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Webcomic / Elf Blood

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"I'm not a bad person, Mara! I just do bad things!"
Lt. Buma Geller

Elf Blood is a bi-weekly webcomic by Chris Manson that tells the story of two warring factions of magical beings, hidden in the shadows of a human city. It is a science-fantasy action-drama, with a rich cast of characters who possess a complex set of relationships and ideologies between them.

The main story focuses on a young girl, Mara, whose life is invaded and shattered by the conflict between the two groups. A renegade elf, TKO, is fleeing from a soldier of The Council, her former captors. Mistaking Mara for a fellow elf due to the elven blood in her veins, TKO unwittingly leads her pursuer, Buma, to the house. Mara's mother is killed in the ensuing fight, and to keep her safe from the clutches of the controlling Council TKO must drag Mara away from the normal life she knew before. A bewildered Mara must adjust to the violent and ruthless magical society she now finds herself a part of, and must come to terms with a heritage kept hidden from her all her life.

Elf Blood is separated into story arcs, each spanning four 'blocks' of around 12 pages each. It is illustrated in a manga style and composed similarly to a graphic novel. New readers are advised to start at the beginning, given the story-driven nature of the comic.

No, it has nothing to do with Blood Elves.

Elf Blood provides examples of:

  • Abandoned Warehouse: Ixnay's Pixie glamour makes the Renegades' home appear this way to prying human eyes, as well as concealing it from the Council when she remembers to cast the spell.
  • Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: Averted: During the Truenamer arc, it is a Storm Drain system attached to a nullah that the Council team traverses, justifying the amount of movement space they have.
  • Action Girl: Shanna can and will beat pretty much anyone or anything up. Even giant demon maggots.
    • Carlita Delacroix can intercept an incoming punch from Shanna and return the punch to her kidneys. Suffice it to say, Carlita is the better fighter. Because she's a superspy, though, this isn't really such a surprise as Ixnay notes after the fight.
  • All Myths Are True: Averted. SKO expresses doubts as to Alcyone's claim to be a Pleiad, and she is correct; The Pleiades in Elf Blood are constructs built to serve the will of the (presumably seven) sages, the last surviving generation of the original Alfen people.
  • Amplifier Artifact: Many of the characters' Magitek implants do not grant them new powers, but instead improve their natural abilities: SKO's psychic command module, TKO's sympathetic magic amplifier, JN's super strength, Buma's enhanced eyesight and (failed) enhanced intelligence.
    • Possibly not true in Mara's case. Her Magitek package, Tiger Pink, is stated to be an analytical package, but it remains to be seen how it operates. It could be the first instance of a non-amplifier type implant.
  • Art Evolution: Flick between the most recent page and the first one. The difference is astronomical. The jump to full color helped as well, after the first few pages of line art and screentone. Even between the differing story arcs, the art style improves quite dramatically.
  • Balancing Death's Books: Mortessa's Accountant states that, while he can resurrect the dead, a trade must be made to "balance the equation". Then subverted when Mara offers him her life, only to be told that balancing isn't so simple as a direct life-for-a-life trade.
  • Being Personal Isn't Professional: SKO on duty. Off duty, she seems to be on quite friendly terms with her colleagues and subordinates.
    • And on particularly friendly terms with King.
  • Bio-Augmentation: The K-Series subjects have been genetically engineerd to be hyper-compatible with Generation III Magitek implants.
  • Blood Bath: One of TKO's more complex spells involved killing a goat and bathing in its blood.
  • Braids of Action: SKO wears her hair in one when on-duty, though she doesn't seem to be all that good at physical fighting.
  • Break the Cutie: Mara is possessed by an archdemon after something goes wrong during her implant installation. He mind-rapes Mara into snapping Fliss neck before they can exorcise her. This made her suicidal for a whole arc.
  • Coming-Out Story: The B-plot of the Dreamland arc.
  • Cute Little Fangs: Fliss and Carlita have them, although since they're fox and feline spirit incarna respectively, not hugely surprising.
    • Shanna also has fangs, being a fox spirit incarnum. They're less cute, more terrifying.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: TKO, an otherwise friendly and cheerful optimist, was designed, born and raised to be a long-range assassin.
    • And if that wasn't bad enough, her twin sister SKO would take the hit when the job troubled TKO too much.
  • Demonic Possession: Mara, after her Magitek operation goes wrong.
    • In the Council residential quarters the officers appear to go barefoot while off duty.
  • Dumb Muscle: Buma. He has magitek-enhanced intelligence and he's still kinda dumb.
    • JN. Not dumb per se, but his two defining characteristics appear to be 'muscle' and 'TKO's Boyfriend'
    • The female Death Elf Punk in the Sister, Sister story arc. She's a street fighter and still manages to fall for Fliss' dirty fighting techniques.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: Considering that the Council has an academy dedicated to raising soldiers and the two main factions consist of The Council and escapees from it, not unduly surprising. Shanna even explicitly states that she and Carlita went to school at the same time, just in different year groups.
  • Face Doodling: An unfortunate Mint suffers at the hands of Cecelie's boredom while observing Mara's operation.
  • Fiery Redhead: Though they're generally reserved and calm otherwise, just watch when the KO twins are in.
  • Ghost Town: The Village, a hidden part of the human city concealed by pixie glamour from the ordinary citizens. Most of the magical populace seems to live there. It appears to be an old section of the city, once populated by the humans and long since abandoned. Little effort has been made to renovate the place, but it is probably safe to assume that magical beings not working for the Council are either too poor or too lacking in skills to do so.
    • Within the Village itself are the Old Projects, possibly a literal Ghost Town, as it is rumoured to be populated solely by bandits, demons and angry spirits.
  • Groin Attack: Fliss kicks the female Death Elf Punk in the 'girl junk' while ascending the abandoned apartments. It has no effect on her. Fliss expresses concern at this, as she has been kicked there before and it hurt.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Mara is half Human half Dark Elf. As a result, she looks like a human but has the energy of an elf, and is also able to cast spells.
    • Recently, a magical accident exhausted her body and accelerated the growth of her ears into the more classic Elfy point, causing her to look slightly less human. Dr. Wehrner states that this does not normally occur until later life in half-elves.
    • Carlita Delacroix is a half-human half cat-spirit hybrid, and it shows: She has her mother's feline features with her human father's mercenary greed.
  • Heinz Hybrid: Carlita Delacroix: She's a half-French half-Cuban half-Cat-Spirit-Incarnum half-Human. It may not be physically possible to cram anything else in there.
  • I Know Your True Name: The most effective way in which sympathetic magic can work, by directly targetting the individual even remotely.
    • The end goal of both sides in the first story arc.
    • The root cause of the second story arc.
    • King threatens an archdemon with this. Turns out, the Mesopotamians had a disturbing obsession with said archdemon and carved his True Name somewhere that was found by the Council.
  • Invisibility Cloak: Scout deploys one after grenading the Renegades. He later uses it to cop a feel off Shanna. It does not end well for him.
  • Jerkass: Gipsy. She's a bitch to almost everyone bar her superior officers. Even to her own boyfriend.
  • Language of Magic: Eldarin, used to cast all spells by every race.
  • Ley Line: Naturally occurring and constantly shifting flows of magical energy exist as part of the Elf Blood Universe's magical physics. Where two or more of these flows meet, an eyrie is formed.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Sci-Fi elements such as advanced precursor technology have slowly creeped into the story, especially around temples of the Pantheon. This implies that the elven pantheon is actually a group of Sufficiently Advanced Aliens. However, there's still enough supernatural shit (faeries, spirits, demons) for this to still qualify as a fantasy story.
  • The Men in Black: King is a high-ranking government soldier-scientist in a secretive paramilitary organisation. Naturally, his favoured apparel is a black suit and dark burgundy tie.
  • Mind Probe: TKO performs one on Mara's father at her behest without knowing who he is. It turns out to be King, and he is not best pleased...
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted (ish). Mara shares her name with (and indeed, may be named after) the Alfen pantheon's Mother Goddess. However, the deity is almost always referred to as Great Mara, to avoid confusion.
    • It appears to be a common name throughout the Elf Blood universe, as the Renegades do not seem to put two and two together to realize that Mara Jeung is in fact Mara Schwarz-Konig, the long-lost daughter of the leader of the Council.
  • Only in It for the Money: Carlita Delacroix. An almost perfect merc, though she's still very friendly and willing to help out.
    • Averted somewhat when Fliss persuades Carlita to give them maps of the Council base so they can go and rescue Mara. She does this for free, although before that she was refusing to go against her biggest employer for any price anyway.
  • Oral Fixation: Shanna is frequently depicted smoking and drinking.
    • Carlita is rarely ever seen without a cigarette in her mouth.
  • Our Elves Are Different: The elves in Elf Blood are remnants of a magical race evicted from their Germanic homeland by the overly pious Holy Roman Empire. Prior to their exodus, they appear to have been broadly similar to other empires in the Central European Region for the 15th century.
    • Elves in Elf Blood are not haughty, nature-loving traditionalists. They seem to be very accepting of other races (magical and non-magical) and are not shy about mixing technology with magic.
    • Death Elves are different in particular: They are 7-foot-tall, grey-skinned muscular nomad descendants who cannot use magic and favour their fists and heavy melee weapons in combat. They can be closely likened to Tolkienesque Dwarves, with a hint of viking and steppe dwellers about them.
  • Phlebotinum Girls: SKO and TKO, designed to be Magitek-wielding supersoldiers.
    • Gipsy is an ordinary human, and so doesn't use magic... SHE FIGHTS WITH THE POWER OF MATH!
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: The Renegades as a whole, but only TKO really seems all that bothered about bringing the Council down. Ixnay seems to be content to remain idealogically opposed to her former employers, but would not move against them unless pressed.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: Ixnay. She's a pixie, and isn't strong enough to operate human/elf sized door handles. She more than makes up for this in magical potency however, matching and exceeding the combat abilities of beings several times her size.
    • Bonus points for actually being about as tall as a pint glass.
  • Poirot Speak: Ah, formidable! Carlita Delacroix, she is the biggest offender of this type, non?
    • The sages will often inject some Deutsch into their speak, mein liebschen, as they were children during the last days of Alfheim and this was the language they spoke, ja?
  • Really 700 Years Old: The Seven Sages, former heroes during the fall of Alfheim, have been given temporary protection from death by the goddess Mortessa to prepare for the rebirth of the elves. Their children, the Pleiades, are a few centuries old and are expected to last just as long as the sages.
    • The Truenamer. He is a remnant of the first generation kicked out of Alfheim, and the last generation to receive the benefits of the elves' legendary longevity. He only appears to be around 70 years old.
    • Madame Goss, the apothecary, is of this generation too.
  • Rebellious Princess: Ixnay
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The KO twins. SKO stands for discipline, order and security, and is quite reserved. TKO stands for passion, total freedom and individualism, and is a very outgoing, caring individual.
  • Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up: Apparently Shanna was quite a bully in school: She's bullied Gipsy, she's bullied TKO (while on a mission, no less), and she's taken Carlita's lunch money. Judging from the reactions of two soldiers in the Council, when she became a sergeant she didn't get much better. Even now she would rather apply force than reason to get what she wants.
  • Secret Project Refugee Family: The Renegades. Although, of the Renegades only TKO and JN were designer babies from the council's programmes. Ixnay and Shanna were soldiers, and Fliss just took classes at their private school.
  • Shout-Out: A few:
  • Smoking Is Cool: Shanna, a brawling badass, smokes quite frequently.
    • Gipsy, a stone-cold bitch who can manipulate reality through mastery of maths.
    • Carlita, a supercool mercenary spy.
    • Even Fliss is depicted smoking at one point, but the author stressed quite strenuously that he did not condone underage smoking and cited it as part of the character's relationship to her older sister.
  • Swirly Energy Thingy: Where Ley Lines meet, concentrations of magical energy called Eyries form high up. It's apparently possible to summon a demon from one.
  • The Alcoholic: Shanna loves to drink. When she's happy, when she's sad, when she's angry, when it's 3 o'clock. She never seems to get drunk, though.
  • 24-Hour Armour: Averted, Buma (and the other Council officers, for that matter) likes to relax in his skinnies.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: The reason the Renegades take Mara in: Her adoptive mother was killed indirectly by TKO's actions.
    • The Renegades themselves apparently were brought up within the Council. TKO and JN were definitely born into the Council, as designer babies in Magitek experiments.