Four teens. Four cats. Four elements.Four warriors: Panthera.Panthera
follows the unexpected adventures of Taylor Quinn, new freshman at Bridgedale High School in Massachusetts. Most students have a rough time transitioning to high school - pop quizzes on day one, cafeteria food, gym class, and the like. Well, Taylor gets lured in to (more like abducted by) the special club her brother Jason is in, only to find it's a group of teens given the power to transform into big cats (as in lions and such, not oversize house cats, mind you) with control over the classical elements. Including herself now, apparently.
The group is led by BHS's chemistry teacher, Mr. Richard Reynder, whose past work at a chemical company apparently led to a massive (and inhumane) experiment, which has support from the government, (and also to his ability to give the teens their powers,) which he tasks Panthera with trying to stop. So Taylor, Jason, Jason's hot-tempered girlfriend Kira, and the easy-going quick-witted sophomore Fletcher find themselves, in panther form, on the wrong side of the FBI's guns.
But what happens if the cats get connected back to the kids?
Not to be confused with the band Pantera
This webcomic provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Kira/Tigris
- All There in the Manual: Every now and then, D.Z. will mention some background info on the forums. For example, Jason and Taylor's parents are called Issac Quinn and Valentine Harris.
- All Your Powers Combined: Has yet to show up with Onca included, but Tigris, Leo and Pardus together had the "Magma Storm"
- Altum Videtur: Leo Terrae, Tigris Ignis, Pardus Aeris and Onca Aquae.
- Also Meaningful Name: Respectively, Lion of Earth, Tiger of Fire, Leopard of Air, and Jaguar of Water.
- Ambiguously Gay: Collin Jacoby, one of the school newspaper people. Andre never specifies what was on that computer...
- Applied Phlebotinum: Explanation for the transformation, though justified because there is a scientific explanation for it. (May be Technobabble.) But, Leo probably explains it best: "Magic".
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The three rules of Panthera: 1) Never reveal your secret identity to anyone, 2) Obey the team leader in all team-related matters, 3) Anyone who makes a cat-related pun puts $5 in that jar.
Pardus: So unfair. These Nazis double the fine if I call it "the kitty".
- Awesome but Impractical: Gyeoknoho, the North Korean Humongous Mecha. Leo lampshades this. Aside from that, someone in the forums mentions that having guns for claws is a really stupid move, since they break really easily.
- Battle Couple: Jason/Leo and Kira/Tigris.
- Beach Episode: Not on the comic itself, but on the artist's Deviantart page here.
- Beta Couple: Seems to be setting this up for Jason/Kira and Fletcher/Taylor. Compare and contrast 7.17 and 7.19 (Jason and Kira) with 7.18 and 7.20 (Fletcher and Taylor).
- Bilingual Bonus: The second story arc is set in North Korea, hence occasional bits of Korean.
- Blood from the Mouth: Valeska Köhler here.
- Broken Pedestal: Tigris explains.
- Calling Your Attacks: Chapter 6, page 21. Pardus lampshades it.
Pardus: Air! Air!! ...aw, when did we stop doing the scream-your-element-while-attacking thing?
- Car Fu: Leo and Pardus team up for it. Oosterhuis proceeds to break the car in half and send it flying back.
- Carnivore Confusion: Onca's human side shows through here.
- Cat Fight: Onca and Tigris end up bonking heads in their transformed states, making it a literal cat fight.
- Cat Girl: Not in the traditional sense... Also this.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Kira for most of arc 1, in the sense that she hated Taylor for (potentially) taking some of Jason's time.
- Collapsing Lair: Oosterhuis destroys the load-bearing columns of the underground facility when he loses his alias and his support, leaving Panthera and several FBI agents in the collapsing room.
- Deadpan Snarker: Tigris has her moments in the second story arc.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu? : Taylor did right here.
- Elemental Powers: Duh?
- Fanservice: There's a nice upskirt of Jang here, which Word of God claims to be a coloring accident. In a non-main-comic example, this NSFW was pretty popular in the forums.
- Fighting Your Friend: The aforementioned cat fight just barely qualifies in terms of "friend", as Tigris hated Onca from the start and Onca more or less handed her the perfect reason to try and clobber her.
- Fire-Breathing Weapon: Gyeoknoho.
- Five-Bad Band: Ari is setting one up as of the last page of chapter seven.
- Five-Man Band:
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: In addition to their elemental powers each member of Panthera also has one of the four temperments associated with their powers in the form of healing ability, based on the relationship set in Humorism.
- One could also include Aristotle in the ensemble as such (based on personalities): Ari is Phlegmatic, Onca is Supine, Pardus is Sanguine, and Leo and Tigris are mixes of Choleric and Melancholic.
- Foreshadowing: Valeska's tidbit in panel four.
- In 6.24, Panthera is trying to figure out who tipped off the North Koreans to their powers. Come 7.24... Ari's back.
- Genre Savvy: Pardus shows plenty of this here even if Tigris Seems Genre Blind in the same scene.
- Genre Blind: Jang in chapter six. "Gyeoknoho is glorious! Gyeoknoho is invincible! Gyeoknoho — *KABOOM*" Forumgoers were quick to point out that that's number 24 on the Evil Overlord List.
- Gonna Fly Now Montage: Complete with music.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Seems to be played straight at first with Valeska Köhler, but subverted when it turns out Ari is the Big Bad. Later played straight with Kira's facial scar after 8.10, though.
- Homungous Animal Mecha: The North Koreans call it Gyeoknoho or the Raging Tiger.
- Impossibly Graceful Giant
- It's then subverted when Leo gives a long explaination of why it would not work - It's nuclear powered, with all the problems with shielding and cooling that implies (and it does blow up at the end of the chapter), and it's just not sustainable. Also, it has guns in the claws. That's also a problem because they could get jammed by the mud and broken by whatever surface it's going on.
- Hurricane of Puns: Courtesy of CJ. "Oh, sure, Fletch's a cool cat. I'm pawsitive our purrsonal relationship is a roaring success. Some club can't change his spots, no kitten. Pard-on me, I feel-ine late for our class. Cat-cha later." (That makes $45 for the cat-pun jar, if you were wondering.)
- Knight Templar Big Brother: Jason has shades of this when it comes to Fletcher and Taylor. Ouch.
- Let's Split Up, Gang: In chapter eight. Leo states that they've got two angles of attack that way and the split is tactically decided - most experience with least (the teams are Tigris-Pardus and Onca-Leo). Tigris notes it's unusual.
- The Mole: The current plot seems to be setting up Sarah Pavlopoulos as one of these.
- Mugging the Monster: here.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Leo develops a case of this after they get out of Korea. Minor case: after promising to rip Fletcher's throat out if he hurts Taylor in any way, shape or form, because Fletcher is a good kid and probably the only person in the world who knows what she's going through besides Jason himself and Kira. A more serious example happens after they get back from Korea - after Ari's Reveal and death, Jason realises that a lot of the things he always assumed were true or the right thing to do don't make sense anymore in light of their drastically-shortened lifespan and has one of these when he realises that he pulled his own sister into this mess.
- My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: Poor Onca as she tries to learn Growl: apparently she likes boiling flowers and fucking fruit.
- My Sister Is Off-Limits!: Played with as Jason is clueless about Fletcher taking a liking to Taylor until Kira points it out to him, when he promptly goes into stunned denial of the possibility.
- He seems painfully aware of it later, though. When Fletcher takes Taylor to a concert, Jason makes it crystal clear that if anything whatsoever happens, bad things will happen. To be fair, though, those tickets are apparently really expensive, it's not that much of a stretch...
- Naïve Newcomer: Onca. To be fair, she had no idea what she was getting into.
- Nice Hat: Oh Pardus
- No One Could Survive That: Leo in the collapsing Ovid-building.
- NorthKorea and pretty much all the tropes that go with it.
- Oh, Crap: All of Panthera when Ari goes One-Winged Angel on them.
- Panthera Awesome: Exactly What It Says on the Tin
- Plot Tailored to the Party: The second story arc takes place in North Korea, where Kira's family comes from.
- Poor Communication Kills: Somewhat, as Onca tries to communicate to Tigris that they've been fighting for the wrong side even though she's horrible at using Growl, though subverted as Tigris does get the gist of it anyway. Thus starts the epic battle.
- Though as bad as she is at Growl, Onca somehow nonetheless manages to express new words like "Hobbes" or even "Euphrates"(!) in it.
- Word of God says proper names are cognates (or at least as close as you can get with panther-friendly sounds)
- Premature Empowerment: In the first issue, Taylor is asked to join the "Adventuring Club"…and then knocked out and injected with gene-altering treatments to turn her into a were-jaguar with elemental powers. And only then is she told what she's really let herself in for.
- Required Secondary Powers: Tigris doesn't seem to be bothered at all by her own fire.
- And used again here. Tigris gets blasted with a flamethrower and notes that it "tickled".
- The Reveal: Ari/Oosterhuis going One-Winged Angel and demonstrating his powers.
- Right Behind Me: Done perfectly here.
Pardus: That's the "Right Behind You" look isn't it? Man I hate that look.
- Say My Name: Done for drama here.
Leo: Cats don't need licenses, to hunt, fight, kill. But they never have to worry about why they do it, or the greater consequences, either. And we... Tigris, what's my name?
Tigris: I... don't follow.
Leo: My name. What's my name?
Tigris: Uh. "Leo?"
Leo: ...no. "Leo" is the lion mask I wear into battle. And yes, the mask is deeply a part of me. But my mind — my soul — is human. My name is Jason, and it's me who has to live with the things I do.
- School Newspaper News Hound: Chloe Lachapelle, as seen here. She goes as far as to try to plant a bug at the team's usual table. She later quits the school newspaper, though, and it's heavily implied it's because she's Oosterhuis' new lackey and exposing the "Outing Club" would expose her own secret.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: Done to Oosterhuis here.
- "Shut Up" Kiss: Done by Kira to Jason here. Subverted when Jason gently pushes her away.
- Sink-or-Swim Mentor: Tigris to Onca, in a way. A bit heavy on the "Sink Or Swim", less so on "Mentor".
- Stealth Pun: One very early on that relies on knowledge of the later chapters: one of Taylor's friends jokingly suggests she hug a leper, and while they've yet to actually embrace, she becomes something of a romantic interest to the leopard on the team. It's unknown whether or not this was intentional, but it's there.
- Stuff Blowing Up: Large amounts of ammonium nitrate fertilizer + fire = goodbye warehouse.
- Super Window Jump: Here.
- The Swear Jar: The infamous Cat-Pun Jar.
- Talking Animal: Averted; the members of Panthera invented their own language, Growl, "a language of panther-friendly sounds... Sorta like Esperanto meets death metal".
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Gyeoknoho again. Lessee: nuclear-powered, Humongous Mecha, tiger-shaped, guns for claws and it breathes fire. Partially justified, since North Korea is too busy showing off to bother about practicality, as shown when it takes only one blast of fire from Tigris to blow it up.
- From a more recent chapter:
Jason: If you do ANYTHING to her, in any way, shape or form, I will quite litterally #%$&!$# EAT YOU. And you have NO idea just how DEEP I could BURY what'd be left of your sorry carcass. UNDERSTOOD?
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Kira and Taylor.
- Took a Level in Badass:
- Transformation Comic: duh.
- Transformation Trinket: all four of the team wear amulets which help them transform into their animal selves. Averted for Onca's first transformation (before she even had an amulet), and by Tigris explicitly stating that they only ease the transformation.
- Trust Password: A variation is used here. Pardus dyes his fur.
- Unsound Effect: Glare
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Although Taylor/Onca's initial transformations are quite definitely not.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Søren Oosterhuis, aka Richard Reynder, turns out to be a Nietzsche Wannabe who, driven by the death of his wife, has been experimenting on "people of no consequence" in the hope of perfecting a cure for cancer.
- Naturally his dragon Uncia shares the sentiment, much to the horror of the Panthera team