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They are heroes. They are people. This is their story. A comic book universe in prose.
The Descendants is a Web Serial Novel, Written by Landon Porter. It can best be described as an all text comic book, as it is presented in the form of issues, annuals, one shots and mini series just as if it was any other comic book universe.
The main series follows a group of superhumans called psionics on the run from a the group behind a villainous Super-Hero School called the Academy. Events conspire from there to turn them from basically a Secret Project Refugee Family into a Super Team.
The entire series revels in playing with Comic Book Tropes and rejecting the Dark Age of comics. Word of God even states that early versions were a blatant Take That at Marvel's Civil War and that as a whole, it strives to find the sweet spot between the Silver Age and Bronze Age.
Mostly, it sticks to Teen Hero books and family themes.
Not to be confused with the 2011 film.
This series provides examples of:
- Affably Evil: Most villains. Even the demons are polite. That does not mean they're nice however.
- Alice Allusion: Vorpal. Besides her Code Name, her friend Mr. Voice calls her Alice for lack of a real name to call her by.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Subverted. One issue actually riffs on the idea in its name, but in the end, the girl decides that she likes the quiet guy.
- All There in the Manual: Zig zags a bit. Reading only the main series is fine, and you get 99% of the stuff. However for all the small trivia about the future world, the prelates, faerie and everything else you need to not only read all the side stories, but the Q&A thread on the forums has stuff in it not answered anywhere. The RPG played on the forums (and set in the same universe) has some additional information too, but it's already more than 3'000 posts long.
- Alpha Bitch: Lily Goldenmeyer and with the new school comes Betty "Rapunzel" Sinclair
- Anti-Villain: Vorpal, clearly. Liedecker to a lesser degree.
- Badass Normal: Liedecker manages to fight a freaking demon to a standstill. But the cake goes to George, who single handedly stops Rehenimaru's plan, and without any kind of weapon or battle training. Doubles as Badass Grandpa too.
- The Bechdel Test: Lampshaded in one conversation that has been 100% about dating and boys, capped off with a character mentioning that she's probably going to fail the test she's studying for, administered by a Professor Bechdel.
- Big Bad: Simon Talbot and Project TOME
- Morganna might yet turn out to be an even Bigger Bad.
- The Chessmaster: Brother Wright
- Simon Talbot is starting to show signs of this too.
- And Thunderhead.
- City of Adventure: The fictional city of Mayfield, VA.
- Code Name: Academy students had a tradition of giving themselves these. It's also implied that British psionics working for the government also have them following the pattern of Verbing Noun.
- Cryptic Background Reference: The characters often reference villains who haven't appeared in the series.
- Cute Monster Girl: Freaque, Rehenimaru, and Joy Duvall. If it's female and non-human, it will be one of these.
- Dark Chick: Shine and to a lesser extent, Impact
- Death By Origin Story: Whitecoat's favorite professor
- Differently-Powered Individual: The superheroes are called "prelates" by the media, but many of the heroes (as per the page quote) know exactly what they are. At one point, a character asks when it will be okay to call bad guys supervillains.
- Eagle Land: Starts out looking like a Type 1 largely because the series is very US-centric until Volume 5. But Fridge Logic sets in when you realize that none of the core conflict would even exist without massive corruption and/or incompetence in the US government.
- Enemy Civil War: Most apparent with the Brother Wright/Project TOME split, but Morganna/demons and demons/demon baboons, too. This seems to be a way of life in Faerie.
- Enemy Mine: Even demons intent on hunting down and consuming the emotions of humans don't like Morganna.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: Ape Knight and a horde of demon baboons that appear in
- Everything's Better with Platypi: Morganna keeps one around for the poison.
- Expy: Liedecker is essentially Diniverse Luthor played sane and much, much more dangerous.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Laurel and Tink, Warrick's non-powered girlfriend.
- Generation Xerox: played with, a lot. Cyn and Warrick more or less are Alexis and Ian as kids, and thanks to stasis they even have the same roommate. In the "possible future" issue they even get their own super-group in the future. However it looks like they're not going to end up together, an the more Character Development there is, the more what looked like a Generation Xerox at first gets less and less xeroxy.
- Genre Savvy: Warrick swings between this and Wrong Genre Savvy from issue to issue.
- Great Big Book of Everything: The Book Of Reason, and presumably the rest of The 4 books, spontaneously grow new material. Even in digital copies.
- I Have the High Ground: Warrick, most heroic fliers. During the finale of Volume 1, the heroes call the villains out from a rooftop.
- Instant Runes: Occult uses these during the 4 arc. Notable in that she has to prepare them ahead of time to get the 'instant' effect.
- In the Hood: Occult wears one. It casts magical darkness over her face.
- Involuntary Transformation: Seems to happen a lot to tertiary characters: Freaque, Wolf, the poor sod the Mauler possessed...
- I Was Just Passing Through: Odd heroic sample with Hope 'helping' Vorpal with some smugglers when she just wanted to get to a transceiver.
- Kid Sidekick: strangely enough, for all the gold and silver age feeling, deconstructed. The whitecoat does not want Damascus around, and finally has a chat with his parents to stop him doing reckless things and enroll at the academy to train.
- Even more deconstructed with Kay and Occult, since they're both kids.
- Laser-Guided Karma: usually done in a positive way. All the people misguided or forced into villainy manage to get an happy end of one sort or another. It does help that most of the antagonists are overall positive characters.
- Magical Girl: Occult is a Magic Warrior
- Meta Origin: Most heroes and a good number of the villains are psionics.
- Mind Control: Both Avatar and Thunderhead's MOs. Morganna doesn't hesitate to apply it when needed.
- Mutants: Called 'psionics' here. An interesting case in that while psionics are born with their powers, those powers are the result of experimentation during World War Two
- Mysterious Watcher: we had to wait for 49 issues before discovering who 'George' was.
- Nineties Anti-Hero: deconstructed, any character that has the motivation and personality of one is a straight up villain here. See Samael: His defining characteristic? Pouches, lots of pouches.
- His fandom seems to share his views, in the PbP RPG they're playing on the website's forums one of the characters comments on a hulking man with tiny feet and, of course, pouches.
- Even Vorpal, who is the most woobish of the villains, gets a Shut UP, Hannibal by the Knight in Sour Armour Hope, of all people.
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Juniper has moments of this, casually commenting one things like how easily she could simply be shot and killed immediately after Cyn had a hallucination about all of her friends being killed horribly.
- Orichalcum: The nearly indestructible metal orihalcite and its refined form, orihalcon.
- Our Monsters Are Different: Trolls and Demons especially.
- Parental Abandonment: Mostly averted. We've met almost all the main characters' parents and know why they're allowed to stay at Freeland House.
- Played straight in Cyn's case. Her family drove her out with their abuse over her Big Eater tendencies 'costing too much'.
- Public Domain Character: Morganna. Only not really.
- Rouge Angles of Satin: Rare, but all the more grating for it.
- The author has gone back and done a lot of editing, so at least it isn't a case of They Just Didn't Care.
- Secret Identity: Played with. The Big Bad knew their identities from the start, their families mostly find out early on, but they still maintain their secret identities because of all the new enemies they've made.
- Shout-Out: Many. Especially the names of Alloy's sentient, metal tentacles, Isp and Osp.
- Show Within a Show: Malady Place. Many of the characters are fans and the first act of the pilot is in the extras area.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Firmly on the idealism side and consciously taking a stand against cynicism.
- Start of Darkness: The Liedecker: Life and Times miniseries is this for Liedecker and Rise of Morganna shows this for Morganna in flashback.
- Super-Hero School: And how! The Academy, the Brunswick School, Voice's School, the Liedecker Institute
- Superpower Lottery: Some people control universal forces, some people... are prematurely bald.
- Take That: The briefly seen villain Wartorn more or less *is* Mark Millar and paraphrases Millar as a justification of his villainy.
- His real name is 'Mark Miller' in French.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: Constantly. It's rare to even have a villain kill someone. Not for lack of trying on their parts, though. Morganna seems to be immune to this rule.
- Tome of Eldritch Lore: The 4, each of which contain the source code for the universe's local magical laws. All have their own force of will, are extremely dangerous, and perhaps most worryingly, can be photocopied or digitized with both copies retaining those attributes. One of them is called the Book Of Madness.
- The Book of Passions in seems to think it's perfectly okay to sic monsters on its Chosen One.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Liedecker. He's managed to get the heroes to name a school after him!
- Not him, his father.
- Waxing Lyrical: At least once per volume.