Vexxarr

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Spoorflix (in spacesuit), Minionbot, Sid, and Vexxarr in their native habitat: Assigning blame for failures.


"Your logic is your weakness..."

Vexxarr is a comedy Sci-Fi webcomic by Hunter Cressall. The initial setup sounds similar to Invader Zim: An alien Evil Overlord sends his flunky to conquer earth, mostly to get him out of the way. However, it plays out quite differently. For starters, the flunky Vexxarr is quite well aware that he is incompetent, or in his own words: "Let's say I know a thing or two about being volunteered for one-way missions." Secondly, Vexxarr tries an open invasion, with War of the Worlds-esque walkers. It fails miserably, and Vexxarr is captured. Initially, the comic showed Vexxarr living on earth. After a while though, Vexxarr was allowed to leave, and since then the comic has centered on Vexxarr's journey through the galaxy, and trying to find a place that isn't inhabited by something that wants him dead. Or worse.

During his travels, he has picked up several new passengers, as much as Vexxarr would wish otherwise. Currently, Vexxarr's crew includes his robotic lackey Minionbot, his ship AI Carl, a legion of repair drones, Sploorfix and Sid. To give an idea of Vexxarr's typical day: The first three either diss him, play pranks on him, or try to kill him, Sploorfix shifts between Emo-mode and Wide-Eyed Idealist-mode, and Sid is a member of a prey species that is terminally afraid, despite being virtually indestructible. In short, if at any time Vexxarr's incompetence is insufficient to ruin his day, one of his "friends" will do it for him.

Tropes used in Vexxarr include:


  • A God Am I: Minionbot reprograms the repair drones to recognise Vexxarr as their deity. It goes about as well as you would imagine.

Drone (producing a software patch): {int Add(the green lout had it coming); };

Vexxarr: You managed to subvert your entire core programming by literally obeying its every word.
Carl: We're inteligent machines. It's what we do.

Sploorfix: I want to see their eyes as they burn.

Schlumpoid Queen: I would like to ask you something, and I want a straight answer. Tell me the unvarnished truth,no matter how much it may hurt. [snip] Is our civilization also in decline?
Schlumpool: No, but only because it is so pathetic it has nowhere to decline from.
Schlumpoid Queen: Ok... I'm going to ask again and I want a direct lie. Pile one on so high I can't see daylight over its height.

Minionbot: Have we yet again condemned an otherwise innocent species to brutal and premature extinction?
Vexxarr: What makes you say that?
Minionbot: Is it a Thursday?

      • (And yes, they have).
    • Again when Vexxarr feels there's still something missing from the news that the ship is without power and at the mercy of a malevolent species.

Carl: Structural failure?
Vexxarr: Nope.
Carl: Reactor breach?
Vexxarr: Be dissapointed if it hadn't
Carl: Bleeding atmosphere into space...
Vexxarr: It's a Thursday.

AI: Now, let's discuss your feelings. Start with pain.

It merely sums up a feeling I've had my whole life but couldn't quite put into words...

Vexxarr: Just determine the most hazardous place (the warp sabot) could have gone and start our search there...
Carl: I hate to say it but he has a certain practical logic...
Minionbot: I concur... past experience supports this.
Vexxarr: Whoa whoa whoa... stop right there! What have I told you both? We do not...ever...goad the universe!

  • Cowardly Lion: Sid, like all rock-crabs, is afraid of almost everything, despite the fact that very little can hurt him.
    • To make it even weirder he feeds on radiation, like that produced by Bleen weapons and antimatter explosions. So he loves the things that most sane beings would fear the most.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Vexxarr's usual high level of Genre Savviness can sky-rocket into this occasionally. Usually this is directly proportional to how insane a bad situation has become.[2]
  • Deadpan Snarker: Vexxarr, Minionbot and Carl. Vexxarr and Carl have ribbing matches that go on for panels.
  • Delicious Distraction: Used deliberatly by Vexxarr whenever a stressful situation arises. And they arise often...to the point Sploorfix has picked up the habit.

Vexxarr: First of all their planet was in the way and second it's triple layer carrot cake. See? There are raisins...

Vexxarr: All I want is a safe place where I can enjoy a little cake and Xbox and instead I find bizarre civilisations in danger of unintended self-extermination. And then they want help. From me.

Forebearer's computer: Your logic is cold, selfserving and unerring in it's cruelty. And that's comming from an renegade AI

  • Everything Trying to Kill You: And everyone. By the time Vexxarr has gotten through facilitating an all-out war between the Bleen and the Lattrox, the only people's hit list he isn't on is the humans and their allies. And that's a pretty damn tiny percentage of the space-faring races, considering that it amounts to about... 3.

Carl: What's life without a little danger?
(beat)
Vexxarr: How the hell would I know!?

Sploorfix: You want to spark a war between Bleen and the Lattrox? A war in which millions of intelligent, innocent beings will perish?
Vexxarr: No, no. See, the Lattrox and Bleen would be fighting.... each other...

Bleen: We've been hit! Hull breach, port side.
Rock-crab: Excuse me. May I have directions to your airlock? I need to get back for the second salvo.

Vexxarr: Usually by this time we'd hear...
an alien ship: Alien vessel, Do not attempt to flee or we will be forced to destroy you...
Vexxarr: ...alright, fifty-seven seconds. Who had fifty-seven seconds?
Minionbot: I had five dollars on fifty-seven but it was under 'Prepare to be assimilated...'

  • Good Is Not Nice: Vexxarr is a borderline type IV Anti-Hero who can be quite vindictive when he wants to be. But he still has a conscience - albeit one he has tried to literally bash out of his own head - and he will - in the end - do the right thing.[3] He is not going to be nice about it though. Ever. And depriving him of cake is probably going to send him off the deep end.[4]
  • Gravity Sucks: Averted hard; at one point Vexxarr actually tries to hide in a black hole's accretion disk, relying on his invincible hull to protect him against the radiation. It almost worked, too.
  • Gun Porn: In the early, black and white days of the comic, the art of earth's millitary equipment looked significantly more detailed than the characters.
  • Gunship Rescue: Giant Mecha Rescue actually.

Vexxarr: If they think an insanely heroic rescue is in the works, they're in for an enormous disappointment...
[sees combat mech with open cockpit]
...unless, of course, it would be unimaginably fun...

  • Hammerspace: Vexxarr can conjure a paper list of research projects performed by Bleen AI seemingly out of thin air. The explanation: It's just that important to remember how any research project headed by an AI has Gone Horribly Wrong and ended with the creation of a tiny sun. (Except the one that ended with a super massive black hole.)
  • Hive Mind:

Schlumpool: I am your Hive Mind!
Schlumpoid Queen: Oh, don't be ridiculous. Schlumpoids don't have a Hive Mind.
Schlumpool: I can prove it to you.
Aid: I can't imagine how.
Queen: The idea is too ridiculous for words.
Aid: I believe everything you say.
Queen: I trust you implicitly.
Aid: You have my sword. (beat) Ok. That was disturbing beyond words.

Vexxarr: So this is what it has come to... my dignity... had I any left... would get a devastating blow from this.

  • Insult Backfire: An interesting example. Anytime Vexxarr claims that all machine life is murderous and always planning the destruction of organic life, his two robot crew will happily admit that he is correct.

Vexxarr: Not until that... that machine admits that it is a calculating, survival obsessed, self-centered, tyrant wannabee with a pathological hatred of anything organic!
Carl: Yep. That's me to a tee. Shall we continue to the Lattrox DMZ?
Vexxarr: By all means.

Emperor: Admiral, if you conquer these hu-mons in a single day, I shall make you ruler of their puny planet.
Admiral: Thank you, your eminence. And if I should take two days?
Emperor: I shall make you pretend to enjoy it.
Admiral: One day it is then.

Minionbot: ...before you begin this line of inquiry, do I have sufficent time to tunnel to an adjacent universe?

  • Logic Bomb: Sploorfix's Live Journal is a Weapon of Mass Depression.
  • Long Runner: Strip hit #1000 on Monday June 6th.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Vexxarr is slowly and steadily becoming a candidate for Magnificent Bastard, if not for the war he started between the two most aggressive races in the galaxy in order to get them to wipe each other out, then For this right here.
  • Medical Horror: The Lattrox use the same word for 'hospital' and 'food factory'.
  • Mohs Scale of Sci Fi Hardness: Although there are realistic parts or ideas throughout the comic, in general the Rule of Fun and Rule of Cool override realism.
    • Generally to awesome effect.
  • Multiple Reference Pun: present in the titles often. References include Ghost in the Shell, Do androids dream of Electric sheep?, Isaac Asimov, Pink Floyd, South Park, Watchmen, Doctor Who, Sam Pekinpah, Ockham's Razor, Rage Against the machine... the full list is really long.
  • Noodle Incident: When Carl and Minionbot are reviewing the results of simulated drone operations, we don't get to see what they're looking at, but we do hear the names Carl gave the various simulations, such as Ode to places a cutting torch should never go, Three drones, one airlock and no sense, and the cautionary tale about plasma torches, hypergolic fuel and explosive decompression called Don't.
  • "No Respect" Guy: Vexxarr
  • Not So Different: Vexxarr and Carl, to their mutual horror.
  • Oddly Small Organization: The Bleen destroyer crew.

Ship Commander: Helmsman, put me on shipwide. I want to address the entire crew.
Helmsman: We're both right here, sir.

  • Oh Crap: Vexxarr's 'face' is very well suited for the appropriate expression. And of course, his status as Cosmic Plaything gives him plenty of opportunity to use it, like here.
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: Bleen never had religion, thanks to their race memory. Also, while on earth, he gets a visit from an annoying evangelist.

Evangelist: You're not one of those heretics that believes we evolved from monkeys are you?
Vexxarr: Me? No. We evolved from cnidarians.
Evangelist: ... you don't actually know that!
Vexxarr: We have video.

    • Though Minionbot was briefly a Buddhist, and later he convinced the repair drones that Vexxarr (aka The Keeper of the Off Switch) was a god.
  • Outrun the Fireball: Lampshaded.

Minionbot: How big is the fireball, and how fast do we need to travel to outrun it?
Vexxarr: That's a tough question to answer. The fireball in question has our ship's ID and description...and it's possible we may owe it a lot of money.

Vexxarr (strangling Sploorfix): No court in the land! Do you hear me? No court in the land!

  • Refusal of the Call: Vexxarr generally tries to refuse, but that never works out.
  • Rubber Forehead Aliens: Averted, all aliens look decidedly non-human. The only strange thing is that despite Vexxarr's single eye, his eyebrow shows the exact same position-by-emotion as two human eyebrows would. See his angry-look (his look for roughly 90% of the comic.) in the trope picture.
  • Sarcasm Mode: Vexxarr, frequently and repeatedly.

Vexxarr: I'm not the marauding warlord I may have led you to believe.
Human general: Noooooooooo. Surely you lie.
Vexxarr: Hey! The biting sarcasm is MY bit. Wound my pride with your own material, Bucko.

When you are aboard an alien construct of uncertain design and purpose, you touch nothing! You have no way of knowing if a lever could vent the atmosphere into space...if...if a switch could activate flesh-eating nanobots! Until you have studied everything, you have to assume that this station's sole purpose was to isolate and destroy you personally! DO YOU UNDERSTAND?!

Locutron: Great Orator, I swear these ships and the thousands like them have been built to carry your message of peace and fraternity to all intelligent systems in the nebula. Their mission is one of peace. We wish to show nothing but our love for all living things.
Vexxarr: Yet I can't help but notice that your envoys of are bristling with weapons.
Locutron: There is, of course, always the slight possibility that they will not love us back.
Vexxarr: Word of advice? Keep 'em charged.

  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Vexxarr's own robotic allies frequently give him one. And then there's the hostile AI left by the Schlumpoid Forebearers, who gives them to any Schlumpoid in range. They actually make use of it by assigning him to teach a class called 'Stasis: The failure of Schlumpoid Culture.'

AI: Welcome class. I want to begin by saying that no matter how your grades turn out, I will be giving each of you an F.
Schlumpoid: What? What have we done to deserve that?
AI: By the end of the semester, I expect you to tell me.

Sploorfix: Just tell me what you think of when you look at him.
Vexxarr: The airlock.

    • Later done with consent to Minionbot to disengage the malfunctioning hyperdrive.

Minionbot: ...because saving the ship inevitably results in Sploorfix blogging about it. And I am therefore safer out here!

Spoorflix: What...what happened to them all?
Vexxarr: That would be you.

Sid: There was a button. Its function was unknown to me...

    • Recently Vexxarr himself went through this, when trying to figuer out how to disengage a planetwide cloaking system from a console that was also invisible. There were some... problems.
  • Wetware CPU: Most AIs it seems.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: After managing to successfully impersonate the leader of a group of vegetable-based AI that have been trying to kill him, he vents pretty much all of the frustration he's accumulated over the course of the strip through creative vengeance

Sploorfix: What are you thinking?
Minionbot: That Vexxarr has been in space entirely too long.

Vexxarr: Get back here this instant and start spouting gibberish until my worldview is centered!

Bleen commander: Look, I'm going to make this easy for you. Either tell me whether or not that planet is indeed the earth or throw yourself out of the airlock. Your choice. [.....] Command makes for a lonely life. That, and flushing your bridgecrew into space.

    • Granted, spacing is not fatal to the Bleen, but after the number of acolytes in orbit became a navigational hazard the Emperor started vaporizing them instead.
  • Your Head Asplode: Robots actually win arguments this way.
    • Also, Minionbot once lost four heads in a row to Vexxarr's logic bombing raid.

Notes

  1. You know it's bad when he starts trying to knock his conscience out of his head by slamming it repeatedly against a bulkhead.
  2. Considering that every situation is almost always bad...
  3. Eventually.
  4. The aesop of this story is to always supply your Anti-Hero with chocolate gateau whenever they have to make an important moral decision.