A lot of Marvel fans like their superheroes to be tortured, grim and gritty. They like the Hulk to be with a permanent mad on destroying worlds on a whim, Iron Man a scheming alcohol-dependent wreck hated by most of the rest of the Marvel universe. Heck, in their heart of hearts they probably loved it when Captain America got shot in the back and Mephisto tricked Peter Parker and Mary Jane to break up.
And they howled like a pack of wounded Wolverines when Cartoon Network started airing Super Hero Squad.
To all those poor saps stuck in their mom’s basements with nothing better to do but hate, all one can say is grow up and get a sense of humor. Super Hero Squad has to be some of the funniest TV escapism of the last five years.
You see, this series is designed for a much more mature audience than these misanthropes. It’s for those 5 years of age and older. Yes, it is loaded with all kinds of poo poo and flatulence jokes, but that’s what kindergarteners call humor. Comics like Vince Vaughn and Jim Belushi have been cashing in on this kind of comedy for eons.
What’s also important is SHS rapid fires these jokes faster than Sly Stallone with a Baretta .45. They hit the target, our funny bones, much more than the sometimes Rambo, too. As scripted by longtime comic veteran Matt Wayne, this is a series that isn’t afraid to take itself with about as seriously as many of the current Marvel plot lines so deserve.
Sure, it also makes the likes of the Abomination, M.O.D.O.K. and the Mole Man almost cute and cuddly. At the same time, one can help but laugh one’s tail off with their incredible ineptitude. The heroes aren’t much better, casting Ms. Marvel as a hyper-active type AAA+, Silver Surfer as someone much more like an alien from Venice, California instead of the former herald of Galactus and the Mighty Thor as a frustrated hair metal guitar maniac.
The character design is actually exceedingly well rendered and the action choreography is top notch. If anything SHS enjoys an exceedingly bright and attractive color palette that is very nicely detailed. It’s also chock full of exceptional background design when one spends the time to notice those kinds of detail.
Still, what really sells this show is its voice cast. Among those pulling multiple roles are the likes of Tom Kenny (Iron Man, Captain America, M.O.D.O.K), Charlie Adler (Dr. Doom, Sabretooth, Super Skrull), Steve Blum (Wolverine, Abomination, Fin Fang Foom) and Grey Delisle (Ms. Marvel, Enchantress). One could see they are having their share of fun at the recording studio and it would be interesting to find out how many of their lines are scripted compared to off the cuff.
So if you have a penchant for semi-vulgar humor in spandex, hunt up this first volume. It not only includes seven half-hours from the series, but some smack talk from no less than Stan The Man Lee. For those who spent all their time screaming their hatred of this show on the various comic book sites, go waste more of your money on $4.00 a shot comic books and leave the rest of us alone. We’ll be having some properly animated fun.