, with a massive hole in his stomach, where his abilities had once appeared.
Because of his special ability, Klaus was the only one who could see him, and Ben was able to communicate with the living, as shown by his valiant saving of Klaus’ life. This is his first contact with any of his family members since he died several years back.
Here's Number 6, aka the Horror, Ben Hargreeves. My fave. The fight scene in the season premiere of #TheUmbrellaAcademy was the coolest thing I've seen all year. #illustrator #illustration #illustrationart #FanArtFriday #fanart #drawingoftheday #artist #ArtistOnTwitter #ComicArt pic.twitter.com/yafO34E2Ae
— Nick Forte (@NickForteArt) July 31, 2020
In the Netflix show, Ben is more of a spiritual sidekick to his pal, Klaus, who is not the only one who can see him but has been with him since his passing.
Ben observes the everyday activities of his brothers and sisters, making remarks that normally go unheard of, and ultimately learns that he can not only communicate with the living but eventually possess them, as we saw when he inhabited Klaus’ body for a certain amount of time.
Ben decides to kill himself to rescue his out-of-control sister Vanya at the end of Season 2 and leaves happily for the afterlife.
In the end, the demise of Number Six signified the fall of purity of The Umbrella Academy, and his reemergence as a spirit was purely out of gratitude and affection for his kin.
In the comics, Ben comes back from the grave to notify his indignant brother of an impending danger, which he may be unwittingly tied to.
In the TV series, Ben is less of a heroic martyr and more of a quiet family member, already affected by the behaviors of his impaired and unstable family even in the afterlife.
While Ben’s role remains uncertain in both versions, he is definitely someone you’d want on your side.