Characters: Grrl Power


Grrl Power is an ongoing story about superheroines doing everyday superheroic things. It has quite a large cast.

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The Comic Shop

    Sydney 

Sydney Scoville / Halo

The lead character of the comic, Sydney is a hyperactive, tightly-wound geek who part-owns and runs a comic-book shop. She's also the newest member of Arc-SWAT, and is a bit of an oddity, as she's just a normal human bonded to seven mysterious orbs which give her superpowers.
  • A-Cup Angst: Especially when comparing herself with Maxima or some of the other supers she encounters. Peggy tells her that it's okay, because Peggy is built similarly, and "the A Team sticks together." Sydney is not amused.
  • Adorkable: With her big round glasses, superhero shirts, and annoying-yet-oddly-charming personality.
  • Alliterative Name: Sydney Scoville.
  • Ancient Artifact: Halo has seven of them. They're floating orbs in the colors of the spectrum, and each one gives her a different superpower:
  • Angrish: The things that Sydney says in an angry rant can cause a passing sailor to blush.
  • Ascended Fangirl: A comics nerd turned superhero.
  • Aura Vision: A subpower of her yellow orb.
  • Awesome by Analysis: When Sydney deliberately crosses her Genre Savvy with her ADHD ability to come at problems from angles nobody would usually expect by throwing the kitchen sink at them and seeing what might stick, awesome can, in fact, ensue. As Vehemence found to his cost.
  • Bad Liar: Sydney cannot tell a convincing lie, occasionally leading to Cassandra Truth-style problems. It just doesn't help that she really was trying to get away from a group of nuns...
  • Barrier Warrior: When using the indigo orb. Not only can she change the size of the force field to cover large groups of people, it's strong enough to take some of Maxima's most powerful attacks without difficulty. It even gives her immunity to non-physical attacks like an aggro aura. It also protects the ground at her feet, as evidenced when Maxima hit someone — at the time anchoring himself to the ground — hard enough to lift the street... and Sidney's shield kept the ground at the same level it was when she shielded herself, making a hole on the raised portion.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Invoked but averted: Sydney pretends she's helpless without her glasses to get a villain off his guard. She then boasts about averting the trope (thereby lampshading the aversion), pointing out that no one is so blind as to not see someone moving right near them just because you take their glasses off.
  • Cleavage Window: Stealth subversion. The cleavage window shirt Sydney wears is a Power Girl t-shirt with a fake cleavage design. The same design can be seen in the comic store window during the exterior shot, as shown here.
  • Clingy MacGuffin: Sydney and her power-spheres cannot be separated by more than a certain distance. Even Maxima, who can lift a truck with one hand, simply can't pull them apart. This allows Sydney a little bit of gloating at Max (especially when she falls on her butt), but is sometimes inconvenient.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: A card-carrying, tax-paying resident of Cloudcuckooland. She acts like the sun burns her, vampire-style (though it doesn't), keeps up a David Attenborough or Jacques Cousteau-style commentary while scuba-diving, and has a doodle of herself marrying a shirtless Wolverine in her note book (which she calls 'the list')
  • Cluster F-Bomb:
  • Combat Tentacles: What she uses the violet orb for on occasion.
  • Combo Platter Powers: Sydney’s seven orbs each do very different things. One gives her flight, one gives her a very impressive force field, one makes a energy-tentacle ... thing, one gives her telepresence and truesight, one makes a powerful energy blast, and the other two no one has any idea about. She can only use two at a time, though, one for each hand.
    • This gets taken even further as we learn more about the Orbs. Not only do several of them seem to come with secondary modes, but they also come with a large skill tree! It's possible that at full power she could end up equaling Dabbler or even Max.
  • Companion Cube: Sydney's tube, at least in her early scenes. She uses it to hold her power orbs (which otherwise deploy themselves in a ring around her, explaining her hero name), and treats it almost as if it were sentient. Most of her Blatant Lies are attempts at covering up what's really inside it.
  • Dark Secret: Parodied. Sydney doesn't want the rest of Arc-SWAT to know that she's a vegetarian. Sadly, one of the people she does tell is one of Harem's duplicates, and the other four spill to everyone else within a page.
  • Distracted by the Sexy:
    • When she's trying to think of a plan to stop Vehemence, she keeps thinking about Batman, including him dancing with a bat-themed codpiece and no shirt in front of Catwoman.
    • Earlier, she finds out that succubus breasts are literally hypnotic, and uses this to distract Vehemence by having Dabbler jump up and down.
    • Later, she totally misses her very shirtless teammate's instructions to use a wrist band GPS device.
  • Dropped Glasses: Sydney drops her glasses while eating ultra-spicy ramen. just in time to catch a spiced noodle to the eye. She also later drops them during her first real super-battle, but actually turns that to her advantage; see the note on Blind Without 'Em.
  • Ear Worm: Invoked in universe; Sydney seems to be prone to this problem because of her ADHD. During her Awesome by Analysis moment, she keeps thinking about Batman ... and, after her plan takes shape inside her mind, Batman pops up once more singing "I'm the Bat-man!" to the tune of Scatman John, and it gets stuck in her head.
  • Eye Scream: 3 million Scoville noodle, directly to the eye. Medic...
  • Fire-Breathing Diner: Finding a place that serves food hot enough to induce this is one of Sydney's favorite things. She eventually succeeds.
  • Flying Brick: In effect... Her orbs can give her flight, invulnerability, and a strong energy tentacle — but only any two of those at a time.
  • Geek: And assertive about it. Not that a comics-shop-owning pop culture fan like her can exactly hide it. She might also label herself a Nerd, but she doesn't really fit the definition used on this site.
  • Genki Girl: In all her ADHD glory. There are times when she seems to be intentionally channeling Tomo from Azumanga Daioh.
  • Genre Savvy: According to her entry in the cast page, one of Sydney's advantages is that she can come up with more power stunts than the people whose powers they are. This is demonstrated in the opening pages, where she proves how her attack in a superhero tabletop game actually worked despite the villain's force-field.
  • He Is Not My Boyfriend : Yeah, but you wish he was, Sydney.
  • Karma Houdini: Thanks to Harem's prank grabbing Maxima's attention, Sydney apparently gets away with snagging Max's hat — and getting away with pulling stuff on Max isn't always easy. She later loses it again, but suffers no punishment.
  • Logical Weakness: Sydney's shield that blocks anything also does not allow for air flow. After holding one around herself from most of the fight she starts to get lightheaded and is told to drop it for a few moments to get her air back. She does point out the Fridge Logic in that weakness though, like how changing the size of the shield doesn't seem to affect the pressure of the air inside it.
    • She also has no Super Strength orb, which means that she is exactly as physically strong as you would expect a nerdy young woman who doesn't seem very athletic to be, so she's unable to lift up a heavy gun at one point (though she probably could have with proper leverage, albeit with difficulty).
  • Make Up Is Evil: Downplayed, but Sydney's not wearing make-up makes her feel this way.
  • Masochist's Meal: Sydney likes it hot.
    Sydney: Do you have a dab of pure cap I could garnish this with?note 
  • Master of Illusion: Minor example; she can produce an illusory copy of herself she can see and hear through, courtesy of the yellow comm-ball orb.
  • Meaningful Name: Sydney Scoville loves spicy food, as lampshaded by Mrs. B. at the restaurant.
  • Mundane Utility: Halo realizes she could totally cheat at Skeeball using the orbs. She can also use them to hit people with as they hurtle round her. In fact, this sometimes seems to be becoming her primary combat technique.
  • The Napoleon: Halo sometimes gets peeved about being the smallest super in the cast.
  • Nonstandard Character Design: Sydney is very often drawn in cartoony poses while the rest of the cast is drawn more realistically.
  • Only the Knowledgable May Pass: Her nerd-test with Leon.
  • Perverted Drooling: When presented with a roomful of shirtless, perfectly-muscled superhero hunks.
  • Pop-Cultured Badass: She obviously has a detailed knowledge of internet memes, enjoys My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic enough to have it's opening theme for a ringtone, and when Maxima is testing the strength of her forcefield, Halo starts dancing while singing "Can't Touch This" as well as proclaiming that she is "EENWEENCIBLE!"
  • Power Incontinence: Due presumably to her powers deriving from the orbs and not from herself, Sydney has difficulty judging their level. She can't assess how fast she is flying, for instance, or use her energy blasts below maximum output. This has led to both a few accidents and some Achievements in Ignorance.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Invoked; when asked to name the orb that produces an energy tentacle, Sydney initially suggests "hentorb," "molestorb" and "The Violator." Eventually, she's forced to pick the more PR-friendly "lighthook."
  • Proud to Be a Geek: Sydney is not only very open in her geekery, she explicitly considers geekiness something to be proud of.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Sydney's force Maxima to make a Will Save.
  • Required Secondary Powers: While her shield has the Logical Weakness of being so strong that air can't pass through it, she lampshades how it apparently can compensate and eliminate the change in air pressure that changing its size would cause.
  • Rules Lawyer: Sydney, in her superhero RPG game. She knows all the tropes concerning superpowers and how to bend them to her will. This is likely to translate into Genre Savvy later on.
  • Sarcastic Confession: See the link under Bad Liar above. The last one is the truth.
  • Sir Swearsalot: When she gets excited (i.e. a lot of the time), Sydney is prone to swearing in a stream-of-consciousness fashion.
  • Skill Scores and Perks: The Orbs apparently come with a skill tree.
    Sydney: DING mutha fuckas!
  • Super Power Lottery: See Ancient Artifact above.
  • They Would Cut You Up:
  • Tongue Trauma: Narrowly averted when Sydney pulled a robber by the tongue and slammed him to the ground. "averted" because the robber was another super-powered being who was in disguise. His power just happened to also be extreme stretchiness.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Nonsexual example — she speaks dismissively to the waitress at a spicy-food-oriented restaurant, prompting them to dose her food with "The Unmaker." To the astonishment of all involved, she loves it. In fact, getting the hottest food she could appears to be why Sydney dissed the waitress in the first place.
  • Unusual Eyebrows: Mild example: her shaggy lady brows are an unique trait for her.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Her truesight is the strongest anyone has ever seen, able to pierce a Succubus glamor with ease. Unfortunately, it can't pierce more mundane disguises, and illusionists are apparently exceptionally rare on Earth.
    Deus: I'm sure in her line of work she'll eventually meet most of them.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: For Sydney its mittens. At least, that's the only aspect of the problem she's recognized; if something cut off or removed her hand, or otherwise rendered her unable to hold the orbs, she would also be screwed. (Though it has been noted that mittens, or being disarmed, would not render her completely helpless, as she would still be able to use her orbs as bludgeoning tools, since they respond to her mental commands — a trick she's used more than once.) She also gets a good laugh from the rest of the team when she enthusiastically informs them that she's not bulletproof — though there may be a touch of Fridge Horror there too, when one considers that she may have actually tested the red and green orbs for invincibility by having guns shot at her.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Masterfully (and hilariously) pulled off by Sydney on this page.

    Joel 

Joel

Sydney's shop's co-owner. More laid-back than Sydney (which is not hard), and usually good at weathering her moods (harder).
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Sydney failed to tell him about her powers. Of course, she didn't tell anyone at first, but since he was catching up on Saga instead of watching TV when the press conference and later the supervillain fight hit the national news, he came into work the next day still ignorant of what had happened, including Sydney's involvement. It looked like he was literally the last person in the comic's cast to find out about Sydney's powers (except that Olivia came in later that morning, and it turned out that she'd turned off her 'phone while doing some homework and not seen the morning news either).
  • Straight Man: He seems to be the more reasonable, business-minded member of the partnership, and he handled the revelation of Sydney's powers with an impressive degree of calm.

    Tony 

Tony

A hot guy who shops at Sydney's shop, and on whom she's got an ill-hidden crush.

    Olivia 

Olivia

Tony's sister/cousin (it's a long story). Friends with Sydney, and a cheerful type who's just getting into comics at the time when Sydney first goes public as a superhero.

ARCHON supers

    ARCHON 

A team of government-sponsored superheroes who recruit Sydney. Tropes applying to the whole team:
  • Cape Busters: Although the Archon field teams are supers themselves, part of their mandate is to address the antics of superpowered vigilantes — so the government has them performing this function. Certainly, the basically non-powered Archon leadership are in the business of controlling supers.
  • Civvie Spandex: Most of the team's costumes are along the lines of military jumpsuits.
  • Code Name: Each fieldable member has one.
  • Heroic Build: With one aversion, every member of the team is a perfect physical specimen.
  • Mildly Military: Some aspects of the team are remarkably informal — such as military discipline administered via atomic wedgie. Possibly justified since standard military disciplinary techniques wouldn't work very well on many of the supers. Two of their stronger members are 'civilian specialists,' even.
  • Military Superhero: Archon is provisionally organized under the DoD.
  • Secret Identity: Averted. As members of an official peace-keeping organization, all of the members of Archon have public identities.
  • Spandex, Latex, or Leather: Systematically averted, from what we can tell. The team's outfits seem to be fairly standard, sensible military-type uniforms. Except Dabbler's, of course, but she's pretty bad with the whole "military discipline" thing in general.
  • Superheroes Stay Single: Averted. At least two of the team's members are explicitly noted to be dating.
  • Superhero Speciation: Subverted. While each hero has a different thematic and different main powers, several powers overlap — there are several flyers, at least two characters with Super Toughness, and a couple with Super Strength.
  • Theme Naming: Archon has five branches identified so far, all of which have their names start with Arc. Arc-Swat for super-combat, Arc-Light for super-investigations, Arc-Dark for some as-of-yet unexplained purpose (likely superpowered espionage and similar intrigue), Arc-Aegis for security, defense, and containment, and Arc-Sparq, which seems to deal with equipment.

    Maxima 

Maxima / Maximillia Leander

The commanding officer of the ARCSWAT squad the comic follows. Powerful, beautiful, and a vehement feminist, she serves as something of a straight man to Halo and some of the squad's other, wackier personalities — much to Maxima's regret.

    Dabbler 

Dabbler / Xuriel Shahara Tantalis

Part demon, part alien, cybernetic, psychic, magical, trained in martial arts, and mutant besides, this beguiling creature seems to exist to make off-color jokes and be a thorn in Maxima's side.

    Harem 

Harem / Daphne DeShantis

A teleporting duplicator, Harem's original body doesn't disappear when she teleports, allowing her to have up to five bodies coexisting at one time. Bisexual and something of a tease, she gets on several of the others' nerves.
  • Achilles' Heel: Sydney's shield, which is the only thing she's ever encountered that blocks her teleportation.
  • Alliterative Name: Appropriate to the superhero thing.
  • And That Would Be Wrong: She probably has the most flexible morals on the team.
    Harem: I'd make a great thief if I could carry more.
    Sydney: Also if your ironclad morals didn't stop you.
    Harem: That too. Obviously.
  • Bi the Way: Flirts with the guys on the team, and is the only female in the room not thinking "not a lesbian" when Dabbler turns up the lust aura.
  • Cannot Keep a Secret: If you tell one of her bodies something or one of her bodies sees something (such as Dabbler's Beholder spell, Sydney's accidental joke about Math's name, or Sydney being a vegetarian), the other four will often react to that something even if the one watching/listening is keeping it together.
  • Differently Dressed Duplicates: Although all her five copies share one mind, over the years, they've started to differentiate their outfits and even their personalities, despite technically still being one person with one mind.
  • Flash Step: Comes with the teleporting territory.
  • Hive Mind: Due to her Me's a Crowd powers. Hilariously demonstrated here when Maxima gives one Harem a painful atomic wedgie. All five of her clones react.
    • Given a painful callback when a telekinetic seriously injures one's hand and another is seen having to force herself to realize it's not her body that's been injured.
  • Inertia Is a Cruel Mistress: She maintains momentum when she teleports, but relative to her own bodies, and she's learned ways to use this as an attack. If she's falling to the ground she can teleport upside down to fall back up, until the momentum is gone. Or, she can teleport into the air, drop for a bit, and then teleport sideways into an opponent to give them a hell of a dropkick.
  • Logical Weakness: She is unable to take passengers (save for Varia when they've touched), meaning that she cannot help a teammate escape. Also, she gets weaker with every copy of her that exists at a time.
  • Me's a Crowd: When Harem teleports, she can leave behind a functional copy of herself. She can create up to five at once, each with different clothing and hair style.
  • The Mole: She's using her powers to play double agent on Archon with Machina Industries because she feels Archon are too full of themselves. And because she thinks it's fun. It has been hinted that she may be a Triple Agent, also because it's fun.
  • No Sell: Is unable to port through Sydney's shield.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: She's called "Harem" so often that Sydney is initially confused when she refers to herself as Daphne.
  • Only Six Faces: Played with. On the one hand, she goes to a great deal of effort to make sure that her bodies look and even act different, despite being identical clones. On the other hand, the appearances she chose are clearly based on other team members, so it can be easy to mix them up if you're not careful.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: She may not be as pop-culture-minded as Maxima; when Sydney does a Looney Tunes-style trick note  in battle and follows it up by doing the Road Runner sound, she comments "I don't understand what you're doing." However, Word of God is that she does recognize the reference; she just doesn't get why Sydney is doing it.
  • Power Perversion Potential: She has five bodies with one mind, and calls herself Harem.
  • Self-Duplication: When she teleports, she can leave behind a functional copy of herself. She can create up to five at once, each with different clothing and hair style. Interestingly, the more of herself she's got in existence at once, the weaker each one is. Despite this, she prefers to have all five copies at once, as having only one set of eyes and ears makes her feel disoriented and deprived of those missing senses.
  • Super Strength: Capable of this, though she dislikes using it. Her strength is spread across all of her bodies with her max of five equaling out to a physically fit teenager. However, for every body she loses, the remaining ones gain twice as much strength. With just one body she's apparently as strong as Anvil.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: See self-duplication above. Her main function so far seems to be fetching the team's arsenal, since most of it is not stuff you can tote around normally.
    • Some specifics are given in #207. The overall weight of all the copies and their clothes is added to what they're carrying for a sort of overall teleporting weight limit (total weight of clones+whatever clones wear and carry cannot exceed X, by Harem's explanation). When they start having to bring in heavy weaponry one considers taking off her boots to try and stay under the limit before deciding she'll just have to "unteleport" for a bit to reduce the load safely.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: She's actually nineteen, but acts with knowledge on par with Maxima and Arianna (though not necessarily maturity). This is because of her five bodies allow her to basically experience five times as much as normal people. For example, the cast page notes that she usually has one body sleeping and one body studying while the other three do more interesting things.

    Anvil 

Anvil / Kenya Cassidy

A super-strong, energy-absorbing powerhouse. Anvil is good friends with Maxima and is the only one of the three African-American members of the team we've been introduced to thus far.

    Heatwave 

Heatwave / Brook Falls

A ditzy pyrokinetic who's dating Mr. Amorphous.
  • The Ditz: Brook wonders how Maxima could have kissed Mr. Amorphous (Brook's boyfriend) and left lipstick on his face when Maxima doesn't wear lipstick. By the time she meets up with Amorphous again she's ready to beat Max up — until it's explained to her that Harem was actually responsible. She then tries make boiling soda explode on Harem, who teleports to get out of the way, so Brook only soaks herself. And then she threatens Harem by melting the can in her hand ... effectively welding her own hand shut. Word of God is that she isn't actually as dumb as she appears, but she tends to process information in a non-standard order.
  • Expy: Her powers and parts of her personality suggest the Human Torch — apart from her being a hot, ditzy, redheaded female, of course.
  • Fiery Redhead: She has both a hot-headed personality and heat powers.
  • Flying Firepower: Flight is a secondary power of hers.
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead
  • Mundane Utility: Heatwave uses her heat powers to make popcorn.
  • Playing with Fire: Her power.

    Super Hiro 

Super Hiro / Hiro (Last name unknown)

Super strong and tough, can fly, is very photogenic, and has an ace up his sleeve. Apparently had a respectable army career before becoming a superhero.

    Math 

Math / Mathias (Last name unknown)

An incredibly accomplished martial artist — so much so that his skills skirt the line between training and actual superpowers. He's also a lecherous creep, though usually a lovable one.

    Mr. Amorphous 

Mr. Amorphous / (Civilian Name Unknown)

A super-stretchy member of the Arc-SWAT team. Currently dating Heatwave.
  • Expy: To some extent, in terms of abilities, of various famous comic-book rubber men: Mr. Fantastic, Plastic Man, and the Elongated Man. However, he seems to focus less on the stretching as such and more on the benefits control of his body gives him — strength, toughness, disguise, and so on.
  • Rubber Man: His primary superpower.
  • Shapeshifting: Control of his bodily form extends to disguise abilities.
  • Super Strength: Apparently a function of his control of his body's form and density.

    Achilles 

Achilles / Harold (Last name unknown)

"You can only drive a car off a plane into an ammo dump so many times before it gets boring."

An utterly invulnerable man (to the extent that he takes calming swims in active volcanoes and knocks missiles out of the air with his face). Personality-wise, Achilles is somewhat stuck in the '80s, though it's uncertain whether that's just what he's like or if it's a side-effect of his powers.
  • The Ageless: Apparently part of his invulnerability—nothing can harm him, not even time.
  • Boring but Practical: He gets the worst reception at the power demonstration after headbutting a tank.
    Alt Text: No one appreciates a good defense.
  • Clothing Damage: After hanging out in an explosion, he gets mad that the marshmallows in his pocket melted, ruining his jacket. Then we see that the entire back of his outfit is gone. Word of God is that he goes through clothes like The Incredible Hulk does, only without transforming.
  • Did Not Think This Through: Pulls off a pretty good plan by blocking Heavenly Sword's energy blade with his eyeball, counting on the shock of seeing that making her drop the sword. He then ends up picked up by the villainess and thrown into a wall, which she then drops on him, taking him out of the fight.
  • Eye Scream: Since he's invulnerable, he can invoke this trope to squick out the person he's fighting.
  • Fastball Special: He can be utilized as a human bullet by his stronger teammates.
  • Fights Like a Normal: He's invulnerable, but not really that much more powerful than a normal human otherwise.
  • Logical Weakness: His invulnerability is his only real power, and he's completely taken out of the fight when he's trapped under rubble.
  • Meaningful Name: Well, it's a superheroic codename, but Achilles is obviously named for Achilles, minus the heel.
  • Nigh Invulnerable: He's described as having "Proper, aggravating invincibility." He's shrugged off attacks that can destroy matter on the subatomic level.
    • He once stopped a cruise missile by headbutting it, and "didn't feel" the resulting explosion.
    • He's the only one other than Maxima to hang out in the massive explosion she caused.
    • His eyeball can block an energy blade.
  • Older Than They Look: As part of being The Ageless. He's a little over fifty, but looks to be in his mid-twenties.
  • Required Secondary Powers: Something of an inversion, in that he doesn't have full Super Strength but he is functionally somewhat stronger than a normal human because his invulnerability means he can't injure himself by straining too hard.
  • Stock Scream: Lets loose the Goofy Holler when punched through a roof.
  • Stone Wall: He's Nigh Invulnerable minus the nigh. The problem being, he's otherwise basically just a normal person (albeit 1.5 times as strong as most, since he doesn't have to worry about tearing muscles or anything).
  • You Fight Like a Cow: His unofficial "Power".

    X 

X / (Civilian Name Unknown)

Sydney: What's your name?
X: ...X.
Sydney: That's forgettably generic.
X: That's the point.

The classified handler Archon has watching Dabbler, just in case she was serving as the vanguard of an invasion force, or something similar. He's laconic and pragmatic, suiting his job as a spy; he evidently uses a high-tech invisibility/stealth suit, which may be his own design. The only member of Arcdark so far seen (or possibly acknowledged).

    Jiggawatt 

Jiggawatt / (Civilian Name Unknown)

A lightning- oriented super; she can create lightning, control lightning, and turn into lightning, allowing her rapid travel. She seems to have a mildly goofy sense of humor combined with a readiness to do the job she's paid for.
  • Electric Black Gal: Insofar as she manifests the trope, she's a slightly unusual gender flipped version. Actually, her specific appearance and lightning-hurling combat style might make her a bit more like a visual Expy of Storm of the X-Men, although when the writer realized this, he changed her hair color retroactively from white to gold, to reduce the similarity.
  • Hand Blast: Her basic offensive power; point at people and zap them with lightning. She's fast enough to knock incoming thrown objects out of the air with a reflex defensive blast.
  • Ride The Lightning: How she gets around when she needs to be quick. Her most powerful offensive option is to turn into lightning and throw herself at an opponent.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Jiggawatt tends this way in the last few panels of this strip.
  • Shock and Awe: Her schtick — lightning is her power.

    Ren 

Adrian Gyron

"Well, I can take a shower in ninety seconds, get dressed in under sixty, and make a bottle of shampoo last six months."

A new recruit for ARCHON, in the same "class" as Sydney.
  • The Big Guy: Is notably taller than all the other recruits.
  • Embarrassing Nickname:
    • Ren is hoping to avoid an annoying superhero moniker, like "the Black Hulk" (or as Sydney suggests, "the Blulk").
    • There's also, to an extent, his actual nickname, "Ren." No one is quite sure how he got it, but it's stuck.
  • Super Speed: Has "some kind of super adrenaline" that causes him to perceive time much more slowly, essentially giving him super speed and super reaction time.
  • Super Strength: Ren implies that his "super adrenaline" also boosts his strength.

    Varia 

Varia / Xochitl Xochiquetzal

"Hiya Halo, I saw footage of you at the cah pahk battle last night, I'm wicked jealous."

A Bostonian Aztec-American member of the team, again in the same "class" as Sydney, with a gestalt ability that changes based on who she is touching.
  • American Accents: Although she's Aztec by heritage, she grew up around Boston, and has an accent to match. This threw Halo the moment she started talking.
  • An Ice Person: Her power from touching Heatwave.
  • How Do I Shoot Web: Just because she gets a power doesn't mean she knows what it is and the specifics of its function.
  • Logical Weakness: She can't use her powers without touching someone (though Halo wonders if it's possible that she could activate her powers with blood samples and the like), so she can't fight solo, especially since her attacks are useless on the people she gets them from (which thankfully means that the person she touches is immune to any How Do I Shoot Web mishaps).
  • Meaningful Name:
    • She's called Varia because she has a "gestalt power," which changes depending on what person she's in physical contact with. There's little in the way of an apparent pattern for her powers, so she has theoretically as many powers as there are people on Earth.
    • Her real name is meaningful as well. Xochiquetzal was an Aztec goddess of fertility, beauty and strength, while Xochitl is the Aztec word for "flower." However, in a subversion of this trope, it has exactly zilch to do with her powers.
    • invoked Word of God says the subversion is a bit of a jab at characters that take it kinda to the point where suspension of disbelief starts to fail.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Sort of.
    • The powers she manifests are dependent on who she's just made physical contact with, so as long as she keeps the right people around, she can have as many powers as the situation requires.
    • In particular, when she touches people who also have superpowers, the powers she manifests tend to be related to that person's own powers. She can "ride along" with Harem, for example, while touching Heatwave gave her ice powers in contrast.
    • The powers she gains from various people also seem to be similar amongst blood relatives — which means that she can sometimes identify such relationships by experimentation. One panel shows her telling a small Chinese girl that she is adopted.
      Girl: Duh, my parents are white.
    • Notably, though, she gets no powers from touching Maxima. They're not sure why, but Maxima does have very unusual (and tough) skin.
    • Touching Sydney doesn't give her any obvious powers, but neither notices immediately that Sydney's halo of orbs extends to revolve around Varia as well. What this means remains to be seen.
  • No Sell: The powers she gains from touching a person don't affect them.
  • Overly Long Name: Her real name, Xochitl Xochiquetzal, is a mouthful for everyone but her.
  • Required Secondary Powers: The people she touches to get powers are immune to said powers, preventing any problems that might occur from the manifestation.
  • Take That: As mentioned above, she's a jab at characters that take Meaningful Names to the point where suspension of disbelief starts to falter.

    Vance 

Vance

A new recruit for ARCHON, in the same "class" as Sydney. Claims to be a colony of superpowered spiders with a Hive Mind, may just be a Troll.
  • Ambiguously Human: He claims to be a Mobile-Suit Human wearing superpowered colony of spiders with a Hive Mind, but he may just be hazing Sydney. Word of God is whether or not that's true is undecided until it's officially put into the comic.
  • Creepy Good: A Hive Mind of sentient spiders (if his story is true), but a good guy (if a bit of a Troll.
  • Hive Mind: Claims to be a colony of spiders with a collective intelligence, which he directly compares to the Borg.
  • Mobile-Suit Human: Claims that his "body" is one of these that's made out of special polymers that his spiders inhabit.
  • Troll: He hazes Sydney by telling her that he is a Mobile-Suit Human Hive Mind of intelligent, superpowered spiders. Whether or not it's true, or if he's just lying, is ambiguous.

ARCHON Normals

    Peggy 

Peggy

"Superpowers are like vegans—they can't wait to tell you about them."

A sniper and helicopter pilot, and the only active-duty member of ARCHON we meet who doesn't have superpowers or a close approximation thereto.
  • Badass Normal: Peggy is clearly very good at what she does, and feels perfectly able to work with a team of supers.
  • Bi the Way: She offhandedly explains that she's more attracted to people rather than genders, after Sydney initially picks up a lesbian vibe off her looks, then notices her enjoying the parade of shirtless superguys.
  • Blasting It out of Their Hands: When told to try and avoid fatalities in a large-scale combat, Peggy can always resort to, say, shooting a sword out of an opponent's hands.
  • Friendly Sniper: Evidently her primary function when the team gets into fights.
  • Genre Savvy: Her "supers are like vegans, they can't wait to tell you all about [their powers]" speech was proven correct by the end of the page. It's later proven right again during the team's first battle where many of the villains do in fact boast or show off their powers — though some have to be prompted by Sydney.
  • Handicapped Badass: She's a military sniper who lost her leg in action — but none of her badassitude.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: While not as cinematic as some, she does shoot a sword out of somebody's hands, at sniping ranges, in the middle of a fight.
  • Punny Name: She's got a prosthetic leg. And her name is Peggy. Har har.
  • Team Normal: The only member of the field team with no powers of any kind. Even Math has his Charles Atlas Superpower.

    Arianna 

Arianna

The PR representative and legal counsel for ARCHON. Enjoys tweaking Maxima and manipulating the press.
  • Amoral Attorney: Largely averted so far. She points out she can't screw Sydney over with the Archon contract because then she'd have to sue herself later. And after confirming that a waitress at the steakhouse the villains just wrecked can definitely sue said villains for damages, she offers to help in doing so with much enthusiasm — although admittedly that fits with some of her devious ideas about making life difficult for supervillains.
  • The Chessmaster: Arianna is seen playing Maxima like a fiddle for her amusement and the advancement of her organization as a bonus. Further events may eventually upgrade this status to Magnificent Bastard. However, Max seems to be manipulating right back at her...
  • Large Ham: While she's mostly one of the sanest characters around, her manic moments jump headfirst into full-on ham territory, usually with some of the most exaggerated expression in the comic.
  • The Merch: Part of her job as PR consultant is to push this - she loves Sydney's orbs because it means "collect them all!", and hated Maxima's demonstration because they played havoc with her sales projections.
  • Not Me This Time: Since she arranged the fake bank heist, Maxima apparently assumes that Arianna may also have staged the first supervillain attack. In a wordless conversation of expressions and gestures across the room, Ariana emphatically insists otherwise.
  • Not So Above It All: While she normally leans more towards an Only Sane Woman, she's had her moments.
  • Only Sane Woman: As a pragmatic (and manipulative) non-powered lawyer with PR responsibilities towards a team of supers, Arianna tends towards this trope. Though she's had one or two manic moments.

    General Faulk 

General Faulk

The officer in charge of ARCHON.

    Leon 

Leon

The technical expert at ARCHON. A self-avowed nerd with a bit of a complex about dealing with beautiful women (which makes working with superheroines an ... interesting prospect).
  • Cannot Talk to Women: The incredibly pretty ones, anyway. He seems okay with Sydney. Also with Maxima, likely because she doesn't flaunt when having discussions with him.
  • Geek: Actually, Leon proclaims himself to be both a geek and a Nerd, and Sydney has checked him out and confirmed this. However, their use of the latter term doesn't really accord with the definition used on this site.
  • Hollywood Hacking: He mercilessly skewers it in one memorable exchange.
  • Hacker Cave: His office in Archon headquarters is a fairly clean, well-lit example. We see at least four monitors and several cans of soda.
  • One Head Taller: A good deal taller than Sydney, who a few seconds after noting this wonders how "Leon Scoville" sounds.

    Zephen 

Zephan Zoeng

A consultant with ARCHON, Zephan is a retired adventurer with years of experience studying the odder parts of the world.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Sydney apologizes to him after making a quip about getting the orbs in an old Chinese relic shop. He simply smiles and jokes back that they always have the best stuff there.
  • Collector of the Strange: As a scholar of the unusual, he's accumulated bits and baubles, as well as knowledge.
  • Cool Old Guy: Totally fine with Sydney's quip about Asian antique shops and generally seems like a laid-back and funny guy.
  • Covert Pervert: After Dabbler's entrance, he (and Harem) is the only one entertaining the thought.
    Zeph: I am a Demonologist after all... I'd be neglecting my duties if I didn't offer to study her further.

    Gwen 

Gwen

Actually a novice magician, but evidently not at a level to take part in combat; she works on the support side at ARCHON. However, she has enough competence to cast a spell that keeps herself and two others from being noticed by a large group of supervillains in the middle of a fight scene.

Supervillains

    For Whom the Death Tolls 

For Whom the Death Tolls ("Death Toll")

A willfully mysterious cloaked man in a skull mask who watches the battle at the restaurant for a long time, shrugging off any attacks that come his way, before getting involved. Sydney comments that his cape suggests that he's either an arch-villain or a dork; he rapidly proves to be both, more or less. His powers initially appear to involve Energy Absorption, but actually, it's more than that.
  • Badass: The first active thing he does is one-shot Anvil.
  • Combo Platter Powers: Death Toll initially appears to have a wide array of powers capable of dealing with everyone he fights. However Sydney is able to figure out that his power is actually to gain the power to counter whoever is attacking him (frequently with enough force to put the attacker out of the fight).
  • Energy Absorption: A common manifestation of his power; he soaks up incoming damage and then turns it back on the attackers in one form or another.
    • He absorbs the kinetic energy from Anvil's blow, and all the energy she had stored up, rendering her unconscious.
    • When Jiggawatt attacks him by turning into lightning and hurling herself at him, he briefly traps her between his hands, and then shoots her out at Stalwart.
  • Fail O Sucky Name: The absurdity of his villain name has been noted by the heroes and his fellow villains. He seems to be the only one who thinks it's cool. But of course, it's really provocative.
    Anvil: I'm going to arrest you just for that. That is the worst name ever.
  • The Gadfly/You Fight Like a Cow: His grandiloquent, obnoxious manner, goading and insulting his opponents at every opportunity, and his extra-flashy costume may simply be designed to provoke opponents into attacking him as much as possible, so they don't realize that he can't do anything unless they do. If so, he arguably manages to overdo it.
  • In the Hood: He wears a cowl (admittedly not in black), along with a somewhat Pimped Out Cape, purely so he can "look imperious". In other words, he lives and more or less lampshades the trope.
  • Logical Weakness: His power requires him to be attacked first so he can then counter whatever is being thrown at him. So...
    • Sydney points out that as long as no one attacks him, he's powerless.
    • She then suggests another option; lay off the Mook Chivalry and all hit him at once, so as to overload his powers.
  • Man of Kryptonite: Death Toll automatically has whatever power he needs to counter whoever attacks him. However, if no one attacks him, he can't do very much. Also, he can't counter too many opponents at once.
  • Mook Chivalry: Relies heavily on this, goading the heroes into attacking him one by one since there turns out to be a limit to how much he can counter at once. He goes down when multiple heroes hit him together.

    Heavenly Sword 

Heavenly Sword

A swordswoman who participates in the attack on the restaurant.
  • BFS/Laser Blade: Her power revolves around energy "blades" which her superpower enables her to create around any long, thin object which she holds in her hand.
  • Cleavage Window: Halo warns her that she'll be tagged as "Keyhole" if she doesn't introduce herself properly during her first appearance (even though it's a fight scene).
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: The author comments here that she has a lot of potential for a seemingly limited power.
  • Implausible Fencing Powers: Trounces Dabbler in a sword fight and easily deflects her magical attacks while doing so. Word of God puts her at a four on the power scale.
  • Logical Weakness: Needs a weapon to channel energy around, and Peggy very nearly takes her out of the fight altogether by shattering her wooden sword with a sniper bullet. If she hadn't picked up another fallen villain's ribbon whip, she'd have been done for.
  • Sword Beam: At least a borderline case; the energy fields she can create around her blade may not give her a true ranged attack, but they give her significantly more reach than a mundane sword.

    Jabberwokky 

Jabberwokky

A martial artist who participates in the attack on the restaurant.
  • Badass: Picks a fight with Math and is able to match him pretty well, with her powers balancing his superior technique.
  • Bi the Way: When she gets seduced by Dabbler (which by itself doesn't say anything about her sexuality) she mentions being into women at parties.
  • I Have Boobs, You Must Obey!: She only wears see-through fishnet under her jacket and uses this to distract Math long enough to get some hits through his defenses.
  • The Klutz: Introduces herself by slipping on a piece of glass and falling flat on her ass.
  • Supernatural Martial Arts: She can enhance her very significant skill by invoking various "styles", some of them animal-themed, which grant her various combinations of speed, striking power, and innate resistance to damage.

    Opal 

Opal

A member of the villain group that attacks the heroes at the restaurant, with the power to open portals between points in space. Apparently previously known as an active villain, in that Zeph identifies her on sight.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: There are some suggestions that Opal and Vekter are in a relationship. The best evidence for this would be the persistent sense of very mild snarking in their dialogue.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: Her power. She's fast and precise enough that she not only acts as the team's transport, she can provide communication by opening mini-portals to carry speech from one place to another.
  • Weaponized Teleportation: She can send people who attack her elsewhere, sometimes causing their attacks to hit their friends instead.

     Vehemence 

Vehemence

A large, Mysterious Stranger who is associated with the villains who attack the heroes at the restaurant, eventually claiming to have organized the action, but who doesn't do much for them for most of the fight. Then he turns against them — before challenging all the heroes still standing at once. While he obviously has super powers, he keeps their precise nature quiet until he considers it's too late for the heroes to do anything about it. Just to start with, he is able to pass unnoticed through a tornado of flying rocks, and he drops Opal and Vekter with little apparent difficulty after shrugging off some heavy attacks...
  • Affably Evil: His exact motives are kept quiet for a while, but he's certainly not friendly to the heroes. However, after showing up for the big fight in a nice suit, he has a short, amiable conversation with Sydney, indicates to her which of the other villains looks most worrying, and then privately hopes that she doesn't get herself killed. He becomes far less affable once he starts to fight, but even then he manages a few jokes during the pauses between punches, and he goes to the trouble of preserving his modesty to avoid shocking his opponents too much.
    • He has a dedication to etiquette that verges on Blue and Orange Morality. He'll beat your face in, but he (almost) never swears, and he generally tries to leave his opponents alive if only so they can come back to commit more violence later.
  • The Ageless: Vehemence's age is unclear; it's not even certain that he's a mortal. However, his knowledge of occult secrets and a casual reference to being present at "the L.A. Race Riots" (which race-related riots in L.A. he means is unclear) suggest that he's certainly been around for some time.
  • Ambiguously Evil: While he attacks Arc-SWAT with clear intent to take them down, and he manipulated dozens of people into a super-powered battle, he's not shown any desire to cause lasting harm past killing Maxima, and then only because she's willing and able to kill him. He's expressed hope that Sydney survives the night, and prompted Arc-SWAT to check on a guy he just hit, as he may have broken some ribs. Furthermore, he shows no real animosity or malice towards our heroes, even complimenting their fighting ability, and obliging Sydney in some light banter.
  • Ambiguously Human: It's not certain whether or not he's human/mortal or not especially with the fact that the only other users of vehemic energy that Dabbler knows of are a type of demon, and the hints that he might be The Ageless.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Vehemence first appears wearing a suit and a tolerably Nice Hat.
  • Bald of Evil: All part of his shaven-headed thug look.
  • Batman Gambit: He counted on ARC-SWAT to take a "punch first, ask questions later" approach to the supervillain ambush he'd orchestrated to help fuel his powers.
  • Blood Knight:
    • One of the explanations he initially offers for his own actions — and the one that Maxima finds most plausible.
    • Actually, it's really because he draws power from "vehemic energy", which is the psychic energy of violence itself. He engaged Arc-SWAT because superheroes produce otherwise impossible levels of localized violence, which in turn gives him extraordinary levels of power. Which is kind of a very practical reason for being a Blood Knight.
    • It's also implied that vehemic energy feels good to him, which means that he literally gets high off of violence.
  • Combat Pragmatist: He grabs Anvil's hair and swings her around with it when he fights her. He also has no objection to simply trying to kill Maxima after she manages to hurt him.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Vehemence appears to embody the trope, which is invoked, lampshaded, discussed, and Played Straight by and with him. See the main page for more on this. Actually, it turns out that he draws power from violence, so being present at a big fight which thins out both sides powers him up, thereby justifying the trope in his case.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He has his moments, such as when Sydney claims Dabbler (in full succubus form) is from Jersey.
    Vehemence: Oh, is that where they keep the Aetheon thrones? Pull the other one.
    Sydney: Not New Jersey, obviously. Old Jersey.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Sydney's plan to stop him involves getting Dabbler to jump rope in front of him (causing her breasts to jiggle), countering his vehemic energy with Dabbler's tantric energy , and causing him to start losing focus and strength.
  • Double Agent: Implied then averted. His actions in standing back from the big fight and then betraying his own side seem to hint at the trope initially, but he eventually claims not to be working for anyone but himself, and he's certainly not there to help the heroes.
  • Evil Feels Good: Implied to be a part of the reason that Vehemence is so dedicated to accumulating vehemic energy.
  • Exact Words: Vehemence is very careful in what he says. He almost always speaks in terms of his capabilities, implying the threat that he might actually use those capabilities. This is because he doesn't really have any grand ambitions or political goals. He really does just love violence, thanks to his ability to feed on vehemic energy. In fact, he hates the kind of mayhem he was threatening, since too much violence now means he doesn't get any violence later.
  • Gag Penis: Judging by the reactions of the cast (including an "Oh myyy..."), Vehemence gains one when he hulks out.
  • Genius Bruiser: His primary powers are basically Super Strength and robustness, and he looks the part of a hulking thuggish bruiser. However, he is also very shrewd and well-informed.
    • He is able to manipulate both other villains and heroes into acting in ways that suit him.
    • He recognizes Dabbler's supernatural nature and laughs off her cover story, implying exceptional knowledge of the occult.
    • He later casts a kind of spell that causes the defeated villains to wake up and makes them and the heroes to fight among themselves to get more vehemic power.
  • Genre Savvy: Possible dangerously so:
  • Godzilla Threshold: He's usually careful not to kill the people he fights, since doing so would starve him of his power source, but after powering up as much as he can he goes in for the kill on Maxima, because he regards her as the only hero who stands a chance of stopping him.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: He is depicted several pages before his first "actual" appearance, here.
  • Healing Factor: Uses this to regenerate his eye, tooth and arm. Plus whenever he does heal, he gets even stronger.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Surrenders when Sydney points out it's either that or Maxima frying his head.
  • Lightning Bruiser: One with a shockingly fast recovery time, at that.
  • Logical Weakness: Besides the fact that he needs violence to fuel his powers, and thus isn't much of a threat if no-one is fighting within his range, it's possible to hit him hard enough that the benefits he gets from the violence are outweighed by the damage done.
  • Magic Pants: Vehemence averts and then invokes this trope in a literally magical form when he has absorbed a very large amount of "vehemic energy". He uses it to grow to twice his normal size — with all-too-realistic consequences for his clothes. However, he then flaunts just how much power he has acquired by using some of it to create himself a new pair of pants, complete with accompanying Ka-pants.
  • Motive Rant: Subverted. At one point, he claims he'll start wars all over the world to fuel his powers, but...
    Vehemence: Actually colonel, I'm not planning on doing any of that. It's just the sort of thing a guy like me is supposed to say. The world could use a good kick in the ass don't get me wrong, but war is unruly. I enjoy a good scrap is all. Think I'll take in a sports riot next. Brazil perhaps.
  • Mysterious Stranger: His initial style, standing off to the side watching as the members of the villain team battle with the members of Arc-SWAT, and then having a polite conversation with Sydney. Also, Maxima refuses to believe his first explanation for his actions.
  • Mysterious Watcher: Although the other villains are willing to regard him as one of their own, he just watches while they fight. Sydney is rightly concerned by this mystery.
  • Nigh Invulnerable: Just for a start, Vekter hits him with a car which explodes on impact, and the only damage we see is his suit sleeve being slightly ripped. He becomes even more resilient as the fight continues.
  • Pet the Dog: He seems to have a certain fondness for Sydney.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Vehemence says that he has gained more energy from his fight with Arc-SWAT than he got from the L.A. Race Riots. That said, he doesn't say whether he took part.
  • Power Glows: The more vehemic energy he absorbs, the stronger he gets and the more his tattoos glow.
  • Power Tattoo: Seems to be the case, as his tattoos have recently started to glow green, as opposed to the blue-lavender that they were at the beginning of the fight. Then glow orange after Maxima blows his arm off.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Twofold. First, he never attempts to kill anyone but Maxima, because he knows that people can't be violent if they're dead, and he doesn't want to cut off his power supply. Second, he only attempts to kill Maxima because he believes that she's the only one who stands a chance of stopping him.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Wears a sharp, dark suit and a Nice Hat, and his powers apparently serve to protect these from damage to some extent. However, he takes off first the hat and then his jacket when preparing to fight the heroes.
  • Super Strength: He manifests other powers in due course (and he's certainly quick and tough from the start), and he's quite a smart fighter in his way, but he's definitely very, very strong, and his physique makes him look the part.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Sort of. He's finally defeated by every super in the fight dogpiling him and holding his head under water. But while he has to spend energy faster than he gains it to keep from drowning, it would still take a while to finally, officially defeat him. So Sydney points out that he can either give up gracefully, or get his head vaporized by Maxima, and he submits to Dabbler's sleep spell.

    Vekter 

Vekter

The presumed field commander of the villain group that attacks the heroes at the restaurant. Apparently previously known as an active villain, in that Zeph identifies him on sight.
  • Delinquent Hair: It's not known whether Vekter's hair is green because of a genetic mutation associated with his powers, a dye job, or something else — but in any case, his hairstyle definitely tends to the (maybe rather over-aged) delinquent look.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: There are some suggestions that Vekter and Opal are in a relationship. The best evidence for this would be the persistent sense of very mild snarking in their dialogue.
  • Mind over Matter: Vekter is a telekinetic. That seems to be his only power, but he's formidable with it; he can not only throw heavy stuff at people, he can direct teammates' semi-material attacks for a "homing" effect, create a tornado of flying rocks around his own position as a defense, or throw a rock accurately enough to knock a weapon out of an opponent's hand.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Vehemence claims that he let Vekter think assembling the villain group to attack ARCHON was his own idea, but it as really his plan.


Other Characters, Possibly Ambiguous

    Deus 

Deus

"Unbelievable, even better than I'd hoped. Heh heh heh heh..."

A mysterious businessman, the head of Machina Industries, which supplies ARCHON with some of its equipment. He's apparently being set up as a villain for the comic, but he's not done anything actively hostile yet — just spied on and subverted members of the team.

    Vale 

Vale

Deus's assistant and probably his bodyguard. Given her mannerisms and her collection of swords, presumably some kind of martial artist.