Elise Sasaki-Garcia is a 17-year-old girl who’s a huge fan of anime and young adult fantasy. Having woken up with metal wings on her back, she and her friend Ruby Harrison (who has been similarly transformed, in her case into a nine-foot-tall giantess) appear to be living out one of those stories, having joined other post-human teenagers in the fight against the twisted experiments of Beagle Labs. But Elise doesn’t remember how she got her wings, and the truth about her transformation may spoil her fantasy, if not her entire existence.A sequel of sorts to Ruby's World by Neil Kapit, Ruby Nation is a long-form story-driven webcomic that intentionally deconstructs many tropes of the young adult superhero narrative. The characters around Elise, most of whom starred in Ruby’s World, are just out of high school, horribly scarred by their experiences, and grudgingly devoted to saving a world that doesn’t seem to want the help. Elise herself is more optimistic, but whether that’s due to a genuinely good heart, a complete lack of experience, or something entirely different has yet to be determined.You can read the whole thing here. It also has its own Wiki.
All There in the Manual: The main action is supplemented by in-universe textual ephemera like therapy transcripts and diary pages, all of which go a long way towards fleshing out the characters' backstories.
America Saves the Day: Deconstructed. It's more like "America recruits Ruby and her crew to clean up their mess".
Black and Grey Morality: The villain is a mad scientist who uses unwilling test subjects, mostly the very young and very poor, to build her private army of super-soldiers. The heroes are a group of teenagers who are all emotionally broken and willing to kill if needed. The only character who sees any heroism in what they're doing is Elise, who is too naive to know otherwise.
Crapsack World: People in this story get killed, experimented on, brainwashed, kidnapped, and injured on a regular basis. Posthumans have it especially bad, but pretty much everyone comes out worse for the wear.
Evil Former Friend: Elise was this to Ruby, at least until her memories were erased and she joined Ruby's team.
Face Monster Turn: Which is exactly how the Apex Unit got Elise to attack Ruby in the first place.
Fan Disservice: Elise's brain chemistry is altered so she gets an endorphin rush when she she kills people, effectively making killing feel like sex to her. She tells this to Kaluga, who reveals his severe facial tumor to her, and she kisses him.None of this is remotely sexy.
Enfant Terrible: Played with. Dr. Carcharria looks like a child, but is actually 49 years old.
Hive Mind: The Apex event has this effect on humans.
Hope Spot: The Apex event has rendered normal humans helpless. Jiro is past his breaking point. Ruby is in custody of Dr. Carcharria. And suddenly, Alexis snaps out of her comatose state just long enough to give some important information...
Lesser of Two Evils: Ruby, who surrenders herself to Dr. Carcharria in order to protect her friends — and her unborn child.
Meaningful Name: The Apex Unit, in which all the members are named after apex predators.
Medium Blending: An unusual example where the mediums in question are sequential art and text. After each chapter, there is a short interlude, journal, or scrapbook instead of the usual comic intercut with a little comic art.
Mook Debut Cutscene: In the prologue, a Mook overseeing the captive Elise looks at a locket with a picture of his daughter, and wonders if what he's doing to support his family is the right thing. The same Mook is later killed in a very brutal fashion to cover Moray's escape.