Western Animation / Monster Force

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Monster_Force_DVD_cover_4575.jpg

Not to be confused with the Game Boy Advance game of the same name. For that, see here.

A Monster of the Week cartoon about a scientist and three teenagers, including the (female and psychic) descendant of Doctor Frankenstein, wearing Powered Armor and fighting classical Universal Monsters alongside Frankenstein's Monster and the teenage grandson of the Wolf Man. Produced by Universal Cartoon Studios and Lacewood Productions in The '90s (hence, it was paired with fellow Universal action series Exo Squad in first-run syndication). Recently, the first seven episodes have been released on DVD, so if you haven't heard of the show at the very least you can go look for it now. The show is also noticeable for having comic book writer Marv Wolfman as one of the show's writers which explains the quality behind some of the stories.

Tropes:

  • Achey Scars: Doc Crawley has four around one of his eyes (like an animal paw) that glow whenever he is near Dracula. It can double as a Spider-Sense since Dracula is never far behind once his scars glow. Dracula himself gave the scars to Doc, so it would make sense they'd react to their creator.
  • Action Figure File Card: The toys had them.
  • Adventurer Archaeologist: Doctor Rhomer, who appears in two episodes. While his field seems to be archeology and working for universities, he and Doc are familiar with each other. He even hires Monster Force in one episode. However, he generally holds the Idiot Ball when obviously something supernatural is going on or allows greed and fame to cloud his judgment. He tends to be an Agent Scully when dealing with warnings and curses, though he is a scientist, so he could just be looking for a rational explanation to strange events. In episode 4, he enrages the Creature from the Black Lagoon by destroying its resting place so he can get to the gold its guarding. In episode 10 he runs afoul of Im-Ho-Tep and needs to be saved.
  • Ancient Artifact: In episode 2, the introduction to the werewolves and Luke's curse, it is revealed that the reason Luke's grandfather was attacked is because he came into possession of a gypsy cane that supposedly allows the owner to control ALL werewolves. Niles and Luke fight in a river and over a waterfall to gain possession of it. At the end of the episode, Niles is shown alive by raising it out of the water in his hand. It's never mentioned or brought up again.
  • Arch-Enemy: Doc and Dracula; Luke Talbot and Niles Lupon.
  • Badass Longcoat: Doc and Frank both wear these.
  • Cut Short: Only 13 episodes, bah!
  • Dracula: The series' Big Bad.
  • Enemy Mine: In one ep, the heroes discover a ritual that Dracula wants to do to become all powerful. He gathers several powerful vampires for the attempt (with the premise that he'll share the power) and the heroes are virtually powerless to stop them. However, Shelley uses her Psychic Powers to show the vampires that the ritual will kill them to transform Dracula. They turn on him, distracting Drac long enough for the heroes to destroy the ritual ground and stop Drac's plan. After he flees, the vampires start to turn on the group, but withdraw as 1) the sun is coming up and 2) they presumably owe Monster Force for saving them. As one of the vampires says, "Just this one time".
  • Eviler Than Thou: In one episode, the Im-Ho-Tep and Dracula meet for the first time. They end up fighting and Im-Ho-Tep ends up on the losing end, submitting to Dracula's will.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Dracula and Niles Lupon/Bela the werewolf can come off as charming and friendly, but when someone crosses them, has served their purpose, or just For the Evulz, they show their true nature.
  • Fish People: The original Creature from the Black Lagoon, in fact.
  • Five-Man Band
    • The Hero: Doc, as the oldest and most experienced monster hunter on the team.
    • The Big Guy: Trip, who is the largest of the teens and whose armor most supports direct combat, with energy-blaster fingers and extendable powered arms.
    • The Smart Guy: Luke, who is the most scholarly of the teens, though he also doubles as another Big Guy with his ability to transform into a Wolf Man.
    • The Lancer: Lance, whose main speciality is using the team's heavier artillery.
    • The Chick: Shelley, whose armor gives her levitation and enhances her Psychic Powers to grant her Mind over Matter and Telepathy.
    • The Sixth Ranger (and a bigger Big Guy): Frank, aka the Frankenstein's Monster.
  • Frankenstein's Monster: In this series, he does a Heel–Face Turn and joins the good guys.
    • Remember, this is based on the Universal version of Frankenstein. He was never really evil in those films, just dangerously naive.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Dr. Rhomer and Im-Ho-Tep in episode 10. Thankfully for Rhomer, Shelley easily sees something is wrong. Interestingly, Ho-Tep keeps all his magical powers while in Rhomer's body, but Rhomer is able to use Ho-Tep's Super Breath in the mummy's body. Rhomer is also able to use the spell Im-Ho-Tep used to switch them back.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Episode 12 which feature a mother-daughter duo. Throughout most of the episode it was just assumed that the mother was being forced to do the antagonist dirty work for fear of her daughter's life. Then near the climax as he about set his plan into motion tell the mother to "show her true colors". The woman reluctantly vamps out, showing she's been undead the whole time while apologizing to her daughter (who isn't a vampire, thankfully; more than likely the mother sacrificed her humanity to prevent this). Apparently this is her daughter's first time seeing it too but she claims she always knew and knows she's not evil. When the MF crew come looking for Frankenstein (who was captured by the antagonist), the mother prevents a vampire ambush. She's also a rather curious exception to other vampires in the series who turned evil upon being turned.
  • Genius Loci: The Dark City in the episode of the same name. It appears every 100 years and lures people inside so it can use their life force as a food. It reappears randomly around the world each time and consumes all the people around it within 24 hours.
  • The Glasses Come Off: When Luke transforms into his Wolf Man self.
  • Heel–Face Turn: In this series, Frankenstein and the Wolfman are good guys.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: In the episode with the Creature from the Black Lagoon, a scientist named Dr. Rhomer asks Monster Force to recover a data disk from a boat his assistants were piloting that sank. One of them asks if he wants them to look for his assistants while they're at it, like he's a huge jerk for not thinking of their survival too. But Rhomer points out their boat sank two days ago, and that being the case there isn't much even Monster Force can do for them besides give them a proper burial (the assistants are never found).
  • The Igor: Renfield. Oddly enough, this troper thought it actually was Igor till he saw the show again on DVD.
  • Legion of Doom: The Creatures of the Night, despite their collective name, rarely work together. In fact, other than the final episode, they never appeared together in the same episode.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Frankenstein was granted life from it, just like the movies. He can also absorb for Shock and Awe powers:
    • fire lightning blasts
    • make himself even stronger physically or 'recharge' himself if he is injured or tired.
  • Monster Mash: The baddies.
  • Monster of the Week: Quite literally.
  • Mummy: Im-Ho-Tep.
  • Never Say "Die": Averted. It is discussed that should Luke take a life and/or eat someone in his wolf form, the curse will fully consume him.
    • Dracula would throw out 'kill' or 'die' when fighting our heroes.
  • One-Winged Angel: Dracula can assume the form of a monstrous bat demon. He usually adopts it when fighting Luke Talbot or Frankenstein. Episode 12 has another powerful vampire do the same, so he can fight evenly with Dracula.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Niles Lupon, alias Bela the Werewolf, the one who cursed Luke's grandfather, seems to be a harmless old man when in human form and becomes a hulking, red-furred humanoid wolf when he shifts forms. The more benevolent Luke, meanwhile, becomes a grayish-toned Wolf Man when he transforms. It's implied that this is because the curse has been in Luke's bloodline for generations.
    • All werewolves seem to have Magic Pants, their clothes will be shredded during the transformation, but will revert back to normal if they change back to human form.
    • In episode 8, there is an order of monks who have designed rooms, doors, and cages that cannot be used by werewolves. Niles is captured by them before the episode.
    • Niles is shown to have a variety of Antagonist Abilities. He can freely shapeshift from human to werewolf form at night, create werewolves than he can summon and command, and in episode 8 he assumes the form of a different human. This last ability is never explained nor seen again.
    • According to Doc, there are 'real' werewolves like Niles and Luke while there are the Mooks Niles creates in episode 2. These humans revert back after Niles is presumed dead. Doc never explains the difference between Luke's family curse and the townspeople who revert back by the end of the episode.
  • Powered Armor: The EMACS (Energized Monster Armed Containment Suit).
  • Shout-Out:
    • A surprising one in the Bride of Frankenstein episode, where the Leitmotifs for the Monster and the Bride from the original 1935 film show up in the soundtrack.
    • Im-ho-tep's introductory episode plot is practically a whole plot reference to the original film.
    • Dracula is served by a crazed, straitjacket-wearing Renfield, a reference to Renfield's fate in the original novel and film.
      • Renfield is also shown eagerly eating spiders, which references his madness in the novel.
    • Luke is stated to be the grandson of Lawrence Talbot, the protagonist from The Wolf Man (1941).
    • In one episode, the Monster Force team up with Bram Stoker himself (a vampire hunter in this version) in an effort to destroy Dracula in his castle. Only it turns out Dracula killed the real Stoker years ago and was just wearing his form.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Shelley is the Monster Force's only female member.
  • The Something Force: The "Monster Force", to which the series owes its title.
  • Super Breath: Im-Ho-Tep can use this power for Blow You Away and Harmless Freezing as "his breath is as cold as the coldest tomb."
  • Took a Level in Badass: The Creature from the Black Lagoon is not only more muscular here than in his original movie, but is presented as more or less a walking force of nature. He is said to have sunk an entire city and slaughtered its inhabitants single-handed, takes on four power-armored monster fighters and a Wolf Man with nothing but his bare claws — and wins, and shrugs off energy blasts that have killed vampires in one shot as though they were fleabites.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: The aptly titled "Dark City", which is more like Dark Town but whatever.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/WesternAnimation/MonsterForce