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A Modest Destiny is a Pixel Art Comic by Sean "Squidi" Howard. Unlike sprite webcomics, the pixel art used in AMD is created by Squidi himself. This led to some copyright issues early in the comic's run with people using his intellectual property the same way people typically use sprites ripped from games. This then-controversial event led to a lot of Hatedom directed at Squidi.
The comic is also infamous for having been canceled, then uncanceled, then canceled, then uncanceled, then canceled yet again, then uncanceled. Squidi once said he would not finish it, as he didn't like the direction it had taken, but in a recent blog entry he claimed that he would be reviving it once again. The fourth chapter has recently concluded, and the fifth chapter is "coming one day".
The comic consists of four arcs which follow the adventures of Maxim, a young man seeking his fame and fortune by joining a guild. Thanks in no small part to his unusual heritage, he winds up saving the world. Not only once, but twice.
The comics themselves are well executed, with good characterization, genuinely funny moments, and, in spite of a sudden shift in mood halfway through, a remarkably consistent myth arc. Tropers will probably enjoy the occasional lampshade hung on various RPG and Fantasy cliches.
This webcomic provides examples of:
- Affably Evil: The Vampire Lord Fluffy
- After the End: All of arc three and four.
- Almost Kiss: Here and here.
- Ambidextrous Sprite: Everyone, made especially obvious when the character has an eye patch.
- Animated Armor: Hechter, The Guardians
- The Alcoholic: Hubert
- Big Bad: Gilbert in the first arc, the Black Knight in the overreaching plot.
- Black Comedy Rape: Implied in this strip with Hubert.
- Blob Monster: Maxim's pet slime, Snot
- Boarding School of Horrors: St. Bob's School for the Criminally Befuddled and Chronically Unlucky
- Boisterous Bruiser: Gustav
- Brick Joke: A running joke has the characters musing of how their sparse (see: Unlivable) conditions in their room, prison cell, etc, could use a throw pillow. Fluffy finally, thoughtfully delivers here.
- Bungling Inventor: The professor. You know things are desperate if you're willing to strap on one of his gadgets.
- Bunny Ears Lawyer: Jeebs. he's a bartender who happens to be an alien.
- Butch Lesbian: Lucile
- Camp Gay: The jewelry store owner, Red.
- Cerebus Syndrome: Although the series always had an overreaching plot, the jokes grow fewer and the situation gets grimmer as the series progresses. Word of God in the form of a self-critiquing blog entry says it is not because it was always planned to go in this direction, but by our definition it still counts.
- Chekhov's Gunman: The guy who's Team Evil exam Gilbert copied shows up later to help Jenny escape from Team Evil's dungeon.
- Chekhov's Skill: Maxim learns the ancient art of controlling his shadow. This comes in handy in the final battle against the first arc's Big Bad when he's completely immobilized.
- Collective Identity: Crimson Blade.
- Also a Legacy Character.
- Companion Cube
- Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: This strip
- Darker and Edgier: Around the last part of arc two, the series becomes a great deal darker.
- The Ditz: Hechter and Bart.
- Dumb Muscle: Gustav
- Eats Babies: Fluffy
- Eyepatch of Power: Played straight with Maureen and Maxim, parodied with Morris.
- Evil Twin: Lampshaded in the prologue, where Maxim states that this was before it was fashionable to have an evil twin. Ultimately subverted when it turns out they aren't twins at all but rather Split At Birth and justified when we learn Gilbert is evil because he lacks a soul since Maxim stole it.
- Expressive Mask: Hechter
- Fantasy Contraception
- Fantastic Racism: Anyone with blue eyes is discrimated against, believed to be innately evil.
- Five Races
- Fluffy the Terrible: The dreaded vampire Lord Fluffy.
- Good Girls Avoid Abortion
- Grand Theft Me: Played with as a key plot point: following the final battle of the first arc, Maxim possesses Gilbert's empty body. This is deconstructed in the later episodes, as it reveals that his wife is secretly uncomfortable with this, worried that any children they have will be evil like Gilbert.
- Groin Attack: This strip.
- Grumpy Old Man: Grandpa Maxim
- Hammerspace: Lampshaded.
- Heel Face Revolving Door: Maureen and Bart
- Heel Face Turn: Hechter
- Hideous Hangover Cure: An inversion with Hubert when it turns out that alcohol actually helps him recover after receiving serious injuries
- I Call It Vera: Maxim's initial weapon, the stick "Lucille".
- Hubert's cloak, which Hechter named Steve.
- I Can See My House From Here
- Is That What He Told You?: The secret of Maxim's true nature, according to the Black Knight.
- It Got Worse: From the second chapter on, things have steadily gotten worse and worse, leading to a Darkest Hour which is more like a Darkest Episode.
- Lame Rhyme Dodge: Your shroom awaits.
- Look Behind You!: Maxim is rather fond of using this in the first arc. Vanishes as things become more serious.
- Living Labyrinth: Fluffy's automatically rearranging dungeon.
- MacGuffin Girl: Maxim
- Mad Oracle: Morris as of the third story arc.
- Minion with an F In Evil: Hechter
- Mismatched Eyes: Maureen. She hides the one eye because blue eyes are considered evil
- Mood Whiplash: Halfway through the "Lord Fluffy" arc.
- Morning Sickness
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Towards the end of the first arc, Maxim discovers that the reason Gilbert's so evil is because Maxim stole his soul.
- Ninja Log: Maxim's "Escape Dummy", first shown here.
- No Kill Like Overkill: Good God, Gustav. Also, Ruby on one occasion.
- One-Winged Angel: Deo-Deo, Snot when he eats Maxim.
- Our Souls Are Different: Losing one's soul makes it impossible to experience emotion and one ceases to exist after death.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Vampirism is theological in nature. Being bitten by a sufficiently holy man can reverse the effects.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Subverted. See The Guards Must Be Crazy below.
- Pixel Art Comic
- Playground Song: Hechter kept himself occupied this way for the five years his head was buried in the desert.
- Portrait Painting Peephole
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Shadow, in this strip
- Lampshaded here.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits
- Rape as Backstory: Jenny was almost raped as a child, and the consequences of that act scarred her for life.
- Samus Is a Girl: Shadow, in this strip
- Sanity Slippage: Inverted in Morris. He completely loses it after an incident in the earlier arcs, but has been growing gradually more lucid of late, becoming a bit of a Mad Oracle in the process.
- Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: The elderly Maxim, whom his grandkids call 'Uncle Cranky'.
- Shadow Pin: See Chekhov's Skill.
- Signed Up for the Dental: One of the main draws of Team Evil
- Sleeping Dummy: Maxim's escape dummies.
- Split At Birth: Maxim and Gilbert. It turns out that Maxim is a magical artifact that copied the infant Gilbert exactly, but was unable to copy his soul and thus stole it.
- Strange Minds Think Alike: Apparently, Maureen and Lucile's marriage lacks mayonnaise.
- Thanks for The Mammaries: This incident in which Maxim finds out that Shadow is a girl
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: Played straight for the most part. Zigzagged in this strip and the next two after it.
- Thieves' Guild: A textbook example and the first guild Maxim tries to join
- Title Drop: In Episode 4, paired with The Reveal here:
Black Knight: Gilbert's modest little destiny.
- Tongue on the Flagpole: In this strip.
- Train Problem: This strip
- Trope 2000:
- Tsundere: Jenny, Maureen, Ruby... Heck, just about every adult female in the cast. We may be seeing some Author Appeal here.
- Wham! Line: A series following the Black Knight's reveal in Episode 4, including this exchange:
Maxim: No! It's a lie! I didn't! I couldn't! I'd remember...
Black Knight: Like you remember the other destinies you've stolen?
- Whip Sword: The Crimason Blade has a weapon like this.
- Whole-Episode Flashback: The entire story save for the first few pages is a flashback on the part of Maxim, telling the story to his grandkids.
- With This Herring: When Maxim joins the Fighters' Guild, the only weapon they give him before sending him out on jobs is a hyped-up stick. He names it Lucile.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Gilbert. He wants to resurrect an evil god and rule the world, but only because a jewel, which sensed danger, turned itself into an exact replica of him, and took his soul because it was the one thing it couldn't replicate...so now Gilbert doesn't feel any emotions and when he dies there will be nothing except emptiness...which is why he is raising Deo-Deo to grant him eternal life so he won't cease to exist.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Maxim in the first arc. Justified in that his hair color is the color of the jewel that he was created from. Generally averted by the main cast in that most of the hair colors are realistic, and the ones that aren't are dyed, as discussed here.
- You Make Me Sic: This exchange between Maxim and Shadow:
Maxim: You misspelled "Dismemberment".
Shadow: Luckily, i'm better at doing it then spelling it...
Maxim: Uh oh.
- Zombie Apocalypse: Actually an undead apocalypse, which happens as a Time Skip between arcs two and three.