Webcomic / Supermassive Black Hole A*

Supermassive Black Hole A* ("A star") is a sci-fi webcomic telling stories from a human civilization in the center of our galaxy, and more specifically, the covert search for a particularly powerful bit of Lost Technology, and the lives ruined by it. Here, energy and raw materials are abundant and life is cheap. A* is in a cinematic widescreen format, and updates Monday through Friday.

Supermassive Black Hole A* contains examples of:

  • Anti-Hero: Selenis seem to fall between this, Anti-Villain, and Villain Protagonist.
  • Action Survivor: Vero Plank, our hero, is a simple tramp freighter crewman. But the instant shit got real, he Took a Level in Badass.
  • Arbitrary Maximum Range: Apparently, the 'boomships' have a greater laser range than standard Mega Corp. fighters. Possibly justified, because they are stated to be faster, and therefore more capable of dodging incoming laser fire, and therefore capable of engaging effectively at greater ranges than a slower, less dodgy opponent.
  • Art Shift: The webcomic started out as a project for animated clips, thus explaining the first comics' cartoonish art style before its transition to more realistic style. Also it also used pink, blue, and white as its main color.
  • Bigger Bad: Oswalt and Perriman are mentioned only in legend, and those legends make it clear they were not nice.
  • Black and Grey Morality: Since Episode 22, Selenis' antagonist became Corrupt Corporate Executive and his group despite her character status.
  • Body Backup Drive/Respawn Point: Selenis has a cloning facility with dozens of bodies in reserve. However, the process is... inexact.
    • The flaws of her cloning technology may been showing up in Episode 21, which the old bartender may have been a hallucination that may have been resulted from improper brain generation. However, this has yet to be addressed FOR NOW.
    • Chapter 27 also used this with Selenis overriding the clone activation to transfer her consciousness to the clone in her hideout when it was discovered by a squad of soldiers while she was stuck in orbit against an intruding ship.
  • Casual Interstellar Travel: because the stars are much closer together at the galactic core than they are out in the vicinity of Earth, this is possible despite the lack of Faster-Than-Light Travel.
  • Character Development: Selenis seem to gain some positive aspects after her time in a cult colony led by Hierophanta Episode 22.
  • Colony Drop: A ship 10 times the size of a galaxy-class freighter, moving at 10 percent light speed, hits a planet. Only those important enough to get on the few evacuation ships survive.
  • Corporate Warfare: Occasionally happen in SMBHAX-verse.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Solvan Mar gets the most screen time, but he's far from the only one.
  • Crapsack Galaxy: As the comic's description says, " an area of space dominated by a gigantic black hole, where energy is abundant and life is cheap."
  • Cult Colony: Ended up in this trope in Episode 22, one led by benevolent priestess and another rival and possibly malevolent cult led by Selenis' acquaintance.
  • Death by Sex: The rare male example.
  • Decoy Protagonist: It's been many chapters now since we last saw Vero Plank (not that Selenis is much of a protagonist to begin.)
  • Driven to Suicide: In the end of episode 20, Selenis jump off from Treban's apartment to prevent her corporation to track her.
  • Earth That Was: Suggested throughout. There's a historical society dedicated to collecting artifacts and data about Earth. They even have something called a "tree." Whether the humans of Sagittarius A* come from Colony Ship or Perriman's cloning technology is debatable.
  • Fanservice: Selenis can be seen as this in swim suit, space suit, or without clothes.
    • Ms. Fanservice: The above mentioned clothings usually created sex appeal on her.
  • Femme Fatale: Selenis.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: used in both many space fighters and basic space ships.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Selenis' newly activated clone, recently came out naked from vet, fight a squad of soldier in this strip.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Chapter 25 ended with the leader of Corporation who took over the station later got mutineed by his own employees when his information on giving large portion of profits to Corporation that funded his operation.
  • Immortality Immorality: Due to her constant cloning, the already-morally scrupulous Selenis is effectively an immortal.
  • Immortal Procreation Clause: Justified, according to Ben Chamberlain's post, since Selenis' pregnancy may complicate the cloning process.
  • Latex Space Suit: Most of her appearance in space suit is form fitting enough to see her curves.
  • Lightworlder: Majority of humans in the universe are this trope due to habitable areas being low-gravity. According to Word of God, Selenis had to keep in shape for adaptation to both earth-like and low gravity settings.
  • Lost Technology: Perriman's 'perfected' cloning technology.
  • Mega Corp.: Many, and powerful. Conventional government has been mentioned only once, and only in passing.
  • Neural Implanting: Selenis' brain contained implants that transfer her previous memories to another clone after her death.
    • She can also override the on-death command to activate a clone though only used as a last resort due to side effects.
  • Older Than She Look: Thanks to her using cloning technology for decades, she appear younger than she would appear. Lampshaded in this comic.
  • Put on a Bus: Plank, since the end of Episode 10 after shooting Selenis (who later took over most of the comics' plot) in cloning facility.
  • Shaggy Dog Story:
    • Episode 11 and 12, the result from Selenis' assault on Solvan Mars' facility ended in her death, which the location of the Lost Technology from her Neural Implant was sent in 34th clone, who was slated to be purged for the long-term survival of her future clones that effectively erased the information 2 years (Comic-Book Time) after Episode 11.
    • Episode 17: Selenis' search for cloning technology on the planet's turned fruitless when the database isn't available on its archive and ended with the facility's nuclear bombardment.
  • Stealth in Space: Fusion engines leave a radiation trail that can be easily tracked, while chemical engines do not.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Distances in the core are much smaller, as noted above, but at best that would mean a journey of years between stars instead of millennia, and definitely not the days depicted.
  • Space Pirates: Episode 24 had a group of them led by a Corrupt Corporate Executive who recently captured a space station with Selenis' aid. see Hoist by His Own Petard for its end.
  • There Are No Good Executives: There was one.
  • We Can Rule Together: Selenis tried this trope with Vero in this strip when both of them were trapped in Perriman's cloning facility by an armed starship, which ended with her death and a Cliffhanger on Vero's indecision to whether he should clone himself or not.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?/ Clones Are People Too: This comic subverted this trope, HARD, especially the somber mood of Selenis' clone over her realization as a copy of her creator and her termination!