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The Superhero
Squad Show
Volume 1

Creating the next generation of True Believers, it's The Superhero Squad Show. But then, you already knew that, because you've bought the cute little action figures, the videogame and probably the comic book. What you don't have yet is …

The first official DVD collection!

Okay. I'm pretending that I could resist this show. Back when it was announced, I gave it the full force of my skepticism, reasoning that these super-deformed versions of Marvel heroes would make no sense and clearly looking at it from the standpoint of an adult.

Luckily for Marvel, I have a six-year-old son, whose review of every episode and this DVD is … "awesome!" That's not enough for reasoned critical analysis, perhaps, but a case can be made that this show is exactly what the Marvel Universe needed. Forget the Heroic Age; thanks to The Superhero Squad Show, some fans got out of the darkness of the comic books months ago.

Set in "Superhero City," the show definitely feeds into how kids were already playing with these characters in their minds. Every hero has a loose affiliation with the Squad, vaguely led by Iron Man but including Wolverine and Hulk in every adventure. Sometimes the Fantastic Four pops by, but they're not as important as the Silver Surfer - who is every bit a cartoon surfer in personality.

The characterizations might not be the most original of ideas. Taking a bit from Not Brand Ecch decades ago and a Defenders mini-series a couple of years back, they do make these heroes 100% kid-friendly. Yet the hardcore older fan will find a lot of jokes nodding to their knowledge of the superheroes' regular appearances.

While the more simplistic personalities make the show lean toward moralistic messages about sharing and playing nice, they also expose that that's pretty much what superheroes are really about anyway. What is Doctor Doom if not a spoiled child saying, "mine, mine, mine"?

In this case, Doom leads "The Quest for the Infinity Sword," each episode seeking a piece or "fractal" of a weapon that will give him great power. He just doesn't understand that whole great responsibility thing. Of course not, he's Doctor Doom. And we all think MODOK is silly anyway, even if he is designed for killing. Give him a ridiculous voice and a shifting definition for the "K" in his name - though mostly it's kicking butt. He's balanced out on the side of the heroes by Thor's preening and Iron Man's utter conviction of his own coolness.

Even the dread Dormammu gets the treatment. Apparently I've been saying his name wrong for all of my life. Thanks, Superhero Squad!

Shout! Factory makes this a nice kid-friendly package as well. There's an interview with Stan Lee, just in case kids make the connection between characters and co-creators. (Note that wording, because that is how Stan puts it.) And if nothing else, Stan also does a surprisingly funny job as the Mayor of Superhero City, so kids might enjoy that. There's a music video of the theme song, and perhaps the most important extra of all - an ad for the next Superhero Squad videogame.

Yes, that got an extra "awesome" out of the boy.

This collection doesn't gather the whole season, only the first eight episodes. As a completist adult, I'd rather have it all in one season package, but this way does make it easier for the show's intended audience of kids to get their hands on it -- quite simply, it's more affordable in chunks like this.

If you're still not sold on this show (though you should be) remember that - it's for the kids. On that, The Superhero Squad Show absolutely saves the day.

Derek McCaw

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