Alternate Character Interpretation: The Creators are subject of this: Does the Creators designed the entire civilization just as a possible misguided attempt of creating life and as a social experiment just to watch the final results from a safe distance, or the real reasons for designing new lifeforms hides an even more darker purpose? Even the whole story gives many clues regarding both theories and the closest answer could be a mix of both, possibly impliying the whole project could had been hijacked for another different directive by different persons (comic) or a single person (Dr. Komatsu or his cloned descendants in Refractions), at least what we can see in the Refractions anthology, while possibly another set of persons seems to be using The Net to trying to help Erma and the rest of the chosen ones, while having their own plans. What kind of plans they have in mind, and what kind of role Erma has on all this is still unknown to this date.
The Platinum Catalyst RPG rerelease gives another theory regarding this: the "hijacking" theory is technically a hidden program created to help "gifted or special" persons like Erma and others when required. Needless to say, this is probably non-canon, as it contradicts many of the events from the original current canon up to the second story arc.
Regarding the ILR, the whole message is capitalism is flawed, if not outright evil, albeit this is later subverted, as the EDF turns to be Not So Different, despite being communists, on the grounds the EDF are prepared to even carrying out genocide if that means eliminate the ILR once for all by using the Matter Conversion Cannon.
Ass Pull: The entire off-screen mutiny against ILR's Capt. Barlahan carried out by Tankannahai, on the grounds how he did managed to convince the rest of the crew to join him, taking into account his own impopularity with his peers.
Author's Saving Throw: The Distant Finale was probably created with the sole purpose of solving a potential Plot Hole in the case the comic could have finished with the first arc and taking into account what happened (at the time) with its sequel Birthright: In Birthright, Kala turns out to be Erma's rightful descendant, except it's never explained if she descends straight from Erma's bloodline,note Taking into account Erma was cloned and she cloned herself. from Teka's bloodlinenote Who is also a clone from Erma and she also had descendants by herself. or from both Rojigo or his grandfathers' bloodline.note Assuming they lived by themselves until dying from natural causes and weren't killed along the way by Tavas's men or EDF and, at least in the case of Erma's parents Eda and Kanoc, being able to still produce offspring by themselves. Keep in mind neither Eda nor Kanoc aren't too old because they married too young. Since the fates of Rojigo, Tasak, Eda and Kanoc are still unresolved and the end of the Distant Finale explains that Erma has cloned offsprings besides Teka, it's very possible Gallacci wanted at least give a pausible explanation why Kala is Erma's descendant even if this creates anotherPlot Hole. See below for details.
Big Lipped Alligator Moment: The whole terrorist incident during the Ahnomia & Ish-tako sub-arc in the first arc, since not only it doesn't serve any purpose in the story other than being pointless filler, it also doesn't not involve any named character whatsoever and it's never referenced again in the whole story. Even Gallacci himself admited he doesn't like that scene either.
Continuity Lockout: The whole story is very continuity-driven, compared with many other comics from the same genre or even Western comics as a whole, meaning you need to read each and every single issue very well to understand not only the plot, but also the characters and all the nuances behind the whole Albedo universe. The fact the comics were published on a very low print in many different companies doesn't help.
Counterpart Comparison: While she preceds her for a year of difference, Erma shares many points in common with Deunan Knute: Both are very competent female military leaders, both came from military backgrounds, both are tough girls due to their job, both starts to mellow out of that image after a while, both having lovers and both having a Dark and Troubled Past. The main differences are Deunan's parents are dead, while Erma's ones are still alive, Deunan's lover is still alive, while Erma's one is dead at the end of her Story Arc and Deunan being a Hard-Drinking Party Girl, while Erma is the complete opossite of this.
Also, she shares some points in common with Yang Wenli: Both are incredible competent military leaders while using very unorthodox tactics, both follow the rules of their respective governments, even if their leaders are utterly corrupt and incompetent, both hate politics and both prefer to be in the battlefield rather being a politician, and also both got married. The main differences are while Erma is quite efficient in her job, Yang is The Slacker instead. Also, Erma is more pragmatic regarding warfare compared with Yang, since Erma joined the army just to get revenge against the ILR and also the fact while Erma survives the whole war, her husband Alfon doesn't not, compared with both Yang and Frederica Greenhill, since Yang bites the dust before the war ends and Frederica survives the whole thing. Another main difference is Erma and Alfon bears a child. Yang and Frederica does notnote and no, Julian Mintz does not count.. Oddly enough, she also shares some points in common with Yang's Worthy Opponent Reinhard von Lohengramm, being both of noble origins and being sent to suicide missions, especially in the second Story Arc, not to mention having personal reasons for joining the armed forces. Also, both Erma and Yang are both the avatars for their respective authors: Steven A. Gallacci and Yoshiki Tanaka.
Interestingly, she also shares some points in common with both Juan "Johnnie" Rico and Carmencita "Carmen" Ibañez: Erma shares with Rico the fact both came from wealthier families, both are from Asian backgroundsnote Phillipines for Rico and Dornthant for Erma., both got their training in a Western country or the alien equivalent of it,note Canada for Rico and Danet for Erma. their respective fathers are soldiers, albeit Rico's one went to the war much later than his son, while Erma's one did it first than his daughter and both having a dead relative due to the war.note Rico's mother and Erma's boyfriend. Regarding Carmen, Erma shares with her the fact both are basically cargo pilots, albeit Carmen's job is somewhat more glorious than Erma's one.
Some fans also pointed out how similar, personality-wise, Erma is from Honor Harrington.
Cult Classic: There's many reasons why Albedo is such a classic in the Furry Fandom: Not only is one the first titles of the genre geared towards adult audiences, while avoiding many of the pitfalls of adult works (like using lots of sex scenes, Gorn, lots of swearing, etc.), but also because the author's unstable release schedule and also most of the issues were released with a very low print, without mention the storytelling and characters shares many things in common with many tropes normally used in Japanese Anime or Manga.
The second arc possibly planned to answer many of the unanswered questions from the previous arc, but the comic was Cut Short before the arc went into its climax.
Ensemble Darkhorse: Despite only appearing during the first Story Arc and having a brief appearance in the second one, Toki is one of the most popular characters from the series, and more of her backstory is explained in side-stories and supplementary materials.
Dr. Kalahahaii has many fans as well, on the grounds she is one of the few main characters who is not a soldier or a politician.
Itzak Arrat has also his fans, not only because he's a pretty good looking guy, but also because his character design is pretty unusual not only compared with the rest of the cast, but also compared with other anthropomorphic horses from other similar works, as he has hooves rather than humanoid-looking hands like almost everyone else. Extra fun he is a literal horse.
Escapist Character: Our heroine Erma Felna, albeit with a twist: Unlike similar character who shares this trope, Erma was not designed to be one in mind for the mainstream audience, but she was designed to be one for the author himself instead, according with him. Erma is basically anything Gallacci was not when he was in the USAF, and that was the reason she was designed to have many quirks that outshines her compared with the rest of cast. Even after Gallacci himself decided to tone down those qualities in a attempt to make her more flawed and more realistic, she is still considered for many both in and out-universe as someone who anyone loves to be in her place.
Esoteric Happy Ending: If you take into account the Distant Finale as the definitive ending of Erma Felna's saga, Erma managed somehow in the past to stop the war, but with a very steep price for her, as she lose her family, her boyfriend and possibly anything dear for her. The only thing that prevent the Distant Finale to becoming a complete Downer Ending is the fact at least Erma found Teka, her cloned daughter, along the way and she cloned herself just to create another family, so it wasn't a complete loss for her anyways. The worst part came with the fact, by Word of God's own words, another war broked out between the ILR and the EDF, very possible after Erma's generation, except this time it was ever worse than the previous two wars, because both sides used from nuclear weapons to even biological weapons, completely destroying both sides entirely, colapsing their entire civilization and each sacrifice Erma did in the past went straight to the toilet. note One could argue the whole point of the story, at least when the second story arc begins, has less to do with Erma trying to win a war and more with Erma trying to survive the war.
Fan-Disliked Explanation: A very downplayed example happens in a meta-way and used and played for both laughs and for attacking the readers: Many fans complained how equine characters, like Itzak Arrat, can be able to manipulate objects with their hooves, since they don't have fingers, this is considered impausible by many fans. Word of God's explanation about this is that equine characters can handle objects, only that they do off-screen. Obviously the fans weren't happy about that explanation, and Gallacci's answer is basically calling the fans idiots by not understanding the beauty of this "detail".
Fanfic Fuel: Since the story was Cut Short and there's lots of unexplained events that only were alluded in canon (like the First Lepine War and most of Kanoc and Eda's younger days) and there's also the Creators and how they created the anthropomorphic civilization, not to mention the lives and pasts of many of the characters outside Erma and her family, this is obviously lots of stories that can be told, if it were not for the fact that the author prohibits fanworks without his permission.
Harsher in Hindsight: Basically, everything related with the ILR (minus the genocide thing), especially after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the economic recession that hit the U.S. in the 2000s and the War On Terror. Keep in mind the comic was published in the 80s and the author is a former member of the USAF, but that doesn't stop him to criticize many of the things he saw wrong about the United States, its armed forces and above all, about American society. This also became even more disturbing now that Donald Trump is currently the president of the U.S., something that Gallacci himself lampshaded.
Alfon Voga, who is Erma's boyfriend dies during the ILR attack against his homeworld when Tavas disabled The Net. This is even more harsher if you take into account Erma is Gallacci's Author Avatar and the fact Gallacci's wife died too, albeit she died due to cancer rather than in a "accident".
In a more meta-example of this, Gallacci's comparison between Erma and Judy Hopps goes into this territory if you take into account the ILR were responsable of torturing her father, and also being the ones who bombed her homeland Dornthant to almost oblivion.
The scene when Erma retold the whole incident with the Rodent sniper in Danet and after Erma is forced to eject from her aerodyne is particulary harsher because the way that scene was depicted was very similar to the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986. According with Word of God, that was unintentional, since the accident happened when that issue was in the final stages for publication and he even discussed the accident in a unrelated fanzine.
The whole attack on Dornthant using unusual bombing methods can resemble a lot like the U.S. attack against an Islamic State's base in Afghanistan by using a MOAB (Mass Ordnance Air Blast, backronymed as "Mother of All Bombs") in more or less a similar way like the ILR does against Dornthant, except its neither as destructive nor its launched from outer space.
The Ekosiaki crisis resembles disturbingly enough like the (at 2017) the political situation of France due of the constant terrorist attacks that country has suffered, and the threat of that country of leaving the European Union, just like Ekosiak planned to leave the EDF and the Confederation of Planets for similar reasons.
HSQ: Also overlapping with Growing the Beard as well, as while the story was very different compared with others of the same genre, it wasn't anything special until the third issue from the first arc, when we see the ILR blowing a civilian space station with a nuke, but not before killing almost all the people inside of it and poisoning the remaining survivors. Then, we see lots of complex political and military intrigue, something unusual at the time in the Furry Fandom, and the things went uphill from there.
I Am Not Shazam: A very contrived example: Technically speaking, the whole main story of the comic is named Erma Felna EDF because that's the name of the heroine and the name of the organization she belongs to. Albedo was the name of the anthology when the main story was published along with other non-related stories from other authors, (like Usagi Yojimbo who debuted there). Over time, the anthology part was downplayed as many authors other than Gallacci moved to other magazines or they simply stop publishing there and by the time the magazine moved to both Antarctic Press (in the last issues) and Shanda Fantasy Arts, that part completely disappeared from the magazine and all stories are related with the main plot of Erma Felna EDF, including side-stories and afterwords. Despite this, the magazine still carries the name Albedo, and both fans and Word of God alike uses the Erma Felna EDF name or also Albedo Anthropomorphics or the more common name Albedo: Erma Felna EDF, being the main story the subtitle of the name. The fact the name Albedo still reflects the main themes used in the Erma Felna EDF story, besides the ones used by other furry comics published when it was an anthology, does help.
This is also applied retroactively towards the sequel Birthright, since its now published in the Radio Comix's website as Albedo: Birthright. Unlike with the Erma Felna EDF story, the fans prefer to use simply as Birthright, rather than use the Albedo moniker.
By Word of God, the official name of the magazine is Albedo Anthropomorphics and Erma Felna EDF is the story published there, despite Albedo has stopped to be an anthology comic anymore since the 90s.
Iron Woobie: After all the tragedy that befalls her, it's still surprising Erma holds enough willpower to keep going.
It Was His Sled: The fact the human race were the ones who created the Species is a well known fact for many members in the Furry Fandom. Even the Tabletop Games spoils this at the beginning of the core books.
Just Here for Godzilla: Albedo would have ended in the obscurity of the comic book history if Usagi Yojimbo didn't make his debut in a side-story published in the first years of the series. This is also rumored to have caused Gallacci to sour his relation with Stan Sakai, albeit he's starting to mellowing out from this and even with that, he refuse to criticize his work on any way.
Les Yay: Oddly averted in-series between Erma and Toki, as their relation is completely platonic, but this is played straight in a meta way, as Gallacci, the author, has drawn erotic art between those both characters. Also played straight between Ilnya and Frienda, members of Capt. Arrat's crew, as Illnya is so far the only lesbian character in the series and Frieda asks her if she's interested on her.
Subverted later in Gallacci's 2016 soft Retcon, albeit one-sided from Toki's side, as she doesn't mind doing it with Erma if she wants it, but Word of God makes painfully clear and in capital letters that Erma and Toki never had sex between them.
The closest thing towards this is during the Ish-tako sub-arc, when both Erma and Toki shares the same bunker, while sleeping naked, despite both girls sleeps in different beds.
Also, the relation of Onni Hitzok with both Dea and his own wife Kamara could count, taking into account both girls doesn't mind sharing Onni on themselves.
Magnificent Bastard: Tavas Ikalik, REALLY BIG TIME: Not only he managed to manipulate people all his way until he managed to become commander of the Dornthant's Home Guard, he also managed to prevent Itzak's father Joseph to stop him by threating him to smear his name just like his son and he also managed to destroy Erma's family and also Erma's life in a way she was never able to fully recover from it.
Also, the "Erma with a crowbar" meme is a very popular one, after an incident when a perverted fan asked the author to draw a pin-up of Erma pleasuring herself with a crowbar, and refusing to do so. Oddly enough, he did some pics with Erma naked with a crowbar, but not in the way intended by that fan, at least not in a sexual way.note In reality, what really happened is something more complex: By Word of God, the whole meme came out when some friends of the author decided to joke with him and one of them decided to imitate the stereotypical voice of a perverted nerd asking for this. For some reason, the whole situation became an urban legend inside the Furry Fandom due to the lack of reliable sources in the 80s and 90s and many claimed that event happened. This meme even trascended beyond the furry fandom in a way.note See Les Yay above. This also ovelaps with Never Live It Down, as the author himself encourages this and his fans loves to tease him with that meme.
Any explanation about how characters with hooves or flappers (Like the Arrats, Chinnah and the penguins) can manipulate things without fingers is always explained as being done off-screen.
Moe: Teka Ardehad as a kid, Lees and Rojigo Felna. Oddly enough, Erma herself is a subversion when she was a kid, as while she was cute in her younger years, she was a Fake Cutie and a massive Jerkass towards her brother.
Moral Event Horizon - The ILR already crossed the line even before the series began, but some of the worst things the ILR did during the series are:
Invading a EDF space station, slaughtering every civilian inside it, rigging the station with nukes and destroying it along with the survivors!
And they did the same thing with their own civilian space station in the second Story Arc, but with their own civilians still alive and well, because they suspected them of being traitors.
The EDF pulls a even bigger one or at least they plan to do one later, if you know the implications of what they did: They created a Space Battleship Yamato-style Wave Motion Gun by reverse-engineering the Antimatter technology from the human Creators, with the catch that weapon is able to destroy galaxies with it, and they plan to use that cannon on the ILR. Just to get an idea how much the EDF has crossed that line, The Net, the Master Computer who controls all the computer systems for all the sides of the conflict, due of the Net's programming to protect all life formssplits its personality in a inverted Godzilla Threshold attempt to prevent all sides of the conflict on commit mass genocide on each other and very possibly on the human race as well.
Narm: The whole scene when Capt. Arrat punches the corrupt EDF officer right in his face could have been a even much powerful scene if that officer didn't look too cartoony and the whole punch scene didn't look like Arrat was punching a small rag doll instead.
Nausea Fuel: The human corpse still had blood in her mouth when Dr. Kalahahaii found her. Even worse that blood was still floating around her mouth due to the lack of gravity in that scene This is more notable in the version uploaded in Gallacci's personal homepage, since the art was scanned from the original masters and with higher quality.
Not So Crazy Anymore: At the time when the comic was published and until recently, the idea of a modern military force like the ILR being so pointlessly brutal on both their enemies and people could sounded too over-the-top even for Western standards.note Excluding the Nazis, the Imperial Japan and Stalin-era Soviet Union, obviously. Three decades later...
Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Possibly due to lack of time, magazine space or many other reasons, the author tends to skip many cool events or solve them in a single page:
Toki being promoted from cadet to Squadron Commander happens completely off-screen and without any explanation about what she did for deserving that promotion. Erma's promotion, on the other hand, is explained in a single page during a dream sequence.
During the ILR attack on Erma's homeworld, Ipcha Tankannahai's mutiny against Capt. Barlahan is only alluded by Barlahan and Tankannahai himself after the latter decided to free Barlahan once the ship has left EDF space. this is especially egregious, as it's never explained how Tankannahai managed to convince his fellow crewmembers on going against his captain, taking into account he was hated by each and every single member of the Barlahan's crew and by Barlahan himself.
One of the most notorious plot holes of all the story is regarding Teka Ardehad, as her own existence has no sense in the regular continuity: she was cloned from Erma's DNA, but we never see either a member of the House Ardehad (both visually or at least explained in supplementary materials or via Gallacci himself) nor we ever see Erma to travel to the Kawhateena system to meet someone from that family or at least traveled to that planet so they could get her DNA from anything she could had touched there, as the only planets, besides her own homeworld, she has visited in-story are Danet, Ekosiak and Ish-tako so far. While we see a younger Teka in the regular continuity at SD 201, it's never explained in-universe this situation and even when we see her "again" (chronologically speaking, in-universe) at SD 214 in the Distant Finale, she never bothers to explains her origins other than being a clone and being a member of her planet's royalty. See below for details.
Another plot hole is regarding from which member of the Felna family Kala Tanaia from Birthright descends from and why Erma did it: By Word of God, cloning is supposely illegal in the setting and it's never explained why someone like Erma, who always tries to abide with the law, would reach that extreme of start breaking laws with the purpose of having another family.
Rewatch Bonus: You need to read the whole story many times just to get most of the nuances of the Albedo universe, not to mention to understand many of the Foreshadowing that happens early in the series, especially anything related with Erma's dreams.
Rule of Symbolism: The copy of the Frankenstein book Dr. Elaki Kalahahaii finds inside the derelict human spaceship, since it deals about a man who wants to create intelligent life from something previously non-sapient, (in the book's case, from corpses) who is very significant for the plot, when the furry characters were created in a similar situation from non-sapient animals. In a meta way Frankenstein was also the very first science-fiction novel ever published, not to mention the full name of the novel is Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus, being Prometheus the name of the project who created the whole anthropomorphic cast, at least in the Refractions anthologies.
WAR IS HELL: No matter for whatever reason you're fighting for, any war affects everyone involved, soldier, civilians and politicians alike.
While the fact is barely explored at its fullest, but taking into account what we know about the topic and judging how its depicted in the Refractions anthology: Mankind trying to play the role of God towards their fellow "inferior" species is not probably a very good idea at all, it's not ethical, and will possibly end backfiring against the humans sooner or later.
The things happens because the people want it to happen. Neither the anthropomorphic characters nor their human creators aren't safe from this rule. This also means they cannot expect help from "divine" (supernatural) sources, like the ones from a God, and the same rule is enforced for the human race as well, since they're were the creators, after all.
Tear Jerker: The final scene of the first story arc ends with Erma crying for the death of Alfon and the fate of her family, as she thinks they could be all dead.
Alfon Voga: Oh boy, where to begin: Alfon is basically a Satellite Character with zero background, we never see how the hell he managed to meet someone like Erma, we don't know anything about him outside his relation with the main heroine of the setting, he's borderline a Glorified Sperm Donor for Erma so she can bear a child and after he accomplished that, he is killed during the ILR attack to Erma's homeworld, so Erma can have something to angst about. The only thing we know about him is being a Nice Guy towards everybody else.
Teka Ardehad: She appears in a way completely out of the blue for both Erma and the readers, not only because she appears for the first time in the Distant Finale as an adult woman but also because she's Erma's cloned daughter without any explanation on how the hell the Ardehads got [[spoiler:Erma's DNA, other than they need an heir since they can't bear one. This is even more egregious because Erma never bothers to ask Teka about that and she doesn't look surprised at all after finding out the truth and she even believes her story, something even more egregious if you take into account she is supposed to be a professional soldier first and a person second, and she was supposed to be working as a spy in an enemy planet, and Teka almost blows out her cover. Even worse she appears in the regular continuity as a kid meaning she and Erma will not ever meet until decades later. According with Word of God in a recent statement in his FurAffinity's page, The Net was the one who brought out Erma's DNA to the Ardehads when Erma was a teen, off-screen.
The entirety of the Felna and Arrat families other than Erma, Itzak and Tasak, albeit in less degree, as basically their role on the whole story is being the helpless victims of all the political machinations of all the sides of the conflict. This is especially egregious in the case of Kanoc, since it's implied he was as much of a badass just like his daughter Erma is, but the closest thing we got to see his abilities as a former soldier is when his homeworld is almost destroyed by the ILR, and he managed to protect Rojigo so far. The epilogue states he an the rest of the family other than Erma reunites later somewhat.
Strangled by the Red String: Surprisingly subverted between Erma and Alfon, despite Erma only knew about Alfon via Toki, other than both being from the same homeland and having hot sex in the beach in the planet Ish-tako for one night, causing Erma to become pregnant with his baby, partly because Alfon being a much better option for Erma than Tavas after they decide to become a couple, even if Erma has very personal reasons for not hooking up with another man after her experience with Tavas, and partly because Alfon's death traumatized Erma a lot. It helps a lot the fact Alfon already knew Erma previously, but he decided not doing anything because Erma was dating Tavas previously, according with Gallacci in a FAQ.
Tough Act to Follow: Gallacci's other series have never been as successful, with the sole exceptions of The Tales of Beatrix Farmer and in less degree, his recent webcomic Alone Together in his FurAffinity's page.
Trapped by Mountain Lions: A very weird, retroactive example: Teka Ardehad makes her debut in the Distant Finale as an adult, while trying to find Erma by herself albeit chronologically speaking she appears as a kid in the regular story in the second Story Arc, having her own sub-plot independently from the rest of the story. Only by reading the Distant Finale it will reveal the detail of being a clone of Erma, as the comic is normally published in black and white hides very well the real colors of her fur, preventing the reader to figuring out the fact of Teka being a clone at first sight.
What an Idiot: Even if Tavas' plans could worked with or without Tasak's help, one could argue the Felnas themselves are partly accountable of their own doom by sheer stupidity of both Kanoc and his daughter Erma. Kanoc treated Erma much better than her brother when both were kids, and Erma's attitude as a kid didn't help matters for Tasak's self-esteem. It doesn't help Kanoc disowned Tasak after he joined to the EDF against their parents' wishes, partly because they don't want Tasak to suffer the same fate of his father and his elder sister, but it ended alienating him more, causing him to join forces with Tavas for pulling out a coup d'etat and destroying both his family and his homeland at the same time, the last two were not intentional from his side. Erma herself aren't safe of this, because she ignored The Net's red flags about Tasak and she could easily neutralized him, or at least talked with him when Erma, Alfon and their son Rojigo returned home, a mistake that cost her everything dear for her.
A really egregious one happens at the beginning of the second arc involving the House Ardehad: Not only Teka's parents decided to reveal to her daughter she is not the biological offspring of her father, but she was cloned from someone else, in this case from Erma, and to make the matters worse, they decided to tell the truth in the day when she would named as the succesor of the Ardehads. The situation went Up to Eleven when they also reveal the truth to the rest of the members of the House Ardehad, much for their disgust. Not only they create an one hell of a Succession Crisis inside the clan, Teka is almost killed by someone inside the family the next issue, injuring one of her friends along the way.
Win Back the Crowd: After basically a decade without doing anything about Albedo after the death of his wife, other than few pin-ups, few infodumps and and a failed reuploading of Birthright via Radiocomix's page, as it was canceled after the end of the first story arc, Gallacci managed to upload the back issues from the comic and he also announced he's planning to continue the story from the stalled second Story Arc. Obviously the fandom was more than happy to hear Gallacci is back this time, after many people though the comic was probably dead for good.