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Sillage

Sillage (the English title is Wake, as in "the current caused by a passing ship") is a French science fiction comic written by Jean-David Morvan and illustrated by Philippe Buchet.

The eponymous Sillage is a giant convoy of spaceships traversing the galaxy. The protagonist of the series is Nävis, the only human Sillage ever encountered. She was raised by robots on an uncivilised planet after a spaceship crash. After initial difficulties - due to her lack of psychic powers she is not recognised as a person at first - she joins Sillage as a sort of special agent.

While there are bigger themes tying the series together - mainly Nävis trying to find out what she is - each album is mostly self contained. Often using different planets that are visited as settings, the feel of the series can change a lot from album to album.

There are two spin-off series, one of them more humorous and dealing with Nävis' childhood.


Tropes

  • Action Girl: Nävis. In the first couple of stories she even qualifies as a Little Miss Badass; and if she no longer does in later episodes, it isn't for lack of badassery, but because she grows up into actual womanhood.
  • Alien Blood: probably spanning the entire spectrum, and the artist even keeps in mind that it affects skin tones.
  • The Alcatraz: One of Nävis's missions takes her in a space station used as a maximum-security prison.
  • Anything That Moves / The Casanova: Consul Enshu Atsukau uses his superlative, unblockable telepathy for two things: the most delicate (and therefore lucrative) of diplomatic missions... and getting himself a huge harem of women from virtually every sentient, somewhat humanoid species part of Sillage. This changes after meeting Nävis (even he can't reach her telepathically), and he becomes a creepy(er) Stalker with a Crush for her.
  • Awful Truth: At least one per volume. The Constituante has a lot of skeletons in its closet, and they're not the only ones.
  • Badass: At least Nävis, Bobo and Enshu Atsukau.
  • Big No: At the end of the first book.
  • Bittersweet Ending: So end many of Nävis's missions.
  • Boxed Crook: Nävis finds herself working with those on occasion, including old foes and old friends turned bad.
  • Cast of Snowflakes
  • Catch Phrase: "Poukram!"
  • Censor Box: in the US version of the first volume, in which Nävis was topless.
  • Character Development: At first innocent and naive, Nävis becomes increasingly jaded and cynical as she matures.
  • Cigar Fuse-Lighting: One of the Armada agents does it while on a mission on an alien world, with the two fuses tied in front of his chest and a swivel gun under each arm. While riding a local equivalent of a pterodactyl.
  • The Collector: Enshu Atsukau is a weird one. Hopefully Nävis is immune to his Mind Control power.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Nävis. In one book she encounters a group of 7 hostile aliens. After quickly remembering what species and gender they are, she defeats them over a single page - each opponent with his\her\its equivalent of Pressure Point/ Groin Attack .
  • Creepy Souvenir: Enshu Atsukau, due to the nature of the telepathy he uses to control his harem, has a collection of eyes in jars.
  • Deadly Upgrade: the fleet agents use highly restricted and expensive implants to block unwanted telepathy. Terrorists need the same protection but can't afford implants... so some of them settle for a lethal brain parasite instead.
  • Disability Superpower: Nävis's lack of psychic powers meaning her mind can't be read or controlled.
  • Far East: One of the planets visited by the fleet is basically an alien version of early Meiji Japan, complete with samurais, geishas and badass martial arts masters. For added reference, the ships sent down as emissaries by the fleet are black (like Perry's "black ships").
  • Gentle Giant - the prolls by default and Bobo in particular
  • Gray and Gray Morality: Nävis becomes gradually aware that her employers' motivations are often as shady as those of the people she's sent against.
  • Humans Are Special: Nävis completely lacks psychic powers (meaning she's the only person whose thoughts can't be read). It has been hinted it's the same for all the human beings.
  • Jungle Princess - Nävis in the first volume
  • Last Of Her Kind: Played with multiple times. She's the sole survivor from her planet, but we're pretty certain that she is NOT the last human being in the galaxy. In one of the spinoff's short stories, it is revealed that there was another human being who survived her spaceship crash. Sadly, he didn't last long.
  • Karma Houdini - For all he did, Atsukau only got a small scar on his lip.
  • Karmic Death - Princhard from book 4, Gearing Up. He recognises the trope and mocks it with his dying breath.
  • Latex Perfection: When conducting undercover missions, Nävis uses advanced symbiotic disguises that cover her entirely with fake skin, adjusts her to her target environment (allowing No Biochemical Barriers) and serves as Translator Microbes to boot.
  • Lean and Mean:
    • The consul Enshu Atsukau takes this trope further than any human could hope to.
    • Additionally, Most extremely skinny, named aliens turn out to be assassins of some sort.
  • Lethal Harmless Powers: A protective power of radiating bliss, protecting the user by making anyone around him unable to perform violence activated in the middle of a vast fleet where all the pilots are telepaths and many engines are psychic-powered, causes a cosmic pile-up that kills thousands
  • Lots And Lots Of Races: Several dozens on Sillage alone, and more besides on the many planets visited.
  • No Gravity for You
  • Powers That Be: The Constituante, the secretive body that rules over the fleet and often seems to engage in murky schemes.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: It is later revealed that most of Sillage's spaceships are actually powered by psychic powers from people basically used as living batteries. Guess who powers hers....
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide: In one of the later books Atsukau intimidates a gangster into helping him by entering his office and forcing the gangsters that surround him to shoot each other. On another occassion he inverts the trope, using mass suggestion to turn a battle between natives into an improvised football game... calmly commenting that in his old days he would have forced them to eat their own guts.
  • Raised by Wolves: Raised by a talking sabretooth tiger. (Not part of the trope, but earlier she was raised by a robot, before being subject to Laser-Guided Amnesia.)
  • Thank Your Prey: Right on the very first page
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: One of Nävis's missions takes her to a planet that (superficially) resembles Russia in the early 20th century, where she infiltrates a group of idealistic revolutionaries.
  • Robot Buddy - Snivel
  • Schizo-Tech - Nävis lives in a treehouse in a spaceship.
  • Shout-Out - Marsupilami in book 1; various, mostly robots ranging from Maria to Bender in book 5
  • Space Opera
  • Spinoff Babies - Nävis
  • Suicide by Cop - Criscios in book 5
  • Waif Fu: Nävis
  • Wild Child - Nävis
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