|Comic Strip Info|
|Released:||July 2, 2010|
|Number of pages:||13|
|Artist:||Heather "makani" Campbell|
Why don't you go ahead and call me Dell, ma'am. "Mister Conagher" was my grandfather's name.
— The Engineer
Loose Canon is a comic that was released on July 2, 2010, three days before the announcement of the Engineer Update. It tells the story of how the initial wars between RED and BLU began, about brothers Redmond and Blutarch Mann, and the roles that the Engineer and his family have played throughout the generations. It also features the first marked appearance of Australium.
The comic is notable for building on the story of Zephaniah Mann and introducing Radigan Conagher.
Loose Canon opens in the present day with the Engineer waiting for a meeting with Blutarch Mann. He is greeted by an elderly woman who tells him that Blutarch is ready to see him. They briefly talk about the painting hanging behind the Engineer, who asks to be called Dell. As they walk to his office, she inquires whether the Engineer knows of his grandfather's relationship with the Mann family, however the Engineer is unaware of any. The woman explains that many years ago, his grandfather solved a sensitive issue for Blutarch, but implies that his solution is starting to fail. She closes by saying that Blutarch will explain it all himself, and also for the Engineer not to shake his hand.
The comic then cuts to 1850 to the reading of Zepheniah Mann's will. Zepheniah's maidservant, Elizabeth, receives the rest and residue of his estate; Saxton Hale's grandfather, Barnabas, receives complete control of Mann Co. and something else (the narrator of the will is interrupted by Barnabas fighting a cougar); and finally Blutarch and Redmond receive "partnership" in the form of an equal share of whatever land remained in Zepheniah's possession. This is due to Blutarch and Redmond spending their entire lives bickering over nothing, and so are left something of consequence over which to feud.
The comic then jumps 40 years to 1890, where Radigan is in a meeting with a now-aged Blutarch. Blutarch explains that he and his brother both immediately hired a team of mercenaries in order to take control of each other’s land, and because of this have been in a stalemate for 40 years. Since he could no longer take his brother's land by force, he decided to simply outlast him. However, Redmond has yet to die. Blutarch then states that he wants Radigan to build him a machine to prolong his life and outlast his brother. Radigan silently thinks for a moment before agreeing.
That evening, Radigan returns home. Unlocking the front door to his Tools and Munitions store, Radigan discovers an unknown woman waiting for him inside. Though the woman bears resemblance to the Administrator, she cuts Radigan off before he can ask, claiming it would be quicker if he did not ask who she is or how she knows what she knows. She is aware that Radigan has agreed to build a machine to prolong Blutarch's life, and asks if it would be possible for him not to. Radigan declines. Expecting as much, the woman proposes an alternative: she presents Radigan with a gold ingot. The woman goes on to explain how Australians have outpaced the world in terms of technology for the last 40 years, despite being a land of savages. The element Australium is only found in small caches in Australia. She claims to have spent the last 10 years collecting 100 pounds of the element, and that she will give it all to Radigan in exchange for him building an additional life support machine for Redmond.
The comic then returns to the present day meeting between Blutarch and the Engineer. Blutarch states that Redmond also built a life support machine, apparently unaware that Radigan was the one that built it. He then angrily explains that the machine has started to break down and he wants the Engineer to fix it. The Engineer then explains that while he's flattered they thought to ask him to fix it, he has no idea how the machine works, and that he would more than likely kill Blutarch if he touched it. Blutarch asks if he could fix it if had his grandfather’s blueprints, which the Engineer states he could, but that the blueprints were buried with his grandfather. Blutarch then throws the blueprints on the desk, saying that he has spent the last 60 years and a small fortune trying to decipher them to no avail. He then states that the Engineer may borrow them on one condition, but freezes midsentence. Confused, the Engineer asks if he is alright, to which Blutarch's assistant says that he's just dead. The machine then electrocutes Blutarch back to life. He grabs the Engineer and states that each day he stays dead a little bit longer, and that there is nothing on the other side. He tells him to fix the machine.
Later at the Engineers workshop as he shifts through his grandfathers' blueprints and notes, we are told by a voice over of Blutarch that the Engineer has been lent the blueprints to decipher them and learn how to fix the machine. He also states that should the Engineer find anything else of interest, it is to be brought directly to him and to not build it. The Engineer is then shown grinning after finding a file labelled "Guns: Maps of Australium Caches".
Page 4 (Issue #97)
Pages (no text)
- A loose cannon is a cannon that was carelessly tied, and so has come loose and is sliding around on the pitching deck of a storm-tossed ship. It is mindless and liable to kill any sailor it slides into. / A loose canon is canon that was carelessly tied, and so has come loose and is sliding around on the swerving plot of a storm-tossed storyline. It is mindless and liable to kill any narrative it slides into. (See Storyline)
- Page 1
- The Engineer's last name is revealed to be Conagher. This continues the tradition begun in the WAR! Comic of revealing a mercenary’s name every major comic.
- The painter Kicasso is based off of the painter Pablo Picasso. Pronouncing his name the same way, this creates the pun "Kick-ass-so".
- Page 2
- The painting is based on Picasso's Self Portait from his Blue Period. This is a reference to the fact that Blutarch keeps everything, from his home to his mercenaries, color-coordinated in blue.
- Page 4
- Zepheniah Mann's maidservant, Elizabeth, is introduced, with a Mallen streak similar to the Administrator.
- This is the second time a member of the Hale family has been shown fighting a big cat whilst sitting down. The first instance was on the cover of a Saxton Hale comic where Saxton Hale fought a lion while getting his hair cut. Both men remark on the creature's spirit, but because Tabasco-brand pepper sauce would not be invented for another 18 years Barnabas uses the generic term.
- Page 5
- The Eyelander can be seen sheathed near the globe next to Radigan, and a Solemn Vow is on a pedestal across the room.
- Blutarch is already connected to some form of life support equipment.
- Page 8
- The adobe pueblo building in the background places the scene in the Badlands.
- Several blueprints can be seen in the background when Radigan meets the unknown woman; designs for Sentry Guns that would be attributed to Dell in 1965.
- Hanging to the left are aircraft models similar to the aircraft then flying in Australia on the next page.
- Page 9
- The fighter on the right in the top panel is wearing Saxton Hale's signature crocodile-toothed hat.
- Page 13
- The workbench and wall that Dell is facing is similar to the workbench and wall upon which the contents of Radigan's papers are displayed on the Engineer Update Page.
- The handwritten notes on the "Life Extender Machine" blueprint suggest that, besides for Blutarch and Redmond, another machine was built for a third person and completed on April 14th, although the detailed year of completion and the identity of the user remain unknown due to the frame of the second panel being cut off.
- In the text version of the comic, the "Guns" folder held by the Engineer has "Maps of Australium Caches" written underneath the title; in the no text version, this sub-header is missing.
- Loose Canon comic on the Team Fortress 2 Official Website.
- Blog post that accompanied the announcement of the Loose Canon comic on the Team Fortress 2 Official Website.