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Mystery solved, everyone! We can all go home. EgilGB Are they both holding back information from each other? Sark Whoa, the plot thickens! Markus Off topic, but shouldn’t a person with Tier 1 strength and durability actually have really atrophied looking muscles? If they’re too strong for exercise to challenge them and too durable for their muscles to suffer the sort of wear that causes muscle growth, they can’t really maintain any sort of physique. David You do realize you’re using real world science to try and explain what should happen in a comic with superpowers. Anyways, I usually assume that a character with those attributes also comes with increased metabolism, stamina, cellular regeneration. Henry Cannon My guess is that her power only kicks in after a certain amount of strain on her body. This means that her bones and muscles operate at just under their breaking points while she uses her super strength. I wouldn’t be suprised if she was more jacked than drawn. Also the fact that her bones are tougher than the rest of her indicates her power is most likely a multipler, not a constant. The more muscle she has, the stronger the effect is. moriati And the plot thickens with an audible ‘glop’! Ryan So Moonshadow has an alibi? Now I’m lost. I think the “government is protecting Moonshadow” conspiracy theory is becoming more likely now. At least this explains the logic behind the prevailing theory of “must be a TK”: process of elimination combined with the (poorly justified) assumption that there are no more yet-undiscovered invisibles. Interestingly, Alison has managed to ask about Moonshadow without sounding like she has any specific suspicions about Moonshadow. Everyone seems to be holding back in this conversation, and I’m not sure what to make of it. Charles M. Hagmaier Eh, conspiracy is a strong word. I’m generally inclined to credit the disparate and aggregate laziness, incompetence and self-interested dishonesty of many individuals over the malign concerted efforts of a cabal. Office A loses track of their easy-to-lose-track of Moonshadow, continues to report her inactivity to cover their failure, and every bureaucrat above them passes along the false reports, which are re-distributed to other teams working on the killings and all sorts of unrelated activities, thus filling entire bureaucracies with earnest if lazy individuals convinced that she can be written off as a person of interest without ever double-checking the reports. thegreatpl I’m, personally leaning towards it not being the government, but the evil conspiracy that killed all those bio-dynamics before anyone knew they existed. Using Moonshadow for their own nefarious schemes. Mechwarrior How do we know that this evil conspiracy isn’t the KGB or Department of Homeland Security, though? thegreatpl We don’t. But we don’t know that it is either. Ryan Yeah, the “cover-your-ass” conspiracy makes a lot more sense. “She’s invisible. Who will ever know I lost track of her?” Some guy I bet it’s simpler. Moonshadow said “No, I was at the mall that day.” and they didn’t bother checking for the same basic reason Alison never gets in any real trouble. Ryan The reason the government doesn’t give Alison any real trouble is that they know they can’t physically do so. That’s not the case with Moonshadow. That same guy The government could give Alison trouble if it wanted to, it just probably wouldn’t be overtly violent. Although I some guy with an unlikely but forgettable name could offer Cleaver amnesty and backup to deal with the Mega Girl problem. “Don’t do it near the docks, and don’t fuck around this time.” or some such. Honestly though, I think it’s more a case of “We might want her to work for us again” rather than “We can’t do anything about it” even with Alison. GaryFarber It seems unlikely the government couldn’t deal with Alison. Gas her and then put her in a vacuum chamber for a couple of hours, say; so far as we know, she has to breathe, right? Or infect her with a quickly lethal virus. Even if she is as invulnerable as the Hulk generally is, life certainly wouldn’t be *pleasant* for her if she were treated the way the government in the Marvel Universes used to treat the Hulk, at the very least. Gryphonic Alison may be invulnerable. Her family isn’t. There’s no way parts of the government haven’t thought about worst-case contingencies. We already saw from Sonar’s account that “law and due process becomes a much bigger priority when the criminals aren’t 20 feet tall.” If Alison really went rogue, the Green family would be arrested and effectively held hostage on trumped up charges of aiding and abetting a supervillain. fredhicks That… or someone in the government is creating that alibi for her. Rens To help her “crusade”, or because the Invisible Slasher is doing a great job instilling low-grade fear and distrust on supers in general? Jonas We don’t know if Moonshadow has an alibi. We only know that the doctor tells Alison they checked her. — I think the more interesting bit we learned in the last two pages is that Alison seems to be deliberately holding back information (what she saw at the crime scene, and how that person escaped). Not sure what explanation officials have for Clevin’s wound, if Alison didn’t tell them there was someone invisible around. Ryan That’s what the doctor is saying, though: “cross-referenced … with the times and locations”. That means she’s saying Moonshadow was known to be somewhere else when some of these crimes were committed. That’s what an alibi is. Whether she’s lying remains to be seen. Pat Or the possibility that Moonshadow is in cahoots with elements, or the entirety of this organization. What if other people look at the newspaper every day, just like Moonshadow, are disgusted by what they see and decide to do something? Alison is far too Clark Kenty to approach for a job like that, plus her powers are super obvious, whereas Moonshadow is discreet. Keith Or an accomplice, witting or not, willing to provide her with an alibi. Maybe someone who doesn’t want to give up his superhero fantasy. Mystery girl Are you implying what I think you’re implying?! Keith I guess we’ll find out The Leaking Pen the interesting thing is… she was the FIRST one theychecked. Said by the doc that also has access to psych evals, iirc. So… basically a bunch of people at the top, if you went to them and said, We think Moonshadow might have become a serial killer, would all shrg their shoulders and say, enh, no surprise. Ryan Well, she’s also the highest-tier invisible they know of. Maybe they just went down the list in order because they mistrust all invisibles equally. Badtux So Moonshadow was the first person checked? And then they quit checking on her? What this implies is *two* “Invisible Slasher” supers out there, because we *know* that Moonshadow was the “Invisible Slasher” who took out that platoon of rapists. The “original” Slasher took out the first one or two victims, then Moonshadow, having been cleared of being the Slasher, took over the reins. That seems to be a theory that works as well as the “government is protecting Moonshadow” conspiracy or “Moonshadow projected an image of herself to decoy government” thing. A decoy image would be rather hard to maintain at a distance while in the midst of a battle like the one with the platoon… Spiny Creature It’s tempting at this point to think the government is helping Moonshadow, but I just can’t see that at all. The whole point of her crimes is that she goes after the sort of people the government has no interest in going after – people who the system specifically fails to punish, like veterans who committed war crimes and wealthy white frat boys. If she was killing drug dealers or terrorists still, that’d be a different story. Charles M. Hagmaier Eh, government is made of people, and they don’t necessarily all have the same opinions, priorities, or interests as the average, aggregate, or official position on a given subject. Are the former Guardians being tracked by and supported by social-work type government employees, law-enforcement types, or spooks? Those three groups would tend to have highly divergent interests and biases from each other. Mechwarrior Also, she could still be going after targets that the government, or someone in the government, wants her to take down and this is just her extracurricular activity. impishacid At an organizational level, probably not. But the plenty of people in-verse certainly seem sympathetic to the killer – eg the doc saying on the last page that “Supervillain is an interesting choice of words.” It seems plausible that at least SOME people responsible for keeping an eye on Moonshadow / tracking the killer might be working to conceal her. …heh. Enepttastic Hrms….and those with the idea that Moonshadow’s powers are less straight-up invisibility and more a psychic, “Don’t notice me, what I’m doing, etc.” just got more fuel to the fire. Honestly, while I’m not certain that’s the case, I’ve been leaning that way too. Gus Wasn’t there also some speculation that she might have the ability to be in two places at once? Or at least to appear to be somewhere she wasn’t? motorfirebox We’ve actually already seen her do that, during the fight at the barn. Granted, it was only a few feet, but the potential is there. Dave Van Domelen Well, if it was an “I’m not the droids you’re looking for” sort of power, the powder trick wouldn’t have worked. Ian Osmond … that’s unexpected. Does she have an accomplice who’s covering for her? If so — HOW? Or, y’know, is there something REALLY weird here? Moonshadow’s invisible-self goes off on its own without her knowledge, while Mary just goes and lives her life? Monochrome That’s an interesting thought! Like, her invisibility is psychically based, but with the team falling apart and the new stresses she’s had to deal with, her subconscious has become divorced from her conscious mind, literally wandering off to do what it was trained for, kill all the bad people. renfield1969 So an invisible expert at sneaking around has an alibi? Doesn’t prove a thing. David I am convinced now, more than ever, that this series takes input from the community comments here as it progresses page by page. Which is kind of awesome in a way. Unillustrated It’s almost impossible for that not to be the case. You’re halfway through a story arc, tension is starting to build and reader discussion peaks. You take a look at the comments, cause seeing all this interest in something you made is incredibly satisfying, and someone just guessed the exact ending you had planned. Poo. Worse, someone else just pointed out a huge flaw in that ending you didn’t see. Do you go ahead anyway? Of course not, the more you think about it the more obvious it becomes that the previous ending relied on characters doing what you wanted them to do rather than doing stuff consistent with their personalities. Bam. Whole new plot elements spring into being as a direct result of reader comments. The only stories where that definitely doesn’t happen are the ones that are completed before page one hits the interwebs but that’s more commen with serials than comics. Insanenoodlyguy That’d be a bit concerning actually, means that Brennan is giving Molly almost no time to rework pages, and that means she can have little to no buffer. We might just have to accept that the creative team is smart enough to anticipate what we’ll think of. Classtoise Not necessarily! It’s not like every page is a new story-arc. They might take some notes from certain things, etc. and keep it in mind in the future. And they might only rework certain elements. It doesn’t HAVE to be a full page rewrite. KatherineMW I wondered that a little when the Allison-Paladin conversation cut off right after I wrote a long comment calling it a character filibuster. Probably just coincidence in that case. But I do get a bit of a sense that, when the comments section brings up questions or theories, Brennan and Molly have the characters address those theories and shoot down some of the ones that are wrong. Donald Simmons Little Orphen Alison in that last panel. Frances K R Alison’s not NOT using her muscles, in a way that would lead to disuse atrophy; she’s just using them to really really really great effect. Pol Subanajouy I feel like Alison is trying to figure out if this new info is a good thing or a bad thing. Jerden Good news: Her friend is apparently not a serial killer! (even though we know she is) Bad news: We don’t know who the vigilante is! Gus I’m willing to accept that whatever it is that gives them that strength and durability also prevents atrophy and can even cause growth without wear as a stimulus. Now Superman, who came from an alien planet and was just stronger because of Earth’s conditions? He should be a fat slob who still kicks but. Well, maybe not fat since he probably has a hard time consuming enough calories to supply all the energy he needs, but definitely not ripped. And General Zod, having grown up on Krypton, would be strong and fit and utterly kick his butt….. David Nice unprovoked attack on Superman. Tell us how you really feel… Classtoise Not necessarily. The way his body processes yellow sun might be much like how we process calories when working out. It’s the same OUTCOME but not the same PROCESS (no fatigue, no tearing and rebuilding, etc.) Alison’s body is, at least, using energy efficiently. We don’t know if she’s slim because she doesn’t eat a lot of junk or if her body just prevents her from becoming fat, or somehow make her rippling with muscle (as far as we know. Alison might be totally jacked for all we know). Unillustrated Random speculation! What if Moonshadow doesn’t even know she’s doing this? Her power acting on its own, contacting people with similar mind sets, doing the things Mary wishes she could do, all of it fueled by frustration but not conscious choice? Now what would that do to the already murky morality of the issue? Charles M. Hagmaier Eh, maybe part of the reason she volunteers for the fire company is that they let her bench-press the trucks for her daily workout. Classtoise Considering how strong they’ve said she supposedly is, I don’t think even THAT would be a workout. Monochrome Maybe for a dozen or so, but she might do like 2-3 hundred. Although, since she had government sponsored superhero-focused healthcare she might just have a custom local gym/workout spot with 40-50 ton metal slabs to lift. Like one of those machines where you can move the pin to adjust the weight, but each level adds an extra truck’s worth in weight. ZBass Am wondering if the best bench press for her would be flexing a cemented in place leaf spring. Outis My friends always complain when I shorten expressions like that. I’m glad to see it’s not just a habit that exists in my head. Liz Um, didn’t we see on Issue 5, page 48 that Moonshadow can project images of herself where she’s not? What’s to stop her from using a projected image to take a stroll around a heavily government-watched area for a rock-solid alibi? Maybe before she was limited to a certain range, but one of the running themes of this comic is “everyone’s powers are getting stronger and no one knows why.” impishacid Ooooh, good catch! Totally forgot that myself. I think what the doctor said in panel 2 there is a strong hint that Moonshadow has been hiding additional powers (like that one) from everyone. Or, like you suggested, they know about it but she’s gotten far better at long-distance illusory doubles. Could also be that it’s not really a separate power, and she’s just the only invisible (that we know of) powerful enough to both not appear where she really is, and also appear where she isn’t. tygertyger That image projection thing might actually be a major component of how her invisibility works; instead of hiding her image, just send it somewhere else. Wikimancer Did Alison just turn part of her sweater into felt? John Yeah, but nobody would read that webcomic. And one could argue that the visual symbolism of a ripped Superman is much more important from a symbolic perspective: he not only is masculinity incarnate not only in actions but also in appearance. Jerden I think a story about a fat guy with pathetic looking muscles and superstrength sounds very entertaining. I would read that webcomic. However, we could assume that muscle growth is part of the superstrength power, mostly because it looks better. But overthinking things is fun. J G An evil twin! *dramatic music* Mystery girl Dun dun dun! Is her name spelled backwards? Is the supervillain’s name going to be… Yram?! Double dun dun dun! J G Exactly! Nobody knew why Yram sticks a goatee to her chin every morning. MrSokar I assume her supervillian name is something along the lines of Sunglare? Monochrome Whoever this is, Moonshadow or a pseudo-imposter, I hope they don’t eliminate her. When they finally go after the guys who ordered the murders of all the world changing super children, invisible assassin allies won’t go amiss. Iarei My guess here is that moon shadow is working in concert with another invisible. They don’t need an alibi for every murder. Hell it’d be suspicious if they did. But as everyone assumes there’s only one killer they’re cleared. Kid Chaos Alison’s metabolism prevents atrophy; it keeps her strong, but stable. Long practice prevents a “world of cardboard” effect (or “Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex”). motorfirebox Depends on how it works. If her anomaly simply makes all her bones and tissues nigh-invulnerable, allowing her muscles to contract against tons or hundreds of tons of resistance without damage, then yeah. If it’s more dynamic than that—something that only kicks in when her body is under strain that it couldn’t otherwise handle—then maybe not. We’ve seen that Alison doesn’t accidentally knock holes into walls by brushing against them, and so on. She’s not exerting super-strength all the time, so it’s possible that her super-strength isn’t taking the load off her muscles during normal exertion. Or her enhanced metabolism might just keep her at a certain minimum muscle tone. Mystery girl If she’s nigh invulnerable… Does that mean she’s going to start saying “SPOOOON!!”, like some other superhero we all know and love? motorfirebox Just don’t remove her antennae, or she won’t be able to keep her balance! Mystery girl I bet she can still kick butt with no arms! motorfirebox It’s a comic that makes an effort to describe superpowers in at scientific terms, and the entire focus of which is describing the effects of superpowers in a realistic world. It’s perfectly reasonable to bring real-world science into the discussion of such a comic. impishacid Not particularly. The characters in-verse clearly have lots of technical jargon for it, and they certainly measure the effects, but what have we actually seen about the HOW of “biodynamism?” I don’t think there’s really anything that’d suggest how exactly Alison’s muscle tissue works, which is what Markus brought up. We know some things about WHAT it does – eg how Alison’s bones are tougher than her skin, that blades ‘three microns wide’ can cut her, and ‘subatomic’ blades would probably cut right through her, but HOW that happens? Nah. motorfirebox Well, two things. One, understanding the mechanics of biodynamic abilities is a necessary precursor to investigating the ultimate ‘how’ of those abilities. If you don’t know that Alison’s bones are tougher than her skin, you wouldn’t know to look for something that MAKES her bones tougher than her skin. Find something that Alison has in her bones and skin that normal people don’t, and you’ve found the how. Second (and, really, because of the first reason) I think that’s a distinction without a difference. The more topical levels of a complex problem are often guideposts to the deeper levels. You can’t really understand DNA without understanding heredity—they both fall under the umbrella of “genetics”. You wouldn’t say that Mendel wasn’t investigating genetics just because he wasn’t directly investigating DNA. We wouldn’t have known to look for DNA if not for Mendel or someone like him. Zach Marx Isometric exercises using dynamic tension of muscle groups against muscle groups should work. A lot of strong men in the 30s supposedly used them as their primary form of exercise. Allison is definitely strong enough to challenge Allison’s muscles. Ian Osmond Page 14: “You’re not ‘super-strong’, at least not biologically. Your somadynamism may be autonomic, but you certainly don’t break your bed when you roll over in your sleep. It is, on some level, under your control.” Her muscles wear normally under normal usage. When she does something super-strong, her super-strong-ness kicks in. Mystery girl Now children, remember, the good doctor only said that they had checked her out first, not whether she had alibis or not.