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Literature / The Bad Guys

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Good deeds: whether you like them or not! note 
They're scary, they're dangerous, they're just plain bad! But they're also very nice!

The Bad Guys is a series of children's graphic novels by Australian artist Aaron Blabey.

The series centers around Mr. Wolf, Mr. Snake, Mr. Piranha, and Mr. Shark, four ferocious but kind-hearted predators who are tired of being written off as villainous and decide to turn to the side of good. Unfortunately, they’re not the best at this.

The books currently released include:

  1. The Bad Guys (2015)
  2. The Bad Guys in Mission Unpluckable (2015)
  3. The Bad Guys in The Furball Strikes Back (2016)
  4. The Bad Guys in Attack of the Zittens (2016)
  5. The Bad Guys in Intergalactic Gas (2017)
  6. The Bad Guys in Alien Vs Bad Guys (2017)
  7. The Bad Guys in Do-You-Think-He-Saurus?! (2018)
  8. The Bad Guys in Superbad (2018)
  9. The Bad Guys in the Big Bad Wolf (2019)
  10. The Bad Guys in the Baddest Day Ever (2019)
  11. The Bad Guys in the Dawn of the Underlord (2020)
  12. The Bad Guys in The One?! (2020)
  13. The Bad Guys in Cut to the Chase (2021)
  14. The Bad Guys in They're Bee-Hind You! (2021)
  15. The Bad Guys in Open Wide and Say Arrrgh! (2022)
  16. The Bad Guys in The Others?! (2022)
  17. The Bad Guys in Let the Games Begin! (2023)
  18. The Bad Guys in Look Who's Talking (2023)
  19. The Bad Guys in The Serpent and the Beast (2024)
  20. The Bad Guys in One Last Thing (2024)

A spinoff book series, Cat on the Run, was introduced in 2023.

A movie based on the series by DreamWorks Animation, with Blabey as an executive producer, was released in April 2022. A prequel holiday special to the film written by Blabey himself released in November 2023. A sequel to the movie is scheduled for release on August 1, 2025.

The Bad Guys provides examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Agent Hogwild is very overt with her romantic advances, and it's obvious that the boys that she flirts with are uncomfortable with her. She actually weaponizes this by using it as a taunt to get Mr. Piranha to test his super speed without being caught by her.
  • Achievements in Ignorance: The gang's first series of schemes are just randomly thought out plans to "help" people who may not even want to be helped and are simply assumed to be suffering more than they really are. "Mission Unpluckable" has them continue this trend into freeing a bunch of chickens from a maximum security chicken coop without ever really suspecting it's actually an animal testing lab owned by a supervillain.
  • Aerith and Bob: The alien species of Dr. Marmalade has names such as KDJFLOERHGCOINWERUHCGLEIRWFHEKLWJFHXALHW, the true name of Dr. Marmalade, but also names as simple as "Nathan".
  • Afro Asskicker: Agent Kitty Kat, one of the members of The International League of Heroes, has a large black afro. Until "Superbad", she was only seen from the back, with her afro being her defining feature.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Mr. Wolf has an obvious crush on Agent Fox, which she doesn’t bother to reciprocate.
  • Amazon Brigade: All the members of The International League of Heroes are tough and smart women, as a contrast to the bumbling main characters.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: In “Look Who’s Talking”, the different parts of The One are revealed to be anthropomorphic personifications of Rhonda’s qualities, which she had to hide when Splaarghön was coming to destroy her. The hidden qualities are:
    • Granny Gumbo: Tenacity
    • Abe: Integrity
    • Zee: Wisdom and magical hair
    • Milton: Kindness, humility, and Intelligence
  • Apothecary Alligator: Parodied. Granny Gumbo is an alligator in this case, while also being a witch doctor.
  • As You Know: Mr. Wolf goes through the plan for the audience's convenience in "The Furball Strikes Back", much to the annoyance of Mr. Snake, as they already know the plan. He keeps trying to do this a few more times, suggesting all he's been doing for quite a while is explain the plan over and over again. As soon as things go awry, Mr. Wolf is quick to blame it on him not having explained the plan enough times.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: "The Big Bad Wolf" combines Mr. Wolf's new Super-Strength with a mutating alien ray from Dr. Marmalade, turning him into a mindless rampaging monster.
  • Atrocious Alias: Mr. Wolf attempts to name the organization "The Good Guys Club", much to the annoyance of the others, who find it ridiculous. Mr. Wolf mainly keeps pushing it because Agent Fox thought it was "cute".
  • Awesome Mc Cool Name: The Good Guys Club and the International League of Heroes eventually merge to become Shadow Squad G, which is a name so cool that anyone who hears it remarks how they can picture the cool stylized logo floating in the air as its said.
  • The Baby of the Bunch: "The Baddest Day Ever" reveals that Mr. Piranha is the youngest out of his family, and is taken a bit less seriously by his father thanks to this.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: The four main characters wear black suits that give them a gang-like feel in their work, while also emphasizing their original bad personas.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: Despite the suits the main characters wear, none of them wear shoes.
  • Being Evil Sucks: Even before the series begins, Mr. Wolf realizes that he's sick of people being afraid of him, and wants to be the good guy for a change. It takes a bit of persuasion and example for the others, however. His motivations of changing his ways are being expanded on in Episode 14 and onwards.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Don’t call Mr. Piranha a sardine.
    • Don't call Dr. Marmalade "cute". This is what actually drove him to villainy. This even extends to his alien form, which is terrifying by Earth standards.
  • The Big Bad Wolf: Mr. Wolf, who is pointedly the same wolf from The Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood. Despite this, he’s the first one to invoke the change to good, and is the most insistent of it.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: The alien species that Dr. Marmalade secretly is have multiple mouths on feelers, butts for hands, leave piles of slime when they move, and can hold their breath in space for nine weeks.
  • Blatant Lies: In "Intergalactic Gas", Agent Fox asserts that the only way to stop Dr. Marmalade is to steal a rocket, but Mr. Wolf will only agree to it if they promise to return the rocket in one piece when they're done with it. Agent Fox hesitantly agrees to this, likely knowing full well a multistage rocket physically can't be returned in one piece after being used.
  • Bruiser with a Soft Center: Once he solidifies himself on the side of good, Mr. Shark's dangerous persona quickly drops, and he quickly becomes the emotional center of the team. He's more open with fears, but still won't hesitate to lash out in anger when things go wrong.
  • Carnivore Confusion:
    • The main characters are explicitly meat eaters, and have blatantly been shown and mentioned eating prey, regardless of them being as sentient as them.
    • Even with the anthropomorphic slant of the world, fast food restaurants with burgers and beef burritos still exist as food.
  • Cassandra Truth: Being considered the bad guys still means even the police won’t believe them, as proven when Dr. Marmalade hides out on the moon to zombify the world.
  • Cats Hate Water: Zittens hate water, which makes it useful as a defense against them.
  • Cat Up a Tree: The team’s first mission in being good is to rescue a cat stuck in a tree. The cat is more terrified of them than being stuck in the tree, and eventually claws at Mr. Wolf’s face once freed.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: While the tone of the story does remain fairly silly, the Serial Escalation means the threats the gang faces slowly become less cartoonishly evil and more menacing in nature, which is something the characters even take note of.
    Wolf: If our life was a series, you'd say it was getting weird and dark. Like, a lot weirder and darker than those highly accessible early books...
  • Character Development: Throughout the series, the characters grow into their roles as heroes. Mr. Wolf is already starting his development as soon as the series starts, Mr. Shark and Mr. Piranha start it at the end of the book, and Mr. Snake, the most hesitant, takes a good chunk of the series to change, while also lapsing back the most.
  • Cliffhanger: Many of the books end in a cliffhanger that preps for the next book in the series. Resolving one cliffhanger only to end up in a bigger one is one of the key driving factors to the Sequel Escalation of the series.
  • Comfort Food: Mr. Piranha's go-to comfort food is beef and bean burritos. He has a tendency to make them in mass amounts and scarf them down in times of stress.
  • Contagious Heroism: This is how Mr. Wolf manages to convince the others to stay on the side of good.
  • The Corruption: In "Dawn of the Underlord", Mr. Snake is influenced by the evil overlords in the multiverse door, corrupting him into a monster. He gains the ability to do so against the others as well, but Agent Fox is able to snap them out of it before they are corrupted in full.
  • Couch Gag: Starting with "Mission Unpluckable", a logo that sports "BG" for "Bad Guys" shows up at the very front of the books. Each book follows a pattern of Mr. Wolf attempting to replace the B with a G, while Mr. Snake destroys the efforts.
  • Cultural Translation: The illustrations are actually redrawn to fit the culture of the released location, such as the position steering wheels are in cars or the style of wall outlets.
  • Cunning Like a Fox: Agent Fox, a mysterious fox agent and member of the International League of Heroes, a secret organization of heroes that helps the others in situations. She's clever and brave, but it's hinted that she has a similar past to the main four as well.
  • Cute Is Evil:
    • Dr. Rupert Marmalade, a billionaire mad scientist that also happens to be an adorable guinea pig. Despite being cute, he hates being called cute, to the point of using his scientific abilities to un-cutify anything else on the planet that's considered cute. It also turns out the guinea pig appearance is just a ruse, he's actually an alien that used it because he wouldn't be taken as seriously in it, though he was still considered "cute" by alien standards on his planet.
    • Dr. Marmalade's first evil scheme in the series is to flat-out use cute animals as zombies. "Attack of the Zittens" turns all the kittens of the world into zombie kittens, while the end of the book returns the recently-cured kittens back to being zombies, and adds every puppy, bunny, pony, and dolphin into the mix.
  • Darkest Hour: The end of Books 9 and 17 are this. Book 9 ends with Snake’s supposed death, while Book 17 ends with the Others seemingly misdirecting their power to the One, and Fox’s death and Wolf being all alone. However, the latter subverts this with a Hope Spot, as Shortfuse reveals that she is the true One.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Mr. Snake, thanks to finding most of the plans ridiculous, spends plenty of time dryly commenting on them.
    • Agent Doom, fitting her dour nature, also quips dryly about most things, complimenting the fact that she's often teamed up with Mr. Snake.
  • Disembodied Eyebrows: Everyone is drawn with floating eyebrows.
  • Disney Death: "Do-You-Think-He-Saurus" opens with Agent Fox killed by aliens waiting for the guys to get back. Fortunately, since the guys are in the past with a time machine, they just so happen to return to the present before Agent Fox dies and accidentally crash into the alien that would have killed her, saving her life.
  • Distaff Counterpart: The International League of Heroes to the Good Guys Club.
  • Disguised in Drag:
    • Mr. Wolf still holds onto the "granny" disguise from his evil past. The others point out that this disguised never worked.
    • Mr. Shark disguises himself as a little girl who lost her puppy in "The Bad Guys", much to his own irritation. This was his first disguise in the series, while also prepping him up to be the disguise guy for the team.
    • In "Mission Unpluckable", Mr. Shark uses a mother hen disguise to attempt to rally the clueless chickens to follow him.
    • In "Attack of the Zittens", it's surprisingly not Mr. Shark that's wearing a girl disguise (he's disguised as a dolphin). Instead, Mr. Piranha is disguised in a bikini and ponytailed wig as "Mindy", a pet goldfish, much to his extreme embarrassment.
    • In "Alien Vs Bad Guys", Mr. Shark once again puts on a female disguise, this time his approximation of a female version of the alien species that Dr. Marmalade truly is. Unfortunately, he has no idea what they actually look like, so this one fails.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: Dr. Marmalade is introduced as a normal guinea pig at the end of "Mission Unpluckable". It's only when the others leave (after they think they're rescuing a normal guinea pig) does his true colors show, and he becomes the main antagonist of the series for the first arc. And then it turns out he's not even a guinea pig...
  • Dwindling Party: In "Alien Vs Bad Guys", while stranded on the moon and trying to find a way off the space station, Dr. Marmalade gradually captures each member of the crew, until only Mr. Snake remains.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: In "Dawn of the Underlord", it turns out that the aliens of planet :( using the energy from an alternate evil dimension that they don't know of to power their technology was a bad idea. Mr. Snake, despite getting nifty superpowers, is also corrupted by them at the same time.
  • Face–Monster Turn: In "Dawn of the Underlord". Corruption from the evil dimension thanks to his superpowers turns Mr. Snake into a multi-headed monster bent on corrupting the others.
  • Fedora of Asskicking: In "The Bad Guys", Mr. Wolf attempts to get the others to wear fedoras as part of their new looks, much to their annoyances. Mr. Snake gets rid of it because he hates it, Mr. Piranha really doesn't have a head to even wear it, and Mr. Shark ate his. Only Mr. Wolf keeps it, until a cat they rescued shredded it.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Spider: Legs is a kind and creative tarantula, and had already shifted to the side of good before he was introduced. Unfortunately for him, the stereotype that spiders are scary has dragged on for him. This was a heavy plot point in "Mission Unpluckable", where the others (primarily Mr. Shark) had to realize that yes, he means no harm, despite the fact he looks scary to them.
  • Friendly, Playful Dolphin: Dolphins in the series are portrayed as chipper and happy, yet not too bright. They're among one of the automatically "cute" animals in the world as well, along with also being known for not wearing any clothing.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: Granny Gumbo isn't legally trained in the art of milking snakes. However, knocking them out with a frying pan is a viable option to her as well.
  • Fully-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Agent Fox is the only major character to wear a full outfit, which consists of a jumpsuit and combat boots.
  • Furry Confusion: There are various oddities, such as sentient chickens and dogs that have farms and kennels treated as jails for them, respectively. Despite this, they’re treated as pets and food sources respectively still.
  • Furry Female Mane: All of the members of The International League of Heroes, made up of all women, have extra hair additions, while the boys have no additional features.
  • Furry Reminder:
    • Mr. Snake still can’t shake eating chickens.
    • Mr. Piranha has a large swarming family of over 900 thousand brothers and cousins.
  • Gasshole:
    • Mr. Piranha gets carsick easily, which often causes him to let a few rip inside them, much to the disgust and irritation of the other passengers.
    • This is taken to the extreme in "Intergalactic Gas", where Mr. Piranha overdoes it on stress eating beef and bean burritos.
  • Gassy Gastronomy: In Book 5 "Intergalactic Gas", Mr. Piranha whips up over 30 bean burritos as a coping mechanism for the stress he feels about saving the world. Having eaten them as well, he later passes gas while he's stuck in Mr. Wolf's spacesuit.
  • Given Name Reveal: Throughout the series, the heroes are called by either their last names or by code names. By the end of the first arc, all of the characters have their first names revealed, save for Mr. Snake.:
    • Mr. Wolf: Moe
    • Mr. Shark: Lou
    • Mr. Piranha: Pepe
    • Legs: Stevie
    • Agent Fox: Ellen
    • Agent Kitty Kat: Pam
    • Agent Hogwild: Emmylou
    • Agent Doom: Joy
    • Agent Shortfuse: Rhonda
  • Good Animals, Evil Animals: Wolves, sharks, snakes, and piranhas are blatantly categorized as “bad animals” in this world.
  • Good Feels Good: This is Mr. Wolf’s main goal, to get the others to admit this. They begrudgingly do at the end of the book, though Mr. Snake takes the longest to fully accept it.
  • Government Agency of Fiction: The International League of Heroes, an organization so secret that regular authorities don’t even know they exist.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: Mr. Piranha, being from the Amazon River, randomly adds Spanish words to his speech at times.
  • Green-Eyed Monster:
    • Mr. Snake's anger towards Agent Fox is purely because Mr. Wolf likes her, which he translates into Mr. Wolf liking her more than himself. He admits to his jealousy, which he feels like is keeping him from fully becoming a good guy.
    • In "Superbad", it's Legs that ends up the jealous one, purely due to the fact that everyone else got superpowers thanks to a glitched time portal.
  • Hates Being Called Cute: Dr. Marmalade. He's a billionaire mad scientist who also happens to be an adorable guinea pig. Him being tired of called "cute" is what drove him to become an evil scientist in the first place. It turns out, by alien standards, this holds true of his actual form, a tentacled mess of stalks with butts for hands, which looks terrifying to the others.
  • Hayseed Name: Agent Hogwild, the Southern biker member of the group, is actually named Emmylou.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • The four main characters’ plot starts when they attempt to go through one, Mr. Wolf in earnest, the others through force.
    • Legs is introduced post-Heel Face Turn, having turned to the heroes' side before his introduction via the encouraging of Mr. Wolf.
    • "Superbad" reveals this was also the case for The International League of Heroes, when they met each other and bonded through their troubles.
  • Hero with an F in Good: At the beginning of their quest to be good, the four were originally awful, as their old habits were hard to break.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: "Superbad" features the gang having recently acquired super powers attempt to immediately put them to use, but with varying degrees of success. Piranha has trouble using his super speed without hurting himself, Shark has no idea how to control his shape shifting powers, Snake has the most handle on his psychic powers but is too distracted by the other two to focus, and Wolf is to embarrassed his super strength destroyed all his clothes to do anything.
  • I Am Not Weasel:
    • Mr. Piranha is often referred to as a “mutant sardine” by various news sources, much to his annoyance.
    • In "Attack of the Zittens", Granny Gumbo, thanks to senility, mistakes Mr. Snake for a worm and Mr. Wolf for a "mutt-dog".
  • Improbably High I.Q.: Milton the Velociraptor has his IQ boosted to 512, making him the smartest creature in the world. Agent Doom is honestly uncomfortable with the idea of it.
  • Innocuously Important Episode: Lampshaded in "Look Who's Talking", where it's revealed the events of "Do-You-Think-He-Saurus?!" were in fact very important.
    Wolf: So, if our life was a series, then that dinosaur episode actually wasn't totally random? Because, if our life was a series, that book would probably have made some of the more critical readers say, "Oh, this book is a bit far-fetched and pointless. This series has completely derailed." Are you telling me they would be WRONG?!
    The One/Shortfuse: Yes. They would be completely wrong. If your life was a series, all your readers would be rewarded by discovering that nothing is random. In fact, any negative critics would find themselves completely agog and with egg on their faces. They'd probably even rethink some of their life choices and become kinder in general.
  • Interspecies Adoption: In “Look Who’s Talking”, Rhonda reveals that she found Ellen when she was a small child after her parents were hunted. She then went on to be a parental figure and mentor for her.
  • Interspecies Romance: Mr. Wolf has a crush on Agent Fox. As far as most romances go when set in a World of Funny Animals, the two are remarkably close on the zoological tree. While still being a different Genus and Species (Canis/lupis vs Vuples/vulpes) they both belong to the same zoological family: Canidae.
  • Ironic Name: The dour and gothic Agent Doom's real name is Joy. Mr. Snake taunts her mercilessly over this.
  • I Want My Mommy!: Mr. Shark calls out for his mom in "Mission Unpluckable" when he first meets Legs.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Mr. Snake is insistent that he's unable to become a good guy. As such, he keeps a harsh and rude demeanor towards others, but deep down, he really wants to be a hero, and shows capabilities at times. Slowly through the series, his heart of gold shows further and further, however.
  • Kent Brockman News: Starting with "Mission Unpluckable", the books have a prelude from "Channel 6 News", a news channel that discusses the plot of the previous book.
  • Kuudere: Agent Doom. She's emo and dour to most people, but eventually softens up to Mr. Snake. She claims her support is "ironic", but Mr. Snake doesn't believe it.
  • Last-Name Basis: Despite having “Mr.” to list their species’ surnames, the main four have a tendency to drop that and just refer to each other by their last name in situations.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In the later books, call backs tend to be referred to by book number.
    Agent Kitty Kat"Book 6"?
    Mr. Wolf: You know, it's like if our life were some kind of series, then that probably would have happened around book 6.
    Mr. Wolf: Maybe around page 122...
  • Logical Weakness: Despite being able to move on land with no water, Mr. Piranha, being a freshwater fish, is unable to swim in saltwater.
  • Long-Lived: Dr. Marmalade's alien species can live into the thousands for their ages. Dr. Marmalade himself is on the young side, being only 900.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Rupert Marmalade, an evil scientist guinea pig who is the main antagonist to the heroes and secretly an alien.
  • Magic Pants: Played with. In "Superbad", Mr. Wolf's Super-Strength bulks him up, but doesn't account for his clothing, leaving him naked due to his own mistakes. He later receives a pair of indestructible underwear to counter this. This then plays a key part in "The Big Bad Wolf" where, even as a rampaging giant monster, the underwear remains.
  • Manchild: Played with. To Earthling eyes, Dr. Marmalade is an eccentric mad scientist. To the eyes of his alien species, he has the mental maturity of a preschooler.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: Mr. Piranha has 900,543 brothers and cousins. They fill up their own gang thanks to this, and Mr. Piranha is the youngest of them all.
  • Master of Disguise: Mr. Shark is the disguise guy of the team. To the audience, his costumes are flimsy thanks to his size and build, but he manages to fool anyone with them.
  • Mind over Matter: Mr. Snake's superpower in "Superbad".
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Deconstructed. Because Marmalade was in control of the army, as the prince, the aliens were forced to do what he said. Mr. Snake realizes that just because one of them is bad, doesn't mean they all are like this. After helping them dispose of Marmalade as the leader, the aliens leave in peace.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • One recurring background character is the title character of Pig the Pug, one of Aaron Blabey’s other book series.
    • Mr. Piranha is explicitly designed to resemble the characters of Blabey’s book “Piranhas Don’t Eat Bananas”.
  • Naked People Are Funny:
    • Legs is first introduced as a standard tarantula, which means he's wearing nothing. Not only does this freak Mr. Shark out even more than him just being a spider, it disgusts Mr. Snake and Mr. Piranha. Legs eventually takes their advice and gets some clothes: only a hat and shoes, his hairy butt's still out there.
    • Mr. Shark strips out of his suit for his dolphin disguise in “Attack of the Zittens”, because dolphins obviously aren’t known for wearing clothes. Mr. Piranha agrees to this point, but is still disturbed by it, while also accusing Mr. Shark of spending too much time with Legs.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: Granny Gumbo, despite being a bit senile, is still a capable witch doctor. She doesn't hide the fact that she's prepping to eat Mr. Snake as well (she thinks he's a worm).
  • Ninja: A mysterious ninja shows up to help Mr. Piranha and Legs rescue the others from Dr. Marmalade in "The Furball Strikes Back". Taking off the mask reveals the ninja as the introduction to Agent Fox.
  • No Peripheral Vision: Lampshaded in Mission Unpluckable: when a worker in Sunnyside Chicken Farm doesn't see Mr. Wolf, Mr. Piranha and Mr. Snake hanging right above him, Piranha asks how he can't see them, and Wolf assumes he has poor eyesight.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: In Book 8, when Snake rants about how Fox and her team are a bunch of ‘super shiny hero ladies’ who think that his team are nothing, Fox reveals that she and her team have been through the same bullying and mistreatment as the Good Guys Club.
  • Odd Name Out: Legs is the only member of the team to not be named after his species. It is later revealed that this is a nickname, as "Do-You-Think-He-Saurus?!" reveals that his last name is "Tarantula", while his first name is revealed as "Stevie" in "The Baddest Day Ever".
  • The One Who Wears Shoes: Legs, after complaints from the others on wearing nothing, gains a baseball cap and four pairs of tennis shoes, making him the only member of the heroes to actually wear shoes. Still no pants, despite that suggestion.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Mr. Shark's disguises are obvious to the audience, as he's a shark disguising as other animals or personas. Despite this, everyone else compliments his disguises. This would eventually be subverted in "The Bad Guys in Alien Vs Bad Guys", because Mr. Shark doesn't know what the females of Dr. Marmalade's alien species looks like, his disguise is readily foiled. In-universe, this is why Mr. Wolf never does his "old lady" disguise - because everyone sees right through it.
  • Parental Abandonment: "Superbad" reveals that Agent Fox's parents were killed by hunters when she was a young girl.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: Agent Shortfuse is a tiny dog that can easily whup enemies much bigger than her.
  • Piranha Problem: Mr. Piranha, also known as the “Butt Biter”. His family is made up of over 900,000 other brothers and cousins, causing a swarming gang when they're all together.
  • Playful Hacker: Legs is the tech person on the team, as his multiple legs let him quickly hack into computers, which he demonstrates with Mr. Snake’s criminal records, which are meant to be highly secured.
  • Plot Allergy: In "Attack of the Zittens", Granny Gumbo's allergy to "mutt-dogs" (which translates into being allergic to Mr. Wolf) ends up saving Mr. Snake after Granny Gumbo swallows him (due to thinking he was a worm).
  • Positive Friend Influence: Mr. Wolf's belief that the others have the capability for good helps fully sway them to the good side. It takes a while for Mr. Snake to fully embrace this.
  • Pounds Are Animal Prisons: The dog kennels are treated like a jail for stray dogs, including jumpsuits and separate cells.
  • Predators Are Mean: This is the main stereotype the four main characters are attempting to shake. It’s a rough thing for them to do, however. Mr. Snake especially has trouble shaking this role.
  • Recycled In Space: Captain Underpants IN A World of Funny Animals!
  • Reformed, but Rejected: Thanks to their original reputation, not many are willing to believe the main characters are actually good now, still thinking they're up to their bad ways, even with vouch from others. It takes a message sent from the moon in "Intergalactic Gas" right before turning off the Cute-Zilla ray to get the citizens to believe them.
  • Royal Brat: Dr. Marmalade is the crown prince of his planet. He was sent to Earth to become a better ruler, but he ended up just wanting to conquer everything, much to the irritation of his much-nicer members of his species.
  • Running Gag:
    • Mr. Piranha is always mistaken for a "mutant sardine".
    • Someone will compliment Mr. Shark at being "so good at disguises", which he'll simply respond with "I know.".
  • Samus Is a Girl: Legs quickly mistakes the ninja that assists them in "The Furball Strikes Back" as a guy, when in reality it's Agent Fox.
  • Scatterbrained Senior: Granny Gumbo, despite being a powerful witch doctor, is a bit loopy thanks to age.
  • Second Episode Introduction:
    • Legs and Dr. Marmalade aren't introduced into the series until "The Bad Guys in Mission Unpluckable", the second book in the series.
    • Agent Fox isn't introduced to the series until "The Furball Strikes Back", the third book in the series.
  • Serial Escalation: The guys start out trying to save a cat stuck in a tree, and things quickly snowball from there as they get caught up in bigger and bigger situations, to the point of getting stuck fighting aliens, getting trapped in prehistoric times, and having to deal with multiverse terrors.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Smart People Speak the Queen's English: Milton the velociraptor suddenly gains a posh accent when his brain levels are boosted.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: Milton the velociraptor gains a pair when his brain is boosted to genius levels.
  • Snakes Are Sinister: Mr. Snake, who takes the longest to turn to the side of good.
  • Sour Supporter: Mr. Snake is the most apprehensive of the change to good.
  • Species Surname: Most of the characters, including the four main characters, have their species name as their last name. Some characters have unique last names instead.
  • Spiders Are Scary: Legs the tarantula manages to freak out the others (minus Mr. Wolf, who is already acquainted with him). Despite this, he’s already ground into being a hero, and quickly wins the others over.
  • Starfish Aliens: Dr. Marmalade’s true form is revealed as a tentacle alien with butts for hands.
  • Superhero Episode: The plot of "Superbad", thanks to a faulty time travel portal from Prehistoric times, giving the four of them superpowers. This continues into "The Big Bad Wolf", only for all but Mr. Snake to lose their powers. Mr. Snake, however, ends up gaining the powers of the others.
  • Super-Intelligence: The faulty time machine that gives The Bad Guys superpowers also mutates the brain of Milton the velociraptor, turning him from an angry dinosaur into a cultured genius. He temporarily reverts back to his savage form after he is stripped of his powers at the end of "The Big Bad Wolf", but regains them by the end of "The Baddest Day Ever".
  • Superpowered Evil Side: In "Dawn of the Underlord", the combination of super abilities given to Mr. Snake turns out to lead to a gateway to an evil dimension that corrupts him into a stronger supervillain.
  • Super-Speed: Mr. Piranha's superpower in "Superbad".
  • Super-Strength: Mr. Wolf's superpower in "Superbad".
  • Swallowed Whole:
    • Mr. Snake has swallowed both Mr. Piranha and a large amount of chickens alive at multiple times, being angrily flung around to get the eaten person out.
    • Mr. Wolf, in a fit of rage, has eaten Mr. Snake after being pestered too much, which led to...
    • ...Mr. Shark eating Mr. Wolf in the same rage (while Mr. Snake was still inside Mr. Wolf, he described the experience as like a "disgusting nesting doll". A heavy fall managed to knock the two out of him, however. He would later use this ability to hide the smaller members when needing to get into a location.
  • Tailfin Walking: Mr. Shark walks on his tail fins when not in the water. Mr. Piranha, on the other hand, simply drags himself around using his pectoral fins.
  • Terrestrial Sea Life: Mr. Piranha and Mr. Shark are able to walk on land with no breathing apparatus. Despite this, Mr. Piranha still can’t handle swimming in salt water, justified in that he's a freshwater fish.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil:
    • This is one of the reasons Mr. Snake insists that he can't be a true hero. He was seen as a bad guy to start, so he doesn't bother to change his reputation. This slowly starts to crack away throughout the series, as he becomes a truer hero. As of "Dawn of the Underlord", it turns out this change hasn't stuck, and he's actually worse off than when he was originally.
    • "Superbad" reveals that the members of the The International League of Heroes were bad guys before they met each other, purely because others saw them like that to start, so they decided to fit the mold others saw them as.
  • They Look Like Us Now: Dr. Marmalade is revealed to be a mutant alien disguising himself as an Earth animal.
  • Threatening Shark: Mr. Shark, aka “Jaws”. He’s so dangerous, that his case file hardly even has any info on it, and has the most major warning.
  • Toilet Humor: The books are fairly rife with fart, butt, and poop jokes. It's not very predominant, but it's there.
  • Trademark Favorite Food:
    • Chickens for Mr. Snake, which made the mission to free chickens in “Mission Unpluckable” a difficult one for him.
    • Beef and bean burritos for Mr. Piranha. Even as his reputation as a “butt biter”, he still enjoys them, and has a tendency to make them when stressed, and then overeat them. The gas caused from eating too many of them ends up helping save the day in the book “Intergalactic Gas”.
  • The Unpronounceable:
    • Dr. Marmalade's real name is KDJFLOERHGCOINWERUHCGLEIRWFHEKLWJFHXALHW. Most of the others end up keep calling him "Marmalade" to skirt this issue. Somehow, Mr. Shark can pronounce the real name, however.
    • The home planet of Dr. Marmalade's alien species is :(, some thing he even points out is unpronounceable to Earthlings.
  • Vegetarian Carnivore: Mr. Wolf attempts to get the others to become this, which they ignore.
  • The Voiceless: Agent Shortfuse never talks. It's hinted she has the ability to, as Legs is able to figure out her first name.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Mr. Shark's superpower in "Superbad".
  • What You Are in the Dark: In "Alien Vs Bad Guys", Mr. Snake is eager to take the escape pod and return to Earth, but is forced to stay with the crew to save Legs. Gradually, the others are captured until Mr. Snake is alone, right next to the primed escape pod. He launches it to distract Dr. Marmalade, then finds an alien robot and uses it to fight him and save his friends.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Mr. Shark is originally terrified of spiders. Meeting Legs turns him into a shivering wreck, while having the tarantula land on his snout causes him to faint. He later befriends him, losing his fear and becoming the one to vouch for him the most.
  • Witch Doctor: Granny Gumbo, an elderly alligator living in the swamplands. Despite being a touch senile in her old age, she is the only one with the cure for the Zittens.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: In "Dawn of the Underlord", the corruption of Mr. Snake's superpowers causes him to turn into a full-on supervillain.
  • World of Funny Animals: The whole world is populated with anthropomorphic animals.
  • Women Are Wiser: Agent Fox is a much more seasoned, capable, and serious hero compared to the others. From what is seen of the rest of The International League of Heroes, which is shown with just women members, they are the same.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Mr. Wolf is insistent that Mr. Snake can change for the better, despite Mr. Snake's own denial of it.
  • Zombie Apocalypse:
    • ”Attack of the Zittens” has Dr. Marmalade turning all the kittens into the world into zombie kittens, or “Zittens”. While unable to turn others into zombies with a bite, they’ll still try to eat others.
    • At the end of the same book, once defeated, Dr. Marmalade ends up zapping the entire earth, which turns every single kitten, puppy, pony, bunny, and dolphin in the world into a zombie. This sets up the plot of the book “Intergalactic Gas”.