A Fate Worse Than Chess

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A Fate Worse Than Chess
Comic Strip Info
Released: August 13, 2012
Number of pages: 33

A Fate Worse Than Chess is a comic released August 13, 2012. It is a continuation of the earlier comic, Blood Brothers. The events detail the invasion of Mann Co. by Gray Mann and his army of robots. Saxton Hale enlists the help of the Team Fortress Mercenaries to destroy the incoming robot invasion. Saxton also fights a Yeti.

It was released as part of the Mann vs. Machine Update.


A Fate Worse Than Chess opens with a scene of a comic, in which two scientists are discussing how aliens can breathe Earth's oxygen. Saxton Hale interrupts the comic, announcing his "new way" to tell stories: Explosition. The scene is shown again in the form of "explosition", this time the scientists being two women armed with swords. The first demands to know how the aliens can breathe oxygen, leading to a sword-fight above a volcanic crater. Saxton interrupts once more, once more demonstrating "explosition" in the "explository tale", A Fate Worse Than Chess.

The comic cuts to the Samdrup Jongkhar District in the Kingdom of Bhutan, where Saxton Hale, disguised as a primate violence specialist named "Doctor Joanbaez", has requested to see a yeti, the last of its species, while a disguised Mr. Bidwell is informed of an attack on all of Mann Co.'s facilities in the background. Bidwell insists that they leave, but Hale insists that he fight the Yeti. Bidwell decides to videotape Hale fighting the yeti whilst also briefing the mercenaries of the oncoming fight with Gray Mann's army of robots.

The comic cuts to Miss Pauling, who shows them the tape of Hale, who informs the mercenaries that, with the death of the Mann brothers, they are now unemployed. However, with attack of the robots on Mann Co.'s headquarters, they have been re-hired to fight them. Although they are not being paid for their work, to their dismay, Pauling reveals that the robots somehow run on piles of money, so once destroyed, the money that would come out belonged to the mercenaries. The comic closes with Pauling telling them that it is not just a fight for Mann Co. or Saxton Hale, but a fight for their jobs.



  • The title of the comic is a play on the phrase "a fate worse than death", meaning any misfortune that would make life ultimately worse.
  • Hale's alias is a reference to Joan Baez, a folk singer best known for her relationship with Bob Dylan.

Page 8

  • The reference notice, "See Team Fortress #2", is a reference to the comic and the game’s name, played on the name of a comic issue.

Page 17

  • Bidwell's disguise is similar to the outfit worn by The Beatles, a very popular 60's band, in their album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band".

Page 27

  • Pyro’s sitting pose is a deliberate reference to the "Sitting Pyro" meme from the True Meaning comic.

Page 28

  • The Spy's suit was seen with lines running down it on Page 27; however, they disappear on this page.
  • The Soldier is dressed in red fatigues but is wearing the helmet of his BLU counterpart.

Page 30

  • Miss Pauling’s response to the Scout is a nod to his approach to her in the Meet the Director comic.

Page 32

See also

External links