Marvel Super Hero Squad #1

Story by
Art by
Leonel Castellani, Marcelo DiChiara
Colors by
Letters by
Dave Sharpe
Cover by
Marvel Comics

As much as I usually like Todd DeZago's work, this book bordered on painful. I kept telling myself, "It's for the kids!" I'm not sure I believed it, though. With three stories jammed into this issue, there is more than a little bit going on between the covers. Unfortunately, most of it requires having watched some of the "Super Hero Squad" series beforehand, and having more than passing knowledge of the characters and concepts. This issue tries to set up the characters, but what's with the comic book Reptil has?

Younger, less scrutinizing readers are sure to find a bit more to enjoy in this issue than I did. After all, there's a story about the Squad being turned into babies, and another tale of the Hulk grabbing a snack that consists of more than half a dozen pizzas from Uncle Stan's while he learns of Iron Man's new Fixit-Widget, a machine designed to repair the damage Hulk unintentionally creates simply by existing. DeZago drops in a wink and a nod to the older readers ("Hulk smash bleeping machine!") while also remembering the target audience ("Hulk's butt itches!").

The art is cutesy, nicely translating the characters from the cartoon into print, but the calculated cuteness is just a little too much for me. X-babies had a bit of charm to it the first time out, but this "Super Hero Squad" loses me quickly.

I suppose this is largely due to the fact that while this title is delivered as an all ages read, it is more likely directed at younger readers who are keen to the cartoon and action figure line. My oldest got a chuckle out of this story, but says "Tiny Titans" is more fun, and her younger sisters quickly agreed. If you're trying to hook some younger kids into the super heroes, this seems like the perfect tool to do so, combined with, say, a few packages of the figures. If you're looking for a light-hearted read for yourself, you'll get light-hearted here, but you'll be getting a little saccharin with it.

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