17 September 2009: Marvel Super Hero Squad initial review

Marvel Super Hero Squad
As the autumn genre television season begins, I'll be posting occasional reviews of new shows as I see them.
Note: This review originally
appeared on the message board of the "Dimensional Corps Online" Yahoo
club used by Steve M.R. and the City of Heroes supergroup.

Janice and I watched the premiere of Marvel Super Hero Squad the other night.
While I don't think you missed much, the television show wasn't as bad as I had
feared from the initial preview.

The animation and scripts are still shaky
("Squaddies assemble"?), and like some other Marvel adaptations,
people shouting at one another is mistaken for character development. The show
takes place in some mashup setting rather than New York City. The number of
fart jokes and the "super-deformed" style taken from anime also
suggest that "SHS" is intended for young audiences, say, under the
age of 10.

On the other hand, the costume designs
reflect current continuity, and it was nice to see numerous inhabitants of the
Marvel Universe. The dialogue so far and the voice cast are decent.
For example, Thor speaks with Shakespearean pomposity, Ms. Marvel is an uptight
military officer, and Silver Surfer talks a little like a surfer dude.

For those of you familiar with cartoons
based on DC Comics, I might compare this (not strongly) with the recent Teen Titans or Legion of Superheroes, not the more
adult ensembles and plots of Justice League Unlimited or Marvel's Wolverine and the X-Men. I think that the current Batman and
the Brave and the Bold
and Spectacular Spider-Man both do a
better job of balancing Golden and Silver Age goofiness with modern action.

I'd give Super Hero Squad a 6 out of 10
or a C+ so far, but as Steve M.R. noted, it could be an OK introduction to Marvel's
heroes for young viewers. Cartoon Network will rebroadcast the premiere this
coming Saturday morning [19 September 2009], which I think may be its eventual time slot. As Stan
"the Man" Lee
says, Excelsior! -Gene