The wastelands part, with Agatha's first meeting with the Geisterdamen: it happened right after she and Lars were passionately citing a fiery exchange between Bill Heterodyne and Lucrezia Mongfish. Thanks to the text and Agatha's voice, she was the one who had attracted them there. What then seems like random and incomprehensible bickering between the two white warriors is actually them debating whether or not it was actually their mistress, and concluding against it after one brings up the fact Agatha and Lars are probably "actors", which is the only word in our language they use in that conversation. Brilliant foreshadowing.
What is a "clank" exactly? The name seems to be applied to all kind of self-driven machines. Why not just call them robots? Girl Genius is set beforeKarel Čapek introduced the term "robot" in 1921.
Doctor Dimitri's bear collection. While the Foreshadowing of the bear army is made clear later, another case can be seen in the background of the last panel. In the center of the pile of bears is a rag cat resembling Krosp, Cat King and, as later revealed, leader of the bears.
Or even better, that's not a rag cat. That's Krosp himself, watching Agatha show his master kindness. Which helps explain why he reveals himself to her not too long afterward.
Klaus' story about The Witch and The Wolf King seemed like a strange diversion from the plot, but it's actually incredibly important. The characters in the story are fictional counterparts to real people; Lucrezia is the witch, Klaus is the king who was turned into her obedient wolf, and Gil is the king's son who outsmarted the witch. This on its own is Fridge Brilliance — However! It gets better! After the story's done, Klaus tells the storyteller that not only is this story from a storybook thought lost, but that Gil might still have it! So now the storyteller has a motive to find Gil, and relay the story he just heard in order to find this book. Except when Gil hears the story, he'll realize it's actually a message from his father. Given the story's ending, that message is probably "Kill Me". Even better, he's telling it as the Origin Story of the Storm King — and though the jury's still out as to whether or not that title is inherited or awarded, this is Klaus Wulfenbach we're talking about. He knows Gil can spin his lightning stunt into the title. And there is one character in the story who is not played by a major character: The "giantess nurse" who would not let the "king's son" leave the mountain until he proved his intelligence by pulling out the copper pin in her hair. The story's message is not "Kill Me", it's "Go get Von Pinn, present her to this bitch, let her kill both of us, then use that stupid myth that's causing all this trouble to get the nobles to shut up and accept you." Possibly the last communication he will ever have with his son, and he's still taking him to school.
First time around this scene just seems that Gil started to get angry just because Wooster is a servant before he calms himself. Then we get to this strip.
"Grease trap duty until further notice" isn't a punishment for trying to sneak into the Baron's lab; it's a punishment for getting caught.
We hear about how obsolete, old-fashioned, etcetera etcetera the Fifty Families are, but in a world where every indication is that there have always been sparks, why does non-spark-based nobility even exist at all? However, after the Industrial Revolution, the power of sparks would have exploded! Think about it—before industrialization came into vogue, a spark would have either had to make all their parts themselves, or be beholden to an expensive team of blacksmiths and hope all the parts end up being the right size. Not to mention non-interchangeable parts! That'll hurt your ability to project power via clank army. Their power would still have been significant, it just wouldn't have been the only thing that mattered. And this also explains why so much of the nobility DOES have the Spark, even beyond simple conquest: pre-industrialization, it would be in the best interest of the nobles to try and breed the Spark into their own lineage, since a noble Spark has a huge advantage over someone who's one or the other. So throughout history, a lot of noble sons probably were set up with Sparky wives, and vice versa.
When Dupree sees people that look like Agatha and Gil in the time-windows, Klaus understands that they were actual windows through time, and worries whether Agatha could be the other, and could have gone back through time in order to cause the mess at the Heterodyne castle at the start. However, later on we are told by Von Zizner that he and his brother were trekking along in a clank when Dupree attacked them, and that he wasn't sure if the other people he was working with had gotten away. Agatha's time-windows are really just windows, not portals. What they were looking for is Dupree's attack on Von Zizner, so he could see if his friends had gotten away! (And they had)
We now know that Von Pinn was charged with three duties: to protect the Heterodyne girl, to keep her safe for these around her and to keep Lucrezias child alive. When Agathas identity as Bills and Lucrezias daughter is revealed Von Pinn screams to Klaus She is mine! She doesnt mean mine to kill but mine to keep safe/alive/protected. After centuries of waiting and her last failure (failing to keep Klaus Barry alive), she is desperate to do her duty and Agatha is the only person so far who fulfills both the requirements for the Heterodyne Girl and for Lucrezias heir. Thats why she attacks Punch and Judy. If they take Agatha off Castle Wulfenbach she wont be able to fulfill her orders.
During the defence of Mechanicsburg, Van is working very hard, with the Assistant showing enough concern for his well being to force him to go to bed "for the first time in days" - going back to the last time we saw him, there's a reason he's not been sleeping.
When Martellus managed to abduct Agatha, he makes his escape through a portal in the cathedral that leads to friendly territory. The reason it's there? Well, there's a sandwich named after it, and given that it was a bet, the Prince of Sturmhalten probably donated materials and staff to the project. (If he even had to do that; it's eventually revealed the portal was almost certainly already there, and the cathedral was built around it..) The Prince of Sturmhalten got a backdoor into the most impenetrable city in all of Europa and all he had to do was eat his hat!
It gets even better when you consider that 1) the cathedral is a blind spot for the castle, obsessively because the Hetrodynes never trusted the castle completely and 2) the Abbess is a plant for Martellus. For all we know they might all have been since the cathedral was built!
Given how the Jaegers make such a big deal of hats, it may seem odd that Klaus tends to go bareheaded. But then it clicks-Klaus is so incredibly Badass that he doesn't even need a hat.
After the timeskip, Seffie tells Tweedle that a fake Heterodyne is "no longer an option." While the obvious reasons are because Mecanicsburg is in stasis and Gil will ruthlessly hunt down any fakes, there's also the fact that due to the giant statues Gil has everywhere, everyone knows what Agatha looks like, to the point her face is being plastered all over advertising in Paris. The Knights of Jove have always proven adept at using propaganda to trick the people into fighting at their side—but in this case, they've been outmaneuvered.
The smoke knights' fighting techniques. The Knights of Jove are known for being a bunch of sneaky, deceptive, poisonous backstabbers... and they're so good at it, they made a whole martial art out of literal sneaking, deception, poisoning and backstabbing.
Here, when the torchmen are activated, one spies the pink airship, scans it, and proclaims "Heterodyne mark. False." The obvious assumption is that there's some secret to the Heterodyne sigil that the Knights of Jove didn't know. But pay attention to the speech bubbles—that second one is the same as the ones used for the Castle. So it ordered the torchmen to attack the airship, they said "Wait, it has the Heterodyne mark," and the Castle said "No, it's fake." The response to a fake Heterodyne mark is obvious.
Lucrezia, Bill, and Barry visited Skifander at one point. Agatha mentions Barry telling her a story about the place, and Lucrezia instantly recognizes Zeetha's green hair as a mark of a Skifandran. Klaus doesn't seem to have been there for the adventure, or else he would have been able to return more easily when Lucrezia exiled him.
When Agatha declares herself the Heterodyne to the Castle's kitchen, it starts to slash at her with knives but only makes superficial wounds when Agatha says it could have put one through her eye easily. This is because the personality fragment of the kitchen remembers from the time that the Castle was whole that the Heterodyne is confirmed through a blood test, but is too broken and/or insane to remember the test is done in the chapel and it doesn't have the equipment.
At face value, this page has Higgs Stating the Simple Solution in regards to Gil maintaining contact with Agatha: just write her letters. However, a much earlier page mentions that Gil spent year in a I Never Got Any Letters situation in regards to his childhood friends. One can't speak for the other Sparks Higgs mentions, but Gil actually has a good reason to not think of letters as a reliable means of communication.
Starting here Dimo explains something that crosses some minds at times: where were the Jaegers when Bill and Barry went to deal with The Other? Turns out they were ordered to stay in Mechanicsburg by them though previously they had followed them "sneaky-like". But for heroes like Bill and Barry, Jaegers, hated and dreaded, are a bad thing and makes it harder for people to trust them.
Why does Oggie have descendants? Because he's the most human looking of the Da Boyz.
Jossed: He had the children BEFORE he took the draught. It's possible the Draught causes sterility.
Gil is confused about Lucrezia probably being the Queen of the Dawn, since his father always called her a brilliant spark, and yet the Queen is only using technology Lucrezia would have used years ago. But upon the reveal that it's Zola it all makes sense: Zola is not a spark and has access to all Lucrezia's memories. She knows how to make all of Lucrezia's old inventions and tools, but no ability to improve upon them herself, and is thus limited to what seems like old tech to the Empire.
Early on, when Moloch and Agatha have been mistaken for lovers, he says "You're not my type, but I guess I'll just have to wing it." Years later, we meet his actual love interests Sanaa, Snaug, and Violetta, all of whom have a distinctly different body type than Agatha.
When Vole tells the Baron that Gil is at Mamma Gkika's, Klaus sighs and says "I have got to get that boy married," implying he doesn't know anything about her bar except it being a tourist trap with sexy waitresses. Much later, however, Klaus clearly knows Gkika personally, so it seems extremely odd that he wouldn't know about her impromptu underground hospital. But the thing is, Klaus didn't know Gil was injured. He just assumed that Gil had decided to go to Mamma's for some random reason, in which case the Jaegerfrau were the most likely attraction.
Of course the castle was built to be able to operated during a time-freeze. The Heterodynes were one of the few groups of people with data on the phenomenon and it terrified them enough that they entered into a treaty with the church about it, AND KEPT THEIR WORD. Making their city immune (or at least resistant) to its effects was probably job two, right after having the pie.
The sailors descended from pirates fighting the Smoke Knights is a literal Pirates vs. Ninjas fight. Tarvek even points out that it will be interesting to see who wins.
In medieval Europe, a "baron" traditionally ruled the amount of land they could see from the top of their castle, and they answered to higher nobility such as counts, dukes, and kings. But Baron Klaus Wulfenbach effectively rules all of continental Europe, because his castle can fly!
At one point, Agatha asks if there's anything else the Castle wants and it remarks that wouldn't mind having more weather vanes. Then later she discovers the lightning collectors which should have been helping recharge the castle aren't functioning correctly. Indeed, one can never have too many working weather vanes/lightning collectors.
During the story of Airman Higgs, it mentions at the end some Wulfenbach soldiers gave him "lots of rum" due to having shot him and in doing so he went on a drunken babble about what happened, spreading the condition of Baron Wulfenbach and the existence of the Lady Heterodyne all over. Considering the hints and later confirmation of him being a Jaeger General, he likely wasn't drunk but faking it and had his own reasons for wanting that information spread around as per his true loyalty to the Heterodynes.
When Agatha souped up Jiminez Hoffmann's Accelerated Auto-Research Mega-SWOT Engine, analyizing a piece of vellum spit out instructions on how to build a cow. Agatha entirely accidentally discovered something that can analyse DNA and didn't even realize what she'd done.
At first, the Girl Genius setting seems like it would be an awesome place to live, with all the "Gaslamp Fantasy" trappings and elements and oh yeah, it being ruled and maintained by a hypercompetent dictator who lets everyone do as they please as long as they don't trash the place. But, when you look at it, when people call SparksMad Scientists, they mean that they are mad. Look at some of the things that are said or done by Sparks in the series — note that, for example, when Professor Mittlemind talks about how his Xmas good deed was letting the children out of their containment tanks, everyone is more horrified at the idea he was letting the Control Group out (he wasn't) than the fact they were keeping kids in tanks and experimenting on them in the first place. Even Agatha, who, perhaps due to having grown up with her Spark artificially repressed, is considered one of the sanest Sparks in the setting, has no reply but to change the subject when Moloch suggests that she really wants to fire Gil's lightning rod in the middle of a torrential downpour. There's a reason that Hoist by His Own Petard is practically the de facto cause of death for Sparks. What makes things worse? Sparks rule the world; check out Gil's comments in this strip about what goes on outside of the Baron's lands. So just what kind of Crapsack Worldis the Girl Genius setting?
Of the Quickthaw variety, and more FridgeSquick than anything else: Tarvek's devotion to giving his dying sister a new life in clank form is sweet, until you consider that the reason that she was dying in the first place is that her father tried to download the mind of Lucrezia Mongfish, a woman to whom he was sexually attracted, into his daughter's body. Given that she appears to return his interest, at least to the extent that she constantly objectifies Tarvek (who she identifies as looking almost just like his father), perhaps it's best that he failed.
In-universe. According to the one of the Jäger Generals, this is why the Other will be purged from Agatha's head.
Fridge Brilliance and Fridge Horror. During the escape from Castle Wulfenbach, Lilith/Judy tells Agatha that girl Sparks tend to 'disappear'. Later, we learn that the Sturmhalten rulers were attempting to find a suitable substitute to download Lucrezia into. An offhand remark is made of 'the others' that were put through the machine. And all three known subjects of the personality transfer were girls. The real Fridge Horror is this: exactly how many girls did they try this on? Dozens? Hundreds? Thousands? What we do know for sure is that he was desperate enough even to try it on his own daughter.
Lucrezia comes to the Geisterdamen while pregnant with her second child (most likely Agatha) and tell them to guard her after she's born. The history related by the Geisterdamen, commentary by Lucrezia, and random other bits (ie, the usual lack of female Heterodyne heirs) lead to a chilling possibility: Lucrezia deliberately bred Agatha as a vessel to download herself into when the time was right.
Another chilling thought: Barry is implied to have stormed the Geisterdamen stronghold and rescued Agatha by himself... so where the hell was Bill? And surely he'd have known (or at least suspected) if Lucrezia was pregnant when the Other came along, so... did the Other trick Bill into conceiving Agatha and get rid of him afterward?
Many observe that people have reason to go after the frothing mad lunatics releasing WMD For Science!! However consider the "grounded," well adjusted, self-controlled Sparks that are willing and able to think "It'd be (so) fun, but I don't want to risk anyone in the area" when contemplating something with offensive applications. Those are the ones least able to survive the locals doing the Torches and Pitchforks thing.
A rather hilarious one. The Other hates the wasp-eaters, for good reason. Over here, Agatha has given a wasp-eater 'The King's Touch' to counter Tweedle's little stunt meant to keep her on a leash. If or when the Other emerges again, she'll have to keep a hated animal near her, or suffer and die.
The small details in the art are frequently funny, but sometimes they're...not. Whatever Aronev is working on in this page, for example.
Lucrezia drugging Klaus and shipped him off to Skifander for a couple of years seems fairly low-key by villainous Spark standards at first. Except that Bill was evidently upset about having his best friend missing for more than two years to insist on naming their son Klaus. Either he was unaware that his wife was behind it, or he did know and was having some serious guilt issues.
In this strip, newly anointed Lady Agatha has gone two whole minutes officially lording over Mechanicsburg without killing someone, apparently setting a new record. That means that Bill and Barry before her, despite being paragons of goodness to the rest of Europa, managed to kill someone within two minutes of being named the lords of Mechanicsburg. (Of course, within another two minutes, Agatha has killed someone in self-defense, so..)
A combination of Fridge Brilliance and Fridge Horror, from Othar's Twitter adventures: Investigating the cause of the Bad Future he finds himself in, Othar finds out that after Gilgamesh Wulfenbach dies in Castle Heterodyne, Agatha marries Klaus. Squick, right? And then you realize that it was probably Lucrezia in Agatha's body, marrying the slaver-wasped Klaus. No wonder Europa fell. (And no wonder Tarvek was the only one still alive by the time Othar came back.)
Moloch Von Zinzer provides another in-universe Fridge Horror. He lampshades what will happen to Mechanicsburg's citizens after the Castle Heterodyne, being the Genius Loci who likes to bullies everyone not Heterodynes, is connected to whole town. As the person who suffered and survived Castle Heterodyne's sub-kitchen, he makes lots of sense.
Jaegers' children are completely human, with Oggie interacting with his own great great grandson in-comic. Jaegers don't die of old age like humans do, and thus outlive all of their children.