Webcomic / Vatican Assassins

Vatican Assassins is a bi-weekly longform webcomic by Melissa J Massey, which has been published online since February 2012. It went through a reboot that started in September 2016.

In 1942, the Vatican established a secret militia with 3 goals: to protect the pope and Catholic church; to gather the "Blessed Children", those chosen by the saints; and the fight demons that infiltrate the human world. By "resonating" with their patron saint, the Blessed Children gain powers need to fight the demons, but 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. While anxious to get more missions, they still have a lot to learn compared to their older comrades. But when an Assassin goes missing, soon the Assassins are up against a powerful foe the likes of which haven't walked the earth for centuries.

In May of 2016, the comic went on hiatus, and returned in September with a rebooted version with the general story in tact, but with slight changes to the plot to remove problematic scenes and elements.

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
  • 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: And how! The new version is full color <em>hand colored in markers </em>
  • Backstory: Everyone has one
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The three Faeries of Florence are this
  • Cast Herd: With all these kids running around, at least they are nicely organized into groups:
    • The In-training team: Viola, Fife, and Xy
    • The Older Kids are in two groups:
      • The Rome Team: Celesta, Baritone, Euphonium, and Mellophone
      • The Three Faeries of Florence: Flute, Mandolin, and Piccola
  • 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.
    • 2015 focused on the characters of WITCHNIGHT
    • 2016 had a slightly different format, with a 4 part short story
    • Word of God proclaims that all the Christmas stories are still canon in the reboot
  • 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: Viola's metal shoes
  • Crush Blush: Fife whenever Celesta is around
  • 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
  • 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, most noteably with Fife, who often lapses back into English
  • Evil is Bigger: All the demons thus far are much bigger than human characters
  • Famous Ancestor: See Dad the Veteran
  • 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
  • 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. Demons need to absorb energy from churches to materialize, and often hang out in them.
  • 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 Chapter 1 and 2, 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: Where is Viola's mom?
  • Power Trio: Viola, Fife and Xy
    • The Three Faeries of Florence: Flute, Mandolin, and Piccola
  • Redshirt Army: The Vatican Medics usually appear as background characters and provide medical support to the Assassins
  • 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
  • ShoutOut: Tons of them, mostly to Art History, but some are in jokes with the author
  • 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
    • 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
  • 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"