We continue All Request Review month here at Toonopolis, The Blog. Today’s Saturday Morning Cartoon Review was actually requested by my six year old son! Today I am going to review one of his favorite shows and a show that may tick off a lot of comic book geeks who hate unrelated adaptations of comic book work. Today we’re going to talk about The Super Hero Squad Show.
Some comic aficionados might get turned off by the character designs, but I was so excited to see Marvel break out this nod to a form of Japanese animation called super-deformed or chibi. I think it works very well for a show that is designed for the 10 and under crowd. I know my son certainly loves seeing his favorite comic characters in this form. In fact, his bedroom is covered with Fathead stickers of Super Hero Squad versions of these comic book legends.
I could probably spend an entire post discussing the voice cast that they pulled in for this show. They have tapped a cornucopia of talent to voice the caricatured versions of these Marvel super heroes. Tom Kenney (SpongBob SquarePants, The Ice King of Adventure Time) alone handles an amazing workload: Iron Man, Captain America, MODOK, and Juggernaut among them. Many of the other main voice actors are well-known in video games and Anime and take on numerous voice roles as well: Steve Blum (as Wolverine/Abomination/etc., known for work in Cowboy Bepob and much more), Charles Adler (as Dr. Doom/Sabretooth/etc, known for TONS of work spanning the last 3 decades), and more.
Let’s not forget the ladies here, also! There are not a lot of female characters represented on the show, but nearly all of them are voiced by either Grey DeLisle (Ms. Marvel/Enchantress) or Tara Strong (Scarlet Witch, H.E.R.B.I.E). With so much talent on board, they can bring in numerous new characters and have a new voice with existing voice actors. Lastly, let’s not forget some great guest spots by George Takei (Galactus), Mark Hamill (Cthon/Red Skull), and Jane Lynch (Nebula). Oh, yeah, and Stan Lee plays the Mayor of Superhero City (who has appeared in a ton of episodes).
The general premise of the show is that there is a group led by Iron Man that works with SHIELD. It’s basically an Avengers lineup (Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Wolverine, Falcon, and Silver Surfer) with a few modifications. They answer to Ms. Marvel (the only primary female in the first season). The first season centers around Infinity Fractals, which Dr. Doom is trying to collect. The Squaddies (a horrible portmanteau of Squad and Buddies, I guess) beat him to the crystals. The second season introduced a swap of Silver Surfer in the group for Scarlet Witch, as the Surfer become overtaken by the power of the magic in the assembled Infinity Sword and Infinity Gauntlet. The Dark Surfer, as he becomes, and Thanos become the primary villains in the second season.
Along the way, much funny is had. While there is a general plot to move the story along, the entire purpose of this show is to poke fun at the comic industry with caricatures of well known superheroes. It is extremely slapsticky and silly, which is why I said that pure comic fans would probably dislike it. The fact that Stan Lee is so heavily involved makes me enjoy the self-deprecating nature of the show. One of my favorite episodes is “Enter: Dormammu.” With the inclusion of a whacko-crazy Dr. Strange (infected by the power of an Infinity fractal) and his magic opening the portal for Dormammu, it is fantastic. Favorite line, Falcon to Dormammu: “Seriously, dude, your head… is on fire!” Complete with marshmallows on skewers.
Another great line that proves this show is written by geeks happens in the second season. Iron Man has Scarlet Witch use her hexing powers to make their ship travel to the most improbable location she could think of for the location of the Infinity Sword. Where does she pick? The End of the Universe. What is her line when she gets there? “This is it? I thought there’d at least be a restaurant here or something.” If you don’t get this reference, you need to hand in your geek card and go read Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Is this the best show on TV? Absolutely not. Will it annoy a lot of comic nerds? I think so. Do I recommend watching it as an adult? Probably not. However, if you are a comic fan and have an opportunity to watch it with a six year old like I do, it is a boatload of fun playing, “catch the reference” and just enjoying a silly, slapsticky show with no other purpose but to make you and your kid giggle while you watch it. 4/5 Giant Cartoon Mallets for The Super Hero Squad Show. HERO UP!