SFP

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  • Holy shit, Max is smoother than the ice cream. Also, no more evil face, yay!

  • Kid Chaos

    Like, wow, man; this guy is smooth. 😍

    • M. Alan Thomas II

      Really? He’s criticizing her answers to a “getting-to-know-you” icebreaker on the first date and then he’s trying to make up for it by issuing an invitation that’s pretty firmly socially coded as “Let’s get drunk and have sex while your guard’s down.”

  • someladyontheinternet

    *makes the tv audience OOOOH noise*

    Hehe. Sorry. I’m enjoying this.

  • Taulsn

    She acts like the press is always watching, probably the result of a lot of PR classes and experience. Subconsciously she probably doesn’t know that they aren’t always watching since growing up most of the time they were (or a therapist/government monitor).

    I’ll find myself acting differently in scenarios when I know I’m being watched and judged, but I don’t think I’m always being watched despite for a lot of my childhood I was put into situations where I was. Is it odd to say I don’t think she got enough life experience as a kid? It probably links back to me calling her a former child soldier way back.

    • Izo

      She acts like everyone is always watching because, since she was 14, everyone IS always watching to see what she does or says.

  • Yes, Max. Dating a superheroine sounds cool but could you date someone who can never truly relax?
    ==
    However, that last line makes me wonder if she’ll be just another notch on his bedpost.

    • ∫Clémens×ds

      There’s not necessarily something wrong with that.

  • Iarei

    So he believes that you only need to consider positive and negative ramifications of your desires when you’re being judged by society? Oh sure, THAT’S not foreboding.

  • Dean

    You don’t want to know what body part the bottle of wine comes out of.

    And pancakes, by a mile.

  • Radioactive

    nuf said

  • Mx Miki

    Wait… people don’t justify their answers in these games? I have been playing wrong.

  • ∫Clémens×ds

    Okay Alison, let’s do this.
    1. A fresh plate of pancakes every morning guarantees you an eternally satisfied partner.
    2. If you experiment with sleep schedules to find the sweet moving phase (wake up at five, go back to sleep, wake up at six, go back to sleep, do it again until twelve am) you can expand the number of pancakes arithmetically.
    3. Do that while on a plane circling the globe at the rate of one time zone per hour. Unlimited pancakes.
    4. Become better at it until you develop a reflex where you can fall asleep on the spot and wake up a few instants later. Infinite pancakes.
    5. The fine print doesn’t say it has to be a different plate each time. How hard is it to create a robotic arm which turns the plate face down every time it feels pancakes materialize so that it’s always empty?
    6. Pancakes come hot. The global energy problem is now over.
    7. You can use the warmth as means to prevent pneumonia in survival situations as well as the pancakes as a genuine source of nutrients instead of giving them ice cream which would only dehydrate them you—
    8. The maple syrup industry makes in majority a cheap byproduct because the real thing is expensive to do. Collapse that industry, become a global monopoly in selling real cheap maple syrup, give away all profits to charities.
    (9. In-between your incessant naps, read about that guy who died trying to swim back out of a pit in ice cream with his body temperature around 1° and raise an eyebrow in incomprehension.)
    10. Go into space. There is now no morning anymore. Establish a base of operation for your non-profit Maple Syrup and Energy Inc. in the international space station.

    Your life is now complete.

  • ∫Clémens×ds

    Okay, now I’m suspicious. He has a place after his last one burned down? That’s weird.
    Also people before posting remember that they’re both adults and he doesn’t know about her no drinking policy.
    …Because it somehow never came up in the restaurant. Hmmmmm.

    • M. Alan Thomas II

      Well, he’s not homeless. Also, I’m a little vague on time passing in this comic; he should be automatically free of any lease to an apartment that is self-evidently or has been legally declared uninhabitable, so all he needs is to find a new apartment at about the same rent.

    • KatherineMW

      He has a place nice enought to invite a date to? That’s more what struck me.

  • RobNiner

    Man knows when to stop digging, that’s a superpower all on its own.

  • Peter

    She has a point there.

  • Spectacles

    Max’s attitude is raising some red flags for me, here. I don’t think he might be doing so intentionally, but he’s coming off kind of… douchey, for several reasons, but mainly these two in particular:

    1. It seems innocuous, but the more I read it the more it sounds like he’s putting her down using the game their playing (presumably “would you rather…”). And he’s doing it in kind of a weaselly way, too, the more I examine it. His line in panel 3 seems like an honest enough invitation for her to explain why she chose her preferred option, but then he shuts her down for… what? Saying “The game is just supposed to be ‘which one do you want?’ … You play like everyone is watching you” is taking her reasons for wanting what she wanted and turning it on her to make it sound like she wanted them for the wrong reasons, even though it was a game and she seemed to be answering earnestly and was having fun with it, rather than trying to impress or acting out of self-consciousness. “This is a thing you do, you know” is something I don’t think you can claim to know about a person you’ve interacted with for a total of a few hours, but it seems he’s already trying to turn her behaviors against her and that just… eugh.

    2. His “apology” sounds more like a deflection and an attempt to shift the conversation away from what he REALLY meant by his comments. Unless he plans to elucidate over said bottle of verbal smooth-over, I’m remaining suspicious of his attitude and intentions. I WANT him to be okay, but I am remaining skeptical until suitable proof is presented.

    • M. Alan Thomas II

      His apology reads to me as an intent to get her drunk and have sex once she’s at his place. “Come up and have a drink,” unlike “Come up and have a coffee” or “Come up and see my etchings”, is the invitation to sex that generally involves getting someone drunk before they’ve agreed to the sex part. Which, y’know, is NOT OKAY.

      • Frances K R

        I don’t know if you’re the only one to hear it that way, but I’m not hearing it that way. It’s neither like he’s trying to give her alcohol without her knowledge nor being obscure about his interest. First dates are for getting to know if you’d be interested in someone and in what way; “come up to a private place with me and have what is culturally presumed to be a manageable amount of alcohol” is not “come over and get roofied because I’m hiding my intentions.”

        Is the implication that he’d *like* to make out or have sex with her? Totally. But it’s not a *hidden* implication, so it doesn’t come across as creepy. Forward, yes. More forward than I’d be interested in, yes. But an attempt to drug her so that she’s not capable of consent? I’m not reading it that way.

        • M. Alan Thomas II

          Not drug, get her drunk.

          Two people killing or even making significant headway into a bottle of average-strength wine is still going to put them well past the impaired-decision-making point, especially if one of them is a literal or metaphorical lightweight, and we know Alison is at least one of those. (She’s small and has no muscle tone and is female, which means light weight and less dilution, absorption, and metabolization of alcohol.) True, he might not be intent on more than one glass each, but it’s still a situation that sets off warning signals for me.

  • Thewizardguy

    Oh wow. I always do this. I’ve had hour-long discussions about whether it was better to have teleportation or super speed, etc.

  • Firanai

    “Doesn’t everyone want to get the right answer?” That right there Allison is the reason why you will end burned if you don’t get more realistic. The majority of people want the right answer sure…the right answer for them. I just hope that the reality check doesn’t hurt her too much and helps her grow as a person.

  • JohnTomato

    The count down clock has started.

  • ChattaStarhawk

    As the point goes whizzing by her at supersonic speeds…

  • habeasdorkus

    Did Max steal this game from Comedy Bang Bang?

    Nice recovery, though.

    • M. Alan Thomas II

      It’s been a pretty popular party game for years. Also a TV show starting at the end of 2011, a film in 2012, plus lots of lesser media.

  • Cory Forbes

    I feel like Allison’s dad.”okay, you can take her on a date, but, I swear, if you ever hurt her…”

    • Kid Chaos

      “…then she’ll break your neck.” 😜

    • Izo

      I’m assuming you mean emotionally hurt her since physically is almost an impossibility 🙂

      • Cory Forbes

        Exactly. My point (I should have phrased this better) is that things have been going so rough for her recently I don’t think I can handle this flipping around and emotionally hurting her.

    • ∫Clémens×ds

      That’s kind of sexist.

  • zarawesome

    *waves* hi ali

  • Hawthorne

    “The wine is nicely chill. There is also Netflix.”

  • Guest

    (I love this comic, thank you for making and sharing it! I find it thought-provoking.)

    Where is the cornucopia of good, helpful, nurturing people in Allison’s life who are there for her when she wants help developing a great romantic relationship and family? (And/or helping her figure out what she wants, if it’s not that)

    She seems a little out of her depth, or something, so far. Maybe she’s not though, maybe she’s just enjoying he date like she wanted to.

    • KatherineMW

      Well, her dad’s got cancer, so asking him for relationship advice may not be the top thing on her mind. She probably figures her family has enough going on.

  • Lostman

    She was a former big time superhero who wants to make a actully impact on the world, of couse she feels that everyone watching her. So we’re right back to the stones: Alison puts another black believing that it’s the right answer, even to a inconnet question. If we put to gether every thing we seen of Alison so far, the mentily of doing what’s ‘right’ has been ingrained into her (From her parents to chilhood to her career as a superhero).

    Now as someone who never dated before, and is male… can someone tell me if Max is just trying to break the ice or this is the moment that red flags are showing? Like what he trying to do here?

    • fluxofpearls

      He’s trying to break the ice but doing it in an aggressive and power move-y way that may be deliberate/shitty and may just be his personality. Analyzing someone’s motives in a way that makes them question themselves– “This is like, a thing you do” followed by an unflattering explanation of what that thing is– is something that requires a much higher level of trust than strangers on a first date, unless both people are the type to enjoy serious verbal sparring that actually hits at real vulnerabilities. There’s a scene in Deadpool where both Wade and Vanessa, who both deal with their childhood trauma by making upfront jokes about it, bond over this– snarking at each other about past abuse is an experience of solidarity, not hostility. Both people are on board with this kind of talk ; it’s mutual and OK.

      This scene, not so much. Max might be the kind of person who enjoys playing games and then kicking them up a notch into “what does this say about you as a person even if it’s not very nice” territory, but Alison is not. Having her personality interrogated and being accused of basically narcissism (instead of survivalism) throws her off balance and makes her feel vulnerable and like she’s done something wrong. There are some people who are comfortable enough with their shadow sides to talk about them to strangers; I’ve seen people who both enjoy this kind of biting analysis and self-analysis do this kind of mutual interrogation and bond over feeling like they understand each other and had a good round of verbal fencing. Allison just looks like she’s being attacked. Max seems to at least get that this isn’t the right tack to take with her, but instead of being more gentle, he’s rushing straight to offering sex, so, bleh. Not a good match.

      I’d say best case, this is a personality incompatibility; worst case, this guy is trying to manipulate and neg her.

    • Insanenoodlyguy

      I’d say it could go either way. I ultimately don’t think Max is going to be a long term successful prospect, but he might actually just have poor verbal skills here, as he put it. Might not be more sinister.

    • M. Alan Thomas II

      I seem to be the only person in the thread who reads “Come back to my place and have a drink” as a prelude to sex, just one that generally involves getting her drunk before getting her “consent” (unless she recognized the invitation and explicitly agrees to the unstated portion of the proposition, but this is Alison . . .).

      • Frances K R

        Gosh, Alison has never thought about sex and is incapable of reading subtle social signals like “now that you’ve initiated contact and we’ve both commented on each other being attractive and you seem to be pleased with my explicit effort to provide you with a romantic evening, would you like to go somewhere private?” 😉

        • M. Alan Thomas II

          I wouldn’t be the first one to refer to her as oblivious in the comments section. I’m not going to guarantee that her lack of romantic experience and general obliviousness translates into not knowing about this particular social convention, but I’d also say that neither we nor Max should assume otherwise.

  • motorfirebox

    “Back at your place? You must really think you’re on fire tonight!”

    • chaosvii

      I’d really like to hear about his new place, the one that is a little less in the process of combustion.

  • Philip Bourque

    The way he says it sounds like he believes that her concern for others is… artificial? Like he believes she would be different if she ‘knew’ nobody was watching her. We do watch her though, all of us. And we judge her and everyone she associates with.

  • Samuel

    “Dosen’t everyone want to get the right answer” everyone is the hero of their own story Alison that doesn’t mean they are

  • Joshthulhu

    Uh-oh.

  • SubspaceDreamer

    I love how practical her way of playing is – what result would help the most people

  • Guest

    I’m not quite sure what to make of this date.

    – It seems to me Max is working from some sort script or something. He really seems like he’s working with stuff from the “seduction community” — never miss an opportunity to ask someone out, doesn’t matter if you’re intimidated, it’s good for you; subtly put other males around you down so you can be in the dominant position; take your date to a variety of different locations so it feels like they’ve experienced a lot with you; pre-packaged conversation ideas that are designed to be fun in the right way; subtly insult her so she doesn’t start thinking she’s too good around you

    – My first reaction to this page was to feel a little sad for them. Somehow Max seems genuine on this page, like he’s handling the date, and Allison, the way he is because it’s supposed to make things nice/good/whatever for everyone. But what Allison’s looking for and what he’s looking for aren’t quite the same thing, somehow. Maybe like, she’s expecting it to become a deep, meaningful, intimate relationship, and he’s trying to make it a pleasant date and isn’t as excited (at least not yet) by saving the world and the large-scale important things she wants to do. This description of what’s happening doesn’t feel quite right to me though, but it was my first reaction.

    – It makes me a little uneasy that Max doesn’t seem more worried about whether Allison’s comfortable and happy with what’s happening. His “take charge and show her a good time” plan doesn’t seem to include “check every so often to protect her heart and make sure she feels good/right about how things are going on a deeper level, and is not just swept up in a fun date”. And the same of Allison, actually. I mean, yes she’s flustered, and yes Max has very clearly “taken charge.” But I don’t think that means she herself stops caring about his heart, or that it stops mattering to him and the people who love him that she’s good for him and doesn’t hurt him. Maybe that’s a bit much for the kind of first date they want and it makes more sense for them to just have fun for now, they don’t know each other at all, after all. But it doesn’t really seem like too much if they’re going to get so emotionally invested already — they’re blushing, holding hands, and potentially about to go be very physically and maybe emotionally intimate at Max’s place.

    – Max and Allison may both be assuming the other has far more experience than they do. Especially because people try to seem more experienced than they are to not look bad.

    – I feel a little weird commenting about all this. If Allison or Max were my friend IRL I think I’d feel it was appropriate to do a lot more listening to how they feel about the situation and a lot less commenting.

    • Ben Posin

      I think you’re making way too much stew from one oyster.
      1. Yeah, he seems practiced at this. But I don’t see how he’s pretending otherwise—and this might be exactly what Alison wants, someone smooth and practiced who can help her have a fun date and get some booty with minimum awkwardness or embarrassment. While he asked for her number first, she was the one to follow up and call him, presumably based on the fact that she likes how he looks with a shirt off, since she knows very little else about him.
      2. Why do you think she wants a deep, intimate, meaningful relationship? Again, she called him up and set up the date knowing very little about him other than that she likes how he looks without a shirt.
      3. You just saw a 1 minute snippet of conversation. You have no idea whether he “checked in” to see if Alison is comfortable–and if they both seem to be having a good time, I don’t really know what you want him to do, or why he needs to do it. Keep in mind that she is fricking Mega Girl–if she feels like leaving, she’ll leave.
      4. They’re both adults. Alison is NOT experienced, but hasn’t really downplayed that fact–she basically admitted two strips ago that she doesn’t know how dates go, and implied that she’d follow up on that later. This is Alison getting experience.

    • M. Alan Thomas II

      Am I the only one who hears “Come up to my place and have a drink” as one of the all-time classic invitations to sex, only with the implication that you’ll have to get drunk first (read: you’ll have to get HER drunk first) which is . . . well, on a first date when there’s been no pre-negotiated agreement to have sex is a below-the-consent-threshold plan?

      • Ralph, the Dire Opossum

        Alison doesn’t drink, so if Max is making such plans, they’re sure to be foiled.

  • sal

    Playing the game of “how do you use one superpower to save as many lives as possible” is a hard habit to break.

  • cphoenix

    The game is about lighthearted selfishness, and Alison is neither.

    But then look where he goes as he tries to figure her out. Not lighthearted -> everyone is watching. Unselfish -> get the right answer.

    He is not a good match for her. I’m very curious whether the date will end with a physical struggle in which she accidentally hurts him. I don’t think she has a script for gracefully ending a date that’s not going well, and I’m not sure he does either.

    • M. Alan Thomas II

      Well, “Come back to my place and have a drink” suggest a certain very unsavory expectation of how the date’s going to end.

      • LordErnie

        I don’t think that casual sex is generally considered “very unsavory” except from some very particular perspectives….

  • ampg

    Very smooth, Max. Now let’s see how well the “I don’t drink” conversation goes.

  • Rose

    Is her makeup still on right after an entire day? Is that a thing?

  • Jeremy

    Drinking now is probably a bad idea. She’s already nervous; breaking a personal rule and trying something that risky is probably a bad idea.

  • AtomicZeppelinMan

    Here, have a sip of this delicious roofie-colada.

  • chaosvii

    Well it might be the answer that pleases others, but that’s not how the game is played Alison.

    Also, I select pancakes. They’re not as tasty for me, but I don’t want to blow my nose and have bits of strawberry in there. Plus I could use a nighttime ritual with straightforward rewards.

  • exegesis

    I’ve had almost this exact conversation…

  • Tsapki

    Seems we have Alison’s back up super power planned out.

  • Martin Cohen

    Ali has always been in situations where getting the right answer and foreseeing consequences are essential. It’s hard to act like an ordinary human.

    • ∫Clémens×ds

      There’s also the fact that she has a literal superpower already. She has an inherently very different relation with power fantasies than us normal humans do. To me at least, it feels natural to want to be selfish in the safety of your own imagination because we’re powerless in real life. Alison is not powerless in real life.
      So her desires for magical powers are not about getting something reality doesn’t give you.

      It’s a good thing we have the most privileged human on Earth thinking about other people, all things considered.

      • bta

        No, no, that makes her a tyrant or something.

        • ∫Clémens×ds

          I said it was a good thing, not that Heaven and Earth collided and pain was forever doomed from human experience. If she didn’t care about others she’d be a villain, the fact that she does at least gives us the possibility that everything will end well.
          The possibility that she becomes our Eternal Overlord, sadly, also follows suit, and never entirely leaves.

    • M. Alan Thomas II

      Exactly!

  • Markus

    I like that Alison doesn’t get that the whole point of would you rather is to provide two bad options that’re entertaining to pick at.

    Also, it’ll be interesting to see how Max deals with the snag in the date around Alison not drinking.

  • “But I’m the title character of this comic! Everyone *is* watching me!”

  • Kate Blackwell

    His observation is spot on, it’s the impression I got of her in the Cleaver conversation a few pages back, just expressed much better here. 😀

  • TheGlassMan

    Everyone’s debating whether or not Max is a low key douche and I’m just over here enjoying the fact that Alison calls people “my dude.”

  • Izo

    Quiet everyone! She knows we’re watching! Shhhhhhh…..

  • Tylikcat

    Yeah, teleportation or flying, I can see, because flying.

    (Though I think the classic is flying vs. invisibility.)

  • Izo

    I’m not so sure how superior teleportation is to superspeed for multiple reasons.

    1) Superspeed means you can accomplish TASKS faster as well as getting from one place to another fast. You can’t accomplish all the same tasks faster with teleportation.

    2) Physics-wise, teleportation has just as many problems as superspeed. Especially the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Plus with a lot of superspeedsters, they have secondary abilities that explain the physics-defying parts – like the Flash’s Speed Force literally is supposed to ignore conventional physics as part of how it works, and Supergirl/Superman’s speed is coupled with their biomatrix which prevents friction problems (as well as explains how they can lift stuff without the mass collapsing on itself).

    3) With superspeed, you get to enjoy the journey, as well as the destination. Teleportation, you only enjoy the destination.

    4) Teleportation is a lot more dangerous if you don’t know every aspect of your destination – you could teleport into a wall and kill yourself, or into another person and kill yourself and someone else. With superspeed, assuming your senses are superspeed as well, you don’t have that problem.

    🙂

    • Thewizardguy

      1) Certainly, but while super speed might have additional benefits, teleportation is just a faster method of transportation. Unless you posses the ability to warp time with your speed (aka flash and the absence of physics) you’ll always be slower.

      2) Any form of successful teleportation needs to be mutual. With which I mean that the matter at your destination is transported to your point of origin. If this is not the case, teleporting will instantly cause you to explode, as a large mass of air is injected into every single part of your body. So in order to even discuss this, we must assume that the form of teleportation is mutual teleportation, rendering the ‘appear in a wall’ issue null.

      The proposed situation does not allow for secondary powers that negate the downsides of your power, regardless of the popularity of doing exactly that in comic books. So you get just super speed. The particular form of super speed may be altered (accelerating subjective time vs moving really fast, etc.) but you only get the one power.

      3) Sure, but the journey only lasts a moment, and may end in you getting squished into a wall. You’re not going to be able to ‘enjoy the journey’ if you’re moving at the speed of sound, because there’ll be nothing to enjoy, other than the sheer speed at which you’re moving.

      4) As previously stated, mutual teleportation negates the downsides of teleportation, and is the only viable form of teleportation.

  • Ben Posin

    I’m a little taken aback by the many comments that are down on Max for being a “pickup artist,” for potentially “negging” Alison, for supposedly trying to get her drunk so they can have sex, for not being a “good match,” etc. I don’t see how there has been any deception by Max, based on the little we’ve been able to see, or any illusions by Alison, particularly when you look at her recent conversations, particularly with Cleaver. She doesn’t really know Max, she just knows that she’d like to try a date and maybe get some action, and that he’s hot and interested. He dismissed the idea of a movie date as “amateur” in part because you end up having to try to make out with your legs facing the same direction–he has not tried to hide for a second that he plans his dates with the goal of hooking up in mind. And really I’m agog at the folks who think suggesting that asking your completely sober date if she wants to go back to your place to “share a bottle of wine” (wink wink) equals “Max wants to get Alison drunk to take advantage of her.”
    For those who are also trying to treat Alison with kid gloves here, Alison has faced off against Cleaver, has stood up to Patrick—and is, in a physical sense, the most powerful person in the world. Let’s giver her a little credit.

    • chaosvii

      See, I at least understand where they’re coming from as of this page as opposed to being baffled by the apparently popular position that just atypically assertive and fairly forward behavior is villainous.
      I still think it entails a level of paranoia & projection or perhaps disaproval of alternative sexual mores, but at least it’s fairly coherent now to draw up a sinister narrative.

  • bta

    Wasn’t her “struggle with despair” already a big focus of the Moonshadow/Paladin/etc… chapter tho?

  • martynW

    Okay, ice cream out the nose sounds gross, but not so much since I saw that commercial that declares that all ice cream comes out from a unicorn’s arse.

  • ∫Clémens×ds

    Originally I was going to expand that line about the fact that the sun sets and rise 17 times a day when you’re in orbit, but I was scared to pass as too nerdy.
    The larger point is that morning being a human construct, you make up your own where it doesn’t apply and you win instantly.

  • ∫Clémens×ds

    I totally would. Maybe it’s because I’m French or maybe it’s so wildly different between each individual cultural education disappear into irrelevance, but going at people’s places and inviting people at mine on the first date is absolutely not something neither I nor my consenting partners found weird.

    And proposing alcohol to boot.

    • Tylikcat

      This might be overly influenced by the utter despair my dating life in Ohio has engendered in me. Admittedly, this has been my first real experience attempting to date outside of established social groups and Ohio… there are actually a lot of things I really enjoy about Ohio, but mating customs and gender roles are near the bottom of the list.

      (It’s also possible that there are some echoes of how I was raped a few weeks after my eighteenth birthday, though considering a lot of the shit I’ve gotten up to in the meantime, I can’t imagine they are very strong… and I am far more generally a grouchy bitch.)

  • Ralph, the Dire Opossum

    Alison doesn’t drink, so this should be an interesting conversation.

  • Ralph, the Dire Opossum

    Yeah! Alison might be tempted into giving up her no drinking policy by his comment about her behaving as though she’s always being watched, but I think she will stick to her no-drinking-thing. Alison isn’t so desperate for approval that she’d need to do that.

  • Because it’s clear that they aren’t suited for one another?

  • shink

    I’m seeing a lot of stuff on here that boils down to “Max is an untrustworthy character and he’s using his physique and smooth operating skills to put Alison into a compromising situation where he can take advantage of her”. Two things about that. Can we assume Max would love it if the evening ended with him getting laid? Yeah, we can safely assume that, As Reave pointed out, basically the portion of the human race that finds females attractive would like that, and I wouldn’t be too surprised to see gay men or straight women who list Alison as an exception.

    Secondly, this is Alison were talking about. She could kill max, on camera, flying above time square, in broad day light, and likely only lose face as a result, and Max is a fool if he doesn’t know that. Not to mention how easily she could make him disappear forever without anyone suspecting a thing (throw him into orbit maybe). Ya’ll are acting like Alison is vulnerable, like taking advantage of her is even possible. Now, emotional manipulation? Yeah maybe, but then again we have Max risking provoking the wrath of Mega Girl. Even getting her drunk if she didn’t want it, he wouldn’t get it. This isn’t a normal situation where the guy holds the cards in terms of physical power, in terms of getting public sympathy if she makes allegations of unwanted sexual transgressions against him. This is Mega Girl, if she was kind enough to hand over justice to another party in this regard that party would be forced to take her seriously, if only out of fear. Alison holds all the cards, she always holds all the cards, and least we forget, when she loses her shit she threatens to kill hundreds of people on live television. If Max has seen that footage, he has reason to be terrified of making her lose her shit.

    The other thing being ignored is that we just finished a super intimate conversation where Alison stated she wishes she could find a lover, and now we have an arc where she’s going on a date with a smooth talking guy who seems to be showing her a time she’s certainly enjoying. Some of you are assuming Alison doesn’t want the night to end in a decidedly naughty manner, we don’t know that. I get that the dynamic in the comic is making some people’s date rape bells go off, but this isn’t you or one of your friends. It’s Alison, and Alison is basically super man in terms of what she’s physically capable of.

    • chaosvii

      Hey listen shink, if that is your real name, I don’t think you know the score here. The fandom incoherently demands that Alison have perfect sex which affirms all of their sexual mores as well as a long-term loving relationship. Anything that so much as ambiguously suggests that she might get less than that would be uncomfortable for reasons that aren’t being examined as that be as bad as talking to clearly evil philosophy professors who will remain unnamed.
      So don’t you go and invite people to think about how social conventions might be skewing their perceptions of the guy who is clearly not perfect and is therefore a villain and/or date rapist or some sort of monster that engages in casual sex then burns down his apartment so he can never be caught and forced to commit. There’s obviously no reason to doubt the notion that Max can & will ruin her emotions then prevent her from successfully coping with whatever evil plan he’s scheming. Alison is a fragile flower that can’t deal with sex that the fandom disapproves of, END OF STORY.

  • pidgey

    It can be, sure, but it’s a bit weird to ask “doesn’t everybody want that?”.

    I don’t think there’s a problem with being interested in optimizing society. I definitely think there’s a problem with assuming that nobody is motivated by anything else.

  • pidgey

    The thing is though, that I can easily imagine Max doing all the things he’s done with someone a little less serious and the date going fantastically. There actually isn’t anything inherently wrong with any of Max’s behavior, other than the fact that it has the potential to trigger some hangups in Alison specifically.

    People are allowed to rib each other a bit about how they play games. People are allowed to be very forward. People are allowed to be more interested in their preferences than in the long-term consequences of their actions. None of those are behaviors that a person should expect to get called out on as completely inappropriate, on a date, or anywhere for that matter. All of it is *well* inside the bounds of what constitutes acceptable social behavior. That’s not to say that every person is going to like being on a date with a person like that, but that’s why it’s a date and not marriage. There are plenty of people who would be perfectly fine going on a date with that kind of personality, though.

  • ∫Clémens×ds

    All of us are.

  • Firanai

    It’s not realistic to expect that attitude from everyone, becasue there’s lots selfish people in this world.

  • ∫Clémens×ds

    The entire purpose of the game is self-analysis through the answers we give, to be fair. He has a right to do because it’s fun to discover each other that way and she has agreed by agreeing to play the game.

    Her answer is not a problem, it’s unusual. Reading the comic, I had the same first reaction as Max: “how do you defend the option with such a disadvantage compared to the one without drawbacks?”
    Her apparent lack of realization that people don’t play the fun and silly “would you push the button” game as a serious analysis of the best means of utilitarian optimization? That makes her the weird one, not Max.

    And his “I’m not expressing myself well.” is a obvious pretense to get her at his place. Or he really wants to think on the way home how to properly express the way her constant altruism is, contrary to her narrow-minded perspective, not normal. That’s not impossible. But that’s moot and mostly irrelevant to the fact he wants this date to keep going places. Which is fine.

  • chaosvii

    Forgive me if I don’t find that glib reply very amusing. If you mean “any measure of sexist” then fine, most people have such poorly thought out biases.
    If you mean, “possessing a level of depersonalizing sexism that removes responsibility from individuals not based on intellectual & physical maturity but instead by gender expectations” then you’re effectively giggling about the idea that people suck in a normative behavioral fashion.

  • M. Alan Thomas II

    Depends on the person, but I understand your angle. The last person to try that on my mom was making cocktails and mixing hers three or four times too strong.

  • M. Alan Thomas II

    There’s plenty of things that I won’t do without being medicated for anxiety, whether via alcohol or prescription; I get that. But that depends on agreeing to do them when I’m competent to make that decision.

    If it’s an invitation to sex that she recognizes and responds to as such, fine. But that recognition is not something you should assume about someone whom you’ve never even discussed sex with. Given the reactions in the comments, it seems that even most readers who have the benefit of time to think about this don’t immediately see it as an invitation to sex, so we can’t assume that agreement to the proposition equals tacit consent to sex for most people. And generally speaking, sex is one of those things you should have affirmative consent for, not assume tacit consent for.

    More simply, I’m pretty sure “getting someone into a state where they’ll agree to sex that they wouldn’t agree to sober and they’ll regret afterwards” is pretty exactly rape.

  • M. Alan Thomas II

    I agree with what you say, but (1) it’s clear that not everyone in these comments reads it as an invitation to have sex and I’m betting that Alison doesn’t either and (2) it’s not clear that he’s intent on stopping and talking it out at one glass in.

    Two people killing or even making significant headway into a bottle of average-strength wine is still going to put them well past the impaired-decision-making point, especially if one of them is a literal or metaphorical lightweight, and we know Alison is at least one of those. (She’s small and has no muscle tone and is female, which means light weight and less dilution, absorption, and metabolization of alcohol.) True, he might clarify his intent before they get that far in and he might not be intent on having more than one glass each, but it’s still a situation that sets off warning signals for me.

  • chaosvii

    Cognitive dissonance is a hell of a drug.
    Your discomfort could come from anticipation of melodramatic narrative conventions. It could come from a fear that Alison is somehow in a power inequity, leaving Max somehow capable of ruining her vulnerable life philosophy by applying some sort of social leverage that causes her to forget that she is a goddamn superhero who can solve complex problems & trust people who she already knows are good folk. It could be an anticipation of very painful breaking up after poorly learning that these two are largely incompatible in viewpoint and a subconscious desire to assign blame.
    It could be that you don’t like his style, his sense of humor just feels wrong to you.
    It could be the way that Alison has somewhat lost her bearings around him more than once, and it feels like she’s going to lose them dramatically because of something badwrong that he does.
    Any of those fit the sensation?

  • ApostateltsopA

    Is wine a good idea for Al?

  • chaosvii

    How the heck does that resolve the communication problem?
    It’s not supposed to in and of itself, it’s supposed to be a peace offering for saying something that he recognizes was inconsiderate to say to her. He thought about her response and her non-verbal cues, and realized that he said things wrong, but cannot immediately smooth things over with the words he has in his brain. Perhaps he is needing more time, perhaps he would rather the two of them forget it happened.

    he’s analyzing her as if he has the right to do it
    Yo, man, I don’t know where you come from, but in my country everybody has the right to be foolish, to think incorrect things, and make ill-advised social choices. Max thought he had a solid idea of what’s going on, and learned that not only did he not have such a good grasp, but that his word choice cannot be passed off as gentle ribbing, it was something he should apologize for. His apology may appear or even be insincere, but the dude understands that what he said was hurtful to Alison. Since Max doesn’t want to hurt her in this way, he is extending an apology for his behavior.

    Why are her answers a problem?
    For all we know, Max never saw them as a problem, but reflexively made a unflattering remark because he’s just the kind of guy that sees irreverent criticism of others as humorous things to say to people that can dish it right back at him or otherwise defend themselves. Alison didn’t do that, and showed that she was very much emotionally invested in the idea of “get the right answer.” So Max replied after a bit of thought with an apology and an invitation to possibly smooth things over.

    On the flip side, I’m thinking how are people *not* seeing red flags?
    It’s hard to tell with things like this. Max has habits which are unbalancing for Alison. This could be a big deal that neither of them can adapt to, or even a sign of malice, but it could also be a benign thing that both of them adapt to after the first date. Max has firmly considered opinions on what he likes in early dates, and isn’t afraid to make casual references to passionate kissing, whereas Alison has trouble saying the word date in a way that identifies the occasion she is partaking in, hardly a matter to stop the presses over.
    If you don’t like the guy, it’s easy to interpret any ambiguous thing he does as badwrong, if you’re alright with the dude, it’s easy to interpret all that ambiguous stuff as acceptable things people do when they’re trying to be themselves.

  • chaosvii

    I might be projecting too much of my style onto Max by saying that I initially read it as a thing I would do: Make a smarmy remark about how what was said could be indicative of unsavory motives, but don’t ever insist that said motives are actually true so much as a thing that appears to be there, then brace for a rebuttal or a kind-hearted “fuck off man you know I didn’t mean it that way.”

    The fact that Max kinda went for a second round, without clarifying that he’s joking, is sadly part of keeping the humorous facade up, which can backfire terribly if it is the sort of important thing like this is. Unlike Max, I would be stumbling over myself with an explanatory apology elaborating on every aspect of how my words can be taken to mean very hurtful things.
    Once I noticed that the mockery not only didn’t take, but was fucking doomed to never work out, that is.

  • Khlovia

    Yes. If you forget the plate, you need only launder the sheet, and have something else for breakfast for a change. With the ice cream you get more or less permanent brain freeze, I would imagine.

  • Maplestrip

    You have to love the double meaning of “play” in this context. It could refer to the “game” (which just happens to be about asking questions), or could refer to “acting”, as if Alison isn’t actually being herself and just “playing a role”. Max could be feeling as though Alison has been playing a role in all the situations he’s seen her (primarily on the news), and now notice she is acting somewhat similarly on a casual date. He may have felt like her personality is intrinsically disingenuous. This interpretation by him may have changed a bit in panel 6, though. That would be nice.

    Personally, I just think Allison is being adorkable and a bit quirky. I wouldn’t be able to list off answers like those and I would be a bit more selfish in my answer, but my answer would definitely not have been very different from hers. Using this game to test a sense of selfishness (fake or otherwise) doesn’t seem very productive to me, but I get what Brennan may be going for when writing this.

    It may also be that I wouldn’t be selfish when it’s about food anyway. Or the fact that Alison doesn’t experience much pain anyway, possibly rendering Max’ first argument in panel two a bit irrelevant.

  • Tylikcat

    We’ve heard her express concern about drinking. And nothing we know about her superpower would involve faster metabolism of alcohol. So… I suppose maybe, but I don’t see much basis for this? (If anything, I’d expect her to have low tolerance, because she doesn’t drink. Of course, I think it’s likely she’ll turn him down, because she doesn’t drink.)

  • Seer of Trope

    Did Guwara polarize us, or were we polarized from the very beginning…

  • Peter

    How do you get that idea? Alisons increased durability comes from having some kind of force field that protects her, not, you know, actually having an increased durability. Her being invulnerable to physical attacks has nothing to do with her being able to handle alcohol.

  • Huttj509

    I don’t drink.

    I’ve dated a woman who was really bothered by this. I mean 2 AM “It really bothers me that you don’t drink” text. No explanation as to why when asked.

  • Peter

    He never said that her answer is wrong. He just wanted to know why she chose how she did and then he talked about a thing he realized with her. He never critisizes what she does.

  • Thewizardguy

    Eh, I’d prefer the ability to appear in the bahamas at will over flight. If I want to enjoy the journey, I could just take a walk.

  • Thewizardguy

    Clearly, teleportation.

  • chaosvii

    Well yeah, when I say things like that, what I really ought to convey more clearly is “Your gag becomes less entertaining the more you think about it. The joke is flawed in its construction, which is to say the words are put together terribly despite your intentions, even in context the words are too sloppy and easy to deconstruct.”
    I was deadpan heckling you (it was intended as nothing more than heckling btw) because the intended punchline is so tame & so banal that I couldn’t help but imagine the far more punchy interpretation of the joke of which is at least amusing, if cynical. But when I thought about that version instead, I realized it requires assumptions that don’t suit my style. And well, nothing really gets my goat more than jokes that appear lazy and don’t suit my style.

    Now, using the father metaphor is ill chosen
    Precisely, and that’s why I treated your remark in the way I did, when peeps bring up stuff like that thoughtlessly, and criticism of them is met with “yeah well it’s pretty common” the joke falls flat. No matter how you cut it, Cory brought unsavory but socially accepted tropes into the fray, was criticized gently, and then said criticism elected a very short reply explaining that the trope is common. Said reply lacked further elaboration and thus looks like lazy snark. My elaborate reply is an attempt to equalize the lazy, not shun you for calling common tropes common.

  • M. Alan Thomas II

    1–3) I think the assumptions limit cuts both ways. “She might have theoretically had a high tolerance or immunity to alcohol” is not an acceptable excuse for deliberately getting someone drunk. Sex is not a situation where “in theory it might have been okay” is an acceptable level of consent.

    4) I agree on the “drug” wording; I only made the distinction because you used the word “roofied”, which is generally more specific. But alcohol is, by this measure, the most common date-rape drug, which is why I’m worried.

  • ∫Clémens×ds

    That… doesn’t matter? At all?