SFP

sfp 6 91 for web

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  • Biostar

    Welp, that settles that. Now we wait to see if this blows up in her face in some way.

  • Emmy

    I really hope those are tears of joy, but …

    Prediction: Between the first and last panel of this page, Feral is already sober. She lives, but can no longer enjoy any of her vices.

    • Stephanie

      She couldn’t enjoy them while she was in surgery forever, so it’d still be a step up.

  • AveryAves

    I feel like this “morally questionable” action was was worth it.

    • d4t4

      The smoking in the hospital, you mean?

      Yeah, probably.

  • Izo

    I’m still confused about how this is ‘saving countless, countless lives.’

    Also doesn’t Feral look so very, very happy? Must be tears of joy, right? No?

    Also wondering if Feral will ask ‘What procedure did Alison do to cause this?’

    Also how does the doctor know about this procedure?

    • Stephanie

      I’m sure we will find out on Tuesday how this is saving countless lives. This page appears to be transitioning into an actual explanation.

  • MrSing

    Wait what? How does that make sense?

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      “THESE PEOPLE HAVE SUPERPOWERS wait how did I get here”

  • Asher Freeman

    Soooo what’s gonna go wrong here? Is she going to lash out because she liked being g in constant surgery? Are the donated body parts gonna go cancerous? Come on, people, place your bets. We’ve got at least four days until the other shoe drops.

  • zellgato

    Yay! I hope that this was a tested power up by the by…. cause… if not then the shoe might drop harrd.

    Also. I’m not sure how this works.. she was in cosntatn surgary before because she kept growing parts for other people right?
    How.. does this change that? She heals faster and stronger now yeah.. but..
    Don’t they still need to pull the parts out on a regular basis? Or did I mis a section on a different reason she was under cosnstant?

    • Stephanie

      I think her power has changed in a more dramatic way than just an increase in her regeneration rate. She may now be able to save people in a way other than constantly donating organs.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    What.

    Doesn’t that make the surgeries substantially harder to undertake, the very premise of that scenario hinging upon the fact that keeping her open without her wounds closing is the grueling visual metaphor for the impossible pain she’s feeling at all times?
    Won’t that make Tara want to *still* undergo constant surgery in order to exponentially increase the number of organs, rather than merely stopping at the amount she produced before?

    I’m sorry, what changed? With everything we know of Tara, why would she be crying tears of relief and joy to hear these news? Unless I’m right and Tara is secretly thinking “It’s fantastic, more organs to donate”, which the framing of the page is absolutely not indicating, the webcomic is breaking its own rules now. And worse, character!

    I don’t like this at all.

    • Sendaz

      A lot of people are speculating that there are self-regenerating organs that can operate outside the body, though I doubt that since most of what we see involving powers seems tied to the main body, but we will have to see on that point.
      More likely is the faster regeneration rate, which does raise issues of how to keep up with it, but they can probably figure out tech to be able to harvest.
      I think what they are implying is that she can produce a lot more organs in a day than they can surgically implant in the time window for implanting (do her organs last longer outside of implanting vs normal organs?) so she won’t need to be on the table non-stop through the day.

    • Stephanie

      She said a fundamental alteration, so I don’t believe that the only change is that Feral regenerates faster. More likely, she can now apply her power in some completely new way to save people without the need for surgery. Sort of like how Moonshadow went from only being able to make herself invisible, to being able to create elaborate visual illusions. She didn’t just get better at being invisible, and I don’t think Feral just got better at regenerating.

    • Walter

      She might have changed her mind, you know? Like, “endless torture” is just two words to the rest of us, but she lived it for, what, months now? I wouldn’t blame her one bit if she was elated to be given an out.

    • Debbie Jackson

      All this is possible, but there is a certain critical mass of transplant provision beyond which the organs will simply be going to waste due to lack of demand (or infrastructure and supply lines). It’s my hope that they’ve reached this critical mass, either due to self-replicating organs (which could be an issue for the end recipients) or simply because Feral needs to be under the scalpel for far less time per week to create an optimal amount.

    • SuddenFan

      Unless her organs are self-regenerating outside of her body. Then everything is peachy and makes sense.

      Unless her organs regenerate an entire clone of her, in which case things get complicated.

  • Smithy

    Ok, here’s one possibility: her cells have gone to the point where if placed in a convenient environment, they grow an organ corresponding to the entire cell line from scratch: just a few heart cells replicate until they create a heart, kidney cells replicate to kidneys, etc. Therefore, all they need to do is handle it like Hela cells, keeping most in stasis (cold temperatures, not enough nutrients to replicate more in a small space), extract a few and place them in a fitting place, wait for a bit and have a new organ. This would give them all the advantages they previously had and more (can send the cells to a bunch of hospitals easily, making them all able to grow organs locally), with only a few defaults (beware of breach/contamination by all these super cells running around…. ).

    • palmvos

      but if the cells regenerate like that- what happens when they are transplanted? the transplant consumes the host?

    • Weatherheight

      Hmmm.. basically a super-stem-cell donor…
      That has possibilities…

  • Manuel Simone

    Feral doesn’t seem too happy with what Alison did for her. I’m sure that she’ll even be mad on Alison because she acted against her wishes. But she must understand that Alison wanted only good for her, she temporary sacrificed her own morals to save Feral from the awful life she had and I hope that she’ll forgive her in time.

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      I wouldn’t think so. It’s not really typical of how you frame a shocked / angry / tears of despair reaction, but I’m open to be proven wrong by next pages.
      I’m surprised you don’t get the instinctive impression that everybody seems to have that these tears, presented as such, tell us she thinks “this is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard”

  • Fluffy Dragon

    And there we go.
    Those do not quite seem like tears of joy. More like confusion though, like she doesn’t know what to feel, which is good (preferrable to something like anger or other predicted emotions).

  • Dawn Smashington

    Not “We can’t perform surgery,” it’s “We don’t need to”. I bet those organs are regenerating themselves outside her body, now.

    Now, is she going to be happy or upset? If it were me, I might be initially upset or sad, because it wouldn’t FEEL like I was actually helping anyone anymore. But then the realization that these good works are still being done would assuage that feeling of loss of purpose a bit.

    Either way, I wanna marry Feral.

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      “We don’t need to perform constant surgery.” Why would she add that one if surgery was altogether pointless? Still waiting for confirmation…

  • Loranna

    While I try to wrap my head around the implication that Max can PERMANENTLY empower someone, and figure out how exponential increase in Feral’s regeneration only results in “don’t need to have you in constant surgery anymore” (as opposed to “can’t even make an incision before it seals shut around the scalpel”), I would just like to note the progression of background color in the first three and last three panels.

    Panels one to three. We go from a very firm gray to a light, almost washed-out gray, tracking Feral’s transition from grounded and secure (enjoying her old pet vices) to questioning and confused (asking what exactly happened.) Also, we have these panels set up from left to right, following the usual – for western audiences – rule of thumbs of Left Being Safety and Right Being Danger. Also, note how we start very close in, looking at the lighter and cigarette, and pull back to take in Feral, as she comes out of her happy moment of joyful earthy pleasures to ponder the wider world.

    Panels four to six. Again, we start with a strong background color and progress to a lighter, more washed-out shade, transitioning from doctor to Alison to Feral. I think, though I’m probably wrong, that we’re progressing here from intellectual understanding of this moment to emotional. The doctor, clearly, knows all the facts, and the implications, while Feral’s reaction to this news seems much more emotional and visceral – and Alison is poised in the middle, a worried little frown on her face. Interesting, that. Also, now we have the panels going from top to bottom, rather than from left to right. As a reader versed in western traditions of reading from left to right, going from top to bottom, to me, connotes a sensation of falling – which, given the facial expressions of the three characters in these panels, leaves me very worried about Feral’s reaction in the next page or three.

    But, more important than any of that . . .Panel Three. Feral Is So Adorable. This girl was once the fun-loving, devil-may-care antihero of the Alisonverse, smoking and toting machine guns! Now look at her; clearly, Feral must become the benevolent tyrant of this world, not Alison. Though Alison would make for a good dragon to Feral’s goddess-empress ^_^

    Okay, I’m going to sleep now. I hope this gobbledegook I just wrote makes sense when I wake up.

    (*sets out a plate of carrots and another of oatmeal raisin cookies, as well as a few sets of stress balls for the general assembly*)

    Loranna

    • Weatherheight

      There’s also the literal sunrise reflecting the metaphorical “new day” dawning in Tara’s life. Which stands in direct counterpoint to your analysis.

      Tricksy, is our Molly. 😀

      This is another reason, right here, why I keep coming back – I don’t know if it’s intentional (and I hope it is, by golly, uh huh), but even the color palette reflects the conflicting ways to view complicated acts. Loranna and I often see different things in color choice, but both of us can also “tilt out heads” and begin to grok the other angle (okay, some shoot that sentence up with morphine – it’s been tortured enough).

      And again, Loranna beats me to the punch. 😀

      ::grabs a quick carrot and trot off to wait for Tuesday::

      • Loranna

        Now, if I’d just stayed up an hour later before writing that post – or waited until I got some sleep before writing it in the first place – I might have caught that! Nicely done, burro; nicely done ^_^

        ::slinks off, vowing to perfect her analysis-fu for the next page, while working on her own stories and wishing she had an illustrator like Molly with whom to collaborate!::

        Loranna

  • Thrice.Great

    Okay…. Still waiting to see how this has played out.

    BUT.

    What is the moral conflict between subverting someone’s will for a finite period of time in a way that does no lasting damage to them physically or socially (whether he can recover psychologically is more up to a number of other factors including his own choices and resources available to him)

    vs.

    Saving someone from (for all intents and purposes) infinite pain and suffering which (I’m going to assume from how the doctor is phrasing this) still provides massive amounts of utility and benefit for large numbers of other people.

    I’m very torn here. On the one hand my ethics demand that I respect the freedom of all sapient individuals to choose their own experiences as long as it does not infringe or impede that same will in another. On the other hand, my feelings towards act-utilitarianism says that the sacrifice of one person’s emotional well-being for a night to save someone from endless physical pain and simultaneously saving lives is the ONLY moral thing to do.

    Although, I will say that she could have presented him the choice first with a bit more information than a generalized “I want you to help me help people.” But that wouldn’t have created tension in the readers.

    Even if she still fully intended to force him to decide to help Feral, giving him the opportunity to choose it for himself would have at least allowed for a situation where a moral good could happen (see Frankfurt Cases – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankfurt_cases) while still ensuring that good actually happens despite his selfishness.

    • Stephanie

      Agree with most of this–the only thing I want to add is that I think Alison did tell Max the specific plan, not just the general “help me help people.” We just came into the scene after she had already laid it out for him. I think this is the case because the scene began with Alison saying something like “So that’s my plan.”

    • Walter

      It seems like this comes down to your ethical framework.

      If you are a consequentialist (judge actions based on outcomes, ends justify means), then this is a pretty cut and dried righteous action. Inaction = 1 person unaffected, 1 person in eternal agony. Action = 1 person inconvenienced, 1 person’s agony greatly abated.

      If you are a deontologist, then this is pretty obviously the other direction. “Thou shalt never kidnap, double never torture.” Alison did those things, so her action was evil.

      You make the call.

      For what it’s worth, I don’t think telling Max any new words was going to make him agree. It felt like the author’s intent was to communicate that force, and only force, could cause him to comply.

    • Weatherheight

      Nicely thought out.

    • Tylikcat

      We came in pretty well into the action. It was clear he had a lot more of the story than we did. I suspect he had more of the story than we yet have. We don’t know how much of an informed choice he was making, but it seems like Alison was trying to lay out her case at the point where we came in on things – the important point was that we saw what she did to him before we understood why.

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      And how might you feel about leaving Alison with the choice of deciding which people are making stupid choices needing to be “corrected” and which are doing just nicely?

      • UnsettlingIdeologies

        On some level, even within the world of the comic, that question seems moot. She’s not only one of the most powerful (still living) biodynamics on the planet, but she’s a trained super soldier who spent most of her teens deciding when people needed to be corrected and correcting them. And everyone knows it, including her. We all (including her) know that she is fully capable (psychologically and physically) of murdering people for their actions. We’ve in fact seen her do it and heard her talk about it.

        As long as she is alive and kicking, and she doesn’t decide to completely remove herself from humanity all together, she will always be making the choice of who needs to be corrected and who doesn’t. Whether she’s only exercising that authority to stop the sketchy almost-definitely-a-rapist at a party and the occasional armed robber, or whether she decides to force congress to pass universal health care (like she mentioned while talking to Daniel), she already *is* choosing who needs to be corrected. So the question isn’t *whether* she should be in the position to make those choices, because that ship sailed the second she realized just how powerful she is. To me, the question is are we okay with the specific choices she’s making?

        There’s also the much darker and more to the point question, are we okay with someone who has that much power continuing to live as a part of human society?

        • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

          She knew this, at some point. She was taking it into account. She once said to Daniel, “you don’t get respect just because you’re powerful”. I was okay with her living among humans as long as she never forgot how much it mattered.

          How far you’be fallen, Alison.

  • StClair

    This is me, waiting for the other shoe.

    (First horrible thought: “Instead, we simply harvest one of your endlessly-reproducing clones.”)

  • H.

    Well, there it is. That’s what she strongarmed Max into. Feral gets to help more people, *and* have a life at the same time. Worth it? Allison clearly thinks so.

  • GreatWyrmGold

    “First question, what procedure. Second question—why don’t you want me in surgery any more? What, did you extract all the organs you’ll ever need from me?”
    “First, she’s remained mysteriously vague about the whole thing. Second, I assume it’s so the story arc will have some kind of conclusion…though I’m not yet sure if we’re supposed to have extracted loads of organs from you or if you’re out-regenerating our scalpels or what.

  • Hiram

    That doesn’t sound like a permanent solution. That sounds like exchanging duration for intensity.

    • Stephanie

      I think that’s unlikely. It’s not like Feral ever had to continue donating constantly. She could have just donated for part of the day, but she chose to donate constantly because she didn’t want to waste any time she could be using to save lives.

      So if the new plan were just “harvest more organs in a shorter time,” wouldn’t Feral still insist on donating constantly so that she could donate even more? It’s unlikely that she can ever outpace the actual demand for organs.

      I think the “fundamental alteration” to her anomaly will allow her to save lives without surgery.

  • FlashNeko

    Note that she says, “We don’t need” instead of “we can’t”. The word choice is key there and probably means those who guessed the organs themselves are regenerative were right.

    Or we’re about to discover this was a horror comic all along and cut to a scene of a seemingly unending wall of Feral clones screaming in eternal surgical agony.

    • Sendaz

      But you are skipping over the word constant the doc used. The doc isn’t saying there won’t be anymore surgeries, just probably won’t be needed as often given the enhanced harvest rate.

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      She also said “we don’t need you in constant surgery”, not just surgery. So it would seem surgery is still necessary for harvesting organs. Which would not match with regenerative ones on their own.

      • Nathanaël François

        Maybe it’s just that the regenerative organs eventually still need to be replaced or something? Or maybe it’s just that there simply aren’t enough receivers for constant surgery to make sense. If organs are popping at a rate of 100 a minute…

  • R.S. Laurent

    I might just be guessing here, but maybe the harvested organs can now replicate on their own?
    That would explain the dialogue in the last panel………

  • Spectacles

    I don’t care what anyone else thinks. Those tears brought tears to my eyes, so as far as I’m concerned, this was WORTH IT.

  • Smartkittykhan

    Really hope those are happy tears.

  • Flames

    But does that means she is now a target for the conspiracy now?

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      No because at the end of the day (and it was Al’s argument back then), it doesn’t change anything in the grand scheme of things.

      Well hopefully.
      Well I say hopefully but I also really really want to finally get talking about those shady post office workers.

  • palmvos

    ok, wow Alison was BUSY. she seems to have warned the staff about what she was going to do. this confirms that when she tried to convince Max she had already decided what was going to happen. the only question in her mind was willing or unwilling.
    I wish someone had told her to sleep on it somehow. from what I can surmise now- i doubt it would have made much difference.
    I have been under the impression that smoking inside a hospital was completely forbidden. but given what Tara was doing and Alison’s power level… well exceptions will be made.
    and now for the next three days let us speculate on why they don’t need her in constant surgery anymore.
    1. healing power is now affecting others directly (area effect)
    2. self duplicating organs
    3. Tara has partially cloned herself inadvertently and the vegetative clone is now providing the organs.
    4. something else i haven’t thought of..
    also- so far it seems that an effort is being made to protect what is left of Max’s privacy. how long will that last? Will Alison admit to Tara what happened?
    how much does Patrick know? how much did he anticipate? Is he going to get in the middle of this?
    something that just occurred to me- the file on Max may have been extensive enough to list the reasons why he won’t use his power. someone commented that Alison didn’t seem like she was trying all that hard to convince Max to do this. it is possible that she walked in knowing that she would have to force him to do this.

    • Psile

      Also possible – Tara now heals so fast that they can harvest her organs at an accelerated rate, allowing her organ harvesting to be more along the lines of a day job, or a few times a week rather than all day all the time. Still a vast improvement.

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      5. Tara is conveniently very fine with the amount of organs she’s currently giving instead of absolute maximization like she was before, and her power boost conveniently doesn’t render cutting her open more difficult. Convenience! Works every time.

  • Walter

    We’ve missed you, gay furry Jesus.

    There’s a lot of questions raised by the content of this update, but it feels churlish to spend Feral’s good news page with yet more Max power details speculation.

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      Wait are you saying Jesus wasn’t into dudes? I’ll have you count the number of hot guys he had following him around and the suspiciously fun times he had splashing their feet with water

  • Sendaz

    It will be interesting to see just how boosted Feral’s system is.

    http://sfp.nsch.co/issue-3/page-39-2/

    Pre-boosting had Feral being able to output 8-10 hearts, 15-20 Lungs and around 30 kidneys a day.

    Post boost the doc said they are seeing exponential ramping up, so possibly 10 to 100 times as fast.

    Let’s go with a hypothetical 100x bump. Faster than that would probably mean the cuts heal before the docs could potentially remove the organ.

    If with her ‘Maxed’ system that 30 kidneys a day jumps up to 3000 day possible, for the docs to keep up that would mean scooping out a pair of kidney in just under a minute for a full 24 hours (2 kidneys/minute x 60 minutes/hour x 24 hours gives you 2880 kidneys harvested.)

    In the US alone, there are over 100,000 people on the kidney replacement list with another 500,000 able to stay on dialysis machines in a pinch, but could benefit from replacements.
    Under ‘normal’ conditions you maybe see 1600 kidney replacements in the US due to supplies and personnel. And the number of surgeons would act as a bit of a brake on this as there are just under 250 transplant centers in the US that can handle this sort of surgery, so while they can quickly rip them out of Feral, delivering them and putting them into regular folk will take longer, normal surgery time for a transplant is around 2-3 hours. So under the x100 boost she could certainly break up her day and go do things.

    Now she maybe only got a x10 boost so it could mean just 300 kidneys a day at max harvest, but then they are talking about giving her breaks and time off surgeries, so final numbers may need adjusting.
    One 8hr harvest shift a day gives her time to sleep and do things, so potentially 100 kidneys (at x10 rate) up to 1000 a day ( at the upper x100 rate). So anywhere from just over 3 months up to 3 years to get the critical ones caught up on surgeries. It will take longer if they start adding the guys who can stay on dialysis to this of course.

    Assuming some agency doesn’t just wait until Alison is gone and puts Feral back under for max harvesting again because they don’t want to wait a few extra months for parts.

    • Stephanie

      I’m guessing that a “fundamental alteration” in Feral’s anomaly means something other than just a flat boost to her regeneration rate. She can probably do something completely new now that she couldn’t before.

    • Weatherheight

      Hadn’t even considered the logistical issues. Yeah, that does raise issues. And let’s not forget that many hospitals have upper limits on surgeons on how many hour the can log in the ER each week (to prevent exhaustion and the mistakes it causes).

      Nice!

  • Psile

    So a lot of people theorized and predicted this, but now that we have genuine information it allows us to at least see part of the other side of the equation, IE why Allison did the horrible thing she did.

    So we still don’t have all the information but what we know for sure is that Feral is spared from being in constant surgery and I would say it’s a fair guess that the rate of organ generation will not slow down as a result. Basically allowing the benefit of Feral’s surgery without the suffering for Feral. It is even possible that they are able to harvest organs at a faster rate than when she was getting surgery.

    For the last few pages I’ve been saying ‘we need to see the other side of the equation’. Now we are seeing it, or part of it, and already Allison’s actions are looking pretty justified to me. Even if Feral is angry at her and doesn’t want to speak to her again, which I don’t think is likely, and even if Max returns with greater force to get revenge on Allison I think that she will go to her grave thinking she made the right choice. By my estimations, she would be right. Weighing Max’s 4 hours of discomfort against a lifetime of actual profound suffering by Feral is easy math.

    • Stephanie

      “Weighing Max’s 4 hours of discomfort against a lifetime of actual profound suffering by Feral is easy math.” Yep–and the scale becomes even more unbalanced if Feral can save more lives now than she could before, which is what I expect will be the case. Then it’s Max’s 4 hours vs Feral’s lifetime of suffering and a bunch of dead people and their grieving families.

      • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

        I hate it so much that you dare call it “four hours of discomfort.”
        It should be so, so, so painfully obvious why.

    • Weatherheight

      I agree – Alison is sure she’s right on this, at least for right now.
      Whether later events pan out the way she anticipated… well, that’s still open.

      New updates cannot come fast enough for me. 😀

    • Jagged

      I don’t see why the perfect outcome changes anything.

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      It says nowhere that she would start not feeling pain, though. Unless the webcomic is cheating with its premises, I don’t see what would compelled Tara to just do same as before, ergo more organs. Which doesn’t help her or Alison jack.

      And human suffering is something you calculated in the 19th c. before we realized how properly inhumane that always ends up being.

      • Psile

        Even if she is feeling pain, the facts we have been given state that she is no longer in constant surgery. Literally even if this just means she can take a break every couple hours it is a huge life improvement for her, given as that she volunteered for a life that would literally be categorized as inhumane punishment by anyone. In this situation, even giving her a small break is a godsend. Feral was having her flesh constantly pulled open and held open for days, her vital organs being cut out of her body while she is awake and alert. Horror movie level pain. You can’t just dismiss that by saying ‘you can’t calculate suffering’. Max’s ‘suffering’ consisted of literally having his arm twisted. Maybe I can’t numerically quantify it, but I can damn sure say that one is on a completely level than the other. It’s not even close. I’m not so much comparing as stating the obvious. So yeah, I can look at both.

        Even if Tara does decide to just still stay in surgery all day, that means she is donating more organs and therefor more human lives are being saved. Again, weigh that against what Max went through. I’m sorry, you can’t just say that Allison’s actions are not justifiable under any circumstances when you’re weighing it against human lives in a direct cause and effect scenario like this.

        Morals are complicated, more complicated than laws. Even if what Allison did was illegal, which it was, was it wrong? I think no.

  • Pol Subanajouy

    Max was willing to let Feral suffer operating table perdition to spite Al. Al was willing to use force and violate consent to make Feral’s suffering end. Right now I am not a fan of either of them. In fact I kind of hate both of them right now. A little repelled by both of their choices if I am to be honest. On a personal level.

    And I probably would have done the same thing as Al.

    Good job, Brennan and Molly.

    • Kate Blackwell

      Feral’s condition was self inflicted though, she didn’t have to do any of that to begin with but choose to of her own free will.

      • Pol Subanajouy

        I know. And Max could have made that option no longer needed for what she wanted to do.

    • Cyrano111

      How many people are there in the world whose lives could be made better if you did something you are not doing now? If you have sufficient resources to be on the internet and time to be reading this comic, then the answer is “billions”.

      We are all Max.

  • ClockworkDawn

    Yaaaaaaaay! Blackmail with the threat of physical violence, as usual, solves all of one’s problems.

    • SJ

      Yaaaaaaaay! Blackmail with the threat of physical violence, as usual, solves all of one’s problems.

      And remember, it was “only four hours,” so it’s totally legit.

      I’m sure that Dan Turner would approve.

  • Micah Matheson

    So, technically speaking, Allison has violated the bodily autonomy of not one person, but two people. Against their wishes.

    • Stephanie

      She didn’t get Feral’s consent, but I don’t know why you assume she did this against Feral’s wishes. I don’t remember Feral ever saying, “Boy, I sure would hate it if I could save all these people’s lives without having to be in ceaseless agony.”

  • Dawnlighter

    Now that we finally know what Alison wanted, its really worth revisiting the conversation they had on Page 81 and 82 and thinking about what was in the back of her mind as they spoke. We now know that the conversation went something like this:

    Alison: … so if you use your powers, you can save Feral – my best friend and the most selfless woman who ever lived – from a lifetime of agony. So that’s my plan. What do you think?

    Max: I think you have a lot of nerve coming back here. You know that right?

    Alison: I know that. I was rude, immature, and unkind the last time I was here. It was… uncalled for. And I sincerely apologise.

    Max: That’s good to hear. My answer is no.

    Alison: OK, no.. why?

    Max: Let me be very clear about something. I don’t need a why. You are asking me to do something for you. Something I don’t feel like doing.

    Alison: Why don’t you feel like doing it?

    Max: That doesn’t matter. Believe it or not, I don’t have to explain myself to you. You are not the boss of me.

    Alison: I would never presume to make myself the boss of you. I’m not interested in controlling your life. But you … you have to…

    Max: I have to? I have to? Or what? What are you going to do if I don’t.

    I totally agree that what Alison did was wrong. Max had every right to refuse to use his powers. At the very least, Alison should have tried sending Patrick, Brad or Lisa in first and saved the kidnap and torture until a last resort.

    But if I was in that situation and had her powers, I honestly would have done the same thing that she did. I acknowledge that may speak more to a moral deficiency in my character than anything, but the thing that really gnaws at me is Max’s attitude. He had learned that he could save Feral from a lifetime of agony but the only thing he was concerned with was making sure that Alison didn’t get her way. Even when she tried eating humble pie, it just didn’t matter. If I was in that situation, I could not allow Feral to spend one more night agony because of that rich prick with zero empathy.

    And another thing to point out is – Max is stupid! If I was the only chance Mega-girl had of saving her friend from a lifetime of torture and was convinced that helping her was a bad idea, I would be trying very hard to get her sympathy, not belittling and insulting her. I mean, if Max was held up at gunpoint and responded by insulting the gunman’s genital size instead of giving his wallet, I would agree that the gunman should bear responsibility for pulling the trigger, but Max stupidity was undeniably a contributing factor.

    • Psile

      Yeah, big time. Honestly, when you think about how that conversation had to have gone down it’s amazing that Allison was as calm and kind as she was.

      As for Max being stupid, keep in mind that he doesn’t have a whole lot of experience being in a situation where he does not have all over the power. Yes, his parents have power over him but if they don’t exercise it he’s probably pretty used to just going around and doing what he wants. The fact that Allison had him at an extremely disadvantageous position, both by virtue of physical strength and blackmail, probably didn’t even enter his brain until his arm was twisted behind his back. Basically if Max had the basic human decency to fulfill a fraction of his part of the social contract he wouldn’t have been in this situation to begin with, and I honestly don’t feel bad for him at all particularly given that he is probably going to pop up in 2-3 chapters with some powered-up psychopath in toe and be responsible for several deaths.

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      The birth of a fascist regime is always lovely, coated into the pure and bright desire of protecting the ones we hold dear against those who just won’t fucking do things the right way.

      You know, with the development of the plot we’ve had, I’m doing a complete 180° and in the end, I find it admirable how Max’ refusal is framed as petty and childish: Because it makes Alison easier to empathize with, it will only strike us more strongly when she falls, hard, for what she did. When everybody turns her back on her no matter how hard she tries to explain herself (“He was being a child! I had to…”) with the thought unconsciously creeping back in that she was unequivocally wrong, and that she became everything she hates.

      Also, bleh to your whole last paragraph, for a reason I don’t want to write aloud but of which the keywords are “victim blaming”. Being an assclown is not against the law, and Alison is not a Force of Nature that can’t be held accountable for anything.
      Well, unless she is.

      • Aabcehmu

        Collecting taxes is fascist?

      • Dawnlighter

        When I said responsible, I wasn’t talking about legally responsible or morally responsible. Our law rightly says that human life is so valuable that no matter how rude or insensitive a person behaves, killing them is never justifiable.

        What I meant was responsible in terms of causality. I would be saying that even if I liked Max. In fact, if the situation had been that Max was shot because on his way to volunteer at the homeless shelter he heroically jumped in front of pregnant woman to prevent her from being hit by a bullet, I would say that he is even MORE responsible in terms of causality.

        If you heroically choose to jump in front of a bullet, you are partially responsible for being hurt. You are not legally responsible. You are not morally responsible. Hopefully, you are not financially responsible and the shoorter is. You are however, responsible in the sense that you chose to made a decision that resulted in a foreseeable detrimental outcome.

        In fact, now that I think about it, I didn’t even need to use the use the word ‘responsible’.

        Ultimately, the main point I was trying to convey in that last paragraph was that Max handled that situation in possilbly the worst way possible. I’m not saying Max should have blindly agree to anything Alison demands, but I feel that if you are going to tell a demi-goddess that you are not going to help her save her friend from a lifetime of agony, you need to do so very delicately.

        You need her to see things from your perspective, to understand that this isn’t just a simple black and white issue. You need to make her aware that you are a human being and that if she uses her power to coerce you into doing what she wants, she crosses a line.

      • Balthanon

        I find it somewhat interesting that you automatically assume that everybody will turn their back on Allison. Assuming it even comes out, which is by no means guaranteed, there is every chance that people will say, “Hmm, you know, it’s not a great thing to do, but I can see why you did it.” Much like many people in these comments. There is a reason that people debate Utilitarianism vs Kant and other ethical frameworks– there is no easy answer to what constitutes the best answer in this, much like other forms of philosophy.

        Even if Allison went full villain– there is nothing saying that she will face consequences from her actions for this. Strong Female Protagonist has never really struck me as a comic that follows tropes or the standard narrative flow that so many books, movies, and other stories follow to try and enforce societal lessons. It’s one of the reasons that I enjoy it.

        • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

          I don’t automatically assume, but I dearly hope. Anything less is the webcomic justifying abuse of power.

          Because it kind of matters despite nobody standing besides Alison on this one not treading anywhere near it that the power dynamics at play are astoundingly imbalanced.

      • UnsettlingIdeologies

        I think it’s really important to keep in mind that (if we trust that Alison didn’t outright lie to him to save Feral) Max wasn’t just innocently being an ass clown. He was refusing to save countless lives out of spite. Sure, he had legitimate fears and concerns, but he admitted that at the end of the day, he was making the choice out of spite.

        I just cannot get behind a moral code that values personal freedom to such a high degree that we say it’s ethically acceptable to allow innocent people to die out of bitterness.

        • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

          This is very odd to me that y’all Americans, with much laxer laws on the duty to rescue, hold this opinion than Frenchperson me here where it’s a pretty well covered legal obligation.

          But “had Max the right to refuse helping” and “had Alison the right to make him reconsider” are not interchangeable. And answering no to the first doesn’t make a yes of the second.

    • Yeah, and here’s another important thing to keep in mind here. Now that Feral’s anomaly has been enhanced, there is no longer a demand for organ donations, everyone who needs one now has access to one. Max decided that it was more important to spite Alison than give thousands of people a chance to live.

      • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

        We still don’t know that and this page is telling us, for now, that the only beneficiary of that act was Tara’s well being. Alison decided it was more important to give back Tara some free time than to not become a tyrant.

  • zathura

    Yup. Its official. The guys a massive douche nozzle. I’m with Allison. Her actions are undoubtedly going to come bite her behind…..but at this point I’d say it’s worth it

  • Philip Bourque

    Well, I said I was going to be disappointed if something like this happened. Now instead of actual consequences to Alison’s thuggish, dictatorial and rash behaviour, there isn’t even a moral quandary as the suffering of a single unlikable individual is immaterial compared to the benefits of countless people. Also, I really don’t view amplification power as working like that, but that’s just a personal view.
    How do they deal with organ rejection? I would guess that the physiological differences between a biodynamic and a others would make donating blood and organ transplants problematic, but I’m surprised Feral’s organs would even be remotely compatible with anyone else.

    • Stephanie

      1. Consequences don’t have to be immediate. Just because there hasn’t been any negative fallout for Alison yet doesn’t mean there never will be. Right now, we are only one scene removed from the Max incident.

      2. This kind of dilemma really only works if there is something of actual value to be gained by breaking a principle. It’s our job to decide for ourselves whether what Alison accomplished was worth violating Max’s autonomy. That is the moral quandary. And while I may agree with you that Max’s suffering is immaterial compared to the benefit of saving countless people, there are plenty of others in the comments who don’t believe that anything, even this, can justify the use of coercion.

      Making her action only have negative consequences would be like changing the fat-man variant of the trolley problem to “Five people are tied to the tracks, and you can push one guy in front of the trolley to slow it down and save the five, but then the trolley will derail and plow through a crowd of people and kill them all.” It’s pointless, because the whole point of that problem is to decide whether it’s permissible to cause a small harm in order to prevent a greater harm.

      • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

        Oh, so that’s what you meant about disagreeing with “only negative consequences”. That’s not at all what I meant when we were talking about this. Whether or not the day is saved doesn’t matter here, but how hollow and elusive that potential victory is. The webcomic can communicate that in a number of ways and it can still happen in a world which is technically saved.

    • Tsapki

      This was covered when Feral first began donating. For whatever reason, her organs have a practically 0% rejection rate. It’s part of the reason her perpetual donation process was green lighted.

    • Danygalw

      Uh, we knew from the beginning that on the other side was “save countless lives”.

      Organ rejection is, I assume, covered by healing power.

  • Zechariah Val Judy

    One person suffered for a couple hours, to remove years worth of EXTREME suffering from someone else. I can see your Math, Alison, but I still want you in jail.

    • Walter

      I’m not sure jail makes any sense for Alison. Like, that would basically involve talking her into staying in one place (since you can’t constrain her). And, once accomplished, you’d have rid the world of its best firefighter and nuke puncher.

      Better to just accept that she’s gonna do what she’s gonna do, I think. She seems to be a net positive.

  • demosthenese10

    I’m trying to understand the implications of this. Is it that she now heals so quickly, they can’t do surgery because the incisions close too fast?

    • Stephanie

      I don’t think Alison or the doctor would be happy if the only change was that surgery is now impossible. I think Feral will now be able to save at least as many lives as she already was, but through a new application of her enhanced anomaly that doesn’t require the surgeries.

    • Danygalw

      Doctor says they “don’t need” to keep her in constant surgery, not that they can’t.

  • RantGirlRants

    Oh damn. Way to go, Alley!

  • Zizhou

    And now we wait for the other shoe to drop…

    Personally, though, as an ultimately flawed human being, I’m pretty sure that if I were in Feral’s position, I think I’d ultimately be OK with the violation of personal rights that Alison committed to put me in this current position. This probably makes me an utterly terrible person by some of the standards put forth in discussion so far, but I am still human. If I could help save the lives in a way that I am uniquely suited and do it without being in agony for my entire conscious existence, I’d be willing to sacrifice a bit in the way of personal principles to do it.

    It’s certainly an interesting dilemma being put forth, that’s for sure.

    • Stephanie

      Honestly, I think anyone in Feral’s position would have to do something truly horrible to qualify as an “utterly terrible person,” considering the enormity of her sacrifice.

      I’m with you on this. Causing Max brief inconvenience and brief pain was not a nice thing to do, but it absolutely pales in comparison to Feral being tortured forever. And if Feral can now save even more lives than before–which I expect she will be able to since Alison said the plan was to save “countless lives,” not just to save Feral from torture–then it’s even harder to justify choosing not to coerce Max.

      • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

        …are you starting to say that it wouldn’t matter if Tara hurt, hell, killed people just because she happened to feel like it at the time just because of her contribution to the world?

        There’s really a point where the balance metaphor shows both how inappropriate and horrific it is.

      • Dartangn

        Except Feral put herself in that situation. Remember that. This is reliving her of her situational martyr’s complex, not an actual independent problem.

        This was not a Jack Bauer moment. And it opens up a very, very unfortunate can of worms ethically, if the situation wasn’t so outrageously hyperbolised with regards to Max’s attitude and powers, and Feral’s situation.

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      I wouldn’t be so sure. Tara really seems to love herself some humans. Remember when she tried everything to prevent an irate Alison from killing the very same ones who considered Tara like the worst of freaks?

    • Dartangn

      Probably why people’s opinions aren’t given much credence if they are given after a potential reprieve from months of brutal torture.

    • RainWall

      I think if we worry about “violation of personal rights” when strong-arming some idiot into using their incredible super-power into easily and quickly saving someone from years of pain, and saving countless lives as well, we’ll never get anything done.

      At some point, it’s okay to force an idiot like whats-his-face into helping a friend, or anyone they can so immediately, directly, and *drastically* help.

      • Izo

        Those pesky personal rights…. who needs em, right?

        Seriously?!

  • Carla

    What Allison did was not ok, but I would absolutely do the same if that’s what it meant for someone I loved.

  • danelsan

    Huh? How does that work? Didn’t the surgeons had trouble keeping up with her regeneration already, or am I misremembering?

    • Stephanie

      If they no longer need her to be in surgery in order for her to save lives, then it’s not a problem if her accelerated healing rate makes surgery impossible.

      It sounds like her ability changed in a more dramatic way than just making her regenerate faster, in any case.

  • GelasticJake

    Ok, so here’s my guess: von Neumann organs. Feral’s anomaly has developed to the point where her organs are capable of independent regeneration, even from small pieces. Cut off a piece of her heart, and not only does the original heal, but the piece regenerates into an entirely new heart.

    Just a guess.

  • CrazyBeautiful

    Dude…..the feels oh the feels

  • Karmik

    So I wonder if she weeps because she is free from the torment she willingly put herself through, or is it BECAUSE she is free from it. What if Feral’s reaction here isn’t one of relief but anger and sadness. She went into this from a weird angle at the start, it was a noble and selfless thing but what if she only really considered it because she felt like it was what she deserved. She seemed to have a healthy does of self hatred before she went on her world tour. What if she found a way to both do good and punish herself at the same time, allowing good people to do good longer because she didn’t think she was one of them. She could have the same mentality as a person who stays in an abusive relationship because “they don’t deserve better”. Now, free from that punishment she has to come to grips with her feelings about herself.

    This would serve to prove Max right in his assessment, dickish though it might have been, that Feral was getting something out of it and no one does a thing without self interest in mind. Altruism was A reason for Feral’s decision but it wasn’t the ONLY reason.

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      I feel like this has always been a silly question anyway. Defined as such, it’s obvious that altruism doesn’t exist since you at the very least get the self-satisfaction of doing something out of altruism.

      We have a word for people who completely disregard their own self-interest in life: idiots. “I want to make gift of my life to my fellow human!” “It’s fulfilling, isn’t it?” “No I hate it it’s the point”

  • Obinna Onyeije

    Ya done good, Alison. Ya done good.

  • Yirtimd2

    And how they will help to ill people who won’t get now their donate organs? So they must die now? Or maybe Alison made some trick plan to help them too using Max’s ability? I don’t get it/

    • Stephanie

      Since the doctor says they don’t need her to be in constant surgery, I think it’s safe to assume that Feral is now able to save those people in some other way, thanks to this new alteration to her healing ability.

    • SuddenFan

      My guess: She’s sped up to the point where they only need to do infrequent surgeries, or her organs regenerate outside of her body.

      • Matrix

        I like the theory in another post: Regen Blood. Just inject some feral blood and it regenerates the subject. Boom, no surgery. Type X blood.

  • DocPhineas

    Ah, yes, but Allison is wrong to have forced Max to get Feral out of a state of perpetual torture. I mean, really, what a slippery slope that is and how awful of her to have started down it. Wherever shall we be if the rights of the invididual are trampled on for some ethereal “greater good”?

    And as for the myopic idea that Feral agreed to the organ donation, I can only suggest reading “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”. There are rights that people cannot (and/or should not be allowed to) give up, and it is very arguable that the doctors and medical staff taking out Feral’s organs were committing a deeply immoral and maybe even evil action.

    Yeah, Allison used force on Max. Max was using force (economic, at least) on those workers. The idea that using force is somehow always wrong is completely bonkers. We use force all the time, from physical to political to economic, to compelling people’s behavior. The better question is “what force is being used to compelling what behavior?”

    • Weatherheight

      Interesting thoughts!

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      It’s not about using force, it’s about removal of agency. Which yes, is always wrong.

    • Danygalw

      The child of Omelas did not consent. That matters, enormously.

      • DocPhineas

        Really? How, exactly, does that matter? If you’re going to contend something so bizarre as consent mattering for freaking torture, a blithe statement doesn’t cut it.

        The idea that someone can voluntarily submit to being tortured is utterly contemptible. Even something like Christopher Hitchens agreeing to be waterboarded to show that it is torture is ultimately deplorable precisely because that demonstration should not be necessary.

        Also, I feel fairly confident that the point of “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” was not whether the child agreed to their treatment or not. It struck me as about how people react to a society that views torture not only as acceptable but required.

  • Izo

    “Your friend Ms Green arranged for a procedure which fundamentally altered your anomaly.”

    What does this mean? Either:

    1) The doctor knows Alison tortured someone to force them to augment Feral without her permission or knowledge, when its known that she augmented natural increases, like Cleaver, are harmful to the person, and she is cool with that because, like Dr Mengele, she believes the ends justify the means. See #3

    2) The doctor knows there is a person capable of augmenting other dynomorphic people who is classified by Congress, and will be brought up for investigation soon into how she received classified information.

    3) The doctor is the dumbest, least curious, most unethical doctor on the planet, who doesnt ask about these procedures that no one else saw, or is too dumb to even ask (in which case i wouldnt want her applying a bandaid let alone performing surgery) and should lose her medical license immediately for her reckless indifference to her patients on experimental and unknown – even to her – procedures (Possible since she already has broken her hippocratic oath anyway)

    • Stephanie

      Why do you say she has already broken her oath?

    • Walter

      Board: For the heinous crime of not being present when the most powerful superhuman in the world entered your facility, the board hereby strips you of your license! Reflect upon your sins!

      Doc: I’m sorry! I’m so sorry! I never imagined that my hippocratic oath should have demanded that I remain constantly vigilant over my patient who literally regenerates from all harm in order to make sure that their best friend never uses magic to aid them.

      Board: You are basically equal to the worst Nazi criminal doctor of all time. Don’t you know that a man had his ARM TWISTED! He was inconvenienced for FOUR HOURS! What do you have to say for yourself?!

      Doc: *bursts into tears*

      Board: Thanks to your disgraceful and unethical care your patient has made a full recovery and is no longer in constant torment, you monster!

    • Weatherheight

      I’m a bit curious about how this all got arranged, as well. I’m wondering if Doctor Rosenblum had Tara moved to her facility, allowed the augmentation, then arranged for Tara to be transported back to the original hospital and told them a cover story.

      If not, then, yeah, not buying the “you had a mystery procedure” bit at all.

    • Debbie Jackson

      How about,

      4) The doctor asked, was told that the augmentation procedure was non-invasive, need to know, involved serious federal secrets and the information would likely never be made available, and was already entirely complete – but she was given permission to test the newly regrown organs long enough to ensure that they were fundamentally unchanged in their nature and would continue to work as replacements for non-biodynamic patients without causing dynamism as a result, before waking the patient.

      I’m not sure this is the most likely but it is I believe quite possible. They’ve clearly already done some testing to be speaking this weightedly about her regeneration rate increase.

  • Ellie K

    bet those aren’t tears of joy

  • SubspaceDreamer

    Awwww, I’m so happy for Feral! She gave so much of herself, and life finally seems to be giving back.

  • Roman Snow

    I’m really nervous about the next page on this one. I’m still not clear on how increasing Feral’s healing factor means “we don’t need you in constant surgery” for a reason other than “you heal too fast for us to get your organs to begin with.”

    I’m also a little surprised Alison admitted she was responsible, but I suppose that was the best way to let the hospital know that something had changed?

    • Stephanie

      “Fundamentally altered,” to me, implies that Feral didn’t just get a flat boost to her healing rate. It sounds like she can now use her power in a new way.

      • Matrix

        The Grope of Healing

    • Walter

      Maybe her “regen-ness” is so strong that it helps other people? Like, her blood makes them regrow their own organs? They just inject a drop or so to each patient?

      • Matrix

        I like this. Regen Juice. Feral’s blood. There have been a number of examples of this in fiction. Wolverine (to a small extent), but the one that comes to mine is Kahn from the new Star Trek. His blood could cure anything. I agree with Don’t NEED to is different than CAN”T.

    • Danygalw

      It’s transferable. I bet you.

      “Don’t need” is nothing like “can’t”.

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      I guess they could have gone with a “you know how everybody’s power is consistently evolving very steadily and slowly? Well, yours just went sort of bonkers last night. How did it happen? Who knows!”
      So Alison doesn’t mind letting her know. Which is nice.

    • Pol Subanajouy

      Maybe just a small sample of a specific organ tissue regenerates the whole organ now and Feral just acts as the source material for a self-sustaining organ farm? Yes, that has incredibly confusing implications on how that might work, but superhero science.

  • Ben Posin

    “Also, you now need a haircut every 3 minutes.”

    • Sendaz

      Feral finances her downtime by starting Wild Wigs Ltd, using her own hair.

    • Filthy Liar

      “Don’t even get us started on your fingernails and toenails.”

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      Given that it seemed to stop on this page, I posit that hair growth is triggered by and only during burger and bourbon consumption, so she’s fiiiine

  • Tylikcat

    Still working without information. It’s almost increasing.

    But I do find myself wondering a bit at some of what motivated Tara. Self sacrifice, penance… Aiee.

    • Weatherheight

      After reading today’s comic, I had this image in my mind of a pair of bobbies (English policemen, all you people with dirty minds who saw something else) on either side of the comic going…

      “All right, move along, nothing new here, everyone, move along, that’s right, nothing to see, keep moving…”

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      You don’t feel like what we got in Issue 2 was enough? What do you feel is missing?

    • Hiram

      Yeah, Alison’s utter failure to communicate with Feral before modifying her as well as the somewhat gloating announcement that she, Alison Green was the one who found the ultimate solution. . . it all seems effacing of Tara’s choice and sacrifice. Alison may have the ‘greater good’ in mind, but she treated Tara and Max as tools instead of people.

  • Wait. I don’t understand. I’m not seeing why they don’t need her in constant surgery anymore. If the regeneration is happening faster, would that not simply mean ~more~ organs to harvest? There’s about 120k Americans in need of a lifesaving transplant so it’s not like they got them all and the job’s done.

  • Ben

    I don’t think she’s crying because she’s happy. I think she’s crying because her purpose has been taken from her. Allison was trying to do something nice for her friend, an ultimate kindness in a way, saving her, but she didn’t want to be saved. Feral is a martyr of the highest order and one can’t be a martyr if they are not suffering.

  • Lheticus Videre

    I don’t understand why people still think what Alison did was just as bad as before we had this context. To me, it’s gone from black to a grey area. Sure, she could have explained this specific reason to him, but after he actually belittled Feral as not being selfless, I don’t think it’s a reasonable thing to expect anyone to do–even a superhero. As far as I’m concerned, Max being forced like he was is just a bad thing happening to a bad person.

    As for the slippery slope argument, I say this act has brought Alison to the top, she hasn’t started down it yet. This sort of thing is how slippery slopes always start–breaking some principle because it’s for someone that hugely important to you. It’s entirely possible that she can say never again, here. I mean, I didn’t start following this comic till this issue so I can only imagine just how much Feral’s situation had been weighing on her.

    This doesn’t prove Alison’s bad, or gone bad. It only proves she’s human. And wasn’t that kind of the point of this comic to begin with?

  • Kifre

    So ….just going to point out that ‘countless, countless lives’ were never imperiled if Max failed to act. Feral already had that covered, albeit at incredible personal sacrifice. The only thing that seems to have changed as a result of Alison’s little jaunt into tyranny is that Feral’s quality of life has improved astronomically.

    • weedgoku

      Watch out, mate. People are still going to rush in to tell you she was justified in assault and coercion because reasons.

  • Weatherheight

    Well, that’s a little more information…

    ::glances at the carrot dangling before him and the oatmeal cookies on the table::

    Guess I’ll join the crowd in the corner waiting for another page.

    ::trots off to the corner, spins about five times, then lies down::

  • Philip Petrunak

    Wait… don’t need her in constant surgery? Does that mean she’ll still need to undergo surgery? At what rate? One a day? I mean, it’s better than before, but if she still needs to get cut open sans anaesthetics regularly it’s still a terrible fate.

  • Lostman

    I know everyone having good feelings, but wait… there going to be a catch. There always a catch…

  • SuddenFan

    Not to knock the art, but does anyone else miss backgrounds?

    • weedgoku

      I also miss when they actually wrote at a reasonable pace. They’re taking so long to give any kind of explanation for this storyline that I have just lost all care. This arc is like listening to a friend tell you that amazing story about “You’ll never believe who I saw at the mall today” and three hours in they’re just getting to the mall, because they had to tell you about who they went to the mall with and how they stopped to eat cheese fries first.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    Two years of webcomic as a set up for that joke and it’s still totally worth it.

    • Kid Chaos

      Happy to be of service. 😎

  • This Guy

    This is a good comic and everyone should feel good.

  • Arkone Axon

    I’d like to take a moment to discuss someone named Bernie Madoff.

    For those who don’t remember, Madoff was one of the evil rich bastards who destroyed the global economy. He was a stock broker whose investments were in fact a giant ponzi scheme. Eventually he told the truth to his sons.

    When his sons found out, they immediately reported him to the authorities. Had they not done so, they would have been charged as accomplices. Instead, they chose to turn on their father the moment they found out that he had committed serious crimes which he had benefited from (incidentally, one of them committed suicide a few years later. That should tell you how he felt about what his father did).

    Right now Feral is enjoying the benefits of Alison’s actions, but doesn’t know the details. But whether or not Alison tells her what she did, it’s only a matter of time before Feral finds out that her freedom from the torment she voluntarily submitted to (for the sake of others) was achieved by the torture and terrorization of an innocent person whose two REAL crimes were “having a super power that he lived in terror of people finding out he possessed, lest they immediately turn him into a living tool for their own purposes,” and “Not liking the protagonist.” Do you seriously think Feral will be okay with this?

    In point of fact, I think Alison did something else to hurt… Feral. The moment Feral finds out what happened… burgers and bourbon will no longer be enjoyable. She’ll never be able to consume either one ever again, without tasting the reminder of what happened to Max. Speaking as someone who has experienced something similar… even if Feral were to forgive Alison for all the rest, do you seriously think she’ll be able to forgive Alison for making any future fast food and alcohol be a reminder of torture and the violation of her own willing sacrifice?

    • crazy j

      I think that’s one of the reasons why Max was written the way he was. To give more sympathy to what Allison did and for the audience to think “screw him, he’s a dick.”

    • Michael Smith

      That’s just not talking into account who Feral is. She’s not some college student obsessed with personal liberty, the moral high ground and living with an immaculate conscience. She wants to do some good! As a character, Feral is a straight-shooting, get-to-the-point, let’s-bust-some-heads cool southern gal who grew up poor. She’ll have no problem whatsoever with Alison roughing up that rich, entitled dick. I bet she’ll probably laugh about it and be thrilled! As well she should be. The guy got his arm twisted for half a second and his ego (deservedly) bruised. Yes, he was coerced. But torture is not a word that should be thrown around lightly. Amazing to me how free people are with it here.

      Also, if i had to guess, I’d say Madoff’s sons TOTALLY knew about it. Plenty of people suspect they did. They were working with him for years and years. They were brokers in their father’s firm. They were on the inside, saw the books–with those ridiculous returns–and took huge payments from their parents disguised as loans. They had just enough plausible deniability to cover their own asses. And the sons obstructed an SEC audit, even though they claimed to know nothing about the fraud. Why? Because they knew. That guy didn’t commit suicide because he felt guilty. He did it because, like Max, he was used to living like a goddamn prince–only off stolen cash. And then he was a broke pariah in NYC shamed by all the media coverage.

      Also, if someone ever saves me from my willing sacrifice of endless torture–while still saving all the lives that I submitted to that torture in order to save–I’ll give them a giant huge in exchange for the “violation” of my choices.

    • Michael Smith

      hug. not huge.

  • Rumble in the Tumble

    “This most recent change was… explosive.

    Literally. Your organs are exploding people now.

    Get the hell out of my hospital.”

  • motorfirebox

    No to both. Wherever the line is, Alison literally twisting Max’s arm to make him save another person from a lifetime of literally constant agony doesn’t cross it.

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      So what was? Breaking his arm, knowing it would repair eventually? Tearing one away, knowing he had two of them? Threatening and terrorizing some of his family members, knowing Max would remain unscatered?
      What’s the line exactly when at the other end you’ve got literally countless more lives saved? I’m curious.

  • Santiago Tórtora

    You didn’t ask me, but just in case you want a bigger sample, I can say that fact 1 matters. Let’s say it makes Tara’s torture 50% as bad as it would be if it weren’t self-chosen. The exact number is of course impossible to define but it seems obvious that it should be less than 100% and more than 0% (it does not invalidate her sacrifice, like Max thinks).

    Fact 2 matters not at all, but the fact that Max did not act of his own accord does. It makes his suffering let’s say 200% as bad as it would be if he chose it.

    Again the numbers aren’t meant to be exact. It just illustrates that even if the multipliers are in Max’s favor, the base value of the suffering is so biased in favor of Tara that it’s almost definitely the correct choice to force Max’s hand.

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      So, like, it’s equivalent if it’s Alison’s force compelling him rather than the law? Or rather than an utilitarian vote by the people, even, were these things to exist?

  • Thrice.Great

    1. The torture was chosen until a better solution could be found.
    2. Alison was invited to find a better solution by Feral.

  • Weatherheight

    I don’t know about martyrdom, but expiation of her sin through mortification of her flesh (in the ascetic sense, not in the sense of pathology) would be an “understandable” way of dealing with her guilt over the more… extreme things Tara has done over the years. It’s a pretty common way in most faith systems of attaining transcendence of the spirit over the demands of the flesh. And it would fit in with some of her travels, particularly in those faith systems where the material world is a distraction from the Truth of the spiritual existence.
    http://sfp.nsch.co/issue-3/page-30-2/

    But that dialogue doesn’t fully spell that out, just hints at her experience of those eastern faiths that interpret the material world in that way.

    Hmmm.. I’m starting to think Tara’s motivations are a bit more complex than I originally understood them to be. I was assuming a Christian Catholic or Christian Protestant focus involving a savior-complex (depending on where exactly from Mississippi she was from), but her travels suggests a lot of possible influences on her decision, doesn’t it?

  • Weatherheight

    Well, Daniel may be complying of his own volition during his current incarceration due to Alison’s influence, but you raise a pretty valid point. 😀

    I do wonder what Hector could do if he had to give up his Code Versus Killing against either Alison or Daniel and really cut loose with his anomaly.

  • Weatherheight

    I for one would like to hunt down and give a through kicking to every Comic Book Writer who takes an established character with an established power set and then grafts on a completely unrelated power because of the character’s bloody name. Angel’s “my blood heals other people” power is about the most idiotic example of this.

    Then again, someone took the momentously stupid set of powers that was Cable and made it all make very good sense after a few years, so I guess I shouldn’t bray too much. 😀

  • Weatherheight

    Or maybe she can cause her power to exist in any body while she’s in physical contact (on the scaled down version).

    Which brings us back to gay furry Jesus. 😀

  • Arkone Axon

    Feral was voluntarily submitting to the torture. In fact, even the constant, unending torture was itself of her choosing – she insisted on it being a 24-7 deal instead of making it something that happens a few times a week, letting her live her life independently.

    Alison did not “just verbally threaten and twist an arm.” She’s an invulnerable and super strong retired soldier who just told him “from now on you will be at my disposal whenever I want. Your powers exist to be used at my discretion, not yours.”

    My morals are “messed up” only because I refuse to engage in hypocrisy. If it’s wrong for one person to do it, it’s wrong for everyone to do it. Systems in which favoritism is the general rule are broken systems.

  • Weatherheight

    Heh.

    We will add your uniqueness to our own.
    Resistance is futile.

  • MrSing

    So when Allison or someone else might suffer, suddenly things like human dignity and violence do matter?
    If it could save countless lives as a consequence, if a little violence, debasing of the protagonist or anther “small” evil, could do that, give that fantastic consequence. It all of a sudden isn’t okay anymore?
    Isn’t that an unreasonable standard if you are okay with what happened to Max?

  • Weatherheight

    Yeah, Max’s power was pretty vaguely described, and probably for this exact reason. It may be that Max’s power isn’t augmentation but its manifestation appears to be that.

    What if all biodynamics have power sets that naturally get stronger and more versatile over time and at their own pace, and what if Max’s ability is to chivy that pace along the natural progression at an unnaturally fast rate?

    I’m with you on the straight up amping – that would have been more problematic and thus potentially more interestingly narratively. But I’m willing to see where this goes. 😀

  • Weatherheight

    Once Max dropped the lines about his mother being a Senator and calling shots for him (instead of talking with him about what he wanted to do) and his jumping off a roof to make his powers happen, I empathized much more with him from that point on.

    That said, I still think he’s a twit who needs to grow the hell up. But at least I get him and that makes me a bit more tolerant of him. 😀

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    I do believe that it was yes. Let’s see how she reacts to the knowledge of what it cost, or if Alison even decides to hide it from her.

    • Stephanie

      I just don’t see her having a horrified reaction to the “cost,” which was basically that one guy had a bad night. Feral has killed people before just for pissing her off. Her alignment has always been some flavor of Chaotic. Just because she came around to wanting to help people doesn’t change the fact that she has a rough personality. She’s not a wilting lily, I don’t think she’s going to be scandalized by Alison twisting Max’s arm.

  • MrSing

    What evidence do you have to Allison wouldn’t have killed Max? She has killed before, she even admits that she loves fighting and that sometimes people get killed as a side effect of her saving the day and that she has made peace with that.
    Max conveniently broke before Allison could really break out the thumbscrews, but there was no sign that she was ever planning to stop.
    If you really believe that Deontologists only believe what they do because of their ego you haven’t really tried to empathize with them. Saying it’s about ego is about as dishonest as me saying that consequentialists are moral cowards who don’t have the guts or brains to chose between utilitarianism and deontology.
    So, if you are out at the sea and you see a hobo and a father of three drowning and you only had time to save one of them you would always save the father? Hobos are just a drain on society, so their lives are worth less, right? A life’s worth is apparently only defined by how much help it is to others.

    • Elaine Lee

      Yes. If I had that information, I would save the father of three. Not because I have anything against hobos (and how did you decide on that word?). I would always try to help anyone I could. If the hobo were the only one drowning, I would row as fast as I could out to the hobo. Likewise, if I saw Elizabeth Warren and Paul Ryan drowning, I would try to save Warren. But that’s if all things were equal. If Warren were twice as far away as Ryan, I would row to Ryan. And whichever choice I made, I would immediately try to save the other. I would give them CPR. There is nothing about Alison, as presented in this comic, that makes me think she would kill in cold blood. And I have tried VERY hard to empathize with Deontologists, in the form of all the Stein voters amongst my friends. I understand that it feels good to always vote your conscience. I can’t do that in this case, as it may have such a negative effect on so many people (try the world), should Trump win. There are only two possible winners in this election, at this point. I would have loved for it to have been Bernie, but he didn’t win the primary, so I will vote for Clinton. In my view, to do otherwise would be immoral. Does that make me Utilitarian? Probably. An Act Utilitarian, not a Rules Utilitarian and not a Hedonist. Does that mean any means justifies the end. No. There are some things I wouldn’t do. Example: I think Trump voters are a real problem for society, but if one of them collapsed in front of me, I would call 911, give CPR, whatever I could do. But even you would probably save a loved one before a stranger, which would put you in my camp. It’s only a matter of degree.

      • MrSing

        So how do you make the decision that a father is more important to save than a homeless person? Can you show me the math?
        Surely you must have some kind of system that is able to reduce the worth of a human life into a value that can be compared against each other?
        And, about Warren being twice as far away as Ryan, what if the hobo was much closer than the father, but you knew if you saved the hobo the father would die, but if you passed the hobo the father would life? According to your logic you should go past the hobo and save the father. The situation is in essence still the same.
        And how can you say there is nothing about Alison in the comic that makes you think she can’t kill intentionally? She HAS killed bystanders by accident because she was basically showing off (when she threw a robot through a building). She HAS almost killed an entire group of people because she thought they were harboring people that had hurt her friend and killed doctors. She has locked a guy up in a trashcan because he was running away from her. She has thrown a mug at Patrick because she was mad at him. She has broken Feral’s neck once in retaliation for an unwanted kiss.
        Alison is an extremely violent person.
        And I still don’t believe you know what drives deontologists. Do you think they never have to make choices they don’t feel great about? That make them ashamed of themselves? That they feel bad about even though their moral compass says they should do it? It isn’t about ego. It never was. Utilitarians are about protecting the needs of the many by using the few, the weak, and the strong. Deontologists are about protecting the few, the weak, and the strong by ignoring the needs of the many.
        There are good and bad sides to both of these, neither of them are perfect. but they aren’t about ego.
        Also, about voting. Vote the person you want, not the person you believe will keep the other person out.
        Shaming people for their choice by saying it’s “throwing their vote away” has lead to this situation where americans have to choose between an egomaniac idiot and a criminal. You can’t break that broken system by feeding into it like that.

  • MrSing

    Find another solution.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    I meant the first one in the sense that it makes it so that she’s entirely responsible for what happens to her, and Max may be an asshole not to help but it lessens significantly his duty to rescue.

    And I didn’t mean the second one as to whether it was the right thing to do. Remember: you don’t get to decide of that, Alison alone does. Do you trust Alison with this kind of unchecked power?

    • Stephanie

      I don’t trust anyone with that kind of unchecked power, but I trust Alison with it more than I would trust most people.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    That’s why I said in my comments that I don’t like the character inconsistency. It’s either that or her sadness / anger / shock is communicated super strangely on this page.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    That explains how Alison would know but not make the amping any less contrived and suspiciously convenient.

    • Stephanie

      Well, we’ll see. I won’t be making a judgment about whether or not it’s contrived until we find out what her amplified abilities actually do and why.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    No, but I can relate to despair and ultimate resorts a lil’ better than I can with bullyish impatience.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    AHEM

    Also sociopaths are humans with mental disorders merely trying to make it like anybody don’t be mean

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    Remember the stack of measly cardboard boxes we got as a visual aid back when Tara was explaining how much she could grow back then?
    This hospital has no requirements

    In truth though with teleporters this issue doesn’t matter anymore. We have a lot of hospitals.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    Hm… wrong equivalence?
    It’s not about arm twisting (that you will get if you don’t say yes in both cases) it’s about forcing Max to perform / forcing you to undergo, let’s say the most harmless of surgeries that will just last ten minutes and of which you will never feel any secondary effect. It matches.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    My, you have scary opinions.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    That’s a fair interpretation. I have my reservations because she had two arguments during that conversation, namely “you have to because moral obligation” and “your reasons for not are whiny” and then she begged (once) with a fist in her hand like it physically pained her to do so. And she was confrontational all throughout.

  • Benjamin Rosenbaum

    The point is that Feral values saving other people’s lives more than her own comfort. The only way to get Feral choose to not be in constant torture was to amp her anomaly to the point where she can save ALL THE LIVES (that the distribution system can handle) during only part of her day.

    Of course, now the organ distribution system will presumably be optimized to the point where they do need Feral to be in constant torture again…

    (It’s also worth pointing out that this wasn’t simply a matter of Feral choosing to be in constant torment, it was also iirc a matter of the government giving Feral amnesty for her crimes conditional on her becoming a superdonor. I believe Feral’s choice was actually medical torture or jail, or escape & life on the lam, right?)

  • Benjamin Rosenbaum

    I assume that Patrick spelled it out for her in the portfolio he sent.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    In the real world and before we established these rules, “…and remain equal” was more than an a fool’s dream. And it’s not because even to this day we struggle to make it real that we should stop believing how primordial it is to always try to reach that ideal.
    Granted, fighting for what we ought because we have an Immortal Tyrant Overlord Alison sounds less practical than fighting for what we ought because we have class structures. Only one of those can punch through walls.
    But still, at the very least let’s be angry about it.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    Modern societies establish a baseline agency that is essentially “you can do anything unless it harms others” (which makes sense because the agency to remove another’s agency is dumb) and applies it, equally, to everyone.
    Removing that agency is absolutely always immoral. The agency of things above that baseline, like coercion and murder, is not something societies provide in the first place, so there’s no removal.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    You have two of them! You won’t ever be able to tell the difference. I swear on the devotion that Alison displayed to protect Max from people knowing about him. (Ahahahah)

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    I think it meshes weirdly with the publication schedule of a webcomic one page at a time, if that’s the case. Episodic media should have a part of self-containance, otherwise, are we supposed to not talk about it here because we can never know if we have all the information?

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    You didn’t upset me, I’m just having fun (while also hopefully communicating my opinion about the real shortcomings I see of considering what we saw here as worth it)

    And I mean, me being absolutely against what Alison did doesn’t prevent me from still being happy for Tara too but, the loss of Alison’s principles is too much for me to be worth it.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    Indeed. Let’s make it very clear that had Alison left him alone at the end of their conversation, he would have unequivocally been the worst person this webcomic had ever portrayed.

  • Sam

    “Good luck finding a jury of people who’ve never had or know someone who had some damage that one of Feral’s gifts could repair. ”

    Well, yes, that’s kind of the point of voir dire. Someone whose parent has had a heart transplant isn’t going to be accepted any more than someone whose spouse was captured by Mega-Girl while they were robbing a bank.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    The specifics of the situation matter little in the face of the fact that for me, and hopefully for you too, it doesn’t change the fact that both don’t warrant or justify the use of coercion and violence.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    Taking aside the fact that apparently the only thing helped is Tara’s free time.

    I don’t disagree with that. But Alison managed to redeem Cleaver by just talking. By holding on to what she believed. By being a hero. I expected her, wanted her to do the same to Max.
    Not this nonsense.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    Teleporters. The Demand of organs, Tara hasn’t made a dent into it still. She has an entire world to provide and people who laugh away the concept of distance and transportation costs, time and risks.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    No, not generally, never. Never do that. Especially for actual, important decisions, the ones we establish our identity with. Even your own example has countless “superhero angsting about their fate” narratives I can point you toward.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    So say you still refuse for your own petty reasons (I don’t know, life gets in the way sometimes, you know? Do you really have to explain yourself? Being on a donor list doesn’t mean you make yourself at people’s disposition, sometimes you may find yourself having your own shit to deal with and not others’)

    When Alison breaks your arm for you to comply, will you feel that it’s justified of her?

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    Yes.
    Next scene please!

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    I love everything about this.

    But still, my petty complaint that it resolves Tara’s arc a tad easily is I hope understandable. Although granted, it could be so that Issue 2 was just a set up for what we’re having right now.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    Yes, we rip them out of the hospital and accept that life sucks, people die, that’s what we all do, so tough luck to the people she was saving. Unless it comes from their own will, having *one* person ordering people around to minimize human suffering is madness.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    No. Have you? Not the “oh you shouldn’t have” in retrospect kind, the “do you plan to get me this? It’s nice but no thanks” kind.

    That’s… so rude.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    Taxes don’t apply because you definitely get something in return, the right to participate in a society with roads and schools and healthcare.

    And isn’t the very fact of knowing you’re doing the right thing that very fulfillment? That’s what I’m saying, there’s always something you can’t reduce. And I don’t see why that would be wrong. Satisfying oneself with the knowledge we’re being good persons doesn’t cancel out the actions we’re doing.

    Martyrs are idiots. The whole bulk of Christianity and its Hellraiser-level fetish toward suffering is dumb. (Yeah I went there but I also said Jesus was gay earlier so I think I may be doomed to hell anyway)

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    I’m sorry I don’t consider y’all “it’s okay for the most powerful human on Earth to impose her will on the weak for whatever reason” opinion in high regard.

    • Giacomo Bandini

      Please substitute “for whatever reason” with “under exceptional circumstances”.

      By the way, with “We” i was referring to us commenters as a whole. The community has been extremely divided on this topic, and i consider a clear indication that there is not an easy solution to this dilemma.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    Well I agree with most of that (the end starts to get a little nonsensical so, take it with a grain of sand) but I don’t see how mine and yours are contradictory.
    You still have to sell your power hunger motivated by hatred to the common folk and you do that by saying something they care about is weak (their national/cultural/religious identity, as you mention) and in need of protection. That’s the only way these things get any support and you need support by *someone* when you’re not a literal young adult female Superman.

    Is it because I implied the starting intentions were good that I got this rant? I didn’t mean in the head of the one making the fascism, but the common justification used as a driving force for its growth.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    You absolute buzzkill

  • Balthazar

    But it’s increased enough for you to be put on the hero hitlist because your power is too powerful… or something something.

    Call me a Debby Downer but I’m sorry, I just get the sinking feeling this is all going to blow up in Alison’s face at Ferral’s expense…

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    Well, I’m sure that it won’t come as much of a surprise to hear that I am against even the current model of military service for a lot of arguments I think you can guess as well…

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    Getting him to speak with Tara, pleading to do it for her and not for Alison, involve Brad and Hector and Dr. Rosemblum, none of that worked? And the reason was still petty and impossible to relate to?

    I’m having a hard time believing this is even possible.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    Oh my God

  • Psile

    I swear, the comments section here is secretly an advertisement for tvtropes.

    He hasn’t shown a desire to victimize others, just to never be asked to contribute to anything. He explains this by basically saying that he never asks for help, except that he has benefited from all the advantages of modern society that people are born into in this country plus a few extras by virtue of his birth. This doesn’t make him a villain, just an asshole and people have a right the an asshole.

    Let’s be clear, what happened to Max is not ‘fair’. It is not a just and fair retribution for the relatively minor wrongs he has committed, and Allison didn’t do what she did because she thought she was some kind of moral arbiter dishing out justice from on high. She saw an opportunity for another person to be spared a lifetime or unspeakable torture, possibly longer depending on how Feral’s healing factor affects her aging. The only thing standing in the way was Max’s autonomy.

    In a standard comic book, Allison would stand strong to her convictions and at the end some deus-ex-machina would come in and solve her problem for her. This would convey the comforting message to the reader that if we just adhere to simple moral rules the universe will bless us with the outcome we want in the end. In this, as it seems to be attempting to mimic the complexity of reality, Allison might let Max make his choice leaves him alone and that’s it. The end.

    Meanwhile Tara suffers having her organs repeatedly cut out of her body with no anesthetic for decades her body is finally taxed to the point of exhaustion and her healing factor gives out which is when she will die alone in a hospital bed in unimaginable pain after having lived all of 22-24 years outside that hospital before giving away her freedom and autonomy so that strangers could live. The whole time, Allison is sitting on something that could release her from a portion of that suffering, but won’t do anything about it because it would be ‘wrong’ to make Max do something he doesn’t want to do.

    So yeah, Max is a bad person. Let’s also not forget that he was more than happy to use his family connections to avoid having to divulge his abilities to the government when every other abnormal had to. Allison and a ton of other biodynamics were pressed into service because their mommys weren’t senators. I suppose it wasn’t really his choice at that point, but he certainly doesn’t seem upset about it. Allison is just doing what the government would have made him do a decade ago if he hadn’t been born into such immense privilege.

    He hasn’t directly victimized people because he hasn’t had to. He has been able to get everything he wants by merely passively benefiting from the victimization of others. Now he suddenly doesn’t have something that he wants and the only way to get back to his happy world is to kill Allison. Somehow I don’t think he’s going to be very concerned about collateral damage because he will be able to justify it as all being Allison’s fault for pushing him. We’ll see, I suppose.

    • Arkone Axon

      That is a very long post that completely ignores the entire subject of agency, in order to push the narrative that Max is a bad person and therefore deserves whatever happens.

      One: Tara’s actions were unquestionably saintly, literally saintly – the same behavior displayed by actual saints who devoted their lives to helping others even at grievous personal cost. She did this because she chose to. No one strapped her down and forced her to undergo the treatment “for the greater good.” She chose it. She insisted upon it. She thanked those who tried to convince her not to go through with it, but the decision was her own.

      Two: Max’s actions were literally not his. Max did not use his connections to conceal his powers. His MOTHER used HER connections to conceal her adolescent child’s powers. Max has never actually claimed to have never asked for help. That’s Ayn Rand. He quoted Ayn Rand, but he never quoted that particular bit. If anything, he seemed very much aware of how fortunate he was to be born into such wealth, even though he refused to accept the notion that he MUST share his wealth with people who have done nothing other than declare that they wanted it (much like how at least one person in the comic has feigned friendship with Alison just so they can benefit from her powers and fame).

      Three: The government never drafted Alison. The children were brought in to determine whether or not their powers were dangerous to themselves or others and trained to use them safely. After that… it was strictly volunteer work. Alison volunteered to be part of her new friend’s team. Alison quit when she felt like quitting. We see numerous metahumans who have or have not taken up superheroing – including that charming amphibious woman who bemoaned how most of her work was making sure everyone had a fishing license. But no one, at any point, was ever pressed into service. Just as no one today in RL is pressed into service by the U.S. military (which is how they like it. The first president to try to reinstitute the draft will likely be the first president to be deposed in a military coup).

      Four: you have just predicted that Max is going to commit all kinds of future acts of villainy so as to retroactively justify what Alison has done here. We have seen nothing to suggest that he would ever engage in violence (one more reason Alison’s behavior was so shocking to him – he didn’t think she would resort to behavior he himself considered unthinkable). You’re dismissing his peace of mind, the state of being free from the terror of an unstoppable and abusive stalker who genuinely considers her behavior to be justified, with the condescending expression of “a happy world.” When Christy Mack has pushed for her ex-boyfriend “War Machine” to be incarcerated for as long as possible, is she looking to “get back to her happy world?”

  • Psile

    She asked, even begged, Max to help her. He said no, because he didn’t want to. She begged him to lift his pinky finger and save Tara from constant torment, as though she was asking some huge favor from him. She asked him for a tiny fraction of what was demanded of almost all biodynamics when their powers were discovered, a demand he managed to avoid. Allison was literally drafted into the army before she was 18 because she was the only one who could do what she did. Around that time Max was sad because he didn’t like the super powers he got and his mom was making sure her child wasn’t forced to live by the same rules as everyone else. Max’s mom was in a difficult position, and ultimately she put the needs of her child over the law. I can’t say that is an objectively immoral decision, but it is part of what has turned Max into an entitled little shit who thinks he isn’t subject to the same rules as everyone else.

    Now here he is, being forced to help people. Max is absolutely within his rights to try to defend himself, but somehow I get the feeling that he isn’t going to be very concerned about collateral damage or hurting innocent people because Max clearly doesn’t care about other people beyond himself. It’s messed up, but Allison was faced with a choice and she chose to prioritize Tara’s needs over Max’s, just as Max’s mother chose to prioritize his needs over those of anyone who might benefit from his abilities. Life is complicated and choices are hard.

  • RainWall

    Wait, what? How does her regeneration increasing mean that they don’t need to have her in surgery? If her regeneration’s increased, doesn’t that mean the doctors should be spending *more* time taking organs, because she’ll regenerate them faster?

    Unless taking pieces of the organs causes them to regenerate entire organs on their own? So they don’t even need Feral to be a source anymore? In which case, that’s a bit odd, (and a tad contrived) but okay.

  • Shane Henry

    The real question is does Allison have to pay the tax penalty for not carrying coverage? It seems to me she has some type of government sponsored health care at minimum.

    I mean she has her own private Doctor who also seems to operate as a Psychologist amongst other things… I wonder if there is a super human registration act?

    Furthermores, since she’s basically Superman/a god…. maybe they just don’t make her pay taxes so she doesn’t get mad about anything ever?

  • SuddenFan

    Alison has a host of people she could have partnered with to get leverage with Max. Patrick is the obvious choice, but not the easiest to approach, and arguably not the most moral option.

    Paladin could conceivably have been a huge help. Offer Max a super-prosthetic of some kind, conditional on his continued help. The opportunity to live out his power fantasy would be attractive to him. This option is complicated, but manageable.

    No reason to resort to sex or murder.

  • Stephanie

    I know what your opinion is, you’ve been very clear about it. I wasn’t replying to you; I was replying to Lheticus Videre, who said “To me, it’s gone from black to a grey area.”

    Anyway, as I’ve said a few times, we don’t actually have any evidence to suggest that Feral won’t be able to save more lives than she previously was, and we have a lot of circumstantial evidence that she will be able to. So let’s wait until we actually get an answer on that before deciding whether a utilitarian would approve of Alison’s decision.

  • Stephanie

    Feral said that eternal surgery torture was the best way she could help right now, but if Alison found a better way to help the world, she would do that instead. In light of that, why would enhancing Feral’s ability to help the world be against her wishes?

  • Stephanie

    Yes, you are characterizing me unfairly. I am basing what I think is probable on the evidence in the text. I am not aware of any evidence in the text to suggest that Feral was opposed to having her powers amplified, whereas I am aware of evidence in the text supporting the interpretation that she would value an increase in her ability to help people. I do not have any vested interest in Alison being the best and totally right about everything all the time, because that would be boring and out of character.

    If you have evidence from the text to present that supports the interpretation that this procedure was done against Feral’s wishes, I’m happy to look at it. But I’m not super interested in continuing to debate whether or not my speculation is borne of a big old crush on Alison, or whatever you’re imagining. I don’t need to justify my motives to you; I only need to justify my position, which is exactly what I’ve been doing.

  • Izo

    The mental gymnastics you used to say that Alison was actually PROTECTING Max by torturing and threatening to kill him should get you an olympic medal….

    That’s rationalization of a villain’s motivations to a whole new level.

    • Giacomo Bandini

      I’m not reading any conterargument. I repeat mine. Assuming the necessity to force Max to help her, Alison needed to choose between traumatize him or reveal his secret to the world, and she choose the former: she probably rationalize that any eventual trauma could be overcome with time, while his being outed as a metahuman will change his life forever. A reversable damage against an irreversable one.

  • MrSing

    That’s why “contract” was in quotation marks.
    I meant to argue that it was a pooling of resources of all citizens to make a decent society for everyone to life in.
    The term “contract” is only there because it is very similar to an exchange of money for services. And not paying money while still benefitting from the services could be seen as a breach of that “contract”.

  • Izo

    “you make the same assumption i often make- you assume everyone reasons at your level.”

    I guess we foolishly think people without a law degree (also I did a little less than one year working for the DA’s office first while I studied to take the patent bar – it’s a thing you need to take to litigate patents rather than just copyrights and trademarks) are able to come up with the conclusion that torture is bad and individual liberty and free will is good. Or that when a crime is commited on a person, the amount of time the crime took does not mitigate the crime that took place).

    “Part of SJ is that at the very least we need to take into account the different perspectives of other people and try to have an awareness of how that affects your ideas/plans. this part of SJ Alison sucks at, badly.and the description of this comic even says Alison has a stong SJ sense.”

    Yeah. It but it does seem that Alison is pretty bad at the ‘justice’ part of social justice sense (even before Max, if I have to be honest with myself). Although I had thought she at least recognizes and dismisses that evil part of her after her talk with Cleaver, and now ‘she done proves me wrong.’ Also bad at recognizing that the people she’s forcing are supposed to also be part of the society in ‘social.’ She doesn’t really seem to have a crippling sense of social justice since what she did to Max. She has a crippling sense of ‘I want to do stuff that I think might help my friends because all I know is violence and screw people who disagree with me.’

  • Izo

    Stop assuming that the rape analogies are referring to sex. You’ve been told a few dozen times now that it’s referring to the power and control that a rapist exerts on his victim by force against the victim’s will! Geez. The analogy refers to the mentality of the victimizer (power and control) and the means that the victimizer uses (force when told no), not what the victimizer gets as a result (sex)!

    Do people really not understand this after being told it a few dozen times? Or what an analogy is?

    You know what? Lets go back to the rape analogy because of your post.

    “If it was the case, his reaction would be complitely different – he would have reacted with terror realising that his secret is out, maybe pleaded with Alison to never reveal it to anyone else. ”

    Apparently, according to you, if a woman does not react with terror via pleading and crying during a rape, and instead acts with anger or tries to fight them off or tries to struggle, they weren’t really raped. The sad thing is I’ve seen defense attorneys actually try to use this exact disgusting reasoning before. Essentially that ‘she must have liked it because she didn’t struggle or plead for him not to do it hard enough.’

    • Giacomo Bandini

      I’m not talking about the sex at all. I’m pointing that the mentality of a rapist is the polar opposite of the mentality of Alison. The rapist said: i’m going to rape or abuse you so i can prove to myself that i m the one in power and control. Alison said the exact opposite: i’m the one in power and control, so shut up and save my friend. The rapist do a physical act(rape or simply abuse) to get a temporary feeling of power and control; Alison is power incarnate, she doesn’t need at all to feel powerful, she want ot feel useful, and she gets it by forcing Max into saving Feral. So uless you are arguing that Alison is secretely enjoying hte feeling of power over Max, i really do not see any similarity between the mentality.

      Now, about your very unpleasant analogy about Rape, it’s completely off the mark. Your analogy is set “during the rape”, but I’m referring to the moments before Alison’s assoult, when she is pleading for his help. My point is that there is nothing in Max’s behaviour leading us to belive that he is fearful of being victimized for his power.

  • Izo

    I have a sneaking suspicion that you are not either, because Clemens is basically describing OBVIOUS stuff like the Cuban revolution, the Russian revolution, and how most strongarm dictators first take over by getting the people on their side, so the people think the strongarm dictator is a good idea… then once in power, the dictator becomes just as bad or worse than the one that was overthrown.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    “Remove” implies that something that was there is missing. I’m not speaking about the agencies of stuff we have laws to prevent, but anything that impedes upon the rights we already established.
    All your examples imply preventing potential harm. It’s not removing agency to prevent violence.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    Here’s an idea.

    Max doesn’t exist. There are no such people as power enhancers. Alison is forced to find another solution. So she makes it so that everybody is forced to be an organ donor. Regardless of personal beliefs, under her Rule anyone dying is now a sack of meat to be used according to her own will. Children bodies horrifically robbed of their lives because of accidents are taken from their grieving parent’s hands because Al says so.
    The result is the same. Countless people are saved, and Tara’s work is unnecessary. And the people who will naturally find this kind of abuse of power properly revolting, we shame them the way you speak of Max. That because of personal matters that are utterly irrelevant in the face of the global help it could provide, they leave “the person who was living in utter and pure agony for an indefinite amount of time” to do it for them. Alison tableslamed into a chokehold for less than this nonsense about body autonomy.

    What happened in the comic and in my scenario, it’s the same. Absolutely the same. Do you feel a just a tiny bit queasy about calling it a freaking crime to respect the loved ones’ wishes to dispose of their bodies, or are you not hypocritical?

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    You shall be warned that I like a little less sarcasm in my Unrelenting Adoration, thank you very much

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    I’m dissatisfied with that one too, as you may have seen in my comments elsewhere. This is too convenient to just have to rub Max on the plot to resolve everything perfectly.
    Plus, that’s not what the doctor said here so why would that be what Tara understood so that she cries of joy?

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    Find out tomorrow!
    …or next month we don’t know this webcomic has been known to stall a tad as of late

  • Debbie Jackson

    Benevolent dictatorship. Tyranny implies the misuse of that ultimate power for oppressive ends. Whereas unilaterally forcing your people to do right by one another is still controlling and dictatorial, but not necessarily in a corrupt, self-serving or harmful way. Alison listens and pays heed and attention to dissenting voices, occasionally even above her own, respects the wishes of other people some of the time (although evidently not at her breaking point) and does not habitually act in her own self-interest above that of others. It’s a case of Gurwara using emotive but technically inaccurate language to drive home his bias.

  • Axel_Celosar

    It was more then that. It’s that Max was not only fully able to easily help, but he wouldn’t do it just to spite Alison, even if he wanted to. And it’s something he didn’t even want because it wasn’t good enough for him!

    Using your situation as an example, its like if Max had so much money that he literally burns excess and Alison just wants some of that, but Max still wouldn’t let her have something that’s essentially nothing to him.

    • SirKaid

      I agree, Max is an asshole. Being an asshole doesn’t mean it’s suddenly not a crime to kidnap, assault, and threaten him however.

      • Axel_Celosar

        Whats worse? Doing all that to a guy for a few hours at best with no permanent injury, or standing by and doing nothing as someone is horribly tortured and cut apart for days, weeks, months, YEARS on end? I have no doubt if it was your friend or even a loved one, you’d do it in a heart beat as well.

  • Axel_Celosar

    To save hundreds and eventually thousands of people? Let me think about that for a mome-YES!!!!

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      Cool, so you’re basically out of phase with every piece of social progress modern society has made in the last two centuries.

      • Axel_Celosar

        The Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings would say otherwise.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    An interesting video came out yesterday just about the fact that the desire to make good decisions once in power is not so simple. I hope you find it entertaining.

    • Stephanie

      I know it’s not simple, which is why I would be extraordinarily hesitant to trust a real-world human to wield that kind of power responsibly.

      • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

        Alison doesn’t deserve her pass.
        She’s a young privileged white heterosexual girl of 22 with the most eschewed vision of what challenge actually is in the world and has never had an interaction with another human being that wasn’t colored by her superpower.

        Each of these adjectives alone would disqualify her for getting to make important decisions about the world before she decided to abuse her powers.

  • UnsettlingIdeologies

    When she murdered someone and then threatened a crowd of people, that wasn’t ignorance. It was rage.

    I do think you’re right that this is different in many ways. She recognized the harm she was going to cause and made a calculated decision. (At least, if she even entertained the idea she might not be able to convince Max ahead of time. But perhaps her naivete was still strong enough that she didn’t even see that possibility until she was facing it and, again, acted on instinct. At this point, I don’t really know.) I just think that to frame it as a “falling from grace” story can unintentionally erase the harm she has caused in the past. Ya know?

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      She tried to atone for it. She tried to rebuild the swing set…

      What good is atoning for something you calculated.

  • UnsettlingIdeologies

    I totally agree that the blame shouldn’t fall just on Alison. I think that even fan favorite Brad would admit that blame is almost always shared. Probably by all of them in different ways. And, as you point out, by the powers that put them in those positions in the first place.

    As for killing the flamethrower guy, I’m not saying it wasn’t a reasonable call. I’m just saying it wasn’t an unequivocally ethical call. She’s basically invulnerable and super strong. Instead of punching him she could have grabbed and broken both arms or picked him up and jumped out a window or something. There were other choices, but she made the one she felt was the best. And Flamethrower guy suffered the consequences of that.

    The same is true of the dude she accidentally killed while breaking robots. She was just trying to save the city and didn’t fully understand the ramifications of doing it in a careful way. But she made the best choices she could in the moment. Teacher dude’s husband paid that price.

    And I think the same can be said about the Max maneuver. She made the choice she felt was the best one–the only one she could see to save the appropriate number of lives. Max paid that price, but unlike the other folks, he’s still alive. So is it really objectively worse than those situations?

  • Weatherheight

    Crying shame about Sam’s brother Joshua (yet another character treated shamefully by Marvel writers; his original power of just having a beautiful voice was totally cool. Then they made him a combatant)

  • Giacomo Bandini

    I’m NOT demonizing ANYONE.

    This said, i think is hypocrital from you to accuse me to minimize her action, when you are so clearly trying to maximize them? Yes, she “applied pain”, that’s true. But she never “threatened crippling injuries” , she pulled some pressure up his arm -extremely painful, but in no way “crippling”. You seem to belive that her action implied that she was ready to cripple him had he not complained, but it’s just your belief.
    And about the death treat, it’s just one possible interpretation.
    What actually Alison said was”I’m going to drop you off in the middle of the ocean atlantic, where you’ll be free to live the rest of your life free from social obligations”. Now this phrase does’t make sense if taken literally, because how can a drowned man live the rest of his life? Something is clearly missing. For you, the complete phrase seems to be “….. where you’ll be free to live the rest of your life free from social obligations, in the half an hour you are waiting to drown”. But you can just choose to read it as ” i’m going to drop on a deserted island in the middle of the ocean atlantic, where…..”
    Why one interpretation and not the other? I think that you are maximizing the damage of her actions for ideological reason, the same behaviour you are accusing me.

    Look, i’m going to concede that there is a grain of truth in what you are saying: when someone does a bad action, and it turns out that his action was done for a greater good, the first bad action seem to be slightly less bad. I think it’s a common human reaction. But, for some reason, you are not doing that. No , for you and other commenters, the guilt of Alison action is not mitigated, in any way, by the good it created. I wonder why..

  • palmvos

    to err is human, to really mess things up takes a computer.

  • Roman Snow
  • DocPhineas

    Your commitment to weird libertarian talking points that ignore the real world social, political and economic effects of inequality and how gross systematic differentials in power can work to reduce people’s ability to make the kind of free and informed choices you are simultaneously advocating, is both admirable in the same way one might admire the suicidal persistence of a salmon beaching itself to escape a bear, and just really, really boring.

  • Carla

    Would I bully and threaten one jerk to save many people? No question. I’d have even less hesitation. I wouldn’t feel great about it, but I’d still do it.
    I don’t see it as a virtue in myself, but I’m willing to be honest about it.

    • Stephanie

      I actually see it as a virtue in you, because I think that’s the right decision, but I don’t know if I could stomach doing it. If I couldn’t, people would die because of my weakness.

  • DocPhineas

    Having just this moment reread the story, you cannot say the child didn’t consent with being tortured. The child, at the moment of the story, begs for the torture to stop, but you are assuming they did not agree in the first place. There is nothing concrete about that in the story one way or the other, so equally valid is the alternate interpretation. That the child initially agreed and now wants to stop but is not being allowed.

    Regardless, “Omelas” is not about the child. It is about how a society convinces itself that the pleasure, prosperity and longevity it derives from the torture is justified.

    “Excruciating pain” is not torture, and it is simply incorrect to equate the two. I experienced intense pain and discomfort during military training, but it certainly wasn’t torture.

    You might say children can’t consent to anything, but why can adults consent to torture?

    If people deciding to want torture is a result of mental illness that needs treatment, like you stated, that is completely contradictory with that same person being able to give informed consent.

  • Stephanie

    Great (if depressing) article, thank you for the link. I think this is the biggest obstacle to widespread adoption of effective altruism. I wish it were possible for humans to conceptualize the magnitude of suffering implied by those statistics. I’m sure that we wouldn’t allow it to continue if we could only understand it.