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Comic Book / Terminal Lance: The White Donkey

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A graphic novel by Max Uriarte, creator of Terminal Lance.

Unlike Terminal Lance, The White Donkey is a more serious story based on his experiences serving as a Marine in Iraq.

Terminal Lance: The White Donkey contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Anyone Can Die: It is a combat deployment to a war zone, and this story is not as funny or lighthearted as Terminal Lance was. Reader beware.
  • Arc Words: Variations on "I hope you find what you are looking for."
  • Berserk Button: Abe punches Lt. Ding for asking if they would get the Combat Action Ribbon for the IED attack where Garcia died. After their deployment is finished, Abe similarly loses his temper at a random civilian who asked him if he'd ever killed anyone.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Before Abe's deployment, it is established that he owns a gun, a gift from his father on his 18th birthday.
  • Christianity is Catholic: Garcia claims that all Mexicans are Catholic, at least.
  • Darker and Edgier: Lacks pretty much any of the comedy that Terminal Lance was known for, focusing on the psychological aspect of war.
  • Disappeared Dad: Abe and Kirsten's father died before the story started.
  • Driven to Suicide: Abe teeters on the edge of it during the final part of the story.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: Lieutenant Ding makes a joke about "not receiving medals" following Garcia's death. Abe loses his shit and punches him.
  • Eagleland: The Iraqi Policeman who chews out Abe for whining considers Americans arrogant, with Abe being particularly so.
  • Ensign Newbie: Lieutenant Ding. His inexperience is highlighted during their predeployment training. Also doubles as a Jerkass.
  • Foreshadowing: Many details hinting at Garcia's fate, like the coyote sniffing at him in his bed or when Gannon talks about the MRAP's ability to survive an IED.
  • Going to See the Elephant: Why Abe joined the Marines. An Iraqi policeman points out that this is a terribly callous reason to travel halfway around the world to fight in another country.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partner: Abe and Garcia have this vibe. Also implied to be what Abe was ultimately looking for through joining the Marine Corps—though he never realizes it until the end.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: Abe calls Jen up and tries to tell her about Garcia's death, but instead breaks down into this.
  • Meaningful Name: Lampshaded. Abraham and Jesus are both names that feature prominently in The Bible. Garcia points out that Jesus is not a very unusual name among Spanish speakers.
  • Mood Whiplash: A truckload of Marines start singing along to a popular song, and then Garcia is killed by an IED that blows their vehicle off the road.
  • My Girl Back Home: Jen. She and Abe are both reluctant to define exactly what their relationship is.
  • No Blood for Phlebotinum: This is Abe's sister's view on the Iraq War. She considers it a pointless war for oil.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Garcia. Foreshadowed early on with the coyote sniffing at him while he slept.
  • Semper Fi: Most of the characters are Marines. A handful of Abe's civilian friends, family, and acquaintances fill the cast out.
  • Sergeant Rock: Corporal Albrecht.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran:
    • Abe. His friends, family, and comrades all try to reach out to him, but he shuts out all attempts by others to help him. Notably, Ding doesn't even try to reach out for him, instead holding a grudge over Abe punching him earlier.
    • Corporal Albrecht, to a lesser extant.
  • Shout-Out: At one point, the Marines in Abe's truck start an impromptu sing-along to "All These Things That I've Done" by The Killers.
    I've got soul but I'm not a soldier!
  • Splash of Color: The comic is mostly in black and white. Three notable exceptions are Garcia's bottle of gatorade, the Iraqi flag flying behind the Iraqi policeman and Garcia's blood splattered on the road.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: Abe. Especially after Garcia's death.
  • Survivor's Guilt: Abe, after Garcia's death. He felt he should have spotted the IED that killed his friend.
  • Tempting Fate: Gannon explains that the only thing that could harm the turret gunner of an MRAP is an IED powerful enough to flip the vehicle over. Two points for guessing what happens.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Early in Iraq, Abe complains about the monotony of Iraq and the lack of action. Albretch gives him an unimpressed short speech pointing out how "action" means dead Marines. Later after Abe is complaining (again) about how much it sucks in Iraq, an Iraqi policeman calls him out for being arrogant, for treating Iraq like it's some grand adventure where he can go find himself and seek out meaning in life. The Iraqi policeman had been studying in the US, and went to Iraq to fight for his homeland. Later on, Garcia gives Abe another speech for complaining constantly instead of just doing his job like everyone else.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Abe, after he sees Garcia's brains dashed out against the ground.
  • War Is Hell

Alternative Title(s): The White Donkey