Hey guys! Molly will be making a rare West coast appearance at Comic Arts Los Angeles, or CALA, this Saturday! I’ll have lots of SFP books and maybe a few other fun things, so come on by!

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  • leonardo boiko

    What’s with her expression in the last panel?…

  • Shino

    “Well, he DID forgot our anniversary. I guess that’s sort of monstrous?”

  • habeasdorkus

    IAAAL* and getting sued for breaching a contract can be a nasty thing, but you could easily have refused to have done it, Paladin. You certainly justified your actions while working for Templar.

    * As opposed to IANAL (I am not a lawyer)

  • Markus

    You’ve got to wonder what that was like for Menace. He surrounded himself with emotionally abused people who had this worldview of everyone being out to get them, so when he did actually legitimate Evil with a capital E was he acting out some revenge fantasy on behalf of his henchmen or imitating the same cycle of violence and misuse of power that he’d had telepathically etched into him over and over again.

  • persephone_the_wanderer

    Paranoid theory: Menace never did stop being Menace. When Alison confronted him, so long ago, he didn’t turn good – he just knew exactly what to say to Alison to get her on his side, just like he knows exactly what to say to anyone to manipulate them.

  • wanderingdreamer

    So she’s arguing that by being a mind reader he should be the most empathic person ever, guess the counter-argument the comic is going to make is that actually when you can read everyone’s thoughts, intentional and not, it gives you a really warped idea about morality and humanity instead.

    • Since we’ve never had a confirmed, documented, replicable example of a mind reader, it’s rather a matter of discussing flying unicorns, but what if a functioning telepath experiences other people as perceptual/existential threats to their self, the integrity of their ego? You could get a sociopathic scorpion-in-a-bottle hostility to the existence of other people. Not that Menace really displays this sort of feral response on a surface level, but that kind of underlying sublimated rage could drive one hell of a supervillain complex.

    • I think reading peoples’ minds could give you a very low opinion of them. It would be very easy to feel disgust and revulsion if you knew what people think.
      Also, being able to completely understand people could make them seem very predictable, like machines or computer programs, making dehumanisation easier, not harder.

    • Keith

      Or he just lacks mirror neurons

  • Patrick

    Where’d the floating tooltip comments go?

  • Ryan .

    Menace isn’t that bad. He can still justify it as the greater good. And he doesn’t identify as human.

    • Axel_Celosar

      She’s still telling the truth about how he killed innocent people.

      • Ryan .

        Innocent is subjective. Should moonshadow continue kill people? Even Allison admits she killed people. Aren’t people entitled to due process? If you’re starting a revolution, would the ends justify the means? It isn’t very simple.

        • I suppose it depends on the ends and the means. As it stands, he killed people, he didn’t seem to achieve much, therefore the end does not justify the means, making him logically evil. I’m not saying it’s as simple as that, but we’ve got to start morality somewhere!

        • Axel_Celosar

          So should Moonshadow just be allowed to keep killing people then? Are the people who lost family/friends to Menace just “Complaining”?

          It may be subjective, but Menace is sure as hell not innocent.

          • Part of me wants Moonshadow to keep going, as she’s killing people that probably deserve it.
            Another part of me thinks that we shouldn’t just go around killing people who we think deserve it, because that’s a very subjective thing. We start off killing rapists, but assassinating politicians and hunting down greedy bankers logically follows, and then everything collapses and its survival of the fittest. I’m not saying she’s going to do that, there’s enough unconvicted rapists to keep her very busy, but she’s creating a world where might/superpowers makes right and the law has no real meaning, and that could set a bad precedent.
            Another part of me thinks that she’s going to kill someone innocent (falsely accused or wrongly identified, which can happen), or someone who’s reformed, and it’s funny how quickly that converts you from antihero to villain.
            Anyway, Menace… He seems nice. But then he’s an expert on manipulating people and he’s certainly done some dubious things. And as I maintain, you can only justify things as serving the greater good if you actually make the world a measurably better place.
            But the optimist in me is hoping he finds a way to do that.

          • Axel_Celosar

            Or he could be that good of a manipulator and is just using Allison to get her off his back.

  • Ryan .

    It would be a better fate than dying.

  • Liz

    Is the second A “absolutely”, “always” or “awesome”?

    • Philippe Saner

      I thought it was I Actually Am A Lawyer.



  • David Nuttall

    I think that is her “Do I really want him as a boyfriend?” type face.

  • Liz

    I sort of agree – Menace never stopped being Menace. It’s just that before he was trying to change the world by subjugating it, and then when he realized his plan would never work because of shady government-cabal people who he can’t get to, he changed tacks to something less overt. I also think he’s planning on pulling an Ozymandias – dramatically changing the world in a way that fixes big problems, but is nonetheless horrifying, and is bound to come up against what Allison believes. Here’s hoping she gets there earlier than the Watchmen did.

  • David

    I’m not one to care about cursing or anything like that…however, doesn’t it seem out of character for her to say “motherf***er” twice on one page?

    • Andrew

      She’s channeling Samuel L Jackson

    • ukulady7

      She probably saves swearing for true emphasis. This has been the bane of her professional and moral life and she’s understandably upset. Also, she probably thinks Allison is one of the few people that can really understand her feelings being a fellow super.

      • Nethead Jay

        Yeah, that’s what I got from it to. Reserved for use when it’s really needed. Fits with the expression on her face too. I so enjoy the art here, both on this page and in general

  • Korataki

    Almost certainly, “The Man” is a chill guy named Patrick.

  • Korataki

    I think that is the expression of a person who is tuning out- she’s too smitten with Patrick to be receptive to the idea that he’s awful.

    • John Smith

      She’s hardly “smitten”; it’s just that Alison knows Menace a lot better than Paladin…OR DOES SHE? (Duh-duh-DUHHH!!!).

  • Mechwarrior

    In other words, he’d be a Customer Service agent.

    (My last job was working CS for a phone company. I’d consider it a perfectly valid reason to turn into a supervillain).

  • Mechwarrior

    Quite honestly, I’ve been wondering that ever since he was introduced. He’s flat out admitted to how good he is at manipulating people.

    • Matt Trinh

      You aren’t the only one, in fact when Allison confronted him, I always thought that his reasons for giving up had some holes in it, but what if he was responsible for those deaths because he wanted to manipulate the one hero that when she quits as a superhero would cause the (apparently) only superhero team to fall apart?

  • It sounds like she jumped ship once the my-employer-is-run-by-a-supervillain penny dropped, but has been stuck in unproductive limbo ever since because she was tied up in a tangle of litigation by Patrick’s legion of villainous lawyers. Thus, “first generation” of drones. I wonder if Menace does his own voir dire?

    BTW, Paladin’s dilemma sounds somewhat similar to that of the anti-hero protagonist of Confessions of a D-List Supervillain. Which is better than it ought to be, despite the whole wish-fulfillment aspect of the central romance & plot in general. I… have a weakness for trashy neopulp superhero novels, despite not being a particularly hard-core superhero comics reader. For all I know aggressive intellectual property barratry is a tired trope in the Iron Man books.

  • Some guy

    This isn’t the first time she’s had to listen to someone hurt by Patrick, so it could easily be a “Not this again” face. I think they were originally going with the idea that he had ‘reformed’, but obviously the rest of the world can’t see it, so Alison might just be tired of people bitching about what a monster he was/maybe still is.

    • Axel_Celosar

      Considering the guy killed innocent people? It’s hardly “Bitching”.

      • That same guy

        How many innocent people has Mega-Girl killed? She threw a giant robot at a hospital, remember. Feral admitted that she killed people for little/no reason as well, and Alison didn’t even react to it.

        In fact, Paladin calling such people ‘monsters’ is probably what’s upsetting Alison, since by that definition she is one.

        • Axel_Celosar

          1. Mega Girl never meant to kill anyone
          2. It only happened BECAUSE of Menace in the first place.
          3. Just because Allison is reacting little to it, that doesn’t mean we should too.

          • That same guy

            1. We don’t actually know that.
            2. “We wouldn’t have mistakenly bombed that wedding if Al Queda hadn’t attacked us first.”
            3. I agree. I was explaining my interpretation of Alison’s reaction, not condoning it.

        • There’s a big difference between killing people by accident while trying to save them, and making elaborate schemes that result in people dying.
          “Monster” is a subjective term, but at worst Allison’s an incompetent idiot who tried to do the right thing.

          • That same guy

            Yes, there is a difference, but that isn’t what Alison was doing. She’s admitted that she used to be concerned with ending the threat first and foremost, not specifically reducing collateral damage.

            Honestly, she’s probably the most responsible for the ‘Bystander’ movement, because again, she will throw a giant robot at a large building that she has no reason to believe is vacant, and then clap the dust off her hands thinking that the job is done.

            Patrick seemed to at least want to make the world a better place while knowing that people would be hurt in doing so. It could be argued that him being a literal mind reader combined with him being coldly dispassionate, everyone he did kill deliberately either deserved it, or was a necessary acceptable casualty. Probably not, since they were all teenagers at that point.

            I honestly wasn’t trying to justify anyone’s behavior before, though. I’m just trying to point out that due to their abnormal powers and recent life experiences, their perspectives are accordingly abnormal. Anomalously powered individuals intentionally/negligently killing people is similar to politicians being corrupt/dishonest. It’s ‘bad’, yet accepted, and both groups are tired of hearing about it.

  • ChucklingBoy

    True, but there is a mitigating factor. Canonically no one who manifested powers was over 14. They all would have been children, very powerful children, but they would not have been able to develop a very complex ethics code by that point in life. There is some sense of right vs wrong, but largely it is still not wanting to be in serious trouble.

  • Jack Lostthenames Warren

    Still dateable.

  • anon

    They’re fine for me. I’m running Chrome 38.0.2125.122 on OSX 10.9. I’ve heard there’s an issue where they don’t show up in Firefox?

    • BlakeA5

      I was reading in Firefox and they weren’t there for yesterday’s comic or last Friday’s when I looked for them yesterday. But now today it’s here … for yesterday’s. But still not last Friday’s. 🙂

      • Nethead Jay

        Same here. Reading in Chrome latest.

      • anon

        Oh, I see! There wasn’t a tooltip for last week’s actually, now that I look at it. (I double checked the code, it isn’t just your browser.)

  • Ryan Thompson

    An open question is just how good of a liar Patrick is. Mind-reading can let you know what lies to tell, but you still need the skill to tell them convincingly. Threatening people with their worst fears isn’t exactly good practice for subtle deception. But hiding in plain sight for several years might be. Also, his mind-reading means that every time he attempts a lie or deception, he gets instant and accurate feedback as to whether it worked or not. So that could allow him to develop the skill very rapidly.

    So at the time Alison confronted Menace, was he already a skilled enough liar to deceive her?

    • Matthew Dowd

      Here’s the thing, even if he’s still doing parts of his thing, he’s still stopped his “nationwide spree of terror” that was the major issue.

  • EveryZig

    Particularly his explanation of how he doesn’t have direct mind control seems like it could easily be a bid for underestimation in the form of “I just tell people what they want to hear (and implying that you would be too clever for that)” rather than just an explanation.
    Also with that time when he said that one woman’s husband was just found in an embarrassing situation rather than dead, I always kind of wondered whether he was lying to downplay the harm he had done.

    • Sabe Jones

      He was found in an embarrassing situation *and* dead…

  • Ryan Thompson

    This page kind of brings up an issue that seems as yet unresolved in the comic: how do we reconcile Menace’s past of death and destruction with Patrick’s apparently mild-mannered present? The best we have is the flashback near the end of Chapter 1 to the final confrontation between Mega Girl and Menace. But the main thrust of that conversation is the revelation of the sinister conspiracy to eliminate any NEFs that could solve the real problems of the world. He never explains why he’s decided to “put away the toys and grow up”, nor why he ever picked up those toys in the first place.

    Of course, one possibility, as suggested by persephone_the_wanderer, is that he never really put down the toys after all and has been deceiving Alison this whole time. But what’s the alternative? Maybe he came to the realization that his villainy was just as ineffectual as Mega Girl’s heroics, since evidently neither of them was important enough to kill? Why did this realization cause him to renounce villainy instead of pushing him to achieve greater heights of villainy to prove himself worthy of the conspiracy’s attention? Maybe he really decided that his original choice to be a supervillain was the childish mistake of a stupid teenager — this is certainly backed up by his words, “put away the toys and grow up,” and also his later statement: “As childish as you think it is to be a superhero, I am that much more disdainful of villainy.” In any case, presumably he had known this for some time before Mega Girl confronted him, but he used her attack as a cover for Menace to disappear so that he could start a new life, in contrast to Alison, whose old life is constantly coming back to haunt her.

  • Sabriel

    I have to say this is very interesting and I am enjoying reading the comments. I want to like Patrick, mostly because that Loony Toons scene was so endearing, but I have to admit he would be an excellent villain if the story goes that way.

    I hope we see him again soon. You know Alison is going to think about this conversation and he is going to “hear” it. Actually, she will probably confront him openly about legally harassing Paladin, so there won’t be much left for him to “overhear” except for doubt in him as a person.

    Alison is both honest and confrontational, making her an open book. If she thinks something, she says it.

  • StClair

    The big, obvious issue. The posters above are saying that maybe he’s been playing a more subtle game since, possibly with even higher stakes.

    • Matthew Dowd

      He most certainly is, he’s found that there’s a conspiracy to get rid of the supers with the ability to legitimately change/save the world so there’s at least that, either getting into it or bringing it down…

      • Mechwarrior

        And what information about this conspiracy to control supers do we actually have that hasn’t come from Patrick?

  • Mystery girl

    But I liked Patrick…

  • Huh. I never thought of it that way. I no longer like Patrick.