Webcomic: Vatican Assassins

Vatican Assassins is a bi-weekly longform webcomic by Melissa J Massey, which has been published online since February 2012.

In 1942, the Vatican established a secret militia called "The Assassins." This is a codename to protect the true nature of the group. All the members are "Blessed Children", chosen by saints to get special powers through "resonating". Only these individuals can fight demons that try to materialize in the human world. The downside is that demons seek to eat Blessed Children to gain incredible power.

Viola di Largolinio, Fife O'Reilly, and Xylophone Phobus are still in training under Sister Rain, the head of the Assassins. Viola is anxious for better missions to prove herself. Everything is going along as normal until Flute Vermicelli, another Assassin, goes missing and sets off a chain of events that results in a dangerous new enemy, the likes of which the Assassins have never seen before.


This webcomic provides examples of:

  • Action Mom/Action Dad: Seems both Viola and Celesta have these. Viola even has an Action Grandfather!
  • Action Girl: All the female characters so far, except for perhaps Sister Rain
  • After-Action Patch-Up: Towards the end of Chapter 2, Viola and Fife sit outside the Pantheon covered in bandages
    • After the battle in Chapter 7, everyone ends up in the hospital
  • Anime Accent Absence: Everyone speaks Italian fluently despite being teens from all over the world. Doubly impressive in that everyone also understands Sign Language enough to communicate with Xy.
    • Only Fife has any kind of accent because he doesn't speak Italian as well as everyone else.
  • Art Evolution
  • Backstory: Everyone has one
    • Responsorial Hymn 1:The Miracle is all about how Fife was revealed as a Blessed Child
  • Benched Hero: Both Mandolin and Tzouras as of Chapter 5, though in Tzouras's case it's because he can't resonate yet.
  • BFS: Mellophone Fallon has a giant claymore type sword for his weapon of choice.
  • Big Bad: Lilith
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The three Faeries of Florence are this
    • The WITCHNIGHT Trainees can also be considered this.
  • Break the Cutie: Flute Vermicelli in Chapter 3 when she is raped and then has to reveal the existence of the Assassins to report the crime. The guilt is so much that she fights with teammate Mandolin and then runs away
    • If that wasn't enough, she then is kidnapped by a Satanist cult and eaten by Lilith.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Most of the older kids have this problem, leading to a perceived Love Triangle Euphonium likes Celesta and Flute likes Baritone, but both think that Celesta and Baritone like each other.
    • Baritone liked Flute and was going to confess when she got back from Florence. This becomes impossible after she disappears
    • Even when he finds out the truth, Euphonium refuses to tell Celesta about his feelings due to some tragic Backstory
  • Cast Herd: With all these kids running around, at least they are nicely organized into groups:
    • The In-training team: Viola, Fife, and Xy
      • Their WITCHNIGHT counterparts: Saffron, Sage, and Rosemary
    • The Older Kids are in two groups:
      • The Rome Team: Celesta, Baritone, Euphonium, and Mellophone
      • The Three Faeries of Florence: Flute, Mandolin, and Piccola
    • The Assassin Staff: Sister Rain, Sister Artemisia, and Pope William
    • The Vatican Medics and the Vatican Scientists
  • Child Soldiers: Although older Assassins are mentioned, most of the characters thus far are between 14 and 17 years old, and have been in training at the Vatican since an even younger age
  • Christmas Episode: Every December, the main story takes a break to do a special "Advent Calendar" story, interestingly told a panel a day. To keep in line with the Catholic theme, it starts on the first day of Advent (not just the 1st of December) and runs till Christmas Eve. They are usually cute, Christmas themed shorts.
    • 2013's Calendar was about Viola chasing a demon around St. Peter's Basilica, and featured interesting trivia about the author's trip to Rome
    • 2014's Calendar is about Fife getting a football/soccer ball as a gift and the kids playing a match together.
  • Christianity is Catholic: Averted; Xy is a convert from Orthodox Christianity and there seems to be some sort of Cold War type situation with the Orthodox Church
  • The Chosen One: All Blessed Children, but It Sucks to Be the Chosen One since it leads to be uprooted from your family and being whisked away to the Vatican to undergo military-type training
  • Church Militant: It is the Vatican's "Secret militia" after all
  • Combat Stilettos: Why is tomboy Viola wearing metal high heels in battle? In Chapter 8, it's explained that her resonating power produces so much heat, it melts her normal shoes.(The metal heel of her special combat shoes directs the heat away from her feet.))
  • Crush Blush: Fife whenever Celesta is around
    • Also, Xy around Rosemary
  • CurbStomp Battle: The mission in the Pantheon in Chapter 2 is this for Viola and Fife until Crystal Glass steps in and saves them
    • Though not physically beaten, Viola and co are thwarted strategically at every turn by The Byzantine Guard, the latter just being better informed and equipped.
    • And in Chapter 7 against Lilith.
  • Dad the Veteran: Not only is Viola's father a great Assassin, but her Grandfather was the first Assassin ever in 1942, and a large portrait of him hangs behind Sister Rain's desk.
  • Dramedy: some moments are like this [1], most are like this [2]
  • Dual Wielding: Notably Piccola Albine and Euphonium Sipos
  • Due to the Dead: Assassins are buried with full honors from their home country
  • Eloquent In My Native Tongue: Several occasions
    • Fife often laspes back into English
    • At the end of Chapter 4, Euphonium swears in Hungarian after Celesta kisses him suddenly
    • In Chapter 8, it's shown that Viola is actually really bad at English. To her credit, she does speak French and Spanish "just finely"
  • Evil is Bigger: All the demons thus far are much bigger than human characters
  • Famous Ancestor: See Dad the Veteran
  • Flashback Nightmare: Flute has one of these of her rape
  • Gilded Cage: The Vatican, particularly for those born there. Though the characters can and do go in and out, they are always obligated to return
  • The Gunslinger: Half of the characters are this.
  • Half-Breed Discrimination: Hinted at with the fact that Celesta is half-African, half-Italian [3]
  • Handicapped Badass: Xy is deaf, but this doesn't seem to have much affect on him at all.
    • He does gain the ability to hear when he resonates, but it's only temporary
  • High Priest: Pope William, and High Priestess Moontide, the head of WITCHNIGHT
  • Holy Burns Evil: Subverted entirely. In fact, demons need to absorb energy from churches to materialize, and often hang out in them.
    • Holy water still works though
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: As of 2013, the story is 5 chapters in and there are around a dozen characters, all of whom have something to do with the plot.
  • Monster Munch: Basically, demons want to eat Blessed Children to gain power and materialize. It is said that if a demon were to accomplish this, they'd be more powerful than normal. It's also how Flute dies. It's hinted that the victim in question has to be alive at the time of being eaten.
  • Multinational Team: Everyone is from different countries
  • New Meat: Tzouras Chatzi is a subversion of this. Though he is a new recruit, he doesn't really seem to care much or be phased by being a Blessed Child. In fact, he's more annoyed by the whole thing than anything.
  • Nonuniform Uniform: Viola wears a boy's uniform jacket which is more loose fitting. Viola, Fife, and Xy also leave their collars open, which no one else does.
    • Viola also has Zettai Ryouiki of the Grade B variety paired with shorts, even though the girls uniform comes with pants
    • Tzouras Chatzi just insists on not wearing the uniform at all
    • Custom Uniform in the case of the Florence team, whose uniforms are black with white instead of gold and red. In a flashback, Flute is shown wearing the standard Assassin uniform, suggesting that the girls got new uniforms upon reassignment to Florence.
  • Odd Friendship: WITCHNIGHT, a Wicca-affiliated organization, is on friendly terms with the Vatican, so much so that they share technology and do joint missions together.
  • Parental Abandonment: It's looking like this for Viola in regards to her mom, as of Responsorial Hymn 2.
  • Post-Kiss Catatonia: When a very drunk Celesta suddenly kisses Euphonium, he's left stunned and then swears when Baritone asks if he's okay
  • Power Trio: Viola, Fife and Xy until they are joined by Tzouras
    • The Three Faeries of Florence: Flute, Mandolin, and Piccola
    • Saffron, Sage, and Rosemary until Rosemary gets killed
  • Redshirt Army: The Vatican Medics usually appear as background characters and provide medical support to the Assassins
    • Lampshaded in a preview image for Chapter 7 where Sister Rain asks a medic who he is, and he responds with "I'm an extra from Chapter 2. Only now I have a face!"
  • Precocious Crush: It's hinted that Fife has a crush on Celesta, one of the older teens.
  • Separate Scene Storytelling: How most flashbacks are told, notably Xy's conversion and Euphonium fighting Celesta's dad after he hit her
  • ShoutOut: Tons of them, mostly to Art History, but some are in jokes with the author
  • Stronger Than They Look: Lilith looks like a sack of bones, but she breaks Xy's leg and dislocates Sage's arm...with her bare hands!
  • Theme Naming: Everywhere and anywhere:
    • All the Assassin characters are named after musical instruments of some kind (ie. Viola, Fife, Xylophone)
      • Double bonus for Viola, whose last name contains the phrase "Largo", and Celesta's last name of "Adagio", both tempo markings in music
    • The WITCHNIGHT trainees—Saffron, Sage, and Rosemary—are named after spices.
    • All the chapter titles are "Readings" to keep with the religion theme
    • The shorter side chapters are called "Responsorial Hymns", after the songs sung at mass between readings
  • Triple Shifter: The kids have to go to school during the day and run missions/patrols at night, most of the time going without sleep as lamented here:[4]
  • Wham Line
    • In Responsorial Hymn 2, when Cello asks Harp whether she would love Viola less if she was a Blessed Child, her answer is "I just might"
    • "I'm Lilith. A Prince of Hell."
  • Wake Up Go to School Save the World: Staying up all night killing demons is no excuse to miss school
  • You Say Tomato: All the time with Fife's "poor Italian"