There’s no mistaking what this show is about right from the get-go. The series opens with the Mayor of Super Hero City attempting to cut the ribbon on a new impenetrable door designed to keep the baddies of VillainVille safely locked away. Naturally, things don’t quite work as it should and, within seconds, the heroes of Super Hero City find themselves under attack by the worst of the worst. Led by Iron Man, he and the Super Hero Squad mount a defense to keep the citizens of Super Hero City safe. Definitely aimed at a very young audience, and written with tongue planted firmly in cheek, The Super Hero Squad Show has a charm about it that die-hard Marvel fans should really dig, regardless of age.
When the greatest (and coolest) heroes on the planet unite to face the world’s greatest villains, you get the biggest, most family-friendly Super Hero team-up in TV history. It’s no small job protecting Super Hero City from the wild, weird (& even wacky) villainy of VillainVille’s infamous baddies…but the Super Hero Squad is always up for the job. These brave heroes totally deliver the action – but with plenty of humor on the side. Start the adventure with The Super Hero Squad Show: Quest for the Infinity Sword! – Volume One!
A fun, and usually packed with family-friendly action, The Super Hero Squad Show is definitely an interesting little series. It’s a team show like you’ve never seen, taking a very all ages approach to some of Marvel’s biggest heavy-hitters, both good and bad. In fact, this new take on Marvel’s stable of heroes, save for Spider-Man, is blatantly obvious from the get-go. With a big feet/big hands chibi-esque design to each character, and simple fact that Super Hero City and VillainVille are the main locations for the show, we know this series won’t resemble Wolverine and The X-Men or other recent efforts from Marvel Animation. The crew behind the show is striving for something different and, for the most part, they do succeed.
The best way to describe this show is “cute.” It’s a cute show. All the characters look cuddly in their own respect, with their stubby three-fingered (and one thumb) hands and huge feet, completely inoffensive in every way. The action is very soft and usually packed with jokes and one-liners. All in all, I believe the creative team has faithfully executed what they wanted to do – make an all-ages fun adventure show starring Marvel heroes. Nothing serious or dark, just flat-out fun and corny, and they succeeded. There’s nothing here to scare kids and the show should keep most adults entertained for the duration of each episode.
If I have any complaints, it’s for only two things really. The first is that some of the humor just doesn’t work, which is the same as any show. I’m sure kids love fart and burping jokes as much as the next, but it seems like there’s just so much of that at times, too much from time to time. It’s completely expected for a show such as this, but sometimes…boy…they really pile it on. Secondly, this show seems really “by committee” for me. While the creative team on the series obviously has great love for the series, it does seem a bit artificially composed at times. Batman: The Brave and The Bold is a show that can easily be compared to The Super Hero Squad Show, but the Caped Crusader’s show feels more organic and natural, that every single episode and moment is painstakingly created out of pure love for the character. Here, at times, the show feels rather by the numbers, with any references or homage placed in because that’s just what the show should have. The older crowd will get these references and completely enjoy them, I know I did, but sometimes they don’t really feel organic to the show.
So, which episodes do we get on this first The Super Hero Squad Show release from Shout! Factory? We get “And Lo…A Pilot Shall Come!,” “This Silver, This Surfer!,” “Hulk Talk Smack!,” “To Err is Superhuman!,” “Enter: Dormammu!,” “A Brat Walks Among Us!” and “Oh, Brother!,”
So, overall, just how is the main feature here, these seven episodes? Well, the majority of these episodes are fun to watch, and should easily keep the attention of any youngster. Additionally, if you’re a hardcore Marvel fan, there’s plenty of in-jokes, nods and references that should catch you eye. I found “A Brat Walks Among Us!” to be some of the weakest episodes included here, but the rest are fun if you approach the series in the right mind-set. Overall, I’ll have to mark The Super Hero Squad Show: Quest for the Infinity Sword! – Volume One as Recommended, with the reservation that this show is aimed at a very young age bracket and, therefore, may not please those looking for full-on superhero team action in the same vein as Wolverine and The X-Men, for example. The Super Hero Squad Show is a fun series, nothing more, and outside of my odd misgivings about the series, is one worth giving at least one spin to.
Shout! Factory has a pretty fine release here with The Super Hero Squad Show: Quest for the Infinity Sword! – Volume One, to be straightforward about it. Housed in a spiffy transparent Amaray case, the extras may not be overwhelming, but there seems to be just enough to engage the younger audience and provide a new bit or two of information for the older set.
Digging in, the bonus features and overall presentation is pretty fantastic. The menu set-up definitely looks flashy, though simple and easy to hop around on. And while the bonus features are light, it’s nice to see Shout! Factory putting in some bonus extras that fans both young and old should enjoy, despite the small amount. The bonus material includes hero profiles, music videos, The Super Hero Squad Show trailers and a Stan Lee interview. It’s a small collection of extras, yes, but still nice, and should provide viewers with a few extra moments of enjoyment once the main programs on each disc wrap up.
The audio and video quality is something of a mixed bag here, I find. Audio for both titles is pretty impressive, everything crystal clear and booming out of each speaker. The mix may be predominantly center-oriented, but every speaker gets the workout here. The video, however, is somewhat of a disappointment. There’s a fair amount of aliasing and compression on display here, to the point where it actually becomes distracting at times. Now, please note I’m watching this release on a 1080p flatscreen television, so that may have an effect on the visual output, but I couldn’t help but notice some of the flaws in the video transfer.
Overall, if you’re a fan of the show or looking for some family-friendly comic book cartoons to watch, The Super Hero Squad Show is a great place to start. It’s not the best show by any means, but it’s a good way to get some all-ages appropriate superhero action out to the younger crowd. Plus, there’s plenty for the diehard Marvel fan to enjoy, no question. Full of in-jokes and references, The Super Hero Squad Show should keep the majority of Marvel fans happy. With that in mind, I’m going to give The Super Hero Squad Show: Quest for the Infinity Sword! – Volume One the Recommended stamp, it being a show that any Marvel fan young or old should be able to thoroughly enjoy.
The The Super Hero Squad Show: Quest for the Infinity Sword! – Volume One DVD release will be available at all retailers and online shopping destinations beginning July 13th, 2010.