It may be a space opera, but there's still plenty to laugh about here (examples sorted by date; spoilers unmarked; many more inside):
Book 1: The Tub of Happiness
- During the Magic Dreamland arc, a robber on the pay of a rival park holds some kids in a ride that's a fusion of "It's a Small World" and "Pirates Of the Caribbean". While he's making his demands, the ride's BGM is playing in the background until...Crook: And turn off that music!Narrator: Please?
- At one point, Tagon has a moral dilemma. Hilarity Ensues, staring here.
- Ennesby asks Kevin what's the obvious time machine he's building:"If it works, I'll tell you about it yesterday".
Book 2: The Teraport Wars
- Hi! I'm a terapedo.
- Massey details the human justice system to amorphs. The real kicker is that even the faceless medical bot on the background is wigged out.
- General Xinchub leans on the Toughs in order to get them to take a contract.Tagon: General, let's be clear on this. Working for you will be no different than working for any number of other clients I've personally detested. Granted, I'm growing un-fond of you faster than I have of any other fat, fascist warlord I've taken money from, but if your money is good, I'm sure I can get over it.Ennesby: Word choice, sir. Word choice.
- An outside mercenary tries to get a diverse group of aliens to put their hands on their heads. Hilarity ensues
Book 3: Under New Management
- The gunfire is just annoying. The racial profiling, though....that hurt me. I mean, it cuts deep, guys.
- That mercenary captain you hired? I think he just disintegrated.
- Ceeta is introduced to the trope namer for Weapons Grade Vocabulary.
Book 6: Resident Mad Scientist
- "They can get in line behind the police, the people whose cars we trashed, the Empire of Ob'enn, the Partnership Collective, and the Wormgate Corporation. Oh, and I think maybe some dark matter beasties from Andromeda."General Tagon: You "think maybe?"
- "I'll send the ''Pop Diva'' and ''Poupance Duungsmeer'' with you as escorts. The rest of the PD fleet will be devoted to buying more time with wormgate conversions and preparing to stage evacuees."Kevyn Andreyasn: Poo-pants...Petey: ...Duungsmeer. Really, it only sounds dirty in Galstandard West.Ennesby: It's Pop Diva that gives me the willies.
- And in the very next strip:Ennesby: The very thought of monsters I can't see... well, it makes me wish I had pants I could poo.Petey: You're going to make me rename that ship, aren't you?
Book 7: Emperor Pius Dei
- This one's for Massey:Massey: All you need to do is to drop all charges against our lieutenant.
Attorney Drone I: You are a wicked little man, Reynstein.
Massey: I am, and that brings us to my final item. I'd like you to examine this document, in which the mercenary company "Tagon's Toughs" is named an agent of the U.N.S. Superior Court for purposes of administering damages against the Partnership Collective.datascreen readout: goodbye!
- The christening of the Touch-And-Go.
- Schlock goes base-jumping. (follow the next three pages)Kevyn: If I weren't so busy right now, I'd buy you drinks in order to hear the rest of this report.
Schlock: If anyone needs me I'll be in the bathtub.
- "Did he just say 'flakeymost'?" "Death is too good for this one."
- Tagon attempts to defend the company in a court of law. Badly. Massey is forced to step in.Massey: Sure, I'm an attorney, and you've decreed "No representation." but since I am one of the defendants, I should at least get to speak for myself, right?
Petey: You know, they say that a lawyer who represents himself has A Fool for a Client.
Massey: HAVE YOU SEEN WHO I WORK FOR?!?
Book 8: The Sharp End of the Stick
- Kevyn learns that he already has the respect of the crew.
- Kevyn seeks advice from the Reverend on how to ask forgiveness for an unintentional insult.Reverend: Look them in the eye and tell them you're sorry. The exact wording will vary depending on how you've wronged them, and whether they already know they've been wronged by you.
Kevyn: I need to apologize to Elf for making her feel stupid.
Reverend: Shout the apology at a dead run, and retreat under covering fire provided by troops loyal only to you.
Kevyn: "Exact wording will vary." Got it.
- Kevyn learns to be careful with the very flames of heaven.
- Nick wrote down some numbers...and they are all strings of 1's.
Book 9: The Body Politic
- Captain Tagon turns down a high-paying job — and the reactions this provokes in the adjutant, doctor, and reverend.
- "...are you angry?" "I am not angry!"
- "Well... there wasn't any tongue."
- At General Xinchub's funeral and again when he is not quite dead.Tagon: I guess we celebrated your death a little too early.
Xinchub: Sorry to disappoint you, Captain.
Tagon: (armed and wearing a party hat) Oh, its no trouble. We kept the party hats, just in case.
Tagon: It's okay, though. We're going to turn him back into a corpse and we won't charge you extra.
- The next strip continues the saga:
Breya: Tagon, please don't do that. I need you to bring him to me alive.
Captain Tagon: Oh. That will cost you extra.
Book 10: The Longshoreman of the Apocalypse
- Lieutenant Pi's cunning plan to lure out high explosives.
- Tagon's response to mercenaries quitting because he paid too well.
- Word gets around fast, you know?
- Kevin's rebuff of Para's opinion of his science being not mad enough.
- Schlock's expression at the thought of being able to fire his shortbarrel rotary fifty around corners.
- "Massey beat me up with big words." Complete with distressed Puppy-Dog Eyes.
- "They committed suicide when they saw me coming."
- Kevyn's attempt to confiscate Schlock's plasma cannons, and his subsequent attempt to impress upon Schlock the danger of mixing plasma cannons and antimatter. The very serious danger.
- Legs's plan to go in for a hard landing next to the target hits a snag.
- 'Chelle's arrival at the aftermath of the antimatter fight.
- When the Touch-and-Go regains power.
Book 11: Massively Parallel
- "You're in the circus, try to be happy. You're in the circus, try to be happy.".
- "Look! Up in the sky!" "It's a turd!" "On a flame!".
- Schlock looks for a fleeing suspect in a airvan, checks three of them without finding her, and swoops off-panel still hoping that he'll get lucky with the fourth. Cue gunfire, and a gleeful yell of "Woohoo! I did! I did get lucky!"
- Ennesby gets control of his own personal army of worker drones. He makes them sing.
- Captain Tagon tries to talk to their employer, the Cloud Cuckoo Lander and Strange-Syntax Speaker Mister Aliss.Tagon: You think that because you scolded me I'm going to hurt you? You're our employer, Mister Aliss. We're here to protect you and your business. You pay us so that you don't get hurt.Aliss: Will the having of more money don't the hurting?Tagon: Extortion sometimes has grammar issues, but... wow.
- Captain Tagon almost turns down an offer of more money.
- "More practice, less theme music."
- Legs finds the spot where a camera should go. Also, a camera, already there.
- Captain Tagon sets up a "legendary ambush".
- Equipment failure.
- No, the monkey is new.
- Quit worrying about hallucinations and TOGGLE THAT MONKEY!
- "I am ablative armor! Life is boring, then briefly exciting, then over!"
- Pi still has a full goodie-bag.
- (Anybody who knows Pi and hears him say this should, by all rights, empty their bowels at the thought.)
- Doubles as nightmarefuel
Book 12: Force Multiplication
- "How can anybody ever NOT need a gunship?"
- No, I eat my enemies when they are delicious.
- 'Dumped on the stoop' is a new one.
- "I had my own little army for awhile. Then I got sick" "You look okay now, Shep." "Okay? I can barely Bench-Press three times my weight."
- When the Doctor needs confirmation that the company's soldier boosts have a diagnostic mode triggered by a tap on the knee, the grunts develop a new game.
- "She's like Patton with boobs."
- Made all the funnier by one reader's comment: "But it's impolite for one of the boobs to mention that."
- "Officer Training 101: Don't taunt Murphy."
- I WILL STOP ALL THE BULLETS!
- Mad science obligates Doctor Bunnigus to ask a very stupid question.
- Pau: the mastermind here, or not the mastermind here?
- "I can't wait to tell Tagon that since he wouldn't give us a gunship, we had to steal one."
- "This is not fair! Everybody, EVERYBODY, is getting to shoot EXCEPT FOR-(plasgun!) MEEEE!"
Book 13: Random Access Memorabilia
- "Tagii doesn't need overrides when I let her use plasma."
- Tagon's expression while undergoing auto-catheterization. Owwwwwwwww.
- Kowalski's snark to Emm and Krum about the failure of REDhack:Kowalski: How many brain-clones of mine died out there?
Emm: Plenty. If souls exist, you just launched your own personal invasion of hell.
Kowalski: [cheerfully] So, the place will be secure when the three of us eventually arrive.
- Schlock does things in the wrong order. Once again, it's his expression that makes the strip.
Book 14: Broken Wind
- Karl Tagon learns the latest legends being spread about his son.
- "People need to stop building weapons out of the places we're securing and supplying."
- "YOU CAN SEE INTO MY SOUL!"
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight has taken full effect with Sgt. Schlock, when his latest antic only receives a blunt "And apparently he can vomit himself into a tiny spaceship."
- "All hands! The enemy wants to shoot the annies in your pants!"
- Right after Para Ventura says its impossible now that the annie-powered equipment has all been destroyed, Captain Tagon orders Kathryn Flinders to move Ventura and a ton of her equipment onto the ship's spine, two hundred and fifty meters above ground. Cue three consecutive Beat Panels as she thinks it over.Tagon: I see you just solved the problem in your head. More running and yelling now, please.
Flinders: With pleasure, sir.
Book 15: Delegates and Delegation
- Capt. Murtaugh issues Sgt. Schlock a weapon dangerous in ways that he cannot imagine.Schlock: This is just a card with my picture on it.
Murtaugh: It is diplomatic immunity.
- Ennesby transmits a message to General Bala-Amin.
- Ennesby explains to Lt. Sorlie why the forward annie-plant array is called "the NUSPI".
- The entire conversation about Lt. Sorlie's spy implants, starting here.
- Schlock tells 'Chelle about the equipment issued to the Dom Atlantis police.
- After recovering from an explosion, Sgt. Schlock finds himself talking to the Hon. Prime Tangent Breya Andreyasn, for whom he has a message.Breya: Okay, deliver.
[Schlock pauses, awkwardly]
Lt. Sorlie: I'm pretty sure he's supposed to deliver it in secret.
Schlock: Have either of you seen a little piece of paper around here?
- After Haban reveals that Schlock derailed an assassination attempt.Schlock: Hah! I totally saved your life!
Breya: I freed you from police custody and gave you an entire tub of Genuine Imitation Ovalkwik.
Schlock: Oh, I guess we're even.
- Lt. Sorlie is assigned yet more responsibility.Sorlie: Remember when I said I didn't want to hear any state secrets?
Bala-Amin: Remember when we asked you what you wanted?
Sorlie: You neve—
- Haban asks a reasonable question about memory-wipe-related brain surgery.
- General Bala-Amin's sheer frustration at how the Neoafans are clearly better people than the UNS.
- Captain Murtagh: Corporal Chisulo, a sack of politicians is not a weapon.
- Sergeant Schlock has no horse, no armor, and no sword, but even the mightiest mongol horse-warrior would see in him a fit heir.
- Public relations is done:Breya: Captain Landon, that gun of yours has crossed the sapience threshold, so the law prevents us from simply turning it off. It does not want to be separated from you, and I gather you have taken a similar shining to it.
Landon: I do like having a proper weapon.
Breya: Yes, well...your current posting is right in the middle of a big gun-free zone.
Landon: So you're banishing me?
Breya: There's also the image problem arising from the fact that you ate four people.
Landon: That's fair.
Schlock: I missed something wonderful.
Book 16: Big, Dumb Objects
- The entire Jumpstar Prime naming debacle, in which Schlock shortens the name of the ship from "Jumpstart Primer" to something that sounds cooler, then crudely scrawls it into the side of the ship with his now vacuum-safe plasgun - even putting the M upside down, causing Para to fab up a giant "M" plate to slap over it. It becomes especially funny when Tagii/Chinook, of all people, picks it as her favourite name ever and insists that the city they're building it out of keeps the name.Murtagh: When was it decided to name this vehicle "Jumpstar Prime"?
Schlock: That happened this morning, at oh-awesome-thirty.
Murtagh: Of all the time I've lost, losing oh-awesome-thirty hurts the most.
- Tagon's Toughs just love playing games.
- Tagon's face.
Book 17: A Little Immortality
- Commodore Tagon finds out Lieutenant Flinders delegated out intelligence work to Trevor, one of her.. not so intelligent subordinates. Made even more hilarious by Liz's reaction the following page.
- Neeka, the Tough's newest surgeon. Adorable, very skilled, very, very messy. M'Conger gets a first-hand taste, and then there's her previous employers' references...Tagon: Whaaa... she did that with knives? It looks like a bomb went off.Chelle: Watch! She's going to reassemble all three of those guys, minus the fifty-seven bullets they had in them.
Book 18: Mandatory Failure
- Schlock's apparently been practicing psychology.
- "The bar for "good idea" must have been pretty low.""I've survived worse ideas.""That's the sound the bar makes when it goes lower."
- The Oafans tend to use a lot of wind-related metaphors, as do their pilots. Sometimes to humorous effect."I ache to breathe again. What would you like me to blow away?"
Book 19: A Function Of Firepower
- Ennesby is looking for advice, unintentionally interrupting a private moment; two shoes get tossed in response.Ennesby: Ha! That's both your shoes, sister.
Bunnigus: I STILL HAVE MY SIDEARM.
- A long-delayed introduction.
- In finding out details about an abandon hypernet node, there end up being a miscommunication about its age:Oafan: Did we not make that clear?
Petey: This is not the face of yes.
- An alien scientist gets his human history confused.
- One of the ancient civilizations makes a guess as to who their visitors are.Scientist: The most probable scenario is that intelligent life has evolved on the planet from which we rescued the feather-folk. They've harnessed the power of the galactic core, and will shortly be visiting to ask about their relatives.
Manager: That is probable?
Scientist: Would you like to see the math?