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Webcomic / Agents of H.E.A.R.T.

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Plane Sailing
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Chasing Shadows
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Agents of H.E.A.R.T. (Headquarters for Extraordinary Affairs and Risk Taskforce) is a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fancomic written and drawn by Captain Hoers, who also made Firestarter Spitfire, The Sunjackers and a few others. The comic started out as an Ask Blog, but eventually dropped the gimmick in favor of simply telling a story, divided into (so far) two parts: Plane Sailing and Chasing Shadows.

Plane Sailing starts of with the Mane 6 (or rather five, for reasons that will become clear) summoned to Celestia, who bears grim news: Twilight Sparkle is dead, killed in a construction accident. However, due to the many threats to Equestria that have come about recently, she and Luna have decided that Twilight is too important to die, and the mane 5, along with Luna, set out for Tartarus to recover Twilight and resurrect her. Meanwhile, Shining Armor realizes that something smells rotten around his sister's death and in the Afterlife, Twilight awakens to find five other figures that look exactly like her.

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In Chasing Shadows, H.E.A.R.T. has been established to help the Elements of Harmony combat extraplanar threat. While training with the Wonderbolts in Canterlot, Rainbow Dash runs into an old friend, who acts rather strangely. Later that day, a smoke bomb goes of in the H.E.A.R.T. headquarters, and Rainbow runs to investigate, finding her friend in the process of ransacking the place.

Agents of H.E.A.R.T. can be read chronologically on tumblr (use the sidebar to navigate between storyarcs). Note that parts of Plane Sailing requires Flash to work.

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Agents of H.E.A.R.T. provides examples of the following tropes

    Both 
  • Adaptational Badass: Most of the cast gets this treatment, owing to the story featuring more violence than the original cartoon.
    • Particular mention goes to Celestia and Luna, who not only controls the sun, moon and stars in this continuity, but created them.
    • Rainbow Dash was already the most aggressive of the mane six. Here she straight-up punches a terrorist.
  • Anthropomorphic Shift: Ponies in the comic are drawn anthropomorphic, unlike Hoers' other comics, which feature normal ponies. The stated reason for this is "why not?"
  • Creator Provincialism: Well, no, Hoers is not Equestrian as far as we know. But they are from Ireland, and Equestria's geography and culture is based on nearby Great Britain's. There's an island groups of the coast of Equestria called the Shetland Islands, and Shining Armor works out of New Scoltland Yard.
  • Darker and Edgier: Downplayed. The story is darker and features more violence and adult themes than the cartoon it's based on, but it could hardly be considered dark or edgy.

    Plane Sailing 
  • Back from the Dead: Twilight, at the end of the story. Also Bellatrix before the story began.
  • Boring, but Practical: Bellatrix is an expert assassin who can turn invisible and is a master with the dagger, but when assassinating Twilight, she prefers to just arrange an accident, which is far less suspicious.
  • Broken Pedestal: Twilight's faith in Celestia takes a hit when she learns about everything Celestia censored, including knowledge of the planes and the true nature of the Elements.
    Twilight: Y'know the saying 'Dead ponies tell no tales'? It's not just dead wrong, they've also got some interesting things to say.
  • Bus Crash: Twilight died in a construction accident prior to the story's beginning. Subverted since the Mane Five (plus Luna) are trying to bring her back. Clover the Clever is rather unamused that the current element of magic died in such an anticlimatic way.
  • Cassandra Truth: Discord, in his first apparence, tells Twilight that she is dead and he is God, but she refuses to believe him. He is right that she's dead, and he is actually God since he created Equestria.
  • Death Is Cheap: Turns out that Celestia and Luna are perfectly able to bring people back simply by taking the trip into Tartarus and fishing out their souls. They've kept this hidden for understandable reasons. Discord also reveals that this is the case for Equestria as a whole, since he never really prepared anything for the souls of the dead on the long term, merely dumping them into Tartarus where they would be out of sight and out of mind.
    Discord: Enjoy the existential crisis of knowing death doesn't meaningfully exist in your world!
  • Determinator: After Twilight's death, Shining Armor dedicates himself to bringing the perpetrator to justice, refusing to rest until it happens. This is very bad for his mental and physical health.
  • Elemental Plane: The cosmology of Equestria features six planes, laid out in a pattern resembling Twilight's cutie mark, though only four of them map to the four western elements; The Infernal plane of Fire, the Celestial (no relation) plane of Air, the Abyssal plane of Water and the Telluric plane of Earth. The remaining planes are the Astral plane of Mana and the Material plane (aka the normal world) of Void.
  • Fun with Acronyms: An epilogue comic shows Twilight coming up with the H.E.A.R.T. acronym. The other options were N.E.I.G.H.note , S.H.I.E.L.D. note  and B.U.T.T.note 
  • Genre Savvy: By their second Outer Plane (and after getting a crash course on the subject), Rainbow concludes that they'll be taking the trip through each of the planes. She's partially correct, but they only go through five. The Astral plane would be instantly lethal.
  • Geometric Magic: Planar traval involves drawing a symbol on the ground, then affecting the symbol with an element. Anything within the circle is then sent to the corresponding plane. This works on any scale, and is the reason the Crystal Empire disappeared.
  • God Is Evil; Discord, who rather than being just a god of chaos is the actual creator of Equestria's plane of existence, has mellowed out a bit by now, but back when Celestia and Luna fought him, he was petty and cruel, having decided that Equestria should be destroyed simply because the experiment had run its course. He himself admits that it was childish of him.
  • It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: Twilight points out to Celestia that all but one incarnation of the Elements of Harmony died premature death, usually to stop their time's crisis. She ultimately suggest that they set up H.E.A.R.T. to support them and collect information for them to use.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: In-Universe, and lampshaded by both Clover the Clever and an ask. Whereas the previous elements of Magic died heroically, tragically or simply of old age, Twilight... was crushed by construction equipment while leaving the library. Turns out it was not an accident.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Shining Armor was not told about his sister's resurrection, causing him to lock up all his grief while searching for her killer. He completely dissolved when Twilight hugs him.
    • More humorously, Spike apparently spent the two weeks watching movies and playing video games. When Twilight returns, he casually asks if anything exciting happened in Canterlot.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Shining Armor is almost assassinated by Bellatrix. He proceeds to give out orders and demanding a new coffee while walking into the office with a dagger sticking out of his arm.
  • Metaphorically True: Celestia using the Elements of Harmony to banish Nightmare Moon. What Twilight thinks are the elements are actually just rocks, the true elements of harmony are the ponies who wield them. Celestia "used" the elements by giving the order to use them to their actual wielders.
  • Ms. Exposition: Clover the Clever spends all of Twilight's storyline expositing the history of Equestria. Luna also briefly takes this role when she and the mane 5 are stuck in the Celestial plane.
  • My Greatest Failure: The Fall of the Crystal Empire was this for Celestia. Without Luna and the Elements, she was forced to resort to shifting the entire Empire into another plane, most likely killing everything therein.
  • Name's the Same: In-Universe. While listing the planes, Rainbow questions the Celestial plane, until Luna clarifies that it has no relation to Celestia.
  • Nature vs. Nurture: As noted under Reincarnation, Cutie Marks provide a template for a pony's appearance, skills and personality, but those are refined through upbringing and life experience. Trixie's cutie mark always belongs to a charismatic but deceptive pony with a talent for illusions and trickery. The modern bearer, Trixie, grew up in peacetime and became a stage performer, while her previous incarnation, Bellatrix, lived in wartime and became an assassin.
  • Oh, Crap!: Bellatrix when Shining survives her assassination attempt.
    Bellatrix: Merde.
  • Powers as Programs: While scrolling through Discord's notes, Luna summarizes the creation of a Demiplane as beeing eerily similar to how one might program a video game, ranging from cutting corners like making uniform gravity and no day/night cycle, to elements that make it more convenient, like a hastened flow of time. To drive the point home, she mentions a potential corner cut as having the lifeforms be black cubes who work as they do for no reason.
  • Reality Is Out to Lunch: The age of Discord, like in canon. Unfortunately, the elements were either dead or too old to fight him of, so Celestia and Luna took the burden upon themselves by creating the Sun and Moon.
  • Reincarnation: Played with. Ponies with similar appearence do appear every 1000-ish years, but each one has a unique soul. The thing that's actually reused are their cutie marks. As Luna learns from Discord's notes, Equestria has a set number of cutie marks, enough for about 1000 years of ponies. Each cutie mark works as a blueprint for a pony, determining appearance and a few personality traits and talents, which are then refined by each pony's upbringing and life experiences. Any pony with Twilight's cutie mark, for instance, will be a unicorn mare with a talent for magic and leadership, but how she employs those talents are determined by her life.
  • Romanticism vs. Enlightenment: A variant. During the war against the Crystal Empire, Celestia's war efforts were clearly based on outdated ideas of noble warriors and honorable combat, while Sombra was far more pragmatic and technologically advanced. Where Celestia brought mages and cavalry, Sombra brought assassins and artillery.
  • Time Crash: Clover notes that the age of Discord could have lasted a few hours for all she knows, since Discord's influence made it impossible to tell.
  • Trickster God: Discord, as usual, is a Reality Warper who takes great pleasure in fucking around with Twilight. Taken even further than in canon, since Discord actually is God.
  • Villain Decay: Bellatrix was a professional and very capable assassin... 1000 years ago. With modern day forensics and police training, she's caught in less than two weeks. She does cause some serious trouble, but that's more because of her charisma and knowledge of esoteric magic. Her followers are the actual threat.

    Chasing Shadows 
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: Rainbow and Lightning's fallout from canon either never happened in this universe, or they resolved it at some point. Both of them are good friends and teammates with Thunderlane.
  • Ax-Crazy: Supernova, Comet's henchmare. Bulwark and Frostfall theorize that she might simply be part of the crew because she enjoys the chance to be violent, but also think she needs psychological help which Comet has no interest in providing.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Rainbow accuses Thunderlane and Lightning Dust of having this, although Thunderlane denies it and Lightning laughs it of.
  • The Chains of Commanding:
    • While admonishing alpha wing for having run of to save lives during a training excersize, Spitfire admits that she hates it too, but her responsibility is the safety of the trainees, and she can't have them running of into situations that may not be covered by the insurance when there are perfectly capable emergency services available.
    • The situation gets worse when she learns that Rainbow Dash is a government agent with a responsibility to help in situations like that, while also outranking a "glorified circusperformer" like Spitfire, so she can't throw her weight around to solve the dilemma.
  • Chekhov's Skill: In the first act, Thunderlane and Lightning Dust perform a trick where they fly against eachother at top speed, then shift around eachother instead. In the final act, they do the same trick while chased by North Star and Supernova, who are not as agile.
  • Continuity Nod: Rainbow Dash's hobby of saving the world with her friends is mentioned from time to time. Comet Tail even based her gang on Rainbow's encounter with the Shadow Bolts (which Rainbow finds laughable), though more for the symbolism of a new era than any loyalty to Luna.
    Lightning Dust: I keep forgetting you moonlight doing weird magic adventures.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Both Rainbow and Lightning get some snark in.
  • Dumb Muscle: Comet Tail treats Supernova like this, though Bulwark thinks she's suffering from some undisclosed mental issues and needs therapy.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: Rainbow, Lightning and Thunderlane's Wonderbolt uniforms are all asymmetric.
  • Genre Shift: Plane Sailing was a high fantasy roadtrip with mystery elements, Chasing Shadows is an action thriller.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: While confronting Rainbow, Thunderlane says "Something's rotten in the state of Denmare"
  • Hypocrite: Comet Tail tries to invoke this on Rainbow, accusing her of having done the exact same thing that she's arresting Comet for. Rainbow calls bullshit, both because she hasn't killed anyone, and because she's a government agent with a permit for trespassing on government property.
    Comet: Last I checked, you were trespassing on crown property and committing assault and battery. And you want to know what I'm doing here? That is amusing.
    Rainbow: There is literally a piece of plastic in my pocket that lets me do that.
  • I Control My Minions Through...: Comet Tail has four goons following her around, each having a different motivation. North Star is a directionless teenager whom Comet Tail has been feeding a steady stream of anti-government propaganda, while Frostfall and Bulwark are just hired goons who need the money. It's unclear what motivates Supernova (possibly just the fun of it), but Bulwark thinks she's not well and Comet is using her as an attack dog.
  • New Era Speech: Downplayed. Comet Tail proudly declares that she and her goonies are the heralds of the new order: The Shadowbolts. Rainbow breaks down laughing.
    Rainbow: You based your crime gang of my Nightmare Night costume?
  • Non-Uniform Uniform: The Wonderbolt cadets, as seen here, are all wearing white or black that incorporates the Wonderbolt colors (blue and yellow), and there is a fair bit of overlap, but they are otherwise not uniform; Rainbow wears a plain black t-shirt (Though this wallpaper implies it may have print that Hoers neglected to draw), Thunderlane has a white t-shirt with Wonderbolts colors and Lightning Dust has a black tanktop also incorporating Wonderbolt colors. Thunderlane and Rainbow both wear the same blue, white and yellow jacket when not training.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Comet tries to do this on Rainbow, who immediately calls bullshit on it, since everything Rainbow did she both had permission to do, and did to stop a dangerous criminal
  • This Is Reality: Rainbow points out that even a secret organization like H.E.A.R.T. needs a public face, or they'll be too secretive to function. She especially brings up that if she couldn't flash her badge to get out of trouble with Spitfire because Spitfire would've had no idea what H.E.A.R.T. is.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: One of Comet's goonies is a batpony. He mentions having served in Luna's Night Guard.
  • Shared Universe: It's unclear if the story takes place in the same universe as Hoers' other blog, Firestarter Spitfire, but there is some crossover. Namely, Spitfire's dead friend/on-again/of-again girlfriend Hawker Hurricane appears as a photo on Spitfire's desk, and Twilight mentions her while talking to Rainbow about resurrections.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Comet tries to give Rainbow a dramatic speech no less than twice. The first time, Rainbow breaks out laughing at how ridiculous they are. The second time she simply socks her.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: Comet tells Rainbow that she doesn't have the guts to shoot her, even taunting her and calling her indecisive. Rainbow shoots into the air, distracting Comet long enough for Rainbow to knock her out cold.
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