SFP

sfp 6 145 for web

Aaaand that’s Chapter Six!

We’ll be updating for the next two weeks with some bonus material and then will be back at you with Chapter Seven. In the meantime, come say hi to me at TCAF this weekend and back our Kickstarter if you haven’t yet! Thank you, as always, for reading and sharing this comic with friends.

Molly & Brennan

Show Comments
  • Roman Snow

    This explains a lot about Gurwara’s pedagogy.

    (But not the class’s reaction to him.)

  • SOMEbody is going to have an Adventure once our girl is sure of exactly who it is.

    Terry Pratchett described “an Adventure” as “Someone you don’t know, somewhere far away, have a Really Bad Day.”

    • AdamBombTV

      May he live in interesting times

    • Lysiuj
      • Jovial Contrarian

        I don’t know what octopus pie is, but I’m glad to finally identify Smashmouth reference for once, instead of just blurting out ONCE TOLD ME.

        I ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed.

        • Lysiuj

          You should really check Octopie out. It’s awesome. And ending any day now.

  • Masala Nilsson

    I love how his first reaction to the prank he imagines is being pulled is that it’s too _dadaist._ God I love nerds. <3

    Anyway, about half of Tuesday's commenters anticipated this, so … well done! (I would totally have guessed something like "the announcement of the delayed course start was lost in the mail".)

    • Masala Nilsson

      And oh shiet, what I didn’t notice the first read-through was ‘The Return of Menace?’ in that paper. #Foreshadowing

      • Merus

        I assume, in this setting, that this is a recurring headline. Also it’s only been a few months after the graffiti showed up so that’s about the time the New York Times would be across it.

        • Dean

          “Menace and Elvis In Secret Love Tryst?”, by our staff writers.

        • Olivier Faure

          RONALD DRUMP ELECTED PRESIDENT.

          IS THIS IS THE SIGN MENACE IS FINALLY RETURNING?

      • Remember that Patrick was earlier annoyed-with/’looking into’ someone pretending to be him and ‘activating’ groups of old allies so that they were doing things that they thought were his instructions.
        (Unless he’s lying of course, but I don’t _really_ see that in this case.)

        • zellgato

          I actually am suspecting he has lost control of his own powers to an extent. and his subconcious has taken up the Meanace mantle and has been brainwashing folks without him realizing it.

          They’ve made a decent point to show “a lot of powers are progressing” in this one.

          • That’s a good idea, and _would_ be an interesting direction/reveal!

          • zellgato

            It also fits into the dynamics of “do we do whats best for the world, at the punishment of the few?”
            Do you put him down, because he can’t control his powers and it’s doing harm to the world at large? He can’t control it, and if it’s mind controllin’ folks then really you can’t reliably seal him away very easily. (though paladin could probably build an antartic prison. but that isnt much different than killing in the end)

            Would ech her choice with Feral and Max.

          • That’s very true!

          • UnsettlingIdeologies

            That would also fit with the whole “Patrick can’t read his own mind” reveal earlier.

          • zellgato

            It would~
            It would also echo back into the recent “choice dynamics” presented in this.
            “Do we punish him for his “other self” do we try to help him?
            or.. do we put him down, because we really canj’t stop his powers and he can’t be sealed by any known means”
            After all Allison is one of the few who seems more or less denied to his powers, to a smaller degree.

    • AdamBombTV

      I like how he appreciates a good prank, as long as it fits certain practicalities.

    • Oren Leifer

      And remember, “Professor of [x]” is defined as “Nerd obsessed with [x] who is getting paid for it”

  • Sazazezer Mililpilipi

    Who is the girl on panel six ringing? Who do you call in a situation like this?

    • Christophe2314

      Ghostbusters?

    • Jubal DiGriz

      He just collapsed onto the floor, after showing acute signs of disorientation. Calling 911 in case he’s having a stroke would be reasonable.

      • Weatherheight

        I endorse and approve this interpretation.
        When someone is in shock, do what you can but call in trained professionals ASAP.

    • Dafydd Carmichael

      The hospital? Old man has just collapsed and thinks he’s lost a month of time. Seems like the logical first choice.

    • Incendax

      911 (or their national equivalent) I assume!

  • Lillian Zhang

    Allison: Go on your phone, or one of ours.
    Professor: *pulls out newspaper*

    • AdamBombTV

      As long as he doesn’t try to dial out on it

    • Lysiuj

      A ‘phone’… hah! Another prank no doubt.

    • Dean

      What kind of time-traveller checks the date on a PHONE? Checking the date on a newspaper is the classic move.

      • Tylikcat

        Well, if your phone is set to pull from local time sources… that’s harder to hack that your newspaper, really. I think this is just a generational thing.

        • crazy j

          How does one electronically hack paper?

          • Dean

            A sufficiently thorough prankster might switch the newspaper with a fake.

          • Tylikcat

            Yes – note that I didn’t say “electronically” (and that hacking pre-dates computers). Though if you aren’t going for an earlier date, where you can simple save an old newspaper, you probably need at least access to a large format printer and the right paper (possibly the trickiest part). For the NYT, I’d download the front page image from their site to use as a template and go from there. It all depends on how far you want to go – do you need to produce a convincing alternate history, or will merely changing the date on the front page work for you?

          • GreatWyrmGold

            Hacking dates back at least to the Viking era. They were well-known hackers. Also slashers.

          • Izo
    • KatherineMW

      Good call. Anyone can change the date on a phone to mess with someone, but you’re unlikely to randomly have a newspaper from the future.

  • HollowCT

    And that’s how you establish Gurwara was not a simple prankster but someone that has bigger plans

  • The Articulator

    ALRIGHT.

    So, uhhh, did Patrick just trick Alison into counselling? Is that what this is? I really have no idea anymore.

    • Weatherheight

      The options for where this could go boggles the mind…
      Looks like I’m going to need more carrots, popcorn, and soda. Maybe some gin or vodka too.
      Ooo.. intermission break!

      ::scurries back towards the outbuilding behind the barn::

  • Lysiuj

    This page is dedicated to all the conspiracy theorists in the comments section.
    To everyone who said Max would turn out to be a jerk.
    To everyone who said Alison would use violence against Max.
    To everyone who said Alison and Clevin would end up together.
    To everyone who said Gurwara wasn’t actually a teacher, and was running some long con.
    To everyone who said that Patrick was manipulating Alison the whole time.
    [To everyone who said that Alison wouldn’t be “punished” by chapter’s end.]
    Well done. I feel like I must be going mad 😛

    • Insanenoodlyguy

      That last one is not confirmed yet. Gurwara could be some third party rep, just saying (the robots, it’s the robots who will KILL US ALL)

      • Lysiuj

        Fair enough… at this point I’m just gonna start accepting every theory as truth. It’s easier that way.

        • butting

          “Why not,” said Ford, “go mad?”

          • Dean

            “But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
            “Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
            “How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
            “You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”

    • Lostman

      No, she going to get a hard lesson in politics.

      • Lysiuj

        To be fair, that’s as harsh of a punishment as anyone deserves.

        • Tylikcat

          …so much for this being escapist fiction. *sigh*

          • M. Alan Thomas II

            I got into the comic because it was asking all the same questions I have in real life about social justice philosophy and action and how to do what is best for the world. I’d say that this is more like Asmovian science fiction, using the lens of unreality to take sociopolitical issues and examine them writ large.

          • Tylikcat

            Oh, I’m with you, I’m just being tongue in cheek after the political shenanigans of the last few days. Though that could pretty much be any last few days.

          • M. Alan Thomas II

            Ah, right. I lose track of who’s usually arguing what in the comments. ^_^;

          • Shweta Narayan

            so much for it being fiction for the likes of me at all. everything has to be all about al and everyone with racist theories about gurwara probably feels nice and vindicated atm.

            I expected better but I should really stop expecting anything else I guess. Sigh, and maybe see you round on another comic idk

          • Lysiuj

            Are you leaving? If so I’m sad to see you go 🙁

          • Shweta Narayan

            I’m not leaving disqus, but I highly doubt I’ll be returning to SFP, given just how major a betrayal these last two pages have been. I no longer trust the creators to deliver what they’re promising, and I don’t hateread, so yeah, this is bye. :/

            I’ll miss about 5-6 folks a lot, and you’re definitely one of them. I hope you have great discussions & it continues to be a good space for all of you cool people! But, well. It’s been bad for me fairly often, and now it’s worse. “Hey that racist stereotype you thought we were better than, haha no we aren’t” is not the surprise twist I was expecting, and, it’s a gutpunch.

            In the unlikely event that Gurwara gets rescued from the stereotype they’ve stuck on him here, and I’m informed of it, I *might* decide to give it another chance? But it depends on whether it still hurts. It’s come at a very bad time for me (health is bad and it’s one of *several* comics that lost my trust in a big way just in the last 2 weeks), so, yeah. IDK.

          • Lysiuj

            Well, that sucks. I hope you feel better, and find better comics to read.
            For what it’s worth I can recommend a few awesome ones that I follow, if you’re not familiar:
            Octopus Pie
            Ava’s Demon
            Lackadaisy
            As the Crow Flies
            Also – awwwww, thank you so much, I’ll miss you too :,) Take care.

          • FlashNeko

            Legit question:

            How in any way Gurwara’s portrayal a negative racial stereotype?

            Like, I may legit be missing something but the only real stereotype he’s shown is “quirky, degrading his students, Jerk Professor is good because he’s a jerk and students need degrading to Build Character(tm)”.

    • Oracle

      I was and still am (until the next few updates vindicate or humiliate me) running under the assumption that Kaparovsky and Gurwara are one and the same.

    • R Lex Eaton

      …Does that mean this story was too predictable?

      • Lysiuj

        No, it just means we have a lot of clevers around here 😀

        • Lysiuj

          And before anyone asks, yes that is also the ship name for Cleaver x Clevin.

          • Zorae42

            Wouldn’t that be Cleavin?

          • Lysiuj

            Both work.

    • Sergio Le Roux

      What about everyone who said you can’t just pass/fail the whole class the first day based on some parlor game?

      • Lysiuj

        Heh, true, I forgot about that one. (Though I never thought Gurwara was serious about that even when I still thought he was a teacher).

    • Izo

      *bow* – especially about the one in the bracket

      • Magma Sam

        To be fair, while Alison technically isn’t punished yet, the Damocles is definitely dangling over her neck, and she is well aware of it. I personally count this as punishment, as I would count somebody who got charged with a $50,000 dollar fine to be paid over 10 years as ‘punished’. While sure, the person suffers no ill consequence on the spot, there’s worry about what is to come, and “taking a loss” seems inevitable.

  • cphoenix

    I never trusted Gurwara. There were plenty of reasons not to – his body language when communicating with Alison, and at least one implausible coincidence.

    If it doesn’t turn out, pretty soon, that Gurwara set up today’s events and the current teacher is just acting… If today’s teacher is the real teacher, then Gurwara was involved in some scheme that caused an innocent person to lose over a month of their life. That’s pretty seriously bad stuff. Not the kind of thing that’s done by “the good guys.”

    Gurwara was very manipulative. So Alison has probably been manipulated into doing something really unfortunate. Which, presumably, would be strong-arming Max. And we know Patrick was involved in that.

    Now, Alison knows she’s been manipulated. Whatever Patrick’s (or whoever’s) goal is, it’s probably been achieved already. And they don’t care that Alison knows it – or they actively want her to know it.

    This is not looking good at all.

    Also, kudos to whoever analyzed that Gurwara had been setting Alison up to strong-arm Max.

    • Weatherheight

      I feel that whoever did this, they very much want Alison to know it.
      These last few pages have a very large element of rubbing Alison’s nose in the whole affair.

  • AdamBombTV

    Everyone is concerned about the professor, but all Alison can do is wonder who installed those windows at such an odd angle.

    • Gus Snarp

      Frank Gehry.

  • Shjade

    I’m not sure why, but something about this moment has me thinking of Raymond Chandler Evening.

    “There’s a body on the railings
    That I can’t identify
    And I’d like to reassure you but
    I’m not that kind of guy”

  • Weatherheight

    So… ya thought ya knew what was going on…

    How’s this twist grab ya?

    Brennan, Molly – magnificent cliff-hanger/rug-pull. To think the ending would surpass the meat of the chapter. As a GM, this is the look I want to see on the player’s face when the other shoe drops / when they finally put all the pieces together.

    Heh. Sick and twisted thought:
    Patrick and Tara have been lovers all along, and all of this chapter was them using Alison to take the fall for their plot to boost their powers by playing on Alison’s isolation and need for approval.
    I’m sure that’s not it – but it would be boss if if were…

  • bta

    So was he fooled through mundane means, for example kept sedated all this time, or was he a victim of a superpower? Because I don’t recall any character in this universe being capable of something like this.

    And if in particular Patrick lied and he’s capable of mind-control, troubles are coming.

    • Patrick + Max = mind control? gods I hope not…

      • ampg

        Also, keep in mind that everyone has been “leveling up” even before the existence of Max was confirmed, and we don’t know what Patrick’s level-up was. It’s possible he started to be able to control minds without Max’s interference at all.

    • Weatherheight

      Mind Control and redactional telepathy (editing memories) have both been conspicuously absent. I’ve wondered if the whole situation in powers being given specifically excludes mind control as a power in order to see what choices people would make if they were given powers.

      • Raven Black

        I like the idea that redactional telepathy is all over the place, but whoever’s telling the story doesn’t know about it for obvious reasons. 🙂

        • Tylikcat

          Of course, if you get enough people with enough different agendas doing it at the same time…

    • Walter

      Seems more likely to be a superpower than mundane means. Just because this is a super comic and such.

    • Tsapki

      I do believe there was mention of a biodynamic who could turn people into mind slaves back during the arc with Moon Shadow. My personal theory on the situation is that the aggressor put the professor (and possibly others) in a fugue or hibernating​ state where they simply didn’t notice the passage of time, or that the professor was simple mindwiped back a few weeks to cover the tracks of the person or group behind this.

  • bryan rasmussen

    so Gurwara meets Allison in the park, and his manipulations get her to fly to Max’s house. Mom says he’s not here, but he’s probably cowering in the back. After she leaves he says I have to do whatever this Patrick guy wants or she’ll come back and force me to help people again! A never ending circle of helping people, only Patrick can save me! Gurwara no longer needed, real professor returns.

    Now she flies off to confront Patrick, poor face messed up Patrick with the broken Looney Tunes cup showing he’s really got a sensitive heart, and that will make her feel really bad and listen to his continuing spiel about the nefarious conspiracy must have sent Gurwara!

  • Weatherheight

    This is some scary-ass shit Karapovsky is dealing with – suddenly doubting everything you thought you know or not being able to recognize ANYONE around you has reduced my mother (who has dementia) to tears and panic on many occasions.

    Whoever did this to him is either callous as it gets or obscenely cruel.

  • Weatherheight

    What if the whole thing was a field test of Max’s powers to make sure they weren’t lethal and were as advertised? Now the mind controller / redactional telepath just has to track down Max and force Max to again to use his power for a boost.

    Was this Patrick or the Agency (referring to either a singular entity or a collective one) Patrick is trying to oppose? Is Patrick really Doctor Doom?

    Yeah, so much for sleeping well tonight…

  • Tim F

    Next: an edited tape of her confession to Gurwara goes public. The public and the government basically react like normal people would if Superman existed and he had done something like that. But if that happens I have a hard time seeing where the story goes…it’s like Alison versus the world. My instinct tells me Menace set this up to persuade Alison to stop looking for outside validation. It’s the most patient villain-trying-to-talk-hero-over-to-their-side monologue in history.

    • Weatherheight

      Yeah. This. This would also be AWESOME!
      I can only upvote once…

      ::bashes on the upvote button repeatedly with his hoof::

      • Random

        Don’t be such an ass, you’ll break it.

    • bryan rasmussen

      well if Menace set that up I guess it would be too forestall her going to the authorities in less than 2 years time now.

    • KatherineMW

      Honestly, I think there’d be as big a divide in public opinion as there is on this forum. Any report of the events would also involve mentioning that Mega-Girl had permanently enabled an unlimited supply of organ transplants for everyone in the world. How many people know someone who has had an organ transplant, or have a friend or family member who knows someone? Or have lost someone because no transplant was available? Some people would be focusing on that, while others would be focusing on how terrifying it is to have a superhero with unlimited power when she stops focusing merely on the conventional supervillains.

  • NotPatrick

    So, a random guy with god-knows-what power now knows all about power-enhancing-lad (‘roid boy?). And he clearly has (or has access-to/control-over someone with) some sort of mind-manipulation ability. And something is making people afraid that Menace has returned as per the article…

    Calling it now:
    Mind-power person (whether Guwara or otherwise) gets enhanced by Roid Boy to the point of being a genuine threat. Allison needs Patrick’s help: because woo mind-powers throw a mind-person at it.

    She will confront Patrick after hearing rumors of Menace’s return, and after being convinced it’s not him, Patrick will suddenly learn of Guwara and the whole thing, and probably (rightly) freak out. I think there’s at least a 50% chance that mind-power person is involved with that conspiracy he’s convinced
    exists, which would explain why he hasn’t been able to find it.

    [sorry if this appears twice, Disqus seems to be convinced that it’s spam]

    • IanB

      The real professor might have just been put to sleep / coma for the past however-much-time through medical inducement. Not necessarily a mind-control element.

      • jd

        Yeah… but this is a superhero comic, so why waste the opportunity? Plus medical inducement has all the possibilities of going horrifically wrong, including death of the patient.

      • Steele

        Actually, Patrick was deliberately shown as having the ability to keep people asleep while he “dream surfs” or whatever he called it. At least, I think it was his powers keeping them asleep and not being medically induced…

        • Arkone Axon

          No, they were using drugs. He has NO power to influence minds. Just to read them. But there are lots of ways to induce sleeping. Most likely Patrick had them all hooked up to Russian sleep machines, which run electrical current through the brain (electrodes on the eyelids and the back of the neck). You get a full night’s sleep in a few hours.

          (I’d mentioned a short story by Larry Niven in a previous comment. “Death by Ecstasy.” The climax involves someone being captured and restrained with a combination of medical bandages wrapping him up like a mummy, and a russian sleep machine to keep him unconscious until they were ready to deal with him. Since the bad guys were organleggers – criminals who kidnapped people and broke them up for spare parts – they were quite good at keeping people asleep but alive and unharmed until it was time to… harvest)

          • Mechwarrior

            He claims to have no ability to influence minds.

            He’s also a self-admitted liar.

          • Arkone Axon

            Yeah, but if he had that power, he’d have used it against Alison a long time ago.

            I will note that there’s apparently a guy called… the Puppetmaster? Something like that, he was a supervillain who was around for a bit. But Patrick himself spoke very dismissively and contemptuously of ever needing mind control to achieve his goals. “if you have full access to the totality of a person’s thoughts, fears, and desires, and you still can’t get them to do what you want? That says more about you than it does about them.”

            Not saying Patrick isn’t involved in this. I’m just saying that mind control is a power he doesn’t have, or he’d have used it long ago (imagine if he could have just walked up to Lisa Bradley and told her, “come have dinner with me. By the time dessert arrives you’ll be EAGER to design things for me…”)

          • Mechwarrior

            That depends on how it works. If, for example, it causes long-term cognitive impairment he probably wouldn’t want to use it on Lisa or Alison: simply manipulating them the old fashioned way would probably be better. Or it might be like the Jedi Mind Trick and only be able to influence people who are weak-willed.

            Bottom line, I’m not willing to accept that Patrick doesn’t have powers beyond mind-reading just because he says so.

          • Tylikcat

            I certainly agree with your bottom line. This doesn’t match what we know about Patrick’s MO, but that might be incomplete.

          • Arkone Axon

            I’m not accepting his say so. I’m going with the surrounding evidence, as I said to Weatherheight in the comments seen above this one. If Patrick had mental manipulation powers, he would have used them.

            (Also, his power is plenty powerful as it is. As he said, he can understand EXACTLY what’s going on inside the heads of his henchmen… who he didn’t call henchmen, but allies. He offered them understanding, empathy, and comfort. He gained their loyalty by being their friend. There was a rat guy in the very first chapter who made it clear that they were still loyal to Menace, and that kind of loyalty doesn’t come cheap or easy)

          • Mechwarrior

            Being able to manipulate peoples’ minds does not somehow preclude being skilled at manipulating people through more mundane methods. Yes, his minions were highly loyal to him and thought he really cared about them. He’s also stated that he considers people assets to be used.

          • Arkone Axon

            Yes, but as I said to Weatherheight: “he wouldn’t have even needed to bother with robots. Just talk the Secret Service into letting him walk into the Oval Office, then talk the president into giving him all the authority of the executive branch. Then go talk to Congress and repeat the process.”

            It’s like playing a stealth game where you can instakill everything in your path. Why go to all the trouble, when there’s an easier way to achieve your objectives?

          • Mechwarrior

            Oh dear, a supervillain who hatched a needlessly complicated scheme. Never heard that one before.

          • Weatherheight

            Pretty sure the Puppetmaster’s claimed powers were debunked at some point by Patrick. I could be wrong, but…

            If you’re going to take Patrick’s word on his own power set when he’s got so very much to gain by sandbagging it, it seems a stretch to then not take his word about someone else’s – unless, of course, he has something to gain thereby.

            Which calls into question his own power set, again. Wheels within wheels.

          • Arkone Axon

            I don’t recall him even mentioning the Puppetmaster. If you provide the link where he does, I’ll withdraw the assertion. Otherwise… hell, it could be that Puppetmaster simply had powers operating differently from Patrick’s. Like with Killgrave from “Jessica Jones.” He didn’t have mind reading powers either – just mind control that was caused by his scent (or a retrovirus or whatever technobabble they used to describe “mind control without telepathy” this time around).

            (then again, he was such a self centered jerk that he didn’t care what other people thought, that was central to his whole character)

          • bryan rasmussen

            maybe when max augments him he will have the ability to write minds.

          • Weatherheight

            His power also includes the ability to absorb and integrate skill sets, which is also crazy-gooseball powerful (in a very subtle way).

            But trusting Patrick to be honest.. I’m with Mechwarrior on that point – just because he told us something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true.

            Neither does it mean it’s a lie, either. I’m trying to keep an open mind, but the down side of being a GM of almost 30 years and running at least one game a week continuously the entire time is that you can imagine places to take a plot that wasn’t immediately obvious based on your initial outline.

            Brennan and Molly are doing a fine job of keeping the waters muddy where Patrick is concerned, IMHO.

          • Arkone Axon

            Oh, I don’t trust him to be HONEST. I’m just saying that if he had that power, he would have used it. It’s like Alison’s newfound power of flight. There were plenty of times when it would have been very useful to her, had she had it at the time. Mental manipulation like that would be too useful to him in achieving his goals to have not been used. If he’d had mind reading AND mental manipulation, he wouldn’t have even needed to bother with robots. Just talk the Secret Service into letting him walk into the Oval Office, then talk the president into giving him all the authority of the executive branch. Then go talk to Congress and repeat the process.

            I’ve done a bit of GMing (nowhere near as much as you have, though), and one thing I’ve learned is that the party won’t try to burn down the haunted mansion instead of going inside if burning down the haunted mansion isn’t a valid option (made of stone, a creepy fog won’t let anything burn, a missing person is stuck inside, etc). A player never forgets to use any power they have (every last bonus to the dice roll they can get, and all), so if they aren’t using it… it’s because it isn’t available.

    • zarawesome

      Gurwara is too old to be a biodynamic, no?

      • Flimflamberge

        You’re assuming he really looks how he’s appeared to. And that he doesn’t have a rapid aging side effect.

        • Izo

          Or shapeshifting.

      • bryan rasmussen

        unless he was a normal age biodynamic whose biodynamism made him look old. Or had as a side effect an aging sickness.

        • Izo

          (or he is a shapeshifter… or has time powers and that was Future Gurwara, who is actually… I don’t know, someone who Max eventually helps augment in the future or something.)

      • Dave M

        What if there were biodynamics before the storm, but they were just very very rare? That could mean that Gurwara is indeed a biodynamic, and maybe even the new Menace. Consider how well he pushes all Alison’s buttons and basically gets her to agree with his analysis of her situation.

        Wild guessing Ahoy!

        • UnsettlingIdeologies

          A rare group of biodynamics could be exactly the sort of folks who would create a vast, international conspiracy to make sure no even more powerful people grow up to influence the world.

          • Dave M

            Indeed it would. Of course that would mean that Patrick was actually being truthful, which is somewhat abhorrent but acceptable in this case. 🙂
            And if Gurwara is the new Menace, then challenging Alison and then helping her is just the new Menace scoping out the last known person to confront the old Menace. Know thy enemy.

            Baseless and unproven, but fits the facts we have available.
            Onward Wild Guessing!

      • Izo

        But Gurwara is 22 🙂

        He just looks older because he’s a metamorph.

  • Aaaand now it just turned into an episode of Twilight Zone.

  • Lysiuj

    @Sam – Sufficiently advanced pranks are indistinguishable from… master plans.

  • zellgato

    Bam….. Called that slice of BS. Well at least portion of it, though I think its correct still.

  • Herwood

    So was Gurwara actually a young superhuman with shapeshifting and mind control or something???

    • Herwood

      Was it Patrick controlling all their minds (I know he said he couldn’t, but maybe his powers have advanced as well…)

      • Weatherheight

        Because Patrick would never tell lies or deceive anyone about anything…

    • Filthy Liar

      Maybe Patrick doesn’t know as much as he thinks he does about superhumans and Gurwara is an older one.

  • Herwood

    Mann this is dangerous territory. I don’t know how mind control works in this comic but I’m pretty sure they won’t go with her being able to resist mind control with the power of her will. Or maybe they will…
    Maybe chapter 7 is about free will?
    Im kind of worried about the damage she can do if she is mind controlled…

  • Rugains Fleuridor

    Whoa, the chapter ended.

    Well, I certainly didn’t expect it to go like that. Considering Alison’s face, and the cliffhanger nature of this ending, there may be an outside reason for the professor’s lapse. Let the wild guesses begin!

    He’s been brainwashed by the government! He came from the past (or the future)! He wiped his own memory to keep humanity safe! He’s… probably been affected by Patrick, was my first thought, to be honest.

    • Lysiuj

      I’ll just accept all of these to be true at the same time.

    • Filthy Liar

      Guwara wanted to know what kind of person Alison is. Now he does, and he’ll use that information to further some plan.

  • robert袋蟻食skitch

    Hopefully Alison doesn’t get excluded from class because of this. It seems obvious that this was targeting her, and if her presence is deemed to be endangering staff and students and interfering with their education…

    • Weatherheight

      Wouldn’t that be a bit.. ironic?

    • Zorae42

      Doubtful. I think the school enjoys the publicity they get for having MegaGirl attend than they care about the danger she potentially poses.

      Colleges are known for valuing money/prestige over the safety and well being of their students/faculty.

      • Tylikcat

        They’re also known for being wildly inconsistent about this, and often oscillating between extremes. Some administrations handle crises well, but, um, I wouldn’t typify that as being a majority response.

  • Dawn Smashington

    Okay, but what’s the Martin case?

    • Weatherheight

      It’s a hard plastic shell-case that comes with the guitar…
      Oh, you mean the headline! No idea.

    • Stephanie Gertsch

      Wondering that too. Apparently it has something to do with blowing up a building? I think the headline about Menace is a distraction while the “Martin Case” will be the important plot point.

  • Charles Moore

    Does this count at introducing the bad guy for the next chapter after the credits?

    http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-6/page-104-2/

  • Lostman

    Time control anyone?

    • Filthy Liar

      Weird mental powers seem more likely. They’re all aware that time passed, the rest of the world is aware that time passed, the professor is six weeks behind.

  • Filthy Liar

    Guwara better explain those scars as part of his villainous monologue is all I’m saying. Thinking about it, he never references them explicitly does he? The students don’t mention them either I don’t think. I wonder if he was making them see something that wasn’t there.

  • Walter

    You are not the only one, Professor!

  • thebombzen
  • Philip Bourque

    I wonder what made her ask if he knew the date? I would have called his identity into question first.

    • TheDaviesCR

      First words out of his mouth, he mentioned the syllabus. That’s not something you hand out six weeks into class.

      • Philip Bourque

        Which brings up the next important question: how many classes has it been since February 4th?

  • Cuzquo

    loving pink-t-shirt-girl and orange-snood-girl reacting and being proactive here while the rest of the class is busy being grey blobs

  • Guwara was a villain?? Shocked I say. Shocked!

  • Tylikcat

    So about that time travel things… Lostman mentioned this below (I did read through comments before posting) but I want to muse on that a bit.

    A lot of people are saying mind control, and of course we have a mostly absent telepath that many of us are fond of as a character, not to mention multiple path to power boosting. So mind control is not off the table, via Patrick or other agency. (WTF Gurwara? …this, BTW, is more a response to his mechanics than his motive. Is he working for/with something else? Is he a cape in his own right? As for his motive, well, I’m popping popcorn.)

    But time travel is also on the table. We already know from Patrick that multiple people are working on the problem. He is trying to ensure that he’ll get ahold of the technology first – but we shouldn’t assume that he has the wherewithal to do so. And it is often the case with scientific developments that when these ideas arise, they arise from multiple people at around the same time. (Perhaps because they are dependent on the work of everyone else in the field. I suspect Lisa would have a lot to say on the subject. People tend to love the narrative of the Great Men*, but we work as communities.)

    It’s also interesting… his name was written on the board, which professors often do at the beginning of the first day of class. Now, maybe someone else did it. But maybe there’s a clue to the timing in whatever happened to him – he came in, wrote his name down, then headed to the department office to check his mail slot and pick up the daily paper… but before he got there, he was diverted, and Gurwara took his place. …and then several weeks later, he resumed his path without ever noticing the slip.

    And… I am just thinking of Gurwara’s sense of humor, and how he plays with language now. The first thing he said was that Karapovsky is dead. The next thing he says is that he had a child. I wonder if there’s a clue in there to what happened to him, if, probably, in a sly, technically true sort of way. It reminds me of all the debates about what actually happens to someone who goes through the Star Trek transporters. Do they die and then an identical person is created? It’s different energy and then different matter, arranged to the same template…

    * I want to say “and Women” – but, um, strangely, so many stories of Great Women get lost… (male editors?)

    • Weatherheight

      “* I want to say “and Women” – but, um, strangely, so many stories of Great Women get lost… (male editors?)”

      Credit Hogs.

      • Tylikcat

        The poor hogs. They’re so smart, and for this? We eat them, disparage them and use them for scapegoats. It’s probably even worse a situation than that of the cephalopods, but, um, I’m more personally invested in marine mollusks.

        • Lysiuj

          We use hogs as goats? Where do the octopi fit into this?

          • Tylikcat

            1) In this case I figure credit is really blame, so I figure the hogs are scapegoats. I suppose one could read this as a more standard case of casting aspersions on them. (Why is being a hog such a bad thing? Unless you’re a badass motorcycle.)

            2) They are another very intelligent creature that we eat. But hogs have a long history of co-evolution with humans as a food animal, which the cephalopods do not.

          • Lysiuj

            I was just trying to make an animal joke… but thanks 🙂

          • Tylikcat

            Oh, I figured, but it gave me a chance to write a fairly ridiculous reply while waiting for something else to come in.

          • Weatherheight

            Penguins!

            Tension breaker, had to be done…

          • Eric Schissel

            Everything is better with penguins.

    • Arkone Axon

      You don’t want to say “and Women?” Setting aside the fact that you just dismissed the GLBTs, this is a comic titled “Strong Female Protagonist,” drawn by a female artist, where we’ve seen numerous powerful female characters involved in every aspect of the situation. Including a certain congresswoman who has made it clear she’s very, very comfortable about conspiracies and clandestine workings. Snarking about past misogyny doesn’t help.

      That being said, I very much agree with you regarding the matter of communities – as Lisa said, we celebrate the “light bulbs” of the world and not the “batteries.” Like how Ayn Rand never once mentioned all the people who helped her throughout her life, family and friends. Or how Steve Jobs promoted himself as a visionary when all he did was take credit for the brilliance of people like Steve Wosniak. History is replete with such instances of people taking credit for the work of those done by their “underlings,” until we’re conditioned to seek out Great Persons rather than become them ourselves. (David Brin’s ‘The Postman” does a great with that, where the titular protagonist is constantly searching for a great leader or hero that he can follow… not realizing that he himself is becoming exactly that)

      That’s actually been the overarching story arc of the comic as a whole, the way that Alison always put herself first and didn’t consider others except as lesser beings. She dismissed her teammates and didn’t realize it until after she tried reconnecting and learned that they’d all been traumatized and that one had become a serial killer after the fallout of her departure. She got a professor fired only after learning she’d already cost the man the love of his life because she never learned how to prevent hurting innocent bystanders (which is actually a thing comic books have shown heroes doing even back in the silver age. Often two superheroes will fight when they first meet due to misunderstandings, then realize they’re on the same side when they team up to save an innocent imperiled by their fighting. Sometimes they realize that a supervillain has reformed because he’s helping them save lives. “Why are we listening to Magneto?” “Because he’s right – just shut up and do it!”). And that’s not even touching on everything she’s done wrong in this chapter.

      It’s as if the whole comic is about Alison slowly reaching towards the epiphany that Luthor obtained after “borrowing” Superman’s powers for a brief rampage:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rixFgLXHonk

      As far as Gurwara’s motives… I honestly have no idea. He could very well be a cape. He certainly was an EXCELLENT professor. I get the impression the students are going to be very sad that they’re stuck with Karapovsky now instead of Gurwara.

      • theangelJean

        I think the problem with the “Great Women” substitution is the sad reality that the sentence would no longer be true.

        ie. I get the idea that when we talk about “Great Men” in any sentence we wish we could also include “Great Women” or that it could just be “Geniuses” (of whatever gender).

        But the point Tylikcat was making was that “People tend to love the narrative of the Great Men”. And unfornately, people tend NOT to love the narrative of Great Women. Not to mention that western society still likes to pretend that other genders don’t exist… That’s not snarking about past misogyny. It’s a comment on the current state of society.

        • Arkone Axon

          Actually, it’s more than just women who get edited out of history. A lot of people get pushed aside in the history books by glory seekers. I mentioned Steve Jobs and Steve Wosniak – more people recognize the name Jobs than they do Wosniak, when Wosniak’s the one who did all the work. Or look at what Thomas Edison did to Tesla and all the inventors who worked for him (as Lisa Bradley notes in the webcomic). The generals who get credited with their victories, the monarchs who rewrote history books and desecrated tombs. But even then, the information still tends to resurface eventually. The stories of Great Women are still there, such as Hypatia the mathematician, Harriet Tubman “Black Moses,” or Tomoe Gozen the legendary samurai.

          As for the snarking about misogyny… yeah, it’s a problem. Because if you keep rehashing the past, if you keep beating people over the head about things they’ve done, it doesn’t help anyone move on. And I’m speaking from experience about my own bad habit of not letting go of grudges against people who have done things to me – now apply that same principle to people getting beaten over the head about things that their ancestors did in previous centuries. You can be an injury collector who won’t stop talking about past injustices and hurts… or you can be someone who productively focuses on solutions.

          (Or to put it more succinctly: You can’t get rid of bigotry by constantly bringing it up)

  • Balthazar

    Dun dun duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun~

  • Sieve Bearer

    They’ve had Gurwara for “a couple of” weeks, except we’re now exactly six weeks later per the NYT? (Assuming that this isn’t a leap year.)

    • Tylikcat

      Seriously. I have trouble with a couple = six.

  • So, of course — WHODUNIT? And, before that, HOWDUNNIT?

    Options:

    Time travel — take Karaposkov as he’s going out his door, drop him six weeks into the future. Downside: six weeks of him missing is plenty of time for the news to break and a very public manhunt show up. Having today’s paper is also a mild clue against, although not a huge one — you could just drop him from midnight on Feb 4 onto midnight on March 18. But, no: he’s married — he can’t have just gone missing.

    Brainwashing/memory tampering — most likely option. But it takes a lot of groundwork. The “wife had a baby” thing is gonna be weird for the rest of the department, who are aware that Mr and Mrs were done with kids sometime in the late 20th century.

    Where was Karaposkov for the past six weeks, and who was aware that he wasn’t where he was supposed to be? When he’s married, and a member of a faculty, and has a family?

    Do you have to tamper with the minds of dozens of people?

    And who could do it?

    The obvious culprit, if it’s memory tampering, is Patrick. He’s never had the ability to implant or tamper with memories before, but if everybody is picking up new powers, it’s not unreasonable to suspect that he got that ability. And it’s possible that the “Menace returns?” headline is a clue.

    Downsides of that theory? I can’t figure out what Patrick would be playing at, or why he’d think it would work; it’s maybe a bit TOO on the nose for Molly and Brennan, who have a tendency to blindside us. Still, they do occasionally go for the most obvious choice; they just do it in an interesting way.

    • Fluffy Dragon

      if it’s brainwashing… he could have been brainwashed with a command like: “you will leave home every day as normal, go to *some place* and sit for 6-8 hours, then go home, thinking you’ve been to work. then on March 11, you will forget everything that happened in the last six weeks and go to work as if it’s Feb 4.”
      it’s a bit sloppy though. like why do all that and potentially cause suspicion.

      Alternatively, both he and his wife were brainwashed into going on a vacation and then forgetting all about it upon their return home.

      We only have Gurwara’s word that the faculty thinks it was a baby that made him go on leave. The faculty might actually think it’s something completely different. No students complained, so the faculty doesn’t know there was someone else entirely running the show. OR they were brainwashed too… if you want to go that route.

    • Tylikcat

      I wonder if Patrick is the obvious culprit. I mean, our evidence would be that he’s a telepath, and has been a supervillain, right? But – and I’m not saying we have complete information – from the information we do have, does this fit with what we know about his MO?

      AFAIK, Patrick’s thing has been knowing enough about people’s mind’s that he can manipulate the holy heck out of them. He’s really good at this*. Even if he got mind control powers, if he wanted to Insert Gurwara into the university setting… this strikes me as a pretty darn clunky and inelegant way of doing it. Why pile all this trauma on poor Karapovsky (his fashion sense isn’t that bad.) Why not just come up with a reason he’d want to be elsewhere, and arrange to slip Gurwara in? This is someone making a statement about power.

      It could, of course, be Patrick making a statement about power. But why? (Until I have a solid reason to believe otherwise, I’m going to guess he’s contrite – or at least confused – and making blundering attempts at making amends. Maybe he can start doing Skype therapy sessions with someone outside of his telepathy range or something. Or maybe he’s growing out his dastardly villain mustache.)

      (Other clues. That whole The Return of Menace headline – what is sparking that? AFAWK, Patrick has plenty to do, and no reason to return to his old persona – running a multinational is a more efficient way to be a villain, even! But someone new to the game, with a vaguely similar power set could explain that headline. And point to a lot of confusion and strife in the future.)

      * It’s his own emotions he can’t handle, right?

  • Anna

    http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-6/page-42-5/
    Cleaver is starting to seem like he was on to something.

  • AshlaBoga

    “The Return of Menace?”

    Yeah, that seems like the pertinent headline.

  • Fluffy Dragon

    Re: Menace.
    he could only read minds/memories, not alter them… or has he gotten himself a little “Max Boost”, perhaps?

  • JohnTomato

    I’m glad that this arc has come to a neat and tidy ending…

    Chaos rules our lives no matter how we attempt to deny it.

  • Stephanie Gertsch

    Sweet, sweet vindication for pointing out that gurwara was a shit teacher who really was ready to throw everyone’s grades out the window to better harass one student, in defiance of any real university policy. This twist made a lot more sense than this universe suddenly turning into the one from “God’s Not Dead.”

  • BGB

    Gurwara was actually a Templar robot. He knew how to push Allison’s
    buttons so easily because he contained a device that extends Patrick’s
    telepathy, allowing Patrick to remotely read Allison’s mind and control
    Gurwara.

    To keep the cover, Patrick kept the real professor asleep for several weeks starting the night of February 3.

  • Cokely

    At present, this twist relies on too many convenient externalities to be plausible. Nobody else in the department noticed Karapovsky missing, or found the “new baby” justification hard to swallow (if he’s been working there for ten years, then his family life is at least known to others in the department). This is apparently the only class Karapovsky teaches. No student e-mailed Karapovsky or administration at any point in a month and a half, especially when concepts like auto-pass/fail are bandied about. For that matter, administration didn’t suddenly need to find Karapovsky for things he was obligated to do as a professor, like committee work.

    Regarding Gurwara, nobody noticed a new guy wandering the department claiming to be a professor. No student checked if he had an office for office hours or a university e-mail – not merely to discuss grades but to discuss the material.

    The sticking point here is the timeframe. All of this is probably a stretch but plausible if the events only occur over the course of a few days – enough time for Gurwara to establish his deception and plant the seed of a crisis of conscience in Alison. But for a month and a half to have passed, there’s going to need to be serious retroactive justification to have this all make sense. Otherwise, there are far too many ways the deception could have been found out.

    • AshlaBoga

      I suspect that if you can make someone lose 6 weeks, you can hack the school computers and insert a fake person as a teacher. Both are implausible.

      • Cokely

        And when the text presents that, it shall be so. As yet, it has not.

    • Zorae42

      The “new baby” excuse is what Guwara told the class of students who had never met him. The administration may have been given a more reasonable excuse given his age. Guwara (or some other sub) probably taught the other classes and this is just the first class of the day for Karapovsky (which is why he’s just now finding out). Whoever made him lose time could’ve responded to emails he received.

      They may have faked Guwara’s information to make him seem like a legitimate sub.

      • Cokely

        And when the text presents that, it shall be so. As yet, it has not.

    • palmvos

      I could swear that one of Alison’s academic councilor sessions had a man who had a signed cast his office. that cast was from an incident in mega girls past that involved a mind control biodynamic. someone had broken his arm because he was controlled. I’m probably wrong. its been too long since my last archive dive to place it. there is another incident where a woman accused Menace of using mind control on her man. Patrick revealed that the man died in an extremely humiliating manner. so if my memory is working there is/was a mind control person out there. its possible we’ve seen her. http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-2/page-18-2/
      who is that egging cleaver on? and remember that someone’s taking control of the remains of Patrick’s criminal network. a Mind control person could have created this easily- could even be Gwenara himself sort of- remember that your eyes are not the only organ involved in sight. the brain does much of the work of interpreting what the eyes see. (otherwise we’d all know where our blind spot is)

    • UnsettlingIdeologies

      A lot of these things could be explained away if he was an adjunct. These days, adjuncts often teach the same class for years, and many only teach one class–generally an introductory course like this one. We don’t generally serve on committees or have departmental obligations. We are often relatively disconnected from the rest of the department, in part because we are rarely given office space (especially in a lower budget department like philosophy departments tend to be) and in part because we are often not invited to faculty functions of any kind. In fact… I’m now starting to think that I could have someone else teach my class for a couple months and nobody would even notice… Huh… That’s interesting to think about.

      Anyway, the two biggest hurdles (on the professional side, the personal side would be a whole different ballpark) would likely be the lack of a university email address and the risk of someone saying something to somebody in the department. The first could possibly be dealt with by just enrolling as a non-degree seeking student (many universities have the same format for faculty/staff and student email addresses: [email protected]), which is a relatively quick and easy process at most places. The second could pose a problem (although not necessarily an unmanageable one) if a student mentioned you to the administration. But realistically, as someone who has taught a couple introductory courses for several years now, I can probably count on one hand the number of times a student has mentioned me by name to the administration AND they have followed up with me in any form.

  • RantGirlRants

    I love it when I get the twist wrong! 🙂 Seriously. Most films and books I read, I don’t have this issue. 🙁

  • Stephanie

    What I find strange about this is that, regardless of what happened to him over these past weeks, someone should have noticed that he wasn’t attending his classes (and possibly that he was completely missing). How was his absence covered up? If he was kidnapped and held during that time, was his wife also kidnapped? Did Gurwara go through official channels to become the substitute professor? So many questions.

    • MartynW

      Might be something really weird, not a kidnapping. A time slip or “suspended animation” kind of trick.

      • palmvos

        that gets the prof off the hook. but as someone pointed out it is a myth that profs act in solitude and the guy’s married. given his comments i suggest he’s living in the same house as his wife so… what about all the other people who should have seen something. do we have an SEP field generator? now there’s a challenge for Lisa. though what will she do after she turns it on?

    • AshlaBoga

      I guess both he and his wife would have been kidnapped.

      But why? The fake prof didn’t actually do anything other than act as a confident for Mega Girl. Even if he got blackmail info from the whole thing, I think anyone capable of pulling this off could have investigated the entire deal on their own.

  • Olivier Faure

    I love how, in the last panel, Allison is like “Grrr… I need to solve this problem, but there is nothing in front of me I can punch. Maybe if I punched the window?”

  • K. J. Hargan

    Ok.
    I’m going to try to lay this all out as thoroughly as I can.
    Many are saying ‘It’s PATRICK!’ I don’t buy that. Patrick has never had to resort to such elaborate subterfuge with Allison, as far as we know. Many have rightly pointed out that Patrick’s power allows him to see your anticipated moves and thwart you, but not influence your mind. Patrick just doesn’t deal in illusion (again as far as we have been given in the story) specially with Allison, who he immediately ceded to when he probed her mind and realized he could never beat her. Patrick is fairly straightforward and has no real need to cast doubt into Allison. He doesn’t play like this.
    Ok. Illusion? Trickery? Subtlety? I said it before and I’m saying it again. Guwara was Moonshadow and here’s how and why: This all stems from Moonshadow’s attempt to bring Allison around to the ends justifying the means in terms of her murdering rapists and in some cases only potential rapists.
    First Moonshadow absolutely has the ability to appear as someone different, i.e. Guwara. And she also has the power to keep someone like the real professor in a illusionary daze thinking he is living only one day when a month has passed. Is she that powerful? Remember everybody’s powers are getting ramped up. Moonshadow could have even gotten more ramped up by Max without his knowing it.
    But here’s the crux of the question as I see it: It comes down to that long ontological discussion in the park. If you put Moonshadow and her existential problems into Guwara’s mouth, THEY ALL MAKE COMPLETE SENSE. Go try. And then there is the whole notion of having to kill the doctor because of a moral stance. This was Moonshadow’s justification when she murdered the frat boys who may or may not have been rapists. They fit her moral imperative and so she was justified in delivering what she had promised to herself, exactly like Guwara.
    Add to this Guwara’s whole impetus to get Allison to stop being so naive and see the world as a vicious arena, exactly like Moonshadow tried in their last conversation.
    Is Moonshadow imitating Menace? Maybe. Would make sense if she has completely cracked and moved to killing not just rapists. Plus, she could easily convince Menace’s former associates that she was him.
    How can Allison fight Moonshadow? Only one way. She has to get Patrick to help her ‘see’ Moonshadow’s mind with his powers.

    • M. Alan Thomas II

      I’m still not beyond the “maybe it’s the government trying to convince her not to become a world dictator” theory, but I like this.

      • M. Alan Thomas II

        Alternately: It’s The Duck From p.112 (whom I’m surprised hasn’t commented yet).

        • Izo

          This is oh-so-plausible. Shapeshifter! 🙂

    • AshlaBoga

      Eh, I don’t think Moonshadow could have pulled this off on her own.
      You’d have to have at least 1 other dynamic individual to pull this off.

      At the same time, I also don’t think it was Patrick. The discussion she had with Prof. G was AFTER she made her mistake. Prof. G didn’t contribute to her coercing Max, she would have done that even if they’d never met. And the blackmail aspect doesn’t make sense either, you could just as easily point out the excessive use of force in past events rather than get to her to admit she bent a guys arm. Now I’ve been in an arm lock and it’s plenty unpleasant, but as someone who’s been in a similar physical situation to Max, I still don’t think of the incident as a big issue.

      My gut says not Moonshadow, not Patrick. Which pretty much leaves “new villain.”

  • motorfirebox

    Huh. I don’t know why, but I honestly expected this to be some kind of funny misunderstanding or clever prank by Gurwara.

    Also, this guy gets “pranked” and his only complaint is that it’s too absurd to really be funny? I kinda want him to stick around.

  • Oh noooo, he was evil after all. :C

    • Tylikcat

      I don’t know if this comic tends to favor such simple characterizations.

  • Azmodan

    So going off the hilariously incorrect perspective in that last panel, this is obviously Allison having been drugged and being screwed with telepathically by Max’s, Mom’s, associates. Can’t get her physically, but she is still weak mentally!

    Just kidding. It was totally Moon trying to turn Allison into a super villain.

    • Here’s a Name

      begin joke
      Allison’s actually just hovering at an angle ’cause her [metaphorical] world is spinning….
      end joke

  • Arkone Axon

    I must admit to a burning question at this point.

    …Not about who Gurwara actually is. My question is this: why are people still rushing to pardon Alison’s actions?

    Let’s say that the theory of him deliberately manipulating Alison into going after Max is true (which would require him to be allied with Menace, aware of Max’s existence, AND know that Alison is so boringly predictable that the moment she finds out about her ex-boyfriend having “permanent buff other” as a power, she would rush to torture him into enhancing one specific person by the name of Feral). Let’s say that he did indeed do all that, that this was his intention all along.

    …That still fails to account for the fact that Alison is the one who committed kidnapping, assault and battery, terrorist threats, torture, and medical fraud (deceiving the doctors into performing a medical procedure while under the misconception that everyone involved was a voluntary participant who had given informed consent)…

    Saying you were provoked doesn’t cut it. Just because someone says “mean things” or inflammatory things or provocative things does not excuse you from the consequences of your own actions. “The bitch was asking for it” is not a valid defense in any court of law. Nor is “my buddy said that guy was talking shit.” Or even “my jerk of a boss gave me a day from hell, so when that guy beeped his horn it was the last straw.”

    That’s why I’m not certain that Gurwara was a bad guy. I’m waiting to see what he will turn out to have been involved in… but as far as Alison’s numerous crimes are concerned, ultimately it is Alison and ONLY Alison who is to blame. Great power, great responsibility.

    • Zorae42

      Literally no one on this page has said that being manipulated excuses Alison of fault.

      • Arkone Axon

        Actually there have been a lot of comments here about how this was all a mad scheme and Alison was a pawn, a victim caught up by a long con of whatever conspiracy sent Gurwara. I don’t see anyone acknowledging that literally none of this would be an issue if Alison had just… oh, I don’t know… treated Max like a person? Offered him some empathy? NOT resorted to a battery of crimes that one would normally associate with males who lower lotion in baskets in order to get what she wanted?

        Everyone’s talking about whether or not Gurwara was a bad guy all along, and what was going on with Karapovsky to keep him out of the picture for six weeks. Some people have claimed that Patrick was responsible all along, with those mind control powers he secretly had all along but never used when he was trying to conquer the world, but finally unleashed for the singular purpose of playing a complex practical joke on Alison. And they’re talking about how she’s going to deal with this latest threat to all that is good and true, with that last panel of her staring out the window with bunched fists in heroic fashion…

        …And she wasn’t heroic in this chapter. She did villainous things for selfish reasons and lied to herself about it until Gurwara tore her self deceptions down. How come no one is giving Alison the respect of treating her as being responsible for her own actions?

        • Zorae42

          Because they want to discuss what happened on the page they’re commenting on rather than feeling the need to constantly bring up what happened to Max. Especially since, as you said, being manipulated doesn’t excuse her actions so this reveal has changed nothing about the way people feel about them.

          Because “if she hadn’t acted the way they expected her to, none of this would matter” is a self evident statement and doesn’t contribute anything to the conversation about the current page other than making it clear that you disapprove of actions she took many pages ago.

          • Arkone Axon

            Actually, it contributes a great deal. Because it leads to additional questions, such as WHY Gurwara took Karapovsky’s place for six weeks. What was the purpose? Was it nefarious, or benevolent? Was he there to manipulate… or just observe and monitor? The whole chapter has been about her actions, and even the claim that she “acted the way they expected her to” is suspect. Were they expecting that? Is she that predictable? Or is Gurwara’s report going to make eyebrows shoot up as they gasp, “holy crap… this situation is worse than we thought?” Is Gurwara going to smugly hand off a recording of her confession of her crimes for someone to blackmail her with or destroy her public reputation? Or is he going to plead with someone, “she’s not beyond salvaging… please, you don’t need to execute Plan Omega yet?”

          • Zorae42

            Those are contributing questions and are pretty similar to what people are saying.

            Notice how they are questions about what happened, rather than self evident statements about how things would be different if Alison had acted differently.

          • Arkone Axon

            Actually it’s more about the fact that some people are still skewing and rationalizing, rather than giving Alison the respect of assigning her responsibility for her own actions and treating them as the serious crimes that they were. They’re talking about the manipulations and the rest as if she had no agency, as if she were not responsible for what she has done. Which is utter claptrap – if she’s responsible for her victories, achievements, and successes, then she’s also responsible for her defeats, crimes, and failures. You can’t have one without the other, and too many people in these comments pages have been giving her a pass (including speaking dismissively about how it was “many pages ago,” when it was also “less than 48 hours prior in her personal timeline.”)

          • Zorae42

            I think you’re just projecting your feelings onto them. They’re talking about the manipulations without any relation to her actions. They’re talking about how he did it, why he did it, and who put him up to it. Nothing in here about “Oh this means she’s not responsible for what happened”, that’s all you.

            You’re complaining about something that no one is doing.

            I was dismissive because nothing new about it has come up and it has been discussed to death.

          • Arkone Axon

            No, it was something everyone was doing. Everyone’s been talking about the actions and motivations of everyone else involved.

            You are the same person who previously established yourself as a torture apologist when you repeatedly stated that it was okay for Alison to physically assault Max, inflict physical pain, remind him that he was completely helpless to resist her, and then threaten to murder him if he didn’t do as she wanted. Along with dismissal of Max’s own fears, concerns, and moral positioning. You keep trying to take her moral responsibility off the table. When it was “Alison has saved thousands and thousands and thousands of lives, plus Feral’s,” you were quick to declare her actions as perfectly justifiable. Now we’re finding out that someone is fully aware of her actions, and that someone had already found it necessary (for whatever reason) to impersonate a college professor. This is a consequence of her past behavior.

            And if we’re going to talk about who Gurwara was, and what he wanted, and what’s going to happen now… then it needs to be included in a discussion of Alison as something more than a mindless automaton that can be easily manipulated down predetermined paths.

            That person in the bottom panel. The one who is glaring out the window and thinking about how all of this will affect her (instead of offering to fly the old man who might very well be having a stroke to the hospital). She made this all about her. Was Gurwara a villain spying on a hero… or a hero spying on a villain?

          • Izo

            Really loving your posts 🙂 It’s like I don’t have to post anything 🙂

  • Graeme Sutton

    So either Gurwara is a parahuman with an ability that allows him to modify his appearance as well as modify memories or something similiar, he’s an accomplice of someone with those powers or he’s some kind of master of disguise who also has those powers.

  • Hiram

    To be honest, I also feel like I must be going mad every time I read the news.
    The world itself can’t be as mad as it seems, so the mad one must be me.

    • palmvos

      sanity is overrated. american politics have been silly for quite some time. though I think the Italians actually elected a comedian so we can’t be the only silly ones.(Al Franken says hi)(oh go run for president already) look at it this way. for the next 3 to 7 years few comedians will be unemployed. and the makers of spirits will have a steady business. though if i may make a suggestion do not try the trump drinking games…. and always always have a designated driver.

      • AshlaBoga

        Trump drinking games? I haven’t heard of any, please do feel free to share.

        • Hiram

          A drinking game based around that walking headache sounds like some mad attempt to create a migraine singularity.

  • AshlaBoga

    They worship freedom yet can never be free.

    “None of us can, not while you still live.”

    *Shivers*

  • zellgato

    additional comment..
    Does anyone know how many days he actually lost?

    • palmvos

      several here have commented as if they could read the date on the paper… I cannot.

      • zellgato

        I as well can not at all

        • Zorae42

          March 18th

          • zellgato

            ty

    • Lysiuj

      As @zorae42:disqus said, it’s March 18th. If he thinks it’s February 4th, that indicates that he lost 42 days, or 43 if it’s a leap year. I’ll assume it’s not a leap year, beacause 42 is exactly 6 weeks which accounts for the same day of the week for his class.
      So, 6 weeks.

      • zellgato

        tys

  • Jac

    OOHHHHHHHHH OH MAN. OH MAN. THIS IS GREAT. 😀

  • Jimbotherisenclown

    I apologize for the lack of substance in this post, but What the Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck?

  • Given that this webcomic deals with shades of grey, I believe that the con was done with best of intentions. However, is it the Government or another party?

  • Philip Petrunak

    Okay, so I’m just gonna bet this is all the Puppet Master’s doing.

  • Jshadow

    That last panel looks so awkward…

    Not just the window, but also Ali’s arms look stubby.

  • Matthew McMahon

    This was a completely unexpected and amazing finish, Molly & Brennan. Thank you!

  • zopponde
  • Anon Forever Wandering

    Where did that newspaper come from? Was he just carrying around a current newspaper without realizing the date was wrong? Or did Gurwara just leave that there for dramatic effect?

  • Ali

    MIND >>>> BLOWN

  • TheGonzoMD .

    Oh my god.

    Run Morty, we-we-we gotta get outta this reality Morty! Shut up Morty there’s no time, we gotta bail out of here before- urrp – time completely breaks down! Oh Jesus Christ, we’re screwed Morty! I killed us!