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"TF2 didn't start with a lot of story. There wasn't room for one. But as the updates got more ambitious, we found the perfect way to explore the mercs' world: comics."
The TF2 Team

Starting with the WAR! comic, Team Fortress 2 established a series of webcomics that primarily explain the story and introduce characters that the actual game itself lacks. Because of this, the comics are usually the only canon material to rely on.

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While most of the comics are there to give a major update (such as the Scream Fortress events) some backstory, there have been comics which do not tie into any update. In particular, the series has a currently ongoing seven-issue story arc known as Team Fortress Comics, which is bi-monthly... except that only six issues have been released since August 2013.

All of the TF2 Comics can be found here on the TF2 website. Comics are ordered by release date.

General Comic Tropes

  • Aborted Arc: If not an outright Alternate Continuity, the comics barely focus on the RED and BLU conflict at all. There is only shown to be one team now, Redmond and Blutarch were killed off, and they never explain why both teams were run by the same Administrator.
  • Adapted Out: The BLU team don't appear at all in Team Fortress Comics; though the Engineer appears wearing blue, he's implied to be the one who was on the same team as the RED members. Classic Heavy and Miss Pauling even imply that the mercs' team isn't called RED at all; alongside the Administrator's other teams (Team Echelon, Team Citadel, and Team Vanguard), they're Team Fortress.
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  • Cerebus Syndrome: Zig-Zagged. While many update comics feature absurdly comedic situations, nearly all of them are treated as canon. Here are some of the best examples of this:
    • Redmond and Blutarch are brutally murdered by Gray in cold blood as he begins preparing for his robot takeover of Mann Co. The next TF comic is about Saxton Hale explaining to the mercs what to do while he fights a yeti, while Ms. Pauling tells the team that Gray's robots run on piles of money.
    • Old Wounds ends with Soldier, Pyro, Demo, Spy, Ms. Pauling, and Zhanna facing off against impossible odds - all without weapons, they are taken out by Gray's bloodsucking robots which seem to kill them off for real. The next comic reveals that Demoman's body is able to produce its own alcohol to cause the robots to malfunction, and has antics like Soldier readily holding open a chest cavity to accept more blood into his body, Ms. Pauling's eyes squirting blood when she is squeezed, and Heavy's horrified reaction to Zhanna's dating of Soldier.
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  • Cloud Cuckoo Land: Put simply, the whole TF2 universe is crazy in a box with a side order of fries. The entire world is owned by one of two corporations, founded by two feuding brothers fighting over worthless pits of gravel, and both owned by a single sociopathic woman who keeps both sides in conflict. Weapons are supplied by Mann Co., a company owned by an overly masculine Australian who spends most of his time getting into fights. Australia itself is also hyper-masculine, with everyone being incredibly muscular and owning a mustache (yes, even the women), and whose leader is chosen by boxing match with a kangaroo. What's more, it turns out that the second floor was invented (by Shakespearicles, the strongest poet who ever lived) 200 years before the staircase (invented by Abraham Lincoln), and in the intervening time people had to rocket jump up to the second floor. Then there's Gray Mann, who invented a robot army powered by money. Really, just about every bit of information available about the TF2 world only serves to emphasize how insane it is.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Because the characters already spend most of their time in the game shooting each other, the mercenaries almost never use their weapons in the comics, generally fighting on-panel with their bare hands, strange Improvised Weapons, or indirect methods. This is subverted in "The Naked and The Dead", as Saxton Hale provides the mercs their weapons just as they're about to fight a horde of robots.
  • Immortality Seeker: This is the driving force behind the entire story, even before Team Fortress Comics. A handful of the older characters, such as Redmond and Blutarch, use machines to extend their lifespan dramatically, and the main conflict of Team Fortress Comics can easily be summarized as "who becomes immortal using the world's remaining Australium?"
    • Cessation of Existence: Zig-zagged. Although death is treated as such at first, with Blutarch cryptically stating "there is nothing there" when referring to "the other side"note , ghosts show up constantly, including those of both the Mann brothers; in later comics, the afterlife and souls are shown to concretely exist, with Scout and Sniper both going to Heaven and Medic tricking Satan out of a ball-point pen before leaving Hell. Ironically, the ones who have to worry most about this are the modern mercenaries — Medic somehow surgically extracted their souls and put them in his own body.
  • Unsound Effect: FLEX! COUGAR! PROPERTY DAMAGE! BUTTON PRESS! HEROIC LEAP! Very common, especially if Saxton Hale is around. This extends to statues/action figures of Saxton Hale as well. COMPOUND ELEVATED SKULL FRACTURE!
  • Wham Episode: Each Team Fortress Comics issue is considerably more serious than any update comic, and most (if not all) of them have a major Reveal or two. If Mann Co. being taken over by the Big Bad isn't whammy enough, the later plot lines such as the Sniper's backstory should seal the deal.

WAR!

Loose Canon

  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: The 1800s BLU team appeared to comprise of:
    • Scout: Billy the Kid
    • Soldier: Stonewall Jackson
    • Pyro: Abe Lincoln
    • Demoman: Alfred Nobel
    • Heavy: John Henry
    • Engineer: Nikola Tesla
    • Medic: Sigmund Freud
    • Sniper: Davy Crockett
    • Spy: Fu Manchu
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: A pretty big one, but still:
    Blutarch's assistant: Give him a moment, dear. He's just dead.
  • Generation Xerox: Barnabas Hale being attacked by a cougar resembles the cover of one of his descendants', Saxton, Barbershop Action comics. He even refers to a pepper sauce in his dialog.
  • There Is Another: Notes on the cover the Life Extender machine's blueprints say that one was built for Redmond, one for Blutarch and a third with the date and client out of frame.
  • The Nothing After Death: According to Blutarch Mann, who has been continually dying and reviving through the use of the immortality machine.
    Blutarch Mann: Every day I'm dead a little longer, Mr Conagher. I have seen the other side. There is nothing there. Fix. This. Machine.
  • Pun-Based Title
  • Visual Pun: After receiving his share of Zepheniah Mann's will, Barnabas Hale gets pounced on by a cougar.
  • Why Won't You Die?: Blutarch says this of Redmond.

Bidwell's Big Plan

Meet the Director

  • Art Shift: The style of the Replay Update comic is noticeably looser than that of the previous comics, due to Andrea Wicklund (artist of the Lab Rat comic)'s coloring style.
  • Big "NO!": Soldier starts one.
    Administrator: I sent you those photos.
    Soldier: MY HEADS!!!
    Administrator: Yes. I took the heads too. Rest assured, they have been destroyed.
    Soldier: NOOOOOOOOOOOOO-
    Administrator: The photos, Mister Doe. Your heads are safe.
  • Call-Back: A number to the Meet the Team videos, one of the most blatant being here.
  • Comically Missing the Point: The Heavy was sent a photo of his house and himself, sleeping. He has a separate, smaller bed for "Sascha" [sic], his minigun. Scout says that's pretty embarrassing. The Heavy agrees; he needs to buy Sasha a better bed.
  • Critical Research Failure: In-universe, the Director tells the Soldier that Sun Tzu never wrote books on how to punch through someone's ribcage.
  • Description Cut:
    Miss Pauling: The Administrator sees this as a perfect opportunity to show the good people of Badlands you're not just armed psychopaths blowing up all their landmarks on a daily basis.
    The Administrator: I see this as a perfect opportunity, Miss Pauling, to spy on the armed psychopaths we're paying to blow each other up on a daily basis.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: In the last panel, the Medic can be seen holding the Quick-Fix, his new Medigun that he got in the Über Update. The final panel also includes stills from "Meet the Medic", which would not be released until several months later.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: To keep them in line, the Administrator sends Sniper photos of his parents, and Heavy photos of his minigun, and Soldier... gets a head in a box, and a photograph of the empty space where his collection of heads used to be.
    Spy: Whose... head is that?
    Soldier: MINE!!! The question is, where are the other seven?!
    (Spy and Scout are both visibly disgusted)
  • Expy: The Sniper's parents bear a striking resemblance to Eustace and Muriel of Courage the Cowardly Dog. The artist apparently confirmed that the similarity was intentional.
  • Freudian Excuse: Played straight and then averted, twice.
    • The Director tries to paint the Sniper as a victim of bad parenting and a society that runs on Testosterone Poisoning; from the look on the Sniper's face, the Director may as well have been saying Blah Blah Blah.
    • The Director informs us of a tragic backstory for the Heavy to explain his actions, but the Heavy isn't interested in talking about it. He knows he isn't that complicated:
    Heavy: I. Like. To shoot. This gun. Is all you need to know.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All/Primadonna Director: The Director is too pretentious and sure of his superiority to realize when he's being duped or led to his death.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Like in her other appearances, Miss Pauling seems to be the nicest and least crazy person in TF2 canon, but she doesn't appear to have any qualms about shooting a man in cold blood as part of the job.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: See Freudian Excuse above.
  • Sarcasm Mode: The Administrator lays it on real thick when she berates the mercs for killing her messenger.
    The Administrator: First off, let me thank you for shooting yet another messenger. And when you kill the messengers, they can't return their miniature televisions, which it may surprise you don't grow naturally on their chests.
  • Shoot the Messenger: Much to the Administrator's annoyance. The mini TVs strapped to their chests are expensive.
  • Speech-Bubbles Interruption: Ms. Pauling does this to the Sniper when he threatens the director for trying to push his buttons.
  • Wag the Director: Many members of the Team attempt to do this to the director; Miss Pauling and The Administrator are ultimately the most successful.invoked

Grordbort's Crash

Bombinomicon

  • Artifact of Doom: Merasmus collects these. Even the broom in his castle is one.
  • Bedsheet Ghost: One of the kids is dressed as the ghost of Zepheniah Mann, who happens to be one.
  • Big "NO!": When the Soldier breaks Merasmus' staff.
  • Black Magic: Merasmus'.
  • Brick Joke: In the last halloween update, the teams were sent back in time. The explanation was that "the Soldier angered a magician". It's revealed that the magician is the Soldier's roommate.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Merasmus sends MONOCULUS! to fight the team after the Soldier breaks his staff, proclaiming the party to be over. Also, the trope is inverted with the Heavy when he gives a child $7000 as an apology for calling the boy fat.
  • Evil Gloating: The Bombinomicon after it possesses the young Demoman's eye. Merasmus isn't angry at him because anything horrible is going to happen, but because he has to live with the book. The Bombinomicon was going to return the eye but was too busy chattering before Merasmus forcefully removes it.
    Merasmus: What have ye done? Now he'll never shut up about it! I have to live with this book, you know!
  • Ghost Story: The Demoman tells one about how he lost his eye.
  • Giant Eye of Doom: MONOCULUS!
  • Halloween Episode
  • Haunted Castle: The Demoman's story takes place in Merasmus' castle, though Merasmus now lives with the Soldier.
  • Ignored Enemy: In the last panel, the Soldier ignores the giant eye to fight Merasmus.
  • Manipulative Bastard: The Bombinomicon convinces the young Demoman to read it.
  • Monster Roommate: Merasmus.
  • Nobody Calls Me "Chicken"!: Some challenging from the Bombinomicon makes the Demoman peek at its pages.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: If what the Soldier says about being on the lam is true, the police have been tricked into thinking he's a robot.
  • Portmanteau: The Bombinomicon is a portmanteau of "bomb" and "Necronomicon".
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Bombinomicon.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Parodied on the front page. A random guy bemoans that he was the monster all along, which is advertised as a twist ending... with a note beneath explaining that this is not, in fact, the twist ending.
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: The Bombinomicon. It contains "over 400 pages of spells, enchantments, recipes and anecdotes about blowing things up".
  • Volleying Insults:
    Soldier: Nobody invited you, Merasmus!
    Merasmus: Do not anger Merasmus! A magician invites himself!
    Soldier: I am going to invite that staff straight up your ass and push you around like a broom!
    Merasmus: Well, that would certainly be the first time you swept anything!
  • You Are Fat: Being called fat is what finally makes one of the trick-or-treaters cry.
    Heavy: Every day Heavy risk life. To earn money. To feed family. Instead, you would have Heavy spend this money. On stupid candy. For you. You presumptuous... lazy... fat...
    Boy: Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
    Heavy: Oh. Um. Stop. Heavy did not mean this. Little child is not fat. People call Heavy fat. Please stop crying. Here. Here is seven thousand dollars.
  • You Fool!: Merasmus uses this a few times.

True Meaning

  • An Ass-Kicking Christmas
  • Call-Back: The rocket is similar to the one in "Grordbort's Crash". It contains weapons as well.
  • Christmas Episode
  • Funny Background Event: The Christmas tree is made with antlers and decorated with knives and grenades, and one of the Soldier's Gunboats hangs on the chimney like a Christmas stocking.
  • The Gambling Addict: Apparently, Old Nick likes to bet on college basketball.
  • Intelligible Unintelligible:
    Engineer: Pyro, you been writin' letters to other dimensions?
    Pyro: Mmm-mmmh
    Engineer: Naw, me neither.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The message that came with the rocket full of weapons about "hearing [the Engineer and Pyro's] plea" is a very thinly veiled nod to people who had been displeased with the lack of new weapons for the two classes.
  • The Mafia: Old Nick owes them a lot of money (see The Gambling Addict). They battle it out when the mobsters find him in Antarctica.
  • Mood Whiplash: Several within the story the Engineer is reading.
    "Those mobsters were just about to give up the hunt, when up in that cold night sky they saw a star. The brightest star they ever saw. So they followed it. And after a spell they saw a sight that filled 'em with wonder... Ol' Nick, forcin' a buncha naughty kids to make all manner of guns, smack dab in the middle of Antarctica."
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Of a sort. Engie's reaction to a rocket crashing into his house? "Huh."
  • Ship Tease: The Engineer and Pyro might be living together.
  • Shout-Out: The line about adopting a super baby is a Shout Out to Superman.
  • The Three Wise Men: Again, parodied, with the "three wiseguys".
  • True Meaning of Christmas: Despite the title drop, since the tale the Engineer reads to the Pyro parodies a bunch of Christmas tropes, the true meaning of Australian Christmas/Smissmas isn't clear. Also, the comic is more about the two getting new weapons.

A Smissmas Story

Blood Brothers

  • Brainy Baby: Gray can speak at birth, claiming to have learned to do so by listening to conversations outside the womb. He also invented a new type of algebra to pass the time.
  • Call-Back: Archimedes is seen flying around outside the Alamo, still covered in blood.
  • Creepy Child: Gray Mann, within seconds of birth.
  • Dark Reprise: The temporarily-dying-mid-sentence joke makes a return. Gray makes it permanent.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Blutarch and Redmond think they can use a pregnancy machine to produce an heir and cannot be convinced that machines cannot run on gravel.
  • Death by Childbirth: Bette Mann, the triplets' mother.
  • Expy/Affectionate Parody: The Alamo, which is sentient and narrates the story, seems to be an expy of the Crypt Keeper, at least in terms of its writing style (i.e. lots of alliteration, affectionate nicknames for its readers, announcing the name of the story in a dramatic fashion, and forcing morbid puns into sentences).
  • Killed Off for Real: Gray murders both Redmond and Blutarch.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Gray Mann.
  • Mr. Seahorse: The brothers' plan to put an end to their bickering and produce an heir.
  • Noodle Incident: The Great Eagle Scourge of 1822.
  • Superdickery: Parodied with the cover for Alamo Vs. Hercules.
    We've promised it before! It has never actually happened! Now, after 306 scene-setting issues, we're doing it!
    Not a dream! Not a hoax! Not an imaginary story! NOT THIS TIME!
    Finally... Hercules and The Alamo will fight!note 
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: Gray Mann stabbed the two engineers who were about to leave the room.
  • Time Skip: The beginning of "Blood Brothers" says it takes place "Some time in the future." Gray states he was born in 1822 and had been watching his brothers for 150 years; assuming he meant exactly 150 years, this puts the date at 1972, four years ahead of the 1968 year shown by in-game calendars.
    • Thanks to subsequent updates, we've pinned "Blood Brothers" at October 29th or 30th, 1970.
  • Triang Relations: Possible type 3 or 7. It's a very minor part of the comic, but note how Zepheniah Mann shows little grief over his wife dying in childbirth, while Barnabus Hale looks utterly heartbroken.
  • Unsound Effect: Eagle Attack!
  • Wham Episode: Gray finally makes his appearance and murders Redmond and Blutarch in cold blood.
    Blutarch: (about Redmond) Don't worry, he's just dead for a moment. He'll be back in a-
    Gray: Mm. No. I think I've heard enough. (stabs Redmond)

A Fate Worse than Chess

  • Continuity Nod: During the "True Meaning" arc, an image of the Red Pyro sitting instantly went memetic. The same pose appears in "A Fate Worse Than Chess", but this time with the BLU Pyro.
  • Funny Background Event: In "A Fate Worse Then Chess", on page 28 and 29, the RED Soldier is picking his nose, and the Spy next to him looks disgusted.
  • Money Spider: Parodied; the robots run on piles of money. Lampshaded by Miss Pauling, who tells the mercenaries she doesn't know how or why this is, but they're entitled to whatever the robots drop.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Explosition.
  • No Hero Discount: Despite the fact that his company's facilities are under attack by a horde of robots, Saxton Hale refuses to give his company's powerful experimental weapons to his mercenaries for free, which means they have to find a way to pay for them.
  • Pun-Based Title
  • Running Gag: The development team's love of hats shows up here — in the last page of "A Fate Worse Than Chess", the RED Demoman dons Prince Tavish's Crown.
  • Shout-Out: Saxton Hale's alias as "Dr. Joanbaez" is a reference to Joan Baez, a singer best known for her relationship with Bob Dylan. Bidwell's disguise looks like the outfit worn by The Beatles in "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band".
  • Skewed Priorities:
    Miss Pauling: This isn't like any other assignment you've been given. It's much, much more serious. This isn't just a fight for Mann Co., or Saxton Hale. It's a fight for your jobs.
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: Parodied. After Saxton Hale's recorded "explosition" to the mercenaries:
    Miss Pauling: Are there any questions?
    RED Sniper: I got one. We getting paid for this?
    Saxton Hale: Saxton Hale again. This is pre-taped, so I don't know what anybody's talking about right now, but I am not paying you for this.

Doom-Mates

  • Butt-Monkey: Merasmus becomes one here.
  • Face Palm: The Spy does one as the Soldier explains why the RED team are getting killed.
  • Haunted Castle: It's the same castle as before, but it's less scary-looking this time because the Soldier trashes it and is about to turn it into a raccoon sanctuary.
  • Humiliation Conga: The Soldier buries Merasmus's fridge (and washing machine) in the yard, gets his castle infested by raccoons, and has his home forcefully converted into a raccoon sanctuary owned by the Soldier. Merasmus is mistaken for a woman multiple times by a city official, is heavily fined, gets taunted for his misfortune, and finally, his body is burned by the Soldier when his spirit leaves his body.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The Soldier is so completely oblivious to the consequences of his own atrocious behavior that he can't quite understand why his roommate would be mad at him for destroying their house, or why his teammates would be upset that Merasmus has decided to target them as well.
  • Pun-Based Title
  • Rage Breaking Point: The Soldier goes beyond it when he taunts Merasmus.
  • Resurrective Immortality: The Soldier ate an entire bottle of "heart medication"/Kill Me Come Back Stronger pills.
  • Revenge by Proxy: Upon discovering that the Soldier took "Kill Me Come Back Stronger Pills" and is effectively immortal, Merasmus decides to kill everyone the Soldier cares about instead.
  • Third-Person Person: Merasmus, briefly, when he finally loses his temper.

Shadow Boxers

  • Ahem/"Be Quiet!" Nudge: The Medic and Heavy clear their throats and nudge Miss Pauling when she mentions that not all of the team are Americans.
  • Blatant Lies: When Soldier insists he infiltrated the robot base:
    Soldier: Come on guys! Why would I lie? We're all Americans here!
    Miss Pauling: Well, not all of us, obviously. Medic's German and Heavy's from Russ— [Heavy elbows her, Medic coughs] Ow! What? Oh.
    Heavy: Ha ha! Germany! Russia! Is big joke! Big American joke on Soldier! Ooh, America. It is the place I am from. All the time.
    Soldier: Ha! You got me!
  • Call-Back: On the final page of "A Fate Worse Than Chess", the Soldier is picking his nose. This time, he's won a nose-picking contest and is doing the same when inside Gray Mann's base.
  • Cassandra Truth: Until he mentions the eagles, no one believes the Soldier has actually gone to the robot base because of his Cloudcuckoolander status.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right
  • Declaration of Protection: It's implied that the reason the Heavy goes to Gray's base is because Miss Pauling decided to.
  • Delayed Reaction: When the Soldier gives an exact time the robots will invade the next day, Miss Pauling talks for a few more seconds before that sinks in.
  • Funny Background Event: On page 7, the Scout is staring dreamily at Miss Pauling.
    • On page four, Scout appears to have been previously on fire (there's still smoke coming off him), and Archimedes is presenting a screw to the Medic, who is giving him a "get that thing out of your mouth and give it to me" look. There's also Archimedes' tiny neck brace.
  • Giving Up on Logic: When Miss Pauling sees that Soldier's method for infiltrating the robots' meetings involves a Paper-Thin Disguise, she doesn't ask questions. She demands a costume for herself.
  • Island Base: Gray Gravel Co.
  • Mission Control: Miss Pauling acts as this for the team.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The way the Soldier describes his robot disguise.
    Soldier: Miss Pauling, are you braced? Because you will need to brace yourself for what I am about to show you.
    Miss Pauling: I'm braced. Let's see it, Soldier.
    Soldier: Are you sitting down? Because you should not be in a comfortable bowel-emptying position for what I am about to show you.
    Miss Pauling: I'm standing. You're looking right at me.
    Soldier: Okay, but are you pregnant? You should not b—
    Miss Pauling: Soldier, show me!
  • No Ending: It ends with Soldier, Pauling, and Heavy apparently being discovered in a base full of enemy robots, but this is completely forgotten by the next comic.
  • Noodle Incident: During the merc's meeting, Archimedes is wearing a tiny, bird-sized neck brace.
  • Not So Different: In "Blood Brothers", Gray Mann is disgusted by his brothers fighting over possession of worthless gravel. Here, readers learn that he has his own gravel company by the time his robot Engineer is built. Of course, since he offed his brothers, he probably just appropriated and merged their companies.
  • Oh, Crap!: The Soldier, Heavy, and Miss Pauling's reactions when they're caught inside the robot facility.
  • Painting the Medium: The robots use an appropriate typeface and color in their speech and say the tags out loud:
    Scout Robot: *beepboop* The humans were waiting for us at the last five attack sites, master. Somehow they <italics on>knew.<italics off>
  • Paper-Thin Disguise:
    • The robots mention how they were tricked by the decoy base built by the "tactical mastermind".
    • The Soldier's disguise is actually his Halloween costume. Miss Pauling and the Heavy eventually don the same costumes when infiltrating Gray Mann's facility, and all the robots are fooled save for the newly built robot Engineer.
  • Pun-Based Title: The title of the comic.
  • Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud: The robots' use of italics.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: The robots.
    Gray Mann: And—just so I'm clear—you suspect these security leaks are due to some heretofore unknown "tactical mastermind" in their ranks. ...And not, for instance, because you mention our secret attack plans at every opportunity.
    Scout Robot: *baddaboop* Affirmative. We believe it is the same genius who masterminded the decoy base *beep boop over here* [towards a newspaper with a headline that reads "Local Man Wins Nose Picking Contest"]
  • Spot the Thread: Inverted. Miss Pauling is able to tell the Soldier isn't delusional about infiltrating the robot base when he mentions that Gray Mann was raised by eagles, a fact that was kept undisclosed from the team.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial:
    Heavy: Ha ha! Germany! Russia! Is big joke! Big American joke on Soldier!
    Soldier: Ha! You got me!
    Heavy: Ohh, America. It is the place I am from. All the time.
  • Unsound Effect: NON-ROBOTIC SHUFFLING SOUND!
  • Visual Pun/Genius Bonus: During the meeting, Archimedes has a screw in his mouth. Archimedes' screw, anyone?

Team Fortress Comics #1: Ring of Fired

  • Back from the Dead: Somehow, Merasmus is alive again, living with Tom Jones.
  • Bait-and-Switch: After Soldier and Miss Pauling head off to get the team back together, we cut to the board room of Frontier Engineering, whose board members have all become millionaires thanks to their new CEO's inspiring brilliance completely revolutionizing the field. You're expecting the CEO to be the Engineer, right? Nope! It's the Pyro.
  • Break the Haughty: Saxton Hale loses his company, his trophies, and the right to go down fighting.
  • Call-Back: This isn't the first time Scout and Spy get arrested due to RED shenanigans. This time, however, they end up sentenced to more than just community service.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The Demoman's Eyelander has evolved from only being able to hiss headssss... to doing this. It's also apparently able to eat churros.
  • Comically Missing the Point: There's a mugshot of Scout in which he's Flexing Those Non-Biceps and pulling a duck face. He probably didn't know at the time that he was going to be sentenced to death.
  • Coincidental Broadcast: Demo and Miss Pauling are discussing finding Spy and Scout, only for Miss Pauling to spot a newspaper from across the room that reveals both of their locations. They're on death row.
  • Continuity Nod: There are plenty to past comics, all helpfully pointed out by caption boxes.
  • Critical Research Failure: In-universe: Ghost D.A. disappears with a "doodily-doodily-doot" noise. The Eyelander, being possessed by a ghost, points out that it never does that, and questions whether the writers are actually ghosts. Additionally...
    Eyelander: Ugh. "The defense rests"? He's the @$%ing prosecution! Ghost D.A.! "District Attorney!" It's in the title of the @$%ing show!
  • Death by Cameo: Tom Jones spends one panel alive before the Soldier sneaks up on him and snaps his neck. The only other time he shows up, he's killed again. In Heaven.
  • Formerly Fit: The Demoman has gained weight since losing his job.
  • For the Evulz: The reason the Soldier killed Jones was because Merasmus was living happily and Soldier wasn't. Merasmus questions his logic.
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: Courtesy of the Demo's mother, revealing his middle name (Finnegan) in the process.
  • Funny Background Event: In one panel, outside the Demoman and his mother's mansion, there is a statue spouting water from the neck, from when it was decapitated in the WAR! comic.
  • He’s Back: When Demoman gets out of his slump, shaves, and rejoins the gang.
  • Homage: The cover recreates a famous Spider-Man page where Peter throws away his Spider-Man costume, except here it's Saxton Hale throwing away all of his clothes but his boots.
  • Hope Spot: The mercenaries have successfully repelled every menace that Gray has sent their way, driving the mad scion of Mann to "negotiate" with Saxton Hale and finally bring the conflict to an end. Said negotiation involved a fist fight for total control over Mann Co. Saxton Hale is excellent at fist fights. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
  • Humiliation Conga: Saxton Hale. First, he is forced to fight Gray Mann's young daughter. When he can't bring himself to fight her, he loses his company to Gray. Admitting defeat, he says that he'll get his fighting trophies and leave, but the girl tells him that they're her trophies now, and to get out. With his trophies denied to him, he decides that at the very least he'll fight his way out of the building through Gray's robot army, but Gray orders them into non-violence mode. Despite his efforts, he can't get any of the robots to fight him, and leaves a broken man.
  • Immortality Seeker: Gray wanted control of Mann Co. so he could get a large supply of Australium for his life extender.
  • Karma Houdini: A couple of old ladies are shocked by the Soldier killing Tom Jones, and Miss Pauling lectures him about it but only to keep up her disguise. He's never punished for it and Merasmus gets arrested instead.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Near the end.
    Soldier: Miss Pauling! Pyro cut off my hand.
    Miss Pauling: Pyro, don't cut off Soldier's hands.
  • Noodle Incident: How did the Pyro become a millionaire corporate CEO during the Time Skip? The world may never know...
    • He does spend a lot of time with someone more suited to the position.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Miss Pauling, dressed as a police officer, "arrests" Soldier to get him out of trouble for killing Tom Jones. Somehow, Soldier is the only one to see through it. And almost blows her cover.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: The mercs have been let go from Mann Co., and Miss Pauling is trying to get them back together under orders from the Administrator.
  • Sheathe Your Sword: Saxton Hale is challenged to a fistfight with the CEO of Gray Gravel, the winner getting control of Mann Co. Gray Gravel's CEO isn't Gray Mann, but his five-year-old daughter. Hale forfeits the fight, and with it, his company.
  • Show Within a Show: The Demoman and his sword watch a crime drama called "Ghost D.A." It's hilariously bad, and Demo and the Eyelander complain about it.
  • Talking Weapon: It's shown that the Eyelander is fully sentient and can hold conversations.
  • Time Skip: Six months between Hale losing control of Mann Co. and the plot kicking off.
    • For those trying to keep track, the universe's date is now September 1972, according to the timestamp of Scout's and Spy's photos.
  • Tonight, Someone Dies: The blog post announcing the comic promises that "at least one person dies in it!" Turns out it was Tom Jones.
  • Wham Episode: Begins with Hale losing Mann Co to Gray and the reveal that Gray has a daughter, followed quickly by the team being broken up, and ends with another reveal, this time that Spy and Scout are due to be hanged.
  • Wham Line: A newspaper headline on the last page reads "MERC SCUM TO HANG" above mugshots of Spy and Scout.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Hale loses Mann Co. because the CEO he has to fight is a little girl. He tries to order his underling fight her, but he also morally objects.]]
  • Xanatos Gambit: Gray Mann takes over Mann Co. to get his hands on its supply of Australium, but the Administrator took off with the vault's contents beforehand, just in case he did.

Grave Matters

  • A Day in the Limelight: The first comic to focus entirely on Blutarch and Redmond.
  • Call-Back:
    • Soldier is apparently still a lawyer, and Blutarch and Redmond actually ask him to settle the legal matter of who owns the gravel pits. Never mind that they're both at present ineligible for ownership on account of not quite being alive anymore.
    • The picture Soldier uses to advertise his legal services is the photograph of him winning the nose-picking contest from "Shadow Boxers".
    • Merasmus' Castle is still a raccoon sanctuary, just as it had been since "Doom-Mates"
    • One panel shows Blutarch's ghost on the phone with someone, telling them to go to the Alamo, and the next panel shows Redmond telling someone that "It's not in Texas, we had it moved." and that they only rented it.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Soldier is normally inept at anything not involving destruction, but his analysis is that the Mann Brothers' ghosts are Not Quite Dead Yet and that one of the brothers need to cross over for there to be a "winner" is not disputed.
  • Framing Device: The story is being told by Merasmus, who is in jail from the events of Ring of Fired.
  • Indian Burial Ground: It turns out that road to Hell goes through one of these, setting up the gameplay for Scream Fortress 2013.
  • Midquel: It takes place after Blood Brothers and Doom-mates but before Ring of Fired.
    • Sequel Episode: The bulk of the story begins moments after Gray kills Blutarch and Redmond.
  • Noodle Incident: Turns out Soldier is also a priest (just not in New Mexico) and an exorcist (but only in Guam).
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: The ghosts of Blutach and Redmond are capable of calling up the mercenaries to get them to send eachother's remains to hell, so they can completely die.
  • Wimp Fight: Blutarch and Redmond engage in one after they argue about who died first and thus who won the gravel pits.

Team Fortress Comics #2: Unhappy Returns

  • Action Girl: Margaret/Maggie/Mags.
  • Call-Back: To "A Smissmas Story" and, in a subtle way, to the War! Update.
    • Especially so with the former, with further allusions to Soldier acting as the team's (totally unqualified) attorney, right down to Scout naming him and Soldier trying to get him the electric chair.
    • There's also one to "Meet The Spy": Scout mentions his mother will be upset when she finds out he spent all of their money, suggesting Spy gives Scout a ride for the love of her.
  • Clear Their Name: Miss Pauling comes in at the end and reveals that the crimes the mercs are being hanged for weren't actually crimes THEY committed. It's heavily implied that it's actually stuff the MAYOR did to Teufort. The gang ends up with a pardon at the end.
  • Cliffhanger: The epilogue reveals that Heavy may not be interested in coming back to the team.
  • Compliment Backfire: Scout successfully convinces a lady that he broke his arms by performing a million push-ups in a row, but his attempt at showing off failed miserably:
    Lady: "Well, that's very impressive for someone with arms as thin as yours, dear."
    Scout: "Uh..."
    Lady: "They're like little bird wings!"
    Scout: "Just open the door, lady."
  • Cool Car: There's a brief glimpse of Spy's fancy sportscar during one flashback.
  • Covers Always Lie: There's no big epic jailbreak. Rather, Demo and Soldier end up on the gallows too and Miss Pauling has to come in and stop the executions.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Spy has a number of fake teeth with tiny compartments in them. And he uses them to hold tiny Cornish game hens, candelabras, and bottles of wine, and a tiny razor for shaving. He also has a tiny butterfly knife hidden in the sleeve of his prison jumpsuit.
  • Dead Artists Are Better: Scout's "life savings" is actually a bunch of Tom Jones memorabilia he's sure with be worth a fortune one Jones dies. Spy insists Jones is "virtually immortal", but Scout is satisfied with waiting—and of course Soldier killed the man himself a couple months later.
  • Distaff Counterpart: In some ways, Margaret is this to Saxton Hale, with her fondness for Good Old Fisticuffs, wearing khaki, and snapping wildcat jaws.
  • Dramatic Irony: The Scout invested his life's savings into Tom Jones memorabilia, which he insists will "be worth a fortune when he dies". Given that Tom Jones is at the very most 32 during the events of the comic, the Spy is not amused at having to miss his flight to pick up the Scout's savings. The reader, however, knows from the previous comic that the Soldier ends up killing the Welsh singer five and a half months later by snapping his neck.
    Spy: He's not going to die, you imbecile! He's in his twenties! He's the most virile man on the planet! He has no enemies! The man is virtually immortal!
  • Dumbass Has a Point: When Scout is trying to prepare for the trial (by reading scripts of "Ghost DA"), Spy tells him to just take the public defender. Scout responds that the last two times that they did that, they were assigned Soldier and a lamp. Subverted when the public defender actually knows what he's doing. Pity Soldier snaps his neck.
  • Enemy Mine: Saxton has to team up with his old nemesis, Charles Darling, to get Mann Co. back.
  • Faux Affably Evil: The mayor of Teufort is constantly smiling and chipper, despite some of his behavior rivaling the mercenaries themselves in depravity. His idea of "jail humor" to lift Spy and Scout's spirits is giving them a file... except their cell doesn't have bars, just six-inch thick plexiglass. He also makes a commemorative poster, with a little noose around a newspaper column about their arrest. And insisting they call him "Mike" instead of "Mister Mayor." Also, when Spy and Scout were in a bank vault collecting Scout's stuff, the police arrive to arrest them, but the mayor suggests they lock the two of them in instead, since Spy could probably easily kill them. By the way, that newspaper article claims Spy and Scout had to be "starved out" of hiding. Given that they were locked in the vault five and a half months ago, and are only just NOW being put on trial...
    • Oh, and we can't forget how the trial wasn't ACTUALLY for what RED did to Teufort; it was for stuff that the mayor did and just blamed on the mercs.
    • It's all ultimately subverted, however. The mayor was actually SO INCREDIBLY STUPID it never occurred to him that his behavior was evil.
  • Foreshadowing: Spy says that the food he and Scout have been given while in jail has been laced with drugs, and he wants a clear head for the next day's events, hinting that he's got something up his sleeve. It's Double Subverted when his plan to escape during the trial is ruined, but it's later revealed that the town of Teufort has been drinking contaminated water for a generation.
  • Kangaroo Court: Turns out that Scout and Spy hadn't even been given a TRIAL before they were sentenced to death, and the trial they DO get was laughable at best.
    • Parodied six ways to Sunday. They actually are guilty of property damage and accidental manslaughter from all those stray bullets, but they're never charged for such.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: The city of Teufort treating the executions like a party. Given what the mercs have done to the city, it's hard to be too outraged at their preemptive celebration. Then it turns out the mercs are actually innocent of the crimes they're being hanged for.
  • The Millstone: Scout and Spy's public defender had a decent chance of actually getting them off by simply pointing out how they've not been subject to any sort of due process, which the judge didn't even contest—he wasn't even being facetious, he's just so stupid he genuinely didn't know those things. Then Soldier kills him and blows his and Demoman's cover because he couldn't stand Scout insulting him.
  • Mugging the Monster: Scout and Spy's cellmate Joey Murders tries to backstab Spy for no real reason. Guess which one actually ends up with a shiv in their back.
  • Noodle Incident: Scout and Spy once got a lamp as a public defender. And it was evidently better than Soldier.
  • Old Flame: Margaret/Maggie/Mags is this to Saxton Hale. She's been through four marriages and still seems to have feelings for him.
  • Only Sane Man: The public defender Spy and Scout get was actually a competent lawyer, who pointed out that his clients weren't getting a fair trial.
  • Quirky Town/Town with a Dark Secret: The people of Teufort aren't really right on their heads; everyone in Teufort are as crazy as the mercenaries, as their water is polluted with lead.
  • Refusal of the Call: In the epilogue it shows Heavy back in Siberia, presumably in hiding. When the woman he's visiting informs him that Ms. Pauling has been trying to contact him, the Heavy refuses to call her back and deliberately throws away the paper with her contact information.
  • Reality Ensues: As much as reality can be had in the world of TF2 gets subverted: Spy and Scout are arrested for what they did during their time working for RED and are due to be executed. It's implied that that's what'll happen to the other seven if they're caught. Then it turns out they AREN'T being arrested for the murders and property damage; the Mayor is pinning down every screw up HE'S made on them. When Miss Pauling proves they're innocent, the hanging simply gets cancelled as everyone leaves.
  • Running Gag: Soldier attempts to act as a defense attorney once again, and fails terribly (again).
    Scout: Beat it, Soldier! I got a real lawyer this time!
    Soldier: Oh yeah? Well, I'm calling a surprise witness! My hands! And they will prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your lawyer's neck is guilty! ...of being broken! [NECK SNAP!] Huttah!
  • Schedule Slip: Discussed in the update post. Valve Time is in full effect and the second issue came out over a month late. After announcing that this arc would instead become a tri-monthly affair, the third issue came out two days short of four full months after the second. invoked
  • Spanner in the Works: Soldier manages to ruin three working plans to spring Scout and Spy from custody - Spy's, the public defender's and his own - simultaneously, all because he can't stand Scout insulting him. He starts by loudly retorting Scout's insult, exposing both himself and Demoman to the crowd and knocking Spy's smuggled butterfly knife out of his hands in the process, preventing him from using it to escape on his own. Then, in order to "prove" his skill as a defense attorney, he kills Scout's public defender just as it seemed that he might have been able to get Scout and Spy released legally.
  • Translation Punctuation: The Russian dialogue at the end of the comic is rendered in angle brackets.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Oddly subverted! You would think jumping from this panel to this panel would indicate that Saxton Hale's flashback was full of bunk, but no. Maggie confirms that said flashback was exactly how it went down.

Team Fortress Comics #3: A Cold Day in Hell

  • Badass Family: Apparently Heavy's family qualifies, although this isn't terribly surprising. Heavy makes a vague reference to "the people who hurt us before", and when his sister says that more men like them came while Heavy was in America, they "butchered them like hogs" all by themselves.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When Soldier declares that only honey and menstruating women attract bears, he is hit with a sudden realization, points at Pyro, and yells at Pyro to step aside, revealing the large quantities of honey in the plane's cargo.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Soldier, Pyro, and Scout are attacked by three large bears. Then, it turns out they were only cubs when the massive Mama Bear shows up.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Heavy will protect his sisters. From anyone and anything. However, his sisters are grown women now, and while they will never be able to repay him for all he has sacrificed, they no longer need his protection.
  • Brick Joke: The old lady from "Unhappy Returns" who was going to look up the definition of "pedophile" is at the library with a dictionary. She does not look happy.
  • Cliffhanger: Miss Pauling, Demo, and Spy arrive in Australia to look for Sniper... and a sniper scope is aimed straight at Pauling.
  • Death Glare/ Expressive Mask: Let's just say, you do not insult fire in front of the Pyro.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Medic's first appearance (and new career) in the whole arc evokes this.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Medic, who is now working for the TFC merc team and looks forward to battling his old friends, all for the sake of seeing which he has made stronger.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Soldier fights a bear bear-naked and covered in honey.
  • Given Name Reveal: Heavy's sisters call him Misha, which is a shortened, affectionate term for Mikhail.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: Soldier, when debating whether to eat "Heavy's Communist mom's" soup, hallucinates George Washington and Benedict Arnold. And a giant hot dog.
  • Homage: This issue's cover is based off the cover for Action Comics #1, with the Heavy throwing a giant bear into the ground.
  • Historical Hilarity/Historical In-Joke: A mild example compared to TF2's usual, but Amelia Earhart apparently stockpiled massive amounts of honey, wore a hot dog costume while flying, and somehow crashed in western Siberia.
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service: Invoked by Gray's mercenary team. They've already found the other merc team, but are just tracking them until they lead them to the Administrator.
  • Made in Country X: When a Russian woman offers Soldier coats, he refuses because he read the first letter of the SEARS tag and assumed it stood for "Soviet/Stalin/socialism". He insists he'll only wear American-made goods like his Mann Co. jacket—even though the labels says it was made in China. For a company owned by an Australian.
  • Meat-O-Vision: When Soldier is hungry he starts seeing the Siberian wildlife as pies and turkey, his hands as a sandwich, and Scout as a hot dog. This is subverted when it turns out Scout actually looked like a hot dog because he just put on a hot dog costume.
  • Mythology Gag: Team Fortress Classic mercenaries form Team Gray. The actual TFC logo appears in the panel Team Gray is introduced to drive the point across.
  • Noodle Incident:
    Soldier: Don't worry Scout! I am nude and covered in honey again!*
    *See Naked Tales of Valor #1-37, Scout's Worst Double Dates #14
  • Not Hyperbole: When Heavy says the full-sized bears the others killed were babies, he's not just repeating his Catchphrase: they were actual babies, and their much larger mother just came for them.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The scene in Siberia ends short of the Heavy wrestling against a gigantic bear with the Soldier and Pyro spectating, cutting to Gray Mann's pursuit of the Administrator at Teufort's library. When the comic cuts back a mere two pages later, the bear has already been made into a banquet.
  • Red Scare: Soldier does not like being in Siberia: he refuses any help from locals, does not want to eat any of their food even when he is starving, and hallucinates that he is being taunted by "Christopher, the Communist Mountain".
  • Sexy Shirt Switch: After sleeping with Heavy's sister Zhanna, Soldier can be seen wearing her nightgown for the rest of the comic.
  • Shout-Out: "There are only two things that attract bears: honey and menstruating women."
    • The cover is a shout-out to the cover of Action Comics Number One, with Heavy taking the place of Superman, a bear taking the place of the green car, and Scout, Soldier, and Pyro taking the place of the other people. Scout even wears the fairly iconic expression of distress one of the panicking civilians has.
  • Sudden Videogame Moment: When Scout, Soldier, and Pyro kill the baby bears, up pops the same end-of-round scoreboard shown in the actual game.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Half-way into the comic it's implied Scout's organs were ripped out by bears and his heart stopped. Less than ten pages later he wakes up without any visible injury.
  • Unsound Effect: BORING MORAL CHOICE!
  • The Un-Reveal:
    Soldier: "There are only two things that attract bears: honey and menstruating women. My God, I knew it! Somehow I always knew!" (points at Pyro) "Pyro! Stop blocking the door! Good Lord! This plane is filled with honey!"
    • Scout dreams that Spy is his dad, but wakes up in a cold sweat and realizes it's "Not a memory. Just a dream."
  • Wham Line: "MERRRRCENARRRIES! FALLLL IN!"

Catch-Up Comic

  • A True Story in My Universe: Saxton Hale describes Team Fortress 2 as a dramatized documentary game based off of the events that have transpired in the comics' universe.

Team Fortress Comics #4: Blood in the Water

  • Ass Shove: Saxton Hale threatens to do this to Heavy:
    You better start talking, because in five seconds I'm going to put MY FOOT UP YOUR ASS! Then we'll BOTH have to go to a SPECIAL HOSPITAL! Feet up the ass are like arrows, son, you can't just PULL 'em out! They'll have to push my whole body out through your mouth!
  • Atlantis: The country of New Zealand, which was sunk to protect it rather than as punishment or a natural disaster. If only they knew it was safer on the surface...
  • Blatant Lies: The comic claims, rather than being a bimonthly or quarterly comic released late, it's an annual comic "released six months early".
  • Cliffhanger: The Trauma Conga Line comes to an end when Sniper gets shot in the chest twice by the original team (plus the modern Medic), with the original Heavy demanding the modern team to answer some questions.
  • Creepy Souvenir: Soldier gives Zhanna a necklace of human ears. He hopes that eventually it'll have more ears on it. Zhanna, however, loves it, immediately leaping onto Soldier and passionately kissing him.
  • Depower: Once all of the Australium has been taken from Australia, its citizens are no longer Testosterone-Poisioned. They revert to plain old ordinary people, no different from the rest of the world. Naturally, when Soldier and Zhanna arrive expecting a no-holds-bared-brawl against a room full of Saxton Hales, they're extremely disappointed.
  • Disappeared Dad: We knew that this was the case for Heavy, but now we learn that this is also the case for Scout as well...maybe. After Heavy states that Scout's father "disappears often", Scout instantly reverses his train of thought and repeatedly claims that his father has not only disappeared, but is also dead. This ties into The Un-Reveal from the previous issue, where Scout has a "nightmare" that the Spy is actually his father.
  • Feel No Pain: The Administrator claims to be too old to feel anything.
  • Gargle Blaster: Sniper's "family moonshine" is apparently so potent that it melts through the barrels it's stored in. He uses it to sedate Demoman. In a cut scene, Demoman woke up, immediately took more, and passed right out.
  • Hands-On Approach: Soldier is about to snap an Australian soldier's neck... until Zhanna stops him. Then they snap the soldier's neck together. Aww.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Invoked by Lar-Nah when Miss Pauling finds out that most of the remaining Australium in New Zealand was destroyed by Bill-Bel.
    Pauling: You... you... you...
    Lar-Nah: Here. This helps. (passes her a glass of wine}
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Subverted - Heavy and Saxton Hale never actually come to blows.
  • Neck Snap: Soldier's up to his old tricks again, this time with a helping hand from Zhanna. He can also reverse the procedure. *NECK FIX*
  • Off-Model: Demoman's eyepatch switches eyes in one panel and disappears entirely in another.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Soldier and Zhanna, maybe. He even refers to her as his fiancée at one point.
  • The Reveal: Three of them: First, the location of the Engineer: he accompanied the Administrator; second the Administrator's motives towards collecting stockpiles of Australium are finally confirmed (somewhat:) She has her own Australium-powered life extender similar to Gray Mann's, making her... of a comparable age; vague, but definitely older than natural. However, she's not an Immortality Seeker like Gray or his brothers; she's perfectly willing to accept death, and actually intends to use the Australium in settling an as-of-now unspecified debt. Lastly, we find out that Sniper actually isn't Australian. He's one of the last surviving people of New Zealand.
  • Stealth Pun: In the comic, we find out that Sniper's real parents are in New Zealand, which is at the bottom of the ocean. In other words, he has blood kin in the water.
  • Three-Point Landing: Heavy, after jumping down a level inside Ayers Rock.
  • Title Drop: Not directly, but at the end Sniper is shot by the TFC Sniper, leaving blood in the water.
  • Trauma Conga Line: The ending, full stop. Sniper discovers that he not only has Jerkass birth parents, but said parents wasted the last cache of Australium painting failed rockets. The very last rocket is then stolen by Lar-Nah and launched into space, preventing the team from ever bringing the last cache to the Administrator. And then Bill-Bel abandons Sniper and escapes with the team's submarine. And then Sniper gets shot twice by the team's Evil Counterpart, which so happens to include modern Medic. Cue the Cliffhanger.
  • Wham Episode: This comic was a big one for Sniper fans.
  • Wham Line: While Heavy and Scout discuss how they both have a Disappeared Dad, the former implies that he knows who Scout's dad is and why Scout's dad is gone. May or may not tie into last issue's Unreveal about Scout and Spy..
    Heavy (to Scout) Yes. Your father disappears often.
  • Whole Plot Reference: The lost country of New Zealand is a direct homage to Krypton, with several key distinctions - Bill-Bel, unlike Jor-El, got the Council of Ministers to listen to him, but his scheme was ultimately pointless and bankrupted the nation. When attempting to rocket himself beyond the ocean and into space (selfishly abandoning his wife and child) as part of a new crackpot idea, he smashed a hole in the city's glass dome and flooded the entire nation, killing everybody inside.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: The Administrator is on her last legs, and once the life extender Mk.5 runs out of its current load there won't be any more Australium to refill it. She's come to peace with it, only asking for enough time to set something right.
  • You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry/Implied Death Threat: Heavy's sister (and Soldier's girlfriend), Zhanna, gives one of these to Miss Pauling when Miss Pauling wonders why she's coming with them. It successfully shuts Miss Pauling up.
    Zhanna: You want to know more about Zhanna? Here is a story about Zhanna. Once upon a time I do not like you. The end.

Blood Money

  • Amusement Park of Doom: The setting for this year's event. Complete with carnival games and bumper cars! Possibly subverted, because it's not quite haunted yet (though the mercs will be quick to fix that) and Merasmus ended up using very un-spooky sandalwood scented candles for the ritual.
  • Blood Magic/Virgin Power: One of the requirements for an ancient Sumerian carnival ritual is to use the blood of a virgin. Merasmus used his own "certified pure" blood.
  • Call-Back: As usual, the Halloween event is a result of something caused by Merasmus.
    • The team's love for Tom Jones returns, as apparently Merasmus found some of last year's spell pages behind the Tom Jones 8-tracks in his storage unit.
    • See the skeleton the mercs are using as decoration in the last panel of the comic? Those are the remains of the messenger with the TV on his chest from Meet The Director.
    • Lieutenant Bites is peeking his head out from Soldier's uniform at the end of the comic.
    • Merasmus is repeatedly mistaken for a woman again, something he once again either ignores or doesn't notice.
  • Indian Burial Ground: Merasmus forgot to build his carnival on one of these, but since the bodies don't need to be ancient, he'll just get the mercs to kill enough people for the land to become haunted.
  • Shout-Out: One of the new achievements is called Up All Night To Get Ducky.
  • Yakuza: Merasmus will owe a lot of money to these guys if he doesn't get his carnival built. The fact that his right pinky is cut off and bandaged suggests that he's already had a run-in with them.

The Contract

  • The Beautiful Elite: The mercenary version. Saxton Hale sells his most exclusive and elite weapons to obscenely wealthy high end mercenaries.
  • Brick Joke: Pauling once stated that nearly half of the Mercs are illiterate - in this issue, Saxton says that he's fairly certain four of them can't read.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Saxton Hale is able to deliver 2,751 PSI with a left-handed punch — real-life Olympic boxers can't even deal half that. Ms. Pauling uses a battering ram to get 2,633 PSI, which is apparently close enough.
  • Five-Finger Discount: After Saxton Hale refuses to give her his elite weapons, Ms. Pauling sneaks in and steals them all in the middle of the night.
  • Implied Death Threat: Ms. Pauling points out that if Hale doesn't give her the weapons she needs then the Administrator will likely kill them both, but he doesn't really care.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Ms. Pauling pretends to be interested in the "double Force-A-Nature" (two shotguns glued together barrel-to-barrel) so that Saxton Hale won't suspect her of being the person who just robbed him blind.
  • Reality Ensues: The mercs have received so many of the same weapons that Ms. Pauling can no longer give them more for incentive to work.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: If Ms. Pauling fails to kill everyone in the Administrator's weekly phonebook-sized kill list then she'll find herself in the next one.

Team Fortress Comics #5: Old Wounds

  • Badass Boast: From the newly-resurrected Sniper.
    It means I'm the most dangerous bloody man on this island. I know what's waiting for me when I kark it. I ain't afraid to die.
  • Berserk Button: The Classic Heavy smashes Medic's Medi-Gun, after chewing him out for being The Load and even killing Archimedes. The Medic picks up a bonesaw after that...
  • Big Damn Heroes: Soldier and Zhanna save Demo, Spy, Pyro and Ms. Pauling from the Classic Demoman and Spy.
    • Exploited by The Classic Spy who pretends to be the Modern Heavy come to save Miss Pauling (he saw that Modern Spy and Miss Pauling were about to take a Cyanide Pill).
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Hits hard in this issue. Sniper is confirmed dead (momentarilly), Soldier and Zhanna go through a surprisingly creepy torture scene, which they only get out of when Zhanna cuts off her own hand, Ms. Pauling is reduced to tears, Spy and Ms Pauling decide to attempt suicide, Classic Spy tricks Ms Pauling into giving him the information they need, Gray Mann gets killed by Classic Heavy, The Administrator's ultimate goals get questioned, Archimedes is killed (again, momentarily), and the issue ends with the mercs in a seemingly hopeless situation. And all of this is Played for Drama, with relatively few jokes compared to earlier issues.
  • Chekhov's Gag: Remember how the Soldier's uniform fell apart at the slightest touch in A Cold Day In Hell? That makes it good for making an impromptu tourniquet.
  • Cliffhanger: The tradition of ending each comic with this trope continues. And it's a Downer Ending just like "Blood in the Water": Four of the mercs, Ms. Pauling and Zhanna are all pinned down by the leech-bots, which can be seen draining their blood.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Soldier still has the stitches from when Pyro cut off his hand.
    • When Soldier mistakens Gray Mann for a mummy, he orders Zhanna to find some honey while he takes his pants off, referencing his fight with a bear a few issues back.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: The Classic Heavy rips out Gray Mann's life extender, leaving him to die in agony. After that, Zhanna stuffs a live grenade into the Classic Pyro's suit.
  • Death Is Cheap: The Medic, presented with a corpse that's been dead for six hours, tries to resurrect it. The corpse in question is Modern Sniper, who bled out in the previous issue, and the procedure takes another six hours. Sadly, the parts needed to pull this off are going to set Medic's paycheck back 1.3 billion, so it's not cheap in the literal sense.
  • Face of a Thug: Medic claims this is something he suffers from. Apparently in last issue's Cliffhanger, he was grinning maniacally simply because he was happy to see them
    Medic: That's just how I look when I smile! Smug and evil!
  • Foreshadowing: The first few panels of the comic have the Classic Heavy wonder why they're hunting for Australium, and how Gray Mann can remain alive for 150 years. When he puts the pieces together not too many panels later, he decides to take matters into his own hands.
  • For Science!: This seems to be the Medic's main motivation in everything he has done up to this point. He joined the classic team because they funded his research, and resuscitated Sniper because he wanted to try it. He seems genuinely confused by the idea that Sniper would be angry with him for being on the team that killed him and the idea that bringing the guy who his teammates just killed back to life might anger them.
  • Homage: To follow the trend, this issue's cover parodies the cover of Watchmen.
  • Hope Spot: Hurray! Heavy's here to save everyone! Except no, that's just Classic Spy trying to get information out of Ms. Pauling.
  • It Only Works Once: Zig-zagged. The Medic has created a new procedure that can resurrect the recently dead, but it costs billions so he cautions Sniper to try staying alive this time.
  • Killed Off for Real: Gray Mann, the Classic Pyro, the Classic Spy and the Classic Demoman.
  • Life-or-Limb Decision: Zhanna is handcuffed to the wall while her boyfriend, the Soldier, is tortured by Classic Pyro. Suddenly, Zhanna escapes and kills Classic Pyro by stuffing a live grenade down her (yes, Classic Pyro is female) suit and ramming her mask on (a combination of Insert Grenade Here and Bombproof Appliance). Soldier is surprised and delighted at this turn of events:
    Soldier: Nice work, Zhanna! How'd you get out of those handcuffs? Ahh, I know, the old dislocated thumb trick!
    Zhanna: Yes, I try this trick. It did not work, it just hurt my thumb.
    Soldier: Then how did you...
    Zhanna: Thumb does not hurt anymore.
  • Loose Lips: Soldier is super eager to resist Classic Pyro's torture, so much so that when the only question Classic team has is "where is the Administrator?" he's actually disappointed, since he has no idea whatsoever. Before even a single blade or drill bit has touched his flesh he blurts out that only Ms. Pauling knows.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Well, mundane for the Team Fortress 2 universe anyway. The Medic thinks Sniper's vision of heaven was a side effect of the various chemicals he injected him while resurrecting him with, but the Sniper is convinced it was all real.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Twice. First, Soldier blurts out that Ms Pauling is the only one who knows where the administrator is. Then Ms Pauling tells Heavy where she is only for Heavy to reveal himself as the Classic Spy.
  • Only in It for the Money: The Medic claims that he only joined the Classic team for funding for his experiments.
  • Pineal Weirdness: According to the Medic, the chemicals from a blue whale's pineal gland cause hallucinations. Having them injected directly into the brain stem likely helps.
  • Rack Focus: Used on page 16 and page 20 to switch focus from Bea torturing Soldier to Zhanna noticing grenades, then noticing a piece of Grey Mann's backpack that fell off.
  • The Reveal: The Pyro IS a woman after all! Classic Pyro, that is!
    • Gray Mann's next operation if he happened to live? Suck the Australium out of everyone in Australia using leech-bots.
  • Shirtless Scene: Sniper, although the massive surgery scars don't do much for any potential fanservice.
  • Shoot the Hostage: When Classic Demoman takes Miss Pauling hostage, Zhanna punches her in the face, breaking her nose and slamming her head into his with enough force to break the visor on his helmet and knock him over.
  • Shout-Out: Bea's name and appearance might be a reference to Bea Arthur.
  • The Starscream/Dragon Ascendant: The Classic Heavy kills Gray Mann and assumes control of his operation.
  • Talking Is a Free Action:
    • After Zhanna's punch fails, Classic Spy simply stands in shock as Soldier tells Zhanna to hold the shotgun and let him try.
    • Later averted, when Classic Heavy's rant at the Medic for bringing Sniper back to life gives Sniper an opportunity to escape.
  • Torture Technician: Classic Pyro. She gets the information she needs out of Soldier without torturing at all, but goes on torturing him anyways. And she apparently tied up Zhanna nearby just to make her watch, and then kill her slowly. It's rather creepy, even when juxtaposed with the Comedic Sociopathy of the modern mercenaries.
    Classic Pyro: "Torture" implies you still have something I need, Mister Doe. This is just me killing you slowly.

Gargoyles and Gravel

  • Artifact of Doom: In-game, the very, very deadly amulet Soldier keeps trying (and failing) to retrieve.
  • Asshole Victim: A mugger tried to attack Medic, dismissing him as "a nerdy German tourist"...Medic responded by killing (or at least harming) the guy, and stuffing his brain into a Jack o' Lantern as a "scare 'em straight" lesson for the kids.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: In-game, Soldier keeps trying to steal a cursed amulet (for America, of course), despite him, Scout, Heavy, and Pauling having gone over this scenario multiple times before. The guy just never learns, does he?
  • Bad Liar: Merasmus, although he still manages to fool Soldier:
    Merasmus: "FOOLS! IT IS I, MERAS...Murray. With your pizza."
    Soldier: "Oh good. Merasmurray's here."
  • Believing Their Own Lies: The mugger who tried to attack Medic clearly hasn't learned anything. Despite being utterly defenseless, he tries to pull the "let me go or else" line.
  • Brain in a Jar/Animate Body Parts: Or in a pumpkin, rather. The criminal's brain is somehow still able to see, hear, and talk, and is pretty pissed at Medic and Engie for what they've done to him.
  • Call-Back: Most of the classes are wearing their Halloween costumes from previous years. Heavy and Medic are wearing the Mad Scientist and Frankenstein's Monster costumes again, Soldier has his box robot getup, Spy is The Invisible Man, Sniper is Camper Van Helsing, Demo's a werewolf, and Scout's dressed as a chicken.
    • Merasmus is also in debt to another foreign criminal organization, and again needs the mercs to fill some artifact with souls...or something. He's also trying to kill them all. Again. Heavy and Spy both point this out.
    • In the first panel, we see three vehicles outside the Mercs' house: The RED bread truck from the "Love and War" short, Spy's car from TF Comics #2, and Sniper's van from "Meet the Sniper."
    • Merasmus is still missing part of his Pinky finger (as a result of Yubitsume from a previous deal with the Yakuza).
  • Einstein Hair: Medic's wearing his Einstein wig from the 2011 Scream Fortress event.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Medic may be a mad scientist who refuses to wear gloves during surgery, but he won't drink alcohol during an operation.
  • Funny Background Event: Pyro hacking a pumpkin with their axe, and Sniper playing "William Tell" with an apple off Demoman's head.
  • Gratuitous German: Medic calls the brain-in-a-Jack-o'-Lantern "Mein kleines ungeheuer," or, "My little monster."
  • The Mafiya: Merasmus ran afoul of them.
  • Mugging the Monster: Don't try to mug Medic, it won't end well.
  • Proud to Be a Geek: Miss Pauling apparently enjoys tabletop gaming! Valve had previously shown her playing a little Rocket League with Scout. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like her players (Scout, Heavy, and Soldier) seem to understand how to roleplay. Heavy treats it like a real-life situation (where he can just shoot everything to death), and Soldier keeps doing the same thing over and over. Scout seems to think the game is stupid, but he may just be sick of having to start the same scenario over and over when Soldier keeps killing the team.
  • Scare 'em Straight: Medic figures that by putting the criminal's brain into a pumpkin, he'll steer the trick-or-treaters away from criminal behavior. Engie seems to have no problem with this.
  • Total Party Kill: Soldier causes one in Miss Pauling's game of G&G by picking up the cursed amulet. Again.
  • William Telling: Sniper. Demoman's the guy with the apple on his head, although he's too drunk to mind.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: Gargoyles & Gravel is this for Dungeons And Dragons.

The Showdown

  • Audience Surrogate: Heavy acts as one for the part of the fanbase frustrated with the drought of new, unique weapons in recent updates.
    Heavy: When I start working you give me Sasha. I like this gun. Over years you give me Svetlana (Tomislav)... Oksana (Brass Beast)... Sheila (Huo-Long Heater)... I like these guns also. And then you stopped.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: The Administrator activates a self-destruct of the base when it seems Heavy has come to kill her.
  • Disappointed by the Motive: The Administrator quite clearly believes that Heavy has come down there to kill her, and is shocked when she finds out he just wants more guns, without even the slightest interest in knowing why his supply was stopped in the first place.
  • Evil Laugh: The Administrator lets one out at the idea of Heavy and Pyro killing each other.
  • Oh, Crap!: Ms. Pauling gives a subdued one when she sees Heavy entering the elevator to the Administrator's room.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Pyro, who has always been obsessed with fire, crushes the Administrator's lighter in his hand when Heavy tries to offer it to him in exchange for giving up new weapons.

Team Fortress Comics # 6: The Naked And The Dead

  • Brick Joke: In "Meet the Director", Scout claimed that he looked awesome with his shirt off. He turns out to have a (misspelt) tattoo of Tom Jones on his chest.
  • Chekhov's Gag: In the third comic, when it is revealed that Medic now works for the Classic mercs, he complains that they're leaving before he has a chance to finish his experiment with placing baboon uteruses in all of the Classic Mercs. In this comic, Medic stops Classic Heavy from killing modern Heavy by threatening to activate a device which will induce labor in the baboon uteruses he placed in Classic Heavy's body, giving Modern Heavy the distraction needed to kill him.
  • Climax Boss: The Australium-enhanced Classic Heavy, fought after the robots and other Classic mercenaries have been defeated.
  • Disney Death: Ms. Pauling, the Scout, the Medic and the Administrator. Ms Pauling was resurrected by Medic's characteristic Meatgrinder Surgery, Scout was sent back from Heaven because he slept with too few women, Medic came back by renegotiating a previously-unseen Deal with the Devil, and the Administrator used the last of her Australium for a last-second power-up.
  • Deal with the Devil: The Medic is revealed to have done this. It's not specified what he traded 'for, but most presume it was for his monstrous medical ability. Satan commends Medic for being such a monster that he would have ended up in Hell without trading his soul, and that this alone counts as getting one over (since of course a preferable trade would be a soul you wouldn't have otherwise acquired).
    • Medic then reveals the fine print requires Satan have a majority stake, and that he has used his medical skills to graft his teammates' souls to himself. He trades a second soul for fifty more years of life and Satan's pen, and Satan now has approximately fifty years in which to successfully tempt Medic at least three more times to get him into Hell. Medic's unlikely to let those souls go so cheaply.
  • Embarrassing Tattoo: Scout reveals that he has one of Tom Jones' Sex Bom(b). It's spelled wrong.
  • Face Death with Dignity: The Administrator uses up the last of the Australium on earth to revert her age to her younger years. Knowing she now has only a few hours at most, she sets out to put an end to the facade of the Teufort War.
    "And if I'm going to call an end to all of it, well... well. Why not look my best?"
  • Fantasy Keepsake: The pen the Medic traded to Satan for his soul proves that he actually made a deal with the devil.
  • False Reassurance: Medic insists that, as a doctor, he won't allow Classic Heavy to die on the operating table. No, Medic's going to kill him right where he is, before they get anywhere near the actual medical equipment.
  • Fisticuffs Boss: Classic Heavy. Enforced, since Heavy throws away his gun purely for this reason.
  • Given Name Reveal:
    • Scout is Jeremy
    • Medic is (Mr.) Ludwig.
  • Killed Off for Real: Almost all of the remaining Team Fortress Classic mercs (Scout, Soldier, Sniper, and Heavy). Only the Classic Medic and Classic Engineer are not shown dead.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Discussed when Miss Pauling ends up in what appears to be the Administrator's personal hell and wonders if it's actually this or just a Dying Dream. The Administrator tells her to just pick one and move on, because she's "never had much patience for the abstract".
  • Mood Whiplash: There's a very somber scene in which Spy tells Scout, that he's proud of him, shortly before Scout dies in Spy's arms and the panels fade to black. The scene immediately after is Scout going to heaven, where he discovers that his version of heaven is three (read: not one) Foosball tables, God almost blows up the world because nobody got in bed with Scout, and a cherub snaps Tom Jones' neck again to follow with Spy's lie.
  • Naked People Are Funny: As the name implies, Soldier, Zhanna, and Sniper spend most of their time in the buff (and covered in honey in Soldier and Zhanna's case), censored by every trick in the book.
  • Noodle Incident: We've never found out what Medic sold his original soul for, exactly. A common fan-theory is that he sold it for his surgical talent, but nothing has been confirmed.
  • Pietà Plagiarism: The cover of Heavy and Medic is a Homage to Crisis on Infinite Earths issue 7, but of course both are this.
  • The Reveal:
    • The long-standing theory that Spy is Scout's father is ultimately proven to be correct. Spy is ashamed to directly reveal this to a dying Scout, so he disguises himself as Tom Jones.
    • Australium is revealed not only to have the power of immortality; having enough of it in your system can reverse your age, as the Administrator demonstrates.
  • Running Gag:
    • Soldier once again wrestles while naked and covered in honey, this time with Zhanna.
    • Tom Jones is *neck snap*'d again, and someone thinks the sound is from making popcorn.
  • Sequential Boss: Classic Heavy. Heavy first fights him straight fisticuffs, then Classic Heavy comes back for round two equipped with the Life Extender.
  • So Proud of You: Spy (disguised as Tom Jones) tells Scout this when the latter is dying.
  • So What Do We Do Now?: Classic Soldier and Classic Scout briefly discuss turning their old safehouse into an orphanage moments before being incinerated by the Pyro.
  • Sold His Soul for a Donut: Actually pretty smart. Medic has died and finds himself in Hell. However, the contract he made states that Satan must have a majority stake in his board of directors of souls before he can go to Hell. Satan is not happy, but Medic offers him an alternative - he'll sell another soul for fifty more years of life - and a pen. In the circumstances he does want to get back to Earth as quickly as possible to help his team, and fifty years is no sneeze.
    Medic: That's a lovely-looking pen.. *beat* I said, that's a lovely-looking pen.
    Satan: Would you give me a soul for—?
    Medic: I would! Ohhh, what have I done? See, you're well on your way. I don't like my chances. At any rate, I should really get going.
    • Satan still only two souls - he needs at least three more before he can drag Medic to Hell - and it's implied Medic will not sell those souls so cheaply.
  • Stealth Pun: Spy says that his coat is a "$10,000 custom-tailored Louis Crabbemarché jacket". "Crabbemarché" roughly translates to "Crab walk", referencing Spy crabs.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Somehow, seeing his sister wearing a collar of severed ears was enough to clue the Heavy that the Soldier is his new brother-in-law.
  • Title Drop:
  • Worrying for the Wrong Reason: After Medic revives the team by simply putting their blood back into their veins, Ms Pauling questions how Medic separated all the different blood types. His response is "I've been using my own underwear to sponge blood out of puddles. Trust me. The type is the least of your problems."
  • Worthy Opponent: After penetrating Spy's disguise as the Classic Engineer, Classic Sniper assures Spy that his performance as Classic Engie was good enough that he would have fooled his target if not for the exact circumstances in which he tried it. Namely, Classic Sniper has had his eyes replaced with scanners that could see through the disguise.
  • You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: Said almost word for word by Spy when Scout comes back to life.
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