"Enter a world at war."A French Alternate History comic book series written by Vincent Brugeas and 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. Himmler created the New Teutonic Order and died in an accident in 1947, he was replaced by his right-hand, an ambitious yet unknown officer named Zytek. Zytek rejected the title of "Führer" and now calls himself the "Hochmeister" (which is also his rank in the Teutonic Order).The first album was published in a 200 pages small format in 2010 in France, it is simply titled Block 109 and is basically the keystone of The Verse. Four large format albums followed, they're all one-shot stories set in the same universe between 1944 and 1953 (some major characters of the first album make appearances at some points) :
- Etoile Rouge (Red Star) - 2010
- Opération Soleil de Plomb (Operation Leadsun) - 2011
- New York 1947 - 2011
- Ritter Germania (Knight Germania) - 2012
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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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Soviet Superscience: The Soviets got mechas and jet fighters too.
- Stupid Jet Pack Hitler: Advanced jet fighters, VTOL gunships, Panzermensch, V6 cruise missiles ...
- Super Soldier: The propaganda potrays Ritter Germania like this.
- The New Teutonic Order's Super Serum makes them 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.
- We Will Wear Armor in the Future: The New Teutonic Order, and Ritter Germania.
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.
- Apocalypse How: Planetary, between class 2 and 3.
- The Ark: The Block 109 bunker. Zytek gathered 6000 chosen ones in this sanctuary, allowing them to survive his planned apocalypse.
- 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.
- Black and Gray Morality: Zytek embodies the trope.
- 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.
- 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.
- Dual Wielding: Zytek wields two sabers in the battle between the New Teutonic Order and the SS.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- More Dakka: The battles in the "Cauldron", including the trailer.
- 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.
- 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?◊ 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.
October 1944. Three French pilots of the Normandie squadron fight alongside Soviet forces against the German invasion of USSR.
- 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).
- 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.
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.
- 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 for two years. A German commando of six men is sent into the ruins of Manhattan for a very special operation.
- Badass: Der Ritter. He's a killing machine.
- 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.