Meet the TeamFreaks' Squeele
is an ongoing French series of comic books created by Florent Maudoux and published by Ankama. The series is notable for its graphic style, mixing manga
, American comics and classic Franco-Belgian comics
The story follows the adventures of three students in a university for Heroes (the F.E.A.H.), specializing in Bad Guys and Villains
. It is fair to say they may not be the brightest element of the classes. The team consists of Chance, an adorable clumsy demon-girl
; Ombre de Loup (Wolfshade), a big-hearted lycanthrope
stuck in his animal form, and Xiong Mao, who has no superpower whatsoever
apart from being a relentless worker.
Expect slices of college life, sadistic professors and epic brawls.
Despite the premise, the parodic aspects are in fact quite slight and subtle, the story focusing on the dynamic, intelligent characters, a catching and humorous story and remarkable art.
However, the references to pop culture are pervasive explaining the large number of tropes referenced here.
This book provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Primarily Xiong Mao, although Chance might also qualify.
- All of the Other Reindeer: Poor Rosebud!
- Alpha Bitch: Amanite
- Apologetic Attacker: Xiong Mao's sister ambushes her with along with a few friends from China, but several of them would rather not fight her.
- Applied Phlebotinum: The "life expectancy hourglass" handled by Funerailles, is used to "send back demons to the inferior planes".
- Badass Normal: Xiong Mao got admitted to a hero academy despite having no supernatural abilities whatsoever. She only goes up from there.
- Bears Are Bad News: One has an epic fight with Ombre for territory control.
- BFS: The one found in the Library, an obvious Shout Out to Berserk.
- Big Badass Wolf: Ombre certainly has his moments.
- Bishie Sparkle: Fei Long in his first appearance.
- The Cameo: Lots of them. Hugh Laurie as a sadistic professor, Sean Connery as a school director, Quentin Tarantino as a pervert homeowner ...
- Catfight: The pool outing turns this way, much to the pleasure of the male onlookers.
- Cast of Snowflakes: All major and minor characters and many of one-shot characters are unique.
- Cat Girl: There's one in the protagonists' class named Felicia, as well as another one with two heads.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: averted, sort of, with Xiong Mao; her practice of martial arts makes her a competent fighter and stronger than average girl, but according to the test, her strenght are still on human level.
- The Chess Master: Apparently the president of FEAH has a larger plan than just ratings and money, considering one of the illustrations shows the main trio defending him and Funeralles later agrees with his plan.
- Chinese Girl: Xiong Mao Actually half-Chinese. Her full-blooded relatives never let her forget.
- Clark Kenting: "The Law of Kent" (how a well-placed accessory can disguise you completely) is actually taught at F.E.A.H. Apparently it's the reason that no one realizes Ombre is a huge wolf-man when he's wearing a hat.
- Clothing Damage: The Power Trio's costumes get torn up pretty badly during the monster hunting assignment.
- All of Ombre's clothes are always in tatters (even his underwear) due to spending so much time tromping through the woods. His Care Bear costume also gets sliced up a bit during the battle with St. Ange's students.
- Cool Sword: Xiong Mao sure can forge pretty cool ones.
- And Claidheamor turns into one!
- Cute Monster Girl: Chance
- Dance Battler: Xiong Mao using Flamendo. Chance learns fencing tango.
- Defeat by Modesty: Enforced in the strategy exam, where the students are eliminated once they lose their sarongs.
- Dhampyr: Alucrade.
- Dominatrix: Amanite to Changelin after discovering his/her real, skinny male form. Actually has him on a leash, blindfolded, with a ball-gag and his arms tied behind his back for their villain project presentation. "Call me Hermione!"
- Doorstop Baby: Chance, apparently. Her new parents were quite happy to have her, horns and all.
- Dragons Up the Yin Yang: Wong Fei Long's magic tattoo.
- Dream Sequence: Ombre and the animals of the forest hold meetings through these.
- Dynamic Entry: Fei Long literally explodes onto the scene when he first appears at the pool. Everyone's ears are ringing afterward.
- Eating Lunch Alone: Ombre, in the first book.
- Not just alone, but under the table!
- Elaborate University High: The F.E.A.H. and the surrounding campus.
- Embarrassing First Name: Xiong Mao. She takes great care to conceal that her name actually means "Little Panda".
- Expository Hairstyle Change: Xiong Mao and Ombre both have different hairstyles after spending time in the underground forge.
- Fangirl: Amanite is apparently one for Harry Potter, seeing as she forces Changlin to stay in his skinny male form, wear round glasses, and call her Hermione.
- Fanservice: Lampshaded. The university even gives classes of Fanservice for heroines.
- Fastball Special: Used by Chance and Ombre during the tactics exam.
- Five-Man Band:
- Foot Focus: In order to appease her homeowner (modeled after Quentin Tarantino), Chance tries to bribe him with pictures of Xiong Mao's feet.
- Gag Penis: Fei Long has an oversized Censor Bar when he loses his sarong.
- Another student has an ability similar to Goku's Super Saiyan mode. During the pool episode, when he transforms another student notices that the transformation happens "down there" as well.
- Gender Bender: Changelin
- Gentle Giant: Ombre is a tall, strong wolf-man who's been in the commandos... and collects stuffed animals.
- "The Gingerbread Man": A whole army of those is created by the team in order to take control of the world (which is merely a school exercise).
- Girls Love Stuffed Animals: Subverted, since Ombre is the one who collects and make plushies (and he's pretty embarassed when the girls find out). Nevertheless, also played straight as the girls seems to love them too.
- The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Xiong Mao and her sister. They even attend rival schools. Actually half-sisters; it seems Xiong's mother wasn't Chinese. When the "heroes" of St. Ange ambush the FEAH students Xiong Mao's convinced she's being attacked personally.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Subverted with Funerailles as despite his nasty scars he is a much better person than his younger brother, the president of F.E.A.H.
- Great Big Library of Everything: Complete with a colossal underground quarry of unclassified files and books. Also, the librarian seems to be an orangutan...
- The Grim Reaper: Appears in person in the second book.
- Hammer Space: Where Val gets her clothes from.
- Handicapped Badass: Funerailles
- Hit Points / Life Meter: Subverted in Chance and "Archangel"'s fight — they can't hurt each other, but they're judged by how popular they are with the spectators. Because this is being televised, there's a mass of suits whose job it is to equalize to score so neither of them "die" too quickly.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: FEAH itself thanks to scheming between its headmaster and St. Ange's. It doesn't help that their students are skeletons, mafia heirs, werewolves, demons, spider-women, and Amanite.
- Heroic Trio: Two Guys and a Girl is perfect, as are three guys or three girls. Two Girls and a Guy (like our protagonists) will ding your grade, and adding another teammate is right out (unless you're going for a Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse theme).
- Hot Teacher: One of the transformations of Valkyrie.
- I Just Want to Be You: Changelin to Chance.
- Important Haircut: Actually, it's important when Xiong Mao decides NOT to cut her hair. She had previously kept it short due to being ashamed of how her curly hair exposed her mixed parentage. Once she accepts it, she wears her hair long.
- Improvised Golems: Amanite can summon very nice ones out of paper sheets or tennis balls.
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja: Wong Fei Long's been posing as one to keep an eye on Xiong Mao. After she defeats him and he learns about St. Ange's plot he goes to train with an actual Ninja Warrior on a fishing boat.
- There's also Sablon, an Arabian K/Night-themed guy who never takes his mask off.
- Except when he does as a part of his disguise
- Kill the Cutie: Ombre's bunny. Once released, he tastes the joy of freedom but gets eaten by a bird of prey.
- The Klutz: Chance. Ombre might also qualify, as the objects are sometimes unsteady in his gigantic hands/paws.
- Knife Nut: Xiong Mao, though she only makes knives and doesn't use them.
- Sablon gets starry-eyed whenever he sees a finely-crafted blade.
- Knight in Shining Armor: Or rather, the armor itself, who has come to life after its owner has died inside.
- The Lost Woods: The nature park where Ombre lives draws many of its characteristics, which is quite ironic since the university itself is firmly settled in a french suburban setting.
- MacGuffin: A tapestry which contains secret indications on the way to bring a gingerbread man to life.
- Mafia Princess: Xiong Mao is basically the next leader of her family but she'd rather be a heroic weapons-smith.
- Magical Girl: The dream profession of Valkyrie.
- Mask Power: One of Sablon's teammates is a girl named Venise who always wears masks, though we've yet to see her do anything particularly powerful.
- That said, Sablon himself, with his face-concealing turban, qualifies. (Chance claims to have seen his face.)
- May-December Romance: Chance and Funerailles, complete with a shout-out to Remus Lupin and Tonks ("Too old, too ugly, and too dangerous").
- Meaningful Name: Everyone. Most notably Chance whose full name is Chance D'Estaing (Name of an ancient family of Central France, used because it sounds like the French word for "Destiny").
- Meganekko: Xiong Mao, in various occasions.
- Messy Hair: Xiong Mao has wavy/bushy hair, a sign she's not 100% Chinese.
- Modesty Towel: Everyone (including the camera crew) wears stylized sarongs at the pool that serve this purpose. Then the students are given an assignment to steal each others' sarongs. Chaos (and hilarity) ensues.
- According to Word Of God, early storyboards used regular towels, but they looked like they would fall off too easily and weren't sexy enough, so the sarongs were invented.
- The Mole: ? Ombre was apparently sent to the human world to prepare them for something by the forest animals.
- Mr. Exposition: Sablon explains Flamendo to the reporter.
- Naked People Are Funny: The Bathhouse battle. On a less savory note, Chance loves walking around nude in her apartment and leaves hair all over. They're not the ones from her head.
- Chance also tends to suggest "everybody get naked" as the solution to a lot of problems. Sometimes, she's partially right!
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Funerailles, who is actually a pretty nice guy.
- Old Media Are Evil
- Our Angels Are Different: St. Ange's is a self-righteous jerkass. "I'm a hero, I'm always right!"
- Our Werewolves Are Different: Despite his impressive height and strength, Ombre is most lovable guy in the campus.
- Oven Logic: Chance tries the equivalent with two combined pasta dishes. It's not exactly disastrous, but only Ombre is willing to finish his portion.
- Pool Episode: The last chapters of the first book.
- The Power of Love: Literally used as a magic ingredient to bring the gingerbread men to life.
- Power Trio: Xiong Mao (Ego), Chance (Id), and Ombre (Superego). Later expanded into a Five-Man Band (plus one).
- Real Place Background: Some stealth clues (license plates, tramway numbers, maps...) suggests the school is located in Villeurbanne, a university suburb of Lyon, France.
- Sealed Army in a Can: In order to conquer the world (which is a "science project" for the School), the group create an army of gingerbread soldiers. A little bit rebellious, still...
- Scenery Porn: Various very detailed environment and ambiances.
- Settlers Of Catan: Played by the students in the second book.
- Shout Out: Loads and loads...
- Sibling Yin-Yang: The handsome but scheming head of FEAH and his disfigured but straight-talking brother Praetorius (or as we know him, Funeraillis).
- Speaking Simlish: The Gingerbread Warriors say "Ni!" except for Rosebud who says "Nou!".
- Split Personality: St. Ange student Requiem AKA PSYCHOPORN!!! He just wants more personal freedom.
- Spy Catsuit: Worn against their will by the female members of the team.
- Stop Helping Me!: The students cheer Xiong Mao by chanting her name — first the embarrassing translation, then a mangled pronunciation.
- Sunglasses at Night: St. Ange's "Archangel".
- Superhero School: The F.E.A.H. [Faculty of Hero´c Academical Studies]
- St. Ange, a top-tier superhero university with more money and connections.
- Supernatural Martial Arts and Crafts: The Flamendo.
- Theme Naming: The superhero teams' code names will match their theme.
- Brothers Scipio and Praetorius, aka the head of FEAH and Funerailles.
- Took a Level in Badass: Xiong Mao, Ombre, Chance, and Fei Long all take one in the months leading up to the duel with Ange, albeit in different ways.
- Transformation Trinket: Valkyrie can use the ring on her forehead as one.
- The Triads and the Tongs: Xiong Mao's family.
- Truman Show Plot: Unbeknownst to them, all the students of the school are part of a reality TV show.
- The Unfavorite: Xiong Mao
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Xiong Mao and Ombre.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Ombre can walk around in public just fine so long as he wears a hat. Only dogs, or perhaps animals in general, can see past the hat and realize what he is.
- Valkyries: Valkyrie (but you can call her Val).
- Wicked Witch: Amanite
- Year Inside Month Outside
- Logical Fallacies: The cooking of pasta seems a very challenging problem for the demon-girl.