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Comic Book / Warrior Nun Areala

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Warrior Nun Areala is a manga-style American comic book created by Ben Dunn and published by Antarctic Press. The story revolves around Sister Shannon Masters, a Joan of Arc-like heroine of the Order of the Cruciform Sword, a fictional military order of Warrior Nuns and Magic Priests in service of the Catholic Church. First appearing in Ninja High School #38 (1987), Sister Shannon has since appeared in her own comic books, beginning with Warrior Nun Areala Vol. 1 #1 in December 1994.

To say that this independent comic book series is controversial would be quite an understatement based on the subject of the series, the use of religious imagery, and the less than saintly design of certain female characters. Though considering that later authors would create their own takes on the ideas introduced in this series is also worth keeping in mind.

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Warrior Nun Areala provides examples of:

  • Anime Catholicism: A rare western example.
  • Anti-Hero: Averted in the case of the protagonist, as Dunn stated that he created the character of Shannon Masters as a genuinely heroic, if also quirky, figure through and through. Though "Shotgun Mary" Delacroix and Lilith are straighter examples, being of the Pragmatic variety.
  • Archenemy: Helga and her avatars, the Nebelhexe, are this to all of the Arealas throughout history.
  • Artificial Limbs: During the first arc (where Shannon gets killed in the line of duty and then came back stronger as an avatar of Areala), she loses a hand and she carries through the rest of the series with a cybernetic hand that she can switch with a more battle-appropiate gauntlet.
  • Artistic License – Traditional Christianity: The fact that some priests are described as wielding magic, granted it is limited to those related to Exorcism and protective White Magic, means this trope is in play. Though an argument can be made that it has some basis in the Bible, specifically the epistles of the Apostle Paul who writes about "Spiritual Gifts".
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  • Author Tract: Averted. In contrast to the tracts of a certain Protestant Fundamentalist who shall be left unnamed, Dunn has repeatedly stated that Warrior Nun Areala was not meant to call readers to repent or propagate any of the author's beliefs.
  • Church Militant: The Order of the Cruciform Sword.
  • Crossover: With Gold Digger (also owned by Antarctic Press), but also with Glory, Avengelyne (both properties of Image Comics) and Razor (created by Everette Hartsoe of London Night Studios).
    • The characters of Warrior Nun Areala were also featured in the 2012 "War of the Independents" mini-series event by Red Anvil Comics.
  • Darker and Edgier: This was done during the late nineties in an attempt to make it more "serious" and with "realism", but it lost some of the tongue and check humor it originally had was thus not well received by its fanbase.
  • Demon Slaying: The purpose of the Order.
  • Devil, but No God: Averted. While the big guy upstairs has never appeared in the series, it is repeatedly, strongly implied that he does exist.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Satan
  • Historical-Domain Character / Historical Villain Upgrade: The Roman emperor Julian the Apostate goes by the alias of Julian Salvius and has managed to survive to modern times.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Satan and The Holy Man hold this opinion as a justification for their actions, but given the idealistic bent of the series, this isn't the case here.
  • Ideal Hero: Shannon Masters was created with the intention of being a Jeanne d'Archétype who was faithful to the ideals of good, particularly the belief that anyone can change for the better, and refused to kill humans.
  • The Illuminati: A Big Bad of the series, they are led by an undead, immortal Sixtus VI, who proclaimed himself Antipope in 1696.
  • Knight Templar: The Holy Man is willing to go to great lengths to prove his point that his enemies are fighting for a lost cause and inflict as much pain and suffering on those who disagree with him in the process.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Lilith is the one who primarily provides the fanservice in this series.
  • Naughty Nuns: Though Dunn did later tone down the amount of blatant fanservice in later chapters.
  • Nun Too Holy: Mary Delacroix in a nutshell.
  • Nuns Are Mikos: Invoked in large part in order to emulate other works of Anime and Manga.
  • Our Demons Are Different: Demons in the Areala-verse are the descendents of the Fallen Angels who joined in Satan's rebellion.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Orcus's reason for not wanting to wage another war with Heaven is generally out of pragmatism rather than morality based reasons..
  • Saintly Church: For the most part, the Catholic Church in Warrior Nun Areala is portrayed very positively, as being an organization working directly under the authority of Heaven, empowered to hunt down and battle the forces of Hell, and optionally more mundane villainy such as Nazi masterminds. The order of Warrior Nuns is armed with weapons that, while lethal to demons and the undead, do not harm humans.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: This series is strongly on the idealistic side.
  • Sliding Scale of Silliness vs. Seriousness: The series takes itself generally seriously but does employ tongue and cheek humor. Though on a few occasions did bring up more serious issues such as controversies regarding the ratlines during World War II (in which some Nazi war criminals were allowed to escape), clerical abuse of children scandals, and the subject of the ordination of women.
  • Take That!: In-Universe example. The character known as "the Holy Man" deliberately choose that alias to mock Shannon and others for defending humanity which he regards as a lost cause believing that everyone deserves to be and is already is damned.
  • Take That, Critics!: From The Other Wiki: "In an issue that bordered on breaking the fourth wall where Sister Shannon took her ward Jason to the Big Apple Con comics convention where he bought a copy of "Battle Nun Areola." She criticised him and he sheepishly said that it was just a comic book. Ultimately acknowledging that there were bigger problems to face and that she should not take such fantasy too seriously, she decided to let Jason keep his comic. She thought 'Why I've never even read the book. ..'."
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Another faction of villains in the Areala-verse who specifically are of the Ghostapo variety with some degree of Stupid Jetpack Hitler in the mix. The most noticeable among this group is Dr. Frederick Ottoman.
  • Tragic Hero: Zev Schlieffer (a.k.a. The Hammer... and has nothing to do with The Hebrew Hammer).
  • Trope Maker: Antarctic Press proclaims to be the creator of a genre of works based on "the idea of Vatican affiliated clerical/religious monster hunters".

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