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Girl Genius provides examples of the following tropes:

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  • Kick Them While They Are Down:
    • Here Violetta expresses her fury by kicking the wounded Tarvek — who is not actually down, but can't really fight back because they are on the same side.
    • It's all over the place, really — unless someone's bitten by Chronic Hero Syndrome or in a hurry.
      Tarvek: Oh, nonono no, you do not "give up!" YOU DIE!
    • Martellus repeatedly shoots Rerich at point blank range after unnecessarily attacking him with ten spark hounds and injuring Rerich to the point that he is no longer able to move.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch:
    • It's basic background for the setting that Sparks are hated, shunned and often violently attacked in places where they don't rule. Given that their "gift" endows them with both an obliviousness to contemplating the negative possibilities of an experiment instead of just doing it For Science! and a case of Moral Myopia that leads to them regarding all other humans as nothing but fodder for and/or components in experiments, it's hard to feel too upset about the fact many normals want to get rid of them... until you consider that the self-controlled ones that avoid making offensive/destructive things are the ones most vulnerable to the lynch mobs.
    • Princess Anevka violently killing her father would, under normal circumstances, be horrifying... but considering he killed her first, along with dozens, if not hundreds (or more) other young girls simply to bring back a madwoman he had a crush on, to say nothing of whatever else he did with his spare time, the guy had it coming.
    • After caging a copy of The Other within herself, nearly killing Zeetha, escaping Violetta and Higgs, and beating down Tarvek, Zola makes the mistake of hitting Agatha with a potentially lethal wound to the chest. Cue an Unstoppable Rage-fueled No-Holds-Barred Beatdown by Tarvek. Nearly every poster in the comic's fan communities hoped he'd kill her, and the groans of frustration were so loud they practically echoed through the Internet when Gil interfered.
  • Kidnapped from Behind:
    • Agatha is grabbed and taken away while Tarvek and the rest of the group are looking out at the newest attack on Mechanicsburg with their backs to her kidnapping which delays their realizing what has happened.
    • It happens again in Paris with slightly more justification — her friends are fending off an attack by a clockwork android, but it turns out the villain is controlling more than one body so another version of himself snatches Agatha while her friends are shooting in the other direction.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Beausoleil, after having murdered Simon Voltaire and severed him from the Paris network, encounters his grief-enraged daughter Colette, who is in full-tilt Madness Place as her Spark breaks through (and her ballroom dress disintegrating from the static discharge from her interface to the City). He begins to taunt her about her being new to this, but she cuts him off with a snap of her fingers. Across all of Paris, all of his duplicate bodies are killed in a myriad of violent ways, except the one in front of Colette. This last Beausoleil keels over in pain from sensing the slaughter.
  • Kill It with Fire:
  • Kill Me Now, or Forever Stay Your Hand: Tarvek correctly identifies Higgs as the Secret Jäger General, which prompts Higgs to escalate to being confrontational. Tarvek then deliberately puts Higgs' readied hand on his own throat, telling him to just get it over with if Higgs really thinks Tarvek is an enemy of his Lady Heterodyne. Higgs decides to reveal Tarvek's correctness in a roundabout way, by giving him a choke-lift, a brutal dress-down about the deviousness of his family and how he's the most so of the whole lot, and this is from generations of observation. He makes sure Tarvek is chokedly terrified he might actually make the kill for a moment before placing him back down and approving with a characteristic Jäger-style Slasher Smile.
  • Klatchian Coffee: Agatha discovers coffee in a Mechanicsburg coffeehouse and goes sparky. She also goes into Bullet Time — reading a book on coffee, editing it, and devising a way to rebuild the coffee machine in the time it takes a waitress to say three words. And then there's the coffee she makes instead. It appears to be a perfect encapsulation not only of the taste, but of everything that pure coffee is. The one person that tastes it goes into a Heroic BSoD since he will never be able to enjoy any other coffee ever again. He also apparently can't sleep for at least a week, making him a nervous and tired wreck the next time he appears.
  • Knee-capping: Higgs uses this move against Zola. Unfortunately for him, she is too high on combat drugs to fall down.
  • Kneel, Push, Trip: Agatha and Krosp do a variation on this (Krosp is short enough that he doesn't have to kneel) with Othar, pushing him out of their small airship.
  • Knight Templar: Othar. He wants to kill all sparks (ending with himself), because he thinks they are "the cause of everything wrong in the world today."
  • The Knights Who Say "Squee!": The surviving pirates who'd been escorting Tarvek absolutely lose it with delight when they realise that, since Gilgamesh Wulfenbach came to retrieve him in person, the Ax-Crazy woman accompanying him can only be THE legendary Captain Bangladesh DuPree. According to Gil it happens a lot.
    Pirate: It is her! She stabbed my mom once!
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Once Colette has taken control of Paris, Terebithia advises the Queen of the Dawn to get while the getting's good. Her plans failed, but "it took two Storm Kings, two Masters of Paris, and a Heterodyne to slow [her] down", so she shouldn't feel too bad about it.

  • Lady and Knight: spoofed with Tarvek and Violetta.
    Violetta: I'm responsible for this slug's continued existence.
    Tarvek: This useless nitwit is my loyal servant. Ow! Quitit!
  • Lampshade Hanging: Many. Using a book titled Using Found Objects as Weapons as a bludgeon is probably the best example.
  • Large and in Charge:
    • Jäger generals.
    • Sergeant Nak ("Big Green Hairy Guy" gorilla-like construct).
    • Klaus himself is a quite impressive bruiser too.
    • Otilia, the Muse of Protection, is much larger that the rest of her line, and quite capable of fighting almost anyone. Except Airman Higgs.
  • Large Ham:
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • An officer in one of the many armies that invade Mechanicsburg tells his soldiers not to take their eyes off the captured civilians, to treat them with respect, and to execute them all. Right before the Doom bell knocks all the soldiers out.
      Civilian man: And what about the one giving orders?
      Civilian woman: [holding a rolling pin] Oh, him we treat with respect.
    • The Duke Strinbeck acts like a total ass to the crew of the Pink Airship, threatening to shoot them, followed by flaying their entire families alive. A bad move when they have a need to get rid of any unnecessary weight.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: After the Corbettites defuse the situation between Martellus, Klaus-In-Gil, and Lucrezia-In-Agatha with cake laced with heavy sedatives, Bang (who also ate the cake) stops short of saying "piece of cake". She's probably secretly hoping that Agatha stays free and finds a way to undo Klaus's mind control on Gil because she really hates mind control, and didn't want to clue Gil in on the Corbettites' hand in Agatha's escape
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: After Agatha fools Gilgamesh once again, DuPree points out that he should have seen it coming.
    DuPree: I mean, if they ever write this down, they ain't gonna be calling it "Boy Genius".
  • Leave Behind a Pistol: Gil gives Moloch von Zinzer a poison pill upon his departure to Castle Heterodyne, underestimating the degree of von Zinzer's Action Survivor skills and Genre Savvy. It has yet to be revealed if Zinzer still has it and what he will do with it.
  • Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone: With a somewhat unexpected pair of lovebirds in this strip.
  • Leitmotif: Agatha discovers that if she hums a certain series of notes, she can improve her focus while working on various projects. This tune pops up throughout the series, in various forms. It's been hinted that this is a Heterodyne thing, the song itself may even be In the Blood (while there is a river "Dyne" that plays a key role in the creation of the the Heterodyne family, "heterodyne" in real life means "relating to the production of a lower frequency from the combination of two almost equal high frequencies"). Unknown if anyone has actually tabulated and played her song in real life, though.
    • The novels explain that it isn't actually a fixed song, but rather a sophisticated humming designed to harmonize with any background noise (quite possibly including the mental kind, given its efficacy in suppressing The Other in Agatha's head) in such a way that it cancels it out, leaving the hummer with no distractions as they focus on whatever it is they're focusing on (usually something Sparky). And yes, everything this implies only makes the Heterodynes even more impressive.

  • Leonine Contract
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: The Unstoppable Airman Higgs is, in fact, unstoppable.
  • Let Them Die Happy: These plants are trying to do this.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Gilgamesh orders that his Nice Hat should be hidden in a safe place — and never spoken about again.
    [seconds later]
    DuPree: I heard there was a hat!
    Gil: You're delusional.
  • Licked by the Dog: The wasp weasels seem to really like Tarvek, much to his chagrin.
  • Life-or-Limb Decision:
    • When Dimo is hit in the hand by a spray of Corrosive Poison from glowing slug-like monsters, he feels it moving up his arm and urges Oggie to "Hurry!". Oggie dutifully chops Dimo's limb with his axe. Oggie shortly wonders if it was the right arm, but seeing it literally melt a few seconds later confirms there was no mistake.
    • Tweedle takes a poisoned smoke knight dagger to the left hand. He eventually cuts it off to stop the poison, and creates a prosthetic replacement for it.
  • Lightning Bruiser:
    • Airman Higgs.
    • After the Time Skip, Gil's new rather tall and imposing female-figure bodyguard clank "Bohrlaika" is quite nimble, packs an electo-sword that can cleanly cut off an arm off an enemy Humongous Mecha war clank, and is no worse for wear after missing the fact that the arm is about to fall on her when she is reiterating her surrender demand.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: The writers love this trope.
  • Lightning Reveal: The Baron's real forces are revealed.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Von Zinzer comments on it about Violetta and Tarvek bickering. "Are you sure you're not married?" To which Violetta (who is actually a cousin of Tarvek's) responds by almost puking.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Bang and Gil, to the horror of Klaus. After the time skip, Gil finds nothing odd about waking up with Bang in bed with him. Apparently she had been struggling to stay awake as much as him, but she doesn't have his training, so she can't just do a few mental exercises and be good. DuPree acknowledges it during a tea break with Zeetha and Violetta.
  • Lingerie Scene: The creators admit the work contains "lots of running around in Victorian underwear". Most of the time, Agatha is the offender. Not that surprising, when one of the creators is a big fan of such underthings, and the other is her husband, plus both having a background of having drawn pornographic comics before.
  • Literal Genie: A mild case in the form of Castle Heterodyne.
  • Literal Metaphor: When he was young, Gilgamesh Wulfenbach built a clank for "picking up girls".
    Gil: Well, when I was a kid, we heard some of the older guys talking, but we were kind of... um... unclear on the concept, and, well...
    Zoing: Itworkz! itworkz!
    DuPree: That is so just like you... soooo pathetic.
  • Literary Agent Hypothesis: In-Universe — the entire comic is postulated as a course on the life of Agatha Heterodyne, as taught by the Professors Foglio at Transylvania Polygnostic University ("Know enough to be afraid.") They stick mostly to the truth — though this very admittance means that it's possible that, in the "real" universe where this story takes place, not every woman has large breasts.

    That is, the first print collection, "Agatha Heterodyne & The Beetleburg Clank", and the original printed comics, are presented as an unauthorized but accurate record published by TPU, Phil Foglio having witnessed Agatha's "Battle Circus" himself; later, he is indeed in town when the Battle Circus episode occurs. However, Phil Foglio is also shown telling the tale as fiction in the street right on page one. (An alternative tryout sketch released online seems to have Agatha herself telling the story to her grandchildren.) Maybe that's after he was accidentally sent back in time or something. But also, in the "radio play" episodes of the webcomic, Studio Foglio are repeatedly shown escaping as they perform the last seconds of the episode just as the real and angry Agatha Heterodyne and her friends are about to catch them and stop the show.
  • Little "No":
  • Living Battery: Agatha drinks water from the Dyne and is super-charged as a temporary power source. Airman Higgs and the Castle note that Ingeous Heterodyne tried something similar once. Then he exploded. Agatha not only survives, she remarks that she has to try it again.
  • Living Crashpad: Jägers are polite about this.
    Martellus: Fortunately, I landed on an idiot.
    Sparkhound: And I helped!
  • Living Labyrinth: Castle Heterodyne
  • Living Legend: Quite a few.
    • Othar Tryggvassen, GENTLEMAN ADVENTURER, very well known and generally viewed as a hero. Except by the main protagonists.
    • Klaus Wulfenbach is fine with having a reputation as a terribly villainous evil emperor if it keeps the peace.
    • The Heterodyne Boys had a wonderfully heroic reputation, beloved in no small degree because their family very much did not.
    • Agatha, Gil, and Tarvek are all rapidly building themselves reputations, what with being stuck in the middle of the most epic story since the Heterodyne Boys defeated the Other. When Agatha visits Paris, she learns that everybody's slapping her name and image on commercial products, and the opera house is staging a production based on her adventures to date.
  • Living Motion Detector: The Tigerclank in Castle Heterodyne.
  • Living Structure Monster: Heterodyne Castle is alive, and is one giant death trap for anyone who is not The Heterodyne. The proven and acknowledged Heterodyne to be exact, since even Agatha has a few troubles with it until she can prove her heritage. And before Agatha arrives to repair it, convict work crews are sent in to attempt repairs, or die trying. Usually the latter.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: There really are a lot of regular characters in this comic, to the point where it can get difficult to keep track of everyone.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy:
    • Maxim, the beautiful male Jägermonster. See the Cinderella breather episode, where Maxim is supposed to be one of the "ugly" stepsisters, but it doesn't quite turn out as planned.
    • Also, Higgs is deemed as very attractive by multiple people in-universe and he has a pony tail.
  • Look Behind You: Von Zinzer: "Uh... hey, check it out." — though in this case not only does the target look, but there's actually something to see.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • Not a weapon. That's a chair!
    • The Corbettites are about to be ordered by their leader to give up Agatha to Martellus, but are conflicted because they promised her sanctuary as a passenger on their railway. They decide they can't hand her over if they can't find her and have one brother lead her party down to the catacombs to get nice and lost.
    • Also highly likely this is what slaver-wasp victim Klaus is doing during the Siege of Mechanicsburg in regards to whatever orders he's been given by clank-Lucrezia.
  • Losing Your Head:
    • Tinka Also here, with Castle Heterodyne in the body of a mechanical Muse. Also an example of Arc Words.
    • Subverted with the Monster Horse Beastie; suffering this fate barely slows it down.
  • Lost Superweapon: Subverted when the legendary Storm King returns from the dead bearing his Legendary Weapon, only to have Simon Voltaire No-Sell its effects. Voltaire points out that he's one of the intellectual descendents of the Spark who created the weapon in the first place, and has the benefit of two hundred years spent studying the operating principles of the weapon, improving on the design, and developing countermeasures.
  • Love Bubbles: Bubbles and roses.
  • Love Triangle:
    • Agatha, Gil, and Tarvek. The existence of the triangle has now been openly stated, and Agatha's subjects are taking bets over who's going to win (Or if she'll choose both). There was also a low-grade one involving Lars, but Death of the Hypotenuse made sure that only Gil and Tarvek remained to vie for her affection.
    • Possible Minion Love Triangle in Moloch, Violetta, and Snaug. Although, Violetta denies romantic interest in Moloch, and he's smitten by Sanaa Wilhelm. Suuuure she isn't interested... which turns the one centered on Moloch into a low-grade Love Dodecahedron. Confirmed by Moloch himself:
      Moloch: So, Sanaa? Yeah, she's smart and tough and I like being around her — but since I feel the same way about you, [Snaug,] I obviously don't know anything about romance. Stupid, huh?
    • Backstory one with Lucrezia, Klaus and Bill; Lucrezia dealt with the hypotenuse in a way that seems to have backfired.
    • Princess Larana believes to be stuck in something like this and while she IS in one, she isn't in the one she thinks she is. She is deeply attracted to Hoffmann who has a crush on fellow student Colette, but both Larana and Hoffmann acknowledge that he will probably never become her boyfriend. She herself has to marry the prince of Moligarchy - which Hoffmann is, thanks to a convenient adoption but unbeknown to her. Her expression when she finds out that she isn't in a Love Triangle as Hoffmann explains that she has to marry him and that he understands that she doesn't want to (all while she tries to confess her feelings) are absolutely hilarious.
  • Loyal Phlebotinum: Practically everything that the Heterodynes made. This is, of course, one of the reasons the family was/is so dangerous. Many dangerous Sparks are taken out by their own creations and thus don't cause lasting threats. The Heterodyne family can always be assured loyalty and safehaven with their creations. This is subverted for The Beast. Also subverted for a few pages when Agatha's little clanks start a war against each other to find a king and stop listening to her (which she solves by making a tiny clank with a crown).

  • MacGyvering: A minor but prevalent Spark trait at the best of times, this runs on Rule of Funny and so gets more and more extreme the further the story is from canon.
  • Mad Artist: The tailor clank in the "Revenge of the Weasel Queen" fillers.
  • Made of Iron: Most of the cast for comedic effect, although there are a couple of outstanding examples:
    • Any Jägermonster. They're ridiculously strong, immortal, nearly impervious to pain, and are regularly put through walls and shot repeatedly over the course of an average story-line. Dimo, Maxim, and Ognian are hanging from a gallows when they're first introduced. They've been up there for days and are in no apparent danger or discomfort.
    • Airman Third Class Axel Higgs. When Gil first hears how his father was saved by him, including Higgs breaking several bones, falling from impossible heights and so on, he believes it is exaggeration. When he actually watches him fight, he is taught better. To the point it's fairly clear that Higgs is something more than human. After the time-skip, it's revealed that he's a human-looking Jäger, known as the "sneaky" Jägergeneral, and in fact one of the oldest and most dangerous characters in the comic.
    • Othar Tryggvassen, GENTLEMAN ADVENTURER who can, among other things, No-Sell falls from truly ridiculous heights (although he does attribute that to "very heroic" special trousers.) He's tough enough that when the Baron needs him captured, the person sent to do it is an Imperial monster hunter, a woman normally tasked with taking down enormous, hulking, inhuman monstrosities.
    • Old Man Death took multiple Jägerpunches to the face and was still able to outfight the Jäger who provided them. He even somewhat lampshades it, explaining that he is possibly the only human that rode with the Jägers for years and survived it.
  • The Madness Place: The trope namer, for good reason. All Sparks can be pretty crazy when they're in a "Spark-induced fugue state," as one character puts it delicately. They vary in their ability to control it, some being manically sociopathic and some retaining their ability to reason (to some degree). The most dangerous Sparks are by far the latter kind, since they can bend their madness to practical goals. It's not for no reason that Klaus, Gil, Agatha, and Tarvek, are among the most potent sparks in the setting.
  • Mad Scientist: "Sparks", whose erratic genius has literally reshaped the world. They start out gifted, but only become able to warp the laws of physics on their own after they experience what is called a "breakthrough". A very rare few individuals have broken through a second time, unlocking Enlightenment Superpowers. A spark's normal sanity can vary heavily between individuals, but all of them lose it a little when they get creative and enter a mental state known as The Madness Place.
    • Practically half the cast are mad scientists of one sort or another, though the ones that come closest to the classic villain type are probably Prince Wilhelm Aaronev and the late Lucrezia Mongfish.
    • There's even a mad social scientist, who complains that the mad "hard" scientists get all of the funding and attention.
      "I told the baron, give me a thousand orphans, a hedge maze and enough cheese and I can—"
    • There are also sparks that are more mad about art than science.
    • Agatha awakening to her mad science is what starts and drives the entire story forward, and raises the question ...or will her newfound mad science DESTROY THEM ALL!
  • Mad Scientist Laboratory: Several, most notably those belonging to Baron Wulfenbach and Prince Aaronev. And all of the ones in Castle Heterodyne.
  • Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter:
    • Agatha herself qualifies. And she's a mad scientist herself. Her mother Lucrezia was one as well, and a mad scientist herself too.
    • For a Spear Counterpart flip, Tarvek and Gil qualify as "Mad Scientists' Handsome Sons"... and are also Mad Scientists in their own right.
    • Dr. Mongfish had at least two other daughters besides Lucrezia; Serpentina (Theo's mother), and Demonica (Zola's mom).
    • Othar Tryggvassen (GENTLEMAN ADVENTURER!) actually asks Agatha if she's one of these.
    • If you haven't noticed, offspring of mad scientists are often mad scientists themselves. Sparkiness is genetic, it seems.
  • Magitek: Referenced in a (non-canon) Breather Episode. "Any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from science!"
  • Magnetic Hero: Any and all Sparks; their manic vision pulls normal people into their service. The only ones able to withstand this are good minions whose entire purpose for existence seems to be to keep the Sparks focused on not blowing up their labs.
  • Make My Index Live!: This mythos is a major part of the premise.
  • Malevolent Architecture: Castle Heterodyne. It was designed by an Ax-Crazy Spark, and it shows.
    Zola: Avoid any floorstone marked in white. It is a trap that will kill you. Do not stand under any part of the ceiling marked in white. It is a trap that will kill you. Duck under any opening taller than one meter. It is a trap that will kill you. Do not touch any metal surface. It is a trap that will kill you.

    Zola: This place is dangerous, twisted, and worst of all— [...] It likes to think it has a sense of humor.
  • Mama Bear: Von Pinn, and how. She's actually the Muse of protection, downloaded into a construct body. The "bear" part gets much more literal later on.
  • Manipulative Editing: The message recorded: "Lucrezia is the Other. Tell the Baron, and also everyone." The message played back: "The Baron is the Other."
  • The Man They Couldn't Hang: Well, The Jägers They Couldn't Hang, but otherwise Da Boyz. Definitely Da Boyz.
  • Marriage to a God: The original Heterodyne was supposedly married to a local battle goddess.
  • Marry Them All:
    • It'd solve everything, really. On the personal level, they're both in love with her, she's in love with both of them, and Gil and Tarvek aren't even THAT jealous of each other (for example accepting that the other would do the best they could for Agatha, and that if they had to, or Agatha chose the other, they would step back). Diplomatically, a Wulfenbach/Heterodyne alliance would have enough power to rule the world, and the nobles would fall all over themselves to be ruled by a Sturmvoraus/Heterodyne combined house, due to a prophecy they all believe in. The in-universe betting pool has it at 5:1 odds.
    • The Heterodynes may have made something of a habit of this sort of behavior. The Castle seems very fond of the idea (and mentions that the master bedroom sleeps six), "she's the Heterodyne" is apparently all the justification Agatha would need, and Satyricus Heterodyne kept a seraglio.
  • Master-Apprentice Chain: Gilgamesh is taught by Klaus himself (among others), and we know some of the people who taught the baron himself.
    Dr. Sun: He does his teachers proud.
  • Mauve Shirt: Sergeant Scorp of the Baron's Vespiary Squad. Also an unquestionably Cool Old Guy, right down to the superb facial hair.
  • Maximum Fun Chamber: Castle Heterodyne contains several; in fact, most of the castle counts.
  • McNinja:
    • Smoke Knights, followers of the Way of Smoke, serving the heir of Storm King.
    • Baron Wulfenbach's "stealth fighters", a rival school - though arguably, they are shown to be a lot less competent than the Smoke Knights both in this and previous examples, acting more as a humorous foil for the Jaegers and the heroes. They are also more like a military unit, whereas the smoke knights tend to fight as individuals, protecting the individual family patron they are assigned to.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Word of God has it that Theopholous DuMedd was originally "doomed" to be killed off in volume 3, but the Foglios so enjoyed him that he stuck around.
    • Most likely Sleipnir O'Hara wasn't supposed to be kept around either. Agatha needed a roommate to introduce her to the world of the Baron's flying castle, so the Foglios gave her someone to "sleep near".
    • The town of Mechanicsburg (Which is only minimally anglicized German for "mechanical castle") is integrated with the, indeed, mechanical Castle Heterodyne.
    • Bangladesh DuPree. Bang duPrey. Or Du-praved.
    • Heterodyne: The principle of periodic functions upon which theremins and radio modulation rely. Possibly related to the Theme Music Power-Up.
    • Portentius Reichenbach's Portentous Operatic Masterpiece: The Storm King.
    • Othar Tryggvassen, GENTLEMAN ADVENTURER. His surname roughly means "Safe Waters" in the North Countries where he's said to be from.
    • Doctor Chouteh (pronounced shout-ay) is a Large Ham of ridiculous proportions.
    • Agatha's foster parents are called Adam and Lilith and it doesn't look like they are very god-fearing. Not to mention their surname, Clay. (Note that they almost certainly picked these names for themselves.)
  • Mecha-Mooks: Soldier clanks abound in many Sparks' armies. Special mention goes to The Watch in Beetleburg... which were sadly outclassed by the Wulfenbach Battle Clanks, a Toy Soldier-esque machine that comprises the mainstay of the Wulfenbach ground forces.
  • Mechanical Evolution: Inverted; Agatha tends to compulsively construct little Clanks termed "dingbots". These dingbots can then go on to construct more dingbots, but dingbots are only so bright, so each successive generation gets less and less advanced, and less bright, and by the third or fourth generation the dingbots produced are nonfunctional.
  • The Medic:
    • Mamma Gkika
    • Although we haven't seen this happen yet, the Heterodynes to the Jägers.
    • Dr. Sun is a doctor. As well as a Spark.
    • We also have this exchange:
      Gil: Let me take a look at that.
      Tarvek: ... Already doing it.
      Gil: Hey! I am a doctor, you know.
      Tarvek: pft. And who isn't?
  • Mega Neko: Castle Heterodyne has a lot of giant cat clanks living in it. One of them becomes Otilia's new body, at least for the time being.
  • Mêlée à Trois: Tarvek vs. Zola vs. Lucrezia!Agatha.
  • Melodramatic: EVERY. SINGLE. SPARK. Can get this way. The only Spark we've not seen like this — yet — is Klaus.
  • Memento MacGuffin: Agatha's locket.
  • Mental Time Travel: Othar, in his Twitter.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Dr. Tarsus Beetle, who kept Agatha at the university because he knew the truth about her, dies in the first story arc.
  • Mexican Standoff: Subverted between Klaus and Dr. Beetle.
  • Midair Repair:
    • Gilgamesh and Agatha while testing Gil's flying, or rather falling, machine. Of course because they're sparks, it starts to become midair redesigning the device before Zoing points out to Agatha that they are still falling. It's the first time that Agatha consciously sparks out (but is not aware she is a spark).
    • Tarvek is forced to do the same thing... while tied up to a Spark fighting with a mad Jäger on board. He finally makes the machine fly inches from the ground.
  • Miles Gloriosus: Subverted with the Jager generals, whose apparent reluctance to wade into combat in Mechanicsburg seems to have been down to keeping an eye on each other's antics rather than any kind of actual reluctance to fight. Once the fighting starts, they mostly argue over details.
  • Milky White Eyes: Geisterdamen and possibly other geistercreatures.
  • Mini-Mecha: Ol' Vorthang's Sunday Best, an armor museum piece in Mechanicsburg, was restored to operation by Agatha during the Battle of Mechanicsburg for her personal use.
  • Minion Maracas: Agatha demonstrates the proper technique.
  • Minion Shipping:
  • Missing Mom: Missing mothers for everyone!
    • The identity of Gilgamesh Wulfenbach's mother is unknown, although heavily hinted to be the Queen of Skifander.
    • Similarly, we've never met Tarvek's mother and don't know much about her beyond being on the royal House Valois lineage (thus making Tarvek such too). In one of the print-novels, it's strongly implied that Tarvek's sister murdered her.
    • Zigzagged with Agatha. For most of her life, Agatha didn't have any contact with her parents, or even know who they were. Eventually resolved (although Agatha probably wishes it hadn't) when a copy of her mother's personality gets downloaded into her head, and it turns that her mother was always a self-centered, genocidal-dominatrical, infanticidal, mass-murderer... unless she actually wasn't, as it's not at all clear whether the entity now calling itself Agatha's mother is actually the same one that married Agatha's father all those years ago.
  • Mission Control Is Off Its Meds: Castle Heterodyne acts as this to the prisoners repairing it, due to its fractured personality; One more lucid fragment may send a prisoner to go repair something, but a more insane fragment in that section may end up killing the prisoner in the attempt.
  • "Mission: Impossible" Cable Drop: Gil does this in a flashback to surreptitiously modify the blueprints of Castle Wulfenbach to make space for a secret lab.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Othar, unless it's just good-natured teasing between siblings. Or not mistaken, since his objection to Sanaa's statement isn't Gil's gender, it's that he's "a foul villain". Bi the Way at the most, though, since he was married to a Geisterdame for a while in the Twitter. Of course, he's also borderline delusional, so good luck trusting anything he says.
  • Mistaken for Quake: when Agatha finally manages to reboot Castle Heterodyne, the invading forces think they're experiencing an earthquake until they discover that it's actually the castle fighting back, seen here.
  • Mobile Maze: Castle Heterodyne. "We're doomed! The door we came through — it never led HERE before!"
  • Modesty Bedsheet:
    • Gil, while lying on the bed injured and naked.
    • Von Pinn, in a similar situation.
  • Modesty Towel: Agatha actually invokes the trope while on the Corbettite Railways, using it as a ploy to distract anybody entering her compartiment, giving time for Krosp (and later Wooster) to take them out if they happen to be hostile. Unluckily, all those coming to visit are either allies or just train attendants, and thus she gives each of them an eyeful for nothing. She has pretty much given up on the pretense when an actual assassin shows up.
  • Moment Killer:
    • Merlot, in the page that is aptly titled Smoochus Interruptus.
    • The Jäger generals assume that Gil and Agatha won't enjoy making out with her mother watching, and that will be enough motivation to quickly remove the copy of the Other's mind from Agatha.
  • Monochromatic Eyes:
    • The geisterdamen have all-white eyes.
    • Vole's may be all-black, since it's hard to tell whether he has white pupils or just reflections.
  • Monster Clown: Whatever this thing originally was made for, among other things, probably.
  • Mood Whiplash:
  • Mook Horror Show: The flashback of Zeetha wiping out a whole pirate ship sure looks like this in a couple panels.
  • Moral Myopia: A lot of people other than Klaus and the heroes fall into this. Such as Merlot, who blames Agatha for the fact that he killed a few dozen people and got punished for it.
  • More Hero Than Thou: Tarvek and Gil have a brief exchange about who gets to be this.
  • More Than Meets the Eye: A few different characters.
    • Agatha kicks the story off with this.
    • Tarvek also qualifies.
    • Airman Higgs seems to be the new, most prominent example.
    • Also, Da Boyz and Zola use Obfuscating Stupidity.
    • Gil (especially in his Paris days), Agatha's "parents", Wooster, Von Pinn, Dr. Sun, Dolokov, the Circus, Sanaa... it's probably easier to list which characters AREN'T more than they appear.
  • More Than Mind Control: Sparks can be almost irresistibly charismatic when they put their minds to it. Also, while The Other can use actual mindcontrol on people, the citizens of Mechanicsburg do react with absolute obedience to a strong Spark that might be a Heterodyne.
  • Motivational Kiss: Gil gets one here (continued to the next page).
  • Motor Mouth:
    • Movit #11 causes this, increasing with dosage.
    • Coffee does this to Agatha. Increasing dosage was deftly averted.
    • Prince Aaronev's sedative also had a truth serum effect (or the truth serum had a sedative effect, it's not fully clear which effect was intended); Agatha blabs for almost three full pages of unrestrained and meandering truth before she passes out. So much for "Lady Olga".
    • Punch, after his voice is repaired.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Gil, Tarvek, Klaus, and more.
  • Mugging the Monster:
  • Mummies at the Dinner Table: Anevka, to a degree.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Volume Seven, Page 52. That must be good coffee.
  • Mushroom Samba: The Circus pumps out a hallucinogenic gas during their escape from Sturmhaven, shout "The Heterodynes are back!" and we get this little gem.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Vanamonde von Mekkhan spends all his time in a coffee shop in Mechanicsburg, and certainly does enjoy his coffee. During the first attack on Mechanicsburg, there's a caffeine dispensing assistant at his side. He has even written a textbook on coffee preparation (under a pseudonym): Bean There, Done That.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Basically the Fatal Flaw of every Spark in the world. Entering "The Madness Place" grants them incredibly powerful focus, but it makes them entirely oblivious to the potentially disastrous results of their creations.
    • Specifically, Aaronev Sturmvoraus and his dying daughter, though certainly said by others in this world.
  • My God, You Are Serious: Turns out the Castle wasn't being facetious when it told Gil to look very carefully for something amiss at the spot where an enormous Eldritch Abomination was looming. It was expecting centimeters-tall creatures.
  • My Instincts Are Showing: Krosp I, Emperor of All Cats used to be the Trope Illustrator.
  • Myth Arc: One of the best webcomic examples. The foreshadowing starts with the fourth strip of the first chapter, with hints about the phenomenon scattered over many, many volumes — and a full explanation has still not been given.

  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Practically half the cast.
    • Klaus and Gilgamesh Wulfenbach;
    • Lucrezia and her sisters Serpentina and Demonica;
    • Master Payne;
    • Von Pinn;
    • Possibly subverted with Moloch.
    • Also basically all of the Heterodynes (prior to Bill and Barry) have these. Well, except for Bob.
    • If these things are any indication, all strong Spark families tend to be this way.
    • The Queen of England is only mentioned in hushed tones, even though the only British member of the cast is Wooster. It's implied that she is immortal and that she exercises mind control over the entirety of the English Isles.
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: After a blow to the foot, Agatha cuts loose with a string of Symbol Swearing, followed by a small asterisk. The accompanying caption:
    "* Oooh, what naughty little devices, to turn upon your creator! Oh! Indeed, my foot is in such excruciating pain! I shall construct a device that will give you such a whack, see if I don't!"
  • Necessarily Evil: Any Spark who wants to be a good guy sometimes has to turn into a raging madboy just to keep the million separate interests from coming apart. Klaus, Gilgamesh, and Agatha have all found this out. Tarvek, who considers himself an Anti-Villain, even took part in an unwitting demonstration:
    Tarvek: [smashing two feuding Dingbots together furiously] I am not enjoying this — but I can keep it up all day if necessary!
    Gil: Hee hee!... That's a really good impression of my father!
  • Neck Lift:
  • Never Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight:
    • Zola vs. Agatha:
      Zola: Bringing a knife to a gun fight doesn't seem very smart, now does it?
      Agatha: Well, I suppose it isn't that much worse than bringing a gun to a clank fight.
    • And later, "It's harder to break things with a knife."
  • Never Found the Body:
    • A plot point has significant individuals from the past killed by a machine made from "farm machinery and pork products", which turns them into a string of sausages. Hard to confirm that.
    • Not to mention, Othar Tryggvassen, GENTLEMAN ADVENTURER; he's been tossed out of two airships on-screen, within the same chapter. Gil doesn't even consider the possibility that he died, having seen him come back from the same or worse so many times.
    • Gil is also Genre Savvy enough to find it suspicious his father's body is never found. And sure enough, Klaus soon reappears very much alive.
  • Nice Hat:
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • Before she was even aware of who she really was, Agatha lashed out at a minion grabbing her butt. Turns out her Command Voice inherited from her mother prompted that minion to let go - and also possibly (as he was a revenant of the Other) to activate the Slaver Engine that was brought onto Castle Wulfenbach for study.
    • Bang blows up the machine at Sturmhalten that was keeping The Other suppressed in Agatha's head, causing Lucrezia to take back control and cause problems for everyone. Ironically, the course of action she joked about would have saved everyone a truckload of grief. Admittedly, whether Bang qualifies as a 'hero' is debatable to say the least, but she was on the good guys' sidenote  at the time, so it still counts.
    • Zeetha's presence during the standoff at the circus camp at the end of the Sturmhalten arc distracts Klaus long enough for Lucrezia to wasp him.
    • Dr Sun takes down the Baron's escape clank — by himself — and enforces Klaus's bed rest in order to stop him killing himself from the strain. Awesome — until we learn that, in keeping Klaus in the hospital, Sun's unwittingly exposed him to Anevka!Lucrezia, which is more or less what Klaus feared. Oops.
    • Boris tried to invoke this trope when Wooster revealed the Baron's plans to invade Mechanicsburg and kill Agatha to the Jägergenerals, but as far as Wooster was concerned it was entirely intentional;
      Boris: Do you know what you've done!?
      Wooster: Destabilized Britain's greatest rival, and saved an innocent girl's life. A mighty good day's work, I'd say.
    • If Agatha's mini-clank hadn't succeeded in freeing the three Geisterdamen from their prison cell, Agatha would have escaped without getting a copy of Lucrezia downloaded into her head.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: The Lucrezia-copy inside Agatha's head gets herself shut down by assuming the locket she finds in the possession of Klaus is just symbolic decoration, and putting it on.
  • Ninja Log: Violetta can effortlessly snatch anything from anyone's grip and switch it with another thing without anyone noticing, including the audience. Later, another Smoke Knight pulls a similar trick, complete with the log. Another Smoke Knight comments that it's common ability among them.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh:
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown:
    • Holy crap. Tarvek?!
    • Also, Higgs to Zola.
  • No Name Given:
    • The Mechanicsburg Assistant is never addressed by name. Eventually it's lampshaded.
      Vanamonde: [heavily sleep-deprived] Who are you again?
      The Assistant: Oh, now don't start.
    • The pirate-ish airship captain who is contracted to take Tarvek to England appears for a fairly extended period without being named.
  • Noodle Implements:
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Apparently, the Baron has used the Med Clank before. After what happened last time, he promised to put it away.
    • The Socket Wench of Prague is a great big one for readers. All we know is that it's (at least) heavily suggestive at times.
    • The other Heterodyne plays and stories are just as bad. Why does Race to the West Pole end with Klaus in a barrel?
    • Apparently Zeetha's cousin turned out to be the prophesized holy one of a race of people.
    • The novelizations have a lot of these, usually referring to some strange thing that some Spark had built or what said Spark attempted to do with said strange invention.
    • The Great St. Valentine's Day Riot.
    • "And that was the last time Professor Phosphorous visited the fireworks factory. Or anything else, really."
    • "The Nuremberg Pudding Incident", rumored to have involved the Professora herself. One of the official scents is based on it.
    • The Opera Synopsis again, where practically every event mentioned is a Noodle Incident. The logistics of someone being trapped in a bonsai hedge maze will likely forever be a mystery to us. In a Reddit AMA with the Foglios, a reader asked if the bonsai hedge was an artistic license take on the thorn barrier erected by the Castle after Klaus froze time in Mechanicsburg. The response: "It is now." It must have taken such actions before.
    • About half the things Gil, Tarvek, and Zola did in Paris.
    • The entire concept of the Island of the Monkey Girls was one for a long time. It was eventually confirmed to be a night club in Paris... but when a fan asked what Zola thought Gil could have done to get himself imprisoned in the Castle, where the Empire sends people it wants to disappear, the only explanation supplied was "Zola was Head Waitress at the Island of the Monkey Girls Theatre and Showbar in Paris." So that's still an enigma.
    • The Lusty Loves of Lady Heterodyne apparently includes a scene that is impossible without "the right shoes".
    • The real Heterodyne Boys adventure stores. We know they fought many people (as Heroes, not madmen), visited many place, fought the "Other" after incident at Mechanicsburg Castle, went missing, Barry came back and joined by Klaus and Lucrezia. Apparently, the Boys and Lucrezia have gone to Skifander before as proven when Lucrezia taunts Zeetha.
      Lucrezia-in Agatha: I know better than to fight you, Skifandrian.
    • The advisers of Mechanicsburg point out that it's a new record for a new accepted Heterodyne to not kill anyone in the first two minutes of their rule. It remains to be seen if this applies to the Heterodyne Boys.
    • The story of Baron Wulfenbach's exile. He suddenly disappeared before Lucrezia and Bill got married and came back few years later after Bill, Lucrezia and the Other are gone. Finding everything is in chaos, he resolved to impose order by amassing forces and built his The Empire. What happened between he disappeared and he got back is ripe source for gossips. (Though in real life, thanks to a sketch drawn by Mr. Foglio, fans at least know where he was sent: Skifander.
    • We get a interesting one while the group is in the the hidden library. Even Agatha notes that she has "much to learn about the rich and varied history of Jägers".
      Agatha: Maybe it's a Jäger Shredding Machine!
      Dimo: No vay. Dey melted dot down.
    • Jiminez Hoffman does these on regular basis.
    • Aldin Hoffman hid in his room for a week after an outside professor gave her demonstration. And so did half of senior shelvers.
  • No One Could Survive That!: Othar. Being thrown out of an airship and surviving is among the least of his feats. From the side-story "Revenge of the Weasel Queen":
  • No-Sell:
    • Gilgamesh versus the Doom Bell. Rather than filling him with enough "existential despair" to knock him out, like it does to every other human in the bar, the sense of victory he feels on hearing it is enough to send him into his madness place temporarily. (Victory because it means Agatha has succeeded).
    • Any physical attacks to date launched against Grandmother's agent Mr. Obsidian, to the point that metal tools break against his skin.
    • One of the Dreen shrugs off an attempted squashing by a twenty-foot tall Giant Mecha and then obliterates its attacker with a single energy blast.
  • The Nose Knows:
    • Jägermonsters;
    • Krosp;
    • The Revenant-detecting weasels.
  • Not a Game:
    • The Castle warns Agatha that claiming to be the Heterodyne is not a game!
    • Gil declares to her that he is playing no game.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: Spark mode Agatha doesn't even bat an eyelash at the fact that her two (rival) paramours are nearly nude.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Tarvek denies having any part in the plan to usurp the Wulfenbachs by installing a fake Heterodyne — his plan was orders of magnitude better!
  • Nothing but Skulls: The floor of the chapel in Castle Heterodyne is covered by the skulls of those who claimed to be a new Heterodyne master — and failed. The Castle even left a nice empty spot for Agatha's skull...
  • Nothing Is Scarier: "But I don't see anything!" "Don't say that like it's a good thing!"
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: After the Time Skip, everything has changed. Mechanisburg is sealed, along with the Baron, Gilgamesh now leads the crumbling Wulfenbach Empire, and Agatha is on the run from everyone.
  • Not in the Face!:
    • Played with:
      Castle Heterodyne: No! Not in the facing!
    • Agatha's reindeer clank also says "Not the face!" after jumping down a ledge. It tries again when faced with Bohrlaikha, but gets Killed Mid-Sentence.
  • Not So Different:
    • Jägermonsters and Lackya don't get along well. They're both bruisers who don't function well without a person to follow.
    • Tarvek and Gil, just like Agatha told them.
    • Tarvek and Violetta; despite the family power structure having set them up so that he's the brains and she's his (deftly-applied) muscle, it transpires that Tarvek can pull smoke knight moves even on Violetta, and Violetta has a talent for intrigue and projecting how power dynamics could be brought to play out that can outdo Tarvek's own.
    • Lucrezia feels this way about her and Klaus, since they've both used force to try and bring the world under their command to bring peace, and both possessed their offspring in pursuit of this.
    • Tarvek comes to realize that this is the case with him and Higgs, due to their similar romantic difficulties (specifically, the fact that neither of them had ever truly fallen in love before they met Agatha and Zeetha, respectively).
  • Not-So-Innocent Whistle: "Why do you even have one of those?!"
  • Not That Kind of Doctor: Actually, most Sparks are. The only reason Agatha isn't is because they wouldn't let her take the tests.
  • The Nudifier: The Wacky Weave Destabiliser. (Un)Fortunately Zeetha wears special underwear.
  • #1 Dime: Hats, to the Jägers.

  • Occam's Razor: Invoked as Agatha and crew were wondering why the Baron was invading instead of his old plan of flattening the city.
    General Zog: Occam's Razor!
    Agatha: Yes, you're right of course—
    General Zog: Hit vas forged by Old Occam Heterodyne!
    Agatha: Ah... What?
    General Zog: Seriously — who vouldn't vant it? Hoo— dot ting ken cut through anyting!
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: A lot of people.
    • Most especially Zola.
      Tarvek: What? No! That was that idiot from the Island of th... [makes a face] She is good.
    • Some of the Jägerkin are considerably smarter than they appear. Then again, they may only hide it because it is implied that Jägerkin aren't exactly in favor of "smot guys".
    • More specifically, while he doesn't act "stupid" per se, The Secret Jäger General "Higgs" hides in plain sight as a legally-enlisted low-level military minion of whatever Europan empire is currently most appropriate.
    • The circus pretends to be simple performers when in truth they're mostly Sparks.
    • Astonishingly enough, Tarvek seems to be in this category. Considering that he's an Insufferable Genius with Chronic Backstabbing Disorder who's spent an inordinately long time on the Face side of the Heel–Face Revolving Door, it's shocking that it took this long.
    • Agatha began the comic with an item that forced her to Obfuscate Stupidity. It's a locket given to her by her Uncle Barry to suppress her Spark, so that The Heterodyne Boys' numerous enemies wouldn't try to kill/manipulate/etc. her.
    • Gil appears to have spent most of his life doing this. As a child he hid his Spark, and in Paris he pretended to be a much worse student than he really was. It was only after returning from school that he was finally able to stop doing it and fully be himself.
    • Wooster apparently tried this, or at least Obfuscating Normal, on Gil, to infiltrate Castle Wulfenbach. Gil was onto him, but played along until he could make more use of Wooster as a British secret agent.
  • Oblivious to Love: Holy crap Moloch is dense.
  • Odd-Shaped Panel: Quite common.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: Usually on Agatha.
  • Offhand Backhand:
  • Offing the Offspring: What Lucrezia purportedly did to her own son, and now plans for her daughter.
  • Off-Model:
    • After Martellus is first shown to have replaced his left hand with a mechanical prosthetic, the next page, when originally posted, depicted him opening a bottle with both hands clearly visible, both flesh and blood. This was fixed when it was brought to the Foglios' attention.
    • At another point they also had to go back and correct a strip which showed post-poisoning Dimo with two arms.
    • Agatha was accidentally drawn with two right hands on a very early page in the first (ink and paper) edition. The error was corrected when the comic moved online and for later reprints.
  • Oh, Crap!:
  • Oh My Gods!: Here, in the second panel.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: When Agatha's trying to snap Gil out of a stupor:
    Agatha: Hey, Gil! All of Paris is about to go up in flames, and Zola has her head caught in a bucket! Up and at 'em, Hero Boy!
    Gil: Hm? A bucket? Again? Okay, I'm comin'.
    Agatha: [shooting a sideways glance at Zola] Yeeeess. I suspected as much.
  • Oh, the Humanity!: In Paris there is a poster with Agatha, an airship and the text "eau de humanity".
  • The Old Convict: Tiktoffen is the "man in charge" in the sentient, sapient and homicidal Castle Heterodyne. Subverted, as he's actually only been in for three years — but he's still the longest-serving prisoner. People don't tend to last long inside Castle Heterodyne, especially since half the time it's actively trying to kill them. Fixing parts of the Castle gives you points and takes months off your sentence, but it's worth noting that the Castle has been noted to specifically target convicts who are close to finishing their sentence, and that in the fifteen or so years that the Castle has been used as a prison, only two people have been depicted or mentioned as scraping together enough points to get out.
  • Old Master:
  • Ominous Floating Castle: Castle Wulfenbach certainly qualifies, although it floats because it's a gigantic zeppelin.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: At one point a flipped-out Agatha directs a small army of clanks (including Transforming Mecha and Luggage) with a high-falutin calliope. Doubles as visual Awesome Music. And perhaps a literal version of Autobots, Rock Out!.
  • Omnicidal Maniac:
    • While all Heterodynes were maniacs, some weren't picky about who to kill, as evidenced by this exchange:
      "Two minutes and she hasn't killed anyone!"
      "A new record!"
    • And Bang seems to tend this way, although she can control herself. Usually. When she wants to.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Though Sparks do specialize, it appears that most of the really strong ones can stitch a living being out of spare body parts as easily as they can build a mechanical AI... or design an electric death ray or a giant airship. Only minor Sparks appear to be restricted to a discipline, as opposed to simply being best at one.
  • One Steve Limit: Avoided in unusual fashion.
    • One of Agatha's ancestors and one of the Sparks who attack Mechanicsburg share the first name Igneous.
    • Only slightly more prosaically, two minor characters (one in Mechanicsburg and one in England) are named "Hadrian".
    • Tarvek answers to his middle name because he shares his first name (Aaronev) with his father. Counting Tarvek, there have been five Princes of Sturmhalten named Aaronev Sturmvoraus.
  • One True Threesome: Phil and Kaja Foglio, thanks to their unabashed Bleached Underpants history, may be deliberately dangling this in front of the audience. Lampshaded and teased in the strip itself.invoked
    • The Odds are now only 5-1 on it, at least in the Mechanicsburg betting pool.
    • Recent developments imply lower odds.
    • Once Gil gets Tarvek out of the time bubble, he not only happily hugs him, they also talk quite friendly with each other despite their rivalry, Agatha as well is concerned for both whenever characters mention one of them. So the odds may be up again.
  • Only a Flesh Wound:
    Gil: Seven broken ribs. Severe fracture, right leg. Fractured clavicle. Some crush injuries, but the kidneys appear unharmed. First and second degree burns on upper back and lower legs, third degree on the lower back. Four broken fingers, three broken toes, sprained and bruised muscles throughout — major and minor lacerations, and a concussion.
    Klaus: I've had worse.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname:
    • Played with when Dimo and Violetta describe the Storm King's favorite weapons. Dimo calls the sword "Slasher" and the mace "Smasher", while Violetta corrects him with "Archimedes' Lever" and "The Platonic Solid". They both agree that both weapons were extremely powerful, and their full abilities were unknown.
    • It's a long time before the reader learns that "Grandmother's" actual given name is Terebithia.
  • Only Sane Man:
    • Von Zinzer. Good news is, he has a lot of experience dealing with Sparks, which also gives him lots of Genre Savvy, though he's also somewhat fatalistic — he's resigned to the fact that having to work for Sparks means he could be blown up, eaten, ripped apart or otherwise brutally killed at any time. No wonder he can be so snarky. Given the large number of Sparks and Spark minions he has recently been hanging around with, he is sometimes literally the only person in the room who is not crazy. He regularly hangs lampshades on it, too.
    • Krosp has also been this at times. Just not when the string is going to escape.
    • Agatha spends some time in the role, although she's not actually very sane, and (ahem) certainly not a man. Especially during the Mechanicsburg arc, where she was trying to pull. In general, she, her father and her uncle are typically set up as the only "sane" men where Sparks (and especially their family of Sparks) are concerned: while as much of a Mad Scientist as any other, unlike most Sparks Agatha has a strong moral code, takes responsibility for the consequences of her actions, and won't usually do things just because she can. While she loves building Death Ray Cannons, she yet has to actually use it like the name implies instead of shoot the scenery. Also, unlike most she's more than capable of ignoring the urge to do mad science if there's something more pressing to pay attention to. Usually when there's another Spark in a scene, Agatha will be the "normal" one or even the Straight Man in comparison.
    • Klaus, and to a lesser extent Gil, in regards to politics and Europa as a whole. A lot of mention is made of the fact that Klaus is basically a babysitter for an entire continent of childish megalomaniacs, selfish nobles and rampaging monsters - not to mention feuding henchmen and an absolutely psychotic dragon. He even becomes more or less a literal babysitter since he has requested that all royals give him their future heirs so he can raise and teach them in his castle - as a way to ensure that the next generation isn't warmongering and batshit crazy. It gets the point that while he's actually a very composed person, he has to play up the brutal tyrant act just to get things done, which Gil lampshades.
    • Before Time Skip, Tarvek Stormvoraus is the only known important player in his family who doesn't spend all his time plotting the murder of rivals. He's even used his extensive logistical and assassination training to prevent Wulfenbach soldiers being wasped!
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • Bangladesh DuPree not choosing at once the "let's blow everything up" option gets her second-in-command worried. She was just fooling around, however.
    • On a much more serious note, later on when Agatha is trying to power up the Castle, Gilgamesh's behavior is extremely off, and even Franz notices it despite having never met him. Turns out that he's been brainwashed by Klaus.
    • When it is revealed that Klaus's mucking about with the space-time continuum has attracted the attention of an Eldritch Abomination, Castle Heterodyne freaks out. The Castle is worried.
    • When Gil orders DuPree to hunt the librarians together with him after they trespassed into the airship, not only gets he horrifically angry, but even the Ax-Crazy Blood Knight Bangladesh asks about whether or not he feels OK and lampshades that she herself is also having one since she is so confused by his behavior that she is for once listening to his rambling.
    • When one of the Old Heterodynes holds to a promise to never terrorize someone's lands, you know whatever it was that compelled them to make such a promise to begin with was something horrible indeed. That is the case with Robur Heterodyne and whatever timey-wimey device he made that resulted in the Dreen appearing, and his promise to the Corbettite Order in exchange for their aid in dealing with it.
  • Orifice Invasion: The means that Slaver Wasps enter the body and enthrall someone is through the mouth.
  • Orphan's Plot Trinket: Agatha's locket.
  • Our Hero Is Dead: And buried, complete with digging up the body and cloning a replica to make sure it's really her. The corpse was doctored to make it look like Agatha, but the cloning gave the deception away, as the cloned body was not hers.
  • Our Founder: In "Jägermonsters to the Rescue", it turns out that in Agatha's two-year absence, Gil has topped Mechanicsburg's city walls with towering statues of Agatha. Dimo describes them as being over 150 meters tall. For the non-metrically inclined, that's 500 feet. The ones at the entrance of the valley are said to be even taller. A few from the Sturmvoraus family really hate Gil for this since they made it absolutely impossible to create a second Heterodyne imposter since literally all of Europe now knows what she looks like. Agatha on the other hand is... less than pleased.
    Agatha: I... I am going to kill him.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: To begin with, since this is (at least nominally) Earth, they're all products of mad science, not a 'species'. Thus far we've seen the draconic stylings of three different Sparks: Franz, the Great Dragon of Mechanicsburg; a rather Smug Snake (sorry) who was part of the Wulfenbach forces attacking Mechanicsburg; and a 'great sky wyrm' that Gil kept after defeating the Polar Lords (during the time-skip). Franz and 'Pretty Boy' are capable of speech (and snarkiness), while the wyrm seemed to have a more bestial intelligence.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Just to be clear, no Spark would ever profane the very nature of life and death by fashioning a terrible creature of the night, a nosferatu craving the blood of the living. That would be wrong! Very, very wrong. Vampires are obviously, completely, totally mythical and do not exist in any real, concrete sense that might abruptly pop up and devour you. No matter what Dame Aedith or Carson von Mekkhan say.
    Wooster: Um... we're not going to meet some ancient undead Heterodyne vampire or something, are we?
    Carson: Oh, and wouldn't that be the perfect capper to my day.
    Wooster: Um, actually, that wasn't a "Ho ho, don't be silly old chap."
    Carson: I ain't being paid to lie to you, Brit.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: The exact details have not been explained, but lycanthropy has been mentioned to be a thing, and one of the Knights of Jove has demonstrated the ability to shapeshift into a wolfman form. (Or he's normally a wolfman all the time and the Sparky armor he is forced to discard was making him look human..)
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Several different types. Besides "traditional" zombies of the Type F or Type V variety, they also have Jaegermonsters and Constructs, which are essentially Type A creations, and Revenants, which despite the name are more a cross of Type T and Type P, Parasite than Type R zombies: infected by a slaver wasp, they are like sleeper agents, going about their business and not even realizing they are infected until triggered to fight on the behalf of "the Other".
  • Out-Gambitted: The Knights Of Jove swept in to rescue Agatha for their own nefarious purposes, at which point Klaus revealed virtually his entire army had been waiting in hiding for them to show up. And they weren't even the real reason he did it.
  • Out of Focus: Lots of characters have done this.
    • Most notably, Gil dropped out of the story early in Volume 4, reappeared briefly at the end of Volume 5, and finally reentered the story for real in Volume 7.
    • Lots of other characters from the first arc disappeared after it was over and have either not returned or only showed up again in the third arc. The end of the second arc also sent a large number of supporting characters offstage. It also happens within arcs: Klaus has done this more than once. Given the webcomic format, the size of the cast, and the demands of the story, it's inevitable that it will keep happening.
    • This gets a non-canon lampshade in a bonus picture that so perfectly encapsulates the trope that it's the page's image.
      Gil: AAARGH! I haven't had any lines in months! Am I even still a main character?!
  • Outscare the Enemy: Veilchen does something like this.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Before the Other War, conflicts between Sparks involved at least a few diplomatic messages (or loud declarations of imminent destruction) before war was declared. Nobody was prepared to deal with an unannounced meteor bombardment right on their heads, and by the time any target realized what was happening, it was already too late. For a continent full of blustering megalomaniacs who enjoyed making elaborate and overcomplicated war machines, an assailant who was efficient, ruthless and totally silent would have been beyond their capacity to withstand without the aid of the Heterodyne Brothers.
  • Overcomplicated Menu Order: From the Twitter of Othar Trigvassen:
    We can't just walk out, and I'll bet the garbage and mortuary wagons are routinely inspected. This calls for desperate, unsavory measures.
    Chez Leon, one of the best restaurants in the city. The Master dines here frequently. Oslaka is puzzled. Didn't we just eat? Indeed we did.
    The waiter and I spend twenty minutes discussing our meal choices. I demand only the freshest and most exacting dishes. He almost smiles.
    The meal is brought. It' a masterpiece of presentation. The chef himself appears and compliments me on the suggestions I made. He weeps.
    He waits for me to eat. I hesitate, and then ask for a bottle of ketchup. We are tossed out the city gates less than 3 minutes later.
  • Overly Long Name:


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