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  • Lysiuj

    … then we all miss how we could save the world together?

  • Blurblurb

    don’t say it. Don’t say it. Don’t say it! DON’T SAY IT!!!


  • Mindsword

    While i hate to give Patrick any credit, I am still trying to figure out why he wanted rage from her. Perhaps he was pushing for something like this? He knows he can’t join this group that would form…

    • Tylikcat

      I am not under the impression that Patrick was exactly making super rational decisions at that moment. (Hence the importance of him not being able to read his own mind.)

      I suppose the most obvious explanation – which certainly doesn’t mean it’s right – is that confronted with intimacy, he freaked out and voiced his greatest fears, in a pretty awful and hurtful way. Because really, any relationship he had with Alison is going to be dreadfully asymmetrical, because he’s going to know her in a way she can’t ever know him. That’s real. And he was a total dick about it. That’s …unsurprising.

      • Pol Subanajouy

        That was my impression as well.

    • Rumble in the Tumble

      He doesn’t need an official superhero certificate and a badge. Mindreaders care not for being accepted into clubs, they just get in.

  • Abel Undercity

    Thus was born the “There Ain’t No Justice” League.

    • Grant

      Fan of Niven’s Known Space universe, I take it?

      If not, you should try it out, it’s really cool. Tanjing huge megastructures, pretty heavy science fiction, fun stuff.

      • Abel Undercity

        Heard of it, never actually read the tanjing thing. I just have no frakking time to read all of the drokking books I want to.

    • Bakkonator

      How about the “Social Justice League”

    • Nightsbridge

      Social Justice League

    • bta

      And their motto is “There Is Just Us.”

  • Sage Catharsis

    Time for a big public gathering!
    Time to find out students want to turn the world into a law test and non-students don’t think they deserve to eat.

  • SomeGuy411

    My bet’s on both, in about equal proportions.

  • “Then we should kill them all as an example to others!”

  • KidUrza

    Except it is Alison’s. Lisa is using a touchscreen tablet, and there is a mouse cursor clearly visible over the photo 🙂

  • Ian Osmond

    Oh yeah?!?!? Well, YOUR MOM likes intelligent, educated, and articulate arguments!

    • notquiteotaku

      OH YEAH?! Well, YOUR mom is a classy lady who gave birth to an awesome kid!

      • Ian Osmond

        Well, she is, yeah, but, unfortunately, besides my sister, she ALSO had me.

    • That was actually one of the funnier comments I have read in a while.

  • Ian Osmond

    Embrace the power of “and”.

  • Tylikcat

    We also have Molly putting in a lot of time moderating. I *hope* that everyone here is astoundingly civil, and her moderation is just a quick check over to make sure nothing is over the top, at least since we’ve gotten into such charged issues. Having spent a lot of time in similar tasks, my suspicion is that it isn’t so… and I worry a little if it’s a sustainable model for the group.

    (Go Molly! – you’re the best! But also, think long term.)

    (BTW – this is Catherine Kehl. I just decided that considering the nature of my posts it was better to not post directly under my legal name, even though this nym trivially points back to it.)

    • Paradoxius

      Plus I think there’s a positive feedback effect of this moderation. Because there are no rude or cruel comments, fewer people would want to post rude or cruel comments.

      It reminds me of this story about a group of gorillas…

      • Spicier Angel

        I think it’s likely there’s a positive feedback effect–both ways. I suspect people, who would otherwise occasionally post something dysfunctional, spontaneously fail to contemplate doing so as a result of the positive environment. And dysfunctional comments self-perpetuate. On the flipside, people, who would otherwise refrain from comment due to distaste with the discussion environment, are encouraged to speak up by the reliably positive discussions.

        Reliably positive. Rarely on the internet can one say that about a forum…

        • You have inverted positive and negative feedback looping here. Toxic forum degradation is a positive feedback loop – trolling elicits more trolling, driving out more-constructive dialog, etc, until the forum is, in the worst case, a wasteland of emotional twelve-year-olds. Classic phatic-chorus reassurance-type posting rules, on the other hand, are a type of negative feedback looping, where out-of-control posters are “barrelled” or censored dampen destructive conversation before it destabilizes the forum.

          A nuclear chain-reaction or crystallization are examples of positive feedback loops; the weather is built mostly of negative feedback loops. So is your car – a positive feedback in your car’s front axle will quickly result in your car in one ditch and one or both front tires on the other side of the road.

          However, highly stable discussions are also very, very boring. Think of it in terms of transmission protocol. The component of a transmission which can be predicted is not signal, but the carrier-wave. You extract the signal from the transmission by excluding the carrier-wave component, revealing the novel data encoded in the transmission. A forum consisting of nothing but phatic reassurance offers nothing of actual interest, just a steady social hum.

      • Kid Chaos

        …who were attacked by an army of typewriters, wound up writing the Great American Novel, and lived happily ever after. The End.

        • Tylikcat

          …this is so much better than Rory Miller’s Monkey Dance.

      • shereadstoomuch

        The Keekorok Baboon troop?

  • Rumble in the Tumble


    • David

      The Templars

      (this reply was meant for habeasdorkus)

  • Rumble in the Tumble

    I think it’s Alison’s laptop tho.

    • ∫Clémens×ds

      (Honestly I was just nitpicking how this laptop magically appears. I mean it’s got to be soaked if it was in the cardboard boxes Alison brought in)

      • masterofbones

        She never connected to the internet. She just had this downloaded beforehand. Her father has been dead for days, thus explaining her tears on reading his last words to her.

        And she got her laptop waterproofed like any good superhero would(plus the rain was *dramatic* rain. It doesn’t actually get anything wet).


      • MrSokar

        Realistically probably in the missing scene where they eat the sweets and not share any with us.

      • Tylikcat

        It’s Lisa’s place. The bots work out who Lisa would trust with connectivity (probably erring on the side of permissiveness when it comes to the external net, Lisa seems like the sort who would see internet connectivity as up there with bathroom access) and adjust the network accordingly. (Okay, this thought amuses the heck out of me, but it would seem to be easily inside of the realm of social interaction the bots have displayed so far.)

        …and I don’t know about you, but my computer travels in a case. Even, maybe especially, when it’s in a box. (Though it really takes a while for cardboard to saturate to the point that its contents are getting soaked.) Of course, if I’m worried, my computer travels in a case, which is then tucked under my shirt, inside my jacket with the jacket zipped up because… it’s my computer, my darling, darling computer, and I really don’t want harm to come to her. (Also, more practically, it’s one of the more expensive things I own.)

        • ∫Clémens×ds

          …Why won’t any of you let me entertain the fantasy wherein Lisa does indeed have a folder of Mega Girl pictures?

          • Tylikcat

            I make no statements regarding the contents of Lisa’s computer. (Seriously, that’s just adorable. I’ll even get on with believing it’s Lisa’s computer.)

            But… robots! Little flying robots that intuit trust relationships, and then register MAC addresses with the network. C’mon, there’s room for a lot of adorable here.

            Maybe Lisa will give Alison a little flying wifi access point. I mean, wouldn’t that be sweet?

  • persephone_the_wanderer

    Man, Ostertag is killing it on the art lately – the last panel here really does a terrific job capturing what is a very specific emotion – namely, feeling elated because you just figured out something important about how the world works. I think it really highlights the strength of her art style as well – realistic without trying to be photorealistic.

  • Kevin Flynn


  • Pol Subanajouy

    Like trying to plan an awesome party and realizing a couple of your friends don’t get along well together, I am wondering how she plans on bringing Patrick and Lisa together given how vocal she’s been about her disdain for him beforehand. Would she spill the beans on his time as a super villain? Or make a cover story? I doubt Mary would really be in the mood to deal with either of those two as well.

    But not Feral.

    She’s cool.

  • Philip Bourque

    Didn’t she already try the group hero thing? Sure there was less thinking and more “punch the bad guy”, but still.

    • David

      They were kids forced together by the government. This would be adults coming together on their own terms, doing things their way. Very different.

      • Philip Bourque

        Yeah, but they’re the only people she knows (she hasn’t been shown going to superhero support groups, so I would guess no connections). She’s asking these people with apparent social issues to come together and save the world. I can’t see that going anywhere other than yelling and screaming at each other and nothing getting done at best. Just like the united nations.

  • Philip Bourque

    All of these paragraphs are why I rarely if ever comment on anything or read forums or interact with people online.

  • paksenarrion-reader

    There is no brilliance without a touch of madness. You just have to figure out how to keep your madness down to a reasonable degree 😉

  • RobotAccomplice

    I think it helps that ever single comment appears to be moderated before going up on the site.

  • MrSing

    Aw man, you jinxed it. Now we have to go back to shouting swears at eachother.

  • Background Character

    To be fair, this isn’t a forum where anyone can post. One of the creators (I forgot whoch ) is in charge of making sure no nasty comments get through.

  • Rod

    The Protagonists.

  • ZBass

    I’d second this, SFP has one of the few comment sections on the internet that I take the time to read through (possibly because it’s also not crazily swamped).

    Perhaps it’s safe to say that the discussions are as equally intelligent as the comic that prompts them?

    • ruhrow

      I tend to feel the opposite. I’ve seen many NON-nasty comments get weeded out, too. A little over-zealous on the moderating imo. Honestly, I prefer non-modded comments sections just because they’re (admittedly very slightly) less likely to turn into echo chambers. Some places, even on the dreaded Youtube, turn into wholesome environments despite no-modding, just because of the culture of the crowd that follows a certain creator. It kind of bugs me that we don’t get to see whether that would be true here. Not enough to make me stop coming back for the OMGAMAZEBALLSFANTASTICO artwork and plotline, of course!

      • Oakreef

        Plenty of laxly- or un-moderated boards also turn into complete echochambers. In fact I’d go as far to say I think a well-moderated one is less likely to be an echo-chamber as the mods can delete the nastiness that someone who goes against the consensus might get that pushes differing opinions out.

      • Ian Osmond

        It depends on the moderator. I think the best chance for not-echo-chamber is a moderated-by-someone-comfortable-with-polite-disagreement moderator.

        I’ve seen moderated fora in which the moderators delete anything which disagrees with their preexisting notions, which, of course, IMMEDIATELY turns into an echo chamber, and a complete waste of everybody’s time. I’ve seen unmoderated fora where a few people make the whole experience so unpleasant for everybody that nobody other than unpleasant people and the people who agree with the unpleasant people even bother showing up, which is ALSO a complete waste of everybody’s time.

        It’s possible for a forum to be self-moderated to usefulness, but it’s difficult, and tends to only really be possible if the topic and/or the group is small or obscure.

        Anarchic free-for-all arguments can be a lot of fun. I came of age on the Internet, and have done my share of flaming and even trolling (although, back in MY day, we tried to be CLEVER about trolling without being offensive or offputting. That’s not true, by the way). But they tend to only attract those people who are interested in anarchic free-for-alls, and don’t tend to lend themselves to actual discussion.

        Again, there are exceptions. But, on the whole, I’ve found that this degree of moderation tends to lead to about the best chances for decent conversation.

        • Tylikcat

          There’s some interesting room for historical analysis. There was some serious discussion that happened in the usenet alt. heirarchy back in the day. But if that wasn’t quite back when the net was flat, it was still back when access to the internet was itself much more limited. …and it was still a pretty crazy time. (Heh. I made some decisions back in my late teens to be pretty transparent about many aspects of my life, which has meant that even many years later occasionally a colleague will spend too much time searching the wrong old archives and will end up traumatized. Mind you, this is only the super easy to traumatize colleagues, because really, while outspoken, I’m pretty tame for a bi-poly chick. I figure it will save me a lot of grief if I’m ever foolish enough to run for public office… me and my all-singing all-dancing cabaret of skeletons.) I know you and I have a certain amount of, er, neterati social circle overlap, but I don’t know how far back it goes… I find myself tending to assume a while, because we’re of much the same generation, if based on different coasts, which matters so little on the net (even if it has complicated so many relationships…)

          Trolling has long been a problem, and I suspect some of the less curation intensive solutions might not be good fits for this fora. But, frankly, we’re at a moment in time where when women’s issue get brought up, especially in a geek pop culture setting, there is a tendency for the hordes to descend, frothing with venom. I make a point of wading through it in other fora, sometimes, because I think it’s too the public good to remind the pasty-faced teens* that women have been part of geek culture from the very beginning and that the idea of asserting that this is a solely male space is ludicrous (and, in some cases, that I have seniority on you, punks, and call me when you can code your way out of a wet paper bag, though I’m usually more restrained in my phrasing) but… it’s not fun, and it hasn’t been fun for a long time. That this is a place that I can let my hair down (metaphorically – I stopped shaving my head, but I don’t have enough hair to put up or let down) and really talk to people makes it a wonderful little haven on the net.

          * I remark mostly because there’s evidence than an awful lot of the member of the hordes are, in fact, quite young. It’s been interesting to discuss some of this with my nephew, who is a redditor, and pretty invested in that culture, including some of the more problematic fora.

  • Lysiuj

    The Conspiracy

    • Lostman

      What’s better to combat a conspiracy then another conspiracy.

  • David

    I’m assuming she’s only thinking of her and the four other characters shown on the last page. Basically those who are actually trying to make a difference in the world on their own.

  • Walter

    Some sort of syndicate…that’s just us. The Just-Us League. Nearly there…

  • Mike Elsner

    I don’t think she’s thinking about a super team as much as she is Super Powered Match Maker. The four supers that she’s picturing wouldn’t work with each other.

    Moon shadow only kills when she has definitive proof. Mind Reader Patrick can tell her who the truly guilty are.

    Paladin can design machines to more efficiently harvest Feral’s organs, perhaps minimizing pain. Shrinky Guy could probably help with surgery, too. For that matter, I’m sure Paladin could design a better artificial heart before breakfast.

    • masterofbones

      >Moon shadow only kills when she has definitive proof.

      Wat. What about her setup with Furnace tells you that Moonshadow relies on definitive proof?

  • Elaine Lee

    I agree! I understand that Molly watches the comments, but also believe this comic tends to attract sane people.

  • bta

    The Authority.

  • Jason Ramboz

    Ack! I just finally got caught up after reading through the archives, and THIS is where you leave me?? *cliffhangered*

    • spriteless

      Hey, at least you didn’t finish with Allison kicked out a couple of weeks ago.

      • Jason Ramboz

        True… at least this cliff isn’t as high as others. 😀

    • Ian Osmond

      Like there were any pages before this that would have been any LESS cliffhanger-y?

      • Jason Ramboz

        … maybe? A couple? >_>

  • Pol Subanajouy


  • masterofbones

    You mean one of the few sane people in this story might have had a point after all? What a surprise!

    • Ian Osmond

      Well, “sane” might be stretching it. But at least “not DESTRUCTIVELY insane.”

      • masterofbones

        I mean, he risks his life frequently in order to “save the world”, but other than that he seems a fairly stable individual from what can tell.

  • Jake

    A lot of people are making jokes about this, but it actually could make a serious difference, but not in the way i think it’s going to go. Between Patrick’s super villain skills, Paladin’s technical skills, Mary’s prowess for assassination, etc. they could develop a Templar/Assassin style covert organization to bypass governments and make a real difference in the world. Not to mention eliminating the other major conspiracy eliminating powerful supers.

  • Spicier Angel

    I think the critical insight Alison has had here, is not “these four people I just thought of should all team up” but rather “teamwork is a better way to save the world than working alone”. The difference being that Alison doesn’t feel compelled to get those four onto a team, nor to restrict herself to them in her teamwork thoughts. The common thread of those people, as I believe has been identified, is that they’re how Alison noticed the problem and solution that she identifies in 5-162.

    I don’t quite know what she’s going to do next, but I’m sure it will be something productive, because the insight Alison just had has left her much better-equipped in general to take productive steps toward saving the world. And to be self-actualized and fulfilled in life.

    Also, I currently assign 4-1 odds against ship happening, and even odds on Lisa and Alison collaborating on saving the world, in the near future. As for the long term, I assign 3-2 odds against an eventual relationship between Lisa and Alison, and 4-1 odds on a close friendship.

  • Soup. (“Never underestimate the power of soup.”)

  • The Handsome Hound

    Enjoy it while it lasts. The comic will have to end eventually.

  • Kid Chaos

    “Avengers Assemble!”
    “Sorry, that’s been copyrighted already.”

  • Kid Chaos

    The Scooby Gang.

  • LlubNek

    Yeah, I was thinking those might be pot brownies myself…

  • Danygalw

    Same. It’s the way it trails off at the end, unresolved.

  • Zachary Jacobi

    They just need advice from some people used to doing poly. If anyone can schedule around those things, it’s people with 3+ romantic partners.

  • ApostateltsopA

    This suggests she is about to find out if her friends can get along. Since one of them is Patrick and the rest aren’t….. I’m looking forward to it, but with such delicious trepidation. Also, poor Pintsize, he has been trying to super hero all along and he’s not even on her mind. (There is a small pun in there somewhere but I can’t seem to see it).

  • Spongegirl Circleskirt


  • Mystery girl

    Let’s see, how long ago did she realize this? A week ago, at most?

  • MisterTeatime

    The Difference Engine.

  • Oren Leifer

    I can’t believe how obvious this is in hindsight; one of the most significant moments of Fridge Logic* I have seen within any story, and yet something that is really out of the blue. It’s amazing how when you start to think about it, there really was little or no synergy between heroes’ powers in the past (Alison was always a lone frontline fighter, and there was little use of teamwork that we see), so they had no reason to think that would work for saving the world.

    And Patrick, the one who has no doubt seen massive amounts of data on cooperation and is probably one of the best communication experts alive, didn’t event think that he could be a great coordinator of combined efforts by multiple heroes to save the world. What’s so great is that this is after the “Martyrs” scene of the last page, showing how that is nice and symbolic, but just does not work as well as the simple human interaction of sitting on a couch and talking.

  • Oren Leifer

    Yes, SFP is the lighter and softer alternative to Worm in every sense. Superhero deconstruction with great insightful reader feedback, without the edge of rudeness or craziness*.

    *Just normal-level craziness

    • pretentiousanathema

      Allison does seem to be leaning toward a K(spoiler)-like realisation in that last panel.

      “Finally, everyone was working together”, ringing a bell for anyone?

  • Zmm

    wuh oh. super hero teams not goverment sponsored won’t end so well….

    • MrSing

      They’ll crowdfund it.

      • Zmm

        I was thinking more… legality. and protection.. and not being captured or causing political issues..
        In a realisitc world… a team of high powered supers would cause quite a political issue for the country they operate in and others.
        more so.. when you throw in the fact that Megagirl and the others were already Governmental agents and used for more than a few… less than savory events by the government.
        It’ll look pretty squiffy to specific other countries.

  • Kittenbot Doomypants

    I’ll be honest, I have NO idea if anything I’ve posted has gotten blocked, but any of the debates/discussions I’ve had with anyone have never ended up getting combative–which is unusual for most internet arguments. So I say bravo to the moderating. As for anyone else’s I have noooo Idea.

  • Tylikcat

    I have not experienced this, and of course it’s a little hard to judge the posts that I haven’t seen that have been blocked.

    I’ve certainly seen a fair number of threads that were pretty forthright in expressing opinions that were clearly hostile towards groups of people including other users in general, but not attacks on other users in specific. Seeing that has given me the general impression that it’s being applied pretty well at least in many cases, but again, it’s impossible to judge what I don’t see.

  • fairportfan

    Once again, i am reminded of Marion Harmon’s Wearing the Cape and the books that come after it – it’s a world not extremely different from the world of this comic, and Astra, the main character and narrator of most of the volumes, has a somewhat better support structure behind here than Alison does, but she and her friends have their problems and their triumphs … not all related to being super.

  • Tylikcat

    [further thoughts, on reflection…]

    But, I *have* spent an awful lot of time on an awful lot of internet forums over the years.* This leads to a couple of opinions on the issue.

    First, this isn’t some public marketplace, nor is Molly The Government. I tend to see her as our host, and see it as only appropriate to adjust to local tolerances, as I would when having a conversation in someone else’s livingroom.

    My only real concern is from the amount of time I’ve spent moderating various forums (and I’m a pretty laissez-faire moderator, generally) and that’s just that it is often a pretty time intensive process. OTOH, recently the comic has been addressing a lot of issues that have tended to draw a great deal of really godawful attention. I am hugely greatful for some proactive moderating to keep this from turning into the kind of toxic-cesspool that I’m often wading through in other fora. (For a mild example, I still occasionally work up the intestinal fortitude to moderate on slashdot. As a woman who has been in tech for quite a while, I see it as a way to return something to my community… and then I remember what a morass it often is. Ugh.)

    * Random and not really relevant factoid – been on the net since 1978. That grey hair, I earned it. Okay, yes, I was five.

    • pretentiousanathema

      “First, this isn’t some public marketplace, nor is Molly The Government. I tend to see her as our host, and see it as only appropriate to adjust to local tolerances,”

      ^This. We need to remember that this isn’t some “anything goes” forum, this is an aspect of Molly and Brennan’s income. It is their product, and they need to make sure it is not associated with anything that could potentially damage it’s (or their own) reputation.

      There are other places to discuss the more controversial things, and Molly keeping the native comments clean is just smart business. It’s practically a necessity.

  • Huttj509

    Except they’re *already* trying to find time for superheroics, each alone.

  • Johan

    … If there isn’t an “Avenger Assemble” panel later, I’m gonna be disappointed XD

  • Dean

    Since it’s Hector, he would probably get more use from a really tiny apology.

  • masterofbones

    She strapped explosives to a guy who can set himself on fire, and then drugged him.

    That’s murder, and she had no evidence at that point.

    • Santiago Tórtora

      She said she meant that only as a dissuasive and would only kill him if he confessed. Kidnapping and threatening him is still a crime, of course.

      • masterofbones

        Anyone with the level of weapons training that moonshadow has received knows that you dont threaten someone with a *gun* if you aren’t okay with killing them. This is multiplied by a thousand when you are working with explosives.

        She had already deemed him guilty enough to intentionally put him in a situation almost guaranteed to kill him. That’s murder in my book.

        • Santiago Tórtora

          You are right. Moonshadow was at best indifferent to whether his suspect lived or died.

  • masterofbones

    So because she is *okay* with getting decent evidence, that means that she never kills without solid evidence?

    She strapped explosives to a guy that sets himself on fire and drugged him without any evidence. And that’s murder.

  • masterofbones

    Nobody straps explosives to people they don’t intend to kill. And if they do, they are absolute idiots. Its the same rule as with guns, but bigger.

  • ophidimancer

    If she’s thinking of starting some sort of larger biodynamic organization, I hope she realizes the first thing that’s going to happen is people are going to be afraid of it.

  • Spicier Angel

    Feral’s organ-donor plan could be improved a lot. For instance, since she appears to survive… everything, she could probably be “anesthetized” by severing the appropriate nerves and leaving blocks in place. Sort of like when she took that sword through her head and Alison had to pull it out, and she had a speech impediment until it was removed.

    Since they were planning on extracting organs 24/7 one imagines Feral doesn’t need to sleep. So if she did the organ donor thing 16 hours a day, it wouldn’t be much worse than a lot of jobs. Especially if she could have her mind, face and arms available during the procedure–at that point she could take up any activity that one normally does while sitting at a desk.

    Conscious control of her anomaly could improve the situation, most profitably by making more and more easily accessible organs, I suspect.

    Unfortunately, no one in-story seems to have plans of this nature, and I don’t know if that’s at all likely to change. So the above analysis is somewhat beside the point, unfortunately.

    Except for one part: lots of things in the world have been done before, a lot, so when you set out to do them, you can find a pretty good recipe and get going. With something like “continuous organ harvesting from a regenerating biodynamic individual”, no such recipe is available, so one can be almost certain that the techniques are immature. If 2-3 teams of doctors work in shifts to harvest the organs? An additional team should be tasked with continuously improving the process.

  • 3-I

    Together, we can BE justice!

  • MrSokar

    Did I miss Caps? How? I must be really more tired than I thought this week.
    I assume there is an implied lisp in that thanks though.

  • Tylikcat

    *grin* I think I was mostly being a hothead over on alt.poly and alt.pagan and their derivatives, but I did wander… (I don’t have a solid recollection of meeting you before our accidental LJ introduction. But clearly we know some of the same people.)

    There was a brief moment, after I left Microsoft and before I started in on research when I considered running for the Woodinville City Council (not, er, generally a terribly liberal body) as a Green. But then, the whole point more or less would have been to have no reason to be diplomatic and to be completely straightforward about what I actually thought. My partner at the time was really irate as they thought I had way too much economic training to be a Green and that it would be more honest to run as a Democrat. *sigh* I totally would have served if by some weird chance I was elected, I just didn’t want to have to do so under false pretenses, and being a mouthy bitch would be more fun.

  • masterofbones

    shoot, IGNORE THAT! My theory still holds… ish.