Castle Heterodyne is exactly what you'd expect when a series of mad scientists who live For the Evulz design an artificial sentience — it is a self-aware house of horrors on a staggering scale. But it works exactly the way it was designed to, and that means undying loyalty to the Heterodyne.
Mechanicsburg is full of descendants of the horde of brigands and cutthroats who were loyal to the ancient Heterodynes. It's In the Blood. This could probably be attributed as the power base of the Heterodyne family: while other sparks usually have their creations turn on them or require some manner of free will-stripping mind control, Heterodynes earn their minions' and creations' loyalty. That, and the aforementioned natural propensity to minionism.
This exhibition of undying loyalty extends to every sentient clank and construct seen so far that's been made by someone of the Heterodyne lineage, not just the Jägermonster horde and the citizens of Mechanicsburg.
In the novelization, it's revealed that Dr. Vapnoople's creations, except for Krosp, were destroyed because their loyalty couldn't be shifted to the Baron. Krosp didn't only because he was able to escape.
Unfamiliar Ceiling: When Gil wakes up in Mama Gkika's, he assumes he's been out of action for days when it's only been a few hours.
Klaus encoded a message to his son in a story he tricked Phil into delivering. Although we only see the tail end of Phil's version, it's clearly different, and judging by Gil's reaction he screwed up most of the symbolism (that is, the entirety of the message) too. Luckily, Tarvek notices something is up.
Very nearly every story anyone tells about the Heterodynes. On purpose by someone, since they're all published and almost everyone who has books seems to have at least some of them.
Subtle, but when the Jägers are clapping, the sound effect is in the Jägers' accent. This one comes up a handful of times throughout the series. Just about every time a sound effect shows up for one of the Jägers it's in their accent.
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".
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.
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.
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).
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 Mechanisburg 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 severeSanity Slippage.
If the December 27, 2013 update is anything to go by, Klaus has somehow possessed his son.
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.
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.
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 notBadass, 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.
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.
There's one counting the days since the last hideous death. Considering the Castle's nature, this may be a way of keeping score. (Although, the sign might not be accurate any more, since the guy whose job it was to update it died a hideous death.)
Bang: You're always telling me "Oh DuPree, don't torture people," or "Don't burn any towns," or whatever. And if you were the Other, I'd be a revenant, and I'd have to obey you. Even if a town really needed burning, y'know? But I can still act on my better judgment, so I know everything's okay! Klaus: And here I was foolishly hoping for an argument that would reassure the troops.
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".
Zombie Apocalypse: Not "really" zombies* although actually they're very much like "traditional" zombies, in the sense of drugged slaves, 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.