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Superhero School

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Tough luck for those who can't fly.

"Welcome to Mutant High."
Bobby to Rogue, X-Men

It's like a normal school. Drab classrooms with blackboards, hallways with lockers — and a danger room. Maybe even a hidden hangar. Oh, and the students all have superpowers, of course.

This is Superhero School, where young superhumans go to learn about their powers and how to use them for good. A subtrope of Extranormal Institute, where it's often not the place that's unusual, but the students. And sometimes the faculty.

Often inverted by introducing a supervillain school. You will also see instances where the school takes a neutral posture about heroism or villainy, focusing on teaching the students to control and make the most of their superpowers - with the result that aspiring heroes end up in classes next to wannabee villains, possibly among a larger group of kids who just want to get on with their lives.


Maybe we can excuse it for possibly being an Elaborate University High. Often has Danger Room Cold Open scenes. Badass Teachers are a given.

In stories where this is the primary setting, you can expect there to be at least one significant case of Power Incontinence and/or missing Required Secondary Powers (as seen in the Trope Maker, X-Men, with Cyclops), and numerous instances of How Do I Shot Web? and Boxing Lessons for Superman, as ways of justifying the trope. May also include classes on the Mundane Utility of different power sets if the focus isn't solely on heroics.

Compare with Academy of Adventure, Wizarding School, Ninja School, Hero Academy, and All-Ghouls School. A dark take on this trope can turn it into a School for Scheming.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • To an extent, Duel Academia in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX — at least, it was designed specifically to train duelists strong enough to defend three dangerous forbidden cards from falling into the wrong hands, and it's a Weirdness Magnet for kids with the power to communicate with spirits from another world.
  • Academy City in A Certain Magical Index is dedicated to the study and development of psychic powers, with students who have undergone the development program comprising the vast majority of the population.
  • The eponymous school in Alice Academy. While the "hero" part is debatable, it's a school for people with powers, most of which easily qualify as "super".
  • The Death Weapon Meister Academy in Soul Eater is a school where shapeshifter weapons and those who wield them train to fight evil. Missions are part of their schoolwork.
  • The main setting for My Hero Academia is the Hero Academy named U.A. This is where the main character learns to fight villains and train 'n stuff. It's really similar to the DWMA from Soul Eater. There are also others out there, but U.A. is the most prestigious of them all.
  • Tiger & Bunny has The Hero Academy where young NEXT (what the series calls individuals who develop superpowers) can learn how to use their abilities and become Corporate Sponsored Super Heroes. Although notably attending is not a mandatory requirement to becoming a hero, and of the two title characters, only one is a graduate. It's implied the academy wasn't even around yet when the other title character first started in the hero business. Also many of the students have abilities that are more in line with Blessed with Suck or would not be flashy enough to pique the interest of a sponsor company.

    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: Headmaster Tele is the principle of a school which teaches superheroes about various superpowers and similar subjects. According to what Tele says in one episode about some marks left by previous students, the likes of such famous superheroes as Spider-Man were taught at that school.

    Comic Books 
  • The Trope Maker is Professor Charles Xavier's school in X-Men. Depending on the continuity, Emma Frost's school, the Massachusetts Academy, may count as a supervillain school if she is Xavier's foe.
    • In fact, the Xavier Academy jumped around a bit between being a Superhero School, and a superhero base which happened to be disguised as a school, largely because, until Kitty Pryde joined the Chris Claremont "all-new all-different" X-Men's ages ranged from the 20s onwards, with none of them even of college age. The films cemented the concept in people's minds by depicting the X-Men as teachers of a large non-superhero student body, and the Comic Books followed suit. Xavier's school now has a lot of non-superhero mutants of all ages, learning to control their powers as well as reading, writing, and 'rithmetic. A few of them 'graduate' to X-Men status. There's also a relatively new X-comic focusing on the students (of course, trouble seems to find them) that's pretty much a Spiritual Successor to Generation X and New Mutants. Its title changes a lot, though.
      • It got to the point where Xavier's 'school' was so chock-full of adult superheroes that they changed the name from Xavier's School for Gifted Youngers to the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, making it a superhero college, and opened a franchise with the formerly evil rival Massachusetts Academy for Generation X.
      • Played straighter with the original (pre-Wolverine) X-Men, who were of high school age at the time the group was formed.
    • The fallout of the Schism storyline has Wolverine establishing the Jean Grey Institute for Higher Learning, largely featuring students from the now-defunct Xavier Institute.
      • Meanwhile, the fallout of Avengers vs. X-Men has a rogue Comic Book/Cyclops, Emma Frost, and Magneto running the "New Charles Xavier School for Mutants". While unlike any previous incarnation its existence is secret and it doesn't present itself as a real private school (Cyclops and his team being outlaws and all), there are classrooms and the senior members do teach newly manifested mutants.
  • Shuster Academy from Sidekicks.
  • PS238 — a superhero public school.
    • And the Praetorian Academy, PS238's rival which is heavily troped to be a supervillain school: you've got your Evil Headmaster, your Military Discipline, your Faceless Minion Masks, your overly-militaristic student codenames, and of course the overwhelming arrogance that they are far superior to their rival school.
      • Also, they cheat at soccer.
      • Which is eventually subverted; the discipline and the minion masks, as it turns out, is not to create supervillains; it's because the headmaster uses them as methods to instill order and curtail what he views as tendencies towards becoming "uncontrolled" metahumans. Or so he says. He's a former US Senator with a strong anti-metahuman bias who got bonded to an experimental AI. Who knows just how sane he is anymore.
  • The Phantom Lady became dean of Université Notre Dame des Ombres which is a French women's superhero boarding school. Or possibly villains school. It's a little unclear.
  • The manga-inspired French comic book Sentai School.
  • The Legion Academy from Legion of Super-Heroes.
  • The comic Necessary Evil has the eponymous Supervillan School. They've also implied the existence of a good counterpart.
  • The Avengers' Initiative program is somewhat like this, but blurs the line heavily between "school" and "boot camp." Not many other examples listed here take young teens and put sniper rifles in their hands...
    • Initiative's successor Avengers Academy is a more traditional example, except it's more about training kids so they wouldn't become supervillains.
    • In a later arc, they moved the Academy to the old West Coast Avengers compound and added a bunch of other teen heroes as students.
    • Avengers Arena later introduced Captain Britain's Braddock Academy, the Avengers Academy's Transatlantic Equivalent.
    • Infinity: The Hunt then introduced several other international schools for superheroes (or villains): The Wakandan School for Alternative Studies, the Latverian School of Science and the Pan-Asian School for the Unusually Gifted.
  • The Fantastic Four have the Future Foundation.
  • Hero Camp is sort of like this, but, you know, summer camp instead of an actual school.
  • The Seminary in The Intimates, where powered teens are sent by their stage parents to develop skills they wish they didn't have. Courses include Secret Identities (taught by an obvious analogue of Superman, right down to the glasses) and Morality (the instructor of which had over 32 confirmed kills in theDarkAge).
  • The mini-series Grounded follows the only normal kid in the school for superpowered teens. In this case he's the odd one out for wanting to be a hero, in spite of his powerlessness; the other kids might be the children of superheroes and have abilities of their own, but in general they aren't interested in running off to try and save the world once they've graduated - most of them want to use their powers in the most self-serving way possible, and three in particular want to be villains!
  • Pride High has this as its core premise: a gay/straight alliance at a superhero high school.
  • The French comic Freaks' Squeele revolves around the students' life in a university for heroes, specialized in (pretty lame) bad guys and villains.
  • Marvel 2099 had a Superhero Orphanage: the Xavier Shelter for Indigent Children in X-Nation 2099. Run by a group of warrior nuns called Sister Nicholas and the Howlin' Commandments.
  • Super School a comic strip which feature in the Britsh comic The Beano. In this strip the idea of a superhero school is Played for Laughs. Extra points for the strip's title is almost the name of this trope.
  • In All Fall Down, this is how Sophie learned to control her powers: she was coached by Plymouth, an ex-hero, along with a stack of 'How To' books.
  • Liberty Vocational, in Naomi Novik's Will Supervillains Be On The Final series, offers classes ranging from designing costumes to discussing the ethics of superhero-dom.
  • Gladstone's School for World Conquerors by Mark Andrew Smith and Armand Villavert, a comic series published by Image Comics in 2011 and collected as a graphic novel in 2012. Though this series also arguably fits in the Academy of Evil category, there are (spoiler) reasons why it also belongs here.
  • The titular institute in The Umbrella Academy, though its seven students are never shown in a classroom or studying.
  • The last pre-Rebirth Supergirl arc has Kara attending one of these -Crucible Academy-, with heroes from all across the galaxy both new and some which had not been seen on DC titles for some time now (like the New 52 version of Maxima).

    Fan Works 
  • The eponymous academy in Slayer Academy, a virtual series spin-off of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, was built with the purpose of training all the new Slayers in the use of their abilities.
  • In the Our Own League fan novels, the Teen Titans are emphasized as a semiofficial school for underaged superheroes rather than just sidekicks striking out on their own. There are actual classes (homework and all,) with the team's founding members (Nightwing, Starfire, Cyborg, Arsenal and Tempest,) as part-time instructors.

    Film — Live-Action 

  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians has Camp Half-Blood, a combination summer camp, training ground, and haven for demigods.
  • In the My Brother Blubb book series, both a superhero school and a supervillain school are featured.
  • Inverted by Catherine Jenks' Evil Genius series.
  • The H.I.V.E. Series focuses on a school for supervillains.
  • In The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School, Drearcliff Grange is a 1930s girls' school which takes "talented" students. Combined with Boarding School of Horrors for a parody of Girls' School stories of the period. (Incidentally, the headmistress makes it clear that she doesn't much care if one of her girls becomes a supervillain instead of a superhero, just so long as she makes use of her talent and doesn't settle for being mundane. The Haunting of Drearcliff Grange School suggests that girls are at least encouraged to be a Paladin rather than a Wrong 'Un, and introduces Drearcliff's Academy of Evil counterpart Draycott's House of Reform.)
  • The very straightforwardly titled Superhero School, an illustrated book for kids by Aaron Reynolds and Andy Rash, published in 2009 by Bloomsbury. Leonard is the only kid on his block who can knock a baseball into orbit or clobber the occasional, rampaging lava monster, so he's not surprised when his parents switch him to superhero school. When he gets there, though, he's disappointed that his teacher, Mr. Blue Tornado, is much more interested in teaching fractions and multiplication than techniques for catching runaway trains or fighting space octopi.
  • The Estate in The Rook trains students to use their supernatural powers.
  • Kitty Burrows' The Posterchildren deals with a large group of characters connected to a school for mutants. The main book focuses on a group of students, but there are also stories focusing on parents, alumni, teachers, and people with even more tenuous connections. Wonderful if you prefer character and relationship driven stories over action.
  • Citadel by Unillustrated has, well, the Citadel. A government program where super powered people, Empowered, are trained to be Operatives. Closer to SWAT teams than typical superheroes.
  • The Last Superhero has The University of The Phoenix, which is secretly also an Academy of Evil, training villains to oppose its superhero graduates.
  • Super Powereds has five universities in the US that offer the Hero Certification Program for Supers, who wish to become fully-licensed Heroes. The tetralogy is focused on the HCP at Lander University (Lander, CA), although the others are mentioned in spin-offs and on the author's website: Korman University (Big Applesauce), Sizemore Tech (Chicago), West Private University (Orlando), and Overton University (Overton, TX). Other countries have varying means of certifying Supers for Hero work, and there are no international agreements to allow Heroes to operate internationally. HCP involves Training from Hell in order to weed out the merely willing from the willing and able. Hundreds of Supers apply each year, only scores are accepted into each school's HCP, only to either quit or be cut from the program. It's possible for those, who haven't made the cut for next year to re-apply, competing with students from the year behind them for spots. Each school graduates only ten Heroes per year. Besides regular (non-Super) classes, HCP students also have several hours of exhausting gym each day to prepare their bodies and to hone their fighting skills. Additionally, as the HCP students advance in years, their classes grow more specialized based on their abilities and powers (Close Combat, Ranged Combat, Weapons, Focus, Control, and Subtlety). Also, while in in the program, students are required to keep the fact that they're in the HCP (or even that they're Supers) a secret from everyone outside the program, which means they can't use their powers in public or attract unwanted attention. HCP facilities are typically located underground, away from prying eyes, with elevators leading to it from dorms with HCP students. During graduation, each new Hero wears a ceremonial white cape. Also, this is where they register their new Hero names (names have to be unique, except in case of legacy names, but those require permission from the original). After that, recent graduates are required to undergo a two-year internship under an experienced Hero.
  • The New Human Institute in The New Humans, a school/care home for superhuman children in Australia.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The 4400 has a school set up to take in young returnees who may not be welcome in regular schools. Owing to genetic meddling, several of these children had abilities like precognition and electrical manipulation.
  • Generation X got its own made-for-TV movie in 1996.
  • Heroes has Tracy setting up one of these in a graphic novel.
  • Doctor Who has the Time Lord Academy.
  • Doom Patrol has an episode set in one. Actually a hallucination created by a demented telepathic former hero.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The primary setting, Freedom City, for the Tabletop RPG Mutants & Masterminds has at least one of these. It was called the Claremont Academy as a blatant Shout-Out to writer X-Men Chris Claremont.
  • Ravenswood Academy from the Teen Champions sourcebook.
  • The Tomorrow Academy in Halt Evil Doer!! for Mutants & Masterminds.
  • Villains & Vigilantes had an introductory adventure, Crisis at Crusader Citadel, where the players have to temporarily stand in for the eponymous hero team. The latest version of the game explains in its background section the Crusaders are still around but have retired from fighting crime to run one of these.
  • Masks: A New Generation has Phoenix Academy in its setting of Halcyon City, the school name coming from the amount of times the school has been destroyed and rebuilt.

    Video Games 
  • Avengers Academy is a free-to-play mobile game that brings back Marvel's popular icons mysteriously de-aged into young heroes where they deal with periodic invasions, villainous rival schools, and awkward dates.
  • Psychonauts has Camp Whispering Rock, a summer camp for kids with Psychic Powers that functions similarly to this trope.
  • This is the hook behind the Skeelz gang in Urban Rivals, being literally a private academy for burgeoning superhumans and comprising of students and faculty out for blood against punks stepping to their turf.
  • Spandex Force 2: Superhero U is a parody of the trope.
  • Community College Hero has three schools. The one you're attending is a new school for wannabe heroes without enough power to warrant the attention of the more prestigious schools.

  • Subverted in the webcomic Everyday Heroes, where Summer Mighty attends a normal high school. Word of God has it that there is an after-school program for superhumans.
  • In the Web Comic Evil, Inc.., the eponymous corporation of supervillains started with an evil daycare center for employees' kids, and has recently moved up to an evil education program.
  • The Heroes of Crash were knockout gas and grappling hooks are considered school supplies
  • The webcomic Magellan, which focuses on the special challenges of an aspiring Badass Normal.
  • The webcomic Mallville Rules, which is a parody of the traditional super hero high school. It focuses on a normal kid and his idiot friends.
  • In Sidekicks all supublics are sent to Justice College the moment their superpower manifests. Those who don't are labelled villains.
  • Special School Which is actually a special class for super-powered students, but held in a normal school.
  • The eponymous school of Overlord Academy is a school for supervillains.
  • In Pulse a city is built in the Great Lakes near Michigan to hide a underground Government complex meant to train superhumans.

    Web Original 
  • Freedom City Play By Post maintains one of these, that continuity's version of the Claremont Academy mentioned above under Mutants & Masterminds. Claremont, a friendly place in a friendly city, is run by Duncan Summers, the local Expy of the Neal Adams-era Batman, with the standard tropes of the Superhero School genre. Only makes occasional use of canon characters, as of course they're all NPCs. Is somewhat more realistic than some super-schools in that kiddie supervillians get counseling.
  • The Web Original fiction series Whateley Academy is built around this trope. In this universe, mutant traits manifest around fourteen years of age (often even if starting out older), so mutants from all over the world go to high school at Whateley Academy in Dunwich, New Hampshire. There is a danger room equivalent or two, martial arts, magic arts, and psychic arts classes, and curricula ranging from normal high school stuff all the way to 'workshop' courses that teach young mad scientists how to make power armor and killer robots. Elective / specialist classes include Costume Shop, Intro to Flight, Psychic Ethics...
    • However, school administration insists that under the Whateley Charter they are an Academy of Adventure instead of a Superhero School. Whateley is strictly neutral, accepts any and all mutants, good, evil or neutral; powerful, weak, or Class X, and is protected and funded by several groups of heroes, villains, and "superneutrals" to provide a safe location for superpowered children to grow up. The headmistress (a retired heroine of some renown) has had to remind several groups (especially the protagonists) of this fact repeatedly. This treaty also forbids any faction to attack any other faction on the Whateley campus on pain of all Charter signatories going Enemy Mine on the perpetrator. Parent-teacher conference day must be quite an experience for all concerned...
      • Later developments reveal that many of Whateley's faculty are former villains and heroes who wanted to retire from "the Biz" and there's an unofficial agreement that the headmaster and assistant headmaster come from opposite sides to ensure balance: If the headmaster is a hero, then the assistant must be a villain, and vice-versa. Faculty and Staff conferences must be even more interesting than parent-teacher conferences.
    • Note also that the world at large is predominantly Cape Punk, and even on campus, Reality Ensues with fearsome frequency. Graduates who go into either the hero or villain biz - or even those who just try to live an ordinary life - often really, really need what they learn at Whateley, and even then, it often isn't enough.
    "In real life, we supervillains play for keeps. One of the reasons why there [have been] so many short-lived superheroes was that they were literally short-lived."
  • The web serial The Descendants is packed to the gills with these; from the now-defunct Psionics Training and Application Academy run by the Big Bad, to the Liedecker Institute currently being run by the heroes in unknowing cooperation with the local Anti-Villain. There are at least three other schools mentioned so far as well.
  • Inverted in the web video, Reunion: Doctor Steel calls up fellow mad scientist Agamemnon Tiberius Vacuum and invites him to the 10th annual Mad Scientist's reunion - implying that they attended some Mad Scientist school together in the past.
  • Academy of Superheroes: Academy is the origin story of most of the ASH and STRAFE characters. It is set at the eponymous Academy of Superheroes.
  • In Phaeton one of the buildings in the Orphanage doubles as this. Though the main characters do not generally go there.
  • Super Academy is, as the title suggests, centered around one of these.
  • DC Super Hero Girls is set in a superhero themed high school. Superman and Batman have long since graduated however a large number of DC heroes — such as Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl — currently attend it. Traditional villains, such as Harley Queen, Poison Ivy, and Cheetah, also attend it as heroes.

    Western Animation 
  • On The Fairly OddParents, Dimmsdale Elementary briefly becomes one thanks to Timmy's wishing.
  • The cartoon Hero High.
  • The Spanish cartoon Hero Kids, heavily inspired by the Legion of Super-Heroes in addition to this trope.
  • Sidekick is a variant. Feature a school for superhero's sidekick.
  • The S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy in later episodes of Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors.
  • The Xavier Institute also features in X-Men: Evolution in its role as a Superhero School; however, the X-Men also attend regular school at Bayville High. How the kids going to two schools is explained to parents and such who don't know what Xavier's really is is never addressed. For the first two seasons it's the usual high school antics complicated by keeping their powers a secret while season three focuses on what happens when the Masquerade breaks and the other students find out their secret.
    • At the Institute, they learn power control, at school they just have normal school. The Institute teaches them how to use their powers and fit in.
  • In DC Super Hero Girls Super Hero High School fits this trope. The newer version of the series averts this trope, with all the heroes going to a normal school in their secret identities.


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