Headscratchers / Girl Genius

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    Princess Zulenna 

  • Whatever happened to the princess Zulenna storyline? Reviving someone against their will? Royalty pissed at a breaking of a cardinal rule? The storyline was quite frankly delicious, as well as her character being moderately interesting after proving to not be such a bit... very mean lady.
    • They haven't forgotten - this thing is planned out over decades. Patience is a tooth-grinding requirement.
    • During the current storyline, they are planning to kill Tarvek in order to cure him of a lethal disease, and then revive him. At one point, Gil explains the implications of resurrection for royalty, and how the Baron deals with it (Gil makes it clear that "breaking the cardinal rule" happens a lot more often than most royals are willing to admit). Presumably, this is part of setting up her reintroduction to the story.
      • The corollary to this theory is that the possiblity of her resurrection was set up as foreshadowing to Tarvek's resurrection with the Cardinal rule being hinted at. She could have just rejected the resurrection offscreen or she could be reintroduced somewhere else for some added drama.
    • Okay—feudally speaking, in the end this depends on who's going to recognize her, right? Funny thing, it looks like... Heterodyne heir, Wulfenbach heir, Storm King and the rest of high-up hatchlings from the castle. And princess Zeetha for a good company—because why not? Looks like Zulenna's situation is rather precarious, but once the current turmoil will be sorted out, her "fall from grace" is very, very far from a foregone conclusion. Provided she won't strike her flag voluntarily, of course.
    • Note that the scene where it was announced that she was definitely dead and would be revived was added later, when the collected volume was released (and retroactively added to the webcomic), because the page count for that book required one more page. Meaning that originally, we probably weren't going to discover her fate until later (possibly much much later) — or, perhaps, it wasn't part of the original story at all, and was added as a sideplot later on.

    Klaus and the Wasps 

  • Is Wulfenbach a revenant currently? His behavior matches what would be expected if he successfully resisted the slaver wasp, but we've been given no reason to believe that such is even possible.
    • If he was a revenant, he wouldn't have let Gil send Captain Vole to retrieve Agatha, Vole being the one jager who'd kill the Heterodyne on sight. I don't think any amount of plotting and secrecy would be worth letting a powerful jager get into a situation where he could kill your boss.
    • If he is a revenant and knows it, the thing that he must want most of all is never to hear Agatha's voice. What he doesn't know is that there's a second copy of The Other roaming around. Tarvek knows that. I don't recall that Agatha knows. And nobody else does, so far as I can tell. Tarvek does not know that Klaus has been wasp'd.
    • My assumption has been that Wulfenbach is kinda a revenant- he's been afflicted by the sparky slaver wasp, and so has to obey anything Agatha/Lucrezia tells him. The thing is, she hasn't given him any orders yet. I expect him to stay away from her personally so he can't hear her voice while trying to destroy her- which will make the fact that there's a wasp inside him irrelevant.
    • When the wasp infected Klaus, he was apparently affected by it. But we know that the ordinary wasps don't affect Jagermonsters, and we know that Gilgamesh has at least some Jager secrets in him. Given Klaus's physical abilities, he also may have some Jager in him. In addition, he's been studying devices belonging to The Other, including slaver wasps. We also saw that, when the wasps got loose on Castle Wolfenbach, he gave orders to cover his own death or failure to emerge (scuttle the Castle). These provide at least three ways in which The Other's use of the wasp might fail.
    • The whole "slaver wasps don't affect Jaegers" thing is sketchy at best — IIRC, when they first discovered the type of revenant that retained its mental faculties, it's briefly mentioned that the infectee was a construct, and thus supposed to be immune. So their immunity could have been a deliberate lie. And if The Other could develop a wasp that worked on sparks — also immune — then it isn't much of a stretch to assume that she could design it to work on Jaegers as well.
    • It's possible that the slaver wasps are geared to work on most common types of constructs - The Other would certainly have had the opportunity to work with Jaegers, so long as she could keep the Heterodyne Boys from noticing that individual Jaegers were disappearing. However, Klaus is definitely not one of the more common types of constructs - he seems to have Jaeger-ish aspects but he's also definitely not a Jaeger. The Other could have assumed or hoped that his similarity to the Heterodyne's constructs would make Klaus vulnerable, and been partially or wholly mistaken.
    • In the backstory, the Heterodyne brothers had a device that could extract a slaver wasp from a revenant. It's quite possible that Wulfenbach could have had the same device handy again, or that Dr. Sun could have it and have used it as a precaution.
    • If you're talking about The Dragon From Mars arc, Theo just made that up, and Zulenna indicates that being a revenant cannot be cured. Not that they know much about the Other's technology; many, perhaps most, didn't know that Sparks couldn't be infected by the slavers.
    • It's not something that can be handwaved - he's still a revenant :shudder: until we are explicitly shown otherwise. It's too important.
    • It's also important to note that he is the first Spark to ever be infected by this new slaver wasp. The details of how it works have yet to be fleshed out.
    • Klaus is most likely aware that he has been infected by a slaver wasp, as indicated by the Other covertly revealing herself to him just after something started forcing itself down his throat. It wouldn't take a genius to figure out it was a slaver wasp (even though he is) and his first reaction when the Other's attention seems distracted is attempting to cut her down, before swiftly ordering his men to kill Agatha and everyone with her. It is quite clear that the new generation of slaver wasps create revenants who fully retain their mental faculties in the absence of orders from the Other, so Klaus is still in control as long as he avoids a situation where he can be given such orders, and will be seeking Agatha's death via proxy (which is why he shanghaied Othar). There is also the aforementioned fact that a Spark infecting slaver wasp is completely new, so noone can be sure how it works. And given the planning and story structure of Girl Genius it is most likely setting up a plot point that will pay off at the time when it works best dramatically.
    • He is definitely infected. Look here. The Other tells him to shut up, and he does, mid sentence! However, he acts normally the rest of the time. Now, we know there are two kinds of infections - in one, revenants become shambling mindless monsters who cannot be cured by any known means, while in the other, they continue to be completely normal people except that they follow orders from anybody who has the command voice, like the Other and Agatha (mind you, Vrin's successful refusal to obey Agatha serves as evidence that it is possible, if hard, for revenants to resist the command voice). Klaus's infection appears to be of the latter kind, but since this is a whole new type of wasp, maybe it is a third type of infection which has some similarities with the second, but is different in other ways. So far, there is no way to know.
    • Also, Klaus is not only a Spark, but also a construct. There is no certain way of knowing if the slaver wasps affect constructs, and Klaus is certainly wily enough to let the Other think he is infected...
    • ...And Von Pinn could resist because she was the Muse of Protection, in other words, a high-functioning construct! (Granted, probably not a case of wasp, but still mind-control.)
    • As far as I can see, this was the first time a "spark control" wasp was actually field-tested. Klaus may well have managed to shake off its influence or find a cure for it. He does know a lot about The Other's style of work.
    • About the 'commanding' thing: If Klaus was infected, he could, if he wanted to fight Lucrezia @ other (that is if the storyline gives him a chance) he could wear earmuffs (In a world of inventors, earmuffs are bound to exist, and also they probably be pink and fluffy for irony, and, in Klaus' case, be custom-fitted with custom-mini-weapons designed to work against the other (and practically anyone else).
    • It's worth noting that, although Klaus shut up when ordered to, he then started talking without recieveing further orders. It's possible the wasp died before being able to perform permanent alterations.
    • Turns out that the non-mindless revenants aren't new, they're old. The zombies are a flawed anomaly.
    • Not even flawed. A planned anomaly to draw away attention from the non-revenant ones.
    • We now have the answer. Anekiva is in his room, and he is obeying her commands. Sleep!
    • Are you sure? He's imprinted to Agatha's voice, not Lunevka's - Anevka herself said, before Tarvek swapped out her head, that even her excellent copy of Agatha's voice wouldn't work on the revenants who already heard the original.


  • Where is Wooster? Zeetha's done her part by making sure Gil's okay, but where did Mr. British Super Spy go?
    • I'm not sure where Wooster is, but I'm quite certain where he isn't... which is anywhere near Gil.
    • I vote for this one. He'll pop up when needed.
    • Wasn't he sent to England to prepare a place for Agatha?
    • Most emphatically.
    • That wasn't 'sent to England', that was 'sent to get her to England'.
    • He took Master Payne's Circus to England to keep them safe from the Baron. I'm having trouble finding the page, but I know it exists.
    • Wooster was last seen hanging out with Von Mekkhan right before Agatha entered the Castle. Odds are, when we see Von Mekkhan again, we'll see Wooster.
    • Exactly. They are at a critical stage in the planning, where they are relying on Agatha to take control of the Castle and Mechanicsburg, at which point they can work out what needs to be done next. For the time being, they need to lie low and let Agatha handle things (though they will be unaware of the complications in the proceedings), and are probably gathering intelligence on the Baron's activities, and preparing for what will occur in the event that the Baron is still in Mechanicsburg when it falls under Agatha's control. When Agatha finally leaves the Castle, they will be waiting to provide her with information, and work out the next stage of the plan. We aren't seeing this, because the major focus of the narrative needs to be on what is going on inside of the Castle.
    • Well, we've got our answer now.
    • His current mission seems to involve being somewhat sympathetic to Agatha, getting Klaus's most axe-crazy retainers personally angry with him (Bangladesh and Dolokov) and avoiding Gil like the plague (which is probably not a bad plan of itself.)

    Tarvek's morality 

  • Just what is Tarvek's deal?
    • When the cards were down, he told Wulfenbach's troops to shoot Agatha-possessed-by-Lucrezia (getting himself shot for his troubles), so his ultimate loyalty is not with Lucrezia or the Other. My best guess is that he's just looking out for himself, trying to claim the throne of the Storm King. This put him sort-of on Agatha's side during the whole Sturmhalten arc, since he wanted to marry a Heterodyne to cement his position as the Storm King. Then the Geisterdamen got Agatha possessed behind his back, so Tarvek had to kiss up to Lucrezia to keep his head. He tried to play both Lucrezia and Agatha, but got in over his head, then got shot in the head.
      However, it's also suggested that Tarvek is (or was) allied with Strinbeck & Oublemach and the Knights of Jove, who see Agatha as an obstacle to be removed. We just need more info before we can definitively say what Tarvek is trying to do.
    • It's all politics. He wants to marry Agatha to consolidate his power. "Old legends still have power," and after several decades of war, the people must be longing for peace. When the geisterdamen chuck a wrench in his plans, he decides to play along with the Other, both to save his life and to seize this opportunity. Agatha-Other even tells Clank-Other that he's trying to learn all the Other's secrets and rescue the girl. He's not necessarily on Agatha's side, though. He might not be evil, he might even be a decent guy, but he's planning to use Agatha just to further his own ends.
    • The bit about legends makes sense. Remember the lengthy "Storm King" opera synopsis, where "Europa" declared that there would be peace when the Storm King married a Heterodyne daughter?
    • My theory: Gil and Tarvek were originally one character, and the Foglios split them up into two characters. So, Gil would have been the prince of Sturmhalten, and plotting against his father. It makes the motivations a little clearer. The Storm King part was a later addition after Tarvek was added to the plotline. Originally, Gil would have been evil, and wanted to marry Agatha to solidify his position after killing his father.
    • Yes and no. Originally, they were Klaus and Gilgamesh Ujebeck, and Klaus was a shriveled old man, and he and Gil were Quite Evil. Gil was going to be doing a sort of escalating Long-War-like Spark thing with Agatha... but they changed their minds.
    • I figure he was just playing as many sides as possible to increase his chance of coming out on top. Help the Other transfer her consciousness to Agatha and his sister. Help his sister undermine the Other's plans and come to power. Help Agatha's plan to beat the Other and escape. And if they'd arrived earlier and played a larger part in the lead-up, he'd doubtless have helped the Wulfenbach troops secure the city, maintain order, and neutralize the menace of the Other. I'm sure if Agatha performed slightly better or his sister wasn't so likely to doublecross him, he'd have sided with one of them in the end. But Lucrezia came out on top, so he made sure it looked like his cooperation with the other two was all just machiavellian scheming.
    • My memory isn't perfect, but if that was after Lucrezia got put into the Clank body, it could have been to avoid Agatha getting control of the body- one Other and no Heterodyne heir is better for the Other's plans than one Other and a Heterodyne heir wanting to stop her.
    • Seemed mostly like he has Chronic Backstabbing Disorder
    • I'm pretty sure that, at least at the beginning, he allied with whoever happened to be listening at the time.
    • Tarvek originally tried to convince his father NOT to grab Agatha. Note also that Clank-Lucrezia has a body that will obey Tarvek's orders and Clank-Lucrezia presumably does not know it. He can probably use this weapon just once; if Clank-Lucrezia doesn't find out and fix herself before it's used, she will afterwards. So I speculate that he didn't want all of this to happen, but had to go along when it did. He must realize that if Lucrezia actually gets her way, he'll be lucky for each day he avoids an enhanced slaver-wasp.
    • This page (aptly titled "Tarvek Shoots His Big Fat Mouth Off") indicates that his original plan was to become the Storm King, with Agatha at his side, fulfilling the prophecy and bringing peace to Europa. He truly believes the Baron is a violent upstart, and was stealing the Other's secrets to unseat him. However, he accidentally told the Other this, so they made a deal. What that deal is is the cause of all the confusion over his motives.
    • If by 'deal' you mean 'motivations', well, he's an unrepentant opportunist from a big screwed-up family; he's discovered that having true companions and falling in love has made his life, and his loyalties, extremely complicated. If by 'deal' you mean 'purpose in the story'... aside from the obvious, he seems to be there as a wild card and loose cannon.
    • For Tarvek's Morality: He's on whichever side will be best for Tarvek. Wild Card. He likes Agatha. But, at the same time, he looks out for Tarvek. He sides with Lucrezia because she'll kill him otherwise...but realizing that she's insane, promptly betrays her when he can. He'll work for the Wulfenbachs if he has to do it to avoid getting shot...but will promptly betray them if he can get out from under everyone's thumb. His ultimate goal is, presumabely, to end up the one sitting in the throne. Fortunately, he's recognized that Agatha is the heroine...and he LIKES her, so...he's a good guy. And he's not one to unnecessarially kick the dog. (As they put. "He's allied with whoever is listening").

    In the Seraglio of the Iron Sheik 

  • Did we ever find out why Gil kept Agatha from reading that book in the beginning?
    • Because with a title like In the Seraglio of the Iron Sheik it's almost certainly smut, and he's not a little embarrassed.
    • The fact that Ardsley described it as a "personal favorite" of his master probably didn't help.
    • See Lemon.

    Merlot knows Agatha is a Heterodyne? 

  • How did Doctor Merlot know that Agatha is the Heterodyne heir if he's presumably been locked in the castle for a month or two?
    • When Klaus Wulfenbach finally decodes Dr. Beetle's notes, he learns that Beetle knew who Agatha was all along and was planning to use her. Presumably Beetle told his second in command, as Merlot knew about the Other's hive engine and thus probably knew what precautions Beetle was taking.
    • That's possible, but he's so petty and vindictive that I find it hard to believe Beetle would trust him with that kind of information. Not that Beetle was the wisest man in the world, but still...
    • Beetle was shocked when Merlot betrayed him to the Baron. The only reason Merlot turned on him was that Beetle let his minions work on the useless project while he devoted his time to the hive engine. Merlot was proud to finally be trusted with a Wulfenbach project, only to find out that the whole thing was a schoolboy's test. Wounded pride caused him to lash out. Perhaps he behaved more trustworthily earlier, before Beetle unintentionally made a mockery of him.
    • Are you kidding? Merlot couldn't have known — he certainly would have betrayed Agatha to the Baron if he had. As for why he knows now, well, he's just spent at least a month locked up in Castle Heterodyne with Moloch Von Zinser who was aboard Castle Wulfenbach when Agatha was revealed and has probably been bitching about her for the entire time.
    • New prisoners bring news with them. He might have recognised her from the description.
    • Its recently been revealed that Beetle knew, and Merlot was with the group of cryptographers the Baron had decode Beetle's notes. When Merlot realized the implications of letting a Heterodyne out into the open by expelling her, he tried to track her down. When he was unable (because she was already aboard Castle Wulfenbach) he tried to destroy the evidence (and the cryptographers), which is what got him sent to Castle Heterodyne.
    • Now Merlot is trying to kill Agatha. Were he to suceed, he would doom himself to living and dying inside Castle Heterodyne. He will be released from his sentence, on the other hand, if Agatha succeeds. In light of this, the question should not be why Tarsus Beetle kept Agatha on (we know that) but why he kept Merlot on.
    • ? He was probably just a decent scientist as far as non-sparks go (he has a doctorate, after all), even if he would waste his time and ability if left alone to his own devices (seriously, cheese? From chalk?). Consider that he and the others were able to construct Wulfenbach's machine up to a reasonable point, given both the fact that they were normal humans and that the machine was never designed to work. That's probably all the reason Beetle would need to keep him around; he needs a competent person to whom to delegate less important task which didn't require his spark genius.
    • If you need a reason, look at the battlesuit he's using. Now, things like that aren't all that unusual in that universe, until you realize that all the weapons we've seen before are the work of a spark, which he is not. Any normal person that can still construct that good of a weapon is probably a pretty amazing scientist.
    • It did have a big old Heterodyne symbol on it, something I doubt Merlot would have added. He probably found the machine somewhere.
    • Or, since he is limited to building materials found inside the castle, he just used the crest when it was all he had to reinforce the front of the battle suit? Still, the battle suit DOES seem a little too advanced for a non-spark.

    Locket Repaired 

  • When was Agatha's locket repaired? And who did the repairing?
    • Klaus repaired the locket while he had it, presumably taking it from Moloch Von Zinzer before shipping him off to Castle Heterodyne; it shows him looking at it while he's recovering from being rivet-shot in the leg by Punch/Adam while Agatha was escaping the airship.
    • Yes - and since he's got the sort of mind he does, and is familiar with the Heterodyne style, he was able to restore it quite efficiently.
    • You're assuming that it's the same locket. Klaus may have been carrying something prepared by the Heterodynes for another reason, perhaps having to do with Gil, perhaps having to do with himself. Remember the Trelawney, Spark of the Realm story having to do with King Arthur's crown: the person who put that crown on was posessed by the personality of Arthur stored in it.
      And there are still the mysteries surrounding Dr. Beetle's notes. For all we know, the locket that Other/Agatha found on Klaus was held by Dr. Beetle.
    • It's a fair assumption, as Agatha herself said it was the same locket. It should be the only one with pictures of her parents, so she should be able to recognize it.
    • That would require taking it off to open it. Agatha is wearing it close to her neck; she probably cannot open it. She has only seen it while wearing it; Other-Agatha saw it in the case that Klaus carried around. What reason would there be for Klaus to carry around Agatha's repaired locket, much less to make a heterodyne-sigil case for it?
    • He wasn't just "carrying it around". He went to Sturmhalten to find Agatha, so he brought the repaired locket with him. I have two theories: 1) Since he saw the pictures of her parents he thought it was just an heirloom and so was going to give it to Agatha as a gift to placate her, or 2) He knew what it was, and was hoping Agatha would see it as option 1 and would become easier to control when her sparkiness was suppressed. Either way, he has to dress it up with the heterodyne sigil box as a gift.
    • I'd assumed it was still broken, which is why it doesn't dull her mind anymore; it's just the sentimental value that keeps Lucrezia in check.
    • I'm pretty sure Agatha says somewhere that it was off for too long, and her mind grew too strong for it, but it was working. It seems pretty clear it wasn't just sentimental value, judging by Lucrezia's reaction whenever it's put on.
    • The second novel actually explains how the locket works. Whenever Agatha's mind starts functioning above a certain level, it sends out cancellation waves to suppress her brain waves (By heterodyning them). This is why whenever Agatha Clay got agitated or tried to focus on her projects, she would get massive headaches. By the time she got the locket back, her mind had progressed to the point where the locket can no longer cancel out her Spark completely, though it does function as a training weight for her brain. The reason Lucrezia can't control Agatha while she's wearing the locket is because the locket is strong enough to suppress the copy of Lucrezia's mind whenever she tries to act.

    Jaegers and the Heterodyne Boys 

  • Not exactly story important, but what were the Jaegers doing while the Heterodyne boys were running around? None of their stories end with "And then they sent in their unstoppable army of bio-engineered stormtroops," and I doubt the Jaegers would be as fond of them as they seem to be if they had just had them sitting on their duffs for a decade or two, so what were they doing during that time? Just serving as policemen/guards?
    • Well...You know what a hoot Mama Grika's is? We know that by this stage the Jäegers have been driven (quite literally) underground in Mechanicsburgh, so that suggests that they used to enjoy rather more of a run of the city. If this is how they act when they're being secret can you imagine what kind of a party they have when they're in favour with the city's rulers? Keeps them busy without fig-okay, I admit I'm not sure how the Heterodynes avoid people getting hurt with this approach, but you must admit it would account for the Jäegers' fond feelings towards them (besides the ones built in with the loyalty imperative, that is).
    • Also, it sounds very much like the Heterodyne boys were given to adventure for the sake of adventure, and sending in the unstoppable army of bio-engineered stormtroopers would have been cheating.
    • The Heterodynes were nobles who controlled a quite substantial chunk of Europa. Having Jaegers to police it and protect it from invasion is probably what allowed them to go off on their wild adventures for months at a time without the country falling to ruins.
    • The secret blueprints mention that the boys tried to use the Jaegers for defence only, and that most of them learned to knit while the boys ran the show.
    • Gods. Knitting in the GG universe. The Jaegers, I imagine, would be quite passable at it, but when a spark gets ahold of a pair of knitting needles you suddenly have multi-armed, air-filtering, woolen powered-armour monstrosities. Doc Oc in Argyle! Merino machine-guns!
    • My face is stuck in a manic grin now. I hope you're happy.
    • Well, the Cinderella mash-up features literal Quilting Bees...
    • This may be a Shout-Out to Gordon Dickson's Dorsai series.
    • Also, knowing those Jagers... they could knit steel cables.

    Othar's Suicide 

  • Othar's ultimate goal is to kill all Sparks including himself, right? Unless he's got some sort of poison weakness, I honestly wonder how he's going to pull that last one off, considering he can survive things like being chucked out of airships without a single scratch on him.
    • Well, most of those times he's actually trying to survive. But yes, that does put a damper on his plans.
    • He's a spark! He'll invent a gigantic, steam-powered laser-shooting radioactive bio-destruction robotic device for the sole purpose of killing himself, It'll have a giant snake's head with acid-dripping fangs, octopus arms with drills and saws, and it will kill him by simple asphyxiation. :)
    • Assuming he keeps little Othar to himself, all he needs to do is take out everyone else and wait for old age to finish him off.
    • If you'll note in his Twitter (yes, it's canon, but remember a madman's telling the story), there's duplicates of himself who have killed duplicates of himself quite efficiently. Once even with a waffle iron.
    • Wait! If thats the case, and he has duplicates of himself everywhere, then what if every time we see Othar after he 'died', its another Othar-clone? Does he even know which one is the real one anymore? Now, all of his 'clones' seem to remember he events leading up to his 'death', but what if he had a way to keep his copies synced up? Man, I think thats Fridge Horror material.
    • I don't care how strong he is, unless he's replaced his skin with Kevlar or something there's no reason any person shouldn't, given sufficient willpower and an actual desire to do so, be able to slit his own throat or wrist and bleed out. And anyways, that's too far in the future to be the focus of his planning—he's likely to die of old age before he kills every other spark in the world, considering how many there are. And that'd be if "killing all sparks" was even possible, since it can pop up in individuals who as far as anyone knew had none in their family histories (so at best it's a recessive gene which is good at hiding; good luck weeding that entirely out of the population in one generation).
    • And I paraphrase: "It'll take more than that to kill Othar Tryvagassen, Gentleman Adventurer! [...] Er... Not much more..."
    • You're assuming Othar plans in a sane and sensible fashion.

    Wasps don't work on Sparks 

  • Early on, why were Agatha and Gil so worried about being infected by slaver wasps when its later established that the wasps can't infect Sparks?
    • They probably just didn't know. Besides, they were still being attacked by the soldiers from the hive-engine, and once the swarm actually was generated, everyone else on Castle Wulfenbach who wasn't a Spark could have been infected. Plenty of reason to be worried, I believe.
    • And even if they did know consciously (which, especially in Agatha's case, I doubt), there's nothing like the activation of an engine dedicated to spreading The Virus in an area you can't escape to cause you to forget a few minor points.
    • There weren't many people around to witness whether Sparks were possessed or not, after The Other got through with them.
    • "As a member of the Order". And even if Gil knew and remembered, wasps "don't work on Sparks" doesn't necessarily mean the victim is completely unharmed by having to swallow a brain-controlling implant. Just not turned into revenant properly.
    • And, bearing in mind that we now know the zombie-types themselves were not turned properly, "don't work on Sparks" could just mean that they'll always go zombie. In which case, since they didn't know at the time that the stealth revenants existed, there's no way they could have known that Sparks were any kind of exception.
    • Remember the made-up story where the Boys found Klaus as a shambling revenant? While its likely that was just there to poke fun at their leader, as people throughout history tend to do; its also possible that behind the Baron's infection hides a small thread of truth about sparks and wasps.
    • Imagine this additional dialogue. "Aren't Sparks immune to wasps?" "...Are you 100% certain, or 99% certain?" "...I see your point."

    Her Undying Majesty 

  • Two points: "Her Undying Majesty" Albia of Britain. Albia's style (title) suggests a clank. We are also told by Gil that to go against Albia's will is "literally unthinkable." This suggests mind control and does not look good for Master Payne's Circus. Agatha may have a job to do there. We also have "Enigma", the part?-clank figure that appears to Agatha on page 4. Could THAT be Albia?
    Note that the second and third "time windows" seem to be on a timeline going backwards, as though they are tracking backwards for an event. Moloch is there in the first one, and it is noted that his friends are escaping Bang's devastation. But a geister also tells Agatha that she is needed elsewhere. If the reason is some kind of battle, could it be that someone (Albia? Lucrezia?) is trying to destroy or stop Agatha ... and creates a time causation loop that starts the whole business?
    • You're not thinking widely enough. She's a Spark, any 'undying' is possible. Also, Wooster doesn't seem all mind-controlled and robotic; neither does Trelawney Thorpe (admittedly, it was just a story, but still.) I'm more interested in what Klaus did to tick her off.
    • Also bear in mind the era we are talking about here. The opinions of the monarch where very important and well respected in our world at that era. I mean you can imagine that a spark could amplify that Royalty to a palpable level. That would also explain why Britain is literally closed to Klaus, absolutely everyone would distrust and report him.
    • Another theory that has been advanced is that Albia is sort of Castle Heterodyne writ large; she is a clank/construct that has stretched it/herself across England. If all of England is Albia, with her eyes and ears literally everywhere, there is no chance of revolt or subversion.


  • Is anyone else getting annoyed with the whole "Gil/Agatha" plotline?
    • What, you mean the main storyline? Be more specific, please.
    • What I mean is - does it seem like they're upping the emphasis on the whole romance angle just a little?
    • Did you miss the tag-line: "Adventure, Romance, Mad Science!"? Seriously, how can you complain when it's right there immediately following the upper navigation buttons? It's not like they didn't warn you! I'm more annoyed by Agatha's attitude toward Gil, in that she's not being romantic enough.
    • AUGH. 'Adventure' comes first. And Agatha's a little busy, right?
    • Mad Science comes last, yet it appears to happen more often than Romance. But I'm only slightly annoyed by the lack of romance, and was mainly intended as a counter-point to the dislike of romance. Your "AUGH" is a bit of an overreaction to my being slightly annoyed.
    • Why should she be more romantic? Gil is a nice guy, but face-to-face to Agatha he comes off as a bit of a jerk with all the misunderstandings they've had. She does have some pride.
    • She could get those misunderstandings cleared if she was more romantic and spent more time with him, giving him a chance to reciprocate and explain himself.
    • And yet something about Agatha pausing mid-rant to primp herself for Gil just... Yeah.
    • Completely embodies the Rule of Funny?
    • I hope the original poster is much happier now. It wasn't a Romantic Plot Tumor - just a particularly romance-focused portion of a larger story.

    Misnamed Science 

  • What just bugs me about this series is how often engineering is referred to as "science." I realize this trope is hardly unique to this series (you can see it all the time in other works of fiction), but seriously, it gets to a man. Most of the time, sparks aren't doing experimental research to test theories and gain a deeper understanding of the world, which is science (there ARE exceptions, such as Klaus's attempts to find out what part of the brain is it that gives sparks their unnatural abilities; that is science). Most of the time, they are using knowledge they already have along with their intuition to figure out the best way to build things. That isn't science, that's engineering. Sparks seem to be mostly genius engineers rather than genius scientists, so what the hell is with the repeated cries of For Science! and emphasis thereof?
    • Rule of Cool. FOR SCIENCE! sounds way better than FOR ENGINEERING!
    • Similarly, Mad Engineers have been referred to as Mad Scientists for many decades (and for the record, there is at least one mad scientist who never intentionally does any mad engineering on-screen: The mad social scientist, who does slip up when he reveals his finding to Agatha, part of his available group of research subjects).
    • In addition to that, for most of our main characters the engineering is what's important (because they need it to survive). Most of the sparks are too insane to do any real science (let alone apply it rationally in the form of engineering), and the few characters that don't fall into those two categories (busy/insane) do have a bunch of science-y research going. (Klaus being the most prominent one, of course.) Also, like the above notes, "FOR ENGINEERING!" doesn't have the same ring to it.
    • It can be summed up pretty well by the difference between scientists and mad scientists: A scientist says "Look, I've invented a new gun! Let's test fire it several hundred times by having a robot shoot at a target!" A mad scientist says "Look, I've invented a new gun! Let's test it against that massive army charging towards us right at this very moment!" They understand proper experimental procedure, the Spark just allows them to skip quite a few steps without getting themselves killed. And on that note, keep in mind that young and inexperienced Sparks do often get themselves killed by doing too much, too fast.
    • But scientists don't "invent new guns;" that's what an engineer does, which is what bugged me to begin with. That said, I suppose I can live with the Rule of Cool explanation. I guess I am just annoyed with how all the mathematics/science/engineering in fiction gets lumped into the "science" mantle and handed to the Omnidisciplinary Scientist.
    • Ah, yes, apologies for the mix-up. Mad engineer does seem to be a more appropriate title. However, don't forget the mad social scientist, who seemed to want materials for a large scale experiment. The point I made above was simply that a normal social scientist would start simpler, while the mad one seems perfectly willing to jump from "Controlled hedge-maze with theoretically generic orphans" straight to "Wall up Mechanisburg and watch with glee." While I don't know what he hopes to get out of it, if he has the Spark, he's probably going to get it despite pesky things like logic and the fabric of the universe standing in the way.
    • This complaint seems to imply that engineers don't do science, which is wrong. True, engineering isn't the same thing as theoretical science, but theoretical science is just part of "science". Sometimes it's just engineering (making a better coffee machine, making ANOTHER death ray), and sometimes it's just theoretical science (trying to find out what makes a Spark, a Spark, though if he ever found out, some serious genetic engineering would follow), but often, it's both (figuring out how to upload, store, and download human consciousness, and then actually making a machine that does it, for example). Mad scientists don't submit papers to journals, they theorize and apply.
    • Engineering is applied science.
    • Much in the same way science is applied math, but one still does not call science math.
    • Science is not applied math. For one thing large parts of Earth science, biology and basic chemistry are qualitative in their descriptions rather than quantitative. Secondly, even in physics which is one of if not the most mathematically rigorous branch of science, the maths is a descriptive tool more than anything else.
    • However, if you remember Master Payne's Circus of Adventure, there's also mad chemists and mad bio-engineers, not to mention whatever it is that lets Payne do...whatever it is he DOES; the fact that we mostly see engineers, doesn't mean there's no room for other sciences. FOR SCIENCE! is usually said when they don't know exactly what will come up, remember the part of Race To The West Pole; I don't know what experiment Bill and Lucrezia are doing or even if THEY know the result but they certainly seem excited to find out.
    • Eh...that was probably a Double Entendre. Although they were just about to...experiment.
    • How often do they ever specifically shout "FOR SCIENCE!"? I can't remember it appearing in Agatha's actual adventures. It appears in "Race to the West Pole" - but that's a Heterodyne play. It appears in the radio plays - in which everything is turned up to about 14. I can't remember it actually happening in the story proper.
    • Besides, Science sounds better.
    • This isn't science, it's Science!, there's a difference.
    • Also, normally engineering implies knowing what one tries to make in first place. While the methodology of Sparks seems to be more "i have a general idea of what's needed, let's see what i'll make while doing it". If a Madboy tries to repair a car's transmission, he may end up with a new tank, including principially new deathray in every turret.
    • It's simple. This is a fantasy version of Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. Back then even theoretical experimentalists spent of lot of time building and designing their own equipment, mostly because no-one else had built what they needed.
    • This, thank you. The distinction between theoretical and practical science is a very modern definition. Until very recently, the word "engineer" meant "the person who operates the machinery that the scientist built".
    • Keep in mind, they're obtaining energy densities and cognitive efforts that surpass modern science out of springs and gears. We never actually see how they do this; it's quite possible that the process of building a clank (or death ray, or what have you) involves countless smaller examples of theoretical science to invent the device's overarching principles and constituent parts, which are then applied through engineering. They just find the science part of it more exciting.This seems to be confirmed when Agatha resolves the Si Vales Valeo; she implements her new ideas untested, which absolutely shocks Gil, implying that the testing is vital to the process.
    • One of James P Hogan's books points out that science that works is engineering. Science that doesn't work is bunk. Objectively, that means science does not exist! Hear the sound of one hand clapping!
    • ...except that's not even slightly true. Science that doesn't work is bunk. Engineering is necessarily underlain by science that works, but science that works need not have any practical application, which also necessarily underlies engineering. Furthermore, engineering need not add to science, since sometimes old principles are put together in new ways, or designs refined to respond to changing economic or social priorities rather than any change in the underlying principles. Certainly the apparatus of, say, the Michelson-Morley experiment was engineering, but by that standard, next to everything is engineering. The discovery was not engineering, and indeed, the nonexistence of luminiferous ether would not be relevant to engineers for decades, and then much less relevant than many, many other principles.
    • Also, remember that in this universe, science is inextricably mixed with science, MUCH more than it is in real life. Everything from biology to chemistry in the Girl Genius universe is completely tied with engineering. You don't look a body and find out what's wrong, you build a machine to look at the body and find out what's wrong. You don't perform surgery, you build a machine to perform surgery. The universe there is totally different than ours, and engineering is indistinguishable from science there.
    • the spark allows them to skip steps, also they build the devices to test the theories if the device doesnt work the the theory is wrong, its just testing with more advanced machines.

    Annoying heroes 

  • Are ALL heroes as annoying as Othar?
    • Othar strike me as a Deconstruction of the usual heroes of Science Is Bad stories, particularly Doc Savage; being a Hunter of His Own Kind who quite understandably comes off as Ax-Crazy and Wrong Genre Savvy to the main characters. If he was taken seriously at all, he'd be quite a chilling villain, but instead he's a Large Ham to make him more funny than dangerous.
    • Othar's existence involves being tough enough to survive every silly deathtrap in a hearing range of him, and insane enough to get into it to begin with... He seems to be unique.
    • Grantz is a bit of show-off, but not a Large Ham and all in all seems to be way more adequate (see the next page) so far.
    • Nope! Just him!


  • What's the deal with the Jaegers? From what I gather, they're humans who were given a potion or something? I can't really anything definite on the website that explains about them.
    • That's because all we know about them is that they're humans who've been given the Jaegerdraught, they have a built in fanatical loyalty to the Heterodynes (probably something in the draught), they have pointy teeth, and a unique culture/religion involving each having a personal Nice Hat. The draught/potion is made from the waters of the Dyne river, amongst other things. And that's all we know.
    • They could be chosen for loyality to begin with. It's not like guys bullying other European powers would need to grab random tourists when they want a new Super Soldier squad. Joining the elite troops and acquiring both Jagers' longevity and full compatibility with their regeneration stimulant? This may be Heterodynes' reward for the best.
    • It probably is a reward or at least a promotion. Remember that Carson Von Mekkan being insulted at the idea that the people of mechanicsburg would need to be compelled.
    • This strip addresses the issue of the Jager's loyalty in their own words:
      Jagergeneral: Ve Jagers iz not compelled to serve. Effry vun ov us reached out our hands und took der Jagerdraught by choice...Ve serve der Heterodynes freely, out of luff and loyalty-And our Heterodynes haff alvays earned dot!

    Re-energizing the Dyne 
  • Why didn't shutting down the castle immediately re-energize the Dyne as the energy now has nothing siphoning it off anymore?
    • The energy still has to build up again. Give it a month or a year or a generation, with no Castle pulling off it, and the Dyne might become a major power source again. But it's not going to happen immediately.

    Castle arc fatigue 

  • When are they finally going to be done with the castle already? This portion of the storyline has dragged on for over two three years now, and it's starting to grate.
    • I have to totally agree. It used to be, I couldn't wait for the next update to the comic. Now, all it does is upset me when yet another complication pops up that is going to take months to resolve, if ever, leaving the reader with even more delays before Something Finally Happens!!
    • Horray. More dingbots. I am so engaged with the plot right now. I totally care about this irrelevant complication.
    • Wait, are you talking about the present day comics? They were in the castle for two real life years?
    • Agatha entered in December 2007.
    • Oh...Well, it looks like the castle arc is nearly done. =)
    • That castle happens to be her home! How could she just leave and never come back? We should've been expecting this for a long while.
    • Nobody's saying she should leave and never come back, just that it'll be kinda dull if she never leaves.
    • And a good editor could have trimmed a whole year out of the arc, removing a lot of the filler-ey bits. The plotting in the Castle Wulfenbach arc was much tighter.
    • The entire point of the Castle Wulfenbach arc(s) was her quest to escape. Learning family secrets was a (unwanted) bonus. Castle Heterodyne is Where She Came From, and filled with Heterodyne secrets, many of them Dark Secrets - she's not trying to escape from it, she's trying to figure it out. And given that the castle itself is schizophrenic, that's a large order. And she has assassins and suitors to deal with at the same time. Right now, the castle is giving up its secrets to the Heterodyne rather freely, and the suitors seem healthy, but. Zola. Just. Won't. DIE!
    • The impression I got is that they're tying up every single storyline related to the castle, so that Agatha won't have to come back later. Oh, it will be seen and referenced, but no main plots will take place there. I mean, think about it: Agatha went in to repair the castle (main arc). Zola obviously can't try to usurp her after the castle is repaired, so that has to happen now. All the prisoners (mostly Sanaa, Moloch, and Tiktoffen) need to be taken care of, and there's no way to avoid their stories if they're running around anyway. Agatha needed to know about the Dyne (since the power was ebbing and the castle wouldn't be repaired without it), and it makes sense to include the Otilia subplot for that part, since she's like ten yards away. The "Zola won't die" arc is basically a "look how FUCKING AWESOME Higgs is" arc. I think we're going to get some of the questions about him, too, answered soon.
    • Personally, I want the castle arc to be finished because I'm sick of people complaining about wanting the castle arc to be finished.
    • It finished! And, sure enough, they tied pretty much everything up there...so they could turn the setting on it's head.


  • Whenabouts does this actually take place? A lot of our familiar milestones are probably meaningless - most of Europe being ruled by a baron rules out familiar dynasties, sparks ruin eras in thought, the apparently atheistic invocations we see probably rule out Christ, but, for instance, how long has it been since the death of Caesar? Did this world even have Caesar? Charlemagne? Othar's Twitter mentions Voltaire, but he lived much later than the architecture and fashions seem to indicate. Hell, Phil and Kaja coming to our world would almost seems to imply it's been about 2,750 years since the founding of Rome...
    • If there is any parallel to our own timeline then we can start by noticing that the Arc de Triomphe (built in 1806) was standing a few years ago when Tarvek and Gil were in Paris.
    • Word of God states that the Storm King was based on the Sun King, another name for Louis XIV of France. That was 1638-1715. If those are literally the same people (except the Storm King is Louis with the Spark) then that means its sometime in the 1900s—its been mentioned a few times that the Storm King's reign ended about two hundred years ago. EDIT: Had the dates switched. Fixed it.
    • Taken further, Klaus Barry Heterodyne was born 1#72. Assuming the above is correct, that would be 1972. He died 407 days later—so about 1974, which we can assume is Agatha's birthyear, or thereabouts. She's eighteen, so its 1992. The Schizo Tech is justified because Sparks are crazy.
    • Actually, Klaus died in the attack on the castle, which is repeatedly stated to have taken place nineteen years ago. So it would be 1993.
    • Alternatively, as the reign ended about 200 years ago, it would be more likely to be 1893... most people would call 280 years about 300, not 200. This would put the attack on the castle at about 1874, also allowing the voltaire reference to be only a century earlier, and not two. ~flatscam
    • Although they're AnachronismStew, the fashions fit 1890s much better than 1790s or 1990s.
  • The year of Wulfenback 2-A.W 01. It's TECHNICALLY an answer.

    Mecanicsburg Rhyme 

  • "If you'd live to see the end of day, from Mechanicsburg two leagues stay." A few strips later, Agatha has the castle chase the airships two English leagues; given the suggestion of time travel, this probably isn't a coincidence. But whose leagues, indeed? Mechanicsburg is in Transylvania, the English barely mentioned other than Wooster's arc. The German "Meile" (often translated "league") is generally around one and a half English leagues. The Roman league was less than half an English league. Especially in a world with less British influence than our own, why did Transylvanians make a rule around the English league? (...no, I'm not going to ask why it rhymed. A couplet that simple could be made to rhyme in any language.)
    • Honestly, I think the rhyme was invented by the Heterodyne's enemies, so they we referring to their own leagues (whatever those were). Other countries picked it up after discovering that their leagues worked for it too. Besides, as the old airman pointed out "we just stayed away from the place." The exact distance really was not important.
    • If you REALLY want it to bug you, unless you REALLY REALLY stretch and try to force "tag" to rhyme with "bleib'" (command form of "bleiben", to stay) the rhyme ONLY WORKS IN ENGLISH, and they're almost certainly not supposed to be speaking it.
    • Normally an English sentence wouldn't be constructed that way. I don't speak German, but I'm guessing that they occasionally butcher their own language for the sake of rhymes as well. Like the OP said, its simple enough that it can rhyme in any language without losing its meaning.
    • Okay I know german and I can say that this rhyme actually makes more grammatical sense in GERMAN!It rhymes too."Wenn Sie leben würde das Ende des Tages zu sehen, von Mechanics zwei Ligen bleiben." literal translation is " If you wish to live to the end of the day, stay two leagues from Mechanicsberg."
    • Here's a bit of Fridge Brilliance: Agatha paused in her distance thing because she had to decide whose leagues to use! Note also, that even the people in-canon aren't sure HOW many leagues to use. But, the guy with 'honestly' probably hit it. "Two Leagues" is a safe "Outside of most detection range" distance.

    Bleached Underpants 

  • They're really overbleaching the underpants here. The characters have a modesty disproportionate to their place, period, and individual life circumstances. And while that may not be the most fantastical aspect of the characters and setting, there seems to be an adolescent overreliance on Naked People Are Funny for a comic title that strives to be more cerebral. Oo, undies and discretionary pantslessness, got it. Chuckle. Can we get past that, now?
    • ...what are you talking about? Zeetha's nudity (well, not quite, but whatever) was played for laughs twice. Gil got one in a perfectly logical situation (Mama Gkika's), and then he and Tarvek got a slightly less justified one in the castle. These all lasted about two panels each. Is that what you mean? Note that my first anime/manga were Mahou Sensei Negima! and Witchblade, so I'm desensitized. I literally don't know what you mean.
    • The characters have a modesty disproportionate to their place, period, and individual life circumstances. Because in a fantasy setting with an alternate history and culture that is apparently set in the early 1900's going by the dates we've been given and the analysis noted above on this very page, they're going to have the same standards of modesty as Victorian Europe. Standards and culture are different, especially considering that this is a society built entirely around mad science.
    • Are you talking about the period that coined the term, "slum prudery?"
    • No, I'm talking about the fact that we're dealing with a completely alternate history, with an alternate culture, mores, and concepts of modesty. Why are you assuming that an ahistorical society would be adhering to historical concepts of modesty when they literally have hordes of mad scientists running around that have fundamentally altered the progression of the historical timeline and culture?
    • So "assuming" is what you call making educated guesses from the given sociological conditions. Make sure to dismiss the 'individual life circumstances' clause as well, because that's the only way you can accept educated doctors blushing while examining an injured woman. And that's further ignoring the conditions (we were informed) they were raised in. Or you could just face that the Foglios could stand to take it easy with the bleach; they're trying way too hard.
    • They're blushing because they're both attracted to that injured woman whose boob they're examining, not because OMG LADYPARTS ARE SCANDALOUS. Judging by his reputation in Paris, Gil has probably seen enough nipples to last him a lifetime.
    • Easy answer - they're marketing to a general teenage-or-later audience; they have to make it accessible (I've already seen a complaint about a spiral squiggle on a background Jaegerbabe painting - apparently the complaining reader planned to mutilate her dead-tree copy when she gets it. The art was later edited, sadly). And Kaja likes Victorian underwear.
    • Teenagers are often very body conscious.
    • There seems to be some distinction between nice girls, and the other sort. We know contraceptives and effective anti-venereals are available, which might make more normalised, but several things suggest otherwise. Payne claims offence at the suggestion his actresses may be prostitutes, and Agatha seems sheltered (both in the fortune-telling incident, and in her failure to get dirty jokes). She's even shocked at wearing trousers for the first time, and the novelisation says that Klaus has explicitly given permission for women in manual work to wear drag (which implies it's still daring in the normal world, and possibly even illegal). Even allowing for the normal double standard regarding male behaviour (no-one's too worried about men being shirtless if they have a reason to be), Tarvek's lack of trousers may be revealing exactly how interested he is in Agatha!
    • On the doctoring thing in particular, even now female patients are usually given the option of being treated by a woman, and it would be unusual (and probably ill-advised, given the risk of misconduct allegations) for two young men to treat a girl's breasts unchaperoned. In the pseudo-Victorian world where Agatha can't even take her medical exams, they may well have never treated a female patient under 50, and that with her husband breathing down their necks. Cadaver dissections and surgery are not the same (and you still use modesty cloths in theatre today anyway). In fact, if they primarily are used to seeing attractive women's bodies in sexual contexts, that's going to make treating her as a patient even more confusing.

    Punch and sign language 

  • IIRC, when Agatha was asked whether Punch had told her Heterodyne stories, she replied "no, because he couldn't talk". I haven't researched this and don't have experience with it, so I could be wrong, but wouldn't the daughter of a mute learn sign language?
    • ...did they even have sign language in... whenever Girl Genius is set?
    • Regardless, she realized that she was being tested, and the point was that Punch couldn't talk. He could conceivably have told her stories using sign language, but Heliotrope was assuming that a fake wouldn't know he was mute. Actually, in hindsight, he probably did know sign language, since his muteness seems to be left out of the Heterodyne stories.
    • That's probably because he could talk at the time of the Stories. The muteness is presumably due to damage he sustained at some point and couldn't have repaired due to his creators' absence- a common issue for abandoned constructs. He can talk with effort now that Gil's repaired him.
    • Not to mention that the stories were really not all that faithful on the characterizations of Punch and Judy.
    • Maxim mentions that one of the reasons that people thought Punch was stupid was because he was big and couldn't talk. Apparently the Boys aren't just as skilled in biological repairs.
    • I think it's mentioned that Punch and Judy were some of the Boy's first attempts at creating constructs, so they didn't do a terribly good job.

    Zola out of range of Castle 

  • How exactly did Zola escape from the castle's reach? The castle clearly has access to the library's section of the network, which was what previously sicced the Torchmen on Castle Wulfenbach. And on that note, is there any hope of nailing down an enemy instead of just spawning them like hydra heads? We've got, what, three or more copies of the Other running around now, and no sign of ever catching back up with the mechanical one seen in the first chapter. In the words of Black Mage of 8-Bit Theater:
    "This whole goddamn adventure has been nothing but pointless build ups toward pay offs that never happen."
    • The torchmen were either busy with Castle Wulfenbach or they all crashed when they shut down the castle. It seems like they're the only anti-air capability the castle has, so I think that's really all there is to it. And the copying thing is one of the horrors of the Other: You could kill a thousand copies and have her just respawn in a new host in a couple decades, albeit with less knowledge than she'd like. Assuming Tarvek really is on their side, though, that will be a big step in the right direction.
    • The torchmen did get Zola. She survived, but apparently she's pretty mangled up.

    Gil and Tarvek useless in the Castle 

  • Why are Gil and Tarvek completely or nearly useless in this arc? Gil destroyed the main incoming force of a rival military force with two blows. Tarvek has been manipulating the people within Castle Heterodyne, and coordinating a coup on the outside with masterful precision. Once Agatha comes along-to which I hold no fault to her for, mind you-they start getting severely gimped. Tarvek is made useless due to a disease, then Gil. Tarvek is thrown about like a fool by Violetta-which has been actually been at the brunt of my dislike pile as of recent events (To keep a long story short; THEY DID EVERYTHING THEY COULD about the poison, despite them being men of actual chivalry and honor)-and Gil was nearly eaten by a plant. Is anyone else but me getting annoyed at this yet?
    • No. I don't see how any of this makes them "useless" especially when, as you just said, they did everything they could when dealing with the poison. Yeah, Tarvek is getting thrown around by Violetta, but that's because Violetta has been established as being an extremely capable warrior - more so than Tarvek. Besides, they've already proven their competence in previous story arcs, and in this case, they're in a literal case of Worf Had the Flu. Plus, this is the arc where we see other characters display their competence; if nothing else, this arc strikes me as the one where we see Higgs demonstrate his badassery, and is to Higgs what the sequence with the war stompers was to Gil or the Sturmvoraus arc was to Tarvek.
    • We seem to have the answer to this one, at least with regard to Tarvek. Tarvek was pulling a Zola. The next strip suggests that Gil could be doing so as well.
    • Does this help fix things?

    Othar vs Agatha 

  • Why did Othar try to kill Agatha? Yes, his ultimate mission is to kill all sparks, but in every other story, he seems willing to leave the more harmless ones alone for the time being, including Gil. And yet, having seen only good in her, he tries to kill her until she pretends to be on his side.
    • The decision to kill Agatha on the dirigible struck me as a spur-of-the-moment decision on his part. Keep in mind that Othar's nuts and had just gotten out of fighting Gil, so he's probably still running on adrenaline, so he's more likely to make an impulsive decision. When Agatha meets him later he seems to have mellowed out a bit, having just been to a traveling show and feeling better, and subsequently witnessing her going out of her way to protect the town and the traveling circus.

    Hunting or hunter 

  • Very minor one: Does jaegermonster mean "hunting monster" or "hunter of monsters?" I don't speak German.
    • Closer to "hunting monster" (technically, it means "hunter monster", IE, a monster that is a hunter, rather than a monster that hunts, but the meanings are close enough). "Hunter of monsters" would be a monsterjäger.
    • In the military Jäger usually means a type of light infantry.
    • True, but the term is derived from the German word Jäger, which means hunter. As the comic uses Translation Convention, with the actual lingua franca of Europa being German...
    • According to the novels, the lingua franca of the Wulfenbach Empire is Romanian. The Heterodynes may have been from a region that originally spoke German, though.
    • The term "Jäger" for light infantry dates back to the Thirty Years' War, when German hunters of various stripes (poachers foresters, game wardens, fur trappers...) were recruited into various armies to serve as scouts and skirmishers, due to their experience with rifled muskets and working in difficult terrain.
    • And it's a play on "Jägermeister", the liquor.
    • Jäger in the military sense is a really good description of the way the Jägermonsters, especially Da Boyz fight. They would be poor in the standard infantry formations of the period, which require cast-iron discipline and patience, but excel at loose formation and small-squad tactics.
  • So, it means "A monster, who is a hunter, but also serves as a light infantry person, especially one whom serves as a scout and skirmisher...All of which fit them. Meaningpalooza!"

    Da Boyz and Jenka 

  • If Da Boyz know Jenka... (It seems to me they do) Then how come they dont recognize her in Zumzum? The things they say to her after being cut down dont seem like something you say someone you actually take commands from ( I get the impression). Also, I think its her they are reffering to when they first appear. Implying that she could kill all three of them.
    • They were hiding the fact that they were working together. It was all an act to get them freed and out of town so they could report back that they'd found Agatha.
    • And when they say they are charged by an "ancient contract"... Well, what ancient contact are the Jagers charged by? Their loyalty to the Heterodynes. When she sees them afterwards she says "Iz you seriously telling me-" and Maxim replies "Dot ve found a Heterodyne?" which suggests that that was their reason for saying what they did, and that she picked up on it.


  • A minor quibble, but how did one cup of coffee in Mechanicsburg accomplish Caffeine Bullet Time when massive loads of stimulants administered in Sturmhalten(presumably, one of the Moveit formulations) didn't?
    • It's coffee from Mechanicsburg.
    • Also, the stimulants were used to keep her going on no sleep. In Mechanicsburg, she was at a baseline level of health and energy rather than about to collapse at any moment without it.
    • For all we know the stimulants did initially hit Agatha/Lucrezia like the coffee. What we see 'on camera' is the tail end of things when she's winding down.
    • But she had been known to drink tea, which is caffeinated, when not exhausted. Why didn't this happen much earlier. Of course, this would have meant - Agatha drinks tea->Agatha's mind overclocks from the caffeine->Agatha's locket forcibly throttles back her brain to suppress her Spark->Agatha gets killer headache. If that happened enough times, she probably wouldn't want to touch the stuff.
    • Plus, coffee has a fair bit more caffeine than tea.
    • As noted, not every tea has as much caffeine as coffee. And there is also Rule of Funny - "tea bullet time" just doesn't have the same ring to it.
    • The "tea" drunk may not necessarily be brewed from the leaves of Camelia Siniensis. To me, it actually seems more likely that it isn't. Opening trade routes to coffee-growing areas in Turkey or eastern Africa is probably not difficult, but getting a regular supply from the far East... probably not so much.
    • Agatha notes specifically "Lilith said a young lady shouldn't drink stimulants." Presumably, she was kept from drinking any tea deemed too powerful—either because Judy knew what effect it would have on Agatha's Spark, or she just genuinely believed that young ladies shouldn't drink stimulants.
    • After hanging around with Bill and Barry, she'd presumably seen the effect it would have on them, and decided to play it safe with Agatha.

    Infected in Paris 

  • Why is Gil (or anyone) even considering the possibility that he was infected while in Paris? Gil was onboard Castle Wulfenbach for at least several months after Klaus realized that there were other types of revenants and started testing for them? He went to the trouble of testing Du Pree but never thought that Gil was worth testing? Which is more plausible; the idea that Klaus is infected and gave Gil a false positive or the idea that Klaus never once bothered to test the second most important person in the entire empire? Additionally, Gil is highly trained and has a good deal of experience with chemistry and human anatomy and he doesn't believe that there was anything in Tarvek's formula that would kill a human. Isn't it more likely that Klaus, realizing that Du Pree was given the antidote to the wasps, poisoned her himself?
    • I'm not sure about people with an outside perspective, but Gil grew up seeing Klaus be Always Right, and his only source for Klaus being wasped is Tarvek, who he still mistrusts. He's also just now hearing this, and is in a state of some distress. I'm sure he'll see the holes in the story once he has a chance to think. (As for Dupree, the "poison" might just be more side effects from that dose.)

    Doom Bell and the record 

  • Agatha's going for two minutes after first ringing the Doom Bell without killing anybody was considered a new record. Given that the Heterodyne Boys weren't evil (unlike most of their ancestors), what happened when they first rang it?
    • Considering the emphasis on "anybody," I'm guessing they had to kill a treacherous adviser or something like that. So it was justified, but it still counted against them for the purpose of the record. Then there's the theory that they killed their own father for just being that evil, but that's WMG territory.
    • The Doom Bell might have rung with them in the middle of a fight that wasn't dispersed by ringing it.
    • After all two strips after that statement was made, Agatha killed someone. Self defence, sure, but still she kills.
    • They inherit after their mother assassinates their father and is killed in retaliation. I'd be surprised if there wasn't trouble right away.
      • It's also likely their father had ALLIES, at the least. So, doom bell rings, one of the allies draws on them, total time: One minute, fifty nine seconds.

    Violetta's light 

  • Why doesn't Violetta use or even think about using the light in her headband at the last repair sight to distract the fun sized death machines?
    • Because, as she may have mentioned once or twice, she's not good at her job.
    • And if you look at Agatha as she's doing the distracting, Agatha uses her glasses as a lens to turn a diffuse red light into something laser-pointery. Less not good at her job, more not used to thinking with science.

    Zeetha sent out 

  • Perhaps not a great mystery on a level with the others here, but a simple question: Zeetha is obviously a Very Important Person back home in Skifander. It is understandable that she is looking for a way home. But why haven't they sent anyone to look for her?
    • Because she was sent with a group of explorers who had found Skifander. They probably don't know that she can't find her way back. Besides, maybe they have, but we just haven't been introduced to them yet.
    • There have been hints dropped that Skifander isn't even on Earth. (For example, maybe Zeetha wasn't hallucinating about the expedition airship's furniture being on the ceiling.) The Skifanderians might not be able to send anyone to Europa.
    • ...How would they know she's in trouble, and do we know how long she was SUPPOSED to be gone? Heck...how do we know they DIDN'T! Zeetha just hasn't MET them!

    Stealth Revenants 

  • So, if the vast majority of people infected by slaver-wasps turn into stealth revenants, how exactly was that kept secret? You'd think people would notice that most people don't become the shambling zombie type, but they don't seem to think that wasps have a low rate of successful infection. Granted, the stealth revenants could very easily not mention seeing people get wasped, but then responding forces would notice that there's a very high number of survivors in the area. Plus, the shambling revenants apparently existed in mass quantity; if they're the minority of the infected, nearly all of Europe must be stealth revenants.
    • The stealth revenants may have been a relatively new development by the time the Other was stopped (we know that slaver wasps can be modified) — even if the vast majority of people infected by the New Type would turn into stealth revenants, the mass quantities of shambling revenants left over from the older type would still be around (also, it would make it easier for the authorities to overlook the high number of survivors — if this was towards the end of the Other War, a degree of savviness on how to fight and protect oneself against slaver wasps would have crept in).
    • The stealth revenants are there from the beginning, so they're what people expect: a load of panicking survivors, and relatively few who got caught and wasped. Remember that people don't seem to be able to tell anyone they're wasped. I'd guess the order to the stealthies is something like never speak of this, and run away from the disaster area.

    Rain and beauty is never tarnished 

  • Agatha is out in the rain for a good while during the climax of the battle. Heavy rain. Solid thunderstorm-type heavy rain. Yet, rather than looking like a wet cat and wiping her glasses all the time (and allowing the Foglio's to introduce the Victorian equivalent of a wet T-shirt), she looks none the worse for it, with her hair as springy as ever. Same applies to several others. However,hey look quite drenched when the Castle empties one of its cisterns over them in an attempt to put out a fire.

    Female Sparks 

  • What actually makes being a female Spark so much more dangerous than a male one? We know they are rare and – by Lilith’s own words – that they tend to “disappear”. I suspect that at least some of these disappearances were caused by Prince Aronev trying to find a suitable body to download Lucrezia into. But both Gil and Lilith suggested that there will be people trying to grab and control Agatha simply because she is a girl with a Spark (this is before her Heterodyne status is even brought up) and that she may “end up as someone’s property”. This is never elaborated on.
    • Women in medieval times were largely treated as property rather than people. Being a Spark just makes them valuable property—assuming, of course, someone takes control of them before they fully come into their abilities and build a fortress with a nice army to guard themselves. Gil didn't know she was the Heterodyne, so he had no idea that she had a fortress and an army just waiting for her.
    • Funny thing is that being a Heterodyne makes her even more valuable trophy, especially for people who wish to reclaim the Lighning Throne.
    • ...How do I put this delicately? You're a powerful male Spark. You have territory. You want an heir to pass that territory on to, and you want to be certain that heir has the Spark. Even if you're not a specialist in biology, you know that a child of two Sparks is more likely to have that gift than a child with only one Spark parent. And since you're a Spark, you'll probably secure your bride-to-be in some kind of Oscillating Gyro-Tower of Impenetrability or Invisible Submersible Sanctum, first to woo her and then to keep her from... coming to harm. These unfortunate ladies 'disappear' from the point of view of everybody else, but I'd be astounded if there aren't quite a few Rapunzel-types tucked away in very odd places across Europa.

    Why the headache? 
  • Why does Agatha get hit with one of her headaches in this strip? The locket had already been removed, so she should have been able to shift without any problems.
    • Whatever effects it had on her hadn't quite worn off. It's not like a lock on a door, and once it's gone the door can open. Agatha's brain had to learn it's new limits (or lack thereof) and stretch a bit. The novelization emphasizes that she was on Castle Wulfenbach for a few days, during which time not only was she steadily gaining intelligence, but her senses were opening up and improving. To put it another way, imagine a person stuffed in a suitcase for days. Once they get out, it takes them time to get back up to full strength.

    Appease the dark *WHAT*? 
  • In Lucrezia's pre-gloating checklist, one of the steps reads "appease the dark ____" (possibly "the dark one" or "the dark god"). Was Lucrezia worshipping some God of Evil or Eldritch Abomination? Did she have a Sealed Evil in a Can that she was extracting sparky secrets from?
    • I would assume it's just the Sparky version of saying your good-night prayers or saying grace before dinner.
    • It's her nickname for the squid in the sewers? Or some of the...servants...with the funky skin. Dames.

    Why wasn't Tarvek in Castle Wulfenbach? 
  • He was the heir of a Sparky ruler in Wulfenbach's domain. Why didn't Klaus take him as a hostage, as he did so many other youngsters?
    • He did. Tarvek got kicked off for prying too much into Gil's past.

    Gil's sanity post-time skip 

    Bang's memory 
  • In this update, Bang pulls a gun on Gil due to his out-of-character behaviour, demanding to know "who are you, and what have you done with Gil?" – except Bang was present when Gil admitted to having his father's personality in his head in this update.
    • It's out of character for Klaus, too, to overlook an obvious solution. But I think Bang's just gloating over having beaten Gil at his own game.
    • Everyone who sees Gil on a regular aren't sure if he's even sane any more. Bang makes several references to Gil being out of his mind. She calls him a "stark raving" madman to his face. She knows something is wrong with him, but she specifically says that she attributed his craziness with more mundane problems. She just got a hint that he isn't merely himself any more, but Bang isn't that smart and wants to know exactly what is happening from Gil's own mouth. She even smacks him when she suspects that he's about to lie to her. Plus, it seems that Klaus only takes over when Gil is doing something reckless and dangerous when making decisions about Agatha and/or the Other. Gil is in charge most of the time, so she may not have seen Gil act like his dad that often. Besides, what kind of person would jump to the conclusion that Klaus imprinted a copy of his own mind onto his son's personality. That's just crazy talk.

    How do Sparks work? 
  • Let's say a farm boy is working on a tractor when he breaks through and he turns it into a giant corn destroying clank. How would he do this? Would he just instantly gain knowledge of how robotics work out of nowhere?
    • That's a little bit unclear, but the answer seems to be "no." You need proper education to make the Spark useful. That's why all the circus Sparks were weird things like a mad baker and a mad magician and that sort of thing. The Spark grants massively increased intelligence, letting you make use of your knowledge in impossible ways, but does not just magically grant knowledge.
    • Master Payne discusses this, and says it's dangerous to try sparking without a good education; it's implied that the surviving lower-class sparks stick to the trades they already know (so your tractor kid example may well have basic smithying and mechanic's skills, but could screw up the AI or armaments) unless they can self-educate somehow. Remember a lot of young sparks manage to kill themselves.

    Upgrading the Perfect Coffee 
  • What would happen if you used the pure Dyne water from under the castle to brew the perfect coffee produced by Agatha's special coffee engine?
    • Don't know, but I'll try a cup.
    • Variant on Jagerdraught?
    • It would probably kill you. What's never explained is why one ancestor of Agatha became stronger when he drank the Dyne water and the other one exploded. It probably depends on the person.

     Agatha and House Sturmvoraus 
  • Why does Agatha keep hanging out with people in House Sturmvoraus. Every time she spends time with them something horrible happens!
    • Because her life has been so hectic since she first met that family that she hasn't had the opportunity to avoid them.
    • She fancies Tarvek and he's a really useful spark, Violetta's both friendly and helpful, Martellus initially isn't voluntary on her part and later she's surprised to meet him on the train, and Sepphie's being nice for now. Aaronev and Anevka weren't people she had any choice about, and the Knights of Jove were dealt with like the other invaders.
    • Because horrible things happen when she DOESN'T! And, they just KEEP TURNING UP. Sometimes in crashing blimps!

     The Baron's Questers 
  • Everyone treats a "quester" with the kind of fear which implies they're some mad cross between the Inquisition and the Stasi, and yet we've never actually seen one. At Beetlesburg, Sturmhalten, and Mechanicsburg, the Baron showed up himself. Maybe they're just there for flavor, but I wonder - they've got to actually show up at some point. Right? And as for time-skip, what are they doing now? Gil surely knows about them, but he doesn't seem to mention them at all, even for his intelligence operations.
    • One of them does turn up in Othar's Twitter-based adventures.

    Agatha surviving the crab-clank 
  • I might have missed something obvious here, but how does Agatha survive the crab clank that was attacking the circus? Not how the body was faked for Gil, I mean, but surviving the fight in the first place. In this and this page, it definitely looks like it was Agatha who got hit by the heat ray. And if not her, who was it? Olga seems the obvious choice but in this page it looks like she's already dead.
  • The flashback panel on this page makes it seem as if the crab clank grabbed Olga's body off the ground. The figure on the receiving end of the death ray on this page isn't holding the blaster Agatha was holding for the duration of the battle, either. The crab clank did just take a hit to it's main engine, so it was probably flailing about wildly and blasted the first thing it could get a hold of.
  • They pulled a cheat. There's a time-skip between the panels.

    Did Agatha lose the ability to control revenants? 
  • When she encountered the underground revenant population in Paris, controlling them or at least distracting them with her voice didn't even seem to occur to her. Maybe she's just subconsciously repressing it out of distaste for Mind Control, but even then, shouldn't they have automatically obeyed her shout of "Jump!"? Does this have to do with that imprinting thing Princess Anevka mentioned?
    • It seems that since Agatha isn't actually Lucrezia, that she can't control revenants who are actively obeying orders that were given previously. She had a wasp eater and Lucrezia is the one who ordered them killed. Agatha has less control other revenants than Lucrezia so they would disobey Lucrezia's orders at Agatha's say so. Perhaps they also knew that Agatha isn't The Other AND that she has The Other trapped in her head. If they did know either or both of those things, that may have made them more mentally prepared to resist a command. It may also be possible that Agatha COULD have controlled them if she was in the madness place, but she wasn't and it seems most sparks, even the strongest ones, only fall into the madness place subconsciously with maybe some limited control.
    • She didn't lose it...she just has trouble actively doing the voice on purpose. She can do it sometimes, with single orders, but not well enough that she can rely on it.

    Rank and von Zinzer 

    Agatha and Confession 
  • So this is kinda bugging me. Why did Agatha the Corbettite monk, Brother Ulm, about her past? I would understand why she wouldn't lie in during confession if she was religious, but we have no indication before that moment that that is the case. Last time she was in a religious sanctuary, the Mechanicsburg Cathedral, she seemed rather annoyed by all the ceremonial stuff, so why does she suddenly care when she gets on the train? Maybe she was just tired at the Cathedral and annoyed and she just wanted to vent her frustrations on the train, but there has to be more to it than that right? She had no real reason at the time to tell them about being the Heterodyne because she just needed to be brought to Paris, so why invite risk by telling a Brother who she was even if he was obligated to not share that information? Surely Wooster would know that people could be rejected by the monks and told Agatha about that.
    • Given both the setting and the presence of an eject button, it's entirely possible that it's commonplace for confessionals to include lie detector tech and you get booted if you aren't honest. Or she was hoping to appeal to the monk's basic decency in helping or her free her town. Or even she genuinely doesn't want to risk everyone else on the train if they're not equipped to handle the sort of pursuers she may attract.

    Dimo's Arm 
  • Who built Dimo's new arm for him during the flashback? We know Jägers don't allow themselves to be operated on by anyone other than a Heterodyne, and Agatha didn't build one before the timeskip.
  • Loophole Abuse: Dimo hasn't been healed by anyone, just fitted with a prosthetic.
    • The Jägers in Mamma Gkika's hadn't allowed themselves to have any but the simplest prosthetics added (You can see a hook on the end of an arm on one panel). Not to mention the line from the novel about injured Jägers disappearing from Wulfenbach service rather than allowing one of their sparks to put prosthetics on (Gil had been worried that they ate their injured, because they disappeared). That arm seems to be a bit more complicated than a simple loophole (There has to be some actual body interface, after all), unless Punch counts in some way and had the skills to add it.
    • Dimo is a general. The shinier the brass, the bigger the loophole.
    • Dimo is the last remaining general, and everything has gone to hell. HE NEEDS THE ARM!

    What does the Castle know? 
  • Castle Heterodyne should know what was happening inside of it when it was attacked by the Other and the portion of it that was trapped in Otilia should know what Lucrezia was up to at the time. Could the Castle be the only one to know who or what the Other is and what Lucrezia plans are?