Girl Genius: Tropes K to O
aka: Tropes K-O
Tropes A to E | Tropes F to J | Tropes K to O | Tropes P to T | Tropes U to Z
Girl Genius provides examples of the following tropes:
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- Kick the Son of a Bitch:
- It's basic background for the setting that Sparks are hated, shunned and often violently attacked in places where they don't rule. Given that their "gift" endows them with both an obliviousness to contemplating the negative possibilities of an experiment instead of just doing it For Science! and a case of Moral Myopia that leads to them regarding all other humans as nothing but fodder for and/or components in experiments, it's hard to feel too upset about the fact many normals want to get rid of them... until you consider that the self-controlled ones that avoid making offensive/destructive things are the ones most vulnerable to the lynch mobs.
- Princess Anevka violently killing her father would, under normal circumstances, be horrifying... but considering he killed her first, along with dozens, if not hundreds (or more) other young girls simply to bring back a madwoman he had a crush on, to say nothing of whatever else he did with his spare time, the guy had it coming.
- Kill It with Fire:
- Klatchian Coffee: Agatha discovers coffee in a Mechanicsburg coffeehouse and goes sparky. She also goes into Bullet Time — reading a book on coffee, editing it, and devising a way to rebuild the coffee machine in the time it takes a waitress to say three words.
- Knee-capping: Higgs uses this move against Zola. Unfortunately for him, she is too high on combat drugs to fall down.
- Knight Templar: Othar. He wants to kill all sparks (ending with himself), because he thinks they are "the cause of everything wrong in the world today."
- Lady and Knight: spoofed with Tarvek and Violetta.Violetta: I'm responsible for this slug's continued existence.Tarvek: This useless nitwit is my loyal servant. Ow! Quitit!
- Lampshade Hanging: Many. Using a book titled Using Found Objects as Weapons as a bludgeon is probably the best example.
- Large and In Charge:
- Jäger generals.
- Sergeant Nok ("Big Green Hairy Guy" gorilla-like construct).
- Klaus himself is a quite impressive bruiser too.
- Otilia, the Muse of Protection, is much larger that the rest of her line, and quite capable of fighting almost anyone. Except Airman Higgs.
- Large Ham:
- All sparks chew scenery when in The Madness Place. Othar Tryggvassen, GENTLEMAN ADVENTURER is like that all the time.
- One of Klaus Wulfenbach's chief advisors, Doctor Chouteh, appears to be in a constant state of hamming it up and has yet to speak a single line in anything approaching "indoor volume".
- Humongulus is now slicing the ham! This is in fact how slicing ham is done!
- Laser-Guided Karma:
- An officer in one of the many armies that invade Mechanicsburg tells his soldiers not to take their eyes off the captured civilians, to treat them with respect, and to execute them all. Right before the Doom bell knocks all the soldiers out.Civilian man: And what about the one giving orders?
Civilian woman: (holding a rolling pin) Oh, him we treat with respect.
- The Duke Strinbeck acts like a total ass to the crew of the Pink Airship, threatening to shoot them, followed by flaying their entirely family alive. A bad move when they have a need to get rid of any unnecessary weight.
- An officer in one of the many armies that invade Mechanicsburg tells his soldiers not to take their eyes off the captured civilians, to treat them with respect, and to execute them all. Right before the Doom bell knocks all the soldiers out.
- Last-Second Word Swap: After the Corbettites defuse the situation between Martellus, Klaus-In-Gil, and Lucrezia-In-Agatha with cake laced with heavy sedatives, Bang (who also ate the cake) stops short of saying "piece of cake". She's probably secretly hoping that Agatha stays free and finds a way to undo Klaus's mind control on Gil because she really hates mind control, and didn't want to clue Gil in on the Corbettites' hand in Agatha's escape
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall / Title Drop: After Agatha fools Gilgamesh once again, DuPree points out that he should have seen it coming.DuPree: I mean, if they ever write this down, they ain't gonna be calling it "Boy Genius".
- Leave Behind a Pistol: Gil gives Moloch von Zinzer a poison pill upon his departure to Castle Heterodyne, underestimating the degree of von Zinzer's Action Survivor skills and Genre Savvy.
- Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone: With a somewhat unexpected pair of lovebirds in this strip.
- Leitmotif / Theme Music Powerup: Agatha discovers that if she hums a certain series of notes, she can improve her focus while working on various projects. This tune pops up throughout the series, in various forms. Unknown if anyone has actually tabulated and played her song in real life, though.
- Leonine Contract
- Let's Get Dangerous: The Unstoppable Airman Higgs is, in fact, unstoppable.
- Let Them Die Happy: These plants are trying to do this.
- Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Gilgamesh orders that his Nice Hat should be hidden in a safe place — and never spoken about again.(seconds later)
DuPree: I heard there was a hat!
Gil: You're delusional.
- Licked by the Dog: The wasp weasels seem to really like Tarvek, much to his chagrin.
- Lightning Bruiser:
- Airman Higgs.
- After the Time Skip, Gil's new rather tall and imposing female-figure bodyguard clank "Bohrlaika", is quite nimble, packs an electo-sword that can cleanly cut off an arm off an enemy Humongous Mecha war clank, and was no worse for wear after missing the fact that the arm was about to fall on her when she was reiterating her surrender demand.
- Lightning Can Do Anything: The writers love this trope.
- Lightning Reveal: The Baron's real forces are revealed.
- Like an Old Married Couple: Von Zinzer comments on it about Violetta and Tarvek bickering. "Are you sure you're not married?" To which Violetta responds by almost puking.
- Like Brother and Sister: Bang and Gil, to the horror of Klaus. After the time skip, Gil finds nothing odd about waking up with Bang in bed with him. Apparently she had been struggling to stay awake as much as him, but she doesn't have his training, so she can't just do a few mental exercises and be good. DuPree acknowledges it during a tea break with Zeetha and Violetta.
- Lingerie Scene: The creators admit the work contains "lots of running around in Victorian underwear". Most of the time, Agatha is the offender. Not that surprising, when one of the creators is a big fan of such underthings, and the other is her husband.
- Literal Genie: A mild case in the form of Castle Heterodyne.
- Literal Metaphor: When he was young, Gilgamesh Wulfenbach built a clank for "picking up girls".Gil: Well, when I was a kid, we heard some of the older guys talking, but we were kind of... um... unclear on the concept, and, well...
Zoing: Itworkz! itworkz!
DuPree: That is so just like you... soooo pathetic.
- Literary Agent Hypothesis: The entire comic is postulated as a course on the life of Agatha Heterodyne, as taught by the Professors Foglio at Transylvania Polygnostic University ("Know enough to be afraid.") They stick mostly to the truth — though this very admittance means that it's possible that, in the "real" universe where this story takes place, not every woman has large breasts.
That is, the first print collection, "Agatha Heterodyne & The Beetleburg Clank", and the original printed comics, are presented as an unauthorized but accurate record published by TPU, Phil Foglio having witnessed Agatha's "Battle Circus" himself; later, he is indeed in town when the Battle Circus episode occurs. However, Phil Foglio is also shown telling the tale as fiction in the street right on page one. (An alternative tryout sketch released online seems to have Agatha herself telling the story to her grandchildren.) Maybe that's after he was accidentally sent back in time or something. But also, in the "radio play" episodes of the webcomic, Studio Foglio are repeatedly shown escaping as they perform the last seconds of the episode just as the real and angry Agatha Heterodyne and her friends are about to catch them and stop the show.
- Little "No":
- Living Battery: Agatha drinks water from the Dyne and is super-charged as a temporary power source. Airman Higgs and the Castle note that Ingeous Heterodyne tried something similar once. Then he exploded.
- Living Crashpad: Jägers are polite about this.
- Living Labyrinth: Castle Heterodyne
- Living Legend: Quite a few.
- Othar Tryggvassen, GENTLEMAN ADVENTURER, very well known and generally viewed as a hero. Except by the main protagonists.
- Klaus Wulfenbach is fine with having a reputation as a terribly villainous evil emperor if it keeps the peace.
- The Heterodyne Boys had a wonderfully heroic reputation, beloved in no small degree because their family very much did not.
- Agatha, Gil, and Tarvek are all rapidly building themselves reputation, what with being stuck in the middle of the most epic story since the Heterodyne Boys defeated the Other.
- Living Motion Detector: The Tigerclank in Castle Heterodyne.
- Living Structure Monster: Heterodyne Castle is alive, and is one giant death trap for anyone who is not The Heterodyne. Before Agatha arrives to repair it, convict work crews are sent in to attempt repairs, or die trying. Usually the latter.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: There really are a lot of regular characters in this comic, to the point where it can get difficult to keep track of everyone.
- Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Maxim, the beautiful male Jägermonster. See the Cinderella breather episode, where Maxim is supposed to be one of the "ugly" stepsisters, but it doesn't quite turn out as planned.
- Look Behind You: Von Zinzer: "Uh... hey, check it out." — though in this case not only does the target look, but there's actually something to see.
- Loophole Abuse: Not a weapon. That's a chair!
- The Corbettites are about to be ordered by their leader to give up Agatha to Martellus, but are conflicted because they promised her sanctuary as a passenger on their railway. They decided they can't hand her over if they can't find her and have one brother lead her party down to the catacombs to get nice and lost.
- Losing Your Head: Tinka Also here, with Castle Heterodyne in the body of a mechanical Muse. Also an example of Arc Words.
- Subverted with the Monster Horse Beastie; suffering this fate barely slows it down.
- Love Bubbles: Bubbles and roses.
- Love Triangle:
- Agatha, Gil, and Tarvek. The existence of the triangle has now been openly stated, and Agatha's subjects are taking bets over who's going to win (Or if she'll choose both). There was also a low-grade one involving Lars, but Death of the Hypotenuse made sure that only Gil and Tarvek remained to vie for her affection.
- Possible Minion Love Triangle in Moloch, Violetta, and Snaug. Although, Violetta denies romantic interest in Moloch, and he's smitten by Sanaa Wilhelm. Suuuure she isn't interested... which turns the one centered on Moloch into a low-grade Love Dodecahedron. Confirmed by Moloch himself:Moloch: So, Sanaa? Yeah, she's smart and tough and I like being around her — but since I feel the same way about you, [Snaug,] I obviously don't know anything about romance. Stupid, huh?
- Backstory one with Lucrezia, Klaus and Bill; Lucrezia dealt with the hypotenuse in a way that seems to have backfired.
- Loyal Phlebotinum: Practically everything that the Heterodynes made.
- Ludicrous Gibs: The reason Othar doesn't turn his enemies inside out anymore.
- Ludicrous Precision: Agatha calculates that another 45.3 seconds of being energized by the Dyne water would have resulted in her exploding if she hadn't vented it into the stricken Gil and Tarvek.
- MacGyvering: A minor but prevalent Spark trait at the best of times, this runs on Rule of Funny and so gets more and more extreme the further the story is from canon.
- Mad Artist: The tailor clank in the "Revenge of the Weasel Queen" fillers.
- Made of Iron: Most of the cast for comedic effect, although there are a couple of outstanding examples:
- Airman Third Class Axel Higgs. To the point it's fairly clear that he is something more than human.
- Othar Tryggvassen, GENTLEMAN ADVENTURER
- Old Man Death took multiple Jägerpunches to the face and was still able to outfight the Jäger who provided them.
- The Madness Place: The trope namer, for good reason. All Sparks can be pretty crazy when they're in a "Spark-induced fugue state," as one character puts it delicately. They vary in their ability to control it, some being manically sociopathic and some retaining their ability to reason (to some degree). The most dangerous Sparks are by far the latter kind, since they can bend their madness to practical goals. It's not for no reason that Klaus, Gil, Agatha, and Tarvek, are among the most potent sparks in the setting.
- Mad Scientist: "Sparks", whose erratic genius has literally reshaped the world.
- Practically half the cast are mad scientists of one sort or another, though the ones that come closest to the classic villain type are probably Prince Wilhelm Aaronev and the late Lucrezia Mongfish.
- There's even a mad social scientist, who complains that the mad "hard" scientists get all of the funding and attention."I told the baron, give me a thousand orphans, a hedge maze and enough cheese and I can—"
- Agatha awakening to her mad science is what starts and drives the entire story forward, and raises the question ...or will her newfound mad science DESTROY THEM ALL!
- Mad Scientist Laboratory: Several, most notably those belonging to Baron Wulfenbach and Prince Aaronev. And all of the ones in Castle Heterodyne.
- Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter:
- Agatha herself qualifies. And she's a mad scientist herself. Her mother Lucrezia was one as well, and a mad scientist herself too.
- For a Spear Counterpart flip, Tarvek and Gil qualify as "Mad Scientists' Handsome Sons"... and are also Mad Scientists in their own right.
- Dr. Mongfish had at least two other daughters besides Lucrezia; Serpentina (Theo's mother), and Demonica (Zola's mom).
- Othar Tryggvassen (GENTLEMAN ADVENTURER!) actually asks Agatha if she's one of these.
- If you haven't noticed, offspring of mad scientists are often mad scientists themselves. Sparkiness is genetic, it seems.
- Magitek: Referenced in a (non-canon) Breather Episode. "Any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from science!"
- Magnetic Hero: Any and all Sparks; their manic vision pulls normal people into their service.
- Make My Index Live!: This mythos is a major part of the premise.
- Malevolent Architecture: Castle Heterodyne. It was designed by an Ax-Crazy Spark, and it shows.Zola: Avoid any floorstone marked in white. It is a trap that will kill you. Do not stand under any part of the ceiling marked in white. It is a trap that will kill you. Duck under any opening taller than one meter. It is a trap that will kill you. Do not touch any metal surface. It is a trap that will kill you.
Zola: This place is dangerous, twisted, and worst of all— [...] It likes to think it has a sense of humor.
- Mama Bear: Von Pinn, and how. She's actually the Muse of protection, downloaded into a construct body. The "bear" part gets much more literal later on.
- The Man They Couldn't Hang: Well, The Jägers They Couldn't Hang, but otherwise Da Boyz. Definitely Da Boyz.
- Marriage to a God: The original Heterodyne was supposedly married to a local battle goddess.
- Marry Them All: This is how the Castle thinks the love triangle should be solved. This may have been a Heterodyne pattern. "The Master's bedroom only sleeps six."
- Master-Apprentice Chain: Gilgamesh is taught by Klaus himself (among others), and we know some of the people who taught the baron himself.Dr. Sun: He does his teachers proud.
- Mauve Shirt: Sergeant Scorp of the Baron's Vespiary Squad. Also an unquestionably Cool Old Guy, right down to the superb facial hair.
- Maximum Fun Chamber: Castle Heterodyne contains several; in fact, most of the castle counts.
- Smoke Knights, followers of the Way of Smoke, serving the heir of Storm King.
- Baron Wulfenbach's "stealth fighters", a rival school.
- Meaningful Name:
- Word of God has it that Theopholous DuMedd was originally "doomed" to be killed off in volume 3, but the Foglios so enjoyed him that he stuck around.
- Most likely Sleipnir O'Hara wasn't supposed to be kept around either. Agatha needed a roommate to introduce her to the world of the Baron's flying castle, so the Foglios gave her someone to "sleep near".
- The town of Mechanicsburg is integrated with the mechanical Castle Heterodyne.
- Bangladesh DuPree. Bang duPrey. Or Du-praved.
- Heterodyne: The principle of periodic functions upon which theremins and radio modulation rely. Possibly related to the Theme Music Power-Up.
- Portentius Reichenbach's Portentous Operatic Masterpiece: The Storm King.
- Othar Tryggvassen, GENTLEMAN ADVENTURER. His surname roughly means "Safe Waters" in the North Countries where he's said to be from.
- Doctor Chouteh (pronounced shout-ay) is a Large Ham of ridiculous proportions.
- Agatha's foster parents are called Adam and Lilith and it doesn't look like they are very god-fearing. Not to mention their surname, Clay.
- Mecha-Mooks: Soldier clanks abound in many Sparks' armies. Special mention goes to The Watch in Beetleburg... which were sadly outclassed by the Wulfenbach Battle Clanks, a Toy Soldier-esque machine that comprises the mainstay of the Wulfenbach ground forces.
- Mechanical Evolution: Inverted; Agatha tends to compulsively construct little Clanks termed "dingbots". These dingbots can then go on to construct more dingbots, but dingbots are only so bright, so each successive generation gets less and less advanced, and less bright, and by the third or fourth generation the dingbots produced are nonfunctional.
- The Medic:
- Mamma Gkika
- Although we haven't seen this happen yet, the Heterodynes to the Jägers.
- Dr. Sun is a doctor. As well as a Spark.
- We also have this exchange:Gil: Let me take a look at that.
Tarvek: ... Already doing it.
Gil: Hey! I am a doctor, you know.
Tarvek: pft. And who isn't?
- Mega Neko: Castle Heterodyne has a lot of giant cat clanks living in it. One of them becomes Otilia's new body, at least for the time being.
- Mêlée à Trois: Tarvek vs. Zola vs. Lucrezia!Agatha.
- Melodramatic: EVERY. SINGLE. SPARK. Can get this way. The only Spark we've not seen like this — yet — is Klaus.
- Memento MacGuffin: Agatha's locket.
- Mental Time Travel: Othar, in his Twitter.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: Dr. Tarsus Beetle, who kept Agatha at the university because he knew the truth about her, dies in the first story arc.
- Mexican Standoff: Subverted between Klaus and Dr. Beetle.
- Midair Repair:
- Gilgamesh and Agatha while testing Gil's flying, or rather falling, machine. Of course because they're sparks, it starts to become midair redesigning the device before Zoing points out to Agatha that they are still falling. It's the first time that Agatha consciously sparks out (but is not aware she is a spark).
- Tarvek is forced to do the same thing... while tied up to a Spark fighting with a mad Jäger on board. He finally makes the machine fly inches from the ground.
- Milky White Eyes: Geisterdamen and possibly other geistercreatures.
- Mini-Mecha: Ol' Vorthang's Sunday Best, an armor museum piece in Mechanicsburg, was restored to operation by Agatha during the Battle of Mechanicsburg for her personal use.
- Minion Maracas: Agatha demonstrates the proper technique.
- Minion Shipping:
- There's been strong fan support for Violetta×Von Zinzer, minions in denial and retainer/NOT-minion of Tarvek and Agatha, respectively. Shipping a snarky McNinja who hates her job with a world-weary ex-soldier just works.
- Lately, canon seems to agree. But then, he jumped to Fräulein Snaug (repeating the Agatha×Gilgamesh×Zola case).
- Oh boy, now he's on Sanaa, with Fräulein Snaug suggesting Murder Is the Best Solution.
- And here, he makes it worse, by outright telling Snaug that while he's apparently in love with Sanaa, he feels the same about Snaug too.
- Also, Zeetha and Higgs. Totally canon.
- When Sparks do it, others begin to inconspicuously look for blast doors.
- Another one that makes a lot of sense: DuPree and Vole.
- ...it's for science!!! Herr Baron. Yeah, just look at a couple of unnamed random crew in issue September 29, 2014.here
- There's been strong fan support for Violetta×Von Zinzer, minions in denial and retainer/NOT-minion of Tarvek and Agatha, respectively. Shipping a snarky McNinja who hates her job with a world-weary ex-soldier just works.
- Mission Control Is Off Its Meds: Castle Heterodyne acts as this to the prisoners repairing it, due to its fractured personality.
- "Mission: Impossible" Cable Drop: Gil does this in a flashback to surreptitiously modify the blueprints of Castle Wulfenbach.
- Mistaken for Gay: Othar, unless it's just good-natured teasing between siblings. Or not mistaken, since his objection to Sanaa's statement isn't Gil's gender, it's that he's "a foul villain". Bi the Way at the most, though, since he was married to a Geisterdame for a while in the Twitter. Of course, he's also borderline delusional, so good luck trusting anything he says.
- Mistaken for Quake: when Agatha finally manages to reboot Castle Heterodyne, the invading forces think they're experiencing an earthquake until they discover that it's actually the castle fighting back, seen here.
- Mobile Maze: Castle Heterodyne. "We're doomed! The door we came through — it never led HERE before!"
- Modesty Bedsheet:
- Modesty Towel: Agatha actually invokes the trope while on the Corbettite Railways, using it as a ploy to distract anybody entering her compartiment, giving time for Krosp (and later Wooster) to take them out if they happen to be hostile. Unluckily, all those coming to visit are either allies or just train attendants, and thus she gives each of them an eyeful for nothing. She has pretty much given up on the pretense when an actual assassin shows up.
- Moment Killer:
- Monochromatic Eyes:
- The geisterdamen have all-white eyes.
- Vole's may be all-black, since it's hard to tell whether he has white pupils or just reflections.
- Monster Clown: Whatever this thing originally was made for, among other things, probably.
- Mood Whiplash:
- The calming pie is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. (Warning: spoilery. And the pies may contain nutmeg.)
- Agatha gets whiplash herself.
- After a hilarious scene of Gil simultaneously fighting DuPree and brewing potion, next time we see him we get... Klaus towering over him with a wasp-detector.
- Mook Horror Show: The flashback of Zeetha wiping out a whole pirate ship sure looks like this in a couple panels.
- Moral Myopia: A lot of people other than Klaus and the heroes fall into this. Such as Merlot, who blames Agatha for the fact that he killed a few dozen people and got punished for it.
- More Hero Than Thou: Tarvek and Gil have a brief exchange about who gets to be this.
- More Than Meets the Eye: A few different characters.
- Agatha kicks the story off with this.
- Tarvek also qualifies.
- Airman Higgs seems to be the new, most prominent example.
- Also, Da Boyz and Zola use Obfuscating Stupidity.
- Gil (especially in his Paris days), Agatha's "parents", Wooster, Von Pinn, Dr. Sun, Dolokov, the Circus, Sanaa... it's probably easier to list which characters AREN'T more than they appear.
- More Than Mind Control: Sparks can be almost irresistibly charismatic when they put their minds to it.
- Motivational Kiss: Gil gets one here (continued to the next page).
- Motor Mouth:
- Movit #11 causes this, increasing with dosage.
- Coffee does this to Agatha. Increasing dosage was deftly averted.
- Prince Aaronev's sedative must have contained a truth serum; Agatha blabs for almost three full pages of unrestrained and meandering truth before she passes out. So much for "Lady Olga".
- Punch, after his voice is repaired.
- Mr. Fanservice: Gil, Tarvek, Klaus, and more.
- Mugging the Monster:
- Oublenmach tries to break into what turns out to be a Jägermonster bar, brandish his weapon and threaten the staff into giving him what they consider a sacred relic. The next time we see him, he's subjected to a Neck Lift.
- The last surviving hostile Spark in Mechanisburg found himself "a charming pair of innocent hostages": Zeetha, daughter of Chump and Axel Higgs. Next time we see him, he's wearing his BFG as a scarf.
- Mummies at the Dinner Table: Anevka, to a degree.
- Mundane Made Awesome: Volume Seven, Page 52. That must be good coffee.
- Mushroom Samba: The Circus pumps out a hallucinogenic gas during their escape from Sturmhaven, shout "The Heterodynes are back!" and we get this little gem.
- Must Have Caffeine: Vanamonde von Mekkhan spends all his time in a coffee shop in Mechanicsburg, and certainly does enjoy his coffee. During the first attack on Mechanicsburg, there's a caffeine dispensing assistant at his side. He has even written a textbook on coffee preparation (under a pseudonym): Bean There, Done That.
- My God, What Have I Done?:
- Basically the Fatal Flaw of every Spark in the world. Entering "The Madness Place" grants them incredibly powerful focus, but it makes them entirely oblivious to the potentially disastrous results of their creations.
- Specifically, Aaronev Sturmvoraus and his dying daughter, though certainly said by others in this world.
- My God, You Are Serious: Turns out the Castle wasn't being facetious when it told Gil to look very carefully for something amiss at the spot where an enormous Eldritch Abomination was looming. It was expecting centimeters-tall creatures.
- My Instincts Are Showing: Krosp I, Emperor of All Cats used to be the Trope Illustrator.
- Myth Arc: One of the best webcomic examples. The foreshadowing starts with the fourth strip of the first chapter, with hints about the phenomenon scattered over many, many volumes — and a full explanation has still not been given.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Practically half the cast.
- Klaus and Gilgamesh Wulfenbach;
- Lucrezia and her sisters Serpentina and Demonica;
- Master Payne;
- Von Pinn;
- Possibly subverted with Moloch.
- Also basically all of the Heterodynes (prior to Bill and Barry) have these.
- If these things are any indication, all strong Spark families tend to be this way.
- The Queen of England is only mentioned in hushed tones, even though the only British member of the cast is Wooster. It's implied that she is immortal and that she exercises mind control over the entirety of the English Isles.
- Narrative Profanity Filter: After a blow to the foot, Agatha cuts loose with a string of Symbol Swearing, followed by a small asterisk. The accompanying caption:"* Oooh, what naughty little devices, to turn upon your creator! Oh! Indeed, my foot is in such excruciating pain! I shall construct a device that will give you such a whack, see if I don't!"
- Necessarily Evil: Any Spark who wants to be a good guy sometimes has to turn into a raging madboy just to keep the million separate interests from coming apart. Klaus, Gilgamesh, and Agatha have all found this out. Tarvek, who considers himself an Anti-Villain, even took part in an unwitting demonstration:Tarvek: (smashing two feuding Dingbots together furiously) I am not enjoying this — but I can keep it up all day if necessary!
Gil: Hee hee!... That's a really good impression of my father!
- Neck Lift:
- Merlot finds out this way that Baron Wulfenbach despises traitors.
- Von Pinn introduces herself to Agatha by giving her a personal demonstration of this trope.
- Mamma Gkika also explains through this method (with "slammed-into-a-wall" bonus) to Oublenmach why it's a bad idea to wake her up too early in the morning.
- Vole reminds Tarvek and Gil that you should never, ever take a Jäger lightly, by catching the two of them in a strangling neck lift — one in each arm.
- Never Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight:
- Zola vs. Agatha:Zola: Bringing a knife to a gun fight doesn't seem very smart, now does it?
Agatha: Well, I suppose it isn't that much worse than bringing a gun to a clank fight.
- And later, "It's harder to break things with a knife."
- Zola vs. Agatha:
- Never Found the Body:
- A plot point has significant individuals from the past killed by a machine made from "farm machinery and pork products", which turns them into a string of sausages. Hard to confirm that.
- Not to mention, Othar Tryggvassen, GENTLEMAN ADVENTURER; he's been tossed out of two airships on-screen, within the same chapter. Gil doesn't even consider the possibility that he died, having seen him come back from the same or worse so many times.
- Gil is also Genre Savvy enough to find it suspicious his father's body is never found. And sure enough, Klaus soon reappears very much alive.
- Nice Hat:
- Only a man whose bowler has granted fantasy adventurers super-powers could create a culture like the Jägers, whose attitude to this trope is close to a religion. Case in point. A worthy hat must be claimed in battle against a mighty foe who happens to have the same size head as you. Demonstration with Maxim's hat, replaced. And it is a dem nice hat (better than the former, at least).
- Franz takes after the Jägers, in this aspect
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
- Before she was even aware of who she really was, Agatha lashed out at a minion grabbing her butt. Turns out her Command Voice inherited from her mother prompted that minion (who was a revenant of the Other) to activate the Slaver Engine that was brought onto Castle Wulfenbach for study.
- Zeetha's presence during the standoff at the circus camp at the end of the Sturmhalten arc distracts Klaus long enough for Lucrezia to wasp him.
- Dr Sun takes down the Baron's escape clank — by himself — and enforces Klaus's bed rest in order to stop him killing himself from the strain. Awesome — until we learn that, in keeping Klaus in the hospital, Sun's unwittingly exposed him to Anevka!Lucrezia, which is more or less what Klaus feared. Oops.
- Boris tried to invoke this trope when Wooster revealed the Baron's plans to invade Mechanicsburg and kill Agatha to the Jägergenerals, but as far as Wooster was concerned it was entirely intentional;Boris: Do you know what you've done!?
Wooster: Destabilized Britain's greatest rival, and saved an innocent girl's life. A mighty good day's work, I'd say.
- If Agatha's mini-clank hadn't succeeded in freeing the three Geisterdamen from their prison cell, Agatha would have escaped without getting a copy of Lucrezia downloaded into her head.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The Lucrezia-copy inside Agatha's head gets herself shut down by assuming the locket she finds in the possession of Klaus is just symbolic decoration, and putting it on.
- Noblewoman's Laugh:
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown:
- Holy crap. Tarvek?!
- Also, Higgs to Zola.
- No Name Given: The Mechanicsburg Assistant is never addressed by name. Eventually it's lampshaded.Vanamonde: (heavily sleep-deprived) Who are you again?
The Assistant: Oh, now don't start.
- Noodle Implements:
- "Thank goodness you had all those clockwork ducks, Klaus".
- Regarding Agatha's first Fortune-Telling, all we know is that it involved a tea cozy, only one spoon, and lasted 43 hours.
- Used to hilarious effect in "The Storm King" Opera synopsis. The roller-skating giraffe pretty much speaks for itself.
- Why does one need a hammer to cure Verictus Panteliax's Chromatic Death? Unfortunately, we never find out, since Tarvek has some other kind of disease (which is much worse, by the way).
- Noodle Incident:
- Apparently, the Baron has used the Med Clank before. After what happened last time, he promised to put it away.
- The Socket Wench of Prague is a great big one for readers. All we know is that it's (at least) heavily suggestive at times.
- The other Heterodyne plays and stories are just as bad. Why does Race to the West Pole end with Klaus in a barrel?
- The novelizations have a lot of these, usually referring to some strange thing that some Spark had built or what said Spark attempted to do with said strange invention.
- The Great St. Valentine's Day Riot.
- "And that was the last time Professor Phosphorous visited the fireworks factory. Or anything else, really."
- "The Nuremberg Pudding Incident", rumored to have involved the Professora herself. One of the official scents is based on it.
- The Opera Synopsis again, where practically every event mentioned is a Noodle Incident. The logistics of someone being trapped in a bonsai hedge maze will likely forever be a mystery to us. In a Reddit AMA with the Foglios, a reader asked if the bonsai hedge was an artistic license take on the thorn barrier erected by the Castle after Klaus froze time in Mechanicsburg. The response: "It is now." It must have taken such actions before.
- About half the things Gil, Tarvek, and Zola did in Paris.
- The entire concept of the Island of the Monkey Girls was one for a long time. It was eventually confirmed to be a night club in Paris... but when a fan asked what Zola thought Gil could have done to get himself imprisoned in the Castle, where the Empire sends people it wants to disappear, the only explanation supplied was "Zola was Head Waitress at the Island of the Monkey Girls Theatre and Showbar in Paris." So that's still an enigma.
- No One Could Survive That: Othar. Being thrown out of an airship and surviving is among the least of his feats. From the radio play:Othar: Ha! It'll take more than being tied to a lit keg of explosives and tossed into a pit of acid filled with mutant, acid-resistant flying pirahnas armed with flame-throwers and battle axes while venomous, mechanical, missile-launching Morris dancers armed with liquid nitrogen harpoon guns are overhead; riding giant, rabid killer bees with side-mounted death rays to kill Othar Tryggvassen!
Ferretina: Whoops! Silly me, I forgot to turn the lightning generators on!
Othar: Er... not a whole lot more, I'll admit.
- The Nose Knows:
- The Revenant-detecting weasels.
- Not a Game:
- Not Distracted by the Sexy: Spark mode Agatha doesn't even bat an eyelash at the fact that her two (rival) paramours are nearly nude.
- Not Helping Your Case: Tarvek denies having any part in the plan to usurp the Wulfenbachs by installing a fake Heterodyne — his plan was orders of magnitude better!
- Nothing but Skulls: The floor of the chapel in Castle Heterodyne is covered by the skulls of those who claimed to be a new Heterodyne master — and failed. The Castle even left a nice empty spot for Agatha's skull...
- Nothing Is Scarier: "But I don't see anything!" "Don't say that like it's a good thing!"
- Nothing Is the Same Anymore: After the Time Skip, everything has changed. Mechanisburg is sealed, along with the Baron, Gilgamesh now leads the crumbling Wulfenbach Empire, and Agatha is on the run from everyone.
- Not in the Face!:
- Played with:Castle Heterodyne: No! Not in the facing!
- Agatha's reindeer clank also says "Not the face!" after jumping down a ledge. It tries again when faced with Bohrlaikha, but gets Killed Mid-Sentence.
- Played with:
- Not So Different:
- Jägermonsters and Lackya don't get along well. They're both bruisers who don't function well without a person to follow.
- Tarvek and Gil, just like Agatha told them.
- Tarvek and Violetta; despite the family power structure having set them up so that he's the brains and she's his (deftly-applied) muscle, it transpires that Tarvek can pull smoke knight moves even on Violetta, and Violetta has a talent for intrigue and projecting how power dynamics could be brought to play out that can outdo Tarvek's own.
- Lucrezia feels this way about her and Klaus, since they've both used force to try and bring the world under their command to bring peace, and both possessed their offspring in pursuit of this.
- Not-So-Innocent Whistle: "Why do you even have one of those?!"
- Not That Kind of Doctor: Actually, most Sparks are. The only reason Agatha isn't is because they wouldn't let her take the tests.
- The Nudifier: The Wacky Weave Destabiliser. (Un)Fortunately Zeetha wears special underwear.
- Number One Dime: Hats, to the Jägers.
- Occam's Razor: Invoked as Agatha and crew were wondering why the Baron was invading instead of his old plan of flattening the city.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: A lot of people.
- Most especially Zola.Tarvek: What? No! That was that idiot from the Island of th... (makes a face) She is good.
- Some of the Jägerkin are considerably smarter than they appear.
- The circus pretends to be simple performers when in truth they're mostly Sparks.
- Astonishingly enough, Tarvek seems to be in this category. Considering that he's an Insufferable Genius with Chronic Backstabbing Disorder who's spent an inordinately long time on the Face side of the Heel-Face Revolving Door, it's shocking that it took this long.
- Agatha began the comic with an item that forced her to Obfuscate Stupidity. It's a locket given to her by her Uncle Barry to suppress her Spark, so that The Heterodyne Boys' numerous enemies wouldn't try to kill/manipulate/etc. her.
- Gil appears to have spent most of his life doing this. As a child he hid his Spark, and in Paris he pretended to be a much worse student than he really was. It was only after returning from school that he was finally able to stop doing it and fully be himself.
- Although we haven't seen the details yet, the apparent Badass Bystander Higgs has been spotted chatting with Castle Heterodyne about Heterodynes from centuries ago, and it sure sounds like first-hand accounts.
- Wooster apparently tried this, or at least Obfuscating Normal, on Gil, to infiltrate Castle Wulfenbach. Gil was onto him, but played along until he could make more use of Wooster as a British secret agent.
- Most especially Zola.
- Odd-Shaped Panel: Quite common.
- Of Corsets Sexy: Usually on Agatha.
- Offhand Backhand:
- Offing the Offspring: What Lucrezia purportedly did to her own son, and now plans for her daughter.
- Off Model:
- After Martellus is first shown to have replaced his left hand with a mechanical prosthetic, the next page, when originally posted, depicted him opening a bottle with both hands clearly visible, both flesh and blood. This was fixed when it was brought to the Foglios' attention.
- At another point they also had to go back and correct a strip which showed post-poisoning Dimo with two arms.
- Agatha was accidentally drawn with two right hands on a very early page in the first (ink and paper) edition. The error was corrected when the comic moved online and for later reprints.
- Oh, Crap:
- "This must be how my father feels -- ALL THE TIME!"
- Klaus, realizing Lucrezia has enslaved him and when Agatha activates the Battle Circus.
- In a subverted Big Damn Heroes moment:"Who in blazes is that?"
"Why, I am OTHAR TRYGGVASSEN, Gentleman Adventurer!"
- Amusingly invoked here.
- And here
- Everyone is thinking it as the Baron puts a Wasp Weasel in Gil's face and watches it shriek. Even you and Gil.
- Maxim as he realizes that, since he has Old Man Death's hat, every Jäger around is going to fight him for it.
- Mamma Gkika when she sees that the previously unstoppable falling object heading toward the cathedral contains Baron Wulfenbach himself — or the fact that he seems to be carrying a bomb. Probably both. Most of those who saw the contraption for the first time have a small Oh Crap moment when they realize that the castle's defenses weren't stopping it.
- Brother Ulm has this reaction, when it turns out that his new passanger is Agatha Heterodyne. He almost presses the ejection button.
- Gil wants to know how long they have before the multistoreyed thing over Mechanicsburg pushes through into this reality. Hard to tell, says the Castle, which can't see it...Castle: How many centimeters high would you say it appears? 
- A wave of energy disables all mechanisms in the area, and Agatha's standing near the epicenter. Violetta realizes the implications involving a certain Other-suppressing locket.
- Oh My Gods!: Here, in the second panel.
- Oh, No... Not Again!: When Agatha's trying to snap Gil out of a stupor:Agatha: Hey, Gil! All of Paris is about to go up in flames, and Zola has her head caught in a bucket! Up and at 'em, Hero Boy!
Gil: Hm? A bucket? Again? Okay, I'm comin'.
Agatha: (shooting a sideways glance at Zola) Yeeeess. I suspected as much.
- Old Master: Dr. Sun, quite capable of singlehandedly disassembling any number of clanks — and who taught Klaus and Gil quite a lot about martial arts.
- Ominous Floating Castle: Castle Wulfenbach certainly qualifies.
- Ominous Pipe Organ: At one point a flipped-out Agatha directs a small army of clanks (including Transforming Mecha and Luggage) with a high-falutin calliope. Doubles as a visual Crowning Music of Awesome. And perhaps a literal version of Autobots, Rock Out!.
- Omnicidal Maniac:
- While all Heterodynes were maniacs, some weren't picky about who to kill, as evidenced by this exchange:"Two minutes and she hasn't killed anyone!"
"A new record!"
- And Bang seems to tend this way, although she can control herself. Usually. When she wants to.
- While all Heterodynes were maniacs, some weren't picky about who to kill, as evidenced by this exchange:
- Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Though Sparks do specialize, it appears that most of the really strong ones can stitch a living being out of spare body parts as easily as they can build a mechanical AI... or design an electric death ray or a giant airship. Only minor Sparks appear to be restricted to a discipline, as opposed to simply being best at one
- One True Threesome: Phil and Kaja Foglio, thanks to their unabashed Bleached Underpants history, may be deliberately dangling this in front of the audience. Lampshaded and teased in the strip itself.
- Only a Flesh Wound:Gil: Seven broken ribs. Severe fracture, right leg. Fractured clavicle. Some crush injuries, but the kidneys appear unharmed. First and second degree burns on upper back and lower legs, third degree on the lower back. Four broken fingers, three broken toes, sprained and bruised muscles throughout — major and minor lacerations, and a concussion.
Klaus: I've had worse.
- Only Sane Man:
- Von Zinzer. Good news is, he has a lot of experience dealing with Sparks, which also gives him lots of Genre Savvy, though he's also somewhat fatalistic — he's resigned to the fact that having to work for Sparks means he could be blown up, eaten, ripped apart or otherwise brutally killed at any time. No wonder he can be so snarky. Given the large number of Sparks and Spark minions he has recently been hanging around with, he is sometimes literally the only person in the room who is not crazy. He regularly hangs lampshades on it, too.
- Krosp has also been this at times. Just not when the string is going to escape.
- Agatha spends some time in the role, although she's not actually very sane, and (ahem) certainly not a man.
- OOC Is Serious Business:
- Bangladesh DuPree not choosing at once the "let's blow everything up" option gets her second-in-command worried. She was just fooling around, however.
- On a much more serious note, later on when Agatha is trying to power up the Castle, Gilgamesh's behaviour is extremely off, and even Franz notices it despite having never met him. Turns out that he's been brainwashed by Klaus.
- When it is revealed that Klaus's mucking about with the space-time continuum has attracted the attention of an Eldritch Abomination, Castle Heterodyne freaks out. The Castle is worried.
- Orifice Invasion: The means that Slaver Wasps enter the body and enthrall someone is through the mouth.
- Orphan's Plot Trinket: Agatha's locket.
- Our Hero Is Dead: And buried, complete with digging up the body and cloning a replica to make sure it's really her. The corpse was doctored to make it look like Agatha, but the cloning gave the deception away, as the cloned body was not hers.
- Our Founder: In "Jägermonsters to the Rescue", it turns out that in Agatha's two-year absence, Gil has topped Mechanicsburg's city walls with towering statues of Agatha. Dimo describes them as being over 150 meters tall. For the non-metrically inclined, that's 500 feet. The ones at the entrance of the valley are said to be even taller. Agatha is... less than pleased.Agatha: I... I am going to kill him.
- Our Dragons Are Different: To begin with, since this is (at least nominally) Earth, they're all products of mad science, not a 'species'. Thus far we've seen the draconic stylings of three different Sparks: Franz, the Great Dragon of Mechanicsburg; a rather Smug Snake (sorry) who was part of the Wulfenbach forces attacking Mechanicsburg; and a 'great sky wyrm' that Gil kept after defeating the Polar Lords (during the time-skip). Franz and 'Pretty Boy' are capable of speech (and snarkiness), while the wyrm seemed to have a more bestial intelligence.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Just to be clear, no Spark would ever profane the very nature of life and death by fashioning a terrible creature of the night, a nosferatu craving the blood of the living. That would be wrong! Very, very wrong. Vampires are obviously, completely, totally mythical and do not exist in any real, concrete sense that might abruptly pop up and devour you. No matter what Dame Aedith or Carson von Mekkhan say.Wooster: Um... we're not going to meet some ancient undead Heterodyne vampire or something, are we?
Carson: Oh, and wouldn't that be the perfect capper to my day.
Wooster: Um, actually, that wasn't a "Ho ho, don't be silly old chap."
Carson: I ain't being paid to lie to you, Brit.
- Our Zombies Are Different: Several different types. Besides "traditional" zombies of the Type F or Type V variety, they also have Jaegermonsters and Constructs, which are essentially Type A creations, and Revenants, which despite the name are more a cross of Type T and Type P, Parasite than Type R zombies: infected by a slaver wasp, they are like sleeper agents, going about their business and not even realizing they are infected until triggered to fight on the behalf of "the Other".
- Out-Gambitted: The Knights Of Jove swept in to rescue Agatha for their own nefarious purposes, at which point Klaus revealed virtually his entire army had been waiting in hiding for them to show up. And they weren't even the real reason he did it.
- Out of Focus: Lots of characters have done this.
- Most notably, Gil dropped out of the story early in Volume 4, reappeared briefly at the end of Volume 5, and finally reentered the story for real in Volume 7.
- Lots of other characters from the first arc disappeared after it was over and have either not returned or only showed up again in the third arc. The end of the second arc also sent a large number of supporting characters offstage. It also happens within arcs: Klaus has done this more than once. Given the webcomic format, the size of the cast, and the demands of the story, it's inevitable that it will keep happening.
- This gets a non-canon lampshade in a bonus picture that so perfectly encapsulates the trope that it's the page's image.Gil: AAARGH! I haven't had any lines in months! Am I even still a main character?!
- Outscare the Enemy: Veilchen does something like this.
- Overcomplicated Menu Order: From the Twitter of Othar Trigvassen:We can't just walk out, and I'll bet the garbage and mortuary wagons are routinely inspected. This calls for desperate, unsavory measures.
Chez Leon, one of the best restaurants in the city. The Master dines here frequently. Oslaka is puzzled. Didn't we just eat? Indeed we did.
The waiter and I spend twenty minutes discussing our meal choices. I demand only the freshest and most exacting dishes. He almost smiles.
The meal is brought. It' a masterpiece of presentation. The chef himself appears and compliments me on the suggestions I made. He weeps.
He waits for me to eat. I hesitate, and then ask for a bottle of ketchup. We are tossed out the city gates less that 3 minutes later.
- Overly Long Name: