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Teen Superspy

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"He's not a child! He's a lethal weapon!"
Army major, Stormbreaker
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A hero with all of the style, panache and gadgetry of James Bond, the Teen Superspy exists to save the world (or maybe just the kids) from megalomaniacs bent on world domination. And he'll do it all without being old enough to have a martini. Or drive. And he'll still have to find time to do his homework.

The Teen Superspy is the implausibly young agent of secret agency. Perhaps she's been trained from birth for this role. Perhaps she's carrying the legacy of a missing or dead parent. Perhaps the government figures no one will suspect children of being secret agents. Perhaps they were just in the wrong place at the right time. Whatever the case, expect them to have an arsenal of high-tech spy gadgets disguised as typical teen paraphernalia.

Compare Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World. Remove all the wish fulfillment and whimsy from this trope, and you'd end up with something closer to Child Soldier.

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Examples

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     Anime and Manga  

  • Sukeban Deka (which also had a live action TV series and several movies)
  • OEL Manga example: Amazing Agent Luna
  • Princess Principal stars a team of five girls who are spies in Steampunk London, who are incredibly badass (especially Ange), and teenagers (except Dorothy, who is 20, but undercover as a high school student).

     Comic Books  

  • SpyBoy is the story of Alex Fleming, a young boy who was bullied in his school and had a normal life. But he doesn't know that he's a sleeper agent, codenamed as "SpyBoy", who works for secret organization S.H.I.R.T.S. (acronym for Secret Headquarters International Reconnaissance, Tactics, and Spies), in order to stop criminal organization S.K.I.N.S. (acronym for Supreme Killing Institute). There is also his Japanese counterpart, SpyGirl. Admittedly, SpyBoy got his ass kicked when he met SpyGuy...
  • Danny Chase, Creator's Pet of the Teen Titans, was a former agent of the CBI... as he never tired of telling his team-mates.
  • Archie Comics examples:
    • At the height of the spy craze in the 60s, Archie published stories about "The Man from R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E.", featuring Archie and his pals as secret agents.
    • More recently Betty and Veronica have appeared as "Agents B & V", clad in the requisite Spy Catsuits, working for a secret organisation run by Mr. Lodge with Dilton Doiley acting as their resident Gadgeteer Genius.
  • The post-Zero Hour! Invisible Kid from Legion of Super-Heroes.

    Film 

  • Agent Cody Banks follows the adventures of the 15-year-old title character, played by Frankie Muniz, who has to finish his chores, avoid getting grounded, and save the world by going undercover for the CIA as a James Bond type superspy..
  • Stormbreaker, a film adaptation of the Alex Rider books. The film's plot follows a teenage boy who is recruited by MI-6 after his uncle, a secret agent, is killed in action. He is sent on a mission in Cornwall to gather intelligence behind Stormbreaker, an advanced computer system being provided to schools across Britain, and its creator, billionaire Darrius Sayle.
  • Spy Kids (strictly speaking, they are tween superspies, though Carmen is in her teens by the third movie). The franchise follows the adventures of Carmen and Juni Cortez, two children who become involved in their parents' espionage. The rest of their family are spies as well, including their estranged uncle, Machete, and maternal grandparents.
  • Michael Corbin from If Looks Could Kill. When Michael Corben, along with the rest of his high-school French class, set out for a trip to France, he runs headlong into international intrigue: Agent Michael Corbin has just been disposed of by the evil forces of Augustus Steranko. When it's learned that Michael Corbin is alive and well, and still on his way to France, he's beseiged by both the good guys and the bad guys. British Intelligence outfits him with a series of James-Bond-like gizmos, and Steranko sends more would-be assassins after him.
  • Lance Elliot from The Double 0 Kid. 17-year-old Lance Elliot is a summer intern at the Agency. His fantasies of espionage and intrigue turn real when he's ordered to rush a package to L.A. A madman millionaire computer virus designer and his icy henchwoman want that package. It's key to their plot to destroy the environment. Lance stays one step ahead of them, trying to avoid a visit to their "video-game-of-doom" room.
  • The children in Catch That Kid are technically Teen Bank Robbers, but the film and especially the advertising leaned heavily on this trope in the high-tech nature of both their plan and their target.
  • In D.E.B.S., there is apparently a secret portion of the SATs that determines whether somebody has the capacity to lie, cheat, fight, and kill. Those who pass screening are recruited into the D.E.B.S. Spy School.
  • They tried to make the Thunderbirds film like this. When The Hood finds and invades International Rescue's secret base and traps most of the Tracy family, only young Alan Tracy and his friends can save the day.
  • Agent 83, aka Megan Walsh, in Barely Lethal is a runaway from the Prescott Academy who faked her death during a mission in order to experience life as an Ordinary High-School Student.
  • Hanna is a deconstruction, mainly by playing it less in the James Bond Tuxedo and Martini style and more in the "Stale Beer" Jason Bourne style. The titular Hanna is the daughter of a rogue CIA operative who's been living with him in a remote cabin in the woods in northern Finland, and he's been training her to defend herself in the event that his former employers take him out. Hanna is also the sole survivor of a Super Soldier program, which explains her badass feats.

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    Literature 

  • Alex Rider. He was secretly trained from birth — and, by "secretly", we mean not even Alex himself was aware that the activities in question were training — to carry the legacy of his uncle. Because he is in the wrong place in the wrong time, he is recruited early because no one will suspect a child.
    • And in the third book, we learn that the CIA tried to do the same thing and failed miserably, with their teen super-spy getting killed almost immediately on his first mission. Alex succeeds because he is just very, very good at what he does, and very, very, very lucky.
  • In The Finishing School Series, the protagonist Sophronia Temminnick is recruited by an espionage school masquerading as a charm school.
  • The CHERUB Series. CHERUB tries a lot harder to be realistic than most other versions of Teen Superspy.
  • The Spy High series of novels
  • The Gallagher Girls book series trains teenage girls to be spies.
  • In Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga, Miles Vorkosigan starts out this way, though he gets to just shy of 30 before his career as a spy comes to an end. He is definitely a wrong-place/wrong-time variant; his first 'mission' started out as a vacation after washing out of the local Barrayaran military academy and he only contacted his government after they filed treason charges over the whole Private Army Thing.
  • Alianne in the Daughter of the Lioness books is a borderline example. While she is the spymaster for a very successful rebellion and later government, she has this as her main job (she's 17), lacks any special gadgets (Medieval society) and relies on traditional, entirely un-flashy techniques, like feeding the mole and carefully asking questions. So, while she is indeed a teenager and a very capable spy, she isn't working the way we'd expect her to at all.note 
  • James Bond has a spin-off series called Young Bond, which is about him becoming a teen spy. He only acts the part proper in the fifth novel, By Royal Command.
  • Artemis Fowl is one, albeit self-employed. No government agencies for him - Artemis has the style and the gadgets. Juliet is another, and even joins a SWAT team in The Eternity Code.
  • Ruby Redfort is a expert code breaker and was hired to work at Spectrum, a top secret agency keeping tabs on the world. A long time ago, Spectrum tried to train other teen spies, like Bradley Baker and Buzz.
  • Kim is a moderate example. He starts off in a plausible non-super way as a Street Urchin who is used by a passing spy to carry messages for him. The only thing super about him is his ability to flawlessly enter every culture in India.
  • Phoenix in Red Handed is training to be an alien hunter.
  • During the James Bond-inspired '60s superspy craze, Grosset & Dunlap published a hardcover kids' series of the adventures of Christopher Cool, TEEN Agent. The Top-secret Educational Espionage Network kept the free world safe from the evil machinations of TOAD.
  • Pygmy by Chuck Palahniuk has a group of these as Villain Protagonists. They were sent to America by a totalitarian commie-Nazi regime with a mission to destroy the US government.
  • The Alpha Force series of novels by Chris Ryan has a Multinational Team of kids who work for a covert agency after being shipwrecked together in the first novel, "Survival".
  • From Steampunk Detective, Jack Mason is one since his apprenticeship to Ignatius Doyle onwards.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Benjamin "Beans" Baxter, Jr from The New Adventures of Beans Baxter
  • MI High. The series focuses on a team of undercover teenage spies working for the fictional secret intelligence agency M.I.9 who have to balance their school life with their jobs as secret agents
  • Connor Undercover: Connor Heath is an ordinary 15-year-old. He extremely over imagines things and is always looking for adventure however he never finds any, that is until the Cordoban president's daughter is sent to live with him and his family. After numerous attempts on Gisela's life, Ed, a body-guard for the Cordoban secret service joins them.
  • The yellow ranger of spy-themed Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters is 16 years old. Her two teammates don't qualify, though, as they're both aged in their 20s.
  • Disney Channel series K.C. Undercover, featuring former Shake It Up! costar Zendaya in the title role.
  • Odd Squad stars 4 main characters being part of a crew called the Odd Squad, a CIA-type agency run by... well, kids. Technically, these would technically be 'pre-teen superspies', as all of the characters are around ten years old.
  • Eleven on Stranger Things was being trained by the government to become one of these, using her Psychic Powers to remotely spy on America's enemies. However, she broke out of Hawkins Laboratory before she could enter service.

    Puppet Shows 
  • The 9-year-old lead character in Joe 90.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Super Spy Twilight from Twilight Sparkle's Secret Shipfic Folder. Granted, the "teen" part is debatable, but the actual Twilight has been writing fics since childhood so it's not entirely implausible.

    Video Games 
  • Raz becomes this at the end of Psychonauts; a psychic secret agent.
  • Sakazaki Yuuya in Hatoful Boyfriend turns out to be one investigating Dr. Iwamine Shuu and the Hawk Party. If the player completes his route, the heroine runs away with him and it's implied that they become partners.
  • Rouge the Bat from the Sonic the Hedgehog series is a master thief who works for the G.U.N. military force. She's also 18 years old.
  • Black Widow is one in Avengers Academy thanks to an Age Lift.

    Web Comics 
  • Teen T-Girl Cookie Jarr is one of Jet Dream's main characters . Her Spin-Off series It's Cookie! focuses on her exploits as leader of the J.E.T. T.E.E.N. organization of teenaged NATO operatives. She also encounters several teen superspies from other agencies, including Brian Bell, "the CIA's top Teenagent," and enemy spies "He-She Svetlana" of the KGB and Captain Boris Volkov, "the Red Army's top Saboteen."
  • Spy6teen features sixteen year old, Cally Calhoon, who works for a hi-tech government agency called MK Black between classes.

    Web Original 
  • Aim High, a web series in which the main character Nick Green is one of 64 underage operatives of the program DEPP.

    Western Animation 
  • Kim Possible — the lead character is technically a freelancer and a not a spy (she doesn't even bother with keeping a secret identity), but she otherwise fits the trope.
  • Totally Spies! — There's even a rank at WOOHP (World Organization of Human Protection) called "superspy."
    • The spin-off, The Amazing Spiez, in only one of the four spies was technically a teenager
  • James Bond Jr.: While attending prep school at Warfield Academy, Bond's nephew James Bond Jr., with the help of his friends IQ (the grandson of Q), and Gordo Leiter (the son of Felix Leiter), fight against the evil terrorist organisation S.C.U.M. (Saboteurs and Criminals United in Mayhem), a SPECTRE-like organization.
  • Princess Natasha: Student - Secret Agent - Princess
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: The series centers on the adventures of a group of five 10-year-olds who operate from a high-tech tree house, fighting against adult and teen villains with advanced 2×4 technology. Using their codenames (Numbuhs 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5), they are Sector V, part of a global organization called the Kids Next Door.
  • Grossology: Ty and Abby are a teen brother and sister crime-fighting team who report to the Bureau of Grossology, a secret government agency whose job is to investigate gross criminals, their gross crimes, and/or various gross phenomena.
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids: Teen Superspy rock musicians, no less!
  • Bruno the Kid. Partially subverted in that his employing agency thought he was an adult, due to his using an avatar when communicating with them.
  • Mary Kate and Ashley in Action!. No, really. We get to see two of the biggest teen stars in the world comment on their "film" adventures and then, with the power of animation, we join them — at the premiere — to watch their on-screen Super Teen Agent identities fight the good fight and save the world from evil. These girls go right from the pre-show interview in real life straight to exotic locations like the Great Wall of China as animated Special Agents.
  • Invisible Network of Kids: Pinkerton School is a boarding school with two teachers. One of the teachers, Mr. Soper, is nice, and the other, Ms. Macbeth, is evil and is constantly trying to enslave the children of the school. However, four of the students act as a secret organisation known as "The Invisible Network of Kids", or "I.N.K." for short. I.N.K's mission is to thwart all of Ms. Macbeth's evil plans.
  • Delilah & Julius is about a duo of teen super spies with great chemistry and a fair amount of UST.
  • An odd piece of Wild Mass Guessing from Phineas and Ferb. They were employing Perry when he was just a newborn, and many new OWCA members haven't been "trained" yet...so technically, they're this.
    • In a more literal sense, Perry that time he was in Candace's body. As the theme song says, "She's a semi-neurotic teenage girl of action".
  • Max Steel (2013): A 16-year-old boy named "Maxwell Mc Grath" is thrown into a new life when he and his mom moved to a small town called Copper Canyon. There he meets new friends, enemies, and a lot more. But later he started to generate a powerful energy called "T.U.R.B.O. Energy". Max must now join N-Tek, a secret organization his father worked on and meets a friendly ultralink named N'barro Aksteel X377/Steel.


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