World War II kicked off in 1939. Then ...
Adolf Hitler was assassinated in 1941, Heinrich Himmler took over the chancellery, Reinhard Heydrich became Reichsführer of the SS, Berlin was rebuilt to Albert Speer's designs and renamed Germania (much like in Fatherland). The Third Reich conquered Western Europe and most of Africa, launched its "Ragnarok program" in 1942 and massively nuked the USA and the United Kingdom on May 8th 1945. Operation Barbarossa was launched in 1944 but the forces of the Soviet Union proved to be stronger than expected and ultimately repelled the German forces all the way to East Prussia. A new Teutonic Order was created (the symbol of which is a square pierced by an arrow). Himmler died in an accident in 1947 and was replaced by his right-hand, an ambitious officer named Zytek.
Zytek rejected the title of "Führer" and now calls himself the "Hochmeister" (Grand Master, which is also his rank in the Teutonic Order), and he has an agenda of his own.
- Block 109 - The first album. It was published in 2010 in a 200 pages small format, and it is basically the keystone of The 'Verse. A "trailer" of sorts can be seen here. A small prequel motion comic can be seen here, explaining the story behind the empty Panzermann featured in the album.
Several large format albums followed. They're all one-shot stories set in the same universe between 1944 and 1953 (some major characters of the first album appear in them at some points):
- Etoile Rouge - 2010
- Opération Soleil de Plomb - 2011
- New York 1947 - 2011
- Ritter Germania - 2012
- S.H.A.R.K - 2014
- Maruta - 2016
An omnibus titled Block 109: Univers was published in 2018, regrouping all of the stories in one single book and adding some new World War II-style poster artworks. It has a preface in which Vincent Brugeas explains he was done with the series, lacking inspiration and editorial possibilities and dedicating time to other projects.
Tropes present across the series:
- Allohistorical Allusion: Too many to count. Some particular ones:
- Alternate History Nazi Victory: The comic is set in a particularly bad case "Nazi Victory" world where, ironically, Adolf Hitler's assassination early in the war made the whole thing worse. After The Purge, a new leadership takes charge, manages the early fronts much better, expands the war onto other continents, develops nuclear weapons, and wipes out most of civilization (although the war against USSR turns out just as hopeless for them as it was in real life actually, thus mitigating the "total Nazi victory" a great deal). By the end, after more than a decade of non-stop total war, Nazi science unleashes a Zombie Apocalypse that drives the new German leader (who is actually a Mole in Charge attempting to subvert the Nazi regime from within) to press the Reset Button for humanity as a whole.
- Art Shift: The change from Ronan Toulhoat to Ryan Lovelock is noticeable in S.H.A.R.K and Maruta compared to the previous albums of the series.
- Badass Army: The New Teutonic Order, armored soldiers who are enhanced by a Super Serum.
- Crapsack World: This might be one of the most worst case "Alternate World War II" scenarios. Hitler is assassinated in 1941, leading to The Purge and a more efficient leadership taking control of the Third Reich and focusing more on the west. The war expands to Africa, Asia, and South America. Then the Nazis develop atomic bombs and destroy most of North America. They finally declare war on the USSR in 1944 but get bogged down in a quagmire that still isn't resolved by 1953, by which time only 30% of pre-war humanity remains. Weapons used by both sides get increasingly high-tech and exotic, culminating in the Nazis unleashing a viral plague that creates a Zombie Apocalypse. Grand Master Zytek ultimately decides the best thing for humanity is to destroy every warring faction and restart civilization with a few selected people he gathered in the Block 109 bunker.
- Day Of The Jack Boot: The Occupation of Europe by Nazi Germany lasts longer than in real life.
- Dirty Communists: USSR is portrayed as "the Red Beast" by Nazi propaganda.
- The Empire: The Third Reich. And Japan, of course.
- Genre Shift: From war genre to horror and even Film Noir.
- Glowing Mechanical Eyes:
- When a Panzermann is activated, its eyes glow red.
- Elite commandos of the Teutonic Order have Kerberos Panzer Corps-like armors with red eyes.
- Good Running Evil: Zytek, Hitler's assassin, has climbed all the way to the top of the Nazi hierarchy.
- Historical Domain Characters: Many historical Nazis and some Allied leaders show up.
- Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: No time travel is involved, but the cardinal rule - don't kill Adolf Hitler - is broken. It caused The Purge (see below) and a more efficient and devastating German take on the war against the Western countries, even though the war against the USSR turned almost just as hopeless as it happened for Germany in real life.
- Iwo Jima Pose: The page's picture, with Teutonic Order soldiers instead of GIs.
- Lowered Recruiting Standards: Foreigners and women were conscripted in the German armies in 1951.
- Make It Look Like an Accident: After Himmler becomes Fuhrer, he is killed in an automobile accident several years later, obviously orchestrated by either of his Co-Dragons Zytek or Heydrich.
- Mega City: Berlin has become Germania, Hitler's dreamed metropolis.
- Nazi Protagonists: The whole series focuses on Nazi Germany's side of the war, except for Etoile Rouge.
- No Swastikas: Himmler chose a new symbol for the New Teutonic Order, a square pierced by an arrow◊.
- Averted by Reinhard Heydrich. The SS kept the Swastika.
- Proud Warrior Race Guys: The Germans, symbolized by the New Teutonic Order.
- Shown Their Work: For instance, the movie Ritter Germania vs The Red Beast stars Zarah Leander, who was one of the biggest stars in Nazi Germany in real life.
- Soviet Superscience: The Soviets got mechas and jet fighters too.
- State Sec: There are actually two opposing ones within Alternate History Nazi Germany. The SS became Heydrich's personal organization after Himmler became Führer (Hitler was assassinated and everyone else in the line of succession was killed in the purge that followed), but Himmler also created the Teutonic Order as a rival organization led by an unknown officer named Zytek so that neither Heydrich or Zytek could become too powerful and depose him. This backfired when Himmler died in an "accident", and the Reich council promoted Zytek.
- Stupid Jet Pack Hitler: Advanced jet fighters, VTOL gunships, Panzermensch, V6 cruise missiles... You name it.
- Super Soldier:
- German propaganda portrays Ritter Germania like this.
- The New Teutonic Order's Super Serum makes the order's soldiers stronger, but kills them within a few days. It was tested on Ritter in New York 1947.
- War Is Glorious: What the Nazi leaders continue to preach, much to Zytek's disdain.
- War Is Hell: And how. The battles featured are basically meat grinders, just as World War II was in real life. Just add nuclear holocausts, Stupid Jet Pack Hitler, Soviet Superscience and a Zombie Apocalypse.
- We Will Wear Armor in the Future: New Teutonic Order soldiers wear armor, and Ritter Germania does as well.