Webcomic / Spying with Lana

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/spying_with_lana.jpg
"Lana is a spy with a brilliant mind, great athletic ability, and very little luck. Working for a top-secret agency (so secret that nobody even knows its name!), Lana risks her life and her sanity in defense of truth, justice, and a bunch of trivial, pointless stuff that the agency is always mixed up in."
Official Description

Spying with Lana is a comic series by Sean Harrington. It follows the adventures of the eponymous character, who is a spy. However, unlike most female spies (we think), Lana often disguises herself as a hooker or a Sexy Secretary (with emphasis on the sex part). Oh, and did we mention that she's a mean fighter, even (perhaps especially) when she's naked?

A charm of the series (aside from the rather NSFW content, according to your mileage) is the comedy as Lana handles her assignments (and copes with the stupidity/incompetence she sees around her). It's also way on the Silly end in the Sliding Scale of Silliness vs. Seriousness.

The comic is updated every Monday and can be read here. So far, 20 stories are available:
  • Case #1: The Case of the Mixed-up Case (Lana is sent to infiltrate a group, which turns out to consist only of her fellow agents.)
  • Case #2: The Upside Down Case (Lana teams up with an incompetent fellow agent.)
  • Case #3: Quick n' Dirty (Lana retrieves a prototype.)
  • Case #4: Flashbang! (Lana stops a deposed archduke armed with a nuclear warhead.)
  • Case #5: The Late Show (Lana teams up with another agent to steal a top-secret device.)
  • Case #6: Ring of Fire (Lana goes on vacation, but ends up on an assignment.)
  • Case #7: Grand Prix (Once again, Lana's part of a team. This time, there's a rival spy team pitted against them as they retrieve weapon designs.)
  • Case #8: Object of Desire (Lana tracks down a bomber.)
  • Case #9: Tricks of the Trade (Lana infiltrates arm dealers to retrieve a protoype.)
  • Case #10: The Unusual Bedside Manner of Naughty Nurse Lana (Lana disguises herself as a nurse.)
  • Case #11: It Girl (Lana undertakes an Escort Mission.)
  • Case #12: Sweet Nothings (Lana goes about stealing components of a secret prototype.)
  • Case #13: Action Squad! (Lana has to work with a military squad to resolve a kidnap.)
  • Case #14: Second Skin (Lana pretends to be a double agent.)
  • Case #15: The Cat's Meow (Lana investigates one of the agency's contacts, who may be double dealing with the enemy.)
  • Case #16: The Morning After (Lana tries to return home after a mission.)
  • Case #17: Best Served Hot (Lana is hunted down by a vengeful biker.)
  • Case #18: Black Ops, White Lies (Lana partners up with an assassin.)
  • Case #19: Everybody Loves Lana (Lana infiltrate a criminal organisation.)
  • Case #20: Enemies with Benefits (Lana's current mission is interrupted by two incompetent colleagues needing help with their mission.)
  • Case #21: The Hero Position (An old ally/lover of Lana's invites her to an exotic island kingdom as thanks for her heroism. Will Lana receive her due reward for once? Of course not.)
  • Case #22: The Big Hookup (In progress)

There are three issues which are available through purchases only.
  • "Tricks of the Trade" (The chief's plans for a mission go bad, and Lana has to salvage the situation. Available as an ebook.)
  • "The Bang Bang Club" (Lana goes on another Escort Mission; bundled together with "The Late Show" for the "Double Play" ebook. The two stories are bundled together with "Ring of Fire" and "Grand Prix" for the physical graphic novel "Cinq à sept". note )
  • "Barely There" (Lana encounters a case of Mistaken Identity. Bundled together with the first three cases for the physical graphic novel "Year One" and the ebook "Year One Declassified")


Spying with Lana provides examples of:

  • The Ace: Lana is the best her agency has to offer. Deconstructed in that her being the best in her agency meant that her talents are not fully utilized as her chief's incompetence limits her effectiveness as an agent.
  • Action Girl: Lana, definitely. The enemy female agents in Grand Prix and It Girl are Dark Action Girls.
  • Affectionate Parody: Give Lana some tech gadgets and a competent handler, and you'll get a female James Bond.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Lana, although she'll warm to you if you're not incompetent (or not a pervert).
  • Ambiguously Brown: Lana's ethnicity is never mentioned, and her skin tone is definitely brown.
  • Art Evolution: From "Flashbang!" onwards, the comics are in full color. The first three comics are in black &and white, with red if objects required it.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Downplayed. Female characters (including Lana) have been beaten bloody several times, and Lana gets shot, but she suffers no permanent damage from any of the violence and we get shown her body often enough to see that she has apparently no scars.
  • Beneath Notice: Another part of Lana's MO, especially if she's pretending to be an ordinary prostitute. Many of her opponents clearly do not expect (a) a prostitute to be an agent or (b) an agent to have a hooker's "special skills".
  • Bi the Way: Lana has no problem bedding another woman.
  • Big Word Shout: In "The Cat's Meow", when Lana's infatuated target Clodmir tells her that he loves her and asks her to marry him, Lana is... surprised and displeased.
    Lana: MARRY YOU?!!
  • Biker Babe: Lana in "Tricks of the Trade" and "Second Skin".
  • Bilingual Bonus: In "Tricks Of The Trade", the man on Lana's escape yacht was singing parts of "La donna è mobile" ("The woman is fickle" in Italian), the Duke of Mantua's canzone from the beginning of act 3 of Giuseppe Verdi's opera Rigoletto. Interestingly, while the song was an ironic one in the original play (the duke being the "fickle" one), it is appropriate here as Lana is indeed the "fickle woman".
    • In "Grand Prix", Cliff uses "casa" ("house" in Spanish) to describe his room.
    • In "The Cat's Meow", "garçon" ("boy" in French) is used to address a waiter. note 
    • In "Second Skin", one thug is named Paua. "Paua" is the Maori name for "abalone".
  • Brainless Beauty: Averted and exploited by Lana, who encourages her opponents to think that she is this (if they don't already assume so). See Underestimating Badassery below.
  • Brainy Brunette: Lana is smart enough to quote Latin proverbs and Robert Frost's poetry note . She is also able to think quickly on her feet. In "Flashbang!", at a costume party, she sees her target dressed up as Vegetto. She then mentions Pan (another Dragon Ball character) and building a perfect-grade Qubeley. As expected, her target's attention is soon focused on her.note 
  • Breast Attack: This is sometimes used on Lana. One example is the bomber in "Object of Desire".
  • Busman's Holiday: In "Ring of Fire", the chief sends her on vacation to an island resort, which is then invaded by a revolutionary force which Lana must thwart singlehandedly. She accuses the chief of setting this up deliberately, but he denies it and realises he gave her the wrong ticket and has had a combat team stationed in a five-star hotel in a riveria for several weeks.
  • Buxom Is Better: Somewhat deconstructed. Lana's large breasts help in her honey traps. However, they do not help when she needs to move about in tight spaces.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: Her first conversation that we see has her snarking to her chief that she's "little busy right now" in the middle of a gun fight.
  • Cassandra Truth: One of the thugs in Case #10 correctly deduces that Lana was a spy. However, no-one else believes him, and when he tries to take her out alone, he fails. Horribly.
  • Cat Fight: Lana has had several female opponents. While the fights can get brutal, they are also quite sexual. Lampshaded by Lana herself, when another female character challenges her to a naked catfight, and Lana tells her that she has a black belt in naked catfighting.
  • Clark Kenting: The bomber in "Object of Desire" disguises himself by wearing thick glasses. While the chief was fooled by it, Lana sees through the disguise right away. The Trope Namer is given a Shout-Out (the chief really does not know that Clark Kent is Superman).
  • Cloudcuckoolander: The archduke in "Flashbang!" gives up firing the nuclear warhead because he didn't build a roof hatch for the missile to go through, and his office is right above the missile.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Lana will pull every trick in the book to win a fight. Fighting naked to induce Underestimating Badassery is just one example. At one point, the guys she's trying to take down are interrupted by another bunch of guys who want to fight them. The two sides beat each other into unconsciousness and then Lana steps out of the cupboard she was hiding in and steals the thing that she was trying to steal all along.
  • Creepy Shadowed Undereyes: Lana has these. It does make her mildly menacing, if you're paying attention to them. When you think about it, given Lana's frequent cover as a prostitute, she naturally misses out on her sleep many times.
  • Crossover: Flare once joins Lana on a case.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Lana, definitely. See Casual Danger Dialog for one example.
  • Death Glare: Lana uses hers on her boss, after the "Action Squad" SNAFU:
    Boss: Great job! Another mission accomplished!
    Lana: [death glare]
    Boss: Yes, I know it didn't go as smoothly as it might have, but the important thing is that the prime minister's daughter is safe. He's not crazy about Mad Dog as a son-in-law, but hey, who likes their inlaws, right?
    Lana: [death glare]
    Boss: You know, I think you work well with a team! Sure, it was a little bumpy, but that's to be expected when you try something new.
    Lana: [death glare]
    Boss: All in all, I'd say this is a promising result, and I believe this can be beneficial to our agency, as well as to you personally!
    Lana: [death glare; pause]
    Boss: Okay, I'll fire the Action Squad.
    Lana: [death glare] Good.
  • Dirty Harriet: Lana's undercover roles typically tend to be call-girls, strippers, porn stars or other professions that involve sex in some way.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: One of the main weapons in Lana's arsenal. Turns out, many enemy operatives have a tendency to get a bit sidetracked when a beautiful large-breasted near-nude or nude brunette shows up in front of them.
  • Drinking on Duty: Invoked by Lana when she dealt with a group of guards in "Action Squad" by throwing a party for them. The alcohol is also spiked with sleeping pills.
  • Dumb Muscle: Lana frequently encounters this, both in her opponents and her fellow agents.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: In Cases #1 and #2, Lana either blows her cover or requires the agency's help to bail her out. In subsequent cases, even if her cover is blown, she usually gets out of trouble by herself.
  • Enraged by Idiocy: In "The Cat's Meow", once the contact (who's not at all bright) declared that he wants to marry Lana as she had just saved him from an assassin, Lana pulls off a rant and a Screw This, I'm Outta Here!
  • Escape Artist: Lana frequently escapes from handcuffs and being tied up.
  • Eskimos Aren't Real:
    • Played with. In "The Upside Down Case", when Lana's partner asks who she is over the radio, she sarcastically replies that she is the Marquess of Queensberry. Turns out that the title is real note .
    • A straight example would be in Case #10, where one suspicious henchman questions her on medical terms like "systolic over diastolic". Lana teases him by claiming that he made those words up. In fact, that is indeed how you describe a person's blood pressure. (In this case, it's likely that Lana has a good grip of her audience's intelligence [i.e. not much] and decided to Mind Screw the simpletons, knowing that they can't tell whether they had been lied to or not.)
  • Ethical Slut: Played with; Lana is frequently disgruntled that her job basically requires her to be "a hooker with security clearance", but given how frequently she resorts to sex to further her purposes or for leisure, she does appear to have a naturally high sex drive and enjoy sex in and of itself. Her objections seem to be more that the work isn't particularly fulfilling, no one takes her seriously, the people's she's despatched to seduce are usually sleazy scumbags, and almost all of the people she finds herself working with are complete morons.
  • Excuse Plot: Let's be honest; the plots are basically reasons to (a) get Lana naked (or close), (b) get Lana having sex, and (c) get Lana shooting guns, riding fast vehicles and blowing shit up. Often with at least two of the aforementioned happening simultaneously.
  • Fake Boobs: Lana has had breast implants, and her breast size is double D (both revealed in "The Upside Down Case"). And they do get in the way from time to time.
  • False Friend: Another part of Lana's MO. Combined with her sex appeal, she frequently manipulates her targets with ease.
  • Fanservice: Let's face it, the whole point of the comic is to get Lana naked in as many different situations as possible.
  • Femme Fatale Spy: Unlike most examples, Lana also handles herself very well with guns and in fights.
  • Flock of Wolves: Done to a ridiculous extent in Case #1. Due to an enemy mole assigning agents to unimportant missions so that the important missions become undermanned, Lana soon realizes that the group she has infiltrated consists only of her fellow agents.
  • Friendly Enemy: Lana has moments of this with people she's fighting (usually women), if there's some third party that they each find equally irritating. In "The It Girl", Lana and a Girl Mook are beating the crap out of each other while the woman Lana is meant to be protecting is squealing with terror in the background.
    Girl Mook: [trying to put Lana in a chokehold] That sound is driving me crazy.
    Lana: [resisting] I know, it's like a dying cat or something.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Lana does get into fights while being naked. If she's not naked when she starts fighting, it's likely that she'll get stripped naked during the fight. She may also remove her own clothing to use as a weapon. One way or another, she usually ends up wearing nothing.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Under extreme stress, Lana will use only mild swearwords. On being confronted by a mook pointing a gun at her face when she is (as usual) unarmed, she says "Oh poo." While riding a motorbike naked and being chased by a crime boss who is shouting "Shoot her! Shoot her!", she whacks him in the face with the steel briefcase she is holding, telling him "Oh hush."
  • Groin Attack: Lana does this to the bomber in "Object of Desire".
  • Guile Heroine: If Lana is not bashing her opponents out cold, she's outsmarting them. Sometimes, she does both.
  • Hanlon's Razor: Grey's Law is invoked by the chief. Besides sending Lana into missions with faulty intelligence, he would also at times withhold the mission's true objectives from her.
    • In Case #1, Lana thought that her task of infiltrating a group was the important part of the mission. As it turns out, the very fact that she was even assigned to a relatively unimportant mission was the crucial point.
    • In "Grand Prix", Lana assumed that the data her team had retrieved was the important part of the mission. The true aim of the mission is to discredit the person from whom the data was stolen.
  • Hello, Nurse!: Lana in Case #10.
  • Honey Trap: Part of Lana's modus operandi, although she doesn't always enjoy the sex (especially if her boss had assigned her the mission due to her "special talents"). In fact, she describes herself as "a hooker with a security clearance", a rather unfair but not entirely inaccurate self-assessment. (Though as someone reminds her, a hooker works on commission, and she's on salary.)
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: During the story of The Hero Position, Lana's antagonist throws her into his private game reserve with intent to hunt her down. Lana immediately identifies the trope by name, and is very annoyed, because "every two-bit crackpot in the world" seems to be fixated with it; she regards it as contemptibly lame.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Lana's fellow agent Sherri tends to treat her like an incompetent airheaded bimbo whose only abilities are getting men into bed. Considering that Sherri herself once got fired from an undercover position as a waitress due to incompetence because she couldn't stop dropping plates, this is more than a bit rich of her.
  • Improvised Weapon:
    • Lana loves using objects to bash her opponents in the head.
    • In "The Cat's Meow", she deconstructs the concept. Improvised weapons are truly effective only if the user is experienced with that style of fighting. When a call-girl tries to attack Lana with a chair, she easily subdues the call-girl.
  • The Load: The lady being escorted in "It Girl".
  • Lust Object: Lana in "Object of Desire", to several fellows. All at the same time. Once again, the root cause is the chief's incompetence.
  • Made of Iron: Lana has been beaten bloody (or shot) several times, and she always bounces back to complete the mission.
  • The Man Behind the Man: "Everybody Loves Lana" takes this to a ridiculous degree, crossing into Flock of Wolves when "The Professor" turns out to be Lana's boss.
  • Meaningful Name: In "Grand Prix", Tawni (the enemy female agent) has tawny-colored hair.
  • The Mole: Lana is frequently this. On the flip side, the agency's enemies once managed to get one of their own to become the chief's secretary.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Lana is often naked, or nearly so, and not always by choice. Also, she has an attractive face and a buxom figure. Justified, given what her usual covers are.
  • Mugging the Monster:
    • Call-girls attacking a secret agent? Qualifies as this. Later, it becomes Bullying The Dragon as the same girls (still nursing their wounds from the first time) try to mug Lana again. While they draw blood this time, Lana still hands them their asses.
    • In "Action Squad", Lana herself goes up against a thug who is much more muscular than she thought.
      Lana: The agency really needs to start getting full-body pictures of people...
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Lana frequently triumphs over opponents who are more muscular than her, often with a combination of wits and Improvised Weapon. Lana is an athletic woman (as noted in the official description), but she does not have a muscular figure. Then again, a muscular hooker or secretary might attract more unwanted attention...
  • Naked People Are Funny: Lana is funny while naked if you're not her target. If you are, it's better to prepare yourself for a tough fight.
  • Nerves of Steel: Even when in danger, Lana remains calm enough to work out something to even the odds against her.
  • Never My Fault: "Sweet Nothings"
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: It may or may not be intentional, but Lana strongly resembles the young Joan Jett, if Joan Jett were about a foot taller, had fake boobs and were an ass-kicking spy.
  • No Name Given: Both the agency's and the chief's names are not revealed. In the agency's case, it's even lampshaded in the official description.
  • Noodle Incident: In "The Morning After", Lana's mission was this. From the henchmen's comments, lasers and a pie-eating contest were involved. Also, vintage rum was ruined and Lana did something to a killer baboon.
  • The Only One: Played with. The agency which Lana works for probably has more than its fair share of incompetent people (including and especially the chief). However, said chief does have the saving grace of assigning Lana to "take care" of the competent criminals so that the relatively incompetent rest of the agency can mop up the others. On balance, this meant that said agency has a very good chance of getting things done.
  • Only One Name: Lana only ever goes by that name, and it's unknown if that is even her real first name.
  • Only Sane Woman: Lana thinks that she's this when it comes to the agency. Given the chief's incompetence (along with many fellow agents'), she has a point.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: Lana's boss is one, with his general incompetence and tendency to get Lana to do trivial things.
    • That Escort Mission Lana undertook in It Girl? All the other lady did was to sell the chief a laptop that he's not satisfied with.
    • His screwup in "Ring of Fire" costs Lana her vacation and throws her into an assignment which she's initially unprepared for.
    • In "The Late Show", his inability to pronounce the name of the project he wants stolen causes Lana and her partner problems.
  • Really Gets Around: See Honey Trap above. With an MO like that, you can't blame her for screwing men while on assignment.
  • Refuge in Audacity:
    • In "The Case of the Mixed-up Case", the agency sends in a male replacement for Lana as she has blown her cover (and in the middle of a gun fight). The male agent calls a literal time-out and basically worms his way into the enemy's side, allowing Lana to escape.
    • This is also part of Lana's MO. Doing stuff like sabotaging boats, escaping with a secret prototype handcuffed to you and fighting thugs? Standard fare for any secret agent. Doing those while being naked? Ridiculous to many, but to her, it's just another day's work.
    • An aversion of the trope is actually used as a plot point in "Grand Prix". The sheer ridiculousness of two naked women fighting at the back of his car, along with other over-the-top factors (driving naked and crashing his car among them), meant that Cliff becomes a laughing stock, and subversive groups will never again entrust him with any work.
  • Sex for Services:
    • In an unusual take on the trope, Lana will have sex with you if you've provided decent help to her, especially if you're a hot-looking stranger. Just ask the guys from "Tricks of the Trade", "It Guy" and "The Morning After".
    • In The Morning After, it becomes a Running Gag as Lana uses sex to shut her partner up whenever he starts stating his actual request in return for his services: busting his uncle out of a high security prison.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story:
    • In "Quick n' Dirty", Lana successfully retrieves the target prototype. Later back in HQ, the chief accidentally destroys it.
    • In "The Upside Down Case", her involvement is this as she was infiltrating the agency's own installation, thanks to faulty intelligence.
  • Shameful Strip: Subverted. When Lana gets naked due to such a strip, it's time for someone's ass to be kicked.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: To an absurd extent. It actually comes as a relief when she's wearing something that isn't Stripperiffic.
  • Smart People Know Latin: In "Flashbang!", Lana quotes the Latin maxim "De gustibus non est disputandum" ("In matters of taste, there can be no disputes") note .
  • Spy Catsuit: Lana wears this from time to time.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Lana is a very tall woman, sometimes nearly as tall as the men around her. Although the lady being escorted by her in "It Girl" claims that she's "too short to be a showgirl". (Then again, this is a person whom Lana has to explicitly explain to that she's a secret agent.)
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Lana certainly feels this way. Her hyper-competence contrasts greatly with the general incompetence of her boss and many fellow agents.
  • SWAT Team: Parodied with the Action Squad, which "speaks entirely in jargon and swear words" and which can only go through doors by blowing them open. And which turns out to be completely useless, getting distracted by gas station snacks before storming the wrong compound. Lana is not pleased.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Lana's opponents tend to do this to her, thinking that she's either a Brainless Beauty or that she's helpless as she's naked at the time.
  • Undying Loyalty: Whether it is to her country or to the agency, Lana shows this when in "Second Skin", she raises the Fridge Logic to her boss on why she shouldn't join an enemy when he was treating her better than the chief (good intel, competent team and good sex).
  • Universal Driver's License: Averted in "The Morning After". Both Lana and her partner have no idea how to drive a tank. While her partner manages to topple his tank, Lana fires off a lucky shot which destroys an enemy tank, while trying to reverse the tank.
  • Unluckily Lucky: On balance, Lana's luck trope is this, although she firmly believes that she is Born Unlucky, as her boss sends her on assignments without proper preparation on his part (or the agency's), or on trivial matters. Regardless, she has always emerged victorious.
  • Unreliable Expositor: In "Sweet Nothings", various employees recount to their boss how each of them got robbed of a crucial component. One of them, Karen, tells the story as though Lana attacked her and her "bodyguard" while they were having a "meeting" to discuss "security measures", and that she (Karen) had the situation under control, but we see that in fact she was in a bar, the "bodyguard" was her clueless boyfriend, and that Lana handed her ass to her on a plate before stealing her purse.
  • The Unreveal: In "It Girl", we never find out why the enemy agents are after Lana's target. Goes into Fridge Logic territory when the agency's reason for wanting her is revealed.
  • Unwanted Assistance: The incompetence of her fellow agents means that Lana likes to work alone.
    • "The Upside Down Case" is one example of such incompetence. To elaborate: In "Grand Prix", Lana once again teams up with Josh (her partner in "The Upside Down Case"). When her shoulder is hit by his shot, she considers it an improvement. "The Upside Down Case" has a flashback where Josh shot her in the torso.
    • Averted in "The Late Show", where her partner is actually competent.
  • Unwanted Rescue: In "Action Squad". The "kidnap victim" was never that. She was in love with the "kidnapper" from the start. It was the chief's faulty intelligence that caused the whole misunderstanding.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Webcomic/SpyingWithLana