SFP

sfp-5-113-for-web

Hey, a special thanks to all the people who came out to TCAF, bought us out of books, and generally made it a great success! Cool story, we got in a crazy car wreck on the way there (everyone, everyone’s computers, and everyone’s comics were fine but the car was NOT) so we felt especially badass to have made it there. I’d like to thank the other people in the car though for being champs – Wyeth Yates, Amanda Scurti, and Aatmaja Pandya, you guys are the best!

Show Comments
  • StClair

    … holy ****.

    • Pol Subanajouy

      The implications are massive, are they not?

    • Adrienne Herbst

      I don’t think he has that problem. More like he can hear and feel other people’s minds like a data dump– not just their conscious, primary streams of thought, but all the subconscious thoughts, emotional confusion, things they’ll think but not say, things they’ll think and then immediately repress– Patrick can observe all of that in other people. But he doesn’t have that kind of access to his own mind. He subjectively experiences his own thoughts, and so he has the kinds of limitations (personal bias, emotional issues, etc) that non-telepathic humans do on self-awareness. The mind plays tricks on itself; so does the heart. It’s easy for Patrick to see that in others, but not in himself.

      • S.I. Rosenbaum

        oh my god, do you think he’s spent his entire life thinking he’s the only person who doesn’t have all those subconscious cross-motivations, doubts, etc? When in fact he just can’t perceive them??

        • Zac Caslar

          What a fascinating catch.
          Thus far all superhuman anomalies have had flaws and drawbacks; is Patrick’s that he _can’t_ introspect?
          I suspected that he had two possible limits: one was that he couldn’t read genuinely reflexive actions and the other was that he couldn’t read his own thoughts.
          What a magnificent quandary.

    • Rod

      I take it as completely implausible. Not that we’d ACTUALLY know, given that telepathy isn’t a real thing, but all of it coming down to this just seems ridiculous. Even if we get the explanation that a super-severe-lack-of-introspection is an unavoidable side-effect of his powers, to have it come out like this, in this context, out of the blue, is still just dumb.

      And what’s worse, to have the last several pages, where we were waiting for some reveal or major plot point, NOT be about him being an involuntary emotional chameleon, but rather “nope, it was all just to show (oh so dramatically!) how immature and emotionally stunted Patrick is, despite appearances!” just makes them feel like an incredible waste of time.

      EDIT: (Which may have been the intent, in the sense of mirroring Alison’s emotions and feeling like we’ve wasted our time thinking of Patrick with ANY regard, but if it was a deliberate effect, it’s still an annoying one, despite how well the effect was delivered….)

    • Rod

      So… my reply regarding my negative feelings toward this reveal got deleted, despite speculating that the negative feelings might have been an intended response? Mmmkay.

      • strongfemaleprotagonist

        feel free to get in touch using the email at the bottom of the site if you have questions about moderation!

    • StClair

      Some great replies and suggestions; thanks, all.
      (Also, amazing use of parallelism – it looks like Paladin isn’t the only one wrestling with creating a self-aware entity… that isn’t completely dysfunctional…)

    • Ian Osmond

      I don’t see it that way: I think it’s just that he has literally NEVER since his powers manifested been able to do self-reflection.

      I mean, he COULD. But he would need to deliberately be physically separate from everybody. And if you don’t spend some serious time, sometimes, trying to figure out what you think, and to try to dig out your own bullshit that you feel yourself all the time, you just won’t.

      That’s not a Patrick thing, that’s a human being thing. Without time for self-reflection, we just keep lying to ourselves. And Patrick simply CAN’T self-reflect without physically separating himself from everybody. So he’s very smart, but nowhere near as smart as he thinks he is, because he’s never even realized that he’s never stopped feeding himself his own bullshit.

      And now he has realized that, and he’s basically blue-screen-of-death-ing himself.

  • Lostman

    Ok will give that point to Alison

  • Darkoneko Hellsing

    uuh, wow.

  • So the question is…is he still playing her?

    Also, how on earth is she going to hand him off to the government? He’s a slippery manipulative supervillian with dozens of dangerous contacts.

    • Skylar Green

      Even if she thought she could get him, why give him 2 years to continue to do whatever he wants to do unabated? Getting him off the streets ASAP would be the better bet.

  • Subbak

    I really, really hope we get an explanation on what Patrick’s goal with this conversation was. Because if it was “drive Alison away frm him”, I’m going to be very disappointed. That’s a huge cliché, and someone as genre-saavy as Patrick should know that intentionally hurting loved ones to “protect” them, or to put them on the “right path” never works as intended.

    • Adrienne Herbst

      I think the entire point of this page is that Patrick didn’t really have a goal, here. He’s built up an entire mystique about himself of being a super-manipulative, genre-savvy telepath, but a lot of this is coming from other people’s expectations of the kind of wisdom and personal maturity a financially successful telepath would have– not just the commenters but Alison, until this page. When he’s forced to open up instead of simply reporting the thoughts of others, there isn’t actually much substance to him, like, tbh, a lot of successful startup guys who are good at charming/intimidating people but who have never done much work on themselves. He hasn’t been playing Allison like a master here; he’s been a stupid boy who is scared by how much he likes a girl, and has been acting up and being a shit to her because he has a poor handle on his own emotions.

      • S.I. Rosenbaum

        OMG he TOTALLY IS A STARTUP BRO

      • ampg

        This makes a ton of sense.

  • Adrienne Herbst

    Oh my god. Ahahaha. What a great resolution, you guys. Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow. Genius IQ, below average EQ. Yeah, he can separate his own thoughts from those of the people around him, he’s just an emotional fuckwit. Oh my god at that 4th panel though. She was snarking at him in the first three, and then she realized, OH MY GOD, HE ISN’T A MASTER MANIPULATOR WHEN IT COMES TO COPING WITH HIS OWN FEELINGS, HE’S AN EMOTIONALLY IMMATURE IDIOT OBJECTIVIST. OH MY GOD. All the social cues he’d been giving her about being socially awkward and emotionally stunted (like being so delighted with Daffy Duck being so angry he got himself blown up, basically the emotional response of a mean-spirited 11 year old) wasn’t, like, some awkward sweet supersmart brooding Mr Darcy mystique. No. He actually is that much of an idiot. Good girl, Alison.

  • Pol Subanajouy

    Lack of emotional intelligence and self reflection is a really cool plot point and I really hope this is explored in future issues.

    I have to admit that I can’t remember this as side effect of telepathy explored or mentioned in any other fiction at the moment. I’ve seen things where the telepath in question is overwhelmed by everyone else’s emotions, where they lose empathy because they begin to see humans as mere machines or conversely grows super concerned with those around them or they simply are relatively unchanged and telepathy becomes a means to get free secrets from other characters as the plot demands. But the idea of a one-way, outward facing mirror for a mind is something I haven’t seen often and it definitely fascinates me.

    Also, Alison’s statement certainly feels final, doesn’t it? Alison is over Patrick, and I get the feeling that it would take a major plot point to get her to change her mind.

    • MisterTeatime

      Frankly I’m not sure it is a side effect of telepathy. I like Richard Hughes’s theory, about how he can see the bullshit in other people’s heads clear as day and it hasn’t occurred to him to look for bullshit in his own (because if he can see other people doing it, obviously he would catch it in himself, right?).
      It’s your basic teenage feeling of superiority-through-frustration, magnified enormously by having been a teenager that people _actually listened to_.

      • Pol Subanajouy

        That is another way of looking at it. Less a unavoidable side effect of his powers and more a character flaw compounded to overwhelming proportions then? I could see that too. I’m going to wait until more pages come out before definitely taking a position but I certainly see Patrick’s personality providing ample soil for such a flaw to take root.

  • S.I. Rosenbaum

    “What is this idiot expression on your face now?” I’m stealing that line

  • Zerilan

    She’s basically defaulted here into “might make right” herself. All she’s really doing in this page is giving orders to someone she just demonstrated her physical power to.

    • Lostman

      Thus proving my point; most people who have super powers never done anything to get them and are looked a upon as like gods some cases. Theses’ people are trying to get on the world still while not knowing how the systems that are in places work let alone how to change them.

      This is almost the right conditions for the prefect strom; heroes in North America take things into their own hands, the young gods of India try to take over, etc, etc.

      (and you wonder why people hate mutants in the X-men)

      • Zac Caslar

        They hate them because they’re fearful and jealous, because mutants and mutant powers “make” them feel small.
        Strip away the hysteria and the numbers are the same: Magneto’s not nearly as real a threat to anyone’s life as a domestic dispute. Or a road-rage incident. Or suicide.
        “Mutant Powers” are 99% laughable. Men with guns, plain ol’ chemical propellant slugthrowers, kill far more regularly and far more effectively than some wank who can shoot lasers out his eyes.

        • Lostman

          True, but I like to point those super-powered people have or gaining power on the world stage; how hard would it for let say… Moonshadow to form a small cell of vigilantes? or Jim to get a gang together? Hell in India they are believe to gods. So the question is; how hard is it for a super-powered person to form army?

          • Zac Caslar

            Fair question.
            Really the issue is how much of a force multiplier is a given anomaly?
            Patrick’s has been demonstrated to be an amazing one -ditto Lisa Bradley.

            Moonshadow? Probably not so much. Even if she managed to launch a cult it’d be a cult of normal people with a focus on grudge killing which would likely accomplish as much as any group of physiologically normal people could.

            IMO SFP is all about the impotency of super heroes. Mega Girl can’t punch-out poverty. Patrick is blind to his own thinking. The most human superheroes are the ones who are the least powerful -Moonshadow who’s scarred by violence, Sonar who knows his limits, Feral who was brave enough to look for perspective.

            Hell even Cleaver qualifies. Dude probably struggles to feed himself. Hell would be being Cleaver with AD/HD -can’t even read a book to pass the time. Maybe Nintendo could make him a special Wii-mote?

            This ain’t the “High Noon of The Young Gods,” it’s sunset.

          • Lostman

            True… but even in the hour of twilight some people would rather go out with a bang not whimper.

          • Zac Caslar

            True.
            But that’s on them, or on the authors as it were.
            SFP’s great because of it being a strong execution of a great idea. I like to contrast it to The Watchmen, with a difference that it’s far less spiteful and absolutist.
            Same kind of idea, different tone. Execution is everything.

          • Lostman

            True

          • Lostman

            Also I like to point out is that Moonshadow doesn’t to need to a cult, people will follow whats she is doing.

          • Zac Caslar

            Charles Manson thought the same thing.
            And while we’ve seen people who agree with what she’s done, that’s a long, long way from agreeing to do the same.

          • Lostman

            Yes I know Charles Manson; He listen to Beetles and Beach Boy songs believing that they were prophecies for a civilization ending races war that would end with his descendants taking over.

            Speaking of serial killers, one has to wonder what would happen if super-powered person became one.

        • Insanenoodlyguy

          one incarnation of magneto reversed the magnetic poles of earth and caused millions to die. That’s a fairly visible threat. Cyclops without his glasses can literally topple a mountain. The problem is Mutant powers really do justify the crazy fear people have of them. I mean, look at the world! It’s full of assholes, and now by dice roll some have become gods? Fuck yeah we gotta kill them before they kill us!

    • Jubal DiGriz

      Indeed! Inconsistent heroes are the most interesting. Though her verbal takedown is arguably having as much effect on Patrick as her physical one. Time may tell what influences his actions more.

  • Rod

    So it appears that she’s completely lost all interest in him because he’s an emotional loon. Totally reasonable (and after that outburst, I’d be worried if she hadn’t.)

    But it also appears that she’s decided he needs to be handed over to the government because he’s an emotional loon. That’s… a somewhat less-reasonable about-face on her part. Not the act, so much as the reason for suddenly deciding on it.

    If she actually goes through with it, she should fess up and admit that the only reason she didn’t do it sooner was because she was attracted to him. That kind of thing REALLY should be noted and chastised.

    • Tony Lower-Basch

      I don’t know. Learning that a person you -thought- had stopped believing self-indulgent crazy nonsense actually -hadn’t-, he’d just decided to hide it from you for a while … I think that’s a pretty fair reason to revisit the question of whether he needs to be institutionalized.

      I agree that Allison’s model of his mind doesn’t have any bearing on whether he should be punished for his past actions, but it does have a bearing on whether he should be limited in the scope of his future actions.

      A two year deadline for results strikes a balance between “Oh … you’re a nut after all. My bad! Superjail for you!” and “Well, I guess you’d already killed people, so if I didn’t stop you then I can’t stop you in the future.”

      All told, saying “You raise some important points, and I want to see you run with them, but not indefinitely” seems like pretty reasonable boundary-setting for me, especially in the heat of the moment. I sure as heck couldn’t be that rational.

      • Rod

        I agree with your statements, but recall that she is pointing out he cant really believe all that crap in the first place. It’s not that she suspects him of still living by an evil philosophy, but that she feels he is emotinally stunted.

    • S.I. Rosenbaum

      It’s about ethics in superhero journalism

  • Justin Williams

    Yeah, “Oh no! This self confessed gleeful murderer who has admitted to having no emotional connection to other humans beyond what he can use them for is upset I don’t buy into his delusions! Surely he must have ALLLLLLLLL the sympathy…….jeeze louise if he ate a baby I don’t think it would get the “EVIL DICTATOR” name tag across any clearer. 🙂

  • Liz

    No wonder he’s so manipulative; when all you know in your head are other people’s thoughts, it makes perfect sense that you’d want to shape them into what you want them to be.

  • S.I. Rosenbaum

    oh my god people, engaging with someone who has been hurting you and calling them on their bullshit IS NOT BULLYING.

    • Zac Caslar

      Heh Heh.
      “That’s what a bully would say!”
      Kidding, of course.
      No she’s demonstrating that she has self-esteem, that she has standards.
      She did love him, but that wasn’t enough although she confessed last page to being willing to be “sad and alone and humiliated” to be by his side.
      But Allison’s not a victim of her own affections, she’s not his slave either, and she’s probably also incredibly outraged to see how his apparent depth of character was almost a reversed-mirage -he’s not miles away and untouchable, he’s right in front of you and hiding in the bushes.
      I wouldn’t say there’s no hope for “Menace,” but the boy’s on a timer now…

  • S.I. Rosenbaum

    the whole point of this comic is that everyone is just the same as Alison in so far as everyone is trying to do good and confused about how to do it and fallible and flawed and blind and human.

  • S.I. Rosenbaum

    for a sec thought this was a comment on this page

  • S.I. Rosenbaum

    Your consciousness– your reason and recall– is not the only program your brain is running.

    The programs are not aware of each other.

    This is why you lose your keys.

  • S.I. Rosenbaum

    Sometimes the best help you can give a friend is to call them out and walk away.

    • Adrienne Herbst

      That ‘best help you can give a friend” is really on point here. Patrick just pushed Alison into a massive power-up and now she’s done the same for him, should he choose to accept the challenge to grow as a person.

  • Rod

    Well, he DID just (1) claim to have killed several people for amusement, (2) insult her intelligence and integrity by mocking her decision to change her lifestyle as a mere ploy of his, and (3) verbally unload some pretty offensive crap her way (while knowing with crystal clarity how offensive it was. And, he was a super-villain.

    Her deciding to cut her loses and bolt isn’t unreasonable. Her REASON for doing so… kinda weak, yes. EDIT: Keep in mind her conversation with Cleaver.

  • Lostman

    Very much agreed with the government, but if this conspiracy very real and very strong; I don’t think throwing your ally under the bus is the best idea at the moment.

    Another thing I want to point out is everyone with powers ubermensch pillar; Lisa, Hector, Mary, even Alison. Most of them have been knocked down already, others are just waiting to be knocked down and this is mostly due to relying on their power which have handicap them some areas.

    My hope is when Alison get’s her’s knocked down it will open her mind to other probabilities beyond her powers.

  • Lostman

    I’m going to point out that Alison is no better:
    Carelessly kill a doctor (and possibly others)
    Not caring about her teammates.
    Her stunt on live-television may have done more harm then good.
    She trusts the government to much.
    And so on, at least she trying to get better right.

    • Thomas Fogh

      Allison is flawed and self-righteous, which is an annoying combination to be around in reality, but makes sense for a superhero. We, the readers, are also prone to overlook protagonist flaws.

      • Lostman

        Yes, but I’m saying is that she always handicapped in a way by her powers; why can’t she become a lawyer, or doctor, or social worker?

        She trying to find the big fix to every problem in the world; it’s not going to work.

        • Zac Caslar

          You realize she’s attending university classes with an interest in social justice, right?

          • Lostman

            Does she have to act on said social justice?

          • Zac Caslar

            Do you?

          • Lostman

          • Zac Caslar

            It’s a fair question.
            You have some sense of right and wrong, and some capacity for action so what do you do to shape the world to your beliefs?
            How much do you do compared to how much you could do? Why or why not?

            I’ve faced those questions, and the answers are frankly not comforting, so I’ll judge what Allisons does or doesn’t do along similar lines. I won’t condemn her for what she hasn’t done without far better reason then “she hasn’t saved the world with Social Justice fast enough.”

          • Lostman

            True.
            But how I see things; her problem solving skill boils down to violets, it’s not the fact that she isn’t doing fast enough it’s how she does in the moment when a problem arise.

            Sorry for saying this but Alison could of handled the party better… also she has some demons of own to fight.

          • Zac Caslar

            The party?
            Probably.
            And I concur that it’s a problem. It’s also a very effective strategy (short term) which must make backing off wanting to choke a fool a real challenge.

            Imagine functioning with no real fear of injury -I’d spend far too long jumping off high things then’s probably smart.
            Shoot myself out of a battleship’s cannon a few times.
            Maybe see if a ride in a cement mixer is actually fun.
            Yeah. Could go on for a while. =]

            Allison’s real virtue is that she’s brave -and not just physically. She has zero external need to question her role nor to act on those questions. And likely very little to possibly gain.

            And yet she will, because she’s unlucky enough to give a fuck. =]

          • Lostman

            True

    • Justin Williams

      All these problem started when Patrick became Menace, I think that’s important to remember, he decided to violently overthrow the government and became a super-terrorist.

      Alison has killed? Yep. Has she killed to press her own political and personal agenda with no thought to the pain and suffering of others? Nope. Has she ordered others to kill for her own perverse gratification? Has she killed for her own morbid ego? Has she set in motion multiple plans knowing and not caring that innocents would die? Nope.

      Has Alison lost touch with her team-mates? Yes. Has she abducted and mind-raped people to further her schemes? Has she used her powers to manipulate the free-market to make herself massively wealthy and gain even further influence over others? Nope. Is Alison a bad friend who has spent a few years distancing herself from a life she doesn’t know f she wants anymore? Yes.

      Is her television stunt directly traceable back to Patrick and his influence? Yes. Should she have thought it through more and not abandoned her team because of Menace? Hell yes.

      Does she trust the government too much? Probably, but considering she was driven to work so closely with them by Patrick’s super-tantrum “I wanna, I wanna, I wanna be in CHARRRRRRGE WAAAAAAA!!!!”.

      She’s learning and she is far from perfect, I think that’s the thrust of the whole comic.

  • But what was in the birthday present?
    And will Alison eventually open it, or will she leave it behind for Patrick to ruefully unwrap later?

  • Darkoneko Hellsing

    Now, I am curious as of how much, and in what direction, would Patrick change, during those 2 years.

    It’s true for Allison, too. She said that on purst of anger, but she may not go throught with it.

  • chaosvii

    It’s a shame that superpowered people using their superpowers to get what they want doesn’t quite solve problems, at best it negates the destructive impact of one another’s superpowers on the wider society.
    Alison wants to do better, but how does she, a lone individual who can have her mind read by a dude who uses his superpowers to get what he wants rather than being a better citizen?
    A dude she used to trust much more that is probably reasonable, given his recent behavior, and one she is currently trusting enough to offer 2-year grace period.
    How is she to do better exactly given the depths of his problems, and the clear inexperience of her situation?
    My only idea of an improvement to resolving this conflict entails a bunch of things which strain belief given Patrick & Alison’s emotional flaws:
    *Somehow managing to calm down to cool as a cucumber levels,
    *Being rather charitable in her word choice
    *Explicitly offering a discussion over the phone where he can offer workable solutions to his crippling emotional/criminal/philosophical issues without using her thoughts as a cheat-sheet.

    Who knows?! The authorities might have the resources to forge a solution that Alison can’t feasibly pull off. Or maybe they can’t do any better than quarantine him away from society to limit his casual command of murdering minions. It sucks, but Patrick isn’t getting any better on his own right now.

    • Lostman

      Think about governments plans to deal with Alison if every goes AWOL?

  • Rod

    As an aside… I would hope that as soon as she steps outside and calms down, Alison’s mind decides to revisit the fact that she just used telekinesis.

  • David

    The problem is…making Patrick such a big failure and a joke, will actually hurt the book in my eyes. You need to have competent characters in a superhero book…especially a superhero book that doesn’t focus on big fights and physical battles.

    • Rod

      I’ll repeat myself: it sure made me feel like the last several pages was a waste of time.

      • Insanenoodlyguy

        I actually like this. I was afraid Patrick had some really stupid plan to make Allison separate from him (or was going to have Allison separate from him because he was about to start a really stupid plan) and it turning out that he’s really stupid with the verbal diarrhea was an enjoyable surprise. Frankly, for a deconstructing series, I felt the supervillian was getting off a bit easy on the “how full of bullshit” meter. Not so now.

    • Justin Williams

      Unless of course this was Patrick’s arc from the very beginning. Besides what kind of villain can’t vengefully bounce back from an obvious and ugly truth?

    • Insanenoodlyguy

      Just because Patrick isn’t competent doesn’t mean others won’t be. I mean, if the shadowy organization is indeed a thing, then they sure have done a good job of staying hidden.
      Or, to combine some theories floated before (not my most serious here, but what the hell, I can say I called it in case), Patrick DOES get time travel, spurned on by this, and becomes the super shadow villain. Oh he’s gonna matter all right. He’s gonna matter to everybody! And yeah, this whole embarrassing clusterfuck is humiliating, but it made him who he needed to be, so no interference in his own life, except of course, for making sure past him doesn’t figure it out till he becomes who he’s going to become (it’d be easy for him… after all, HE CAN’T READ HIS OWN MIND)

  • Ben Posin

    She’s certainly coercing him in regards to selling Templar shares to Lisa. But I don’t think it’s coercive to say “You know what? I’m not giving you a pass on your crimes anymore. But I agree that you’ve got some important things to take care of, so I’ll give you a reasonable amount of time (TWO YEARS!) to try to get your affairs in order before turning you in.”

    • Lostman

      I think giving the shares to Lisa is a very bad idea.

  • Pol Subanajouy

    I’ll put it on my watch list. 🙂

  • So he wasn’t lying about any of the beliefs he espoused? That still leaves the questions of why he cares about the world at all, instead of espousing the self-interest philosophy of Feral’s teleporter friend

    • Christopher Brooks

      To be fair, he said he doesn’t care about continuing individual lives, not that he doesn’t care about the world. That leaves a lot of options open for moral philosophy(not that he apparently has a consistent one). My own ethics basically have freedom as the highest good which leads to what according to more mainstream ethics(and the political views both lead to) are odd positions… using coercion to prevent suicide is morally equivalent to murder to me for instance since both are the crime of preventing someone from disposing of their own lives as they will. It would be self-contradictory for me to force anyone to act in a certain way, but I do live life considering basically everyone I meet the equivalent of what most would consider a threat to their lives because I know others will not give me the same courtesy… ah well, there’s always sea-steading or space given certain technological advances that are coming along, and I am researching ways to try to obtain freedom from the limits of physical reality altogether(in both ‘directions’ of “if you have true inner freedom, the outside cannot touch you no matter what they do” and “total literal transcendence of all limits”… I even suspect ultimately these may be the same)… and provide anyone who shares my point of view the ability to do the same.

      If the writer reads this, please accept my compliments on having an interesting enough webcomic that brings up ones fundamental life philosophy in discussing it, especially since that sort of thing seems to be what it’s “going for”.

      • S.I. Rosenbaum

        “using coercion to prevent suicide is morally equivalent to murder to me”

        There’s no response gif in the world that is up to this

        • some guy

          This is completely unrelated but I’m getting tired of all these people going around using these extreme statements for only mildly interesting events. This for example, while the quote is sufficiently facepalm worthy it is not so insane as to preclude all responce gifs entirely. There is a mountain of Picard GIFs waiting in the wings for just this scenario and every time you spout some excuse not to use them, they weep. They weep with a chorus only a thousand memes may bring.

          Sorry, I needed to vent about this. Nothing against Rosenbaum specifically, it’s a very common behavior.

          • motorfirebox

            Hyperbole is the worst thing EVER.

          • Some guy

            You have stolen my name. Enemies Forever.

          • S.I. Rosenbaum

            I sincerely believe that Picard GIFs are not weeping but agreeing with me like “no, this is beyond even our powers”

      • motorfirebox

        “using coercion to prevent suicide is morally equivalent to murder to me for instance since both are the crime of preventing someone from disposing of their own lives as they will”

        Dude what!?

    • Zac Caslar

      Self-delusion maybe.
      Nobody really wants to be the villain and Patrick’s admitted that being perceived positively results in great sex.
      That’s kind of a base motivation, but it’s abundantly clear that self-analysis isn’t his strong point.

  • Lostman

    I’m thinking more of along lines dividing the atoms in the larger area that she in along with her… does Alison still need to breath?

  • Classtoise

    I can’t tell is Lisa Bradley is going to be a huge villain or if that was just a plot point or what. Lisa Bradley and Alison’s obsession with how she’s a good person strikes me as one of two things: A potential (or aborted) plotline involving trusting people who SEEM nice akin to Patrick here, OR the author did not mean for them to come off as someone who builds robots because they hate humanity and is basically Patrick but with less mind reading and more robots.

  • Zac Caslar

    There’s a missing possibility here: that he _can’t_.
    I think Patrick can’t introspect any more than Cleaver can use chopsticks. Maybe he can’t hear himself above all the rest of the noise and even if that’s not the case introspection is a practiced skill. Patrick might not have even been aware of the need to try.

    • Insanenoodlyguy

      I suspect he can, I’m just not so sure he ever has. The coping mechanisms that most people develop by his age are atrophied to be sure, but I suspect it’s not a mental inability at this point (though I have wondered if low empathy isn’t a necessary secondary power, that wouldn’t interfere with introspection). Patrick is, as some others have said, in fact quite immature. Intelligence masked a lack of wisdom.

  • Zac Caslar

    She’s got standards.
    He’s dramatically immature and power-poisoned.
    Love is not enough.

    • Insanenoodlyguy

      It wasn’t even love, more like frustrated lust. And now it’s pretty much just frustration.

  • S.I. Rosenbaum

    Patrick’s all “but … my plan to clone a giant squid imbued with psychic powers and teleport it into the center of New York City is FOOLPROOF”

    • Mechwarrior

      Kill it! Kill it with fire!

    • Insanenoodlyguy

      No see, if that was the plan, it’d be okay. That always works as long as there’s no blue floaty naked people around. Allison only floats sometimes and we haven’t seen her break out the body paint so we should be fine.

  • S.I. Rosenbaum

    She’s also discarded herself, in the person of Mega Girl. She’s looking for a better way and Patrick’s is not better than Mega Girl’s. What is she supposed to do? Become his teacher? his caretaker? Why should she spend time with someone who’s not only confused but also hurtful?

  • S.I. Rosenbaum

    Sure are some interesting gender overtones in the amount of readers who are upset that Alison is not nurturing Patrick enough

    • Zac Caslar

      Heh.
      That was my intuition as well.
      Lots of “zomg Allison’s wrong” that comes with zero comparative analysis of Patrick like there isn’t two characters in this scene.

      • S.I. Rosenbaum

        but only one of them is FEMALE and therefore JUDGEABLE

        • Lostman

          My problem with Alison isn’t the fact that’s she female, it’s she could a how lot smarter then she is.

    • Markus

      Yeah, not to be that guy, but bullshit. The top five parent comments for the past two to three weeks in every thread have been “Alison is right and Patrick is a compulsive liar and high functioning sociopath” reiterated so many ways. It’s easy, and apparently popular, to take the “everybody sucks but me” route, but you’re measurably wrong and only upvoted because it’s the sort of sentiment that feels good to upvote.

      • S.I. Rosenbaum

        >>Yeah, not to be that guy

        You’re being that guy.

  • Andor

    You know, it’s actually kind of cold for her to abandon him now. He’s been this strong formative influence on her, and now that he’s having a crisis of identity (that she precipitated) she’s just going to leave him in pieces. Yes he’s just been a cruel douche, but only because he has the emotional insight of someone half his age, crippled by his own power. Perhaps when she calms down she’ll realize that and actually become his friend. He obviously badly needs one and she’s one of very few beings on earth who could do it.

    • Insanenoodlyguy

      He’s kinda revealed himself to be a shittier person then she thought? I mean I think she rationalized some of what he did before as “he was working for a greater goal and putting that aside!” and now it looks like he was just some stupid asshole being a stupid asshole. As times to ditch a friend go, the dude who just happily told you about how he killed people and how he holds you in contempt… well, even if he’s deliberately trying to hurt you with that more then meaning it, HE’S DELIBEREATELY TRYING TO HURT YOU. You can shuffle somebody into the “fuck that guy” category there and it doesn’t speak poorly of you.

  • Perlite

    Oh dear looks like someone’s feelings been hurt because someone has called him out and walked away from him; lets give the murderous, manipulative mindreader some milk and cookies.
    “But he’s emotionally stunted and is a tortured soul! Allison is just being a huge bully.”
    That doesn’t excuse his actions, in the past or present. Allison is being a bully? Have you even read the last dozen pages? Patrick has insulted her, hardly let her speak, pushed her around emotionally, and demeaned her values.
    I’m so glad that this little plot pointed has more or less sorted itself out. Patrick now has two years to do what he can before being locked up.
    PS: I just realized that Allison had her eyes closed for the duration of her “defying gravity” moment, I’m not sure she even knows she now has telekinesis.

    • Ian Osmond

      I’m not convinced she does: she may just have been jumping by twitching her ankles accidentally…

      • Perlite

        What about all the other levitating objects? And it looks like she let herself down gently in the 5th panel, not landing.

  • Jack Lostthenames Warren

    Oh wow, Klevin, IT’S YOUR TIME TO SHINE, MAN

    • S.I. Rosenbaum

      best comment

  • motorfirebox

    God, it’d be fucking awful to be able to read everyone else’s mind clearly but have to deal with your own mind the old-fashioned way. I actually feel pretty bad for Patrick. There is possibly nothing that blinds you more to your own bullshit than being able to clearly see everyone else’s.

    • Zac Caslar

      Kind of Holden Caulfield that way, eh?
      I don’t think he’s irredeemable though, and this clearly isn’t the end of it for either of them.
      There’s going to be some severe emotional whiplash for Allison, and we’ll see what Patrick does as well.

    • Elaine Lee

      Every human has that problem. Always easier to fix some else’s life than it is to fix your own.

  • motorfirebox

    Haha, yeah. Anytime someone says something really, really stupid, you can be sure that they’re not going to be the ones who invent time travel.

  • Ian Osmond

    BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Wow. This is SO not what I was expecting. This is frankly wonderful.

  • Ian Osmond

    The thing is — Alison’s MegaGirl sized kick in the mental pants might be enough to make him start thinking about why he needs to start thinking about turning around his unconscious jerkitude. At the end of those two years, it’s not impossible that he’ll have turned into a decent person.

    Not impossible.

    • Zac Caslar

      I concur.
      He’s got quite the shock, but from someone he trusts.
      That matters, and so there’s hope.

  • Ryan

    You don’t think she fixed anything here? I disagree.

  • Ryan

    I like how, in the last two panels, Alison has stopped going through the formality of vocalizing her thoughts. “Give me a reasonable amount of time.” For what? Patrick knows, and she knows he knows. She’s done maintaining the facade.

  • Ryan

    He doesn’t need to read his own mind to suss out the conspiracy (unless he has multiple personality disorder, which seems unlikely). Just because she’s over him romantically doesn’t mean he isn’t still the best person for the job. It seems like she’s actually being quite practical about it.

  • Mechwarrior

    Now I’ve got an image of Menace and Pintsize bromancing.

  • David Nuttall

    I saw all the scrapes on Brennan’s hand when I met him and Molly at TCAF. I hope that heals soon.

  • Insanenoodlyguy

    I mean it’s possible, but at this point I’m pretty hard pressed to see how he could possibly benefit from this. He’s got a time limit now and he’s lost the support of the biggest bruiser in the wold, somebody whom (especially if he helped her with her problem) could be a “Get out of getting fucked up” card if somebody else tried to bring the hammer down on him (for example: Paladin’s next gen of robots decide their creator would be happier if certain people were dead and become MURDERBOTS). Now Allison is just as likely to be the hammer.

  • Insanenoodlyguy

    But to what end? I’m interested in hearing your theory. It seems like there’s a lot of risks here, especially when Allison could probably be kept away with a normal breakup.

    • masterofbones

      >normal breakup.

      They were never together. Patrick repeatedly showed his lack of interest. The romance was entirely one-sided.

      >to what end?

      The end that seems most rational to me is that he is getting close. And just like the president and vice-president never travel on the same plane, he doesn’t want Allison to get too close, in case he gets caught(so at least one person will know the secret). If they have a massive falling out, Allison wont fall under nearly as much suspicion.

      Alternatively(or together with the first possibility), the present he gave Allison is a major part of his plan, and he wants to make sure Allison only opens it when she is alone for whatever reason. Glass walls in a big corporate building mean little privacy from spying eyes. It just seems too strange that he would accidentally do this despite knowing exactly how Allison would react.

      The last and most shallow possibility is that he is really disturbed by her obsession with him, and wants her to stop trying to jump his bones. He has fragile bones, and they would break.

  • Lostman

    I think she was joking about “a fleet of Earthships” The real means to deal with Alison is much darker.

  • motorfirebox

    Yeah, except that a huge proportion of suicides occur in the context of mental illness, which by definition inhibits or prevents a person from being an aware individual. Speaking as someone who was prevented from committing suicide, preventing people from committing suicide in most situations where it comes up is absolutely the moral thing to do—and allowing a person’s mental illness to take their lives from them is the next best thing to premeditated murder.

    Now, look, if you’re talking about end-of-life issues and the like, yeah, I’m all for letting a person choose to die with dignity at a time and circumstance of their choosing. But I feel like that’s an exception rather than the rule. It’s possible I’m biased.

  • Justin Williams

    I think you know what I mean, but let me rephrase.
    Has Alison used her powers to illegally obtain insider information to cheat the system or used her abilities to black-mail, murder, coerce, or cheat individuals for her own gain, be it financial or in the accumulation of power and influence?

    • Silva

      What if she had? You gonna tell me capitalism’s a fair game? If anything, it’s precisely this kind of thing, coupled with biodynamism in every country and social class, that has the potential to make the world, let’s say, “fairer by ethnicity” at least (in fact, that and vastly lower crime are 2 things implied to have happened, that I don’t think there’s any actual on-screen evidence of).

      (And I maintain nobody was “mindraped”. Er, on-screen at least.)

      • Justin Williams

        Free-market a cesspool of economic, racial and social discrimination and usury? Yes…..since forever.

        Using telepathy to manipulate it to your favor, still not really a heroic action. Especially considering that unless Patrick is scrupulously honest and morally upstanding ( insert your own sarcasm here, I’m tired 😉 ) he’s probably run more than a few competitors out of business with his talents.

        We already know he black-lists and ruins former employees that try to get out from under his thumb? Do you really think a man who would do that worries about putting people out of work if it benefits him?

        He has absolutely no excuse for his lack of empathy, he can literally see and feel the anguish both physical and mental his actions have caused. That’s okay though the man who should have more true empathy than anyone else on earth thinks we’re all pretty much interchangeable.

        That’s not a side-effect of his power, that is narcissism on an epic scale from the one man who can without a shadow of a doubt know what secret pain everyone around him has to carry. That is true evil, knowing that someone is good and true and hurting them anyway because to you they JUST DON’T MATTER.

        Outside some possible endorsement deals I don’t think Alison is anymore guilty of being a cog in the machine than the average Joe or Jane.

        No mind-rape on screen?……….So unconsciousness implies consent now? Remind me to never party with your crowd, its probably a little rougher than what I’m used to.

        Oh and kidnapping……..kidnapping unconscious people from their beds and then pawing his filthy @#%^&# fingers through the most private and intimate thoughts and feelings of people completely and totally unable to give consent in any fashion……..no mind-rape on screen?

        Ask yourself this, if he did it with drugs and brainwashing would it still be acceptable? Because the road may be different but the act and the results are the same.

  • mc

    TRANSHUMANIST AYN RAND HAS FINALLY RETURNED TO TELL OF OUR MANY TRANSGRESSIONS AGAINST THE AUTONOMY OF THE INDIVIDUAL someone quick go please tell /r/rand she has come back for us

  • Douglas Muir

    I’m actually kind of disappointed in this page.

    Remember Original Patrick back in Book Three? The emotionally detached but basically benign Vulcan version? The guy who surrendered to MegaGirl, took his mask off, and then made a secret alliance with her? Who smiled wistfully at sleeping Alison? Who carefully gave her a choice about whether to learn Feral’s secret? Who when asked if he was a good person, said “I don’t really identify as a person, but I’m trying very hard to do good things”? The guy who cracked up helplessly over TV cartoons?

    I really liked that Patrick. Not because I was shipping him and Alison, but because he was plausibly alien, and interesting.

    Then for 10 pages we’ve had Patrick 2.0, who is being a dick to Alison for reasons that are unclear. Okay, I could accept that. He’s got a plan? Or maybe he’s just crazy stressed out? Whatever. I could easily imagine one or more plausible explanations. I could reconcile that Patrick with the original version.

    But now we have Fucking Pathetic Patrick and, man, that’s not really working for me. One, it just doesn’t seem consistent with the guy from Book Three. (I mean, come on. Go back and read Book Three again. Does that guy seem like an immature narcissist who’s lost in his own bullshit?) Two, it’s (for me) /less interesting/ than the guy from Book Three. Original Patrick was refreshingly alien and strange. Fucking Pathetic Patrick is just another messed-up case of protracted adolescence.

    Three, it pretty severely constrains how he can come back into the narrative. Either he gets his shit together or he doesn’t, and neither of those make my heart swell with anticipation. “I’ve thought a lot about what you said, Alison,” would be kinda tedious, while “FINE I will go FULL ON Super-Villain now!!” would be even worse.

    TLDR: they broke Patrick. And it makes me sad, because I liked Patrick.

    Doug M.

  • Douglas Muir

    Also: I don’t like that with the possible and limited exception of Paladin, Alison now has no friends who are her peers (or no peers who are her friends).

    Pintsize is stunted metaphorically as well as literally by his inability to move on from being a superhero. (And what a lovely touch that was.) Brad is firmly the “Ex-Colleague You’re On Good Terms With” as opposed to an actual friend. Moonshadow is an antagonist now. Alison’s roommate is, well, a lot younger than Alison. Her doctor, that’s more a parental / professional relationship than peer-to-peer.

    Book Three Patrick was really a special kind of friend. That’s gone now, leaving Alison a lot more alone.

    Doug M.

  • S.I. Rosenbaum

    correct.

  • S.I. Rosenbaum

    I think this is ALSO a big factor in a lot of comments. The point of the comic isn’t “Alison Green is better than other people” and a lot of readers seem to want her to be for the reasons you stated. BUT I think there’s also gender expectations at work in the comments that say “Alison should be taking care of her friend who is in distress!” rather than “Alison should be turning her friend in to the police right away!” or whatever Superman would probably do here. The big lunk.

  • S.I. Rosenbaum

    “the only reason she didn’t do it sooner was because she was attracted
    to him. That kind of thing REALLY should be noted and chastised.”

    When a woman acts wrongly out of attraction, she’s immoral. When a man acts wrongly out of attraction, the woman he’s attracted to is immoral.

    • masterofbones

      So call out the guys when they do bad/dumb things. Just because you perceive a lack of proper response to men does not mean we should also treat women incorrectly.

      • S.I. Rosenbaum

        You may be interested to know that I don’t think acting out of attraction necessarily needs to be “noted and chastised.”

        • masterofbones

          Doing something massively harmful on the national/worldwide level because you think someone is sexy? That is abhorrent on almost any ethical metric.

  • S.I. Rosenbaum

    dude I don’t know what you’re reading but it’s not this comic. Can I interest you in The Fountainhead?

  • masterofbones

    If this doesn’t end up being an act on his part I am going to be very confused. He *knows* how she will react to stimulus, so he would have known exactly how bad of an idea this is.

    If he is manipulating her, this conversation has a point. Otherwise, he has merely been shooting himself in the foot for no reason.

    Alternatively, he may suffer from massive guilt, and actually want to be put away, and this is the best way he knows how.

  • masterofbones

    >because of a hunch to play along with his fearful “make Alison hate me” plot out of trust in Patrick

    My god that would be fantastic. Two intelligent people, with the non-mindreader realizing that the mind-reader’s actions made no sense, and therefore figured out that it was a plot? If this actually plays out like that they have truly become a team.

  • masterofbones

    Hopefully she is just playing along at this point.

  • masterofbones

    The irony is that if my hopes come true, this will be some of the best teamwork I have ever seen in a comic.

  • motorfirebox

    I’ll freely stipulate that the mental health industry has huge problems, some of which touch on the legitimacy of the entire profession. But the fact that mental diseases are difficult to diagnose and difficult to treat doesn’t mean they aren’t diseases, and letting someone succumb to a disease when help is available is morally abhorrent.

  • MrSing

    I think most people aren’t really happy with how this turned out because of the way how Alison “defeated” Patrick. She didn’t outsmart or outplay him in any significant way, because Patrick was an secret idiot the entire time.
    It’s an anti climax to say the least, when the big bad turns out to be a gibberish spouting child.
    In fact, this victory makes Alison come worse of than if Patrick was more competent. Since all of Patrick’s manipulations of Alison now retro-actively make Alison seem way worse.
    If a immature narcisist weebmeister like Patrick was able to fool Alison for so long, what does that say about her?

  • Justin Williams

    So today you read the minds of a bus full of people that you had drugged and brought to you for that very purpose? Without their knowledge or consent?

    Ask yourself this if someone melted the clothes off everyone around him ( no harm being done to the unclothed ) and in fact enjoyed and profited from it would you be okay if he did it to you? Without your consent? If he then made money from unclothing you? If he drugged you and had people, probably not very nice people bring him your unconscious body so he could take his time about it? Would you be okay with that?

    If you’d read the whole comment about drugging an brainwashing I was making the point that Chatty Patty’s telepathic theft of information and secrets is no different from that and I don’t think anyone would be fine with that.

    As far as business goes you do know that insider trading is illegal right? What Chatty Patty does is theft and exploitation of insider information, as far as I know that is illegal just about everywhere. Also if you don’t think “Menace” Man-boy murderer wouldn’t black-mail you are giving him credit for a level of scruples he simply doesn’t possess.

  • Justin Williams

    So drug abuse, prostitution, black-mail, murder, the violent non-popular overthrowing of governments, voyeurism, insider trading, the abuse of employees, the destruction of innocent lives, the sadistic enjoyment of inflicting death, nihilism, megalomania, moral relativism and dictatorship are okay if not actually laudable?

    But kidnapping is bad…………………………………

    • Silva

      Prostitution? I’ll tell you something else that’s bad: making stuff up, which you’ve been doing all this time. Compare: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MindRape (and yes, that’s the most authoritative definition, unless you manage to find me a dictionary written by professionals with that word).

      • Justin Williams

        To quote ” even if I simply spent it on cocaine, prostitution, and further ability to rig the game, I’d be exactly as bad as most other players, not worse”.

        So there is where I got that.

        As far as making stuff up. I’m talking to someone who equates telepathically searching a drugged and kidnapped ( although as I said, you do consider kidnapping “bad” ) persons mind for secrets to looking at them on the bus.

        I admit I we don’t have as much public transportation where I live, but if that equates to your average experience I’d buy a moped.

        As far as using TV-tropes as an authoritative sources for definitions….seriously…….. seriously?

        Perhaps we have a different definition of “Mind-Rape”.

        To me it is seeking out and purposefully extracting information from an unwilling victim, usually to the detriment or nefarious use of said information.

        That is why I was making a point about unconsciousness not equaling consent.

        Just because you don’t know you have been victimized doesn’t mean you haven’t been abused.

        You seem to be saying that because the act is without physical discomfort it is not an evil act and that is just wrong.

        Its even worse if you are asserting that because the victim doesn’t know its okay.

        Even if the knowledge is used to ruin them?

        Even if the knowledge is used to black-mail or manipulate?

        Even if it is for the sick amusement of a murderous megalomaniac?

        Seriously?

        So unless the victim is tied to a wrack and screaming while some giant-headed bald albino is cackling madly as he sifts through the victims thoughts its not mind-rape.

        I don’t agree, if a telepath stole your identity and used it to defraud a bank or commit a crime they would not be culpable if you didn’t writhe around in pain while he was doing it?

        That’s just silly.

      • Justin Williams

        Okay, I’ve waited a day and a half for my reply to appear. I hope it will soon

  • Douglas Muir

    If the genders were reversed, I’d still find Patricia pathetic — but I’d feel a lot more sympathy for her.

    — Actually, if the genders were reversed, this would be a much more disturbing scene. Patricia provokes super-strong Al verbally until he threatens her with violence? And then he smashes up the place and leaves her traumatized? Creepy.

    Doug M.

  • Rod

    But then how does him being an emotional loon negate any of those reasons? He’s still just as capable of ferreting out this conspiracy as he was the day before all this, and she didnt seem willing to put a time limit on that until now. The only thing of significance that changed was that she has lost interest in him *because of* his emotional state.

  • S.I. Rosenbaum

    I stand by my original statement.