Basically meant as a G.I. Joe analogue for the Marvel Universe, the series, written by Das Nordlicht 91, follows the eponymous team, the Special Warfare Division of the U.S.'s Office of National Emergency, tasked with protecting America and her allies from superhuman threats. The main team is Team Alpha, led by Captain (formerly Sergeant) Christopher Colbert, a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who got recruited into SPECWAR upon its inception. Colbert is joined by other characters:
Col. Sarah Stroud, arguably the co-protagonist of the book, and all around badass Action Girl. She's also Colbert's romantic interest.
Lt. Philip O'Neal, self-proclaimed nerd and also a competent soldier in his own right.
Cpl. Stephanie Johnston, former head of the SPECWAR Support Squad, and new technical expert of Team Alpha.
Our heroes serve under the command of General John Casey, who currently serves as the Director of the O*N*E after Roland Mason, the previous Director, was killed by Mr. X and Agent Orange.The comic is released in "seasons", each featuring its own storylines within. SPECWAR creator Das Nordlicht 91 eems to have made the comic a lighthearted slap in the face to the current "grimdark" of the Marvel Universe, by portraying its heroes in an idealistic manner and just hitting the right tone between serious and idealistic. As such, the universe in which 'SPECWAR' takes place has been designated as "Earth-700".
SPECWAR features examples of the following tropes:
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Always Someone Better: Mr. X sees Sarah Stroud this way, and harbours a grudge against her partly because of this.
Action Duo: Gen. John Casey and the Secretary of Defence in Season 3.0
Action Girl: Good God, Sarah Stroud. The epitome of badass in this comic, especially being set in the Marvel Universe and all.
In the spin-off "SPECWAR: The Resistance", Maj. Peggy Carter fills the equivalent of badassery in Sarah's stead for the Secret Avengers.
Cpl. Stephanie Johnston isn't a slouch in the badass department herself, especially when she joins Team Alpha.
Affectionate Parody: "The Stars & Stripes", a Show Within A Show in the SPECWAR universe is an over-the-top spoof of CSI and similar police procedural shows.
Always Someone Better: Most of J.H. Rolph's attempts to supplant O*N*E's SPECWAR program look like this on paper, but end up failing for one reason or another, but usually on the account of Rolph's ego.
American Robot: J.H. Rolph's Freedom-Fighter V robot, another attempt to discredit O*N*E and SPECWAR.
And also, Captain America for good fucking measure.
An Asskicking Christmas: In the SPECWAR 'Cold Christmas' special, only one of the stories features this, one where Cpt. Colbert & Sarah fighting off terrorists in Niagara Falls while on a date.
Anti-Villain: J.H. Rolph, a business man who seems to have America in mind, but doesn't like how SPECWAR and the Office of National Emergency have been cast as heroes, particularly after a battle nearly cost him his company.
Arch-Enemy: Mr. X is Sarah's nemesis throughout the comic. Eventually, X becomes Captain Colbert's arch enemy, particularly in Season 2.0.
Artificial Human: Nathan Hale which plays into his eventual defection from Cobra to SPECWAR's Team Alpha.
Ascended Extra: Lewis Lawson, a member of the SPECWAR Support Squad appeared all of once in Season 3.0, but became a recurring character along with the Support Squad in Season 4.0.
Cpl. Phil Michaels, who previously didn't appear in the comic and just within the comic's recap pages, became the new head of the Support Squad in Season 3.0, on top of being the guy recapping the story so far.
When fighting Mr. X & Agent Orange in Season 2, Sarah & Cpt. Colbert do this, in one of the many hints that the comic has shown in terms of the two having a relationship.
They repeat this feat in the Christmas-themed issue, while fighting Crossbones and his associates in Niagara Falls, Canada.
Casey manages to do this with the Secretary of Defense, of all people! in Season 3. Though it was pretty much Casey punching Cobra mooks in the face while the SecDef had to use a pistol to defend himself.
Season 4.0 brings us one of the best examples as Peggy Carter & Sarah Stroud show us what happens when two kick-ass Action Girls from two different universes fight off the forces of the Empire side-by-side.
Bad Ass: This being based in the Marvel Universe, a hell of a lot of 'em, but here's some specific examples:
General John friggin' Casey, who's arguably more badass than the character of the same name in 'Chuck'.
Cpt. Chris Colbert.
Badass Army: The O*N*E's SPECWAR unit. So goddamned much.
Badass Beard: Plenty of 'em, but Roland Mason takes the cake, that's for sure.
Marian Kovac, Action Mom and Russian spy extraordinaire
SSR Agent Lucas Stroud, who successfully helped Marian defect to the West
And of course, their daughter, Sarah, who continues the kick-assery in the modern day as a member of Team Alpha.
Badass Crew: Team Alpha, as well as the Secret Avengers from 'SPECWAR: The Resistance'
Badass Normal: All of Team Alpha, save for Captain America, who falls strictly into Badass Abnormal territory. We've also got General Casey, who still manages to kick a lot of ass despite being not on active duty.
Really, it seems that the purpose of both SPECWAR titles is to show that not all non*powered residents of the Marvel Universe are as helpless and scared as one might think.
Bald of Evil: Baron von Strucker in the regular SPECWAR series, and The Overlord in 'The Resistance'.
Base on Wheels: In addition to the U.S.S. Perseus up in the air, SPECWAR also has the Mobile Fortress Valiant, a big friggin' base with wheels.
Bash Brothers: Cpt. Colbert & Captain America (James "Bucky" Barnes), and later, Colbert & Agent Clint Barton, after Bucky's Heroic Sacrifice.
Bat Family Crossover: Season 2.0's ending story*line "Invasion: Earth" features 'SPECWAR', 'Captain America', as well as the 'Avengers'*titled comics.
A forthcoming storyline "Dimensions At War" will crossover the regular 'SPECWAR' title, along with 'SPECWAR: The Resistance'.
Batman Cold Open: Some episodes of "Captain America and The SPECWAR Chronicles" start off with The Team in the middle of a battle against enemies.
Battle Couple: Cpt. Colbert & Sarah, especially in Season 2 and 3. A Christmas*themed issue even has the two foiling a terror plot together, with the rest of the team on holiday leave. In fact, it's the two's relationship that becomes one of the recurring plots throughout the entire series.
Chris: Huh, how's this for a romantic escape for the holidays? (fires his gun)
Sarah: Wouldn't have it any other way, really.
In "The Resistance", seems like that Cpt. Barnes and Maj. Peggy Carter are the alternate equivalent.
Battle Cry: Lt. O'Neal is of the belief that "For Freedom!" is The Team's battle cry, which leads to some hilarious results...
O'Neal: FOR FREEDOM!
(Sarah, Chris, and Bucky all look at him with slightly embarrassed looks on their faces)
Cpt. Colbert: Uh......
Captain America: I.....think we'll just let that slide.
Beard of Sorrow: Sort of averted in Chris's case when we see him growing one after Bucky's apparent Heroic Sacrifice, though he's not really that downtrodden. In fact, he has the beard shaved off next issue without any explanation.
Becoming the Mask: Nathan Hale, who was meant to just infiltrate SPECWAR and subvert it from within, but he gradually became as much of a hero as any member of Team Alpha, this in part because of Sarah's trust of him.
Cpt. Chris Colbert is hard enough to take down in battle, but when Col. Sarah Stroud is endangered, good lord, good luck in trying to keep him down, let alone put up a decent fight against the guy. Hell, try mocking Bucky's Heroic Sacrifice, and see what happens.
As evidenced with his "fight" against three of the Red Skull's elite henchmen after being turned into a cybernetic super-soldier in Season 4.0, he really isn't one to mess with.
Conversely, if Colbert's threatened in any way, Sarah will straight up kick your ass and then some.
Seems that Mr. X is none too fond about being called by his 'former' name of "Bradley" which ends up being advantageous for Cpt. Colbert when he confronts X in Season 2.
Apparently, the existence of an evil Bizarro Universe version of himself is enough to get Gen. John Casey riled up.
Beta Couple: Lt. O'Neal & Stephanie Johnston, a worthy "beta" to Sarah Stroud and Chris Colbert's "alpha".
In Season 4.0, Steve Rogers (of all people) and new Team Alpha recruit Sharon Carter.
In "The Resistance", the already-married couple of Ryan & Shannon Kessel serves as this for Bucky and Peggy.
Beware the Nice Ones: Captain Christopher freaking Colbert. He did beat the holy hell out of three elite soldiers of the Red Skull (who were all coming close to killing Col. Stroud) to unconsciousness, and would've probably killed them all had he not stopped himself.
Let's not forget Colbert kicking Mr. X's ass both mentally and physically in Season 2.0.
Perhaps the best example isn't initiated by Team Alpha themselves, but rather friggin' Steve Rogers, who assembles both the Avengers and SPECWAR in fighting the entire Skrull army in the Season 2.0 finale.
Another notable moment comes when Colbert charges in to save Sarah from Mr. X during the climax of "X Marks The Spot".
The Big Damn Kiss: Naturally, Sarah and Chris affirming their love for one another after the Mr. X fiasco in Season 2.0.
Big Good: General John Casey, Director of the United States Office of National Emergency.
In The Resistance, Major Peggy Carter is the center of the resistance forces's entire operations.
Bizarro Universe: Earth-6325, sort of. While characters like Captain America, Peggy Carter, Hawkeye, and others keep their regular moral alignments with their 'SPECWAR-verse' counterparts, other characters' counterparts aren't so lucky. For instance, Sarah is an evil soldier who works for a villainous analogue of SPECWAR (and aligned with Mr. X), while John Casey's counterpart ("Johann Kruger") is the head of the Empire's secret police.
The Blank: Mr. X wears a skimask hiding his scars.
Boxing Lessons for Superman: Sarah doesn't have superpowers, but it's revealed in a flashback that she had some training from Captain America, which has partially helped her become the soldier that she is.
Break the Cutie: The Empire attempt to do this to a captive Peggy Carter in "Secret Resistance", resorting to all sorts of Mind Rape to do so, but end up failing as Peggy just won't be broken that easily.
There's also Mr. X's downright evil plan in "X Marks The Spot", as he plots to not only kill Sarah, but to also frame her for the death of Roland Mason, and then finally drive her insane with the same Psycho Serum that made X into the villain that he is. Sarah, being the BadassAction Girl that she is, refuses to let Mr. X have his way with her and resists the villain's machinations for her, long enough for Colbert to make the save.
Brainwashed and Crazy: Season 2 had Nightmare's plot to influence this in proud Americans, and Season 3 featured the faux antidote to the Death Adder virus. In the former, Director Mason, Captain America, among others fell under the sway of Nightmare, and Sarah came dangerously close. The latter had Cpt. Colbert subjected to this.
Brick Joke: In the first issue, we see Col. Stroud commenting that she'd never be desperate enough to kick someone in the groin during a battle. In Season 2.0's finale, that's what exactly Sarah has to do in order to save a prone Colbert.
Broken Pedestal: Nightmare attempts to foster this reaction from Sarah by divulging that Bucky was responsible for murdering her parents, who were (supposedly) American diplomats. It fails.
Brought Down to Badass: There's one issue where Bucky lost the use of his cybernetic arm, but he still managed to fight off several enemies, essentially, with one arm.
Came Back Strong: 4.0 features a seemingly dead Cpt. Chris Colbert, who "died" after pulling a Heroic Sacrifice to save John Casey, making his triumphant return to life by using his new cybernetic enhancements to save Sarah from a squad of elite henchemen.
Canada, Eh?: In the Secret Avengers' first mission, they free Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and the Canadians soon learn of their exploits, working to free the rest of Canada from Empire rule. Ironically, the Canadian freedom fighters use a combined Canadian/American flag as their symbol..
Canon Immigrant: The Strategic Scientific Reserve, which appeared in 'Captain America: The First Avenger', is inserted into the Marvel Universe proper as a predecessor to both O*N*E and its Special Warfare Division.
Cape Busters: SPECWAR is designed to be a heroic version, tasked with fighting superhuman criminals, and in fact, even have several superheroes aiding them when necessary.
The Captain: Both Captains James Barnes and Christopher Colbert.
Captain Smooth and Sergeant Rough: Or, should it be Sergeant Smooth and Captain Rough, in the case of Sgt. Chris Colbert and Cpt. James 'Bucky' Barnes? At least in Season 1
Car Fu: Sarah commandeers the 'America Tonight' van and uses it to attempt to run over a HYDRA robot in one issue.
Ellen Ainsworth: Do you know how much these trucks cost? They don't come cheap, and I make a lot of money, even!
Sarah Stroud: Just can that attitude, ma'am. I'm trying to rescue my teammates from a killer robot here.
(Col. Stroud accelerates the news van and rams it at the HYDRA-bot, right as she and Ellen leap out of the car.)
Casual Danger Dialog: The conversations that Bucky & Peggy have during their Secret Avengers mission probably qualify. At first, they focused on Bucky constantly imagining Peggy as Sarah Stroud, but then they moved into more....romantic avenues.
We see Maj. Hale calling the two out on this:
"Y'know, I'm not against the two of you making dinner plans, but let's save it until after we escape our unfortunate accomodations."
In another issue, General Casey criticizes O'Neal for taking part in this:
Gen. Casey: Not to sound ungrateful, but could you please shut up about The Stars & Stripes, son? Save it for the R&R.
Catch Phrase: "We're American heroes, y'know..." said by with regularity by most of the main characters.
There's Sarah coming to grips with her past as a planned Russian spy, and becoming more open with Cpt. Colbert concerning her feelings for him.
Stephanie Johnston gradually turning from a simple desk jockey into a consummate badass member of Team Alpha.
Chekhov's Gun: A set of blueprints for creating cybernetic augmentations to create a new force of super-soldiers, which are seen various times in scenes taking place at the laboratories of the SPECWAR headquarters. It later becomes key in helping to save a nearly dead Cpt. Colbert and turning him into a super-soldier in Season 4.0.
Chekhov's Gunman: Nathan Hale is one of a group of potential new recruits that are considered for SPECWAR in Season 3.0, though it's later revealed he's actually an infiltrator for Cobra. Though he does remain a good guy after the revelation.
In the background of some Season 1.0 issues, there's a blond*haired man with peculiar green eyes lurking about in some scenes. By the end of 1.0, we learn that there's something much more about the man. He's a Skrull agent who ends up "eliminating" and replacing Steve Rogers at the conclusion of the final issue of 1.0.
Chest Insignia: Though it's not at the middle of the uniforms' chest area, the SPECWAR division's symbol counts.
The Chick: Stephanie Johnston, head of the SPECWAR Support Squad, initially, but she becomes more badass as the issues go by.
Clear My Name: Season 2's "X Marks The Spot" has Sarah doing this after Mr. X frames her for murdering O*N*E Director Roland Mason, which is a part of a larger plan to both discredit Col. Stroud and make her suffer through first injecting Sarah with the faulty Super-Soldier Serum, and then killing her as she goes insane from the SSS.
Cliff Hanger: The comic's "seasons" tend to have such endings:
Season 1.0: Steve Rogers being replaced by a Skrull
Resolved through the course of 2.0 with our heroes temporarily stopping the Skrulls' first attack, and then permanently ending it by 2.0's end.
Season 2.0: Nothing particular, except for the "death" of Bucky Barnes
Resolved ultimately in Season 3.0's own cliffhanger.
Season 3.0: Bucky's Not Quite Dead, as it turns out.
Season 4.0 kicks off with a storyline that sets up the premise of Bucky's new situation.
Also, in an interesting twist, the comic DOESN'T use "to be continued" for cliffhangers, opting for a more coded use of "Tango Bravo Charlie". (Just notice the first three letters, and you'll see why.)
Cloning Blues: "Agent Orange", a completely Chaotic Evil clone of Sarah that Mr. X has created.
Code Name: The Team do have them, but they're just used by the higher*ups at O*N*E for reference, and they never really refer to each other by code names.
Colonel Badass: Col. Sarah Stroud, who's promoted to the rank in Season 2.0 and becomes even more of a frigging badass than she was prior.
Combat Pragmatist: General Casey. He may be one of the most highly*decorated war heroes in American history, but he sure isn't above fighting dirty whenever the situation calls for it.
Continuity Nod: Plenty of times, but notably in Season 1's "Monsters in Manhattan", which then pays off in Season 2's "American Dreams and American Nightmares" saga.
Converse with the Unconscious: While Cpt. Colbert is being operated on in 4.0's opening arc, almost half the issue consists of Sarah discussing with the unconscious Colbert about her plans for the future with him.
Cool Airship: Aside from the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarriers that appear, we soon find out that SPECWAR has a similar helicarrier, but is on a smaller scale than its S.H.I.E.L.D. counterparts.
Cool Boat: The re-commissioned U.S.S. Freedom Dawn.
Cool Plane: O*N*E's fleet of Sky-Dagger superplanes.
Corrupt Corporate Executive: J.H. Rolph, who becomes driven to discredit both O*N*E* and SPECWAR after a mishap involving his family during a firefight. He even creates a team meant as a counter to SPECWAR known as "Team America". However, the Team America members all abandon Rolph after learning he doesn't particularly care for them.
Crapsack World: Earth-6325, controlled by the all*encompassing Empire, an alliance of that Earth's worst villains.
Crazy-Prepared: The Rogers Protocols, which are, of course, a set of "cheat sheets" for taking down any superhuman, whether they're a hero or villain.
Cross Over: Being set in the Marvel Universe, there's bound to be plenty of appearances from other Marvel characters. Also, Season 3 introduces G.I. Joe and Cobra into the fold.
Curb-Stomp Battle: When Cpt. Colbert finally fights Mr. X in the climax of "X Marks The Spot" during Season 2.0, the fight quickly turns to Colbert's favour, both physically and psychologically.
In Season 4.0 we have Cpt. Chris Colbert vs. three of the Red Skull's elite soldiers. A cybernetically-enhanced Colbert effortlessly beats the hell out of the three, knocking them all into unconsciousness. He'd likely would've killed them had he not stopped himself in order to tend to Sarah.
Of course, any firefights with The Team up against nameless enemy soldiers have only one obvious ending.
Commander Steve Rogers facing off against the Skrull agent that impersonated him in the Season 2.0 finale arc most definitely counts. Seems that the Skrull didn't exactly replicate all of Steve's skills and memories.
Custom Uniform: Sort of. The Team all have the similar colour scheme with their outfits, but all have distinct differences, with the exception of Captain America, who gets to keep his star-spangled outfit, by virtue of being, well, Captain America.
The Secret Avengers definitely play this trope straight.
Cutting the Knot: Faced with a bomb that'll obliterate anything and anyone within at 10-mile radius, and no option to disarm it, Captain America just takes the direct approach and smashes the bomb's wiring with his shield, disarming it.....somehow.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: It's clear that Cobra Commander counted on SPECWAR to get involved in stopping Cobra Industries, so he sent a B.A.T. to infiltrate Team Alpha as Maj. Nathan Hale. However, he didn't expect his mole to end up siding with the good guys.
Colbert: General, my colleague....the woman I love, is trapped in there with some deranged psycho, and I'm not going to give up in saving Sarah. So you can either get out of my way and let me do my job, or you can prove to me that you're still America's greatest war hero.
Darker and Edgier: "SPECWAR: The Resistance", but only ever so slightly. While the setting of a world run by an oppressive empire is rather dark, the eponymous resistance is portrayed in a similar light as the regular SPECWAR team.
Dark Action Girl: In order to infiltrate a HYDRA cell, Sarah refashions herself as "Agent Orange", a supposedly notorious bio-terrorist.
Evil!Sarah from the alternate universe seen in SPECWAR: The Resistance.
A Day in the Limelight: The web-exclusive "SPECWAR: Declassified" comics are these, focusing on different characters and giving us more backstory about them.
Deadpan Snarker: Stephanie Johnston, head of the SPECWAR Support Squad, usually in response to Lt. O'Neal.
Agent Barton has shown his own expertise in being snarky, particularly during the heat of battle.
Death Is Cheap: While most characters that die in SPECWAR stay dead, special mention has to go to Bucky, who really didn't die in the Season 2.0 finale, he was just 'erased from our existence and sent into an alternate Crapsack World where the villains took over Earth.
Deflector Shields: Maj. Peggy Carter carries her own personal energy shield gauntlet, the same one that Captain America used before.
Deceptively Human Robots: Nathan Hale actually a B.A.T Infiltrator, though he ends up being a Ridiculously Human Robot once he turns face and joins Team Alpha.
Demonic Possession: The main basis for Nightmare's plot to drive Americans who've achieved the American Dream into violent madness.
Designated Girl Fight: Done rather blatantly in the Season 1.0 finale where Col. Stroud fights against Madame Hydra.
Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Season 2 has The Team going up against the demon Nightmare, who planned on turning all of America insane by "turning their American dreams into American nightmares", and winning! That same season also has them being key in defeating the Skrull invasion of Earth.
In the Season 2-ending story arc, John Casey casually walks up to a Skrull general and knocks him out with a single punch. He also impales a Skrull mook with the American flag in a later scene.
Dirty Coward: Dr. Venom particuarly dabbles in this, notably when Sarah had him ready to be apprehended, he activated the mind control sedatives in Cpt. Colbert's antidote, siccing him on Sarah.
Does This Remind You of Anything??: With the way that Chris discusses going out late at night with Sarah for some "late night shots" at the shooting range at Camp Lehigh, it really makes one wonder if it's some other activity being alluded to.
The Dragon: Mr. X, whenever he affiliates himself with the Big Bad of a given season.
Dropped a Bridge on Him: Roland Mason's death averts this. Whi;e his death comes out of nowhere, he's given a hero's funeral and everyone on The Team as well as O*N*E give their final respects to the man. John Casey's motivation to take over O*N*E is even to honour the late Mason's memory.
Eagleland: It's a mix of both Types 1 and 2, but leaning towards Type 1 most definitely. SPECWAR and the O*N*E at large are portrayed in a positive light.
Early-Bird Cameo: The end of 'Monsters in Manhattan', we see Nightmare briefly watching on as a monster from his dimension is returned.
General John Casey also appears briefly in "Manifest Destiny", where a news report mentions Casey mysteriously disappearing in the Middle East.
In 'Prisoners of War', S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Sharon Carter is among those imprisoned by Exodus, and she even gets to help Captain America stop the Exodus overlords. After the episode she doesn't show up in SPECWAR, save for some sparse cameos, though she becomes a part of Team Alpha in Season 4.
During the Season 2 finale, Hawkeye shows up as one of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents giving extra support to the Avengers and SPECWAR in New York City.
Elaborate Underground Base: SPECWAR's headquarters underneath Camp Lehigh in Virginia, as well as the Presidential Emergency Bunker below Washington D.C. which becomes HYDRA's main base when they take over the U.S.A.
The Secret Avengers adopt their world's version of the SPECWAR underground headquarters as their own.
The Empire: Made up of an alliance of supervillains led by the Overlord, and have taken over Earth*6325.
Enemy Mine: In the Season 2.0 finale, J.H. Rolph actually helps SPECWAR in fending off the Skrulls' invasion. Though, then again, it's mostly fueled by his attempts to make himself the hero and to make O*N*E look bad.
Mr. X to Col. Stroud. Both were loyal to their country, right up until X went insane due to the faulty Super Serum.
Now that Captain Colbert is a Super Soldier by way of cybernetic enhancements, he counts as a 'Good Counterpart' to the maniacal Mr. X, representing the success by O*N*E in creating their own Super-Soldier.
Evil Knockoff: In addition to its own version of SPECWAR, the Empire also reveals that they have a team of their "own" Avengers, clearly based on the classic team: Torrent, a robotic Thor clone; The Maestro, supposedly an evil version of the Hulk; Oppressor, a clear-cut Captain America ripoff even moreso, as he's a clone of the deceased Steve Rogers; the Crimson Dynamo, patterned after Iron Man; and Bullseye, meant to be a counterpart for Hawkeye.
Evil Twin: Agent Orange, a clone of Sarah's made by Prof. Arnim Zola.
Sarah gets another Evil Twin in Season 4.0 with the Earth*6325 Sarah Stroud who even replaces the "regular" Sarah at the end of "Secret Resistances".
Evil Versus Evil: The Overlord has his forces declare war on the Red Skull after learning that the Skull wants to usurp the Overlord's rule for himself.
Face-Heel Turn: Mr X., though in backstory. He was a former soldier who was given the Super-Soldier Serum, which turned him insane, and caused him to grow distrusting of the United States. Being left captured by the enemy during an ill*fated mission didn't help matters.
Faceless Goons: So prevalent that whenever The Team deals with enemies that aren't these, it's a surprise.
Fake Kill Scare: In the "Secret Resistance" storyline, the Empire attempt to force the Secret Avengers into surrendering by supposedly having Peggy Carter (who was being held captive by the Empire) being killed so as to crush the resistance's morale. However, Kessel is able to deduce that Peggy's "death" was staged, and the Secret Avengers don't surrender as a result.
Family-Unfriendly Death: O*N*E Director Mason has a particularly graphic one at the hands of Mr. X and Agent Orange.
Fearful Symmetry: Happens in Season 4, when Sarah fights her evil counterpart from Earth*6325, as the two fail to land a single hit on one another.
Fictional Counterpart: The Office of National Emergency seems to be a superhuman-based equivalent to the real world Department of Homeland Security.
Canada's version of SPECWAR, the Joint Response Squadron-6, is meant to be a comic variant of the real life Joint Task Force 2.
Find the Cure: In Season 3, where Sarah and the rest of Team Alpha have to find a cure for the poisoned Cpt. Colbert, who was afflicted with the Death Adder virus.
First Name Basis: While Cpt. Colbert refers to everyone by last name, he seems eager to constantly refer to Col. Stroud by "Sarah". Naturally, Sarah eventually comes to return the favour, freqently referring to Cpt. Colbert as "Chris".
Once Stephanie joins Team Alpha, O'Neal refers to her by "Steph", while she herself calls Lt. O'Neal "Phil".
Sixth Ranger: Captain America (Bucky), given the fact that he did arrive through complete accident, but he almost acclimates himself with the team right away.
Flash Forward: Season 3's "A N.A.T.I.O.N. To Ourselves", featuring the SPECWAR team of the year 2051. Said team has the son and daughter of Happily Married couple Christopher Colbert & Sarah Stroud serving as team leaders for the new Team Alpha.
Flirting Under Fire: Given how the two's relationship builds up on the frontlines, there are numerous times while in combat that Cpt. Colbert and Col. Stroud seem to flirt.
Foe Yay: Maj. Sarah Kovac attempts to seduce Bucky into turning on the Secret Avengers, but ultimately reneges after Bucky just won't let himself be corrupted.
Foreshadowing: Sarah's bio in the 'SPECWAR: Bio Files', feature several elements that are redacted, being the first hints of Sarah's actual origins as a potential Russian spy.
There's also various newspaper clippings and intel reports scattered throughout the war room inside the SPECWAR headquarters, all of them reading about scattered reports of aliens replacing humans. Given the events of the end of 1.0, where the Skrulls begin their infiltration by replacing Steve Rogers, it soon becomes very clear what happens next.
Friend to All Children: Chris is quite personable towards children and teenagers, who in turn think that the Captain is one cool guy. This is likely the reason why he's the face of the SPECWAR program's recruitment campaign aimed at youths.
Genre Savvy: There's the reason that the O*N*E try to affiliate themselves with Captain America, so that they can prevent a potential rift between the government and the U.S.'s superhuman population.
Apparently, Chris & Sarah's relationship is so special, that one or both can figure out that something's off right away. Colbert puts this in action in Season 4.0, when Sarah has been replaced by an evil alternate version of herself.
Good Old Fisticuffs: Casey opts to use his bare hands when fighting alongside the Secretary of Defense to free the Pentagon from Cobra captivity.
Government Agency of Fiction: The United States's Office of National Emergency, as well as its three divisions: the titular Special Warfare Division (SPECWAR), the Superhuman Intelligence Division (SUPRA-INT), and the Strategic Services (STRATSERV).
It's also revealed that the Strategic Scientific Reserve (those responsible for Operation: Rebirth, which helped create Captain America) from the 1940s, is a predecessor to O*N*E.
A storyline featuring a flash-forward to the future takes this to the next level with the North American Tactical Intelligence Operations Node, or "N.A.T.I.O.N.".
Season 4 gives us the U.S. Army's Superhuman Battalion.
Groin Attack: Sarah sacks a Skrull about to kill Cpt. Colbert with a rather impressive strike to the groin.
Casey escapes Cobra captivity by kneeing a Cobra Viper in the groin in Season 3.
Upon arriving on Earth-6325, Bucky ends up striking an attacking Sgt. Ryan Kessel in the nards. (To be fair, this was before he trusted the Secret Avengers and etc.)
Guns Akimbo: Col. Stroud makes this her specialty, firing both her pistols and submachine guns in this manner.
Hair-Trigger Temper: Mr. X, thanks in part to the faulty Super-Soldier Serum. This ends up being a disadvantage to X, however, when Captain Colbert successfully presses on his Berserk Button (being called by his real name, "Bradley") to defeat him in a fistfight.
Handicapped Badass: In Season 4, Casey gets badly injured during an attack on SPECWAR headquarters, and in spite of that, he's able to fight off enemy agents with the use of his cane.
A later issue has the General hospitalized for the injuries sustained in the opening arc, which doesn't stop Casey from being a freaking badass. He beats the crap out of an assassin sent to kill him with his mothereffin' cast.
Bucky loses the use of his cybernetic arm in one issue, but he still manages to fight just as good as he did with the arm.
Happily Married: General Casey and his wife, Eleanor Vandevoort-Casey. A future storyline also shows that Chris and Sarah definitely qualify, with the two even raising a daughter, Sydney, and son, James Buchanan, both a part of the SPECWAR team of 2051.
Hate Plague: The Psycho-Bomb, which amplifies extreme emotions of rage and malevolence in a person. Nearly everyone was affected, save for Captain America, Lt. O'Neal, and Stephanie Johnston, who don't exactly have anything or anyone to be hateful about to begin with. Col. Stroud would count, but considering that she's been replaced by an already malevolent parallel universe version...
Nightmare used Mind Rape as a kind of plague to induce hatred and violent emotions in Americans who've achieved the American Dream in Season 2.0.
Hero Killer: Johann Krauser, the man behind the Light Brigade. Holy jeeze, this is the man who did, after all, shoot Steve Rogers an alternate version, mind you in the head and took great pleasure in it. He's, however, a evil alternate version of John Casey, who doesn't take too kindly to his counterpart's villainy.
Heroes R Us: The United States Office of National Emergency, the organization that's behind the SPECWAR program.
Heroes Want Redheads: Gender-flipped as it's the dirty-blond haired Sarah Stroud (female) that's in love with redheaded Cpt. Chris Colbert (male).
Heroic Sacrifice: Bucky effectively stops the Skrull invasion by intentionally charging into the Skrull leader into some machinery and causing everything and themselves to explode.
Oh, about that, turns out that Bucky isn't as 'dead' as everyone thinks, and he's been shunted into some post*apocalyptic alternate universe, where the villains got together and took over the world.
It's implied that Bucky's Earth-6325 counterpart died in this manner, too, as it's said that he blew up an Empire warship by intentionally crashing it in the Arctic. However, the ship exploded, and likely killing him in the process.
Major Hale attempts this to save Cpt. Colbert from an explosion, but he ends up surviving and gets rebuilt.
Speaking of, Cpt. Colbert himself sacrifices his own life to save General Casey from explosions, though, he too gets rebuilt as a cybernetic super-soldier.
Heroic Second Wind: At first, Mr. X is schooling Chris and kicking his ass whilst telling the Captain out loud about his plans after he kills him and what he'll do to Sarah soon after. This is then followed by Colbert refusing to give up as he then seizes upon beating down Mr. X both physically and psychologically.
Hope Bringer: By far, the entire O*N*E is portrayed as this, but more specifically, SPECWAR is seen by the American public as their heroes.
In the Secret Avengers' universe, Major Peggy Carter is the rallying point of whom the resistance and the oppressed people of that world get behind.
Sarah: Dammit, Christopher Ryan Colbert! You're not gonna die, now get the hell up, soldier!
How Do I Shot Web??: Captain Colbert has a hell of a time adjusting to his new cybernetics when they're first installed.
How the Mighty Have Fallen: J.H. Rolph started off as one of the richest men in the world, going from a "credible" threat to our heroes, to being arrested for being implicated as a financier of Cobra at the start of Season 4.0.
Highly Conspicuous Uniform: Members of HYDRA and AIM, definitely. O*N*E borders on this, but their uniforms have a distincitly dark red-and-blue hue to them.
Humongous Mecha: The Sleeper Mark II, which HYDRA uses to take over Washington D.C. in the final issues of Season 1.0.
Icon of Rebellion: In 'SPECWAR: The Resistance', basically the symbols most associated with Captain America (his iconic shield and costume) become these for the eponymous resistance forces.
Ideal Hero: Look no further than The Captain. (Even referenced in-universe by characters.)
I Have You Now, My Pretty: Mr. X, being the villainous monster that he is, seems to be enjoying torturing Sarah a bit too damn much in the X Marks The Spot arc. Note that X doesn't really want to do anything to Sarah other than outright kill her for supposedly causing his insanity.
Colbert: Look, Bucky....James, I'm not a hero, I'm just a simple soldier fighting for his country.
"I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Sarah trying to restore Cpt. Colbert after he's subjected to the mind-control laced "antidote" for the Death Adder virus. Sarah succeeds in returning him back to normal by kissing him as Colbert had her at his mercy.
A mild example appears in Season 2 appears when Bucky attempts to prevent Sarah from becoming a slave of Nightmare, and succeeds after telling her to believe in America and in herself.
Improbable Aiming Skills: Everyone on Team Alpha, but special mention goes to Agent Barton ("Hawkeye"), who's frequently seen making impossible shots with his bow and arrow, as well as with throwing knives, guns, and so on.
Y'know that ricocheting trick that Captain America is known for? Well, seems like Sarah is the only person aside from the aforementioned Hawkeye that can pull this off seamlessly.
Improvised Weapon: By far, General Casey is the king of making weapons out of nothing.
Interservice Rivalry: Right at the start of the comic series, Sgt. Colbert (SPECWAR/O*N*E) shows some disapproval of Captain America, a liason with S.H.I.E.L.D.
In Season 4, Cpt. Colbert and Team Alpha are tasked to team with The Shield, an operative of the U.S. Army's Superhuman Battalion, and had a ball of a time taking shots at him.
Killed Off for Real: It may be an idealistically-charged comic, but any time a character's killed in SPECWAR, they've pretty much stayed dead. The list includes: Former O*N*E director Roland Mason, James 'Bucky' Barnes (Or not...), amongst others.
In 'SPECWAR: The Resistance'...Steve Rogers, Spider-Man, The President of The United States (unnamed, however), Norman Osborn, Cobra Commander, Bucky (that universe's, and the one the 'regular' Bucky subsequently replaces), among others.
Knight Templar: The Overlord, who simply wanted to save humanity from its destructive tendencies, and ended up having to align himself with villains, as well as eliminating free will.
Cpt. Colbert comments that he's heard the bad guy say that they haven't seen the last of them over and over again, that he's just inclined to mock them so.
He even interrupts one such instance:
Colbert: Yeah, yeah, I know the deal. You'll be back and you'll get your revenge. I don't think so, fella.
Sarah lampshades the fact that her romantic moments with Cpt. Colbert always tend to happen in the heat of battle or a tense situation.
Sarah:"Have you ever heard of a romantic relationship built solely on life or death situations?"
General Casey even gets in on this, commenting that if Chris & Sarah were to ever have a wedding, he'd make sure that it's in the middle of a firefight.
Laser Guided Tykebomb: The Oppressor, actually a clone of Steve Rogers created by the Empire to eliminate Peggy Carter.
Last Name Basis: The members of Team Alpha, with the exception of Cpt. Colbert & Sarah, who refer to each other by first name.
Legacy Character: Winter Soldier II (whose identity hasn't been revealed), made to replace the original one.
Let's Get Dangerous: For most of the series, Stephanie Johnston was mostly a desk jockey with the SPECWAR Support Squad, then came a time where she & Lt. O'Neal were trapped in O*N*E Headquarters and faced with possessed soldiers ready to kill them...She works with O'Neal to survive the attack and both get moments of badassery.
Let's You and Him Fight: Averted, by way of having either Cpt. Colbert or Col. Stroud being able to negotiate with other heroes to give them a chance to help.
Light Is Not Good: The aptly-named Light Brigade, who also wear white combat uniforms.
Lighter and Softer: Compared to the currently grim*dark Marvel Universe, yes, as it's quite idealistic in portraying its heroes.
The subsequent arc, "O*N*E Under Siege" has its chapter titles named after lyrics in the Star*Spangled Banner.
"Nothing To Fear" from Season 3.0
Lower Deck Episode: The SPECWAR Support Squad get one in Season 3, appropriately titled "The Support Squad".
MacGyvering: In order to escape the confines of an Empire prison, Sarah uses the laser fence of the cage she's being held in to remove her bindings.
The Man Behind the Man: The Red Skull, who's revealed to be the one really running HYDRA in the Season 1 finale, and not Baron von Strucker.
Majorly Awesome: Nathan Hale, as well as Sarah Stroud, until she gets promoted to Colonel in Season 2.
In Season 4, we're introduced to Maj. Peggy Carter, leader of the Secret Avengers resistance force.
Major Injury Underreaction: Nate Hale, in rescuing Cpt. Colbert from an explosive, shrugs it off, in spite of being badly damaged.
In spite of getting his cybernetic arm ripped off, Bucky shrugs it off and just goes right after the Skrull leader.
May Contain Evil: Cobra Industries's "antidote" for the Death Adder virus, which had the unfortunate side*effect of turning anyone who uses it to cure the Death Adder into a mind-controlled slave of Cobra.
Mecha-Mooks: HYDRA's HydraCorps robotic troopers, as well as the Cobra B.A.T.s
Mega Corp.: Several, including Cobra Industries (evil), Epsilon Robotics (good), Stark Industries (good), and M.A.R.S. (evil).
Mexican Standoff: "X Marks The Spot" features Mr. X pointing both his gun and the tainted Super Soldier Serum at a restrained Sarah and Colbert pointing his pistol at X.
Another situation arises in Season 2.0 when Cpt. Colbert (again) walks into both Steve Rogers and a Skrull impersonating Steve pointing their guns at one another.
Mid-Season Upgrade: In Season 4, we see The Team sporting new, tougher uniforms, to go with the new headquarters after their old headquarters was decimated.
Military Superhero: Not Team Alpha, per se, but Captain America, who was a member of The Team for Season 1 and 2.
There's also The Shield, created by the U.S. Army to serve in their Superhuman Battalion.
Cpt. Chris Colbert becomes a borderline example in Season 4. Once he's augmented with bionics and enhanced technologies...
Mind Rape: Nightmare subjugating succesful Americans who achieved the American dream, or were well off.
Mirror Universe: Sort of. While the Nazi-controlled universe does have evil versions of some of the heroes, the rest of the inhabitants keep their alignments. However, the universe does have a good version of Mr. X, who became that universe's Captain America. Seriously.
The Empire-dominated Earth (seen in 'SPECWAR: The Resistance') do have morality-flipped counterparts of our heroes. For instance, in that universe, we have Evil!Sarah Stroud, who leads a villainous version of SPECWAR that stands against the Secret Avengers.
Mission Control: There's an entire group that acts as this for the frontline SPECWAR corps, the "Support Squad".
The Mole: Maj. Nathan Hale, revealed to be a B.A.T. Infiltrator Class after he and Team Alpha are captured by Cobra. He ends up remaining a good guy, though.
Evil!Sarah posing as the 'regular' Sarah Stroud after the end of the "Secret Resistance" arc.
Name's the Same: General John Casey is definitely not to be mixed up with the NSA agent from Chuck, even if both are awesomely badass.
The comic itself is also not to be confused with an obscure 2002 independent comic, also titled 'SPECWAR'.
The Secret Avengers resistance force are surely not to be confused with the Earth-616 Secret Avengers. The spinoff comic in which the Secret Avengers appear in is even entitled "The Resistance" to avoid any further confusion.
Mr. X: Psychotic archnemesis of Sarah Stroud or Homer Simpson's one-time Internet alias?
There's an in-universe example with Stephanie Johnston, head of the SPECWAR Support Squad and Stephanie Johnson from The Stars & Stripes television show.
Near Villain Victory: HYDRA taking over the United States near the end of Season 1, thus setting up SPECWAR launching their efforts in liberating America.
New Season, New Name: Not an explicit example, but the title of the comic adds the corresponding "Season" number to the title. (SPECWAR 2.0, and so on.)
Nice Guy: Mostly everyone on Team Alpha. However, Sarah does take getting a bit of unraveling.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The Empire's already murdered Steve Rogers, and could've destroyed the remaining resistance to their rule by doing the same to Peggy Carter, but the Red Skull had to leave her alive for some reason, which of course, leads to Peggy becoming the Big Good that opposes the Empire's rule.
Mr. X could've just killed Sarah during his revenge plot against the Colonel, but X decided to make her suffer even more by prolonging her captivity thru Hannibal Lectures and planning to inject Sarah with the faulty Super-Soldier Serum. Bad idea, as it gave SPECWAR enough time to hatch a plan to rescue Sarah and stop X from carrying out his machinations.
Cobra implanted its B.A.T. Infiltrators with the ability to adapt to its surroundings, making for easy infiltration. That ends up biting them in the ass, as Nathan Hale, himself a B.A.T. Infiltrator, ends up becoming a bonafide good guy and helps Team Alpha in defeating Cobra.
The Skrull infiltrator impersonating Steve Rogers didn't finish the job, assuming that the Skrullian restraints would kill Steve as he struggled to free himself. He likely underestimated Commander Rogers, who not only freed himself from the restraints, but ends up beating the crap out of the Skrull impersonator.
Nightmare Sequence: Peggy Carter seems to have quite a few, all of them centered on reliving Steve Rogers's death, followed by a zombified Steve coming after her. It's even more disturbing than it sounds.
In "O*N*E Under Siege, Part Three: Dawn's Early Light", Cpt. Colbert inevitably suffers a nightmare while he's being operated on by SPECWAR scientists. The dream has the Captain being left helpless as an army of demonic Mr. X clones eventually overwhelm Sarah and presumably kill her. He then has another one where Bucky's corpse blames him for letting him die at the end of Season 2.0.
No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Mr. X vs. Captain Chris Colbert in "X Marks The Spot", but soon turns to Colbert's favor after the Captain successfully riles X.
Non Action Girl: Stephanie Johnston, though she Took A Level in Badass during the course of Season 3.
Non-Uniform Uniform: The standard SPECWAR combat gear consists of red-white-blue, but that doesn't stop members of Team Alpha from giving their own uniforms a personal touch.
Not Herself: Chris comes to this conclusion concerning Sarah in Season 4.0 a few issues after the "Secret Resistance" arc. Which makes sense, given that the actual Sarah Stroud, at that point, was still in Earth-6325, while her evil counterpart from that universe took her place in the "regular" universe.
Not Quite Dead: Bucky, as it's revealed in the Season 3.0 finale's final pages, didn't die when the Skrull ship exploded back in 2.0, but rather sent to a desolate alternate universe ruled by an oppressive alliance of villains.
Not so Dire: One issue opens with Cpt. Colbert & Steve Rogers sneaking about, presumably out on a secret operation of some sort. Turns out they're planning a surprise party for Sarah. Steve even comments on it, dryly noting that the secret operation stuff seemed kinda overblown.
Now or Never Kiss: Well, at least for one person, as if Sarah didn't kiss a Brainwashed & Crazy Cpt. Colbert, she would've been likely all but dead.
The future story in Season 3 has James "Bucky" Stroud (Sarah and Chris's son) and Shannon Carter/American Dream.
In "The Resistance", Bucky & Peggy qualify as this.
Oh Crap: The main Skrull army in the Season 2.0 finale must've had this collective reaction once they see the entire SPECWAR battalion charging in to stop their plans. And, led by none other than Steve Rogers.
Skrull General: Damn it, everyone fall back! We're done for!
Steve: Under the authority of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the UN Security Council, consider yourselves under arrest.
The beautiful look on Mr. X's face when he sees Chris getting back up and ready for round two, even after getting his ass kicked beforehand.
The 3.0 half-way finale arc features Nathan Hale who's recently turned on Cobra and joined SPECWAR instilling this on half the Cobra hiearchy.
General Krauser's reaction upon seeing Bucky (who he's assumed has died, but it's "our" Bucky, in this case) leading the Secret Avengers.
One-Man Army: Col. Sarah Stroud, who's described as being as bad ass as Captain friggin' America.
It's revealed in Sarah's bio-file that Cap actually did train her early on, so there's that.
Captain Colbert himself has been turned into one hell of a One-Man Army thanks to good 'ol fashioned cybernetics.
One Steve Limit: Team Alpha has had two members with "James" as their first name (James Buchanan Barnes and Pvt. James Hiller), though both were a part of the team on separate occasions rather than the same time. There's also James Stroud, Sarah and Chris's future son, who leads the SPECWAR Team Alpha of 2051. There is however just one Steve that's part of the main cast.
In the entire series and its spinoffs, there are three Captains America (Steve Rogers, James Barnes, and even Mr. X of all people! In one alternate universe) scattered throughout, but never at the same time.
Original Generation: Anyone who isn't an established Marvel character, including almost the entire main cast of the comic.
Out-of-Character Alert: The Skrull impersonating Steve Rogers is snuffed out by Cpt. Colbert after the latter figures out that Steve would never berate his team in a harsh manner. Note that this was well before the real Steve Rogers would beat his doppelganger and take back his position as Commander of SHIELD.
Painting the Medium: One back-up story has Lt. O'Neal imagining that his teammates and he are in an episode of The Stars & Stripes, and as such, the art-style reflects it, with the SPECWAR characters drawn in the usual format in which the Stars & Stripes stories are done in.
"American Dreams & American Nightmares" features characters who have been corrupted by Nightmare to be speaking in a haunting green word bubble with a font that looks more at home in a horror comic.
One issue coincides its "Tango Bravo Charlie" cliffhanger message with a character actually giving the order at the end of said issue.
Our Hero Is Dead: The Season 4.0 opening story arc's second issue ends with Cpt. Colbert apparently dead (or nearing death...) after saving General Casey from RPG fire. The next issue is spent on reviving and rebuilding Colbert into a cybernetic super-soldier.
Patriotic Fervor: J.H. Rolph's ploys to discredit the SPECWAR program's heroics largely fall under this category, all of them being rather over-the-top.
The Pen Is Mightier: General Casey stabs a Skrull agent with a pen from his desk during the Season 2.0 finale arc.
Perma Stubble: Not initially, but Bucky seems to have gained one when he's made permanent residence in Earth-6325.
Pyrrhic Victory: "Secret Resistance" ends with The Team managing to escape Earth-6325, but with an evil version of Sarah taking the place of their version.
Police Are Useless: Deliciously averted with our heroes. Then again, when you've got Captain Fucking America frequently helping your team out, you're bound to have more successes in fighting supervillains than not.
Poorly Disguised Pilot: A Season 4.0 story arc featuring an alternate universe in which Bucky had been shunted to is meant as a setup for a "SPECWAR: The Resistance" spinoff series, featuring the Secret Avengers' struggle to free Earth from tyranny. Said series is going strong and running concurrent with "SPECWAR". It also sets up another storyline in SPECWAR concerning the alternate universe's version of Sarah Stroud replacing the regular universe Sarah. Oh, did we mention that Alternate!Sarah is evil?
Pop Cultured Badass: Lt. Philip O'Neal, who is obsessed with The Stars & Stripes and video games, but still can kick your ass.
Post-Kiss Catatonia: Happens to both Steph and Lt. O'Neal when the two share a rather passionate kiss during the "American Dreams & American Nightmares" story arc.
Powered Armor: The Steel American suits developed by O*N*E and Epsilon Robotics.
Power Creep, Power Seep: In play whenever The Team goes up against threats that are well beyond their parameters, like the demon Nightmare in Season 2.0. Then again, the idea is to paint our heroes as capable badasses who can handle their own in a universe filled with gods and various superpowered beings.
Then again, they do have the benefits of having Captain freaking America frequently helping out against such threats.
Previously On: Each issue begins with a "CLASSIFIED" report addressed to the Director of the Office of National Emergency recapping the events of previous issues.
Propaganda Machine: The Empire's "People's Voice Broadcast System", which are highlighted by addresses by the Overlord himself, as well as clearly-biased news reports that portray the Secret Avengers and their allies as terrorists who threaten civility. One issue even has the Secret Avengers going after a PVBS station in Spokane, Washington to stop it from brainwashing citizens into slave labour.
Mr. X: You see, Stroud? Your country failed me, and by the time I get done with you, America will soon fail you. Once your superiors see their former Golden Girl gone bad, they won't miss you, and they won't give a damn once I drive you insane like how the Office of National Emergency did to me when they made me their guinea pig and left me for dead in the Amazon. Once I finish with you, and finish you in the process, you will begin to understand why your nation will not give a damn for you, Sarah Stroud. You're nothing more but a mindless puppet brainwashed by the Office of National Emergency's lies into protecting a non-existent concept of freedom and democracy. You were the biggest mistake that they made, and I'm about to permanently fix that mistake, once and for all.
His Suspiciously Similar Substitute actually, his brother in 'The Resistance', Sgt. Ryan Kessel fits this role for that series' group of heroes.
Red Shirt Army: Averted, for the most part. Any O*N*E personnel not affiliated with the Special Warfare Division fall squarely as Red Shirts, but all crew members, agents, or support staff directly working with SPECWAR totally avert this, as they're more than competent to handle superhuman enemies.
The no-name bad guys, of course, play this straight, as per tradition with superhero comics.
Redundant Rescue: In "Prisoners of War", special mention was made to The Team to rescue Gen. John Casey, who had been one of the soldiers apprehended by Exodus. However, by the time Team Alpha reaches Casey's cell, they find the General already free and with a couple of Exodus guards beaten to a pulp around him.
Required Spinoff Crossover: The upcoming "Our Dimensions At War" functions as this for the main SPECWAR title and "The Resistance".
Roaring Rampage of Rescue: The Secret Avengers, along with assistance from Team Alpha, undertake such an operation in "Secret Resistance" when Peggy has been captured by the Empire.
2.0 features Colbert's efforts to save Sarah from Mr. X in the "X Marks The Spot" story arc.
Rogues Gallery: Aside from recurring enemy Mr. X, The Team has faced forces like the Red Skull, HYDRA, Cobra, Corrupt Corporate Executive J.H. Rolph, and even one-shot villains like the Exodus organization and ruthless private military contractors Executive Operations Network. They've also faced otherworldly threats like Nightmare, as well as the Skrulls.
Rogues-Gallery Transplant: Basically, any established Marvel villains (HYDRA, AIM, the Red Skull, etc.) that appear in the series become these for the SPECWAR team.
Inverted the other way around with Mr. X making appearances as an enemy of Captain America in one story arc of Cap's comic. In those issues, Sarah Stroud also makes an appearance to help out Cap in fighting Mr. X.
La Résistance: The Minutemen during the "Alternate Histories" story arc in Season 3.
The following season has another one in the form of the Secret Avengers, who oppose the villainous Empire in an alternate timeline.
Save Both Worlds: The forthcoming "Our Dimensions At War" will have the Secret Avengers and SPECWAR teaming together to save both their dimensions from the Empire's multiversal attempts of conquest.
Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: Despite being suspended by the Secretary of Defense for the fiasco with Cobra's medical centre, General Casey defies orders and has The Team launch an unsanctioned operation to stop the enemy, in spite of SecDef's orders.
She's Back: After a prolongued stay in Earth-6325, Sarah returns to her own world in style, being a key player in preventing the Empire's attempted take over of Earth-700, as well as beating ten shades out of her evil twin. Plus, she saves Colbert from being nearly killed by the Overlord.
Sarah: Looks like I came back just in time, soldier.
Colbert provides a textbook example when confronted by Mr. X:
Mr. X: Don't you see? You are nothing more but a pawn of the government. Once they've run out of a use for you, they'll toss you aside like a piece of—-
Cpt. Colbert: (punches Mr. X) *mutters* Go to sleep, Bradley.
General Casey also gets in on the fun...
Skrull General: Bow to your masters and embr—-
John Casey: (punches the Skrull general) Shut up.
Sibling Team: The SPECWAR team of 2051 has James and Sydney Stroud, brother and sister, and co-leaders of the new Team Alpha.
Sigil Spam: Not only HYDRA and Cobra Industries, but also the Office of National Emergency, whose seal (or in other cases, its distinctive bald eagle emblem) appears on most of its stuff and buildings.
Similar Squad: In the "main" universe, there's the Canadian equivalent of SPECWAR, the Joint Response Squadron-6 (JRS-6)
The Secret Avengers from "The Resistance" seem to be an exact counterpart of Team Alpha.
Slasher Smile: With Col. Stroud captured and seemingly fated to die by his hands, Mr. X unmasks and shows Sarah (and subsequently, the reader) his downright nightmarish grin.
Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: The SPECWAR stories lean strongly towards the idealistic side, showing that America and the free world essentially need not fear superhuman threats, knowing that SPECWAR will battle to save the day.
'The Resistance' strays in the middle of the scale, as the titular resistance force are portrayed as idealistic freedom fighters working to reclaim the world from tyranny, and they're set against a dystopian world run by the Empire.
Smug Snake: J.H. Rolph, whose attempts to dislodge the O*N*E and SPECWAR seem like good ideas on paper, but end up failing due to his own ego and the fact that the American public won't fall for snake-oil salesman-like pitches.
Plus, this is the guy who tried to convince people that Captain frigging America was a traitor to his country and not a "real" American.
The Smurfette Principle: Averted, as we've got Col. Sarah Stroud, Stephanie Johnston, as well as Lisa Hines and Dr. Ramona Coleman, all of whom support SPECWAR.
Once S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Sharon Carter joins The Team in Season 4, Team Alpha now has three females on the roster, nearly evening out with the male contingent.
Splash Panel: Used quite liberally, but in definite great effect during the Season 2.0 finale, whereupon we see the U.S.S. Freedom Dawn, as well as other SPECWAR vehicles, pointing all their weaponry at the massive Skrull mothership.
Spot the Imposter: Colbert walks into a situation like this as he sees Steve Rogers fighting a duplicate of himself. Colbert is able to identify the real Commander Rogers by virtue of sensing something's not right with the fake Rogers' fighting style.
Colbert again achieves this in weeding out the faux Sarah Stroud (who had replaced the real Sarah after The Team's mission into Earth-6325) by noting that something is quite off with Not-Sarah, particularly her being "cold" and not as compassionate as before.
The clincher? Colbert ultimately deduces that Sarah would never call him "honey", something that the faux Stroud didn't pick up on.
Spy Catsuit: Sarah normally doesn't wear one, but she sports an impressive outfit when she infiltrates HYDRA as "Agent Orange".
The newer, tougher outfits that Team Alpha get in Season 4.0 fall under this category, to be precise.
Season 1.0: The ongoing story with HYDRA creating its Sleeper robot and culminating with the organization taking over America, leading to the final arc with SPECWAR having to fight to liberate the nation.
Season 2.0: Started off with the "Secret Invasion" arc, detailing the Skrulls' attempted invasion, and is interrupted with two separate arcs * the "American Dreams & American Nightmares" arc and the "X Marks The Spot" storyline, giving key elements into Mr. X's backstory and introducing General John Casey. The season closes out with a return to the Skrull storyline.
Season 3.0: Almost the entire season (save for the "Alternate Histories" arc) deals with SPECWAR's battle to expose Cobra Industries' shady doings.
Season 4.0: Starts with the Red Skull launching his attack on SPECWAR Headquarters, followed by the revelation that Bucky didn't die and was sent into an alternate dimension ruled by the Empire This is then followed by Steve Rogers officially joining The Team as Captain America. There's also the Earth*6325 Sarah Stroud taking the place of the "regular" Sarah in the main universe.
Stupid Jetpack Hitler: Team Alpha is transported into an alternate world where the Nazis won World War II without a Captain America or the Invaders to stop their plans.
Super Dickery: "Solo Mission, Part One" features a cover where we see Sarah wearing a HYDRA uniform and aiming her weapon at Cpt. Colbert while Captain America tries to stop her. It's entirely different in the comic, though. She's simply infiltrating HYDRA to get a lead on Mr. X, and it's as "Agent Orange", rather than just being herself.
Super Prototype: The creation of Mr. X thru an offshoot of the original Super-Soldier Serum that created Captain America is proof why Cap is still the original and best.
Super Soldier: Mr X. was O*N*E's failed attempt of making a Super Soldier, though they finally get it right with Cpt. Colbert, who gets turned into a cybernetic variation in Season 4.
Superhero Trophy Shelf: The Empire's main fortress in Washington D.C. has a trophy room filled with items taken from the heroes that fell in the final battle some odd years ago. This becomes important when Peggy Carter snatches an energy shield gauntlet from the room during the Secret Avengers' rescue mission.
Supporting Leader: It interchanges between Col. Sarah Stroud and Cpt. Chris Colbert from time to time.
In "SPECWAR: The Resistance", James "Bucky" Barnes fills the role.
Suspiciously Similar Substitute: During Bucky's journey in the alternate universe, he comes across a soldier who looks awfully a lot like Sarah, but it's not her, however. Rather, it's that universe's version of Peggy Carter. (Or maybe a descendant of the "original" Peggy, who's just carrying on the family name...who knows?)
It's later revealed that Alternate!Peggy is the granddaughter of that universe's Peggy Carter, who indeed did help in the fight against the Nazis during World War II.
However, that could likely just be because Bucky's final thoughts were of Captain Colbert & Colonel Stroud, so it's possible that he hallucinated in seeing Alternate!Peggy as Sarah.
Take Up My Sword: General Casey becomes Director of O*N*E in order to honour the memory of Roland Mason, murdered O*N*E* director.
Bucky ends up staying in Earth-6325 on the account of taking up the role that his alternate counterpart had for the resistance forces.
Taking the Bullet: Peggy attempts to do this for Bucky, and survives it by virtue of blanketing herself with her energy shield.
In the 4.0 opening arc, Cpt. Colbert dives right in the path of rocket-firing soldiers, and ends up nearly dying as a result. He does get better, and becomes a cyborg super-soldier, though.
Thememobile: Team America's stars-and-stripes adorned vehicles, all of which get trashed badly when they're used in battle.
¡Three Amigos!: Chris, Bucky, and Sarah are essentially the military equivalent.
To Be Continued: Or rather, "Tango Bravo Charlie", starting from Season 3.0 onwards, which goes along with the series's military angle.
The code also shows up in the series itself, as we hear characters sometimes radioing "Tango Bravo Charlie" as an order to pull back.
Took a Level in Badass: Once Steph leaves the comforts of the SPECWAR Support Squad desk and joins Team Alpha, she becomes quite a force to be reckoned with. We even see her fight off a group of Cobra B.A.T.s and blowing them up with a RPG, saving Lt. O'Neal and Pvt. Hiller.
Trademark Favorite Food: We see that Lt. O'Neal has a downright crazy affinity for taquitos, as he's even seen bringing a roll or two during battle.
Sarah apparently likes cheese fondue, given how happy she looks when Chris makes some for her during a surprise dinner.
Training from Hell: The Tartarus training course that prospective SPECWAR recruits have to undergo in order to be considered to be a part of the program. Keep in mind that only two have succesfully passed the Tartarus, one of them being Col. Sarah Stroud.
Trick Arrow: Hawkeye, unsurprisingly, has a myriad of "specialty" arrows.
Tron Lines: The Team's new outfits from Season 4.0 have a healthy amount of blue glow to them.
True Companions: Team Alpha. They protect America and themselves with an equal amount of care.
Tuck and Cover: Maj. Nathan Hale does this to shield a trapped Cpt. Colbert from an explosion. He's badly hurt, but luckily, He Got Better.
In "Secret Resistance", Peggy shields a fellow freedom fighter from an enemy rocket with her energy shield.
Uncle Sam Wants You: Early promotional art for SPECWAR resembled posters where Cpt. Colbert takes on the iconic poster's image.
In "The Resistance", the second issue's cover has Peggy Carter in the pose.
Unholy Matrimony: In "The Resistance", Earth-6325's Mr. X apparently married that universe's version of Sarah Stroud (or Kovac, more likely...), and the two of them serve together in the Light Brigade to cause havoc on Resistance forces.
Hell, X and Not-Sarah's relationship apparently started with Not-Sarah betraying that universe's Cpt. Colbert and personally killing him along with Mr. X helping in the deed.
The Vamp: The "Evil" Sarah Stroud from Earth-6325 is apparently implied to be such, particularly with her interactions with Bucky in one fight scene. We even see her attempt to seduce Bucky into joining the Empire, with promises of love. Luckily, Barnes isn't one to be swayed that easily and rejects it.
Villain Episode: "Paradigm Shift", which focused on Mr. X and his origins, though this was a digital comic exclusive that was later included when the "X Marks The Spot" saga was collected in trades.
Villain Exit Stage Left: Cobra Commander pulls this off, but he leaves both Destro and the Baroness behind to be captured by SPECWAR.
Also, the SPECWAR team tend to do whatever they can to prevent villains from pulling this off, with varying degrees of success. Though you can't fault The Team for not trying.
Villain Override: Cobra Commander attempts to take control of Maj. Hale after the Major had just joined the good guys, but to no avail.
Villain Team-Up: The basis of the formation of the Empire, who then defeated Earth-6325's heroes and took over the planet, splitting it amongst themselves.
Villain with Good Publicity: Cobra Industries, who even attempt to use such publicity to attempt to convince the American government that the O*N*E's attempts to bring the company down is treason against the country. It ends up failing, of course, since y'know, attempting to vilify a group that regularly has the help of Captain freaking America will almost always end in failure.
Villain World: Earth-6325, where an alliance of supervillains have taken over that world under the leadership of the mysterious Overlord. Highlights (lowlights?) of this world include: The villains murdering all the remaining superheroes of the world, Washington D.C. turned into a massive complex for the Empire's American base of operations, and enslavement camps all across the world.
Vitriolic Best Buds: Captain America and (then)Sgt. Colbert started out like this. Though, after "Meet Captain America", Chris & Bucky become Bash Brothers.
Voice of the Resistance: The Stars & Stripes (named by Stephanie Johnston-O'Neal after her late boyfriend's favorite show) acts as this for the Secret Avengers, reporting on operations that the Secret Avengers undertake, as well as provide morale for citizens by broadcasting entertainment programming.
Weak, but Skilled: The entire Team Alpha roster frequently go up against superhuman threats, but are skilled enough and definitely bad*ass enough to take them down. They don't call SPECWAR "The Best of the Best" for nothing, you know.
We Can Rebuild Him: The scene in which Cpt. Colbert's rebuilt even evokes the original version from 'The Six Million Dollar Man'.
Weapon of Choice:
Sarah and her twin rapid-fire SOCOM pistols.
Cpt. Colbert's M*16 machine gun.
As of Season 4, his cybernetic enhancements count.
Hawkeye, and, of course, his bow and arrow.
Nathan Hale and his trusty sniper rifle.
Casey, and, well, anything he can use at his disposal.
To say nothing about Captain America's shield would be a disservice.
Wedding Smashers: The flash-forward issue in 3.0 alludes to Sarah and Colbert's wedding being of this variety, with an assassin planning on killing the two, but getting foiled.
Welcome Issue: The very first issue serves as this for Col. Sarah Stroud.
West Coast Team: Or to be more accurate, Alternate Universe Team, in the case of the Secret Avengers from "The Resistance".
We Will Meet Again: The Red Skull attempts to tell Team Alpha this after the heroes foil him again, only for Cpt. Colbert to retort, "The hell you will, skullface!"
Colbert yet again provides a deliciously snarky retort in one other issue: "Yeah, tell me something I don't know, asshole."
Again, he does it in another issue, making this his expertise: "Yeah, yeah, I know the deal. You'll be back and you'll get your revenge. I don't think so, fella."
Wham Episode: Issue #13 of Season 1 features HYDRA succeeding in taking over the United States and implicating our heroes as enemies of the state.
The actual finale of 1.0 has the good guys winning and stopping HYDRA ...but, Steve Rogers isn't quite himself.
3.0 concludes with a revelation...
Bucky: If anyone can hear me, this is Captain James Barnes, I'm trapped in another world, and I need backup. Because things have gone to hell.
The "Secret Resistance" in 4.0 features the revelation that the Empire's ready to expand their reach to other worlds. Also, Sarah's been replaced with her evil Earth-6325 counterpart.
Wham Line: "Col. Sarah Stroud, you've been placed under arrest for the murder of O*N*E* Director Roland Mason." (Well, not the first part, just the part with the murder.)
From Season 1: "Welcome to the United States of HYDRA."
From Season 4: "Super-Soldier Program Echo: Success." (Dr. Coleman reporting on O*N*E finally getting it right with their own Super Soldier.)
Again from 4.0: "This is going to be fun..." Spoken by an alternate version of Sarah Stroud, who's taken the place of the real one.
Though, in Season 4, it's revealed that Rolph was imprisoned for being one of the financiers that backed Cobra Industries.
What the Hell, Hero?: Hawkeye justifiably calls out Sarah for killing an unarmed enemy agent in cold blood solely because he didn't give any adequate information in regards to the Red Skull's whereabouts. Justifiable as it's not the "real" Sarah who committed the killing, but rather an evil alternate universe version who's replaced her.