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  • MisterTeatime

    “You and what ar… oh.”

  • Oren Leifer

    This comic, especially with the last line, is perfect for this day. Deception and misunderstanding, war where it is not needed and information warfare, that is something we must remember as well.

    Thank you Moonshadow. You seem to actually have a good grasp of politics and public perception, but unfortunately you raised the stakes too high, and couldn’t deal with a Alison’s intervention.

    Also, the “Autostraddle” logo is covering that last line of text, which is annoying because it’s the most powerful and relevant line of the comic.

  • Gaurav

    Absolutely amazing. The way this plot explores the subject is incisive. It’s a very difficult subject, how can/should women(Read: any subjugated group)
    act so as to make a better world when those benefiting from this subjugation just will not give up
    their position of power. The political and even social structures(news, media, even family) to some extent, are
    also controlled by them. Kudos and thanks to you for sharing your thoughts on a
    tough topic in a clever way 🙂

  • Sabriel

    “Pigs watching from home.”

    Makes me wonder if that camera on her head has been streaming everything.

    Probably not–I think law enforcement would have shown up by now if anybody was seeing this.

  • `Ever see a soldier get called a serial killer?` No, but I have seen soldiers called mass murderers, especially when they’re on the opponent/losing side of the war, or they’ve committed atrocities …

    • Shino

      “especially when they’re on the opponent/losing side of the war” – you nailed it!
      Furnace kills immigrant criminals and gangbangers and he’s a controversial, but still a licensed superhero.
      Moonshadow kills white rapists and she’s suddenly a serial killer/supervillain.

      They’re much more alike than any one thinks, and biggest difference between them is whether they’re pro or against status quo – and that’s the only real line dividing a “villain” from “hero”.
      Like Moonshadow says, they’re trying to convince people she’s fighting the wrong war.

  • Graeme Sutton

    There’s no way someone with that much law enforcement experience honestly thinks that the methods she’s been using are sufficient to guarantee that the people she’s killing are all guilty. I mean did she even have any evidence that Furnace was a rapist beyond the fact that he was against her before she dragged him off and shot him up with “truth serum”?

    • motorfirebox

      We’ve seen, in nearly every case, that she has significant evidence against her targets. There’s not really any reason to think she did anything different in Furnace’s case, especially given how far out of her way she went to keep him from dying before he met her evidentiary standards.

    • Shino

      She literally said that she didn’t and wanted to make sure first? Reread the third panel.

      • magnetoo

        I think you are perhaps missing what Graeme means – or perhaps I am, but I have a similar question. When this “did Furnace commit rape” conversation started in the dam I struggled to recall anything in previous comics suggesting any reason to even wonder about that. Yes, he’s a hothead, yes he was against Mary’s methods, yes, seemingly his attitudes about gender are antiquated, and yes, his last girlfriend broke up with him, but I couldn’t recall anything which had made *me* wonder “Is Furnace a rapist?”

        So its not “did she have definitive proof” – as you say, clearly she didn’t. But why was she even wondering? There’s a big gap between “did she have any evidence” and “was she sure”.

    • Shino

      She literally says in the third panel she wanted to make sure. Reread the page.

  • Markus

    This was never about fighting the wrong war, it was about fighting a war wrongly.

  • Philip Bourque

    She’s taking the law into her own hands. How does she determine who ‘deserves’ to die? She is not recognized as the proper authority to judge such matters so of course she’s the villain. WHat is her definition of ‘super hero’ anyway?

  • motorfirebox

    Eh. We’ve seen in just about every other case that Mary has significant evidence of wrondoing on the part of her targets, before she kills them. There’s not really any reason to think she did anything different in Furnace’s case.

    • Mechwarrior

      Obviously it wasn’t sufficiently strong evidence, given that she didn’t kill him and ripped the bomb off him to prevent it from killing him.

      • motorfirebox

        Well, sure. That’s why she was trying to get the confession.

    • What was her significant evidence on the mercenaries? Otherwise, pretty true.

      Although the college kid evidence would’ve been less feasible if it was only one or two people rather than a long string of covered-up incidents.

  • motorfirebox

    In quite a few of the cases, the police had already investigated. Heck, in the first case, it had already gone to trial.

  • motorfirebox

    If he committed whatever sexual assault Mary has evidence of him doing.

  • Rod

    “If she were punishing these people some other way- ruining their reputations or credit scores or relationships, using deliberately nonlethal violence like kneecapping- would we actually accept her more easily?”

    Yes. I mean, that seems kind of obvious, doesn’t it? Death is pretty permanent, after all (and no, she’s not exactly infallible.)

    • MisterTeatime

      Kneecapping can be pretty permanent too. (A lot of deliberately nonlethal violent options have pretty good chances of leaving permanent damage. Shoot that guy in the hand so he can’t stab you? If he doesn’t bleed out, he’ll still never have the same mobility again.)
      So can the kind of measures that would ruin an otherwise stable personal relationship. So can the kind of psychological, economic, and social harm inflicted by having your reputation destroyed, or your sanity challenged. So can the medical trouble you run into when you lose your job and can’t afford your medication (or your kid’s medication, or your rent…). Et cetera.
      There are very few things in this world that can be perfectly undone, even with the cooperation of all parties involved in doing them.

  • Rod

    What specifically is Mary right about? That her actions are superheroic? That we need to have one person with no oversight (and without mind-reading or truth-detection powers, note) going around and killing alleged rapists? Or just that ends really do justify means?

    • Kevin B.

      None of the above. She is right, though, that the current system for preventing and punishing sexual violence and violence against women doesn’t work. That society’s view about those things is fucked up and that her actions will be framed in that view while other actions by more “acceptable” people will be written off as no big deal.

      • Rod

        In that regard, yes she’s right, but then the current system for preventing and punishing crime in general doesn’t work, and not because “well, we tried, but just couldn’t get it right.” It doesn’t work because it’s been arranged in a way that doesn’t work, with the system now being entrenched. So, yeah, if you’re actually going to advocate that killing alleged rapists is positive, then you might as well put on the “Magneto was right” T-shirt and go all the way I suppose….

  • Shino

    But what’s the difference between a vigilante and superhero? I mean, superheroes kill people all the time, so where’s the line?

  • Mechwarrior

    The Punisher is not a role model.

  • Shino

    Okay but – to be honest this was probably the intent, since so far every single person we’ve seen has been sympathetic to some degree and it was explicitly said it was right to some degree -Feral, Pintsize, hell, even Cleaver got acknowledged as creation of society and not really different from Allison.

  • Shino

    Most rapists aren’t convicted regardless of evidence.

  • Rell

    That didn’t work, remember? The teens who raped that girl were aquitted by the judge (who was a wife beater) the girl who was raped by those soldiers just quit, and Miles from the party just changed schools every time he was accused.

  • Rell

    But they all did deserve it. They were rapists.

    • Does that mean that you think rape should be punished by the death penalty?
      Because I really disagree with that. There are people who have been convicted of rape and then realised that what they did was wrong. There has to be a better solution to this problem than killing people simply because it’s a crime that disgusts us.

  • Rod

    This… is getting a little thick. Words are failing me in describing how irritated I am at Moonshadow right now.

    I mean, boo-hoo Mary, because people will say you’re in the wrong? Dang straight they will. Sorry, but your logic is weak, and your actions are senseless. You’re complaining because she “made you stick your neck out for him.” You could have left as soon as you heard Alison come–it’s not like she and Furnace were supervillains who needed to be stopped NOW, or else.

    And never mind that whole inconvenient “innocent until proven guilty” thing… if he’s speaking out, then he’s a suspect, and that makes him a candidate for kidnapping and interrogation, and if he’s innocent, hey, no foul, at least he’s still alive, right? Seriously, how hard is it to wrap your mind around the fact that superheroes are reactive, they go out and stop crimes, they don’t go out LOOKING FOR CRIMINALS TO KILL IN THEIR HOMES?

    (And please stop talking as if you’re in the same category as soldiers or police. You know what THOSE guys do when someone drops their weapon and raises their hands (at least, what they’re supposed to do?) That’s right, they take them to JAIL for a TRIAL. They don’t go Judge Dredd, pass sentence and shoot them on the spot. And you know, it’s rare in your society that the punishment for rape is death in the first place–not saying it should or shouldn’t be, but who exactly made YOU the decider in what the punishment is for a crime for an entire society? If you similarly decide child abuse warrants the death penalty, do you expect us to just watch your videos and declare that you’ve improved things there, too?)

    Alison needs to take this miserable, petulant child in to the authorities, and now. I thought Patrick had irritated me, but despite less monologuing, this is at least as bad, and made all the worse by the fact that it looks like Alison is actually buying it.

    *hands Alison a Looney-Toons mug*

    “Go on. You know you want to. What? Are you kidding me? The woman tried to slash your throat, and would have left you for dead–attempted to MURDER you in cold blood–but you’re NOT in a rage over it? You’re OK with it because she thinks she’s in the right? Because she just “needs help?” Because she was some “friend” you ignored, and you supposedly feel a legitimate emotional attachment? Really?”

    *picks up mug, tosses cellphone in front of her*

    “You owe someone an apology.”

    • motorfirebox

      Well, a few things—first, several of Mary’s targets had already been given a pass by the justice system. Second, it doesn’t seem likely to me that Mary picked out Furnace because he spoke out. We’ve seen in almost every other case that before she ever attacks her target, she already has quite a bit of evidence against them.

      • Rod

        It would have been better were that the case, and frankly I was kinda hoping we would actually see some sort of evidence for any crimes of his. The fact that there didn’t seem to be any present would normally have me thinking that this is personal, except with THAT much certainty, he’d likely already be dead. Although I suppose the reason she wanted a confession so badly would just be to keep people from chasing her down once she “crossed the line” by going after a superhero.

    • A big part of this comic is discussing the strengths and fault of reactive superheroing

  • Verdant_Samuel

    What do you see as the difference between the high-level violence society that Mary lives in and a “battlefield,” beyond formal declarations by governments?

  • Urthman

    I still have no idea what the point of her holding him there in the dam was. A deterrent to prevent him from using his powers? Which didn’t work because she forgot to tell him he was in a dam?

  • Drakefire

    Is it wrong for part of me wanting to punch Moonshadow in the face, and the other part to hug her? I mean I don’t agree with how she is fighting this war, but it is one that needs to be fought.

  • Geary

    There was that time he murdered two Hispanic people because he thought they might have been illegal immigrants.

  • Geary

    Except that a lot of the people she goes after had their day in court and got off because the system was rigged in their favor. A group of rapists were acquitted by a judge who beat his wife on a regular basis.

  • motorfirebox

    It needs to be pointed out that several of her targets had their day in court.

  • motorfirebox

    I don’t think we can conclude that Mary didn’t have any substantial evidence against Furnace. All we can say is that whatever evidence she had wasn’t strong enough to meet her standards. And given the amount of research she put into all of her other targets, I don’t think it’s reasonable to conclude that she selected Furnace just because she didn’t like him.

    • ∫Clémens×ds

      What difference does that nuance make? She’s far, far from punishment proportional to the crime, she’s just put an arbitrary line in the sand behind which you’re good to go and beyond which you get shanked. That was pure lunacy before she decided Furnace was juuust close enough to it in her book to make him cross it against his will.

      I’m not defending Furnace. He’s the prototypical jerk who needs his close ones to get real with him and tell him to fucking knock it off. Mary on the other hand, needs to go to prison.

  • motorfirebox

    I don’t see how the events of the story support that. If she wanted to make him give her a reason to kill him, she wouldn’t have yanked the vest off of him when he started to heat up. That was her excuse, right there, and she not only didn’t take it, she actively prevented it from happening.

  • Huttj509

    Is it better for one innocent person to be convicted, or one guilty person to be set free?

    Where’s the balancing line?

  • Kelvandil

    Well, obviously Mary is evil if you assume the system works.

    She’s clearly unbalanced, but she also clearly has a strong belief in due process (if she didn’t consider Furnace innocent until proven guilty she wouldn’t risk her own life to save him), she just doesn’t consider the legal system a functioning way to get fair judgement.

  • Verdant_Samuel

    In my understanding, both “killer” and “hero” are loaded words that presume some kind of backstory (and are not actually based in some objective reality).

    • The way I see it, in terms of negative connotations for the general populace, it goes like this
      soldier < person who has killed < trooper < cop < killer < murderer < psycho < serial killer.

  • Verdant_Samuel

    “Solution is not to go backwards” alert alert presumption of human history as progress towards something! Consider reading some stuff on the moral value of the idea of progress.

    And living under an oppressive regime may be preferable to *you,* but speaking as a member of the group presently being publicly slaughtered by agents of the state: I’ll pass, thanks.

    • Ryan Gauvreau

      I don’t view history as progressing toward something in itself, but I value complexity, to put it most succinctly, so I do see a general trend over the course of history from “less of what I value” to “more of what I value”. I consider this progress, in terms of my own values, and would consider anarcho-primitivism (for a neutral example that does not appear to be a view of yours) to be a regress, a net loss.

      There is a lot of nastiness in the present system, and I support adopting better systems, but it feels (so I apologize if I have misunderstood) as though you are advocating for a system that isn’t, a system indistinguishable from mob justice.

  • Verdant_Samuel

    Okay, so if you admit you have no better solution why are you advocating for this system? (Since that means you haven’t looked into it, because there are in fact suggested and workable alternatives – even assuming one is necessary, which it’s not.)

    Yes, this system is used for a reason – to preserve the status quo. Like, you need to understand that our system is not broken, it is doing exactly what is was made to do.

    What the whole “is it perfect” sounds like to me, given the events happening right now: “I mean I know Black people of every gender are being publicly executed and women of every race are being murdered and assaulted at intense rates, but nothing’s perfect, right?”

  • Verdant_Samuel

    She’s clearly not insane, sorry. And if ideology disqualifies you, is anyone qualified to you?

    • Some guy

      Sane people carve words into the backs of people they’ve murdered?

      • Verdant_Samuel

        Ah, so when you say “insane” you mean “does bad things.” I suggest reconsidering your definition, good luck either way.

      • Sane as in culpable for their actions in a court of law? Some do.

    • dragonus45

      If she chooses mass murder as a way to cure her perception of the worlds ills than she is insane.

  • Verdant_Samuel

    Every person she’s killed on purpose has been confirmed to be guilty of rape as of this comic. Are you just assuming she’s been lucky?

    Okay that’s fine, but I don’t share your belief.

    • She said she’d been killing for long before all the people we’ve seen her kill. Long enough to even get an urban legend reputation big enough to get that girl’s parents to come to her for revenge.

      We only have her word on whether all of those people were guilty.

      • Verdant_Samuel

        Considering that all her onscreen kills have been corroborated as justified in-text, I don’t really see any grounds for dismissing her word on this issue.

    • GreatWyrmGold

      Where? I haven’t seen that. Certainly not for all of them.

      Also, I’m not aware of any jurisdictions where rape is punishable by not only execution, not only public execution by methods today considered barbaric, but such an execution without a trial, or even being told what they were being killed for.

      • Verdant_Samuel

        Unless you’re referencing people she’s killed off-screen, you should reread the archives. There’s confirmation in each of those instances, either at the time or very near it.

        We purposefully drop bombs on children and call it “collateral damage” and you’re telling me slitting the throat of a rapist is barbaric? Ok.

        At the rest of your 2nd paragraph: I still don’t believe rapists knowing why they’re being executed is important. Was that unclear when I said that in the comment prior?

  • Scott

    This is correct. Fruit of the poisonous tree protects citizens from illegal acts by government agents acting in an official capacity. Evidence discovered by a normal citizen, or even an off duty cop in the wrong place at the wrong time, is admissible in court even if the evidence was discovered while the individual was violating someone else’s rights. There are a couple of legal precedents for this.

    • oh. Well, could you reply that to my other comment where I mistakenly believed otherwise, please? I don’t want the wrong idea to get out.

  • Scott

    So after reading through most of the comments I have to point out something that I haven’t seen brought up yet…Mary just indirectly destroyed a dam. I think this is a good example of why she shouldn’t be in this line of work. Does she have her heart in the right place? Maybe. Is she helping to correct a social injustice in our society? Maybe. But, through a situation she manufactured, she has destroyed a major piece of government infrastructure that will cost a tremendous amount of time, manpower, and money to replace during which time unknown amounts of damage will occur in the neighboring society that just lost a significant source of power generation and unknown amounts of damage to the local environment. So she is not at all free from the greatest weakness of super powered vigilantes: unaccountable collateral damage.

    • Yeah, putting Furnace inside an important public structure was a stupid idea.

  • I’m honestly conflicted now. I want to say that she’s totally wrong, but that would make me a hypocrite. Her ethos wouldn’t be out of place for a Chaotic Good PC in a D&D game, or a shonen anime character, and I support both of them.

    It’s only because this comic just seems more real to me that I don’t want to say she’s right. Well, also the fact that I question how she can be so sure that she only killed “the guilty”. I didn’t see her giving truth serum to the fratboys in the convenience store, the mercenaries in the barn or the judge.

  • Technically, all superheroes are vigilantes. And vigilantes in the Old West were not good guys. They were usually stupid mobs riled by rumors, paranoia and booze storming courthouses to lynch suspects who hadn’t been tried yet.

  • Technically, all those superhero fights break the second criteria.

  • I’ve always wondered how any of that evidence gets to trial. Just the fact of being brought in by a violent, if non-lethal, vigilante should get the case thrown out of court right? Especially if they used unnecessary violence to inspire fear like Batman does.

    • Liz

      I think this is an excellent example of the application of Hand-Wavium by the writers. Right along with how no one in Gotham has figured out that Bruce Wayne is Batman, and where Spiderman was in the MCU when the Chithauri were destroying Manhattan.

      • I think The Dark Knight gave a great explanation for why no one outs Batman

        Lucius Fox: Lemme get this straight. You think your boss is a vigilante that spends his nights beating criminals to a pulp. And you think it’s a good idea to blackmail him?

        And my thoughts on the Spiderman issue is that Peter Parker hadn’t been bitten yet when the Chitauri attacked.

        • Liz

          Maybe not blackmail him, but what about super villains going after Alfred/trying to financially ruin Bruce/destroying Wayne Manor/tracking down the Bat Cave by its proximity to Wayne Manor. Also, plain old civilians wanting justice never seem to show up at Bruce’s doorstep to ask him to get it for them.

          Also, Spiderman went through 2 iterations of movie pre-Avengers. And while we’re at it, Matt Murdoch was there in canon, and had already started beating the poop out of bad guys (although not as Daredevil yet) according to the show. Where was he?

          • none of the Spiderman movies are canon to the MCU.

            And Matt Murdock was probably either outside the contested area or fighting them somewhere off-screen.

  • I think Alison said something similar. Superheroes are a good idea when there are supervillains around. It’s just that their brand of heroic violence does jack-sh!te against the more entrenched issues.

    • Exactly. You need a superhero when a villain is trying to take over the world. But you can’t change society by killing a few people. People die all the time. You change society from the inside, which is slow and boring, but will eventually work.

  • Not even Wolverine. What’s the difference between her and Aragorn, Frodo, Drizz’t Do’urden or any other fantasy hero? They all kill people and still treated as paragons.

  • I don’t remember where I heard it, but I once heard something along the lines of this:

    “The means matter because the ends will inevitably fade at some point.”

  • Her powers are complete control of light. There are so many other ways she could use them to help people.

  • Many did, but many just dedicated their lives to their deity of choice.

    I’m as concerned as anyone else about the way that religious institutions like the Catholic Church or even the Orthodox Rabbinate treat sexual offenders. I also dislike the self-righteous attitudes of some clergymen.

    But I absolutely despise how people look at the good people who have dedicated their life to their religion and to helping their fellows and treat them the same as the xenophobes and the criminals.

    Heck, I’m only borderline religious myself, but I just hate it.

    • MrSing

      I never did say that I hate religious people.
      I’m saying that forcefully denying people sex can cause people to do very bad things. No I’m not talking about turning a guy or girl down. I’m talking about people saying “sex is bad and you go to hell for even thinking about it”. It’s a matter of character, but some people do need sex every now and then to function normally.

      • I don’t think monks always say that. They just say that if you want to dedicate yourself to enlightenment, it’s an earthly distraction that gets in the way. For the average person, it’s fine when kept in control. It’s actually in the Talmud that a husband has a duty to satisfy his wife’s sexual needs before his own.

  • On the subject of terror tactics, I have some experience. Not first-hand mind you. As the old saying goes, your terrorists are their freedom fighters.

    There’s a big cognitive dissonance that any modern Jew has to deal with to find a substantial difference between the actions of the Irgun, Haganah and Palmach fighting against the British and Arabs and modern Arab terrorism. Sure, some of the methods are different. I’m pretty sure there were no suicide bombings done in the 1930s. Sure, many shake their heads at the “over-zealous” Irgun. But, in the end, they all blew up buildings, sabotaged transportation and assassinated their enemies.

    That’s not to say that I don’t support counter-terrorism efforts. I just don’t know where the line is. Any time I think I’ve found it, it shifts when I find another context.

    Heck, you could even say that army bombings and sabotage missions are similar. And they would argue that scaring the enemy into submission ends the war faster and saves more lives.

    So, here I am. Lost and confused. But at least I’m not alone.

  • If she was video-taping the rapists, she could just stop them in the act.

  • Avatar reference. Nice.

  • Even if they were illegal immigrants, the legal punishment for that is not the death penalty.

  • *walks by twirling my evil mustache and whipping a woman and some minorities*

    Back to work, slaves! Die for my superior will!

  • What about the mercs though?

  • It’s more that the higher your class, the better legal counsel you can afford. Just semantics, but still.

    • Capitalism at its finest!

  • What’s your point in saying that?

  • Rod

    If you ask the average, God-and-country loving U.S. citizen what the police and soldiers are supposed to do, you don’t think you would get that as an answer? The point isn’t how true it is, it’s how mainstream society expects it, and yeah, she’s clearly and flagrantly violating that expectation, in a way that can’t be dismissed by “it’s just a few bad apples.”

    Besides, it’s an odd time to choose to nit pick about the varying expectations of the police by mainstream America vs. by TPTB, if it means defending Mary for that same thing….

    • Verdant_Samuel

      I understand she’s violating societal expectations, my point is that the expectation she’s violating is *not* ignoring trial by jury. Those average US citizens you’re referencing literally gave money to a cop that ignored trial by jury, and support cops that ignore trial by jury *all the time.*

      Defending Mary for killing rapists is not even on the same spectrum as defending cops for killing Black people, miss me with that nonsense please.

  • Rod

    If you can look at Furnace’s behavior up to that point, and then his statement, and immediately jump to “well there you go, he HAS to be a rapist too, arrest him!” then I think our perspectives on (1) Furnace, and (2) the certainty of that suspicion are far enough apart that we may as well be speaking to two separate readerships of the comic.

    • flame821

      Didn’t say he was a rapist, I said his behavior raised red flags. If he was some regular guy talking like that at a bar I can promise you he would be given a wide berth by most of us for fear of what he considers ‘allowable’ behavior. He obviously doesn’t care what happened to the victim, he identifies with the rapist, he’s defending the rapist by his very words. He’s on record as THREATENING ANY AND ALL VICTIMS OF RAPE. How the heck should we take his words? Write them off as no big deal? (Much as we are told to do with creeps who constantly hit on us or stalk us because ‘I’m sure he’s harmless’ – until he isn’t.) There is a saying; When someone shows you what sort of person they are, believe them.

      He has the ability to follow through with his threats. As history and nearly weekly stories in the news have shown us time and time again those that most loudly condemn and terrorize others are usually the ones who have been participating in said behavior.

      From homophobic congressmen getting arrested for solicitation of same-sex prostitutes in public bathrooms to holier-than-thou Xtians parsing out what is and is not rape and who can and cannot be ‘legitimately’ raped only to find themselves facing criminal and/or civil cases regarding their own ‘lack of consent’ issues with under-aged parishioners (and their own siblings/children) to law enforcement members who insist non-white protesters are rabble rousing and telling lies only to have these same officers shown to be card carrying members of the KKK. Where there is smoke, there is often fire and considering the damage Furnace could do I’m not at all surprised that she’s honed in on him. She may also have more information that hasn’t been relayed to us yet.

  • Daniel Vogelsong

    Not everyone would accept her. That’s the entire premise behind Nolan’s Batman trilogy, “Jeremiah, Terrorist Prophet”, the Dexter series (the TV show is better at exploring this than the books), V for Vendetta, or even, to a lesser extent, Supernatural… pick your favorite “Serial-killer killer” or Vigilante archetype. The response is almost universally dividing – half the people are glad he/she/they’re cleaning up the streets, the other half think that doing so destroy the sanctity of the legal system and, by proxy, are waging war against society. Those that “take the law into their own hands” are paradoxically praised and loathed, depending on the beholder.

    For example, in IRL meatspace, Edward Snowden falls into this box as well. Sure, he’s not fighting crime with a mask, but he did reveal terrible secrets about government policies that were gagged and swept under the rug. He’s simultaneously praised as a fighter for freedom of our own people for shining light into the darkness, and a treasonous bastard that’s feeding our secrets to the enemy.

  • Crysta Swarts

    I think we are currently faced with plenty of evidence (IRL, not SFP life) that all the procedures and evidence and methods that are supposed to be in place are not as trustworthy as you make them seem when there are real, prejudiced, fallible humans using them. I’m not saying all cops are bastards, just that power of this kind lets you act on your assumptions and prejudices, and (bringing it back to the comic) isn’t that what Mary’s doing too?

  • I don’t claim to be an expert on this, but I think that a lot of the time, rapists don’t realise that what they’re doing is wrong until afterwards, if at all.
    As in, they think that because they were flirting earlier, it’s fine to have sex with somebody who’s now unconscious. In their minds, that’s just how relationships work. For another example, I read a very troubling story about a guy who had sex with a girl who was too terrified to say anything, so he assumed that was consent.
    Obviously there are times where people are just disregarding obvious resistance, but I think ignorance plays a big part. I’m not defending rape, but harsh penalties are going to have no effect on people who don’t consider themselves rapists. And I doubt that many people think of themselves as rapists, because that’s a very unpleasant concept. I think that better education and awareness of this issue is needed.

    • Catherine Kehl

      Mm. So, I just went through most of the comments to re-find this one because I’d seen it last night but didn’t have time to respond.

      So, for the first part, research on this does exist. (I’m not going to go looking for articles, if I were, pubmed and google scholar are my usual indices of choice.) And from what I’ve read, the majority of rapes are committed by a relatively small number of habitual re-offenders. And while most of them will avoid the word rape, if they are secure that their answers will not put them at risk they’ll pretty cheerfully admit to having sex with people who did not want to have sex with them at that time and were unwilling participants, etc. etc. – so, rape, just don’t use that word. (Seriously, it’s worth looking up.)

      I suspect there are situational rapists. And an even larger number of people who did something at one time or another that was less consensual than they’d like, now, thinking back on it. (I can certainly think of one instance, when I was sixteen, that makes me wince.) And I suspect there’s a lot of context – people who only do things like that when they’re with a certain group of friends, or at certain kinds of parties.

      Look, our society has some pretty fucked up ideas about consent, and has had even worse ones in the past. I mean, really, just imagine this scenario – you’re sitting there talking to some person, maybe making out a bit. And they freeze up and stop talking or doing anything. Now in what universe does this mean “Oh, hey, I really want to have sex with you.” I mean, seriously. And we’re in this weird reality where we all both have to become real grown ups and actually take responsibility for ourselves… and at the same time understand the fucked up shit that we were taught.

      (And it was some fucked up shit. I mean, seriously, I got a lot of my ideas about adult sexual relationships from reading Robert Heinlein, which in so many ways is just terrible… and yet is so very much better than most of what society had to offer. Oh, yeah, and I got ahold of a copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves when I was nine. Praise be.)

      We really need to come up with some kind of better space to talk about the miscommunication and episodes of messed up consent that do happen, and fix them. I mean, that should be part of growing up. But you do it when you do it.

      But I think we should think really carefully before telling stories about accidental rape, because there are some really messed up messages in there. Because rape doesn’t just happen. And yet we have now generations of men who believe that they could – oops! – slip and accidentally rape someone. And what that means is that when they hear about rape, part of their immediate reaction is less “That’s some fucked up shit, OMG!” and more “That could have been me!” and immediate identification with the rapist. I mean, why is the accidental rape so easy to believe? My only guess is that it comes from people who have the idea that anything that isn’t a strong and persistent no must be a yes. (Which, okay, is cultural, and you can’t help how you were raised, but it does creep me the fuck out.)

  • But we refer to gang wars, and civil wars, and wars against Drugs and Terror and other Nouns.
    I’d say that a war is simply any occasion where two (or more) groups of people get together to kill each other.
    If Country A sends troops into Country B, and Country B responds by sending more troops to the border to fight off the invaders, a war is started. Formal declarations are just formalities to help everyone else keep track of things.

  • Or afterwards. You know, for the occasional spontaneous police shooting.

  • Catherine Kehl

    Given, but not the point I was making. The OP was saying the war was different because of the people who show up – which is all fine and good if war happens in some remote location between professional soldiers, but mostly that’s not what happens, and there’s a huge amount of civilian involvement – often an awful lot more civilians and soliders, in modern wars. So my point isn’t that the rate is higher – it’s that it’s significant, and that it effects people who are not professional soldiers. (And also not professional soldiers on the other side, though I’ll admit that was a bit of a digression.)

  • Some guy

    Her killings are illegal, and that makes her a murderer. That she has a ‘type’ makes her a serial killer. She was smiling while she was killing the mercenaries, and started carving things into the last one’s back while trying to morally justify her actions.

    This is the person you are trusting will always be right. She’s basically just Dexter at this point, but more personally invested. P.S. Dexter isn’t a good role model.

    And seriously, are you REALLY advocating the justice system devolve into horror movie style torturing? You realize that Good people are supposed to be better than bad people, right? Not as bad as them? The system you are advocating might be satisfying to emotionally immature/damaged individuals, but holy shit if you think that’s a good future to live in.

    • zathura

      Hmmmm, yes I am advocating that system for the heinous criminals who escape the law when it doesn’t work for the victims. I live in a country where when people are raped the police essentially shrug and wait to see who has the highest bribe before arresting someone. The same goes for murders, robberies and any other crime you care to mention. Oh 5 year old was raped to death by some man who thought that would cure his AIDs? Too bad the family is too poor to offer a good enough bribe.

  • Kinder


    I know she’s a killer, blah blah blah, but I think she’s the most interesting character in this series. Why is it that people care so much about due process with rapists, but it doesn’t come up nearly as much with other criminals? God, this is so brilliant.

    • Let me ask you this. Do you support due process for first-degree pre-meditated murderers? I mean, the personal impact of being murdered is pretty freaking awful I’d say. And the family is left heartbroken. Why do we need to give them a trial? Eye for an eye!

      Or how about due process for con artists who defraud people out of all their money, leaving them to starve?

  • Elaine Lee

    Thanks for this.

  • Some guy

    We’re also assuming that ‘someone at a protest’ had accurate, unbiased information about the situation, or use a stricter definition of Murder than ‘killing I disapprove of’, which is idealistic at best. That Furnace was still referred to as a superhero in the media and not in superjail is an indication that the situation wasn’t black and white.

    • Kevin B.

      Or that the justice system and society at large is biased in his favor and against illegal immigrants or other marginalized demographics. But surely something like that could never happen.

  • Some guy

    “Let’s be real. “I’m a fucking superhero is not something a superhero should ever have to say.”

    I hope so much that that was intentional.

    • I can think of a few situations where a superhero would say that.

  • Verdant_Samuel

    I asked why it was bad and you responded “the system is good something something it could be worse.” I wouldn’t consider that persuasive, for the reasons I outlined prior.

    For me, a better system than now is one where people aren’t raping people. I don’t need to choose between a perfect world and this shitty one, I am 100% okay with harm reduction while waiting for the mystical far off land of Everything Is Awesome. I also don’t care why people do bad things like rape (versus, say, property or drug crime), as there is not a reason that will suddenly invoke my “I mean I guess that’s fine” instinct.

    • Kevin B.

      If you want to change something you need to understand it. Researching and understanding the “why” of rape and the culture’s attitude towards it is one of the most important things if you want to make it better. It’s no different than with property or drug crimes.

      • Verdant_Samuel

        Bullshit. Did Colonial states need to “understand” the people they colonized to impose destruction that they then built into structures? No. Did chattel slavery require some deep understanding of Black people? No. That thought discarded, onto your other point.

        I do not need to “understand” rapists for them to be bad people. The fact that at the end of the day your argument starts and ends with “they aren’t *all* evil, and it’s the same as property or drug crime!!” tells me two things. First, that you think there are reasonable motivations or social conditions that make rape understandable and/or forgivable; second, that we’re done talking. I am not the one to engage with that first point, which really should’ve been clear after I literally said that in my last comment. Peace and good fortune to you.

  • dragonus45

    Did you not read my above post, the attrition rate means nothing in that sense unless you are going to declare that all accused persons are guilty. Stop quoting the attrition rate.

  • dragonus45

    Which still sits right alongside every other crime so I fail to see what the problem is. Then again this conversation would be easier to have if anyone tracked the attrition rate of crimes other than rape, but there is not much reason to do that since the numbers have no value to anyone anyways.

  • flame821

    I thought it was because he threatened to kill any rape victims who came forward.

  • Good point. I just used “enlightenment” and “monk” as general terms I’m using to describe people who gave up carnal pleasures to get closer to whatever ideal or god they hold dear.

  • I was also including Christian monks in there. They feel they get enlightened by dedicating themselves to G-d.

  • She can be both.

  • that the pope just got insanely metal?

  • She was probably going to interrogate him on whether he’s raped anyone in the past. Probably specifically ask about his ex-fiance.

  • so add ecological destruction and destruction of government property to the list.

    Oh, and causing a massive blackout for anyone using that dam’s power. One that’s going to take forever to fix.

    Yeah, she could’ve thought this out better.

    • Ian Osmond

      Besides, it’s not like there are ever any PEOPLE in national parks, doing national-park things like hiking or enjoying nature.

  • it could be seen as a way to discuss the use of the death penalty and the way different elements of society think of rape and vigilante justice in general.

    Both Furnace and Moonshadow are violent vigilantes by definition, whether or not you agree with their missions. They’re just targeting different groups and the last chapter or two has been going in-depth on their mindsets and public reactions to the,.

  • MisterTeatime

    My question wasn’t positing any changes to how she selects her targets, only to how she punishes them. She’d still be picking and choosing the way she does, and contravening the system of justice that society has established. The question is whether the fact that she kills actually makes her less acceptable than someone who [cripples/alienates/publicly smears/gaslights/destroys property] under the same circumstances.

    I don’t think your topic sentence (“Yes, we would accept her [if she targeted the same people but didn’t kill them]”) follows from your argument (she’s undermining the justice system by acting outside of it).