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Webcomic / Magellan

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Set on the eponymous island, Magellan (Occasionally NSFW) is a Super Hero webcomic by Grace Crowley (aka xmung) that starts with the arrival of Kaycee Jones and a score of new cadets to the Academy, for many years of training in order to become an accredited Super Hero in her own right.

Of course, before she can do that she, and all the other cadets, have to deal with the intensive training regime, the schoolyard bickering, romantic confusion, and not forgetting the murderous maniac with a vested interest to kill her and everyone else on the island...

Embracing and parodying superhero tropes in good measure, Magellan is currently telling a chapter entitled Parargdox with a side story called Families being used as a voting incentive. Has a character page that is more up to date than it used to be but still needs some love.

Has nothing to do with the famous explorer.

This series contains examples of:

  • Absolute Xenophobe: The Rarg mostly keep to themselves, but it doesn't take much to set them off at all. Any perceived "attack" or intrusion on what they consider their territory will result in them attempting genocide up to an Earth-Shattering Kaboom, even if it means every single last one of them dying with their enemies. The Rarg setup a base on Jupiter without humanity knowing it. In both timelines, attempts to harvest Jupiter's resources results in them deciding to Kill All Humans.
  • A Day in the Spotlight: The arcs Reckless Hero and Buying The Stairway To Heaven are this for Gifford and Rochelle, respectively. The side stories, used as a reward for voting on a webcomic rating site, tend to focus on one or two characters as well.
  • Alliterative Name: A lot. Billy Banks, Chang Chong, Freya Foster, Lin-Lin Lo, and Morgana Maxwell, just to name a few. Possibly a homage to Stan Lee, who was fond of giving his many character alliterative names to make them easier to keep track of.
  • All There in the Manual: Subverted. There used to be many more notes, both under the individual comic pages and in the cast pages, especially regarding the original heroes like The Victorious and International Justice Force. At some point, in between moving websites and re-tooling the site, these notes were either lost or taken out.
  • Alpha Bitch: Charisma qualifies in spades. Freya also mentions channeling her inner "alpha bitch" to properly get Brelvis to listen to her. Though she literally means "top dog".
  • Alternate History/For Want of a Nail: The Magellenverse's past seems to have mostly equated to the real world (allowing for the existence of super humans), up until the Q'Arth invasion of 1972 - a Class Zero Apocalypse How event that basically destroyed the Soviet Union 20 years early and paved the way for global acceptance of super humans.
  • Alternate Universe: It's implied that the Magellan the readers are seeing is actually the alternate of the original timeline. Trying to sum up the Mind Screw briefly, two villains, the future Maya and Chang, went back in time to try and change things. Instead of altering their future, they instead created an alternate timeline.
  • Anti-Magic: There is a special type of weapon that can release a pulse that shuts down many different types of superpowers, including magic and most forms of advanced technology.
  • Anyone Can Die: For the most part, this only applies to the villains. But in a much grimmer twist, it's said rather blithely on the cast page that occasionally, cadets might die. The reader tends to forget this up until Chang is drained of his life force in a rather painful manner by DragonKlaw, his future villainous self. Later on, an older cadet is mentioned as dying during the attack by the dragons.
    • Noticeable in the side story The Olaf Mystery. Svetlana dies during what is supposed to be a simple training exercise, showing that cadets can die even when they're not being attacked by a Big Bad. Fortunately, Olaf brings her back to life.
  • Art Evolution: Forn Demons originally started out with normal black pupils and white sclera, no tails, and normal feet. When Jenna became more of a focus, it was revealed they have yellow pupils and red sclera, cloven hooves, and forked tails. For a good comparison, note the way Jenna is drawn on this page as opposed to one drawn five years later.
  • Art Shift: The art styles in each side story tends to be different from the main story. Grace has said this depends on how much time she's able to put into them while working on the main comic pages.
  • Badass Normal: Kaycee is the only true normal although pretty much all Magellan graduates are trained to badass normal levels alongside their powers.
    • Also discussed in a substrip involving candidates who are from other worlds, in that they don't have superpowers from their perspective, as they simply have the abilities of their race.
  • Butterfly of Doom: As shown in the alternate future, Go!Anna dying in a plane crash turned out to have life-changing events, even for characters she never got the chance to meet in that timeline.
    • Since Go!Anna didn't die in the new timeline, the Artifact of Doom she was investigating wasn't destroyed with her and was taken by a supervillain.
    • DragonKlaw's attack results in a corrupt staff member trying to blackmail Maya, only to be Mind Raped into transferring elsewhere. In her new post, she sells alien DNA to Brian's father, making it possible for him to delve into his Mad Scientist pursuits which likely never happened in the previous timeline.
    • DragonKlaw's attack also results in two scientists who worked for Magellan suffering PTSD. They decide to quit, averting Reed Richards Is Useless by selling their expertise in super advanced technology to a private company. Thanks to their help, said company is able to create a highly advanced spaceship and travel to Jupiter, not knowing that hostile aliens have claimed Jupiter for themselves. Their intrusion results in the Rarg attacking humanity much earlier than in the previous timeline.
  • The Cameo: Mungo can be seen among one of the groups of wizards during the Bad Karma arc.
  • Clark Kenting: "Secret Identities" is a required course in the Magellan curriculum.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Played straight when Go!Anna encounters one in a hospital. He maims two people, kills a third, and almost ends up doing Go!Anna in.
  • Crossovers: Mindmistress tutors Rochelle, Hoodoo participated in Crossoverkill.
  • Danger Room Cold Open: The Robo-Mat provides a variety of training scenarios, using robot stand-ins of actual Magellan villains, against which the cadets are expected to prevail.
  • Death by De-aging: a woman who obtained deaging powers from a genie nearly does this to hero Gola Beh. While she's stopped before Gola de-ages into non-existence, Gola still winds up as a teenager from it.
  • Disabled Snarker: Ken Spence.
  • Doomed by Canon: The Soviet heroes Red Vlad and Comrade Katya. The "Families/Cемьи" side comic tells their story. Anyone who's read the "History" arc of the main comic already knew their tragic fate.
  • Dwindling Party: Usually, the cadet classes are so tough that they have people drop out, be too injured to continue, be expelled, or die every year, leaving the original class of twenty-four to thirty with only ten or so in the final year.
    • Notably, Kaycee's year is an exception. They've only had one person die, leaving the class with still twenty-three people in their third year. Dialogue suggests that there is at least one other cadet who is considering quitting.
  • Emotion Bomb: Freya.
  • Fanservice: Charisma gets her clothes burnt off of her an awful lot — you'd have thought she'd have invested in sturdier clothing by now…
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Aliens, magic, time travelers, mutants, hyper-technology, Psychic Powers...
  • Faux Affably Evil: Brainspike is proportioned like a child with a huge head, with a courteous speech pattern littered with Gratuitous French. Also, he uses his telepathy as a Conflict Ball for fun. Amongst other things.
    Vanessa: STRETCH?!? What have you done to him.
  • Flying Brick: Called a "powerhouse", and several show up, including Epoch, his daughter Charisma, Bill Banks, and Captain Victoria. Their frequency is justified; they're rare in the world at large, but the titular organization deliberately attempts to recruit them.
    • In at least one comic someone is literally called a a flying brick. Given that the author has linked to this site in comments before it's quite likely this trope directly inspired that reference.
  • Fourth-Wall Observer: The Master Assassin, who responds by knowing/believing they are in the fictional universe by trying to find and kill the protagonist and assume control of the fictional universe.
  • Functional Magic: Several cadets and faculty are wizards and witches.
  • Gender Is No Object: The cadets share both a dorm and even showers regardless of what gender they are. One reader theory is that this inoculates them to the sight of any form-fitting or skimpy costumes they may wear later on once they start their superhero career. Hard to be distracted by Cleavage Window or Stripperific outfit when you've already seen that person naked for six years.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The fifth story line starts off with several panels of young people getting dragged off-screen and eaten alive by monsters... but not before one nice horrifying shot of one of the victims still alive, while a monster noshes on his freshly-dismembered arm.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Most notably Brelvis and Go!Anna.
  • Handicapped Badass: Ken Spence, who fills rather a lot of "badass" tropes.
  • Hero of Another Story: There will often be noodle incidents dropped by older superheroes or those that are on other missions while the comic is focused on a different part of the cast.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The Q'Arth invasion was implied to have been instigated by cultists within the Soviet Union. We find out during the "Families/Cемьи" side comic that The Soviets intentionally accessed the Q'Arth dimension, seeking to capture and enslave the Q'Arth to use against The West. The attempt killed ten million people , caused the collapse of the Soviet Union and made global heroes of the Western heroes who stopped the invasion.
    • Also, we see that the lack of training and experience Red Vlad and Comrade Katya received (being used by the Communist Party more for propaganda purposes than for fighting real threats) left them with no real chance against a true threat like the Q'Arth.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: Fatima, providing Kaycee with an oxygen supplying kiss. Of course, another character calls attention to it...
  • Hulking Out: Magellan USA rookie member She-Hog can turn into a giant humanoid boar. Apparently, she can do this at will and retain her full mind, She-Hulk style.
  • I Believe I Can Fly: A number of the cast can fly, though a small number proportionally speaking. There is some diversity of flying style: one, Sioni, floats by temporarily reducing his mass to zero.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: Fatima is one of these - then again, she's half cephelapod, which is another issue entirely…
  • Inverse Law of Utility and Lethality: Pointed out during a combat exercise between the students. The fire-breathing student can threaten all she wants, but since her power can't be used for anything but a lethal take-down, she can't actually use it on her fellow students.
  • It's All About Me: A common theme is that what separates the heroes from the villains is that the heroes think about helping other people instead of themselves with their powers, while the villains use their powers only to fuel their own selfish desires.
    • The Nominal Hero Charisma definitely has shades of this, trying to have her famous father scold staff for treating her like everyone else for example. He father does not support this, and in fact almost had her removed from Magellan because he thought her attitude made her a poor choice to be a hero.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Again, the Master Assassin, given he's a fourth wall observer and Genre Savvy. He will sometimes talk to the audience that he's certain is watching the events unfold i.e. the webcomic audience. Everyone else assumes he's just insane for thinking this.
    • Grace is also aware of TV Tropes and will sometimes make note of tropes in her commentaries beneath the strip.
  • Literal Genie: Noted to be a reason you should never make a wish on a genie. Genies are guaranteed to either misinterpret your wish or twist them maliciously, meaning that your wish will never quite go as intended.
    • I wish I were younger. Notably, despite not thinking through her first two wishes at all, the results aren't entirely bad. The third one did not work out too well for her, however.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: It appears this is what most of the world's magic runs on. Spells tend to be extremely literal, so careful wording is needed.
  • My Grandson, Myself: Gola Beh as Olga Beh, supposedly her own grand-niece.
  • New Body, Old Abilities: Related to the above when Gola Beh is aged down she can still access her old abilities in a raw and untrained form.
  • Noodle Incident: A class textbook on extraterrestrials has a chapter titled "When First Contact Goes to Shit." Olga adds that the name is "more literal than you'd think."
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: Discussed during a support group for extra-terrestrial and extra-dimensional students.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Evil Weevil managed to pull it out...without even appearing! We first see him in Brian's Power Fantasy, where he seems to be a Silver Age-style Harmless Villain. Then we get to know that he was an arch-nemesis of Victory Man, world's first superhero and the one behind his De-power. And then there's an exam involving fighting his robot duplicate and trying to stop his evil plan, copy of one original Weevil once pulled out. And it ain't pretty. Among the known casualties is Montana-Rose's aunt, as revealed during Lock(e)down.
  • Out of Focus: Many of the characters tend to drop off the radar for pages at a time, due to the humongous cast size. A notable example are the cadets of Kaycee's year, who tend to only get spotlighted during training exercises. Three (Fabian, Hugh, and Jesus) have never even spoken in the main story.
  • Psychic Nosebleed: Mudge Wilson.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Mostly among the cadets, who are still getting used to some of their powers. They end up finding interesting ways to use them.
  • Punny Name: There are quite a few of them. Since it is a superhero comic, these were a given.
  • Rich Bitch: Charisma fits this trope like a glove.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Averted with Premonitia who retired from superheroing to play the stock market and work as a philanthropist, but played straight with the world overall. Some private corporations have access to some pretty advanced stuff, but the world at large doesn't have access to the magic and super science Magellan has access to due to a mixture of cost and Magellan feeling that The World Is Not Ready.
  • Retirony: In the side story, "Families/Cемьи", Red Vlad and Comrade Katya were preparing to retrieve their son and defect, after finding out the Soviet government was lying to themnote  The Q'Arth struck before they could do anything, and they decided fighting this real meanace would be their last true service to the Motherland. Too bad they were Doomed by Canon.
  • Retired Badass: Ken Spence is still the Goddamn Nitro Man, and don't you forget it.
  • Required Secondary Powers: Subverted. Redd has super-strength, but doesn't have a reinforced skeleton. She has to wear a special exoskeleton suit in order to use her strength without shattering her own bones.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Maya and her older, alternate universe villainous self Miasma sometimes fall into this.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: In the "Families/Cемьи" side comic, Red Vlad and Comrade Katya find out that they were played for propaganda puppets, not the national heroes they'd been told they were. They start making plans to go grab their sonnote  and defect to the West. Literally as they discuss this, the Q'Arth invasion starts.
  • Shoot the Dog: Vostok decides to kill Montana-Rose, because her body is hosting a psychic parasite that threatens the entire planet, and killing her, and by extension the parasite, is the most expedient solution available.
  • Sigil Spam: The Magellan logo appears on everything, from clothing to vehicles to buildings. In fact graduating from the Magellan Academy gives heroes the right to incorporate the logo into their costumes.
  • Superhero Prevalence Stages: Firmly late-stage, with international recognition and a system to train the next generation.
  • Superhero School: Obviously.
  • Superpowerful Genetics: Charisma's powers are very similar to her father Epoch's. And her grandparents, Red Vlad and Comrade Katya, though neither she nor Epoch know this.
    • While not elaborated much in the main comic the Master Assassin when noting peoples powers lists many, including Charisma, as DNA+. Comments in a side comic indicate that DNA+ literally refers to superpowerfulGenetics, inheriting DNA+ from one parent means a high chance of having superpowers. However, if two parents both have DNA+ there is a high probability of having a DNA Mutant, a child with special powers but with a mutated and deformed body who may not even survive childhood. So best for superheros to find non-super partners
  • Super Registration Act: Not mentioned, but it seems implied from the international monopoly over superheroing that Force Magellan holds. Those who do not go to Magellan Academy either go to Greenslopes to be trained in noncombat uses of their powers, or don't use their powers at all.
  • Talking Appliance Sidekick: Dr Spooky has Otto the demon possessed hearse.
  • Teleportation Misfire: When Gifford got separated from the magical MacGuffin that allowed him to teleport through dimensions, he ended up in smack in the middle of Magellan's council table.
  • That Man Is Dead: In a more gentle example than usual for this trope, Olga reminds her old teammates that without her memories and now being stuck in her teenage body, her former self of Gola is effectively all but dead. They accept this and begin to move on.
  • The Empath: Freya again.
  • Toilet Teleportation: Vostok does this. It backfires when, due to the pounding the island is taking, the sewage treatment center is basically pulverized and he almost dies.
  • Took a Level in Badass: After Vostok fuses the minds together of the class of 2015, when they are unfused, many who had problems with their powers find that they are now gone.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Related to the above, after being fused, some of the rudest and most unlikable cadets become much nicer thanks to residual effects. It's most noticeable in Charisma.
  • Tragic Monster: Several villains are themselves victims.
    • Malice was once a normal woman, but was kidnapped by a Mad Scientist and fused with multiple spiders and alien DNA. The resulting Mind Hive has attempted to discard its human identity.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: Poor Brian...first Kaycee goes off to train to be a superhero, then his plan to impress her goes a bit pear shaped...
  • Wall Crawl: Go!Anna.
  • Webcomic Time: Bad Karma, an arc that takes place mostly over a single day, took two and a half years to complete. Also of note is the fact the comic started in March 2004. The writer clearly didn't anticipate how long it was going to take to tell the story, for the main character and her schoolmates are the class of 2015, indicating they were supposed to graduate roughly in double real time. They're still only in their third year as of this writing.
  • Webcomics Long-Runners: The webcomic has been running for over nineteen years as of March 2023. While there have been some significant pauses, it's never stopped production entirely for any length of time.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: A lot of Charisma's attitude is implied to be stemming from the need to get her father to acknowledge and pay attention to her.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Gaius is quite happy living forever, but not outliving the universe.
  • The World Is Not Ready: The reason Magellan has futuristic tech, even including spaceships with Faster-Than-Light Travel, while the world at large is only a little further than the real world. A lot of Magellan's tech is banned from public use because they believe that it is too dangerous to be widespread. Notably, Prometheus Genesis Corp strongly disagrees and resents them as elitists for keeping their toys to themselves, believing that they are holding the world back. This results in a disaster when they not only accidentally tick off an alien race while testing new tech, but also get in the way of Magellan's attempts to help due to paranoia towards their real intentions.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: It's unclear if Gifford is stranded from his home dimension for good or if he just decided to stay at Magellan because he has a Hero Complex. His dialogue in the support group supports the latter, but his nightmares make it seem like the former.
    • Many of the Forn demons, Jenna among them, that are on Earth came to escape a religious conflict that is tearing their world apart. They've become permanent refugees.
  • You Meddling Kids: Invoked by name by Brainspike, though paraphrased.