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V-Formation Team Shot
aka: Justice League Shot
Not to be confused with the B or the Q.

In almost every show featuring a Five-Man Band or a team of heroes, at some point in the opening or promotional materials the main characters will be displayed in a certain formation. The leader stands in the middle of the shot, with the rest of the team standing to each side of him in order of importance, each slightly behind each other, forming a "V" shape.

Quite apart from looking really cool, this shot also has practical advantages. For one thing, it makes all the characters neatly visible, but more importantly, the viewer can and will make inferences about the group's power dynamic based on the arrangement of the characters. The characters flanking the central figure on either side will be assumed to be the two second most important team members, with others descending in importance as they move further toward the tips of the V and thus further back into the shot. (To be clear, it's not a hard and fast rule that every V formation shot will adhere to this formula, but the viewer's expectation is definitely there. The designer of the shot will have taken that expectation into account, even if they're intending to subvert it.) Also, though this is less of a given, information might be conveyed by whether a character is standing to the central figure's left or right side. The left and right sides may represent different subgroups of the team, or indeed two separate (but probably not worse than rivaling) factions altogether.

They put it on DVD boxes, magazine covers, book covers, game covers and album covers too. However, in movie covers there is a risk that the center lead will be replaced by the most famous name, whether they are the leader or not.

The moving version of this is Power Walk. Compare Team Shot. Subtrope of Opening Credits Cast Party, where the cast poses for the cameras during the credits and the Establishing Team Shot.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

     Comic Books 
  • Many team books have this on the covers. From the Avengers to the Justice League.
  • Used many times on BIONICLE covers or title pages. Most notably the first and last issues have Tahu in the front in the same pose, except in the latter image, one side of the "V" is made up of villains.

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live Action 

    Live Action TV 
  • Leverage does this, while striding out of the smoke and in slow motion. And it is awesome.
  • It's also common for the various teams of Power Rangers to be seen like this, too.
  • The cast of Glee gets one in "Theatricality" when they come to aid Kurt as he's being accosted by two jocks. They do this in full KISS and Lady Gaga outfits.
  • Torchwood has them.
  • A rather hilarious accidental one occurs for a brief moment on the miniseries John Adams of all places, as Mr. Adams and some of the other delegates enter the room to begin Framing the Constitution.
  • Downton Abbey features it on their DVD covers, with Lord Grantham standing at the front.

    Music Videos 

    Pro Wrestling 
  • A lot of movie posters and promotional photographs. As one example, in the WWE Survivor Series pay-per-views, the teams of wrestlers will be shown in this formation with the "captain" front and center.

    Toys 
  • Almost every piece of BIONICLE promotional art showing all six members of a given set wave did this within the first six years, occasionally with some variation such as one character flying above the pose. Come 2008, when set waves became more diverse in who was in them, this became considerably less frequent; after all, having heroes and villains posing together as a team wouldn't make all that much sense.

    Video Games 

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • The trope was originally named after Justice League, whose main characters are seen silhouetted in this manner in the opening.
    • They also throw in a Power Walk.
    • The Justice League Unlimited series takes the shot and the silhouettes to an extreme level — from the Magnificent Seven to the Magnificent Thirty-Seven.
  • Seen in the opening sequence of Teen Titans.
  • The opening sequence for Metalocalypse, and the cover of the Fake Band Dethklok's album.
  • Team Go from Kim Possible does this. Even before ass kicking.
  • The Kids Next Door get one in their TV movie Operation: Z.E.R.O., when they exit their escape pods at the museum.
  • The Club of Heroes do this at the end of the teaser for the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Powerless!".

    Real Life 
  • Geese flying in formation.
  • A promotional poster for the 1992 Cricket World Cup showed the participating nations' captains (minus South Africa, who were a late addition) like this.
  • The elaborate choreography employed by *NSYNC usually opened or finished with them in the formation.
  • Most music acts in general use this in order to fit everyone into frame.


Versus Character SplashStock PosesVictory Pose
Tyop on the CoverCover TropesWolverine Publicity
Conspiracy TheoriesImageSource/Western AnimationKaBlam!

alternative title(s): Justice League Shot
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