Webcomic: The Last Days of Foxhound aka: The Last Days Of FOXHOUND
The Last Days of FOXHOUND is a fan webcomic by Chris Doucette. Hosted at doctorshrugs.com, it is centered around the Quirky Mini Boss Squad from the first Metal Gear Solid game, starting several years before the events of the game, when the highly dysfunctional group was still running top secret missions for good old Uncle Sam. The comic is mostly a combination of affectionate parody (for example, a major running gag is mocking the game's odd ideas about genetics, sometimes even correctly) and a deconstruction of life within a quirky miniboss squad where everyone hates one another. Throw in a pinch of hilarity ensues, a dash of Sympathetic POVs, some Comedic Sociopathy and a metric fuckton of swearing to accompany the antics, and the recipe is complete.About midway in the comic's run, Cerebus Syndrome increasingly takes hold, and the gags get put on hold more and more for the deconstructions and showing the group becoming involved with/aware of the Patriots, their decision to turn rogue against the United States and attempt to revolt against the Patriots, right up until the inevitable conflict with Snake at Shadow Moses.In a rare accomplishment for a webcomic, the story completed its entire arc, and the complete 500 comic long strip (plus some filler) can be found at the gigaville archive.Doucette's has since started a new project on doctorshrugs, a hybrid webcomic/browser game called Demon Thesis.A fandub by Broad Spectrum Studios was released in July 21. It is available here.
The Last Days of Foxhound contains examples of:
Abusive Dad: Big Boss royally screwed Liquid Snake up during his lifetime and then after it because Liquid hallucinates him. And later, as it turns out Liquid isn't (presumably) hallucinating at all: Big Boss is literally haunting his son, and at one point possesses his body.
Arbitrary Skepticism: Psycho Mantis, a freaking psychic, has some narrow ideas about what to accept as plausible to believe in.
Like ghosts. He doesn't believe in ghosts until The Sorrow puts him through his "test". Which is Hilarious in Hindsight considering that in Metal Gear Solid 4, Mantis comes back as a ghost.
And talking/psychic wolves.
Berthold: (a psychic talking wolf for those playing at home) A telepath? No freaking way. ...Yes, I get the irony, Liquid, thank you.
Artistic License - Biology: Played for laughs with The Pain, whose status as a living Bee Bee Gun is attributed with his mother's constant craving for sweets leading to The Pain being born with honey DNA.
Played for laughs even more prominently with all the bastardised genetics that get thrown about, particularly by Liquid, much to Mantis' vehement frustration (see also: Brick Joke).
Badass Normal: Several memebers of FOXHOUND lack any sort of special powers; Liquid is exceptionally skilled at infiltration and CQC, and is virtually unkillable, Wolf is nothing but a normal human being who has received training from the best and is exceptionally-determined as well as being capable of remaining completely motionless in wait for a target for days (and constantly on sedatives that, combined with aforementioned training, gives her aim approaching Ocelot levels), and Vulcan Raven mostly lacks any genuinely useful powers, merely using a BFG to kill things. A lot. Also, the DARPA Chief Donald Anderson. I'm completelyserious.
Berserk Button: Everyone in the comic has a few, even Raven, an Inuit shaman. Here's a couple:
You'd better not aggravate Liquid's inferiority complex. Or this happens. Of course, this is taken advantage of by many other characters. Don't ever try to say how great Solid Snake is.
Brick Joke: strip 246 features Ghost Liquid going on a completely misguided and inaccurate spiel about dominant and recessive genes. Raven notes that Mantis "is gonna have a conniption" if and when he finds out what Liquid's "learned". Then comes strip 427 where Liquid suggests consulting the book "American Journal of Inaccurate Genetics: Volume 19" to fix the Genome Soldiers' oncoming gene malfunctions. Cue Mantis literally foaming at the mouthpiece. For more laughs, guess what the title of strip 427 is.
Character Development: Liquid, incredibly. He starts out even more ridiculous than he was in the game, and becomes somewhat less so.
Once Liquid decides to rebuild Outer Heaven and becomes the leader of FOXHOUND, he has upgraded in competence to the point where the rest of the team actually listen to him. Occasionally, at least. Despite the fact that the continue to squabble and bitch like crazy, pretty much every one of them - with the exception of Ocelot (maybe?) - become, to some degree, Sarcastic Devotees. Even Mantis pays him attention... although that doesn't stop things like this from happening.
Character Exaggeration: Most of the squad's personalities are exaggeration of the characters they're based on, although not to excess and still well balanced with real characterization. Sometimes it's just funnier that way.
Despite what at first seems to just be a rather off-the-cuff gag, there's actually a very good reason that Ocelot has Chronic Backstabbing Disorder when you find out what his past with the Patriots is.
Coat, Hat, Mask: Decoy Octopus' self-image is basically a hat and trench coat, with nothing inside them. When asked why so, he says he's a Bogart fan.
Colour-Coded for Your Convenience:Every named character's speech bubble is a different color, which makes it handy to pick out who's saying what, especially in text-heavy strips.
Compelling Voice: Mantis. It doesn't work on other psychics (except Eddie, and since he's stated to be a relatively weak telepath, it can be assumed that Mantis just psychically overpowered him), Consummate Liars, or people with special nanomachines.
Compensating for Something: Nope, I'm definitely not looking at you, Raven. Or implying anything. Or even thinking of implying anything, so please don't hurt me!
Psycho Mantis: You must spend every day pretending to act like you're falsely letting on that you aren't not unbetraying someone you don't not purport to allegedly not work for but really do! How do you keep all this shit straight without having an aneurysm?
Does Not Like Women: Psycho Mantis has a somewhat irrational phobia of direct contact with women, to the extent that he doesn't want Sniper Wolf touching him, even though he is about to fall off a cliff.
Doomed by Canon: Most of the cast is literally doomed by the canon, since you do kill them in the game.
Downer Ending: Though to anyone who's played the game, it's no surprise. Still sucks after getting to know all of them.
Dropped a Bridge on Him: By virtue of the comic's Foregone Conclusion, in the comic itself the fate of 95% of the cast is dealt with in a single strip. You know it's coming, but after getting to know the characters for 498 strips straight, the suddenness of it all is actually quite a Tear Jerker.
Dumb Is Good: Ocelot and Mantis are the smartest members of the team, but also by far and large the nastiest. Otacon is the nicest regular but is a Ditzy Genius writ large. Averted with Genius Bruiser Raven, who is at worst an Anti-Villain and is the wisest member of the group.
Egopolis: Subverted. Liquid wanted to rename Outer Heaven into Liquidia, but no one supported the idea.
Even Evil Has Standards: Subverted in one of the mailbags. A reader asks what Ocelot would do if he ran into Bin Laden. Ocelot breaks the fourth wall to say that, even if the comic portrays the villains as funny, "There are some villains so hideous, so much a threat to everything America and human decency holds dear, that they make people of all different backgrounds and beliefs put aside their differences and come together just to take that scum of the earth down." And therefore, Ocelot would shoot Bin Laden as soon as he saw him...otherwise Bin Laden would take Ocelot into the UN for his war crimes.
The line is all about Rule of Funny, but when you think about it this actually makes a fair amount of sense. A lot of Ocelot's war crimes were committed in Afghanistan against the mujaheddin who later became the Taliban, Bin Laden's allies.
Freudian Threat: Berthold frequently makes more-or-less subtle threats to bite off other character's dicks if they don't do as they're told. At one point, Liquid comments on how often he uses that specific threat, and he basically just shrugs and goes "Hey, it works..."
Freud Was Right: Commented on In-Universe during comic 50 when Mantis and Raven enter Liquid's mind and find it to be represented by an insanely tall skyscraper (with a small, grassy hill near the base):
Mantis: I remember ten minutes ago, when logic and sanity governed the universe. Gosh, those were great times. Ocelot: Look, if you ignore the little details, it's really quite simple. For several years, you have been working for a Patriot who is actually President Sears, who was put in office by The Patriots and is now trying to gain power to be rid of their control. The Patriots, in order to circumvent his efforts, had me trick you into getting him to hire me as an agent. Now I'm just waiting for the right moment to screw him over. Mantis: But it's all about the little details! I mean, you must spend every day pretending to act like you're falsely letting on that you aren't not unbetraying someone you don't not purport to allegedly not work for, but you really do! How do you keep all this shit straight without having an aneurysm?! Ocelot: Practice.
Genre Savvy: By the end, Liquid becomes very genre savvy about the risk of Solid Snake doing exactly what he did to Big Boss to him, and constantly tries to get around the problem... not that it does him any good.
He-Man Woman Hater: Mantis. At one point, Ocelot contemplates killing him by surrounding him with big breasted women chanting "Give us babies" and forcing him to flee onto railroad tracks, but decides it would be too much trouble.
Psycho Mantis elaborates on this in one of the mailbags, revealing that he is in fact extraordinarily sexually repressed:
"Why do I recoil from the touch of the 'fairer' sex? Because my ancient Neanderthalic heritage is telling me to jump on that pony and breed my brains out."
The other reason is stated in-game. Because people apparently think about sex all the time, he's grown disgusted by the very idea of it. Hey, if you had to read the mind of Max Hardcore every day, you'd be asexual too just for some freaking contrast.
Gray Fox: So are your hands, like, glued to your pockets or something?
Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Psycho Mantis, who uses his immense psychic powers mainly to cause lots and lots of problems for the other cast. The plain simple fact of the matter is that even in the game itself, he was in it solely to murder as many people as he could; the comic just plays it for laughs.
Raven: I think if Kant knew that one day you'd exist, he'd have built an exception into the Categorical Imperative.
I Hate Past Me: Subverted with Liquid at first, who, despite The Sorrow's best efforts, ends up gushing over his past self's brutality. However, this also played straight in the same instance as after Liquid is finished gushing over how cool he used to be... and finishes taking notes... he realises that being smart and using tactics to avoid having to kill people is just as important as, to quote, "being able to rip their faces off." The Sorrow is, on the one hand, quite pleased he eventually learnt his lesson, and on the other hand, endlessly frustrated that it took him so damn long to get it. In the aftermath Liquid condemns his past self for being manipulated by Big Boss into being a show-off with a ridiculous inferiority complex who would "cut off his own arm just to prove he could get by without it."
Karma Houdini: Ocelot, spending most of the comic's run manipulating and tormenting everyone left and right, escapes pretty much all of the karmic backlash and survives the events ofMetal Gear Solid despite being disarmed. The last strip subverts this, however, as Liquid and Big Boss get their revenge on him from beyond the grave.
Ocelot: There are things I must tell you, Mantis. Things only you can know. Mantis: Like what? Ocelot: I am your father, Mantis. Mantis: No you're not. I killed my father when I was eight. Ocelot: Yeah, I know. I just wanted to remind you of that.
Even if I can't kill you, I can still make your life miserable. Take that cup of coffee, for example. Maybe this morning, when you weren't looking, I poured a jar of my own urine into it while it was brewing. Or maybe not. Anyone else, you could read their mind and find out. But with me, you'll never know. So I think I'll have a very nice day, in fact. Enjoy your coffee.
Mythology Gag: In the brief appearances Dead Cell have, Doucette includes Chinaman and Old Boy, two members of Dead Cell who were in the planning stages of Metal Gear Solid 2, but were ultimately cut. Chinaman is shown as an ultra-competitive breath holding champion/misguided special effects expert and Old Boy is a more-than-a-hundred year old senile nutcase/former Nazi who speaks entirely in German (yet everyone can understand him).
Obfuscating Stupidity: Not quite stupidity, but the same principle. Everyone knows Ocelot is a manipulative, sadistic monster, but he acts as though he is more of an eccentric old Jerk Ass to hide the fact that he's really a Patriot agent manipulating everybody. Likewise, he plays up his feud with Mantis as a childish rivalry long before he actually gives Mantis real reason to hate him. This works frighteningly well, to the point where by the end of the series he's openly planning the deaths of everyone in FOXHOUND with no one in the know but people who don't care whether they live or die, and when Mantis tries to warn Liquid that he can't be trusted Liquid blows him off because the two of them clearly had issues with each other.
Power Incontinence: Mantis suffers from this without his gas mask. Without it on, he hears every thought of everyone within ten miles of himself (including Berthold, who he can't normally hear), unfiltered. To say that hearing every last thought of everyone within ten miles, all at the same time, without being able to block or filter any of it has a detrimental effect on his psyche would be an understatement and then some.
And this is why he hates sex. Because that's what people think about unfiltered, all day, every day.
Quirky Mini Boss Squad: Obviously. A very dysfunctional one, usually played for laughs. Dead Cell from MGS2 is presented as being even worse. Also the Cobras from MGS3, although they're specifically not dysfunctional, just quirky.
Big Boss: It took me decades to learn the ins and outs of being a spirit. You can't know all of that after a week or two.
Liquid: Oh, but I can.
Big Boss: Unless you had help from him, but he's to wrapped up in his own pathetic little world to even notice.
Sorrow: Oh, but he did.
Rule of Symbolism: The reasoning for why the flowers turn red when The Boss dies: "It doesn't matter."
If you're really curious, the original reason why it happened is probably because the Boss' death counts as a reunion or marriage with the Sorrow in a way. In Japanese tradition, white is the color of death, but red is often the color of the uchikake, the wedding kimono worn over a bride's normal kimono.
Running Gag: Liquid being woken up early in the morning.
As said before, the game's highly questionable outlook on genetics is constantly mocked. It finally culminates in the explanation of how The Pain got covered in bees.
The most serious insult you can make is "Your mother is a whore."
Sarcasm Failure: Psycho Mantis is occasionally prone to the humorous variant.
Shapeshifter Default Form: Completely averted by Decoy Octopus. Throughout the strip, he simply copies the other main characters. For a while he copies Kyrnosz, a minor villain that they killed, but when he runs out of his blood he just copies the other characters again. When he ends up in the spiritual realm, he represents himself with a coat and hat and literally no body at all, saying he doesn't think of himself as looking like anything And that he's a Bogart fan.
To One Froggy Eveninghere, where Raven tries to convince Mantis that Berthold, (a telepathic wolf) can talk to people. For an unknown reason it doesn't work, because despite Mantis being one of the most powerful telepaths in the world, some block exists that prevents the two from communicating. Eventually Mantis mocks the whole incident by offering a tophat and cane to Berthold.
Solidus, to a certain recent Democratic President of the USA.
The conversation in strip 445.
Hal Emmerich: But if it's just for shooting down missiles, why would we need—ACK (gets Neck Lifted by Liquid)
Can talk to Raven just fine though, due to him being spiritual and what not.
Technical Pacifist: Decoy Octopus has never killed a single person in his years of covert ops. The Sorrow is impressed by this until Octopus points out that he's technically complicit in all of his teammates' mass murders.
Theme Naming: Mocked, when Liquid Snake tries to convince a disbelieving Gray Fox that he's not Solid Snake: "So then where is Gas Snake? Plasma Snake? Bose-Einsteinium Condensate Snake?"
Liquid, Solid, and Solidus Snake do in fact form one of these. In a phase diagram, solidus is the line marking the lowest temperature at which solid and liquid phases coexist. Could count as a stealth joke given this is university-level material.
Tranquillizer Dart: Subverted and Lampshaded. When Liquid is possessed by Big Boss and he is threatening Raven, he is shot in the head with a high dosage tranq dart by Wolf, and it takes him several seconds to fall unconscious, causing Raven to say "That took way too fucking long." Also subverted when the Cyborg Ninja is tranquillized and remains conscious long enough to flee.
Wolf: I can never get ze dose right vith zese super-humans.
Liquid: Why... Why, why, why do we have trapdoors in our base? Is Doctor Doom our fucking architectural consultant?
True Companions: In a twisted fashion, but Liquid certainly believes in it.
Liquid: I don't think I heard that correctly, Ocelot. In fact I know I didn't, because it sounded like you were suggesting we let them kill Wolf. Ocelot: Boss, we need Gurlukovich more than- (Liquid grabs his collar and yanks him forward) Liquid:We don't play that game. Understand me? Not ever.
Undercover When Alone: Several reveals from Metal Gear Solid 3 jossed a fair amount of Ocelot's behavior. As such, it was retconned that he was simply always undercover and keeping up the illusion when alone was part of how he has a lot of practice being undercover.
Ocelot: Research? On what? Liquid: Well, it was supposed to be on current geopolitics of modern nuclear weaponry. Ocelot: This is a Wikipedia page about Mick Jagger. Liquid: I got slightly sidetracked.
The Worf Effect: Raven, even with his trademark M61 Vulcan Cannon, didn't land a single blow on Gray Fox during his raid in the ruins of Outer Heaven. Would likely have happened a bit later between Raven and Big Boss possessing Liquid's body, had Wolf not managed to tranquilize the latter.