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Conor and Simon.
"Please don't deny my happiness just because you can't understand it, just because it doesn't conform to the majority. Nobody can tell me that the way I love is wrong."
—"Conor Lee"
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Created by Juns and formerly published by Lezhin Comics in English, Dark Heaven (다크 헤븐) is a Queer Romance manhwa that tells the story of Conor and Simon, two childhood friends who fall in love with one another while forming a band. Torn apart by the harsh reality they live in, both lovers are reunited through the most unlikely of circumstances. Will they be able to make their romance work a second time?

This work explores serious issues like domestic violence, homophobia, racial discrimination, drug abuse, and self-loathing. Not intended for the faint of heart.

Has no relation to the horror movie of the same name.


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Dark Heaven provides examples of the following tropes:

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    # - E 
  • A Day in the Limelight: Most of the side characters are given a number of chapters that focus on their daily lives while adding more nuance to the social issues in Van Tescosa. May count as Lower-Deck Episode for some.
  • A Friend in Need: How Conor and Simon's relationship first began.
  • A Good Name for a Rock Band: Dark Heaven is not only the name of Conor and Simon's band, but also the title of their personal song which they perform in the finale.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: The W.A.F. (White and Freedom) is a white supremacist movement that seeks to turn Van Tescosa into a religious ethnostate where racial and sexual minorities are not tolerated. The protagonists end up being victimized by them at different points of the story with Conor having his hands mangled and Simon almost getting lynched in public.
  • A Taste of Their Own Medicine: Pete gets a big dose of this courtesy of Gale and Talen.
  • Abusive Parents: Simon's father and stepmother were this to Gale which made him the psychopath he currently is.
  • Acceptable Political Targets: This story really loves taking a dig at racists, homophobes, religious zealots, and self-serving capitalists.
  • Act of True Love: The story has Conor and Simon engaging in various acts of true love for one another especially in the later chapters. Two strong examples include Conor outing himself in public to protect Simon from a violent mob and Simon shielding Conor from being shot by an unhinged Veronica.
  • Alarm SOS: How Simon saves Conor from Pete during their childhood years.
  • All Abusers Are Male: Averted with the introduction of Simon's stepmother.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Much to Kiev's concern, his boss takes advantage of this trope by allowing the fake rumors of Simon being a serial killer to fester in order to "enhance" his sex appeal with their female audience.
  • After-Action Patch-Up: Happens to Conor several times. He also does this for Simon after the latter injures his leg in chapter 60.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Even though he went about it the wrong way, one can't help but pity Talen for falling so low in his quest to destroy the W.A.F. like they did to him and his late girlfriend.
  • All for Nothing: Everything Veronica did to make Conor hers is undone the moment Simon comes into their lives once more. To say she doesn't take this well would be the understatement of the century.
  • All Gays are Promiscuous: Deconstructed by Simon who is much happier being in a monogamous relationship than engaging in one-night stands and orgies.
  • All Guitars Are Stratocasters: Conor uses one during his rock band days. Other scenes have him play a simple guitar instead.
  • All Just a Dream: Several chapters feature numerous dream sequences centered on Conor and Simon. Some of these range from Nightmare Fuel to Tear Jerker.
  • Alone with the Psycho: Pretty much any scene with Gale accosting someone counts as this. Also applies to Simon and Veronica's confrontation near the climax of the story.
  • Amicable Exes: Even after breaking up, Conor cannot bring himself to resent Simon for what happened between them. It becomes a moot point when they finally get back together. He also tries to be this with Veronica, though she's not having any of it.
  • An Aesop: Never let anyone dictate your happiness because what or who makes you happy is ultimately up to you.
  • Anachronic Order: The story takes place months after Conor and Simon's break-up with flashbacks detailing how they first met and why their relationship deteriorated. When they finally reconcile, the plot starts to move more chronologically.
  • Angry White People: How the story portrays the W.A.F. and its members.
  • Art Evolution: The manhua's art style had rougher details that made the characters seem more emaciated than they actually were. Later chapters gradually eschewed the rougher style with simplified outlines instead, giving it a more Western comic feel.
  • Assassination Attempt: Talen hires a hitman to assassinate Simon in the event that he survives being lynched by the W.A.F. after his trial. It fails thanks to Gale who then turns on Talen for resorting to murder.
  • Assassins Are Always Betrayed: Flipped around with Gale betraying Talen after the latter decides to kill Simon instead of merely framing him.
  • The Baby Trap: Veronica tries to entrap Conor with a fake pregnancy in chapter 62, even going so far as to mislead Mrs. Lee into thinking they'll have a Shotgun Wedding for added effect. Not only does it fail to deter Conor from marrying his boyfriend, it also results in Simon exposing the charade.
  • Bawdy Song: Simon has a habit of doing this whenever he wants to get frisky with Conor.
  • Bathtub Bonding: Conor and Simon indulge in this after making love in chapter 66.
  • Battle of the Bands: How Conor and Simon's band rose to popularity.
  • Be Yourself: One of the most important lessons this story has to offer. Even if it disappoints others, trying to hide who you truly are will only keep you from being happy in the long run.
  • Beta Couple: While their relationship hardly gets much attention in the story, Mona and her girlfriend Teri are the lesbian version of this trope.
  • Betty and Veronica Switch: The early portion of the story portrays Conor's current lover Veronica as the sweet, family-oriented Betty while depicting his ex Simon as the more glamorous and sensual Veronica. Several chapters later, it's revealed to be the other way around with Veronica being a Cute and Psycho Rich Bitch who masterminded Conor's hate crime incident and Simon being the Understanding Boyfriend who still carries a torch for his lover.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Despite his resentment towards his half-brother Simon, Gale secretly saves him from being stabbed by Talen's assassin.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Conor does this several times for Simon in the later chapters, showing how far he's come as a loving boyfriend.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: A bemused Gale thinks this is why Conor is so beholden to Simon.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Simon (blonde), Conor (brunette), and Kiev (redhead) fit this trope.
  • Bloody Horror: Dark Heaven does not shy away from blood and violence at all. Case in point, Conor being the victim of a brutal hate crime is portrayed in a realistic but horrifying manner. Also, any scene involving Gale and another character is likely to involve lots and lots of blood.
  • Body Motifs: Hands serve as the primary motif of Dark Heaven.
    • Conor's hands visually shattering in the flashback chapters mean his dreams of making it big in the music industry are about to abruptly end.
    • One of Simon's Casting Couch scenes has him draped in the hands of multiple sex partners, visually cementing his status as a sex object exploited for profit.
  • Bondage Is Bad: Sex scenes featuring Gale will often have this.
  • Book Ends: The story begins and ends with Conor and Simon performing live in front of a crowd.
  • Break-Up/Make-Up Scenario: The first half of the story serves as one for the protagonists.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: Happens after Dark Heaven disbands in the flashback chapters. Fortunately, the band is revived in the finale as a new record label.
  • But Liquor Is Quicker: How Conor ended up in a relationship with Veronica.
  • But We Used a Condom!: Why Conor isn't so quick to believe Veronica's claims of being pregnant with his child. Simon takes it a step further by investigating the health clinic Veronica went to and learning about the deception.
  • Call-Back: During their childhood years, Conor gives Simon a piggyback ride after the latter gets injured from a broken platform. In chapter 59, he does the same again to escort Simon away from the W.A.F. rioters.
  • Call to Agriculture: When Simon considers turning himself in to the authorities, Conor suggests they migrate elsewhere and live out their days in peace at a small farm. The idea is gently shot down.
  • Calling Your Orgasms: Happens a lot in some of the sex-filled chapters.
  • Cassandra Truth: Aside from Conor and his friends, almost nobody believes that Simon is innocent of the W.A.F. serial killings. It takes Conor's Shaming the Mob speech for public opinion to start turning around.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: Thankfully averted in chapter 59.
  • The Chain of Harm: The Winsor family gets wrapped up in a harmful cycle that leaves Gale mentally scarred and his parents dead. Only Simon is left mostly unscathed due to his closer ties with the Lees.
  • Christmas Episode: The entirety of chapter 78 takes place during Christmas. Even Simon's hospital room is decked with gifts and a small Christmas tree courtesy of Conor.
  • Circle of Shame: Occurs in pivotal chapters where Conor and Simon are the recipients of ostracism from those around them.
  • City Noir: Van Tescosa gives off this vibe even during the day. Also counts as a Vice City where racism and homophobia run rampant.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Conor is subjected to this, leaving him unable to fully play the guitar. Pete and Talen also get this treatment from resident psychopath Gale, though it's portrayed more as Laser-Guided Karma.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Conor mostly wore black during his band days while Simon donned brighter colors.
  • Coming-Out Story: Part of the story is about Conor coming to grips with his sexuality and working to make things better for people like him and Simon.
  • Condescending Compassion: What Conor thinks when people are treating him nicely due to his sexual orientation.
  • Confession Triggers Consummation: Though they've had plenty of sex before in their previous romance, Conor finally saying "I love you" to Simon leads them to reconcile and make love to one another.
  • Connected All Along: Takes place in the same universe as the author's current work Guardians of the Lamb with one of the side characters being part of the main cast there.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Chapter 74 reveals that Conor's gay bashing incident was no mere coincidence.
  • Cop and Prosecutor: Krakow and Talen have this dynamic while solving the W.A.F. serial murder case.
  • Costume Porn: The various outfits worn by Simon during his pop star performances count.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Conor admits his break-up with Simon could have been avoided if he had been more attentive and caring to his boyfriend when he needed it most. He spends the rest of the story doing just that which helps pave the way to their eventual happy ending.
  • Coupled Couples: Conor and Simon are this with Mona and Teri as the other couple.
  • Courtroom Episode: One chapter is centered on Simon's murder trial and another on a W.A.F. youth caught spreading hate propaganda. Both instances display Talen's obsession in mercilessly taking down the W.A.F. and using scapegoats like Simon to mar the group's reputation.
  • Crapsack World: More like crapsack country. Things only get better once the protagonists (and a few of the antagonists) take a stand against the W.A.F. movement.
  • Creepy Basement: Veronica has a basement filled with pictures and paintings of Conor in very sensual poses. Doubles as a Torture Cellar when Simon is taken captive there.
  • Crush the Keepsake: Mrs. Lee angrily destroys Conor's keepsakes of Simon after receiving pictures of them having sex together.
  • Culture Justifies Anything: Due to the prevalence of conservatism in Van Tescosa, animosity towards foreigners and queers is outright ignored or even justified. Fortunately, progressive movements do exist with Conor joining them late in the story.
  • Daddy Didn't Show: Let's just say Simon being neglected by his father is getting off lightly.
  • Defenestrate and Berate: Done by Mrs. Lee when she learns of Conor's affair with Simon. Fortunately, Simon still kept some of their mementos with him.
  • Dehumanizing Insult: Both Conor and Simon are subjected to this, though the former gets it more due to being both Asian and gay.
  • Deus Angst Machina: Conor has every right to angst about his life especially after getting outed, crippled, and isolated at almost every turn. The climax reveals that all this had been orchestrated by someone who wanted to separate him from Simon at all costs.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Talen didn't expect Conor to risk his life standing up to the W.A.F. who were about to kill Simon.
  • Dirty Business: Simon prostitutes himself to influential executive and politicians in order to become a pop star. He doesn't like it, but feels that it's the only way to make something of himself after breaking up with Conor.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: As much as Simon despises Pete for crippling Conor, even he thinks Gale went too far with torturing the latter. Conor feels the same way when the W.A.F. almost gang up on Simon outside the courthouse.
  • Distress Ball: Simon ends up with this twice. Both instances, Conor comes to his aid in the nick of time.
  • Divided We Fall: Happens when Dark Heaven breaks up, though Conor and Simon are the ones who suffer from it most.
  • Double Standard: One chapter brings up the concept of white privilege when one of the anti-W.A.F. protesters cynically assumes the police are only taking the W.A.F. threat seriously because they almost lynched a white man (Simon).
  • Downer Beginning: Dark Heaven starts on a dark note with Conor and Simon already leading separate lives.
  • Dream Sequence: Some chapters primarily consist of dreams the characters have of one another. While not always important to the plot, it does give the artist ample opportunities to become more creative with their drawings.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Conor drinks himself silly to forget about Simon and ends up sleeping with Veronica. Needless to say, she guilt-trips him for taking her virginity and they become a couple... for only a few months.
  • Dystopia: Although Van Tescosa is a democratic republic that just recently legalized same-sex marriage, it has a hate crime rate so bad that being non-white, gay, or even both could easily lead to death on the streets. The W.A.F. wants to keep it that way.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The main couple has to go through pure hell in order to earn their Happily Ever After.
  • Easy Impersonation: Unable to get over his break-up with Conor, Simon makes his sex partners wear wigs to look just like him.
  • Elephant in the Living Room: Conor's sexuality is one for the Lee household after he's Forced Out of the Closet. By the end of the story, his parents have come to accept his orientation.
  • The Elites Jump Ship: What the elite establishment attempts to do when the W.A.F. is going down thanks to the police.
  • Elopement: Discussed twice by Conor. The first time he suggests this to Simon is when the couple is unceremoniously outed to his family. The second later happens when Simon considers turning himself in to the police.
  • Everybody Has Lots of Sex: Almost every character is shown having sex with the protagonists getting the lion's share of them.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: Deconstructed by Simon who gets treated like a male Marilyn Monroe by his benefactors, fans, and the media. It all comes crashing down when he gets outed and framed for murder. Gale is also a victim of this trope as his mother forced him to dye his hair blonde to make him resemble his father more.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: Downplayed in that only a few characters attended the same school together.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Gale versus Talen once their partnership breaks down.

    F - M 
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: There are quite a few violent deaths in the story, with many of them caused by Gale.
  • Fan Art: The story has its share of artwork made by fans.
  • Fan Disservice: The rape scenes involving Gale are full of this.
  • Fanservice: There's plenty of fanservice to go around, and the majority of them are of the main couple.
  • Feeling Oppressed by Their Existence: One of the main reasons why the W.A.F. are so hellbent on making life miserable for minorities.
  • Fictional Country: The story's setting takes place in the fictional Van Tescosa, a conservative nation where non-whites and the LGBTQ community are marginalized on a daily basis. According to additional information in Guardians of the Lamb, the country is located somewhere in Eastern Europe and has its own official language, although Russian is spoken in some areas.
  • Finger in the Mail: Gale sends the police a whole hand with his DNA. Due to records registering him as dead, the police would have assigned blame unto his brother Simon if not for additional evidence proving he's alive and well.
  • Fingore: This happens to Conor after getting ambushed by Pete's gang. Although the wounds heal over time, he'll never be able to shred the guitar as fast he once did, not that it stops him from reviving his music career in the finale.
  • Frameup: Talen frames Simon for the W.A.F. serial murders and uses him as bait to drive the deranged protesters into a murderous frenzy. His death at their hands would then be used to spark outrage against the W.A.F. and their sympathizers. Too bad he didn't anticipate Conor's actions saving the day.
  • Foreshadowing: Conor's hands visually breaking down during the flashback chapters is a sign he's about to undergo the hate crime that ruined his music career and love life.
  • Freudian Trio: Mona being the Ego among the childhood trio makes sense because her presence is integral to Conor's Superego reconciling with Simon's Id both figuratively and literally. Another example has Conor represent the Ego as a balance between Simon's Id and Kiev's Superego.
  • Garage Band: Conor and Simon's rock band started out as this before briefly rising to fame.
  • Gaslighting: Veronica gaslights Conor into repressing his sexuality in an attempt to make him forget about Simon. Fortunately, it doesn't last very long. A more unsuccessful attempt occurs with Gale trying to make Simon think he's just as evil and murderous as the rest of his family.
  • Gay Aesop: The story practically runs on this trope.
  • Gayngst: Conor goes through this a lot early on which contributes to his current slump.
  • Geodesic Cast: The story has at least three pair-ups: Conor and Simon, Talen and Krakow, and Mona and Teri.
  • Good Eyes, Evil Eyes: The Winsor brothers have this with Simon being good and Gale being evil... sort of.
  • Good Lawyers, Good Clients: Conor and Simon get a competent lawyer in Pita who skillfully gives Talen a run for his money.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The W.A.F. and their elite enablers share this role.
  • Growing Up Sucks: As adults, Conor and Simon know from experience how harsh society can be towards people like them. While the demands of adulthood contributed to their fallout in the past, the pair find ways to overcome it after falling in love with each other again.
  • Have You Tried Not Being a Monster?: Conor flips this trope against the W.A.F. protesters who were about to kill Simon after his trial.
  • Happy Birthday to You!: Conor and Simon play a variation of this song to earn their first pay.
  • Harmful to Minors: Conor's grade school days are full of this with him getting beaten up almost daily. It's further Played for Drama when the trauma is enough to make Conor wish he was born white.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Pre-timeskip Conor sometimes feels this way when doing odd jobs as people will likely judge him for his race rather than his efforts.
  • Hated by All: While Simon being framed for murder is bad enough, his boss effectively seals his fate by leaking two of the gay sex videos he was forced to make in order to become a star. Fortunately, the nosedive to his popularity stops once Conor comes to his rescue and their romance is depicted in a more positive light by social media users.
  • Hero, Rival, Baddie Team-Up: Zig-zagged. While Conor and Kiev do put aside their differences to help Simon, Gale is left out of the equation for obvious reasons. However, his assault on Talen helps distract the latter from further targeting Simon.
  • Heteronormative Crusader: The reverend who tried to "cure" Conor of his homosexuality is one. Unfortunately for him, his condemnation of Simon who took a bullet for Conor earns him a huge slap from Mrs. Lee.
  • Home Base: The abandoned church that Conor and Simon used as their personal hideout counts as this. It's eventually restored in the finale and used as the venue for the main couple's wedding.
  • Homophobic Hate Crime:
    • The Lees have plenty to be concerned about regarding their son. Not only was he made the victim of a hate crime, him being gay only puts a bigger target on his back and further alienates them from their religious community.
    • Conor and Simon become subjected to this at pivotal moments of the story. In Conor's case, it leaves him unable to fully play the guitar and contributes to his break-up with Simon.
  • Hope Spot: A particularly cruel one happens in chapter 76. Just when it looks like Veronica is about to give up shooting Simon, she aims her gun at Conor in hopes of being happy with him in the next life.
  • Hot Pursuit: One occurs when Detective Krakow pursues Gale who had just sexually assaulted Talen.
  • How We Got Here: The flashback chapters reveal how the main couple formed their band and why they went their separate ways.
  • The "I Love You" Stigma: Why Conor's initial romance with Simon failed. He finally spits it out in chapter 47 and from that point on strives to be a better lover.
  • I Kiss Your Hand: Conor does this to Simon while reaffirming his love for him in their reconciliation scene.
  • I Will Wait for You: Conor vows to wait for Simon to recover from his coma following the shooting incident. While the wait does take several months, Simon finally wakes up around the time spring comes.
  • Imagine Spot: While pondering whether or not he should see Simon months after their break-up, Conor imagines his ex acting bitter towards him while showering another man with love and affection.
  • In Spite of a Nail: After learning of Veronica's role in ruining Conor and Simon's lives, Mona blames herself for introducing her to them in the first place. Conor disagrees and even believes Veronica would have found other ways to get close to him.
  • Incompatible Orientation: No matter how hard Veronica tries to convince him otherwise, Conor just doesn't love her that way. It's also the reason why they have such a barren sex life to begin with.
  • Inevitable Mutual Betrayal: Due to their clashing personalities and interests, it was only a matter of time before Gale and Talen ended their partnership on a sour note.
  • Instant Humiliation: Just Add YouTube!: After Simon's arrest in chapter 54, videos of him having orgies with various men get leaked by the T-Rex CEO. Needless to say, it turns him into a big target for the W.A.F. who hound him relentlessly during his trial.
  • Instant Web Hit: Conor turns into one after standing up to the W.A.F. in chapter 59. He decides to make the most of it by quitting his job and becoming an online content creator to further gay rights.
  • Interchangeable Asian Cultures: Racists in Van Tescosa seem to think all Asians are the same. Truth in Television as some people can't really tell the difference between Koreans, Japanese, Chinese, etc.
  • Internal Affairs: The Van Tescosa police department is rife with corruption early on with only a few virtuous individuals like Jan Krakow standing out. It takes Simon almost getting killed by the W.A.F. for the police to respond appropriately.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: Gale forces this trope on Talen after the latter pisses him off one too many times.
  • Irrational Hatred: Kiev's resentment for Conor stems from the latter's father shunning him during his stay with the Lees. He learns to get over it after Conor begs him to help free Simon from the T-Rex Corporation's clutches.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Not wanting Conor to get caught in the middle of his murder revenge case, Simon tries to make him leave in chapter 47. Conor adamantly refuses which leads to their reconciliation.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Simon was on the verge of fulfilling this trope until Conor's unconditional love gave him a reason to do the right thing and turn himself in.
  • Keeping Secrets Sucks: It constantly pains Conor to remain in the closet while being in a relationship with Simon. He officially comes out in chapter 59 as a Precision F-Strike to the mob trying to kill his lover. Even then, his parents are in denial about the whole thing until the climax.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Gale is the culprit behind the W.A.F. serial killings. He also rapes Talen for attempting to assassinate Simon behind his back.
  • Kids Are Cruel: The kids who bullied Conor during his grade school years are this. One of them (Pete) grows up to become a gang leader who kills and rapes minorities.
  • Kudzu Plot: Much of the plot has different events that run independent from one another or are connected to varying degrees. These get conveniently resolved by the end of the story.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Most of the antagonists get a huge dose of this.
  • Last-Second Chance: Conor and Simon agree not to press charges against Veronica if she drops her gun and leaves them alone. She refuses.
  • Lens Flare Censor: How the naughty bits get censored during the sex scenes.
  • Let Me Get This Straight...: Conor is not exactly pleased to learn that Simon hired Gale to abduct and torture Pete on his behalf.
  • Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Played with by Veronica and Mona. While both women seemingly play this trope straight, they're actually a subversion with Veronica being more dark-hearted and twisted and Mona being cheerful and supportive. Even their influences towards the main couple run counter from one another with Veronica tearing Conor and Simon apart and Mona reconnecting them together.
  • Lost Love Montage: Happens in the chapters where Conor and Simon haven't reconciled yet.
  • Love Confession: Conor finally admitting his love for Simon heals their relationship and gives them a chance to fight for their happy ending together.
  • Love Epiphany: Reconstructed by Conor who gets back together with Simon after realizing the pain the latter went through during their separation. It's at this point that he stops being confused about his feelings and sexuality.
  • Love Hurts: A recurring theme in Dark Heaven is that love comes with a lot of conflict and heartache, but is still worth fighting for.
  • Love Triangle: Conor, Simon, and Veronica. Another example is Conor, Simon, and Kiev.
  • Male Frontal Nudity: Dark Heaven has this in spades along with some female nudity here and there.
  • Malicious Slander: When his sex video gets leaked, Simon becomes the target of nasty rumors suggesting he's a Depraved Homosexual who corrupts anyone he meets or befriends. Conor is also subjected to some light slander while working for Veronica's father.
  • Masculine–Feminine Gay Couple: Averted hard by the protagonists.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": The W.A.F. protesters ganging up on Simon have this reaction when Conor records them on his phone and the police come with reinforcements.
  • Megacorp: The T-Rex Corporation serves this role.
  • Meddling Parents: Conor's parents often try to get him to settle down with Veronica. They're also considered Love-Obstructing Parents when it comes to his love for Simon.
  • Memento MacGuffin: The dragon keychain Simon gave to Conor when they first met. Simon is touched that his boyfriend kept it all this time even after their broke up and reconciled.
  • Men Don't Cry: Averted. When the men in this story cry, they have a damn good reason for doing so.
  • Merchandise-Driven: The T-Rex CEO's whole plan for Simon involves this once the intrigue surrounding him spikes his popularity. It abruptly ends once he gets outed to the public.
  • Misery Builds Character: The local reverend uses this trope as an excuse in chapter 80 to publicly blast Simon with a malicious eulogy despite the latter Taking the Bullet for Conor. This earns him an slap from Mrs. Lee, whose opinion of Simon has now changed for the better.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Simon becomes the unlucky recipient of this trope after being framed for the W.A.F. serial murders. The retribution only stops after the police arrive with help from Conor stalling for time.
  • Moment of Weakness: Happens to the protagonists after their horrendous break-up. Conor gives in to Veronica's advances and is forced to work an unfulfilling job at her father's magazine company. Simon, for his part, willingly sleeps his way to the top while engaging in self-destructive behavior.
  • Mood Whiplash: A few of the story's chapters conclude this way.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Gale has no qualms resorting to murder if it accomplishes his goals. Talen and Veronica cross this line once their usual tricks get them nowhere.

    N - R 
  • Near-Villain Victory: Talen's plan to scapegoat Simon would have come to fruition if not for Conor standing up to the W.A.F. protesters and giving the police time to break up the crowd.
  • Never Be Hurt Again: Partially the reason why Conor was somewhat hesitant to see Simon again considering the amount of trauma he went through. He gets over it after realizing his ex went through an even worse time after their break-up.
  • Nice, Mean, and In-Between: Simon (Nice), Kiev (Mean), and Conor (In-Between) respectively.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Simon has one where Conor greets him with his and Veronica's children all grown up. This causes him to furiously strangle Veronica who then turns into Pete with Gale goading him to become a killer. While not directly shown, Conor is implied to have experienced a similar nightmare in chapter 51.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Conor and Simon being cheered on by a crowd in the finale implies that Van Tescosa has become more tolerant of interracial and gay couples.
  • "Not So Different" Remark:
    • Gale intentionally brings this up to Simon in order to drag him down from his moral high ground. It doesn't work.
    • Conor sees a little of himself in Talen after learning why he was so hellbent on using Simon to get back at the racists who wrecked their lives.
  • Ordered Apology: During his younger years, Conor is forced by a policeman to apologize to a hot dog stand owner after blowing up on him for his racist behavior.
  • Parental Favoritism: The root cause of Kiev distancing himself from the Lees. He steadily gets over it enough to attend Conor's wedding in the finale.
  • Parents Are Wrong: Although the Lees do care about Conor's well-being, their efforts to stamp out his homosexuality through religion only worsens his self-esteem and drives a wedge between their familial bond. It takes a literal Heroic Sacrifice from Simon to make them reconsider their views.
  • Peer Pressure Makes You Evil: One teenager is forced to toss a tomato at Conor after being egged on by a gang of bullies.
  • Piggyback Cute: How Conor carries Simon off to safety following his Shaming the Mob speech in chapter 59.
  • Plot Hole: In chapter 2, there's a picture of Conor with long hair being embraced by Veronica during a vacation in Switzerland. However, Conor had short hair by the time he became her boyfriend.
  • Police Are Useless: Played straight in Conor's case as the police are unable to catch the suspects who crippled his hands. Averted by Detective Krakow who helps pinpoint Gale as the true suspect in Simon's murder case.
  • Poor Communication Kills: If Conor and Simon took the time to be more honest with each other rather than bottling their feelings up, their break-up could have been avoided.
    • This is the reason behind Kiev's animosity towards Conor and his family. Instead of opening up about his alienation by Mr. Lee, he takes it out on Conor who lashes back.
  • Porn with Plot: Make no mistake, Dark Heaven has a plot beneath the scattered sex scenes.
  • Positive Friend Influence: What Mrs. Lee thought Simon was for Conor before discovering their true relationship. There is some truth in that as both protagonists do bring out the best in one another not as friends, but as lovers.
  • The Power of Love: Conor and Simon's reconciliation allows the former to embrace his sexuality once more and the latter to let go of his revenge against Pete.
  • Powder Keg Crowd: The W.A.F. protesters condemning Simon during his trial practically explode when he's within reach courtesy of Talen sabotaging his exit route.
  • Prequel: Serves as one for Guardians of the Lamb.
  • Preserve Your Gays: For a story that tackles homophobia, none of the gay characters get killed save for one of the elites responsible for funding the W.A.F. protesters.
  • Prison Episode: Simon is imprisoned for a short while before getting bailed by Conor.
  • Propaganda Machine: The W.A.F. website is one. It takes the police's intervention to shut it down late in the story.
  • Psychological Projection: Veronica accuses Simon of ruining her life when in fact it's the other way around.
  • Rape and Switch: Veronica takes advantage of a drunken Conor and coaxes him into questioning his sexuality. This only adds to his self-loathing and renders him impotent for the remainder of their brief relationship together.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Best exemplified when Gale is raped by his own mother and father for the first time.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Conor is the Red Oni to Kiev's Blue Oni. Likewise, the Winsor siblings are this for one another with Simon being the Blue Oni to Gale's Red Oni.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Implied by Simon who considered getting revenge on Pete for ruining his ex-boyfriend's life. Thankfully, said ex-boyfriend comes back to snap him out of it.
  • Reformed Rakes: What Veronica essentially tries to do to Conor after tearing him and Simon apart. It doesn't work out since Conor still loves his ex and eventually gets back together with him.
  • Relationship Sabotage: Though Conor and Simon weren't aware of it at the time, Veronica had been secretly sabotaging their relationship from the start by sending nude pics of them to Conor's family, siccing Pete's gang on their band, and ensuring that only Simon would be picked by T-Rex Corporation. Unfortunately for her, she didn't count on their lingering feelings being strong enough to lead them back to each other's arms once again.
  • Relationship-Salvaging Disaster: Simon being implicated for the W.A.F. murders kickstarts Conor's goal of reaching out to his ex which results in them getting back together.
  • The Reveal: Veronica being the mastermind behind Conor and Simon's break-up is treated as one. A more subtle one is Mr. Winsor's death at the hands of his own son Gale.
  • Rivals Team Up: Conor and Kiev put aside their differences to steal and destroy Simon's sex videos from T-Rex Corporation.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Pete's kidnapping was orchestrated by Gale at the behest of Simon who wanted to get revenge for what he did to Conor. If not for his and Conor's reconciliation, he would have likely given in to the temptation of murdering a hated enemy.
  • Rock is Authentic, Pop is Shallow: As a rising pop star under the T-Rex label, Simon's carefully cultivated image is not as genuine or soulful as his previous performances with Dark Heaven. Even the lyrics he's forced to sing come across as generic and artificial. He becomes an authentic performer again in the finale after reviving his old band.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Veronica's basement is this as Simon finds out in chapter 73.
  • Rubber Face: Conor punishes Simon with this when he catches him snooping on his personal belongings.
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  • Sadistic Choice: When Talen and his girlfriend were attacked by Pete's gang in the past, he was given two cruel options: allow themselves to be killed or let his girlfriend be gang raped in exchange for their lives. He chooses the latter option and survives, but becomes guilt-ridden when the girlfriend hangs herself afterwards. This incident sets off his Start of Darkness and Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Safety in Indifference: One of the main reasons why the Van Tescosa citizens don't want to bother fighting for equal rights or progressive reforms.
  • School Bullying Is Harmless: Averted hard. Conor's life in grade school was pure hell, having been beaten almost daily by bullies and even falling off a balcony at some point.
  • Secretly-Gay Activity: The two protagonists engage in this during their adolescence. The pair eventually take things to the next level as they grow older.
  • Security Cling: Veronica does this to keep Conor from reaching Simon when a corpse drops on stage at the Beer Festival concert.
  • Seduction Lyric: Simon has a tendency of doing this while seducing Conor.
  • Selective Enforcement: The Van Tescosa police department is guilty of this as they prioritize crimes that affect white victims more than racial minorities.
  • Selling the Show: Tamara's obsolescence as a pop star is accelerated by her publicly badmouthing both T-Rex and their current cash cow Simon.
  • Sex Equals Love: Averted when Conor and Simon have sex with different partners to cope with their break-up. Played straight when the two of them do it with each other especially after their reconciliation.
  • Sex for Solace: Conor, at his lowest point, does this with Veronica to forget about Simon. Simon also hooks up with numerous male partners everyday for the same reason. It only results in them being unfulfilled and miserable.
  • Sex Is Good: One of the most important lessons of this story is that sex is good if you're doing it with someone you love and that person loves you back.
  • Sex Montage: Happens a lot throughout different chapters.
  • Sex with the Ex: In chapter 47, Conor and Simon do this once the former finally admits his unconditional love verbally. They officially resume their romance from that point on.
  • Sexual Karma: The good guys get each other in the end and the bad guys have no one left to satisfy them.
  • Shirtless Scene: It wouldn't be much of a love story without a shirtless scene or two.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Most of the side characters are cast aside for the climax, only appearing once the dust has settled.
  • Shout-Out: Conor and Simon wearing pumpkin heads for their music performance in grade school is one for TheSmashingPumpkins.
  • Show, Don't Tell: Some portions of the story eschew text bubbles entirely in favor of more detailed panels that show what's going on.
  • Shown Their Work: The author does a good job portraying how bad media corporations can really be to their stars if left unchecked.
    • The story gives a startling but accurate summary of how right-wing propaganda works in general.
  • Sibling Triangle: While not related by blood, both Conor and Kiev almost come to blows in chapter 52 over their romantic feelings for Simon.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Both Simon and Gale are this both appearance-wise and personality-wise.
  • Side-Story Bonus Art: The artist has loads of bonus art featuring the characters. Most notably, Gale seems to be a recurring favorite.
  • Sleeping Their Way to the Top: How T-Rex Corporation selects its top stars, with Simon and Tamara being among them.
  • Slice of Life: The story is a mixture of this along with some drama, romance, action, and psychological horror.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: While the story begins with a more cynical tone, it slowly gravitates towards idealism once Conor and Simon get back together.
  • Smells Sexy: Simon considers Conor's scent as this, wondering if it's because he drinks so much tea.
  • Social Circle Filler: Before the incident that led to Dark Heaven disbanding, both Conor and Simon had a small circle of friends who shared their passion for music.
  • Social Media Before Reason: Simon becomes victimized by social media after getting arrested and having his sex video leaked to the public. A more benign example happens when Simon and Conor go out shopping together.
  • Speed Sex: Conor's sex life with Veronica is both sporadic and unsatisfyingly quick.
  • Stalker Shot: Happens to Conor during the flashback chapters. The stalker's identity is revealed to be Veronica in chapter 74.
  • STD Immunity: Justified by the cast using condoms and lubricants when having sex.
  • Straw Character: Racists, homophobes, and right-wing fascists are among those the story loves to caricature.
  • Stringing the Hopeless Suitor Along: Conor thought he was doing this to Veronica which leads him to break up with her and go back to Simon's side.
  • Stumbled Into the Plot: By reuniting with Simon, Conor finds himself in the middle of a conspiracy designed to scapegoat his ex for the sole purpose of further demonizing the W.A.F. in the eyes of the public. His involvement alone helps thwart the conspiracy and saves his lover's life.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: Conor sometimes reacts this way towards Simon. A more one-sided example happens when Talen gets hard at the sight of Gale dominating him.
  • Sucky School: Conor's grade school was this for him.
  • Super-Deformed: It wouldn't be a manhwa without this coming into play. On an odd note, only Gale has a non-standard facial expression that makes him Creepy Cute.
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: Although the story is dark and unforgiving at times, it has a surprisingly happy conclusion.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: The story has many instances of this happening, ranging from the police not taking Conor's hate crime incident seriously to the Lees violently rejecting Simon for having a love affair with their son.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: How Conor is able to see through Veronica's lies while trying to locate Simon.
  • Swirlie: Conor was cruelly subjected to this by bullies in school.
  • Swiss-Cheese Security: With help from Kiev, Conor easily infiltrates the T-Rex CEO's office to steal the sex videos she had of Simon servicing their benefactors.
  • Tabloid Melodrama: Happens to Simon after he gets implicated for the W.A.F. serial murders following the incident at the Van Tescosa Beer Festival. The T-Rex CEO uses the intrigue to her advantage before his eventual arrest in chapter 54.
  • Take a Third Option: After learning about Veronica's pregnancy, Conor insists on marrying Simon while taking responsibility for his possible child. The old Conor would have been forced to choose between Simon and Veronica's baby, so him going for a balanced approach proves he's matured enough to make heavy decisions without sacrificing his own happiness. The whole thing ends up being moot when it turns out Veronica lied to Conor.
  • Take That!: The story defies the Men Are Tough trope by showing how it marginalizes men in general.
    • Also serves as one for the Yaoi Genre as neither Conor nor Simon fit the usual Seme and Uke stereotypes.
  • Take This Job and Shove It: Conor's job working at a magazine company is both tedious and unfulfilling. Not only is he treated like an expendable work gopher, his coworkers constantly talk about him behind his back. After outing himself to save Simon, he gladly quits his job in favor of becoming an online activist.
  • Taking Advantage of Generosity: What Conor ultimately thinks of his brief relationship with Veronica. He dumps her in hopes that she'll find someone more suitable.
  • Talking Your Way Out: Conor tries to dissuade Veronica from aiming her gun at Simon, but it only makes her attempt a double suicide with the former instead.
  • The Three Faces of Adam: Simon is the Hunter because of his willingness to take risks for the sake of making it big in show business, Conor is the Lord who must constantly strike a balance between responsibility and happiness as an adult, and Kiev is the Prophet whose experiences have worn him down to the point of cynicism.
  • There Are No Therapists: So much problems could have been avoided if the characters took the time to see a goddamn therapist.
  • Those Two Guys: Drek and Gwati, two of Conor and Simon's male friends, are this.
  • ¡Three Amigos!: Conor, Simon, and Mona are this. They also exemplify the Token Trio, Rock Trio, True Companions, and Two Guys and a Girl tropes.
  • Through His Stomach: How Kiev tries to woo Simon. It doesn't work out as well as he'd thought. Conor does it more successfully after he and Simon get back together.
  • Time Skip: The story begins several months after Dark Heaven is disbanded with Simon just starting his pop star debut and Conor floundering with his dead-end job.
  • Tragic Dream: Mrs. Lee's dream of seeing Conor and Simon with their own families gets crushed in the worst possible way via pics of them having sex with one another. She gets over it after finally accepting their relationship. Subverted with Conor as his dreams of becoming a famous guitarist still comes true in the finale.
  • Trauma Conga Line: While the story loves dispensing this trope on the main couple, it doesn't mean the side characters are immune from it.
  • Trespassing to Talk: To warn Simon about the police investigating him, Conor does this with help from Mona and Teri.
  • Unbalanced By Rival's Kid: Simon has a nightmare where he's confronted with a middle-aged Conor and Veronica being all lovey-dovey while surrounded by their grown children. This causes him to strangle Veronica's apparition in a jealous rage.
  • Unbroken Vigil: This happens in the last few chapters with Conor watching over a comatose Simon after he got shot protecting his lover.
  • Unexplained Recovery: It's a little jarring to see Simon recover so quickly from both his drug abuse and leg injury.
  • Unfocused During Intimacy: Whenever Conor has sex with Veronica, he's only able to get off by thinking of Simon. This contributes to their relationship failing miserably.
  • Unknown Rival: Simon has one in Tamara, a Black artist who lashes out over being sidelined for him and stirs up rumors of his sexuality as payback.
  • Villain Team-Up: Gale gladly teams up with Talen to frame Simon for murder, though the partnership abruptly ends when the latter breaks his own code of ethics to assassinate their target.
  • Villainous Lineage: Averted by Simon and Kiev who overcome this trope through love and effort respectively. Gale, on the other hand, deliberately plays it straight even though he does have some redeeming qualities.
  • Violence Is Disturbing: Make no mistake, the violence depicted in this story is definitely not for the faint of heart. Blood and gore is present even during some of the sex scenes.
  • Violence is the Only Option: Talen is convinced that a violent uprising is needed to change Van Tescosa from within, so he sets up Simon to be a martyr in an effort to rouse the more progressive citizens into a frenzy.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Conor and Simon get this quite a lot even in chapters where there's no sex involved.
  • Waving Signs Around: Any chapter featuring the W.A.F. and their detractors will have these present.
  • Wedding Finale: Conor and Simon finally get married in the final chapter with their friends and family right beside them.
  • Wham Episode: A dismembered corpse drops down the stage on one of Simon's concert at the end of chapter 18.
    • After choosing to spare Pete's life in chapter 54, Simon surrenders himself to the authorities.
    • Veronica's Wham Line to Conor at the end of chapter 62.
    Veronica: "I'm pregnant!"
  • What Were You Thinking?: Conor's reaction when he learns that Simon instigated Pete's kidnapping as revenge for ruining their lives.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The bonus chapter reveals what the characters have been up to after Conor and Simon got married. With the exception of Talen and perhaps Gale, all of the antagonistic characters are dead.
  • Where The Hell Is Van Tescosa: Van Tescosa is said to border between Europe and Asia with its racial demographics mirroring North America more.
  • Who Murdered the Asshole: This is the crux behind the W.A.F. serial murder case. People already assume it's Simon due to the rumors surrounding him, but evidence given by his lawyer prove that the suspect is Gale.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Briefly happens to the main couple when they learn about Veronica possibly bearing Conor's baby. Instead of breaking up again, they decide to get hitched as soon as possible while investigating the truth behind Veronica's claims.
  • Yellow Peril: Asians are apparently a favorite target for racists in Van Tescosa.
  • You Know What They Say About X...: Racial and sexual minorities in this setting are often the target of disparagement from the white majority both online and in real life.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Simon is shamed at the prospect of being like Gale who goads him into killing the man who ruined his lover's life.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: The W.A.F. is under the delusion that they're out to save Van Tescosa from the supposed evils of racial and sexual diversity. In truth, the group is secretly manipulated by a few elites who deem them as tools to control the population to their liking. As one of them puts it:
    "It's a simple theory. Divide the slaves up into groups and instill hatred in them until they rip each other apart. Torturing someone that's different from you helps improve your self-esteem. It gives you pleasure. Don't give a fuck whether they get hurt or not. They're not on your side, anyway. That is how moral deformity begins to develop, little by little. Just enough so you don't get trampled to death. Don't weed them out, but don't let them mix with your crowd, either. Treat them like trash. Beings that don't fit into the universal ideologies of society. In course, they'll become objects of hate and resentment. That's when you reach out to them. It's the perfect time to offer them a sweet solution. "I understand you." "You are an important person." "Follow me." Then, strangely enough, they'll cease to think and become dependent on their ruler and the masses."
  • Zero-Approval Gambit: Though he'd rather have someone else take the blame, Talen is forced to invoke this trope on himself in the end if it means crippling the W.A.F. movement for good.
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