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Webcomic / Star Impact

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From left to right: Aster, Phoebe, Puck, Buzz and Teddy.

In a World… where boxing is the world's most popular sport, the fighters wear super-powered gloves that give them unique abilities in the ring. Aster hopes to begin her journey into this world, but she never meshed well with any pair of gloves brought before her. Until one night, when she happened upon a chance encounter with the gloves of a long-gone boxing legend, who was her personal idol to boot.

They wind up being a perfect match for her, and so this kick-starts her foray into the Pro Boxing League. Armed now with Shooting Star, Aster proceeds to rise through the ranks while making new friends and facing down rivals, all while trying to solve the mystery of the ten-years-ago disappearance of her gloves' previous bearer.

Star Impact is a Hiveworks-affiliated webcomic written and drawn by American artist Jack McGee, which he has described as "a love letter to shounen action and sports anime". and has been ongoing since October 9th, 2018.

And the trope list begins!

  • Abandoned Info Page: The cast page only features the five characters shown in the page image, despite the fact that several other important characters have made their mark on the story since the last time the cast page was modified.
  • The Ace: Phoebe. So much so that she isn't looking forward to sparring with less experienced boxers out of fear they become disillusioned of the sport and their lack of skill.
  • Agony Beam: Etna's Leather, Happy Teeth, doesn't actually increase the damage her punches do, only the pain they inflict, turning any fight with her into a protracted session of psychological warfare.
  • Alt Text: These are put on all but the very earliest pages, and typically have Lampshade Hanging, Shout-Outs, or both.
  • Animesque: The whole comic is meant to be a homage to shōnen anime, but this Guest Strip exaggerates it in regards to a character in a Fictional Video Game that Aster and Puck were playing. Said page's Alt Text shamelessly lampshades it:
    "The hyper anime eyes on the low poly character kills me. It's too heckin' good."
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Series creator Jack McGee has stated that "gloves are both called, and made from, a material called Real Leather." What goes into the glovemaking process, how Real Leather is made, and what else must be done for a new pair of gloves to take on their extraordinary powers, remains unknown.
  • Back-to-Back Poster: This is done on Chapter 2's cover with Aster and Phoebe, to point out the Force and Finesse distinction between their boxing styles.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: At the very end of Chapter 2's fight, where Phoebe would've been Punched Across the Room had the bell not rung right before Aster's Star Punch would've connected:
    Phoebe: (with Aster's glove less than an inch from her face) Good thing the bell rang, huh? (zooms out to show her own glove on Aster's face) 'Cause you were about to hit the canvas, Aster!
  • Battle Aura: McGee makes liberal use of visual metaphors at certain points in Star Impact's superpowered slugfests.
  • Big Entrance: Etna's entrance to the ring in her Chapter 3 fight is incredibly over-the-top, where she appears standing atop a gigantic fire-breathing mechanical dragon, heralded by cheerleaders.
  • Bland-Name Product: This Guest Strip makes mention of "Cheez-Os", a mashup of Cheetos and Cheez-its.
  • Blind Alley: Aster and company pull this off early in Chapter 2 to dodge the Paparazzi.
  • Blood Knight: Etna is a textbook case. She hardly seems fazed after taking multiple hits to the head, and her excitement only seems to double when she's dishing out pain herself.
  • Blunt "Yes": Early into his fight against Aster, when a crowd amasses to watch the commotion, Urchin quips that he was once a pro-level boxer. The following exchange ensues:
    Aster: Really! Why'd you quit?
    Urchin: Hmm. (Beat) Would you believe I got kicked out for fighting dirty?!
    Aster: Yes.
  • Call-Back: On Chapter 5, Page 8, Aster is dropped off at the Seaside Gym at night, and Teddy reminds her to lock up the place. She says she always does, to which Teddy replies that she always forgets to do it — and a similar exchange happened on Chapter 1, Page 10. The former page's Alt Text points it out, being only the single word "Callback".
  • Challenging the Bully: After she gets her mitts on Shooting Star, Aster makes a beeline for Urchin and challenges him to a brawl as revenge for him beating up Puck. Teddy even sees it coming, and tries in vain to keep her from getting into a street brawl.
  • Combat Commentator: Yellow fits this trope to a T, being the Pro Boxing League's official commentator.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The prologue, post-chapter epilogues, and all of the flashbacks are depicted in a limited-palette example of this, using only one or two colors apart from black and white. Justified in the caption for Urchin's backstory:
    "I didn't want to devote a whole couple of weeks to Urchin's backstory so I decided to knock it out in one go while using a style that would both make the flashback stylistically unique and easier to push out at this speed."
  • Destroying a Punching Bag: After mysteriously gaining the Legend's old gloves, Aster leaves a star-shaped dent in her punching bag and sends it off the chain and into the wall, to test out its Star Punch.
  • Determinator: Aster. Case in point: Jumping straight into a (metaphorical) wall of spikes.
  • Evil Overlooker: Chapter 1's cover sees Urchin leering down at Aster.
  • Explaining Your Power to the Enemy: Averted à la Hajime no Ipponote , which is itself one of only a few fighting/sports manga to avert this trope. While almost all known Leathers and boxer attributes/strategies are explained at one point or another, it is never done by the people who're using them.
  • Eyedscreen: Phoebe gets a bunch of these throughout Chapter 2's fight, particularly when she's about to clobber her opponent or reminiscing about a spar she once had.
  • Fictional Counterpart: This Guest Strip makes mention of a "Big Ronald's".
  • Fictional Earth: Star Impact has been said to take place on a fictional iteration of Earth. The first true indication of this is Chapter 2's cover, which depicts a zoomed-out view of Earth, but with a different arrangement of continents and landmasses.
  • The Fighting Narcissist: Lily, Aster's second professional opponent, is a boxer who moonlights as an idol, and thus to protect her image, she forfeits anytime it looks like her opponent is going to mess up her face. However, she's more than willing to throw this out the window if an opponent gets her fired up enough, as Aster does.
  • Flash Step: Phoebe's Moonlight Step, the special power of her Leather, Moonlight Dream.
  • Force and Finesse: On full display from the beginning to the end of Chapter 2's spar between Aster and Phoebe, with the former going almost exclusively for heavy punches, as the latter deftly weaves around them, landing jab after jab of her own.
  • Fragile Speedster: This also applies to Phoebe, as Aster notes to Puck in Chapter 2:
    Aster: Yeah! We've seen her junior league matches! She's hard to hit but in her two losses it didn't take much to bring her down.
  • Glass Cannon: Armed with his Needle Palace Leather, Urchin can inflict ungodly amounts of pain, but a quick one-two from Aster knocks him down.
  • Green Rooming: Remy was introduced in Chapter 1 as one of Teddy's friends, but did not return until midway into Chapter 4.
  • Guest Strip: Between certain chapters, McGee includes these contributions from guest artists. He has stated that all of them are strictly non-canon, and allow the artists to take their own directions with the characters.
    • There were eleven of these slotted between Chapters 1 and 2.
    • Another spate of these came between Chapters 3 and 4, this batch being much shorter than its predecessor at only four pages.
  • Heroic Second Wind: Near the end of the third and final round of Chapter 2's spar between Aster and Phoebe, Aster looks ready to keel over, and Phoebe prepares to deliver a finishing blow to her. Before this can happen, however, Aster astonishes her with a left hook that nobody saw coming, leading it into an attempted Star Punch that would've connected had the match gone on one second longer.
  • Hot-Blooded: Aster's sheer passion alone was enough to spur Urchin and Phoebe into enjoying a match.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: In the third round of Chapter 2's spar, Aster only punches with her right for most of the match, then catches Phoebe off guard and hammers her with her left.
  • Insult of Endearment: Inverted: if Lily calls a fellow boxer "cute", it means she thinks they'll go down like a sack of potatoes once they face her in the ring.
  • In the Hood: Not wanting to be hounded by admirer and Paparazzi alike in the wake of the events of Chapter 1, Aster dons a blue hoodie, shades, and visor, in a bid to conceal herself, but the press sees right through it.
  • It Only Works Once: A variation: Teddy states that Shooting Star's Star Punch can only be used once per fight.
  • It's a Long Story: Subverted when Phoebe asks Aster how she managed to get Shooting Star:
    Phoebe: How did you even get the Shooting Star gloves?! Did you know the Legend? Are you their family?
    Aster: It's uh... a long story.
    Buzz: They crashed into my gym!
    Aster: Okay, not a long story, but a weird one.
  • Knockback Slide: Urchin takes a big one near the end of Chapter 1's fight, after getting slugged by Aster.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: After Aster scores a hit on her face, Lily decides to drop the cutesy shtick and uses Heartbeat Hero to bulk up her entire body in order to pound Aster flat.
  • Luminescent Blush: After Chapter 4's fight where a defeated Lily tells Aster that yes, she really is cute, the latter turns as red as a cherry.
  • Megaton Punch: Star Punch, Shooting Star's special power. Allows a super-powerful, once-per-match haymaker.
  • Mentor Archetype: Coach Stryker is a retired boxing coach who takes Aster and Puck under her wing in Chapter 2, at the request of Phoebe. She tries to help them both reach their full potential and rise through the ranks of the PBL.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: The prologue shows a nine-year-old Aster at a title fight featuring the Legend.
  • Non-Action Guy: Played straight with Buzz, who is stated by the Abandoned Info Page to know "nothing about fitness or sports but has an endless supply of support and questions for his friends who do."
  • Oh, Crap!: Urchin is momentarily stunned when he discovers that Aster had somehow obtained Shooting Star, the Leather of the bygone Legend.
  • Older Than They Look: Despite looking like a child, Puck has been stated to be eighteen years old as of Chapter 3.
  • Opening Narration: In the prologue, Aster recalls her admiration for the Legend as a kid, and how they suddenly went AWOL one day.
    There was once a star
    I would stare at it a lot as a kid
    It was so beautiful that I couldn't look away
    But one day it disappeared, leaving nothing but a black sky.
  • Poster-Gallery Bedroom: Aster's bedroom has a few posters of the Legend, and a few posters of a few other boxers. Early in Chapter 1, she even speaks to a Legend poster as if she was speaking directly to them.
  • Power Fist: All of the Leathers count as this: superpowered boxing gloves that give their wearers special powers.
  • Powers via Weapon: Having no remarkable abilities by themselves, every boxer's special power is only given to them by the gloves that they brandish.
  • Punched Across the Room: At the tail end of Chapter 1, Urchin gets hammered by Star Punch, knocking him out for over a minute and costing him the fight.
  • Red Baron: All PBL boxers have a unique subtitle:
    • Bondi, "the King."
    • Dove, "the Mountain Eagle."
    • Etna, "the Dragon."
    • Mako, "the Hunger."
    • Phoebe, "the Prince."
    • Ponpon, "the Panda."
    • Urchin, "the Rookie Killer."
  • Scary Teeth: Urchin, Stryker, and Etna. Same goes for Etna's Leather, Happy Teeth, which amplifies the pain dealt with every punch.
  • Second Episode Introduction: Phoebe, who would become Aster's friend and rival, doesn't appear in the story proper until Chapter 2. Ditto for Stryker, who would be Aster's mentor, coach, and second in the PBL, and Bondi, a contending champion and Phoebe's coach.
  • Shockwave Stomp: Sanfran, a minor character shown in a flashback, has this as his glove ability, and its stated use is to shake up his opponents' footwork.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The ref for the PBL matches is consistently depicted as looking like Mario, a reference to his stint as a referee in Punch-Out!!'s World Video Boxing Association.
    • To begin Chapter 1's fight, Crust kicks a metal dumpster and shouts "DING!". The Alt Text has this to say:
      "Considering referencing Rocky 2's "ding ding" here but I held back."
  • Show Within a Show: Aster mentions two in-universe movies called En Route and Fool, the latter of which she watches by herself early in Chapter 1.
  • Sidekick: Puck. He is Aster’s best friend and a fellow boxer who joins the PBL with her. His more timid demeanor makes him a direct Foil to Aster's hot-headedness, and he often provides commentary on her matches. Chapter 5 features a glimpse into his boxing journey alongside Aster.
  • Slasher Smile: Etna bears one whenever she's fired up about something, such as while beating Ponpon into a pulp during Chapter 3's title fight.
  • Speak of the Devil: In Chapter 1 when Aster wishes aloud into the night for some guidance from the Legend, then comes a Comet of Doom bearing their gloves.
    "Come on Legend... I need an answer... I need... something... Hm? Actually, nevermind, I'm good."
  • Spikes of Villainy: Urchin. Same goes for his Leather, Needle Palace, which sports dozens of retractible spines.
  • Technician Versus Performer: A variation in Chapter 4. Lily's between-round reports with Manny suggests that she's treating the match more like a bid to gain views on social media, but Aster's Spirited Competitor nature pushes her to treat it like a real fight instead of a tool for internet renown.
  • Temporary Bulk Change: Lily's Leather, Heartbeat Hero, allows her to do this, selectively bulking up individual limbs; for instance, she can bulk up her legs for a boost of speed, or a single arm to turn a simple haymaker into one that'll leave the opponent kissing the canvas. It's convenient for Lily, since she can keep her dainty idol's physique while remaining able to go toe-to-toe with her foes in the ring.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: Urchin used to be an official boxer in the PBL, who, while rough around the edges, genuinely just wanted to box for fun and sport. Both the crowd and fellow boxers booed him and treated him like a villain for his attire, his strength, and his Leather, to the point where he decided to leave the PBL and embrace the role.
  • Toon Physics: McGee has stated that this holds sway over the world of Star Impact, and that he wants "it to be grounded in some aspects but characters can take super powered hits no problem."
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Invoked by Phoebe and Stryker, but primarily Stryker, against Aster during Chapter 2.
  • World of Technicolor Hair: Many of Star Impact's characters have bizarre hair colors not seen in the real world.
    • Aster lives up to this trope most accurately, having purplish-blue hair and electric-blue eyebrows.
    • Puck's hair is pink.
    • Urchin sports a black-and-pink striped mohawk.
    • Remy, one of Teddy's friends, has purple hair.
    • Etna has a mess of two-toned red and lime hair, which one comic fan likened to a watermelon.
    • Additionally, her second and cutwoman, Liz, has sea-green hair.
    • Lily has teal hair so bright it almost looks luminescent.

Star Impact TV Tropes page:
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