Exterminatus Now is what happens when you mix Sonic the Hedgehog, Warhammer 40,000, and a truckload of Black Comedy.Yes, seriously. See for yourself.This webcomic is the story of two members of the Mobian Inquisition, a parodical version of theInquisition of Warhammer 40000, and their two mercenaries, and together make a group who remain living and employed only by luck, blackmail, and occasional violence, along with their superiors, alternate numbers, associates, and foes.The comic alternates between a gag a day style and full blown Story Arcs. It began on the 29th of September 2003, and has been ongoing ever since.Its also somewhat unique in the web comic world by being made by four different people, Alan "The Virus" Grahamnote The Elusive Artist Garry "Lothar" Webber,note The Angry Writer Stuart "Eastwood" Edney,note The Cynical Administrator and Martin "Silversword" Faulkner.note The Enigmatic Webmaster
Accidental Truth: In the "Cesspool" arc, concerning the illegal trading of weapons to some cultists, Eastwood learns that the firearms in question were sold through eBay. He twists this and tells Shaefer that ruthless weapons dealer E. Bay was the one who had actually sold the guns in question. Well, as it turns out, he's half right.
Eastwood once had an ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend arrested and sentenced to death for heresy. He only discovered he actually was a heretic after the execution.
And finaly (so far) the "Phone Book Of The Dead" arc is one to the Cthulhu Mythos.
Alas, Poor Villain: Parodied. After arresting a group of teenage necromancers, East and Virus muse on how crapsack the world must be if young teens who had their whole lives ahead of them are pushed to taking up the dark arts. Rogue quickly reminds them that the necromancers also committed murder. Twice.
Then it turns out Eastwood was just sad the teenage girl had dressed up in a Goth outfit instead of something he finds sexy.
Amusing Injuries: Painful things happen to just about everyone all the time. They're almost always hilarious.
And This Is for...: Lothar does this after he gets fixed after being possessed by a technology daemon. He punches Rogue in the stomach then smacks him in the head with his knee for cutting his old prosthetics off, then punches Eastwood for pushing him down the stairs in a wheelchair. Then he kicks Virus in the groin just so he won't feel left out.
Angrish: Schaeffer falls into this when he realizes that he can't punish the protagonists for the destruction of Black Halo since due to the latter having been an illegal top secret facility, there isn't any remaining evidence that it even existed.
Badass Longcoat: Eastwood wears one along with Virus. Eastwood ditched the black leather trench for a more, well, Columbo look.
Bad Boss: Inquisitor Lord Antonius Schaeffer is this, with a generous dose of Pointy-Haired Boss to taste. He's made no secret of trying to kill Eastwood, Virus, and Lothar by sending them against impossible odds (well, he did, and did it poorly), and barely treats his other subordinates any better. Despite the bluster, he's an incompetent pervert who almost totally relies on his adjutant, Inquisitor Riktor Simmons, to do anything.
Although he does beat up, chase, and eventually kill an evil "Weapons distributor" named Edward Bay (The whole thing started as a lie Eastwood told him to get the Inquisition off a friend of Lothar's who'd made a mistake and accidentally sold a shitton of weapons to cultists. Turns out, there WAS a Mr. E. Bay.) Wordof God claims that while Schafer might be an idiot, you don't get to be an Inquisitor if you're not a Badass.
Battle Aura: Eastwood gets one when Lothar tries to separate him from his coffee. It's daemonic red.
Bilingual Bonus: Security level Kappa Umber. Kappa is both a Greek letter and a Japanese demon.
Plus, Kappas apparently love cucumbers.
Black and Gray Morality: Well, let's see. Eastwood is a self-centered, womanizing perv, Virus is a complete idiot, Lothar's an Axe Crazy sociopath, and Rogue's just an asshole. The Inquisition itself is an iron-fisted, totalitarian dictatorship filled to the brim with corruption, Police Brutality, back alley deals, human (er, Mobian) rights violations, and just plain incompetence. And they're still worlds better than the dark gods and their followers. Oh, and it's all Played for Laughs.
Antelope Bastard: The last guy they caught snitching got turned into a chair of screaming undead bone and flayed hide, locked in a perpetual torment and praying for a death that will never come. He's still under a tarp in the attic.
Born Lucky: The whole group. This is one of Simmons's reasons for selecting the group for a mission. As he puts it, it's not because their uniqueness makes them effective, but because they seem to have a bottomless supply of luck which he "wishes to capitalise on."
Lothar once had his hat represent him in court. Later, the Patterner mentions an obligation due to a court case, and we see that Lothar's hat represented him too.
In this strip, Morth jokes around Patternari-style with one of his servants, Janus, who tells him he'll be "loyal right up until the second the knife hits [Morth's] back!" Three strips later...
Briefcase Full of Money: A chameleon hiring mercenaries offers plenty of those around... until he realises he has gone overbudget. Luckily for him, a couple bottles of booze and a carton of cigarettes work just as well for his last acquisition.
Eastwood wets himself at the prospect of being flattened by Morth's Collapsing Lair. An example of the Black Comedy of the series, as the circumstances were actually very somber and serious and the joke was most likely used to lighten the mood.
Eastwood: Oh, I assure you I'm pissing myself with fear. Virus: Well, I wouldn't go that far. Rogue: I would. Just noticed. Watch your step there. Virus: Oohh, right, NOT a metaphor.
The Cavalry: Are summoned to Lothar's aid in the form of about a dozen mercenaries he's befriended through his time as a mercenary during his battle with Rogue. Despite this, they still charge him; the comic isn't called "friends and family discount" for no reason.
Regarded by Eastwood (the person, not the character) as the sign to start murdering his co-creators.
Virus: Never turn a funny comic into a serious epic drama. We have a murder-suicide pact that says if we ever turn into a drama, we're going to end it all rather than inflict that on the world. Eastwood: No, I said I was going to murder the rest of you, change my name and spend the rest of my days as a painter in Brazil.
Interestingly, the comic's existence is an inversion of Cerebus Syndrome. It's based off a project that took itself extremely seriously, which most of the creators can't believe they were so serious about in the first place. In a funny way, the whole of EN is a parody of its creator's own work. Probably why the comic is unlikely to get dramatic, because in a way it has already been there.
Chainsaw Good: Lothar recently upgraded his arm's circular saw to a chainsaw; apparently, they're more robust and just look cooler. And the circular saw had just been wrecked anyways, seeing as the rest of the group was forced to smash up Lothar's bionics to force a Fernexite demon that had possessed them to return to the Void.
Chekhov's Gun: All of Lothar's cunning plans involve these, be it living creatures, phobias, transvestites, or actual guns. Most of them end in violence.
During a chase, Virus says he doesn't care Eastwood lost sight of him and Rogue, because he can always track his Cabal unit. A few pages later, he hides the Cabal unit in the bag containing the Bookend of Unimaginable Power before giving it to the enemy, so that they can be tracked back to their base.
Morth's use of the in-universe YouTube (appropriately titled Voodoo Tube). While at first just a running gag, turned into a Chekhov's gun when he explained to the group that his millions of viewers would be a suitable substitute for a regular cult in the maintenance of his Eldritch Abomination form. The Internet is powerful.
Cluster F-Bomb: From Lothar as he bounces down a highway after falling off an armoured car.
Lothar: Shit...cock...dammi...motherfuck-k-k-k...-unt... Either Virus or Eastwood: You screwed it up! What do we do now? Lothar: I just fell off a moving vehicle and bounced down half a mile of tarmac, but I'm FINE, THANKS FOR FUCKING WELL ASKING!
Crapsack World: It's not overtly shown, given the comedic nature of the comic, but there seems to be a lot of horrible things going on, even without the regular invasions from chaos; for example, Lothar's adopted brother Kyle was apparently orphaned after an "Overlander" attack. See World Building.
Corporations going to war with one another is treated as something normal. At the end of the "Red Herring" arc, discovery that the war between two soft drink companies had no outside interference leads the characters to comment that it was "just a war".
Plus, you know, the Inquisition are considered to be the good guys.
Divided We Fall: Rogue seems to be at the brink of trying to kill Lothar in one of the few completely serious strips of the comic, due to Lothar's sheltering of his brother Kyle. What is surprising is that Rogue isn't just taking a hard line and overriding Lothar's family concerns, he really thinks Lothar is lying about the entire business.
Schaefer: Well, I think that went rather well. Simmons: Yes, giving Hex and Nekkitou an actual reason to come to blows, brilliant sir. Schaefer: Are you being sarcastic, Simmons? Simmons:Whatever gave you that idea, sir? Schaefer: So you're not, okay. Sorry, it's just hard to tell sometimes.
Eastwood: Nice work, you single-handedly wiped the installation off the face of reality. Wildfire: Thanks! I'm just glad I could make it up to you guys after I screwed up on my first mission. Eastwood: What? I was being sarcastic, you crazy, purple bint.
The second* which is the moment that named this trope, by the way is when Lothar is asked by a panda kid how he "got the cool parts." Both cases are subverted with the person(s) on the receiving end of the lecture learning nothing from it at all.
Rogue: What are you guys doing anyway? Eastwood: Nothing much, just attacking Lothar with my mighty cock. [Virus and Rogue share an extremely uncomfortable look] Virus:Oh! That clockwork chicken thing! Rogue: Oh thank gods.
Drives Like Crazy: Nobody ever lets Virus control any kind of vehicle. Even the Inquisition's own private army, the Black Guard, go pale at the thought of Virus having a chance of driving anything. They're an entire army of special forces trained to combat the paranormal, and they are terrified of his driving. As one guest comic puts it:
Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Facility Sixteen (a.k.a. Black Halo) had a open dimensional rift which allowed daemons to enter the EN world freely. Exterminatus on the facility would destroy the world and everyone on it (protagonists and Inquisition included), so the rift has to be closed manually. More than that, it would render the entire region uninhabitable for "slightly less than the life of the universe."
When The Mole calls his employer, we see a figure whose face is hidden in a gloomy darkness... who turns out to be The Mole's poker buddy who was sleeping in bed when the call came. The Mole appologizes for dialing the wrong number, and calls the real Big Bad, cooking dinner in a brightly lit kitchen while wearing a 'Kiss the cult leader' apron.
Played straight earlier, with the same Big Bad, and parodied when his ninja assassin can't find the exit because all the lights are out.
Evil Lawyer Joke: As shown here. Apparently, the Inquisition laywers are a snake, a vulture, and a hyena.
Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Gargoyles are angels of Mort that protect cemeteries, and, as creatures of the gods, are able to sense the intent of wrongdoers, discerning the wicked from the pure of heart. Oops.
Also, Morth's cult considers those with black-and-white fur/feathers/scales to be superior to all others (the leader is a badger). When Schaffer finds out about it, he tries to have all black-and-white colored people expelled from the Inquisition, which... doesn't go over well.
Fate Worse than Death: This comic shows an artifact with many innocent souls inside and is stated to reek "of suffering and torment". The Knight in Shining Armor character does not want it destroyed as that would destroy the souls inside, and says he will have it guarded until its prisoners can be freed... the artifact remains two thousand years later, and the artifact's purpose has clearly been forgotten since Eastwood is using it as a bookend.
Despite the fact that anthropomorphic birds exist, Schaeffer's chicken fetish is treated as legit bestiality.
When a couple cultists mention that they bled some chickens for their spell, the characters initially believe that wouldn't be enough... until they're told that they were actually the cultists' classmates.
Genre Savvy: Simmons, given that he utilizes the group's insane luck to both complete dangerous missions and win him large bets in the company pool.
He also predicts the events of comic 372. At the same time, Schaeffer plays this straight, giving Rogue the order to arrest or kill Lothar if there's a betrayal because he knows Eastwood or Virus would not have it in them to attack/kill Lothar.
Although he is the worst, the rest ain't much better.
The new member, Wildfire, is not sociopathic, at least, as far as we can tell, but she isn't above using excessive force.
Hidden Depths: For all that they're made up to be incompetent slackers, there are several occasions where Harry and Syrus demonstrate they do have functional and even in-depth knowledge of what they're dealing with. Harry, for instance, is able to identify and modify a summoning ritual in minutes, and is noted as the best on the team with surveillance equipment, while Syrus is able to identify by sight the time period and likely creators of a secret, underground tunnel system.
Hollywood Tactics: First panel here. It's helpful to fit the battle in one panel, but moving in a tight box formation like the soldiers on the left against machine gun emplacement is probably not very smart.
Kyle: They looked legit, how the fuck was I supposed to know? Steve: Watch your language, you little cunt!
Also, in one of the first strips, Virus goes into a speech to chastise Eastwood for leaving his badge behind, only to reveal that he had been using his as a paperweight.
Tropes I to Z
Identical Stranger: There is another Inquisition agent named Damien who looks a lot like Eastwood, and seems to live up to every fantasy Eastwood has about himself. He can even get away with hanging up on Schaefer.
Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja: Ryoushi's approach to getting the toast out of the evil possessed toaster is to dress up in full ninja fatigues and steal it from above. Also subverted when Rogue mocks the ubiquity of the association of Taika with ninjas in this comic here, noting that there are far cooler things in the Mobian equivalent of Japan. Like Humongous Mecha and police dressed like samurai. (Shown giving a parking ticket.)
Eastwood: Lothar, do you think your wraith has enough firepower to blast a hole in the dome? Lothar: Do bears shit in the woods? Virus: Well, you'd think so, but you never actually hear anybody complaining they stood in bear shit while out hiking, do you? Lothar: Huh, I guess I'd never really thought of it like that... Rogue: Well if they don't shit in the woods, where do they shit? Eastwood: Could we FOCUS here people?! Virus: Also, isn't our boss a bear?
Knows A Guy Who Knows A Guy: Eastwood knows a guy who knows a guy that can examine the artifact that a bunch of heavily armed mercenaries tried to steal from them. He forgot exactly which friend he knew this guy through, though... which bites him in the ass, since said friend turns out to have been Silas Morth, who is behind the whole operation and is blackmailing the examiner into delivering the artifact to him.
Leeroy Jenkins: Wildfire. She has no patience for complex planning and does whatever enters her head. Needless to say, this frequently causes headaches for the team. This eventually gets her expelled, which is a boon to the team's performance and its sanity.
Let's Get Dangerous: The team does seem to display a certain degree of competence when the chips are down and they stop goofing around. Usually mixed with complete ruthlessness and pragmatic cowardice.
Schaefer gets a moment of this in the comic "A++, Would Heroically Struggle To The Death With Again" as, after Eastwood sends him after one "E. Bay" to get him off Kyle's case after it turns out he has been dealing with cultists, as it emerges there really is an Edward Bay, and, judging from the parody of dramatic action movies everywhere, he really is a supervillain. Schaefer doesn't just win, but does so in style.
Eastwood: Schaeffer might be a moronic sexual deviant, but he’s an Inquisitor, and part of that involves being nigh-on impossible to kill and having a punch that can cold-cock a rhino.
Janus, one of Morth's servants featured in "The Bookend of Unimanginable Power", is appropriately named for the two-faced Roman god of beginnings, endings, and transitions given he's a chameleon.
The Merch: Subverted, as even if the writers wanted to sell printed collections or merchandise, the things the comic is parodying make it awkward. This is, if Sega's lawyers don't go after them first, Games Workshop will.
Eastwood uses an ancient artifact which contains thousands of souls as a bookend. Even after it's stolen and he finds out what it really is, his primary motivation for getting it back is because he needs a bookend.
Rogue: Will you stop calling it a bookend! We've established that it's an ancient evil artifact, a vessel of souls, the key to a dark ritual! Eastwood: That is the best sodding bookend I've ever owned, and I'll be damned if I'm forking out upwards of ten quid for a new one!
Naïve Newcomer: Wildfire seemed to be. On her first mission, not satisfied with being a reserve wincher in a helicopter-based operation where melee isn't an option, she bugged the remaining members for a bigger role. Lothar gave the rookie one: looking after his hat while acting as a reserve wincher. While she didn't lose the hat, she did screw up the mission, and later freely admitted she's new at this.
Virus: Professor? You OK? Lewis: Well my colleagues and friends are all dead, my workplace destroyed, and my career down the toilet. Virus: Yes, but are you alive? Lewis: I guess so. Virus: That's all I asked, didn't need your life story.
When Jamilla has infiltrated a demonic cult and is transmitting footage from the leader speaking to his followers:
Morth: We need but one more sacrifice to bring about the great daemon of our lord, the Patterner. Now we only need to ask ourselves: Who shall this person be. Who shall be the last person to give their life for our cause. Who.... is that bitch with the video camera? Jamilla: Oh shitbiscuits...
When their boss realizes that not only has he lost billions with the destruction of the facility, but he can't blame it on the team because it was an illegal black ops facility and therefore did not officially exist.
When Rogue goes so far as to say he would not only kill Lothar, but his entire adopted family, over what he perceived to be a cover-up of criminal activities; Eastwood and Virus have a very appropriate reaction (namely, staring wide-eyed and slowly shuffling away from the carnage about to unfold).
When Eastwood remembers he became connected to the antique dealer Marley, the guy he left the artifact with, through Silas Morth.
Morth: And now, as promised... your reward. Janus:Wait! I poisoned your chalice! Morth: Of course you did. That's why I took the antidote before you arrived. Janus: The antidote vial was also poison. Morth:This vial was. You didn't know about this one. Janus: But you didn't know your handmaiden was loyal to me. Morth:[is stabbed by handmaiden, but stands up unharmed as she grins at Janus] Had you going. She's loyal to me — trick blade. Janus: The IED in your bed? Morth: Already in your sock drawer. Janus: Sarin in your shower stall? Morth: Check your cologne spritzer. Janus:[draws gun] Replaced with blanks? Morth: Afraid so.
Our Angels Are Different: Each of the Justice Gods has their own kind of angel: Tyrusian angels are of the stereotypical kind and are mainly warriors. Mort has gargoyles (see below) and Watchers, which guard graveyards. Ahriman has Muses, which impart information.
Our Gargoyles Rock: Sentient Gargoyles are the angels of Mort, and defend the cemeteries sacred to him.
Out-of-Character Moment: In the Cesspool arc, Rogue goes from a snarky, but loyal friend and ally to an ultra paranoid Knight Templar willing to betray his allies just to satiate his grudge against Lothar.
To be fair, Rogue was under the impression that Lothar's family was actually a scam to prevent the Inquisition from discovering whatever criminal conspiracy they were up to, mainly because he simply couldn't believe that someone as sociopathic as Lothar would care for anyone.
Painting the Medium: Barring Schaeffer, characters with an otherworldly presence are given specialized speech bubbles based on what jurisdiction they're from.
Pet the Dog: Lothar's surprising preparedness to bust his adoptive brother Kyle out of captivity, turning instantly against his employers to do so. Eastwood, of course, doesn't miss an opportunity to have a dig at the echidna for showing a glimmer of empathy.
Eastwood: I know what it's like to be willing to do anything for people you actually... care about. Lothar:[with angry pointing]You shut your whore mouth!
Simmons: I hardly think we'd have two teams made up of an arrogant Taikan, a sociopathic cyborg, a womanizing feral, and a just plain stupid rodent. Eastwood: Oh, I get it. You're saying that it's our team's uniqueness that makes us so effective. Simmons: No, I'm saying that you have a seemingly endless reserve of sheer dumb luck, and I want to capitalise on it.
Reading Your Rights: Done here when Eastwood and Virus come to arrest some cultists. Eastwood starts to recite the traditional Miranda Rights, then cracks up halfway and admits that they don't have any rights.
Reassigned to Antarctica: Referenced when Eastwood says failing on a mission will mean being sent to the south pole watch stations.
Red Eyes, Take Warning: Eastwood gets them, again while Lothar is trying to take his coffee. Lothar's cyborg eye is always red.
Red Herring: Used and lampshaded at the end of the cool-ade arc. Turns out that the cult were actually a bunch of idiots who killed themselves and never had a chance of success and that the war actually had no demonic influence and really was just a regular war. It's even lampshaded in the url.
Played straight with Wildfire, but they manage to keep away from most of the cliche female tropes by making her Skilled, but Naive. Sure, she can somersault from a helicopter and slice an armored truck in half... but they needed that truck.
Surprisingly Elite Cannon Fodder: Schaefer usually has the gang sent off to do some incredibly dangerous mission specifically because they're a bunch of frakkers who no-one would care to see the back of. As a result, they frequently don't get the job done too well. However, their tenacity at surviving numerous operations where their command staff are explicitly trying to get them killed off means that Schaefer tends to go to them first if there is a genuine need for a group of inquisitors with a record for pulling off Suicide Missions.
Wildfire is a lot more consistent in this regard. She was kicked off the team as a result.
Anybody who tries to pull one over the head of a Patterner cultist.
The town full of cultists in the Red Herring arc. They ground themselves into drink mix as part of a crazy plan to turn their leader into a gestalt psychic entity. Their leader then drank himself into a diabetic coma while drinking his followers and drowned himself. Even better, this plan had nothing to do with any of the actual supernatural forces in the setting and had no chance of succeeding. The idiots somehow came up with this crazy idea all by themselves.
Eastwood: Look, mistakes were made, people were shot— Virus:Four times. Eastwood: It's easy to point fingers. Let's just put it behind us and move on shall we? I'm going to bed... And it was three times, the second one only grazed him.
Wildfire manages to be this despite wielding a Beam Sword, destroying a truck full of needed evidence, almost killing an angel with a panicked sword attack, destroying a panel for something that subsequently summons a huge-ass army of daemons on them, and destroying the circuit breakers in such a fashion that Black Halo essentially implodes.
Your Costume Needs Work: At the end of the Bookend story arc, Lothar edits Morth's ascension footage into just Demon!Morth getting killed by the Greater Demon and uploads it to "VoodooTube". Cue several comments calling it "fake".
danthe57: It's totally fake, you can see the zipper at 1:14 coffeepoweredrobot: what porgram did u use for the cgi i have 3dsmax show me how u did it!!!!