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On an alternate dystopian cyberpunk Earth in the 22nd century, humanity is being plagued by mechanical beings with the power to control humans. No one knows where they came from or what they are, but the one thing they do know is that there is no way to fight back. Not even the race of once-enslaved robots can help.

Until one day, the enigmatic rich scientist Leon Goldenshrine discovers a substance known as anchorium, and therefore gave mankind a fighting chance. He founds an organisation called Vertreiben once he discovers humans have traces of anchorium that give objects weapon-like abilities when activated, and begins to train the army that he hopes will eradicate the Machines as well as research the crystals that could quite possibly become the best energy resource on the planet.

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But of course, nothing is that simple.

This graphic novel gives examples of:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Averted where you'd expect this trope to happen. The mainframe computer that controls and regulates Vertreiben's base never malfunctions; neither Drake nor Tirya act against their superiors even though they are highly sapient.
  • Aliens are Bastards: Or are they?
  • The Alliance: At the final battle. The Android Republic, the Federation and Vertreiben.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Androids of A-Class intelligence and below can only have one colour/shade, e.g. Drake is mostly white and grey, Edina Rua Talan is purple. X-Class Androids must have two separate colours e.g. Tirya is both blue and red. The result is one hell of a rainbow population.
  • Ambiguous Robots: The Machines. Are they Mechanical Lifeforms with an organic heart? Or are they organic lifeforms growing inside a mechanical shell? The only race that knows avoided answering the question.
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  • Androids Are People, Too: There are groups of people who believe in this. Others are more likely to judge them as Just a Machine.
  • Anti-Hero: It would be easier to list the exceptions, which is probably around 1-5 people.
  • Artificial Limbs: Although we only get to meet one person who has these, it is implied that there is a sizeable population of these people. The Federation debates on calling them "human" alongside the genetically mutated and the Banishers.
  • Art Major Biology: There is quite a bit of this, admittedly because the focus of the story is not on the explanations of how anchorium affect DNA etc. The characters, especially the more scientifically inclined, are quick to point this out.
  • Badass Normal: Quite a few supporting characters are this, but the following are the most notable.
    • Current Head Researcher Ivan Aleksandrov who not only survives an assassination attempt, but manages to finish what his predecessor failed to do so - help Leon bust the corruption ring within the Federation using his own wits and resources.
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    • Ex-Head Researcher Michael Kwan, who supported Vertreiben and Leon regardless of how much opposition he received for it, and worked to destroy the corruption ring within the Federation.
    • Miressa, who goes toe-to-toe with Leon of all people using physical strength and wits alone. And nearly succeeds in crippling the entire Vertreiben headquarters.
  • Big Applesauce: Gets featured as a training area for Stage One Banishers.
    • The Big Rotten Apple: Along with being half-destroyed by the Machines New York City is home to the biggest Cybergoth scene and the destroyed areas are nesting zones for young Machines.
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence: The final confrontation between Vertreiben and the Machines.
  • Bishōnen Line: Averted with both Banishers and Machines. Although the Machines become bipedal and certainly move like a human, that is about the only similarity.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Considering the genre, this was to be expected.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: The Cores that the Banishers must destroy appear crystalline yet are considered organic. The Senestrals look like they are made of opaque blue glass and optic fibres, and take the form of a floating disembodied alien torso.
  • The City Narrows: Any Cybergoth area, if you are not a Cybergoth.
  • Computer Voice: AKIVA has one, along with a digital projection of her appearance.
  • Cool House: The Goldenshrines' Swiss house, a remodelled 22nd century spaceship that still works. The Vertreiben headquarters could be considered this as well since it is in fact a working alien battling transport.
  • Crapsack World: There isn't anything happy about a "alternate dystopian cyberpunk Earth".
  • Creative Sterility: Averted. The Androids have their own culture and arts scene that humans tend to overlook due to lack of knowledge, and are always in the process of devising new things. This applies to the Machines, who are just as creative with their technology that by the end of the story all the Banishers have left that the Machines don't have are sheer willpower and the reason to fight.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Vertreiben was the stomped in the Machine invasion of the Federation HQ.
  • Data Pad: Everyone in Vertreiben carries around a portable glass touchscreen in a grey frame. It's used to do things from finishing reports on the go to sending emails to each other.
  • Easily Detachable Robot Parts: While Drake, Tirya, Antonov and all the other Androids can remove things like hands and forearms, they certainly don't do it on a whim and would only do so if the situation called for exchanging their tools.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Miressa has two daughters, which makes her an Action Mom.
  • Family Business: There are seven rich families on Earth that each control a corporation. While these corporations are never mentioned, each one is responsible for said family's wealth, like how the Goldenshrines when not being scientists are actually middleman negotiators for large-scale business transactions and agreements. Each family is also vulnerable to each of the Seven Deadly Sins; the Goldenshrines are victim to Pride while the Eisenbergs are predisposed to Greed.
  • Fantastic Racism: A large portion of the human population feel this way towards the Androids.
  • Fantastic Slur: Oh so many. The Androids, the cybernetically enhanced and the Banishers get their own sets.
  • The Fundamentalist: Miressa. Her belief? That Earth gave the Banishers their powers as a punishment, and that the power would eventually cripple them so the Banishers need to be saved by cutting off the afflicted body parts or destroying the weapons. Leon wasn't ready to publish the Anchor research just yet, which didn't improve the situation.
  • Glowing Eyes: The Machines and the Banishers, the latter only during their active Anchor modes (Leon being the exception). Slightly varied in that only the iris glows, not the pupil.
  • The Government: The United Federation of Earth, formed to prevent events like the Great Rewind ever occurring again. The government still tends to lack in a few areas such as welfare and is known for its Fantastic Racism and ineptitude, but tries to work for the good of mankind all the same.
  • Great Offscreen War: Two - the Great Rewind and the Android Revolution. The Revolution is more vague than the Great Rewind, which does get partially explained throughout the story.
  • Grew Beyond Their Programming: It is implied this happened to the Androids some time before the Revolution.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: The entire world has become this.
  • Guilt-Free Extermination War: The entire war eventually becomes this.
  • Holographic Terminal: Exists everywhere on Earth.
  • Hopeless War: Before Leon discovered anchorium, humanity was pretty much in this when the Machines started attacking.
  • Humans Are Flawed: What led to the Great Rewind. Interestingly, this trope is held as a stance by people who oppose the trope below in the story.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Plenty of Androids lampshade this and this is enforced by how badly normal humans treat the other races and those they think are "lesser humans". Even the Machines are not exempt to this, as a dying race of aliens travelling across galaxies trying to find a new home and invading planets for sustenance, ironically from the Banishers themselves. There is no clear stance on whether the story condones it or advises against it.
  • Humongous Mecha: The giant Machines, notably the Colossi and the Machine nicknamed "Old Man" for its appearance and coincidentally given code name.
  • Major World Cities: Most of the capital cities of the world are still intact and play as important locations to meetings. The "Most Mentioned City" award goes to Geneva in Switzerland as it houses the nearest Federation branch that Banishers can visit.
  • Mecha-Mooks: The chihuahua-sized insect-shaped robots in New York City.
  • Modern Stasis: News cameras may now just be holographic discs, but Leon still reads the newspaper. Justified in that most of mankind's 22nd century technology got destroyed in the Great Rewind and they're still rebuilding.
  • Morality Kitchen Sink
  • Mutants: The Banishers can be considered as this, since anchorium has altered their bodies and is apparently inheritable.
  • Names Given to Computers: AKIVA (Type I), and the Androids who live with humans (slight variant of Type III). Justified because humans can't remember their serial numbers like they do, so they use the letters in the serial numbers to create names, e.g. Drake (D), Edina Rua Talan (ERT) and Tirya Ein Kaln (TEK).
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Vertreiben destroyed so many Machine Cores that the Machines were forced to invade the Federation to steal their generators in order to make more Cores. It didn't go very well for Vertreiben.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Averted with the Anchors. The prototypes are owned by Leon and Fabian Goldenshrine, but due to their high instability Leon designed more stable, if weaker, versions of Anchors for less experienced Banishers. Played straight with the Vertreiben headquarters because it was taken from the Machines.
  • One-Man Army: The League Generals against normal Machines. They don't tackle problems below the most critical for this reason.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Averted when Ivan gets shot in the head. Accompanied by a Gory Discretion Shot and Pink Mist.
  • Psychic Nosebleed: What happens to humans who get in the way of the Machines' attacks, but not to those who are under Mind Control.
  • Psychic Powers: The Machines and the Senestrals. Humans don't have any because they were never evolved to have them with the exception of psychic immunity, a rare adaptation that blocks psychic powers from affecting the individual's mind. Psychic attacks are called "psy" and psychic powers in general is referred to as psionics.
  • Robosexual: Averted - Androids are not anatomically correct and see no point in such relations. Any human who does try finds out very quickly that they will have a one-sided relationship.
  • Robot Republic: The Android Republic.
  • Robot War: The Android Revolution was a non-violent version. The revolution ended with Androids gaining free will and full independence without bloodshed because the humans knew they wouldn't win if they went to war with the robots.
  • Screens Are Cameras: Played straight everywhere, especially with the transmissions to Vertreiben.
  • "Second Law" My Ass!: Many Androids feel this way. Of note is Tirya Ein Kaln, an X-Class Android (a battle robot) whose opinion of humans can be described as "less than stellar". In general the Second Law doesn't apply to the Androids because they have free will.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sliding Scale of Robot Intelligence: Androids work depending on their intelligence Class, which denotes the amount of intelligence they were programmed with when built. In ascending order: E, D, C, B, A, X.
    • D- and E-Class Androids are Levels 1 and 2.
    • C- and B-Class Androids are Level 3.
    • A- and X-Class Androids are Level 4, the difference being X-Class Androids are more militarised than A-Class.
  • Super Soldier: The Banishers have enhanced reflexes, acute senses, a fast Healing Factor that also drastically slows down the ageing process, and an innate sense of combat tactics and fighting. With proper training their bodies develop into their full physical potential to sync completely with the Anchors, resulting in the incredibly powerful Final Stage Anchors. They're the protagonists, and the only hope humanity has to fight against the Machines.
  • Supporting Leader: The Android President Antonov is this.
  • Three Laws of Robotics: The Androids manufactured after the Revolution are not programmed with the Laws, predictably eliciting fear and apprehension from humans due to the lack of protection for them. This was because the humans agreed to grant the Androids free will; they didn't expect it to mean complete deletion of the Three Laws. However, the Androids are peaceful and are never shown to hurt humans in any circumstance, even if they may be a bit dismissive over human concepts.
  • Technicolor Eyes: Apart from the Androids, this is averted.
  • Technology Porn: Due to Author Appeal.
  • Tripod Terror: The Colossi and the Mothership. Predictably, Vertreiben nearly gets attacked when the Federation mistakes their moving to another location as an actual Colossus happening to pass by.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Lux Ex Tenebris starts in the year 2156, where humans have made contact with alien races and technology advancement is highly sped up.
  • Unusual User Interface:
    • Drake can access AKIVA and override processes in computers integrated into buildings by using cords from his non-dominant wrist onto any surface of the building.
    • The computers and tables Leon uses in the basement of his house to carry out Anchor research.
    • The Holographic Terminal that Leon uses to control his house/spaceship.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Lacrimosa's reasoning ultimately boils down to "trying to ease the Banishers' suffering", which seems close enough.
  • Viewer-Friendly Interface: Everything seen in the Vertreiben headquarters completely averts every single tenet listed despite being mostly touchscreen.
  • Villainous Crush: Miressa has had one on Leon for a very long time, since they were once coworkers.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: The entire story basically questions this. There are the Androids, the humans who aren't considered as such (cyborgs, Banishers, genetically mutated, the Cybergoths), and the Machines.
  • Woobie: The Banishers. Many of them have lost loved ones to the Machines, or are fighting for their loved ones.

Tropes that apply to the organisations:

  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Lacrimosa and the Underground, in that they don't care what you are as long as you share their goals. Lacrimosa isn't technically evil, though.
  • Law Enforcement, Inc.: Vertreiben. Justified in that they're the only ones with the capability to defeat the Machines; Leon's strong dislike of the Federation means they're not associated with the government, but are still an approved organisation.
  • Meaningful Name: Vertreiben is German for "to banish". Lacrimosa is Latin for "weeping", which fits with their motto "The Earth Weeps". Lux Ex Tenebris is Vertreiben's motto and is Latin for "Light From Darkness".
  • Mega-Corp: Astral Technologies Ltd.
  • Mildly Military: Vertreiben and Lacrimosa.
  • Muggle Power: Lacrimosa. The downside is that the Banishers must rely on outwitting Lacrimosa because Anchors don't work against humans.
  • Multinational Team: Vertreiben.
  • Oddly Small Organization: Initially Vertreiben. but subverted when the international Vertreiben branches are revealed. Lacrimosa plays this trope straight.
  • Organization with Unlimited Funding: Vertreiben. It's funded by the Goldenshrines, an extremely wealthy and powerful old family that acts as middlemen negotiators between big companies and parties.
  • The Syndicate: The Underground.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Lacrimosa, especially its leader.

Tropes that apply to the Anchor crystals:

  • Absurd Cutting Power: Many Anchor weapons.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Admitted by the author to be this.
  • Beam-O-War: Between Anchor-based shields and Machine energy weapons.
  • Empathic Weapon: Anchors only work when the wielder has an overwhelming desire, emotion or motive to use it. Part of Banisher training involves concentrating on accessing the reasons to use it at a split second.
  • Living Weapon: A rather unusual case in that animals with anchorium inside can be utilised by the Banishers that activate their powers, for example Benjamin's spider, Elizabeth's centipede and Nikolai's dragonfly. These Anchors tend to have the abilities of the animal amplified into practical uses for fighting.
  • Finishing Move: The Ultimate of a Final Stage Banisher.
  • Improbable Weapon: The deactivated forms of the weapons can range from a pair of mirrors to gauntlets to thimbles to, in one case, a dragonfly.
  • Loyal Phlebotinum
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Averted with the Anchors. The prototypes still exist, albeit as extremely powerful and highly reactive versions of the current generation, and Leon is rather particular over keeping records and design schemes.
  • Power Gives You Wings: Ultimates of some Anchors develop wings, as is displayed by the League General of Europe. There is also the Airborne Anchor, a rarely-occurring Anchor that starts off with the innate ability to bestow flight.
  • Power Source: The reason why Anchor crystals are so desired is their other use - giving off large amounts of energy that can be harnessed without danger. The Research Division of Vertreiben is tasked with discovering how to do this.
  • Screw Learning, I Have Phlebotinum!: Banishers suddenly seem to have great knowledge on using their weapons, such as Leon's mastery of swordsmanship in lieu of his double-blade sword. However, training is still needed to upkeep the knowledge and the Banishers must keep fit in order to withstand the strain. Lampshaded by Fabian.
    Fabian: So what's the explanation for suddenly having knowledge of using the Anchors?
    Leon: It seems that knowing how to use them comes from activating the Anchor. Exactly how this happens isn't clear.
    Fabian: Oh, so we depend on Applied Phlebotinum to be bestowed with the knowledge of the fine arts of combat? That's the explanation? I thought we were scientists.
  • Weapon of Mass Destruction The Ultimates of Final Stage Banishers are this. Justified in that Final Stage Banishers need to be this in order to fight the most powerful Machines. Helped by the Anchors not affecting anything that isn't Machine.
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