Comicbook / Nikolai Dante

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bojemoi_5099.jpg
Say you want a revolution?
"I'm too cool to kill."
"Bojemoi!"
"Diavolo!"

In the year of the Tsar 2666 AD, Imperial Russia once again entered a time of troubles. The rule of Vladimir the conqueror, Tsar of all the Russias, had been unopposed for centuries. Now it was being challenged by the house of Romanov, the most powerful imperial dynasty beside the Tsars own.

Warfare on such a scale had not been contemplated since the last revolution, from which the Mafiya clans rose to power. On the ashes of that conflict, they founded a new empire based upon the underworld principles of the ancient Vorovskoi Mir- the Thieves world.

In such a world, a single man could rise to prominence if he was a fool and an adventurer, a gambling man whose only stake was his life. Of course, this could only happen if he survived long enough and didn’t get his throat slit in the boudoir of some lady of dubious morals first…

Nikolai Dante is the eponymous hero of a comics series published in the weekly British science fiction anthology 2000 AD. Created by writer Robbie Morrison and artist Simon Fraser, Dante first appeared in 1997. Fraser was the primary artist for the first three years of the series, with support from artists such as Charlie Adlard, Henry Flint, Chris Weston and Andy Clarke. From 2000 the majority of the stories were painted by John Burns, until Fraser returned to the character in October 2006, when the two artists began to alternate on different stories. The current stories as of early 2012 have been confirmed by Word of God as the last arc of the series; Sympathy for the Devil is its last story.

Set in the twenty-seventh century after a resurgent Imperial Russia has seized absolute control of both the entire Earth and an interstellar domain, the series follows Dante, a swashbuckling young thief and ladies' man, as he discovers he is an illegitimate scion of the Romanov Dynasty, aristocratic rivals to the Tsar, Vladimir the Conqueror of the House of Makarov.


Tropes associated with this work:

  • Action Girl: Several. Jena Makarov and Elena Kurakin stand out.
  • Amazon Brigade: Katarina Dante's pirate crew and Monique le Fanu's Vampires
    • And the army of the nation of Amazonia.
  • Anachronism Stew: Nikolai's universe is apparently a combination of the far future and some part of pre-World War I.
  • Ancestral Weapon: Elena Kurakin's father gives her his swords on his deathbed.
  • And I Must Scream: Poor, poor Valentin
    • Konstantin is placed in a stasis tank with Lulu's cyberdemons and his crest deactivated just to keep him in perpetual agony.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: Dmitri/Arkady and Jena. And Nikolai has to watch the ceremony.
  • Animal Motif: The Romanovs have the hawk/eagle and the Makarovs have the raven.
  • Anti-Villain: The Tsar of all people qualifies. He was once the hero of his own revolution but became worse than his predecessor. However, he never truly ever stopped loving Jocasta Romanov and constantly asks her to be together again. After he falls from power, he becomes an almost pitiable individual, especially after the death of Jocasta, which he weeps at.
  • Anyone Can Die: And boy do they....
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: The aristocracy tortures, starves and kills the poor, often for their own amusement.
  • Army of Thieves and Whores: Trope Namer.
  • As Lethal as It Needs to Be: Nikolai Dante's Huntsman 5000 rifle is like this. It fires the optimum ammunition to eliminate its target at any time, but Nikolai's used it to shoot to wound on occasion.
  • Avenging the Villain
  • Back from the Dead: Examples of this are LuLu, Konstantine, Dmitri, Viktor and Nikolai himself
  • Badass Beard: Several characters, notably Nikolai and The Tsar.
  • Badass Boast:
    • The Tsar tells Dmitri, "You may have been born to rule, but I was born to conquer."
    • Nikolai often claims that he can outfight, outdrink and outshag any man, woman or alien in the empire.
  • Badass Normal: A fair few, but notably Dante himself after he is stripped of his crest by Dimitri Romanov.
  • Badass Princess: Jena Makarov was schooled in the arts of war from a young age and is very good with a sword. Like Nikolai, she has no problem fighting on the front lines of a brutal and bloody conflict.
  • Berserk Button: For Nikolai, when Konstantine mentions that he started the war. Plus when the Tsar nukes Amerika off the map after Nikolai promised to save the city
    • Generally, slaughtering of innocents and abuse of those outside the aristocracy is a good way to piss Nikolai off.
    • When the Imperial Palace is attacked and Jena is injured and almost kidnapped, Nikolai slaughters the perpetrators. You don't hurt someone Nikolai cares about.
    • Slavery is this for Katerina Dante. Mostly because she was born on a slave ship and her own mother died in childbirth while standing up.
  • Best Served Cold: Dmitri waits for several years inside the body of Arkady before making his move on the Tsar and does so when Nikolai has done all the legwork.
  • Betty and Veronica: Lauren Stone, the Veronica, is a more consistently Fanservicey character due to the fact that she wears hot pants and Dangerously Short Skirts to show off her pins, while Jena as the Betty, naked appearances aside, dresses more conservatively as befitting a princess. The pair of them come to blows in "How Could You Believe Me When I Told You That I Loved You When You Know I've Been A Liar All My Life" over Nikolai.
  • Big Bad: For the longest time it was the Tsar now It appears to be Dimitri/Arkady followed by his son, Konstantin Romanov and possibly now full circle to the Tsar.
    • The series' major antagonists have always been Dmitri Romanov of House Romanov and Vladimir Makarov of House Makarov with Konstantin Romanov, Sir Richard Hawksmoore and The Kraken being the Big Bads of their respective storylines.
  • Blood Bath: The High Priestess of the Cadre Infernale, Camilla Le Fanu, took these to rejuvenate her youth and beauty. See Also: Kill the Poor.
  • Blood Knight: Many, but Elena Kurakin stands out.
  • Body Horror: Valentine Romanov's crest has left him physically scarred and mentally deranged.
  • Bond, James Bond: Nikolai tends to introduce himself as "Dante, Nikolai Dante" in as over the top a manner as he can.
  • Bookends: Nikolai's Captain Morgan Pose from the start of the first installment is repeated at the very end, as well as the opening blurb.
  • Brought Down to Normal: In "A Farewell to Arms", Nikolai's crest is destroyed, forcing him to fight as a mundane for the rest of the comic.
  • Butt Monkey: The Arbatov family are an entire clan of Butt Monkeys. Every one of them has some misfortune happen to them upon meeting Nikolai.
  • The Captain: Nikolai is commissioned as a captain in the Imperial Raven Corps at the beginning of the story. He maintains the rank throughout the strip after he joins the Romanovs.
  • Captain Ersatz: Janus Stark, Catwoman, Crusher Creel, Luther Arkwright, Captain America, Sláine and Sinister Dexter all appear fairly thinly veiled.
  • Carpet of Virility: Nikolai is depicted as having a manly chest rug, except when drawn by John Burns or Steve Yeowell.
  • Catch Phrase: Nikolai has several:
    • "Heroes/Honour be damned" tends be used when someone calls him a hero or tells him to act with honour.
    • "I'm too cool to kill" is something of a Badass Boast when someone threatens him.
    • He tends to introduce himself either as "The name's Dante. Nikolai Dante" or "Dante's the name, X is the game."
    • "Fuoco", "Diavolo" and "Bojemoi" are generally exclamations of surprise, though "Bojemoi" gets phased out after "The Courtship of Jena Makarov".
  • Child by Rape: After Katarina tries to steal some treasure from Dmitri that she had already stolen for him, he feels that he "has to break her." Nikolai is the result of this. When told that he wasn't conceived out of love, he tries to cut Dmitri's head off.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: The Countessa De Wynter will get various people to help her with heists and then try and have them killed.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Nikolai is frequently described as the dirtiest fighter in the empire.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Papa Yeltsin frequently drowns people in vodka.
  • Cyborg: The Romanovs all have cybernetic implants giving them various abilities. Nikolai's gives him cyber blades, computer hacking abilities and a limited Healing Factor.
  • Chekhov's Gun: At the beginning of the series Nikolai promised that he would raise an army of thieves and whores to crush the Tsar. Something which happened in the series nearly 13 years later.
  • The Chessmaster:
    • The Countessa de Wynter manages to manipulate everybody in order to further her schemes.
    • Dmitri Romanov, upon losing the war, manages to hide within Arkady so he can worm his way into command of the Scarlet Wraiths and take control of the empire from Nikolai and Jena after they've done all the legwork against Vlad.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Nikolai. While he's well known as a notorious womaniser, he won't take a woman because it's the right of an aristocrat. He also turns down Julianna Makarov because he loves Jena.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Henry Windsor-McKray, King of Britannia. He's the only monarch in history to have retained power by pleading insanity.
    • As Nikolai points out, while His Royal Highness is pants-on-his-head mad, he has nothing on real maniacs like the Tsar and Dmitri Romanov.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Despite their extreme cowardice and their reputation as the worst soldiers in the empire, Spatchcock and Flintlock manage to survive two revolutions and even save both Dante and Elena on different occasions. Even during the final battle against the Imperial army, they charge into the battle and distract Elizabeth Hawksmoore long enough for Elena to stick a grenade onto her.
  • Darker and Edgier: While "The Great Game" is where the strip starts to get serious, the "Tsar Wars" arc is notable for killing characters off and changing everything forever.
  • Dating Catwoman: Akita Sagawa is essentially the Big Bad for the Hell And High Water arc. Doesn't stop Nikolai from sleeping with her.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Nikolai's Weapons Crest never wastes an opportunity to insult Dante for his impetuous actions, often quipping about the situation he's stumbled into.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Lulu.
  • Destructo-Nookie: Nikolai and Jena destroy the supports of a shack when they start slapping each other around before they have sex.
  • Do Not Call Me Eugenia: Jena's full name in Eugenia Vladimirovna Makarova. Simon Fraser asked a Russian friend to help him come up with a suitably pompous sounding name for her for Nikolai to make fun of. It took him until "Sword Of The Tsar" to convince Robbie Morrison to use it.
  • The Dragon: Count Pyre starts out as Lord Protector until Dante kills him during the war. Konstantin is appointed Lord Protector in his place. Elizabeth Hawksmoores becomes Arkady /Dmitri's dragon later on. Nikolai himself becomes a Dragon with an Agenda / The Starscream when the Tsar recruits him as "Sword of the Tsar."
  • Elite Mooks: The Raven Corps.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: The Romanov weapons crests give their users a wide range of abilities beyond the level of normal humans. Nikolai's bio-blades and reduced Healing Factor compared to his siblings are on the lower end of the scale with Konstantine's fusion powers and Dmitri's crest's ability to override all the other crests being the most powerful.
  • Enemy Mine: During "The Great Game", the houses of Romanov and Makarov join together when Valentine threatens to destroy Earth with the Dark Star. Dmitri even tells Vladimir that even though The Great Game is at an end, at least they had played with style.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The war between the Romanov and Makarov dynasties can be seen as this with Nikolai and Jena as their respective Token Good Team Mates.
  • Expy: Dante is essentially a combination of Errol Flynn's portrayal of Robin Hood and Flynn himself.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Katarine Dante. Although which eye depends on the artist.
  • Fallen Hero:
    • The Tsar tells Nikolai that he used to be called a hero when he deposed his predecessor. Unfortunately, Power Corrupts and he became more ruthless than the man he deposed.
    • Sir Richard Hawksmoore was once a respected knight but the Tsar betrayed him and he became nothing more than a mercenary with an obsession with Jena.
  • Fanservice: The series is full of it, particularly in its early days
  • A Father to His Men: Nikolai is the only member of the Romanov dynasty to show any kind of respect to his soldiers. Even a hardened bunch of criminals like the Grozny gang come to respect him when he fights alongside them.
  • Feuding Families: The Romanovs and Makarovs
  • Femme Fatale: Lulu Romanov
  • Flawed Prototype: Valentine's crest was the first to be developed for human use. As a result, the Healing Factor is absent and he is massively scarred, both physically and mentally.
  • Gayngster: Papa Yeltsin is fairly open about his sexuality. He's apparently even tried it on with Nikolai, who went along with it long enough to rob him.
  • Glove Slap: Subverted in an early story. Captain Arbatov does this to Nikolai to challenge him to a duel. Nikolai simply responds by kicking him in the balls.
    Jena: He was challenging you to a duel.
    Nikolai: Well, he lost.
  • Glorious Mother Russia: A somewhat twisted take on this trope, but the resurgent Russian Empire is not only a land of adventure. But also encompasses the entire planet by the the time the series takes place.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: Akita Sagawa notes that the Tsar is "all take" in the bedroom. Konstantin is unable to orgasm. Nikolai, on the other hand, is a classic Sex God.
  • Go-to Alias: Dante tends to use the name Quentin Durward when he needs to go undercover. It never seems to hold for long.
  • Gratuitous Russian: Given how most characters are actually Russian, it's justified.
  • Half-Identical Twins: Alexandr and Alexandra Romanov. See Also: Twincest.
  • Healing Factor: The weapons crests given to members of the family Romanov allows them to heal injuries in seconds. It takes immense firepower, another crest user or the Huntsman 5000 to so much as cause any lasting damage to them. Downplayed with Nikolai's crest. He heals slower (though much quicker than any normal human) than his siblings due to his not being a purebred member of the house of Romanov. Averted with Valentine, whose prototype weapons crest harms him every time he uses it.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: When Nikolai is (briefly) commissioned in the Raven Corps, he disdains wearing their signature helmet. One of the ravens sent with him and Jena to investigate a crashed ship calls him out on this.
  • Heroic Bastard: Nikolai is the son of the head of an imperial dynasty and a pirate queen. By rape.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Nikolai has a major breakdown after Dmitri destroys his crest. He hides out in an abandoned tavern, drinking the remains of its cellar. He recovers after his mother tells him that she disowns him.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: The Tsar reveals himself to have become this, even quoting the Trope Namer word for word. He advises Nikolai to do the same to maintain power.
  • High-Altitude Interrogation: In "The Great Game," when a spy suggests to Jena Makarov the existence of a superweapon that the Makarov Dynasty does not know about as a means of raising his "bargaining power," Jena responds by hanging the spy over a high balcony by his nostrils and demanding he tell her everything he knows about the weapon or be dropped. The spy is killed by intervening assassination droids shortly after he begins spilling the beans.
  • Hive Mind: The Kraken becomes this when Akita Sagawa uses his DNA to create an army of clone ninjas.
  • Hollywood Acid: Nastasia Romanov's weapons crest allows her to produce this.
  • Hollywood Tactics: Tactics have apparently regressed to nineteenth century levels. Dmitri lampshades this, stating that there was a time when the rules of warfare were changed to be more humane and how pointless that was.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon: Dante's Huntsman 5000 rifle. Coded to his gene print, has internally created ammo and adapts to fire the optimum ammunition to eliminate its target. Should anybody else attempt to fire it, the round will seek out and kill them.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: After shooting Katarina, Vlad explains to her that he'd been a sniper in his youth and has just deliberately shot her in a way that would ensure a slow and painful death. She has just enough left in her to kill Dmitri before she succumbs to her wounds.
  • Incest Is Relative: There's a huge incest subtext within the family Romanov. It's implied that Dmitri is in love with Jocasta and he makes her have his children via genetic engineering. Konstantin may be as well, given that he requests prostitutes to take her name for the duration. Then, there's Aleksandr and Aleksandra, who are so in love with each other that their crests' abilities allow them to merge as a single being. And, of course, there's also a fetishy artwork cover of Lulu dominating Nikolai as well as the goodbye kiss she gives him during the last story to which he responds with shock and a desire to get plastered.
  • Indy Ploy: Nikolai tends to make up plans on the fly, especially in battle. Flintlock lampshades it in a debriefing noting that Nikolai's strategy seems to involve hurling himself at increasingly large numbers of enemy guns.
  • Inter-Class Romance: Galya is a poor peasant girl, while Viktor is a member of the aristocratic Romanov family. Dmitri doesn't take it well.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Arguably, Nikolai. He's a serial womaniser who steals, brawls and boozes his way through life, getting on the nerves of the aristocracy and (at first) looks out only for himself. However, he only steals from those who can afford it and genuinely cares about the poor and downtrodden, helping them wherever possible.
  • Kill the Poor: Nikolai once encountered a countess heavily based on the legends of Elizabeth Bathory who insists that the blood she bathes in is "happily donated" by young women in return for tax exemptions. After Nikolai uncovers a secret lair belonging to the countess in which dozens of young women are being held in captivity and bled for all their worth, it turns out that these particular women are all unemployed and, therefore, couldn't pay any taxes so they get drained wholesale.
  • Klingon Promotion: The title of Tsar Of All The Russias seems to be passed over through revolutions and rebellions many, many times. Nikolai invokes this trope in Rudinshtein in order to save its people.
  • Large Ham: Nikolai.
    • Valentine Romanov becomes one when he unveils his plan. He decides that years of playing cloak and dagger have finally caught up with him and he decides to be hammy For the Lulz.
  • Legacy Character: Before the revolution Major Liberty was a role taken by various genetically engineered Super Soldiers who were only used for propaganda due to the sheer cost of genetic engineering. After the Tsar takes over Amerika, he kills the last official Major and the role is taken on by various Rebel Leaders instead.
  • List of Transgressions: In "The Memoirs Of Nikolai Dante", the Tsar is shown with a list of Nikolai's crimes, which describe him as a bandit, a brawler, a conman, a duellist, a thief and a gigolo.
  • Locked into Strangeness: Around "Sword Of The Tsar", grey hairs start appearing on Nikolai's temples. This is likely a deliberate way of showing Nikolai's Character Development, as he's matured as a result of his experiences especially during the war. His face is even contrasted with his a poster of his younger self, showing how jaded he is becoming.
  • The Lost Lenore: Nikolai was never the same after the death of his wife, Eloise. Every year, he disappears on the anniversary of her death to mourn her in private.
  • Loveable Rogue: Nikolai.
  • Loyal Phlebotinum: Nikolai's Hunstman 5000 rifle is encoded to his geneprint, meaning that it can only be used by him or a close relative. Anyone else who tries to use it gets a bullet to the face.
  • The Mafiya: The Russian aristocracy by and large trace their descent to the Mafiya clans that arose from the ashes of the Soviet Union. Elements of their code have thus endured as part of courtly tradition.
  • Meaningful Background Event: Dmitri Romanov's gradual posession of Arkady via his weapons crest
  • The Mentor:
    • Nikolai was the apprentice of "Slippery" Jim DiGrizov who taught him how to be a thief.
    • Jena had several tutors growing up, but only two of them she considered to be relevant to her: Her fencing tutor, Caius Zaccaraiovich and her arts tutor, Leonid Tarasov. Nikolai notes that if Caius had been Tsar instead of Vladimir, the empire would be a better place and he gives Tarasov a Mercy Kill when he learns that he's dying instead of allowing the Tsar's torturers to break him first.
  • Miles Gloriosus: When attempting to steal the Romanov crown jewels, Dante is confronted by a man who claims to be the greatest swordsman in the empire. Dante just shoots him. The Tsar even notes that the swordsman was an arrogant braggart who had nothing to brag about, implying that he used him just to draw Dante out.
  • Mother Russia Makes You Strong
  • The Musketeer: Nikolai. Many other characters also.
  • Off with His Head!: Due to a resurgence of swords and axes as battlefield weapons, decapitations are quite common occurrences in the strip. Notably, this happens to Lazarev at the end of his duel with Nikolai and Papa Yeltsin by Dmitri/Arkaday.
  • One World Order: By the 27th Century, just about the entire planet is under direct or indirect Russian rule. Although rebel groups still persist in what was once America.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Vampires are not susceptible to garlic, crosses or any of the usual methods. The only ways to deal with vampires are sunlight, fire and steel.
  • Painted-On Pants: Lulu tends to wear liquid latex, making this trope almost literal.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Konstantin.
  • Phrase Catcher: Nikolai. Damn you, Dante! Damn you to Hell!
  • The Pig Pen: Spatchcock. To the point that when he's attacked by a vampire, his poor hygiene saves his life due to his blood "tasting like piss". and yet he gets a happy ending as he flies off in the sunset with Flintlock's Sister
  • The Plan: Lulu's manipulation of the Cadre Infernale
  • Platonic Life Partners: Nikolai Dante and Elena Kurakin. Dante promotes Elena to Sergeant after she helps him subdue the Grozny gang (and gets them to fight for him). She's his Lancer throughout the war and he later frees her from a gulag and appoints her as his bodyguard when he is appointed Sword Of The Tsar. They continue to fight together right up until the strip's finale where she even accompanies him to his final showdown with the Tsar.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Spatchcock and Flintlock
  • Powered Armor: The Order Of The Dragon wear massive powered suits of armour in battle. Both Richard and Elizabeth Hawksmoore, as heads of the Order, favour their signature battle armour. Elena Kurakin finds a workaround thanks to Spatch and Flint and a grenade.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Katarina Dante's Crowning Moment of Awesome when she kills Dmitri
  • Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits: The Rudinshtein Irregulars consist of convicts taken from the gulags. Lampshaded by Nikolai's weapons crest, who notes that Dante is the first commander in history to be in more danger from his own troops than from the enemy.
  • Really Gets Around: Nikolai.
  • Recycled In Space: The strip is a combination Space Cold War and the Russian Revolution using Napoleonic tactics set in the 27th century.
  • Red Baron:
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Generally, if a member of the Romanov family's face starts showing their cybernetics, run away. Dmitri does this constantly and Nikolai does it just before he stabs Konstantin in the back.
  • Russian Roulette: Nikolai and Vlad play in the finale. Vlad loses.
  • Sensual Slavs: Justified, as Russia is the main setting.
  • Sharing a Body: Dmitri passes his weapons crest and consciousness over to Arkady. Whilst Dmitri is very much in control, Arkady is still in there and Dmitri does indulge him in some of his fantasies, such as his crush on Jena.
  • Shout-Out: Several. Notably, narrators have included names like Georgi Lucasovich and Edward Krilly.
    • Nikolai is at one point attacked by genetically engineered creatures called Kreelers.
    • There's a news reporter named Kurt Brockman.
  • Sinister Shades: Dmitri Romanov's transluscent shades, which fail to hide his near permanent Death Glare. When he comes forward as having total control over Arkady, he wears them again.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Vladimir and Jocasta grew up together and fell for each other. However, after their revolution, Dmitri and Vlad duelled for the throne and Jocasta was forced to side with her brother. Over the years, Vlad asks her to join him again, something she always refuses. Vlad is forced to watch when Dmitri burns her to death.
  • Still Wearing the Old Colors: After the war, Nikolai still wears his Romanov uniform as an act of defiance against the Tsar. At this point, the narration states that the Romanov name is a mark of the damned.
  • Straw Feminist: The nation of Amazonia runs on the notion that men are inferior. As such, men are second class citizens and the only reason Amazonia allies with the Tsar is so their soldiers can go out and kill men. As such, Nikolai is probably the worst choice of amabassador to the country, though this doesn't stop their leader from eventually seducing him.
  • Strolling Through the Chaos: Viktor often does this in the middle of a battle and won't fight unless he's really pissed off and certainly won't use his powers unless absolutely necessary.
  • The Silent Bob: Viktor Romanov. The longest Silent Bob in history, completing the trope just 6 episodes before the end of the saga. The only other noises he makes are belches and screeches when he activates his Crest and becomes a huge Romanov Eagle.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: The essence of Nikolai and Jena's relationship.
  • That Man Is Dead: Viktor Romanov taking the name Viktor Dante, after Dmitri/Arkady kills his wife Galya. Also Nikolai, after civil war breaks out and he sides against the ruling house of Makarov, taking the name Romanov. Forced on Nikolai by his mother Katarina, when she finds him a broken man, having been de-crested by Dmitri/Arkady; powerless to stop the head of the Romanovs taking Jena Makarov as his own, Nikolai loses himself in the bottom of a bottle, losing all motivation to fight for what he believes in. She refers to him as Nikolai Romanov, disowning him as a son; this turns out to be the kick up the jacksy he needs.
  • They Would Cut You Up: Upon receiving his powers from the Romanov Crest, Nikolai is reluctant to return to the Tsar Makarov for fear that the Tsar's scientists and researchers would do exactly this in order to develop a similar crest of their own.
  • Token Good Team Mate: Nikolai is this to the Romanovs. To a lesser extent, there's Viktor and Andreas pulls a Redemption Equals Death.
  • Unsettling Gender Reveal: Ursa reveals to Nikolai that she is female.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Several, but Flintlock stands out.
  • Vasquez Always Dies:
  • Viking Funeral: Nikolai sends off his mother in such a fashion after she succumbs to her wounds.
  • Villainous Widow's Peak: Gender flipped with Elizabeth Hawksmoore. Her very high forehead is clearly visible and she is a very brutal Sociopathic Soldier. These are both traits she inherited from her father, though he was more Bald of Evil.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Nikolai and his Weapons Crest. The Crest denounces him at every opportunity, but later begins to warm to him, even coming up with ideas that are very much along Dante's own line of thinking. When the Crest is destroyed, he has a major Heroic B.S.O.D..
  • Vodka Drunkenski: Nikolai is rather fond of the drink. Generally when he has a party, it ends up being drunken debauchery of epic proporations. On the flip side of things, he's been known to climb into the bottle when depressed as well. When Camila Le Fanu bites him, she notes that his blood tastes of alcohol.
  • Weapon of Choice: Each of the Romanovs is given specific abilities, based on their personalities.
    • Nikolai gets bio blades from his hands and a limited Healing Factor. The Hunstman rifle is a later given to him by Kara.
    • Lulu gets a cyber swarm, which she can use to devour people alive or as surveillance equipment.
    • Nastasia can create Perfect Poisons and Hollywood Acid.
    • Konstantin has fusion powers, making him a literal walking nuke.
    • Andreas is able to generate throwable blades. His personal best stands at 26 decapitations with a single blade.
    • Viktor's abilities are unknown early on, but it is later revealed that he can transform into a giant eagle.
    • Aleksandr and Aleksandra can deploy nano mines and can merge into a single being.
    • Valentine gets the prototype crest, so only gets blades without the Healing Factor. See Body Horror.
    • Dmitri gets the most powerful crest of all, being able to override all of the other crests. He's also able to use bio blades and fusion powers.
  • We Have Reserves: Warfare has regressed to Napoleonic tactics complete with massed charges. Aristocrats don't seem to care about the bodycounts of battles.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Vladimir says this word for word to Dmitri before Dmitri's suicide. They once stood together against the previous Tsar until they disagreed on who would rule after their own revolution.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Nikolai and Jena's Belligerent Sexual Tension is a major plot point throughout the strip. Neither can remember if they did have sex after the destruction of the Dark Star because they both consumed a lot of alcohol but they finally do after Nikolai rescues Jena from Sir Richard Hawksmoore. Sadly, their relationship is short lived, as their families go to war immediately afterwards and it's years before they get back together again.
  • Wretched Hive: Rudinshtein starts off as this, being the poorest city in the empire. New Moscow later becomes one with the Kremlin having being converted into a casino.
  • You Have Failed Me: The Arbatovs are usually on the receiving end of this. Of particular note is the one Nikolai humiliates in the first story, as the Tsar skins him alive.
    • Dmitri decimates one regiment (as in the Roman version of killing ten percent of the troops) when they lose a battle.
  • You Killed My Father: Elizabeth Hawksmoore confesses to Elena Kurakin that she killed her father. Elena severs her spine not too long after. During the final battle, Elena destroys Hawksmoore's Powered Armor with a grenade and finishes the job with her father's sword.
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