is a webcomic
done by Peter Haynes and Nathaniel Savio. The webcomic combines Space Opera
, Improbably Female Cast
, Girls Love
, and War Is Hell
Humanity on Earth and its colonies has undergone a plague that has killed off the vast, vast majority of men
thus humanity's armed forces are now entirely women. Concurrently, the colonies have been rebelling against Earth. The Terran Navy has sent one of their more minor resources—the aptly named and obsolescent carrier Outcast
—to deal with an uprising on the Risae asteroid belt.
But even aboard the Outcast the Icebreaker flight squad stands out as a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits
, both poorly trained and untested. Unfortunately, it looks like Icebreaker squad will be the ones called upon to be the heroes. They include:
- Sasha "Hammer" Carelli (Hometown: New York City): Squad Commander. Daughter of a decorated Terran Navy pilot.
- Franchesca "Kid" Martines (Mariot, France): The Ingenue, probably the ship's most naturally-gifted pilot. Sensitive and idealistic to a fault.
- Juanita "Quetzalcoatl (Quetz)" Valdez, (Mexico City): Hammer's wingman. Squad' s best pilot. Not Good with People
- Mary "Whiskey" O'Riley (Limerick, Ireland): Walking Irish stereotype. (Which she intentionally plays up). Would probably be the team's "Heart", if Kid weren't around
- Mitsabi "Bubblegum" Kiseko (Kyoto, Japan): Less emotionally stable than Kid. Fancies herself a detective. Based on the author's wife.
- Rebecca "Loser" Bradley (Rural Kansas, USA): Hammer's best friend, habitual brig occupant.
In 2011 the strip went on hiatus
with a single update in June 2013. In May 2014 it abruptly began updating again, with no explanation offered.
- Aborted Declaration of Love: Hammer considers telling Kid how she feels when choosing to stay behind on the Ellie Arroway, but chickens out at the last moment.
- Absolute Cleavage: Hammer's zipper keeps riding lower and lower during her escape attempt from the Ellie Arroway
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Subverted by the sexbot Lance, who after sustaining physical damage appears to have gone rogue, but in fact continues to function perfectly safe. Also inverted and lampshaded when Whiskey out of the blue bludgeons the nice pastor who was sent to guard her.
Lance: This is why I find it amusing that people worry about robots going crazy...
- Air-Vent Passageway: Loser uses one when they attempt to "rescue" Quetz
- All There in the Manual: Angels2200 Handbook
- Amazon Brigade: The entire military, both terran and colonial, is female.
- An Arm and a Leg: After Hammer is captured, the mother of a little boy who died on the Ellie Arroway tells her she's going to make Hammer suffer one day for every day he lived. They start by cutting off her hand.
- Art Evolution
- Artificial Limbs: Both Pronto and Toat sport cybernetic prostheses.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Kid shows some of these traits in the early strips.
- Author Appeal: The plague appears to have killed off not just the men but any woman who isn't thin and at least moderately attractive.
- Back from the Dead: Hammer.
- Berserker Tears: Whiskey , after she accidentally kills Loser
- Big Damn Heroes: During the final battle, Whiskey attempts this, only to have it go horribly wrong .
- Bilingual Bonus: When Kid is speaking French during the Icebreakers' attempt to "rescue" Quetz. Also during Bubblegum's outburst after the West Side Story play.
- Break the Haughty: Whiskey tries this on Quetz.
- British Stuffiness: Greykat
- Can Not Spit It Out: Hammer in regards to her feelings for Kid.
- Canon Immigrant: Quite a few ideas and details from the role playing game that fans held on the comic's forum were integrated into the story
- The Captain: Robin
- The Casanova: Whiskey
- Censor Steam: plenty of shower sequences.
- Child Soldiers: Used by the colonials.
- Code Name: All of the icebreakers receive ironic, sarcastic, or sardonic call signs. It does not help them bond as a team.
- Conspicuous CG: For the space scenes and many backgrounds. Averted in later strips, where CG and drawn images blend extremely well.
- Cosplay Otaku Girl: Bubblegum who's a huge fan of detective stories.
- Cross Player: Whiskey's online avatar is male.
- Curse Cut Short: Quite often when the F Bomb is about to be dropped, particularly in one Shout-Out to Die Hard.
- Darker and Edgier: The comic becomes this progressively. While never a comedy, the first two chapters were considerably lighter. From chapter 3 on the comic took on a darker and darker turn, with the second half of chapter four being one huge Wham Episode.
- Data Pad: Two different versions are shown: A security guard accesses the ship's message system with one and the pilots carry something called "Jmlad" that functions as a personal organizer and storage device.
- Disappeared Dad: Most of the cast's fathers are dead. Whiskey claims her father somehow survived and then abandoned his family, but circumstances imply it may have been an act.
- Dropped A Bridge On Her: Most of Corona Squad except Scimitar, perishes almost instantly as a result of debris when the Outcast is hit by a Wave Motion Gun. Loser is accidentally killed by Whiskey.
- Drunken Song: A specialty of Whiskey.
- Dysfunction Junction
- Exact Words: Lance, despite being unable to lie, is able to avoid compromising his having assumed Loser's identity because the captain is asking for her specifically. When the captain asks the occupant of his/Loser's vac suit to respond, he's found out.
- Expanded Universe: Quite possibly the first webcomic that got turned into a movie
- Eyepatch of Power: Pronto
- Face-Heel Turn: Bubblegum
- Fanservice: Lampshaded in an early comic. Franchesca runs into a briefing with her uniform... undone in particular areas. One of the crew quips about a sudden desire for cheesecake.
- Fiery Redhead: Whiskey
- Filler Strip: Originally was updated three times a week, with one day containing filler art (often Fan-Art).
- Five Woman Band
- Food Fight: Followed by a Hurricane of Puns
- Funetik Aksent: Kid. She even writes letters this way!
- The Future
- Gendercide: The genetic plague kills 99% of Earth's men.
- Gender Rarity Value: The Colonials appear to be type 1 society, the Terrans appear to be a type 2
- Genius Ditz: Kid with piloting.
- Genre Savvy: Robin and the rebel leader.
- Ghost Ship: The Ellie Arroway
- Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Whiskey and Smiley are known to feel this way.
- Girls Love
- Godiva Hair: In some Shower Scenes.
- Good Angel, Bad Angel: during Whiskey's and Kid's dinner of seduction
- Good Cop/Bad Cop: The captured rebel asks if Pronto is the "bad cop" after Bubblegum is found out, but then she states that she's the "honest cop".
- Gratuitous French: Kid
- Grey and Gray Morality: Neither the Terrans' nor the Colonials' cause is portrayed as more justified, and both sides perform questionable actions to further the war effort. The pilots are more concerned about staying alive and protecting their friends than whether their mission is right or wrong.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: The military police on the Outcast is dangerously incompetent most of the time.
- Guest Strip: contains guest art by the artists of No Need for Bushido and Alpha Shade, as well as in the form of ascended Fan-Art
- Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Whiskey
- Headbutting Heroes: Quetz and Whiskey as well as Quetz and Hammer.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Hammer staying back and performing a distraction to allow the rest of the squad to escape from the Ellie Arroway
- Hit You So Hard Your X Will Feel It: Whiskey to Kid's younger sister, after she insists on coming with them to rescue Hammer.
- Hope Spot: After helping her squadmates escape the Ellie Arroway, Hammer tries to escape, too, but learns that the enemy sabotaged the ships the Icebreakers used in order to get in.
- Improbably Female Cast: Justified in the aspect of nearly all men being killed by The Plague.
- Innocent Fanservice Girl: Kid
- Intoxication Ensues: When Kid gets sedated in the medical wing.
- Ironic Echo: Quetz tells Kid "Cheerleading tryouts are down the hall" when she oversleeps and rushes into her first meeting late. This is later repeated on Quetz herself after she takes over as squad leader after Whiskey tampers with her alarm.
- Kissing Under the Influence: Loser and Whiskey.
- Klingon Promotion: How Quetz takes over the Icebreakers.
- Lady Land: The Plague runs rampant and kills off nearly all human males, and the women are left to pick up the pieces.
- Lingerie Scene: Several.
- Modern Major General: Bubblegum is the worst pilot on the Icebreakers, but is reasonably talented in other fields, like investigation.
- Moral Myopia: The rebels torturing Hammer for the death of of a child, even though it looked they were bringing him along on a suicide mission. Subverted when we find out that the Ellie Arroway was intending to broadcast a pirate signal exposing Earth's Goverment's role in creating and spreading The Plague, then surrender or run for it.
- Multinational Team: Most of the squads.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Whiskey, after Loser's death at her hands.
- Na´ve Newcomer: Kid
- (Code)Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Quetz is short for Quetzalcoatl, which is a fair summation of her personality.
- The Neidermeyer: Quetz when she takes leadership of the squad.
- New Meat: Everyone in the Icebreaker Squad.
- Noodle Incident: The "sexual exploits" Whiskey is talking to Pastor Sullivan about are never explained, which is probably for the better...
Pastor Sullivan: Well...how...very...athletic... Of the...five of you... And the sheep...
Whiskey: You think that's good, you should hear what we did after breakfast.
- No One Gets Left Behind: When Whiskey tries to pull a I Will Only Slow You Down after being shot on the Ellie Arroway
- Nothing Up My Sleeve: Captain Kurosawa, while being confronted by Toat, hides a pistol in her sleeve. Toat later takes command of the bridge at gunpoint at a crucial point in the last battle of the first part, but after Loser's death distracts her for a moment, Kurosawa manages to shoot the gun out of her hand and send her to the brig.
- Oblivious to Love / Everyone Can See It: Unlike pretty much the entire rest of the ship's crew, Kid had no idea about Hammer's feelings towards her until way too late.
- Old-School Dogfight
- Old Soldier: Pronto
- One-Gender Race: Humanity itself. Well, almost. The numbers involved are very uneven, but there are still men around.
- Orphaned Series: Has been on the edge of this status since at least 2011, but keeps showing the occasional erratic flicker of life.
- Our Wormholes Are Different: FTL travel is done by the means of Jump Gates.
- Permission to Speak Freely: Hammer asks it before criticizing the captain's approach to training them. The Captain says yes, but rejects the criticism.
- Pet the Dog: Quetz gets a few such moments, especially when adopting a kitten.
- Platonic Prostitution: The sexbot Lance is used for just about anything. Except sex.
- Portal Network: Jump Gates are used for interplanetary travel.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Icebreakers, largely the result of them having implied to have been drafted.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Investigator Toat. It's only one of her eyes and it's a cybernetic prosthesis, but still...
- Reality Ensues: A half dozen conscripted 18-19 year olds do not merely rise to the occasion and become crack fighter pilots. Any successes they achieve are arguably because the enemy is similarly poorly trained.
- Sensor Suspense: When Whiskey's motion detector goes off on the supposedly derelict Ellie Arroway.
- Sexbot: Lance, but no one wants to use him.
- Shout-Out: Star Wars and Star Trek mainly but lots of others.
- The Icebreakers' early flight and combat training heavily references Top Gun.
- The Ellie Arroway is named after the main character in Carl Sagan's Contact.
- Megatokyo: Kid is seen wearing a "I.A.C." T-shirt, one scene has a "Capture the Bear" poster in the background and Ping and Miho are shown briefly as members of the bridge crew.
- The little boy on the Ellie Arroway wears a It's Walky! T-shirt.
- Blind Cho Sake
- The ship's message system closely resembles the forum that could be found on the comic's website at the time the particular strip was created. Most of the user names shown on screen in the comic are slight modification of user names of regular posters on the real-life forum at the time.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Whiskey in Transmission 2
- Shower Scene: Lots!
- Situational Sexuality: Due to the Improbably Female Cast, the options for romance are rather limited. Lampshaded by the pastor who is sent to guard Whiskey in the brig:
Pastor Sullivan: It's not like you girls have a lot of choice.
- Smoking Is Cool: Hammer. Bubblegum tries to smoke but only manages to make herself sick.
- Space Navy: The aptly named Terran Navy.
- Space Opera
- State Sec: The terran Office of Special Investigations (OSI).
- Symbol Swearing
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Quetz and Whiskey often get on the rest of the squad's nerves (particularly each other's).
- The Spartan Way: Fighter pilots aren't given much training before doing practice dogfights.
- This Is Gonna Suck used word for word by the captain
- Team Mom: Pronto
- Theme Naming: For the sexbots: Lance, Dick, Roger and the Asian model, Wang.
- Three-Laws Compliant: The sexbots.
- Unequal Pairing: Kid and Hammer, the implications of which are explored on several occasions (notably when Hammer has to dress down Kid for hesitating in battle, which nearly costs Bubblegum her life).
- Vomit Discretion Shot: Quetz pukes off-screen.
- The War of Earthly Aggression: The comic milks the "morally ambiguous" version of this trope for all it is worth: the Terrans have a State Sec and use biological warfare; The Colonials use Child Soldiers as kamikazes and torture their prisoners. On balance the Terrans come out slightly on top, since most of their viewpoint characters are noble warrior types whereas the Colonials' commander tends to do Magnificent Bastard things like deliberately sacrificing his own troops as bait.
- War Is Hell: The entire plot is pretty much build around this.
- Wave Motion Gun: Ship to ship combat seems to consist of capital ships firing their particle beams, powerful laser cannons that can blow right through another ship, at one another, then letting the fighters duke it out while they wait for the beams to recharge.
Kid: Ze particle beam?
Quetz: Jesus, Kid, have we been riding in the same ship the past few months? It's the big honkin' boomstick at the front!!!
- Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Most of the helmet designs.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Whiskey gets one from Loser for going too far in seeking vengeance against Quetz, and another from Pronto for accidentally killing Loser
- Will Not Tell a Lie: Lance's programming prevents him from actively deceiving members of the crew.
- Will They or Won't They?: Kid/Hammer, again.
- Wronski Feint: Greykat uses some of the ship's external structure for this, in her duel against Quetz.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Loser has pink hair and Sprout has green hair