Yeah. I’m reviewing the pilot for Super Hero Squad. Betcha didn’t see that one coming, did you? Well, I like to be fairly thorough in my love of comics, and if that occasionally means sitting through something that I’m not overly fond of, I’ll do it. I mean, when it comes to the Super Hero Squad Show, it’s not like I had a lot of high hopes or anything to be dashed. This is obviously a show for a different crowd. I just couldn’t resist sitting through it. I tend to like a lot of Marvel’s kid’s cartoons lately, what with Wolverine and the X-Men and Spectacular Spider-Man both being absolutely great representations of the heroes (I didn’t like the Iron Man show much, though). So why not just give the Super Hero Squad Show a chance, right?
Ok, let’s start off by saying something that, no matter how obvious it may be: This is a show for children. It is not a show geared to comic nerds my age. All my criticisms that are to follow are simply as a 22-year-old comic nerd and, to be honest, can’t really be taken seriously. I mean, I love comic books and all, but .. well, it’s a show for kids. So let’s keep that in mind.
So, let’s start with the plot. Essentially, Iron Man and Dr. Doom fight in space over something known as the Infinity Sword, a weapon which gives the user unlimited power. It shatters and bits of pieces come crashing down onto the surface. Doom enlists all the help of every villain ever to battle the heroes, and Iron Man forms something called the Super Hero Squad which consists of him, Thor, Hulk, Silver Surfer, Wolverine, and Falcon. They do their best to protect any and all shards that remain to be found, all of which are scattered somewhere around Hero City (of which Stan Lee is the mayor). There are many appearances of various heroes, of course, with two of the bigger ones from the first episode being Storm, Ms. Marvel, Captain America, and a brief cameo from the Fantastic Four. There’s also an appearance from Fin Fang Foom, although there are no pants-related disasters involved. And in the pilot episode, Dr. Doom’s new minion Mole Man releases a series of monsters into Hero City to distract the Super Hero Squad while Mole Man excavates underground for a piece of the Sword.
That’s the plot. Not too bad, right? Where does it go from here?
Well, from beyond that point, I remind you once again it’s a kids show. The voice acting is absolutely ridiculous, the writing is inane and dumbed down, and the show is somewhat unwatchable if you’re looking for some serious superhero programming at my age. The voice acting is some of the worst, in my opinion. Mole Man sounds like Gollum, Dr. Doom is very loud and whiney, and Silver Surfer is… well, he’s a Californian Surfer dude from space. He sounds kind of like Michaelangelo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Of course, then there are really great examples of voice acting like Thor and Wolverine (imagine a more high pitched voice for the Wolverine and the X-Men Wolverine), and Falcon and Iron Man aren’t too bad either. It awkwardly balances out in a weird way.
Then there’s the writing. As I said, it’s incredibly dumbed down. Mole Man is ridiculously annoying, and spends a big part of the episode being… well, annoying. Then there are the excessive amount of farts (from Mole Man and Fin Fang Foom), the goofy premise to begin with, and the odd dialogue between all the members which include puns (Iron Man calls Mole Man “Guacamole Man” at one point) and ridiculous commentary all around. …of course, there are also really great moments of dialogue and plenty of nerd references for the few of us that know Marvel and have decided to watch. One of my favorite moments is Thor saying “So say we all,” a definite reference to Battlestar Galactica. It’s an awkward mix.Continued below
One thing I would really like to point out is that the animation is really good. Based on the successful toyline, the animators of this show make a really smooth and crisp animation to go along with the show that make all of the over the top fight sequences go over really well. In fact, it’s a very easy show to watch visually, even if the kid in me can’t adjust to the kid that the show targets.
That’s the thing I really have to stick with in this review, though. I don’t think it’s that odd I don’t like it. Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and Marvel, and anyone else involved with the making and airing of this show, aren’t shooting for it to aim to me. As a kid’s cartoon, it’s actually pretty cute. If I had a kid, I’d put it on for him all the time. But as a 22-year-old guy who likes animated adaptations of his favorite characters, it doesn’t hit enough notes on my scale to warrant me wanting to continually watch it and follow it as I do other Marvel cartoons. That’s where I can’t really make commentary any farther on. You really just have to see it for yourself to see if you’d like it. Right off the bat I wouldn’t recommend it to people like me, but that doesn’t mean you’ll hate it. You could love it. I just know I don’t.
So I mark it down as a pass. It’s amusing and cute but it’s not something I have any real interest in. When it comes down to it, I can put it on the background or even watch it when it airs, but you won’t find me in Best Buy scoping out the racks for the latest Superhero Squad Show DVD. Not until I’m 30 and have a baby comic nerd in my home who is easily amused by bright lights and pretty colors.