Category Archives: Cacophonous Clichés!

Comic Clichés, Part X: Superhero Teams


Every team will include within its ranks at least three of the following:

  • a leader often wracked with self-doubt about his worthiness to lead
  • a maternal type who acts as surrogate mother/big sister to the rest of the team
  • a lovable joker who is in fact a tortured soul hiding a dark secret
  • a dark, brooding character, possibly with mystical powers, who knows more than he/she lets on
  • a super-scientist whose genius is tempered by his precarious mental stability
  • a tough-talking muscleman with a short temper who frequently disrupts the team by freaking out, quitting, assaulting the other members, etc.
  • a young hothead who means well, but has a penchant for barreling into situations without thinking
  • an unsure hero whose less-than-impressive powers cause him to regularly wonder if he’s worthy enough to be on the team
  • a young woman who uses her sexual appeal to mask her deep insecurities.

In every superhero team, there will be at least one male and one female romantically involved with each other. If the team consists mainly of teenagers, the relationship will be one in which a team member thinks to him/herself, “I love her/him, if only I knew how he/she felt!” without knowing the object of affection feels the same way.

In situations where the team has a publicly known address for its headquarters, the issue of surrounding residents fleeing in droves to escape the incoming bullets, bombs, rockets, nuclear warheads, etc., will never come up.

No two heroes within a team will have the same powers, because there are never any situations where, say, having two super-strong team members might come in handy.

Corollary: If there are similar characters on a new team, one of them will die in his/her first mission, giving the others a reason to stay together.

No matter where a superhero team’s headquarters is, every member will be able to get there from any point in the United States within minutes.

Superhero stories always take place near a venue where every hero can participate. If a superhero team has an aquatic member, their adventures will never occur in, say, Nebraska.

Corollary: The only time such adventures will occur is when the limited hero is able to overcome the bonds of his/her restriction and triumph in a suitably dramatic manner.

If a hero team could not plausibly have access to a supersonic aircraft (and doesn’t just have one anyway), one of them will be able to teleport the entire group to and from missions.

Teams of heroes in their teens and early 20s have members who fall in and out of love with each other so many times they make any average teen drama on The CW look like it’s set in a monastery.