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Comic Book / Vampire: The Masquerade (Vault)

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Show me your teeth.

Vampire: The Masquerade: Winter's Teeth is a comic book by Tim Seeley, Tini Howard, and Blake Howard. It is published by Vault Comics and is set in the Old World of Darkness with the Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition rules for its setting.

The story follows two vampires in the Twin Cities (Saint Paul and Minneapolis). Cecily Bain is a former Anarch turned servant of the Camarilla, trading flawless service in exchange for more freedom than most. Her sister's dementia and the weight of years is slowly driving her mad and she adopts a newly created vampire named Alejandra. Colleen Pendergrass is a Thin Blooded Anarch embraced by her Husband against her will. She now is part of a group of struggling survivors living on the edge of Kindred society.

The series contains the following volumes:

  • Winter's Teeth 1-10 (2020 to 2021)
  • Crimson Thaw 1-3 (2021)

This series contains the following tropes:

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  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Cecily, despite her Establishing Character Moment, goes on a journey of self-discovery that reveals that she's one of the nicer Kindred in the city.
  • All There in the Manual:
  • Blood Magic: A staple of the Tremere and tool of Calder Wendt in particular.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: A constant feature of the Kindred society.
  • Decadent Court: The Camarilla of the Twin Cities is described as this by Cecily. We don't see much of it but it is proven correct when the Prince is killed by Calder Wendt.
  • Dhampyr: Thin Bloods are more alive than dead and fill this role in the setting.
  • Disco Dan: Much fun is had at Cecily but others that the 80s and 90s Gothic Punk scene has been dead for decades.
  • The Dragon: The Sheriff is meant to serve as this to the Prince of each city and serve as their chief enforcer. Cecily serves as this to Prince Merrain despite refusing to take the title. Calder Wendt then becomes hers.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Generally averted. The protagonist starts the book by murdering an innocent woman to protect the Masquerade and almost every other vampire is shown doing something horrible. The only one who shows any sign of being this trope is Colleen and she's a Thin Blood.
  • Gothic Punk: The book invokes the attitudes of the tabletop game but also acknowledges it's been twenty years since the game's heyday. Its protagonist, Cecily Bain, is a former Riot Grrrl who bemoans most of her former colleagues are either old or soccer moms even on the youngest side. Even so, it's still a bright pair of modern cities (Minneapolis and Saint Paul) full of vampires preying on an unsuspecting populace.
  • Morality Pet: All Kindred have these, sometimes verging on a Morality Chain.
  • Straight Gay: Mother Joe is a former Boxer whose name is ironic.
  • Vampire Hunter: An ever-present threat in the setting.
  • Vampire Monarch: All major cities have one of these. Prince Samantha Merrain is the ruler of the Twin Cities. She's swiftly replaced by Calder Wendt after being killed by him then Cecily herself.
  • Vampires Own Night Clubs:
    • Mother Joe's night club, Year Zero, is the local Kindred hangout.
    • The Double Down is a former hardcore punk club that now caters to soccer moms and dads hoping to recapture their youth.
  • Villain Protagonist: Cecily is evil. There's no two ways about it. A Downplayed Trope example as all the characters are vampires and only one seems to be a Friendly Neighborhood Vampire.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: How Princes are typically replaced. Also, how Calder Wendt became Prince of the Twin Cities.

     Winter's Teeth 
  • Abusive Parents:
    • Ali reveals her father was one of these even before he had her Embraced.
    • Amusingly averted by Cecily whom everyone is surprised had a loving father who she loved back.
  • All for Nothing: The Anarchs make an elaborate and lengthy trip across Minnesota, only to find their employer Arlen Haight, is already dead and they are no longer needed.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • The Wolves in Sheeps Clothing are slaughtered to the man and good riddance.
    • Elena Kowalski only lasts a single issue despite her write-up and no one is sad to see her fall to Hunters.
    • Erin Runningbear getting staked by Ali after confessing to murdering a nun.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • The first arc ends with Cecily talking her way out of the Blood Hunt for the Prince's execution and finally getting the Camarilla to stop trying to make her one of their official enforcers. It also reveals that Alejandra is a plant from the Second Inquisition. The Anarchs finally arrive and are revealed to be old friends of Cecily. It also reveals one of them is working for the Ministry.
    • The second arc ends with Cecily having become the Prince of the Twin Cities, Ali diablerized by her, and numerous Kindred slain. The city is at peace, though, and the Mortician's Army is seemingly destroyed. Cecily can afford to put her sister in permanent care but she will never likely awaken.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Elena Kowalski's husband shouts at Calder Wendt for letting his wife die. He then says that he gave him millions over the years and that the Prince works for him. This, unsurprisingly, gets him killed by the Justicar present for his blanket disrespect.
  • Delusions of Eloquence: There's a strong implication that Prince Merrain's artistic and sophisticated delusions are just that. We never get to find out if it's true.
  • Did Not Think This Through: Cecily murders Cordell's girlfriend before his eyes and taunts him about it before telling him to get back to work for the Camarilla. Cordell then becomes an Anarch and makes any and all promises conditional on the death of Cecily. It doesn't work out for him due to getting targeted by hunters and the information retrieved by Cecily.
  • The Dreaded:
    • Ian Carfax is enough to send the new Prince of the Twin Cities into fearful quivering.
    • The Mortician is apparently a vampire hunter who uses a clawhammer to eliminate the undead.
  • Easily Forgiven: Cecily more or less shoves all the events of the first five issues under the rug for issue #6.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Cecily murders the girlfriend of a Kindred, Cordell, in order to protect the Masquerade, sadistically taunting him with the fact she never would have revealed the truth to anyone else.
  • Eviler than Thou: Ali of all people pulls this on Cecily in #9.
  • Foreshadowing: The Hunters in Issue #3 have a mortician's hammer.
  • Hate Sink: Actually rare in the book due to the Villain Protagonist and Antihero nature of the cast. A few exist, though.
    • The Wolves in Sheeps' Clothing are a bunch of cannibalistic organ-harvesting cyborg psychopaths who revel in their murder.
    • Elena Kowalski runs the Cull where she kidnaps a bunch of mortals, tortures them in a sadistic manner knowing that they won't live to break the Masquerade, and revels in their fear.
  • Hunter of Monsters:
    • The Second Inquisition shows up in issue #2 and almost takes out Colleen's coterie.
    • Issue #3 introduces the "Wolves in Sheeps' Clothing" that are a ghoul vampire hunting organization.
    • Another vampire hunter almost takes Cecily out in issue 6#. Cecily makes a Buffy reference, only to end up skewered when it turns out they're a professional.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Cecily diablerizes Ali at the end of the second arc.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: It's only a matter of days before Calder Wendt starts falling apart as Prince of the Twin Cities. It's even more pathetic when he turns to Cecily for help given he just called a Blood Hunt on her. It's no wonder that Ian Carfax makes Cecily Prince in issue #10.
  • Killed Off for Real:
    • Cordell and Prince Merrain are killed in issue #3.
    • Elena Kowalski is killed in issue #6.
    • Ali is killed by Cecily in issue #10.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Cecily and Alejandra steal a flash drive containing information on the Prince's weaknesses. So, when the Prince is killed it becomes evidence against her and a Blood Hunt is called.
  • Rank Up: Calder Wendt is Prince of the Twin Cities until he's replaced, nonviolently, with Cecily.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Cecily is a jaded, nihilistic, and sadistic vampire who has given up all of her idealism to become exactly the sort of monster she used to fight. Colleen is an idealistic, even friendly, young woman dealing with problems beyond her control.
  • Tears of Blood: Calder Wendt breaks out into a bloody sweat of fear out of Ian Carfax. Note: according to the rules, this is impossible.
  • Sssssnake Talk: The reveal that Priscilla, the Toreador Anarch, is really a Setite/Ministry snake-in-the-grass is capped by her hissing, "God has sssssuch planssss for you!"
  • We Hardly Knew Ye:
    • Despite getting an issue devoted to her and her court, Samantha Merrain is killed in her second appearance.
    • The same for Elena Kowalski in issue #6.
  • Wicked Cultured:
    • Prince Merrain gets this by virtue of being a Toreador Elder.
    • King Rat, amusingly, is a big James Clavell fan.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • Elena Kowalski threatens a ten year old in hopes of getting a chance to murder a innocent nurse.
    • Calder Wendt turns out to be similarly so, ordering Ali to kill the same child. She doesn't.

     Crimson Thaw 
  • Always a Bigger Fish: Werewolves are shown to be far superior to vampires in terms of their ability to kick ass. Even Cecily, who is a badass, is easily overwhelmed by one.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The werewolves get their land back and make a treaty with the Kindred but their leader is dead and not all of them are happy with working with Leeches. Cecily gets her chance to rebel by leaving Ian Carfax to die but starts to embrace her role as Prince. Mitch is still dead, though, and Cecily remains haunted by Ali's spirit.
  • Cool House: Cecily has been forced to move from her apartment over a porn shop to Prince Merrain's enormous mansion.
  • Dramatic Irony: What sets off the Lupines vs. Vampires in the Twin City is ridiculous. Calder Wendt buys a church that serves wedding venues and puts up some wards in it, unaware that the church is a Garou caern. The werewolves immediately assume it's a kind of insidious vampire plot and reject any attempt to just negotiate—when Cecily would just give them back the church. Ian Carfax then makes a decision to work with them but mistakes their magic for something practical versus religious and they go to war with him over it. Neither culture understands the other in the slightest and the actual peace made is one that makes the Lupines furious.
  • Enemy Civil War: The only reason the vampires have a chance against the Lupines is due to the fact that they're at each other's throats as much as the Kindred.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Cecily and her court assume they're dealing with one werewolf, unaware their kind work in packs.
  • Fur Against Fang: The premise of the comic is a conflict between vampires and werewolves.
  • Hearing Voices: Cecily suffers from this since her diablerie of Ali.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: As a diablerist, Cecily is now loathed by the majority of Kindred in her domain.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Calder Wendt owns a wedding planner business.
    • Cecily can name Aristotle quotes from memory and is very well read for growing up on a farm.
  • Ironic Hell: Cecily becoming the Prince of the Twin Cities is close to this to her. At the end, though, she realizes she's very good at being a Prince.
  • Killed Off for Real: Mitch ends up dying at the hands of the werewolves as a demonstration of their power.
  • Patrick Stewart Speech: Mitch, of all people, tries to do this with the werewolves. It fails.
  • Rank Scales with Asskicking: Cecily decides to go after the Lupine herself despite being Prince. It proves to be a very stupid idea.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: The werewolf leader says this after the aforementioned speech by Mitch.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: How Cecily eventually justifies being Prince of the Twin Cities. Someone has to be the adult in the room.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Cecily hates Erin and Calder both. Unfortunately, they're her biggest supporters now.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Mitch fires a Vietnam-era bazooka at the werewolf. Subverted in that it just injures the creature.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Calder and Erin seemingly have nothing better to do than hang out at Cecily's mansion due to their own havens being blown up by the Mortician's Army.
  • Visionary Villain: Ian Carfax believes he can drain the power of caerns with stolen werewolf magic to stave off the Beckoning.

Alternative Title(s): Vampire The Masquerade Winters Teeth