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Comic Book / Nextwave

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It's like Shakespeare. But with lots more punching.note 

"It's an absolute distillation of the superhero genre. No plot lines, characters, emotions, nothing whatsoever. It's people posing in the street for no good reason. It is people getting kicked, and then exploding. It is a pure comic book, and I will fight anyone who says otherwise. And afterwards, they will explode."

Nextwave (subtitled Agents of H.A.T.E.) is a comic book from Marvel Comics, an irreverent parody of Super Teams from writer Warren Ellis and artist Stuart Immonen.

The series, drawing on characters from the shared Marvel Universe, featured five relatively obscure Super Heroes fighting the forces of H.A.T.E., a S.H.I.E.L.D.-style organization who were discovered to be in league with the Beyond Corporation, the current incarnation of their former rivals, S.I.L.E.N.T.. (Who doesn't love a good acronym?)

The team consisted of:

The series ran for twelve issues, with each story arc being two issues long (although a case can be made for the final arc actually being four issues long). Plot wasn't a high priority and served mostly as an excuse for the team to beat things up and cause things to explode.

Nextwave kicks and 'splodes the ☠☠☠☠ out of the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: Elsa Bloodstone is capable of kicking anything's ass. Anything. Even if it doesn't have an ass. Monica and Tabby also apply.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Played for laughs: Devil Dinosaur is the true leader of S.I.L.E.N.T., and an Omnicidal Maniac to boot. When Nextwave became part of mainstream continuity (see below), this character was revealed to be an evil clone of the real one.
  • Affectionate Parody: Imagine every single comic book trope ever created subverted or lampshaded to hell, but adding in tons of Rule of Funny and Rule of Cool to it.
  • Alternate Continuity: Started out as one, but afterwards many references to it were made in the main titles, and the characters involved started displaying their personalities and costumes from the series in all their other appearances.
    • Dan Slott's She-Hulk seemed to suggest that the series did take place, but that the Monica Rambeau present is actually from an alternate universe (explaining Captain America's Jerkass behavior and why Monica's mother is stated to be dead when a far as we know, 616!Monica's mother is still alive).
    • Officially in continuity, as of 2013 - Marvel's in-house document detailing the changes that would occur if Hank Pym died before he created Ultron makes reference to the events of Nextwave. See it here.
    • Al Ewing's Captain America and the Mighty Avengers revealed that the events of Nextwave were the result of the Beyond Corporation kidnapping Monica and the others, putting them in an alternate universe, and screwing with them For the Evulz. When Monica is told of the Beyond Corporation's possession of Jason Quantrell, she gets scary. This is due to the fact that Monica, Elsa, and the others were never able to convince anyone that the Beyond Corporation existed, which led to the majority of them being perceived as insane while also being haunted by the horrible things they did.
    • During Sean Ryan’s run on Nova, The Captain shows up for a short team up with Sam Alexander and even gives the young hero some advice.
    • Spider-Man Beyond muddles the issue further by introducing the Beyond Corporation, their zany Mad Science including talking hamburgers, and that Monica used to work for them. They are, however, significantly less wacky and more believable.
  • Anti-Hero Team: The only reason why these idiots are considered 'heroes' is because they're fighting against people who are trying to destroy/take over the world. Outside of that, you wouldn't put your children within a 50-foot radius near them.
  • Asshole Victim: Officer Mac Mangel, a cop one week from retirement... who beats up drug dealers (when he doesn't get his cut), threatens prostitutes (when he doesn't get his cut), and beat up a mugging victim upon learning he still has some money left. He is transformed into some kind of robotic monster when trying to sell what he thinks is a stray cat, said robot body is blown up, and then Tabby and Aaron kick him for being a cop. Monica ends up being unwittingly bad help when she hands him over to his "friends" — all the people he'd victimized in the beginning. They promptly haul him off into a back alley and perform a little vigilante charity via several rounds to the skull.
  • Ass Shove: The Captain swiftly got tired of dread Rorkannu's crap, and decided to reinsert it through the correct orifice. Via toilet brush. Like a real super hero.
  • Back from the Dead: Beyond brings back Dirk Anger as a zombie after he accidentally hanged himself.
  • Badass Boast:
    Reverend Guilt: We are THE VESTRY!
    The Inquisitor: Pay allegiance to God or get your robot face kicked in.
    Aaron: My robot face is beautiful and will not be kicked by the likes of you fleshy ones. And I don't believe in your God. God is for fleshy ones. I am robot. And your God will throw up when he sees what I have done to you.
  • Badass Longcoat: The "Nextwave outfit" consists only of a Badass Longcoat thrown over whatever superhero costume/civilian duds the team members happen to be wearing.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Fin Fang Foom has no genitals whatsoever.
    Oh, you cannot imagine how annoyed he is.
  • Berserk Button: Don't make fun of Forbush Man's hat.
  • BFG: the extremely... suggestive looking Armageddon Horn.
    • Also the ginormous suicide pistol nearly used by Dirk Anger. Cow sized rounds? Oh, Jesus...
  • Bigger on the Inside: the team aircraft the Shockwave Rider, explicitly kept that way by Applied Phlebotinum which is later damaged, forcing a hurried bail-out.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Tabitha (blonde), Monica (brunette), and Elsa (redhead).
  • Bottomless Magazines: Averted surprisingly enough. During a fight with the Mindless Ones Elsa finds herself out of shotgun shells and has to resort to using kitchen appliances as weaponry.
    Caption box: In the real world people do sometimes run out of shotgun shells. Hollywood lies to you constantly.
  • Broad Strokes: What the series eventually became in terms of canon to the mainstream 616 Marvel universe.
  • The Caligula: Dirk Anger. Barking mad, momma's dress-wearing, sticking-baby-chicks-in-a-blender-and-ingesting-them-intravenously, Russian Roulette-playing Dirk Anger.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Monica Rambeau has developed this somewhat Animesque habit.
    • The Captain also has a special, ultimate attack. It's called "Kick!".
  • Can't Have Sex, Ever: Fin Fang Foom. No wonder he's pissed.
  • Captain Ersatz: Dirk Anger, H.A.T.E., and S.I.L.E.N.T. are stand-ins for Nick Fury, S.H.I.E.L.D., and Hydra, respectively. (Warren Ellis wanted to use the originals, but was shouted down. After seeing what he did with them, that's kind of a relief.)
    • Although Brian Bendis and Jonathan Hickman later recycled the idea, making both SHIELD and the goofier version of Hydra sub-divisions of a larger Hydra network; presumably, Marvel editors refused the earlier idea not because they were afraid of it... But afraid of Ellis.
    • In the script, Ellis describes H.A.T.E. as "What SHIELD would be if you were as drunk as I was when I wrote this," and Dirk Anger as "Most definitely not Nick Fury. At all."
  • Captain Superhero: Parodied. The Captain has tried being "Captain Anything" but it never sticks.
  • Catchphrase: "Fleshy one." "Kick. 'Splode." "Tick tick tick boom." "My robot brain needs beer."
  • Character Development: Played with in an issue.
  • Clothing Damage: The Captain is indestructible. His clothing isn't. So when he gets shot by a giant gun, guess what happens.
    Monica: I'm almost tempted to make you walk around like that all the time.
    Captain: Because I'm so hot?
    Monica: Because you look so damn stupid.
  • Combat Stilettos: Elsa Bloodstone.
  • Continuity Nod: Some surprisingly obscure ones, too, all Played for Laughs.
    • Nearly every "Captain" character name mentioned really belonged to an obscure Marvel character, other than Captain Ron, Captain L. Ron, and Captain ☠☠☠☠. Even Captain Kerosene from Marvel UK's Plasmer gets a mention.
    • The New Paramounts are all characters from Marvel's 1960s parody comic Not Brand Ecch, though Forbush-Man managed to turn up elsewhere over the years.
    • General Zo is a reference to Zo, an illusory character who appeared in a few issues of the late 1960s Captain Marvel series. Aside from the military uniform, he looks exactly like the original.
    • Delmar Insurance, seen in Machine Man's hallucination, was indeed where he worked back when he still used the Secret Identity of Aaron Stack.
    • During the penultimate issue beatdown of the Beyond Corporation's army of genetic freaks, 1960's Marvel character Hidden Man can be seen fighting them. Also seen are copies of the Fantastic Four's one-time adversary, The Infant Terrible.
  • Crisis Crossover: "Not part of a Marvel comics event".
    • "We don't care."
    • And yet Monica appears in Civil War in her Nextwave attire...
    • Most recent appearances of Monica, Tabitha, or Aaron had them display connections with Nextwave, suggesting the miniseries was loved enough to be put in continuity anyway.
    • Aaron's first appearance in the Marvel Zombies series has him getting over some of his cynicism and readopting his Machine Man title after dismissing it as silly in this series. He also retains his drunk jerkass persona afterwards as he teams up with Deadpool and Howard the Duck. Although later appearances seem to have reverted his to Pre-Nextwave personality with his appearances varying.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: The members of Nextwave may be appear to be neurotic, incompetent jerks, three of whom could barely operate a potato gun without shooting themselves and/or causing mass destruction, but they're dangerous fighters when pointed in the right direction.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Done twice in issue #10. First, the villain Forbush Man uses his mental powers to effortlessly incapacitate the team in illusionary realities... only to find that Tabitha No Sells his attack because she has no mind to exploit. She then detonates his head, freeing her teammates.
  • Death Is Cheap: Discussed Trope
    Elsa: Didn't Tabby also say that Magik was dead?
    Monica: Like that matters. X-Men come back more than Jesus.
    • You may be interested to know that Magik did come Back from the Dead after Nextwave turned out.
  • Despair Speech: Played for Laughs with Dirk Anger.
    I have re-invented suicide as a group activity. Go me. We must all burn.
  • Disability Immunity: Tabby when she defeats Forbush-Man and his mind control powers because she has no mind to control.
  • Dirty Cop: Officer Mangel, very much so.
  • Discontinuity Nod: Possibly the fastest on record occurs when, one issue after we get clever origin cutaways for the New Paramounts, it turns out that all the other superhero squads there are just well-disguised Broccoli People, suggesting that the origins we see are false.
  • The Ditz: Tabby Smith
    "I hate cops! Because, like, cops keep arresting me and stuff? For stealing? Like stealing's a crime or something?"
  • Do-Anything Robot: Aaron contains pretty much every conceivable sharp pointy object ever made within his body. Read the trope article and become enlightened.
    "I am full of very useful devices."
  • Dramatic Ammo Depletion: Lampshaded when Elsa runs out of bullets. Hollywood lies to you constantly.
  • Driven to Suicide: Dirk Anger makes repeated suicide attempts, but never quite manages to pull it off. And on the one occasion where he succeeds, Beyond Corporation just brings him Back from the Dead.
  • Dumb Muscle: The Captain isn't a terribly bright guy, but at least he cops to the fact that, for instance, he "can barely speak English." He can also, you know, tear your head off with one hand.
  • Eat Me: Machine Man, against Fin Fang Foom. He regrets this method strongly.
  • Faceless Mooks: The humanoid broccoli clones who make up the Beyond Corporation's "Human Resource Department" all wear the same expressionless mask.
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: "My name's Dirk Anger and I say ☠☠☠☠ all of you."
  • Flashback Cut: Mostly used to illustrate childhood trauma, and almost all totally at odds with established Marvel Canon.
    "...Special Bear?"
    "Special Bear's dead."
  • Flying Brick: The Captain's powers, which even he refers to as his "generic set of super-hero abilities".
  • Foreshadowing: Very subtle, but in issue #9, Elsa notes that the team should be seeing "devil dinosaurs tearing up the landscape." Two issues later, we learn that Devil Dinosaur is the mastermind behind S.I.L.E.N.T.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: "Nextwave...are in your room and touching your stuff."
  • Fun with Acronyms
  • Gag Censor: All swearwords are replaced with "☠☠☠☠". Including one of The Captain's previous codenames.
  • Gigantic Gulp: Aaron and his barrel full of beer.
  • Global Ignorance: Tabby. She thinks Europe is a country and is shocked to learn that the French are in Canada.
  • Glory Days: Did you know Monica Rambeau used to lead The Avengers?
  • The Good Captain: Naturally, The Captain is a spoof of this.
  • Guns vs. Swords: Elsa uses both, but upon facing an army of samurai robots, she declares that swords beat guns, and faces them with a shovel.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Elsa Bloodstone. Her father forced her into a pit to fight ancient monsters with a spoon. Elsa was an infant at the time, but she somehow succeeded, and her father immediately forced her to circumcise another monster with the broken shards of her spoon. Later on, unbeknownst to her mother, he forced Elsa to study monsters under the tutelage of a robotic iron maiden named Hate Mother.
  • Humongous Mecha: Beyond Corporation's Ultra Samurai Seed turns people into one.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Subverted.
    Aaron Stack: Excuse me. Have you really ever met a robot you could kill by stabbing it through the chest? My beer-deprived robot brain says: No, pusbag, you haven't.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: Elsa, who somehow survived fighting at least two monsters before even being able to talk.
  • Kick the Dog: "Flash-fry the Dog" in Monica's case.
  • Killer Rabbit: Drop bears. "Widdle cuddly bears of DEATH!?"
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Tabitha.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Nextwave fights a group of superpowered Stephen Hawking clones who are all suspiciously either facing away from the reader of have their face obscured by energy from their eyes. He gets directly namedropped during this, though.
  • Leet Lingo: Tabby often uses Net acronyms when speaking out loud. "'Zomg'?"
    The Captain: Beats the pus out of me.
  • Lethal Joke Character: Meet Forbush Man. He wears a pot on his head and red jammies, and is capable of shattering your mind by trapping it in a horrible alternate reality with a different art style.
    • Pretty much the entire Nextwave team. It's a miracle that most of them can put their pants on the right way, but they are just about as effective a team as The Avengers
  • Lighter and Softer: Ellis' earlier The Authority was basically the JLA without all that pesky Thou Shall Not Kill nonsense. As indicated by the page quote, Nextwave is pretty much that, except with lots more irreverent parodies of the Marvel universe and many more explosions.

  • Made of Explodium: "Oh my God, they explode. My life has taken on new meaning."
  • Male Gaze: The scene mentioned below under Shout-Out where Elsa shouts angrily about the letter on her chest (in a parody of an infamous scene from The Ultimates) is a full page splash of Elsa pointing directly at the centre of the gap-top shirt she's wearing stretched over her large chest, which also draws attention to her Impossible Hourglass Figure.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Number None, really a baby M.O.D.O.K. in disguise, was the Giant Floating Head Behind The Man for Dirk Anger... And then he turned out to be an underling of Devil Dinosaur.
  • Misfit Mobilization Moment: Done very bluntly for laughs in issue #12:
    "You people will by God act like a team, or at least like people who know each other, or I'll incinerate the bunch of you here and now."
  • Monster Modesty: Fin Fang Foom's shorts are a subject of extensive derision.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Elsa and Tabby. Especially Elsa.
  • Narrator: The captions served mostly to hang a lampshade on the tropes being employed here. The captions also have No Fourth Wall — at one point, they pop up to indicate that the current panel showing the Shockwave Rider was inserted precisely so people could crop it out and use it as signature/avatar images on message boards. Ironically, it's remarkably difficult to find a scan of.
    • "Unless you stole it off the internet."
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The third story features such wonderful creations as the man-eating drop bears and samurai robots. Elsa Bloodstone destroys an army of the latter with a shovel.
    • The second-to-last issue's splash pages feature a cavalcade of nonsensical monstrosities, such as Elvis Impersonator MODOKs and chimpanzees dressed as Wolverine.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Forbush Man, originally a mascot for Marvel's Not Brand Echh Comics, eventually becomes a significant threat to most of the Nextwave squad and (if his speech is legitimate) one of the most powerful entities in Marvel continuity.
  • Pain Mistaken for Sex: When Dirk Anger accidentally hanged himself in his private chamber on the H.A.T.E. Aeromarine, two female attendants listening to his strangled grunts thought he was looking at pornographic websites.
  • Plant Mooks: The Beyond Corporation's "Human Resources" are genetically-modified kelp, grown in gardens, and driven by software. Their level of sentience is left ambiguous, and the Nextwave squad actually debate this.
    Monica: But they're alive, right?
    Aaron: Depends on your definition of alive. They have more in common with broccoli than they do with you. Or me.
    Monica: I hate broccoli. Let's kill 'em.
    • Also, the superhero squads summoned by Number None turn out to be disguised broccoli people.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Dirk Anger.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: Number None assembles several teams of second-rate supers to fight Nextwave.
  • Renegade Splinter Faction: Nextwave, once they discovered H.A.T.E. was working for the Beyond Corporation.
  • Retirony: Subverted. Officer Mangel is introduced just a few days from retirement... and then proves to be such a colossal asshole and Corrupt Cop that the harm he experiences is clearly deserved, rather than a fate designed to gain audience sympathy.
  • Robot Buddy: Aaron would be a subversion.
    Aaron: I could make you pregnant.
    Elsa: Not unless you could do it from over there, Clanky.
    Aaron: I am full of very useful devices.
  • Rule of Cool: When the aforementioned samurai robots appear, Elsa Bloodstone realizes that her handguns aren't nearly cool enough to defeat them, so she drops them and fights with only a shovel. Samurai robots beat guns, no question.
  • Rule of Funny: The comic runs on this.
  • Rule of Symbolism: All the time, and usually hitting the bullseye. To get an idea, the opening definition of the superhero genre is: "HEALING AMERICA BY BEATING PEOPLE UP!"
  • Sanity Ball: Usually juggled between Monica and Elsa, with Aaron taking some occasional turns. The Captain and Tabby, not so much.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: One of the Broccoli Men had a very intelligent reaction to Elsa Bloodstone.
    No no no not doing this this is my special run away song so I do not get killed by scary girl.
  • "Second Law" My Ass!: Aaron Stack.
    "Biological systems are hideous. I can't believe they have all this garbage inside them and not want to kill themselves."
  • Secret Identity: Averted with a vengeance. Except for The Captain, none of Nextwave really use their code-names at all; in Monica's case, this is probably a blessing, since as they point out, there's been way too many Captain Marvels. And The Captain only uses his code name because he can't remember his real name.
  • Self-Parody: Done on a meta level — at its core, Nextwave is a parody of Ellis' own previous comics like The Authority, which makes the whole thing feel a little less mean-spirited than it otherwise could have been.
  • Serial Escalation: Put it this way: if a Nextwave animated series were to be made, it would be Western animation's answer to Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Except funnier.
  • Senseless Violins: Elsa Bloodstone keeps her arsenal of guns in a guitar case.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Small Reference Pools: Played with when Elsa makes a reference to Andrea Dworkin, and Tabby doesn't get it.
  • Soap Punishment: The Captain relates an incident back when he went by "Captain ☠☠☠☠" and introduced himself to Captain America. He later woke up in a dumpster with a bar of soap in his mouth.
  • Splash Panel: Six pages from the penultimate issue is used as an example of the trope, showing Nextwave fighting through The Beyond Corporation's forces. Every one of them as magnificently absurd as the one before it.
  • Spoof Aesop:
    • "No good can come of a robot in a bra."
    • "When [Monica Rambeau's] mother died, she went to Hell and is used as a bucket by giant weasels dressed as cheerleaders. And that's what happens when you tell your kids to get a proper job."
  • Squirrels in My Pants: Attempted invocation by Fin Fang Foom when he tries to put Tabby in his pants.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: In a quick flashback to Monica's Avengers days, a bunch of nude minotaur Mooks appear, causing Captain America to tell Monica to...
    Captain America: Cover your eyes, go back to Avengers Mansion, and make my dinner.
  • Stern Chase: Most of the story arcs are variations of this trope — Nextwave goes somewhere to foil a Beyond Corporation scheme while Dirk Anger and H.A.T.E. are in pursuit.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: This is the job description of the Nextwave squad, and they love it.
    Elsa Bloodstone:"They explode! My life has taken on new meaning!"
    • This is exactly the author's description of the comic, too.
    Warren Ellis: "It is people getting kicked, and then exploding. It is a pure comic book, and I will fight anyone who says otherwise. And afterwards, they will explode."
    • In the first issue, this is used word-for-word to define Tabby's mutant superpower.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Dread Rorkannu, Lord of the Dank Dimension, is summoned by the Beyond Corporation to supply them with Mindless Ones. As opposed to Dread Dormammu, Lord of the Dark Dimension.
  • Take That!:
  • Taking You with Me: Zombie Dirk Anger attempts to kill the Nextwave squad by crashing the Aeromarine into them. He destroys the Shockwave Rider, but fails to kill Nextwave themselves.
    H.A.T.E. Agent: Sir, we're too close! We'll crash!
    Dirk: What do I care? I have re-invented suicide as a group activity. Go me. We must all burn.
  • Team Power Walk: The Nextwave team does this at the end of one comic.
  • Toilet Humor:
    • Captain America's urine.
    • Also, the check on the Captain's health:
    Monica: Is Cap dead?
    Tabby: He's farting.
    Monica: Okay.
  • Too Dumb to Fool: In issue #10, Forbush Man traps the team in illusionary realities that exist entirely within their own minds... only to realize too late that Tabitha escaped the ploy because she has no mind to exploit. She proceeds to explode his head.
  • Training from Hell: Elsa Bloodstone's monster-hunter training, which includes being thrown into monster pits while she's an infant with only a spoon and an adorable pink hair ribbon to her name.
    "Now, in honour of your newfound skills ... circumcise the Hideous Felch-Monster of Bihar Province."
  • The Undead: Dirk Anger's suicidal retirement is not accepted by H.A.T.E.
  • Unreliable Narrator: The characters have several flashbacks which totally violate everything we know about the characters (like Monica flash-frying an annoying yappy dog as a kid; she wasn't even supposed to have superpowers then) but they're all so funny we don't really care.
  • Unsound Effect
    Monica: Aaron, help them.
    < burst of white noise as Monica turns into 120 pounds of photons >
  • Villainous Breakdown: Dirk Anger has one that lasts for the entire series.
  • Villains Out Shopping: The Mindless Ones. Once they've taken over town they mostly do normal things like taking public transportation, hanging out at the bar, or going for joyrides.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: The whole team tolerate each other at best, and at worst are half a hair away from tearing each other's faces off, but are united in their enmity with H.A.T.E., and they work pretty well together (it's also likely that no other team will touch them with a 10-foot pole).
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: State 51 is explained to cloak itself by refracting 70% of the light around it, but the result is that the entire thing is under constant nighttime, making it a particularly harder time for all personnel on it who are already working their asses off to maintain it. But the narration assures us that they're all bad guys so you don't have to care about their work conditions.
  • Will Not Be a Victim: Elsa Bloodstone gets very irate when Charlie America tells her to lie back and allow him to defeat her.
  • Withholding Their Name: Due to "The Captain"'s abusive childhood, depression, and alcoholism, he refuses to divulge his real name; his teammates theorize that he may not even remember it.
  • Writer on Board: Writer Warren Ellis' well known distaste for the Modern Age of comics and The Dark Age of Comic Books is evident, but is funny rather than annoying. It helps that he's deliberately going for humor.
  • Your Head A-Splode: This is how Tabitha defeats Forbush Man.