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"I took The Authority and I stripped out all the plots, logic, character and sanity. (...) It's an absolute distillation of the superhero genre. No plot lines, characters, emotions, nothing whatsoever. It's people posing in the street for no good reason. It is people getting kicked, and then exploding. It is a pure comic book, and I will fight anyone who says otherwise. And afterwards, they will explode."
Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen's irreverent parody of Super Teams, which featured five relatively obscure Super Heroes fighting the forces of H.A.T.E., a S.H.I.E.L.D-style organization who were discovered to be in league with the Beyond Corporation, the current incarnation of their former rivals, S.I.L.E.N.T. (Who doesn't love a good acronym?)
The team consisted of:
- Monica Rambeau (Formerly known as Captain Marvel and Photon): The leader of the group. She used to lead The Avengers, and reminds her teammates of this fact at every available opportunity.
- Tabitha "Tabby" Smith (formerly known as Time Bomb, Boom-Boom, Boomer, Meltdown, Firecracker, and Mutate #35): A trailer-trash klepto with the "mutant powers of blowing things up and stealing all your stuff" (actual description). Her theft of the Beyond Corporation's Marketing Plan provided the impetus for the team to leave the employ of H.A.T.E.
- Aaron Stack (formerly known as X-51 and Machine Man): A surly, alcoholic, Do Anything Robotic Jerkass. Ended up as Ensemble Darkhorse for precisely those reasons.
- Elsa Bloodstone: Daughter of a famous monster hunter, she was the series' resident Action Girl.
- The Captain (Formerly known as Captain Power, Captain Ron, Captain L. Ron, Captain Universe, Captain Ultra, Captain Avenger, Captain Avalon, Captain Marvel, Captain ☠☠☠☠, and various others before finally giving up): An idiotic Flying Brick from Brooklyn who received his powers from benevolent aliens while drunkenly stumbling home. Subversion of The Good Captain and frequent victim of The Worf Effect. The only member of Nextwave created specifically for the series.
The series ran for twelve issues, with each story arc being two issues long (although a case can be made for the final arc actually being four issues long). Plot wasn't a high priority, and served mostly as an excuse for the team to beat things up and cause things to explode.
This series provided examples of:
- Absolutely Happened: Discontinuity you say. ☠☠☠☠ that! Every team member has been written like this book happened to them anyways.
- Action Girl: Elsa Bloodstone is capable of kicking anything's ass. Anything. Even if it doesn't have an ass. Monica and Tabby also apply.
- Affectionate Parody: Imagine every single comic book trope ever created subverted or lampshaded to hell, but adding in tons of Rule of Funny and Rule of Cool to it.
- Alternate Continuity: Started out as one, but afterwards many references to it were made in the main titles, and the characters involved started displaying their personalities and costumes from the series in all their other appearances.
- Note however that the Marvel Universe has thousands of alternate timelines so Nextwave could have taken place in something other than the official one (#616). It's even possible that the whole story was nothing more than a comic book, as Earth 616 has its own Marvel Comics company, whose comics don't always reflect the actual reality of that world (eg. The Mighty Thor is presented as being an alien, not a god, in them.)
- Asshole Victim: Officer Mac Mangel, A cop one week from retirement... who beats up drug dealers (when he doesn't get his cut), threatens prostitutes (when he doesn't get his cut), and beat up a mugging victim upon learning he still has some money left. He is transformed into some kind of robotic monster when trying to sell what he thinks is a stray cat, said robot body is blown up, and then Tabby and Aaron kick him for being a cop. Monica ends up being unwittingly bad help when she hands him over to his "friends"-- all the people he'd victimized in the beginning. They promptly haul him off into a back ally and shoot him.
- Back From the Dead: Beyond brings back Dirk Anger as a zombie after he accidentally hanged himself.
- Badass Boast:
Reverend Guilt: We are THE VESTRY!
- Badass Longcoat: The "Nextwave outfit" consists only of a Badass Longcoat thrown over whatever superhero costume/civilian duds the team members happen to be wearing.
- Barbie Doll Anatomy: Fin Fang Foom has no genitals whatsoever.
Oh, you cannot imagine how annoyed he is.
- Berserk Button: Don't make fun of Forbush Man's hat.
- BFG: the extremely... suggestive looking Armageddon Horn.
- Also the ginormous suicide pistol nearly used by Dirk Anger. Cow sized rounds? Oh Jesus...
- Bigger on the Inside: the team aircraft the Shockwave Rider, explicitly kept that way by Applied Phlebotinum which is later damaged, forcing a hurried bail-out.
- It Runs On Nonsensium: The name would suggest the craft is propelled by the action of the comic itself.
- Bi the Way: Monica says that all of The Avengers hit on her. Including The Wasp.
- Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Tabitha (blonde), Monica (brunette), and Elsa (redhead).
- The Caligula: Dirk Anger. Barking mad, momma's dress-wearing, sticking-baby-chicks-in-a-blender-and-ingesting-them-intravenously, Russian Roulette-playing Dirk Anger.
- Calling Your Attacks: Monica Rambeau has developed this somewhat Animesque habit.
- The Captain also has a special, ultimate attack. It's called "Kick!".
- Captain Ersatz: Dirk Anger, H.A.T.E., and S.I.L.E.N.T. are stand-ins for Nick Fury, SHIELD, and HYDRA, respectively. (Warren Ellis wanted to use the originals, but was shouted down. After seeing what he did with them, that's kind of a relief.)
- Although Brian Bendis and John Hickman later recycled the idea, making both SHIELD and the goofier version of HYDRA sub-divisions of a larger HYDRA network; presumably, Marvel editors refused the earlier idea not because they were afraid of it... But afraid of Ellis.
- In the script, Ellis describes H.A.T.E. as "What SHIELD would be if you were as drunk as I was when I wrote this" and Dirk Anger as "Most definitely not Nick Fury. At all."
- Captain Superhero
- Catch Phrase: "Fleshy one." "Kick. 'Splode." "Tick tick tick boom." "My robot brain needs beer."
- Character Development: Played with in an issue.
- Clothing Damage: The Captain is indestructible. His clothing isn't. So when he gets shot by a giant gun, guess what happens.
Monica: I'm almost tempted to make you walk around like that all the time.
- Combat Stilettos: Elsa Bloodstone.
- Crisis Crossover: "Not part of a Marvel comics event".
- "We don't care."
- And yet Monica appears in Civil War in her Nextwave attire...
- Any recent appearances of Monica, Tabitha, or Aaron had them display connections with Nextwave, suggesting the miniseries was loved enough to be put in continuity anyway.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Tabby.
- Death Is Cheap: Lampshaded.
Elsa: "Didn't Tabby also say that Magik was dead?"
- Despair Speech: Played for Laughs with Dirk Anger.
I've reinvented suicide as a group activity. Go me.
- Disability Immunity: Tabby when she defeats Forbush-Man and his mind control powers because she has no mind to control.
- Dirty Cop: Officer Mangel, very much so.
"I AM THE LAW. GIMMIE YOUR WALLETS!"
- The Ditz: Tabby Smith
"I hate cops! Because, like, cops keep arresting me and stuff? For stealing? Like stealing's a crime or something?"
- Do-Anything Robot: Aaron contains pretty much every conceivable sharp pointy object ever made within his body. Read the trope article and become enlightened.
- Dumb Muscle: The Captain isn't a terribly bright guy, but at least he cops to the fact that, for instance, he "can barely speak English." He can also, you know, tear your head off with one hand.
- Eat Me: Machine Man, against Fin Fang Foom.
- Facing the Bullets One-Liner: "My name's Dirk Anger and I say ☠☠☠☠ all of you."
- Five-Man Band: Monica is The Hero and Tabitha is The Chick. Aaron is The Smart Guy but also the best candidate for The Lancer, while Elsa and The Captain are both The Big Guy (with Elsa also having shades of The Smart Guy and The Lancer).
- Flashback Cut: Mostly used to illustrate childhood trauma, and almost all totally at odds with established Marvel canon.
- Flying Brick: The Captain's powers, which even he refers to as his "generic set of super-hero abilities".
- Fun with Acronyms
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
Tabby: They shot their muck all over meee!
- Gigantic Gulp: Aaron and his barrel full of beer.
- Global Ignorance: Tabby. She thinks Europe is a country and is shocked to learn that the French are in Canada.
- Glory Days: Did you know Monica Rambeau used to lead The Avengers?
- The Good Captain: Naturally, The Captain is a spoof of this.
- Guns vs. Swords: Elsa uses both, but upon facing an army of samurai robots, she declares that swords beat guns, and faces them with a shovel.
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood - Elsa Bloodstone.
- Humongous Mecha: Beyond Corporation's Ultra Samurai Seed turns people into one.
- Infant Immortality: Hilariously subverted with Baby Modok.
- Kick the Dog: Literally, in Monica's case.
- Killer Rabbit: Drop bears. "Widdle cuddly bears of DEATH!?"
- Kleptomaniac Hero: Tabitha.
- Leet Lingo: Tabby often uses Net acronyms when speaking out loud. "'Zomg'?"
The Captain: Beats the pus out of me.
- Lethal Joke Character: Meet Forbush Man. He wears a pot on his head and red jammies, and is capable of shattering your mind by trapping it in a horrible alternate reality with a different art style.
- Looks Like She Is Enjoying It: When Dirk Anger accidentally hung himself in his private chamber on the H.A.T.E. Aeromarine, two female attendants listening to his strangled grunts thought he was looking at pornographic websites.
- Made of Explodium: "Oh my God, they explode. My life has taken on new meaning."
- The Man Behind the Man: Number None, really a baby M.O.D.O.K. in disguise, was the Giant Floating Head Behind The Man for Dirk Anger... And then he turned out to be an underling of Devil Dinosaur.
- Misfit Mobilization Moment: Done very bluntly for laughs in issue #12:
"You people will by God act like a team, or at least like people who know each other, or I'll incinerate the bunch of you here and now."
- Ms. Fanservice: Elsa and Tabby. Especially Elsa.
- Narrator: The captions served mostly to hang a lampshade on the tropes being employed here. The captions also have No Fourth Wall — at one point, they pop up to indicate that the current panel showing the Shockwave Rider was inserted precisely so people could crop it out and use it as signature/avatar images on message boards. Ironically, it's remarkably difficult to find a scan of.
- "Unless you stole it off the internet"
- Monster Modesty: Fing Fang Foom's shorts are a subject of extensive derision.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The third story features such wonderful creations as the man-eating drop bears and samurai robots. Bloodstone destroys an army of the latter with a shovel.
- Plant Person: Arguably, Beyond's Human Resources operatives, who are based on genetically-modified kelp, grown in gardens, and driven by software. Their level of sentience is suspect, however.
Monica: "But they're alive, right?"
- Power Walk: The Nextwave team does this at the end of one comic.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Dirk Anger.
- Quirky Miniboss Squad: Number None assembles several teams of second-rate supers to fight Nextwave.
- One's a collection of characters formerly featured in "What The!?," Marvel's own self-spoofing comic (all that's missing is Spider-Ham). Several are just bizarre. The one that doesn't show up is a squad composed of notable gay superheroes (given different names, of course); Sun-King and Midniteman are references Ellis' own creations Apollo and Midnighter, while Polestar is Northstar and Slightly Creepy Policewoman is Renee Montoya.
- Reality Ensues: Lampshaded when Elsa runs out of bullets, Hollywood lies a lot you know.
- Reconstruction: Ellis' earlier The Authority was basically the JLA without all that pesky Thou Shall Not Kill nonsense. As indicated by the page quote, Nextwave is pretty much that, except with lots more irreverent parodies of the Marvel universe and much more explosions.
- Refuge in Audacity: Here's but one example out of many — Dirk Anger is so depressed (when he's not in a manic episode) that he plays Russian Roulette. A little sad, yes? Now, what if we mentioned he did it sitting atop a giant gun bigger than he is with the barrel twisted around to point at him? Comedy gold.
- Robot Buddy: Aaron would be a subversion.
Aaron: I could make you pregnant.
- Rule of Cool: When the aforementioned samurai robots appear, Elsa Bloodstone realizes that her handguns aren't nearly cool enough to defeat them, so she drops them and fights with only a shovel.
- It is of note that Elsa decided upon this because samurai robots beat guns. No question.
- Rule of Funny
- Rule of Symbolism: All the time, and usually hitting the bullseye. To get an idea, the opening definition of the superhero genre is: "HEALING AMERICA BY BEATING PEOPLE UP!"
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here: One of the Broccoli Men had a very intelligent reaction to Elsa Bloodstone.
No no no not doing this this is my special run away song so I do not get killed by scary girl.
- Second Law, My Ass: Aaron Stack
"Biological systems are hideous. I can't believe they have all this garbage inside them and not want to kill themselves."
- Secret Identity: Averted with a vengeance. Except for The Captain, none of Nextwave really uses their former code-names at all; in Monica's case, this is probably a blessing, since as they point out, there's been way too many Captain Marvels.
- Keep in mind that the only reason The Captain uses his code name is that he can't remember his real name.
- Serial Escalation: Put it this way: if a Nextwave animated series were to be made, it would be Western animation's answer to Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Except funnier.
- Senseless Violins - Elsa Bloodstone keeps her arsenal of guns in a guitar case.
- Shout-Out / Take That: Spoofing a previous bit in The Ultimates by Mark Millar that insulted the French for being Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys, the British Elsa Bloodstone at one point yells "VICTIM? VICTIM?! DO YOU THINK THIS LETTER ON MY CHEST STANDS FOR AMERICA?!"
- Also the memorable "Mark Millar licks goats."
- The art styles in the alternate realities are based on the art of Paul Pope, Daniel Clowes, Mike Mignola, and embody various '70s comics themes.
- The giant revolver that Dirk Anger is sitting on is directly based on a panel from Elektra: Assassin by Bill Sienkiewicz and Frank Miller where Nick Fury is doing target practice in a very similar weapon; the major difference is that Axe Crazy Anger’s uber-revolver has its barrel bent back towards him so he can use in a very over-the-top game of Russian Roulette.
- "Huh. I thought when you hit leprechauns on the head they turned into gold coins. What a rip."
- Number None's rant before he introduces the enemy super-teams is a reference to Marvelman.
- The Captain's origin is a Bizarro version of the origin of Green Lantern Kyle Rayner.
- At one point, the team ends up fighting a slew of enemies for multiple panels. One group of enemies consists of a gaggle of snakes, piloting planes.
- Signature Style
- Small Reference Pools: Played with when Elsa makes a reference to Andrea Dworkin, and Tabby doesn't get it.
- Don't make fun of Tabitha, she growed up in a trailer park!
- Splash Panel (a page from the penultimate issue is used as an example of the trope)
- More precisely, six pages.
- Spoof Aesop: "No good can come of a robot in a bra."
- Squirrels in My Pants: Attempted invocation by Fin Fang Foom, when he tries to put Tabby in his pants.
- Stern Chase
- Stuff Blowing Up: Lots of it. Everywhere.
- Take That: Loads.
- Taking You with Me: Zombie Dirk Anger attempts to kill the Nextwave squad by crashing the Aeromarine into them. He destroys the Shockwave Rider, but fails to kill Nextwave themselves.
Dirk: I have re-invented suicide as a group activity. Go me.
- Toilet Humor: Captain America's urine.
Monica: Is Cap dead?
- Training From Hell: Elsa Bloodstone's monster-hunter training, which includes being thrown into monster pits while she's an infant with only a spoon to her name.
- The Undead: Dirk Anger's suicidal retirement is not accepted by H.A.T.E.
- Unreliable Narrator: The characters have several flashbacks which totally violate everything we know about the characters (like Monica flash-frying an annoying yappy dog as a kid; she wasn't even supposed to have superpowers then) but they're all so funny we don't really care.
- Unsound Effect
Monica: Aaron, help them. * Burst of white noise as Monica turns into 120 pounds of photons*
- Villainous Breakdown: Dirk Anger has one that lasts for the entire series.
- Will Not Be a Victim: Elsa Bloodstone.
- Writer on Board: Writer Warren Ellis' well known distaste for the Modern Age of comics and the Dark Age of comics is evident, but is funny rather than annoying.
- It helps that he's deliberately going for humor.
- The Euro "€" symbol