SFP

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  • Shino

    You know, I’m starting to wonder – is she only giving them ammo because she KNOWS they have no chance against her? Exercise was just to gauge their skill?
    And whether if they were too good, she’d just slit their throats when they still had their guns loaded with paint ammo, without ever opening the box?

  • Loranna

    Well . . . that’s awfully considerate of Moonshadow, kindly providing the evil assholes with the means to kill her now. One can’t say that she hasn’t been a good sport about eliminating this group of mercs from the face of the world, no sir . . .

    I’m almost scared to see the inevitable meeting between Alison and Moonshadow. I have no clue how Moonshadow sees the former Mega Girl now. And Alison . . . has a somewhat spotty record on handling issues like this with tact and subtlety. – Loranna

  • Metal Fatigue

    That barn had better be made of steel plate disguised with a facing of wood, or those boys will be out in a hot minute.

  • Brian McDaniel

    Aaaaand whoever called this outcome gets a back pat. You earned it.

    *pat* *pat*

  • evillordzog

    Hahahahahahahahaha

  • Timothy Craig

    Welp, it’s confirmed. Weird that she chose to start talking to these guys, rather than just killing them like she did with the rest, though. I guess the idea here is she’s starting to get arrogant.

    • Caravelle

      She’s monologuing ! A clear indication that she’s reached full-fledged supervillain status.

  • Weiss

    The worst thing about the Moonshadow storyline is that I just end up humming Cat Stevens all night.

  • Firanai

    Well at least she is giving them a chance…sort of.

  • Insanenoodlyguy

    Assuming she’s telling the truth, and I think she is, she’s going full self destructive route. She’s not intending to die here, or any specific place just yet* but she’s not overly concerned about it ending that way. Or ending in general. The exception to that possibly being her bringing Allison into this eventually.

  • Jack Lostthenames Warren

    Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.

  • atd_

    Best character ever.

  • Catnik

    Well, looks like playtime’s over….

  • X

    I should probably disapprove, but you know, good for Mary! She accepts precisely how much power she has, identifies a greater ill that needs solving, and applies what she can as effectively as she can… and here she’s even managing to enjoy herself doing it! It’s basically exactly what Allison is trying to do, but more modest and less angsty.


    Oh, and murder is wrong or something I guess.

  • motorfirebox

    Yeah….

  • Nethead Jay

    Uh-oh. I have a slight suspicion that shit’s about to go down…

  • TheGonzoMD .

    Give them ammo, turn invisible, knock over a box or something to get them to freak out and start shooting up the barn, then slip out and leave a nice explosive present in their car, then just wait.

    If this is what she does I will never stop gloating.

    • Timothy Craig

      Legitimately the best plan ever.

  • Kendal Reed

    I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out to be more durable than it looks. If I were choosing a location for simulated combat and my user base included cops, soldiers, PMCs, and/or other people who don’t always get to pick their battlefields, I’d want it to be tough enough to be used over and over, but with the layout and appearance of someplace they might have to fight for real.

  • 9Jack9

    Well, she’s going to give them a fighting chance. And herself more training killing fully armed opponents. My guess is she fully expects she’ll need it when various authorities figure out her modus operandi. Plus, they’re evil assholes.

  • Liz

    Eh, I think it was a story-telling thing, actually. It lets us the readers know what the heck is going on, in a way that’s pretty believable. I mean, these guys are ex-military, and her quarry thus far has been either robots or teenage boy rapists. Maybe she needed to check out what they were capable of before she decided to straight-up murder them.

    • Timothy Craig

      I don’t remember the robots, but I’m pretty sure she also killed a wife abuser and… someone else that I forget.

      • Liz

        I was talking about her days back when Templar industries was attacking the city every other Tuesday.

      • Jace

        Not just a wife abuser. Fairly sure that was the judge on the rape trial.

        • Mr.Marcus

          And it was implied that he had been abusing his daughter as well.

  • Liz

    1) I’m curious what the contract these guys signed on for looked like. “Hey! Listen, I really, really, REALLY love paintball, and the guys at my local range kicked me out for being ‘obsessed’ and ‘psychotically dedicated to paintball warfare,’ so I need you ex-military guys come out to this barn in the middle of nowhere for the most intense game of paintball ever.”

    2) Props to the writers for giving us a well-developed, fascinating female villain who’s not shaped like a model or ugly-is-evil like Ursula in The Little Mermaid.

    • Wanted: Dubious ex-military types for a training exercise in the middle of nowhere.
      Large sum of cash offered.
      No questions asked.
      I put that add in the papers all the time.

      • RobotAccomplice

        Must supply own paint-filled water balloons.

  • Markus

    Winningest strategy against an invisible enemy: Hold a live hand grenade in your hand. If they kill you, the grenade is primed and blows up on them.

    • Two words: Ranged weaponry.
      I mean, what if she has throwing knives? Or a knife on a stick?

    • Timothy Craig

      Unless you’re planning on being suicidal, you wouldn’t have it primed at like 0 seconds left. She can kill you and huck it, or kill you and then just run like hell.

    • Not a great plan in close quarters, though, if you want anyone in your team to escape with their lives.

  • Marc Cabot

    By doing it as an exercise, she showed them that she could kill them and there was nothing they could do about it. (Though even the best solider is going to not be at full power when they KNOW it is an exercise and there’s no real risk.)

    Now they have internalized the idea that she can kill them, and they can’t stop her. Even though it is different, inside, they believe they’ve already fought this fight and lost. Hilarity will doubtless ensue. And by hilarity I mean “blind panic.” All she has to do is wait for them to load up, and throw pebbles behind them. They will frag each other in a heartbeat on the off chance they will get her.

    The best strategy would be to load up, form a back to back ring, and systematically destroy the entire building with their weapons. They won’t do this.

    • Ben

      On top of that, by talking to them, she lulled them into a false sense of security, all while showing how calm and confident she is, which will further deepen their fear now. Everyone knows that the reason Bond villains give speeches is to show off their power and feel more powerful. Moonshadow is now officially in Bond villain territory.

    • Timothy Craig

      I get the strategic importance, but she’s a girl who supposedly holds it against MG that she stole the spotlight and what not; I imagine she’s mostly doing this for show boating purposes.

      • flame821

        Or to buy some time to recuperate herself. She looked tired and sweaty as soon as the exercise was over, the talking took a few minutes, enough for her to both rest/reset AND get inside their heads, they went from fear their opponent was the invisible slasher, to relief that they were dealing with a known superhero, to terror that she is incredibly powerful, well trained and no stranger to murder. The fact that she knows about their past is just icing on the cake, and will prey on their minds, distracting them even more from the job at hand.

      • There is no showboat here. There is no audience.

        No, I think this is entirely strategic. She has planned just about every part of this negotiation. And it is a negotiation, for sure. She wants something from these contractors, otherwise she could have just killed them all in their homes. Why else would she bring them to an isolated location? Why else would she talk to them and reveal how much she knows about their tours of duty? Why else would she present them with live ammunition in lieu of payment? Because she knows that she is in control, she wants something out of them that wasn’t in their contract, and she knows that she can get it from them and get away with it.

        Moonshadow is just as powerful as Mega Girl would be in this situation, but instead of physical power, she has strategic power.

        • Timothy Craig

          I disagree about their being no showboating; as someone else said, she’s in Bond villain territory. But I will agree with you about strategy. And as someone else said, I think she’s treating this as a training exercise.

        • I’m inclined to agree with you that this is part of a larger strategy for her- my guess is that she’s after intelligence that she can’t acquire any other way. Something locked in the mercs’ heads, like the name of the officer(s) who ordered them to bump off civilians and/or those officers who permitted them to walk, afterwards.

      • Jace

        My impression is that she used to be kind of shy and retiring, even without her power. So I don’t think she’s jealous that MG stole the spotlight.

        She’s angry that MG abandoned them. That MG left them to fend for themselves.

  • Marc Cabot

    Excellent point – and depending on what kind of ammo is in the box even steel plate might not be enough.

    However, if they get out, they know an invisible murderess will be coming after them for the rest of their lives. Might be better to make a stand and take their chances,

  • I think she just wants a challenge. It must get boring when nobody sees you coming.

  • Marc Cabot

    I can think of several ways Alison could deal with Moonshadow if she knew she was there.

    I can think of several potential ways that Moonshadow could deal with Alison, depending on various factors which we just don’t know enough about yet. At this point it takes subatomic-level penetration to harm Alison. That’s heap big mojo. But in a comic-book universe, there may be some around that Moonshadow could get hold of. We’ll see.

  • Timothy Craig

    It bothers me she evens the odds with trained mercenaries, but has no problem killing teenage boys in a grocery store with no warning at all.

    • Potatamoto

      Well let’s be honest…the only reason she’s evening the odds is because this is another training exercise for her. I’m quite certain that if she didn’t feel like she could get something out of what’s coming next they’d all have been dead before they realized what was happening.

      • I really like that idea. Yeah! This is a training exercise. It’s been a while since she’s had to kill trained minions in a battle.

    • Keith

      It’s so they’ll feel more powerless when all their weapons are useless. She doesn’t just want them killed, she wants them punished.

  • Timothy Craig

    It kind of bugs me, though, that she’ll “even the odds” with trained soldiers, but teenage boy rapists she’ll kill in a grocery store with no warning.

    I mean, I’m generally okay with vigilanteism, but come on.

    • Excal

      You saw how well the boys were able to put up any sort of resistance even when that last one knew something was going horribly off. This is a training exercise. By giving these guys warning, she’s able to practice taking on people who are trained, alerted, and have some pretty good motivation for taking her down. After all, she’s correctly identified that the police will not be okay with what she’s doing, so she’s going to have to train to take them or the army on sooner or later.

      • Timothy Craig

        Yeah, that’s fair. Good point.

  • flame821

    Yep, we’ve gone from dummy training to live action, fight or die training. She’s gone off the rails but at least she’s targeting bad guys and not indiscriminately killing. Love the comment about the ‘good old boys’ being the only people who actually get due process.

    • Timothy Craig

      “good old boys”?

      • Bo and Luke Duke. Although, if I recall correctly, neither Boss Hogg nor Roscoe P. Coltrane were ever too enamored with the concept of due process as it pertained to them.

      • flame821

        First panel “But put your knife to a good ol’boys throat” . I’m not sure were you are from, but in the USA we have a terrible problem with racism in our legal system in general. When it comes to sexual assault (aka rape) only 1/4 – 1/3 of rapes are reported and less than 10% of them are prosecuted and out of those less than half incur anything worse than a slap on the wrist. While I may not approve of what MS is doing or how she is doing it, the issues are well enough known in the USA to ensure her a great deal of sympathy from the masses.

        In case you are unsure of what a ‘good old boy’ is. It is an old Southern (South East USA) that refers to white, christian, cis-het men. Previously slave owners (UK equivalent would be along the lines of ‘landed gentry’ ) who make sure the system works for them and them alone and visit harassment and violence upon anyone who points this out.

  • flame821

    Passively suicidal? Wants to test the Universe to see if she should still be allowed in it after the actions she’s taken? Trial by combat? Confident in her abilities to the point of arrogance and carelessness? The possibilities are endless.

  • Chris

    I’m betting Moonshadow wants to avoid Alison at all costs. After all, invisibility is not a meaningful advantage when nothing you can do will harm your opponent.

    • Nina

      well, she can at least escape…

  • Okay, so I’m pretty sure she’s hiring these dudes for a job. If she wanted to kill them, she clearly could have hunted them down and killed them individually without going through all of this work (and without paying the upfront amount a group of military contractors would have definitely asked for). She has all of the power in this scenario: She knows every dirty thing about their military careers, they’re on her turf, and she personally has the power to kill each one of them without too much trouble.

    Moonshadow also clearly planned this out in case they weren’t amenable to her requests. She’s moved on from Plan A (negotiate a job peacefully) to Plan B (kill a few of them to prove that she’s in complete control over their well-being, then resume negotiations). Plan C is probably “kill ’em all, try again.”

    Sorry, military dudes. You walked right into this one.

  • Nom De Plume

    Well there goes my “Not Going to Kill Them Because it Doesn’t Fit Her M.O. Theory”. Damn. I was way off.

  • Adrienne Herbst

    Oh no, she’s hot

  • Timothy Craig

    As a side note, I’d like to comment on the last panel and the distorted view of the box and panel in the back there. I think this confirms her invisibility is a light trick, rather than anything else, no?

    That, or she’s just actually super fast.

  • RobNiner

    Yes, it’ll be an interesting showdown – Not Loranna

  • Tarou

    Alison might not be immune to poison and the like.
    She’s immune to heat, cold, and kinetic attacks, sure. Ingested dioxin? Who knows.
    As for Alison attacking Moonshadow without being able to see her, I guess it depends on whether or not Alison can clap her hands hard enough to make a damaging sonic attack. (The Hulk did this in an old Spider Man issue. Parker nearly passed out from the shockwave.)

    • Keith

      She’s already been shown yelling loudly enough to knock someone over.

    • Francisco

      Given that Allison has admitted that alcohol has an effect on her, poison is a possibility.

  • So, I’m super sleep-deprived, so my comments will ramble a bit. Bear with me.

    1) I totally understand how MS could feel justified in her vigilante-stance. She’s young and relatively inexperienced (yes, she’s had her whole superhero career, but that’s hardly given her a lot of contact with average, everyday people). She also probably believes that she is better informed, more morally courageous, and otherwise best prepared to deal with what she imagines to be criminals that escape justice because of a corrupt system.

    2) I loathe Punisher-type antiheroes. By executing criminals (or, worse, those they decide are criminals, regardless of evidence), they subvert justice and potentially break the system. If MS were really trying to make a difference (and not just stroking her ego) she would be better served by accusing villains and gathering evidence. What makes her believe that she is a better judge of truth than the entire legal process? Is this some power she has yet to make public?

    3) The fact that she’s provided them with live ammunition is potentially a very, very bad idea. I’m guessing that she’s not old enough to remember the Hollywood Shootout, but one of the things that struck me as amazingly frightening was the bullet found lodged in a drum of ice cream in a walk in freezer over a mile away. Although it’s extremely unlikely, I’d hate to see what it would do to MS if her shenanigans resulted in some innocent kindergartener being turned into a quadriplegic.

    All that said, I’m loving this comic and this story. I look forward to next Tuesday with eager anticipation.

    • Joshua Stephens

      I have only one thing to say and it is in response to your second point. It may also be entirely incorrect, I don’t know. What I want to say is that Punisher-type antiheroes have a point in what they do. The legal system was created by humans and therefore is incredibly flawed. She may be doing the only thing she thinks can possibly be done because humans can’t be trusted to judge each other correctly. The fact that there are technicalities in some cases proves that the legal system really shouldn’t be relied upon to get true justice. To be quite honest if there were real superheroes I would want them to rule over us as the Gods they would rightfully be because we humans have certainly shown we can’t be trusted to treat each other with respect.

      • You’re not wrong about the justice system being FUBAR… the problem is that one angry young woman, super-powered or not, is not an ideal candidate for correcting the problem.

        • TheGonzoMD .

          The problem is that it seems no one is an ideal candidate for correcting the problem. Politicians can’t or won’t do it, armies of lobbyists can’t or won’t do it? So what makes her in particular so unqualified?

          If the world can’t be saved then people need to do what they can. This is really a dark(er) reversal of what Feral is trying to do.

          • The difference (from my perspective) is that Feral is both saving lives and sacrificing herself. MS is killing people and if she’s sacrificing anything, it’s really not apparent.

            I’ll add that I agree with your assessment: no one is an ideal candidate; the difference being that I’d put more emphasis on the ‘one’ and less on the ‘no’.

      • Caravelle

        She may be doing the only thing she thinks can possibly be done because humans can’t be trusted to judge each other correctly.

        Yes, that is a problem. The surprising thing is when vigilantes move on to the “… and the solution is for the specific human that is me to judge others !”.

        Actually it’s less absurd than that, and MS does outline it specifically – it isn’t that the justice system isn’t perfect, nothing is perfect, it’s that it’s fundamentally biased, where some crimes or groups of people are unfairly treated worse than others. In that light MS isn’t so much setting herself up as superior to the justice system, but as a corrective to the bias she sees it has.

        Really to go into the abstract discussion, when you think of it the whole point of the justice system is to minimize the “humans can’t be trusted to judge each other correctly” problem. Like many human institutions that use process, regulations/standards, uniform training and many humans working together to compensate for the flaws inherent in humans doing that thing. (this is in the abstract – in practice, if sufficiently biased or corrupt a justice system could be actively worse than people fending for themselves, to the point it might be better to abandon it entirely and start over rather than work to improve it. I leave it as an exercise to the reader to decide if this is the case here, if MS thinks that’s the case and if she’s justified in thinking so, etc, but as a general issue, note that the same reasoning can justify lynching).

        To be quite honest if there were real superheroes I would want them to rule over us as the Gods they would rightfully be because we humans have certainly shown we can’t be trusted to treat each other with respect.

        That’s a strange sentiment, as superheroes have rarely been portrayed as inherently superior moral beings, but mostly as good (or not-so-good) humans given special physical or mental powers. Nothing there about Godlike aptitude to rule.

        This fantasy that a handful of super-heroes, super-scientists, super-soldiers, super-judges or super-rulers (the latter I’d always thought of as being more the province of 18th-century philosophy and less modern superheroes but apparently not?) being the solution to all the flaws of humans doing all these things is a “nice” fantasy, but in the real world we actually have experimented with many different ways of doing those things with many different outcomes, and the better outcomes consistently aren’t a superperson, but a superior organization of many people.

        That tension reminds me a bit of this discussion of surgical checklists. After explaining the study that found large decreases in bad outcomes when hospitals used a certain checklist during surgery, the author discusses some of the arguments he’s seen against the concept of surgical checklists, including:
        Finally, the argument from consequences opponents of these lists use, namely that they will somehow erode the magic professionalism of surgeons and reduce them to just technicians following a list, remains unconvincing as well. Are airline pilots considered any less “professional” than surgeons? They use checklists all the time. What about clinical care pathway protocols, many of which are more detailed than this surgical checklist? Such protocols have been in place at most hospitals for many years.

        “Checklist”, “process”, those sound really unsexy – like “technicality” – but in the real world where flawless humans don’t exist they’re a good way of compensating for the flaws humans do have, and they’re definitely superior to humans thinking that “humans are flawed” doesn’t apply to them. Which actually is one of those flaws humans have.

        (Believe it or not, this post was originally going to consist just of those first two sentences. I think I should probably stop now.)

    • Sem

      I agree with you on #2 in general. A possibility I see in the case of MS though, is that she could have scouted out the accused while invisible to determine their guilt. I’m not saying that’s what actually happened, but I can hope :p

  • …Uh… is anyone else wondering where the heck she got all that from?

    • Not too much, actually- as a former government-sponsored superhero, she probably still has all sorts of contacts that she can use to help make stuff like that disappear off of trucks or what-have-you. I would be a bit curious how she proposed to keep her acquisition of all that firepower a secret, though…

      • motorfirebox

        Well, the grenades are one thing, but for the most part ammo is just ammo. You can get it from Wal-Mart. Remember they brought their own guns, with dummy rounds—she’s just giving them real rounds.

    • John Smith

      Considering what she probably paid for it, maybe just keeping the cash would’ve been better. And geez, is she really going to kill those guys? That would be a really bad move, IMHO. 🙁

  • Joshua Stephens

    First time reader here. I just read the entire series up to this point tonight and I have to say how impressed I am with it. Holy crap, the author nailed the entire problem with everything going wrong in real life these days and framed it in a superhero style comic book to boot. I am genuinely eager to see what happens next.

  • Zixinus

    It’s hard not to sympathize with her hen she brings that point up: it is a fact that society doesn’t mind the unnecessary killing of people who can be labelled “bad”. She got into her head, by whoever’s fault, that the world was fixable if the right people got killed. Then she got trained and encouraged by people who used her as a tool in a special situation. Then the special situation was over but the people didn’t let go of the power they had and could keep doing whatever they wanted now.

    And she is right that nobody would have cared if her targets didn’t suddenly were people that couldn’t be dismissed by labels (terrorists, gangster, radical Muslim, anarchist, etc.), weren’t dismissed by society (junky, thug, black etc.) and actually had privileges society pretends doesn’t exist.

    But the moment it isn’t a black kid that’s shot because some idiot had an overactive imagination and insufficient respect for life, then its murder.

    She lived in a world where it is okay to murder bad guys, she is merely keep doing what she was already doing. When you make a killing machine of self-righteous justice your problem is that you have a killing machine of self-righteous justice who has a clearer picture of justice than you.

  • Darkoneko Hellsing

    Oooh comments are up o/

    Well looks like someone’s up for some more training~ liiive training~

  • Ross Van Loan

    Safety tip #501 : Never attack the lifestyle choices of a super powered psychotic to their face : their defence is likely to be swift and very, very final.

  • Leslie Williams

    oO God! The Cliff-hanger!!!!!!

  • Cat Stevens? Explain please?

  • Jonas

    I’m curious if the men will go for the ammo straight away, or try to bargain/ argue. They probably are intelligent enough to figure they don’t stand a chance against Moonshadow. Taking the ammo is obviously what she wants them to do. Also, from a narrative point of view, we already know Moonshadow is a badass fighter and not afraid of killing. Showing it again wouldn’t serve much purpose, no? So, how could the next panels be used for more exciting or enlightening stuff? 🙂

  • I just have to ask, as a Cat Stevens fan from way, way back- is that really the worst thing? ‘Cause, personally, I love it!

    • Weiss

      I’m so sorry. I wasn’t exposed to him early enough, and then copped 6 hours in a row on a road trip.

  • Slightly Embarrassed

    Confession: My inner monologue at that first frame:
    “Is MS supposed to be slightly pudgy AND a crack gymnast/assassin? ‘Cause I’m not sure that’s physically possible. Wait… maybe those thighs are solid muscle? OK, I’m a little scared of her now. Also, points to the creator for drawing a believable athlete.”

    • Brosano

      Uh, yes, somebody can be slightly pudgy and a crack gymnast. Where… where did you get the idea that this wasn’t possible?

      • Slightly Embarrassed

        Because pretty much everything I’ve been taught implies that the level of athleticism necessary for competitive gymnastics precludes the possibility of excess body fat. That’s not to say that I’m expecting a willow-wisp. The amount of muscle necessary to perform would result in a body type pretty much like Moon Shadow’s.

      • strongfemaleprotagonist

        I often draw inspiration from these photos of olympic athletes! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/19/howard-schatz-photos-women-professional-athletes_n_4297902.html
        -Molly

  • Mystery girl

    See! She’s frickin’ scary!