Hey gang! Cool news! Strong Female Protagonist, along with a host of other incredible comics and creators, has been shortlisted for an Autostraddle Comic & Sequential Art Award. We are bowled over and totally honored to be in the esteemed company of so many amazing and excellent works of art, and you guys can check out the full roster of nominated works and creators right here! After you’ve had a chance to look at all the awesome stuff that’s been shortlisted, you can vote right here, or by clicking the silver badge right below! Seriously, click the badge! Hyperlinks! What fun!


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  • Roman Snow

    It looks as though Furnace won’t/hasn’t survive(d) this. But if he can get so hot he melts incoming bullets, maybe he can. I would think that, even if he was so hot the water couldn’t put out his flame or drown him, the rubble would certainly kill him. But the bullets.

    • Walter

      We don’t know at this point. You can make the argument that he should be dead, or the argument that he should be alive. If he shows up again, it’ll be fine. If he doesn’t, a Disney death is about right for him.

      • Kid Chaos

        No one could possibly survive that! …Right? :p

  • Kid Chaos

    Well, at least she thought that far ahead. Now for the hard part; turning her in to the Feds.

    • Rod

      She’s wounded. Unless she suddenly shows an even higher scale of creativity and determination than she has been up until now, I don’t think Alison will have a problem.

      • physically, maybe not. emotionally, probably.
        Alison has pathological amounts of empathy sometimes, and a bit of a mindset of “I can fix it myself!” (see: Patrick and all of his nefarious shenanigans.)

      • lizasweetling

        as long as she maintains contact, anyway.

  • white rabbit

    well that was expected

    • scottfree

      Checkhov’s dam. You don’t introduce a super villain in a dam without expecting it to explode and flood the surrounding area.

  • masterofbones

    I wonder if Moonshadow will consider herself responsible for the dam explosion after the forced drugging and terrorizing of Furnace. How much responsibility lies with furnace in this situation? Should anyone be held responsible for their actions if they were under the influence of drugs they did not consent to taking?

    Also, I wonder how much the surrounding area relies on the electricity from that dam. The power plants wont have a chance at keeping up with the new load. Things could get pretty bad for the city population.

    • Some guy

      Moonshadow doesn’t really seem like the ‘feels guilt’ sort of person any more. She’s just a psychopathic serial killer that gets a pass because her victims are unpopular and the narrative avoided ‘mistakes’. Legally, Furnace probably has little or no liability. Rather, he wouldn’t had he used normal destructive means to defend himself in a world where abnormal means don’t really exist.

      Unless this happened in Texas, there should only be a couple days’ blackouts at most, the non-Texas US power grid is actually pretty robust as a precaution against this kind of thing!

      • Silva

        Those poor, despised rapists.

        • That same guy

          Tell me more about how extrajudicial killings are cool as long as it’s bad people?

        • MrSing

          Someone else being a monster doesn’t give you the excuse to become one.

  • Sakurasleaf

    Monnshadow never was a terrorist. She stayed being a true solider

    • Lostman

      And kept fighting a war even those it was over.

    • Nightsbridge

      Terror was literally her modus operandi

    • masterofbones

      She intended to be one, but Alison threw a wrench in that idea.

  • Well, dam. At least, Mary, you picked a dam good one to be blown up, one without any dam casualties.

    I think I’m overdoing the dam puns.

    • lizasweetling

      what dam puns? a pun in these circumstances would be sure to make a splash!

    • Nightsbridge

      Not a dam chance.

    • Ganurath

      Dam the puns? I say dam the critics, and dam the consequences! Moonshadow thought what she wanted to convey was worth a dam to say, so if you have a pun that you’re willing to give a dam about, then you should share your dam pun!

  • KatherineMW

    Looking like Furnace is dead.

    I’m sure there will be lots of comments analyzing how it is or isn’t possible for Furnace to burn hot enough to break the dam but not hot enough to evaporate the water, but I don’t really care. It’s a superherocomic; as long as the science is at least superficially plausible, that’s good enough for me.

    I guess Mary just chose the dam so that Furnace couldn’t escape using his powers if she did judge him guilty.

    Still. Mary, you got a non-guilty person killed killed and potentially wrecked a national park (presumably one far enough downstream that the flood will have abated enough that hikers aren’t in danger). Not goood.

    • lizasweetling

      hm, he didn’t plead… so I guess we have to treat him as guilty of idiocy.

    • Catherine Kehl

      If I were to produce handwavey physics, I’d say something about the thermal mass of all that water moving past him real fast like stripping his heat off more quickly than he could replenish it. Water is really good at that, and dams hold back an awful lot of water (one suspects this was part of Moonshadow’s selection criteria). Previously, he was heating up a static quantity of concrete – which is a completely different sort of task.

  • ∫Clémens×ds

    That comment of hers is pretty creepy.
    “Civilian population?”
    “Minus 7,500 to be precise. I had already killed them. It’s all ghosts now.”

    • motorfirebox

      “Even me!” *spooky disappear*

    • notquiteotaku

      As someone pointed out in an earlier comment, I think it’s supposed to reinforce the idea that Alison and Mary were essentially child soldiers. Horrifying as it is, they are probably used to asking about civilian casualties after a fight.

  • Huh, So either I was wrong about furnace surviving, or we’re working on a “nothing could have survived that blast” buildup and he’s gonna come rocketing out any minute now trying to kill Moonshadow and Ali.

  • Pol Subanajouy

    Kudos on Al having enough control during CPR not to hurt Mary. I worry about breaking bones if I ever needed to do that, so I can’t imagine how cautious she must be.

    Are we sort of writing Chris off as a lost cause now? Death by Darwin Award?

    • Sergio Le Roux

      I remember one issue where Allison’s doctor/handler told her she didn’t have to worry about accidentally killing a lover or something in bed. It seems her super strength is a sort of on/off thing.

      • yes, but a lover is presumably someone she LIKES, or at least wants to continue sexing. Mary is someone she’s pissed off at, to say the least. I mean, there’s probably something at work there, on a conscious or subconscious level saying “Hey probably don’t kill someone even if it’s this person who is awful.” but there’s also probably something at some level saying “Hey, this chick is a piece of work and she’s causing you a lot of trouble, and if you happened to flatten her chest in an attempt to SAVE her, no one could reasonably blame you, probably.” so it’s a matter of which voice and which intention wins out, and the fact that it’s the good voice, and the good intention, that wins is what makes Alison a to-the-bone superhero and all-around good person, unlike Mary/Moonshadow.

        eta: I still hope Mary has at least a few broken ribs for all her trouble.

        • Geary

          She still likes Mary, though. She thinks what she’s doing is horrible and wrong, but Mary was her friend sorta.

        • Sergio Le Roux

          The “lover” bit was just an example, the doctor said nothing about Liking or Loving being a factor on whether her strength could be controlled or not. Either she’s with her super-strength “active” or not. Whether that can happen only consciously or could be triggered by anger is besides the point. If she was angry she probably wouldn’t be trying to do CPR at all, anyway.
          You’re focusing on the word “lover” too much. The point was that when she’s not ripping things into pieces, her strength is just at normal human level and she doesn’t accidentally walk thru walls all the time.

    • Rod

      I kind of want them to look up on the next page, and see Chris floating their way, still ticked….

      • lizasweetling

        but extinguished, at least.

      • scottfree

        Now I want to see Furnace throw fireballs at them from a safe distance higher than he’s seen Allison jump, and then try to fly away from her.

      • Pol Subanajouy

        impotently throwing fireballs at the sky as he floats on.


    • Insanenoodlyguy

      Allison’s concern was regarding involuntary movements. Day to day she appears to have perfectly adequate control, considering her ability to interact with the normal world (for example, she’s not ripping car door handles or for that matter car doors off whenever she gets in a car). As a firewoman, I’m sure she’s very aware if she can or cannot carry somebody out of a building safely.

      • Kid Chaos

        She can carry a *cow* out of a building safely. 🙂

        • Geary

          She can carry a building out of a building safely.

      • Sergio Le Roux

        Yep, and her handler/doctor assured her that she wouldn’t accidentally kill someone in her sleep. So even involuntary movements seem safe, if she’s right, but she didn’t explain exactly how it works.

  • Steele

    … so Mary DID choose this dam for a reason. Can’t wait to see where we go from here!

  • JUnit4321

    Well Ship

  • Nobody Important

    Congrats, guys. Really moving up in the world.
    On the story side of things, I’m starting to wonder whose bright idea it was to drug a volatile pyrokinetic near anything expensive to repair. I mean, is there no random caves nearby? A random cave would be just as easy.

    • lizasweetling

      Especially since the bomb was intentionally too small to blow the dam. Maybe the idea was that he would be dissuaded from blowing up if he would afterwards be hit with a few dozen tons of water?

      • Lizzy

        hit with water should be nothing. Furnace can get hot enough to melt Bullets, so he can certianly vaporize water

        • masterofbones

          He apparently can’t, judging from the picture.

          • Cake

            Until a small glowing star shaped like a man rises up from the water.

        • Zmm

          That would still kill him however.
          In theory when he is in “fire mode” he is breathing through his powers. When water does that that quickly there is a lot of extra forces involved and lot of breathing difficutly.
          then add in all the rubble..
          unless he can be completely fire down to his very core, and then power that reaction with only his body, he is going to have issues surviving much less escaping this event.
          Even if he does in theory he’ll end up having burned away part of himself probably to fuel it.

        • Emily Smith

          Can he get hot enough to vaporize ten trillion gallons of water?

          • masterofbones

            He can explode a dam. If he did that with a general outburst of heat, those trillions of gallons should have already vaporized.

    • Zmm

      She knows that he’s a few twitchy moments away from being an effective HUGE scale bomb. LIke remove a town from the map huge.
      I think she was planning-not to kill him but to force him into stopping under threat of “next time you will die”. I think she was going to try something else because she wasn’t sure if she could kill him without him going boom (as most bullets that have hit him tend to open up fire ports).

      So. I think the idea was sacrafice something uninhabited and away from everything, where if he does go nova a lot of solid matter and water would subvert the impact on the area.

      • masterofbones

        Now she knows. He has never done anything nearly this big before.

  • Rell

    …you’re under arrest for multiple counts of first degree murder and conspiracy to commit domestic terrorism. Put your hands behind your back. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand these rights as they have been presented to you?

    • Rod

      That has me wondering if they ever actually formally arrested villains they fought, complete with Miranda rights and all, or if they just beat them into submission then dropped them off and the nearest local law enforcement station.

      • Skylar Green

        There is such a thing as Citizen’s Arrest but citizens are not expected, required or empowered to issue Miranda Warnings. Miranda Warnings don’t have to be issued on site, anyway. But the superheroes would effectively be operating with de facto support of law enforcment, yet not as actual agents of law enforcement. If they were acting as law enforcement, all of the constitutional protections that one receives against The State (law enforcement being agents of The State) would apply to the superheroes as well. That means using the proper threat matrices, limiting the application of violence to as little as possible to secure the suspect, preventing crime scene contamination and following the procedures for chain of custody when it comes to evidence collection, not to mention that the superheroes couldn’t just bust into anyplace on a whim without a warrant. Superheroes wouldn’t be superheroes if they fully operated within the same structure of the law as the cops. They’d just be superpowered cops.

      • lizasweetling

        sounds right.

    • Pol Subanajouy

      And plus, there’s the chance that there’s video evidence that is literally strapped to her person too (assuming the camera is still working after everything it has been through.)

      • Korataki

        What I’m wondering now is if that camera footage reflects what actually happened, or if Moonshadow’s abilities allowed her to illusion-edit the entire recording on the fly.

        • Geary

          If that was the case, wouldn’t she not really even need Furnace? Wouldn’t she just be able to forge his testimony?

          • Rod

            She could, but apparently, she’s quite interested in actually proving, to herself at the very least, the guilt of her victims.

        • Emily Smith

          Hm. We do know that cameras can see her illusions (from when her double was in the apartment).

        • Pol Subanajouy

          You know that is a really good point. Adds a whole new level to, “I think this might have been faked.” It would be rather hilarious if it leaked online and Mary got annoyed at youtube comments talking about how awful her special effects are.

    • lizasweetling

      she’s a firefighter, not a policeman- I don’t think she knows Miranda…

  • Drakefire

    So Moonshadow was playing it slightly smarter. Still doesn’t mean I would let her off the hook.

  • Daniel Vogelsong

    “Also there were some Campers over that direction that looked a little… you know…”
    “… Mary…”
    “I was trying to be efficient.”

    • lizasweetling

      I want to like this for ingenuity, but the image is too groan-worthy.
      Thumbs-up though 🙂

  • WizardJim

    Hoorah, no civvies in danger and I’m sure the rebuilding of the dam will bring a lot of money into the local economy. So basically this whole thing has just been a win-win.

    • Taylor

      Oh no, whatever will I do?

  • CanuckAmuck

    A national park? That sucks! No civilians is a good thing of course (there’s probably some – nowhere is that isolated, anymore), but hopefully the park (which might also very well have the odd person in it) is far enough away that the flooding won’t be too devastating to the wildlife.

  • llennhoff

    Here’s a link for anyone who wants to figure out where this might be.

  • danny in canada

    I’m impressed that Allison is able to revive Mary without splintering her ribcage, and that Mary’s plans included the possibility of Furnace destroying the dam.

    Still might be possible for hikers to be killed, though.

    • Sergio Le Roux

      It was explained by her doctor that she isn’t “super-strong” unless she actively uses her ability (when talking about sleeping with somebody).

      • Classtoise

        We’ve seen her accidentally snap a lock trying to open a window. I think this is more “artistic license” to keep from having to draw a few panels of Alison wrist-deep in Mary’s ribcage.

    • motorfirebox

      Well, Alison’s never had trouble controlling her strength in “normal human” situations.

  • Alex C

    Moonshadow, you look like a Naruto cosplayer.

  • Alex C

    Moonshadow, you look like a Naruto cosplayer. Bad life choices.

  • William Lancaster

    Aww, smokey the bear is going to get drenched. Hopefully it’ll prevent furnace fires.

    • Mechwarrior

      Only Alison can prevent Furnace.

  • Liz

    What about campers? Hikers? Scientists working on/by the river? Park rangers?

    • Johan

      Meh, what about them ? XD

      • Dean

        Alison isn’t Superman- realistically, she has almost no chance of locating anyone caught by the flood in time to save them.

        • Johan

          What Dean said. Also, you know he’s right because Dean is Batman

  • Skylar Green

    So, no major civilian population, but the possibility of people camping in said flood plain and national park. So say nothing of any animal populations that might die.

  • Walter

    Its strange how the comic is like “Moonshadow is rescued by Alison after being injured saving Furnace, and also she had a plan for even if the bomb goes off no one else being killed” and the comments are positively teeming with “that’s not good enough we hate HERRRR!”, like there’s a chance Alison is about to be like “well, thank goodness this dam isn’t near a city. I guess we are good.”

    Relax folks. Moonshadow is a killer (and also was heroic just a few seconds ago. People are complicated.), and Alison isn’t about to forget that after Moonshadow tried to kill HER.

    What she can do is a much more interesting question though. Killing Moonshadow for killing people is a bit Punisher for Alison, but imprisoning her is a dicey proposition at best, with her either being murdered or escaping in short order.

    • I don’t think Moonshadow’s actions in saving/attempting to save Furnace were necessarily heroic or altruistic though, or at least not entirely. I think that she had a very specific plan in mind for the events that were supposed to occur, and he wasn’t following her script. and disregarding that, the fact that she has a camera strapped to her head makes every action she took a little bit suspect. like “Hey, now I have proof that I’m not a monster, especially if I carefully edit this and make it look like I swept in and saved the day.”
      I don’t think Al will kill her or turn her in to conventional authorities, though, both for the reasons you stated, and because it doesn’t fit her idea of herself.

  • Rod

    After seeing all this devastation, and her condition, I can’t help but think that regardless of her desire for a confession… she should have just left the vest on him.

  • Verdant_Samuel

    Huh, so she actually tried to save him? That’d mean she’s waaaay closer to sharing the morality of every other super shown so far than the in-universe (and irl) reaction to her would indicate.

    • lizasweetling

      … who are you talking about?

      • Some guy

        Exactly. Mary doesn’t get credit for saving someone for the danger she put them in.

        • Verdant_Samuel

          Apologies, a rephrasing: “if the only difference between Mary & all the other supers are the minutiae surrounding circumstances of when they kill, she is much closer to them than anyone’s reactions (excepting possibly Alison’s “we’re all murderers”) would indicate so far.” That make more sense?

  • motorfirebox

    I don’t think Mary’s drugs can really be said to contribute to Furnace’s destruction of the dam. Sodium thiopental’s effects are basically the opposite of what Furnace exhibited. If the drugs were affecting him, he should have been pretty laid back and pliable. Or maybe the drugs were affecting him, and this is the drugged-out-hippie version of Furnace being really mad, which is itself a little frightening.

    Also scenes like this are where the bones of Alison’s and Mary’s time as teenage soldiers really poke through. It’s not “Oh my god what about all the people who live here!?”, it’s just, “Civilian population?”

    • Jake

      That’s one of the reasons why I can’t really blame Mary. As much as everybody likes to hate her, we have to remember that she and Alison aren’t all that different from child soldiers in Africa. They were treated better I’m sure, probably a bit better trained, but when you boil it all down they were still two young girls being shoved into combat situations on a regular basis, I think the comic said they were fourteen or so when it all started. That became their ‘normal’, they were sent after enemy combatants with kill or capture orders, and more than likely trotted out for press appearances on a regular basis where they were called heroes and told that they were great, and treated like celebrities And then they were suddenly told to stop, to follow normal law enforcement procedures, to sit down and shut up because they weren’t necessary anymore.

      Mary is what you get when you mix a burnt out child star with a grown up child soldier, think Lindsey Lohan with superpowers, combat experience, and a Hero complex. I know that’s a very funny (and mildly scary) picture, but in all seriousness, it’s fairly accurate. As to the first thing, I don’t think that’s Furnace’s hippy side, I think he’s just an idiot, though the drugs might impair his ability to think about long term consequences.

      • MrSing

        Wasn’t Furnace a child soldier too? Seems kinda weird to call him out on his actions and give Mary a pass.

    • Zmm

      I think the drugs effects contrubted to his lack of control. Even last time he lost control it was only a house and not much more. Comprared to near total control loss here.

      So I think it affected his brain chem in a different fashion,instead of inhibitting the normal it went differently

    • Rumble in the Tumble

      If Furnace can vaporize flying bullets, but not water, then sodium thiopental might as well be PCP in this universe.

    • Pol Subanajouy

      Drugged-out-hippie version of Furnace = Ludicrous property damage.

      Normal Furnace = Mostly a jerk bag.


  • Lostman

    If Alison let’s Mary go after all this shit… I’m not going to be happy. Anyways it’s hard to blame anyone in this shit storm, everyone was acting and reacting to everyone else actions.

    This is the final score:

    Mary: a brunch of dead bodies, zero changes to the world.
    Alison: Aliened all her friends, zero changes to the world.
    Chris: destroy a dam and possibly killed himself, zero changes to the world.

    The Actors need to change their methods and personalities if they want to have a shot at ‘fixing’ the world.

    • lizasweetling

      nasty brunch.

    • Mechwarrior

      Alison at least gets points for attempting nonviolent deescalation. She wasn’t successful and she wasn’t really prepared, but she didn’t know or have a reasonable ability to find out what was actually happening so she was working at a disadvantage.

      • Lostman

        disfiguring her friend and then victim blaming him.

        • Mechwarrior

          Who what?

    • 3-I

      Patrick: was a dickbag to a superhero, unspecified number of changes to the world.

  • Iarei

    That would have killed Mary if Allison had been anything short of a robust flight enabled telekinetic.

    • masterofbones

      She can project her invincibility to her clothes, so projecting some of it to people she holds isn’t too unbelievable.

      • Caeli Jollimore

        Wait, what? Since when can she project invincibility to her clothes? I genuinely do not remember reading that.

        • masterofbones

          Really I just assumed, but I guess I was wrong. Apparently the author just doesn’t want to deal with that unless it is relevant to the plot. It would be hard to keep a PG rating if literally every fight ended with Alison being entirely naked.

          Flying hundreds of miles an hour through the air? Naked or tattered remains of clothing.

          Leaping out of an explosion? Naked or only the remains of clothing.

          So a lot of comics give their bricks the ability to extend their invincibility to clothing.

  • moriati

    Furnace can fly too – if Alison could fly out carrying Mary like that *without Mary suffering injury* then it might be safe to assume Furnace could have flown out too?

    • Bob

      Well, I’m not sure about the size of the dam now. So, yeah, good chance he survived. It is a comic books universe, so yeah. I’d buy it if he flew up and out. And then said, “Holy Crap, what have you DONE?” Because it’s always someone else’s fault.

  • Alison needs to reach out and grab Mary, right this G*****n second, and if she tries to pull free, let her… by retaining the limb she has a hold on.

    Also, if she turns Mary in to that creepy biodynamic doctor/monitor/hairstylist, says, “Well, that settles that,” and flies away, I may not be able to keep reading this comic. 🙁

  • Jeremy

    I hope no one was camping or working in the national park…

  • Silva

    Lack of electricity kills people.

  • Bob


    1. This dam is a whole lot smaller then the previous comic.
    2. The previous dam was clearly a power plant. Of a german design or possibly something you’d see in the south west, not near NYC, but lets say that it’s alternate world.
    3. The only suitable location for a dam outside of NYC is Blenheim-Gilboa in the catskills.

    4. There are no flood plains near NYC.

    5. Their might be a series of bogs and wetlands that might take up the slack, but a whole boat load of water is about to surge into the Hudson valley.

    6. Lets assume that it’s been a very dry season, and thanks to global warming, this years snow melt is at an all time low. That’s still a Boat load of water (pardon the pun) so, we’re looking at a good 10-15 foot rise, but much less as the water moves down (the NYS aquifer can be remarkably porous.) NYC should be fine, if it was a dry season. And I do think it was a dry season because a lot of the vegetation looks brown and dried out. The pine trees (again, catskills Mountains) look dry enough to be used as tinder.

    So, over the 48 hours you can expect flooding in about 6,400 homes and about 12,800 displaced individuals. Assuming no real warning, we can figure on about 13 dead. Hundreds wounded maybe… 60-70 million in damages.

    Assuming it generates the same amount of power as the actual dam (which is a two reservoir system) then NYC is out about 1,100 Megawatts. That should be enough to cause brown outs during peak periods and until it’s replaced, Enron-Clones are going to be raping NYC on the out of state power transfers. Assume a million dollars a day lost until replaced.

    NYC will be living without air conditioners for a LONG time.

    • Rumble in the Tumble

      B-b-but Furnace might have been a rapist! TOTALLY!

  • Zmm

    At least she still has perspective on civilian deaths.
    Even if she has gone out of bounds vigilante on who isn’t civilians.

    Task force X style will come up I expect.
    with Billy (?) mc knives and her.

  • Lucy

    Congrats on the award nomination! I voted for you, but I’ll have you know it was a tough call as Melanie Gillman’s ‘As The Crow Flies’ was in the same category. So many good comics this year!

  • Academic advisor Kenneth Gaines cannot WAIT to see that bananas footage!!