Hey commenters, I’ll be traveling again this Friday so comments will take longer than usual to appear. I’d like to pretend that I am going to a cool comic convention but no, instead I’m going to the Harry Potter World theme park.


Show Comments
  • Ian Osmond

    Hmm. That might be a good T-Shirt: “Self-doubt is my Kryptonite.”

  • Pol Subanajouy

    Cap cakes to the rescue! 😀

  • The_Rippy_One

    A Harry Potter Theme Park is fine, too.


  • Simeon

    and…..thesis statement.

    • Rod

      Let’s hope the antithesis and synthesis aren’t much longer.

  • Rhulayne

    uuaahh! This is getting so heavy I don’t know if Allison can lift it!

  • Arthur Frayn

    Now that’s a real friend. Soothe the hurt with comfort food.

  • MisterBook

    I beg to differ. As a proficient unravel-er of knots (Shoelaces, kite strings, Christmas lights), I’d have to say yanking on random strings is the perfect way to start, so long as one doesn’t yank too hard. It lets you see what else in that mess is moving, and begin working it loose. One small change at a time.

    Of course, there’s always the Gordian Knot method – which, while it only works once, certainly solves the initial problem while laying out a whole slew of new ones.

    • Philip Bourque

      The only problem with the Gordian Knot method is not having a string to replace the one you cut.

    • Syncline

      The old Italian quote says it best: “Le meglio è l’inimico del bene”
      “Perfect is the enemy of good enough.”
      Or as the Bard puts it:
      Were it not sinful then, striving to mend,

      To mar the subject that before was well?
      Perfection is a time waster.
      In most achievable efforts, good enough is possible in 20% of the time perfection requires, assuming completion is possible. Every general and code monkey knows this. People need help now far more than later. Thislesson is always hard to learn

  • Pol Subanajouy


  • Some guy

    Alison… you went after Moonshadow because she killed someone basically in front of you, and then tried it again while you were going after her. Seriously Alison, read your own comic, damn.

    • weedgoku

      Don’t forget kidnapping and drugging someone simply for suspicion, leading to a death and the destruction of a dam!

      But no she’s actually doing the right thing all along, fighting any crime! Despite committing several more and not caring who gets hurt in the process, and at least once actively targeting innocent bystanders and multiple times trying to kill Alison herself.

      • Classtoise

        And don’t forget the artery that Monshadow slashed to get away is one that requires immediate care and first aid or the person dies! Attempted murder! Of someone who was completely innocent, as far as we know.

        Using Moonshadow as an example of “She’s trying to change the world, though!” is foolish. The girl is a straight up supervillain. You don’t get a free pass because you only explicitly target terrible people. Especially not if you’re willing to harm innocents to get it done.

  • Pol Subanajouy

    It’s a trendy new type of cupcake from Al’s favorite new bakery, and a name that amuses me to no end because I’m incredibly immature for someone in his 30s.

  • So you’re going to ruin a possible solution because you dont like the moral implications?

    • ApostateltsopA

      If there are moral implications ot probably isn’t a workable solution in the long run.

    • Sure. That sounds good to me. A lot of “possible solutions” cause worse problems than what they solve. (and hoo boy, I feel so tempted to bring up real-world example, but I fear doing so would turn this into a debate of real-world politics instead…)

      • Except its not really killing thats considered wrong, just that you have to have an arbitrary social permission to do so. Soliders kill in wars, criminals are executed or shot by police, the people Moonshadow is killing are guilty of horrible crimes as well, but we’re not supposed to approve because she isnt fulfilling those arbitrary standards. Moonshadows solution isnt perfect, but its better than that omnipresent “maybe if we wait, things will get better on their own somehow” lesson we’re given from eveyrone else.

        • shink55

          These permissions are far from arbitrary. One of the primary functions of the state is a monopoly on legal violence, for which the moral justification is that the state is acting in defense of society.Criminals are defined as people who are acting in ways that harm society as a whole, and thus their behavior needs to be discouraged least it become widespread. Likewise a soldier is an agent of the state acting in defense of its interests, and thus is authorized to kill those who stand against the interests of that state.

          Now granted, governments frequently act in their own self interest as opposed to the interest of society. This is still generally better (barring cases of genocide or other extreme action) then giving the general populace access to legal violence, as that leaves life or death decisions up to the passions of individuals unbound by a sense of duty or law.

          • Except the state dont actually fulfill their end of the agreement, they CLAIM their justification is moral, but tend to be little more than a tool they usr to secure their own interests. Criminals that are killed by police are often just subject to the police own prejudices, the military kills more civilians than they kill enemy combatants, but no one cares because it isnt happening to them. Moonshadow is taking the fight right to the openly guilty parties that go free because the law doesnt feel like punishing them illegally in this particular instance. Had they been gang members or drug runners, this wouldnt even be a discussion, she’d just get a standing ovation from the peanut gallery. Society is still subject to the passions of the individual, the only difference is that they get a uniform that says its okay when they kill someone.

    • Lysiuj

      Not necessarily, but sometimes you need to stop someone whose solution will do more harm than good, even if you don’t have an answer of your own.

    • Ian Osmond

      I will. The moral implications ARE the results.

      • No, the RESULTS are the results. Intent doesnt matter, only results do

        • Ian Osmond

          Correct. And morals has to do with actions. And the moral implications are part of the results.

  • Zinc

    Capecakes is the name of Alison’s favourite bakery, that she recommended to Lisa. They have the best cupcakes.

  • Daniel Vogelsong

    No, it’s just the proper name of the cupcake joint Al suggested to her earlier. It would be similar to her saying “I’m going to get a little cesar” and come back with a pizza rather than a small salad.

  • Daniel Vogelsong

    Next panel should be Lisa taking over the conversation after forcing Al to eat some delicious, delicious Capecakes. Saying, Listen, just because you do not have the right answer does not mean you can’t recognize the wrong answer. That our society looks down on those that dare to say “I don’t know” even though they’re the ones being honest. Just because you don’t have all the answers, or any answers, that you should be afraid of asking the question. That an answer can be “Not this”. It won’t be the ultimate answer, but will make sure the question is still being looked at.
    And just because your cupecakes wear capes doesn’t mean you still have to.

  • Spicier Angel

    Aaaaa! So good!

    You know what? Alison needs to notice what she’s doing right now. She’s learning, and she just reeled off three examples–while remembering a fourth–of spectacularly educational behavior. And she’s talking to a genius. And she just now realized some of the significance of her perfect punch approach. All of those things came about mostly because she so spectacularly refused to play ball as a superhero.

    Her caution did not actually do her a disservice, in the long run, because it has allowed her to learn from the mistakes of others in a way that would have been otherwise hard to obtain. It allowed her to gain perspective.

    In short, just at this moment, Alison became immeasurably better-equipped to solve the very problem she laments. First she needs to realize that.

    And she hasn’t realized all the significance of her “perfect punch” approach. She says “it’s only a good idea if you were never really in danger to begin with.” However, it’s not often a bad thing for anyone to play to her strengths. I was approximately 30% serious with my recommendation that Alison bully the federal government into making things better for Lisa.

    Really, if you notice that the government makes up reasons why anything you do is OK? Fine, use that channel to hack the government to do better things with the manpower they have and you don’t. If you have a friend who actually has viable candidate for the “perfect punch” but also obstacles you can remove? Remove them.

    This brings me to my other point. You know what all these folks are doing very wrong? Saving the world as a solo project. Not as pithy as the original, but “It’s time to put down the comic book tropes and prepare for the welcoming handshakes of teamwork.”

    … I-I’m sure m-m-my enthusiasm for this solution has nothing to do with any OTP. B-baka! It’s not like my heart is pierced through with the arrows of tenderness or something!

  • Rod

    Or the world kills you. That’s happened to a few.

  • Lance Allen

    Holy crap.

    I’ve been enjoying this series, and it doesn’t shy from the heavy stuff, but Allison just unloaded a Truth Bomb, with a lot of complex little Truth Bomblets.

  • Rod

    “Good and evil really boils down to whatever is most convenient to those in power at the moment.”

    Well, yes, when you dismiss the idea that there’s an absolute basic standard of right and wrong, you’re bound to spend time mucking around in a moral quagmire like this (and never really leave, no less.) But just because someone’s been feeding you an inconsistent false standard for their own convenience doesn’t mean there isn’t one in reality (which, hopefully Alison will find. The idea of her deciding to permanently believe that good and evil are just make believe and arbitrary is quite disturbing.)

    • MrSing

      I wouldn’t call it disturbing. I think it’s actually an important part of growing into a more complete person.
      The universe is an amoral place, our ideas of right and wrong don’t have any use on something that isn’t sapient and thinks sorta like us. A rock isn’t evil for falling on a person. A lion isn’t good for feeding it’s young. Those things are just mindless laws of physics and instinct.
      The only place where right and wrong have any meaning is in humans. And this is also the only place where they can be decided and defined. Morals are only as real as the person who follows them believes them to be.
      If you realize this you can look at the believes you’ve been given by others, and decide what really matters in life and what merely matters to others. What actions and what kind of integrity it takes to make this world more like the world you want it to be.
      Sure, this opens up believes that are harmful to yourself and others, but if someone picks those believes, do you think they would have ever been a genuinly good person in the first place?
      A complete and morally strong person has to own their believes, and there are scant few ways that are better than inventing and picking them for yourself after careful contemplation.

    • There is no basic standard of right and wrong, because it requires there to be an objective standard naturally, and there isnt. There’s the struggle for survival at all costs, and thats it. Everything else is niceties we’ve invented for a civilized society, and dont get me wrong, I prefer those to the alternative, but they arent inherent laws, just something we came up with so we can coexist. The childish notion of Bad Guys vs Good Guys is something they make up to pacify children with.

      • Jonathan Briggs

        Do unto others as you would have them do to you.

        THAT is a base standard. It is simple. It applies to almost every situation. Pretty much every system of morals and ethics agree that this applies. If your entire system of belief is that one statement and you discard all the extras you can’t go too far wrong.

        • MisterTeatime

          Of course you can. “Given the choice, I would have [people who are worse off than me] leave me the hell alone. I should do unto others as I would have them do unto me. Therefore, I will leave those people alone.”

          • Ian Osmond

            Well, that interpretation won’t bring you all the way to “good”, but I suspect that it could keep you away from the worst of “evil”.

  • Liz

    Well, I suppose the counter-argument would be that the alternatives are leaving the knot alone, in which case yanking on strings has at least the possibility of maybe undoing the knot, and waiting until the correct way of untying the knot comes by, in which case the metaphor breaks down because a tied-up knot doesn’t mean lots of people are dying in the meantime.

  • Ian Osmond

    It’s a local cupcake bakery that just opened up down the street from where they are. Alison told her about it, like, yesterday, but “yesterday” was about a million years ago in terms of what’s happened to her since then.

  • Lysiuj

    This feels so important to me, not just in general but personally – to stop trying to be more right than everybody else. I just hope Al reaches the point of trying to work with others, to find solutions together, and doesn’t just keep beating herself up – thinking you don’t matter isn’t better than thinking only you matter…

  • motorfirebox

    You also discover that you are Bruce Willis.

    • Spongegirl Circleskirt

      Or that…LOL

  • gray-haired grad

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I appreciate the expository nature of Allison’s breakdown. My addled brain needed it. Have fun at Harry Potter! Is it the one in Orlando?

  • Walter

    Anyone else REALLY weirded out by that list?

    There is basically no moral system that would condemn Feral’s decision. There is basically none that would approve of Moonshadow’s. Pintsize…certainly wants to be a crime fighter.

    Its like hearing someone go “I live my life differently than Gandhi, Hitler and Bob, who runs the deli down on Fifth street.”

    • MrSing

      I don’t think it’s about morals. It’s that those people are actually out there, making a difference in the world. Wether it’s for the better or worse doesn’t matter to Allison. Unlike them, she wants a perfect solution that will work for sure. And since such a thing isn’t possible for her to do on her own, she does nothing.
      That’s what is troubling her, there are people out there doing things and she isn’t. Because she won’t accept anything less than a black and white solution. She doesn’t want to push through the murky grey, she doesn’t want to suffer set backs. All these other people can and do.

    • I’m pretty sure Ayn Rand would condemn Feral’s decision. Of course, lots of people would view that as an endorsement.

      • I’m not exactly an Objectivist, but I think maybe she would have either approved of or been neutral to Feral’s plan. Objectivist “altruism” and “selfishness” are non-intuitive terms of art as I understand it, having to do with self-will and compulsion. Since Feral’s choice was to expend her own resources on the object of her own desire – to assuage her conscience by living in torment and thereby helping others – then she’s not being “altruistic” but rather “selfish”.

        Objectivist usage of “selfish” and “altruism” is, in my understanding, a rhetorical game to disadvantage virtue signalling with the property and labor of others. Of course, they do it in a smug self-destructive fashion that only appeals to a certain type of adolescent poser, so eh.

    • Loranna

      I think Alison found the self-inflicted suffering in Feral’s decision both disturbing and wrong, because, in the end, how many people is she going to be able to save by farming out her own organs? And how much difference will it make in the end?

      That’s been Alison’s issue all along though, as others have mentioned. She expects, even demands, perfect solutions, and the world doesn’t have the ones she’s looking for. >.>

      – Loranna

    • Lysiuj

      Actually there are probably plenty of moral systems/ideas that would oppose Feral’s decision (for example, preventing self harm, even, or especially, when it’s for others). And plenty that would support Moonshadow’s (say, as an effective way to get rid of dangerous people). Not saying if these are my opinions, just that there are usually points for and against most things in this comic (and life).

    • Brent

      I wouldn’t agree with any of that. In terms of a personal choice, if I had any friend that was putting themselves through endless amounts of extreme pain in order to do some small amount of good, I would try to convince them not to do it. Not because its immoral but because I don’t think its reasonable or the most helpful approach to solving any particular social problem. Indeed, Feral’s teleporter friend would certainly condemn her choice in part because he believes she is acting out of misplaced guilt and a deeply misguided sense of her own moral responsibility to the world.

      With respect to Moonshadow, vigilantism, especially directed towards rapists, is probably not as universally frowned upon as you think. I certainly wouldn’t defend it as morally correct but its not in the same league as genocide and the idea that NO moral system would approve of it strikes me as overstating things a bit. Charles Bronson was not the villian of the Death Wish series after all and Alison’s doctor did not go so far as defend such action but certainly didn’t feel like it rose to the level of serious opprobrium.

      Pintsize’s choices actually strike me as the most relevant to the kinds of social choices we make in our own non-superpowered reality. That is, how much force and coercion should we apply as a society to non-violent transgression of our laws. Its the central question of the drug war and however one feels about that, the answer to the question (How much force?) is deeply consequential to our society.

    • Jake

      I have to disagree with you on that point of comparing Moonshadow to Hitler. I don’t know all of her victims, but the ones that I’ve seen have been a group of soldiers who gang raped and tortured a fellow soldier, a group of jocks who raped a fellow student, an abusive husband, and a date rapist. I’m not saying her murder of any of these people was the right thing to do, but at least in the area that I’m from, she wouldn’t have many people condemning her.

      • A significant number of murder victims are bad actors – drug dealers, gangsters, etc. Should we not prosecute those crimes?

    • Ian Osmond

      That’s the thing about Allison. She’s been through SO much, and she is fundamentally SO different from normal people, that she really can’t figure out any sort of reasonable morality.

      And remember — she’s just a kid. People of her age think Ayn Rand, libertarianism, and/or communism are good ideas. When you’re of that age, you want things to make SENSE. You want moral systems that can be explained in a few sentences and never have exceptions.

      Which is why Objectivism, libertarianism, and communism are all so attractive to us when we’re about that old. It takes a long, long time to come to terms with the idea that we may NEVER come up with simple rules for right and wrong

      She’s looking for certainty. She’s looking for the one set of rules which can fix everything. She wants to find the ONE PLACE TO PUNCH.

      And this is a case where “the perfect is the enemy of the good”. She is aware that Feral’s plan won’t fix everything, and that Moonshadow’s plan won’t fix everything, and because neither is perfect, she can’t really see a difference between them.

    • Classtoise

      Right. It’s…weird. She’s losing sight of the truth because her friends don’t like her as much anymore.

      Feral is doing something noble, but it won’t save everyone.
      Mary is doing something terrible, and it won’t stop everyone.
      Hector wants to do ANYTHING to help. He’s the only one who seems to have the right of it (you can’t fight ALL crime forever, but stopping one person from getting hurt still profoundly impacts that life, even if 6.99 billion people didn’t have their lives effectively altered)

    • Catherine Kehl

      “There is basically none that would approve of Moonshadow’s.”

      So, she’s someone who is killing people who have done a pretty awful crime and are not being punished within the law. (There might be boundary cases, but this is what we know from the comic.)

      If it were, say, a guy, whose wife and daughter were horrible raped and the law wouldn’t do anything, and he got a bunch of guns and started shooting everyone involved… that would be the plot of an awful lot of the testosterone fueled action movies. (Okay, often at least one of the women involved is killed as well. Gotta have a woman in the refrigerator.)

      I’m not sure how much of this is the death isn’t a good return on rape. Or how much is that we’re okay when it’s revenge on a man’s property rights and hurt feelings being avenged, but when a woman’s doing the avenging it’s threatening the social order. Because, seriously, while I don’t support Moonshadow’s actions, it weirds me out how strongly many people oppose them considering the general cultural support for vigilante revenge flicks.

  • Erin Schram

    Alison has had many successes that looked like the perfect solution, such as the winning score in a soccer game, an A on a school paper, or the perfect punch on a Templar robot. Thus, her experience biases her to expect perfect solutions. Yet now she is learning that the world offers few perfect solutions. She has to learn how to judge the flaws in solutions and decide when they are good enough.

    She appears be trying to take the long view to deal with her recent traumatic experiences, from as dramatic as a dam break to as mundane as an argument with her boyfriend. Capecakes might be a better balm for her wounds.

  • I concur. This existential crisis can only be solved by cake.
    Seriously, if she’s trying to find a solution, then she really has to recognise that she isn’t going to solve everything right away without any help.

    • Mechwarrior

      The existential cake is a lie!

  • The awkward moment when you realise the end doesn’t actually justify the means.

    • Ian Osmond

      Because the means actually ARE the end.

  • Oren Leifer

    This is by far my favorite comic (as a whole), and today’s is especially excellent. And Alison has found the basis of all philosophy: “Why am I doing what I am doing?” She has realized that she can’t just work to find the perfect solution, and has to find one that works for her and that she can live with. It’s not about finding a perfect panacea, it’s about finding something that helps as much as you are able to. Alison can finally see the right path in life; knowing that you will not be perfect, but not having tunnel vision and keeping your mind open to your own incorrectness, as well as that of everyone else. This is what makes this work really well as a coming-of-age story: it’s about going from emerging adult to full adulthood, recognizing that everyone is fallible and that you have to live with that, that even when people get hurt or get sick, you still have to keep trying and do ‘your’ best.

    Also, I love Lisa’s reaction, specifically that she freezes and is clearly freaked out by Alison’s breakdown. Unfortunately, Alison’s “My powers are completely unhelpful for my goals” moment has become a full-blown existentially crisis, but luckily Alison isn’t a biodynamic with a radically altered brain structure, so sugar and chocolate will make her feel better.

  • AtomicZeppelinMan

    The true master appears to not do anything, yet nothing remains undone. That is true wisdom.

    • MisterTeatime

      Yo’ zen master’s so lazy, they can’t even get nothing done.

    • Tao five!

  • Loranna

    The thing that breaks my heart now is, Alison -has- come upon a way that her powers -can- make a positive difference in this world. She’s a fire-fighter. Moreover, she can now fly, letting her stem floods and rescue people she couldn’t have before (or at least, not as easily.) She could give a lot to the world, by using her abilities to help rescue people from disasters, and to help rebuild in the aftermath.

    She wouldn’t even have to fight -every- disaster in the world. She would still make a positive contribution, help improve lives, give people inspiration. She would matter. She DOES matter; she’s already doing this sort of work in her volunteer job. Even if she, due to all the emotional beatings she’s endured of late, has forgotten her worth just from being a living being, even if she devalues all the work she did as Mega Girl to ‘fight crime’, she still has this good work to her credit.

    I really, really hope that she comes to realize soon that she doesn’t have to solve the world’s social ills to make a difference, that sometimes, it’s okay to just help mitigate problems when they occur, rather than try to preemptively, and permanently, solve them. She matters just as much, whatever she does.

    – Loranna

    • Skylar Green

      She can do that, she just has to be happy about that. There is some resentment that can develop when you’re not responding to every disaster in the world.

      Look at Superman, for example. He’s super strong, super fast, nigh invulnerable, can fly anywhere, and has assorted other powers that pretty much make him the closest thing to God that most people in his world can identify. And Superman does a lot. He’s saving people all the time. Not just punching bad guys, but stemming floods or stopping volcano damage or whatever. It’s just a part of existence in that world.

      And yet, everyone Superman doesn’t help, everywhere he never gets to, at least secretly resents him. Because why couldn’t he show up here, now, to help us when we need it. Are we not worth it? What was more important, right this moment? You didn’t protect us from our volcano. What were you doing? Catching jewelry store robbers? They have police for that… they don’t have anything to save us from molten lava rocketing through the sky. Only you, Superman.

      I remember a good analog to the Alison/Mary situation here was during the whole 52 arc in DC when the Outsiders, led by Nightwing, decided to make use of their time to help depose an brutal African dictator’s regime. They were highly interventionist in their tactics, openly attacking military convoys, beating up soldiers, stuff like that.

      Things came to a head when they kidnapped the dictator and left him to die on an abandoned island. Superman, knowing this stuff was going on, confronted Nightwing and told him that he needed to stop. Nightwing said that maybe if Superman bothered flying over that part of the world a little more often just to remind the bad people that they’re being watched that someone like Nightwing wouldn’t be required to run through and put a hurting on every soldier and despot personally.

  • Oren Leifer

    It’s a cupcake from a specific store that makes biodynamic-themed cupcakes.

    It is a little weird, just because “cape” is not a term used to refer to people with superpowers in the comic; while “cape” is the term used in WORM, and there’s some philosophical overlap (especially with “Copacetic), there seems to be no good reason for it in this world.

    • Maybe.
      Or maybe it’s just a pun.
      Worm’s great, but not everything is a reference to it!

  • Zachary Jacobi

    Don’t worry Alison! It’s a better epitaph than Joseph II got.

    “Here lies Joseph II, who failed in all he undertook.”

    • Donald Simmons

      That epitaph would cover most of the Habsburgs.

  • Sanguich

    True, but you would probably be handing knots differently if you believed that people would be killed and raped every day until it was untied.

  • Catherine Kehl

    Actually, I’m not sure of this. In terms of narration, people prefer stories about people doing things over nothing. In terms of actual people? If their lives are fairly comfortable, an awful lot of people would rather do nothing, or maybe wring their hands, or bluster a lot – both of which seem like doing things, but generally don’t risk the actual consequences of doing things. (Alison, of course, has been put in the incredible mind fuck of spending her teen years as a superhero, where her work was more or less defined for her, she was trained to act, and initially at least there were a whole lot of rewards with it.)

    Once we’ve accomplished the incredibly important and deeply soul satisfying (when it’s in question) bottom rungs of Maslow’s hierachy of keeping ourselves in food and shelter… figuring out what to do, and what counts and meaningful, can be super hard.* I think part of the problem is that we want things to have innate meaning, but meaning is, in fact, pretty subjective, for all the fact that people can create, um, conceptual constructs of meaning and pass them around. Finding your own meaning, and getting past the idea that meaning exists mostly in whether or not all the people around you form some sort of greek chorus and tell you how cool you are** takes work, and time, and maturity.

    * Though the flip side is that the world is full of incredibly cool, useful and interesting things to do, and if you stop putting yourself in a tailspin, and start just grabbing the best one available at the moment, and doing it, and then moving on to the next, well. But then, having a life that is structured to let you do that is non-standard and a mix of privilege and difficult choices.
    ** Once again, my bias – I suppose, really, that’s as meaningful as anything else, though it does mean that you’ve made your meaning dependent on others.

  • DaktariD

    I was wondering that too. I think “Capecake” is a regional thing much like how in crosswords you often find reference to a brand of icecream called “Edys”, though I’ve never seen it here out west. I notice that it is capitalized “Capecake”. So maybe it’s a brand?

  • Graeme Sutton

    Whether or not going after Moonshadow was the optimal usage of Allison’s time, it does seem like she was one of if not the most qualified person for that particular task (at least since Patrick couldn’t be bothered)

  • Arkone Axon

    I love Lisa’s reaction. That moment where her genius intellect analyzes the situation and then concludes, “time to feed her tasty sugary junk food and then set her mind straight after having her mind twisted around by some very manipulative people.” I can’t wait to see the next page when Lisa starts setting her right. 🙂

    • Pol Subanajouy

      Initial outrage aside and assuming she forgives Al, can you imagine how many red flags would go off for her if she found out Al has been interacting with Patrick regularly. Given her distaste of him, I’d bet she’d equate it with handling biohazard material constantly without safety procedures

      • Arkone Axon

        I didn’t say Al would tell Lisa about Patrick – I’m just talking about Lisa setting her straight about the manipulative people she DOES know about. Like Moonshadow; Mary has the mindset of an assassin, she’s good at delivering deep, painful wounds when you’re not expecting them. Alison’s way too straightforward and direct to have much experience with that.

  • martynW

    I think this dialogue would be completely different if it had been written by someone in their 60s.

    Maybe the idea that there is an Answer (aside from “42”) is something that you have to unlearn.

  • Or to put it in engineering terms, life is an ongoing series of iterative partial solutions, then going back to fix what the previous solution messed up.

    Example: Cars in cities. Did you know that when they were invented cars were seen as the solution to pollution in cities? Back in the 19th century most commercial transportation was done by draft animals of some sort, which left a certain byproduct just laying in the streets that either had to be cleaned up by an army of street cleaners or created breeding grounds for disease. Motor vehicles stopped that, and it wasn’t until the 1960s that people started noticing that while we were no longer infested by flies and the diseases they carry, it was still getting hard to breathe when the weather was just the wrong conditions because of the byproducts of internal combustion. The bit about cars killing people by the thousands was picked up on pretty quickly, but we are still working on fixing that bit. My take is that solution was a bit too successful when everybody started getting their own cars, sometimes two or three. Most trips taken by car could be done as well or better by foot or bicycle but we take the car because it’s there and the expense needs to be justified. So now we have to socially engineer a solution so that people walk, ride a bike, or use transit when those are the better solutions for society. For instance it is just over a mile to the nearest full-service grocery store from my house. Most of our neighbors drive there, I have a bicycle built to carry roughly 300 pounds of cargo between the seat and the front wheel. The only thing making the trip difficult or dangerous are all the cars going 50 MPH on the only road connecting my neighborhood and the grocery store.

  • Walter

    I hate to bring up a depressing topic, but…


    If Alison wants to ACTUALLY solve everything with one punch, there is a candidate out there. There exists, in this setting, an entity or conspiracy devoted to protecting the status quo, and willing to stoop to mass murder. A LITERAL patriarchy.

    That’s what needs punching. If Alison is seeking applications for her talents, she needs to work alongside Patrick against the real enemy. Nothing will change as long as anyone with the power to change anything will have their “folder closed”.

  • Jake

    Paladin, you’re heart is in the right place, but this isn’t the time for a box of capecakes, this is the time for a very large bottle of very strong liquor.

    • Mechwarrior

      And then the next episode is titled “Megagirl Goes On A Bender.”

  • Ritchie Tiongson

    This is one of the most brilliant monologues I’ve ever read in any comic book ever.

  • Silva

    I resemble that remark!

  • Silva

    What I actually know is not just a bias in favor of doing nothing, but even frequent attempts to dissuade others from doing anything.

  • Anna

    Right answer, Lisa. Right. Answer.

  • Burke

    So, is anyone else reminded of the old Hostess ads where the cupcakes or twinkies or fruit pies had solved the problem by the end of the page?

    • MisterTeatime

      Not until just now. xD

  • Philip Bourque

    I know the page is supposed to inspire a philosophical debate or deep thinking, but I can’t help but focus on the ‘capecakes’. Would those be the super hero version of cupcakes?

    • Skylar Green

      Probably branded and endorsed by superheroes. We’ve seen Mega Girl figurines and we know that Pintsize has endorsements. This is probably just their world’s version of our world having old commercials where Marvel superheroes hawked Hostess cupcakes.

  • Sage Catharsis

    Recently I’ve been thinking about Angels, Anglos, and the ramifications of introducing budism to the middle east by technologically advanced Olympians.

    This has been very important to me, these considerations, because I grew up reading the bible and the absolutism of it.

    Recently, after comparing mercury on human behavior (extreme shyness etc) I’ve been wondering if there was maybe a better way for Post Singularity cultures to interact with us, better ways for shy upper class people to interact with “Those in The Struggle” etc.

    This image seems to answer those questions. It’s like an Angel had a crisis of conscience trying to teach people of the perfection.

    The only cool thing would be if this aura that causes Alison to be invulnerable would be something she could teach. The fact that it isn’t becomes the main point, though, this separation between her natural ability and the natural ability of those around her.

    If you are breast fed, had a mom who touched you and allowed you to vent growing up to a loving ear, if you have a Dad who was there and provided you with enough acknowledgement to know you exist and beat you enough to know you won’t break then you just might be head and shoulders above the untermench around you, the proles, the pebbles(people), the gollums.

    But the first thing that comes to mind now is that sentence about people slitting each others throats in the night from Brave New World, Why aren’t all the humans bred as alphas? Well because then they would be constantly slitting each others throats.

    I like that you took a round about way to get to this point. I don’t like the route, but I like that you snuck up on it, though.

    I don’t know Alison. I’m thinking,
    I don’t know the Liberal girl woman who thinks this way, and I know a lot of liberal girl womens.
    But I guess I don’t know any liberal girl woman cops. Or libgirlwomen soldiers, or senators.

    I’ll share this comic with the one I know I think she holds some sort of office in NY. Let’s see if she clicks. i dunno/

  • Classtoise

    And just because THEY are wrong doesn’t mean you HAVE to be right.

    Alison is missing that by a mile. “You’re wrong” doesn’t need to be followed up with “here’s why I’m right”. Especially if it’s not a debate.

    Unfortunately for the three she mentioned, if you insist you’re right, you’d damn well better be able to back up that claim. “I’m right. Just because, trust me” is not an answer.

  • Classtoise

    This still feels so…sinister. So manipulative.

    Lisa does nothing to help her. No reassurance. Not even looking forlorn. She looks annoyed at best. Like she’s just waiting for Alison to spill that one big secret THING that she can jump on. And when it amounts to “I’m so depressed the murderer of innocents makes me feel like I’m the bad guy”? Screw it, get cupcakes.

    • Not everyone is good at advice. Also, sometimes people need to just be listened to without comment or judgment. Right now, Al doesn’t need an argument. She needs to let everything out. It may not be visible, it isn’t a hug or pat on the back. But don’t mistake silence for indifference.

    • Gluten Tag

      Nah man, it’s just that Lisa is a total social recluse who interacts more with robots than she does human beings. Actually, it’s possible you’re right, but I find it much easier and probably more accurate to attribute it to emotional incompetence rather than malice. “What the hell am I supposed to do in this situation? I have no fucking clue! Oh, right, the socially mandated comfort gesture is to offer sweets. Go get cupcakes! And proffer them to her. I have no idea how I’m supposed to do that in a comforting manner, so I’ll probably just thrust them in her face.”

  • Daniel MacFarlane

    Alison’s personal philosophy has always forgotten the starfish metaphor.

    She might not be able to save every single person in the world and probably therefore won’t make a difference on a global scale. But she can save a few people, and it’ll make a difference to them.

    • MisterTeatime

      To be fair, she does work at the fire station. We haven’t seen her go into any burning buildings on-panel, but I think that’s just because the comic is focused on other parts of her life.

  • Kid Chaos

    Alison has a problem…mainly, that she’s letting other people’s opinions overwhelm her. She needs a “Get a hold of yourself, man!” slap (or the verbal equivalent), so she can wake up and smell the coffee (and the Capecakes

  • Kid Chaos

    “Luke, you will find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.” –Obi-Wan Kenobi

  • Ian Osmond

    Among the things Allison is going through right now is a major, existential-level case of analysis paralysis. “Analysis paralysis” is the situation in which you consider a problem forever without ever actually doing anything to act on the situation.

    I keep coming back to the old Dungeons and Dragons distinction between “intelligence” and “wisdom.” In this case: “intelligence” is the ability to analyze a situation. “Wisdom” is the ability to stop.

    • Mechwarrior

      And the distinction ultimately turns out to be meaningless due to the player having dump-statted both.

  • Ian Osmond

    Hunh… I just thought of something.

    You know how there’s some organization who’s successfully stopping the metas who actually can make structural change?

    You know how some guy killed the entire medical team and all the specialized medical equipment that was being used to let Feral do her organ-donor thing? So that she can’t do that any more?

    You know how Allison killed the guy doing it before anybody found out who he was, where he was from, how he got the flamethrower?

    Not saying there absolutely IS a connection… just pondering. Was Feral actually doing something which was going to make genuine structural change-the-balance-of-power changes? If flamethrower-guy was working for whomever is supporting the current power structure, did Patrick pick that up, or was his voice just lost in the crowd?

    • Some guy

      That’s an interesting thought, but I don’t think so. The Big Conspiracy would have sent more than one guy, or possibly just bombed the hospital. Alison’s big criticism of Feral’s sacrifice was that by and large, it won’t actually change anything, which would imply that the big conspiracy wouldn’t even bother.

    • Skylar Green

      I don’t think he was part of a conspiracy. There were protesters outside the hospital who were also quite angry that the procedure was taking place. I think the man with the flamethrower was just a lone extremist on par with a Purifier from the X-Men comics.

  • Mystery girl


  • MisterTeatime

    Because Brennan is REALLY GOOD.