Follow TV Tropes

Following

Comic Book / North 40

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/north_40_complete.png
Advertisement:

Comic book miniseries from 2009, written by Aaron Williams and illustrated by Fiona Staples. It could best be described as "magic hillbilly superheroes fight Cthulhu."

It starts off with a couple of high school kids in a small town getting an eldritch spellbook through Interlibrary Loan. They read it, everyone blacks out, and when they wake up, the county is cut off from the rest of the world, and half the people have been turned into monsters. Some people use their new abilities to do evil, some to do good, and some just focus on trying to live their lives as normally as they can.


Advertisement:

This series provided examples of:

  • Achilles' Heel: Wyatt is as tough as any other Flying Brick, but he still needs to breathe. This becomes an issue when he's attacked by one of the townsfolk who has become a cloud of living smoke.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Wyatt Hinkle and Amanda Walker are both looked down on by the other townsfolk. Wyatt because they perceived him as a hick trying to rise above his station and therefore the rest of them, Amanda because she's biracial. They're both altruistic forces in the story regardless.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Sheriff Morgan as Wyatt wakes up from the attack on his Achilles' Heel:
    Sheriff Morgan: You try quittin' this job without my say-so again, I'll dock a week's pay.
  • Animal Eye Spy: Luane, a waitress at the diner, is able to see through the eyes of birds, squirrels, and cats. She can also control them to some degree, and she's prone to fainting spells whenever an animal she's possessing gets killed.
  • Advertisement:
  • Apathetic Citizens: Once the chaos happens the townsfolk all settle into their same cliques but much more unscrupulous. There isn't much screentime minding anyone reacting to the changes, everyone just sorta rolls with it.
  • Baleful Polymorph: The deforming transformations are not accidental, they were deliberately inflicted by Dyan to torture the town and sow chaos.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Unlike the other heroic characters, Wyatt is a genuinely nice guy: humble, polite, and helpful even after his Flying Brick powers kick in. But the Ungrateful Townsfolk just keep pushing him. They're lucky he can work out his frustrations by crushing zombie skulls and smashing Denny Pittman's humongous mechas.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Aren't the Atterhulls funny with all their drunken, inept redneck antics? Then, the exact second they gain even a scrap of power, they start kidnapping women to rape and trying to murder anyone they have a grudge against. Fortunately, the number one person on their hit list is Sheriff Morgan, who is more than capable of defending himself. Considering that they were packing heat before they gained superpowers, it probably wasn't safe to take them lightly even then.
  • BFG: A downplayed example in the "Moose Stopper". It's huge for a pistol, too big and heavy for most people to wield properly, which makes it a perfect match for Wyatt's strength.
  • Big Bad: Dyan is a misanthrope that hates the town and is the cause of the deformations suffered in the series. Most of the beneficial superpowers and the town being sealed off are attempts to counter her actions.
  • Body Horror: So many characters, ranging from serious villains to everyday folks in the background.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Some Atterhulls from a previous generation messed around in Marguritte's magics and ended up dead. Marguritte suggests that they might have been strong enough to survive if they hadn't been born from this.
  • Closed Circle: The borders of the town are sealed off from exit. Luane's animals die when they try.
  • Cool Old Guy: Sheriff Morgan is one of the older characters in the series and kicks as much ass as anyone.
  • Comes Great Responsibility: Wyatt is given the choice between using his powers to save the town and the world, or leave them to destroy themselves after their mistreatment of him. He chooses the former.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: Downplayed; It's implicit that the awakening of the Eldritch Abomination is an eventuality, but the piece of it being stirred awake is before such a time, and is preventable.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Of a kind. Robert invests a lot of energy into making Wyatt very powerful, with the result that he has very few heroes compared to Dyan's monsters.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Several (but by no means all) of the people monsterized by Dyan remain decent people despite their freakish new looks and abilities.
  • Deep South: Conover County seems to be set in a generic version of the South.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The climax of the tale has something very much like Cthulhu preparing to rise from a local lake and getting punched back into its endless slumber.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The Atterhulls are a clan of ne'er-do-wells, and Sheriff Morgan has naturally sent many of them to jail. They're very much guilty of the crimes he arrests them for, and he doesn't use any undue force to do so, but they still take him doing his job as a personal affront, and attempt to murder him as soon as he's cut off from outside help and they have a bit of power.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: The Atterhulls are devoted to their granny.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: For all their faults, the Atterhulls really do care about each other. In fact, their strong clan ties are a big part of what makes them so dangerous once conventional authority breaks down.
  • Even Evil Can Be Loved: Robert is in love with Dyan and desperate to please her, which is why he acquired the Tome of Eldritch Lore for her in the first place. Even once he realizes how evil she really is, he still can't bring himself to oppose her directly. She takes shameless advantage of this.
  • Extra Eyes: One of the customers in the diner ends up with eyes all over his forehead. Miss Sparks insists he's a demon, but he just wants his cup of coffee.
  • Eyeless Face: Granny Atterhull, the matriarch of the Atterhull clan, has her eyes replaced with what look like sea urchins.
  • Flight: A number of characters get this power, but Wyatt Hinkle is the most prominent one.
  • Flying Brick: Wyatt is empowered with the general powerset of flight, super strength and high durability as a designated defender against the more monstrous townsfolk.
  • The Fundamentalist: Miss Sparks, who runs the diner, assumes almost all the transformed townsfolk are in league with Satan.
  • Goth: Dyan, pictured above. She helps start everything off by reading from an evil spellbook.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Sheriff Morgan is willing to threaten to shoot Fred Atterhull to make a point, Amanda is sardonic and threatening even while rescuing people, and Marguritte is a cryptic and pragmatic witch. They're all more or less heroic and working to prevent great evil from prevailing.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The Cthulhu-like Eldritch Abomination is the driving force behind all the evil in the series.
  • Half-Breed Discrimination: A mundane example: Amanda is clearly of mixed White and Black ancestry, which means the town's significant number of White supremacists either don't want her around or think they can do whatever they want to her, nor do the also-racist African-American Pittman clan care to protect her. Fortunately she becomes more than capable of protecting herself early on, and quickly gains a group of True Companions, which include Wyatt and Sheriff Morgan.
  • Hats Off to the Dead: When Wyatt's father has apparently died (it's hard to be sure considering what he's become), Sheriff Morgan takes his hat off to pay his respects as Wyatt mourns.
  • High-School Dance: The dance turns into a bloodbath when zombies invade and the monsterized classmates start tearing them to pieces.
  • Horror Hunger: At the end of the series, Stacy gets cursed with a need to transform people into more Humanoid Abominations or die, then sent through the barrier around the town in order to bring more victims to Dyan.
  • Humanoid Abomination: So very many characters.
  • Humongous Mecha: Local junkman Denny Pittman starts building them.
  • I Love the Dead: A bit of a reversal. Jenny is in love with Bradley. She dies and gets turned into a zombie. She pursues him to the point where she corners him at a dance and makes out with him.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Granny Atterhull, if the pictures her grandson prints up for her Sinister Surveillance powers are any indication.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon: The "Moose Stopper", a huge custom revolver that fires only custom rounds and was supposedly made by Sam Colt himself. Marguritte even enchants it for the final battle.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Apparently part of Wyatt's powers, possibly as a result of enhanced senses and dexterity.
  • Lovecraftian Superpower: Almost everyone has one.
  • Magic Pants: Averted; Dave ends up naked with his pants tied around his waist after his transformation. Afterwards he's seen with pants clearly made from multiple pairs sewn together along with an ill-fitting A-shirt too small to cover his midriff, and he's constantly barefoot.
  • Mass Superempowering Event: It kicks off the series. Spells are recited, everyone passes out, and afterwards, half the citizenry have monstrous superpowers.
  • Monstrous Cannibalism: After transformation a lot of the townsfolk develop appetites and are wont to devour each other.
  • Mundane Utility: Granny Atterhull hangs a picture of herself around her neck so she can use her Sinister Surveillance powers to read a book.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: As a farmboy, Wyatt is probably quite strong even before he gains superpowers. Even so, he's skinny and unintimidating. Then his Flying Brick powers kick in, and he becomes by far the strongest character in the story.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Wyatt Hinkle and Dave Atterhull, though Dave is probably a bit less invulnerable than Wyatt.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: Granny Atterhull is very old, very heavy, and blind except for her Sinister Surveillance powers. She sits at home and directs her family in their feud against Sheriff Morgan while Fred acts as field leadership and Dave acts as muscle.
  • Not So Harmless Villains: When the story begins, the Atterhulls seem to be an inept and comical clan of drunks and petty criminals. Then several of their members develop super powers and Sheriff Morgan is cut off from all outside backup, and the first thing he has to do is rescue a girl they've kidnapped "for later", after which he spends the rest of the story one step ahead of their attempts to MURDER him for all the times he arrested family members for their drunkenness and petty crime.
  • Older Than They Look: Marguritte De Vris and Sheriff Morgan are both a few centuries old.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Jenny is explicitly stated to be different from the other zombies — she raised the rest of them from their graves, and she's far tougher and more intelligent than they are.
  • Papa Wolf: Do not threaten Wyatt, his father will literally raise up the earth to devour you.
  • Pet the Dog: When Dave Atterhull stumbles back to the trailer park after the Mass Super-Empowering Event, naked, confused, and famished by his transformation, Fred helps him get to shelter and gets him some food. The next time we see him, Dave is wearing an outfit that was probably sewed together by one of the female Atterhulls. This is the primary example of how the Atterhulls, for all their faults, really do take care of each other.
  • Playing Against Type: Writer Aaron Williams is best known for more light-hearted comics like PS238, Nodwick, and Full Frontal Nerdity.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Sheriff Morgan isn't usually one of these, which is why it's a bit shocking when he refers to a wheelchair as a "cripple cart". He's being deliberately insulting because the person in it is a Jerkass who got there entirely through his own bad choices, but still.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Denny Pittman's giant robots all have severed, screaming human heads as their power sources.
  • Sequel Hook: Dyan sends out an enthralled Stacy into the world, cursed to afflict more people and send them back to town or she dies.
  • Sinister Scythe: Amanda Walker carries one around. She uses it as her magic staff.
  • Sinister Surveillance: In place of her own eyes, which are gone, Granny Atterhull now sees through the eyes on pictures of her. She has her grandson print up lots of them so they can be posted up everywhere.
  • Superhero Packing Heat: Wyatt doesn't have heat vision or any other ranged attack, so Sheriff Morgan gives him first an ordinary sidearm, then the "Moose Stopper".
  • Super Strength: Dave Atterhull is immensely strong and built like a tank.
    • By all indications, Wyatt is even stronger.
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: The book that gets the whole story started. It's cover is fleshy and has blinking squid eyes.
  • A Truce While We Gawk: The Atterhulls and Sheriff Morgan are having a confrontation, with Fred and the Sheriff having words, when one of Denny Pitman's Humongous Mechas attacks. Dave tries to fight it and is promptly sent flying. Fred and Sheriff Morgan pause in their argument to watch Dave fly past.
  • Ungrateful Townsfolk: After saving Prom from an invasion of zombies all the witnesses pin the blame on Wyatt to the Mayor, who organizes a posse to convict him. None of them care for the protagonists to maintain order and stop evil and turn tail immediately when threats show up.
  • Unusual Dysphemism: Wyatt's father probably means for it to be an Unusual Euphemism when he refers to the dirty magazines he wants Wyatt to pick up as "my mail-order brides". As Wyatt points out, his "euphemism" is actually much worse.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Jenny starts a small one to try and reunite with Bradley.

Top