Girl Genius: Tropes U to Z

aka: Tropes U-Z
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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  • Up to Eleven: The "Movit" series of stimulants comes in a verity of intensities, the strongest of which appears to be 11. Previously, it was thought that the strongest was 6, which itself is one above the common 1-5 scale. As one might imagine, the further up the scale, the more one blurs the line between "powerful stimulant" and "lethal injection." That section of the story is even called "Zola Goes up to Eleven".
    Tarvek: Wait— I thought it only went up to six!

  • Vetinari Job Security: Hilariously deconstructed with Baron Wulfenbach. He completely fits the description in that he is so important and necessary for the continued functioning of Europa that only a madman would think about overthrowing him. Unfortunately, this being Girl Genius, there are powerful madmen (a.k.a. Sparks) everywhere, which is why there is nearly always a rebellion somewhere. Further illustrated in that, as soon as he is hospitalized (and possibly killed), the whole continent immediately erupts in chaos. And then he time-freezes himself inside Mechanicsburg, and everything goes even further to hell.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: The Other does this, as fits her personality (but not Agatha's, providing a minor bit of hilarity).
  • Villain Has a Point: Othar is unquestionably one of the villains of the story, but he really isn't wrong when he claims everything bad about the world can be blamed on the Sparks. Just about every other Spark we've seen has been a homicidal lunatic, and it's open fact that all of the monsters and chaos in the setting are Spark experiments that have either Gone Horribly Wrong or Gone Horribly Right. Treating humans as experiment components (or targets) is as natural to a Spark as breathing. Even our heroes have been shown having Skewed Priorities at best.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Dr. Merlot wasn't exactly the most sane individual in Volume 1. His little story in Volume 9 seems to indicate that he might be having some difficulties.
  • Villainous Valor: Whatever Tweedle's other faults, he's no coward. Ditto Zola.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend:
    • While Agatha's men can usually take care of themselves, if things get to be too much for them, Agatha. Will. Take. Steps. Usually involving large clanks, or Disproportionate Retribution.
    • And Bang flips out when Gil seems to have harmed a guy she likes — enough to attack Gil, even though they're normally reasonably friendly.
  • Visible Silence: Appears often, but then four times in a row.
  • Visual Pun:
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Gil and Tarvek. At each other's throats one minute, talking shop on espionage the next.
  • Volleying Insults: Gil and Tarvek, during their brawls and in the Cinderella story.
  • The Walls Are Closing In: Had to happen eventually.

  • Wasn't That Fun?: Occurs after Agatha, Gil, and Tarvek try revivification.
  • Wave Motion Gun:
    • Agatha's little corkscrew death ray pretty much annihilates whatever it's shot at. The Castle really doesn't like it for obvious reasons. It could also qualify as a Wave-Motion Tuning Fork if not for the corkscrew between the two prongs.
    • Wave Motion Swan. A noblewoman's swan-shaped party sleigh packing a Wave Motion gun. Only in Girl Genius...
      Ishtvan: that...
      Tweedle: [face in his hands] Grandmother's old party sleigh. Yes.
      Ishtvan: Could it always do that?
      Tweedle: How should I know? Knowing my grandmother's parties, probably.
  • Weapon Tombstone: Agatha Clay's grave has the remnants of a warbot, a tree, and a pile of rocks with a death ray stuck in it.
  • Weasel Mascot: The Wulfenbach Bug Squad (aka the Vespiary Squad) of course! Apart from their uniform's Nice Hat of a slaver-wasp skull, this is their main hat. Their charges are all modified weasels, without which the Squad could not do their job as wasp detectors and exterminators. Although they have eight legs, they are still, very much, weasels of some description (however big they get). And, they are sooo cute (for a given definition of cute).
  • Webcomic Time:
  • Weird Science: Rules the Earth.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
  • We Have Ways of Making You Talk: Defied by Othar, and immediately subverted by Klaus (who wishes he could invert it).
  • We Meet Again:
  • We Need a Distraction: Gil and Tarvek help, in a fight scene incorporating many battle tropes.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Zeetha!!
    • Gil has been infected with a slaver wasp since his in-backstory trip to Paris. Maybe.
    • The revelation of what happened to Mechanicsburg after Klaus activated his bomb. In a nutshell, the bomb enclosed Mechanicsburg in a shield that ground time in Mechanicsburg to a halt, meaning that while it's still the same day to Klaus, the Jaeger Generals, and everyone else still trapped in Mechanisburg, two years have passed outside. With Klaus stuck in Mechanicsburg, the Empire has collapsed, and what little is left of their authority is being controlled by Gil, who has suffered severe Sanity Slippage.
    • If the December 27, 2013 update is anything to go by, Klaus has somehow possessed his son.
    • The May 15, 2015 update heavily implies that the Eldritch Abominations who previously appeared in Mechanicsburg when Robar Heterodyne conducted his time experiments were the Dreen; it remains to be seen if the (much bigger) one who is currently being attracted by Klaus' Time Crash of the same city is some form of Dreen as well.
    • And on September 15, 2015... The Enigma. Last seen at the very beginning of the series, with the mysterious portal that effectively started Agatha's whole adventure. According to the book, the "Enigma", as the fans have called it, is the Muse of Time - but it apparently predates Van Rijn.
  • Wham Line:
    • "I believe the ignorant refer to them as slaver wasps."
    • "Yes... but I vas starting to like her." Also pulling double duty as a Pre-Asskicking One-Liner.
    • Violetta, in the last panel. The whole last row, really. We knew it all along, but the lady in the chair didn't.
    • "Just go to sleep."
    • "WRONG!"
    • "You were infected before you even met her." Although later events show this was almost certainly a Blatant Lie.
    • "I AM the Storm King."
    • "We thought you were lost! Like everyone in Mechanicsburg!
    • "All right, out with it. We've lost what, six months?" "Two and a half years."
    • "Martellus, there is no empire."
    • The comic even manages to include a Wham Line that we can't read.
    • "The girl is still dangerous, and my son is still too much of a fool to see it." The wham part? It came from the mouth of Gilgamesh Wulfenbach.
    • "And they used to be men. Sometimes even they forget that." This is Higgs' response to Gil when the latter asks the former what he knows about the Jägers.
    • "They're not omniscient. My father says they're simply tangential to time as we know it, and... "And... they had hats..."" This is Gil realizing what the Dreen are.
  • What Are You in For?:
  • What Does She See in Him?: Gilgamesh and Tarvek, towards Agatha regarding each other.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • The monster horse that appeared during Master Payne's Circus story: we never know why it was/turned into such a hideous abomination, and it was never addressed again. Likely just because a spark felt like it, and because monsters are so common in this setting that it is a mundane hazard.
    • A little earlier we have Zulenna, she gives her life to save Agatha and the others, gets put in a healing chamber and seems to set up a plot point about Klaus getting grief from the Fifty Families about resurrecting one of their number.
    • The Baron cloned Olga's body, assuming her to be the believed-dead Agatha. Nothing on what happened to the new body...
  • What the Hell, Hero?: "TRULY YOU ARE YOUR MOTHER'S CHILD!" More understandable than some, since the one calling Agatha out murdered her step-parents in cold blood, but everyone Von Pinn worked with considers her tough but fair, and likes her. And she is the closest thing Gil had to a mother. Agatha's response is a heck of a lot of guilt.
  • When I Was Your Age: Zeetha says this after a day of rough training for Agatha.
  • Who Dares?: The Dragon of Mars
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?:
  • Why, Thank You, X!: Agatha emerges from one of her sleepwalking-creating states to find herself putting the finishing touches on a mechanism, with somebody off-panel handing her tools on command. She turns to see who it is, and...
  • Why Won't You Die?: Zola quickly learns that Higgs is very hard to kill.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Gil and Agatha, most frequently impeded by terrible miscommunication and Gil's bad luck and Castle Heterodyne. It's sure looking like they will...
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity:
    • The Sparks, by definition; Baron Wulfenbach fights this off by pure force of will... usually. Every successful Spark has at least one very level-headed keeper.
    • The Heterodyne family in particular. Apparently their unearthly strength and stamina comes from drinking from a spring famed for causing insanity and death in people who just bathed in it.
    • It's implied that the reason the Storm King was regarded as the greatest king of all time is because he was able to keep enough self-control to rule effectively. This may have been at least partially due to the influence of the Muses.
  • With This Herring: How the castle wants Agatha to fix it, at least initially.
  • The Worf Effect: In addition to character-specific instances, there are Martellus's sparkhounds. They're played up for how scary they are, but so far we've seen them being slaughtered en masse by Gil and his entourage (which, mind you, does include a Great Sky Wyrm), and later a lone jägermonster kills six of them before going down.
  • World of Badass: Show us a character who's not Badass, and within a couple of strips they'll either turn out to be badass or they'll be dead. In a world ruled by mad scientists, even the minions and staff have to be pretty tough to avoid getting killed.
  • World of Buxom: Just about every post-puberty female character, notably Agatha, Zeetha, the Geisterdamen and Mama Gkika. The Muses and Clank Anevka have pretty darned voluptuous figures, too. The few exceptions are Rivet, Wrench Wench for Master Payne's Circus; Daiyu, doctor Sun's daughter (who would be decent-sized in any other work); Grantz, the immensely strong monster hunter (who falls firmly into the Bifauxnen slot); and Miss Baumhund, the lanky grad student (who has only appeared in that one strip — so far), who seems a bit out of place when compared to other female characters. Lieutenant Krishnamurti and Xersephnia, Martellus' sister, are somewhat below average too.
  • World of Ham: Naturally. The Spark package comes with a side order of ham.
  • Worrying for the Wrong Reason: The scary part about being trapped in a room full of broken machinery within an insane castle is not that the castle will kill you if you're unable to fix it, but that Gil's interest has been piqued.
  • Worst Whatever Ever: Gil, after falling victim to the Exploding Closet.
    Gil: That's the worst filing system I've ever seen.
  • Worth It:
    • This is Agatha's attitude in the Cinderella play to being grounded. Of course, she was grounded after tricking Mamma Gkika's "Evil Stepmother" into putting her fist through a hive of specially-bred quilting bees.
    • And in a more serious tone, Klaus's attitude to the pain he suffered getting to the window and back. Not only that, Klaus actually said that if the experience paralyzed him for the rest of his life, it would still be worth it after seeing his son pull off that moment of awesome.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Pretty much everyone, since there are more than enough dangerous females to dispatch anyone reluctant to fight back. Some notable examples:
    • Ardsley Wooster punching Bangladesh DuPree in the face.
    • Airman Higgs beating the crap out of Zola.
    • Tarvek absolutely losing it when Zola tries to kill Agatha again and brutally beating her — and then trying to strangle her to death.
    • Gil judo-throwing Bang when she tries to take him into custody.
    • However, it's still recommended that this trope not be followed if it isn't necessary. Some may take issue with it being applied without restriction.
  • Would Not Shoot a Civilian: Sergeant Nak's advice:
    Nak: Do not hit the crowd, or I'll eat your ears!
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Tarvek pulls one off.
  • Wrench Wench: Agatha just loves wrenches...
  • Wrench Whack: And, naturally, they're used as melee weapons quite often.
  • Written Sound Effect: Frequently, and often quite creative.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy:



  • Zeppelins from Another World: Lots. Predominantly used by the Baron; he has his entire command center in Castle Wulfenbach, a zeppelin of truly Brobdingnagian size, equipped with numerous labs, docking bays for several smaller craft ("smaller" as in "regular-sized airships"), and penthouse-like living quarters on top of the hull. It comes with an entire support fleet, and several other of the Baron's troop units are zeppelin-based. Which is of course very practical if someone makes the Baron "come over there".
  • Zerg Rush: Among many, many other defenses, Castle Heterodyne can resort to unleashing every clank and construct abomination in its bowels at an aggressor.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Not "really" zombies, but the Other did create an auto-recruiting army of mindless, malicious, shambling, ''incurable'' Revenants under her complete control. Putting them down was the greatest challenge of Klaus' emperor-ing career. It was recently discovered that those revenants were just a few percent of the infected, and the rest look and act like any other person, even though they're mind-slaves to the Other. Tarvek said that the "zombie-like" Revenants were an unforeseen and rare exception, and helped to hide the nature of more numerous non-shambler Revenants.

Alternative Title(s):

Tropes U-Z