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Webcomic / Use Sword on Monster

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Use Sword On Monster is a webcomic by Aaron Williams, which went live once he finished putting the last pages of Nodwick on his site.

Humphrey Littletyne is an Ordinary College Student recently gifted with magic fighting abilities and a fancy sword. See, monsters out of fantasy and legend have recently started appearing on the previously-mundane Earth, and as a result supernaturally gifted people have arisen to fight them. But all is not as it seems, as the recent emergence of monsters and heroes is symptomatic of something far more sinister and world-threatening behind magic's recent appearance: a mysterious being known across the Seven Spheres as the Dragon.

Soon Humphrey joins two other sword-swingers, and together they are brought into the secret effort to find and - if possible - halt the source behind the spread of magic into Earth.

The comic updates three times a week, and can be found here.

Provides examples of:

  • Accidental Proposal: Humphrey and Maga. Only accidental on Humphrey's part; Maga grabbed the chance to slap a magical betrothal spell (meant to prevent Domestic Abuse and political murders) on Humph as a safety precaution.
  • Action Girl: Hilda and Maga. Hilda already was suitable for the job (her background includes high school ROTC), though even if she wasn't the magic would force her to be. Maga is a capable fighter and Lady of Black Magic from another sphere.
  • Amnesiac God: "Imagine being a goddess who recently dreamed she was a mortal named Hilda Krum who used her magical sword-fighting powers to fight monsters."
  • Anti-Magical Faction: The DHSS are sort of this and sort of not. They want to keep magic from rewriting their history, but don't have a problem using magic towards that goal. On the other hand, the fact that they're the only ones who still remember a world without magic means that with every shift, they start looking more and more like crazed anti-magic bigots to the rest of the world.
  • As You Know: Lampshaded here, after Humphrey just dropped a bit of exposition on Oz:
    Humphrey: It's not my fault you have the look of a man in need of frequent recaps.
  • Big Bad: An enigmatic figure known only as the Dragon, whose influence and power is causing magic to spread across a continuum of alternate universes which did not all naturally have it. There are various reasons why this is not a good thing.
  • Bothering by the Book: Colonel Proctor is magically compelled to send an absurd amount of energy to Edison's home plane. So he does. All at once.
  • Chainsaw Good: Combined with Dual Wielding after a trollkir bashes Humphrey into the lawn and garden section of a hardware store.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Oz, though he could stand to work on his chivalry a little more.
  • Clothing Damage: Humphrey gets the worst of it. Of the main cast, he's the newest guy to the whole thing - that, and he wears a t-shirt and jeans to most fights while everyone else wears heavier and sturdier stuff, including heavy leather coats, body armor, and enchanted garb.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Hilda wears rather illegal but highly effective weighted sap gloves, because swords don't have a stun setting.
  • Cosmic Retcon: As the magic level of a world increases, its own history changes so magic always was that powerful. And people are completely unaware of the changes barring certain protections against the magic's influence. Weyland developed a suit to protect himself from changes so he could help guide the effort to stop it, and assume's he's from the pre-change version of the First Sphere (Earth), but magic had to have started having an influence already before they could notice it and devise a countermeasure.
  • Determinator: Anyone gifted with magical fighting abilities. Once a fight starts they cannot stop until they die or their enemy is no longer a threat (which usually means slain).
  • Eldritch Location: Tangents, points where travel between the worlds is significantly easier.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: A variant:
    Cop: I thought you guys wore ... well, flashier getups.
    Humphrey: I've got student loans.
  • Fantastic Firearms: One of the spheres is a Weird West setting where Thomas Edison invented a means of recording spells on wax cylinders small enough to fit in a revolver, which played when the trigger was pulled.
  • Guns in Church: Humphrey carries his sword to class with him.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Played with. Swords are good weapons, used incredibly often, but just about anything works with the whole 'slashy-slashy thing' that turns people into expert fighters as soon as they pick up a weapon; the trick is recognizing it as a weapon.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Doctor Creighton hopes for and discusses this trope in his journal in the first page of the comic, speculating that the magic brought to the world by the Dragon will prove to be the key to defeating the Dragon.
  • Honor Before Reason: Apparently, if the man she'd been working for had survived, Maga would have had to kill Humphrey even though she'd used the life-link on him that would have made it instantly fatal for her.
  • Instant Costume Change: Forced on someone when under the influence of too much ambient magic changing their local histories (or at least those of their clothes).
  • Large Ham: Oz. He loves being a hero and often has a quip to toss off. Whether it's actually clever is in question because he thinks he's wittier than he is.
  • Loophole Abuse: Good magic-users are also good rules lawyers. For example, the magic behind monster-hunters like Humphrey requires them to wield a melee weapon. Turns out it relies somewhat on the user's understanding of melee weapon and if one can convince oneself that something else counts, well...
  • Magi Babble: Doctor Weyland Creighton is known to indulge in it from time to time.
    Oz: You sound like Mr. Scott if "Game of Thrones" had a warp drive.
  • The Magic Comes Back: And that's a problem because every time someone uses it, Earth becomes a little more fantastical and the science goes away to balance it out. Earth wasn't suppised to have any magic at all.
  • Mask of Power: Doctor Creighton's mask (and his whole suit really) and the mask Rinbauld copies from Creighton's suit moderates the influence of magic on him and his personal history.
  • Muggles Do It Better: Justified; while magic can be understood and controlled through science, the fact that it has its own will and the ability to rewrite history means that this is excessively difficult—not to mention the destiny thing. People from the First Sphere, who developed without magic helping them along, have computers and technology that they can combine with magic in unexpected ways.
  • The Multiverse: The Seven Spheres, a continuum of alternate Earths ranging from no magic to very high magic. Magic has started rising across all the spheres, a phenomenon referred to as the Dragon's shadow.
  • Nano Machines: After some tech deals with First Sphere companies, Mageforge Inc made tech-magic hybrid nanites that get a bit out of control. Creighton's suit though has more reliable purely technological nanites for repairs though.
  • Never My Fault: Maga has a tendency to blame Humphrey for getting injured due to her having slapped a magical marriage band on him that causes all harm that affects one of them to affect the other as well. Her intention was to keep him and his partners from trying to harm her while she ran off with the stuff she came to steal, but she ends up feeling every hit he takes whenever he gets in a fight. In a broader sense, she tends to blame everything that happens on someone else, regardless of her involvement.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Fantasy author Georgia Reuel Raymond Bolin, whose lawyers demand royalties from the DHSS if the fighters use terms like "trollkir" from her books. Her name and influence is a bit of a mash-up between John Ronald Reuel Tolkien and George Raymond Richard Martin, with hints of authors like Laurell K. Hamilton (given Oz's comments about the sex going over the top in her later books). Only more litigious.
  • Noodle Incident: San Diego. All we know for sure is that a fighter died, apparently the first one to die to a monster and in a spectacular fashion (given Hilda suggests a cruise missile being used on a monster in a large city would only "probably" be worse than what happened there).
  • Our Monsters Are Different: Most are actually fairly standard fantasy holdovers, but with different names.
    • Our Dragons Are Different: Nobody knows if the Dragon is really a dragon - it's just how he (it?) tends to be depicted. Though somewhat curiously, Barrex Ultor started turning into something rather draconic-looking when his "talozars" started merging with him across his faulty gate, which caused his power to grow greatly at the same time; and Rinbauld's mask started growing spines and protrusions reminiscent of a dragon's silhouette when he gained power inside the pocket universe.
  • Power Glows: Any weapon used by the monster-hunters gains a distinctive glow and tendency to sparkle, and sometimes leave glowing trails in its wake.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Agent Fleetwood, from the Department of Homeland Supernatural Security. Later "promoted" to Director when a new wave of magic rewrites history a little bit more.
  • Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: Weyland and Fleetwood both have equipment that provides them with this, to an extent. It also happens to people who are at "ground zero" of a Cosmic Retcon.
  • Robe and Wizard Hat: Colonel Proctor's long coat and hat pulls off this general effect while also remaining distinctly military.
  • Science Fantasy: As the Dragon's influence spreads to different spheres, those that never had magic are starting to gain it, but still applying a scientific understanding of it where possible. In short, you can get a tablet computer with magic-editing apps.
  • Shout-Out: Oz talks almost entitely in sci-fi and fantasy references. His tomb is the Hall of Justice flanked by the Gates of Argonath, and the coffin within is TARDIS-shaped and bears the Starfleet insignia, the Vault 101 logo, the Rebel Alliance insignia, and the S-shield, as well as the TARDIS's "Pull to Open" sign.
  • Staff of Authority: Proctor's swagger stick, which doubles as a wizard's staff.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Justified because the magic takes over and lets people fight automatically, so they're relatively free to talk over a fight.
  • Theory of Narrative Causality: Magic inflicts this on any world where it's present. Doctor Creighton explains very succinctly:
    Creighton: What's disturbing is how magic starts to cause a sort of artificial symmetry in events and people. Our early research pointed towards a "destiny effect" magic has on causality. Magical monsters give rise to magical fighters that can defeat them. Given enough input, magic can practically remove almost all significant random chance and conscious choice from a given system. You've all said consistently that your fights put you on a kind of auto-pilot, correct? Imagine that on a global scale, applied to every activity of significance.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Two demons about to be hit by a massive magical surge have a little conversation that fits this trope rather well:
    Demon 1: Have you noticed nothing good ever happens to us on a Tuesday?
    Demon 2: Look on the positive side. This is probably our last Tuesday ever.
    Demon 1: Oh, thanks. I feel so much better.
  • Wake Up, Go to School & Save the World: Humphrey is in college, but otherwise the trope applies — when an alert comes in, the professor just says he'll e-mail the next assignment.
  • Weird West: The Second Sphere, where one of the big divergences in history (at least in North America) was that France never sold the Louisiana Territory to the young United States. Add magic and a different kind of Western motif abounds.
  • Voices Are Mental: At one point, Humphrey briefly hands over control of his body to the spirit of a dead lord. The lord's old followers immediately recognize his voice.
  • Zeroth Law Rebellion
    • When a demonic familiar volunteers to protect his wizard by siphoning the excess power, he doesn't explicitly clarify that he will funnel said power to his base in hell where it will be consumed to fuel his ascension into a greater demon, and that the conditions of their contract states that the lesser power obeys the greater one, meaning the wizard now has to obey the demon since he grew more powerful.
    • The same wizard as before is ordered to keep the power flowing by his new demon master while the demon is busy fighting to increase his gains. The wizard is convinced to rule lawyer the command by sending massive amounts of power over at once, overloading the systems empowering the demon and blowing up his base, killing his minions and triggering a war in hell over the mana rich resources in what used to be his domain.