Comics: Once Upon a Trope

Fatal Weakness


Charts, skeletons, and anatomical reference drawings of frightening aliens line the walls. A scientist stands with a water bottle and a sample container. A head science bureaucrat looks impatient.

Science Head: We need to find a way to neutralize this alien threat, fast.

Scientist: We just have to find their fatal weakness. I’ve got a tissue sample to run. Maybe it can tell us something. I think – WHOA!

The scientist trips over a cord lying across the floor. Their water bottle and the tissue sample go flying. Water splashes everywhere; the tissue sample skids across the ground.

Science Head: Dammit! We don’t have time for this.

Scientist: But look at what’s happening to the tissue!

They look at the sample lying in the puddle of water. It’s fizzing and dissolving. The two scientists stare at each other, shocked.

Science Head: Does this mean that …

Scientist: Their weakness is water.

The tissue sample has been nearly scorched from existence. 

Science Head: But Earth is about 70% water. How have they survived this long?

Scientist: Why would they even come here in the first place? They’re smart enough to build starships but not enough to avoid the one place in our solar system with water? Don’t they know that everything here can kill them?

Science Head straightens, getting ready to leave.

Science Head: It beats me. Well, good work, Doctor. Let’s send this to HQ, get these aliens off our backs, and then I can finally get back to that NASA project.

Scientist: Oh? What’s that?

Science Head: Our first trip to Venus.



  1. Dave L

    Yeah, but when we get to Venus we’ll wear spacesuits, and we certainly don’t intend to harvest the locals for food!

  2. guest

    yeah: visiting a planet where everything (more or less) can kill you is one thing. starting a WAR against the native inhabitants on a planet where everything (more or less) is fatal to you is a whole different story.
    funny comic nevertheless, though!

    • Commenter

      Starting a war against a planet where the environment is fatal to you is easy, just hit the planet with kinetic impactors at a good proportion of the speed of light. No troops needed and the inhabitants of the planet won’t even get a chance to really see the projectiles coming at them. Charles Pellegrino’s Novel “The Killing Star” shows how this unfolds with earth as the unfortunate victim.

  3. Karen

    A spacesuit is NOT going to be enough to let a human surive on Venus, we’ll just keep doing what we’ve done before and send robots down to the surface, some might even last more than an hour!

    As for the content of the cartoon above, please note that almost everywhere in the solar system has water, though mostly in a forzen rather than liquid state. We’ve found it on Luna, Mars, the Jovian and Saturnian moons (sme of which we strongly think to have sub-surface liquid oceans), much of the asteroid belt contains it and the kuiper belt and oort clouds are mostly made of frozen lumps of it.

    Personally the only species I can imagine as unable to stand water are species living at very low temperatures or very high temperatures and hence working on some very different chemistires with different substances as the solvents for their chemicals of life (can’t imagine what but won’t be proteins or amino acids), in which case it’s probably going to be the temperature of liquid water which does the aliens the harm.

  4. Sophie the Jedi Knight

    Oh, how did I miss this one? It’s my favorite so far! These comics are hilarious.

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