The Superhero Squad Show

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That's the way they all became The Brady Bunch!

The Super Hero Squad Show is an animated television series by Marvel Animation based on the Marvel Super Hero Squad action figure line from Hasbro, and a humorous take on the Marvel Universe. The series' animation is produced by Film Roman. While at first coming off as a ridiculous Disneyfication, especially since it began airing about two weeks after Disney announced it would buy Marvel (though this was in production way before that and Disney had nothing to do with it), it turns out to be more of a hilarious series full of jokes only the older comicbook fans will get. Taken like this, it's surprisingly funny.

Prior to the beginning of the series, the villainous Doctor Doom, in pursuit of universal domination, attempts to acquire the limitless reality-bending power of the "Infinity Sword". He is stopped by Iron Man, but as a consequence of their battle, the sword is shattered into numerous "fractals" that rain down on Superhero City.

As the series begins, Doctor Doom has forged alliances with just about every supervillain, forming the Lethal Legion in order to hunt down the scattered fractals, each of which possess dangerous and different powers of their own. Doom's forces, including his two primary henchmen MODOK and the Abomination, dwell in Villainville which is separated from Superhero City by a giant wall erected at the start of the series premiere. Once again opposing Doom's plan is Iron Man, now leading the elite team known as the Super Hero Squad, consisting of The Falcon, the Incredible Hulk, Silver Surfer, The Mighty Thor, and Wolverine. The Super Hero Squad are headquartered in the SHIELD helicarrier, and are frequently aided in their defense of Super Hero City by their superhero friends, including their boss Captain America, rookie "Squaddie" Reptil, S.H.I.E.L.D. leader Ms. Marvel, and many more.

The second season starts after the Infinity Sword is reforged; it's taken by the Silver Surfer when he rejoins Galactus as his herald. The plot focuses on Thanos, who wants to complete the all-powerful Infinity Gauntlet to become supreme ruler of the universe. The Scarlet Witch takes the Silver Surfer's place as the Squad travels across the universe to foil Thanos' plan.

Originally aired on Cartoon Network. Now airs on The Hub.

Tropes used in The Superhero Squad Show include:

Iron Man to War Machine: Stop talking like you're on Reading Rainbow!

  • An Ice Person: Iceman
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • "You are under arrest for curfew violation, resisting a Sentinel, and carrying duct tape without a proper license."
    • Doctor Strange's mystical abilities include "levitation, travel to other dimensions, transformation of matter, Bulgarian cow-tipping.. and he's great at Sudoku."
  • Barack Obama: The Mayor's campaign posters do seem VERY familiar...
  • Big Bad: Dr. Doom in the first season, Thanos in the 2nd. The theme song even changes to reflect this between seasons. Dark Surfer takes role for remainder of Season 2
  • Big Fancy Haunted House: Doctor Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Thor fills this role for the heroes.
  • Butt Monkey: This seems to be M.O.D.O.K.'s role. On the good guys' side, we have the Falcon. And more so his pet, Redbird, who suffers Amusing Injuries constantly. (At one point, he's sucked into the Helicarrier's rotors!)
  • Black Best Friend: War Machine to Iron Man.
    • Falcon to...anyone else on the team.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Episode 6 introduces us to Brynnie Bratton, who gives both sides a hard time over a fractal in a tiara she wears that her father gave her.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Happens at least once per episode in the 2nd season. The Mayor of Super Hero city does this frequently.
    • Ms. Marvel berates Impossible Man for breaking the fourth wall for no good reason. He did it all throughout the episode that he shows up in, including revealing that he is the head writer of the show.
    • After one character makes a comment that breaks the fourth wall, other characters literally crash through a wall and Iron Man says "You know that's the fourth wall we've broken today."
  • Cain and Abel: Loki and Thor
  • Casting Gag: Adam West as the Batman Expy Nighthawk and Susan Eisenberg as the Wonder Woman expy Power Princess.
    • And Nina Dobrev as Werewolf by Night's girlfriend, who gets turned into a vampire.
  • Captain Ersatz: Wolverine serves as this for Guardian when he takes the moniker of Captain Canada.
  • Captain Ethnic/Captain Geographic: Ruthlessly parodied in the form of the All Captains Squad, which includes established heroes Captain America and Captain Britain... as well as Captain Australia, a boomerang slinging hero, Captain Brazil, a senorita who can dance a samba that causes sonic booms, and the diminutive but powerful (and economically prosperous!) Captain Lichtenstein.
  • Canon Foreigner: The Mayor of Super Hero City, Captain Australia, Captain Brazil, Captain Lichtenstein and Brynnie Bratton.
  • Canon Immigrant: Reptil, who was created for the show, then appeared in the comics even before the show debuted.
  • Cardboard Prison: Subverted. Every time Doom tried to escape prison in season 2, he would fail to escape. He was finally freed by Molecule Man because he's a reality warper.
  • Catch Phrase: "Hero up," and "No problems... adamantium skeleton." (The latter is given by you-know-who in a pained or dazed manner whenever he suffers Amusing Injuries... which is often.
    • Doom will often be heard yelling "Nuts!" after an Offscreen Crash.
      • Lampshaded by himself as his own catchphrase at the end of the final episode.
  • Channel Hop: From Cartoon Network to The Hub as Hasbro has the rights to the show.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Basically every scene with Dr. Doom in it. (Just goes to show that they understood the character.)
  • City of Adventure: Superhero City, occasionally crossing over the segregatory wall into Villainville
  • Cloudcuckoolander/Funny Schizophrenia: Doctor Strange when under the effects of an Infinity Fractal.
  • Companion Cube: Mjolnir at times (it's an Empathic Weapon, but Thor has drawn a face on it).
  • Composite Character: Scorpio in the show is a disguise used by Nick Fury, which is kind of fitting as the two are brothers in the comics (and Nick has disguised himself as Scorpio in the past). Nick Fury himself could be deemed a composite of his Ultimate and Classic selves.
  • Couch Gag: In the opening of every episode, Hulk is transformed into something else; including the original Jack Kirby drawing of Hulk, Joe Fixit, and... a baby. Sometimes doubles as a Shout-Out, such as Simpson-Hulk.
  • Creator Cameo: Stan Lee voices the mayor of Superhero City.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: In the intro for a second season episode, Dr Doom is seated on an electric chair, the camera zooms in as we hear:

Any last words, Doom?
Do your worst...

Surfer: That is soooo cosmic.

    • Thor tends to fill this role sometimes.
  • Dumb Is Good: Hulk chooses to invoke this trope when his Infinity Fractal-induced brilliance makes him an ineffective know it all who can't even fight properly.
    • At one point, a fractal gave Hulk a moment of intelligence while he was doing a crossword puzzle. When it wore off, Hulk proclaimed "HULK NO UNDERSTAND HULK!"
  • Empathy Doll Shot
  • Enemy Mine
  • Eviler Than Thou: This happens to Doom when Dormammu comes to town.
  • Expressive Mask: Iron Man and everyone with a mask.
  • Face Heel Turn: The Silver Surfer, after being corrupted by the Infinity Sword.
  • Fail O'Suckyname: M.O.D.O.K. and Abomination waste no time in heckling new villain Paste Pot Pete's choice of villain name. Even when he decides to change his name to Trapster.
  • Five-Man Band
  • Foe Yay: Enchantress and Thor, though completely one-sided.
  • Foreshadowing: In "Mysterious Mayhem at Mutant High," Reptil laughs off the divining rod that Ringmaster was using to locate fractals and tosses it in the trash. As he and Wolverine are flying away, the rod begins to shake and twitch violently and point towards Reptil in the sky, and the rock he wears around his neck begins to react as well in a subtle manner.
    • There had been many subtler hints. Reptil is the only one not depowered by Brynnie Bratton's fractal powered tiara and when he and Wolverine golf with M.O.D.O.K. and Abomination he picks up a fractal and he is unaffected but Abomination is.
    • And for some reason Wasp always goes for her opponent's ass when she attacks; her favorite target seems to be Screaming Mimi.
  • Foot Focus: Wolverine sniffs at Reptil's feet in "Tales of Suspense!". Coco von Doom as she's getting a pedicure in "Pedicure and Facial of Doom!".
  • Four-Fingered Hands
  • Genius Bruiser: Subverted hilariously in "Hulk Talk Smack."
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: More than once.
    • The episode featuring their encounter with Dormammu has their physical makeups being altered and one instance shows Falcon along with his pet falcon Redwing dressed up in wedding attire, with him in a tux and the falcon in a wedding gown. His remark: "Hey! It is NOT like that!"
    • In "Night at the Sanctorum," the heroes have to find a new place to temporarily live, and Iron Man reads off a list of heroes to stay with. He gets to She-Hulk and says to himself, "well, maybe if it was just ME."
    • In the above episode: While crammed in the back of the Punishers van, one of the heroes starts muttering something about his nipple.
    • Iron Man: Hulk, you trying to lose us our G rating?
    • War Machine mentions something about Iron Man dating She-Hulk:

War Machine: Didn't you dump her when you found out she was--
Iron Man: Gentlemen don't discuss such things!

      • When She-Hulk shows up in a season 2 episode, she asks Iron Man why he never calls her. He responds with this line:

Look, it's not you... It's just.. I've this thing about dents.

    • In "Honor Thy Sky-Father", Thor and Hercules face off in a competition. In one round, they have to fight an 8 headed Hydra and bring back one of it's heads. Thor rushes in, fights, and then brings back a bag.

Thor: Behold! The head of the Hydra!"
Reptile: Umm, Thor... That's not its head.
Thor: It is not.. I see... But there were 8 of them!
Wolverine: Okay, that was just gross.

    • "Hehe, he said 'put out'" - Abomination, Election of Evil.
    • Fin Fang Foom loses his pants during the first season finale, shocking even the mighty Galactus! (Interestingly, nothing is seen underneath)
  • Good Is Old-Fashioned: Taken to hilarious lengths with Captain America, who reminisces and asks everyone if they remember them building a dam... during the Depression. Also, he's not accepting President Roosevelt's calls.
    • And multiple stories about "The War"
      • "During the war..." is almost a catchphrase for him.
  • Gotta Catch Em All: The first season seems to deal with gathering pieces of an all powerful sword.
    • The Infinity Gems in the second season.
  • Grand Theft Me: Baron Mordo possesses Iron Man's armor, anyway.
  • Heh Heh, You Said "X":

Beta Ray Bill: I was genetically enhanced to be a janitor, in order to take care of the Spacestation Scuttlebutt.
Thor: Hehe, thou said scuttle.

  • Heroes Want Redheads: When Black Widow ( who is Mystique in disguise) briefly joins the team.
  • It Got Worse: It was bad enough that Thanos got the Infinity Gauntlet with all 6 Infinity Gems. But when Face Heel Turn Silver Surfer defeats Thanos and takes the gauntlet, he seizes the moment by destroying the Helicarrier v.2 and banishing the Super Hero Squad to another dimension of Time, Space and Reality.
    •  : When the Mayor tried to reason with the Dark Surfer, he threw the Earth out of it's orbit, nearly destroying it's atmosphere from that alone, and slowly sending it further and further away from the sun.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: The show doesn't skimp on them.

M.O.D.O.K.: What are the Super Hero Squad doing at the water and power building?
Abomination: Paying their superpower bill?
M.O.D.O.K.: [flailing uselessly] Want to hit you...but arms...too short!

Magneto: I did not steal your fractals!
Falcon: Actually, it was me. Wish I could tell you about it, but....read the message boards.

    • Again in Days, Nights and Weekends of Future Past:

Scarlet Witch: What do they write about me on your message boards?
Falcon: Uhh....nothing but positive things.
Scarlet Witch: Liar! No one EVER writes positive things on message boards!

  • Mythology Gag: Too many to name, but one particularly noteworthy example is Thor being turned into Throg, Frog of Thunder in the episode introducing Dormammu.
    • "Tales Of Suspense" as an episode title, with an A-Plot focusing on Iron Man.
    • "So that is what happens when a toad is hit by lightning. What a letdown."
    • The title cards are a homage to the Marvel covers of the 1960's and 70's. In particular, the first episode, featuring the Mole Man, has one that pays homage to the infamous first cover to Fantastic Four, with the featured superheroes standing in for the members of the Fantastic Four.
    • Captain America, talking on the phone about a reenactment of Gettysburg he's attending: "Relax, Brubaker! It's just a Civil War, what could go wrong?"
    • A special one that doubles as a Shout-Out is during a trip to the Negative Zone Iron Man sees a vision of himself as he looks on Avengers Earths Mightiest Heroes. His response:

Iron Man: Such strange apparitions!

Gray Hulk: Ah, M.O.D.O.K. The Mental Organism Designed Only for Kick-ball.
M.O.D.O.K.: Yes, it--Hey! That's not what it stands for!

    • Played straight when he once says the "K" stands for "Kick-butt."
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Flatman purposely calls Ben Stein to mind.
  • Obviously Evil: Chthon. Doom. Dormammu. Most of the villains, really...
  • The Only Ones: The Squaddies have to take care of everything. Even those who have some sense that a big event is going down, such as Doctor Strange, wait until our heroes have come to them before offering to help.
  • Screwed by the Network: When Season 2 started on Cartoon Network. It only aired on Saturday mornings. At 6:30 AM.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Literally. Doctor Strange has Baron Mordo sealed in a can of soda.
  • She's All Grown Up: Valkyrie. The last time Thor saw her was in high school.

Thor: She's filled out nicely.

  • Shout-Out
    • In "In Mental Organism Designed Only for Kissing", SpongeBob SquarePants' iconic laughter can be heard when Hulk was channel surfing. Seeing as how Tom Kenny is the lead in the show, this isn't quite surprising. What is surprising though is that Nickelodeon is a rival channel to Cartoon Network.
    • In "Election of Evil", the Mayor references Spider-Man, the most major of missing Marvel characters, quite a lot. For starters, he tries to get superpowers by "getting bitten by a radioactive bug", and his campaign motto is "With great responsibility comes great power...and vice-versa."
    • Reptil's favourite cheese is Queso da Joe ("It's super-cheesy!")
      • M.O.D.O.K: "Ever since Knuckles Quesada got out of prison, he just hasn't been the same."
    • Here's a particularly obscure one: In "Tales of Suspense," Doctor Doom gets a friend request from Magneto and Titanium Man. This is the name of a Paul McCartney song from the Wings era.
    • In "The Ballard of Beta Ray Bill", the Stranger calls Beta Ray Bill "[his] little pony".
  • Shown Their Work: As evidenced by the huge amounts of in-jokes and Mythology Gags the show uses. One example that stands out is in "Enter: Dormammu", in which the Hulk is the only squaddie to notice Dr. Strange's astral form, as a gag. It's not one of the Hulk's better known powers.
  • Sizeshifter: The Wasp has the power to both shrink and grow.
  • Somewhere a Paleontologist Is Crying: As a dinosaur-themed shapeshifter, Reptil is the major offender:
    • To protect himself, he grows "Stegosaurus armor". Stegosaurus' plates were thin, covered barely anything, and were for regulating temperature (not protection).
      • No one knows WHAT they were for. Armor and temperature regulation are both separate theories.
        • And that doesn't even consider the time he grows stegosaurus plates on the bottom on his feet SO HE CAN SKATE.
    • To fly, he grows "Pterodactyl wings". Pterodactyls were not dinosaurs, and their wings didn't look like bat wings (with multiple bony "fingers" going through the middle).
    • And then there's the time he morphed a hadrosaur's beak to use it as a shovel.
    • Sadly, all of these examples occurred in the same episode.
  • Spiritual Successor: the whole franchise is most likely to have been - at least partially - by Mini Marvels. With that said, how much of a "successor" the series may be is debatable since Mini Marvels is still ongoing.
  • The Starscream: M.O.D.O.K.
    • Both of which have now been voiced by the same man.
    • Granted, he only tries to overthrow Doom once. In every other episode, he's Doom's loyal Butt Monkey.
    • The Face Heel Turn Silver Surfer towards Thanos. Not only does he trick Thanos into giving him the Infinity Gauntlet, but he even banishes him into the Soul Gem.
  • Stock Footage: If the hour-long pilot is a good indication, at least once per episode stock animation of the core characters posing with attitude while the theme song plays will be utilized.
    • It is, even if someone's missing from the lineup.
      • And Ka-Zar manages to RUN AWAY during the footage.

Falcon: "He moved fast in just ten seconds."

    • Iron Man: I can't believe this! Family Circus is still in the paper!
    • Flatman's resistance to global warming is likely a subtle one towards the Republican Party and others' dismissal of said theories.
    • Thor's theories explaining how Mjolnir could turn Beta Ray Bill's toilet scrubber into a mystical hammer in "The Ballard of Beta Ray Bill".

"Or maybe it's sloppy continuity."

M.O.D.O.K: [referring to Iron Man] I tried to tell him, but it's like I'm talking to myself.

Falcon: Redwing, take care of that jewel on his forehead!
* splat*
M.O.D.O.K.: THAT'S UNSANITARY!

    • It also appeared in "From the Atom...It Rises."
    • In one episode, Human Torch and Silver Surfer destroy part of the Fantastic Tower. Cue a shot of Thing sitting on the toilet reading a newspaper only to have the bathroom crumble around him.
  • Training Montage: Doom gets one, including Rocky's sweater. His teddy bear (also with Doom armor) stands in for the trainer.
  • Transformation Is a Free Action: Averted for comedy's sake. Dark Surfer interrupts the Hero Up sequence by messing with reality and destroying the show's logo in the background.
  • Trickster: Loki. Who else?
  • Tsundere: Ms. Marvel with... well, everybody.
  • Unusual Ears: Galactus.
  • Visual Pun: At one point in "Enter Dormammu," Doctor Strange's fractal-corrupted magic turns the heroes into various other things. Wasp becomes an insect, while Iron Man becomes a clothing iron and then a golfing iron.
  • What Could Have Been: Spider-Man was supposed to be in the show, possibly in Falcon's spot, but rights-holder Sony refused and the closest we can get is the Ultimate Spider-Man episode Flight of the Iron Spider.
  • What Happened To The Wasp?: The first season started off by indicating that the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier was the home of other members of the Avengers such as Hawkeye and Wasp. After getting a decent amount of focus for a couple episodes, they're never seen or heard from again.
  • Wipe That Smile Off Your Face: Nebula has her mouth removed from her face by Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet.

Nebula: MMMRNN!
Thanos: Ooh, that is a *good* look for you!

  • Witch Hunt: Scarlet Witch is subjected to one by the founding citizens of Super Hero City in the year 1602, despite the fact that she had only shown good intentions and helped defend the city against the dreaded pirate Captain Doom up until that point. The Mayor reasoned that even though everyone likes her on an individual level, she is still guilty of being a witch.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Doctor Doom's mother attacks Hulk with her "sonic nag," to which Hulk responds that he doesn't fight girls. When she pours it on, he gets pissed and responds with his own sonic roar, properly causing a building to fall on top of her.
  • Yuppie Couple: A bratty little girl appropriately named Brynnie Bratton appears several times and is usually pouting because whatever she was doing is interrupted by the heroes and villains fighting. She eventually gets A Day in the Limelight in the sixth episode, where her dad gives her a tiara (with a fractal in it) as a gift, and she causes problems for both sides.