The comic series
The "Grendel" entity
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- The Ace: Hunter Rose, an Olympic-level fencer, best-selling novelist, millionaire socialite, master assassin and ruler of the largest criminal empire in North America. Only three other individuals are shown to be able to match him on an intellectual or physical level. One is Argent, an unaging, Super Strong werewolf, the other two (via crossover) are Batman and The Shadow.
- Bait the Dog: His stories are written out of chronological order - if you read them in order of writing Hunter becomes more unambiguously evil and less cool with each story.
- Blade on a Stick: A "fork" with two knife blades, which can also be electrified. Most later Grendels use a variation.
- Byronic Hero: Initially conceived as such, but his "hero" status is increasingly undercut.
- The Dreaded: Terrifies absolutely everyone in New York.
- Embarrassing First Name: Hunter Rose itself is a pseudonym - it's revealed at one point that his original first name was Eddie.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Violently opposed to paedophilia and violence against children.
- Exotic Weapon Supremacy
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Hunter Rose was once a boy by the name of Eddie from the suburbs gifted with superhuman intelligence.
- Gentleman Thief: A deconstruction of the character type. His personality and aesthetics follow it closely. However, rather than a likeable thief from people who can afford it, he's a ruthless and extremely violent gangster.
- Legendary in the Sequel: Thanks to, in particular, Christine and Wiggins.
- Likes Older Women: Hunter's first lover was Jocasta Rose. She was 36. He was 14.
- 90% of Your Brain : Implied to be the source of Hunter Rose's exceptional physical and mental abilities- his autopsy suggests the he may have had "some advanced genetic mutation, resulting in much higher usage of our almost limitless mental capacities".
- Sword Cane: Hunter Rose's "fork on a stick" can collapse into a cane for disguise purposes.
- Teen Genius: Was a best-selling novelist and major underworld figure before he was out of his teens.
- Villainous Breakdown: Has a mild one when he discovers that he may owe his abilities to a separate entity, and that he'll have successors, some of whom might even outmatch him. Also comes close to it in Batman/Grendel, when Batman beats him in one-to-one combat, and his actions nearly cause the death of a little girl.
- Wicked Cultured: Goes with the Gentleman Thief stuff.
- Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Pretty much his sole redeeming feature.
The Wolf, Argent
- Break the Cutie: After the horrors of her childhood, gets violently raped by the man she loves on their wedding night and goes permanently insane.
- Creepy Child: Although it's pretty inevitable given her circumstances.
- Electra Complex: Repeatedly looks for a father substitute, and every time it goes horribly wrong.
- Enfant Terrible: May have (possibly unintentionally) killed her governess because she cramped her style.
- Manipulative Bastard: Ends up setting up Hunter and Argent to fight to the death.
- Morality Pet: Deconstructed. Her relationship with Hunter means that she doesn't have a real childhood because of him using her as a social conversation piece, when she finds out he's Grendel she's so shocked she causes his death, and the whole of her life is blighted by her association with him.
- Rape as Drama: Stacy Palumbo was raped by her husband (and psychiatrist) on their wedding night. He promptly committed suicide, while she remained catatonic for the rest of her life. This produced her one and only daughter, who would grow up to become Christina Spar and the new Grendel.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: How she sets up the final battle between Hunter and Argent, by making Hunter think Argent has taken her hostage.
Brian Li Sung
- Archer Archetype: Uniquely adopts the bow and arrow as his main weapon as Grendel.
- Ascended Extra: Begins as a minor work colleague of Christine Spar, then becomes her love interest, then after her death a central character and the third Grendel.
- Classical Anti-Hero
- Driven to Suicide: Deliberately allows Wiggins to kill him to atone for his previous deeds and in an attempt to stop the cycle from continuing.
- Enemy Within: The only Grendel to become aware of the Grendel entity as a separate being and try to fight it.
- Legacy Character: To Christine Spar.
- Through the Eyes of Madness: His entire point-of-view section.
- Cats Are Mean: His animal form is a Bond-villain-style white Persian cat.
- Child Eater: As well as being a murderous vampire and criminal, is also a serial murderer of young boys.
- Creepy Souvenir: His collection of bottled eyeballs.
- Exit Villain Stage Left: After Christine kills all his minions and comes close to killing him.
- Eye Scream: His serial-killer-trademark is ripping out one of his victim's eyes and keeping it preserved as a trophy.
- Karma Houdini: But see below.
- Lecherous Licking: When he kisses Christine's hand, which tips her off about his creepiness.
- My Grandson Myself: May possibly have been Tujiro I-XIII as well.
- Serial Killer
- Wicked Cultured: His public identity is as a well-known kabuki actor.
- Yellow Peril: A restrained example, balanced out by the sympathetic Brian Li Sung.
- Affably Evil: Wiggins is almost invariably polite, debonair, and unflappable when questioning his suspects.
- The Alcoholic: Implied to become an alcoholic in later life.
- Bullying a Dragon: His harassment of Christine and Brian contributes to both of their violent careers as Grendel and their deaths.
- Classy Cravat: In his later years.
- Cultured Badass
- Electronic Eyes: One of his eyes has been replaced by an electronic lie detector with a metal surround.
- Evil Is Not a Toy: When he starts writing stories about Hunter Rose, congratulates himself that he won't get drawn into the Grendel madness. His works end up cementing Grendel as a world-dominating meme, and he finally goes homicidally insane.
- Knight Templar
- Living Lie Detector: Captain Wiggins' cybernetic eye lets him read biopatterns.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Whether his mental collapse is due to excessive drinking and a bad marriage, or because of a Grendel influence.
- Sharp-Dressed Man
- The CSI Effect: Averted with Wiggins cybernetic eye/lie dectector. It's useful but it's inadmissable in court.
- Through the Eyes of Madness: His final decline into insanity.
- Trophy Wife: Which doesn't turn out well.
Pope Innocent XLII
- Bastard Understudy: To Pope Innocent
- Dark Messiah: To his vampire minions.
- Dirty Cop: By his era, C.O.P. continues to claim some kind of security purpose, but is basically just another armed gang.
- Fat Bastard: By his final years, so fat he can barely move.
- I Hate You, Vampire Dad: Goes after Innocent pretty much as soon as he regains a degree of self-awareness following his vampirisation.
- Monster Progenitor: Whereas Tujiro was very restrained about who he turned, Cross turns people quite indiscriminately, so that in the later stages of the story practically all the vampires around are members of his bloodline.
- Sanity Slippage: After becoming a vampire, gradually gets nuttier and nuttier.
- Savage Wolf: Although he rarely transforms, his animal form is a wolf. This adds to the innuendo at times (especially in his fight with Eppy) that his life is somehow recapitulating Argent's.
- Two-Faced: Half his skull is replaced by bionic armour.
- Vampire Monarch
- Villainous Glutton
- Villainous Valour: Whatever you think of him, his theft of the plutonium is pretty badass.
- We Have Reserves: His attitude to his minions as a vampire.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Subverted - Pellon assumes Innocent is going to kill him, but instead Innocent turns him into a vampire.
- Action Girl
- The Apunkalypse: Mohican, dreadlocks, tattoos, ripped clothes and/or lots of leather... yep, she's definitely adopted this as her fashion sense.
- Ascended Extra: Starts off as a random guard, then becomes the first-person narrator of Past Prime.
- The Atoner: In Grendel: Past Prime. It was her clan that was on guard duty the night Jupiter Assante was assassinated; as a result, everyone except her commits ritual suicide, and she herself goes on a worldwide pilgrimage to locate the missing Grendel Prime.
- Brawn Hilda: A rare Action Girl who's built like a bruiser rather than a catwalk model.
- Butch Lesbian
- Death Seeker: For a time after Crystal dumps her and Jupiter is murdered.
- Determinator: For all the stuff she does in Past Prime, after being captured by the rebels.
- Honor Before Reason
- Kicked Upstairs: Her promotion to head of security for the Dakota residence turns out to be just a way of getting rid of Crystal's embarrassing ex-lover
- Lima Syndrome: Falls in love with Crystal while acting as her main guard (in what was a Gilded Cage to such a degree that Susan may not have fully realised she was meant to be keeping Crystal prisoner rather than protecting her).
- Love Hurts: Crystal drags her into a three-way relationship with Martel against her will, then dumps her for the kind of political arranged marriage that Susan originally rescued her from. Then Mace turns out to be an anti-Grendel fanatic and gets killed.
- Morality Chain: By implication to Grendel Prime, given the serious moral decay he rapidly undergoes after her death.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy
- Redemption Earns Life: It's arguable as to whether she was ever "evil" (though all the Grendel clans have a code of honor that would be considered fundamentally incompatible with modern morality), but of all the main characters in the Grendel series she is the only one who is confirmed to have died a natural death- and apparently at an old age.
- Token Good Teammate: An essentially good and honourable person in a world where such virtues exist in an at-best twisted form.
- Undying Loyalty: To Grendel Prime until she actually dies, at which point he morally declines fast.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Her dead white skin and green hair are both natural. In Past Prime, she states that all the Veraghens had been genetically modified for green hair and pale skin several generations previous, and comments that "one of my great-great-grandmothers must have liked the look."
Laurel Kennedy Assante
Brilla and Margaret Session
Jupiter III Assante