SFP

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  • Haven

    I love everything about this, but especially its placement in the story.

    Gurwara’s character design has consonance with Cleaver’s–both are covered in scars and marks which emphasize their vulnerability despite their ostensible power. Cleaver is the only one who was able to scar Alison, Gurwara is the only one who can “push her buttons”*, which may prove to be a similar action (narratively scaled/transposed relative to his own role compared to Cleaver’s, of course): after causing temporary loss of control, it just makes the affected part stronger.

    *well, now that Patrick’s been cut out. Even then, Patrick wasn’t ever trying to get her to grow the way Gurwara is. Patrick was just being manipulative, whereas even though Gurwara took it all in stride, I’m pretty sure he would have preferred not being yelled at by the most powerful person on earth.

    • chaosvii

      I think more than that, Patrick would have preferred not to come to realize how much he had earned that shouting by not listening to what she had to say nor what she thought was right. To be so absorbed in one’s views of others that he dismissed a dear friend of his without looking inward to discover what he should deconstruct within his own thinking.

      • Markus

        Patrick’s mental powers don’t come with the psychological equivalent of the secondary power set that keeps Alison from constantly suffering muscle atrophy.

        In other words, he has a really weak self concept, ability to value different viewpoints, ability to delay gratification, and, ironically enough, sense of empathy.

      • Seer of Trope

        It’s different from that. Patrick is an involuntary mind-reader, meaning thoughts are like voices to him. He literally cannot hear his own thinking. He was too absorbed in other people’s thoughts that he could not reflect on his own.

    • masterofbones

      >Gurwara is the only one who can “push her buttons”

      There are quite a few people who have pushed her buttons…. She isn’t exactly hard to anger.

      • Izo

        Not as easy to anger as you’d think. Usually it takes physical threats, and even then she tries to first talk, then warns before getting to violence, and only seems to get violent as a last resort. Despite the fact that she admits that it feels really good to be violent, since she knows that she’s good at it. So she’s honest also.

        That pyro guy? She first talked, then warned when he was being threatening to people, and making a tense situation worse. And was upset with her friend for putting her in a position where she had to even WARN the pyro guy, because she doesnt like being used for her powers.

        Moonshadow? Again, she tried to talk first, reason with her, then warn before violence. And again, she did it to try to protect others.

        Cleaver? Talked first, how she did not want to fight him. Then warned. Then finally she had to fight. And afterwards, she is like THIS to him – friendly and caring and consoling.

        The first professor? She just tried to talk. There wasnt even any warning, let alone violence. In fact, when she had to use violence against cleaver, and wound up destroying the playground in the process, she looked like she was having an emotional breakdown because she wasnt able to fix it. Because she does NOT want to be good just at breaking things and people. Which is the whole point of what she’s doing with college and her thing with Paladin, etc.

        Seems to me that, considering how other powerful tier-1 biodynamics seem to get, Allison seems to practice a lot of restraint all of the time.

        • Christophe2314

          Nah, Alison’s main problem isn’t that she’s quick to anger. As you said, considering the amount of damage she’s capable of, she shows remarkable restraint. Her issue is close-mindedness; a term that is regularly misinterpreted by being tied to certain beliefs. At first glance, Alison seems like an open-minded person, but she really isn’t: she’s rarely had to open her mind to new ideas, as all of her positive beliefs were in fact taught to her from childhood. She’s rarely had to realize that she was wrong and that her opinions needed to change, and she’s been shown to handle it poorly whenever that happens.

          • Izo

            There’s the mental gymnastics 🙁 You’re literally trying to say that a person who, as you aptly stated, was taught all of her positive beliefs from childhood, are wrong. That thinking of others first, restraining yourself, using power to protect others rather than forcing them to do what she wants, is somehow ‘WRONG?’ She’s obviously not close-minded. Her turning away from the mask, her going to school (when as so many people have said, she could just coast on her powers if she wanted to), what she’s doing with Paladin – those are all examples of her NOT being close-minded. Gurwara? HIS opinions are close-minded. That people are inherently only going to think of themselves and wanting people to cooperate with others is the route of the tyrant, even if you don’t abuse your powers to force that to happen.

            If you or anyone thinks having beliefs like that is wrong, I’d hate to see what you’d consider to be the right beliefs.

          • Shjade

            Turning away from the mask – a decision made, in anger, after having it pointed out to her that her “positive belief” that punching bad guys is going to save the world was wrong.

            Going back to school – a direct result and extension of the above, necessitated by needing to re-learn how to accomplish her goals (which, as established, were previously not being met by her well-meaning – “positive” – but misguided beliefs).

            What she’s doing with Paladin – essentially a repeat of the first incident, in which it’s made clear to her that what she’s currently doing isn’t enough and she needs to change, also a decision made following an angry (though not unjustified) outburst.

            You’re, uh…you’re kinda proving Christophe’s point here, Izo.

        • masterofbones

          Gurwara didn’t provoke her to violence either… she got pissed and argued with him, just like several other people. Patrick is the only one who has caused her to initiate violence with only words, so if that is your metric then not even Gurwara passes.

          • Izo

            I never said Gurwara is a villain like Patrick is – I said he’s a jerk and not in any way a hero or even a good person like so many people are trying to twist And I said she’s not QUICK to anger, not that she’s incapable of getting angry. But even when she gets angry, violence is NEVER her first action. Talking always has been.

          • Mike

            Whether or not Gurwara is a “good person” seems like quibbling to me. The running theme of this comic is Alison’s inability, despite her incredible power and potential, to conceptualize an effective alternative to the repressive system she’s spent her life operating within; Gurwara pushing her to move beyond the prejudices and expectations she’s been naturalized to, -regardless of his intent-, seems like a very good thing. Alison wants to save the world, but she’s had a very spotty record, thus far, perceiving how she herself is rooted in it, how she’s been mediated as a subject by all the broken and exploitative mechanisms she wants to “fix”. Who cares about her grades? Her goal has been to challenge her own thinking, on a very fundamental level, and the discomfiture Gurwara has provided is absolutely movement in that direction. The idea is to get an education, not a degree. He’s functionally immaterial thus far except as a means to that end.

          • Izo

            It’s not quibbling. It’s being honest. The Joker might be a good foil for Batman, but it doesn’t make The Joker a good person. He’s just a good character foil and it says something disconcerting if Joker fans say he’s a good person.

          • Happyroach

            Well the question in that regard, is how much do we really WANT the walking KT event to move past her innate prejudices and expectations? And how? Because the stakes here if the teacher screws up are not simply college student becoming cynical or nihilistic, but the whole human race.

            In my headcannon, the teacher is now having some very intense conversations with a bunch of men dressed in suits.Quietly angry, nervous men who are getting constant updates on Allison’s location in their earpieces…

          • masterofbones

            You said that Gurwara is the only one that can push her buttons. Then you gave examples of other people that pushed her buttons but didn’t count because she didn’t get violent. How is Gurwara unique in being able to push her buttons? He hasn’t gotten her to become violent either!

    • Peter

      Are you sure Patrick won’t appear any more? He could still play a role.

      • Tylikcat

        Gods, I hope so. I am totally team Patrick, by which I mean I want to eat popcorn and watch the world hit Patrick in the face… and Patrick learn a few things from the experience. (See? It’s a loving thought. Really.)

        • Pol Subanajouy

          …I’m afraid to be on your team…

          • Tylikcat

            You can be in on the popcorn eating part?

            …that’s, well, probably a fairly reasonable reaction. I mean, I really do think getting slapped in the face by the universe a bunch of times can be a path to an awesome sort of education – if you’re in the right sort of starting place. But I mostly only apply that to a) myself and b) people I basically like but am really fucking annoyed at right now.

            And Patrick really strongly reminds me of a few people in my past.

            I am so incredibly glad that I survived my teens and twenties and don’t have to go back and do that again…

          • Pol Subanajouy

            Oh god, I could roll out some uncomfortable anecdotes about my misspent youth, but yes, let’s just say I’ve been slapped by the universe in the face too and that I agree you really do need to be in the right head space to even hope to possibly wrangle lessons out of those moments.

      • Izo

        He probably will appear again, after he’s solved that mystery of his.

      • Haven

        I could see it going either way, but by “cut out” I mean Alison severed her emotional ties with him, not that he’s necessarily out of the story.

        (I probably glossed over that part a bit; to quote Alison, it was 4 am.)

      • Christophe2314

        Pretty sure he will. His relationship with Alison may be a bit non-existent right now, but as the resident conspiracy guy and driving force behind the overarching plot, he can’t stay away forever.

    • Balthazar

      I didn’t notice that before you brought it up! By Jove, I think you’re on to something!

  • Harry Bentley

    Two complicated folks having a picnic.
    This scene is awesome! I’m so glad Alison still talks to Daniel like this ^^

  • Roman Snow

    I adore this exchange between Alison and “Cleaver.” Just what I needed after some stressful nights at work!

  • Markus

    I still think that the trick of this whole thing isn’t that Professor Gurwa wants to mess with Mega Girl, I think he feels like he has to. Cleaver wants Professor Gurwa to be getting a kick out of this because it makes everything easier, but the truth is that this side of the Professor is the same as the best side of Mega Girl. He’s doing what he’s doing because he thinks he’s a good person and that it’s the right thing to do.

    • Weatherheight

      Well, with his closing comment last panel, we haven’t YET ruled out that Guwara’s not *also* having fun with it. He’s quickly turning out to be one of the more complicated characters in the comic (and this panel adds dimension to both Daniel and Alison, which is also totally cool).

      But I agree with the “He’s challenging her because he feels it’s the best thing to do.” point of view. “We are all the heroes of our own story”, and all that.

      Let’s just hope that the story he’s telling is one of which we can accept its outcome. 😀

      • Seer of Trope

        I’m not sure if he’s a “complicated character” so much as he is a character who presented a complicated problem which generated a lot of discussion. What he did was also polarizing, dividing the readers into those who thinks what he did is unacceptable and those who thinks it was a good lesson.

    • Walter

      I still think the Prof is a super villain, and the class was foreplay. He has a goddamn Gold Tooth people!

      Calling him as leader of the conspiracy right now!

  • Dean

    Sponsored links! Say it ain’t so!

    Does Alison have to hand-feed Cleaver, I wonder?

  • Lysiuj

    Well this is just wonderful.

  • ∫Clémens×ds

    Alison is very sensitive about being called a “punk” ever since the tragical end of the 90s decade.

    • punk never died! It’s spirit is the cry of every soul that has ever been pushed down by the man!

    • Dean

      She was always more New Wave.

  • Soqoma

    She’s still visiting him! I’m really glad.
    I also REALLY appreciate the fluidity with which she checks his language–just the once, for the word that matters–and he takes it in stride. Even though this isn’t an easy friendship by any means– it IS a friendship and it sounds like one. Which is pretty great.

  • GreatWyrmGold

    I forgot about the big guy. Nice to see him again.

  • Cleaver looks different in colour!

  • Not convinced the message got through to our hero.

    Interesting to see her discussing it with Cleaver rather than Lisa, but I suspect Lisa would take Allison to task for not looking at what Gurwara is trying to do.

    • Izo

      ‘Take Alison to task?’ For what? He’s being a jerk to her. I have no idea why people are continually bending over backwards to not only excuse Gurwara’s behavior, but actually act like he’s doing a good thing by harassing,singling out, and taunting Allison, primarily because she’s a biodynamic. As if ‘genetics’ is a good reason to pick on a person.

      Because that’s what it comes down to – she has better genetics, so some commentators think she deserves the abuse.

      • David

        She singled herself out. She took a stand, saying it’s not fair. She didn’t get the outcome she desired/expected…and now you want her to play the victim card and act like she was singled out? Alison is much better than you give her credit for.

        • 3-I

          ExCUSE me?

          You’re seriously going to act like WE’RE the ones not giving Alison enough credit, for thinking that Gurwara’s being a jerk?

          Wow. That is some next-level bullshit, man.

          • shink55

            How does one go about teaching the most powerful human alive philosophy? Alison *IS* privilege, she never faces consequences for her actions. The board of the university is so scared of her they fired a previous professor over a disagreement, even when Alison didn’t ask for it or even condone the action. She can get on national television, threaten to kill a few hundred people and then walk into the highest security prison in the country and talk to Cleaver, no consequences. If you or I did that, we’d be in said prison, very quickly, with very little chance of ever seeing the outside of it again. The F she has doesn’t matter, if she decides she wants to take the next course she can just show up to it and politely tell the prof she’s in the class now, the prof will either back down or get fired based on previous precedent. If she decides that she’s done with her education and wants to graduate they’ll give her a diploma. Every limit she imposes upon herself is artificial.

            Every limit except the ones where the outcome relies on other people taking actions of their own volition. In order to institute the kind of change she wants to create, she is going to need other people to act on their own volition. In order to do that she has to learn that their exist situations in which she wont have control over outcomes and what to do when faced with such a situation. Sure Gurwara’s being an arbitrary unfair jerk to Alison here, then again Alison lives in a world where the only kind of real challenge she will ever face (barring problems with other super humans), is the problem of social and societal backlash and rejection, and even that could be overcome with sufficient application of force. If Gurwara is really committed to the path he’s set out on, he’ll try and show Alison that 1. not all problems can be solved (she’ll never not get an F) and 2. at least start to illuminate some answers as to how Alison can go about achieving her goals.

          • Izo

            “How does one go about teaching the most powerful human alive philosophy?”
            Treating her like you would treat anyone else, until she’s done something to deserve being treated worse would be a good start.

            “Alison *IS* privilege,”
            No offense, but that’s a non-argument. The mere fact that someone has advantages does not mean they should be treated crappily to offset that advantage. It also doesnt mean they can’t be prejudiced against.

            I can’t stand the ‘check your privilege’ response. It’s one of the worst inventions of my generation. I prefer to base a person on their merits and actions, not their genetics.

            “she never faces consequences for her actions.”
            She always faces the consequences for her actions. It’s why she has emotional breakdowns – she’s all too aware that her actions have consequences, and she doesnt want people looking at her as some sort of all knowing person just because she can lift a car over her head.

            “The board of the university is so scared of her they fired a previous professor over a disagreement, even when Alison didn’t ask for it or even condone the action.”
            They were not scared of her. Read the strip again. They were scared of LOSING her as a student – because of her fame, not her powers. And she not only did not condone the action, she was upset about it and was going to talk to them to get them to re-hire that professor, and told him so, and she was soundly told off BY that professor when she was trying to undo the Board’s stupid overreaction.

            “She can get on national television, threaten to kill a few hundred people”
            When the hell did she threaten to kill a few hundred people? Seriously – base judgment of her on what she actually does, not these insane and uncharacteristic worries of what you think she could do if … I have no idea because nothing in her history shows that she’d ever do anything even remotely like that. In fact I don’t even see her wanting to be on TV anymore, let alone declaring mass murder.

            “and then walk into the highest security prison in the country and talk to Cleaver, no consequences.”
            You do realize they probably let her in because Cleaver wanted to be able to see her, and it’s easier to keel Cleaver under control if you don’t unneccessarily antagonist a dying Tier-1 superhuman who DOES have a history of violence and murder by letting a rather peaceful superhuman have lunch with him and just talk. Prisoners can have visitors.

            “If you or I did that, we’d be in said prison, very quickly, with very little chance of ever seeing the outside of it again.”
            No we wouldnt, because the likelihood of her doing that as as likely as our own likelihood.

            “The F she has doesn’t matter,”
            If it doesnt matter, then she should be given an A instead.

            “if she decides she wants to take the next course she can just show up to it and politely tell the prof she’s in the class now, the prof will either back down or get fired based on previous precedent.”
            So, in other words, force her to have him fired, because he wants to be a complete and utter jerk who abuses his authority.

            “If she decides that she’s done with her education and wants to graduate they’ll give her a diploma.”
            No, because it won’t be a legal diploma then. And despite your worries about her, she is bound by laws.

            “Every limit she imposes upon herself is artificial.”
            Cleaver is a Tier 1, and he was caught as well, and contained. And I suspect he could have been contained even without Alison. You’re just ASSUMING that she can’t be caught and contained as well. They know her limitations.

          • Lysiuj

            “I can’t stand the ‘check your privilege’ response. It’s one of the worst inventions of my generation. I prefer to base a person on their merits and actions, not their genetics.”
            The social concept of ‘Privilege’ has existed for over a century (coined by W.E.B. DuBois in 1903), and been a focus in academia since the 80’s (starting with Peggy McIntosh’s “White Privilege and Male Privilege” in 1988).
            But it’s a good thing that it’s becoming a more common idea and topic these days, it’s something we need to talk about. Because it isn’t about how people shouldn’t be judged by their merits and actions, it’s about systems of oppression and opportunity.
            Most of the people in the world, the vast majority, are already judged and condemned based on their genetics/heritage/physical state/mental state/etc. They aren’t the ones with advantages in society, but the ones with disadvantages. And more and more, they are exploring how the advantaged groups (the majority, the oppressor class) always have it better, and never need to thing about those who have it worse, let alone experience their lives. And as an extremely privileged person, it’s my responsibility to listen to them, understand how society has given me every opportunity while giving many others much fewer, and take that into consideration in my actions and my interactions with other people.

          • Tylikcat

            Part of the problem is that people so often read privilege as being equivalent to “guilt” or “blame” or some such. And it does mean advantage – but it also means having different experiences, and therefore lacking cultural referents. I thought this was a good snippet pointing at the gap Alison often runs into:

            http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-5/page-23-3/

            (And seriously, this kind of thing drives me up the wall – not so much around going out and getting plastered, but I’ll often hear from my students about how as women they don’t feel safe going this place or that place alone at night. And part of me is all “Seriously? And you just accept that?!” But… It’s different culture. It’s different upbringings. It’s that I have to remember that part of my confidence come from being 5’11” and a martial artist. And maybe most to the point, that shouting and spluttering at people isn’t usually the most effective way to get a point across. Also, shit, street harassment in Cleveland is so much more of a thing than back in Seattle – I was seriously thinking my first couple of years out that I was going to have to dislocate someone’s elbow.)

          • Priviliege is real. I’ve been there on both sides of the divide, which is something most people can’t experience. I believed in privilege, I thought I understood it. But when people physically assault you just for walking down the street as a visible minority? When you get the same microaggression a dozen times in a day? That’s a reality, a contempt for you, that you simply can’t grasp from the outside.

            Nor is privilege or lack of privilege solely genetic. It can be, but it can also be completely unrelated to genetics as in the case of family wealth, the existence of a functional family structure, in the case of disability acquired via trauma or disease, class, region of birth, accent and so on.

          • 3-I

            And HERE it is, folks. Once again, the argument that Alison is incapable of being a victim, because she’s so high-profile, or because she’s so invulnerable, or because she could smash the building and nobody could stop her.

            The whole. Point. Of the comic. Is that she is human. If you don’t get that fundamental point, I have to stop and ask what comic you’re READING. It’s like people arguing that Superman is inherently unrestrained by morality, or that the X-Men can’t REALLY be oppressed, or any one of a thousand bullshit arguments that suggest that there is some fundamental difference between humans and ubermensches by virtue of their powers.

            And I GET the desire to see this in terms of privilege. By the virtue of her birth, she has had opportunities and safeguards that other people simply do not have, and these people are, in your minds, trying to teach her that she is blind to that fact. But the problem is, she’s NOT someone coasting by on her alleged privilege. She’s not using it to oppress. She’s not passively letting others suffer while she gets her way. She is trying very, very hard to do things the right way. And people who know NOTHING about her personal philosophies, her struggles, or indeed anything other than that she’s famous and bulletproof, keep trying to leap in in-comic and say that she’s a tyrant, lording her power over the normals, and is fundamentally not a human being.

            This isn’t about privilege. This is about viewing biodynamics as living weapons. It’s about treating her as if she is inherently dangerous because she can lift heavy things. And she isn’t the braindead unlearning clod that you assholes want her to be. If she was that, she wouldn’t have stopped being Mega Girl in the first place. You act as if her desire not to hurt people is inherently meaningless, because she can just DO it whenever she wants.

            Because nobody in society can punish her if she snaps, it doesn’t matter that she cares about other human beings and doesn’t want to cause suffering.

            Are you REALLY comfortable saying that?

            But no. You see her stand up against a date rapist, and you want to cast her as a bully. You see her angry at a “protest” group literally calling for the death of someone making a personal sacrifice for the greater good, and you want to cast her as a fascist out to stamp down the freedom of speech. You see her showing the slightest bit of compassion to someone else in roughly the same situation as her, and you want to say that level of compassion shouldn’t be allowed.

          • MrSing

            I don’t agree with Izo and 3-I on a lot of things, but if Guwara actually gives Alison an F for that one test it’s not a good lesson.
            If it is because of her powers and only because of that it would be actual discrimination.
            He can show her in tons of ways how the world is unfair and that she can’t actually change everything without doing a real injustice to her. That’s a skill that any philosopher teacher worth their salt should have.
            It just wouldn’t be legal or ethical to fail her on a single thought experiment simply “because she can handle it”.
            Alison is still a student in this context and students should be judged by how well they know the subject and if they have made it their own.
            Mind you, I still believe that Guwara won’t actually give her an F (or the rest of the class an A for that matter). I think he merely has a sense of humor that most people don’t get. It seems very East-European or Russian to me, lots of dark humor and straight up telling outrageous untruths to people’s faces to evoke a laugh.
            So, i suspect it’s just a cultural thing.

          • David

            I’m not sure why you are acting like I was talking to anyone other than the person I replied to, but…please re-read the post I was responding to, and then re-read my reply. Your comprehension has failed you right now, but if you re-read, you will understand.

          • Izo

            You know, you don’t have to resort to insults to 3-I….

          • David

            I insulted no one.

          • Izo

            David: “Your comprehension has failed you right now,”

          • 3-I

            Nnnnope, my comprehension was just fine. Unless you’re saying that you don’t disagree with the others who agree with Izo, you’re just picking them out specifically for reasons that have nothing to do with their argument.

          • David

            Picking who out? What are you talking about? My reply was to Izo’s post, no one else’s.

            Izo said the Prof singled her out and made her the victim.

            However, that is not true.

            If you read back to that point in the story, he asked the whole class, and they all stayed silent…until Alison finally said something. Then he addressed her.

            That was my only point when replying to Izo…which is why I stated that you misunderstood what I was saying, and what I was replying to.

          • 3-I

            Okay, clearly you have not picked up on this little detail, but I agree with what Izo was saying. I was therefore calling you out on your point (and the way you phrased it) both being insulting and unacceptable. It’s not that I misunderstand what you’re saying. I fully get it. I also firmly disagree.

        • Izo

          He took Allison to ask for…. responding to his question when he was berating the class to respond to his question? And she’s NOT playing the victim card – that’s pretty much the whole point. She is just being factual – Gurwara’s a jerk. She isnt self-pitying herself here. She hasnt tried to get him fired, although any NORMAL unpowered, unfamous person would… and probably would succeed, because she does not WANT to get people fired. She didn’t want the last person fired either.

          You’re seriously saying that I’m not giving Allison enough credit, when you’re trying to act like it’s her fault that she’s been singled out by Gruwara for these psychological, button-pushing mind games?

          Are you friggin serious?

          • Random832

            “She didn’t want the last person fired either.” – no, but she was okay with it. You can tell by the fact that she hasn’t tried to get him rehired.

          • Izo

            Actually she wanted to get him rehired. Professor Cohen told her NOT to. That he wouldnt accept it anyway.

          • He made a point to specifically thank Alison for responding.

      • Walter

        *blink*

        Equating “has better genetics” and “has the power to be invulnerable, be super strong and fly anywhere at will” is not really fair.

        Like, Alison is stronger than the state, right? Cops, the military, they are irrelevant to her, yeah? She confessed as much to the sword arm guy last time they talked. She is the Patriarch. So if her circumstances are tough, well, she can change that any time she likes.

        Like, Mr. Davenport has to go to class. He needs it, to earn money. Alison earns money by visiting Pintsize and telling him to give it to her, she needs it for her latest project.

        So what is she doing in class? Seriously, why is she there? People are dying so that she can attend. During that lecture and display she wasn’t flying into any disaster sites and rescuing anyone.

        She absolutely has the right to do this. Like it says in the movie, “You don’t owe these people a thing.”, but surely you can see why some commenters might side with anyone who stands up to her? Particularly someone who the artist/author seem to be taking some pains to give a point?

        None of this is meant to say that Alison is a villain, by the by. She tries very hard to be heroic. Her failures are outweighed by her successes.

        The problem is that we don’t judge her as “person trying hard to help”, we judge her as “super human entity trying hard to help”, and her comparison in that category is basically Superman, whose authors/artists are interested in making different points. She falls short, and it is really hard to keep in mind that the perfect need not always be the enemy of the good.

        • Tylikcat

          While it has been suggested that Alison is stronger than the state, and I think many of your points (which are basically about the points of view of various commenters) are valid, I’m not entirely certain we should take her strength vis a vis the state as fact. People might have some pretty serious incentives to be unreliable narrators, and to keep her feeling comfortable and invulnerable.

          (That, after all, is what I would do, if I really didn’t want to go up against her – but also wanted to make it as surprising and quick if I ever had to. If, say, I were a government strategist.)

        • Izo

          “Equating “has better genetics” and “has the power to be invulnerable, be super strong and fly anywhere at will” is not really fair.”
          It’s true though. When you get right down to it, it’s hating her for having massively superior genetics.

          “Like, Alison is stronger than the state, right?”
          No, she’s just stronger than any person that’s ever lived.

          “Cops, the military, they are irrelevant to her, yeah? She confessed as much to the sword arm guy last time they talked.”
          Really? Where did she say that? She never said that. You’re making stuff up now. She said that she admits that violence feels good, and that she’s good at it, and if someone attacks her, she can beat them. She did not say anything about the cops and military being irrelevant. You’ve pulled that out of the ether. In fact, based on everything we’ve seen, Alison considers police and the military to be EXTREMELY relevant. Maybe she’d even become one. I suppose you think the same stuff about Maxima from Grrlpower. Do you think the same about Superman? Were you on the side of Batfleck, saying “if there’s even a 1 percent chance that he’s a threat, we must take it as an absolute certainty!”

          “She is the Patriarch.”
          She is not a Patriach or Matriarch or any-arch – she is not even remotely trying to be in charge of anyone.

          “So if her circumstances are tough, well, she can change that any time she likes.”
          Again, we get back to the first sentence. it’s about hating her for having superior genetics. If you’re lucky in life, you need to be treated crappily and as sub-human to ‘balance the scales’ according to what you’re saying, regardless of her merit or actions. It’s very disconcerting :/

        • VariableNature

          >>So what is she doing in class? Seriously, why is she there? People are dying so that she can attend. During that lecture and display she wasn’t flying into any disaster sites and rescuing anyone.

          >>She absolutely has the right to do this. Like it says in the movie, “You don’t owe these people a thing.”, but surely you can see why some commenters might side with anyone who stands up to her? Particularly someone who the artist/author seem to be taking some pains to give a point?

          For the first point, we literally had a full arc about how doing nothing but helping people, even at the cost of your own personal freedom and health, was kind of HORRIFYING (Feral, Feral, hint hint, it was Feral). That entire first part is pretty demeaning. I mean, hell, you’re sitting here reading this webcomic and writing in the comments section. You’re not out there campaigning for better rights for the underprivileged, giving money to those who need it, feeding the hungry etc., etc. That argument, even though you’re making it in jest, doesn’t fly with me. Please don’t bring it up again?

          And I can see why some people might side with Gurwara. I can! He’s a really interesting, unique character. I’ve been saying that ever since he first showed up (at least I have to myself, if not in the comments). What I can NOT see is why people think he isn’t an asshole. I’ll accept that he’s secretly a great teacher, I’ll buy that he’s going to change Alison’s life for the better with his methods, I will bend over backwards, sideways, and inside-out to give him the benefit of having a net-positive outcome on her, but don’t tell me he isn’t being a jerk while doing it. That is my line in the sand.

          • Walter

            I don’t think equating Alison’s rescue efforts and Feral’s martyrdom is particularly fair, but even if it was, are you saying that Feral doesn’t have a right to do what she did? Like, who gets to say that it is horrifying for her to sacrifice of her time and pain to save lives. The comic really didn’t come down on that side of things. I actually felt like the comic was critical of Alison for trying to tell her what to do.

            Alison is getting a degree that is meaningless. No one will hire Mega Girl for her major. The world is overflowing with college grads who know what she is being taught. Alison will be hired, by her bodyguard org or anyone else, to fly and be invincible and allmighty. She is already proficient at that, and being lectured to by dudes won’t help her get better at it. While she is getting this degree, people are dying who she could help. That is a fact, and is a choice that she made. She has the right to make that choice, just as Feral had the right not to, but that doesn’t bring those people back to life.

            I’m not saying that she needs to be 24/7 saving lives. She already does rescue work and occasionally fights super villains. She definitely does more for her fellow man than I do. She can read all the webcomics that she wants. Like I said, she doesn’t owe folks a thing. But, just as she has the freedom to do student cosplay and leave people in burning buildings, we have the freedom to roll our eyes at it. Alison’s time is poorly spent getting lectured to by Prof Guwara. She doesn’t seem to enjoy it, it isn’t accomplishing anything useful, and she is skipping out on super-heroing to do it.

          • VariableNature

            I didn’t say Feral doesn’t have a right to do what she did. She made her choice, is sticking with it, and I respect it. I think it is horrifying and terrible, and I wish she hadn’t made it (or at least hadn’t gone so drastic in her approach), but I know Feral had the right to do what she did. And I’m pretty sure the webcomic was on the side of “yeah what you’re doing is awesome in a pure mathematical numbers sense Feral, but HOLY SHIT WHAT THE HELL?”

            If she’s taking classes like a student, doing assignments like a student, getting graded like a student, and receiving a degree like a student, she is a student. Calling this “student cosplay” just doesn’t make any sense. How can she NOT be a student? Or, if you’d like, how can she stop engaging in merely pretending to be a student and actually BECOME a student?

            The reason that Alison is getting a degree is because she DOES NOT WANT TO BE JUST SOME SUPERHERO THAT SAVES THE WORLD. This is something that has been expressed multiple times in the comic. She wants to CHANGE the world. She wants to make everything better for everyone forever. And the best way to change the world is to learn about it, and study it, and meet and learn from people who are different from you to figure out how to improve the world. She can’t punch poverty, she can’t throw sexism into the sun, she can’t crush discrimination in her hands until it’s nothing but fine powder. And she wants to figure out how to solve those problems. Where’s a better place to do that, than college?

            Seriously, where?

          • Walter

            She can’t become a student, at all, not really. The assumptions packed into “student” are “human student”, if you prefer “individual for whom knowledge is useful”.

            Alison isn’t, in any real way, human. She doesn’t suffer as we do. The world bends us, but it bends before her. The privilege parallel makes itself, so I won’t go down that route.

            Imagine that Alison follows the standard human track. She learns about some liberal arts major, graduates with a billion dollars in student loans and a worthless degree. Or, if you prefer, she goes STEM and graduates with a billion dollars in student loans plus the ability to pay them off in a few years. In either case, is her situation comparable to what it would be like if she didn’t have powers?

            Those loans, does she have to pay them off? The cops who won’t arrest her for murder will show up to enforce a debt? She won’t succumb to the temptation to use her powers to make a few million dollars in an afternoon?

            Those jobs, is doing them worth it to her? Should she write for a magazine, organize non profits? She c an already do those things, can’t she? People will publish anything she writes, because the hook of “Mega Girl on…” is going to bait clicks. She has already organized a nonprofit. She didn’t need business administration knowledge, she called friends and they were overjoyed to do it for the woman who punches nukes into the moon.

            Look, Alison can’t punch poverty, but she also can’t college it. Nothing she learns in college will defeat poverty/sesxism/discrimination. This is obvious, because plenty of people have gone through college, and that trio are still reigning champs. The only way Alison can do anything about those is to take control, and college doesn’t change that equation.

          • Catnik

            “Meaningless.” The university was not really designed to be vocational training. She’s a philosophy major – she’s there to learn, to tackle intellectual problems and think critically. No, she’s not going to go down the street to get a job at the Philosophy Factory and think deep thoughts all day. It’s pretty ridiculous to act like leading someone to a more thoughtful, analytical and nuanced worldview is “meaningless” just because it doesn’t have a neat corollary to a salary. She’s not in “student cosplay” – she’s a STUDENT. There’s more to changing the world than beating people up if you disagree with them. Have you even read this comic?

          • Walter

            Alison’s dilemmas won’t be covered in class. Her experience is not something that the various thinkers that she’s going to read up on will have covered. Is it nobler to seize control of the world with your magic gifts and impose your will, or allow injustice to continue? When the world seizes upon the slightest evidence of your preferences and magnifies it beyond all reason, are you culpable for the events which follow?

            These are serious questions, but Alison is not going to hear about them. Will she learn math that she doesn’t need because she’s strong enough to brute force any problem? How bout physics that doesn’t apply to her? Psychology from people whose minds aren’t even similar to hers? Maybe some legal training for the woman who can commit felonies with impunity?

            There is nothing in college for her. She can have all the money that she wants by acting as a crane for an afternoon. If she needs to learn something she can go twist Patrick’s arm until he explains it. If she wants social change she can go a variation on the Valkrye route.

            It isn’t like she is having the “college experience”, where she makes adult friends. Her bud is in jail. Her crush is someone she saved from a burning building. Her peer, with whom she is doing a startup, is rich enough to own a factory, and her main problem is that she can’t get someone to stop buying everything that she makes.

            By contrast, the ordinary students that she knows alternately anger(rapist party guy) or annoy her (roomates who kick her out).

            The “school” part of Alison’s life is comparable to the mask that she used to wear while doing superhero stuff. It is part of the package, a motion that she is going through. It doesn’t make sense if you think about it for half a second. She’s rich, or can be at leisure. She’s above the law. Her occupations are unimpeachably moral and often downright crucial. She’s irreplacable, and generally beloved by thinking observers. Why does she need to spend her afternoons getting condescended to by the Dr. Guwara’s of the world? People burn to death for this?

          • chaosvii

            “Is it nobler to seize control of the world with your magic gifts and impose your will, or allow injustice to continue? When the world seizes upon the slightest evidence of your preferences and magnifies it beyond all reason, are you culpable for the events which follow?

            These are serious questions, but Alison is not going to hear about them.”
            I don’t see how Alison’s exposure to Philosophy classes produces a negligible chance of her learning how to contemplate those questions herself or even identify them as something she should ask others for help with.
            It strikes me as if you are claiming that Alison’s struggles are alien to humanity. Things that people don’t examine at all hypothetically, and therefore would be a ridiculous thing for an academic setting to even entertain. I think what you are doing is conflating “things with little historical precedent and limited application” with “things that humans, including university professors, don’t think about and are therefore incapable of having a worthwhile opinion about.”
            So what, Nietzsche got nothing of value for an Ubermensch to examine?!
            Nerds who talk about Superman never have human discussions about how the idealism expressed in the comics can be contrasted to how a person might act differently or even similarly?!

            Alison is a human character, and has different human struggles than anybody else out there in that world. You are being extremely presumptive in claiming that she necessarily has a psychology so different from other people that she could gather nothing of value from learning what motivates people, what causes them to make predictable mistakes in cognition, how memory is limited, how to design confusing wording and how to avoid it, how people who have dads with cancer grieve, and any other number of applicable skills that Alison could quite obviously learn to use through that field.
            I’ll grant that she doesn’t experience fear & violence the way that most civilians do, but you will have to clarify what assumptions led you to the conclusion that Alison is not meaningfully human in a way that is conducive to learning stuff at a school that educates people on the various complex standards that humanity has been subjected to due to all the limitations any given person is subject to.
            Biodynamic folks may be without actual precedent in various societies, and various societies would struggle to handle them, but it’s not like they have jack-all to say to Alison. Is Alison under some sort of delusion that society matters to her when she seeks other people’s approval?!

            Your statements have all sorts of absurd implications when you leave them so open-ended. Please clarify why Alison has no reason to participate in any form of college learning. Please clarify how all forms of college learning are necessarily (not merely highly probable in being) inapplicable to Alison’s stated goals, and your evaluation of whatever non-human thing you claim Alison to be. Don’t just say she’s in no way really human and then expect that to stand simply because she doesn’t endure economic pressures the same way that the vast majority of society experiences it. After all, she did hunt down that check as opposed to working as a crane for an afternoon or whatever else.

          • Walter

            College is a couple of things.

            College is a place where you trade money (which Alison has as much of as she wants) for the ability to earn more money (which Alison already has). So, as an economic boost, it isn’t really necessary for her. Money and Alison is always going to be sort of funny, but suffice it to say that she certainly isn’t going to earn more because she gets a degree.

            College is a place where you trade money for the “college experience”. You meet adult friends, experience a culture different from your hometown, etc. Alison isn’t really doing that. Her robot building buddy, her mind reading ex, the brutal criminal that she threw in jail…her shrinking scientist crime fighting buddy, these are her social circle. In terms of the actual college students she knows, they alternately bore and annoy her. She had to step in at a party to stop a rape. She got thrown out of her apartment. Her profs are uniformly jerks, etc. It feels safe to say that Alison isn’t having a good social experience here.

            College is a place where you expand your mind, drawing on the experience of the past to get a sort of well rounded overall intelligence that doesn’t necessarily translate exactly to vocational skills. Foreign languages, humanities courses, etc. Alison doesn’t really live in the same context as these courses assume, however. Ring of Gygax thought experiments are all well and good, but Alison lives it. She is literally above the law. All men may be created equal, but Alison wasn’t. Nietsche’s thoughts on the ubermensch don’t really square with Alison’s lived experience. She isn’t just very proficient at a bunch of stuff, she is a force of nature.

            College, for Alison, is a pretty crummy way to spend her time. She gets very little from it, and loses out on the opportunity to save lives, earn fortunes, organize lady protecting bodyguard organizations or whatever else she might get up to if she wasn’t trapped in a little room being lectured by a jerk.

            She has the right to squander her time like this, of course. Everyone needs a hobby, and if she wants to feel like a student for a while (Cosplay, in this context, is probably the wrong word. She’s doing the thing where the mayor spends a night in the homeless shelter.), more power to her. But for her stated goals, college is a poor use of her time.

      • Maybe because you’re missing the point and being insulting?

        Harsh? Maybe, but you’re insisting that only your interpretation of what Gurwara is doing can be correct, and that anyone who disagrees is a bigot.

        I’m not about to let anyone pass on picking on someone for their genetics*, my disability is genetically linked and I’m a disability rights activist. But that’s not what Gurwara is doing.

        His point, the thing it’s his job to teach, can basically be summed up in “With great power comes great responsibility,” which I’d extend with “And the responsibility to develop great wisdom in using it.” Gurwara knows exactly what Alison is, exactly what she is capable of. The best teachers challenge their students to be the best that they can be. Alison’s best could be something spectacular. It could also be Patrick before his surrender to her. Remember, Patrick became the world’s leading supervillain because he thinks someone is plotting to kill important supers and he wants to stop them, Good intentions are perfectly compatible with being an utter tyrant. And Alison is perfectly capable of becoming a tyrant for all the right reasons.

        Gurwara’s job (and I am specifically not excluding the possibility that the New School has brought both him and Lisa in solely to teach Alison, though Lisa probably isn’t aware of that) is to help Alison develop her moral and ethical knowledge so that she can face the challenges she will come up against in adult life. That’s true for all his students, but it’s true a thousand times over for Alison. The decisions she makes as an adult could bring down nations, and at the minute she’s capable of doing that without understanding the issues that would cause, and why people she might see as oppressed might not want to change, and might see her as an oppressor.

        Gurwara showed that with the stones. He set up a situation that was blatantly unfair and Alison charged in without understanding the situation or the consequences for others (social assistance girl), and when shown that what she thought was the best solution didn’t work for other people (and we’re specifically shown that she hadn’t thought it through) her first reaction was anger at them, and we see from this strip that she’s still angry and she still doesn’t understand the lesson.

        Alison at her current state of maturity is very dangerous. Look at her in the class first declaring that everyone acting together is the solution to the world’s woes, and then railing at them when everyone who can chooses a different option to her. Imagine if she starts acting that way towards nation-states.

        There are very few universal solutions, ones that don’t disadvantage someone else. Take something as apparently beneficial as the textured paving we use to mark pavements and crossings for people with severe visual impairments. That’s a universal good, I’m sure you’ll agree, simple, cheap, makes the environment safer and helps a disadvantaged** group to live independently.

        I hate it.

        And so do most other people with mobility impairments, whether we use canes, crutches or wheelchairs. It throws us off balance and its physically painful to cross. For someone with skin breakdown issues it can be literally life threatening.

        Alison doesn’t yet understand that society is complex and that the good she envisages may not be a universal good. Gurwara just tried to show her that, and her reaction was to swear in his face. It’s still a lesson she needs to learn.

        It’s also a lesson Lisa has been trying to teach her. Alison almost got there herself when they were talking here http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-5/page-157/ but she hasn’t yet worked out how to both act and work with imperfect solutions. Lisa then took her into her armour room, and explained how she had grown beyond Paladin, but apparently that message didn’t take when Alison got the idea for Valkyrie shortly afterwards.

        To be the best that she can be, Alison needs to be able to see the imperfections in her solutions and recognise when to act, and when not to act. She isn’t there yet, but with Gurwara pushing from one side, and Lisa from the other, she’s got a far better chance of getting there than she did a few months ago,

        * I’d also take issue with the idea Alison has ‘better’ genetics. Different yes, but assigning value to different expressions of genetics is desperately dangerous. We call it eugenics, and it was used across the Western world to harrass and dehumanise disabled people for half a century and more, with forced sterilization across scores of supposedly advance nations such as the US and Sweden (something that occasionally still happens), and it reached its horrific climax with the murder of 200,000+ disabled Germans, Austrians and Poles during Aktion T4.

        ** Disadvantaged by society, that is, look up the Social Model of Disability if you don’t understand.

        • Tylikcat

          I don’t just agree with this comment, I could just about kiss you for writing it.

          I hope that Lisa’s role in Al’s life is more of a friend / perhaps older sister and less of a teacher. She has a lot of offer Al, and honestly I think the relationship will be less interesting if she primarily older and wiser.

          Do we even have a full enough description of biodynamics to equate it to genetics?

          • I was thinking about the genetics issue as well. Some sort of imposed epigenetic switch? A re-writing? It’s not solely genetic, we know that, it took an external event to trigger it. And the age issue sort of suggests a puberty link. I think the case for a genetic link is unproven, it could just be random.

  • Andrew Joseph Crow

    I need to say that Allison is super cute in the second to last panel!

  • MrSing

    Come on Allison, punk isn’t that bad of a word.

  • h.g

    that was one of the best pages of the comic, well done.

  • Peter

    Seriously? He curses all the time, but she gets offended when he says “bitch”? Or did i misunderstand that part?

    • David

      I think it was “Mega Girl”

    • Daniel Vogelsong

      I think she was offended calling her “Mega-Girl”, but it could be the inherent/historical mysogenism of the term ‘bitch’.

      • Insanenoodlyguy

        I figure it’s both. “Bitch” first and “Mega Girl” second, but both.

    • masterofbones

      nope, you got it right. I know a few people like this….

    • Tylikcat

      Yup. I feel the same way (and I’m answering you kind of randomly, as a lot of people are saying pretty much the same thing.) I don’t care about most curses. Scatological reference? Whatevs. Sexual suggestions? As long as they’re fairly evening handed (i.e. not either about raping someone or based on badmouthing a particular group) – hey, I’m fine.* Cunt and bitch? Are still actively used to put down women for being women, or to put down men because there’s nothing worse than being like women (except maybe being gay – well, and it’s hard to compare racial insults, as they’re pretty taboo in a lot of circles where bitch and cunt are still commonplace.) And the complimentary terms, “dick” and “prick” just don’t carry the same kind of punch – probably because being a man even now doesn’t have the same kind of shameful connotation.

      So, yeah, turn the air blue, be my guest. Just don’t be an asshole** in the process!

      …I really wish I’d gotten my cousin to teach me more Chinese profanity. I know a fair bit of profanity in Mandarin, but I’ve heard Cantonese is really where it’s at.

      * Though I’ve been having fun thinking of non-sexually based profanity – “spiritual disciple of a corrupt hedge fund manager!” for instance.
      ** Hey, asshole is a great term, everyone pretty much has one.

      • Tsapki

        Hmm, if you get your hands on a Firefly RPG handbook or copy thereof, there are some pretty neat insults in the back section where they put some of the more common SInno terms. If my memory is correct, I believe one was a literal comparison to the diarrhea of a hippo.

      • MrSing

        Actually that’s a pretty interesting discussion!

        We can agree that words like cunt, shit, asshole, etc. are not offensive innately. If that was the case we both couldn’t type them out and discuss them seperatly from how they are usually used. Also, lots of friends call each other by slurs as a sign of familiarness or even affection.

        So the offensivenes of a word has to be, at least in part, because of the intent behind the word.

        Since the XXblademasterXX guy in the comic is saying it in a litany of swears, it is save to assume that all the swears are said with the same intent. The word “bitch” carries not a significant larger impact than “punk” for him. Yet this is the one singled out (most likely, it could be mega girl too, but let’s assume it isn’t, since we are treating it like it isn’t in a lot of the comments.)

        So the only reason I can see for it being singled out is because it has been “actively used to put down women for being women”, as you said. But here I am to say that might not be the case.

        Dog is an insult to men in some parts of the world. Bitch, in essence, is nothing more than calling someone a female dog. So it isn’t even per sé that “bitch” is used to imply that being female is bad, it is likening a human to an animal. Which is a very popular way of insulting someone. Like calling cops pigs.
        And since, as you already said, men are being called bitch too I doubt that it is only used to put down women. For men it merely carries the extra sting of being compared to a gender that they aren’t.

        Most women don’t like it when they are mistaken for a man either. Some even find it very offensive. Does that mean that society thinks there is nothing worse than being like a male? I don’t believe so. I suspect that society finds it more offensive when you differ from your gender role then to be a woman.
        I actually don’t see how cunt and dick are different. Both are likening people to genitalia. Both have been used for ages to put down men and women. Both are slurs. They are on the same level as far as I can see. It is the intent behind the words that matters.

  • Tony Lower-Basch

    “What I wish for you to see is what your beliefs are, and what they are when your buttons are pushed, and that many times there is a difference. Yes?”

    “I can appreciate that, Professor.”

    Oh Allison. Yeah, you *can* appreciate that. I so admire your understatement. Stay classy.

  • Good superheroing Allison.

    • Izo

      Reminds me of how the Flash visits people like the Trickster to play darts with him while he’s in prison and to see how his family’s doing. Or Professor Xavier playing chess with Magneto in the movie at the end. Or how Batman spends time with Ace in the cartoon so he can stay with her and talk to her and be there to hold her hand during her last hour of life, instead of just trying to take her out.

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

  • JohnTomato

    Daniel is still alive? Thought he would be cremated by now.

  • Izo

    Annnnnd more examples of how she’s a better person than Gurwara can ever hope to be with his stupid white and black rocks and lessons of why you should only think of yourself and not others.

    • masterofbones

      Someone’s salty. heh

      • Izo

        Yeah well…. I don’t like bullies either 🙂

  • Matthew McMahon

    This scene is heartbreaking.

  • Izo

    Here’s the thing I’ve been thinking about. The disturbing trend that I saw in the comments last strip was about people looooving Gurwara because he ‘stuck it to Allison’ – as if she’s someone who needed to be humbled. It of course ignores the fact that Allison is remarkably humble and generous and kind to begin with, and she never goes out of her way to abuse her powers. In fact, violence has, from what I’ve seen, never been her first response at all, despite the fact that she would be EXTREMELY capable of ending any dispute with violence, if she were not such a good person.

    People say how she needs to be put in her place, to learn that life is full of disappointments, that ‘she’s rich so what does it matter’ or ‘she has powers so she doesnt need a degree’ – but essentially what they are saying is something EXTREMELY disturbing, and it’s this:

    Allison is worthy of ridicule because of her genetics, regardless of her merits and actions and beliefs.

    Think about that for a second. People who were defending or praising Gurwara, or even calling Allison the villain (which boggles my mind that anyone would have a worldview like that ) are essentially saying it’s okay to pick on someone because of their genetics. If a person was Shaquille O’Neal tall, would you harass them the same way because ‘hey, they can be a basketball star – they don’t need this degree’? Would you harass someone for being prettier or more handsome than others because ‘hey, they don’t need this degree – they can be a model’? Is it okay to discriminate against an asian in class because they are statistically more likely to get a higher paying job?

    Btw, the answer to all of those questions are ‘no.’ Gurwara is not a ‘hero’ or even a decent human being. He’s a jerk and a bully (at least he’s been one from his actions up until now).

    I mean….look at Allison. She brushes off someone who goes out of their way to antagonize her. She does exemplify this whole ‘we’re in it together’ ideal, especially here. She’s spending time being a friend to someone who, not long ago, was trying to kill her, because she realizes that he really needs a friend and is dying and, unlike Allison, his genetics have literally turned him into a physical monster. But she sees past that to the person who just needs a friend during his final years. I think that’s just a clear indication of how selfless she is.

    • MrSing

      Way to lay words into the mouths of people who like Gurwara, man. I like a fictional philosopher prof. Obviously I must be racist. Thanks.

      • Izo

        Hm… did I call you racist? No.
        I said that so far, based on how he’s been acting, Gurwara is bigotted against Allison. I’ve said this multiple times on the last strip too.

        The fact that I’m spelling it out by saying ‘picking on her for her genetics’ instead of ‘picking on her for being biodynamic’ seems to hit home in a much more realistic sense though. I said that I can’t fathom why people would be finding Gurwara to be in any way heroic or likeable (in a positive sense, there are of course people you can love to hate – like J Jonah Jameson from Spider-Man is someone I think is awesome BECAUSE he’s such a miserable jerk of a human being, not because he’s a good and decent person who’s giving Spider-Man what he deserves – he’s the person you love to hate), when what he is doing is, very simply, picking on another person because of their genetics. That wasnt putting words in the mouth of anyone who likes Gurwara. That’s my spelling out that disliking someone for being biodynamic (a fictional scenario) is just another way of saying disliking someone for having better genetics (a non-fictional version of the same scenario). Everyone who was making excuses like ‘well she doesnt NEED a degree’ or ‘she has all these advantages’ seem to overlook the simple fact that she’s being picked on because she ‘privileged.’ Because she’s -genetically- privileged. Because she has genetics different than his – NOT because of what she does with that power (because what she does with that power is pretty noble).

        It does make Gurwara much less likable when you think of it in that perspective, doesnt it?

        • masterofbones

          If I agreed that Gurwara was picking on Alison because of her genetics, I would agree with the rest of your argument completely.

          But I think he has a few much better reasons to pick on her, and I think those reasons are much more likely to be his motivation.

          1. She singled herself out and claimed to speak for the whole class. Nobody fought her on this, so of course he will focus on her

          2. She has threatened to kill people(and nearly did so) for having opinions she didn’t like, so teaching her to reflect on her values and actions as much as possible is a priority. None of the other students need nearly as much aid as Alison does – her impact on the world is far more significant than any of them ever will be.

          3. She recently got a teacher fired, so he needs to establish whether she is going to do so again as soon as possible

          • Izo

            Even if you disagree with me on why Gurwara is picking on Allison, my points still stand, since a lot of commentators are using her powers as an excuse for him to pick on her.

            However:

            First, he berated them for being a bunch of mindless automatons. So she was not an automaton, and thus was singled out. She gave 2 different answers before a third one which he used to pick on her, and relied on the fact that she has a heroic nature, pushing her buttons by calling her a tyrant. Then more buttons by picking on an innocent, knowing she’d try to defend him (Davenport). Then rubbed salt in the wound by changing the rules a third time by giving different rules to Davenport and to her. And I doubt he would have focused on her exclusively had he not known about her particular nature and who she was (as many of his defenders on the comment board have used as reasoning to defend him in the first place).

            Also, when has she threatened to kill people merely for having opinions she did not like? Please point to where, so I can properly refute it.

            Also, she did NOT get a teacher fired. Read the story arc again. She told her academic advisor what happened, since she WAS being unfairly treated. She specified that she did NOT want to get him in trouble. Her advisor mentioned it to the Board, and the Board overreacted. You can’t blame Allison for the actions of the Board. Even after they fired him, she was angry about that, and wanted to talk to the Board to re-hire him, because she did NOT want him fired. She just wanted to be treated fairly and not be a victim of bigotry.

          • Peter

            “Also, when has she threatened to kill people merely for having opinions
            she did not like? Please point to where, so I can properly refute it.”

            I think he is talking about Issue 3, Page 65-67.

          • Izo

            So…. let me get this straight….

            She says ‘if I did what would make me happy, I’d kill you’ – but DOESNT kill anyone, she’s evil? She’s pointing out that this guy, who’s berating her for being a moral person, because Feral has decided to basically subject herself to eternal torture to help others, and Alison is in emotional turmoil from this, and asks, then begs him to GO AWAY so she can process her grief…. and this idiot keeps on pushing her. And so she says, when he says’ WHat if everyone just ‘did what makes them happy’ and she says “if I did what would make me happy, I’d kill you” – you think she’s SERIOUSLY saying she would kill him?

            No, OBviously she wouldnt. She’s saying that her MORALITY would not let her kill him, even though she might wish she could if she didnt have a strong moral center. She doesnt succumb to the same temptations that others with her level of power fall to.

            Then… the point where she kills someone. Accidentally btw.

            The crazy man that comes bursts into the hospital with a flamethrower… he murders the doctors harvesting Feral’s organs, and incinerates Feral – although she will heal from this torture), she punches him, and it kills the crazy MURDERING PSYCHOPATH who just burned alive three doctors and her friend…. while she’s still trying to process that her friend is voluntarily going to subject herself to torture and a living hell for the rest of her possibly eternal life. She wants to find out who the man was, who sent him, and they’re all calling her a murderer.

            And she’s the bad person?

            Also, whoever said she killed a cop? You lied. She didnt kill a cop. The cop pointed a gun at her. She put the gun in her mouth, fired three shots, then spit the bullets out. Because he was trying to arrest her. For punching a man who had killed innocent doctors, and tortured her friend. And when her friend tells her not to hurt anyone else, she listens. And doesnt hurt anyone. The only person at all who was hurt was…

            The murderous, flamethrower wielding psychopath who killed three human beings, while Alison was still trying to process the torture that Feral was going to subject herself for the rest of her life.

            I’ve seen Superman do worse, and he’s the ultimate boy scout in comic-dom.

            Yeah, wow. Alison’s a real monster. Not.

          • Peter

            Okay, first of all, i’m just here to help. masterofbones said something, you wanted the context, i gave you the contex. No reason to get angry at me.

            Second, your first three paragraphs doesn’t matter cause they refer to a different thing than i was talking about. The thing you talk about happens before page 65, i meant the events after page 65.

            Third, the guy she killed… that was totally no accident. She punched the dude through a friggin wall. He’s a normal human. There is no way she didn’t knew he would die. She wanted to kill him and she did.

            Next point. I never said she killed a cop, nor did anybody up the comment chain. You totally made that up.

            Next. You haven’t seen Superman do worse. Superman doesn’t kill, and never did. What you have seen was probably an alternative version of him, in an “What if?”-issue.

            Final thing. Talking emotional doesn’t makes your arguments better.

            I haven’t even started on analysing your argumentation, i just pointed out all the times you told bullshit.

            TL;DR: Get your damn facts straight.

          • Ben Posin

            Issue 3, page 66–having just seen Feral and her doctors barbecued, Alison demands that anyone in the protesting crowd who knows who the killer was step forward and identify themselves. They don’t. On the next page, she tells the crowd of protestors that they all deserve to die, and that if they don’t do what she says she’ll kill all of them.

            So, sure, there’s a bit more going on then “she didn’t like their opinions.” But it’s still pretty disquieting, is something I’d be concerned about were I Prof. G, and seems relevant to the points he is making.

            You’re being a bit pedantic about whether Alison got her teacher fired. The administration’s response to Alison complaining about unfair treatment is to fire a teacher, apparently. Maybe Alison didn’t know it then, but she knows it now, and Prof. G sure knows it. So they now have to both make decisions accordingly. So in addition to perhaps risking being squished, Prof. G is taking a professional risk as well–though less so if he’s just visiting for the semester.

            And seriously—I’m all for pushing back against bigotry. But c’mon. You have no reason to think that Prof. G has any axe to grind because Alison is in general biodynamic. You have zero reason to think you’ll find an “Am I still special?” shirt or tattoo on him, or that he’d give grief to any random biodynamic person he interacts with. It’s that she’s biodynamic in a way that lets her easily kill huge numbers of people on a whim and gives her potentially enormous influence on public life in general. Maybe you’d act differently than Prof G and spread your attention equally, but I think it’s valid for Prof G to have a different opinion.

          • Izo

            You should probably read her conversation with Daniel immediately after that – it sums up what goes on in her head, and how she tends to choose to listen to the voice that says to protect these ungrateful people rather than kill them just because they tick her off, especially since it wouldn’t be difficult for her to do. Fantasizing about violence and killing is not exactly a unique thing to someone like Al…. most people have had those types of fantasies – usually often. We usually don’t go through with it because we are not capable of following through physically, or fear the consequences, or have had a good moral upbringing. Alison is clearly in the third party- and the fact that he doesnt have the first two reasons makes her third reason – her morality – all the more impressive.

            I should also note the only person Alison actually killed was the psychotic murderer who was PART of that mob, who burned alive multiple doctors and also burned alive Feral (but Feral fortunately could heal from that). This happening right as she’s trying to deal with the fact that her friend is voluntarily subjecting herself to an eternity of torture in order to help others – for which stupid teleport guy is berating her and not letting her have a moment to even try to process this… by blaming HER for being too good and moral an influence on Feral. It’s sort of an insane thing to accuse her of, as if Feral had no choice in the matter – that Alison has ‘super morality-infusing powers’ on top of everything else. Then a police officer points a gun at her… again… for killing a person who had JUST killed multiple people in one of the most torturous ways possible… and he was from this same mob that had been calling for this sort of thing to happen to the doctors inside. The fact is… she didn’t hurt any of that mob. And nothing in her history has shown that she would be that sort of person. Her internal morality and upbringing doesnt allow for it.

            As for pushing back against bigotry, lets face it – she’s the only biodynamic person in the group. She’s not saying she shouldn’t be registered (she WAS registered, after all) – she’s just wanting the same treatment that another student would get. She’s not getting equal treatment. As for the ‘Am I still special’ thing…. I think that’s a big thing for Alison. If she had not gained her powers, then any skills or talents she had could be explained by hard work and merit. Because of her powers, she can’t actually see HERSELF as special anymore – it’s her powers that are special. Which is another reason she’d want to focus on stuff which does not involve her powers, but rather from her own personal thoughts and history and morality. Her morality doesnt come from her powers – her powers are reigned in by her morality. And she KNOWS this and thinks the world deserves her to be better than she thinks she already is, whether or not they actually DO deserve someone like her. She’s harder on herself than Gurwara could ever be – so she doesn’t need him picking on her just because of that difference.

            Gurwara comes at this from a point of total impunity, in fact. He knows, based on her history, that she won’t get physical with him. He knows that, in the event that she DID go to the faculty, he’s just a visiting professor anyway, and used guilt to make her not want to do that route anyway because of what happened with the LAST bigoted professor. And I might have accepted what you say about it being valid for Gurwara to have a different opinion… if not for the fact that he made that taunt to her after the class was already over, and in fact stopped her from leaving to talk to her first, then when she seemed to accept his reasoning, he just figuratively knifed her in the back. Just to be cruel. There was no ‘lesson’ to be learned by that final barb at all.

          • Weatherheight

            4) She has both temporal and social power to make her value judgements stick, so they had damned well better be good ones.

            5) She’s recently gone off haring by herself to rescue someone and failed miserably – got the guy killed and *nearly* destroyed a dam (true, those were Moonshadow’s responsibility, but the court of public opinion is often unfair and wrong). Imagine if she had swallowed her pride, called in Pintsize, and then acted as a decoy while Pintsize rescued the Fiery Hero (whose name is escaping me). It’s naive to think that the media didn’t report anything at all about that event or her involvement in it.

            Could be a combination of EVERYTHING everyone has posited – which would also make him a neat character (at least, to me).

            Please note, I *really* like who Alison is – were I in her powerset, I would hope to be as brave and compassionate as she is. But liking someone does not make them flawless.

            As all of my friends can – and often do – attest. 😀

          • Izo

            4) She willingly has walked AWAY from the social power she could have wielded. That’s why she revealed her identity and quit the Guardians. That’s sort of the main point of why she’s doing ANY of this. And when she finally decided to try to use that influence for more than just ‘punching people’ – she came up with the idea that she’s doing with Paladin. In order to use that social influence that is going to stick with her regardless of what she wants, at least for a GOOD purpose. And going to college so that she has learned knowledge and can be looked towards for more than just being strong and indestructible.

            5) You can’t blame her for what Moonshadow did. We are each responsible for our own actions. Also, hindsight is 20/20 as to ‘coulda, shoulda, woulda.’ And in the end, the person most responsible for the Pyro guy’s death, other than Moonshadow, was the Pyro guy himself.

            And yes, liking someone does not make them flawless. And I never said Alison is flawless. She’s very flawed. But not where using her powers are concerned. Not when it comes to being a good, altruistic, brave, compassionate, and moral person – there, she has been the ideal. She doesn’t resort to bullying tactics or infringing on other’s ability to speak their own mind as well (which is a REALLY rare thing nowadays even with normal people), and doesnt like when people trick her into a position where they’re using her for the fact that she HAS powers to try to make people think that she WOULD (like how she was very upset with her friend at the rally using her like that). She’s flawed in that she is wracked with self-doubt, guilt that she can’t do more, and sometimes self-hate that her powers seem to be so much better at destroying things, not building them.

          • Loranna

            You say you’ve never said that Alison is flawless. Speaking as someone who has been responding to your posts for some days now, I must respectfully inform you, that your posts do NOT make it clear that you don’t see Alison as flawless.

            Every single time someone has pointed out a flaw they perceive in Alison’s character, you’ve responded by telling them why their examples aren’t actually faults of Alison after all, they’re either someone else’s faults (such as Gurwara’s), to which she is righteously responding as would anyone in her situation, or else said perceived fault is just proof of how good and wonderful a person she is, because she’s showing so much restraint.

            So then, let me ask you: what do you see as Alison’s flaws, and how have they been impeding her efforts to improve herself and the world around her? Because I honestly cannot figure out who the heck you think Alison Greene is.

            Loranna

        • chaosvii

          I think people find him heroic because there is an unknowable amount of risk behind all the criticism he levies, and they don’t assume that he’s targeting Alison for her abilities, but rather her actions.
          I’ll note that the fact that people in the comment section voice praise for Gurwara’s supposed opposition to someone that poses a unrestrainable threat though the nothing but words is not confirmation that Alison has been subjected to discrimination. All it confirms is that said commenters approve of such mistreatment of Alison for the oh so terrible offense of being Mega-Girl, the naive invincible jerk that grew up a little and then later chucked a pyromaniac bigot through a hospital wall & subsequently implied that everyone in that demonstration pony up their association with him before she’s inclined to kill as many of them at random as it will take to satisfy her rage.
          I mean that last part is an actual crime, but I’m sure the local prosecutor would be content to continue looking the other way so long as “pleading temporary insanity” remains her most viable legal defense.

          Anyway, my point is that Gurwara is only ever admirable for reasons other than “he nearly picked a fight with a person who has been dangerously angry before and accidentally got somebody fired.” It would not a good reason to admire him even if he actually did that. He told her that she was mistaken several times in a way that lots of people find cool. And he also cracked so many jokes that it comes off like his grading policy is also a joke. Gurwara allowed Alison to highlight her thinking process, then made a show about how she is incorrect about details that are infuriating to Alison.

          Bringing up Alison’s privilege is worth doing as an explanation for what causes her to make the mistakes she made despite having a lot of life experiences which probably could have taught her otherwise. I think that her Valkyrie project will offer lots of perspective as to how people are motivated by risks that she doesn’t experience by virtue of her abilities.
          It is not worth doing as a reason for arguing the position that it’s why Gurwawa is a hero for staring at the Superman and daring to be the Lex Luthor.

        • MrSing

          “Think about that for a second. People who were defending or praising Gurwara, or even calling Allison the villain (which boggles my mind that anyone would have a worldview like that ) are essentially saying it’s okay to pick on someone because of their genetics.”
          That sounds pretty much like you’re saying that when I defended and praised Guwara I was also saying it is okay to pick on someone because of their genetics. I believe that picking on someone because of their genetics is a large part of racism.
          Ergo, you did lay words in my and many other people’s their mouths and called me and many others racists, or at the very least racist sympathisers.
          Or did I read that wrong?

          • Izo

            Yes, you read that wrong.

            I’m talking about genetics in a way comparable to biodynamics, as in being able to do something that others can’t do. Like picking on someone who is very tall, which gives them an advantage in basketball, or someone with a naturally higher metabolism, or someone with excellent hand-eye coordination and vision, which gives them an advantage in baseball, or picking on someone who has an eidetic memory, because it gives them an advantage in schoolwork. The only way in which I would be talking about higher melanin content would be as a genetic advantage, like superior protection against harmful solar radiation or prevention of premature skin aging. But you’ll notice I never used race in the first place. I said genetics.

            And lets face it, a lot of the problems that are handed to Alison by supporters of Gurwara are not actually because of Gurwara being a good person, but because Alison is genetically ‘privileged’ which makes her an acceptable target to be disliked, regardless of her actions.

    • Loranna

      Alternative interpretation: Alison is seeking emotional comfort from a fellow person of mass destruction, complaining about how some professor pushed her buttons, and when her fellow person of mass destruction explains WHY such people need to be put in their place, Alison doesn’t offer a counter reason for why she shouldn’t – she just cuts the conversation off.

      So, she’s capable of empathizing with a fellow person of mass destruction, seeing the person in them underneath the power and monstrosity . . . but still sees her professor, a person who also bears some scars, as a big jerk, for whom she can’t even offer a reason for sparing, beyond the implicit “Because murder scares the normals.”

      Alison is a good human being, yes. It’s wonderful of her that she reached out to Daniel like she has, rather than treating him like a perpetual punk and enemy. But she’s *not* brushing off the Professor’s words; they bother her enough that she’s ranting, rather than trying to see other, possible reasons for the Professor’s words. She’s humble . . . in some ways, and not-so-humble in others, as demonstrated by her initial reaction to Financial Aid Girl.

      . . . Also, Alison has yet to refute Professor Gurwara’s point. She claimed that we’re all in this together; he demonstrated that her beliefs did not hold up in the classroom, she has yet to submit a counter refutation, beyond loudly claiming that the experiment proved nothing (untrue; at the least it proved that Alison hadn’t considered all the possible reasons someone might choose differently than her,) and telling the professor off (which doesn’t change his point.)

      Loranna

      • J B Bell

        I love “person of mass destruction.” So funny and weirdly poignant.

      • Izo

        “Alison is seeking emotional comfort from a fellow person of mass destruction,”
        Or treating a dying person like a friend, probably the only friend he has.

        “complaining about how some professor pushed her buttons,”
        Or sharing her problems with said friend in order to vent, without violence.

        “and when her fellow person of mass destruction explains WHY such people need to be put in their place, Alison doesn’t offer a counter reason for why she shouldn’t – she just cuts the conversation off.”
        Because for Allison, killing some guy just because he annoys her is not an option. Period.

        “So, she’s capable of empathizing with a fellow person of mass destruction,”
        Because ‘there but for the grace of God go I’

        “seeing the person in them underneath the power and monstrosity . . .”
        Because she believes in redemption, or if not redemption, at least not kicking a person while they’re down and need a friend.

        “but still sees her professor, a person who also bears some scars, as a big jerk,”
        A big jerk who she has never laid a finger on and who hasnt committed any crimes or tried to KILL her, unlike Cleaver. Because the professor IS a big jerk. Just not a jerk who she should kill or even harm.

        “for whom she can’t even offer a reason for sparing, beyond the implicit “Because murder scares the normals.””
        Or because Allison is not a sociopath and doesnt kill people for just being jerks. Not because ‘murder scares the normals.’ Because her go-to option is not to kill, or even hurt the professor.

        “. . . Also, Alison has yet to refute Professor Gurwara’s point. She claimed that we’re all in this together;”
        Civilization wouldn’t exist if people did not work together. In the macrocosmic scale, Allison is correct.

        Hunting large game as prehistoric man
        Progressing from a hunter/gatherer state to agriculture
        The internet.
        World War 2
        The Internaional Space Station

        Humans ARE better when we work together, as long as we have something that we all want to work towards. It doesnt mean that humans are not going to be selfish, and it doesnt disprove Allison’s axiom. She just has more faith in humanity than Gurwara does, and for someone who others have called not human, she seems to be the more humane one.

        “he demonstrated that her beliefs did not hold up in the classroom,”
        He did not. He just proved that some people are inattentive, others are cynical, and others are fearful. He did not disprove her beliefs.

        “she has yet to submit a counter refutation, beyond loudly claiming that the experiment proved nothing (untrue; at the least it proved that Alison hadn’t considered all the possible reasons someone might choose differently than her,)”
        Considering its her PERSONAL axiom, who do you think she’d use as a basis for how people should choose.

        “and telling the professor off (which doesn’t change his point.)”
        Yes. She lost her temper by cursing him out. He also admitted he was intentionally pushing her buttons. Considering how powerful she is, the fact that she just swore at him, given the counter argument that many with powers seem to go (Cleaver, Moonshadow, that fire guy) – who seem to use violence as the FIRST option – a single swear word is weaksauce.

        • Loranna

          . . .

          Stepping out of the debate for a moment, allow me to make a request? Please do not use this method of debating my points. Cutting up my post and refuting it, almost line by line, does little but to force me to wade through a sea of extraneous information. I know what I said, and I’m sure anyone reading this message thread can refer to my post when reading your reply.

          With that said, yes, after reflecting on the comic and peoples’ responses over the course of the day, I find myself seeing Alison’s rant session in a more favorable light than I did when I first read the comic today. As Tylikcat pointed out earlier, there are times when we need someone who can accept us, warts and all, without judging us. And I do admire Alison for taking the time to see Daniel; the guy needs a friend who can accept HIM, warts and all, as much as Alison does. In light of that reading of this scene, then Alison’s silence on the topic of Why We Don’t Kill Annoying Teachers was her accepting Daniel’s outlook, without judgement, even if she disagreed with it.

          Nonetheless, Alison has yet to consider reasons for Gurwara’s behavior, beyond “He’s a huge jerk.” And her response to peoples’ inattentiveness, cynicism, and fear was to loudly proclaim that Next Time She’d Be Ready — without actually saying *how* she would be ready. Given that Gurwara stated her axiom was that of a true tyrant, she has yet to offer compelling evidence *in the classroom* that her axiom won’t someday lead her down that road.

          . . . And you know what? None of the human, heroic traits Alison evinces, throughout the run of the comic, change the fact that she could very well turn into a tyrant. Also, *it’s fine that she has this alarming potential in her character.* Because as much as she’s capable of becoming a tyrant, she’s also fully capable of NOT going down that path. But her display in the classroom, for all the restraint you cite her for showing, does not hide the fact that the potential is there, and Alison is just a little more blind to the reality of that potential than she realizes. Sure, she wants to avoid violence. Sure, she talks first, and holds back. This is good, I concur.

          She still couldn’t defend her points in class, beyond claiming that Gurwara’s experiment proved nothing. She still didn’t offer a valid way to address peoples’ fears and cynicism. I have confidence that later on, Alison WILL have these answers, and I think that’s what Gurwara is ultimately hoping for.

          As for Gurwara’s lack of faith in humanity, I’ll just note: one CAN have faith in humanity while still being very, very aware of humanity’s failings, and taking said failings into account. And Alison really could use some more education and experience on taking those failings into account.

          . . . Or, in other words, let’s all have a big sandwich together, make a picnic of it. ^_^

          (Completely random aside: This comment will make about 1600 words I’ve written today on this one strip. Yegads . . .)

          Loranna

          • Izo

            I tend to do the cutting up posts and responding piece by piece mainly when it’s a LONG post that I’m responding to. It’s honestly not only for others benefit, it’s for mine so I don’t repeat myself too often in responding. But I’ll try to do so less often.

            Alison thinks Gurwara’s a huge jerk mainly because… what he’s been doing is hugely jerky. No offense, but if a teacher did that to me, I’d think they’re a a huge jerk as well. I see no possible reason for him to have said what he said to Alison, especially AFTER she was leaving the classroom, except to try to rub salt into a wound. And if any real life person had to deal with someone like that – if YOU had to deal with someoen like that – I’m pretty certain anyone, you included, would make a complaint to your faculty advisor.

            As for how she would be ready next time, I do find it a bit hypocritical (again, no offense) that you are willing to give Gurwara, who has done nothing BUT be jerky, the benefit of the doubt, but not Alison, who has been altruistic and sacrificing and genuinely heroic, that same benefit that maybe ‘she’ll be ready next time’ could mean something smart – like next time she’d explain, in detail, why everyone needs to show the black stone and how, if they don’t, it’s taking the selfish route. it’s easier to be selfish, or hide behind ignorance or cynicism, when you’re not being confronted with that admission. No powers needed. No force needed.

            As for the true tyrant axiom thing, her nature is what proves that she won’t be led down that road. You can’t compress a lifetime of upbringing into a single classroom. Also, Gurwara has not shown, at ALL, that her axiom IS that of a tyrant. Not even slightly.

            And yes, all of her heroic traits DO say that she is more unlikely than most – even more than most who have NO superpowers – to be a tyrant. Why? Because it would be so easy for her to BE one. She’s been handed the ability to affect world politics since the beginning of the comic, and that’s the whole point of why she took off the mask – because she knew that ‘being able to lift a car over her head’ does not mean she’s qualified to tell people what to do in the law, in wars, in politics, in anything. She’s shown, from the beginning of the very comic, that she is the antithesis of tyrannical behavior. Look at Gurwara. He has a TINY bit of tenuous power in a classroom….the FIRST thing he does is abuse it. He’s the one who acts like a tyrant. Alison has MASSIVE amounts of power. And she has yet to use it tyrannically. Indeed, she actively and intently shies away from even the thought of abusing her powers to tell others what to do or how to think… even when offered the chance to do so. Even when confronted with people who are so clearly unfairly biased against her. Or who want to kill her.

            Saying that ‘she has the potential to be a tyrant’ when everything in the comic has pointed in the opposite direction is like saying that you have the potential to be a tyrant. Because anyone COULD become a tyrant. But that utterly ignores her history and her past actions which make her LESS likely than most, superhuman or human. It’s as if she gets no benefit for the fact that she talks first, holds back, and uses violence as a last resort, except SOMETIMES, from some people, there’s a tacit minor acknowledgement of that, before going back to how the Batman v Superman ‘If there’s even a one percent chance we must take it as an absolute certainty’ mentality.

            So yes, she could not prove whether man is inherently good or inherently evil. Guess what? Philosophers have been trying to figure that out for thousands of years – without success. She could cite Locke, Confucius, Mencius and dozens of other philosophers without addressing, beyond a shadow of a doubt, how their fears and cynicism don’t mean they arent capable of working together. Indeed, the fact that civilization EXISTS at all shows that people can work together. That ‘we’re all in this together.’

            It seems very close-minded of Gurwara or anyone to think this could be summed up within the scope of a 1 minute example with stones in one college class by a 20 year old student who’s taken ONE philosophy course so far. Her powers don’t grant her super-philosophy, after all. And if Gurwara thinks that she should have those answers right away, when HE doesn’t (if you’ve read any of the philosophers I’ve mentioned who refute pretty much everything Gurwara believes), then it’s just another example of Gurwara being both unreasonable and a bully. Especially since he also does thinks which DONT further his point, like the taunt he made to Allison AFTER the class was over. It didnt help his argument at all, and instead made him seem small minded and petty and just cruel. In other words – a huge jerk.

            As for Gurwara’s lack of faith in humanity, yes – one can have faith in humanity while being aware of its failings. But what Gurwara did wasnt taking ‘said failings’ into account. It was, and he even admits it was, ‘trying to push her buttons’ – which he did even after the class was over. Gurwara IS relying on the fact that Allison is inherently good and would not only not react physically, but wouldnt even go to the Board or academic advisor to get him fired. It’s just ‘lets see if I can get under her skin and upset her since I know she won’t fight back against a powerless old guy’ – which makes him a particularly awful human being. PLUS reinforces her axiom, since even HE realizes that his survival and job depends on Alison’s goodness.

            So yeah – he’s a good CHARACTER…. he’s an awful person. People who like the character, however, are seeming to go fanboy over him for some reason and try to say, since they don’t want to supposrt a bad PERSON… that he’s a good character AND a good person. With all evidence massively to the contrary.

            As for Alison needing education – yeah, she does. Obviously. She’s 20 and this is her second philosophy course ever, and the first she got an automatic A by the Board which she did NOT want and thought was bs. That’s why she’s going to college. How does an automatic F (OR an automatic A) give her education or experience in any sort of positive way? It doesn’t. It’s active discouragement – the exact opposite of what you’re proposing.

            PS – I really have to read the strip about the sandwich 🙂

          • Tylikcat

            I don’t expect all of Alison’s processing to happen at once. I mean, okay, she said some pretty silly things (like about being ready next time – seriously, that was mostly a measure of how fruck she was) in the classroom. And now she’s found someone to vent to, and good for her – I’m not sure everyone needs to process externally that way, but if you need to (and I need to) you need to. Hopefully this will have given her headspace enough, and time enough, that she can start chewing through the actual problems… and hopefully Gurwara tweaking her isn’t going to be too much of a distraction.

          • Lysiuj

            Upvoted for ‘fruck’ 😉

      • noctuatacita

        I think you have a good point, but Gurwara himself said that proving or disproving beliefs wasn’t the point. Allison doesn’t need to counter it. I mean, *she* might feel like she needs to, but she doesn’t.

        And I don’t think she really reacted at all to Financial Aid Girl, she reacted to Gurwara’s … thing. I can’t put into words all the reasons I find it galling, but “The fiendish, serpent head of selfishness, revealed!” in that situation, would’ve had me cussing out a teacher too.

        • I agree. I think that the point that she doesn’t feel the need to PROVE HER RIGHTNESS AND FORCE ALL OPPOSING OPINIONS TO SUBMIT is a point in her favor, honestly.

          That and she might just want to not get into an argument over basic hero-vs-villain morality stuff with someone who has proven to have an intransigently different attitude than her, especially when he’s one of her few friends.

      • Seer of Trope

        On the last point, Alison’s axiom was that people are better when they are in it together and that it’s the definition, not just the means, to a better world. The classroom experiment didn’t disprove that people are better when they work together, only that they didn’t. Thus Guwara, as he says, did not disprove Alison’s axiom. The question was, if the definition of a better world is working together, how will you get people to work together?

        • Loranna

          Yes, that’s true. On the other hand, having an axiom such as that means little unless one tries to put it into practice, no? Assuming, of course, that one WANTS a better world, and doesn’t just think that a better world would be nice to have, but isn’t strictly necessary.

          Which would tie in with the point Gurwara seemed to be making about perfect solutions, and the point several other posters have made about the perfect potentially becoming the enemy of the good.

          Loranna

        • Tylikcat

          And how do you handle it when they don’t?

    • chaosvii

      Agreed, and while I oppose the the argument that Alison has earned the brazen criticism she received because she needs to be shaken out of her powertrip, I hold the view that Alison can benefit from the fair (if not necessarily fairly presented) criticism that she was subject to.
      Gurwara is a self-admitted heartless bastard that is not worth writing off simply because he makes a show of how little he cares for social graces & conventional thought.
      Regarding the criticism that our protagonist has earned: Alison made a statement that is admirable in sentiment, and useful as an ideal, but terrible as an axiom to follow to the self-evident letter. Alison presumed that everyone in the class needed defending, when in reality people were all interpreting the situation in their own individual way and Alison was basically bringing up an unsupported assertion.

      This guy is a witty, clever, vainglorious figure that held his class to a standard worthy of A Big Sandwich. But I would argue that the only things thoroughly ridiculous about him are his opening joke, and his charade about grading. The former is tasteless, and the latter is something too big a narrative point to not come up later.
      If there’s no twist on his grades, then there’s no question of how ethically compromised he behaves. But if there were to be a twist on his grades, then there’s intrigue to be uncovered!
      Seeing as my newest personal axiom is “This class rules” I’m holding out for a twist personally.

      • Izo

        ” I hold the view that Alison can benefit from the fair criticism that she was subject to.”
        The key words being ‘fair’ and ‘criticism.’ Gurwara was hardly ‘fair.’ And criticism is meant to have someone learn and improve upon themselves – an automatic F, regardless of your work, is not something you can ‘learn’ from.

        I agree that he’s a good FOIL for her, because he’s someone for whom just fighting physically is simply not an option for someone of her morality and responsibility (ie, if you wouldnt do it as a normal person, you definitely shouldnt do it as a superhuman). But not that he’s a good person, or a fair person, or a hero, which too many people here seem to think, almost out of a need to argue counterintuitively and to punish someone who is physically superior… rather than looking at the given evidence of his and her actual behavior. The amount that people have bent over backwards to defend Gurwara is very disconcerting as a result. Sort of like when people defend comic book versions of Dr. Doom (but he’s only defending his country and countrymen) or Lex Luthor (he doesnt want humanity to be dependent on that alien!) or Magneto (humanity has been cruel to mutants, he’s only doing what he has to for his species) or J Jonah Jameson (but he’s actually a good person who supports mutant rights!). They’ll try to find a way to say that the person they like as a character is not just a good character, but also a good person, because they don’t like the idea of liking that a person is a genuine a**hole.

        Also, as for teaching by humiliation:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tSqSMOyNFE

    • Peter

      She never abused her power? What about the time where she punched somebody through a wall, killing him in the process, assaulted an policeman and threatened to kill a bunch of helpless people just because they *might* know the guy who tried to kill a friend of her? Seems like abusing power to me.

      • Izo

        Need a date so I can check to refute you. Citation please.

        • Nathaniel Stalberg

          http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-3/page-65/

          I wouldn’t say she assaulted the policeman. Also, it looks like she punched the guy out a window. The rest is accurate, if out of context.

          • Izo

            Daniel: “If people were as good as you say they are, they’d know it’s your choice to help them. If your parents hadn’t raised you to be a good little girl, they’d be f**ked. The only reason their world makes sense is because you keep it that way. Do you really think they deserve all of this?”

            Alison: “No. They deserve better.”

            And so she’s trying to be better than even her own high standards already are.

        • TSED

          I can’t give you an exact date, but that’s what she did when Feral got flamethrowered. I even remember her making a comment about how if anyone else did what she did, she’d be in jail, instead of just walking free to go on with her life (this comment was some number of strips later).

          It also bothers me that nobody comments on the murdered doctors. 🙁

          • Izo

            Not to mention it’s BS that she’d be in jail. She thinks it because she’s harder on herself than other people are, in fact. It’s clear defense of others for what she did to the flamethrower guy. Even the threat afterwards (which she did not enforce – she was trying to find out who sent the nutcase, while she was under emotional turmoil from what had just happened, after being berated by teleporting idiot guy for being too good an influence on Feral) would be easily a temporary insanity defense. Assuming anyone would even charge her in the first place, or would charge ANYONE who did that in those circumstances.

            Look a the EXTREME stuff that has to happen to bring Alison to that point of even making a threat.

            Oh… and right afterwards is when she emphasizes with how Daniel must feel all the time, and realizes ‘there but for the grace of god go I – I could have been like him if I was in his situation – anyone could have been like him in his situation’ Which means she grows as a person. And then talks honestly about she knows that she is not held to the same standards BECAUSE of her powers…. and that’s just another reason why she does not follow the voice in her head that tells her to crush people. She follows the other voice in her head instead. To QUOTE Allison:

            “Because I know what it’s like to feel alone. I know what it’s like to live in a paper world, to be good at hurting people, to think everyone should just shut up and do what you say. And then I remember that deep down, people are good, everyone’s trying, and nobody deserves respect just for being powerful. So if I’ve got the voice in my head that tells me to crush people, then I think you probably have the voice that says the other thing too.”

        • Peter

          Issue 3, Page 65 to Page 67

        • OmnipotentEntity
        • 3-I

          He’s talking about the people protesting against Feral. The person she punched through a wall was the guy with the flamethrower, and the policeman pulled a gun on her.

          • Izo

            Ok…. she killed a murderous psychopath who had just burned to death a bunch of doctors, and she did NOT kill or assault the police officer. She just made sure he realized he was NOT going to be able to arrest her, and why he shouldnt be pointing a gun at her. Since it wouldnt do anything to her anyway. Especially while she wanted to find out who sent the murdering psychopath.

          • Some guy

            What she did against the officer absolutely counts as assault in every jurisdiction in the United States of America. Saying “Now do what I fucking say, or I’m going to kill every last one of you!” (issue 3 page 67 panel 5) is a crime even when you aren’t capable of pulling it off. If you want to get technical, killing flamethrower guy is technically a crime, merely one with an inbuilt affirmative defense. They could have easily tacked on whatever the local equivalents of Reckless Discharge of a Firearm, and Destruction of Public Property are as well. There’s basically no way you pull off any of those individually let alone all together without having at least a long, boring conversation with people in cheap suits.

            Whether she was right or wrong in these actions are immaterial but it does go to show that Alison can pretty much do what she wants with little or no consequences as the only thing that ever came of it was some guy at a party mentioned it later. Her point could have been made more effectively by ignoring the cops’ existence as they ineffectually try to arrest her while she’s yelling at the crowd, but that would have been less dramatic and harder to illustrate. (Also, I’m pretty sure it was the receptionist that let flamethrower guy in, and that the crowd’s presence was just coincidental.)

            Alison is pretty much indisputably ‘Good’, but you can’t really pretend her criminal actions aren’t crimes merely because she’s a good guy and never got charged, or that they don’t count because they are against people you don’t like. It’s kind of an important thing when it comes to this comic’s general theme.

          • Izo

            By your definition, every single superhero in every single comic book ever made is a criminal.

          • That same guy

            Largely speaking, they are.

            It’s even a common plot subject with most of them, and a large part of why they wear masks.

        • Frances K R
        • Some guy

          It was during the conclusion to the whole Feral arc. Killing the attacker wasn’t specifically an abuse, but the other stuff absolutely was.

        • Insanenoodlyguy

          I’m not sure I agree entirely with Peter but… seriously? You can’t go check yourself? This comic isn’t that long! Its Book 3. Do your own work!

          • Izo

            Actually no, if he wants to point out something (and point it out INCORRECTLY, I might add) he should be able to at least give more specifics than ‘she assaulted a police officer’.

            Which she didn’t.

            Or call the MOB of people helpless, as if they’re just standing there, innocently, not calling her a murderer (rather than the person who just burned a hospital and killed mulitple doctors as well as incinerating her friend), not possibly having knowledge or association with the person who just murdered a bunch of people who seem to be on the murdering psychopath’s side.

            And I love how Peter says ‘she punched somebody and killed him’

            It’s such massive, collosal, and unfair spin to portray her in a negative light, without any context, and in several parts of that description, outright fabrication. :/ Because if I had to look for where she assaulted a police officer, I’m NOT going to find it. Because she doesnt assault a police officer, and doesnt just kill ‘somebody.’ Context is important.

            Otherwise, I can describe Man of Steel as such. “This guy scares the entire world by showing how powerful he is, kills his father, then destroys a city, right before snapping some guy’s neck. Oh and he also destroys a military satellite because he can, and gets into bar fights and assaults police and soldiers.” Misses any context, totally ignores what actually happened in the movie, and fabricates other parts by claiming stuff that isnt assault as being ‘assault.’

            Wow… that’s such a fair analysis. She just punched ‘somebody.’ Not a person who just murdered a bunch of people in cold blood with a flamethrower and was going to kill more people, so she punched him. And that punch killed THE MURDERING PSYCHOPATH.

            So to use your word – ‘Seriously?!’

            The comic isnt long enough that it should have spin doctors like this, trying to make it seem like she was just walking along, saw someone, decided to kill him in cold blood and start threatening people while beating up police officers. None of which is even remotely what happened.

      • FlashNeko

        You mean the guy who had just murdered at least three people with a flamethrower? Possibly a LOT more because we never got to fully see how many were in the room at the time beyond the three huddled around Feral’s bed but earlier panels showed there was a whole support crew. Yet Feral was was the only one to come out in the aftermath.

        Do you mean the guy who it was proven there was an active conspiracy of bigotry by a number of people outside to let him in to do it? And instead of asking Alison (the known super hero) what was going on, the officer instead instantly drew his gun and tried to shoot her in the mouth?

        Now, I suppose you could argue that her threats to the crowd to get those who had conspired to commit mass murder to confess might constitute abuse but she… never actually hurt anyone beyond the mass murderer himself (and that falls so deeply under Self Defense Laws only the most biased jury in the world could convict) and it’s unclear if she actually would have followed through on any of her threats, as much as she may have wanted to.

        • Izo

          This was written better than anything I could have possibly written.

      • VariableNature

        You mean the time she killed a man in order to defend a friend who was literally strapped helplessly to a table after he had already killed 4-6 doctors? Yeah, I remember that. Justifiable homicide through and through. The assault and threatening people? Yeah, you got that pretty much right.

  • Thomas McMullin

    There’s no way she actually got an F in that class based on that one exercise. Same with everyone else getting an A. No University in the world would allow that. Either he is a dick, but a good Philosophy teacher. OR this comic about superheroes just ruined my suspension of disbelief over University grading policies lol.

    On another note. Hot damn I love to see her hanging out with this guy. People have made the comment “Oh she can’t know what it’s like to be human” are missing out on the obvious humanity she’s showing right here by being here for him.

    • Walter

      A thing humans cannot do is waltz into maximum security and chat with people that they single handedly imprisoned. “You are my fighting rival who I defeated and then changed through oratory” is not a relationship that humans have.

      When our profs fail us, that’s super bad for us. We are going to college for financial reasons. It isn’t an idle annoyance, it would be life changingly frustrating.

      I tend to agree with you, by the by, that Alison is very human, but the argument you’ve chosen is kind of the worst. The experience she’s having right now (where your bud seriously suggests that you murder your teacher, and you turn him down because even though the cops won’t lock you up for killing people you don’t think this particular dude deserves it) is not one that humans have.

      • Loranna

        On the other hand, this would not be amiss in a game of Exalted — or in the epics and sagas that partially inspired that game setting. Ogimos and Orpheus, for example, were well-known for their ability to move people with their words, whether spoken or sung.

        Alison is, like the ancient heroes of mythology, a larger-than-life figure. She’s godlike, and yet, she’s very human, and the godlike things she accomplishes — such as defeating an enemy and then converting him into a friend through her compassion — are examples of the greatest feats ordinary people can hope to reach. So, even though most people would never have a conversation like Alison’s with Daniel, said conversation does still showcase Alison’s empathy and compassion.

        Loranna

      • Izo

        Why are you assuming she’s ‘waltzed’ into maximum security. Most likely the warden okayed her having regular visits to keep him under control and not breaking out again.

        And yes, people can go from fighting each other (verbally or physically) to talking to each other/being friends. That’s actually most of human history – both in real life and in fictional depictions, individuals and groups, famous and non-famous.

        Real:
        Alexander and King Purushothama
        http://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-two-bitter-enemies-became-best-friends/
        http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/7730827/
        http://www.frtommylane.com/stories/forgiveness/enemies_become_friends.htm
        http://worldwarwings.com/enemies-become-friends-a-story-of-humanity-during-world-war-ii
        https://www.warhistoryonline.com/war-articles/wwii-stories-enemies-become-friends.html
        Oh yeah and United States and Great Britain!

        Temporary friendships right after fighting to the death?
        The Christmas Truce of 1914
        Saladin and Richard the Lionhearted

        Here. Lets go fictional as well since this is a webcomic to show this isnt the first time fictional enemies can be friends or at least civil to each other:
        Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed
        Magneto and Professor Xavier
        Deadpool and Colossus
        Avatar Aang and Iroh/Zuko
        Batman and Harvey Dent
        Peter Parker and Harry Osbourne
        Naruto and Sasuke
        I, Robot’s Will Smith character and the robot
        Enemy Mine’s Willis Davidge (Quaid) and Jeriba (Gosset Jr)
        Heck you can even argue Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker
        About a couple of dozen Star Trek episodes from each incarnation

        • Walter

          When was the last time you defeated someone, left them for the cops, and then got ok’d by the warden to visit them, on the grounds that regular contact with you would make them less likely to escape? When was the last time that happened to anyone in the United States? Has it happened even once in the last 3 decades?

          I’m not talking about truces after fighting. “We had an argument, we got tired, now we are making up” is a very human experience. Alison’s current experience is is “He tried to kill her. She defeated him, spared his life and consigned him to the penal system. She visits him regularly. He has just suggested, as a reasonable course of action, that she murder someone that she dislikes, on the grounds that annoying her should be rewarded with murder. She refuses, not because murder has consequences (since to her it doesn’t), but because the person in question hasn’t done something that she kills for yet.”

          It isn’t an experience that people have.

          • Izo

            Too bad you said that second paragraph because I have this real life story all ready to go:
            When I was in 7th grade, I had this guy who was this major bully to me and would pick on me all the time. One day he actually punched me in the face in typing class when the teacher had left the room. I wound up losing my temper, shoved him so he fell over a desk and cracked his head, and got up and looked like he was going to kill me (some other guy in the class who was a fullback on the football team got up also and told him to back off, fortunately). Teacher comes back in, the football player guy tells the teacher what happens (even though most of the students in the class wouldnt say ANYTHING), and the other student got sent to detention (aka, school jail!). When I saw him again he apologized to me and we actually wound up becoming friends for the next 10 years until he moved to Cincinatti, Ohio. We still occasionally email back and forth or text.

            But getting back to your first paragraph, it does happen. Rarely in real life, but sometimes. Sometimes the police who apprehend a criminal visit them regularly if they feel sympathy for them. Somtimes the victims of crimes visit the person who perpetrated the crime if that perpetrator has an apology to give, for closure for the victim. But happens a lot more in fiction. Case in point – Batman. He visits Harley Quinn to see how she’s progressing. He’s done so quite a few times, in fact. Flash does the same with Trickster, and does so on the promise that Trickster won’t escape and go off his meds if he visits regularly to play darts together.

        • 3-I

          Piling on here: GILGAMESH AND ENKIDU. I mean, you people are questioning the basis of all western literature here.

          • Izo

            OOH! I didn’t even think of that one. GOOD ONE 3-I! 🙂 Although in my defense, I think there was a Star Trek TNG episode where Picard used Gilgamesh and Enkidu 🙂

      • Tylikcat

        The superhero fighting relationship is a hard one to come up with good cognate for – so you can argue that’s something human’s don’t do.

        But meeting someone as an opponent, and later becoming friends? It’s perhaps a minority practice, but it happens all the time. Prison complicates matters, but there’s all kinds of stories about folks who end up becoming friends with the person who wronged them while the person wrong them was imprisoned. It’s a thing. (Yes, I have personal stories, but they are minor examples, tend to be complicated, and in at least one case, embarrassing. I’ll spare us all.)

    • Insanenoodlyguy

      She knows that. She still thinks he’s a dick for saying that.

  • Crimson Doom

    I find it rather adorable to see such a vicious-looking supervillain apologize for using a word that offended his current company. Is it just me?

    • Peter

      She is probably the only one who ever visits him. I would be careful in his position too.

  • SeveredNed

    This is nice. It’s good to see they both have someone they can talk to about things that is able to understand the situation properly.

  • Pol Subanajouy

    Oddly enough, more than Cleaver’s changing attitude and this new friendship between him and Al, I’m more taken by his skin color. I thought he always had normal human pigmentation despite his monstrous shape, I don’t know why.

    I’d also love it if he won the chess match.

    • Peter

      Dunno, he doesn’t seems to me like a good chess player… a professional would have called the field directly by it’s name and not by it’s relative position.

      • Tsapki

        Well he is new to it sure, but that does not discount that he may have a talent for it. We also do not know how skilled Alison is either so the outcome could very much be either way.

      • Pol Subanajouy

        I know, highly unlikely but I’d still love to see it.

  • m n

    Okay, I just gotta say, this is absolutely my favourite SFP page thus far, this one means a lot to me <3

  • Loranna

    Well, our comic writers are tormenting us AND Mega Girl, I see. Now who knows how many strips will pass before we find out if Alison is actually failing? ^_^

    Ah well; an end to discussions on Gurwara’s dickishness, I say! At least for me, right now; Alison can discuss it all she wants. Instead, I’ll make a few random observations:

    1. Cleaver is Daniel, while Alison is Mega Girl. But Daniel’s got a point, in a roundabout way: to the rest of the world, Alison IS still Mega Girl, and is going to remain Mega Girl for a long, long time, possibly her whole life. Even if she became known for this new Valkyrie project of hers, it’d still carry the implication that “Mega Girl Is Moving Into A New Brand Of Superheroics,” not “Alison Greene Is Working For Social Justice.” Changing the public’s perception of her, may be a battle Alison can’t really win — not anytime soon, and not with the tools she has now.

    2. On the one hand, Alison first confides her frustrations with a former supervillain with a known history of violent behavior. I’m wondering if she’s not sticking her head into an echo chamber here to some degree. On the other hand, she is confiding said frustrations with said former supervillain while having a picnic lunch and playing chess. Clearly, Alison DID take something from Gurwara’s class: let’s all have A Big Sandwich! Or three, and a ham and some soda and other food. And now, I’m hungry . . .

    3. Onto the artwork, I like how Molly uses the chessboard and picnic blanket to provide background color on this page. We go from the bleak, blue prison walls while Alison and Daniel are both bummed out, unsure what to say next, to the more vibrant coloration of the chessboard, where they can engage each other on a more comfortable level, in friendly competition. I find it interesting that both Alison and Daniel still find a certain . . . solace? . . . in pitting themselves against one another. And of course, it recalls many other famous scenes of chess-playing from other narratives. Good stuff.

    4. Still on the topic of chess, I also get a small kick out of the fact that Alison’s playing black and Daniel white. I can so see Alison having offered to let Daniel play white, and have the advantage of moving first. 🙂

    That’s it for me, right now. Time to go fix myself a big sandwich . . .

    Loranna

    • Tylikcat

      Totally with you on the artwork.

      Different take on the echo chamber. I don’t see it as looking for confirming bias, as much as someone totally safe to vent to – and Daniel is already someone she’s talked about some of her darker impulses with. He’s not going to judge her, and he’s not going to be disappointed – and if anything, his reaction is going to be worse than hers, which is going to make her feel better about the situation. Which is a darker side of friendship, but darn, doesn’t everyone need the friends who you can really be honest with, warts and all?

      (Twenty-seven years ago I stayed up most of the night talking with the new girlfriend of a recent ex of mine. The ex is a long-ago footnote on both our lives, but darn, we’ve both seen each other at our worsts, and there isn’t anything I can’t tell her.)

      • Loranna

        Good point. And Alison could use a safe avenue for venting — we all could.

        In that case, then Alison is on her way to dealing with the whole Professor Gurwara situation in a constructive manner. After this, she’ll probably talk to Lisa, to both get Lisa’s take on the situation, and to seek advice on how Alison could handle the situation without inadvertently getting another professor fired.

        William Lancaster claimed that Alison’s biggest superpower is her empathy. I’ll further claim that her second-biggest superpower is her circle of friends and family. It’s good that Alison’s got the support she does!

        Loranna

        • Tylikcat

          Too bad she’s so straight-laced – hacker friends can be really useful when you want carefully calibrated levels of revenge!

      • Also, he’s a literally captive audience. If I had crippling social anxiety problems—and I do—I might feel safer with someone who doesn’t have an alternative set of friends they can leave me for or tell all my confessions to or . . . you get the idea.

    • Izo

      Is ‘A big sandwich’ some sort of trope? It’s continually mentioned…

      • Loranna

        I think it’s simply a big sandwich. But big sandwiches are welcome in their own right, especially when trying to digest a load of dry subject matter, as Gurwara himself admitted the course material could be.

      • Weatherheight

        Left hand side of the chalkboard, previous page:

        Highest Possible Values?
        Beauty
        Truth
        Family
        A Big Sandwich

      • Weatherheight

        After thinking about my original response and your question, I think it’s most likely that’s a smart-ass answer from a student in the class, pointing out that “The Big Sandwich” is the highest possible value (money-wise) in a Deli. It being on the board is telling.

        It may also be a “Friends” reference (Joey Tribbiani was very fond of sandwiches, and big sandwiches especially).
        Urban Dictionary’s definition was less than clarifying.
        No meaningful hits except for pictures of “big Sandwiches” from Google.

      • Peter

        It was in the first panel of page 41, written on the board.

  • spriteless

    This may be the best insurance that he won’t go on a rampage again.

    Also, it is nice to see Allison is keeping up with friends outside of work, even if he’s captive.

    • Peter

      Well, the prison seems to be a pretty good insurance too.

      • Dean

        Pretty sure that Cleaver could bust out of the prison if he reeeaaallly wanted to.

  • Silenceaux

    This really warms my heart. I don’t agree with Daniel’s analysis, but I can’t help but feel like these two spending time together will give them both some perspective.

  • screechfox

    oh my god. that’s so sweet.

  • UnsettlingIdeologies

    This might be the single most heartwarming comic strip I’ve ever seen.

    • David

      “piece of shit” “asshole” “shitstain” “loudmouth punk bitch” “fuck”. Yes, heartwarming indeed, haha.

      • Seer of Trope

        He tried.

  • Kellie Merie

    Ok for some reason this hits both their points home —

    she believes people are inherently good and can be redeemed maybe its because she sees herself in everyone.

    He thinks people aren’t inherently anything but self serving. They do not have beliefs set in stone as much as they had ideals they would LIKE to believe is true and if they DO happen to act in a way that seems altruistic — and do some thing good it’s because it has been clearly explained they benefit from it

    at least that’s the way I see it

  • Mendel Katz

    This is gosh darned adorable.

  • The Dread Pirate Steve #812

    I don’t think any update has made me love her more than this one.

  • William Lancaster

    Alison’s biggest superpower is empathy.

    Though watching these two people of mass destruction sit down and play chess together is hilarious.

    • 3-I

      Which continues to bug me, because so many people commenting here want her to be totally without empathy.

      • Loranna

        I don’t think anyone here *wants* Alison to lack empathy; she’d be a terrifying creature indeed if she were like that! Rather, I think, people are trying to point out that Alison’s innate empathy doesn’t prevent her from failing to recognize, and sympathize with, the problems more ordinary people have.

        Alison continually assumes that people are innately good — but she *also* tends to assume that she already knows what an innately good person would of course do in any situation. She tends to forget that not everyone shares all her advantages, nor her perspective on what is the right choice to make.

        Loranna

        • Izo

          Allison believes that people are innately good. It’s not such an unheard of philosophy, you know. Since other people like Confucius, Locke, Aristotle, and Mencius.

          “Mencius asserted that man is innately good, and society’s influence is what causes man to acquire a bad moral character. Two of his famous quotes are: ‘He who exerts his mind to the utmost knows his nature’ and ‘The way of learning is none other than finding the lost mind.’ He suggested that we were born with goodness, but as we grow, we learn to be bad through the pressures of society. However, after acquiring more knowledge about ourselves, we are able regain our goodness. Mencius himself is widely regarded in China as the greatest writer among the ancient philosophers.” – from Infomory.com

          • Tylikcat

            “‘…Mencius himself is widely regarded in China as the greatest writer among the ancient philosophers.'”

            Wait, what?

            He actually has higher stature in the west – note the anglicized name. It’s Mengzi, in Chinese. For various historical reasons, translating large portions of Mengzi – increasingly from photocopies of woodblock prints – made up much of the second term of guwen (“classical chinese”) and I think most of us were a little traumatized by the experience.* Two members of the senior faculty used to get into humorous debates about whether he was a “moral prig” or a “moral prude”.

            Anyhow, no reflection on the idea that people are basically good, which, is, y’know, a thing. (And yes, my education is totally fucked. I think I’ve mentioned that before.)

            * Admittedly, slightly more than half the class was fluent in Chinese, and tended to revert to that language, while other people were students of languages in which guwen had been the literary language and found this habit frustrating in the extreme. But I think we all agreed on Mengzi.

          • Izo

            Thanks for laying that bit of knowledge on me about his being hugely influential in the western world as well. I honestly did not know this.

          • Tylikcat

            I’m totally being pedantic lass, but that actually wasn’t the point I was trying to make –

            For whatever reason, Mengzi was latched onto by early western scholars of Chinese. So he’s often cited as being super important… in the west. In China… eh. I mean, he’s prominent, sure. But not super prominent. But I’ve *never* heard anyone claim he was the greatest writer. (I’ve heard people make the opposite claim, and many were native speakers, but still, there’s plenty of room for bias.)

            He was super legalist. He was important to the Neo-Confucians – which is to say his alignment was something like lawful-asshole in D&D terms. Though, well, some folks like that sort of thing. For me, Zhuangzi if I want something to really chew over, and Sunzi for bedtime reading. (This is as much for style as content – Sunzi is incredibly clear and concise. I can usually read most of his stuff without looking anything up or struggling with the grammar, which makes it relaxing. The content… well, BingFa is usually translated as “The Art of War” though really “A Method of War” would be more accurate. Zhuangzi, on the other hand, while I love him, is just hell to translate.) The Zhan Guo Ce are also really great. Hell, there is no lack of great early Chinese literature. …not that I have enough brain left over for it most of the time these days. But it’s nice to keep my hand in. (Living in a zendo, with a lot of the core chan / zen material being in guwen means there’s always material.)

            (Okay, there was a great bit in Mengzi there about taking only lightly from the forests and allowing them to flourish so they can provide with abundance – this is hand-wavey from memory – rather than over harvesting. I think that was the first chapter that I actively enjoyed translating.)

      • Izo

        Apparently they seem to:

        1) skip over the emotional breakdowns she keeps having about not wanting to just ‘break people and things’ and how she wonders if she’s worthless beyond having her powers (like on TV, or on the playground after the Cleaver fight, or when talking to Paladin)

        2) skip over where she’s upset that the first professor was fired, or how she wanted to help him get rehired and was soundly rebuffed by him – when she had nothing to do with what the Board did

        3) take her ‘we’re all in this together’ as being a tyrant, instead of that she believes the best of humanity

        4) ignore her pleading with Moonshadow to stop what she’s doing and how she blames herself for what Moonshadow is doing now

        5) ignore the anguish that she has about what Feral decided to do to help humanity even though it means she’s going to be in excruciating agony for the rest of her very, very, very long life

        6) they look at THIS strip and instead of seeing how empathetic she is, they see it as ‘her whining to her fellow monstrous being and dismissing what Gurwara says.

        They bend over backwards so much to put her in the role of ‘bad person’ that they must be quadruple-jointed in the spine. It bugs me too, but moreover, it worries me that some people can do the mental gymnastics to justify seeing her as the bad person.

        • Loranna

          . . . You know, I think you may be overstating the case a little bit.

          Again.

          • Izo

            I’m just calling it as I see it, based entirely on what people have been saying and how a lot of people are misstating and ignoring what’s actually happened in past story arcs. And like I said above, the mental gymnastics they’ve been going through to justify her as irresponsible or even a villain or bad person when it’s pretty obvious that she’s very responsible, very restrained, and continuously well meaning and sacrificing for others.

      • chaosvii

        I presume a lot of those heartless comments are either jokes or #IHATEHIMSOMUCH catharsis.

      • ∫Clémens×ds

        Personally, I want to see her as “Alison Greene, Savior of Humanity, Strongest Human on Earth, Infinite Altruist, Terrible at Everything.”

      • It’s not that she’s without empathy, it’s that she’s often lacking the context to understand her empathy, and she’s a 20 year old idealist who has had a sheltered upbringing* in a less than ideal world.

        Try a parallel I’ve mentioned before. As a straight, cis, white middle class male of leftish leanings I knew all about lack of privilege. I didn’t _understand_ lack of privilege until I added visible disability to that list of attributes and experienced it from the inside. The difference is huge. Alison wants to represent the common person, but she’s a very uncommon person and she doesn’t really understand the common person because the way she grew up means she hasn’t been a common person since she was a young kid and has had very little experience of them.

        Or try a parallel that homes right in on Allison’s pet project. She wants to help female victims of violence, but she can’t easily understand their position. Allison never has to fear walking down a dark street as a woman, Allison never has to fear physical violence from a partner. There’s an essential part of their experience she simply can never know.

        People aren’t criticising Allison as a bad person, they’re saying she lacks experience and understanding. She’s your prototypical 20yo rich do-gooder; her heart’s in the right place, but she’s a little shakey on everything else.

        * Yes she was out saving the world, but she missed the normality most of us experience. Her upbringing and situation has some similarities with kids who are brought up in the care system and then dumped out without adequate support at 18 into a society/situation they’ve never dealt with normally.

  • Nathanaël François

    Awwww….

  • Jeremy

    Daniel could be right (not about the murder thing) – some faculty members just enjoy stomping on students.

    I’m always suspicion when faculty take on the “I’m eccentric and tough, but I’m teaching you important life lessons” persona – it essentially gives them carte blanche to be bullies and treat people unfairly, and then blame their students because “you just don’t get it – I’m teaching you important lessons.”

    Hopefully there’s more to the character than that, but we’ll see.

    • Flipz

      Not just teachers–plenty of parents do it too. 🙁

    • Scott

      But if you do it well enough, you can win an Oscar. Just ask J.K. Simmons. And he didn’t have to catch hypothermia or eat a raw heart, all he had to do was throw a chair at Miles Teller.

  • Balthazar

    Playing chess with an old foe.

    What superhero comic would be complete without it.

  • Liz

    I’m really glad we get to see these two together again. I hope it runs through the rest of the comic.

  • Johan

    See? This is what I don’t get. All the growth she went through, the fact that scene can happen, everything Alison learned … I don’t get how Mr Guawara was able to get under her skin with what he said. I don’t get how she couldn’t predict the outcome of the little game.
    She can have a picnic with this guy, confront Patrick, work so hard on her project and get so many people together on it, but she gets mad when someone tells her something she already knows. Ah well, I’m gonna keep believing he’s using telepathy or something else to mess with her, that makes more sense.

    • Jeremy

      I know a lot of brilliant, accomplished people who still get flustered and make mistakes. It’s kind of a human thing. It’s also worth remembering that although Alison has has a lot of experience, she is still very young. It will be years before she’s fully processed and learned from all of these experiences.

    • chaosvii

      She gets mad when somebody tells her something that she knows but doesn’t really grasp the reasoning for why it happens.
      There’s a difference between saying something she comprehends abstractly: “people won’t make use of the chances you want to give them to make the world the sort of place you want”
      versus the reinforcement of the various insidious factors of self doubt:
      “People cannot think like you do, no matter how much you try to be a productive citizen like all of them, people simply cannot mimic you and get on board with your plans. They’ll choose to go against your clever solution no matter how much it benefits them.
      Look, they defy your cleverness right now! But you already knew people were idiots didn’t you, you knew they wouldn’t even try but you acted the hero anyway. You thoughtlessly figured that they’d do the right thing but they didn’t. You called them selfish but that was thoughtless of you too! They had good reasons for not risking their grade, reasons you don’t have and will never have.”

      Alison hasn’t deeply examined why she was mistaken as much as she was during the early parts of that class, and wasn’t able to derive the complex solution to all of the opposing views that Guawara provided. That’s what unnerved her, she was confident that she was correct, but it didn’t matter to the rest of the class what she thought, they thought otherwise all the same. And having that all suddenly rush up against her is what got her furious.
      It probably didn’t help that Guawara just plain didn’t give any reverence to her thinking nor said that she has a lot of work left to do. He just indicated that she was mistaken like it was no big deal (I mean seriously, who cares if the woman who is trying to change the world is mistaken about what a better world even is?!) and moved on to how lots of other people throughout the ages have been spending centuries trying to be consistent, if not necessarily correct. She was given lots of ammo to think herself irrelevant *again*
      All in all, Alison still needs to overcome that sensation of egocentric powerlessness before she can accept that it’s no big deal that she is mistaken about important stuff that will decide the fate of the univer- I mean will guide her towards major social changes that will help the world surpass its dependence on atrocious exploitation of those with too little individual power.

      • Johan

        That’s very well explained and thanks you for the detailed answer. And if you accept that Alison could not foresee the result of the the demonstration it makes sense. However this is the precise point I can’t get over.
        Everything else holds from there. As you explained, from there things kept going against her and she lost her cool (the F-bomb was pretty huge though), but that little detail bothers the hell out of me. She already knew at least some of the student would put down the white stone. She didn’t believe people always jump at the opportunity to be selfless heroes. Her axiom describes a general view and still holds true for me, but she knows the real world is more complicated than that.
        But I’m gonna stop with or I’ll just get stuck. I’m gonna keep reading and hope I’m able to reconnect with the story as much as I did before.
        Thanks again for the reply 🙂

        • Tylikcat

          Did you read through the comments from the earlier part of this sequence? A lot of people talked about their own expectations from such an exercise, and it was clear that there was an element of culture and training that played into it. (I have to say, I expected more black stones. I keep meaning to run the scenario past some of my undergrads.)

          Anyhow, putting aside the actions of the other students, how I would really read this is Alison having a strong moral code, feeling like her code was obvious, and honestly expecting it to generalize to the other students in the class, because she really doesn’t know and understand them well at all. (And think about it – the closest thing she’s had to a non-biodynamic student friend was …Violet. Otherwise, her friends are all biodynamics and/or first responders. Which is to say, people who probably are going to think an awful lot like she does.)

          She could seriously figure this out. But she’s want to spend a lot of time being pretty low key – incognito would help – around folks, just watching and listening. “I am an anthropologist, and I really want to figure out how these people work.” But, um, that’s not really where she is right now, no?

          • Johan

            I did, and thanks for adding even more perspective to the discussion.
            Like I said before, even with all those explanations I got ( and I’m thankful for them), it still doesn’t sit well with me.
            I agree with your analysis of what happened. But I still don’t believe Alison would have reacted that way. I’m not the writer, so obviously I’m not gonna say I know better than everyone else how it should go, I’m just having trouble reconciling the last pages with the rest of the comic.
            I guess I should re-read from the start, I might have missed a few things.
            But thanks Tylikcat 🙂

          • Tylikcat

            Since I just pulled this out in another context, here’s another example of Alison being kind of absolutist:

            http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-5/page-23-3/

        • Demonlogan

          Think of it in terms of videogames that feature PvE and PvP; it’s not necessarily common, but it is possible, for a player to excel at one mode only to get their non-literal feces pushed in in the other mode. In this example, Alison is NotTooShabby at PvE and is stepping up from “Normal” to “BigPicture” in the settings, and has an “okay” track record in PvP vs people she knows, used to know, or thought she knew. Mr. Gurwara, meanwhile, has prestiged a few times in PvP and has (for lack of a more fitting term) Trolling down to second nature.

          To get a bit deeper, “grinding levels doesn’t make one immune to pride or slimes.” She had confidence in the “obvious answer,” while no one else who comprehended it did (which doesn’t do anything for the understanding and comprehension portions until after the fact), and faced with a “You Lost The Game” message, she had a gut reaction. Of the people that can face that kind of situation, shrug, and say “Fair Play,” Alison is not one of them.

          • Johan

            Does it make me less of a gamer if that analogy confused me ? XD Thanks that was a fun way to put it ^^

        • Lysiuj

          She may know that the real world is more complicated, but she doesn’t have the opportunity we have of analyzing that moment for weeks on end, in retrospect no less.
          Like the rest of the students she only had a few moments to make a decision, and like the rest she jumped to a conclusion, without a lot of time to consider all the possible outcomes, without a chance to talk to the others, and with a lot of intuition.
          And unlike most or all of the others, she, personally, jumped to a decision which was based on her moral beliefs and personal axiom – that everyone can and should work together for the good of everyone; and especially with such a simple solution that benefits everyone and hurts no one, there’s no reason for any other result, obviously every student will see the simple and best option, and should and will take it. Maybe people don’t always make the best choice or the one that helps others, but surely here it’s clear what’s best? Everyone wins, the world is a bit better.
          And then she’s hit with reality – and she’s understandably angry, ‘How the hell, it was right there and you didn’t all take it?!’ And she doesn’t even get a real chance to be angry, because it seems there actually were good reasons to choose differently: not everyone understood the rules, some people made calculated decisions not to take that chance, or couldn’t allow themselves to take it, etc.
          It happens to all of us – based on what we know/believe/understand, we assume a result and act in that direction. And if something else happens our first reactions are anger and confusion and disappointment, because how did the obvious not happen? After a while we start to realize it may not have been obvious to everyone, or obvious at all.
          At least, that’s my interpretation of it 🙂

        • Insanenoodlyguy

          See now, I don’t think she knew that at all. She was surpised and upset when that very thing happened. I keep going back to Issue 3 as encapsulating Allison’s arrogance/expectations of others.

          http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-4/page-22-3/

          “If they were actually trying, they’d be doing as good as me, and their not!”
          She’s better now with this then she was then, but I think it still colors her life.

    • Tylikcat

      I think this picnic is a bit more complicated. She has an established relationship with Daniel – and part of that relationship is that she talks to Daniel about parts of herself that would scare other people (at least, in the little we’ve seen.)

      He’s a person who is absolutely safe for her to vent to. And it doesn’t fit into an absolutist superhero comics morality bit – I mean, what kind of hero goes to a villain to vent, right? But I think most of us need that friend who it’s okay to let our hair down around, and say the things that maybe don’t reflect so well on us but are totally understandable. Daniel isn’t going to judge her badly for it, and Daniel absolutely needs a friend, too.

      • Johan

        I get that. I mean, this happened because she connected with him, she saw past his actions, opened up to him and he did the same. I love it, it’s great.
        And she learned from it. That, along with everything else she went through, showed her that people don’t naturally do the right thing, that the right thing isn’t the same for everyone, that you can’t judge too fast without knowing all the facts. She’s been in situations where her powers didn’t matter, she felt utterly helpless, and she overcame difficulties using nothing but her human strength. She knew the world isn’t simple, and she worked hard to find solutions to help people because of this complexity.
        And then she went to a philosophy class and all of that growth disappeared.

        • Aroel

          I’m thinking because she still thought that, in spite of human complexity, most humans would still work together to find solutions to their problems that are mutually beneficial for everybody if they were only given the chance and ability to do so. Hence, the “We’re all in this together” axiom. He showed her how hard her axiom was to implement in practice, even among a well-intentioned class.

    • Weatherheight

      The more simple explanation is that people are inconsistent a lot more than they would like to be. 😀

      • Johan

        Inconsistency is one thing but … Ah, wait, I said I’d let that go. I’m just gonna keep reading, but thanks for the reply 🙂

  • R2D2TS

    I have been wondering when we would get a visiting scene.

  • Ack

    Aww, now that’s heartwarming.

  • Tsapki

    Ohh, neat transition. I admit I was sort of missing Daniel.

  • Michael P

    Which word bums her out, bitch or being called Mega girl?

    • Kris Dunlap

      I kinda wanna say Mega girl but the safe bet is to double down on both.

    • ∫Clémens×ds

      It’s “tiny”. She *hates* to be remembered Hector exists.

      • motorfirebox

        I thought it was “off”. Recurring nightmares about that horrible bug spray smell!

  • Some guy

    Geeze Alison, “Loudmouth” isn’t that bad of a word. Sonar probably isn’t even offended by it.

  • David

    Was this a bet between you two? “How many curse words can you fit into one page?”

    • David

      However, re-reading…it would be kind of cool if you put in all the curse words just to show how much Alison dislikes being called “Mega-Girl” in contrast. Instead of simply putting them in for no reason.

      • masterofbones

        unfortunately that isn’t the word she is upset by – I guarantee it.

        • David

          I don’t think so…I think the writer(s) of this series are a whole lot better than that.

          • masterofbones

            In that case she would have said, “please don’t call me that”. Also, Mega girl is two words, so it doesn’t even make sense grammatically.

            I’d love for you to be right though.

  • Walter

    Anyone else immediately think “Smash cut to Moonshadow slitting Mr. Guwara’s throat” on “no one is getting killed”? Its funny how much damage the “I’m letting a spree killer go free” data point, which is deeply irrelevant to her day to day, damages my impressions of Alison. Probably shouldn’t, but it just keeps occurring.

    She saves a dude from a fire. Should be a cool beat…but you remember that somewhere Moonshadow is still hard at work. She crashes for a night’s rest at her buddy’s place. She’s earned it…but Moonshadow probably isn’t resting. I should stop thinking of it, we are past that storyline, but…

    • David

      If the book wants to be good…then it should never be “past that storyline” when it’s unresolved. It’s always there, lurking…you thinking about it now, is what every good writer should want.

    • Loranna

      While it’s a valid point about letting the spree killer go free (though in Alison’s token defense, she DID have a lot of emotional baggage clouding her head during that confrontation,) Moonshadow’s last words to Alison make me think she’d actually cheer Gurwara on for showing Alison how out-of-thouch Mega Girl really is. That, and we have no indication — yet — of him being Moonshadow’s typical sort of victim.

      Loranna

    • KatherineMW

      That argument would equally apply to every single superhero in the Marvel universe who hasn’t succeeded at keeping the Punisher behind bars.

      • Peter

        To be fair, Marvel superheroes fuck up pretty often. I sometimes need to remind myself who i’m supposed to be cheering for. Dunno if i’m the only one…

      • Walter

        Yes, but they are less ‘realistic’, if that makes any sense?

        Like, it doesn’t register as much that Iron Man doesn’t spend a day tracking down the Punisher. What day would I ask him to spend? The one where he fights Dr. Doom, or the one where he thwarts The Mandarin’s world takeover plans, etc.

        That is, worse supervillains provide cover for folks to be less concerned about street level ones. Like, even if Marvelverse Alison brought the video to the cops in the the Marvelverse they probably just turn around and give it to the Kingpin or something.

        Further, it is less disturbing that a spree killer is loose in the marvel/dc worlds. Like, Moonshadow may have killed more than a hundred, but so has The Joker, and he doesn’t even restrict his killing to a certain gender. At any given moment in these comics there are a dozen spree killers hard at work, two dozen. Heroes in such straights can do good without going after The Punisher. It’s like, “Which Punisher?”

    • Alison’s very powerful, but she’s not a professional investigator, and stopping Moonshadow will take a major investigative task force to pin down her location and a SWAT team or a sniper to stop her. Moonshadow is powerful, but she’s not unstoppable. Pintsize made the point about the damage she and Brad were taking trying to replace Alison when she quit the team. Yes, Alison could take down Moonshadow, but so could any combat trained biodynamic, or a bunch of non-biodynamics, just so long as they know exactly what they’re going up against.

    • Insanenoodlyguy

      To be fair, it wasn’t so much “let her go free” as “Shouldn’t have let go of her. (can’t count on visual contact)” She still reported it, she could have covered up the evidence if she was actually intent on “letting her go free.” and like pintsize, I could understand if hunting down her old teammate isn’t something she really wants to do.

  • Mack Stingray

    This might be an odd request, but could we get alt-text for mobile users? Including a “no alt-text” if there isn’t any. I was going to go back and add alt-text to the comments, but even the most recent example, when John is being given school supplies by Allison, has closed comments now.

  • J B Bell

    This is one of the most awesome relationships in all of comicdom.

  • Iarei

    “Well enough about that. . . how was your day?”

  • AgentHufflepuff97

    Aw, that’s sweet. Love this page!

  • Mechwarrior

    Alison should get back at Mr Guawara by turning his car upside down while it’s in the school parking lot.

    • Peter

      Plot twist: He drives a bicycle. Foiled again!

      • Mechwarrior

        Then she should remove his bike lock and replace it with a different bike lock that he doesn’t have the key for!

      • Dean

        A man who wears a such a nice suit doesn’t ride a bike to work.

    • Weatherheight

      Alison should get back at him by using logic and rhetoric to prove him wrong. 😀

      Physical retribution would actually sort of prove his point about how power tends to reinforce those options power favors.

      • Mechwarrior

        Your answer is practical, but not very funny.

        • Weatherheight

          Your answer was funny AND practical. 😀

      • Insanenoodlyguy

        You aren’t wrong, but that’s gonna be a tough one. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say he’s very good at what he does.

    • chaosvii

      Or maybe she could reenact the cover of Action Comics #1

      • Mechwarrior

        No, she should do something funny and inconvenient to him, not something that’s felony property damage.

      • Izo

        Hehe 🙂

  • Peter Ebbesen

    So now that we’ve had Alison talk to one damaged superhuman representing the “hate Gurwara” point of view that accepts Alison’s belief that she’s been bullied and sees Gurwara as nothing but a jerk, let’s see if she next talks to another damaged superhuman representing the “love Gurwara” point of view that sees Alison’s belief as a result of her jumping to conclusions, assuming hostile intent, and missing the point.

    I’d nominate Lisa for the role of that particular superhuman, since Lisa has actually managed to make Alison question her own motivations before, if only briefly so.

    • Izo

      We’ve already seen the ‘love Gurwara’ side in the students who say how ‘this class rocks’.

      Woo, I got an A without having to participate or study because I stayed quiet, shut up, and didn’t pay attention. Good life lesson!

      • Insanenoodlyguy

        the life lesson will probably be “you kids really thought it’d be that easy? Life is not!’ instead.

        • Izo

          Um…. you kids? You mean the kids who got an A for not listening to anything beyond ‘you will get an A if you put forward the white stone’ and not listening to the instructions beyond that?

          Because I wasnt aware that Alison, the singular person, is ‘kids.’

          • phantomreader42

            Well, allegedly they got an “A”, we know he’s lied about the arrangement to at least one student, why not all of them.

  • errol

    Alright, hands up everybody; who here is actually twenty? Or close to Alison’s age, give or take 2 years or so?

    • Peter

      What would you do if i said i was?

    • Demonlogan

      Call it curiosity, but what are you getting at?

    • Izo

      If i said i’m 4 years from Alison’s age, does that count?

    • Weatherheight

      Since a few other people have hinted, I’ll be blatant.

      This is a bit of an unfair rhetorical tactic – you’re trying to get a read on your audience before making your point. Have courage in your opinions and convictions – if you are like most of the other people here, your insight is valid (although not everyone may agree with it).

      And so far, in this discussion, I haven’t seen anyone making what I’d call an invalid point. Folks are giving different *weights* to those points, but everyone has had something to add. Nearly everyone has brought up something that I hadn’t given much weight to or thought about too deeply, and their opinions made me revisit those points, sometimes causing me to revise the weight of that argument.

      Come on, let us have it! We can handle it! 😀

  • Stephanie Gertsch

    I do love how she’s playing chess with him. Like holding his hand earlier, she takes the time to give him a normal human experience that because of his anomaly he normally can’t have. Cleaver can’t do anything that requires manual dexterity so she takes time to set up the board and move the pieces for him. I now dub this character Daniel Cleaverhands.

  • Weatherheight

    Annnnd CUT! Now we go to…

    Brennan and Molly have successfully changed topics again! (Griffin, good job to you too. 😀 )

    Several people have commented on this, but it bears repeating. Alison’s relationship with Daniel and Alison’s relationship with Guwara shows Alison to be a “real” person (or at least as real as a fictional character can be).

    In this panel, Alison is more able to relate to someone who shares her “person with powers” issues; neither of them chose powers but they are stuvk with them, no matter what. and here they are kvetching with each other about issues that have *nothing* to do with those powers – which is, after all, only natural (dare I say, “Human”?). We are more comfortable with those whose position we can understand, and even more comfortable with those with whom we agree. What intrigues me is the degree of empathy Alison is showing to someone she has fought but whom she also understands to be a victim of his own powers. He tried to KILL her and she’s still sympathetic to him. That shows that optimistic side and her ability to empathize.

    But with Guwara, she’s still upset, because he punctured her ego a little (okay, a lot) and attacked her in an area she felt powerless (rhetoric / debate). A big part of this, IMHO, is that she doesn’t get his motives (although he has, in fact, explained to her some of what happened in class – just not all of what happened in class). No threat of violence, no ACTUAL violence, but a little disrespect and the threat of a failing grade and she’s still steaming. And that shows a somewhat darker side of Our Hero.

    Which makes her totally “real” and adorable as all heck – complicated and messy and vulnerable and strong in every sense of the word. And best of all, relatable. I’ve been there before (albeit without many of the options Alison has vis-a-vis powers) – and every time it got that under my skin, my biggest issue was always “Why would ANYONE behave like that?” Once I figure out the why, I usually physically feel the irritation level drop.

  • Iarei

    No seriously, this is touching and all but get that guy a TV or something. Getting him a WII might be a faux pas though.

    • Mechwarrior

      That depends on how prehensile his feet are. His toes look pretty flexible.

      • Izo

        Maybe get him a Kinect so he can do voice control 🙂

  • motorfirebox

    This, right here, is her actual superpower.

  • Ali, literally trying to do good in thew world and see good in people, seems to be the one so many people are cheering for Gurwara to kick in the metaphoric teeth.

    She’s gotten Cleaver to care about another human being for example. So much so that he’s apologizing for using language she finds hurtful. And is he right? Is Gurwara just getting off on taking Ali down a peg? Might be. Otherwise why actually flunk her?

  • Benly

    Gurwara is not being an ass by sticking her with the F. If she thought she wouldn’t really get an F for picking the black stone, her message of “I’m willing to sacrifice for a chance to save someone” is no real sacrifice. Which, thinking of it, resonates with one of the issues she’s had – that her “taking on danger to save lives” is actually relatively rarely a danger to her personally.

    • Santiago Tórtora

      She honestly expected everyone would play the correct move. It wasn’t meant as a sacrifice.

      • The belief that others will see the obvious given your common premises & principles and act accordingly is a dreadfully attractive fallacy. I’ve fallen prey to it very recently, and it hurts enough that I’ve stopped reading the news. Entirely. I don’t want to see the wreckage I know is coming.

    • Izo

      She didnt think it would be a sacrifice. She thought others were paying attention, were not cynics, and would do the noble thing because she has a lot of faith in people to do the right thing even despite all of her experiences of people being… really bad people.

    • phantomreader42

      Oh, he’s absolutely being an ass. He set up the situation to purposely screw over a student, and totally detatched grading from actual performance. That’s gotta be against a dozen ethics rules.

  • StClair

    I’m not really sure where to drop this in, so I’m just going to top-post it.

    Regarding Guwara challenging Alison and forcing her to actually examine, justify, etc etc what she thinks:

    “What is this idiot expression on your face now? Am I surprising you? Am I hurting your feelings? Is this the first time you’ve said your own dumbass beliefs out loud?”

    • MrSing

      That’s pretty priceless.

  • Zmm

    THIS THIS IS WHAT I WAS HOPING WOULD HAPPEN!
    so happy. Also.. was it the word “bitch” or was it the word “megagirl” both I can see.
    Also honestly.. Unless she needed that class. Drop out. The guy is going to use you for the whole term as the class target for discussion. Their always needs to be a target for ethics courses, sometimes teachers bring in other things or rotate around classes, or whoever volunteers. Then there are those who will chose one and always chose that one.
    If that person doesn’t like it sadly they really can only chose a different one. and she should. She has a lot on her plate without having to make Ethics twice as difficult. It might be a good learning experience, but mostly it will be a pain. Its just like dealing with the mind reader guy.

    • Weatherheight

      I’ve been that person in a class before. The professor “picked on” three of us in the class – mostly because the rest of the class wasn’t willing to stick their heads out of their foxholes.

      The class was Western Civilization (basically a survey of the major philosophical trends in Western thought). After the first week of class, it was apparent that only three of us were participating in class discussion out of a class of 33. On the first day of the second week, when once again we were dominating the discussion, the prof said something like, “Okay, okay, we get it, you guys are really smart. The rest of you, can’t you see the flaws in the arguments of these elitist jerks? Are you really going to let them bully you into not participating?” Suddenly (while I was giggling under my breath), the rest of the class jumped in – they’d been given permission to speak and the tenor of the class changed for good. Everyone’s opinion, even when wrong, was valued.

      The prof asked the three of us to stay after class (“you three, don’t leave, I want a word with you.”). After the class was emptied, he apologized for the rough manner, and asked if we would be willing to be foils in the class if discussion slowed again. The other two by this time had realized what was happening and tentatively agreed. I told him, “Go for it. I’m willing to be the villain.”

      Sadly (for me at least), the rest of the class took the hint and while we three still “led” discussion, the three of us always had three or four people to dispute with during class (very rarely the same people from class to class), and we often didn’t say more than one or two points in any given class.

      This is why I’m willing to give Guwara the benefit of the doubt. One class does not a semester make, nor determine a GPA.

      I’m finding it interesting that so many on both sides of the discussion are so quick to make a judgement based on the *heavily* edited class session given us to view. Part of human nature is to do that, however, so it’s cool.

      • Loranna

        Huzzah! Please accept this cookie, with complimentary big sandwich. ^_^

        We’ve seen Professor Gurwara for all of one scene so far. One emotionally-charged scene, one very vivid scene, but still only one scene. One scene does not a rounded character make, and I am confident that the comic creators intend Gurwara to be a rounded character.

        It’s clear now that some people just don’t like the guy based on his behavior. Fair enough. I’m not even sure how I’d have felt if I were in that classroom, as a student. But before we hang the guy for being a complete ass, let’s *at least* give the man another scene or two more to confirm or deny it!

        (For the record, I don’t yet think he’s a complete ass.)

        Loranna

      • Izo

        I have a lot of difficulty believing that what you described is 1) picking on you compared to what happened in the comic, 2) that him apologizing to you is equivalent to Gurwara twisting the knife afterwards to stress that she, alone, has an F no matter what, and 3) that what happened in the comic was an attempt to have her be a willing foil, instead of someone to intimidate the rest of the class into compliance. Which no longer even matters since everyone except Davenport’s grades are set in stone, apparently.

  • On the subject of The New School and philosophy, I’m just going to point out there’s a philosophy lecture/article titled “Stuffed Cabbage in the Old New School Cafeteria” which has the following abstract:

    The purpose of this lecture is to celebrate the memory of Aron Gurwitsch by examining and enlarging the domain of phenomenological clarification of some elements of what Gurwitsch called the “logic of reality.” Chief among those elements are the nature of the taken-for-grantedness of our existential belief, the difference between presentive and non-presentive indices of reality and the ground for the self-illumination of the “world of working”.

    http://www.jstor.org/stable/20000263?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

  • Frances K R

    Alison has explicitly said (in her last conversation with Cleaver) that she fantasizes about killing people ALL THE TIME.

    Back at http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-3/page-73/ , and the next couple of pages are good too.

    I like Alison. I am sure she is trying to be a good person. But I do not for one red second believe that the idea of hurting people is something she’s never even thought of. It’s an option that she keeps choosing not to take, and there is a huge difference.

    • Izo

      And yet she never, ever goes through with it.

      Guess what – most people fantasize about doing awful things. Kids threaten to run away from home. You might fantasize about hunting down and killing and torturing that person who mugged you. You might wish you could somehow to into Allison’s fictional world and beat the crap out of Gurwara. You might fantasize about kicking the crap out of a politician that you hate. Or throwing your boss out of a window. Or beating up a person who is REALLY annoying. They don’t go through with it though. We have internal filters of what we say and do. They might fear punishment or retribution. They might just be inherently incapable of that type of violence.

      In the game The Last of Us, there’s a point in the game where you have to kill one of the doctors. You can kill all three if you want, and you’d be sort of justified if you put yourself in Joel’s mindset doing so… but a lot of people just kill the one doctor who the game MAKES you kill. It’s a proven statistic that most police officers never fire their gun in their entire career. There are voices in our head saying ‘don’t do this – it’s not right’ – sometimes from childhood upbringing, or societal environment, or both. Maybe there’s even a genetic component to people’s psychological makeup of a predisposition AGAINST actual violence but for fantasized violence. And with Alison, it’s, if anything, more impressive because of how it would be harder to punish her, meaning her internal filter of what she says and does is based on a strong moral fiber, not just fear of punishment.

  • Giacomo Bandini

    I was thinking… should ever Allison go rogue, the best and most effective weapon the government have against her… would be Daniel.
    Cleaver’s blades can pierce her skin, with some luck, and some distractions – like an army shooting fire against her – he could hit a vital place. And once Megagirl is gone, well, after a while, he simply expire. So no more person of mass destruction. The perfect solution for a government.
    Of course, right now she is problably his only friend in the world, and hurting her is the last thing he want to do. But there are two consideration to make: the first one, daniel power set make him essentially a letal fighter, a killer. He has not hands to use to save people trapped under some debri, or stuff like that. Of course, he can learn to use his power more creatively, but still “build” is to fight, to destroy, not to save. Second one, he is dying, and he’ll probably feel the need to give his his life a final scope. I can immagine a scenario in which Allison is gone rogue, actively fighting the government, and agent from the goverment comes to him, and offer him his freedom in exchange for dealing with Allison.
    The irony, in this scenario, is that one of the the reasons that could motivate him to take the offer would be to follow Allison example: he teached him the importance to change the world, to leave your mark in it; and what better mark than to stop a tyrant – even a benevolent one – to take over the world?

    • Darkoneko Hellsing

      Bit of counter argument, unless his blades deteriorate after the gov can probably keep them after he’s dead and mount them as weapons on something.

      • Giacomo Bandini

        Good point, really.

        I figure that they’ll still need a great degree of super strenght to pierce Allison Body – but it’s a chance.

    • masterofbones

      This assumes they don’t have a weapon specifically designed to take her down developed after years of her allowing herself to be experimented on.

      • Giacomo Bandini

        Actually, what you are saying is an assumption. A double one, actually; that they decided to try to create such a weapon, and that they succeed.

        Anyway, we have to remember that even if this hypotetical weapon exists, it is an untested one: Daniel efficacy has been already proven.

        • masterofbones

          I didn’t assume anything. All I said was that Daniel is only the best weapon against Alison if a better one hasn’t been developed secretly. Also, mind-based powers are likely to krump her as well.

          But yes, Daniel has been tested against Alison – and he failed to kill her. So if the gov is worried about taking Alison down, they are going to want something more effective.

          • phantomreader42

            He failed to KILL her, but he is one of only two beings known with the capability to HURT her. And the other is herself.

  • Darkoneko Hellsing

    That’s an odd place to have a really classical picnic setup 😀

  • Izo

    I somehow do not think that they’re going to pay MORE attention now that most of the class knows their A’s are set in stone and they don’t even have to come into class except for the hope that Gurwara is going to try pushing Alison’s buttons more. Assuming she just quits the class, no one but Davenport has any reason to attend.

    That being said, it’s true that maybe stuff about Gurwara isnt all out there yet. But what is out there has led me to think of him as a complete huge jerk. Maybe he’ll do something to change my mind, but I can’t judge what I haven’t yet seen. I do compare it to Professor Cohen – the main difference is Professor Cohen was a lot more up front about his pettiness towards her. Gurwara’s smarter about it.

  • Izo

    Well… in THAT interpretation, I’d agree. But I didn’t read Christophe’s statement like that at all.

  • Izo

    That’s the thing, Christophe. Alison DOES question herself continuously. She’s been questioning herself ever since she got her powers. I don’t think she’s close-minded at all. Even when she’s wrong, she’s at least not close-minded about it. She WANTS to learn. She DOES look at others motivations and what makes them do what they do. Look at the interaction between her and Cleaver, for example. That’s major open-mindedness. It doesnt make what Gurwara was doing not completely jerky, and doesnt mean she’s not being open minded enough to look past his jerkiness. Some jerks are just jerks.

    Also.. this is important. Being open minded doesnt mean that you need to accept the view of someone who is diametrically opposed to everything you believe in. Great Britain opposing Nazi Germany wasnt because Great Britain was being close-minded about the beliefs of the nazis, for example. Not a perfect example, but I hope you get what I’m saying.

    • Christophe2314

      Of course being open minded doesn’t mean accepting other people’s views without question. Questioning things is kind of the whole point. If close-mindedness means dismissing any idea you disagree with, being open-minded means seriously considering new ideas before deciding whether they are right or wrong.

      Let’s take a well-known example: homophobia. It’s pretty much the most blatant example of close-mindedness you can think of, right? I’m not sure I agree. Let’s take the example of someone who’s raised to be homophobic, and has up to now never actually met a gay person or heard strong arguments for gay rights. Today, that person meets a staunch supporter of gay rights and a conversation ensues. Personally, I believe that’s where the true test of open-mindedness happens. A refusal to even listen to the other person’s point of view on either side would be an example of close-mindedness. You don’t expect or want the defender of gay rights to actually change their views, but if they refuses to even listen or consider the other point of view, how can they be called open-minded? Of course, the same applies to the homophobic person.

      If both people are open-minded, one of them will walk out of this conversation with a changed worldview. Naturally, we want it to be the homophobic person who changes their ways, but that’s irrelevant. The point is that open-minded people will seriously listen to any opinion, even if it seems wrong, before coming to a conclusion. If your opinions are built on a strong foundation, as is hopefully the case with the defender of gay rights, then what’s the harm in listening to the other point of view? In any conversation, if you turn out to be wrong, you’ll learn something new, and if you turn out to be right, you’ll achieve a better understanding of why you were right and where the other side is coming from. It’s a win-win. I see no point in partaking in a conversation where you assume from the start that the other person is wrong.

  • Izo

    Sometimes you explain my stance so much better than I can 🙂

  • Christophe2314

    I think that’s an oversimplification. First off, you’re ignoring a very important detail about Gurwara: he’s a philosophy teacher. His job is to challenge his students’ worldview. When he asked for an axiom, he didn’t know what anyone was going to say, but he knew he was going to argue against it. His own point of view does not matter. His goal was to relentlessly attack and deconstruct Alison’s axiom so as to push her to see the holes in her beliefs. Note that I said holes, not flaws. The point is that Alison’s beliefs, no matter how positive, are poorly thought out and not prepared for morally ambiguous scenarios. Anyway, what I’m saying here is that we do not know for a fact that Gurwara actually believes any of what he said in class, since playing Devil’s Advocate is often part of a philosophy teacher’s job.

    Secondly, she doesn’t need to accept the “new ideas” Gurwara presents. She does need to be open to those ideas, but not necessarily to adopt them. She needs to seriously consider any idea presented to her before dismissing it as wrong. Even if you disagree with Gurwara, he made some good points. If, when her beliefs are under threat, Alison simply dismisses the threat, then she remains unprepared for when a similar threat shows up in a real world scenario. By seriously considering new ideas, you will either realize that those ideas are right, and thus improve your worldview, or come to understand why those ideas are wrong, and be more ready in the future to counter those ideas.

    Thirdly, I’d argue that both optimism and pessimism share the same flaws. What’s the difference between only seeing the good in people and only seeing the bad? In both cases, you only see what you want to see and ignore how things really are. I’m a realist. I recognize that some people are good, some people are bad, and a whole lot of people can be one or the other depending on the situation, and that’s something you have to work with. This is in fact perfectly illustrated by Gurwara’s Prisoner’s Dilemma. You can’t say that he didn’t explain the rules properly: after all, Alison understood them perfectly, and initially expected everyone to have understood them as well and play a black stone. She only started calling Gurwara out on his experiment’s flaws after she didn’t obtain the result she wanted, which is frankly hypocritical on her part.

    Gurwara didn’t cheat. He presented everyone with a fairly run-of-the-mill ethical dilemma designed specifically to test people’s cooperation, and people showed themselves unwilling to cooperate. You also seem to forget a huge part of Gurwara’s lesson: that the reason they failed to cooperate wasn’t raw selfishness. He specifically demonstrated to Alison that what initially seems like selfishness is often in fact a difference in priorities. The goal of the exercise wasn’t to demonstrate that everyone is a selfish bastard, but to show the real word difficulties of getting everyone to work together towards a common goal. That’s a lesson Alison needs. Raw idealism doesn’t accomplish much on its own; to succeed, you need to understand the difficulties you’re going to face and figure out how to work around them.

    That’s something Alison is going to learn very soon. She’s starting an organization dedicated to the protection of battered women. She appears to think that if she simply offers these women help, they’ll take it and work to better their lives. Anyone who’s worked in that field knows that it’s rarely that simple. She’s going to deal with women who keep going back to their abusive boyfriend. She’s going to deal with majorly dysfunctional couples where the woman is just as abusive as her partner. She’s going to deal with situations where children complicate matters. She’s going to deal with a shitload of legal issues. Simply put, she’s going to realize that the world can be very uncooperative. Her resolve to make things better is admirable, but if she wants it to actually work, she needs to temper her idealism with an understanding of how complicated the problem she’s facing is.

    • VariableNature

      God dammit, it seems that Disqus ate my first comment. I would retype it, but it was REALLY long, and I didn’t save it somewhere else, so I’ll give the abbreviated version:

      Thank you for your understanding and explanation. I feel like I understand the reason why people are so readily siding with Gurwara. Now could you please PLEASE tell Gurwara to have a similar attitude when talking to Alison?

      He should clearly see that she’s taking this whole class very personally, more so than is probably healthy. It is his job to help ALL of his students in his class, so that they all learn something important and grow as both students in his class and adults in the real world. And Alison clearly does not understand the whole point of the lesson she was taught. So his job, in my opinion, should be to approach her and help her understand what happened in a way that IS NOT antagonistic or challenging, but understanding and reaching out.

      • Christophe2314

        I’ll admit that I think he’s pushing the mind game a little too far by continuing to pretend the grades are all set in stone. I’m assuming here that’s not the case, because if it is, then he’s officially a horrible teacher. I thought it was actually nice of him have a talk with Alison after class where he specifically explained how he was pushing her buttons on purpose, and that none of it was personal.

  • Tylikcat

    I remember at the time a number of people were hoping they’d become roommates. I kind of wish she at least stayed in touch? But then, that points back to the central problem – she hasn’t really figured out how to relate to people outside of her own set. And her set is a pretty odd little thing.

    I think Gurwara is really good at getting people’s goats – and there was probably the additional element of surprise when he kept doing all these things that professors weren’t supposed to do. I guess I partly find this believable having seen my PI reduce a number of people to tears entirely by accident – the psychology there is complicated. (Note: I don’t think Gurwara was doing anything by accident.) I partly am so protective of my research students because I enjoy running my own group – but also partly because I prefer to offer them a somewhat different mentoring style.

    (Though… well, Gurwara has given me a lot to think about. I generally prefer to encourage students to learn that they are far more capable than they had imagined. But I’m not training my students to be lab techs, I’m training them to be independent scientists – which means that they’re going to be doing things that are strange, confusing, and outside of their comfort zones. They want to come up with answers, and I’m tell them to come up with questions – and then design equipment! There’s a certain toughness and capriciousness that needs, IME, to leaven the kindness to get them through that part without trying to lean too much on me. It’s an easy balance – after teaching teenagers martial arts, seriously, no sweat! – but it’s had me thinking.)

  • Izo

    “I would appreciate it if you did not skip over my specific examples of what sorts of criticism Alison had both earned and received as I’d rather not be a part of your lengthy character-fanbase analysis that has captured your enthusiasm.”

    Exactly how long do you want me response posts to be? They’re already pretty long as is.

    “The fact that you are outraged that people dare to declare heroism within a character that they personally find pretty cool is telling as to how little we see eye-to-eye in that regards.”
    Not ‘pretty cool.’ Antagonistic and mean-spirited. I find it disconcerting (not outrage) that people would bend over backwards to find excuses to say that this good character is also a good person, when so far there’s no evidence of that. It’s like saying ‘it’s a good thing to say that people should not work together because people suck.’ That’s not a ‘good thing.’ That’s a bad thing. Might be a true thing. But it’s a bad thing. A student picking on a student, even after already failing them for one single five minute flawed social experiment? Not a good thing. It’s a bad thing. If it happened to you, you would not cheer on that teacher and think ‘wow, this guy is really deep and knowledgable and is giving me an F for my own good! I deserve this!’ Because you’d think he’s a huge jerk. Because he’s been a huge jerk. It’s pretty simple, actually.

    “Your reply to my remarks about Gurwara’s behavior amounts to little more than indicating your particular definition of “fair” & “criticism” and then claiming that he’s probably not all that effective as a teacher. ”
    How is he a fair teacher to single out two students from the class, and give everyone else automatic A’s, then treat those two student differently as well, making sure to pick most on the student that you know will not go to the staff faculty to complain? How is he an effective teacher if he has given all but one student every reason to not bother to even attend the class anymore?

    • chaosvii

      Okay fine, I’ll spell it out: This rhetoric is fairly similar to complaining that people find Darth Vader to be pretty cool and want him to choke another Nazi-themed imperial officer or overpower Luke in another lightsaber duel.
      Indeed I will not dispute that claim that Darth Vader is a bad guy that is not worthy of emulation. But that doesn’t change the fact that he has a presence as a character that people admire separately from how they evaluate him as a villain that later sacrifices himself when it counts the most.
      You clearly understand the difference between these two factors but the advocacy for people to stop pretending like he’s this wonderful wizard of Axiology fails to differentiate between style & morality. Please understand that when your rhetoric equivocates these two things, you appear to be complaining about the frivolous matter (people like his style) despite attempting to make a point about something cogent (people appear to treat all his unethical behavior as ethical).

      I concur that some people are being weird and are implicitly or explicitly advocating discriminatory behavior towards Alison for flawed reasons like “well think of this as a CIA mission where you have to use psychological warfare to force Mega-Girl into being an asset to America” or “Alison can basically ignore consequences so this auto-F situation forces her to deal with consequences that don’t actually matter to her and I swear I had a point here somewhere but what I mean to say is it’s not really an abuse of power because Alison has lots of power I guess.”
      And that’s disconcerting to be sure, but talking about how much of a jerk he is doesn’t even come close to addressing why the weird crap people say is poorly thought out by those people.
      By focusing on the fact that Gurawa is in fact, a jerk, you are missing the point that his jerkbaggery is a non-factor in the positive view various such people have of his stylish rhetoric and irreverent humor.
      If the point is missed hard enough & frequently enough, people will be confused and suppose that you are advocating that people view him as both a jerk and a terrible showman, rather than merely communicate your view of him as a jerk whose showmanship fails to impress you beyond the role in the narrative he serves.
      I implore you to address his rhetoric, not the fact that he’s a jerk that does several things appropriate for an onstage drama but not for a lecture. At least if you intend to advance a message about how the prof fails to deliver a point worth making.

      And speaking of addressing things, I must have failed to be clear as to what I expected. You are explaining how you feel about the context surrounding the intellectual sparring between student & jerkbag once again.
      That’s not what I was asking for.
      I wanted to actually hear anything about the substance of what was said by Alison & Professor Goldencane. I wanted you to evaluate the points raised, the strength of the arguments, and so on. If you would be so kind as to indicate what you think about what was argued, rather than why the class was a farce due to the abuse of authority and disproportionate psychological pressure exerted on the students with no establishment of trust beforehand, I’d have my expectations fulfilled.

  • Izo

    It’s as if you didn’t even read my responding post to you …

    • MrSing

      The feeling is mutual in that case.
      Shall we agree to let it rest and perhaps discuss it further when there is more information availabe? I feel like the discussion is stuck at this point.

  • Izo

    I really appreciate you saying that. I’ve had professors that WERE jerks, and did so for reasons that were purely personal. For both me and for other students who they’ve basically forced out of classes. Never anything as horrible as what Gurwara did though (even if I hadnt, I’d feel the same way on this issue – I like people being judged by their merit, period).

    And yes if the professor grades her fairly, I’d be happy to do so in kind I’m just basing my beliefs and posts on what I’ve seen so far in the comic.

    Thank you.

  • masterofbones

    Oh wait, you aren’t the person I was originally responding to. That explains it. They had said that Gurwara was the only one capable of pressing her buttons, which is what I had been responding to.

    With regards to your comment, I was just saying that she isn’t hard to anger. She shows levels of restraint at about what can be reasonably expected for someone with massive PTSD, but the anger is still there. And not to say that anger is a bad thing. I was making no judgements on her anger, merely pointing out that it exists.

  • Peter

    I think it’s a bit of both. He tries to change because she visits him and he doesn’t want’s to disappoint her.

  • Peter

    “I used to be a supervillain, but then i found my true calling… chess.”

    • Balthazar

      He’ll be the new Bobby Fischer. 😉

  • Weatherheight

    Interesting analysis of data. Hadn’t considered that option but it fits reasonably well. Not sure it’s *right*, mind you, but it seems pretty sound, psychologically speaking.

    Also, loved the dancing on the head scenes. Did I say that back then? Think I did. Saying it now or maybe again, now. 😀

  • 3-I

    “She speaks first” does not mean “She was not singled out,” and neither means that “You are giving her too little credit” is a statement that can’t be refuted. Stop shifting the goalposts.

  • Shjade

    “She was smart enough to realize she is not qualified to have that sort of social influence.”

    Yeah…AFTER Patrick got her thinking about it, since she hadn’t been considering the idea that what she was doing was pointless before that, at least not that we’ve seen.

    In each example, it’s been an external force pushing her to look past her current view and see just how narrow it had been. She had to get metaphorically knocked upside the head to get past feeling “right” long enough to figure out what she had wrong. If no one had pushed her out of her comfort zone – as is this course’s instructor in the present – there’s little indication she would have felt the need to change at all.

    Now, granted, people generally are averse to change until pushed – we’re creatures of habit – but that’s not exactly a rousing endorsement for open-mindedness.

  • Christophe2314

    Seemed pretty clear to me that he only added that last bit to preserve the integrity of his little mind game. After all, he reminded everyone in the class that their grades were set in stone, which I believe he did solely to see how many of them actually show up next class. I think he didn’t want Alison to think that was just him pushing her buttons too, so he gave her a little reminder. I expect him to start the next class by saying it was just a test and their grades have not been decided.

    Like I said, I do think he’s pushing it a bit too far. Stretching your thought experiment over multiple days and risking your students’ attendance records is a bit too much. I do not, however, believe that he’s purposely alienating or even targeting Alison specifically. Reminder: he had no way of knowing who would speak up.

    I think it’s pretty obvious what his plan was: have a random student say their axiom, and then blow said axiom to smithereens. The point being of course to show his students that unquestioned beliefs are typically riddled with flaws and encourage his students to be more introspective. I think Gurwara may not have expected Alison to be as insanely stubborn as she was.

    Honestly, I still think he had a point. Alison’s beliefs are positive and I wouldn’t want her to lose her optimism, but those beliefs are also poorly thought out and, when applied to more morally ambiguous situations, they don’t really hold up. Alison doesn’t need to change her beliefs, but she does need to flesh them out, as I think Gurwara has shown undeniable evidence that, in their current state, Alison’s beliefs are a slippery slope.

  • Peter

    Yeah, we can agree on that. I’m actually surprised he even is good enough to pose a challenge to Allison.

  • Prodigal

    And this is why Ali is a better person that Gurawara has shown any sign of being.