While the predominately teenage lead characters, their relationships with each other and colorful character backgrounds may remind people of El Goonish Shive and The Wotch (and the author likes those comics), Hero In Training itself is darker and less wacky.
The comic centres around the main character's transformation into a hero, via the tuition of a godlike entity that apparently does this for all heroes, everywhere, anywhen. The powers are mostly not active, and the hero has no idea he's using them, but they alter luck and probability to create strange and implausible situations, from alien encounters to run-ins with paramilitary. Eventually, events begin to spiral out of control and the dramatic events that were originally thought to be due to The Protagonist become more far-reaching and sinister.
Hero in Training plays around with tropes the author created the early plot as a satire of Sunnydale Syndrome in other webcomics.
On indefinite hiatus since April 2013.
This provides examples of:
- Action Girl Anne
- Art Evolution (the early strips were completely redrawn after the author's art progressed)
- Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: When Alpha is about to shoot Gareth. We see a hand firing a gun... And then Alpha falls over dead. Turns out Omega was dead serious about not killing unarmed innocents.
- Born of Heaven and Hell: Sanyiel. His hybrid "species" is said to be extremely unstable, but he managed to keep himself from exploding by isolating the bulk of his angelic and demonic powers into a pair of swords.
- Buffy Speak:Dr. Norman: "You've heard of ISEC, right?"Jack: "That's the international ethics council thingy, right?"Dr. Norman: "Yes. We usually drop the 'thingy' in casual discussion, though."
- Bullying a Dragon: Yes, Sebastian, spend all your time picking on the most ripped guy in school, a martial artist, the guy who used to to threaten you with a homemade flamethrower, and their new friend who attacked you with a sword. There's no possible way that that could backfire.
- Catgirl: Rachel/Kyrin, the girl they find in the secret lab where Jack's father works.
- Compulsory School Age: Gareth suggests this for Sanyiel. Jack points out why it's stupid. They end up going with it anyway.
- Crapsack World: Well, city anyway. Ashville has been described as "dystopian" on at least one occasion, and the heroes don't find it at all odd that a group of supposed thugs would have a sniper rifle because hey, it's Ashville.
- Crazy-Prepared: Jack, or Koops as the others call him.Jack: "No, it couldn't have been him, I locked his door."Anne: "Koops, the window."Jack: "And boarded up the window."Anne: "Well, he could've..."Jack: "And booby-trapped the landing, rigged hairtrigger alarms on all the exits, bugged the bathroom and snuck a webcam into his room while he was changing. I've got nine hours of footage of him sleeping like a baby. Trust me, he didn't do it."Anne: "I don't know whether to be reassured or very, very, very scared."
- Cutting the Knot: In these strips, our heroes are stuck behind a door with a keycard lock. Until Sebastian reminds them it's a glass door, and breaks it.
- Everybody Laughs Ending: Chapter five.
- Historical Villain Upgrade: Sanyiel gives Ariel (of Disney's The Little Mermaid) this when he misinterprets the phrase "stole the hearts of a whole generation", leading to the Everybody Laughs Ending of chapter five.
- Hollywood Hacking: Subverted.Gareth: "Can't you just hack the door open?"Jack: "It's a stick of metal with a screen, how the hell am I supposed to hack that?"
- Meaningful Name: Sanyiel means "God hates me" in Hebrew. It's... fairly accurate.
- No One Could Survive That!: Mel, after falling off a building. You'd think that Gareth would at least look at the corpse before declaring this, though.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Dr. Norman isn't quite the Absent-Minded Professor that he appears to be. This does backfire on him in at least one respect, though.Jack: "I'm not going to trust anyone who can trick me into thinking he's an idiot."
- Pals with Jesus is pretty much the basis for the entire comic.
- Pet the Dog: When Sebastian's bullying of Jack and Gareth is interrupted by Jack's dad bleeding to death, Sebastian immediately stops bullying them and saves his life. He's still kind of a dick about it, though. Then he insists on helping them break into a secure facility.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning:
- Sanyiel, when he was wielding Choran. The trainer as well, at the start of chapter ten.
- Subverted, turns out that's not the Trainer.
- Red Pill, Blue Pill (but Gareth only remembers it when dreaming)
- Self-Made Orphan: Mel
- Series Continuity Error: In chapter seven, Anne says her traumatic backstory happened when she was five, but in chapter four it happened when she was six. Considering she's a senior in high school and it's apparently been ten years, six is more likely.
- Shout-Out: Sharks with Frickin' Laser Beams.
- Stealth Hi/Bye:Jack: "I swear, whenever you need that girl, she's always..."Anne: "Right behind you."
- Taking the Bullet: Jack does this for Gareth. It doesn't hit anything vital, though. It also has the side effect of convincing Omega that they're not bad people.
- Talking the Monster to Death: Anne's Breaking Speech is harsh enough that Mell backs away from her in fear... Right off the edge of a building.
- Tempting Fate: Anne remarks that if the thugs chasing them only have knives and sidearms, she can handle them in close quarters. Cut to the "thugs" unpacking a rocket launcher.
- They Would Cut You Up: Jack seems to think this might happen if Sanyiel gets found out.
- Trauma Conga Line: Is revealed as Annes backstory in the fourth chapter, where the line of trauma is finished off in a tragically brutal manner.
- You Have Failed Me: Inverted with the Trainer's lookalike killing a minion for being too successful.