Alternate History comic book series written by Vincent Brugeas and (initially) drawn by Ronan Toulhoat.World War II kicked off in 1939. Then ...Adolf Hitler was assassinated in 1941, Heinrich Himmler took over the chancellery, Reinhard Heydrich became Reichsführer of the SS, Berlin was rebuilt to Albert Speer's designs and renamed Germania (much like in Fatherland). The Third Reich conquered Western Europe and most of Africa, launched its "Ragnarok program" in 1942 and massively nuked the USA and the United Kingdom on may 8th 1945. Operation Barbarossa was launched in 1944 but the forces of USSR proved to be stronger than expected and ultimately repelled the German forces out of the Soviet territory. A new Teutonic Order was created (the symbol of which is a square pierced by an arrow), Himmler died in an accident in 1947 and was replaced by his right-hand, an ambitious officer named Zytek. Zytek rejected the title of "Führer" and now calls himself the "Hochmeister" (which is also his rank in the Teutonic Order), and he has an agenda of his own.
- Block 109 - The first album. It was published in 2010 in a 200 pages small format, and it is basically the keystone of The Verse. A "trailer" of sorts can be seen here. A small prequel motion comic can be seen here, explaining the story behind the empty Panzermann featured in the album.
- Etoile Rouge - 2010
- Opération Soleil de Plomb - 2011
- New York 1947 - 2011
- Ritter Germania - 2012
- S.H.A.R.K - 2014
- Maruta - 2016
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The whole series / universe
- Allohistorical Allusion: Too many to count. Hitler's death mirrors that of John F. Kennedy, of all things.
- Badass Army: The New Teutonic Order, armored soldiers who are enhanced by a Super Serum.
- Crapsack World: This might be one of the worst "Alternate WWII" scenarios. Hitler is assassinated in 1941, leading to The Purge and a more efficient leadership taking control of the Third Reich and focusing more on the west. The war expands to Africa, Asia, and South America. Then the Nazis develop atomic bombs and destroy most of North America. They finally declare war on the USSR in 1944 but get bogged down in a quagmire that still isn't resolved by 1953, by which time only 30% of humanity remains. Conventional weapons used by both sides get increasingly high-tech and exotic, culminating in the Nazis unleashing a viral plague that creates a Zombie Apocalypse. Grand Master Zytek ultimately decides the best thing for humanity is to destroy every warring faction and restart civilization.
- Dirty Communists: USSR is portrayed as "the Red Beast" by Nazi propaganda.
- The Empire: The Third Reich. And Japan, of course (though Japan hasn't been featured yet).
- Genre Shift: From war genre to horror and even Film Noir.
- Good Running Evil: Zytek, Hitler's assassin, has climbed all the way to the top of the Nazi hierarchy.
- Historical Domain Characters: Many historical Nazis and some Allied leaders show up.
- Hitler's Time-Travel Exemption Act: No time travel is involved, but the cardinal rule - don't kill Adolf Hitler - is broken. It caused The Purge (see below) and a more efficient and devastating German take on the war against the Western countries, even though the war against USSR turned almost just as hopeless as it happened for Germany in real life.
- Iwo Jima Pose: The page's picture, which features Teutonic Order soldiers .
- Lowered Recruiting Standards: Foreigners and women were conscripted in the German armies in 1951.
- Malevolent Masked Men: These guys◊, combined with Red Eyes, Take Warning.
- Mega City: Berlin has become Germania, Hitler's dreamed metropolis.
- Nazi Protagonists: The whole series focuses on Nazi Germany's side of the war, except for Etoile Rouge.
- No Swastikas: Himmler chose a new symbol for the New Teutonic Order, a square pierced by an arrow◊.
- Averted by Reinhard Heydrich. The SS kept the Swastika.
- Proud Warrior Race Guys: The Germans, symbolized by the New Teutonic Order.
- Shown Their Work: For instance, the movie Ritter Germania vs The Red Beast stars Zarah Leander, who was one of the biggest stars in Nazi Germany in real life.
- Soviet Superscience: The Soviets got mechas and jet fighters too.
- State Sec: There are actually two opposing ones within Alternate History Nazi Germany. The SS became Heydrich's personal organization after Himmler became Fuehrer (Hitler was assassinated and everyone else in the line of succession was killed in the purge that followed), but Himmler also created the Teutonic Order as a rival organization led by an unknown officer named Zytek so that neither Heydrich or Zytek could become too powerful and depose him. This backfired when Himmler was assassinated anyway and the Reich council promoted Zytek.
- Stupid Jet Pack Hitler: Advanced jet fighters, VTOL gunships, Panzermensch, V6 cruise missiles ...
- Super Soldier:
- The propaganda portrays Ritter Germania like this.
- The New Teutonic Order's Super Serum makes the order's soldiers stronger, but it kills them within a few days. It was tested on Der Ritter in New York 1947.
- War Is Glorious: What the Nazi leaders continue to preach, much to Zytek's disdain.
- War Is Hell: And how. The battles featured are basically meat grinders, just as World War II was in real life. Just add nuclear holocausts and a Zombie Apocalypse.
- We Will Wear Armor in the Future: The New Teutonic Order wear armors, and Ritter Germania as well.
The story takes place in 1953. The Wehrmacht, the Waffen SS and the New Teutonic Order are desperately struggling against Soviet forces in the city of Marienburg, Pomerania, the bastion of the New Teutonic Order and the last line of defenses on the path to Berlin (it is basically the equivalent of the battle of Stalingrad in this alternate universe, up to the nickname "Cauldron"). Meanwhile, Zytek follows his own agenda...
- Always a Bigger Fish: The Wehrmacht and SS forces in Marienburg repel a Soviet tank assault. Then the Soviet unleash their Walkers and Siberians. Suddenly, the Panzermann shows up◊, crushes some Siberians and tanks, and tears the Walker's arms off. The Panzermann is then destroyed by Soviet attack aircrafts.
- An Axe to Grind: Miller's favourite melee weapon.
- The Ark: The Block 109 bunker. Zytek gathered 6000 chosen ones in this sanctuary, allowing them to survive his planned apocalypse.
- Badass Beard: Zytek is made of Authority Equals Asskicking, and sports a beard.
- Badass Longcoat: Zytek wears long coats.
- Bears are Bad News: The Siberians wear bear pelts.
- The Berserkers: The Soviet Elite Mooks called "Siberians". They wear bear pelts, throw themselves into fights with Unstoppable Rage and slaughter their enemies with Wolverine Claws.
- Board to Death: After disposing of Heydrich, Zytek gathers the other major Nazi leaders in the Third Reich's command room so he can kill them all in one fell swoop for their crimes against humanity.
- Chekhov's Gun: The man who shot Hitler has a "109" tattoo on his wrist. As Zytek dies, we can see it again on his wrist.
- Civil War: The final battle between the SS and the Teutonic Order in Berlin is basically this.
- Colonel Badass: The Oberst piloting the Panzermann.
- Cool vs. Awesome: Soviet mechas and Siberian berserkers Vs. German mechas.
- Death Seeker: Zytek. Because he lost the woman he loved and their child.
- Depopulation Bomb: The Nazis wiped out 70 per cent of the world's population by nuclear fire. There are less than 800 million humans on Earth in 1953. And even less after Zytek's final nuclear attack.
- Dragon with an Agenda: Zytek, when he was Himmler's dragon.
- Dragon Ascendant: Zytek. He replaced Heinrich Himmler after the latter's "accidental death" in 1947 (it's implied that either Zytek himself or Heydrich was behind it).
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Otto Skorzeny, who was something of a Memetic Badass of real life World War II, is unceremoniously killed by Slashed Throat after he boasts that he's the local SS commander to a member of the Teutonic Order.
- Dual Wielding: Zytek wields two sabers in the battle between the New Teutonic Order and the SS.
- Elite Army: The New Teutonic Order serves as this for Germany, overtly .
- Elite Mooks: The Soviet Siberians, who are unstoppable berserkers with Wolverine Claws.
- The End of the World as We Know It: At the end of the first album Zytek ensures that the major powers of the world will be knocked back to the Stone Age to end the cycle of violence that already destroyed the world.
- Faking the Dead: Zytek, during the SS assault on Berlin.
- Final Solution:
- 14 million Jews were killed in this universe.
- This Holocaust and many others caused by the Nazis prompted Zytek to prepare a Final Solution against the warmonger humanity itself in the hope of ceasing the escalation of violence once and for all.
- Gatling Good: The Soviet Walkers' weaponized arm. The other arm is a rocket-launcher.
- Heroic Sacrifice:
- Miller, in the Marienburg subway. He was bitten so he's condemned to become a ghoul and chooses to stay behind his squad, facing the ghouls with his axe and enabling the others to escape.
- Zytek dies defending Block 109 from SS forces, at the end.
- Historical Domain Characters:
- Humongous Mecha / Mini-Mecha / A Mech by Any Other Name: German Panzermensch vs Soviet Walkers.
- In Medias Res: It is the first published album, but the last chronologically.
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Mecha: Somehow, there are functioning mechas in the late 1940s-early 1950s.
- Interservice Rivalry: Himmler created the New Teutonic Order, which upset Heydrich. There is basically a rivalry between the SS and the New Teutonic Order which culminates in the destruction of the former by the latter.
- Lowered Recruiting Standards: As the war against USSR caused an increasing lack of Cannon Fodder, the Wehrmacht and the SS allowed non-Germans and women to join its ranks.
- Macross Missile Massacre: Charged with The Virus and nuclear warheads. It is Zytek's scheduled Last Stand against the Soviet Union.
- Mole in Charge: Zytek was first recruited by the anti-Nazi Admiral Wilhelm Canaris before the war to infiltrate the Nazi Party. Zytek's decision to assassinate Hitler ended up creating an even worse war than he feared, but he was eventually able to ascend to leadership of the Third Reich so he could dismantle it from within.
- More Dakka: The battles in the "Cauldron", including the trailer.
- Nemean Skinning: The Siberians wear bear pelts, with the head's pelt as a hood.
- No Place for Me There: When Lisa accuses Zytek and his men of being monsters for trying to destroy what remains of the world while declaring themselves the chosen few fit to survive, Zytek explains that he has no intention of saving his own skin and deserves to die for what he has been part of.
- The Purge:
- Hermann Göring, Joseph "Sepp" Dietrich, Martin Bormann, Rudolf Hess and many other Nazi officials were arrested by the Gestapo and hanged after Hitler's assassination in 1941. Joseph Goebbels was spared, thanks to his propaganda talents.
- A second one occurs in 1953. Zytek uses the New Teutonic Order to execute all the remaining Nazi leaders, including Heydrich, for what they've done to humanity, and annihilates the SS.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Panzermensch's eyes turn red when said mechas are activated.
- The Reveal: As Zytek dies, we can see the "109" tattoo on his wrist. It was him who shot Adolf Hitler in 1941.
- Shout-Out: This part?◊ Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade.
- Sinister Subway: The subway of Marienburg is populated by ghouls.
- Splash of Color: This album's visual style is a mix of this with Real Is Brown and Deliberately Monochrome. Blood spatterings are always red.
- Sword and Gun: Zytek against the SS in the final assault.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: In addition to his plans of massive Macross Missile Massacre on the USSR with V6 cruiser missiles charged with The Virus, Zytek also planned a nuclear attack, just in case. It turns out he has planned to use it against warmonger humanity anyway.
- Too Dumb to Live: The Panzermann pilot in the trailer. Taking a cigarette break outside of his mecha is not a good idea, especially when enemy snipers are lurking around.
- Urban Warfare: The importance of the battle of Marienburg in this universe can be compared to Stalingrad in real life.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Zytek.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The way Zytek disposes of the SS. He also executes hundreds of scientists who worked on his secret project.
- Zombie Apocalypse: Caused by The Virus / Synthetic Plague.
October 1944. Three French pilots of the Normandie squadron fight alongside Soviet forces against the German invasion of USSR.
- Ace Pilots: The protagonists are among the best pilots of the Free French Forces.
- Bash Brothers: The three pilots: Roland, Marcel and "Bébert".
- Cool Plane: Soviet Yak 3 (and later MIG 15) vs German jet planes (Messerschmitt Me 262, Focke-Wulf Ta 183 and Arado).
- Downer Ending: By the end, all three French pilots are dead.
- For Want of a Nail: A Soviet worker botches the reactor propeller of a new MIG 15, unvoluntarily. Marcel later flies on this MIG 15, and dies when the reactor explodes.
- Old-School Dogfight: The album features what looks like classic World War II dogfights, except it's with jet planes on both sides.
- Propaganda Machine: The pilots are basically propaganda puppets and have to comply with Stalin's requirements.
- Replacement Love Interest: Marcel becomes one for Natalia after Roland's death.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Roland and Marcel attack the German base without any order to avenge the death of "Bébert".
Opération Soleil de Plomb
October 1946. The SS invade Belgian Congo in order to seize its uranium mines. There, they face a harsh resistance by the remaining French colonial forces. In February 1947, a squad of convicts is sent to kill the resistance leader known as Colonel Leclerc.
- Historical Domain Characters:
- Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque is still a colonel in this universe. Turns out he has already died (either of starvation / illness from the jungle or killed by the local tribes) when the German commando reaches his camp.
- Otto Skorzeny.
- Occupiers out of Our Country: Part of The Reveal at the end. The African colonial troops manipulate the SS forces throughout the story to make them think the French are still an active threat (in fact, they had already been killed by the natives) so they could lure the Germans into a trap and kick all the colonial powers out of their country.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The SS squad that is sent to assassinate Colonel Leclerc is composed of convicts.
- Shout-Out: There are a number of shout outs to Apocalypse Now and Platoon. Belgian Congo is basically Germany's Nam, even though they conquered it at the end.
- Zerg Rush: The African tribes on the German commando.
New York 1947
December 1947. The US have been nuked two years ago. A German commando of six men is sent into the ruins of Manhattan for a very special operation.
- Empowered Badass Normal: The Super Serum is tested on Der Ritter to impressive effects, but it gives him increasingly painful headaches, and he ultimately becomes crazy and uncontrollable.
- I'm a Humanitarian: The survivors in Manhattan had to rely on this. And it was even worse when some of them became mutants.
- In the Hood: Alice, on the album's cover.
- Invaded States of America: Nuked States of America, actually. New York was used as an experiment field by the Nazis in order to test The Virus on its surviving population.
- Kill the Cutie: Alice is killed by Der Professor.
- Leave No Witnesses: Zytek's orders to Der Professor.
- Mutants: The Virus created a new race of mutated humans.
- Neck Snap: Der Ritter does this to a giant mutated human. The Super Serum made him strong enough to fight such creatures with his bare hands.
- The title is based on New York 1997, the French title of Escape from New York. Not to mention the collapsed Statue of Liberty on the album's cover. And then there's Herr Plissken.
- Alice is probably a nod to Alice Prospero, from the Resident Evil film series.
- The giant mutated humans to the final boss of the first Resident Evil.
February 1950. Two Nazi officials are murdered in Berlin. The crimes are signed by someone who pretends to be the famous propaganda hero of the New Teutonic Order : Ritter Germania.
- The Captain: Ritter Germania. Not only does "Ritter" mean "knight" in German, it is also the equivalent of "captain" in the Teutonic Order.
- Captain Patriotic: Ritter Germania. He is basically a Nazi equivalent of Captain America, with In-Universe tie-in propaganda movies and comic strips◊.
- Gas Mask Mooks: The Kripo enforcement force. Justified, as they use tear gas.
- Heel–Face Turn: The actor (and elite soldier) who plays Ritter Germania goes rogue and slaughters Nazi officials.
- Historical Domain Characters:
- Reinhard Heydrich.
- Henning von tresckow.
- Ernst Kaltenbrunner. He is Ritter Germania's second victim.
- Interservice Rivalry:
- The SS and the New Teutonic Order. The decision to choose a soldier from the Teutonic Order instead of one from the SS as the hero of the Master Race upset Heydrich.
- The Kripo does not tolerate the Gestapo's interference in its investigations.
- Knight in Shining Armor: How Ritter Germania is portrayed by propaganda.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: Joachim Stadler is sent to the hellhole that is the eastern front in winter instead of being executed, and freezes to death.
November 1946. Australia has become the last refuge for the remaining Allied forces who survived the nuclear apocalypse, and a huge camp for German prisoners. Worth, an untamed Australian fascist outlaw, enters the prison of Rabbit Flat, in the Tanami desert.