Ratchet: Bizarre? We once saved a giant clock responsible for controlling the space-time continuum. What could possibly be more bizarre than that?
Qwark: We've been, erm...losing planets.
Ratchet & Clank is a six-issue comic book miniseries (September, 2010 - February, 2011) within the Ratchet & Clank franchise that connects A Crack in Time to All 4 One. It was written by series veteran TJ Fixman and illustrated by Adam Archer.
Ratchet and Clank have returned to Veldin in the Solana galaxy in order to take some time off after the events of A Crack in Time. However, things begin to get complicated once Galactic President Qwark arrives and explains to the duo that planets from the Polaris galaxy - and even one from the Bogon galaxy - have started to go missing. Despite initially declining to help find them, the two are inevitably thrown into the fray yet again as Veldin itself is stolen and the heroes are captured by a figure known as Artemis Zogg. From there, familiar faces show up to aid Ratchet and Clank stop Zogg as well as uncover what the mysterious "Helios Project" really is.
An paperback Omnibus of all 6 issues was released in July, 2011.
Nothing is impossible! Tropes are merely a matter of time and will!
- Affably Evil: Artemis Zogg.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: Ratchet refuses to believe that the "Artemis Galaxy" exists, despite being told about planets going missing all across the universe and having been on one of those planets himself. Did we mention in the moment he is talking to the man that is clearly responsible for said planets disappearing? Fortunately, it's not focused on too much.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: During issue 4, Talwyn spends some time worrying about what's going on Zogg's ship. She concludes the conversation with Sasha by saying: "You know what the worst part of all this is? I actually voted for Zogg!"
- The Zurkons do to this at one point, too.
- Art Shift: The comics' covers are drawn by CreatureBox, which has affiliated with Insomniac on art for the Future trilogy. The actual comic is decidedly less stylized.
- Ash Face: Zogg after the bomb explodes.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: This exchange:Ratchet: Looks like you guys fixed up the place since I left.
Zephyr: Glad someone noticed. There are a few old-timers too senile to hold a thought for more than two seconds.
Cronk: Hey, I'm perfectly capable of— wow, a space station!
- Batman Gambit: General Glahm intentionally gets into a fight with Ratchet in the cafeteria so the two can be taken to the Sector 9 airlock, a section of the prison with low-security that allows Cronk and Zephyr to free them.
- Big Damn Heroes: Cronk and Zephyr in issue 3 when they save Ratchet from execution and help him and Clank break out of prison.
- Blatant Lies: When Qwark claims to not know anything about the Helios project. He relents pretty quickly.
- Bookends: The plot begins with Qwark screwing over Zogg, causing him to seek out revenge. By the end Zogg is defeated when a poster of Qwark hits him in the face, causing him to lose his grip and be sucked into an interdimensional portal.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: At the end of the last issue, while Qwark is talking about how "Good leaders surround themselves with people smarter than them", Clank is staring directly at the reader.
- Brick Joke: As of issue six, Zogg is trapped in a different dimension, on a chunk of planet with Emperor Percival Tachyon. Though no attention is drawn to it, this is, for the most part, the same fate that befell Nefarious and Lawrence at the end of Up Your Arsenal, and at the end of the short series, they're still trying to locate Nefarious.
- As Ratchet and Clank are being sent to Vartax, Ratchet says "That's it. I'm going to kill Qwark." Later, as Ratchet's being hauled away for being part of a fight, this happens:Ratchet: Everything's gonna be fine, pal! Just do me a favor!
Ratchet: Kill Qwark for me!
- There's another one late into issue 4 (see Throw-Away Guns for the original instance). Ratchet runs out of ammo, complains, and then throws the gun at an approaching soldier.Ratchet: Why doesn't that ever work?
- Coincidentally, a ship crashes into the aggressors before he and Clank are shot.
- At one point, Vorn mentions that Talwyn bit him after being captured. Later, when she's being used as a hostage by Zogg, she frees herself by biting him.
- As Ratchet and Clank are being sent to Vartax, Ratchet says "That's it. I'm going to kill Qwark." Later, as Ratchet's being hauled away for being part of a fight, this happens:
- Buffy Speak: "Okay, so we're here. But where's the bridge? Is it this squiggly thing? Or the hash mark with the dots?"
- In issue 3, Zogg tells Qwark about the shurinox comet shard, specifically what class it is and its orbital period. The good captain's response?
- The Bus Came Back: The comic brings back a number of characters from both the PlayStation 2 and Future eras of the series, having them interact for the first (and so far only) time:
- Cronk and Zephyr appear in Issue 2, last appearing in Tools of Destruction.
- Issue 3 brings back the most familiar faces including:
- Big Al makes a cameo in Issue 4 after last appearing in Deadlocked.
- Chaos Architecture: Averted. If you pay attention through the trek across Apogee Station, it's laid out exactly the way it was in Tools of Destruction
- Chekhov's Gun:
- Qwark was paying attention... for once.Artemis: Applying negatively charged energy to the shard will create a bridge between realities. We tested this with a few grunthors, but were unable to achieve the same level of success as the lombaxes. Things got... sticky.
- The Helios Project in general. The dialogue (which is to say, Qwark) wasn't subtle about it at all.
- Played straight with Alister's omniwrench, which is visible in the background of the first issue and then is used in the fifth issue. And then again in the sixth.
- Qwark was paying attention... for once.
- Covers Always Lie: The cover artwork for each issue almost never represents anything that actually happens within the comics themselves. The closest they come are with Issue 4's cover depicting Ratchet reaching for Zogg's comet shard (which only vaguely resembles the actual scene from the comic) and Issue 5's cover showing Zogg capturing Talwyn, an event that not only happens off-screen but also happens in the previous issue.
- Continuity Nod: In addition to all of the characters who randomly show up after being Put on a Bus, there are passing mentions of various planets, weapons, and gadgets. Particularly notable are the somewhat-forgotten tether to the Omniwrench, the pocket watch and Alister's omniwrench.
- The weapon Ratchet uses against the robots in the first issue is the Blaster from the first game, although here it fires beams instead of bullets.
- General Glahm— an Agorian— recognizes Ratchet from the battle in Krell Canyon. This ends about as well as you'd expect.
- Speaking of General Glahm, he references "Jargonian Needle Torture", which was first mentioned by Rusty Pete in Tools of Destruction.
- For some reason, there's a Courtney Gears poster in Ratchet and Clank's cell.
- Clank uses the omniwrench's kinetic tether and ability to hold items to assist in the escape from Vartax.
- At one point, Talwyn mentions using the Alpha Disruptor to blow off some steam. Perhaps that's why it wasn't available in A Crack in Time.
- "[Planet Veldin] will soon become even more useless than it was [before]."
- While Ratchet and Clank are looking for the comet shard aboard Zogg's ship, they crash through the bathroom and into another room. Vorn, who was in the bathroom, can be seen reading a newspaper with Nefarious on it.
- Going back to Azimuth's wrench, Ratchet uses the same energy blast that Azimuth killed him with to drive back Zogg's army. Not two pages later, it's used to block the shelter's hatch closed.
- At the very end of the last issue, when we see what happened to Zogg, Tachyon uses one of the same lines to introduce himself that he did in Tools of Destruction: "Conqueror of space and time". He also insists on being called EMPEROR. You can practically hear him shouting it.
- Contrived Coincidence: There was no real reason for Zogg to take planets from the Solana or Bogon galaxies nor for the Galactic Rangers to return outside of fanservice. Tropes are not bad, however, as the execution of the comic is done rather well and because it allows characters from two different eras of the series to reappear and interact.
- Cutaway Gag: During the escape from Vartax Ratchet wonders where all the guards are. Cue cut to the mess hall, where the pirate that helped Clank is inciting a riot, wearing trays like armor with a pan on his head.
- Deadpan Snarker: Still Ratchet. For example, the scene in the Vartax air lock:Glahm: If we are meant to perish here, then so be it. We die with honor.
Ratchet: We will die with garbage.
- Lampshaded by Warden Klink during the escape sequence.Ratchet: Two death sentences in one day. How many before I get a free tee shirt?
Klink: Ah, the famous Ratchet wit. I've always surmised it would get you into trouble one day.
- Lampshaded by Warden Klink during the escape sequence.
- Deus ex Machina: As this is the Plumber's stock-in-trade, it would have been disappointing to see the comic go by without him lending a hand where it was least expected. Lampshaded by Talwyn.Talwyn: Do I even want to ask what he's doing here?
- Disproportionate Retribution: Artemis Zogg imprisons and later tries to outright kill Ratchet and Clank, teleports entire planets out of their galaxies, enslaves the inhabitants of said planets, and later outright threatens leave them to freeze and die out entirely all because Captain Qwark took the galactic presidency for himself and (rightfully) shut down the Helios project for being too dangerous.
- Duct Tape for Everything: Including keeping Qwark out of harm's way. The best part? Clank was the one who came up with it.Qwark: Wow. Duct tape is awesome.
- Dumbass / Jerkass Has a Point: Qwark has the Helios Project shuttered because he believed it to be too dangerous to actually use. Let's say that again: Captain Qwark - the same man that caused a galactic incident simply to try and regain his popularity, considered letting the galaxy be forciby transformed into robots so he could stay hidden, and confiscated a device capable of interdimensional travel leading him to unintentionally deliver it to the one individual who wanted to use the device to take over the universe - shut something down because he (correctly) assumed it to be too dangerous.
- The Easy Way or the Hard Way:Clank: Any ideas on how to locate the bridge?
Ratchet: Just one. [To the guards firing at them] Excuse me, do any of you— [Gets shot at] Guess we have to do things the hard way.
Clank: I hate the hard way!
Ratchet: Me too!
- Flashback: Issue 3 uses several to show Zogg's backstory.
- "I like the way things used to be, back when I was just fixing ships."
- In issue 3, Cronk talks about how Zogg was watching them "Like a paranoid Wigwump." All 4 One would later introduce the player to a wigwump.
- This line from Qwark in Issue 3, which foreshadows multiple events:
- Genre Savvy: Artemis Zogg, being a fan of Ratchet and Clank himself and thus knowing what they are capable of if left alone, makes it a point to capture and imprison the two as soon as he can in order to prevent them from interferring with his plans. It actually ends up working and his plans may have gone off without a hitch had Cronk and Zephyr not broken them out...or if he hadn't left Ratchet's Omniwrench with them.
- Gilligan Cut: "With any luck, we'll be out of here by tonight." Three months later...
- HeelFace Turn: In Issue 5, Vorn Garblak ends up helping the heroes after realizing how far gone Zogg really is.
- Heroic Sacrifice:
- General Glahm on Vartax. He survived, but it's the thought that counts.
- A non-deadly variant, but there's Ratchet's response to the I Have Your Planet thing:Ratchet: What else can I do?
Talwyn: Something that doesn't involve suicide would be a start!
Sasha: [...] We're not letting you walk into certain death, and that's final.
- There's also Clank activating the E.M.P. so he and Ratchet can escape the shelter under the garage, even though it affected him, as well as Zogg's forces.
- Hero-Worshipper: Not to an incredible extent, but Zogg being a fan of Ratchet and Clank's is why they were only sent to prison. With an omniwrench.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Zogg's initial plans were simply to keep Polaris safe from intergalactic disasters, but by the end of the miniseries he's created an intergalactic disaster of his own out of petty vengeance. That's not even getting into his enslavements or attempted murders, either.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Zogg is defeated by Qwark recalling what he told him about the surinox comet shard reacting to negatively-charged energy and having Ratchet strike the shard with Azimuth's wrench, causing an interdimensional portal to open up and pull Zogg in.
- Hypocritical Humor: Qwark stating that a weak mind lets ego take control in Issue 3.
- I Have Your Planet: Planet Veldin.
- Idiot Ball: Artemis Zogg, being Ratchet and Clank's self-proclaimed biggest fan, understands exactly what kind of threat the two pose to his plans. So after he manages to get the drop on them, capture them, and trip them of all their weapons... he still decides to let the two keep Ratchet's Omniwrench, which Clank uses to escape from their cell and free Ratchet, who at that point was trapped on the other side of a one-way door with prison guards trying to get to him. Which, in turn, allows the duo to escape entirely and inevitably thwart Zogg's plans.
- I Lied: Not said verbatim, but Zogg didn't have any intention of relocating Veldin.
- On a similar note:Talwyn: Ratchet, you promised.
Ratchet: I know. I'm sorry, Tal.
- On a similar note:
- Ineffectual Death Threats:Ratchet: That's it. I'm going to kill Qwark.
Clank: You say that at least once a year.
Ratchet: And I mean it every time!
- Insistent Terminology: Amusingly, Captain Qwark no longer wants to be called Captain Qwark, despite the "Hero Correspondance Class" gag from A Crack in Time.Qwark: First off, it's President Qwark, and I have a business card to prove it.
- Ironic Echo: Referencing the ending of A Crack in Time:Clank: The effect will only be temporary. In theory, my CPU will recycle and boot up within sixty minutes.
Ratchet: So you'll be dead for sixty minutes?
- Note the insistent usage of "Sixty minutes" rather then "an hour". Ratchet unintentionally draws attention to the parallel by retrieving the pocket watch and repeating it again, for good measure.
- Jacob Marley Warning: Not in the traditional sense, but still relevant. While talking to Ratchet, Talwyn notes that guilt and solitude can be a dangerous combination, as evidenced by Azimuth.
- Karma Houdini: Despite being the one who goads Qwark into dropping his endorsement of Zogg's campaign and instead running for galactic president himself, thereby starting Zogg's Start of Darkness, Cyrus is never seen again after Issue 3 and never receives any comeuppance of his own.
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Artemis Zogg leaps off the slope, going from simply capturing the main characters to keep them from getting in the way of his plans in Issue 1 to leaving planets to die out in the middle of uncharted space as revenge against Qwark by the start of Issue 4.
- Lampshade Hanging: This is where it starts to become really clear that Ratchet's got these things figured out:Ratchet: Of course [the universe is] in danger. It's always in danger.
- Also demonstrated by this exchange:Clank: Why do you suppose they let us live?
Ratchet: Beats me. Maybe whoever's behind this wants to monologue for a little bit. You know, tell us what an evil genius he is before feeding us to a War Grok or something?
- Also demonstrated by this exchange:
- Leave No Survivors: Played with. Here's the line for reference:Artemis Zogg: I'm sorry, Ratchet. I truly am one of your greatest fans. But I cannot let any of you remain alive to stop me from completing my galaxy.
- Misplaced Retribution: Zogg's plans to take revenge on Qwark for invalidating his campaign for presidency and shutting down the Helios project is to kill Ratchet and Clank and leave planets from across the Solana, Bogon, and Polaris galaxies to freeze to death in the middle of space.
- The Mole: Cronk and Zephyr. They were body guards to Zogg before he had a breakdown... so they didn't set out intending to be this, but it worked out.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Qwark going back on his offer to endorse Zogg for Galactic President and running himself.
- Not So Above It All: Clank duct-taping Qwark to a chair. He had reason to, but there were probably better solutions to the problem. It ends up working out, however, as it prevents Qwark from being sucked into the shard's portal at the end allowing him to save Clank from being sucked in as well.
- Not What It Looks Like: The Vartax Warden walks in on a fight between Ratchet and Glahm. All Ratchet has to say for himself is "I know what this looks like, but I was actually winning this one."
- Now That's Using Your Teeth!: In the end, Qwark manages to save Clank from being sucked into the shard's portal by holding onto the robots foot with his teeth. Justified as he was covered in duct tape meaning he couldn't use his arms.
- Off-Model: While the comic's artwork is by no means bad, Adam Archer's less cartoony art direction causes most of the characters to look somewhat odd compared to their designs from the video games. Clank gets affected the most by this, with the shape of his head and the size and positioning of his eyes fluctuating from issue to issue and sometimes even panel to panel.
- OOC Is Serious Business: Qwark, towards the end of the fifth and final issue. Not only does he manage to help thwart Zogg's plan once and for all by recalling something Zogg told him months ago (something that it's heavily implied he barely understood), he even APOLOGIZES to him for revoking his endorsement of his presidential campaign by running for galactic president himself and asks that he not make the universe pay for his mistake.
- Oh, Crap!: Not a verbal one, but the look on Qwark's face◊ when Clank brings the Helios project back up screams this.
- Said word-for-word in issue 4, after Ratchet chooses the wrong direction in Zogg's ship.
- Pun-Based Title: Not the comic itself, but the title of almost every issue is a pun:
- #1: Ears of Warnote
- #3: Lost and Spacednote
- #4: Thanks for the Armoriesnote
- #5: Multiple Organismsnote
- #6: Bros Before Foesnote
- Quizzical Tilt: Qwark gets duct-taped into a semi-permanent one. Until the tape rips.
- Retired Badass: See 10-Minute Retirement
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Qwark attempts to pull this in the final issue when Zogg crashes into the Apogee Space Station, however he is thwarted by Clank restraining him with duct tape.
- Series Continuity Error: Big Al appears briefly in Issue 5, but his face is normal despite having last been seen with cybernetic parts in Deadlocked. While this was most likely an error, it could be explained as simply a hologuise.
- "Clank, I don't think we're in the Solana Galaxy anymore."
- The name of the first issue is "Ears of War," and the name of the third is "Lost and Spaced."
- Probably unintentional, but there is this:
- Smart Ball: Qwark, of all people, actually takes a firm grasp on the ball in the final issue where he is not only able to perfectly remember what Zogg had told him about the shurinox shard nearly a year ago, but was able to correctly guess that Azimuth's Omniwrench used negatively charged energy and coherently ask Vorn Garblack about it to confirm, all before finally kicking the wrench to Ratchet so he could hit the shard with it. Please keep in mind that on the exact same page that Qwark is told about how the shard reacts to differently charged energy he tells Zogg his "words are very sciency."
- Start of Darkness: Artemis Zogg was an endearing Presidential candidate before Qwark... well, before Qwark.
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
- Both of Ratchet's attempts to use his gun as a throwing weapon is met with the gun harmlessly bouncing off the target.
- The duo are unable to escape the Vartax Detention Facility on their own due to high security measures, leading them to end up staying there for 3 months.
- When the duo are running through Zogg's ship looking for the comet shard, Clank questions how Ratchet never learned how to read the Markazian language despite spending time with Talwyn. Ratchet retorts saying it's hard to learn a language with over 600 characters.
- Techno Babble: Lampshaded by Qwark. "Those words were very sciency."
- And again in the fifth issue, still by Qwark: "I only understood three of those words, but I'm fairly certain that was an insult."
- 10-Minute Retirement: Though it's implied to have been awhile since they've retired, Ratchet and Clank get back into the action very early on.
- Terms of Endangerment: Not what Ratchet meant, but lampshaded none the less.Ratchet: Easy, pal, no one's looking for any trouble.
Extra 1: General Glahm ain't your pal, furball!
Extra 2: General Glahm ain't got no pals!
- The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Surprisingly, not Played for Laughs. When Qwark lists off the planets that have disappeared, he lists three from Polaris and one from Bogon. This is a plot point.
- Throw-Away Guns: Subverted. Ratchet runs out of ammo in the middle of a fight, and we're treated to this:Ratchet: Listen, I know you're probably a bit ticked off, seeing as how I shot some of your pals, but if I may... (throws gun at the robot, beat) Well, I've got nuthin'.
- Throwing Your Gun at the Enemy: Ratchet does this once in the first issue another time in the fourth issue lamenting its ineffectiveness.
- Tragic Keepsake: In issue 1, Ratchet is shown to have kept Alister's watch to remind himself of other Lombaxes.
- True Companions: It doesn't seem that Ratchet and Talwyn are romantically involved, but they do love each other like family.
- Too Dumb to Live: Despite knowing full-well what Ratchet and Clank are capable of to the point where he imprisons them to get them out of the way, Zogg decides to let Ratchet keep his Omniwrench in prison. This allows Clank to escape their cell, free the adjacent prisoner who starts a riot which distracts the guards, and open the door to the hallway that Ratchet, Cronk, and Zephyr were stuck in which in turn allows all of them to escape the prison.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Ratchet's response to the Plumber's obligatory appearance. Talwyn questions this.
- Wham Episode: Issue 3, "Lost and Spaced":
- Talwyn Apogee, President and Sasha Phyronix, and the Galactic Rangers all return after being put on various buses.
- We learn that Zogg is enslaving the inhabitants of the planets he's been teleporting, which now includes President Phyronix.
- The details of the mysterious "Helios Project" are finally divulged: It's a contingincy plan where in the event that Polaris faces a galactic disaster the government could to teleport planets away to safety using a shurinox comet shard and an artificial sun called "Helios" to keep the planets alive.
- Zogg's backstory is revealed: He was a galactic presidential candidate that was hoping to get an endorsement from Captain Qwark. However, Qwark's former agent Cyrus swayed the captain into running for galactic president himself, thereby rescinding his endorsement. Upon winning the presidency, Qwark then shut down the Helios Project as he found it to be too dangerous to actually use. Zogg became enraged and made off with the Helios Project, plotting his revenge on Qwark.
- And at the very end, Zogg contacts the Apogee Space Station to tell the heroes that he has put Veldin in a remote part of the universe and will let it freeze to death if Ratchet and Clank don't turn themselves in.
- Wham Line: Qwark revealing to Ratchet and Clank that planets are going missing, which supplies the page quote.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Cyrus is never seen after Issue 3, despite being the one that convinced Qwark to run for galactic president in the first place.
- With My Hands Tied: The press assumes that Qwark defeated Zogg this way, since he was tied up with duct tape at the time.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Zogg really intended to help the galaxy... until Qwark turned around and ran for the presidency, instead of supporting him. What makes this particularly jarring is the fact that, in the original game, the same (minus the 'presidency' thing) happened to Ratchet.
- You Have Failed Me: Zogg ends up throwing Mr. Klink out of the airlock for failing to stop Ratchet and Clank from escaping.