Issue 1CoverPage 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10Page 11Page 12Page 13Page 14Page 15Page 16Page 17Page 18Page 19Page 20Page 21Page 22Break Issue 2CoverPage 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10Page 11Page 12Page 13Page 14Page 15Page 16Page 17Page 18Page 19Page 20Page 21Page 22Page 23Page 24Page 25Page 26Page 27Page 28Page 29Page 30Page 31Page 32Page 33Page 34Page 35Page 36Page 37Page 38Page 39Page 40Page 41Page 42Page 43Page 44Page 45Page 46Page 47Page 48Page 49Page 50 Issue 3CoverPage 1Page 2Page 3HolidayPage 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10Page 11Page 12Page 13Page 14Page 15Page 16Page 17Page 18Page 19Page 20Page 21page 22Page 23Page 24Page 25Page 26Page 27Page 28Page 29Page 30Page 31p 32Page 33Page 34Page 35Page 36Page 37Page 38Page 39Page 40Page 41Page 42Page 43Page 44Page 45Page 46Page 47Page 48Page 49Page 50Page 51Page 52Page 53Page 54Page 55Page 56Page 57Page 58Page 59Page 60Page 61Page 62Page 63Page 64Page 65Page 66Page 67Page 68Page 69Page 70Page 71Page 72Page 73Page 74Page 75Page 76Page 77Page 78 Guest ArtTuesdayWednesdayFriday Issue 4CoverPage 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10Page 11Page 12Page 13Page 14Page 15Page 16Page 17Page 18Page 19Page 20Page 21Page 22Page 23Page 24Page 25Page 26Page 27Page 28Page 29Page 30Page 31Page 32Page 33Page 34Page 35Page 36Page 37Page 38Page 39Page 40Page 41Page 42Page 43Page 44Page 45Page 46Page 47Page 48Page 49Page 50Page 51Page 52 Issue 5CoverPage 1Page 2NewspaperPage 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10Page 11Page 12Page 13Page 14Page 15Page 16Page 17Page 18Page 19Page 20Page 21Page 22Page 23Page 24Page 25Page 26Page 27Page 28Page 29Page 30Page 31Page 32Page 33Page 34Page 35Page 36Page 37Page 38Page 39Page 40Page 41Page 42Page 43Page 44Page 45Page 46Page 47Page 48Page 49Page 50Page 51Page 52Page 53Page 54Page 55Page 56Page 57Page 58Page 59Page 60HiatusPage 61Page 62Page 63Page 64Page 65Page 66Page 67Page 68Page 69Page 70Page 71Page 72Page 73Page 74Page 75Page 76Page 77Page 78Page 79Page 80Page 81Page 82Page 83Page 84Page 85Page 86Page 87Page 88Page 89Page 90Page 91Page 92Page 93Page 94Page 95Page 96Page 97Page 98Page 99Page 100Page 101Page 102Page 103Page 104Page 105Page 106Page 107Page 108Page 109Page 110Page 111Page 112Page 113Page 114Page 115Page 116Page 117Page 118Page 119Page 120Page 121Page 122Page 123Page 124Page 125Page 126Page 127Page 128Page 129Page 130Page 131Page 132Page 133Page 134Page 135Page 136Page 137Page 138Page 139Page 140Page 141Page 142Page 143Page 144Page 145Page 146Page 147Page 148Page 149Page 150Page 151Page 152Page 153Page 154Page 155Page 156Page 157Page 158Page 159Page 160Page 161Page 162Page 163Page 164Page 165Page 166Page 167 Issue 6CoverPage 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10Page 11Page 12Page 13Page 14Page 15Page 16Page 17Page 18Page 19Page 20Page 21Page 22Page 23Page 24Page 25Page 26Page 27Page 28Page 29Page 30Page 31Page 32Page 33Page 34Page 35Page 36Page 37Page 38Page 39Page 40Page 41Page 42Page 43Page 44Page 45Page 46Page 47Page 48Page 49Page 50Page 51Page 52Page 53Page 54Page 55Page 56Page 57Page 58Page 59Page 60Page 61Page 62Page 63Page 64Page 65Page 66Page 67Page 68Page 69Page 70Page 71Page 72Page 73Page 74Page 75Page 76Page 77Page 78Page 79Page 80Page 81Page 82Page 83Page 84Page 85Page 86Page 87Page 88Page 89Page 90Page 91Page 92Page 93Page 94Page 95Page 96Page 97Page 98Page 99Page 100Page 101Page 102Page 103Page 104Page 105Page 106Page 107Page 108Page 109Page 110Page 111Page 112Page 113Page 114Page 115Page 116Page 117Page 118Page 119Page 120Page 121Page 122Page 123Page 124Page 125Page 126Page 127Page 128Page 129Page 130Page 131Page 132Page 133Page 134Page 135Page 136Page 137Page 138Page 139Page 140Page 141Page 142Page 143Page 144Page 145 Bonus Content1234 Issue 7CoverPage 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10Page 11Page 12Page 13Page 14Page 15Page 16Page 17Page 18Page 19Page 20Page 21Page 22Page 23Page 24Page 25Page 26Page 27Page 28Page 29Page 30Page 31Page 32Page 33Page 34Page 35Page 36Page 37Page 38Page 39Page 40Page 41Page 42Page 43Page 44Page 45Page 46Page 47Page 48Page 49Page 50Page 51Page 52Page 53Page 54Page 55Page 56Page 57Page 58Page 59Page 60Page 61Page 62Page 63Page 64Page 65Page 66Page 67Page 68Page 69Page 70Page 71Page 72Page 73Page 74Page 75Page 76Page 77Page 78Page 79Page 80Page 81Page 82Page 83Page 84Page 85Page 86Page 87Page 88Page 89Page 90Page 91Page 92Page 93Page 94Page 95Page 96Page 97Page 98Page 99Page 100Page 101Page 102Page 103Page 104Page 105Page 106Page 107Page 108Page 109Page 110Page 111Page 112Break Issue 8CoverPage 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8 Show Comments Kid Chaos I think she’s getting close to her limit; Patrick certainly isn’t helping. David Nuttall Okay, that makes it final. Patrick is no longer potential boyfriend material. He tells you the truth, as he sees it, but that truth is likely to get him hurt in ways he will not recover from. Even if he is reading the emotions from Allison, she can move faster than he can react, especially from this close. SirKaid Do recall that she spent several years earnestly trying to kill him and yet he’s still alive. If anyone’s going to be capable of surviving a murderous Allison it’s Patrick. Charles M. Hagmaier You know, this is what you get when you date straight-up supervillains, Alison. Monologuing instead of sweet-talk or even common conversation. And Patrick is the LCD of utilitarian philosophy – not so much a slippery slope, as a greased salom-course towards Singerism. Insanenoodlyguy Well now Patrick is just putting himself in a precarious position. I can only assume he knows Allison is not going to snap and punch his head off today, but what if she snaps tommorow? Next week? If she has a list, your writing yourself on it pal! Johan Interesting that they reach their limit at the same time. She was patient until now, but it looks like she’s gonna snap in the next page (And Patrick better have a plan for that). And he was explaining himself calmly, but his frustration is really showing now. It seems weird though. All this time, all those efforts, and he knows he’s ruining it all. Was he just kind to her because it amused him? And now he doesn’t care anymore cuz he’s always been a loony? Was he trying to get her to join the dark side, and now he’s spent all his patience? Is it really too hard for him to understand that people will never see things “his” way because they can’t? I dunno, I need to see what comes next, this page confuses me. He’s still being rude though, cutting her when she manages to get a few words in. Alison, slap the man. Not too hard though XD Liz Mallory I think he’s frustrated at not being understood by anyone. We’ve seen Alison experience the same thing due to her superpowers too. But the fact that he’s telling her all this seems to point to him still wanting to have a friendship with her – he WANTS her to understand even though he’s exceedingly frustrated. Johan Everything about him point to extreme frustration because no one can see what he sees. Too bad he can’t share his powers. He’s got the bad parts of telepathy and not the good ones. This is, in a way, more interesting. Like Alison not having flight or something else on top of super strength. It’s really good, I can’t think of many comic authors who can get me that invested 🙂 Scar Man!!! still a jerk though Johan Oh yeah, absolutely, but an interesting jerk 🙂 Insanenoodlyguy I dunno, he’s reaching the point where it seems like she’s gonna give him more then a gentle pap. What I can’t figure out is WHY. Some theories come to mind, none of them all that good: 1. He has memory manipulation powers and this conversation is going to be removed 2. He has TIME manipulation powers figured out and this conversation is going to be removed. 3. He’s flipped the f out. Man who’s gone to supervilliany, he can only hold it in so long before he goes on an evil rant and today was the threshold, consequences be damned! 😛 Classtoise “You can’t hit me, Alison! I know your moves moments before you NO DON’T STOMP THE GROUND OKAY I SURRENDER!” Johan Haha I know right? There’s not need to be precise. Alison SMASH !!!! XD Mechwarrior I’m reminded of the end of Marvel’s Dark Reign arc when the telepathic martial artist Mr. X fought Quicksilver. Mr. X was able to foresee Quicksilver’s every move… which did precisely jack for him because Quicksilver was so many orders of magnitude faster. Rens One of the more satisfying takedowns of someone who’d spent several prior issues being an insufferable jerk, I always felt. 🙂 Mechwarrior Yeah, Mr. X was one of the most obnoxious villains Marvel created. Stupid powers, no interesting goals or ambition, and he just came out of nowhere and was skilled enough to take on characters like Wolverine. Watching Quicksilver beat the stuffing out of him was great. It was also a good demonstration of how super-speed is an utterly broken power if the character isn’t acting like an idiot. Liz Mallory So he never did stop playing god… Still thinks he’s the greatest hope for mankind. masterofbones And the best part is, he still is at least in the top 10. Otakusensei Hope for mankind? He’s a murderer. And now we know he does it because he doesn’t value human life. Shit, he does it because he likes it. That is like saying the lawn mower is the greatest hope for all grass. You might think the aftermath looks pretty, but you obviously aren’t a blade of grass, are you? I’m going to Godwin myself here, but do you seriously not see the parallels between Patrick’s outlook on human life and Hitler? Patrick doesn’t even try to tell himself that the people he kills aren’t human, he revels in it! masterofbones So he is someone who is impartial enough to look at the big picture. And he isn’t the lawnmower, he is the gardener. Yes, he mows the lawn, but he also waters it, fertilizes it, weeds it, etc. The unsightly mess gets cleared, and everything else is healthier for it. And why should he care that the people he kills are human? That makes them no less evil, no less petty, no less idiotic. I wouldn’t particularly mind a world with all the idiots removed. Hell, even if I didn’t make the cut it would still be a good idea(though I wouldn’t support it, since I’m selfish like that). And the problem with Hitler was the whole “killing innocents” thing. Patrick has yet to show interest in killing innocents, so your Godwin was in vain. Also annoying. There are better mass-murdering dictators to choose from. Jerden Patrick did admit that he’s killed innocents. But it’s fine, because other people did it first. Anyway, you start off thinking that if you can get rid of a few groups of people to make society better and I don’t even need to finish the sentence because you know what comes next, right? Lostman It seem Patrick has no sense of self preservation… at all. ampg I wonder if he’s doing this to get her to attack him for some reason. After all, what could make Alison more angry than denying that human life has value? I think he’s pushing her buttons on purpose – but why? Lostman Maybe it a test or something Some guy Yes. A test of his newly installed holographic projector. He’s two floors above her in an escape pod. V Maybe he’s trying to summon the Powers That Be somehow, what with the recent reference to his hunt for them but not finding anything, and the alternate suggestion that if they make a big enough stink the Powers That Be will find them instead. Verdant_Samuel Finally he answers her damn question! Not a fan of brevity, this one. How hard would it have been to say “I don’t care that she’s killing rapists, and am not going to help you stop her.” HOW HARD PATRICK?? motorfirebox That would have been a response, not an answer. Verdant_Samuel This might be Fission Mailed on my English skills, but aren’t those the same in this context? Ryan There’s some ambiguity, but generally a response is, tautologically, whatever you respond with; a response is only an answer if it actually supplies the information that was requested. (In this case, Alison knew he didn’t want to help her, but wanted to know why.) motorfirebox An answer is a response, but a response isn’t always an answer. If you ask me a question and I just grunt, I’ve responded to your question but I haven’t answered it. Technically, Patrick could have ‘answered’ Alison by simply telling her he’s not going to help her find Moonshadow because the world has bigger problems. But that wouldn’t have been a full explanation. StClair Then he wouldn’t be able to get his rant on, though. Ian Osmond I think “Oh, by the way — I had a bunch of other people murdered because they’re dicks” is kind of the thing he REALLY wanted to say. Rod Aaaand cue the Relationship Nuke…. KatherineMW Two options here. Either Patrick’s telling the truth, and he’s never stopped being a supervillain. Or he’s realized Allison has a crush on him and is doing everything possible to drive her away. Insanenoodlyguy I think if that was the entire scheme “It’s not happening, fluid exchange is gross” or something would have accomplished the goal. This is a full blown “why can’t you seeeeee” villain rant., He has stopped being a supervillian though. He just didn’t stop being everything that led him to supervilliany in the first place. Now he’s a corporate villain! There’s no costume and more lawyers. Pol Subanajouy Patrick, do you WANT to get punched through a window? Because last I checked, super speed is not one of your powers and you aren’t faster than a sudden reckless impulse on Alison’s part and you should really respect that. Ryan Obviously he knows exactly how close he is to Alison’s defenstration threshold at all times. SirKaid Given that they fought each other for years and he’s still not dead I’m pretty sure he’s entirely capable of not being killed by her in spite of her being many orders of magnitude stronger and faster than him. Jerden But only because he kept his distance. Anyway, he can read minds. He can’t control them, and he can’t predict the future. S.I. Rosenbaum Well this went well MrSing Yeah, okay, he’s doing this on purpose. Alison got too close to something and he’s hulking out to distract her from it. The gift he gave her is probably going to be some note saying: “Yeah, my office is being spied upon by the equivalent of the Illuminaty on steroids and it would be best for the both of us if they think we don’t work together. Kisses and puppies -Patrick” Sabriel I hope not. It would feel sort of cheap, like this whole thing was a prank on the readership. If you’re going to have characters go over the edge like this, please don’t retcon it away. I can ride the rollarcoaster between “aww he likes Loony Toons” and “jeez, way to be creepy Patrick” but once we get to “holy shit, I hate this guy” the ride is over. MrSing I would be more dissapointed if this was for real. Patrick who has been described as a great manipulator and someone who is interested in keeping Alison on his side is suddenly being this disgusting in front of her? I can believe that he did all of those things he said and even that this is how he really thinks. I can’t believe that he would confess this to Alison in this almost insanely stupid way. It just goes in against everything we know about him. Sabriel By why go so far? MrSing I dunno, it’s seems pretty melodramatic to me as well. Maybe the writing in this scene just isn’t that good? Sabriel Heh. Possible. To be fair, Patrick is also sort of a drama queen so maybe you’re right and this is part of some manipulative plan. I could believe that he’d have some sort of intrigue going on, and that he’d undermine his intrigue by being overly dramatic. Sabriel Molly, Nice job on the the body language and the reflective glass. Emotional content aside, this is a beautiful page. Mechwarrior UAV strike in 3, 2… Jack Warren Shh! You’ll wake up the physicists! Ryan I think I will call Patrick’s philosophy “nihilist utilitarianism”. In short: “We should do whatever is most optimal, but nothing matters, so just do whatever.” Perlite Let a lady get a word in, would ya Pat? Geez, why did I ever believe that he ever stopped killing.I’ve had my doubts about his morality, but he just straight up confessed to murdering recently to an ex-superheroine. Feels like Patrick is trying to justify his actions to both himself and Allison. On the plus side, he’s finally answered the damn question! SirKaid He doesn’t need to pause for her to speak, he can (and does) pluck the words directly from her head. The only reason he ever needs someone to actually speak is to be polite and he’s clearly not interested in being polite right now. Perlite I meant half-formed or spontaneous thoughts may not be the best conversationalists. Classtoise The only way I’m gonna forgive the past few weeks of word-dumping monologue is if the next page is Allison punching Patrick’s head into a fine red mist. Normally I like the writing, but this past few updates has been really poorly handled. It’s just so…boring. One dimensional. It does nothing to advance the plot nor to advance Patrick as a character. Rod I dunno, I think it at least fleshes out Patrick for us, in precise, painfully thorough detail (which is totally like him, of course.) Classtoise See, it does, in a sense? But it just feels so…info dump-y. Like, there had to have been a better time than smack dab in the middle of a story to just unload all of this characterization onto us. Philip Bourque You know, I’ve played more than a few video games where you could side with various factions. I would often side with megalomaniacs, narcissists and tyrants who wanted to rule and bring prosperity to the whole of mankind. Sometimes, they would even have a plan for how to accomplish this after they were on the throne. I did that because they were determined to make everyone’s life better (it helped that they were building their empire as a sort of meritocracy). Patrick? I wouldn’t side with him, he just doesn’t appear to give a damn and can’t see beyond the face that stares at him in the mirror. Peter G Patrick seems to be trying to enrage her. I wonder why. masterofbones I don’t want my dictator to be distracted by caring about individual life. There isn’t enough time to be bothered with trivial stuff like that. Jerden I don’t really want a dictator. Jerden Fine. Just throw a chair at him. Jerden There are other doctors. I suppose it’s dangerous for them, but they can get better security next time, so I think the plan is still on. Jerden Human lives have value because I prefer to live in a world in which human lives have value. Living in this world makes me and the people around me much happier. Insanenoodlyguy Nope, I’m sorry, but you just can’t be a supervillian without a costume. Rich McGee Tell that to the Kingpin and the less ridiculous iterations of Lex Luthor. You can be a supervillain in a business suit just fine. Insanenoodlyguy Lex Luthor has a battle suit in most incarnations. Kingpin has his sweet, sweet threads. They count. Patrick is not wearing sweet, sweet threads. If he had a swag looking three piece, maybe. Sabriel Not a retcon exactly, but they’d be taking it back. I’m not against intrigue, but there had better at least be consequences. When somebody dies on a TV show, I like them to stay dead. When bad things end up not being “real” it makes everything that happens less meaningful, even if the loophole was established in advance. ampg Yes, if all of the relevant circumstances in this scenario were changed (as opposed to just the genders), I suspect readers would indeed have a different reaction. outgrowingalice To be fair, the “innocent” old woman opened a side door to let a guy with a flame thrower into the hospital. So although Patrick is characterizing his illegal behavior in a deliberately villainous light, it seems like he only killed the people who were dangerously bigoted. He’s laying on the cruelty a little thick for me to accept him at his word. The dude doth protest to much. Darkoneko Hellsing that “innocent” old woman is a murder accomplice. EveryZig She should ask what the hell DOES he want, both in general and in blatantly taunting her now. Mechwarrior Patrick has another weakness: he forgets that people can counter his power by staying far enough away from him. He could sense someone attempting to sneak up on him with a knife or a pistol. So his enemies won’t do that- they’ll have someone use a sniper rifle 1000 yards away or use a drone whose operator isn’t even in the same time zone. And he’ll never see it coming. Iarei By his argument in the first panel he gave her that gift for purely expedient reasons, no? It occurs to me that Patric and Mary Kim use almost opposite ends of the argument spectrum to justify murdering people. “In what possible model, other than the selfishly contrived one, is a human life valuable?” vs. “It will make a difference to this one” Patrick kills because he believes individual life means nothing in the grand scheme. Mary kills because she believes one life means a great deal on the individual level . Insanenoodlyguy I ship them now. Silva “Moreover, I think we have good reason for such. I believe that the universe is vast and cold and dark, and that it doesn’t are about us in the slightest, and that in the end it will kill us all and destroy everything we’ve ever loved. As such, I feel that love and kindness are all the more valuable for their scarcity.” Some people have come to the opposite conclusion: as Krishna said, “we’re all dead anyway*, so shoot those assholes up already”. *: “except for the fact that I’m actually part of the only eternal thing”. StClair “Why do you say this to me, when you know that I will kill you for it? Darkoneko Hellsing It may be the point. or at least to drive her away. Darkoneko Hellsing Now you’re being an arse, Patrick. Well, he may not being used to lose his temper. It annoys him a lot she thinks like that because he actually care for/love her. Maybe ? Also wow, so that’s what he meant by “there are other ways” back then.- Darkoneko Hellsing That old lady has a very active part in the murders, tho. Ian Osmond I suppose another important point here: Alison killed the triggerman herself. Patrick killed the person that let the triggerman in, and the people who were behind them The reason we’re all reacting so badly to Patrick is that he has admitted that he just did that because he thought it was fun. Had he said that he was just finishing off what Alison started, except that Alison only killed the triggerman out of anger, and was about to slaughter the rest of the crowd. Patrick killed people — or had people killed — in a limited and controlled manner. Alison was about to kill people indiscriminately out of anger. And, indeed, Patrick stopped her from doing that. He’s got a real “sure I’m evil, but you’re eviler, because I’m usefully evil in a way that surgically removes evil, but you just would ALISON SMASH and NOT solve the problem. And sure, I’m doing this because, y’know, it amuses me to make the world a better place by killing bad people, but you would just make the world a worse place out of anger.” I still don’t have any sympathy for Patrick, but, y’know, Alison is a more directly destructive force. MrSing There is a difference between killing someone whose holding a weapon and using it and killing an unarmed criminal. In a perfect world we would arrest all criminals to give them a fair trial and punishment. Deadly force is only allowed as a last resort, not for whenever you personally feel someone deserves it. That’s why Alison was justified in killing that guy and why Patrick is a monster for killing those other people. Ian Osmond I’m not disagreeing, muchj. I do think it’s an argument Patrick can use on Alison, though. Especially as Alison is realizing just how much damage she can do. Mechwarrior In addition to what MrSing has already stated, Alison recognizes her berserker nature and actively works to avoid giving in to it (as seen with her discussion with Cleaver when she went to visit him). She’s known since before the comic started that ALISON SMASH isn’t an effective solution to the problems that actually exist in the world: that’s why she stopped being Mega Girl in the first place. Patrick, OTOH, has people killed because he’s got a god-complex and enjoys being able to just snuff people out on a whim while pretending that he’s got some sort of moral justification. Insanenoodlyguy I’m pretty sure he totally had those people killed. “I have names, social security numbers… there’s a better way.” The better way was not mashing people into paste in front of a hospital and police but doing it all quietly some time later, as it turns out. Guk Young Meanwhile, on El Goonish Shive latest update on April 23… “I am NOT a bisexual Asian ballerina soccer player gamer girl. I am a person who is a citizen of the United States with ancestors from Asia who dances ballet, plays soccer and video games, whose sex is female, and can find men and women attractive. I am Ashley, and I am what I am.” outgrowingalice As Alison is enduring this verbal abuse I’m reminded of her distinctive fighting technique: “take an incredible amount of punishment, just in order to finish the fight in a single hit.” http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-3/page-43-2/ And while retaliation may feel briefly satisfying, I’m hoping she’s able to do better than that. Killing Patrick wouldn’t make the world a better place and making the world a better place is her actual goal, not “killing bad guys”. It does seem like Patrick’s trying to hurt her so I do feel for her. But I’m not worried about her. I mean a super villain’s trying to hurt her feelings does that really seem like something she can’t handle? Mechwarrior You know, I’ve kind of wondered about Alison’s fighting style, the “take an incredible amount of punishment” part specifically. Given that she’s nigh invulnerable, is “taking punishment” really an accurate term for what she does? I mean, sure, she takes a lot of hits, but very few things actually represent a threat to her- most things that her opponents would have available might as well have Nerf printed on the side. masterofbones He is one of the people with the most capability to save the world, combined with at least some desire to do so. We know of very few other people with such a combination of power + intent. Sure, he might not do so, but that is why he is a *hope* for humanity, not a guarantee. Scar Man!!! Ok. I officially hate Patrick. If he really believes this, why does he feel the need to help anyone. And why are you taking this shit from him, Alison?! Scar Man!!! That’s very true. I felt that way a bit when I was volunteering on ambulances. Heck, feeling like that a bit is necessary to get any work done in an ambulance. But he takes it too far. Scar Man!!! I actually regularly think about the dilemma he presents in the first panel. He’s speaking about the idea that altruism and love are evolved responses that came about not through any moral means, and are no more special than other traits. It brings up uncomfortable questions about the nature of free will: whether our entire lives are dictated by evolutionary need, and whether love is anything more than a way to ensure the prosperity of the species.