A sequel to Captain N, and one of the few truly dramatic Sprite Comics out there — though the drama is often not as immediately apparent as the dark comedy.Alex Williams was a 22-year-old college dropout, working at the local sub shop and spending way too much time playing emulated video games (hence his grades, and hence the "dropout" part). As he puts it, "trapped by my own fear and apathy, and doomed to become another mindless drone."That was about the time something went wrong with one of Lucca's inventions in the land of Chrono Trigger, and Alex got sucked into Videoland to become the successor to one of his boyhood idols: Kevin Keene, the eponymous hero of "Captain N." The Game Master, however, was supposed to be someone pure of heart — so why a foul-mouthed, self-centered cynic?Before long, things get complicated, and fast. Interdimensional kidnappings, incarnations of Alex's five chief vices (Arrogance, Hatred, Cynicism, Hypocrisy, and Apathy) trying to save him from a Fate Worse Than Death (by killing him, of course), a "Great Change" that occurred years before, a mysterious zombie, nested flashbacks, and repeated hints that one of the most important people involved in the goings-on may, in fact, be Alex's old baby-sitter.Definitely worth a read, even if you're not familiar with any of the source material. Available through this link.
This webcomic contains examples of:
A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Whoops, it turns out those little sprites we made to entertain our children actually have lives. Some want revenge for their stories putting them through hell.
And That's Terrible: Lampshaded and discussed by Kefka when he realizes that one of the heroes telling him he's sunk to a new low by holding a little girl hostage is Cyan. He's rather peeved by the idea that his latest action somehow overshadows what he did at Doma.
Awesome, but Impractical: Originally, the Super Scope could only take 4 shots. Then Alex found the D Cells. It remains here because despite that, its huge range, damage potential, and area of effect makes it hard to spam without accidentally destroying your allies/innocent bystanders/people you're trying to capture/things you don't want destroyed.
Awesome Yet Practical: Inside an RPG battle realm, those problems disappear: Only combatants on both sides are in the created battle zone, so you only have to worry about guys who have inherent invulnerability or guys that can temporarily exit the battlefield. Two RPG end bosses that previously were unbeatable due to hostages they held were defeated when Alex simply declared combat had begun, and was free to use the gun.
Even better, they simultaneously play the badasses they are with the 80s cliches they're also supposed to be.
Alex: Christ, why did you even need a Game Master?
Batman Gambit: Pulled off by Dr.Light of all people! Dr.Light suggested to Mike Haggar to select Dr.Wily as running mate, knowing that Haggar will make an excellent face for president, and Wily will take every advantage and undermine their opponents. Should Haggar become president, he'd have no idea how to actually run things and screw everything up, forcing Wily to do everything he can to fix his mess, because Proto Man swore to go after him should he suspect anything is amiss. This forces Wily to not only stay out in the open in Nexus and run as efficent a government as he can, he'll also be too busy to plot any schemes. However, all this is just a bonus. The real reason why Light needed Wily to stay in Nexus? Light had been touched by the Sovereign, and needed someone he can trust to help him on the day the Game Master finally arrives, as he can no longer trust his own judgement and knows that its in Wily's best interest to destroy the Sovereign at any cost.
Just before Locke and Celes' wedding, the rings go missing. Locke freaks out as a result and says, among other things, "I hope Celes is merciful when she kills me." The rings are found and the ceremony itself goes on without a hitch, but 23 strips later..., well... She considered it an act of mercy, and figured he would be sent to what was left of the Warp Zone of Oblivion, though to everyone else in the room, it looked like she killed him. As it turns out, he appears to have been sent to the black space room in the Desert of Shattered Dreams.
Best Her to Bed Her: Cid's wife, as punishment for her treason, was placed under a geas to marry the man who beats her in combat (considering she is an man-hatingAction Girl, this was supposed to be a punishment but it gave her plenty of opportunity to beat up sexist men without repercussion). Cid beat her through trickery.
Better to Die than Be Killed: Spencer/The Bionic Commando didn't try to stop Pre-Great Change Max Force and the Power Team (whom is composed of a bunch of Super Zeroes) from fighting opponents way out of their league, because it would be better for them to die for their ideals than face the Sovereign of Sorrow.
Seeing as how Max became Touched... that didn't work out so hot.
Beware the Silly Ones: In spades. In particular, beware anyone with 'Wizard' as part of their name. Eggplant magic and puzzle magic are still magic.
Or is named Mario. Even Vegeta knows not to mess with Mario.
Monkeyspank is a cutesy and annoying entity. He's also working to end the whole of existence by waking the Sovereign.
Kefka gets this all over again. He gets killed in one attack - repeatedly - and it looks like he's not a threat anymore. Then he takes the Reality Warper little girl hostage... Worse yet, he turned out to be immune to the Sovereign's touch, and intended to bring the same devastation he brought upon the World of Ruin onto the rest of Videoland. It seems that Celes managed to foil his plans though.
BFG: The Super Scope Mark VI, the B'est F'ing G of all, bar none, at least in the history of Videoland.
Big Bad: The Sovereign of Sorrow. Also possibly Gato.
Blocking Stops All Damage: Early on Luca had to deal with a Metool that harmlessly bounced off a shot from the Wondershot with its helmet. Too bad it didn't see Alex's Super Scope blast coming. Oddly the hat survived.
The cat uses both the helmet and a belt from Yang in its strategy against Kain. He completely shutdown his offensive line and scratched away at his health for what was probably hours.
Bowdlerise: Invoked with the Nintendo Censorship Angel.
And before that, Alex's Hatred (of Coffee/stupid people) tells Alex he's "just lucky [he] left the donkey at home" here. One could easily pass it off as just one of his ridiculous coffee-related jokes, if not for the result of Bob's transformation almost one hundred strips later after accidentally "Consume"-ing Hatred...
Body Double: In a humorous inversion of the trope's use in Final Fantasy VI, the opera singer Maria is planned to be used as a decoy for Celes for her wedding, just in case of kidnappers.
Played straight when Daos attempts to mind read Alex to find his worst fear, and finds it's Evil Otto. He however, can't believe that a flashing yellow smiley face could possibly be someone's worse fear and assumes it's some sort of mental defense.
"Caught With His Pants Off" was the description Rock received, regarding the coming of the Second Game Master.
Which is a very accurate description, to be fair. Alex has spent a very large amount of the comic running around video-game land sans coat, shoes, and pants. (He still had a T-shirt and boxer shorts, though.)
Cosmic Horror Story: From the view point of the people of Videoland at least. Videoland exists because it's a collection of video games that the powers that be created as a form of entertainment. Those touched by the Sovereign are made aware of the truth, and are filled with despair as they realize that their entire existence is completely and utterly meaningless, and will slowly but surely drown in it.
Crapsack World: Let's face it, since the Sovereign of Sorrow hit, Videoland has become a corrupt den of selfishness, assholery, and corruption. Having the Sovereign obliterate the place is starting to look less like genocide and more like putting them out of their misery.
This is her actual motivation: mercy-killing all that lives.
In #749, #750, and #751, Kefka immediately gets taken out by Locke in a single round — seven times — due to a combination of Villain Forgot to Level Grind (after the first time is a bit forgivable, seeing as how he was dead, and after the second time, he gets killed by Locke... before anyone else has a chance to have a turn) and Alex abusing Relm's sketch bug to obtain duplicates of rare (possibily one-only) equipment.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: Anyone actively serving the Sovereign is this, being fully away of the nature of their world. With increasing experience, though, Alex often surpasses them.
End of an Age: Mother Brain caused it by drawing Omega energy out of Kevin Keene, and using it to kill Duke. This marked the first time anyone in Videoland had ever died, and the loss of that world's innocence.
Enemy Mine: Samus Aran and Golbez, in spite of their initial antagonism, agree to work together against the Monkeyspank virus.
Facepalm: Alex upon realising that the book he got some time ago (of which he only read one page) is the manual that just might answer some of his questions about, among others, the Sovereign of Sorrow. Part of the problem is that he was Wrong Genre Savvy, having found the book in an RPG world, and assumed that the book only had one page. His companions at the time reinforced this notion, finding the notion of a 24-page book astonishing.
Protoman gets one himself in #731, when he finally dawned on him that Dr.Wily never discovered Omega Energy, that he was lying and taking credit for it the entire time. Meaning the entire time, they actually had no idea whom had discovered Omega Energy and revealed it Dr.Wily.
Fantastic Racism: RPG sprites aren't well liked in Nexus, to the point where their natural behaviors are considered a psychological disorder. This is also because RPG Sprites have the ability to grow and develop, whereas most other sprites remain static.
Fisher King: whatever impressions the Gamemaster held of Videoland's citizens before entering it seem to become true.
Not only this, but it's based on his videogames. Meaning, for instance, that if he got a whole bunch of items, the protagonists still have them. Cue "Alex has no life" joke.
Flaw Exploitation: Well, at least character exploitation: Edward left paralyzed Cecil trapped on a battlefield with Kappa the Imp to find Kain and bring him back to finish Cecil off, taking advantage of the fact that even if Paralysis will wear off in the meantime, Cecil, as a paladin, can't simply kill innocent Kappa to end battle.
Foregone Conclusion: To the first war against the Sovereign of Sorrow anyways. Everyone knows the events that occured during the war and characters frequently make comments about it expecting everyone to know what they're talking about. Everyone but the readers that is.
Alex: So this thing is made by Dr. Light, huh? Well that's good news, at least. If there's anyone in Videoland I can trust, it's—
Alex: Maybe I should rethink that...
Fridge Logic: An in-universe example. Characters who are touched may begin to notice some of the inconsistencies of the world they inhabit.
From Bad to Worse: Pretty much everything that's happened at least since Alex got arrested, the most recent being Mega Man dying and Roll going all Sorrow-plooey. And said Sorrow Wave is strong enough that it touched everyone in Nexus, except Alex.
Has managed to reverse itself with Mega Man reviving, him and Alex defeating the Sinistral, and the Gate being repaired, though at a cost.
It's even worse now for the Captain. Mega Man and Bass just heard him refuse to save Roll (He has good psychological reasons why! The remains of the gate reminded him of Evil Otto...an unstoppable, smiley-faced killing machine, for the uninitiated...being out there). This will end with Pain...and Alex being Jailed.
Goggles Do Something Unusual: One of the Game Master's artifacts is a pair of goggles that are supposed to protect him from reality changes between worlds, and give him an automatic Libra, i.e. extensively detailed information, on anyone he looks at with them on. Unfortunately for him, the goggles were stolen away before he even knew that they existed.
Gone Horribly Right: Mother Brain wanted to use the Omega Energy to end her constant cycle of defeat at the hands of Captain N. The cycle stopped, alright.
Dr. Wily ran as Haggar's running mate to try and take control of Nexus and run things behind the scenes. Unfortunately, after they got elected, Hagar started doing random things like abolishing taxes, appointing wrestlers to governmental positions and getting involved in expensive and pointless wars based off of obviously fraudulent testimony. Wily had to spend four years running things behind the scenes in order to control the damage he himself was not causing. And he couldn't cut and run because Blues would track him down and force him to listen to Garth Brooks.
Gone Horribly Wrong: All his attempts at invading people's minds has gotten Eggplant Wizard beaten up.
Hopeless Boss Fight: Kain VS Schrödinger The Cat. Schrödinger possesses not only Mets Hat which prevents all damage, but also the Black Belt which allows it to counter attack for 1 damage. Despite Kain being at Lv99, theres virtually nothing he can do, and he's being slowly being taken down via Death of a Thousand Cuts. Kain can't even run away, as Schrödinger is considered a Boss character.
Humans Are Cthulhu: The Creators (us) are responsible for the creation of all the worlds of Videoland, and Captain N was a mighty hero, but he also brought Omega energy into Videoland, allowing sprites to be Killed Off for Real for the first time in its history. Also consider the revelation behind Spoony's Start of Darkness in which he realized that the death of the woman he loved happened because the Creators decided to kill her for narrative impact.
I Just Want to Be Normal: Despite being touched by the Sovereign and knowing the truth, Erim just wants to live a normal life as Lufia rather than serve the Sovereign or continue her duties as the Sinistral of Death..
Infinite 1-Ups: Nexus's PLIF Building provides life insurance coverage to the residents of Nexus in the form of 1-Ups, whereas government officials like Mega Man are given an infinite stream of 1-Ups. This allows Mega Man to fight an opponent whom is completely out of his league (ie: a physical god like Amon) by getting a few hits in, dying, immediately respawning and continue the battle and hopefully win via Death of a Thousand Cuts. Of course, when the PLIF Building got destroyed and the residents were left with their own personal reserves...
Infinity+1 Sword: The Masamune is a sword passed down from generation after generation of heroes and radiates in the power of Hope, which is the opposing power of the power of Sorrow and the only known counter of the Sovereign of Sorrow's power. The Masamune may be multi-versal, as its implied Frog and Edge's Masamune's are one and the same.
Invocation: Every time someone of sufficient power casts magic, the spell is accompanied by an impressive invocation. Unless the caster has SPS, of course.
Knight in Shining Armor: Despite how after the Great Change, the residents of Videoland became much more cynical, Frog remained just as idealistic as to be expected from this trope. Not surprising considering the weapon he wields. Look above at Infinity+1 Sword for more information.
In an Omake arc, Alex learned to be a lawyer by "hitting the books", which meant attacking them RPG style, learning skills like "You learned 'Subpoena'." One of the characters in that particular strip thought it was quite lame, to say nothing of Alex being far too literal-minded in this case.
Eggplant Wizard has a non-stop barrage of puns. Alex constantly wants to beat him senseless for this.
Kefka: Did... Did she just out-crazy me?!? Love is fucked up.
Malcolm Xerox: Despite the name and coloration, Braveshroom has several elements of this, to the extend of using modified versions of Malcolm X's speeches to rouse the Goombas and Toads to fight back against koopa and mammal oppression.
Mega Crossover: In addition to the whole of Nintendo's properties (par for the course as a Captain N sequel), it also takes The Power Team as canon.
The Messiah: To many people in Videoland, the Game Master (like Captain N) is seen as one, being summoned forth by The Creator via the Ultimate Warp Zone to save Videoland in its darkest hour. Alex on the other hand... the big question isn't whether or not he's a messiah, its to whom he's a messiah for.
Mind Hug: The return of Mega Man's Captain N persona caused a wave of pure hope that overrode Roll's wave of Sorrow. In addition, Narrator!Alex says that Hope is one of the two great corrupting forces, alongside Sorrow.
Mind Probe: Eggplant Wizard attempts one on Samus Aran. Subverted hillariously due to a tiny kink in Eggplant Wizard's plans, as instead, Samus broke Eggplant Wizard, by merely silently staring at him:
Alex: When trying to extract information using mental effects, make sure you have the stronger will.
Mind Rape: People touched by the Sovereign of Sorrow are changed, some broken, some empowered and turned into her followers. While Magus is not quite capable of Mind Rapes of her magnitude, he does ream Max Force's mind right before meeting the Sovereign. Additionally, whatever Daos did to Sailor Mercury doesn't look very pleasant either.
Golbez does one to Eggplant Wizard in #687. Note that Eggplant Wizard was in the middle of his own Mind Probe on Golbez.
Nightmare Fuel: "Row Row Row Your Boat" is this in-universe. In Real Life, a cheery little tune sung by children. But to the inhabitants of Videoland, it's a nightmarish dirge about the unreality and futility of their existence.
Similarly, when Magus blows up the seventh castle, Bowser swears revenge for everyone who was lost in the castle, only to find out it was pretty much abandoned for various reasons. The only remaining occupant was supposedly Elwin the Boo janitor, who was already dead and cannot be harmed by most forms of attack anyway It is never explained what happened to the Mushroom retainer, though given Larry's attitude toward the family business, he probably just set him free when he left.
Noodle Implements: Dramatic variant, if you can believe that. Apparently, if Alex gets a deck of cards at this point, he'll be unstoppable. Why a deck of cards? Who knows?
Eventually explained: The D-Cells charge off of C-Waves; Competition energy. Having a deck of cards around would let Alex start a competition by playing a game with whoever.
Not-So-Harmless Villain: Originally just an annoying goof, Eggplant Wizard has developed some nasty abilities since the original show. He's still an annoying goof.
During the Final Fantasy VI arc, Kefka doesn't pose much of a threat at first... until he tells a little girl her mother doesn't love her.
Not So Invincible After All: Never, ever, EVER utter the words "I", "am", and "invincible" consecutively under ANY circumstances if you are a character in this comic. Don't even correct someone else mangling the phrase. Don't repeat that someone else said it. Just don't say it. Bad things will happen. More specifically, if you're in the world of Final Fantasy IV, the bad thing will be a treasure box from the Treasure Room of Destiny falling on your head.
One Steve Limit: Invoked in #704 when Alex learns that Kevin Keen and Princess Lana had a daughter named Hope, as Hope Keene was the name of his babysitter when he was a kid. And parodied in the same strip when Protoman points out that Hope is as common a name for girls as Alex is for boys, and that he isn't connected to every Alex in existence. However, it should be noted Alex often named his characters after himself and his friends. So, it may not be as big a coincidence as it seems at first.
Ontological Mystery: Slowly accumulating. The most concrete thing we know for certain is that the Game Master influences Videoland unconsciously, as first shown by the 99 Excaliburs.
Our second clue is that the whole Videoland universe seems to be sentient on some level; and malevolent, at least towards the Game Master.
Our Presidents Are Different: Haggar is President Action, while Ronnie was, at one point at least, President Target. Dr. Wily planned to be Vice-President Evil, but the combination of Haggar's stupidity and Blues's threats stopped that as soon as he became Haggar's VP.
Pity the Kidnapper: Samus implants a chip in Eggplant Wizard to keep him from acting against her or making veggiepuns. He still manages to be incredibly annoying, due to being too stupid to learn from the repeated shocks from the chip.
Golbez: All the pity I have to give is yours.
Plot Threads: At this point it's hard to tell exactly how many concurrent plotlines there are in this comic. Lampshaded in "The Ass Episode", and even this isn't an exhaustive list of the series' plot threads.
The Power of Love: Uhhhh....we're not sure if this a straight example, an inversion, a subversion, or an aversion of some combonation of all 4.
It does succeed against a lawyer of a non-existent corporation in one of the omakes, though.
In an omake, the mere act of granting Alex pants defeats the Sovereign in a Puff of Logic. Apparently, she is the embodiment of the sorrow of Alex's lack of pants.
Rainbow Speak: Sprites who have been Touched speak in a purple font.
Reality Warper: Alex's Cynicism can alter reality to make events more ironic, the Sovereign can do this on a massive scale, and anyone who says 'I am Invincible' gets smacked for their hubris, even if they are correcting someone or just reciting a story where that happens. That last one is believed to be directed by some sort of consciousness.
The consciousness of the world itself, no less.
Anyone who is Sorrow-Touched seems to be capable of this to some degree or another, including Lucca and the Little Girl in the FFVI world.
In #337 Lucca provides Crono one of her inventions, the Reality Stabilization Belt, which allows the user to carry over their world's gameplay mechanics to another game world. In the world of Final Fantasy IV, this gave him the ability to fight on the overworld. To the people of that game world, Crono's actions are the equivilent of a cutscene, as normal combat takes place in another dimension as a random encounter screen. This makes Crono a killing god, as very few people in that world are capable of defending themselves on the overworld.
Schrödinger's Gun: Invoked in this strip. Laterstrips indicate that the Sovereign of Sorrow's ability to alter the past is dependant on this trope; it seems that she can't alter the established events from the past, but she can fill in the blanks.
Series Hiatus: A lot of real life got in the way. To keep things stupid fresh, the author turned this into an omake storyline. Though since February 21st, the comic is being updated once again regurarly.
Sliding Scaleof Idealism Versus Cynicism: Prior to the Great Change, Videoland was very idealistic, where The Power of Friendship will always triumph over evil. Post-Great Change, Videoland have become much more cynical, the previous idealism disappearing. A great example of this is Mega Man, with his blue and green halves of his personalities representing cynicism and idealism.
Subverted: Alex wants to know why the Queen is so interested in Alex's pants, to the point where he wants an explanation before putting them on. When pointing out that his pants can wait and that nothing would happen in between him getting an explanation and putting on his pants, Protoman promptly shoves his blaster in Alex's face to keep him from finishing that sentence. Protoman knows how this works (from personal experience.)
This strip includes several examples, as Alex realizes too late that he just said something he shouldn't have, while a Star TrekRed Shirt lectures an Imperial Stormtrooper on the trope, saying that it's directly responsible for the high mortality rate among red shirt-wearing crew members: the shirts had fate-tempting messages built into them.
Too Dumb to Live: Zeromus makes stupid coffee puns all the damn time. He also falls for the "look behind you" trick no less than 3 times. He only survived the plasma cannon to his back by being invulnerable. However, his stupidity is justifed, because he is the embodiment of Alex's hatred, specifically, what he hates the most. This happens to be stupid people.
Molly has shades of this, reflecting her status as a Perpetual Victim in the Sailor Moon show. When Alex passes her a note with instruction, she not only doesn't read it, she's even unaware that she's holding it. When she has an opportunity to flee, she wants to properly thank Alex first. Then there are the Sailor Scouts who show up to challenge the Sinistrals just as Alex managed to talk them into leaving, position themselves smack dab in his line of fire, and get belligerent when he tries repeatedly to get them away from there. And Boogerman manages to blow an almost successful attempt to bluff the Sinistrals, by loudly explaining the whole gambit.
In fairness, it's appearing as if this version of the "Scouts" and Molly are the DiC dub versions, crossed with their Another Story versions. So the vast majority of stupidity likely comes from their dub versions.
Too Kinky to Torture: Kefka, unlike the rest of the cast of Final Fantasy VI, is immune to the Sovereign of Sorrow's power (Due to being a nihilist whose worldview has just been proven absolutely right). Everyone else is utterly bewildered at this.
Only two other characters showcase this ability, Green Mega Man (who's got the Warp Zone of Life flowing through him), and Cecil (a paladin of impeccable nobility).
Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: Conversed in-universe: two guards assigned to Alex's prison cell in the flashback constantly argue whether U.S.S. Enterprise or Death Star would win in a fight. Simultaneously parodied and sort-of justified in that the guards in question happen to be a Red Shirt and an Imperial Stormtrooper. When Alex finally manages to escape from his cell and trap his guards in it he goes out of his way to settle their argument by taunting them that Tiger's Claw would own them both.
Un Evil Laugh: The Drab Lord's got this all over him. Just look at the damn page quote for the trope.
Villainous Breakdown: Mother Brain after failing to kill Lana during her final battle with the N-Team. This makes her fall into Stupid Evil territory when - already defeated and surrounded by heroes - she kills Duke. Needless to say, it backfired on her.
Villainesses Want Heroes: During Alex having a tournament between every female character that's made an appearance in the webcomic, the only one that is interested in him is Erim, and she casually murders everyone else in the same round as her for getting her way, not caring that she's the only one interested in Alex. Understandably, he's rather frightened by her.
Wanting Is Better Than Having: Edgar is pissed that Locke keeps taking down Kefka, so Locke agrees to wait and let him take his turn. Edgar takes Kefka down in one hit, and is soundly disappointed.
Celes gets a big one from her companions as well, after trying to protect Locke from The End of the World as We Know It by using the Vanish/X-Zone trick to cast him into the void, which is actually connected to other parts of Videoland. She knew that this would give him an opportunity to survive because she's Touched but to everyone else, it looked like she murdered him for no reason.
What Year Is This?: Done in a very interesting way to show the disconnect between Alex and his captor. Starts here, goes on for about 6 strips excluding the omake.
Wild Mass Guessing: Anything remotely having to do with Schrödinger. Even Game Masters fear him.
Not to mention how much of Darth Vader's life from the movies is canon.
Actually, she started out as a Shonen-ai fangirl and thought of the sexual content of Yaoi as "icky". She suffered a BSOD after Alex went along with her idea to write a shonen-ai, but cast Strago (her adoptive grandfather!) as one of the main characters. Ironically, she was a full Yaoi fangirl in her next cameo.