SFP

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  • Kid Chaos

    Like, wow, man; that is incredibly awesome. The FEELS, my God, the FEELS… 😭

  • It’s interesting to consider it actually: What proportion of people are good? It’s hard to tell, partly because it depends on the situation. The same person can be “good” in some situations and “bad” in others. Is it just about which situations happen to people most often?
    Perhaps people are just people.

    • Kate Blackwell

      Personally I think most people are just kind of neutral.

    • Preacher John

      The acid test is: how does a person treat those people around them who are weaker / have less power than them? How do they treat people when there’s nothing “in it for them”? .. So, when you meet someone you think is nice, but out of nowhere they’re incredibly shitty to say shop assistants or bartenders or wait staff – then I believe that’s their true, bad character shining through..

    • Richard Griffith

      No person is good all the time. No person is bad all the time.

    • Tylikcat

      I kind of suspect “good” and “bad” mostly misses the point. People are fundamentally people. Of all the things that motivate people, I suspect being good and bad are… second tier at best for most people? Those things are pretty abstract, after all. Once you get past the basic physical needs (and there is nothing as fulfilling as keeping yourself fed and a roof over your head if it’s in your power, but also somewhat in question – that is super satisfying work), I’d expect social connections to kick in for most people – having friends, having a group and position in the group, being cared for, etc.

      In a mostly casual sort of way, I’ve read up a bit (and thought more) about the basis of human ethics – there’s some really interesting work that’s been done on infant ethics, which is more in the psychological space. It does seem to suggest that humans are predisposed towards certain kinds of ethical behavior (or that we pick it up really quickly at a very young age, suppose.) Since I’m (currently) working more in neuroscience, I’ve been thinking about the extent that much of ethical behavior seems to descend from empathy – and there’s evidence that empathy has a biological basis. As in, again, this is something we’re predisposed towards.*

      Of course, there’s also evidence that we’re strongly predisposed towards in-group out-group behavior. Cute story? Have you heard of oxytocin, a hormone, sometimes called the “hug drug”? It gets played up for increasing pair bonding and parent child bonding and all this happy squishy stuff. But there’s also evidence that it *increases* in-group out-group aggression. “Aw, I really love my people. Hugs and love. I better go beat on those folks over there…”

      * Keep in mind, this is me reading other people’s research for fun, this is not any of my specific areas. (Well, okay, some of this is material I’ve taught in one context or another. But it doesn’t mean I’m not generally full of shit. Coffeehouse blather.)

      • Weatherheight

        “there’s evidence that empathy has a biological basis.”

        There’s been a couple of post-mortem brain studies that indicate that sociopaths have fewer connections in the centers where empathy seems to be centered (and just about as many to indicate that’s far too simplistic a conclusion).

        Also, recently, another study seems to indicate that, in people with dementia and other neurological damage, that low-level electrical stimulation of the brain (far below electro-shock therapy levels) can be targeted to stimulate new connections and possibly recover function (I have serious doubts about this, but the study seemed to be hopeful, so…).

        Ethical question time – in children displaying sociopathic tendencies (and such tendencies lead to criminal behavior in a pretty clear statistical significance), do we allow them to develop normally and see if those tendencies diminish OR should we apply electro-stimulation therapy prophylactically when these behaviors first display in early childhood (as early as 3 to 4 years old)?

        As to the oxytocin, to paraphrase Senator Jay Billington Bulworth in the movie “Bulworth”: “Everybody just gotta keep huggin’ everybody ’til they’re all the same group.” (Warren Beatty can make a decent movie, yo).

  • Bom

    I feel like everyone and their guardians have quoted that one Good Omens line so I’m just going to haphazardly paraphrase it. The one about evil and good etc., when really, people are just people etc., morality is a hella lot more complex than Alison is framing it, but damn. Jeez. That last panel punch. Daniel 🙁

  • Kyle Brand

    Just want to say I’m enjoying this story a lot. Keep up the good work!

  • fairportfan

    Kill me, Ali. Please … just … kill me.

  • Tony Lower-Basch

    This is why prison systems are supposed to be really careful about using solitary confinement.

  • Guest

    I really like this page.

  • Victoria Jeane DeMinicosta

    Wow. I am loving the scenes of these two.

  • Richard Griffith

    Ow.. The Feels, they hurt.

  • DonSimpson

    His feet have thumbs.

  • Ian Osmond

    I’m not crying. YOU’RE crying.

    • Weatherheight

      Let’s all admit that we’re ALL crying. 😀

  • Crimson Doom

    *wince* Poor damaged superhumans…

  • Bandersnatch

    What’s the “black stone” that Daniel is talking about?

    • Seer of Trope

      Guwara’s demonstration of white stone and black stone. Alison was telling her story to Daniel.

    • Peter

      The black stone she used during the game of the Professor.

  • Bandersnatch

    Oh, the “black stone” is referring to Guwara’s class with the white and black stones. Never mind.

  • Liz

    Never realized his feet were prehensile. Kind of a big containment oversight not shackling his ankles.

    • Mujaki

      Well, there’s still the massive clamp on his back, and the electrified chains, and those nozzle things pointing down from the ceiling, and the…

  • James Holman

    OMG…. Right in the feels…. ;(

  • ampg

    Oh, Dan. 🙁
    I wonder if he ever regrets becoming friends with Alison. I’m sure it was easier in a way to live with himself when he could believe that everyone was horrible.

    • Preacher John

      Eh, if you go right back to his first appearance, and then read through his origin story, Dan has probably always hated himself, certainly since the moment he killed his mother..

      • Weatherheight

        Having known more than a few people who had a physically abusive parent, self-esteem and self-acceptance are hard to come by when the usual source is demonstrating intensely inconsistent behavior and sending amazingly mixed messages.

        Daniel is typical of the usual outcome unless someone else intervenes.
        Someone like Alison.

  • Thomas McMullin

    I want everyone to remember, that big guy is just a really young fella. He’s the same age as Ali, if I’m not mistaken, all powered people in this universe are. Right?

    • Weatherheight

      Yessiree, chock full of self-esteem issues and self-image hangups and not enough life experience to have any perspective.

  • zophah

    They can’t be good, or I would have killed good people. and If I killed good people, then I’m the one who is evil.

  • Thewizardguy

    It seems both Allison and Daniel are developing powers of feels-punching.

    Ow….

  • AmberWriter

    OUCH.

  • Lance Allen

    Well, fuck me. This comic has made me think, and it’s made me laugh, and it’s made me mad.

    But this is literally the first time it’s made my eyes sting.

    Dan doesn’t think the world is bad (solely) because he’s seen the bad sides of it. He thinks it’s bad because it’s the only way he manages to cope. Bad people killing bad people is sad, but it’s not as bad as being a recovering bad person who has to deal with all the good people he killed.

    • Izo

      So many feels.

      I’m going to this quote again because it feels so appropriate, from Stargate: The Ark of Truth:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ia14Nx_6jQY

      Teal’c: Nothing I have done since turning against the goa’uld will make up for the atrocities I once committed in their name. Somewhere deep inside you you knew it was wrong, a voice you did not recognize screamed for you to stop. You saw no way out, it was the way things were, they could not be changed. You’re trying to convince yourself the people you’re hurting deserved it. You became numb to their pain and suffering, you learned to shut out the voice speaking against it.

      Tomin: There’s always a choice.

      Teal’c: Indeed there is.

      Tomin: I chose to ignore it.

      Teal’c: Yet you sit here now.

      Tomin: I sit here, and I cannot imagine the day when I will forgive myself.

      Teal’c: Because it will never come. One day others may try to convince you they have forgiven you, that is more about them than you. For them, imparting forgiveness is a blessing.

      Tomin: How do you go on?

      Teal’c: It is simple. You will never forgive yourself. Accept it. You hurt others, many others, that cannot be undone. You will never find personal retribution, but your life does not have to end. That which is right, just and true can still prevail. If you do not fight for what you believe in all may be lost for everyone else. But do not fight for yourself, fight for others, others that may be saved through your effort. That is the least you can do.

  • Peregrin

    Maybe most people are just okay.

  • ophidimancer

    Oh man ….

    Also, I don’t quite get what the little sparks around Daniel are supposed to represent.

    • Energy restraints of some sort.

    • AmberWriter

      They’re part of his chains. The original ones obviously didn’t hold, so these ones are electrified.

    • Psile

      Those are part of his constraints, I believe.

  • AuthorX

    I, for one, am definitely not okay after reading this.

    • Weatherheight

      It’s a good thing to be shaken up a bit from time to time.

  • Emily Crowe

    I relate way too much to Dan’s mentality here….minus the killing, I have not done that, no sir.

    • Weatherheight

      Besides, there were no witnesses.

  • Sebastián Rodoni Figueras

    Humanity has a long standing tradition of dehumanizing enemies, Alison. Don’t shit in that tradition Al! Otherwise we’d get existential dread, and nobody wants that.
    In all seriousness, though I’m really loving this past few comics.

  • Philip Bourque

    Personally, I think the number of truly good and truly bad people in the world is very, very small. I think that most of us are simply apathetic.

  • Lysiuj

    This just isn’t fair. A story shouldn’t be able to break your heart so many times.

  • Dartangn

    Damn. Way to undercut an incredibly legitimate point by have it be a super villain say it and immediately present it as being nothing but self-justification.

    • Indoors

      you have to remember that these are attempts to portray people, not questions and ideals alone. sometimes they’ll come out and say what they really think, other times it will be implied through what they leave unsaid.

      • Dartangn

        To an extent that’s true, but it’s been very clear from day one that SFP is also deconstructing and examining a lot of stuff. Like any political work, it needs to be aware of the balance between having a plausible story, and the way that story framework presents the themes and discusses the ideas you had in mind on the way in, and I think this was a ‘bump-my-nose-on-the-page’ moment. Almost like a debate where one side got one more speaker than the other, kinda deal.

        Anyway, the scene isn’t over, so perhaps I’m being premature about this. But SFP does have a certain tendency to leave discussions unsatisfactorily finished because one of the participants is written out of the argument for one reason or another.

    • AmberWriter

      Honestly I thought it was so much more powerful coming from him.

    • Fortooate

      Is ‘there is only one good person on the planet’ really an incredibly legitimate point, though?

      • Ben Posin

        That precise part, not so much. But the question of whether the average “good” person would remain so if given the power to be otherwise is kind of a classic, see, for instance, the story of the Ring of Gyges from Plato’s republic, referenced earlier in this comic.

    • phantomreader42

      “There are no good people in the world except you” isn’t a legitimate point. It’s debatable how far off it is, but there are definite counterexamples. Good people may be a minority, but even if that were the case it wouldn’t justify indiscriminate slaughter.
      Given his history, it’s statistically unavoidable that Cleaver killed good people, whether or not he intended to. And he also killed bad people, whether or not he intended to. The same is true for Mega-Girl (and in her case we’ve actually seen an example). Probably true for every superhero or villain alive. Furnace and Paladin for damn sure. Moonshadow might actually have the best ratio of bad kills to good kills, but her hands are still far from clean.
      Daniel and Allison got into the “beating the crap out of superpowered people” game really young. They’ve both done some fucked-up things. And at some point they need to face that if they’re going to cope with it.

      • Dartangn

        “There are no good people in the world except you”.
        Isn’t the point he made. The point he made is that the small, powerless people of the world would almost certainly do the same thing as the villains if the positions were reversed, and that a lot of the simplistic saviour/goodguy/badguy narratives we tell ourselves aren’t particularly well grounded. His point is is that it’s very easy to be strongly moral when it’s the thing protecting you. I wish for power for myself because it benefits myself. You seek protection for the powerless because it benefits yourself, sort of deal.

        Of course he killed good people, but the writing here strongly trends towards Allison’s PoV because it presents the point and seconds later de facto rebuts it by way of it’s speaker being obviously biased. But that still doesn’t address the actual argument.

        • UnsettlingIdeologies

          I agree that it undercut the argument that good people are only good because they are weak. It undercut it by pointing out how self-serving it is when that point is expressed by powerful jerks, as it often is. This comic really skillfully illustrates the fact that while it’s easy for selfish people in power to say “Yeah, well you’d be just as terrible as me if you were in my position,” it’s not exactly a strong argument.

          Your complaint about it seems to be that you disagree with the stance taken by the comic. That’s fine, you can disagree, but pointing out the self-justifying nature of that argument (which is usually treated as an a priori fact of human nature rather than a claim that needs to be supported) is a completely legitimate critique. AND, the comic didn’t take the easy way of writing off the people who hold that belief as unrepentant sociopaths, but rather makes an explicit effort to humanize Daniel and get the audience to empathize with him. Instead of just arguing, “selfish powerful people are the worst” this comic argues “we should be critical of belief systems that allow people in power to feel good/righteous about being selfish, because maybe those belief systems are more about self-justification than about the realities of the world we live in or want to live in.”

    • Weatherheight

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but the point Daniel is making which you find legitimate is “People reveal their true selves when given power. Only powerless people can stay good and if they ever get power, their evil side will take precedence.”

      There seems to be confusion to which point you are referring.

      So, how wrong am I? 😀

    • Peter

      I think thats subjective. I still feel hit by his argument, even after he showed us why he thinks that way.

  • Lysiuj

    But also, this is frightening. To think we might do awful things to people because we think they deserve it, and only later realize they didn’t, that’s a really disturbing thought of how we try to rationalize our actions…

    • Tylikcat

      I’d really like to believe that this was the lesson of elementary school. But… it probably wasn’t, at least in the general case, was it?

    • Weatherheight

      Am I not ruler of my world? All things I judge, and in my judgement thus they become.

      I believe that one day, I will be presented, confronted, with all of my actions, and called to account for each of them.

      And I will not be able to lie, to myself least of all.

      Shame and self-loathing separates us from those around us more than hate ever can.

    • Olivier Faure

      Yeah. This is my main motivation for always being kind an charitable and respectful of people I don’t like. Realizing that you’ve hurt someone who didn’t deserve it *sucks*.

  • Dave Van Domelen

    And shirt shredded, oops.

  • chaosvii

    Coming out of a cognitive dissonance trip suuuucks.

  • Loranna

    I need some more time to process my thoughts on this page, but for right now, I just want to make one comment — Cleaver’s face is so wonderfully expressive, even when in silhouette. Somehow, the spiky bits make him seem even MORE expressive than some human faces I’ve seen. Not only that, but for a man with such a horrific condition, his face is . . . oddly handsome, though that may be in part due to the emotions he’s been expressing these few pages — mirth, joy, sorrow, affection.

    Also, Alison hugging Cleaver by his crown, because she can’t get her arms around his chest or waist? Priceless ^_^

    Loranna

    • Weatherheight

      “Also, Alison hugging Cleaver by his crown, because she can’t get her arms around his chest or waist? Priceless ^_^”

      Actually, a lot of guys like it when women hug their faces.

      ::whistles innocently::

  • Peter

    “They will let you down. I promise you. I fuckin’ promise.”

    Why do i have the feeling that Daniel is right this one time?

    • Jordan Hiller

      So far he hasn’t been proved wrong. We keep seeing good people trying to do the right thing and then a bunch of people fuck it up, like with Feral and the protesters.While Feral may be going at it the wrong way, she’s truly doing something that is making a difference for some people.

      • Arkone Axon

        Technically, we only saw one jerk with a flamethrower who thought “anyone in this room is just as guilty,” and a handful of collaborators. The majority of the protesters were simply people holding a grudge against Feral for all the killings. That particular story arc also includes the doctors and nurses who were preparing to perform nonstop organ harvesting to save hundreds of lives, the emergency personnel on the scene (frozen on the spot with terror because… what could they even do?), and even Mayhem – who has made it thoroughly clear that he was less “monomaniacal world conquerer” and more “egalitarian revolutionary fighting against injustice entrenched by the establishment (remember, he’s the reason Alison began to see Daniel as a person and not a giant spike covered monster).

        One of the biggest lies we’re told is that we are weak and everyone else is bad. It’s a lie we’re told so that we’ll be afraid to speak up for what’s right. If you’re the only one in the room who thinks something is wrong, you’re afraid to speak up – and if you only THINK you’re the only one in the room who thinks something is wrong, then you’re just as afraid.

        • Jordan Hiller

          If you think that you’re weak and can’t make a difference and thus won’t act, then you prove yourself right. Hopefully Allison will be able to help others see that they can still make a difference and definitely should despite not have powers like her.

          • Arkone Axon

            Oh, I agree. That’s one of the things I love about superheroes when they’re depicted properly. In the 90s when Superman spent a brief period dead at the hands of Doomsday (he got better, obviously) his role was filled by multiple Superman wannabes – and while one of them was secretly evil and one was under the delusion that he was the original, the others included: an adolescent clone who was happy to be a superhero and do some good; a former weapons developer horrified at the exploding street crime in Superman’s absence and determined to fill in; and a nonpowered man with a beer belly and a trucker’s vocabulary who dispensed sandwiches to the homeless, rescued drowning puppies, and openly declared himself to be “One of Supe’s helpers, cuz we all gotta do our part while he’s not here.”

      • Happyroach

        The question is, where to progress from that idea. Does the most powerful person in the world really want to believe that she’s the only good person?

        And note, there’s a strong parallel between what Daniel says and what Professor Guwara was teaching. If everybody is a self interested jerk, where does that leave Allison? Is the endgame here people attempting to “teach” Allison that trying to make the world better is hopeless?

        • Jordan Hiller

          I think the lesson Allison should take from this is to not be surprised when people won’t act to help others or that some people are just plain dicks.

    • MrSing

      Even if he is right, and I highly doubt that, it is a meaningless statement. You shouldn’t be “good” because that is what other people do, or because other people will thank you for it. You should be “good” because you truly believe the actions you are performing are ethically correct and you have rationally determined that these actions are indeed “good”.
      Even if the whole world is vile and filled with monsters, that is no excuse not to be the best person you can be.
      “Good” is an ideal that stands above your own ego. It is a set of rules and answers you give yourself after carefully thinking through a system and testing it against the systems of other people. A system that is designed to make the world into a better place with the best actions possible.
      Saying “people will let you down” and using that as an excuse for your own crimes or inactions is a apathetic way of approaching the world at best and a malign self justification at worst.

  • Jace

    Reality and acceptance of it is the hardest part of life….

  • Meghan

    oh god it hurts…

  • Walter

    Alison, what he needed to hear was “Pinsize isn’t a good person? Lisa isn’t a good person? YOU aren’t a good person? Feral isn’t…”

    • Do you think Alison could convince Daniel that any list of good people with him on it is a valid list? In order for Alison to help Daniel, he has to believe in her integrity, and nothing kills that quite as fast as “you’re just saying what you think I want to hear.”

    • MrSing

      He isn’t a good person at the moment, so that would be a lie that doesn’t help him. If you don’t think you or what you’re doing is bad, why would you change yourself?
      But he can, just like every human in the world, become a better person at any moment he decides to do so.
      Mourning the fact that he has murdered people won’t bring them back, but it is a first good step for him to become a better person.

    • phantomreader42

      “YOU aren’t a good person?” sounds like a Rhetorical Question Blunder waiting to happen.

    • Weatherheight

      I’m pretty sure Daniel isn’t willing to accept (or even capable of accepting) that he is (or can become) a good person. Not yet, at least…

      But there is a glimmer showing in his darkness…

  • David

    So many people take this comic at face value.

    Alison says…”the vast, vast majority of people are profoundly good!”.

    Then people are all like “the feels”…not even examining what could be the real issue here.

    Alison, not just an issue ago, didn’t even understand what a “friend” meant. She got kicked out of her apartment without warning, and all her stuff thrown out…and she thought that’s what friends did. It wasn’t till Lisa told her that she actually realized.

    Now, after that, she’s going to try and say “the vast, vast majority of people are profoundly good!”.

    Come on man.

    • Peter

      Allison always was more guided by her emotions than by logical thinking. She belives that people are good because she wants to and because she has to, otherwise it would defy everything she stands for.

      • Izo

        The whole question of whether man is inherently good or inherently evil is something they’ve been debating for centuries, if not millenia.

        Hobbes – human nature is inherently tainted. People will always act immorally according to their corrupted nature if left without order to force them to be good. If man is inherently evil, then the best form of government is a monarchy (or other fascist-styled government) since the majority of mankind cannot be trusted to make the right decisions if given a vote.

        Locke – human nature is characterized by reason and tolerance. We could not have survived, being weaker, slower, and more fragile than other apex predators, if we did not have the strengths of intelligence, community and reason as a natural gift. If humans are, by nature, without influence of people’s biases, ‘reasonable,’ then man is inherently good. If man is inherently good, the best form of government is one which is representative.

        Alison clearly believes the latter. I tend to believe the latter as well, because human beings actually do have difficulty with the notion of killing other human beings in general. Many police officers go their entire careers without ever firing their sidearm even once, and when they do use it, they are brought to psychiatric sessiosn to see how they’re coping with it – especially if it resulted in a person’s death (even if it was purely in self defense or defense of others and they had no choice). Even soldiers tend to have trouble with this notion of killing other human beings – this is part of the reason for basic training – breaking one down to build them back up again. Evil does not come naturally to people if not for different types of upbringing and the circumstances of their lives. Good upbringing helps to make sure that the natural goodness of man comes through, especially in the face of so much negative stuff happening in the world.

        • Izo

          I should probably clarify that I don’t think soldiers who have to kill other soldiers are evil, nor are police who have to justifiably use their firearms. I’m just saying that if even the act of killing another human being (even if justified or in self defense) is not something that is ‘natural’ for most people to do, then doing something which is unjustifiable would be even harder for most people to do ‘naturally’ (when separated from upbringing or environment).

        • David

          Also…please re-read this comic. I feel like a good amount of you haven’t actually read all of it.

          You really don’t seem to get Alison, who she is, or who she has been.

          “There’s nothing you can do to me. You should all die! You all deserve to die! Now do what I fucking say, or I’m going to kill every last one of you!”.

          Guess who she went to visit for the first time in the next scene after saying that?

    • Darting

      I think it was less of a case about her definitions of ‘friend’, so much as her agreeing with her friends assessment of her. It wasn’t so much a question of what friends do, but WHO you can be friends with. Lisa just shifted the ‘accepted for friendship’ cut-off a bit.

      I think they kinda come from the same source, at the end of the day. Allison’s a very optimistic, turn the other cheek, friendly sort of girl. Probably in part because she believes that everyone is basically, profoundly good. But she can still feel shame, or doubt.

      I think she’s still mired in the same basic thought process/values system, and both times it resulted in what happened.

      • David

        I suppose what I’m saying is…there is not a single aspect of this comic that should make Alison truly believe that “the vast, vast majority of people are profoundly good”. The whole comic started because she didn’t feel that way. I believe she is masking her true thoughts, which mirror that of Daniel’s…for the sake of Daniel. However, no one else here in the comments see that or feel the same. They just take it at face value. They just comment on “the feels”.

        Granted, I am just being a bit selfish…simply because I would just love to have someone else here to actually talk about what seems to be the deeper aspect of this comic…but I’m just stuck to having these thoughts in my own head, because no one else sees it all the same way that I do.

        • UnsettlingIdeologies

          What do you mean the whole comic started because she didn’t feel that way?

    • Weatherheight

      I don’t doubt for a minute that Alison’s world view focuses her viewpoint on the positives rather than the negatives.

      Her roommates threw her out (had three roommates in college, and only one was what I would call a friend), and while to me it was clear that being thrown out hurt, she had enough empathy to realize that her being there *was* a threat to them – if not from her, than from one of her enemies (already-encountered or newly-emerging). I agree with you that her understanding of what just happened was inchoate and ineffable – but that’s at least as much a function of her youth and her life experiences as it is idiocy and a Pollyanna point of view. She spent the years when she *should* have been developing her world view and an ability to clearly express that world-view as a point-and-click weapon – she was very likely very strongly encouraged by her minders to adopt a sharply-contrasted way of thinking. Most soldiers are.

      To me, the immaturity and lack of nuance in her world view are understandable, if rather regrettable. I am encouraged that she recognizes that she has shortcomings and is trying to correct this issue (although she’s been needing metaphorical kicks in the teeth to realize her shortcomings).

      I also have grave doubts that she is going to able to resolve this issue without running into a metaphysical brick wall and thereby having her world view shattered. Most people I know who have to make a big change to their viewpoint couldn’t make such a change without having their world crash around them.

      Myself included.

  • Tylikcat

    I am fascinated by the morphology of Daniel’s feet. Are his big toes becoming opposable? Have his feet become more hand like?

    • Preacher John

      I went back and re-read early comics, his feet were weird then too.. Speaking of, if his feet do have opposable big toes, couldn’t he be trained like people without arms are – to use his feet as hands?

  • Weatherheight

    Daniel has, in one sense, hit the nail on the head. People *will* let you down. People are imperfect, they fail, they make mistakes (Sondheim’s “No One Is Alone” from Into the Woods comes rushing up in my head). It’s just who we are. And our failures, much like Daniel himself, loom large…

    But Daniel has yet to realize that we are not just our failures. We are also our successes. We are also the cup of water given in the name of The Eternal, the little kindnesses that change a moment and sometimes a lifetime or a life. We are also firefighters, police, soldiers, and all those who do hard things for the right reasons, to protect others. We’re also the volunteers who take food to disaster victims, who tend the elderly and ill, who teach people to read and write and THINK, who hold a friend’s hand in the pit of despair. Yes, even the ones who show up to work on time and provide a service or a product that helps other people.

    Each of us is both monstrosity and miracle, each of us is both demon and seraph. We are not merely what we do, but also how we think and feel. Acknowledgement of our dual nature is a big step to true wisdom.

    Life isn’t so simple as Daniel’s been led to believe. Yes, he’s done horrible things – but the first step to redemption is to acknowledge you deserve damnation. But to stop there, to believe you thereby do not ALSO deserve redemption – that leap of thinking is an illusion, a delusion even. One might even say a lie.

    I believe that Daniel has been falling for far too long, looking down at the onrushing floor of the pit. I also believe that he has crashed and, on landing, he finally has begun to look up, to see the light that Alison is trying to show him. Hopefully he will choose a path other than the one that leads to despair. Hopefully, he isn’t trapped in and trapped by his suffering until his death.

    CINDERELLA & RED RIDING HOOD
    People make mistakes,
    Holding their own,
    Thinking they’re alone.

    CINDERELLA
    Honor their mistakes…
    Fight for their mistakes-
    Everybody makes-

    CINDERELLA & RED RIDING HOOD
    One another’s
    Terrible mistakes.
    Witches can be right,
    Giants can be good.
    You decide what’s right,
    You decide what’s good.

    “No One is Alone” by Stephen Sondheim, Into the Woods

  • Dr. Mercurious

    What do you say to something like that?

    Alison had it right; the only difference between her and Dan is that the people responsible for making sure she developed as a person did what they were supposed to….and all Dan has known is mankind’s cruelest nature. It’s easy to hate him but honestly, would any of us be any better?

    How many of would be worse?

    I’m sorry you were failed so badly, Dan. I think there’s a decent soul somewhere inside you and maybe, just maybe, Alison could help you bring it out.

    • Tylikcat

      As Alison also said – and I just don’t think you can discount this effect – she looks the way she looks, and he looks the way he looks.

      • Weatherheight

        Ever notice how salespeople are very rarely unattractive? 😀
        It’s a thing, and we’re all complicit.

  • aseariel

    “I’m not okay…”

    same T_T

  • Ira

    I do like this comic, really, but are you really all so emotional? Do you all hide behind façades so often that this comic actually rekindled your own realization of truths that have been there the entire time?
    Personally, I can say with confidence that was myself at the end of the day. The people I pissed off or made happy were my own choices, naked to the world.
    A life behind rose-colored glasses might be nice, but there is a beauty in honesty and plain sight; A world of truth that makes the good things in life that much more precious and lets you prepare, not only to keep yourself from being a victim, but to also protect those around you from harm.

    • chaosvii

      Personally, I make sure to wear my heart on my sleeve so that I don’t have sympathetic break downs in comment sections.

  • Oh my god the feels. You really are doing some amazing storytelling over here.

  • cphoenix

    Uh-huh. Remember a few page ago, when Dan was saying that Alison’s philosophy prof should be killed because he was just a nobody who got his jollies by trying to mess with the supergirl?

    Remember that fight Dan had with Alison, right before he was imprisoned?

    I wondered, a few pages ago, if he realized he was talking about himself, and if he was saying he thought he should be killed. Seems like the answer is yes.

  • JohnTomato

    At that age, if I was a ‘Super,’ it would have been very ugly. Raging hormones, delusions of immortality, and still learning how not to be an utter dick.

  • Jac

    I think Dan might become my favorite character.

  • Mike Elsner

    This scene is amazing. But I’m going to be That Guy.

    Doesn’t she lose some of her invulnerability when she’s flying? That’s how she busted up her arm for a while. And it’s not just Dan’s hands; all those spikes on him are also incredibly sharp and pointy.

    So shouldn’t she be bleeding from cuts all over her body? Then again, we can’t tell from this angle if she is.

    • TRenn

      I’m going to guess that she has what in old-school “Champions” RPG terms was called a Power Pool. You got a set number of dice you could use with several (usually related) powers, and could divide them as you liked. In this case, her main powers are Strength, Invulnerability, and Flight. She had enough “dice” to be strong and invulnerable at the same time, so I expect she can hover that way and remain fully invulnerable by just dialing down the strength a bit.

      If she was trying to LIFT him while flying, that would be problematic.

      • Weatherheight

        Since you brought up Champions…

        Alison apparently dislocated her shoulder while flying – that could have happened from telekinetic forces acting within her body in a new way and her anomaly not having gotten around to accommodating the effect. The scar in her hair becoming “more biodynamic” lends credence to the idea that hurting herself increases the biodynamic activity in that area -which gives a rather disturbing point of view on Alison’s powers.

        Could be she’s got a Variable Power Pool (lots of flexibility). But so far her revealed abilities are Ridiculous defenses, High Strength Constitution, and Body, and Flight. No Senses, no Energy Blasts. Lots of Contacts but not excessively so in terms of points. Variable Power Pools are usually used for folks with a broad range of potential powers that are easily changeable, so probably not the best way to build her. Another option is that Alison has a limitation on all of her powers that do not typically cost endurance (such as defenses) that cost Endurance or don’t work if she runs out of Endurance, either on the whole shebang (unlikely) or just on a portion of her defenses (more likely).

        If the latter is the case, there may have also been an additional limitation on her flight that it costs additional endurance to use than it should usually cost. So she’s flying, burning way more endurance than usual, runs out of endurance, and somehow dislocates her shoulder (nice thing about the “Cost Additional END” limitation – it’s easy to justify spending character points to lower the multiplier or buy off the limitation entirely.). In addition, there are rules for burning Stun in place of Endurance, which could translate into something being “broken”. She could also have taken a Disadvantage related to burning STUN as well.

        Hero Sytem – Frightening the Math Phobic since 1981.

    • chaosvii

      Some, yes, but not all. It’s proportional to the power expended for flight perhaps?
      And she, like most people, can feel when something is too sharp to apply too much pressure to. Lastly, she’s only ever been cut by the arm blades, there’s no reason to believe that his head is as sharp as his arms.

  • pidgey

    Suddenly, Cleaver is sympathetic enough to be drawn with lips!

  • Tylikcat

    The most painful instance of such things dates from sixth grade for me, though it’s certainly not hurting someone by mistake, exactly.*

    I don’t think it’s typical of middle schools in general. Middle schoolers… I think that’s a more involved question. One of the things I’ve enjoyed about teaching martial arts is that it’s a context in which one gets to talk about ethical behavior, and in my experience teens are often pretty interested in doing so. And, unlike many other educational settings, one supposes that the students have power and need to be able to use it well.

    * A male friendly acquaintance, who used to follow me around a fair bit, but in a genial sort of way, was bending my best friend back over a chair (I have no idea why – we were in the lunch room. I don’t think I ever knew). She was screaming in pain – she had a back injury, the situation was legitimately bad and about to get awful. I was shouting at him, and he kept on pushing like it was a big joke. I didn’t have much physical confidence back then – and hadn’t filled out yet. So I told him his real parents didn’t want him, and that’s why he was in fostercare. Which has got to be one of the worst things I’ve said to anyone. His face went kind of blank, he let go of my friend, and never said a word to me again. I must have known he was in fostercare, but I don’t even remember being aware of, and then I suddenly just knew that was the one thing that would hurt him enough that he’d stop.

    His name was Robert, and I still feel awful about saying that. If I were to paraphrase the takeaway, it would be having enough skill to use the least amount of force. Because I totally failed at that.

    • chaosvii

      I have little more to remark with regards to that act than “Desperation deeply undermines proportionate responses.”
      I can’t offer much in the way of empathy as I have never been in a place to choose between unfair options & miserable options. I guess I always felt like I had strong agency (when it comes to personal conflict resolution) because of my own training in the martial arts.
      The worst action I ever recall doing out of a desire to halt the harm being inflicted on someone is nonverbally threatening somebody (raising my fist and looking very ready to throw a punch) for cracking wise about a humiliating prank that happened to somebody I was close to.
      I stopped myself, then was quickly shoved into the adjacent stairwell to be told that she didn’t need defending from me, especially not like that. She was fighting back tears herself, but punching somebody for a joke was not in line with what anybody wanted.

  • Olivier Faure

    Well, yes, but whatever the appropriate middle ground is, it’s way on the paragon side of what we usually do (that is, assume that bad people deserve to be hurt because we don’t like them).

  • EthernetGuru

    damn onions.

  • GreatWyrmGold

    Aw, poor guy. For a monster, he’s remarkably deep.
    I should really try to remember his name.