Arc Howard is going to die.
He knows it all too well, as he stares down the god of death. His broken body reminds him every second, as the last of his blood leaks from his body. He can see all the events that led up to that fateful Friday night. His closest friends and newfound enemies pushed him into that graveyard. The city he once knew is eroding, allowing ghosts to roam the land. The echo — once the stuff of rumors — is stealing people away and driving them mad. But in spite of all that, he'll accept his fate. He'll prove his worth the only way he knows how.
He'll rebel against it all — the god, the world, whatever it takes — until the end. No regrets.
D.O.X. (formerly Dead over Two) is an Urban Fantasy and original work by Voltech44 thats been in the works for about four years, and hopefully is up to the task of publication soon. Weighing in at seven separate volumes, its a high-octane tale dealing not only with the end of the world and the growing insanity of each of the main characters, but themes of death, freedom, faith, and truth.
Its also full of video game references, ghost punching boob jokes, and a badass motorcycle chase scene. Yep, its that kind of story.
Check the tropes below to see if youre interested. Or, have a look at the character page.
Tropes associated with D.O.X.:
- Arc Words: "Rise and rebel."
- AnachronicOrder: Starts with main character Arcs death scene, then flashes back a day, then progresses linearly from there outside of a few flashbacks.
- Ancient Conspiracy: The Astrum Guard, which has existed for thousands of years as the world's premier guardians against ghosts, spirits, and demons that cause chaos (along with so-called "magiterrorists"), ensuring the balance of the world remains. Coil, R4, and Old Wade are the members we see the most, but others such as Jables, Hyde, Clover, Master, Desiree, and Nash make appearances as well, and suggest that the organization is not all it seems. Most notably, because it's run and governed by corpses.
- Anyone Can Die: It starts with the main character. And it only goes downhill from there.
- Big Bad: Bellanger, the Ghost Emperor. May count as a Noble Demon, since hes primarily trying to save the world by destroying it.
- Bizarro Episode: Chapter 29. All of it.
- Black and Grey Morality: In spades.
- Body Motifs: A huge part of the story; all of the main characters have a body part/condition that stands out or defines them. Some are obvious, like Arc's fierce eyes, Katie's baby-nose, Maddy's immense height, Kath's massive bust, and Old Wade's wise man chin. Others are a bit harder to make out or outright hidden; in Coil's case, one would think that it's his white hair, but it's actually his heart. And then of course there's gang leader Diego...
- Character Tics: Several. Main character Arc has a callous hand wave and yo-yo tricks, while comic relief Johnny tugs at his headband whenever hes nervous. The latter even does it subconsciously!
- City of Adventure: New Rock City. Virtually every event takes place here, from the suburbs to the downtown district.
- Church Militant: The Astrum Guard, the covert organization of mages and warriors that protect the world from spiritual imbalances and mystical chaos. Doubles with Knight Templar.
- Dark is Not Evil
- Delinquent: Coil, The Rival. Arc and Diego technically count, especially with the latter being the head of his own gang.
- Expy: Every main character is a reference in one way or another to the characters of Guilty Gear. For example, main character Arc is a tribute to darkness-wielder Eddie.
- The Faceless: Just what do Arcs parents look like? Youll never know!
- Fighting for a Homeland
- Foil: Virtually every character has one, often two or more. Arc in particular has foils in his girlfriend Katie, rival Coil, college girl Maddy, and green gamer R4. Likewise, Katie has a foil in big sister Kath and love rival Desiree.
- Four Is Death: Chapter 4 is when Arcs life really starts falling apart. Similarly, major events generally transpire in every chapter divisible by 4 or any chapter with 4 in its number. To say nothing of R4
- Freak Out: Half the cast. And when they freak out, hoo boy...
- Hearing Voices: All over the place, and the key sign that a character's succumbing to the corruption. Often takes the sound of a garbled mess of voices, some of which are related to the person or the person's voice itself. Also, if they start hearing - or God forbid, speaking - about freedom, then that's definitely not a good sign.
- Hidden Depths: Everyone, but most notably Katie. Underneath her sugary exterior lies an introspective and supportive young lady, coupled with a healthy dose of hot-bloodedness. It certainly helps that shes not human.
- High School: More than half of the cast runs from 14 to 18, along with a good deal of action happening at New Rock High. Theres even a pep rally of course, everything goes downhill from there
- Huge Schoolgirl: Local college student Maddy, standing at seven feet even and being slightly heavier than normal.
- Journey to the Center of the Mind: Done regularly by a handful of characters. In fact, most of the main characters inner sanctums are visited over the course of the story even though thats probably not a good idea
- Knight of Cerebus: R4. Formerly an extra, once he starts laying down the mission objectives to Coil, you know something dark and brutal is on the way.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Two of the characters in the story have them. Can you guess who? One of them is Bellanger, thanks to a nasty side effect from his second coming. The other? Our hero, Arc.
- Madness Mantra: Freedom, again - a product of the Ghost Emperor's new world order. A more applicable example would be the words "I don't have an answer" - when you read them, get ready for one hell of a Freak Out...
- Marshmallow Hell: Doubles as a running gag! Strangely enough, only Arc seems to be on the receiving end
- Misery Builds Character: Pain. Yes indeed!
- Miniature Senior Citizens: Old Wade, standing at a mighty three feet even. Compensates by being the mentor.
- Muscles Are Meaningless: Played straight when Arc gets into a fight being a practiced fighter, he uses skill and speed to beat his opponents. Subverted when he fights Coil, whos actually somewhat buff (and considerably stronger), then subverted in the fight against Bellanger.
- Named Weapons
- Not My Lucky Day: Hey, kid! Guess what? Youre broke, seeing ghosts, getting pounding headaches, get swept into several fights, straddle the threshold between dimensions, and tonight youre gonna get stabbed! Have fun!
- Oh, Crap!: The Arc versus Bellanger fight. One is a short, skinny fifteen year old. The other is a ten-foot-tall personification of death. Guess what happens when one punches the other.
- Only a Flesh Wound: Some of the main characters - Coil in particular - can take a beating. Not that it helps in the long run for anyone.
- Our Monsters Are Different
- Power Born of Madness: Madness, insanity, sorrow, anger, envy pretty much every negative - and some positive - emotion fuels power in this story. Used and abused by more than one character, and actively discussed (not to mention used) as a potential power source in one chapter by Kath, of all people, and a potent fuel for the Astrum Guard.
- Running Gag: Several. Rocks, boobs, being short, video games, dogs, other people named Johnny and still more!
- Shout-Out: Chapter 5 has Arc pull off a Shoryuken. And thats just the beginning.Archie::You FOOL! It would have been much cooler if you had said, "Youve raided your last dungeon!" or "Thats a fifty DKP minus!" You should TOTALLY die for that!
- Start of Darkness: All over the place.
- The Corruption: As the Ghost Emperor and spiritually-unstable supervillain, Bellanger involuntarily releases distorting echoes that corrupt people and the city in the bounds of the city limits; the longer you stay there, the more insane and grotesque you become. Those with some spiritual resistance can hold out against it, but not for long. It even claims a few victims before Chapter 10 even rolls around.
- Transformation Trauma: Ever wanted your own pair of wings? This story will make you think otherwise.
- The Hero's Journey: Despite the twists and turns, at its core the story is this.
- It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: Coil. Reinforced by the fact that hes pretty terrible at his job as the prodigy, and that Bellanger was similarly chosen by God.
- Wham Episode: You could argue that theres one at the end of every volume, but Id like to nominate the 66th chapter. Somebody dies.
- White Hair, Black Heart: Coil. Subverted by being hot-blooded, easily angered and prone to fighting, not to mention hes usually sporting a mean scowl.
- World of Chaos: Yes indeed. Doubles with Doomed Hometown. Its not a spoiler if its obvious from the start.