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Webcomic: True Villains
The Best of the Worst
Priestess: Sebastian is six foot three, and could kill a dragon with his bare hands! He carries a magical sword that can cut through anything, his companions support him with powerful magic and unmatched strength, he can look into your eyes and destroy the sin in your soul with nothing more than a thought!
Sebastian: ... That's very flattering.

True Villains is a fantasy, villain-focused web comic written by Josh Kurtz and Madison Hughes, and drawn by Max Karpsten, with colors by Darren Urmey.

True Villains takes what you know about fantasy: how the good guys always win, the villains are definitely evil, mostly irredeemable, and always lose and flips it on its ear.

The comic follows the story of Sebastian Jalek, an alchemist/adventurer. After a run in with the famed villain Xaneth Antaris, he turns over to the side of villainy. Sebastian then makes fast friends with Elia the necromancer and takes in the orphaned Mia.

As the story expands, there are werewolves, elves, raging paladins, white-robed freaks, adventurers, crusaders, and much, much more.

The long-needed remasters are over, and True Villains is currently updating three times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Can be found here.

  • Above Good and Evil- Sebastian since the end of Saga Five
    • The Gods represent a single concept (e.g. progress, vision, love, etc.) and are completely morally neutral, they will provide power to champions of good and genocidal maniacs alike if that will further their individual causes
  • Adorkable- Sebastian is pretty dang cute but also a nerd, what with his dumb backpack and him being rather ignorant of the very world he lives in.
  • Aerith and Bob- We have Xaneth Antaris, Sebastian Jalek, Mia Jalek, Elia Redscallon, Bayn, and Tom.
    • Don't forget about Dexter Pheonix and Gray.
  • Affably Evil- Elia and Xaneth mostly, but, various psychoses aside, the entire main cast fits this to some degree, even Bayn can be quite charming when the situation calls for it.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black- As bad as Xaneth is, Dove makes him look positively heroic.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents- Dexter
  • Animesque- The original art style of the strip, but later and revised strips have a more realistic look
  • Anti-Hero- Pre- Heel-Face Turn, Sebastian was a Type I, with some shades of Type III. Although he did do good, he seems to have been doing it more for thrills or material rewards than out of a desire to help people, and when he learns that Xaneth's dungeon requires a life be sacrificed to open the door, he unhesitantly snaps a guy's neck (although that was technically self defence).
  • Anti-Magic- While hopped up on divine power, the Paladin can remove the enchantments from Mia's magic armor simply by saying "Release".
    • Alistor is immune to dark magic.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil- Lord Attera seems to be in charge of Xaneth and very evil.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking - The Paladin nearly kills Sebastian and company, condones the torture of small children, namely Mia, and judging from his castle, has a horrible, awful taste in carpets.
  • Art Evolution- Look at the first comic, then look at anything from the newer series. Heck, even when the series wasn't changing artists every few minutes Maddie's art got steadily better over the course of Saga 1.
    • Even Max's art has grown ridiculously over his time as illustrator.
  • Art Imitates Life- Subverted, then invoked. The characters for the first production of the musical look similar to their comic counterparts. Then, after the second production and a few artists swaps, the characters took on similar appearances to their Real Life counterparts.
  • Art Shift- from normal remastered style straight to shoujo-style manga in this remastered page.
  • Asshole Victim-
    • The knight who Sebastian kills to open Xaneth's dungeon, who was planning to kill him for the same reason.
    • No one in this comic is really on the moral high ground, but there's just something insufferable about Alistor. He probably deserved getting blown up.
    • The woman whose face Elia melts during her first appearance gleans no sympathy from the reader, as she'd just spent the last few pages threatening another young woman and Sebastian.
  • Ax-Crazy- According to Word of God, before she met Xaneth, Elia was this. She has a lot more self control now, but is still prepared to go on a bloody slaughter simply to rescue one person
  • Badass Bookworm- Sebastian, following his leveling up, and to a lesser extent, Elia
  • Badass Mustache- Bayn had one in his early adventuring years, but then it was burned off in a fight with a fire priest.
  • Barrier Warrior- After getting a wand of defensive spells from his God, Bayn is now this
  • Better Living Through Evil- Sebastian joins Xaneth and, in exchange, Xaneth doesn't kill him. Win-win!
  • Big Bad- Possibly Xaneth; he shows signs of complex planning and reasoning in some comics. Perhaps a Big Bad in training?
  • Bigger Bad- Lord Attera seems to be the Big Bad on a much larger scale than Xaneth
  • Big Damn Heroes - Mia jumped right in and saved Elia and Cecile from Gray.
  • Blue and Orange Morality- The Gods are beyond human morality, they only care if the individual aspect of reality they represent is being served. To illustrate this, Gray and Dove are both affiliated with the same God.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall- All over the place. However, most prominent is the fourth wall-shattering character Dexter Pheonix
  • Break the Cutie- With the death of Tom, Mia is devastated. So much so that she can't even fix him.
  • Brought Down to Normal- After being de-aged, Bayn remembers everything he learned over his life, but can only perform the basic magic that he could do when he was ten.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield- Xaneth uses an innocent bystander in his fight against the Necromancer.
  • Cain and Abel- Alyssa and Sebastian. Interestingly, in this case it's the good sibling, Alyssa, who wants the evil sibling, Sebastian, dead. Sebastian would rather Alyssa just ran away because he doesn't want to kill her.
  • Came Back Strong- Xaneth tried to use Dove's soul as a bomb against Alyssa, but ended up bringing him back as a powerful demon
  • Charles Atlas Superpower- Sebastian; he suffers a crippling injury to his aura that drains his life force constantly, and forces him to train hard for three hours a day just to stay alive. After Bayn fixes the damage, that training catches up to him...
    • The mercenary Alistor, who can perform outright superhuman feats of strength and speed with ease.
    • Elia's friend Cecile is a semi-parody of this trope- she wields a sword as heavy as a man (which even Gray can't use) one-handed, due to studying dance her whole life, meaning she can use the sword like spinning around a dance partner.
    • The adventurer Brawn is strong enough to flip Tom one handed.
    • Basically, if a character doesn't have magic or inborn powers, expect them to have this to some degree.
  • Cheerful Child- Little Mia, with her constant smiles and sweet nature, is an obvious example.
  • The Chessmaster- Xaneth
  • Child Prodigy- Bayn as a ten year old with the mind of an experienced ninety year old wizard is basically one by default, although it's implied he was very smart the first time he was a kid also
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome- Sebastian is trying to get over this.
    • As of the end of Saga Five, he has.
  • Combat Pragmatist- Sebastian. Demonstrated in Saga Five, where he starts off the confrontation with his former companions by blowing up Alistor with an alchemical trigger he's dosed him with during their previous meeting.
    • Xaneth dropping an explosive potion on Dove while flying at a high altitude above him
    • All the main characters fight pretty dirty, Justified since they're the villains.
  • Conveniently an Orphan- Mia, who is adopted by Sebastian after he blows up her hometown.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle- Sebastaian and Xaneth's fights with The Paladin and The Man in White respectively are shown side-by-side, at first the two of them are getting stomped, then they turn it around.
  • Curse-
    • The reason Xaneth's shoes are yellow? Dexter cursed him so that any pair of shoes he wore would turn yellow. This extends to him going barefoot- his feet turn yellow after a while. It's such a mundane curse, but it makes Xaneth FURIOUS.
    • Bayn also fell victim; Dexter's curse forces him to refer to him as "dad", and makes him unable to become intoxicated. He hates it.
  • Cuteness Overload - Elia cannot resist Mia's charms ... Xaneth? Not so much.
  • Daddy's Little Villain- Mia
  • Dance Battler- Cecile. She calls her self-taught swordfighting style "Swing Dancing."
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy- Xaneth. For example, he warns the townspeople that he's planning to destroy them... and tells them that he's going to do it a week after the time he actually plans to destroy them.
  • Deliberately Monochrome- Used in a certain scene. The comic went full B&W when Mia sees Tom's lifeless body, tries to fix him, and fails.
  • Dungeon Crawling- Sebastian used to do this until he was contracted by Xaneth
  • Dysfunctional Family: The Phoenix family, for all it seems to only have three members.
  • Enfant Terrible- Ten year old Bayn
    • Mia isn't one of these, but Gray and Xaneth's other enemies consider her one.
  • Everything's Worse with Bees- The chests in Xaneth's dungeon are filled with bees, even when they are at the end of a complete and utter death trap.
  • Evil Costume Switch/Important Haircut- Sebastian cuts his hair and changes his clothes as a sign that he's completely gone over to evil.
  • Evil Versus Evil- Xaneth vs Dove (The Man in White).
    • Elia vs Malice
  • Evil Sorceror- Xaneth, Elia, Bayn.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness- Xaneth's dungeon is a hexagonal tower with no visible windows or doors.
  • Evil Virtues- All of them are evident in one cast member or another.
  • Expecting Someone Taller- Literally. The Priestess thinks Sebastian is six foot three.
    • Sebastian says to Xaneth that he thought he'd be taller. Xaneth takes it in stride.
  • Exposition Diagram- Xaneth pulls out the Blackboard of Mystery to explain Mia's abilities to Sebastian.
  • Face-Heel Turn- Sebastian commits one and is seemingly firm in his decision. He did, after all, blow up a town.
  • Facepalm- Facewing
  • Fingerpoke Of Doom- When empowered by "Divine Favor" from his God, the Paladin can shatter swords and dispel wisps just by speaking
  • Five-Man Band- Alyssa and her team
  • Five-Bad Band
  • Flash Step- Lord Attera
  • Full-Frontal Assault- Elia removes her clothes and skin to use as a decoy against an undead warrior.
  • Genius Bruiser- Brawn
  • Good Counterpart- Each member of Alyssa's team roughly maps to one of Xaneth's minions; Alyssa to Sebastian, Olivia to Elia, Brawn to Tom and Zach to Bayn. Xaneth being as Genre Savvy as he is, matches them up that way when they attack Alyssa's camp.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly- There are an infinite amount gods in the TV world, but only five have significant power at any given time because of how many people worship them.
  • Good Is Not Nice- The Paladin, Gray
    • Also Alyssa, while she is deginitely a force for good, she isn't the kind of person you want to spend time with
  • Good Wings, Evil Wings- Xaneth has traditional "angelic" feathered wings, but they're also solid black, so he occupies something of a middle ground in this trope, despite being squarely on the side of evil.
  • Gory Discretion Shot- You don't SEE Xeke biting a guy's head off; only the shadow of it, along with Aya's frightened reaction.
    • Mostly averted however, the strip hasn't shied away from showing a lot of blood in fights
  • Hannibal Lecture- Bayn, masterfully, see it here.
  • Hero Antagonist- The Paladin, of course.
    • Alyssa and her team.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords- Alyssa and the Paladin both wield swords in contrast to the protagonists, who use magic, automata, knives and brute force.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard- The Paladin challenges Sebastian to a one-one-one fight in their first meeting, and casts a ward on himself to keep Tom and Mia away so they can't interfere. Tom simply steps forward and stands next to Sebastian, and the Paladin's own ward knocks him back- if you're going to put a magic forcefield around yourself to block a specific person, make sure they aren't significantly stronger than you.
  • Important Haircut- Sebastian gives himself one in Saga 5, when he accepts his villainhood.
  • Informed Judaism- Xaneth, presumably to avoid the obvious Unfortunate Implications.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope- Alyssa believes this is what happened to Sebastian. It's a bit more complicated that that, but she's not entirely wrong.
  • Just a Machine: Subverted, Tom is a golem, essentially a magical robot, and when he's destroyed, Mia is devastated, and the rest of the team are also saddened to one extent or another.
  • Knight Templar- The Paladin takes his holy work very seriously, and goes to any lengths to defeat evil. Even torturing little children.
  • Lethal Harmless Powers- The only spells Bayn can still cast at his old power level are the purely defensive "Shield" and "Grounding". He uses them to subdue a demonic Dove in three moves
    • He also hits people with the Shield.
  • Light Is Not Good- Dove the necromancer is so evil that even Xaneth looks good next to him, but he wears pure white at all times
  • Little Miss Badass- Mia, with her ability to build this.
  • Love Goddess- Ara is described as the God of Love, though not technically a goddess since the gods are genderless.
  • Loveable Rogue- Alistor is a subversion, he assumes the persona of a charming vagabond, but his casual murders and total lack of remorse make it clear that he's a sociopath who shouldn't be liked or admired.
  • Made of Explodium - What even makes a Fallen Angel Potion explode, though, right?
  • Major Injury Underreaction- Sebastian when his aura is damaged. It's even mentioned in the Artist's Blog.
    Elia: ...and if it goes on unchecked, you will wither away and die.
    Sebastian: ...Well. Crap.
  • May-December Romance- Mia's crush on Bayn, somewhat averted in that though chronologically Bayn is nearly ninety, physically he is about ten.
    • Sebastian and Elia are moving in this direction
  • Meaningful Name- Bayn's family have a natural resistance to fire, their name is Pheonix
  • Memetic Badass- Pre-Heel-Face Turn, Seabastian was one in-universe
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: Bayn is starting to act more like a child the longer he spends in his new body.
  • Misery Builds Character- Sebastian cites this trope after pushing Bayn out of a moving cart.
  • Morality Kitchen Sink- The entire extended cast has only a couple of pure good or pure evil individuals, with everyone else occupying varying shades of grey.
  • Mr. Exposition- Sebastian's Constantly Curious Captain Obvious tendencies force Xaneth (occasionally Elia and once Bayn) into the role.
  • My Nayme Is- Dexter Pheonix. He even addresses the 'eo' spelling in-comic.
  • Na´ve Newcomer- In Saga 6, Bayn takes some time while traveling to fill Sebastian in on his past with Xaneth, as well as why Xaneth's shoes are yellow.
  • Noodle Incident- Whatever Sebastian did to expose the Amberscar conspiracy, he had to lay low for a year to avoid fallout.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging- Sebastian's first task as Xaneth's apprentice is to blow up a small town called Dorn. Of course, the first passerby he meets there immediately mentions that she recently recovered from an illness... that everyone thought would be fatal... and now her whole family has moved in to celebrate. Understandably, Sebastian's already shaky resolve is jolted considerably.
  • Obliviously Evil- Mia, maybe.
  • Older Than They Look- And how! On the cast page Elia's age is listed as 87.
    • Bayn can also count now. After all, he was magically transformed into a little kid.
    • Xaneth is at least as old as Bayn but looks about thirty at most
    • Gray, apparently
    • So much of the cast is this that Sebastian comments on it—
      Sebastian: Man, nobody ages normally anymore. Gotta get in on the immortality game.
  • Our Demons Are Different- Word of God says that Xaneth is a demon.
  • Our Vampires Are Different- Gray has been abducted by a group of vampiric beings who are apparently religious zealots (who ironically follow the same god as him)
  • Our Werewolves Are Different- Xeke. Also his sister Cecile is apparently a human born to werewolves.
  • Pet the Dog- Sebastian, Elia and even Xaneth think that Mia is too cute to kill.
    • Plus Elia freeing an elven slave girl from her human masters, although, she does use an army of zombies to slaughter an entire mansion full of people to do it, so...
  • Power Trio- All signs point to Sebastian, Brawn and Olivia being one of these.
  • Pragmatic Hero- Gray and Alyssa have no problem crossing the line if they have to. Their followers tend to be a bit more Honor Before Reason though.
  • Pragmatic Villainy- Xaneth operates on a fairly local level and avoids doing things For the Evulz, this means he has a pretty strong reputation and a reasonable level of power, but his actions are too small for the more powerful heroes to bother with him, even The Paladin is more focused on Sebastian than him.
  • Protected by a Child- One of the reasons Gray does not just kill Sebastian when they first meet.
  • Puppy Love- Mia has a one-sided infatuation with de-aged Bayn.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The protagonists
  • Required Secondary Powers- When escaping from Alyssa, Sebastian punches through a wall and learns that, while he is super strong and correspondingly tough, he is not immune to pain and punching brick still hurts.
  • Revision- Now updating with the redrawn early sagas. The events are the same, but some things are added or tweaked a little, for better storytelling.
  • Schmuck Bait- Xaneth's entire dungeon, for instance, you need a special key to unlock Xaneth's chamber at the end. He keeps said key in his chamber.
  • Serial Killer- Elia, but Xaneth keeps her under control most of the time
  • Sibling Rivalry- Sebastian's sister, Alyssa, kidnapped him and tried to lay siege to Xaneth's dungeon.
  • Sliding Scale of Anti-Villains- Basically assured to happen, what with the Villain Protagonist and all. Some of their companions like Cecile and Xeke seem like downright good people, just friends with some very bad people. Sebastian fits in with Type I quite nicely as well.
  • Stable Time Loop- Dove entered the story through a rift in the time-space continuum with no backstory and an unexplained hatred of Xaneth in Saga 2, finally in Saga 7 we learn that this is due to Bayn and Xaneth pushing him through a portal into the past after stripping him of his new demonic powers
  • Standard Female Grab Area- Gray to Cee in "Fearless". Though slightly overshadowed by the broadsword to the head shortly thereafter.
  • Street Urchin- Mia, when she lived in Dorn, according to the musical. It holds true in the comic.
  • Super Strength- Sebastian, Xeke, Tom, Brawn, Allistor, Gray
  • Talking Appliance Sidekick- Augustus, the amazing talking, dueling, pocket-watch.
  • The Pollyanna- Mia, her life has been endless misery and anguish, so much so that she's now immune to all negative emotions. It's actually a little creepy when she wanders into a torture chamber or loots a corpse with a smile on her face
  • The Team Normal- Sebastian is the only cast member who doesn't possess some kind of mystical or sorcerous ability, even his strength is just the result of hard (albeit magically assisted) training
  • The Unfettered- After spending five sagas agonising over his moral choices, Sebastian decides to rise Above Good and Evil, devoting himself totally to the thrill of adventure, and his own personal freedom. In his own words, all he cares about is what he can do, not what he should do
  • Took a Level in Badass- Sebastian, he can punch through swords now.
  • The Musical- Has its own page here
  • Unsound Effect- SHOVE and GRAB
  • Villainous Friendship- Xaneth and Malice
  • Villainous Valor- Sebastian still has it, much to Xaneth's annoyance, but he's growing out of it.
    • Augustus is something of an example as well, he acts like a stereotypical swashbuckling hero, but is 100% loyal to Xaneth and the others.
  • Villain Protagonist- With a title like True Villains, what can you expect?
  • Wicked Cultured- In Saga Three Sebastian and Elia infiltrate a formal party, when Sebastian tells her he can't dance she replies, "You're a villain now, learn to dance"
  • Wings Do Nothing- We have not seen Xaneth fly or use his wings for anything besides looking damn awesome. Until now.
  • Worthy Opponent- The Paladin seems to view Sebastian as this.
  • Yaoi Fangirl- Elia, as this remastered page reveals.
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alternative title(s): True Villains
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