"We stick by each other and we stick by our principles. That's all we have left."
— Ruby, Ch. 17
Ruby Harrison, age 17, is a high school student whose exceptional GPA belies an unhappy life. Her mother commited suicide two years ago for mysterious reasons, her father sublimates any affection into academic pressure, and she has a dysfunctional relationship with her childhood best friend. On top of all of that, a freak accident at the lab her father works for has transformed her into a superhuman giantess, nine feet tall and radiating magnetic power.And that's just in the first chapter.Ruby's predicament sends her into a much darker secret history, where she learns that the science that transformed her was not only part of an illicit super soldier program, but one conducted in part by her late mother. Joined with other young people that have received such genetic tampering, Ruby tries to bring to the world the human testing from Beagle Labs to light. But the more she tries to make sense of the world, the more complicated— and brutal— her world gets.The series is concluded as of June 2011, but the storyline continues in Ruby Nation, which deals with the titular character building a refugee nation for young super soldier test subjects— and funding it by doing black ops work for the US Government.You can read the entire series Here.—-
Tropes in this Webcomic
The Ace: Jiro, on account of his cybernetic body and brain. Deconstructed in that he was a disabled autistic prior to the gene therapy, and finds himself even less happy as a Super Soldier.
Adults Are Useless: The only adult character who isn't corrupted or incompetent is Ruby's dad Hal, and even he drops the ball tremendously trying to deal with Ruby's Condition.
All There in the Manual: The text pieces at the end of more recent chapters expand heavily upon the characters' histories.
A Man Is Not a Virgin: Deconstructed by Jens, who slept with Ruby in the backstory, but looks back on it as a huge mistake ( since at the time she was grieving the loss of her mother and extremely vulnerable ).
Animal Motifs: For the villains. Buzarde' has vulture-like features and becomes quite enraged when attention is called to this resemblance. Dr. Carcharria's last name is derived from the Latin name of the great white shark, befitting a cold, merciless demeanor.
Break the Cutie: The entire series and to some extent the prequels, in regards to Ruby.
Broken Ace: Jiro, whose super-soldier capabilities did nothing to make him more connected to the world.
Child Soldiers: Most of Beagle's super-soldiers. The main cast are somewhat older, but are still very young to be living lives of combat.
Cool Shades: Played with in a very depressing fashion (natch). Jiro uses them not only to hide the fact that his eyes are inhuman-looking, but also that he's neurologically incapable of making eye contact.
Crap Sack World: In which the War on Terror went more effectively, but only because of super-soldiers created by abducting, vivisecting, and brainwashing children.
Deconstruction: Of the Wake Up Go To School Save The World formula. The characters are all just out of high school, they're fugitives from the system, and the world doesn't really seem to want their help.
Dysfunction Junction: Ruby is a clinically depressed girl turned into a giant, Jiro is a moody autistic boy whose every cell was painfully replaced with machines, Alexis is a distinctly unusual girl with mysterious empathic powers and no knowledge of her biological father, and Jens is a normal boy whose abrasive sarcasm hides a massive inferiority complex.
Evilutionary Biologist: Dr. Carcharria sees herself as improving on nature, intending to correct its mistakes. The beings she creates are superior and deserve to live, while the flawed creatures they replace must die.
Parental Substitute: Hal Harrison is heading into this territory for Alexis, whose original father figure was a bigoted asshole.
The Rain Man: Jiro before his transformation was quite obviously autistic. Though his capabilities have been enhanced far beyond neurotypical humans, he still has his autistic traits ( though they're also skewed because of his mechanical nature ).
Red Oni, Blue Oni: Jens is hot-tempered and emotional, while Jiro is cold and analytical.
Ridiculously Human Robots: Jiro, who actually was human before his body was converted into machinery, and Opal, who was created from a spare human body and a programmed brain.
Thou Shalt Not Kill: Ruby tries to follow this rule, and feels intense shame over having killed a batallion of US soldiers ( NOT super-soldiers, either ) in self-defense. Her comrades don't bother with this rule, but admire Ruby for following it.
True Companions: The only redeeming aspect of Ruby's new life is that she's joined by friends who are unwaveringly loyal to her, sympathizing with her differences and admiring her kindness.
Unlucky Childhood Friend: Played with regarding Jens, in that he did date Ruby for a while, but the relationship was troubled and unhealthy for both parties.
Utopia Justifies the Means: Dr. Carcharria intends to free humanity of many of its weaknesses and advance it to a higher state of being...whether it wants to or not.