The Stormrunners is a CG Web Comic by Ed Kline (aka Lord Darke) assisted by Kimber Kamacho.
Three and a half billion years ago a thriving civilization existed on Mars. One of their technological achievements was a dimensional window which, among other things, they used to view Earth in their future, enjoying humanity's dysfunctional culture like a reality show and assimilating some aspects of it in the process. The main bipedal species lived alongside intelligent insectoids called Bugs, who enjoyed watching Earth war movies, especially the ones set in World War II.
Then aliens called the H'rrull invaded Mars and brought their civilization to its knees. Seven centuries later, the H'rrull are defeated, but it's a hollow victory. The planet's ecology has been destroyed and survivors are still faced with pockets of H'rrull resistance.
Surviving an attack that kills her two crewmates and destroys their vehicle, Martian tank commander Ssuara is left to fend for herself on foot. Witnessing the crash of a space capsule, she is astonished when from the wreckage crawl two humans, Lilith and Markus. Ssuara's not thrilled at the idea of babysitting the two newcomers, but sees no choice but to let them tag along. They later team up with a small squadron of Bug soldiers: Master Sergeant Rukh, Corporal Graidy, and Privates Murphy and Flea Bag.
NSFW for nudity. The comic began in August 2014 on The Duck, ComicFury and Renderosity, updating about twice a week. Most of the Renderosity pages are available in high resolution. The final page was posted on October 25, 2016.
The Stormrunners contains examples of the following tropes:
- Aliens Speaking English: Justified, in that the Martians have assimilated a lot of Earth culture.
- Author Appeal: Nude anthropomorphic characters, big-breasted females, nipple rings, spectacular landscapes.
- Baleful Polymorph: A variation. When Markus is mortally wounded, the only way to save him is to fabricate a new Martian body and download his mind into it.
- Bizarre Alien Locomotion: When she needs to get somewhere fast Ssuara can bound like a kangaroo, using her tail as counterweight in exactly the same way. According to the author her top speed is 200 MPH (320 KPH)!
- Catchphrase: "Shut up, Flea Bag!" (and sometimes "Shut up, Markus!")
- Cloudcuckoolander: Markus is excited about being on Mars but doesn't seem very bright. Ssuara has to set him straight on a few points.
- Deadpan Snarker: Flea Bag. He claims he's just telling it like it is.
- Drawing Straws: Happens when the group are attacked. Short straw gets to be first line of defense. The humans are excluded because they're "tourists".
- Glasgow Grin: A variation. One side of Flea Bag's snout has been prominently stitched together as a result of some battle wound, giving him a permanent sneer.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Ssuara buries her buddies, except for one leg that was the only part of them that didn't get incinerated. She keeps that as a possible source of protein, although she apparently changes her mind later.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Ssuara shows some signs of this toward the humans, although it's more impatience with their ignorance than total jerkassery.
- Mind-Control Device: Nerve varnish, a substance that can be used to paint instructions on any surface. Anyone who reads the instructions (and can understand the language they're written in) is compelled to obey. Ssuara uses it in an attempt to keep the humans out of trouble.
- Monowheel Mayhem: Ssuara's tank runs on a huge wheel that's angled at 45 degrees. It's really cool, until it gets blown up, but later in the story our heroes discover a place where they can acquire another.
- Naked on Arrival: Ssuara's race obviously isn't big on clothes. The humans' spacesuits don't leave much to the imagination either (the characters are modeled nude, colored silver and modified slightly), and later on their bodies are modified so they can survive naked on Mars.
- No Ending: After the Stormrunners acquire ther new tank they just ride into the sunset (figuratively speaking), leaving their ultimate fate unknown. This was mainly due to Ed Kline wanting to begin a new comic, Storm Over Whoomera.
- Nobody Here but Us Statues: A neat variation. Ssuara's species can "go to ground" by altering the molecular structure of their bodies to blend in with rock.
- Non-Mammal Mammaries: Ssuara's race are reptilian but the females have humanoid breasts - a cosmetic alteration, possibly inspired by human porn.
- Oh, Crap!: Ssuara's reaction when Markus is seriously injured at what was supposed to be a safe location.
- Scenery Porn: The Martian landscapes are gorgeous despite the somewhat monotonous colour.
- Shout-Out: Lilith describes Markus as mostly harmless Well, he is from Earth, after all..
- Smoking Is Cool: subverted. Martians smoke not because they think it's cool, but because their cigarettes kill the flesh-eating bacteria they seeded the planet with to kill H'rrull.
- The Squadette: Played with. Pte Murphy isn't revealed to be female until some time after her introduction - it's impossible for a human to tell what sex the Bugs are just by looking (although the shapes of their rear carapaces may give an indication).
- Time Travel: The Martians were able to view events billions of years in the future. The humans have traveled back in time by the same amount, give or take a few centuries, probably due to having stumbled into the time viewer portal.
- Visual Innuendo: In one scene Ssuara squats on a cliff-edge. Her genitalia are censored by a large boulder that looks like a penis.