Cwynhild's Loom is a hard science fiction webcomic written and drawn by Autumn Lansing. Taking place in the mid-24th century on a terraformed Mars, the plot revolves around the life of Cwynhild Faer, a cybernetically-enhanced former military officer who is on the run after she and others like her, known as Valkyries, refused to submit to a government program to deactivate their tech, a process known as "clipping," the end result of which would leave them crippled or dead.
Trying to stay one step ahead of those who would hunt her down, Cwynhild travels around the planet with Jake Edwards, a former military pilot whose Valkyrie wife died as a result of being clipped. They're aided by Amon Thorn, the robotocist who created the Valkyrie program. Thorn travels and interacts with them through a remote device which resembles a floating orb.
Also prominent in the story is Fiona Nightingale, the daughter of Ezekiel Nightingale, the second richest man on Mars, who is suspicious of her father's activities and enlists Cwyn to help discover what they are. The elder Nightingale operates a robotech corporation which supplied much of the equipment used to enhance the Valkyries as well as much of the equipment that was used in the clipping program, though he claims to support the renegade soldiers' cause. The story, currently in its first book, is set in the small, remote, mining town of Prosperity.
Though humor is present, the comic focuses more on elements of action/adventure, mystery and intrigue.
- Action Girl: Cwynhild.
- All There in the Manual: The website features a great deal of background information, including maps and a section on Martian timekeeping.
- Art Evolution: The style can often change significantly between updates and has shifted more towards realism over time. Cwyn's hair is a prime example.
- Backstory: Details of the Valkyrie backstory are slowly revealed in the comic, and a brief written history is available on the website.
- Badass Gay: Cwynhild.
- Black and Gray Morality: Both Cwynhild and Ezekiel Nightingale establish early on that they are willing to do whatever is necessary to advance their causes.
- Cattle Punk. While most of the population on Mars lives in a small highly terraformed part of the planet, the less populated parts of the planet reflect the American West. Cowboy hats are quite common, and many people are openly armed. Cwynhild takes on the role of both Outlaw and the The Drifter:
- Cyborg: Cwynhild is a cybernetically enhanced human, though her enhancements are mostly internal and not visible to the naked eye.
- Esperanto, the Universal Language: Esperanto is the official language of Mars and is found on signs throughout the comic as well as on any type of computer output.
- Future Slang: Mars has its own unique words, often relating to its differences from Earth, i.e. "this sol" for "today" and "good sol" instead of "good day."
- Humanoid Aliens: The Mentakans, as seen in a flashback, are large, purplish humanoids.
- In Medias Res: The opening scene involves Cwyn being stabbed in the chest while asleep.
- It Got Worse: Pretty much the entire comic.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Amon is typically rude and comes across as selfish, but in reality he cares a great deal about the Valkyries and is willing to sacrifice everything to help them.
- Just a Machine: After the AI War, told in the comic's written backstory, robot development is restricted to prevent any machine from reaching sentience or looking human.
- No Transhumanism Allowed: Once their service was no longer needed, the cyborg Valkyries were required to have their technology inactivated and removed, which crippled or killed them. Their refusal to do so led them to be branded as outlaws and forms the core of the webcomic's plot.
- Odd-Shaped Panel: Every panels has rounded corners.
- Scenery Porn: Outside scenes are usually very detailed. Interior scenes are often as well.
- Schizo-Tech: The small mining settlement of Prosperity resembles a Wild West town in look and feel, however robots, aircraft, high-speed maglev trains and powered land vehicles are all seen.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money: Ezekiel Nightingale.
- Stripperific: Averted. Women typically wear long-sleeved tops and long skirts, except for Cwyn, who dresses more like the male characters.
- Super Soldier: Cwynhild has been cybernetically enhanced, making her stronger and faster than other humans on Mars. Her reactions are also quicker, and she can interact in various ways with computer systems through an artificial right hand, including shorting them out with an electrical pulse. She can also survive being stabbed in the heart..
- Transhuman: Cwyn and the Valkyries are cyborgs.
- True Companions: Cwynhild and Jake have a very loyal partnership.
- Unusual User Interface: Cwyn can wirelessly access computer systems through her artificial right hand.