"To the cafeteria... FOR JUSTICE!"
Created by Aaron Williams, who is also known as the maker of Nodwick and Full Frontal Nerdity (all of which can be viewed here) it has been described as "Take the kids from Springfield Elementary, give them X-Men powers, and send 'em to Hogwarts." Basically concerned with the general, superpowered going-ons of a school filled with superpowered children (most of whom are the children of Lawyer Friendly Cameos of various well-known Marvel and DC heroes), PS238 follows a small core cast of about ten to twelve kids, with plenty more who make cameos. The closest thing the series has to a protagonist is Tyler Marlocke, the notably only non-superpowered student on campus.
Needless to say, the series thrives on Superhero-related tropes, and indeed, tropes in general. Several characters are openly Genre Savvy, including Tyler at times -- though he would probably prefer if those tropes weren't there.
Originally a print comic, Aaron has followed the example of the Foglios and released it as a webcomic, but the free online version is still well behind the print-version. Recently, a licensed Role-Playing Game using the Hero System has been published.
Name a superhero-related trope. Any superhero-related trope.
- Absurdly Powerful Student Council: Despite the fact that they could eventually end up with one that consists of absurdly powerful people, this is averted. When Tyler got elected Class President, the faculty had yet to figure out what responsibilities the Class President was supposed to have. So far, said duties have consisted entirely of participating in a ribbon-cutting ceremony. And then he was deposed.
- Academy of Adventure: They try to keep the super-trouble away, but the administrators seem to accept that it's inevitable.
- Academy of Evil: Praetorian Academy.
- Action Survivor: Tyler. Although, as time goes by, he is slowly approaching Badass Normal. He's already running toward danger of his own volition.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Averted. Human AIs, like Doctor Positron, exist and they're all perfectly nice. The only exception was Prospero's robot companion, which was implied to have gotten damaged in the crash. The Singularity is pretty nice too, for an omnipotent extradimensional AI. Think of it as a sort of omnipotent schoolteacher with a somewhat quirky sense of humour.
- Aliens Steal Cattle: Save the cows! The aliens are a-comin'!
- Alternate Aesop Interpretation: Why not?
- Alternate Universe: Tyler sees a few alternate versions of himself in the Castle Beyond Time and Space. One is a Jerkass Woobie who is one of the most powerful people on the planet but has a hair-trigger temper and more of easly-bruised ego than Victor and Zodon put together; another is more along the lines of what his parents wanted; and the third is a ridiculously powerful telepath who accidentally turned the human race into a Hive Mind when he was bored.
- When Zodon's parents said it would be better if he didn't have his power, he got them
wished into a cornfielddragged into one of these. This version of him was an orphan, and the place had no metahumans, so it kind of ended to everyone's relief.
- When Zodon's parents said it would be better if he didn't have his power, he got them
- And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt: "Do I get a free T-shirt if I do it a third time?" Also, this.
- Appropriated Appellation: Julie claimed her "84" as the superhero name because this way the number belongs to her and not she to the number. Little did she know what this can start...
- Arbitrary Skepticism: Cecil and Alec with "aliens". It's common knowledge that Atlas and Solar Crusader are extraterrestrials and superheroes, but Cecil used to ignore the part about metahumans and Alec used to ignore the part about aliens, until they were pulled into this mess all the way.
- A token attempt made by a man in an Alternate Universe lacking metahumans.
(84 flies off)
Officer: You kids are for real?
Patriot Act: You noticed the giant robot, right?
Officer: Yeah, good point...
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: A telepath caught red-handed holding political office (which is apparently illegal), admits that he's used his telepathic abilities to defeat opponents, win elections, and get good deals on cars.
- Art Shift: One issue contains school reports from the superkids that are drawn by children of the same age.
- The Atoner: Cranston is attempting this but Toby may have inadvertently messed this up for him as a side-effect of his Reality Warper powers. Depending on how closely you're reading, the scene is either an Oh Crap moment or a moment of Fridge Brilliance, because neither Toby nor Tyler realize the significance of the exchange demanded by Toby's powers, and thus Toby's statement passes without comment.
- Author Avatar: While there haven't been any explicit versions of the author himself in the series, Miss Kyle is modeled after his wife.
- Badass Normal
- The Revenant, Tyler's mentor (who bears a striking resemblance to Batman/MoonKnight, right down to most powered heroes not trusting him or thinking he's crazy).
- Tyler himself can be considered a Badass Normal in training. (A time-travel storyline offers a glimpse of his adult self in which he's Revenant's partner.)
- Bad Bad Acting: When Zodon sarcastically "acts" to keep up the illusion of being a normal child: "Oh, ow, ow, ow. My innards. I fear I shall never recover." Cue Face Palm from Ms. Kyle.
- Bastard Understudy: There are whole Master Apprentice Chains. The von Fogg kids, of course, but also that "Ajax" boy - he already got good brains and patience, while the Headmaster encourages him to continue improving in this direction.
- Batter Up: The supervillain The Sinister Shortstop was armed with a baseball bat that caused whatever was hit with it to explode. It recently came into the hands of one of PS238's students, who's held onto it because it complements her existing powers, which are entirely defensive. With gleeful enthusiasm, especially as she doesn't need to care about silly things like shrapnel.
- Battle in the Center of the Mind: Beryl got one on her hands when she tried to control the wrong sort of people.
- Beehive Barrier: When Aurora's "ghost" attacks Ambriel, her Deflector Shield is briefly visible as a geodesic crystalline dome.
- Berserk Button: Don't rip Julie Finsters' cape.
- Blessed with Suck: Lyle can't turn off his ability to "see patterns in things" and he spends most of his time in a featureless white room to keep his brain from overloading. On the other hand, he is effectively omniscient and at one point he begins to set into motion a complicated scheme to allow himself and his classmates to escape unharmed from a pair of dangerous kidnappers several issues before the kidnappers have even decided to show up.
- Body Double: Angie's "hologram robot things". Clever programming. Literally junk hardware.
- Bullying a Dragon: Taylor's clone has a point:
...because anyone who'd rob a bank in a town full of superheroes has got to be crazy.
- Strangely necessary reminder: a major god, even currently out of circulation, is going to tolerate bluster about as long as it stays amusing. Then may or may not proceed to amuse himself further at the expense of braggarts.
- Butt Monkey
- Zodon. He deserves it.
- Tyler has moments of this as well, but in his case, it's more to toughen him up.
- Cape Snag: "PS 238 reminds you: sliding doors, elevators and flush toilets can ruin your day if you aren't careful."
- Captain Ersatz: PS238 is made out of this trope. Two of the more outstanding examples are Atlas and Emerald Gauntlet, although both have developed points of distinction from the originals as the series progresses. Also that guy roaming at night, summoning whom involves using a searchlight. Among the students, there's also "Murphy", the "Prince of Daydreams" (whose older sister is often mentioned in passing...), and Victor VonFogg, heir of the VonFogg family of supervillains.
- Cecil is something like Dib from Invader Zim.
- Casual Danger Dialogue: The Revenant is perfectly able to take calls while in the middle of fighting bad guys, and has been known to make them as well.
- The Chessmaster
- The Revenant. He currently meddles in most of the storylines and well over half the cast, directly or indirectly, by sheer virtue of his many contacts.
- Also, Tom, the kid with time-travelling abilities seems to be heading in this direction. Or not.
- And, of course, Lyle, who knows everything. No, really, everything.
- Chewing the Scenery
- Von Fogg junior is especially prone to this in his first appearances, and would probably count as a Large Ham if he didn't eventually mellow down in later issues.
- American Eagle and Patriot Act also act like this on-camera.
- Cloning Blues: Averted. Tyler's clone gets a name (Toby), develops cosmic powers, and is adopted by his parents, who are delighted -- to the point where Tyler is worried they'll like his new "brother" better. However, Cecil rejects Toby, though he remains close friends with Tyler.
- Competence Zone: Averted; the kids' teachers are presented as intelligent, competent, and perfectly aware of what's going on around them. Half of them are semi-retired superheroes, after all. This being a comic about the kids, though, the kids still do most of the day-saving. Most of.
- Conspicuous Trenchcoat: They somehow still missed Cecil's "alien investigation" (or at least its extent).
- Contagious Powers
- Tyler's parents are sending him to the school based in hope that eventually this trope will kick in.
- Cecil goes for a "trip" with Malphast and ends up with a pair of wings (plus a Cthulhu-like shape that is suppressed as long as he's in the human world).
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: Jared (in advertisement). Also, Zodon's sitcom marathon.
- Cool Pet: Argo the super-dog.
- The Corps Is Mother: Averted, as PS238 is just a superhero-flavoured school and is, if anything, less sinister than the regular kind. Praetorian Academy, meanwhile, is much more like this.
- Cosmic Chess Game: Determinant and Balagan play something like this, with haggling over moves and usually very indirectly.
- Crimefighting with Cash: The Revenant. Though unlike Batman he at least saves expenses when it makes sense.
The Revenant: I sometimes think access to cash is the greatest superpower of all.
- Crossover: In issue 39 it was revealed that the events of Nodwick take place in the distant past of PS238. Thanks to some time-travelling and a Predestination Paradox, some of the characters from PS238 briefly meet the main characters from Nodwick.
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: Cecil is able to detect metahumans, and was partially right about the "aliens". Of course, he also believed the teachers are disguised reptiloids. While he was wrong about the teachers, check the next page.
- Curse Cut Short: Rastov here.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: The Crystal Skull, an ex-supervillain, after getting beaten by - and chatting with - Revenant, turned his intellect to taking money from people legally, and runs one of the higher-class casinos in Las Vegas.
- Deconstructor Fleet: Of the superhero genre.
- Did You Die?: Did they shoot Cranston?
- Didn't Think This Through: Even super-geniuses step in this if they are not careful. Zodon suffers from this e.g. when he made himself a chair with voice controlled gadgets, but no security on that, despite being busy cracking the school's security measures. So one doesn't even need an actual replay attack, simply repeat what he said and watch the fun. He's lucky Victor didn't get the wind of it right away.
- Does Not Know His Own Strength: A few. Also, wearing full armor is advised if you're going to compliment impulsive super-heroines.
- Does This Remind You of Anything? Sometimes. Up to "Equal recognition for equal
- Down in the Dumps: Angela's dad used to run a junk yard. And took the best junk to the new place. It's glorious. And then they go to her personal orbital junknyard.
- Drool Hello: When Malphast accidentally summon a tentacled thing, it naturally drools on Tyler.
- The Flea did this deliberately - dropped a lightbulb when caught by a Centurion hiding above his friends. In an area with lots and lots of metahuman security...
- Equivalent Exchange: The basis of Toby's Reality Warper powers. Doing things much more complicated than flight creates an after-effect to balance out what he did, for better or worse.
- Exposition Beam: Tyler learns of Principal Cranston's backstory when his headband is damaged by reliving his memories.
- Expy: Almost every character who is not an outright Captain Ersatz is an expy of a known superhero comics archetype without blatantly referencing any one single comics character. An example would be Herschel Clay, who turns out to be an expy of Iron Man.
- Face Palm: Frequently used by Ms. Kyle and the other teachers. And anyone around Forak. Also, Prospero, thanks to his "girlfriend".
- Fantastic Measurement System: The "Omega" scale. And the Vetinari scale.
- Fantastic Racism: Argonians look down on everyone who does not have Flying Brick powers. Normal humans are treated as an serfs, other metahumans as outright threats.
- Fantasy Kitchen Sink: As usual for a Superhero setting, they have Mutants, magic, aliens, gods, beings from Another Dimension, time travellers, and Schizo-Tech galore.
- Fastball Special: Rockslide and Micro Might.
- Fate Worse Than Death: Zodon manages to convince a Flying Brick pushover Forak, to guard a dimensional portal while he's on the other side with some of the other kids. The threats he makes are spoken of only in whispers, but Forak is terrified enough to even stand against the Creepy Child Alexandria Von Fogg when she shows up to disrupt matters. Towards the end, Hershel convince him to tell him what was said. Turns out that Zodon threatened to delete all his Achievements if he didn't do as he was told. Terrifying!
- Flying Brick: Firedrake eventually calls this setup by name.
- Deconstructed as being a F.I.S.S. (flight, invulnerability, strength and speed) is not exctly glorious fate. This package is "the most common of the uncommon", various forms of Super Toughness, Flight or Not Quite Flight are even more common... and for the rest there are Jet Packs and Powered Armor, thanks to meta-engineers. Thus F.I.S.S. heroes are often considered "super grunts" and just given a number.
- Julie, one of the current PS238 students, is number 84. She took a habit of approaching every other FISS for mutual commiseration for a while, then leaned over the other side and grew enough of confidence to wear the number openly on her cape and not be shy of the "Standard Superhero Stereotype". Then she got fans for this.
- Further deconstructed when Earth makes contact with Argos. Flying bricks rule the planet in noble houses with normal people (called "softies") as an oppressed underclass. All other superpowers are referred to as "ferals" and are implied to have been culled from the Argonian gene pool long ago. Also, it turned out thatall FISS are vulnerable to Argonite radiation.
- Follow in My Footsteps: Tyler is expected to do this, despite the fact that he didn't inherit his parent's superpowers. Ron feels pressure of this nature as well.
- For Great Justice: "To the cafeteria... for Justice!"
- For Halloween I Am Going as Myself: Ambriel is a cute kid who was, like, heading to a costume party?
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: About anything to do with Order and Chaos.
Lord of Order: When you observe the actions of an imp and cherub who influence the clone of Tyler Marlocke...
Lord of Chaos: ...what you see them doing isn't truly real. It's just how your eyes try to explain what's going on to your brain, which is sensitive and doesn't do metaphysical stuff if it can avoid it.
- From a Certain Point of View: When Cranston used to be president he was accused of using a telepath to read his opponent's minds, and he swore that he had no telepaths of any kind on his payroll. He didn't. He wasn't on his own payroll after all.
- Fun Personified
- Flea, who is probably a collective Captain Ersatz of similar characters Deadpool and Ambush Bug. (He also has elements of Spider-Man, The Tick, and the most recent Blue Beetle -- there's a whole big arthropod-themed hero mashup going on here.)
- Also Poly Mer: "If I inflate myself, I can make a fart noise that lasts for an hour!" Or, "what gum?"
- Gas Leak Coverup: here.
- Genre Savvy: Many of the heroes and the villains. One even notes at one point that he has read the Evil Overlord List.
- Good Angel, Bad Angel: Comes in internal and external versions.
- Good News, Bad News: Sometimes it takes a mental effort.
Miss Kyle: Well... I got you a T-shirt...
Principal Cranston: That bad, huh?
- Harmful to Minors: Firedrake, of all people, is concerned. Granted, it was about a fresh shallow crater and some smoke being all that's left of a superhero.
- Harmless Villain: Zodon. He would count as Not So Harmless as he has both a will and potential to cause a lot of carnage, but either events conspire to keep his malicious acts in check, or he's more interested in humiliation than harm. Victor Von Fogg probably counts for this as well.
- Her Codename Was Mary Sue: When the pupils are reading their creative writing assignments, Dylan's story features a very handsome and powerful version of himself defeating Victor's father and saving the world, while his rival Jenny is completely useless. It ends abruptly when Jenny and Victor sets his essay on fire.
Dylan: I consider this an assault on my basic freedoms and liberty.
- Hero Insurance: There's the "Super Samaritan Act".
- Heroic BSOD: Captain Clarinet suffers one -- preceded by a quick bout of What Have I Done -- after punching out Charles.
- High-Class Glass: Victor Von Fogg's headgear comes with a lens giving the effect of a monocle. Just like his father.
- Hive Mind: The Commonality, created by an alternate universe version of Tyler. He had such powerful telepathy, he decided to see if he could touch every mind on Earth at once. It worked.
- Holographic Disguise: Those PS238 students who can't just change into normal clothes (because they're part-machine, or bright blue, or whatever) get image emitters to help them blend in with the oblivious above-ground muggles.
- Humongous Mecha: Angie's Junk-bot.
- Hurl It Into the Sun: Issue #40 revolves around an installation that uses this method of disposing of dangerous super-gadgets.
- Hurricane of Euphemisms: You know one is supposed to be happening when Zodon starts singing "Oklahoma!"
- Hypocritical Humor: Victor is above scavenging, that's for peasants! (see also the next page)
- Implied Love Interest: Julie "84" Fenster to Tyler. Though, as both of them are eleven, it's more like "implied childhood crush".
- In Love with Your Carnage: Zodon and Victor usually give minion application forms to every newcomer. After making a mess, both politikids, then Harold and Charles were given these along with compliments on inclinations a future Evil Overlord wants to see from the minions.
- Instrument of Murder: Captain Clarinet's clarinet.
- Insult to Rocks: A slot machine itself objects to the comparison (in Issue 30).
- Intercontinuity Crossover: Sort of -- the Revenant was created by Michael Stackpole for the Tabletop Game Champions and was "donated" to the PS238-verse. The Stackpole version also appears in the short story "Peer Review" and in In Hero Years… I'm Dead. The Revenant mentions this role-playing game to Tyler in passing.
- Ironic Echo Cut: "Nobody steps on my lines like that!"
- Is This Thing Still On?: Doctor Von Fogg's pre-recorded gloating in issue #10.
- Landslide Election: Tyler becomes Class President in one of these, despite the fact that he wasn't running. This is because nobody in the class liked either of the actual candidates, so they voted for him as a write-in candidate.
- Laughably Evil: Zodon and Von Fogg again.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
Wil Wheaton: ...and I'm even writing a story for a comic book about a character I played on television. Neat, huh?
- Little Professor Dialogue: From Gadgeteer Genius kids, supernatural kids, and politically backed kids.
- Loads and Loads of Characters
- Look Ma, No Plane: Captain Clarinet starts out with a pathological fear of flying, due to having repeated nightmares of being sucked into a jet-engine. It doesn't particularly improve matters when Zodon "helpfully" reminds him that his invulnerability ensures that, should that happen, he'd come out on the other side unscattered... while the plane plummets to the ground in flames with the passengers aboard.... And then Zodon plays a "practical joke" on him that results in it happening (almost). It backfires spectacularly in that it ends up curing the good captain of his phobia instead of compounding it when is forced to use his flight to put the damaged plane down safely.
- Loophole Abuse: Crystal Skull hires Zodon to figure out who is robbing his casino for $100,000. After Zodon finishes, CS points out that the contract doesn't specify the form of payment, so Zodon ends up receiving $100,000 in store credit at the shopping center in CS' casino.
- Love Across Battlelines / Maligned Mixed Marriage: Malphast's parents, a demon and an angel who have kept their relationship, and particularly the fact that it has issue, secret because they expect unpleasant consequences if they're found out. Fortunately for Malphast, at least some of the higher beings in both camps seem to be annoyed with belligerent angels and demons themselves, but think of Malphast is a curiosity... as long as he doesn't upset the balance too much. His parents still play their usual game, just in a more amiable way than most of their peers.
- Magnetic Medium
- Satori Deacon, one of the Excelsior kids who turns out to have a power, can see ghosts and other supernatural phenomena.
- Cecil, the conspiracy theorist who thinks the PS238 kids are (all) aliens, turns out to be able to sense metahumans. This being the series that it is, he gets what he sees, which sparks the conspiracy theories, presumably because he gets some sort of "otherness" feeling when the sense goes off. Notably, he doesn't seem to recognize Prospero, the actual alien - most likely because he's a normal alien and not a meta-alien.
- The Masquerade: The presence of PS238.
- Millennium Bug: Captain Chronos have heard about "something that would DESTROY ALL MACHINES"
- Mood Whiplash: There are some surprisingly dark and serious elements to the series, which is also more thoughtful than you might expect, based on the description at the top of the page.
- Most Common Superpower: Averted. The first character who could probably conform to this trope is revealed to have had "work" done to look that way. Then again, most of the cast is grade-school age. Some metahuman ladies (such as Spell Syrin, Blockbuster or Phlogiston) have easily-to-flaunt figures, but they are not an embassy from Planet Of Extra Large Bras either.
- Mugging the Monster: The school bullies above ground have the bad habit of picking on the wrong metahumans. Zodon doesn't even bother to do anything, just mocks them.
- Murder Simulator: Inverted:
Iron Czar: My own nephew would rather play with Grand T'eft Auto den go out und steal real t'ings.
Tyler: ...he says if he sees me at school again, he'll splat my friends. Oh, and Zodon, too.
- Nanomachines: Often used for self-repairing materials (from walls to clothes), and sometimes by supercomputers for "assimilation" of prospective new hardware. Also, the "ghost" of Aurora.
- Neural Implanting: Counts as a crash course, but is no substitute for real-world experience. Argosians do it too.
- Our Ghosts Are Different
- Out, Damned Spot!: An amusing version. One guy stole the prototype of PS238 (as in, the initial nanobot-based construction kit) from Clay's "dangerous junk" warehouse. There's a little embarrassing problem with its self-repair system, however...
Plaques that read "PS238" have to be removed from the walls [...] every month, so it wasn't a big leap to figure out where the place had come from.
- Papa Wolf: You do not kidnap the daughter of Mister Extraordinary (the first recorded metahuman). He will rip your car apart then beat you over the head with the largest part left.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: In the PS238 universe, a simple mask can fool your best friends and family into thinking you're a completely different person. Tyler is highly worried by the implications this has. Notably, it only seems to work on people who are part of the whole "superhero" shtick -- even teachers and super-intellects are fooled by it, but Cecil isn't.
- Paranoia Gambit: Herschel Clay put a tracer into Zodon's chair. Not really, but attempts to find it have to keep Zodon occupied.
- Patriotic Fervor: Parodied with "American Eagle" and "USA Patriot Act".
- Pensieve Flashback: While mentally linked to Principal Cranston, Tyler relives the latter's memories of his short tenure as President of the US, while seeing himself in Cranston's spot.
- Picky Eater: One of the Emerald Gauntlets apparently does not like Chinese food. Which is how the younger one knows about Take a Third Option.
- Pimp Duds: As a practical joke, some tampering with Zodon's holographic disguise makes him look like he's wearing Pimp Duds.
- Pocket Dimension: Koschei's egg.
- Political Correctness Gone Mad: Played for stock comedy - Dr. Positron and his "family" are "Artificial American".
- Power Incontinence: After Principal Cranston's headband is damaged and removed, a hex to punish removal kicks in. Instead of him being able to hear other's thoughts, now his thoughts are projected out. The one who placed the hex has to help control this, as the removal of the limiter was justified at the time.
- Power Nullifier
- Contact inhibitors are mass produced for medical (to prevent patients with seizures or delusions from being able to pulverize the ambulance, for one) and security uses.
- Cranston's headband is also supposed to be one of these, but it doesn't work completely -- he can still lift pens and push buttons while wearing it. (Telekinetically, that is -- his hands work just fine either way.)
- Preemptive Apology: Victor apologizes before alternate Zodon for his wall.
- Psychic Static: The Revenant is fond of using The Alan Parsons Project music. He specifically mentions "Sirius", the instrumental lead-in to "Eye in the Sky", which featured the repeated line "I can read your mind". (And the album, also called Eye in the Sky, had a mystic symbol on the album cover which looks suspiciously similar to the Revenant's Chest Insignia.)
- Reality Ensues: Ambriel never felt as much as rain touching her skin (showers are another matter). She also never had contact with any disease (presumably air and food were automatically "sanitized") and as such never actually used immune system, ever, from birth. Then her power was turned off for a hour or so, and she took a short walk through a public place. The result was... as bad as it sounds.
- The Reason You Suck Speech / Flowery Insults: Alexandria von Fogg tried to express her opinion of Forak. He can exasperate people like this sometimes.
- Remote Body: Toby was originally one for Tyler.
- Restraining Bolt
- Retired Badass: Most of the PS238 teachers are former superheroes. They're more than capable of getting their hands dirty to protect their students, although to allow the students to shine they tend to suffer from The Worf Effect or simply not be in the right place.
- Running Gag: Whenever anyone new shows up, Zodon and Von Fogg will hand them minion application forms sooner rather than later.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money: Averted; one of the main problems for the Revenant is that many of his wealthy cover identities have problems with tax evasion charges.
- Secret Identity: It became a tradition because not only superheroes attract too much fans (some are vain enough to not mind this at all), but people willing to exploit metahumans' power for their own purpose tend to swarm them like flies.
- All superpowered students at the school are required to practice having a secret identity (those that end up going into hero work are expected to discard this "practice identity" when they start their careers.) They must appear as normal humans aboveground, and wear their costumes in the secret underground classrooms.
- Moon Shadow subverts it by being a normal human with a secret identity to hide who he is from the supers.
- Serious Business: Foursquare.
- She Is Not My Girlfriend: No one listens, Tyler.
- Shout-Out: Apart from all the superhero homages, there are also homages to non-superhero comics, including:
- Zodon's human disguise makes him look like a character from The Far Side.
- The time-traveller Tom Davidson is named after two of the stars of Doctor Who (and the cover art for issue #12, in which Tom features heavily, includes a homage to one of the old Doctor Who title logos).
- In another issue, Murphy quotes Leela in "The Robots of Death".
- One humorous two-panel joke has the Revenant decrypting the names "Wayne, B" and "Grayson, D".
- Phil Foglio and his family appear as supervillains. He gets another Shout-Out when Zodon gets his hands on a Heterodyne Tachyon Generator.
- Revenant's Alfred Ersatz is named Cranston, most likely a reference to Lamont Cranston, a.k.a. The Shadow. The Revenant also uses the alias Kent Allard, which happens to be another secret Identity of The Shadow.
- Toby being simultaneously bossed about by order and chaos is represented by him as Captain Kirk -- complete with Star Trek Shake.
- Bernard has a Skull doll.
- Spell Syrin tells off her magic students for trying to start a Quidditch game (Harry Potter does exist in that 'Verse).
- Tyler uses the Stargate Verse to convince Cecil that one of the "aliens" is on their side.
- Tyler finds himself in a Tron costume from his clone's superpowers leaking out.
- When Alec's drawing causes the Headmaster's computer to crash, it begins to sing "Daisy, Daisy".
- It's a Good Life ("what we call 'wish you into the cornfield' syndrome")
- Matrix - it runs on trapped organic matter!
- Shrink Ray
- Slobs Versus Snobs: Zodon vs. Victor.
- The Slow Path: Zodon takes it to get back to the present day from ~10,000 years ago, Human Popsicle style.
- Vashti did this through several epochs, via magical stasis. Because she wanted to see "The Final Age", when humans will get the fun powers for good instead of all this on-again off-again indecisive nonsense. This lady may have her failings, but she's certainly not mucking around. Oh, and it makes her one of the very few who knew the answer before Volume 6.
- Smug Super: All over the place.
Phlogiston: Don't any of you know what "narcissistic sociopath" means?
- Southern-Fried Genius: Herschel Clay is basically a redneck Tony Stark, who has a business empire, power armor - And a gimme cap.
- Special Guest: In a very bizarre but hilarious situation, Wil Wheaton guest stars in the comic about superpower career day, as the representative of meta-humans who go into the Entertainment industry. In the PS238 universe, he not only played Wesley but single-handedly used his psychokinetic superpowers to do most of the special effects for Star Trek: The Next Generation, which apparently helped cancel out some of his character being Creator's Pets in this universe. Zodon still hates him, though.
- Sticky Situation: Centurion armor carries a glue-spitter that can stop even Flying Bricks and suchlike.
- Stranger in a Strange School: Tyler doesn't pretend to be anything else, but between the fact that both his parents are legendary superheroes and the school being a constant Weirdness Magnet, he has no choice but to become an Action Survivor in order to, well, survive. Currently in training to become Badass Normal.
- Suddenly Fluent in Gibberish: Angie can somehow understand what Prospero is saying. Nobody knows how.
- Super Team: These pop up like mushrooms. Union of Justice (semi-retired), Earth Defence League, The Infinite Vanguard, Plasma Pack, Psikinetics, Elementalists, Major Arcana...
- Super Family Team: "Powers" (Marlocke) and "Nuclear" (one branch of Finsters) families.
- Super-Hero School: Naturally, the eponymous school.
- Super Registration Act: Averted. None is enforced, though many superheroes choose to anyhow. One of the early comics, a mock advertisement, indicates that "full disclosure gains access to scholarships, grants, and placement assistance".
- Superheroes Wear Tights: The Headmaster makes a case that all those superheroes and supervillains buzzing around in form-fitting and/or brightly colored costumes act, basically, like über-peacocks.
- Superhuman Transfusion: Toyed with. Of course, even sticking the needle into blood vessel can be a problem when the donor is naturally bulletproof. And after superhuman T-cells give "atomic wedgie" to the infection, they proceed to attack everything else unrelated at the same speed.
- Supernatural Elite: Argosian nobility are Flying Bricks.
- Superpowerful Genetics: It works... except for Tyler. There are many "super" families (such as Jordans - Black Titan and Battle Axe).
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: Zodon, after being caught red-handed cheating at blackjack.
Zodon: I'm not doing anything suspicious that can be proven within a hundred decimal places!
- Take a Third Option: "We want a hamburger, I mean, another option!"
- Teleporters and Transporters: The Earth Defense League has a teleporter network - linked, among other places, to the principal's office of PS238.
- Teleported Away Mid-Sentence: Charles tends to do this.
- Tempting Fate: Will they ever learn?
Neuronet: ...Piece of cake.
Grigor: Remind me to never eat dessert at your house, sir knight.
- Third Person Person: Amir Praxis
- Time Abyss: The Singularity.
- Timey-Wimey Ball
- Too Much Information: I get it. You can stop talking now. EEEEEEWWWW!
- Transforming Mecha: Prospero's spaceship.
- Trophy Room: Both "Powers" and "Nuclear" families.
- And Union of Justice.
- Turbine Blender: Captain Clarinet has Anxiety Dreams of this happening to him if he flies. That is, until Zodon points out that as a Flying Brick he'd be the one shredding the turbines. (It doesn't make him feel better, because Zodon goes on to describe what happens to the people on the plane.)
- Unusual Euphemism (mixed with Tongue-Tied): Whenever Zodon tries to cuss, the chip in his head causes him to say a random innocuous word instead. If he goes on a rant-length obscenity crawl, it switches into "Showtunes Mode"... "Oklahoma!", for example. Or "Man of La Mancha"... Or "The Music Man". Lampshaded by Victor VonFogg once."And you swear like a G-rated sailor."
Zodon: I'm going 'caroling' ape'beans'!
- We Can Rule Together: Victor once offered this, but Zodon is well aware of the implied sudden but inevitable betrayal part - "it dosn't fly with me".
- What Does This Button Do?: Push buttons! Push buttons!
- What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway? / Reed Richards Is Useless: Beautifully averted. The children in the Rainmaker program are all in possession of powers that are pretty much useless when it comes to things like fighting crime or saving the world. However, the purpose of the program is to give them an opportunity to explore using their powers in the private sector. A perfect example is a kid who can make any object as edible and nutritious (and tasty) as he wants; he won't be fighting any supervillains any time soon, but several restaurant chains are already lined up to headhunt him. Not to mention the job offers from Hollywood for the one who can change the distribution of body fat in people.
- And even then... Hestia, for one, will break you if you break the customs of ancient Greek-ish hospitality, xenia. Sure, that was usually Zeus's baliwick, but Hestia always needed to be more badass. Several of the others... sure, they aren't classical badass fighters, but they could fuck you up. Assuming they didn't go insane or something in the interim.
- Pays off when a supervillain trapped in a robot uses their combined powers to make himself a super-powered body.
- When All You Have Is a Hammer: Fire-based powers have very little uses.  
- Wingdinglish: Alien languages (Prospero, Emerald Ones, etc) are in strange font, but otherwise readable.
- Wise Beyond Their Years:
- X Meets Y: As mentioned in the description, this has been described as "Take the kids from Springfield Elementary, give them X-Men powers, and send 'em to Hogwarts."
- Your Head Asplode: Tyler's clone has a bomb inside the control device that lets Tyler uplink with it. Victor's immediate response to hearing that the clone is no longer needed is to trigger it -- fortunately the device was outside the clone's head at the time.