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  • Iarei

    She doesn’t need to work out on the sun, she just needs a copy of “Muscle Mystery for You”.
    . . .
    Seriously though, she can’t be handling all her normal physical motion and activity with her powers or she’d be physically a lot worse off than ‘not toned’.

  • Dean

    I never really thought of that. I’m so used to the idea of superpeople being physically perfect demigods that it didn’t occur to me that Alison could be a scrawny weed.

  • Kid Chaos

    Ah, good times…it’s important to enjoy them while they last. No doubt, some fresh hell is just around the corner. 👿

    • Hawthorne

      Somewhere in a high backed leather arm chair, holding a glass of wine, gazing into a fireplace in an otherwise dark room…

      …Brois is sitting shirtless, stroking his abs and whispering, “Soon, my pretties. Soon.”

      • Lauren Tipps

        This just made my day, oh, my goodness. XD “Stroking his abs.” HAHAHA!!!

    • Pol Subanajouy

      Hey, after the grinder that was Patrick’s tirade, plus the dislocated shoulder plus the mess with Moonshadow, this quieter moment is so much sweeter. Good pacing in the writing!

  • ZBass

    Yay! I love that there’s an example of ‘look, you can be supernaturally amazing at things too if you dedicate yourself to it!’

  • Francisco

    Good for secuity as well.

  • Pol Subanajouy

    Huh…interesting. Like she needs the heat of the sun to burn fat? No, no, that can’t be right. Can someone explain to me like I’m five why being on the Sun would help her with muscle tone.

    Also, I’m glad Lisa is not so hung up on her abilities to not give credit to Rich when credit is due, you know?

    • Nightsbridge


      • MrSing

        It was an okay movie.

        • Kid Chaos

          I think you mean “it was an AWESOME movie!!!” 😎

    • Urthman

      I think she means that if you could stand on the surface of the sun, the gravity would be so enormous it would tax even her strength.

    • skyfaller

      It’s simple, the sun has 332,980 times the mass of the Earth, so she’d be way heavier and so would anything she attempts to lift. According to http://www.exploratorium.edu/ronh/weight/ if she weighs 150 lbs on Earth she’d weigh 4060 lbs on the Sun.

      • Raven Black

        Then working out in a centrifuge would do.

    • Pugsy

      I think it’s ‘cuz the sun’s gravity is WAY stronger than earth’s.

    • danelsan

      Surface gravity on the sun is about 28 times higher than on Earth.

    • Mat

      I’m guessing she needs the extra gravity to actually exert herself

    • JeffH

      She would need stronger gravity for lifting weights to be harder, stressing her muscles to make them grow. When you can lift buildings, a bar with 500lbs on it isn’t very challenging.

      Jupiter’s gravity is about 2.5 times what Earth’s is — probably hard for you or me to stand, but Al is much, much more than 2.5 times stronger than a human.

      Of course, this is all tongue in cheek, because standing on the surface of the sun would be quite uncomfortable, even for Alison.

      • Pol Subanajouy

        Of course! Derp, I should have thought of that.

      • Fingus

        Can you even stand on the surface of the sun? Isn’t it all just a giant cloud of plasma and gas?

        I’d guess she’d just sink right through and fall to the core of the sun, where the heat and pressure would probably crush even her.

        Man, and I’m complaining about my gym smelling like farts.

        • Alon Rand

          Yes, the “surface” of the sun is gaseous, and further in it’s plasma – theory suggests the core might be superheated liquid, with some of it even solid due to intense pressure, but there’s obviously no way to check.

          But this is called “analyzing the joke” and renders it not-funny to most. 😉

          • Iarei

            There’s probably a strata at which the sun’s density becomes high enough that Allison would be neurally buoyant while also being super broiled and thrown around by violent, explosive turbulence.

      • Danygalw

        Ohh. I thought she would be lifting the sun. But that makes sense.

    • Mat

      I’m guessing she needs the sun’s gravity to actually exert herself while working out

      • Pol Subanajouy

        Oh wait, duh that makes so much sense.

    • Hawthorne

      Her muscles work on chlorophyll instead of protein.

    • bryan rasmussen

      huh, probably nobody else has thought of this yet but I’m betting it’s because of gravity!

  • Daniel Vogelsong

    Alison, you’re about to face the sole most terrifying and multifaceted being you ever had… the Insurance company

  • motorfirebox

    You figure it’s either really good for business, or really bad for business. No real middle ground there.

    • spriteless

      Well, it might be really bad for business to upset the superheroes.

  • Pat

    “…work out on The Sun…” Training montage, anyone?

    • Hawthorne

      She goes to chug a glass of raw eggs but they flop out sunny side up and smack her in the face. Then vaporize.

      • Dean

        A green smoothie is reduced to a pile of grass clippings, and then spontaneously combusts.

  • 3-I

    I love this table more than I can possibly say.

  • Philip Bourque

    There’s also a matter of speciality and interest. Just because she is smart doesn’t mean she’ll think of everything. She seems more geared towards the physical engineering side of things as opposed to coding. Does she have any specific degrees or did she never bother with the education aspect of it all?

  • Some guy

    Try just flying around while lifting weights first.

  • spriteless


    Allison have you tried doing curls while flying? Tie up some of your telekinesis you know? I mean, you are stronger than Mr. Incredible so you can’t use a trainyard.

    Wait it is not even a priority.

    • ZBass

      Could she do resistance training by using her own psychokinesis against herself?

      • i don’t think she has that level of control of it. It seems innate

  • JeffH

    Love this! I’ve always wondered how much weight Superman had to lift to be that ripped.

    • Scott

      Him being ripped is probably simply due to Kryptonian biology. First, I can’t remember ever having seen a non-ripped Kryptonian. Second, superman’s strength has been shown as nearly infinite (I can’t remember a time when there was anything he couldn’t lift) so I don’t think he could ever get a good workout. But the details of superman’s strength and endurance are almost entirely determined by the story, not any kind of consistency so who knows.
      As for Allison, since she has some degree of control over the degree of assistance she is receiving from her powers couldn’t she just work out after lowering them or exhausting them?

      • Happyroach

        I recall early in Kirby’s run on Superman, Lois Lane stops by Clak’s apartment, and sees the free weights he leaves lying around for anyone who comes in to see. She comments that they’re pretty light for his build, because the’re the same weight she uses. He stammers, out an excuse, while thinking well, he couldn’t know…

        • llennhoff

          Not Kirby, John Byrne. The rest of the story is correct though. Good memory.

        • MrSokar

          Some one should draw a strip of Clark trying to pick the right weights but fumbling it since they all feel like nothing to him.

    • spriteless

      In Superman: American Alien he isn’t ripped at all, people just assume he is because he’s lifting cars.

      In all other continuities, yeah idk either.

      • Pol Subanajouy

        He probably has the Olympian build as default most male superheroes have. But that’s really interesting. Makes me want to read Superman: American Alien now.

    • Abel Undercity

      Makes me think of that scene in John Byrne’s Man of Steel miniseries where Lois, visiting Clark’s place for the first time, expresses her bewilderment at how Clark can maintain his physique with such a light set of weights as the ones he has there. As it turns out, Clark had only bought the weights as a cover to explain his Kryptonian physique.

  • David Stieber

    I love what this page does with the background in panel 1. It looks like it’s just geometric comic panel design thing, but then as you pull out in panels 3/4 you see that it’s actually hip capecakes wall art stuff. Like, it goes from reading as an abstract design element to being a “real” part of the sfp world. Great stuff, as always.

  • Dani Church

    It’s true, it is good for business. However, it is also a well-known fact that I am a sucker for cuties.

  • Meghan

    Huh. I never considered muscle tone with regards to a super hero.

  • Roman Snow

    The distinction between super-genius and “run-of-the-mill garden-variety” genius is something I have thought a lot about. In SFP it’s relatively straightforward because, as far as we know, there was one mass superpowering event and you had to have been born at the right time.

    Here’s what I mean. Consider the leader of the Fantastic Four, Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic: What’s his power? Was your first thought “super elasticity,” or did you first think of the fact that he can somehow invent a “universal translator” without prior knowledge of all the languages it can translate? Stretching your body almost like it’s rubber is no more an incredible feat than that is, so why is it certain that “super elasticity” is a power when super intelligence is often an afterthought? In Reed’s case, is it because he already had that genius but the stretching powers came from a strange accident?

    Let’s test that hypothesis with some evidence that backs it up. The Hulk’s enemy the Leader AKA Samuel Sterns is the sort of guy that definitely has super intelligence, no doubt about it. Unlike Reed’s natural gift, Sterns acquired his scientific acumen when some radioactive materials exploded near him. The burst of gamma radiation transformed the blue collar laborer into… the Leader: green-skinned, big-headed master of crime! As smart as the Hulk is strong, the Leader’s genius would be unrivaled if he didn’t have to share the universe with the likes of Richards who, by sheer more-people-have-heard-of-him-itude, is usually considered Marvel’s smartest. If the Leader has super intelligence and Richards is of a comparable intelligence, Richards definitely has super intelligence.

    But, let’s look deeper with an example from DC. Does Lex Luthor have no powers? Is Lex Luthor an unpowered human taking on the man so super he’s just called “Superman”? You know where I’m going with this. Lex Luthor can perform scientific feats no real human could, and he’s perhaps the greatest scientific genius in DC. If he got his intellect from some experimental drugs we wouldn’t think twice about considering him a super-genius, but that would never be necessary for super strength.

    There are lots of superhumans in different mediums “just born with” their powers. What makes them different? Is it because super intelligence is just an enhanced form of a quality someone already has? No, super strength is that too. It’s strength, but super. When someone lifts a car without breaking a sweat, you know they have super strength.

    The real difference between super intelligence and all the other stock super powers is this: it’s not what you’re physically able to do, it’s what you choose to do. When the super genius builds a ray gun, her power is putting the right parts together in the right places in the right order. Everything you can think of that makes someone a super genius is expressed in their physical world by which actions they choose to take. (Unless high intelligence gives you telekinesis or something, like in Matilda.)

    So where do you draw the line between a genius and a super genius? My best answer is: super genius is improbable genius. If it seems unlikely that the level of genius is achievable in the real world, it’s super genius.

    That gets messy too. The reason Reed’s “universal translator” works as an example of super genius is because it’s an accomplishment which just makes no sense. A device that just translates as-yet-unknown languages into English can’t be made by a guy who hasn’t heard of those languages. An ice beam gun is impressive because it operates on comic book physics instead of real physics. Imagine a world where a cold ray exists but flamethrowers are impossible. Does Richard Fiedler get to be a super genius in that universe?

    Where do you draw the line between a genius and a super genius? Is it improbable genius? Is it dependent on whether you look normal or have a giant, pulsating brain? Does super genius have to come from a specific event or can you be born with it? Maybe it’s just a specific IQ range?

    • Nonsensicles

      Reed was already a genius before the cosmic rays, true, but his inventive output after far outstrips what he designed before, suggesting it may be an actual superpower. Perhaps he unconsciously stretches parts of his brain to enhance different parts of his intellect as needed?

      As for Lex, I would posit that while he is a formidable scientist, a great deal of his success comes from a combination of using the work of employees, immense resources, outright theft, and ruthless experimentation.

      • Alon Rand

        I haven’t read a lot of classic Fantastic Four comics directly, but I’ve read a number of other comics where Reed Richards played a major role, and this is definitely the case at least sometimes. In one, he stretched his brain to resemble that of Charles Xavier so he could use Cerebro. In the Ultimate comics, that universe’s Reed has semi-permanently stretched both his brain and the skull around it (he wears a funky helmet to protect it, and initially to hide his identity, since in that universe he’d gone bad) to be much larger and more complex, to enable him to better multitask and such.

    • Insanenoodlyguy

      Well, in this world it’s easy. You have the genetic differences or you don’t.

      I think in general the easiest way is if you make repeated extrapolations that put you so far ahead of conventional technology that only other super genius’ can truly understand your work. Even if you take it apart, a team of experts don’t necessarily understand how you came up with it, and can at best only replicate your work.

      Have you read Girl Genius? It’s a webcomic where Super Genius is effectively the ONLY innate superpower. It is a world ruled by mad science! (though with all the super-geniuses working on bio-enhancement and/or robot/cyborgs, there’s plenty more that’s emerged).

      • Roman Snow

        I know of it but I have not read it. My impression of Sparks from selected pages and second hand accounts is that, while they’re typically keen on shouting “Science!”, they perform something more similar to magic. I don’t know how overall accurate that impression is though.

        • Pretty much. It’s more fantasy than science really, although you know what they say about sufficiently advanced technology…

    • spriteless

      Reed Richards himself says that his powers probably enhanced his brain, because his neurons can stretch to make more connections. 🙂

    • Ben

      A super genius is still trumped by the Road Runner.

    • Ian Osmond

      Steve Rogers: Big man in a suit of armour. Take that off, what are you?
      Tony Stark: Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist.

  • Iarei

    Of course training directly under humanly lethal weights or strains would be a -BAD IDEA- tm. If she exceeded or exhausted or diverted her TK she could easily be injured or killed. Eg – remember how she dislocated her shoulder?

    • Pol Subanajouy

      Good point. That’s a scary thought. I remember the comment section scrambling to come up with how that happened too, so I’m sure a couple of us are still cognizant of the idea.

  • Is this a cue for a new high gravity training room to be built.

  • Dean

    He had one, but it kept getting jealous of the attention he was giving his abs.

  • motorfirebox

    No, we saw her flying and carrying a tree. I’m assuming that with some practice, she’ll be able control how much of her TK is being “spent” on strength vs invulnerability vs flying.

  • Alon Rand

    We ARE talking about a character who apparently still has bones, muscles, and organs like any other human, but can reshape his own body into almost any form imaginable without injury. You do not want to be applying real-world science to Mister Fantastic – you’ll only hurt yourself. 😉

    • danny in canada

      Reed doesn’t reshape his body, he reshapes *space immediately surrounding* his body. Externally, there’s no difference, but internally, all his organs, etc, are still able to function. This also explains how a demon was able to break his arm that one time.

      So there.

  • MrSokar

    So we get answers to last pages comment in that no Al probably can’t get fat from cupcakes if she can’t get any muscle tone from exercise, and Rich is a normy that’s a good hacker.

  • MrSokar

    That was uncalled for.

  • MrSokar

    Maybe a diamond studded belt to accessorize the abs.

    • Hawthorne

      The diamonds kept breaking on his abs.

  • Dartangn

    Yeah, but COSMIC RAYS, man.


  • Dartangn

    Hah, knew it. Biggest weakness in computer security exists between the keyboard and the chair, Paladin.

    Way to hint at a certain internalised contempt for regular human’s intellectual capacity, though.

  • Pol Subanajouy

    You saw your opening Kid Chaos. You saw it. And you took it. And for that I’m proud of you.

  • Pol Subanajouy

    COMIC BOOKS! Haha, but know, I’ve forgiven superheroes for SO many glaring errors at this point it’s funny.

    Case in point, with the Flash, if he mentions molecules, vibrations and Speed Force before trying something, I pretty much let him do whatever he wants.

  • Pol Subanajouy

    Hey, she already threw a nuke at the moon. She’s probably working her way up to that. 😀

  • Iarei

    I think if Allison trained on the sun she’d get all the freckles.

  • adamsbja

    Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from science.

    • MisterTeatime

      Sufficiently analyzed.

  • walterw

    totally never thought of that angle! why wouldn’t superman be scrawny and/or flabby, he lives in a world where almost everything he does takes essentially no physical effort. (i guess the “hand-wave-y” answer is that the same yellow sun effects that make him so powerful also make his body physically perfect.)

  • Dartangn

    I was refering to Paladin. There’s something about her face that makes me think that the joke was covering.

    • MisterTeatime

      Ah. Hmm.
      (Yeah, I was just referring to Alison’s mom as a source- I knew you were talking about Lisa, which is why the last link is a page where you see her cane and prosthetic leg.)

  • Alon Rand

    No, no, no – they’re not trying to apply real-world science. They’re applying comic-book science, which is to say “science” that is powered by plot and the whims of the writers. 😉