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Western Animation / StarCom: The U.S. Space Force

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"All Star Max and Star Wolves... SCRAMBLE!"

StarCom: The U.S. Space Force was a toyline and short lived cartoon made in 1987 about an astro-brigade operated by the US, to counter the evil Emperor Dark and his Shadow Force. Behind the scenes however, the toys, which made use of magnets instead of molded-in pegs and holes, were more popular in Europe and Asia then in the US, where the Young Astronaut council hoped it would get kids interested in the space program.


StarCom: The US Space Tropes:

  • 0% Approval Rating: Emperor Dark is very unpopular with his underlings, and most of Shadow Force’s generals are constantly scheming to overthrow him. Only General Torvek is shown to be loyal to Dark, and Torvek is a robot: his loyalty is literally programmed in.
  • Absent Aliens:
    • Played with and averted. Someone got those three outside just after they passed out while exploring a city that had been uncovered by a sand-storm.
    • While there is no *sapient* alien life, Jupiter has birds and gasbags.
  • Anime Hair: Emperor Dark has the same kind of flaring, flattop haircut as Guile from Street Fighter.
  • Attack Reflector: A solar mirror is used to reflect laser blasts in episode 8.
  • Battle Cry: Saying "Power Deploy" was always an indicator that a vehicle was about to transform, or to extend a MacGuffin.
  • Advertisement:
  • Big Bad: Emperor Dark is the evil leader of Shadow Force and a cruel despot who wishes to rule the solar system.
  • Colonized Solar System: Mars and the moon have both been colonized, with the former having been partially terraformed. There are also mining installations and military bases throughout the system, with StarCom’s main base being parked over the rings of Saturn.
  • Continuous Decompression: Averted in episode 7. Slim and several recruits cut a hole through the hull of a Shadowbat, and the air stops rushing out after a few seconds.
  • Cyber Cyclops: The helmets of the Shadow Force's pilots were this.
  • EMP: Emperor Dark develops a powerful EMP device in episode 6. His underlings test it out on Mars, leaving half the planet’s cities without power until the device is destroyed.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: Starships have “Trans-Star” warp drives that enter hyperspace by generating artificial wormholes. This allows people to travel across the solar system fairly quickly.
  • Flying Seafood Special: Jovian kites resemble manta rays, and their prey, airwhales, resemble jellyfish.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Crowbar is a whiz with machines, and some episodes have him cobble together devices to solve the problem of the week, such as jury-rigging a force field generator to protect StarCom’s vehicles from the effects of an EMP.
  • Hand Blast: The robot Torvek can fire laser beams from the palm of his hand. Other Shadow Force robots can do this as well.
  • In-Series Nickname: All of the main characters have nicknames. Paul Corbin’s nickname is “Crowbar”, James Derringer’s nickname is “Dash”, and John Griffin’s nickname is “Slim”.
  • Loose Lips: The plot of episode 12. When Cadet Flash Moskowitz learns that he’ll be accompanying Dash and Slim on a trip to Mars and Saturn, he immediately boasts about it on the academy message boards, tipping off Shadow Force’s spies that something is up. After later learning that the group is transporting a prototype oscillation hyper thruster to Saturn, Flash happily shares this classified information with the first person he meets: a disguised General Von Dar.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Robots make up the bulk of Shadow Force’s soldiers.
  • Merchandise-Driven: As noted, this was yet another '80s action cartoon based on a toy line.
  • Precursors: Mars was once inhabited by an advanced alien race called the Builders. The Builders are long gone by the time the series takes place, but they left behind ancient cities buried under the Martian dunes. Cities which are still functional, and not entirely abandoned…
  • Ragnarök Proofing: The Builder city in episode 4 is fully intact and functional despite being buried under the sand for millions of years. Justified due to the caretaker still being around.
  • Retired Badass: In episode 13, Lucas Hall was the greatest Star Ranger in his youth. He’s been retired for fifteen years and is an elderly man now, but while age and inactivity have slowed him down, he’s still a force to be reckoned with. He comes out of retirement to rescue a StarCom team that got trapped in an old Star Ranger base, where his knowledge of the base’s traps and protocols prove invaluable.
  • Space Pirates: Episode 8 features bandits armed with stolen Shadow Force technology raiding a farming town on Mars.
  • The Creon: General Torvek is a loyal follower of Emperor Dark, what is not surprisingly because he's a robot and is programmed to obey him.
  • The Starscream: Malvanna and Von Dar don’t think highly of their boss Emperor Dark, and the two of them constantly plot to usurp control of Shadow Force from him in the early episodes.
  • Suicidal Pacifism: Episode 8 features a farming community that’s regularly plundered by bandits. The townsfolk hate being exploited this way, but their pacifist traditions prevent them from taking up arms to defend themselves. The episode ends with them becoming Technical Pacifists after StarCom teaches them to defend themselves by using their solar mirrors as Attack Reflectors.
  • Terraform: Parts of Mars have been terraformed. The canyons have breathable air, Earth-like temperatures, and fertile soil, allowing people to walk around without spacesuits and practice agriculture.
  • World in the Sky: Jupiter has an ecosystem.