SFP

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  • Bo Lindbergh

    No glass? That just doesn’t work. Even all-digital projectors have noisy cooling fans.

    • It looks like there’s a glass pane in panels 4 & 5.

      • Mechwarrior

        And what, it’s on rails so it can be slid open or did Alison punch through it?

        • Roman Snow

          Clevin’s arms are already through the opening in panel 6.

          • Mechwarrior

            Which means that either there isn’t a glass screen there or it was removed somehow.

          • Roman Snow

            My money’s on Dr. Glasshater, who obliterates glass so thoroughly and completely that no one can remember the glass was there to begin with.

            (But also, I don’t personally think it looks like there’s glass in any shot of the projector window.)

          • Jbark

            Wait, is that actually a thing? That sounds like a stand power, except used on glass and not people.

          • Roman Snow

            I made it up for the joke.

          • Sam

            Or Clevin has phasing powers.

          • Mechwarrior

            Given that he’s resting his elbows on the sill, it would seem that he’s limited to phasing through glass.

          • Sam

            Ah, so Clevin is actually made of solid light.

      • Roman Snow

        If you mean the lines in the upper right corner, I think those are just boxes/equipment in the background. See panel 2 of this page: http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-6/page-100-2/

        • It’s more the rays change colour as well as Clevin’s skin tone.

    • Dean

      Lisa has obviously at some point invented a completely silent movie projector.

  • ALIBOT.THE.MURDEROUS.LESBORG
    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      Do you hear that commenters? That is the sound of ultimate suffering. My heart made that sound when the hollowed-eyed woman tableslamed Max into a chokehold. ALIBOT makes it now.

      • Dean

        Ferfoxache, don’t do that. I thought my computer just died!

      • Vaporware

        She’s only /mostly/ crashed.

      • Tylikcat

        Do you see anyway in which this turns into rainbows and kittens for everyone in the near to medium future? Because I’m really not.

        • Weatherheight

          Could I have puppies instead? Cats make me sneeze and twittering birds like to nest in my ears.

      • Weatherheight

        And remember, be honest. This is for posterity.

      • Markus

        Screaming? Nah, that’s just dial up tones.

  • Could go either way – the touch of his elbow could be to say that she feels the same way or it could be to reassure him that she likes him (but not that way) if she doesn’t.

    • Fluffy Dragon

      I was thinking that too.
      Could lead to either a “yes.” or a “don’t.”

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      I’m not sold. Visual storytelling conventions scream to me that rejection is immediate, concurrent with the gesture, while acceptance can takes its time and play over a cliffhanger. It would be a tad cheap and mean’s what I’m saying.

    • And perhaps a third option;
      “Look, Clevin.. you’re lovely, but I’ve just had the most ridiculous 72 hours imaginable, and am running on fumes right now, both physically and emotionally.. Can you ask again sometime?”

      • Weatherheight

        Are you suggesting that this situation could be drawn out even longer and a resolution of any sort need not happen right this instant…?

        I’m sure that’s a very popular option amongst the community…

        ::grins winningly and quickly scurries offstage before he gets pummeled by rotten tomatoes by probably more than one fandom::

  • Yirtimd2

    Pickup Master 100 Level!
    He can PickUp even strongest Superheroine just by one walk to the movies!

    • Walter

      Other way around. He is gonna get picked up.

  • Manuel Simone

    So, this is the start of a beautiful friendship, who might either stay this way, turn into a beautiful love story or a “beautiful” hate/rivalry. We’ll wait and see.

  • Wood

    Don’t you hate those people who keep talking at the movies? YOU’RE NOT IN YOUR LIVING ROOM WATCHING TV, GUYS, SOME OF US ARE TRYING TO ENJOY THE WIZARD GIRL STORY.

    • Zinc

      I’m pretty sure they are literally the only people in the theater. See the last panel of

      http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-6/page-98-2/

      • GreatWyrmGold

        Just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t there. The differently-visible are people, too.

        • Seer of Trope

          Moonshadow is trying to watch the movie, damn it!

        • bryan rasmussen

          omg Moonshadow is going to try to kill Clevin!

        • Weatherheight

          Boy, it was tough when I started reflecting only 300 nanometer light for a week.

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            Brad was so confused by everybody’s reaction.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    MEANWHILE, TITANS:
    “Hey look pal we’re just trying to sleep here and we’re terrified of fire get off your high horse for five damn minutes and mull over the fact that you’re the monster in the scary stories our parents told us”

    • Balthazar

      Wow… that’s… that’s deep.

      As expected of Haywood Miyazaki.

  • Tim Hundley

    I like this. He isn’t laying it on too thick, but still demonstrating that he has enough self-respect to voice his feelings. That being said, I am mentally preparing for the next page, where he ruins it all by revealing that he’s not wearing any pants.

    • Fortooate

      i am biased but i’d like to register that i think that that happening would not ruin anything

    • phantomreader42

      “I’m Gary Owens, and I’m not wearing any pants.”

  • Harvesting a Big Tomato

    Her facial expression in 2nd/3rd panels is looks tense in a not very good way. Not sure about this all.

    I mean, if they do end up dating or smth, could this be, like, an escapism thing? Things in life are stressful, so you try to ignore/overshadow them by doing something seemingly pleasant & distracting, with unknown results.

    +Suspiciously out-of-frame left hand, hmmmmmmmmmm.

    • ALIBOT.THE.MURDEROUS.LESBORG

      DOES.NOT.COMPUTE
      SYSTEMS.SHUTTING.DOWN
      CORE.ALGORITHMS.COMPROMISED
      FACIAL.EXPRESSIONS.DRAINING.TOO.MUCH.POWER

      FAILSAFE.ENGAGED
      RIPPING.HETEROSEXUAL.ENEMY.ARM.OFF

    • Ellis Jones

      Pretty sure she looks like the way she does in the third panel because she’s been reminded of Max, which we will all remember was the subject of her vomiting like 10 pages ago. She didn’t look like that after he told her that he liked her, only after dating was mentioned.

  • IE

    Uuuugh, girl! Say yes! *flops around ridiculously*

    This is purely based on my own anecdotal experiences, but I’ve gone out with a couple of ‘Clevin’ type guys and I don’t regret any of them. Guys who were honest with their feelings, had healthy interests outside of me, and didn’t pressure me to date them – all good experiences, even when the relationships didn’t last. Hell, I’m currently engaged to one – an incredible man who was one of my best friends for ten years before we started going out. (He wasn’t playing the long game either, we both dated other people during that time, and just hung out because we genuinely enjoyed each others’ company.)

    Point is, there’s so many assholes wearing the camouflage of the ‘nice guy’ that the actual nice guys often get overlooked, but they are so, so worth it if you can find them.

    I think she should give Clevin a chance. He’s already surprised her a couple times, been not quite what she expected, had more depth than she may have assumed. Going on a couple dates isn’t a binding contract that means they have to be together forever, it’s just a way to get to know someone and see if they might be right for you. She went on a few dates with Max and found out he wasn’t right for her – good! That’s how dating is supposed to work. Go on a few dates with Clevin. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t, but the potential risk of a couple crappy dates is well out-weighed by the chance to have a healthy romantic relationship.

    I feel like she’s gonna go all ‘ugh I am a terrible bad persons I don’t deserve sweet innocent guys or anybody and/or I’d just end up hurting you’ and that’s bullshit. If you feel like maybe you’re not a good person, GO DATE AND BE FRIENDS WITH GOOD PEOPLE. They will rub off on you! They will call you on your shit and inspire you to do better. Isolating yourself, avoiding normal human experiences, festering in guilt, that doesn’t help you or anyone.

    So yes, I’ma ship this. I will ship the hell out of a potentially healthy relationship with a genuinely nice guy/gal for Ali or any other damn character in the strip.

    • ampg

      100% on this. I think you’ve pointed out a big issue with a lot of the complaints about this arc – everyone’s assuming that it’s a standard “girl passes over nice geeky guy for jerks, but he finally wins out” nerd fantasy storyline, when we have NO reason to believe that’s how this is going to play out. Maybe she gives him a shot, it doesn’t work out for benign reasons, and they stay friends. Maybe she fucks it up because her entire romantic past consists of an unrequited crush and 1.5 dates. This comic has played with tropes for its entire run, and I see no reason to believe that it’s about to suddenly play things straight.

      • Scott

        I think the largest problem I have with the idea of an Allison/Clevin relationship is that it wouldn’t really be good for either of them (in my opinion). I feel like Clevin knows so little about Allison as a person that most of his feelings are just hero worship and are going to result in him getting hurt when he realizes how wild Allison can get when the mood takes her. Also, I think Allison has so much going on in her life right now that she is struggling enough with just determining who she his and who she wants to be. That’s not usually a healthy starting point for a romantic relationship with someone else. I think Allison could really benefit from some time being single while she gets the rest of her ducks in a row.

        Alternatively, maybe Clevin actually being a good person will be just the boost Allison needs to restore her faith in humanity and resume her projects with gusto. However, I really struggle to imagine an outcome of this relationship that doesn’t involve Clevin getting hurt and left behind.

        • ampg

          I could totally see her being the messed-up one in this relationship, and him being the more mature one who has to end things. That’s not to say he wouldn’t get hurt, but it’s different from him getting left behind.

          • Scott

            Oh, I only say left behind because Allison is also seen to be someone of far-reaching ambition while Clevin seems like someone satisfied with more simple things. I’m not saying that to mock Clevin and I’m not saying that relationships of that kind can never work. However, I don’t see Allison being the type to come home to a simple small-town musician after a long day of fixing the world. I mean, I expect to be wrong in some way. This comic always surprises me. I just don’t see the USS Allivin making it very far.

          • Shweta Narayan

            I feel that we just haven’t seen enough of Clevin to even *know* how far his ambitions go. And like, he’s leading a band and working in a movie theater as an undergrad who’s into film and music? That doesn’t say satisfied with small-time to me, it says he’s currently working up to whatever he wants, which could be as you say but… eh IDK. Whatever it is isn’t *mainstream* but nerdy and/or counterculture artists aren’t inherently less ambitious.

            Which gets at another trope I would *love* to see undermined – the one where it’s only the assholes & loners who are truly ambitious or protaggy, and the people who have groups of friends and care about others are just support staff / redshirts / etc. I would love to see Clevin have ambitions that in their own way are as huge as Patrick’s.

          • And he organised something to help someone.

          • According to Lucy Kellaway, a columnist on the Financial Times, a supportive spouse (who is willing to put their career on hold) is a great help to ambitious individuals.

        • bta

          Yes.

          When all is said and done, Clevin could play a big part in keeping her grounded and feeling less isolated and unworthy.

          The question now is how involved Allison is going to feel about this. If she doesn’t care all that much about the relationship, she’ll just leave the moment her superhero problems make things harder between them.

          Right now the appeal of Clevin is that he’s “something very uncomplicated”, but that impression can’t last: he’s a person and so is she.

          • Shweta Narayan

            And given *how* focused she is on biodynamics and their version of special, I kinda hope she might take him for granted until he dumps her ^-^

            Now that would be a wake-up i’d like to see her respond to.

        • Alon Rand

          “…I think Allison has so much going on in her life right now that she is
          struggling enough with just determining who she his and who she wants to
          be.”

          The thing is, given Allison’s ambitions, this is likely to be what her entire life is like. If she waits until her life is stable to have a relationship, she’ll probably be single forever.

          • Shweta Narayan

            And that may be for the best. As she currently is she’s probably bad for every potential partner who isn’t bad for her.

          • Alon Rand

            Possibly. It really depends on how they “aren’t bad for her.” A significant other can’t FORCE change on a person that doesn’t want it, but they can provide incentive to make the person choose to change.

          • Shweta Narayan

            Eh, in my experience this depends entirely on power balances.

            An SO *can* force change another person doesn’t want. It’s abuse, but it’s possible. It happens. If the power balance is far enough in their favor it’s not even hard.

            Al has shown herself willing to do that if she’s convinced that another person is Wrong. So that’s evidence for her being bad for p much anyone she *can* force, unless they are all in on her point of view.

            If they share her point of view then they’re only going to reinforce this notion she has that she gets to play God, not help her get past it. So they’re bad for her.

            If they have her kind of power and disagree with her… well I’m not sure which one would be worse for the other, but I’d guess the collateral damage will be bad for a lot of people.

            Now someone who disagrees with her and is capable of pointing out her issues in a way she finds palatable might be good for her. But that is a *ton* of mental and emotional work and it places one hell of a strain on the person doing the teaching. What’s Al got to give them in return? The ability to fly with her? Most of what she can give interpersonally is nice but unnecessary. Cosmetic.

          • Alon Rand

            Okay, yes, conceded, one person can force another to change through abuse. I would submit that such change is functionally never for the better, which was the sort of change I was implicitly talking about, though. Though I would point out that there is both physical and emotional abuse, and Allison is not immune from the latter.

            And while yes, Allison has shown herself willing to compel certain behavior from another in circumstances she deems sufficiently dire, it’s also clear that she was really, really conflicted about it after the fact, and it’s unlikely she’d repeat that sort of thing casually just yet (whether this was the start of a slippery slope or not is impossible to say from here), and almost certainly not against a person she had strong personal feelings towards.

            Regarding your last point, that depends entirely on who the significant other is, what they each value in others, and how their relationship develops. It’s a fool’s errand to try to quantify the relative contributions of participants in a relationship – everything involved is altogether subjective to those in it. Nor is there any guarantee that Al would not contribute more than you expect to someone she found herself feeling strongly about. She has her ambitions, sure, but those kinds of priorities can undergo radical changes when new people prompt a transformation of perspective. On the flip side, it’s entirely possible she could become involved with someone who shares her passions and wants to participate in them. Someone she can see as a collaborator in her work would have many more points of contact to reinforce and criticize her.

          • Shweta Narayan

            Arguably, Patrick just *did* force Al to change, or at least to push her previous tendencies past a point she can really live with, by emotional manipulation. So yeah, clearly Al is not immune to emotional abuse :/

            I just think the balance of power’s with her in so many ways that it will be actively difficult for her not to mess someone else up, unless they have power to throw around too. And she does not currently have the self-awareness to be careful enough of other people’s boundaries. This whole chapter has featured her overstepping boundaries in one way or another.

            (My sympathy for Max hovers around the zero mark but what she did to him was unarguably a massive boundary violation and she knows it. But I’m still not sure she even knows she also violated Feral’s boundaries/consent.)

          • Alon Rand

            I don’t think it’s even arguable – Patrick absolutely emotionally manipulated Allison. He’s been doing it since the start. I suspect twisting her worldview to more closely match his own, and thus enlisting her as an ally, is a major factor in whatever his long-term plans are.

            I don’t disagree that anyone getting into a relationship with Allison is taking a huge chance, whether they know it or not. The general rule of thumb, yes, is when there are huge power imbalances in a relationship, it tends to be an unhealthy one. But that’s a rule of thumb, not an absolute law, is all I’m saying. Someone who is sufficiently generous and wise could get involved with her and not suffer for it. Such a person is rare, but they do exist. Who knows whether Clevin is such a person or not – we haven’t seen enough of his character yet. He SEEMS to be a genuinely kind and patient person, and those are traits a successful significant other for Allison would almost certainly need.

            And we’re on the same page regarding Max – he’s a deeply unsympathetic victim, but is a victim all the same. The matter of Feral’s boundaries is almost certainly something Allison hasn’t thought about deeply enough. If she had, she would have pulled strings to discuss the subject with Feral before approaching Max. And I doubt very much she’ll think about it enough until and unless a downside to Max’s powerboost presents itself – so long as the outcome for Feral appears unambiguously good, she won’t re-examine that aspect of things.

          • Shweta Narayan

            Agreed on all of this *except* that Patrick has shown himself to be so terrible at manipulating Al on purpose* that I’d want to know what he actually thinks he’s doing w that cheque and that dossier before concluding that it was a deliberate mindfuck.

            * I guess the mess that ended up with her throwing the thingy at him and storming out could have been an elaborate trick to make him look bad at manipulating her for some deeper purpose but it came across to me very much as teenage boy is not actually as clever as he thought.

          • Alon Rand

            I’m VERY suspicious of Patrick’s apparent ineptitude when it comes to Allison. The boy owns a huge multinational corporation entirely on the strength of his ability to manipulate people. He came within inches of literally ruling the world, and managed to avoid being held in any way accountable for his crimes in the process, entirely on the strength of his ability to manipulate people. And it’s been made pretty obvious that a great deal of his behavior around Alison is an act. I personally think nearly all of it is. I think he “fails” to convince her to do things on purpose, either to lull her into a false sense of security, or as an effort of reverse psychology.

          • Shweta Narayan

            I won’t like, die of shock if that turns out to be the case. But I think it’ll be more interesting storytelling if not.

            …. well unless Molly & Brennan find a way to make it more interesting than I’m imagining could be possible, which, is a thing they do on a regular basis so maybe I shouldn’t make that kinda comment 🙂

          • Alon Rand

            Yeah, it’s possible he’s got a blind spot for Al – if he really does have feelings for her, that would not be odd. It’s pretty common for people that are normally very socially intelligent to become inept towards a person they’re attracted to.

            But personally, my starting position with Patrick is to assume he’s got nefarious intentions, and it’s his job to prove me wrong. We know his history, and we know he hasn’t suddenly transformed into an altruist. He’s got SOME kind of plan going on – the only real open questions are exactly what his endgame is, and to what extent Alison plays into it.

          • Shweta Narayan

            Nefarious plans, totally. Always *competent* nefarious plans that totally go how he meant them to, I’m less sure of.

          • Alon Rand

            The mark of a gifted strategist is not laying out a plan that never encounters unexpected obstacles – that requires perfect knowledge of all future events and is therefore impossible. It is successfully adapting when the unexpected occurs, and turning it to your own advantage.

            Patrick has, manifestly, done this more than once. The very fact that he remains free, with his past identity as a global super-criminal still secret, is proof enough of that all by itself. We don’t yet know how, but I’m fairly confident that having an enhanced Feral in the world also benefits Patrick’s long-term goals. I’m sure Patrick knew that Al would reject his money but act on the intel about Max exactly as she did. That takes far less insight into her mind than Patrick has. The open question here is whether he alienated her at the moment he did just so that he could push her to act in this manner now, or whether he was trying to be honest with her for more personal reasons.

          • Shweta Narayan

            Not saying I don’t understand that reading, and see it as a distinct possibility.

            I just think also think we’ve seen stuff that allows a reading where Patrick’s cool-n-controlled facade is just that and he’s *barely* holdin it all together. So this one’s also possible given the data we have: “holy ship I barely managed to escape being caught several times now and the only reason I did escape was Al having a crush on me & then I fucked that up, and the 2 years are nearly done and she’s going to turn me in and I HAVE to keep going or the conspiracy will do the thing so I have to send her SOMEthing that’ll buy me time, either by goodwill (haha nope but I can hope) or by blackmail or bribery and and what the fuck do I have let me just stick it all together in an envelope and send it her way and hope she reacts to it one way or another without just tossing the thing into the trash unread”

            yeah IDK why my mental model of Patrick shies away from poop words but drops f-bombs just fine, but you get the idea 🙂

          • Alon Rand

            Absolutely, that’s also possible – not saying it isn’t. But given past behavior on his part, I don’t feel like Patrick has earned the benefit of the doubt – I’ll have to see some evidence of non-malevolent intent before I assume he’s not still plotting evil. “Expect the worst, hope for the best” is my motto. 😉

          • Shweta Narayan

            Oh yeah I still think the intent is entirely self-centered here. This isn’t sympathy for Patrick speaking 😀

            I just think that *all* these kids are hot messes and none of them have it all that well together; Brad’s doing awesome but even he is clearly struggling some to figure out how to be a biodynamic adult.

            Meanwhile Patrick is still trying to work with the baseline assumptions he laid out when he was like fifteen or sixteen and having him actually be on top of things means he’s more competent than I currently give him credit for.

            (Also the level of understanding required to manipulate people is not that deep really and I don’t think he even knows that he doesn’t understand people as well as he thinks.)

          • Alon Rand

            Well, it stands to reason that most of the biodynamics would be hot messes – that’s what tends to happen when you grant children massive levels of social power after all, and these people all had that plus literal super-powers. It’s going to mess with a person’s still-developing psychology a bit.

            Regarding Patrick’s ability to manipulate people, yeah, you’re right that he doesn’t really need deep understanding of any given person’s personality, thanks to his own power – being able to hear everything another is thinking makes it really, really easy to figure out, purely from trial and error, what works to make them act and think the way you want, without needing to develop any deeper insight. His working model of human motivation is probably pretty shallow, but it has the benefit of being operationally effective.

          • Shweta Narayan

            Totally!

            I’m hoping to see the limits of that “operational” though. That’s where the stories all get interesting IMO ^-^ I want to see Patrick fuck w Al but not necessarily with the results he predicted cause Al has in fact changed in 2 years (though not as much as we might like)

          • Alon Rand

            Agreed. I’m really curious to see what Patrick does next.

      • Elaine Lee

        Without conflict, you got no story. Though the story for a while could be “Alison gets used to nice.” Remember, Alison is a virgin. A girl could do worse than find a nice, sweet guy who’s nuts about her to be her first. Since we’ve seen her attraction for the bad boys, she could grow tired of Clevin. But we have to go through a few relationships to learn how to get it right.

        • ampg

          Right – a big part of the Violet arc was, “Alison doesn’t understand how friends act toward each other.” This is obviously part of the “Alison has no romantic experience” arc, but we don’t know where on the arc it falls yet.

      • martynW

        You know, there’s a reason clichés exist in stories. Sometimes a story is told over and over again because it’s true.

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      I’m not going to say that the general prospect of dating the shy nerdy kind is concerning, obviously –although really honest with their feelings, had healthy interests outside of me, and didn’t pressure me to date them should be the subset of decent humans, not actually nice guys–

      But I’m a tad wary.
      Alison has a problem with authority. A lot of issue 6 deals with that, if you think about it. Gurwara in particular, the whole deal with Brad’s community and the place she assumed herself to have in it at first…
      Her peculiar notion of power dynamics lead her to coerce a guy into helping one friend of hers without the consent or knowledge of even the friend. And now we have itty tiny Clevin, unassuming and kind if a bit helpless, with feelings for her for pages and pages now…

      She’s going to crush him.

      • Walter

        She has been physically violent to all her dudes so far, so that’s a fair guess.

        I guess I’m hoping that the dynamic will be different? Like, I think Alison has AN IDEA, and she is mostly drawn to guys who HAVE IDEAS. When these ideas conflict, she beats them.

        Clevin doesn’t seem to be “her type”, in the long run. He doesn’t seem to have AN IDEA. It seems like this will be:

        Alison: We are all in this together…right?!
        Clevin: Ok.
        Alison: Huh…so that’s what that feels like.

        I’m looking for a brief, happy fling with Clevin before she finds another thin white boy with strong ideas to fight with

        • Markus

          I’m hoping someone without biodynamism might be good for her. Like, kinda by definition a power seems to come with a sort of mental demand to react to that power some way. Menace’s manipulation and rage comes from the fact that any consent is kinda coerced. Max’s selfishness is a gut response to a world and a power that constantly tries to demand selflessness from him. Al’s domestic violence is a result of the fact that violence has been the method by which she’s lived her life for the better part of a decade.

          Hopefully Klevin’s boring, ordinary human trauma in his life will be a grounding experience for Al.

          • Shweta Narayan

            I find it really weird how many people think there’s anything ordinary or boring about Clevin.

            I’d like to hang out with him like 1000* more than I would with Al ^-^

      • The Improbable Man

        Nitpick: I don’t think he’s shy. I’m sure he’s intimidated because she is literally the most powerful woman on the planet, but the dude is NOT shy, he’s asked her to go to the movies twice and is now being very obvious about asking her to date him in a way that really can’t be interpreted as “just friends”.

        He has a band and organized a fundraiser, and shy people don’t do those things.

        • Walter

          Yeah. Clevin is not shy.

      • Smithy

        …. I mean, it SHOULD be the basis of most humans, but it’s really not from what I’ve garnered through my own experiences (recent events are not exactly going to contradict me on this), so I do like the fact that a justice-driven individual is interested in somebody who is, y’know, kind and not almost patently evil.

        I do quite agree with Alison being a vastly more powerful presence than Clevin, and that I’m not sure how well a balance can be struck here. On the other hand, we barely know Clevin, so we’ll just have to wait and see. I’m curious how it’s going to turn out 🙂

      • FlashNeko

        There’s quite a bit more to it than “Alison has a problem with authority” since you could really easily argue that authority seems to have a problem with her first.

        Every possible argument about Gurwara has pretty much been said at this point but it always seems to end up at the crossroads of if he’s “just being a teacher” or if he’s deliberately going out of his way to “take the superwoman down a peg”, given that he came at her with the presumption she had a peg that needed taking down before even getting to know her at all.

        And with the benefit of hindsight to take in the whole conversation and have a “hey, wait a minute…” moment, Brad was kind of being a dink.

        Think about it: In the Women’s Discussion Group Alison observes two people who could actively benefit from what Valkyrie offers (Carmen with the protective side and Vanessa with the employment and ability to have her needs met side) and even Amanda could benefit just from knowing options beyond aquatic things are out there for her if she wants them.

        Yet before Alison can even start to explain, Brad shuts her down and shames her by essentially saying, “Alison, I’m presuming you’re trying to take over everything with your personal needs and you’re also not special IN THE RIGHT WAY, so please shut up and go back to your corner.”

        Now, to be fair, Brad probably did not have any malicious intent in what he was saying and probably thought what he was doing was the best for everyone (that wasn’t Alison). But when a friend cuts you like that non-maliciously and you just kind of have to take it and keep smiling, doesn’t that make it hurt all the more?

        And think about this too: What was the final comment that Max said that finally set Alison off? What was the comeback to her arguments and pleading and begging that finally made her decide it was okay to use force?

        “This time you don’t get your way.”

        In a time where she has been getting anything BUT her way and even had to endure purposeful public humiliation and also had to bite her tongue more than once.

        While it does not justify her actions, in that state can you fully fault someone for thinking, “Well, if everyone is going to do nothing but treat me like a tyrant even when I’m trying to play by the rules, let’s see what happens when I act the way they apparently want me to.”

        • SJ

          That… is a very protagonist-centric way of looking at events…

          • FlashNeko

            Is that inherently bad though?

            I mean, sure, you don’t want to fall into “The Protagonist Must Be Right Because They’re The Protagonist” fallacy but it seems like with all the consideration over how everyone else might be taking anything Alison does, it seems like there should at least be an equal amount of thought put into what effect everyone elses actions are having on her.

          • SJ

            Is that inherently bad though?

            It’s not inherently bad, but… I find that it tends to be bad more often than not. From my POV, feeling empathy or sympathy for Alison in any of the situations/examples you mentioned requires subscribing to that very “The Protagonist Must Be Right Because They’re The Protagonist” fallacy.

            Discussions over the Gurwara and Max situations have been done, and redone, and I’d just as soon just stipulate that we won’t reach common ground with those, and keep it pushing. We probably won’t with Brad, either, but I feel like that situation in particular requires going into it thinking that Alison is in the right in order to believe that Brad “was kind of being a dink.” Brad is probably the least dink-ish sapient person in the history of this webcomic, and may be the least dink-ish character, behind Buster. I have yet to read an exchange between Brad and X, where I came away thinking, “You know, X kind of has a point.”

            I think that if anybody in the SFP-verse finds themselves on the opposite side from Brad on an issue, they should probably fall back and re-evaluate their opinion, but YMMV. I would much rather read a series where he is the central character, to tell you the truth. Or Amanda; she’s pretty un-dink-ish, too.

        • Lostman

          Here the thing, Alison has to get them. Instead of going through Brad, Alison has talk to people regardless if Brad wants her or not. However if it’s their choice if they want join.

          Alison can’t force people into help, but Brad can’t stop them from enlisting ether.

    • Jared Rosenberg

      Oh noes, a healthy relationship in a work of fiction? You know that can’t happen (still a better lovestory than Twilight). Tough luck Clevin.

    • conan

      I think half of my hate of this possible relationship is that the rest of this arc has been complete crap. Alison/Clevin is completely tainted by the waters around it and will only remind me of this bullshit storyline, Max, that substitute teacher… I never want to see Clevin again because of all that. Their actual relationship seems built of cliche and bad writing, whether or not it’d be (un)realistic or (un)healthy. This entire arc has me on the verge of quitting…

  • Julian Arce

    I’m going to be so pissed if by the end of this we don’t know what happened to Zulie and Linus. Hey! You two back there, keep it quiet!

  • MisterTeatime

    Zulie’s crying. Did something happen to Linus? IS LINUS OKAY

    • Jovial Contrarian

      Probably got locked in a fridge somewhere.

      He’ll get better.

    • Markus

      It’s a Miyazaki film. Linus is $110% dead.

      • MisterTeatime

        $1.10 dead? Damn. Cheap funeral.

      • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

        $110% is so vastly intriguing a concept

      • Balthazar

        It’s a Miyazaki film. Linus is ¥110% dead.

  • Walter

    Grinnnn….

    Smooches incoming. Pull him out of the booth and kiss him mid-air. It will not be awkward and will instead be awesome. Trust this internet voice.

  • Kifre

    So hoping that the first word on the next page is “don’t.”

  • Pol Subanajouy

    Honestly, I’m just worried that he’s not ready for all the baggage she has. 🙁

    • Tylikcat

      Yeah. Before this last whole bit with Max, I would have found it sweet, but maybe not that interesting. Now… I kind of cringe in the expectation that it will be interesting.

      (Can Clevin possibly have the emotional wisdom enough to insist that he not sit judgement on Alison, but just care about her? Because I can’t see that there are any good answers if he gets pulled into that morass.)

      • Weatherheight

        Even worse…

        What if what Alison needs right now is someone who can be a sounding board who is both accepting and willing and capable of pushing her to grow?

        And if so, since that’s more the definition of “friend” than “romantic partner” (and no, I don’t believe these things are mutually exclusive, but much of western culture has taught us they are), does Clevin have the wisdom to recognize that his desire for a romantic partner may be in opposition to what Alison needs right now?

        I too wonder if Clevin has the tools in his kit to be that person. Guess we’ll see.

        • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

          For my money, you’re not worried enough.

          I happen to wonder if Clevin would be wise enough to recognize a sinking ship and stray far away in the somewhat non-zero probability case that Alison, having brushed against unquestioned dominance, came to like the taste of it.
          Not the unfair criticism she once was pitted against of not being able to bear not having her way, no– the raw delight that is being top dog, pure and simple.

          • Zorae42

            ???? She’s always liked it? It’s just before she only entertained those feelings on other biodynamic people that were actively doing harm to people.

            Remember way back in the beginning where she sealed Rat in a tiny trash can, threatened to toss it into the ocean, and then left him there trapped in there for however long it took for the police to respond to her anonymous tip? And what was he doing wrong? Tagging the town with Menace’s pic. But you people in the comments apparently thinks petty vandalism is enough of a crime to warrant such horrible treatment. But inflicting slight, temporary pain on someone who’s allowing countless people to die unnecessarily by inaction? Woah, suddenly you’re a horrible person that no one could ever love now.

            And she clearly felt awful about it afterwards considering she puked her guts out over it.

            I really don’t understand this level of vitriol towards Alison.

          • SJ

            …Remember way back in the beginning where she sealed Rat in a tiny trash can, threatened to toss it into the ocean, and then left him there trapped in there for however long it took for the police to respond to her anonymous tip? And what was he doing wrong? Tagging the town with Menace’s pic. But you people in the comments apparently thinks petty vandalism is enough of a crime to warrant such horrible treatment. But inflicting slight, temporary pain on someone who’s allowing countless people to die unnecessarily by inaction? Woah, suddenly you’re a horrible person that no one could ever love now…

            At the risk of going all #NotAllReaders, I would take it as a kindness if you would lay off the patently false notion that everybody who opposes Alison’s proclivity towards sadistic, disproportionate violent solutions to problems didn’t start opposing it until she did it to the author’s argumentative straw man proxy.

            Some us have been on this the whole way; it’s not as if comments have been open throughout the entire history of the series, or that all of us even started reading it at the same time. It is either misinformed or intentionally disingenuous to suggest that all of us who objected to Alison’s [so you claim] “inflicting slight, temporary pain”** to Max were okay with what essentially amounted to her exhibiting police brutality with Rat. A whole bunch of us were giving her side eye for that, too.

            **Apropos of nothing, I don’t know if I will ever be able to hear someone talking about a victim’s ‘slight’ pain (or any derivation thereof) without risking permanent damage to my eyes, from rolling them so hard. Like the saying goes, ‘slight’ pain is pain that happens to somebody else. ◔_◔

          • Zorae42

            I’m sorry for assuming with the severity of how you all have reacted to her recent axtins and claims that you’ll stop reading if she’s not punished meant that you would’ve left long ago after those events in the beginning. Since I couldn’t see a reason why you would continue to read a comic about what appear to be, in your opinion, such a deplorable and unlikable character.

            I di apologize for my use of ‘slight’. It does have a rude connotation when you point it out like that. It’s hard to describe the sharp pain you get when someone twists your arm the way I assume she did. Since it’s not “extreme” but it’s definitely not “slight” either, although it does go completely away the instant they stop.

            Although now I’ve been struck with the image of her giving him an indian rope burn in that darkness (although I bet some of you would still classify that as torture).

          • Zorae42

            I’m sorry for assuming that the severity of how you all have reacted to her recent axtins and claims that you’ll stop reading if she’s not punished meant that you would’ve left long ago after those events in the beginning. Since I couldn’t see a reason why you would continue to read a comic about what appear to be, in your opinion, such a deplorable and unlikable character.
            I di apologize for my use of ‘slight’. It does have a rude connotation when you point it out like that. It’s hard to describe the sharp pain you get when someone twists your arm the way it was implied she did. Since it’s not “extreme” but it’s definitely not “slight” either, although it does go completely away the instant they stop.
            Although now I’ve been struck with the image of her giving him an indian rope burn in that darkness (although I bet some of you would still classify that as torture).

          • SJ

            I’m sorry for assuming that the severity of how you all have reacted to her recent axtins and claims that you’ll stop reading if she’s not punished meant that you would’ve left long ago after those events in the beginning. Since I couldn’t see a reason why you would continue to read a comic about what appear to be, in your opinion, such a deplorable and unlikable character.

            I won’t speak for anyone else, but I keep waiting for her to get her comeuppance.

          • Izo

            Same here.

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            You mean inflicting pain as a means of punishment or coercion?

        • Tylikcat

          It’s not the tension between friend and romantic partner that I’m seeing, though maybe that’s because I’ve personally always found that stupid, and I’m stubborn on that point.

          • Weatherheight

            I’m hoping that there won’t be a tension – they’ll pick one and stick with it.
            And I respect and endorse your stubbornness. 😀

      • Pol Subanajouy

        Ugh, Clevin would have to be of such unusual character to pull that off. 😛

  • zellgato

    well hopefully someone actually uninvolved in the super world will be good for perspective..
    because honestly..
    She’s really losing her perspective the way CEO’s or Police, or college teachers, army folks, all the folks who have high stress, or leadership sorta of roles do.
    Everyone needs a grounding effect.

    Whether she’s interested or going to tell him she can’t cause she’s broke n and needs to figure herself out more than anything else. Well I identify with that portion of thougt anyway

  • CrimsonCarnivoreOnAClayCourt

    Unsorted thoughts:

    The chapter started with Alison saving people from a burning building. The chapter is ending(?) with Alison watching a movie about a fire-themed heroine. Huh.

    Even though The Torch Adae (too lazy to look up the spelling) feels like a Miyazaki film, I get the Moana soundtrack stuck in my head because of it. I think it’s the parallels between Zulie/Moana, Linus/Maui, and the “I am the torch!” moment on this page.

    I want to see an Alison/Zulie team-up. Like, I dunno. Zulie comes to life due to biodynamic shenanigans and they fight crime/world hunger and talk about lesbianing.

    My first and only serious relationship ended at a showing of Monsters Vs. Aliens. So this is bringing back some memories.

    • Ellie

      Maybe the fire is a Phoenix metaphor.

  • Darkoneko Hellsing

    Yeees.

  • Ellie

    Alison doesn’t seem like she’s in the the mood to be in another relationship right now. :I Just sayin.

    • Mechwarrior

      Agreed, Alison’s got too much emotional baggage dragging her down right now. Hopefully Klevin will catch on to that before something happens that ruins their friendship.

  • Jason Rivest

    Aww this is so cute!

  • Philip Bourque

    Foolish child, it is not the dark you should fear, but that which hides within it. And when you illuminate all, you shall find how damned and powerless you truly are.

    • Weatherheight

      “Then let that which hides comes forth. I am certain it too will burn!”

      (Come on, people, let’s dialogue this scene to bits, baby!)

      • Philip Bourque

        And once you are done immolating yourself, the darkness will cloak the land once again and new things shall hide in the dark.

        • Weatherheight

          “Perhaps. We shall see. I’m waiting…”

          – Zulie furrows her brow in determination and her flame goes from red and orange to actinic white and electric blue. The encircling darkness is pushed back a meter or so. –

          • Philip Bourque

            You will not. You are a candle, now burning at both ends with no one to take up your torch. You are alone, you have always been alone. You are but a brief spark in the infinite blackness of time and soon, everything you are and everything you were will be forgotten. Fear not, for entropy will always triumph.
            (Now there’s an axiom for you.)

  • AustinC123

    YEA GIRL

  • Mechwarrior
  • SJ

    ‘_’

  • David
  • Nik Gervae

    Well it’s about time.

  • Nebty

    Still not feeling this. Al needs time to get her head on straight. It’s super weird that she’s already had one failed romance this chapter and now this is happening. She’s obviously not in a great headspace right now.

    • Mechwarrior

      I don’t think anyone’s ever accused Alison of overthinking her options before acting.

      • Nebty

        True, but my complaint is also from a narrative perspective. I’m sort of getting whiplash over here.

        • cphoenix

          Real life can have periods of whiplash.

          • Nebty

            And this is a webcomic, not real life. I think the story needs some room to breathe. It’s only been about 30 pages since her relationship with Max went sideways (and that’s back at the date, not even counting the whole strongarming him into helping thing).

  • JohnTomato

    Did Feral put a neck tie on her bedroom door knob?

  • Weatherheight

    My cynical side is jumping around like a four-year-old on a sugar rush, expecting a wrenching pivot here.
    My romantic side is looking at this dubiously.
    My Evil GM™ side is fluttering his fingers in anticipation, hoping Alison takes the bait.

    • palmvos

      sees Evil GM™ expression…
      guys.. I think we failed a perception check.
      also,

  • Crow

    I read the touch as “Stop. Just, please.” Very curious to see where it actually goes.

  • Wikimancer

    OK, a lot of people are conjecturing on getting Alvin … let’s make that “Clevison” … going, but the art in panels 2 & 3 seems to pretty clearly indicate that Alison’s thinking something along the lines of “What the fuck? I … the hell? Like … what the fuck? This … what?!” Also, assuming that she hasn’t had an interest in him before, hearing him confess his feelings is extremely unlikely to make her reciprocate.
    Then again, maybe she’s looking for any way available to be inauthentic, and will try to distract herself from her ethical anxiety by dating Clevin. Dating takes lots of brain cycles, right? Also homework, but stay the hell away from Gurawa’s class. 😉

  • Danygalw

    I’m expecting a no. It should be a no, really. Having just broken up with a guy, um, messily is traditionally a very bad time to rebound straight into another relationship. (tbh, especially when you know so little about him that you’re basically seeing him as a symbol of normality, which I kinda expect she would.)

  • Philip Petrunak

    Nope. She belongs with Feral. Nothing can ever change that.

  • Happyroach

    Oh man, I’m a fan of Alison and I’m still saying “Oh no. Don’t even go there guy. Stay a million miles away from trying a relationship with Alison.”

  • Weatherheight

    Incidentally, is it just me or is panel one sporting a color scheme straight out of a poster one might have purchased at a Spencer’s Gifts store in the 70’s?

    I wonder what a print of that would look under a black light? Weekend Project Quest Unlocked!

    • palmvos

      please post your results… remember the difference between science and messing around is recording your results.

  • conan

    I want to say if she doesn’t friendzone him to Mars I’ll give up the comic, but I still want to know what happens next. Let us list the things we find annoying about this arc!
    -Tore up the check from her Arch-Nemesis as a “moral” action but then totally committed terrible acts against Max.
    -Max was a strawman for Wealthy People
    -Max was a strawman for Cowardly Empowered Person
    -Max’s power conveniently being exactly what was need to both save the ***ing world AND save Feral from her self-imposed life of torture.
    -This Clevin guy now being the love interest in the most boring and contrived possible romance. Whether or not she lets him down is irrelevant.
    -And finally, Al acting Out of Character for the entire thing. She kinda stupid sometimes, sure, but this arc has her acting like a citizen of Wonderland, and the world is acting the same way back!

    • Crow

      Alllllrighty, let’s go straight down the list. You get to like or dislike anything you want to, but the fact that you took the time to post a whole list of negativity makes me want to take the time to post a response.

      Point 0: If you don’t want to read the comic or be part of the community, you don’t have to. You don’t get a prize for not liking something. You don’t ‘vote with your dollar’ when readership is free.
      Point 1: People can sometimes be inconsistent, but I read this as Ali going beyond the limits she set for herself because she saw an opportunity to change something that money can’t fix. There’s the difference between throwing away the money and taking action on the abnormality and chance.
      Point 2: You’re misusing Straw Man. That’s when you knock down an argument that wasn’t made. People dislike his entitlement and rude behavior. Max has never represented “people with money are evul for teh evuls”.
      Point 3: There’s no knocking down of a fake argument, again. He’s cowardly and came from privilege. People disliked that he was such a jerk because sometimes cowardly people who don’t understand the suffering of others will do that.
      Point 4: Max may have been a plot device that was a little too convenient, but I think there is some merit in the community theories around Max being manipulated by Patrick to put Max in Alison’s life. That makes more sense in a series that doesn’t rely on coincidence very often.
      Point 5: If the fact that someone who isn’t superman has a complex relationship that develops over time strikes you as boring and contrived, maybe Silver Age comics with an omnipotent male hero and a damsel in distress would better suit your palate.
      Point 6: When a character does something you wouldn’t expect, maybe it would serve us to ask why and see it as development instead of thinking its stupid and commenting #NotMyAlison.

      Okay. Mic drop. Rant over.

      • Kifre

        Point 2 and 3: Conan is not misusing “strawman”. They are merely using the term in a different sense than you are. You are using it in the rhetorical sense, as though the referral is to the Strawman Fallacy. Conan is using it in the literary sense of a straw/strawman character, i.e. one set up as the caricature of a viewpoint the author wishes to critique or ridicule.

      • conan

        Point 0: No, I don’t. But I love this comic and everything it’s done right up until this arc. I complain because I care.

        For the record, we can still “vote with our dollar” because the author gets money based on (IIRC) merch and donations. If this was Patreon based or had ads it’d still be true. The author relies on growing her fanbase and a certain percentage of that fanbase giving her money for her services. Moving on…

        Alison is acting Out of Character: She is, she really is. It’s actually a bit of an art and plot point. For the past [many] comics she’s been portrayed as having sunken eyes and looked unusually haggard. So it’s tied to the plot, but that doesn’t excuse it. For anything in this arc to have happened, Al needed to have essentially been a different character. She ignores social cues, acts like a brat, and has even moved into villain territory by threatening Max with force. “For the greater good” indeed.

        The problem being that none of this should have happened. The author needed some things to happen, and so forced Al into a position where ANYTHING could happen. It’s actually kind of brilliant in its laziness, but it’s still essentially lazy writing.

        Clevin is boring: Everything about him is just boring. His character is a cliche, and he’s being forced into a role that is a cliche. My problem with him is that here is NO complexity to their relationship. He likes her because she’s a Big Damn Hero, and she likes him because…he’s a nice guy and she just came off of a douchebag. If the author actually wanted to build a good romance arc between these two, especially if it actually touched on socioeconomic themes(as this comic is wont to do), I would have zero problems. Instead, we get the cliche of “Girl chooses the guy who’s nice after getting burned by a douchebag.” There is no complexity there.

        If the author actually makes this into something more complex later, that’d be better, but as-is it looks like that’s not gonna happen to me.

        Strawman 1: He is a strawman. Here’s why.

        As a member of “the upper crust” with no other modifiers(such as Patrick being a supervillain as well), we as the readers take him as a representation of that group. This comic is generally pretty heavy-handed with its messages(take that as you will, but I like it for that sometimes), and this case was no different. The author started him off as just a pretty boy, but when it came down to who he WAS he immediately became someone stupid enough to brag about a crime to a superhero, and stuck up enough to think SHE was in the wrong for criticizing him. (Never mind the fact that if he’d actually followed her advice of letting them go home early, that would be a breach of contract and they’d likely be fired by his father.)

        So he’s a complete douchebag meant to represent a percentage(say, 1%?) of the US population, and the rest of his demographic are given no voice, even if they are much better people who give to charity, pay their taxes, break no laws, etc. A Strawman is an argument or representative of a group that is made to be weaker or easier to knock down by the author. Sounds pretty similar to me. Do people like him exist? Yes. Did the author completely fail at communicating that? Also yes. It is the author’s job to avoid making a strawman when making an argument, not our job to read into things they didn’t write.

        Strawman 2: His second strawman role is a bit more philosophical. He is being presented as, “One who can make a difference in society, and does not.” He is the antithesis of Feral, who chooses to sacrifice her very being on making a difference to society.

        Is a person obligated to make a difference? Are you a bad person for not making the attempt? This comic argues Yes, and presents the counterarguments, again, as being incredibly flimsy and easy to knock down.

        In a way this is the most profound thing the comic has done so far, because Al’s response of, “But I can make you do it anyway” isn’t painted as a purely good action. It’s treading into philosophical waters that are damn interesting, but marred because he “lost” the argument before she made her threats.

        Patrick, the Magnificent Bastard: I really don’t know how to feel about this. If he’s involved in this arc, it goes all the way far back as that substitute teacher tricking her into failing the class(which she should totally get him fired for, because HE actually deserves it this time). It would explain so much…but it shouldn’t. Actions taken in a narrative should follow a logic, and without him there is a deficit of logic in this arc. Things happen without much explanation and the plot moves on.

        If Patrick is actually behind all this, it regains some of its missing logic, but at the cost of making Patrick into a Xanatos figure. Someone who has their fingers in every pie and knows how to trick people into doing whatever they want. And no matter what you do, they still win.

        This is a fun archetype sometimes, but if the authorial intent is just blaming a bunch of actions on him to satisfy the narrative deficit, it’s lazy writing. If Patrick isn’t behind all of this, it’s still lazy writing. The author has written themselves into a corner by making a bunch of things happen at once, and the only way I could see this getting better is if Patrick actually has something HUGE coming out of this trainwreck.

        If the

        • Michael Smith

          With “fans” like this, you sure don’t need enemies, SFP.

          • conan

            It’s called criticism. It happens.

  • weedgoku

    I’m just going to throw out a crazy prediction and Clevin is going to be revealed to either be trans or a woman. Also probably another super power haver.

  • Soqoma

    wherever this is going, panel six is adorable.

  • Dawn Smashington

    They’re watching a movie where (basically) a superhero is saving the day against the evil foes. That’s been her life since she was a child. Now she’s faced, over and over, with a world that is not as black and white as good and evil. She’s seen the gray in Cleaver, Moonshadow, Max, Patrick, and now herself. She’s likely already viewed Clevin as this extremely breakable being, since that’s what literally everyone is to her, and now maybe she’s contending with trust issues; trusting others to not turn out to be dicks, and trusting herself to not hurt others when they turn out to be dicks. And so far, Clevin hasn’t done anything other than be a sweet, awkward, talented kid. Is she wondering where his gray lies? Is she wondering if she would hurt him when she found out?

    This has gotta be a “Hold your horses, pardner” moment rather than a “I’m totally down for a date” moment.

    I am also EXTREMELY curious as to when we’ll see her get together with Patrick again and what will happen. I imagine Patrick laughing at her and pissing Al right on off. But she’s going to need to meet up with him again, sooner or later, for one reason or another, and I suspect Patrick knew something like what she did to Max would happen.

  • Jac

    Ugghhh.. You know, this is cute, but I can’t help being worried for Clevin after the shit Alison just pulled. :/

  • Allen Smithee

    This is a super random thought and completely unrelated to this particular page, but I’ve just been wondering this since Issue 2: Where the hell is Graveyard? Remember her? Did she get recaptured off-screen and I missed it, or is she just loose?