An age-old adage was that, if you were bad in life, when you died it generally got worse. Nowhere is this idea more assaulted, mugged, curb-stomped and left for dead face-down in a rancid gutter than in the world of Résurrection, the brainchild of Pat Mills and illustrated in excrutiatingly loving and gory detail by Olivier Ledroit, originally published in French by Nickel Editions and currently being translated into English and published in Heavy Metal magazine as Requiem Vampire Knight.The comic begins in the real world. Enter Heinrich Augsburg, a young, suicidal and currently rather dying Nazi soldier on the Eastern Front facing the Soviet Army. Within about two or three pages of his introduction, he gets shot in the head. Exit Heinrich.Only not, because our 'hero' is transported to Résurrection and promptly gets set upon by a gang of looting zombies. He blows them away with an impaling gun and earns the gratitude of the weapon's owner, Otto von Todt, who identifies Heinrich as a person guilty of terrible crimes and therefore now a member of the ruling class of this world (as is Otto himself): a vampire. And from there, it only gets better.For some.Because everything is inverted on Résurrection. Where the sea was on Earth there is now land, and likewise for the oceans. Instead of growing older, people regress in age, until they turn into foetuses and are then entirely forgotten. Technology from Earth, when discovered, is promptly buried or hidden away. And most important of all, the more cruel a person was in life, the better they are rewarded in their reincarnation, while the innocent are outcasts at best and food or entertainment at worst. As such, morality and good feeling towards others is pretty much out the window - which is something of a problem for Heinrich, now known as Requiem, since for some reason he still possesses a conscience, a sense of honour and a disinterest in ripping little girls apart for kicks.And because of that pesky conscience, he's pretty interested in finding out what happened to a certain love of his former life, name of Rebecca...
The seraphic missile (a missile with an angel in the warhead) is described as being equivalent to an anti-matter explosion on Ressurection.
Anti-Hero: While Requiem has morals and is desperate to find Rebecca again, to get to where he presently is he was obviously more than a bit of a bastard in his previous lives as Heinrich and Thurim and Heinrich Barbarossa.
The Atoner: Heinrich wishes he was this, but the business of simply surviving being a vampire with a conscience prevents him from doing much atoning.
The Vampire Queen Bathory fits the trope to a T, though, as do Dame Holodomor and Claudia.
Beauty Is Never Tarnished: averted. Beautiful/sexy creatures in Résurrection are just as likely to get their heads bitten in half or being brutally ripped apart as the others. Rebecca does look like a concentration camp victim at the time of her death, and has even lost her ebony curls at that point.
Bestiality Is Depraved: Black Sabbath (formerly one Aleister Crowley), whose girlfriend is a male mandrill most of the time, as he finds it more exciting. However, she turns back into her normal female form to seduce Thurim.
Body Horror: The Hierophants, highest ranking of the Archaeologists, spend most of their time in sarcophagus-like tanks since they have no skin. When they do feel the need to stretch their legs, their servants promptly flay someone alive so that they have a skin to wear.
Cool and Unusual Punishment: the whole of Résurrection is essentially Hell/Purgatory. Ironically, those who have committed minor sins suffer the worst, and some complete innocents get trapped there as well.
Corrupt Church: The Dystopians have an transdimansional "papal pipeline" that allows them to sell holy water to all the warring factions. Unfortunately, as it comes from the same church responsible for the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Borgias and the whole Pedophile Priest and coverup, it needs to be substantially purified to be of any use.
Costume Porn: the artist pays a lot of attention to details.
Cycle of Revenge: Of a sort. See, Otto killed Rebecca, but then Rebecca's twin sister tracked him down and killed him in a Roaring Rampage of Revenge. So now Rebecca keeps inciting Requiem to kill Otto because she wants to escape Résurrection, and Otto wants to go on tormenting Rebecca in their afterlives because dying hasn't really changed his opinion of her.
Deadly Training Area: The training for vampire knights is carried out in Hell. Not only that, but in a specifically malevolent branch of Hell. Most of the apprentices don't get out with their deaths.
Deadpan Snarker: Black Sabbat has his moments. On one character exclaiming that he has a seraphic warhead in his throne room, he tells them "Oh yes, I was wondering what the large object containing an explosive angel was".
Depraved Homosexual / Sissy Villain: Taken to ridiculous levels with Nero, Dracula's right hand man. Looking like the bastard offspring of Frank-N-Furter and Gene Simmons, he struts around in lingerie and high-heeled shoes, makes constant and blatant overtures to other men, is sexually aroused by torture and bloodshed, and goes to the masquerade ball in a Pimped-Out Dress.
According to Torquemada, the Dystopians are all this.
Devil but No God: since very much good people end up in Ressurrection, it could be interpreted that there is either no God, or at least no Heaven. Though, the trope gets played with quite a bit. To begin with, there is no discernable Devil either. Black Sabbath makes mention of Lucifer (the original owner of the hammer Thurim, but he is nowhere to be found, and the top dogs of Ressurrection seem to be competing Eldritch Abominations. In addition, angelsdo exist, and by extension heaven must as well... but horrifyingly enough, since Saint's heads are used as ammunition, horribly desecrated saints as shields, and a Seraph used as a weapon of mass destruction is shown, it appears that the forces of Hell have access into Heaven.
Disproportionate Retribution: The evilest people become vampires, rapists become centaurs, religious lunatics become werewolves, infanticidal mothers become harpies, and the suicidal become... trees?
Quite probably inspired by Dante's Inferno. My question is, what the hell did the poets do?
Most likely spread thought, poetry and imagination around, and we can't have that in a Crapsack World, now can we?
But the worse off by far are the lemures. Pitiable, weak ghost-things (although they can be dangerous when numerous enough, or against the specific target of their torment) whose biggest transgression was... dying due to another's evil. Death as one of those SUCK.
Dragon Rider: Sir Smegma of the Dystopians rides one, though he's defeated by Claudia riding her werewolf (not like that, for once).
Eldritch Abomination: Dracula and his vampires serve/worship a group of those, who periodically war with another abomination faction using demons and dragons as shock troops.
Empathic Weapon: Requiem's sword, when ordered by Claudia to act against him, tells her to get screwed.
Enemy Mine: Otto catches up with Requiem during the ghoul raid, but spares him as he needs every available vampire to fight.
Dragon and requiem take a break from watching their respective masters fight each other to change, feed and burp them.
Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Dystopians are reptile or dragon creatures, some of them being dinosaur-like. Special mention goes to Sire Smegma, "Noble and Honorable Raptor Knight", a velociraptor-man riding a dinosaur mount.
Everything's Better with Monkeys: Aiwass, or more exactly the "Queen of Dead Souls" who serves as his host. According to Black Sabbat, sex with Aiwass is better in this form as well.
Arthur later reveals that he inspired every British conqueror in their dreams to get them to follow the maxim of "enough is never enough".
Eviler than Thou: Attila is at one point afraid that Requiem's 'goodness' is going to contaminate him. Nero reassures him that, as the Scourge of God, he is absolutely iredeemable.
Evil Versus Evil: the whole thing is like this. The Lemures are the closest thing to a "white" faction, Requiem himself is a spot of "grey", and the rest of it is just different kinds of "black". The Masters of Infinity are opposed to the Lords of Limbo, but nobody is sure which of them are nicer. Ghouls, vampires, dystopians, archeologists, all of the important factions in Resurrection are all evil in their own way. Vampires are sometimes considered as the most evil, but really the only difference between them and ghouls, for instance, is that that ghouls are also hypocrites who fooled themselves into thinking they're doing good deeds.
Explosive Leash: Dracula's berserkers are gigantic armored soldiers who kill everything in sight once woken up. As they're impossible to get back under control, each is fitted with a dynamite collar that's detonated once all enemies are dead.
Fanservice: Lots of it. Nude and semi-nude women appear in every issue, and the comic doesn't shy away from full-frontal male nudity either. Then there's the bondage themes, S/M overtones, girl-on-girl action etc...
Fantastic Caste System: As mentioned above, what kind of evil you did in life determines your place on Resurrection's social ladder.
Forever War: In Claudia, we see one between politicians and the people they lied to. However, the politicians have an intrinsic advantage, being more aggressive and more willing to do anything to get their side to win, so the proles are backed up by gigantic war machines. The tide has yet to significantly turn one way or another.
Gendercide: Mother Venus was the 23rd century president of that planet. When cloning technology allowed for the viability of a One-Gender Race, she had every single male killed.
Ghostly Goals: Weaponized by Dracula: since the Lemures are bound to Ressurection until their killer is expired as well, he eliminates a huge chunk of them by killing the man responsible for their suffering in life. A man with a very distinct mustache.
Good Is Bad And Bad Is Good: Since being an evil asshole in life tends to get you a better and better form the worse you were, pretty much all the more powerful groups are like that.
Good Is Dumb: Tolecnal appears to be the closest thing to a good character on the entire Dystopian side. Naturally, he has difficulty with treachery and still upholds the knightly ideals.
Gorgeous Gorgon: Queen Perfidie of Dystopie reveals a swarming nest of snakes for hair when she gets really angry. She's more "gorgon" and less "gorgeous", though...
Gorn: well, this is a very dark comic about vampires, so there are quite a few scenes of mangling of young naked girls and other such material.
Government Drug Enforcement: Many of the vampires are addicted to Black Opium which helps them to forget their past sins and generally sleep at night; it also makes it easier for Dracula to control them. A fair chunk of the story is about the trouble that occurs when the Opium supply is blocked.
Groin Attack: the Sisters of Blood merely wish to prevent Sabre's urges by removing their source.
Healing Factor: thurim has one, courtesy of Dracula. When he rebelled, Dracula put it to good use by having him drawn and quartered- forever.
Heroes Prefer Swords: averted. Yes, Requiem wields a sword (if one can even call him a hero), but all vampire knights wield runeblades, and pretty much all of them are evil. The closest thing vampires had to a "hero" of their kind (Thurim) wielded a warhammer instead.
Historical Villain Upgrade: This being Hell, you'd expect quite a lot of notorious people to end up here, and you'd be right. Understandably the vampires get most of the shout outs, but famous people do appear in the other camps from time to time:
It's stated that the Arch-Hierophant, the leader of the Archaeologists, was infamous for his specialty in performing human vivisection, and was possibly a Nazi scientist (Mengele comes to mind).
So far none of the ghouls we've seen are based on real people, but one of them does mention Blackbeard and having 'expired' him.
Mother Terror, one of the leaders of the ghouls' pirate fleet, is strongly hinted to have been Mother Teresa, reflecting various real-life controversies surrounding her, such as the poor care given in her hospitals and misappropriation of the donations she received.
Also, the identity of the queen of the ghouls, Mitra, was revealed recently. She's actually J. Edgar Hoover.
The Dystopian Queen, Perfidia, resembles Elizabeth I, and her entire race resembles England during the Golden Age. Oh, and during life they comitted evil in the name of empire.
One of the ghoul's elite fighters is revealed to be... Oppenheimer, Truman and the pilot who dropped the A-bomb. Their being transformed is explained by each putting the blame for dropping the atomic bomb on the others.
Holy Burns Evil: Which is why holy water imported straight from the Vatican is such a lucrative commodity. Unfortunately, see Corrupt Church above.
The Dystopians have made a specialty of selling holy relics to various factions. But most of them are fake, though it remains to be seen if the canister containing a seraphim is indeed the equivalent of an antimatter nuke.
Humongous Mecha: the Archi-Hierophant's "sarcophagus" looks a lot like one at least, though it has yet to be used in combat.
Hypocrite: Ghouls, in life, did as much harm as vampires but believed they were doing good.
The Igor: Igor is actually a kobold, but otherwise fits the description perfectly.
Impossibly Cool Weapon: shows up occasionally. The Nuns of Blood are particularly fond of ludicrously overcomplicated weapons/instruments of torture, up to and including nunshakus (an already extremely impractical weapon) adorned with spikes and spiky chains.
Vampires get rapid-fire stake-guns. That go TEPESSSSS! when fired.
Instant Runes: The series is huge on diverse magical symbols, so it's no big surprise those appear in the air every time vampire knights cast spells. They also appear for diverse other occasions and even in the margins, just for decoration.
Knight in Shining Armor: Subverted; while Tolecnal still believes that truth and justice are what the Knights of the Round Table fight for, Ruhtra corrects him and says their motivations are more along the lines of Rape, Pillage, and Burn.
Love Redeems: Presumably, it's the vestiges of Heinrich's love for Rebecca that let him keep his conscience. Now he clings desperately to them.
However, ultimately he claims that by releasing her from this world, he will at last be freed from this last remnant of humanity, and truly become a vampire.
Subverted in Claudia, where Claudia's love for Elizabeth is the result of Red Opium poisoning.
Made of Explodium: Dippel's oil is watered-down nitroglycerine, use extensively in his remote-controlled giant zombie.
Mad Scientist: all Archeologists were those back in the real world, but Doctor Dippel is the most notable as of now.
Merlin Sickness: The people of Resurrection age in reverse. Instead of growing older, they grow younger, and if they aren't killed on the battlefield or some other way, they eventually turn into infants and disappear. Then everyone forgets they existed at all. (Maybe the ultimate reward for evil isn't quite so good after all...) Dracula's Dark Kiss can prevent it from happening, but he doesn't do that often.
Mutants: A bunch of them, who rebelled against the humans who'd created them and took over Future!London before being nuked, suddenly pop on Resurrection. Dracula's forces gleefully mount a massive slave raid/blitzkrieg to crush them.
Naughty Nuns: of all things, kind of averted with the Sisters of Blood. Even though they wear FetishFuelerrific outfits (the guards at least, not the lowly workers which tend to be fat old hags) and slaughter intruders with extreme prejudice, they actually follow a strict code of vows and seek to preserve virginity (both in terms of sex and vampire bites), their own and that of the victims under their "care".
Never Say "Die": a surprising use of the trope in a mature comic. Usually the words "death" and "die" are replaced with "expiration", "expire" and similar equivalents, though the reason for that is the fact that everyone on Ressurrection is already dead.
Not So Different: Requiem gets a moment with Dragon where they do the exact same thing (bottle-feeding their infantile masters and burping them).
They are actually similar in more than one way. They were both soldiers in life who slaughtered countless people, and they both have retained a certain sense of honor even in death and vampirism.
Our Monsters Are Different: Harpies were mothers who knowingly caused the death of their children. It's not revealed what crimes kobolds did, but they usually show up as much-abused lower class service personnel (servants, peddlers, innkeepers...)
Our Demons Are Different: And more gruesome. The original thing about them is that they DO NOT inhabit Resurrection / Hell, but are creatures from a different plane.
Our Ghosts Are Different: For one thing they're called Lamias, and are the victims of the various evil-doers who mistreated, tortured, raped, killed etc. them. The only way to escape their rather crummy existence is to 'expirate' whoever is responsible for their presence on Résurrection (whether the 'expiration' is at their own hands or someone else's; in the meantime they also torment their killers in their sleep, like Furies).
They're called Lemures in the original French, which follows the myths a lot closer.
Our Ghouls Are Different: People who resurrect as ghouls are those who committed evil while pretending they were doing good; they have grey skin, often no hair or apparent noses, sharp teeth and crave brains. They live in a flying city called Aerophagia, and the higher ranking ones are captains of pirate airships; basically it's undead steampunk.
Our Mummies Are Different: The Archaeologists - scientists who created weapons of mass destruction or violated scientific ethics - are rather wizened and have no skin, so the lower ranking ones spend most of their time wrapped up in Egyptianesque robes or bandages. The higher ranking ones...have other methods.
Our Vampires Are Different: As per usual they're aristocratic, pale (mostly), beautiful (sometimes), proud, vulnerable to silver and just plain evil. As per unusual, they're often addicted to drugs to help them forget their past sins, and they're not immortal but are as susceptible to regression as anyone else in Résurrection; only receiving Dracula's Dark Kiss makes you immune to rejuvenation, and that's pretty hard to come by. Rebirth as a vampire in Résurrection is reserved for the very worst of the worst among humans.
Our Werewolves Are Different: Résurrection's werewolves are religious fanatics who persecuted innocents of other faiths; they can transform at will or if they're being threatened, and also, oddly enough, by remote control used and controlled by the rebelling Lamias.
Pragmatic Villainy: the use of Adolf Hitler as a Weapon of Mass Destruction sure is the more time and cost efficient way to blow up a whole cloud of lemures. Not to mention the trouble he could have caused as a trained vampire knight, seeing how there seems to be a clear connection to the extent of evil during life and the capacity for evil during death.
Punny Name: The (French) names for the pirate leaders are all words starting with Mère (mother): Mercurochrome, etc.
Really 700 Years Old: Lord Cryptos. Though he doesn't look any less disturbing than the rest of the cast.
If anything, he looks MORE disturbing than the rest of the cast. What makes him even creepier is that he mentions that due to his age he can no longer feed on blood, and therefore feeds on pure pain and terror. Doesn't stop him from enjoying some blood on occasion, too.
Revive Kills Zombie: Needless to say, the most feared weapons on Ressurrection are holy relics, starting from holy water weapons, to angel tears weapons, to priest's head and saint's head ammunition, to a gigantic missile with a ''seraph'' inside which Mitra calls the equivalent of an anti-matter bomb.
Scars Are Forever: Both Requiem and Sean have red marks on their foreheads left from the shots that killed them.
Triad, a three-faced ghoul, announces "Now I am become Death, destroyer of worlds." Because he's actually Oppenheimer, who designed the atom bomb, Truman, who ordered it launched, and Tibbets, the pilot who dropped it. All in one, since none of them agreed to take the blame for it.
An Establishing Character Moment for Dracula is when an Archeologist refuses to remove his mask in Dracula's presence, so he has it nailed to the man's head, mirroring his treatment of Turkish diplomats (and their turbans) in Real Life.
Shown Their Work: At least when it comes to Dracula: it takes the historical Vlad Tepes's preference for impaling as a punishment and all but elopes with it. He decorates his ship the 'Satanik' with stakes covered with the bodies of the victims; and an impaling gun has the sound effect of 'Tepes!' whenever it's fired, a reference to his real name. He also has the mask of the High Priest of the Archaeologists nailed to his face, because the priest hadn't removed it as a sign of respect (and also because Dracula really doesn't like the Archaeologists): this pretty much echoes what Vlad allegedly did to a Turkish messenger who refused to remove his turban.
Sink or Swim Mentor: Cryptus takes this Up to Eleven as he proudly proclaims that the vast majority of vampire knights he trains don't survive the training, and by the sound of what they go through, he's probably saying the truth. It's likely that Tengu is also this, though not explicitely stated.
Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality: Particularly noticeable concerning the ghouls; there are quite a lot of nuns amongst their ranks (who pimped out other nuns to priests), to say nothing of Venus the trigger happy twenty-third century feminist, but apparently not that many high ranking males at all. What, so the most evil hypocrites are all women? On the vampires' side only Claudia gets a prominent speaking role at least until Aiwass comes along - what, so only men can be pure evil? And let's not even begin to consider the gender ratios of the werewolves and the archaeologists...
Well, historically in Real Life most proactive religious fanatics (i.e. werewolves) and scientists, ethical or not (i.e. archeologists) were men. Doesn't quite explain vampires or ghouls though.
Smoking Is Cool: Requiem and Tengu light up while their respective masters are dueling, for absolutely no reason than to look badass.
So Bad, It's Good: Invoked: Various metal fans in Ressurection learn of the "Relics of Rock" including the one that gave rise to nu-metal (good and bad are reversed on Ressurection)...
Sound-Only Death: Usually ignored, but thankfully employed when the Hierophants are having new suits made, possibly because there's really no way to show everything inside someone's skin getting sucked out of them in one picture.
Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Averted. Hitler appears and is killed off in three panels early in the series, while the likes of Nero, Robespierre and Alister Crowley are still running around.
Status Quo Is God: the Archeologists exist to prevent adavanced technology from falling into the hands of the lower classes, upsetting the vampire's dominion.
Spin-Off: Claudia Chevalier Vampire, which goes into Claudia's backstory.
Tattooed Crook: Almost all the vampires have cross tattos on their faces, and the knights have more tattos all over their bodies as a mark of their training; Attila and Black Sabbat have upside down pentacles. About the only vampires who don't have any markings are Dracula and Bathory.
Talking Sword: though Requiems' only line so far has been to tell Claudia to get screwed.
The Loins Sleep Tonight: Due to Captain Salem's power. Sabre leaves his three victims disappointed, but when Requiem kills Salem:
"Oh, Sabre! What an enormous improvement!"
The Teutonic Knights: Thurim was part of their order (though already evil). His using the magic hammer caused the knights to lose the Battle of the Ice.
Those Wacky Nazis: Some of the vampires were Nazis in life, including Requiem himself, his friend Otto Von Todt, and Hitler, who's expired shortly after his first appearance.
Too Kinky to Torture: Claudia. One of her ex-victims tries to strangle her with chains, she just gets off on it. She also isn't addicted to black opium like most vampires because she doen't need it; other vampires use it to forget their sins and to prevent their victim lemures from tormenting them, but not only does she enjoy remembering her sordid past, her lemures eventually quit tormenting her because she got off on that too.
Tortured Monster: Anthrax is a humongous mutant who's essentially unkillable as he regenerates all wounds. However, when Requiem uses a spell on him that reveals his deepest desires, he proceeds to jump off a skyscraper.
Unusual Euphemism: Venus the ghoul is probably the reigning Empress of this trope. Even being a politician and a feminist does not justify the concentration of euphemisms she employs. She doesn't merely use euphemisms, she speaks in them, each euphemism more unusual then the other. She has euphemisms for sensitive subjects, less sensitive subjects, and completely trivial subjects (such as the word "Mother".)
"Proteic fluid containers" for "tits" comes to mind.
The Worm That Walks: Vermicelli, the assistant of Doctor Dippel, is full of maggots that move his otherwise inanimate carcass. Unfortunately, he needs to be recharged every so often.
Written Sound Effect: The Impaler, the cool-as-hell stake gun that Heinrich uses to save Otto's life, goes "TEPES!" when it's fired.
You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: once Dr. Dippel finishes the creation of his titanic Frankenstein's Monster, the Arch-Hierophant commands said monster to brutally slaughter its creator. His "justification" is that if worst comes to worst, he can blame the creation of the monster entirely on Dippel (being expired, the doctor couldn't really say anything in his defense) and pretend he never had anything at all to do with the attempt to overthrow Dracula.