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
Artist: Heather "makani" Campbell
Jim Murray (cover)
Writer: Jay Pinkerton & Erik Wolpaw
Colorist: Nick Filardi
Listen to my words, Bidwell. These are truth words. I am going to fight that @#$%ing monkey.
Saxton Hale

A Fate Worse Than Chess is a comic released August 13, 2012, as part of the Mann vs. Machine update. It is a continuation of the earlier comic, Blood Brothers. The events introduce 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. Hale also fights a Yeti.


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.



Page 28
  • The Spy's suit was seen with lines running down it on Page 27; however, they disappear on this page.
  • The Heavy appeared without his gloves on Page 27; however, they reappear on this page.
  • The Soldier is dressed in red fatigues but is wearing the helmet of his BLU counterpart.
Page 32
  • The Engineer has a T-Shirt on rather than his regular team-colored work shirt seen in pages 28 and 29.
  • What appears to be orange hair is barely visible under the Engineer's helmet, despite the fact that the Engineer was previously shown to be bald.


  • 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.
Page 2
Page 8
  • The reference notice, "See Team Fortress #2", aside from a play on the game title Team Fortress 2, is a reference to the murder of Blutarch and Redmond Mann by Gray Mann in the second of two preceding TF2 Gravel War Storyline comics, Loose Canon and Blood Brothers, which were summarized in the Catch-Up Comic tie-in to the TF Comic series.
Page 9
  • Hale's alias is a reference to Joan Baez, a folk singer known for her anti-violence activism.
Page 17
Page 21
Page 32

See also


  1. Ben Bova, How to Make a Monster, Boys' Life, page 36, May 1974.
  2. A. E. van Vogt, The Voyage of the Space Beagle, page 6, 1950.
  3. The FBI Encyclopedia, Michael Newton, page 34. Alleged 1970 plot to put Henry Kissinger under "citizen's arrest" (kidnap) to stop the Vietnam War.
  4. 161 Battery civic parade in Auckland, "… the commander of 161 Battery, Major John Masters was the subject of a citizen’s arrest by members of a peace group and charged with "offensive and disorderly behavior" for parading his unit up Queen Street."
  5. Andrea Rochelle Blimling, Blood on the Third Coast: Causes and Consequences of Madison 's 1970 Sterling Hall Bombing, page 17. "… when between twelve and twenty students, activists and radicals together, marched to Truax Army Air Base to make a citizen's arrest of the base commanders. "

External links