SFP

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Hi guys! By popular request, we added a Cast page and updated our About page, links at the top of the site! Unfortunately something went wrong when the site updated and comments from the last two updates were deleted – sorry about that, we’ll try to recover them if possible. Enjoy the updates!

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  • Roman Snow

    Feral continues to be far more adorable than I ever remembered or realized.

  • Walter

    Huh, I didn’t expect this. So I guess the question is whether Max’s augmentation of Feral is a permanent thing or whether it will fade.

    Also, much more importantly, hooray for superpowers! The organ donation needs of the world can be met with ten seconds of Max’s time, 40 hours of Feral’s, at the start of each month. Sooooo much better than punching street criminals.

  • Izo

    Well, I guess there’s no downside. Everything worked out perfectly and Alison learned the valuable lesson that violence pays off and everyone lives happily ever after forever and Feral is happy about the results. Lets see which libertarian or republican or, I’m not sure who else is on the hit list of Social Justice Warriors…. Youtube Channel Antifeminists?…. Alison tortures next to get something she wants which will work out perfectly for her and for the world. What a brilliant lesson for all.

    • Stephanie

      Man, give the comic a chance. Just because things have worked out so far doesn’t mean nothing bad will ever happen as a result of this. Stories are driven by conflict, there’s really no reason to expect zero conflict to arise from something this important. It’s been like, one scene since the Max thing.

      Also, if you really believe that violence is never justified regardless of the outcome, it shouldn’t matter to you whether or not there are any bad outcomes. Why would there need to be? According to your viewpoint as you’ve described it, Alison was still wrong to twist Max’s arm even though countless lives have been saved. The only reason to interpret a good outcome as the authors saying “violence is justified” is if you believe a good enough outcome justifies violence. Which I do believe, but you ostensibly don’t.

      Finally, if you’re someone who uses the term “social justice warriors” as an unironic pejorative, I don’t really understand why you’re reading a comic that’s largely about a person seeking social justice.

      • Izo

        “Man, give the comic a chance. Just because things have worked out so far doesn’t mean nothing bad will ever happen as a result of this. Stories are driven by conflict, there’s really no reason to expect zero conflict to arise from something this important. It’s been like, one scene since the Max thing.”

        I have no reason to think it will actually be bad for Alison at all anymore. They’ve answered every possible problem except Feral’s reaction when she finds out what Alison did to do this, and I’m assuming now that Feral will be fine with it since the ends justify the means apparently.

        “Also, if you really believe that violence is never justified regardless of the outcome, it shouldn’t matter to you whether or not there are any bad outcomes.”

        Havent you read what I said? I’m a believer now! Violence is a good thing, and should probably be the first thing you do to make others do what you want if you think what you want is a good thing. As long as you first insult the other person if they don’t immediately agree to what you want.

        “According to your viewpoint as you’ve described it, Alison was still wrong to twist Max’s arm even though countless lives have been saved.”

        Yes, countless countless lives!

        “The only reason to interpret a good outcome as the authors saying “violence is justified” is if you believe a good enough outcome justifies violence. Which I do believe, but you ostensibly don’t.”

        I will hereforth go out into the world, looking for people to beat the crap out of if they don’t do what I think is right. I don’t have superstrength or invulnerability, but I’ve learned my lesson. Maybe I’ll achieve a tiny fraction of the good that Alison, noble and just Alison, has done for the world.

        “Finally, if you’re someone who uses the term “social justice warriors” as an unironic pejorative,”

        Oh yes, there’s nothing ironic or sarcastic about anything I’ve written today. Nothing at all…. including this post here. This isnt sarcastic in the slightest bit.

        “I don’t really understand why you’re reading a comic that’s largely about a person seeking social justice.”

        Because I believe in the social justice part, not the warrior part?

        • Stephanie

          >They’ve answered every possible problem except Feral’s reaction

          What makes you say that? There are a million other ways this could go pear-shaped. For example, the conspiracy that has been systematically murdering all the people with potentially world-saving abilities? Any number of unexpected and undesirable ways the transplanted organs may be affected by the boost? Alison’s own internal conflict over the choice she made? Alison’s future actions being influenced by the choice she made here? Max pursuing revenge?

          >Oh yes, there’s nothing ironic or sarcastic about anything I’ve written today. Nothing at all…. including this post here. This isnt sarcastic in the slightest bit.

          Yes, you have written a lot of sarcastic stuff, including most of this post that I’m replying to (which is why I’m not responding to most of it), but in context it absolutely didn’t sound like you were being sarcastic about the term “social justice warrior.” You were being sarcastic about how you’re totally cool with the “SJWs” big brothering the world into submission or whatever. In essence, you were characterizing the “SJWs” as the sarcastic good guys in order to imply that they’re the bad guys.

          • Izo

            So glad that you’re telling me what I think. It makes it a lot easier for me when others think for me.

            PS – /sarcasm.

        • Rumble in the Tumble

          >I will hereforth go out into the world, looking for people to beat the
          crap out of if they don’t do what I think is right. I don’t have
          superstrength or invulnerability, but I’ve learned my lesson. Maybe
          I’ll achieve a tiny fraction of the good that Alison, noble and just
          Alison, has done for the world.

          Go forth, and remember – it will matter to the starfish!

          Don’t forget your knives for killing people!

          • Izo

            Thank you, noble Rumble in the Tumble. If I have need of a sidekick in my adventures, I will summon for you.

            oh wait I need to add /sarcasm. Because apparently some people might otherwise think I’m actually going to do this. 🙂

    • Waits for the clue to drop.

      … Oh, sorry, the shoe to drop.

      What the story just did is create the most perfect of devil’s bargains. The world’s transplant needs solved in return for minor non-permanent injury (and some life-treatening risk) to a particularly obnoxious character who petulantly insisted on continuing the torture of a favourite character.

      That’s so elegant Gurwara will be in awe. It takes “Those who walk from Omelas” and raises it to a new level. Utopia isn’t being bought with the torture of a child, but with Max getting a minor dose of what most people think he had coming to him anyway.

      It’s just perfect.

      And Alison was still wrong, and we are still waiting for the shoe to drop.

      • Izo

        … is my sarcasm really that subtle? I hate not being able to show inflections in text.

        Maybe it’s because the past two days of comments never happened.

        • Jensaarai

          If I want to show that I’m being sarcastic in whatever I’m writing, I put a little ‘/s’ or ‘/sarcasm’ at the end of the post.

          It can be really difficult to get an emotive across just through text.

      • Weatherheight

        “What the story just did is create the most perfect of devil’s bargains.”

        Lovely phrasing – and the irony inherent in that phrasing is sooo delicious.

    • Psile

      I’d just like to take a moment to say thank you. We’ve been going back and forth a bit the past few pages, and I know you’ve made your thoughts known on other comments as well. Personally I like having my beliefs and thoughts challenged by smart people which is why I respond to your comments. I view this comic as something of a moral hypothetical problem which has gotten pretty intense lately.

      I get the fear of other people telling us what is right and what is wrong. Like I mentioned, I’m a moral relativist. I have lots of groups and people who I think are genuinely making the country worse by espousing their opinions. Having said that, I would much rather they espouse away rather than be forced into silence because of exactly what you’re talking about. We can’t have a world where people get to morally control others. The best I can hope for is that we become a country where such speech is socially disrespected, and that people just won’t listen to people who have such ideas. However, people will always feel free to share them.

      Allison should probably be punished for what she did, and that is ultimately dependent on Max. Honestly, I just don’t buy that she is some kind of crazed dictator now that she resorted to force to get what she wants one time. I just disagree with the idea that this is some kind of moral even horizon, because again I just don’t think such a thing exists. I think that Allison’s mindset is changed in that she does now view this as a tool in her arsenal. She has decided that if the stakes are high enough and if every other option has been exhausted she will strong arm a person. While the certainly makes her morally compromised, I don’t know that it means she is going to rule with an iron fist now. Is it okay to use physical violence to force someone to save lives when they are the only person who can do it? I say maybe, depending on the circumstance.

      Though I do see your point about plot convenience. Aside from the logistical issues of Feral being able to produce all the organs ever, which are significant and outlined in other comments, it does kind of make things too easy. Granted it was at the cost of a piece of Allison’s innocence and moral convictions but still. It makes things pretty clear cut, but sometimes good things can come from bad actions.

      • Wulf

        I do tend to agree with all the above, except perhaps about the “exhausted every other options” part. This situation might have been managed differently with a bit more subtlety and diplomacy, albeit it would have taken more time, perhaps a lot of it.

      • Izo

        I really appreciate what you wrote. Thank you.

        And that wasn’t sarcastic. That was genuine and from the heart. Great post.

    • TheDaviesCR

      You just proved what you really are with that Social Justice Warrior remark. You just don’t want any change now that you’ve got yours, that’s all that you are.

      • Izo

        Hey werent you the one who was also saying that I’m a rich white male because I was defending Max, a rich white male? 🙂 Wait…. you still think I’m a rich white male. that’s hilarious 🙂

    • Danygalw

      WE’RE NOT DONE YET. My goodness. We’ve barely even begun this arc. Why on earth do you think that the power-up working as she hoped means there are no consequences?

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    That’s my line!

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    Option C arouses me to no end.

    • Seer of Trope

      Perhaps a paid actor?

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    Through ♪ violence ♫
    (Imagine the same kind of pyrotechnics and sound effects than in the famous “history of japan” YouTube video)

  • Umm, I think the point was that she’s now producing organs faster than people are falling sick in the first place.

    I’m not sure why you’d want to start harvesting more unless you want spares for other reasons?

    • Weatherheight

      I wasn’t implying that they would – I was just hashing out raw numbers that were plausible (to me) in order to get an idea of overall impact. She could, after a few years, overtake worldwide need at that rate. Which does indeed validate Alison’s assumptions on this being a really big impact on worldwide health.

      And what Santiago says below…

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    Ahem.

  • Deliverance

    AS ALWAYS, I should always take care to reread what I’ve written before submitting.

    Two couple of funny errors crept in when going from k,m, and b on my napkin to typing this, that makes my own calculations make no sense and sure should make people wonder whether I’m on crack. I wonder how many will have had time to poke fun at me before this correction is posted. 🙂

    For 2.3b on the hypothetical kidney waiting list, read 2.3m
    For 186m dying or too sick off the hypothetical list per year, read 186k

    I really should know have heeded my professor’s wise words: NEVER COMPUTER IN PUBLIC.

    I mean, I’ll admit that my own post as written makes some awesome claims, but having a third of the world’s population needed a kidney transplant when extrapolating is perhaps requiring too much dispension of disbelief. 😀

  • Izo

    Well fortunately, judging from the last two days comments, everyone agreed with this story arc and no one thought it was a bad thing at all. To the point that no one needed to comment on the obvious correctness of the moral of the story, my equine friend. Total unity and agreement to the point where comments were unnecessary. 🙂

    • Stephanie

      > judging from the last two days comments, everyone agreed with this story arc and no one thought it was a bad thing at all.

      Were we reading the same comments section?

      • palmvos

        Izo has been replaced. by what i have no idea. but i am enjoying my speculations.

      • Sergi Díaz

        Besides, I guess most people is just waiting to see where this is going.

    • MrSing

      Now, I know I’m long winded and sanctimonious, but I’d like to think that at least some people have read my comments.

  • Sam

    And, as a side note, I’m not clear how this hospital has the ability to extract human hearts at a rate of either 1 or 8-10 per minute, but not to perform a simple cordotomy on Feral before doing so.

    • The problem is Feral will probably have healed the cordotomy before the surgeon’s completely withdrawn. I suppose you could keep doing it repetitively, but how painful is a cordotomy without anaesthetic? Are you saving her any pain?

      • mugasofer

        Couldn’t you just leave a big ol’ knife in the way, preventing it from regenerating?

      • Sam

        We know that Tara can’t, or at least couldn’t, regenerate tissue effectively while a blade is still lodged in it, from when she fought Telekinetic Swordhaver Man, so it should be as simple as keeping a blade, clamp, or metal plate between the two halves of the spinal cord. Even if for some reason that’s not possible, I’m pretty sure it would be preferable to feel a single blade to the base of the neck than a nightmarish array of robotic saws, blades, spreaders, etc. simultaneously slicing through your ribs, tearing out your viscera, and skinning you alive.

    • Izo

      For those who don’t know what a cordotomy is (and have not yet googled it), it’s a surgical procedure which disables pain-conducting tracts in the spinal cords so that the patient feels no pain or temperature perception.

  • Izo
    • Seer of Trope

      We want heroes, yet at the same time we want a world where heroes are unnecessary.

  • Tsapki

    Maxs whole argument was based on that he doesn’t want anyone to tell him what to do abd that he shouldn’t have to do anything that doesn’t specifically favor him despite how much good it can do for others.

    As for the body cavity issue, the surgeins have had specialized equipment to keep her open sibce this began. At worse, they just need better equipment.

  • Axel_Celosar

    Actually, this raises a major plot hole.

    If Feral’s regenerating so fast now, how can they even open her chest cavity and keep it open in order to actually work on her? She’d just heal up around the doctor’s hands/equipment!

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      HAS THIS EVER HAPPENED TO YOU?
      A plot hole annoying your fancy? An internal inconsistency ruining the immersion of your audience? DON’T WAIT! Order your can of Max™ RIGHT NOW and simply rub it gently on your plot for FIVE MINUTES until it becomes as good as new.

      95% of surgeons satisfied! Here are some real testimonies for real doctors:
      “Hm? Uh, yeah, I mean, I guess Tara’s regenerative properties have a mind of her own or something.”
      “So I had my hand trapped into Tara’s rib-cage, right? And just when I thought I was doomed to have to explain to my husband how I looked like I was constantly in a state of feeling up a young adult, Max™ saved my skin. Literally!”
      “Get out of my office.”

      Max™isnotresponsibleforanylossofcredibilityofyourfictionwork

      • Sam

        The worst part is that Feral wouldn’t stop hitting on the doctor while this was happening. Just a hurricane of double entendres.

      • Weatherheight

        Heh
        Get out of my office.
        Classic!

  • Izo

    Everything is now perfect forever!

  • Manuel Simone

    Feral is the sweetest, most loyal, selfless, caring, compassionate and super-nice friend someone could be ever blessed to have. Thanks to Brennan and Molly for blessing us with such great character, I’d love a spin-off centered around Feral, really.

    • She probably works better as a side-character who is given some agency and development but not fully explored as the audience’s point of interaction with the story, honestly. It lets us love her and appreciate her nuances without ever becoming frustrated, or worse, jaded.

  • Tsapki

    Feral did survive quite a few things that would kill a normal person several times over on a fairly consistent basis during her hero days. Her mental processes may have compensated for the fact that getting her body riddled with bullets if about as harmful to her as a case of food poisoning is for normal people.

  • Izo

    You can edit your posts instead.

  • Izo

    No everything will be perfect forever and nothing bad comes from this and everyone is happy.

  • Leo Orionis

    As a person with glaucoma, I’d like a new pair of eyes, please. I don’t even care that they’re cat eyes, I think that’s cool.

    On the other hand, what about the long term? While it’s great that everyone in the world can get new organs, I’d investigate the following:

    1. Now that Feral’s powers have been amped so high, do they still work the same? Will her organs keep regenerating even when they haven’t been injured, filling her up with spare livers, spleens, etc. like a mega-cancer?

    2. Will the new organs act like cancers in the people getting them, so that all recipients will have to
    undergo surgery periodically to get the extras removed?

    3. Even if everything’s still OK with Feral and with the recipients, will all research into transplanting other people’s organs, or building new biological or mechanical organs, come to a complete stop? I could see the funding for artificial organs drying up because “we don’t need them anymore.”

    4. Can Feral be killed? Can she die from disease or old age? If yes to any of those, better figure out a way to do without her, just in case. Otherwise she becomes a single point of failure for a large chunk of medicine.

    5. Even if everything’s perfect, there will still be peaks in demand after natural disasters, major terrorist attacks, and wars. Better figure out a way to store organs for a little while, to keep the supply constant whatever the demand.

    Can’t wait to see Feral’s reaction to what Allie’s done, or how the religionists react to the new bounty. Will they make her a saint, or burn her at the stake? I foresee a lot of right-wingers going batshit — until they, or someone in their immediate families, need new hearts or something.

    I love this strip!

    • mugasofer

      >Can Feral be killed? Can she die from disease or old age? If yes to any of those, better figure out a way to do without her, just in case. Otherwise she becomes a single point of failure for a large chunk of medicine.

      Nah, just cut her in half a few times, stick the halves together, and put the spare Feral clone sin a deep-freeze somewhere.

    • Weatherheight

      Issue #2 came to my mind while out walking today (and Looking for Pokemon to turn into delicious candy). Hence the reason I’m not throwing down for Team Alison yet – still not entirely convinced there isn’t a down side yet.

      Issues #3 and #4 are definitely important ones. It seems we have a single generation of biodynamics available to create Utopia – real science needs to remain active because eventually the vast majority, if not all, of these kids will die.

      Issue #5 is also well thought out.

      Neat post!

    • I was wondering about the first two points last update, and #4 as I read this page — obviously in many ways having even a temporary supply of replacement organs is a brilliant improvement on the present status quo, but, the moment Feral’s supply dries up, a major drive for organ donation and redoubled research will be necessary. Hopefully they’ll put some planning for that sort of emergency into action forthwith..

      • MrSing

        Feral was a metaphor for oil all this time!

  • Tsapki

    Given her regeneration is approximately around 9000 time stronger judging from the time shift, it’s certainly possible.

  • Izo

    No, no, violence and torture is the only way. I once thought like you, wrongheadedly about freedom of choice and speech and ridiculous notions like that (well at least freedom of speech when it’s not for the approved speaking points) but now I see, because of the lack of negative consequences, that forcing others against their will is good if you think something good will come of it and the god of the universe will comply with your wishes, and you just have to make sure it’s to someone you don’t like. This is a valuable lesson that we all must learn unless we want violence inflicted on us as well.

    • Stephanie

      I must have missed the page where the author’s face appears in the center panel and shouts “Violence was the only possible way to accomplish this, and also nothing bad will ever happen to anyone as a result of Alison’s actions!” Most of your comments on this page seem to reference that panel, but I just can’t find it.

      • Izo

        Subtext definitely does not exist. Thank you for explaining that if the author doesn’t specifically say something is okay, that we should not take away from the story that something is okay just because the protagonist does something, receives no negative consequences, and everything she wants to happen does happen and makes everyone happy.

        (PS – nothing personal against Stephanie so I don’t get people giving me hate-posts – responding to someone’s different ideas is different than not liking the other person)

        • SJ

          Subtext? That’s when you @- somebody in a tweet, right?

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      Izo, you know I’m with you on this but don’t be so confrontational…

  • pleasechangemymind

    Just to make it clear, I think the doctor was saying she could donate her heart 8-10 times in about a minute, rather than once a minute. If that is the case, and if the fancy machines they built for this purpose can keep up with that, then in 40 hours (8*60*40), she could donate her heart 19,200 times. Every month, and that’s 230,400 a year. That’s pretty good, just for heart donations.

  • Chris Hubbard

    Well she is regenerating her organs at a rate of 7-8 a minute right? So she has two kidneys that means roughly 15 a minute. Thats a little less than half of what you figure for supply, and that still brings us right to the logistics side of things. They just cant shuttle that many organs to where they are needed. Theoretically they could, but it would involve basically building an entire industry around feral. Like buying another thousand or so transport vehicles, entire wings of surgical suites for doctors to implant the new organ into the needed patients, housing for the hundreds of doctors that would need to be hired to do it, as well as the thousands of random assorted medical personnel. Probably setup a small airport nearby the bring in the new patients along with large hotels for people to stay in while the patient is recovering. Or just to wait their turn.

    If she really wants to push it, she could also travel country to country and do her 40 hours a month THERE as well. That would allow her to supply the world more or less and do it WAAAY more effectively than she could pre max. Also, she could see the world. A lot.

  • Izo

    “Used to be in the Guardians, using her light bending powers to fight supervillains; lately she’s struck out on her own and has been fighting a different kind of evil.”

    Holy Orwellian Newspeak, Batman!

  • pleasechangemymind

    She’s a universal donor. The only thing she can’t donate are her eyes, and that’s just because the recipients might be targeted by homophobic or dynaphobic groups. 😉

    Also, *groan* I’m in punnn

    • Weatherheight

      and let’s not forget those who suffer from ailurophobia!

      ::eyes a passing house cat with suspicion and keeps facing towards it as it goes by::

  • Izo

    Because reasons.

  • MrSing

    You know what, first I was dubious about this whole ethical situation, but, oh man, this pie is pretty great!

  • SJ

    … So that explains the “saving countless lives” part, certainly….

    Does it, though? The way I read it, Feral isn’t saving any more lives than she was before, she’s just saving the same amount of lives in 1/18th the time.

    So, functionally, Countless, Countless Lives™ really just ended up being Tara.

    • Initial Tara monthly yield: 8 hearts * 30 days = 240 hearts
      New Tara monthly yield: 8 hearts * 60 minutes * 40 hours = 19,200 hearts

      • SJ

        So now, Feral can regenerate eighty times faster. Can the surgeons cut eighty times faster?

        The only reason to believe that the practical result of Feral healing faster will result in way more organs than before, is “Because Narrative~!” When it comes down to it, the output is still bottlenecked by the fact that Feral is still the singular point of access, and there are only so many surgeons that they can have performing surgery on her at once.

        How many surgeons can they have posted up in the operating theater, just waiting to tag in, like it’s a rasslin’ match? Ten? Twenty? Thirty? A hundred? All of them? Do they have all the surgeons standing by, just switching in and out, like a damned relay race? How many can they even fit in the hospital?

        The limitations on how many lives Feral’s organs can save was never going to be how fast she can regenerate. None of this makes any sense.

        • Giacomo Bandini

          Yes. they do. Think about it How do they even know that she can donate her heart eight times a minute, if they did not already tried it?

          • SJ

            Yes. they do. Think about it How do they even know that she can donate her heart eight times a minute, if they did not already tried it?

            First of All™, that’s not what the text says. It says that she was able to donate her heart 8-10 times a day, pre-boost, which is still within the boundaries of a a team of surgeons’ capabilities. And now, her heart can regenerate “in a little over a minute. You know where it says that she can donate her heart eight times in a minute? Absolutely nowhere, that’s where.

            Second of All, suspension of disbelief only goes so far. There’s only so much that you can handwave away “because comics.” Surgeons can’t cut that fast. Unless there’s some Doogie Howser type in the SFP-verse, who also happens to be a dynamorph with super-speed, it can’t be done, whether Feral can heal that fast, or not.

    • Stephanie

      I think this page makes it entirely clear that she will, in fact, be saving many more lives than she previously was. She was not previously capable of meeting the global need for organs. Now she is. She was not previously capable of outpacing the hospital’s ability to manage and transport the organs. Now she is. Feral even suggests that she continue donating constantly so that she can help even more people, and the doctor explains that she will already be helping as many people as possible with 40 hours a month. Whereas before, even constant donation was not enough to meet the demand.

      Basically, it couldn’t be more canonical that this allows her to save more lives than she was before if the doctor looked into the camera and said “Now Feral will save more lives than before.”

      • SJ

        I think this page makes it entirely clear that she will, in fact, be saving many more lives than she previously was…

        The page doesn’t say any such thing. What the page says is that Feral is regenerating her organs much faster than she was before; it doesn’t say anything about the speed at which they are able to remove them.

        • Stephanie

          It does, though. “At the rate you are donating organs, we can meet the needs of the world.” Not, “at the rate you are regenerating organs, we could hypothetically meet the needs of the world if we could extract them fast enough.”

          The doctor clearly says that at the rate she is donating–which by necessity means the rate at which organs can actually be taken from her–they can meet the needs of the world, which they previously could not do.

          • SJ

            It does, though. “At the rate you are donating organs, we can meet the needs of the world.” Not, “at the rate you are regenerating organs, we could hypothetically meet the needs of the world if we could extract them fast enough.”

            The doctor clearly says that at the rate she is donating–which by necessity means the rate at which organs can actually be taken from her–they can meet the needs of the world, which they previously could not do.

            Then the authors are contradicting themselves. That is not plausible, because:

            Page 90
            “Well, Ms. Cooper, you’ve been asleep for almost 13 hours…”

            We know, via narrative exposition, that Feral’s powers meant that she couldn’t be anesthetized, before she was augmented. She was constantly awake during all of her surgeries. They had to stop operating on her in order for her to go to sleep. She had to go to sleep in order to be augmented without knowing who did it, or how. And she hasn’t been operated on since, or else she would have woken up earlier. So, either the authors just retconned what they said in Issue 3, or the doctor is just guessing.

          • Stephanie

            I’m a little confused about the timeline of events too. The fact remains that the doctor didn’t say “you will be saving the same number of lives, but at less personal cost”; she said “you will be saving more lives.”

  • Izo

    “A perfect outcome, assuming it lasts.”

    It’ll last forever and be perfect.

    “did Alison know this would be the outcome of Max’s enhancement?”

    Yes, she knew everything perfectly and there was never any risk or problem at all and everyone of us who saw a flaw in this plan were just being stupid dummy heads.

    “If so, how?”

    Because Alison knows everything and Dr Rosenblum knows everything and is able to tell what will happen to an untested power being used on another power hypothetically with total accuracy and that doesn’t seem Mary Sue-ish or contrived at all. Not even a little bit.

    “Will Feral insist on knowing how this came to pass? If so, how will she react?”

    She will not insist on knowing, and in the unlikely event that she does, she will be fine with it because everything worked out perfectly and everyone will be happy forever. The end.

    “Is Alison feeling guilty about her choice, now that she’s had time to reflect on it?”
    She feels guilty but vindicated because she’s perfect and because she feel sorta bad about what she had to do we must feel sympathy for her now. Start feeling sympathy NOW.

    “Her hanging head seems to suggest she might.”

    It is the hanging head of relief and forethought of who she will need to hurt next in order to solve other world problems forever in a way which is perfect, obviously.

    “Are there any other biodynamics she intends to force Max to enhance (if not now, it seems likely to come up again later – this is exactly the sort of act that leads one down a slippery slope).”

    Probably there will be, and Alison will have to force him to do it again through violence because Max is a stupid libertarian or randite who believes in personal choice because he wants to see other people die, like all of his ilk does. Also he’s a rich white male. But this is no slippery slope.

    Alternatively, he will see the error of his ways and willingly do what Alison tells him.

    Alternatively to the alternatively, he will be come a supervillain so we know that he is as evil as he is libertarian.

    • Stephanie

      “It’ll last forever and be perfect.”

      That’s a pretty bold assumption to base on zero evidence.

      • Lostman

        Isn’t that what have you assuming this?

        • Stephanie

          No, I absolutely have not been assuming that. I’ve been explicit about the fact that I am not assuming that.

      • Izo

        I now have faith in the power of a better world through unmitigated violence against those weaker than you.

        As long as they’re rich white men who are libertarians. Evidence is not necessary. After all, Alison had zero evidence that her plan would work in just the way she wanted, but it worked out for her, and for the world! Happiness forever!

        • Stephanie

          “Zero evidence.” Sure, apart from the extensive file on Max’s ability, her consultation with a researcher of biodynamic abilities, and apparently also consultation with Feral’s surgeons if they were aware that she was “arranging a procedure,” I guess she had “zero evidence.” Clearly she just made up this endpoint with no justification and it happened to pan out that way, that totally makes internal sense.

          • SJ

            Damned right there was no evidence. Max’s anomaly had never previously been tested on Feral, ever. And we know that this is true, because if it had, then Alison wouldn’t have needed Max to do what she tortured him into doing, because it would have been done already.

            Therefore, she had no evidence. The best she could have had was an educated guess, based on how Max’s boost may or may not have affected a completely different dynamorph, with a completely different anomaly.

          • Izo

            ” Sure, apart from the extensive file on Max’s ability,”

            How exactly does the file have information on what Max’s power will do to Feral? Has that been tested? It seems odd, considering Max has been hidden since he was 14 from this being out there. Doesn’t seem like the file would be that ‘extensive.’ Or have any information on how it would interact with Feral.

            “her consultation with a researcher of biodynamic abilities,”

            See my above question. Also the aformentioned researcher has already admitted in the past that there is so much they do NOT know about biodynamism or what will happen to them. This is in the comic itself as actual dialogue.

            “and apparently also consultation with Feral’s surgeons if they were aware that she was “arranging a procedure,””

            So… the surgeons agreed to let Alison do a procedure which they were not made aware of any of the particulars, and did not even raise a single argument about ‘um… we’d like to know what you’re actually DOING in case there are side effects, Ms Superhumanly powerful woman.’

    • Alon Rand

      So…why do you read this comic? From the tone of your comment, you have no patience for or interest in the subjects being explored here, no liking for any of the major characters, and no tolerance for communal discussion of either. Seems you might enjoy spending your time on something else more.

      • Izo

        So are you the type of person that says “If you don’t like our country, go back to where you came from!” ?

        Maybe you should read my past comments when I was an Alison supporter. Especially during the Gurwara arc. Or don’t…. you can just make it personal like you’re doing right now.

        Oooh, I have another idea. If you don’t like my posts, you can ignore them and not respond to them! I’m using your logic against you 🙂

  • zarawesome

    They mentioned they aren’t using her eyes because of the prejudice vs. biodynamics.

    • Even that is beatable, you can get whole eye contacts (“scleral shells”) that are used to cover disfigured eyes.

      • Izo

        My solution makes more sense in Alison logic even if yours is more practical

    • Izo

      I mentioned the solution elsewhere but the solution to that is find everyone who is prejudiced to biodynamics and force them to get new Feral eyes. Have Alison do it. They’re probably hateful people anyway and deserve to be forced. Then they can donate Feral’s eyes and cure blindness as well and no one will know which people were blind and which were biodynaphobic.

  • Stephanie

    Good point about teleporters/speedsters, but they may already be taking those things into account when they say 40 hours a month is as much as they can handle.

    • Izo

      I apologize in advance if it seems like I’m singling you out, but I posted this right after seeing another post to something else I wrote from you. Like always, nothing personal against you as a person. Just your ideas.

      To quote you from elsewhere on this page, you say that with zero evidence to back it up.

      • Stephanie

        I said “may.” It would make sense that if they have access to those things, they would account for them when determining what rate of organ output they’re capable of managing. I’m not saying this is definitely true, and it’s also possible that they don’t have access to people with those abilities at all, or that they don’t yet have access to them, or hey, maybe they do have access to them and for some reason haven’t taken them into account.

        Regardless of , it’s 100% reasonable to float the possibility that they have actually accounted for all of the resources they have access to, when deciding for how many hours per week they should be torturing the most selfless person in the world. Proposing that possibility is a far cry from just straight-up announcing that, for example, there will definitely be no bad side effects from Alison’s decision ever for the entire run of the comic because the authors want to promote act utilitarianism.

        • Izo

          Okay, you did say ‘may.’ Although I think it’s a stretch that teleporters and speedsters were actually accounted for. What Feral is doing has been said, quite a few times, to be unprecedented. It would be interesting to see if the hospital is employing speedsters and teleporters though. But the only speedsters and teleporters that we currently know of are NOT working for the hospital, and the only teleporter is vehemently against this organ donation idea, while the only speedster is in Templar.

          • Stephanie

            In that case they may not have access to teleporters and speedsters. That’s probably the most likely scenario, since those are such a valuable resource and would be highly sought after by more influential organizations than this hospital. I’m only saying that if they did have access to them, it’s plausible that they would take them into account when calculating how effectively they can distribute organs.

    • Weatherheight

      I suspect the hospital is soon to have a bunch of logistical meetings on how to increase their Tara Transplant Output Potential™ (or T-TOP for short), and it wouldn’t surprise me if they did get speedsters and teleporters involved.

  • Stephanie

    I think it does make sense. The organ regenerates from all damage, so either it’s constantly in a state of immediately recovering from the body’s attempts to reject it, or it “regenerates” into an actual match for the surrounding tissue.

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      It makes absolutely no coherent sense.
      But it’s fine (genuinely), it’s established as such.

    • Izo

      It makes sense but for reasons other than what you just said. At least, in my opinion based on what I’ve read in the comic. I don’t see anything that says the organ keeps regenerating once out of the body. I do think that Feral may have a secondary ability which causes her to be a universal organ donor though, in addition to being a universal blood donor (the latter of which can happen in RL even).

  • Stephanie

    It sounds like it did go as she planned. She just still feels bad about what she had to do to accomplish it.

    • Izo

      Well heck, if she feels bad about it, all is forgiven. And the next time she does the same thing in the future, as she said she would, she’ll feel bad about it again, and all should be forgiven again.

      • Stephanie

        This is really unwarranted. If you reread my comment, you’ll see that I didn’t say that her bad feelings have anything to do with whether or not her actions are justifiable. I said that she looks unhappy, not because her plan didn’t work (since it did), but because she feels bad about how she accomplished it. Do you dispute that?

        • Izo

          “It sounds like it did go as she planned. She just still feels bad about what she had to do to accomplish it.”

          This was your comment. Why bother saying ‘she still feels bad about it’ if not to say that you mean that she’s a good person BECAUSE she feels bad about it? Was there some other point to saying that, other than to humanize her?

          • Stephanie

            Uh, she is a human, so I’m not sure why it’s a problem to acknowledge that…But the point of saying that was literally just to describe what I believe to be the reason that she is visibly unhappy on the page. She cannot be unhappy about the plan not working–as the person I was replying to thought–because the plan in fact worked. Therefore, she is unhappy because she feels bad about how she accomplished it. Again, do you dispute that? Do you think she just has an unrelated stomachache or something?

            Can you really not imagine any other reason to describe the reasons for a character’s emotions other than “to mean that she’s a good person because she feels bad”? You know it’s possible for “evil” people to feel bad about stuff, right? Disagreeing with someone’s moral code doesn’t mean you have to pretend they’re cartoon archvillains incapable of any emotion other than “sinister.” It kinda just feels like you’re trying to drag up our previous “utilitarian vs deontological ethics” argument again, when I’m trying to have an unrelated conversation about the comic with a different person.

          • Izo

            “Uh, she is a human, so I’m not sure why it’s a problem to acknowledge that”

            A great deal of the comics storyline have dealt with the fact that Alison is very detached from what it means to be human because of her powers, actually. And lets not play word games here. When I said you were humanizing her, I mean ‘you’re trying to make her seem sympathetic by saying she feels bad’ (even though she will do it again and not feel bad WHILE doing it, like she did not feel bad while she did it before).

            “Therefore, she is unhappy because she feels bad about how she accomplished it. Again, do you dispute that?”

            I don’t dispute that the author is trying to make it look like she feels bad, despite the fact that her past actions do not warrant me having sympathy for her feeling bad when she didn’t feel bad DURING the act, and has said she would do it again, and I doubt she would feel bad DURING that future act as well. It’s contrived to try to elicit sympathy from the audience by showing ‘look, she feels bad, we should emphasize with her moral dilemma instead of condemn her for her immoral choice.’

            “Do you think she just has an unrelated stomachache or something?”

            Why can you make a joke but I can’t? Did I not fill out the proper permits?

            “Can you really not imagine any other reason to describe the reasons for a character’s emotions other than “to mean that she’s a good person because she feels bad”?”

            Tell me a reason then?

            “You know it’s possible for “evil” people to feel bad about stuff, right? ”

            Yes I totally agree with what t you just said in this sentence. Evil people can feel bad about stuff. But I have no reason to sympathize with an evil person just because they feel bad after the fact. Feeling bad and having genuine remorse are different. The fact that she will do it again, and that she did not feel bad WHILE doing it, make her unsympathetic to me.

            “Disagreeing with someone’s moral code doesn’t mean you have to pretend they’re cartoon archvillains incapable of any emotion other than “sinister.” ”

            I’m going to ignore the very funny fact that these people ARE cartoons for a moment to respond to this. It’s not that I just disagree with Alison’s moral code. I like Alison’s moral code. The problem is Alison does not like Alison’s moral code, and Alison doesn’t follow Alison’s moral code. Alison changed Alison’s moral code into a different code which is no longer moral. She violated it herself with what she did to Max.

            “It kinda just feels like you’re trying to drag up our previous “utilitarian vs deontological ethics” argument again, when I’m trying to have an unrelated conversation about the comic with a different person.”

            Well, it’s all related, and this is a public forum to discuss this.

          • Stephanie

            “Tell me a reason then?”

            Because it appeared that the person I was responding to misinterpreted the reason for her unhappiness, and I wanted to share what I believe to be the actual reason.

            “Feeling bad and having genuine remorse are different.”

            Yes. This is true and I haven’t argued otherwise. I don’t believe that Alison feels genuine remorse, since I don’t think she would undo her actions if she had the opportunity.

            “The fact that she will do it again, and that she did not feel bad WHILE doing it, make her unsympathetic to me.”

            I do think she felt bad while she was doing it, just not bad enough to stop. But setting that aside, it’s fine that she’s unsympathetic to you. I’m not trying to dictate how you should feel about her emotionally.

            “Alison changed Alison’s moral code into a different code”

            I disagree with this, based on the philosophy class scene. Alison’s axiom is, paraphrased, “everyone must work together for the greater good.” Her other principles came into conflict with that axiom in the Max scenario, and the axiom took precedence. She already held her axiom as her highest principle; this is just her enacting it at the expense of her other, lesser principles.

            “This is a public forum to discuss this”

            Yes. You have every right to bring it up in response to any comment I make. But it is uncomfortable for me to find myself suddenly asked to defend my position on that topic when I’m having unrelated or barely-related conversations elsewhere in the thread. It makes me feel a bit hounded.

  • Stephanie

    >I would have never assumed that the new status quo makes it so that they can just take them out as soon as they blossom.

    It’s not what I would have assumed either, but I guess it makes sense. They can probably literally just hack them out of her, since they’ll recover from all damage anyway.

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      This is a lot to be willing to suspend your disbelief for. They did say at some point that her regeneration made the procedure harder and painful, it’s a bit too convenient to whisk it away…

  • I think you’re underestimating infrastructure issues.

    The problem is it isn’t simply a case of yanking the organ out of Feral’s chest, though I suspect that’s exactly what they’re doing:

    Team A rips out Feral’s complete viscera and runs to operating room A while Team B slides into place behind them to grab the heart and lungs and run for operating room B while the viscera regenerate.

    Team A1 dissects out a kidney, Team A2 dissects out the other kidney, Team A3 grabs the liver, Team A4 the pancreas, Team A5 the ascending colon and so on.

    Each team packages the organ for transport.

    Each team hands it to a waiting courier, who either motorcycles it to the hospital where the recipient is waiting (note that point), or hops on a plane to fly them there.

    The waiting transplant team (note that point) then takes a substantial number of hours to implant the organ.

    Let’s say for simplicity we get 10 transplantable organs at each pass (more on this in a moment). At 8 repeats a minute I don’t think the surgical teams can actually keep up with Feral, but that’s potentially 4800 transplantable organs an hour. That’s potentially more than there are transplant surgery teams on the planet, and over 40 hours it certainly will be. And those teams don’t just do transplants (more etc).

    Given Feral’s sheer survivability, we may also be looking at a step-change in how long the organ remains viable outside the body, which has profound effects, allowing at least partial stockpiling.

    Getting to all those ‘more laters’ etc. What this is going to do is completely change the logistics of transplant surgery. It goes from being a scarcity economy to being a post-surplus economy (Max will howl in despair). Doctors no longer need to be governed by who they can get a match for, transplants have become routine surgery that can be carried out in accordance with medical need. And it’s no longer “you must be able at all times to get to the hospital within one hour”, but “How does three weeks on Tuesday suit?”

    But it actually still is a scarcity economy in another sense, the critical infrastructure item is now transplant teams, not transplantable organs. We’re still faced with limited numbers of transplant teams who probably also have general thoracic surgery practises that they can’t simply abandon, together with an incredible number of surgeons needed at the Feral end.

    The simplest, most flexible, most economic approach may be to say to the transplant surgeons, “we’d like you to set aside several days a week just for transplants” (ultimately this is likely to mean them giving up their general surgery, but it gives their hospitals time to replace that aspect and even then they can’t spend all their time in theatre, they need to handle pre-op and post-op). Then once a week, the harvesting teams descend on Tara, spend 8-10 hours ripping out every organ they can grab, and the rest of the week dissecting them out into implantable form at relative leisure and shipping them out to the transplant teams – “Order up! Beth Israel needs 4 hearts, 6 kidneys and a liver to go!”.

    At the recipient end the transplant teams are waiting with their patients ready and operating theatres prepped. Organs arrive and the first wave of patients and surgeons hit the theatres, while the next team starts pre-surgical prep on their patient.

    There’s one more thing opened up by this. Tara is a perfect universal donor, that means experimental procedures like face and hand transplants become much more feasible, and we can start to look at the viability of transplants for issues where it is not currently practical, such as the gut and severe Crohns Disease, or the spine. The sky’s the limit, but we need the doctors for it.

  • Stephanie

    Even in that case, though, I think she’d be happy that she could help so many more people than she could before.

  • Santiago Tórtora

    We would need access to a parallel universe where Max did not augment Feral.

    Otherwise how would we know that Max wasn’t doomed already no matter what Allison forced him to do? The information about his powers was already out there.

    I mean, suppose Allison didn’t force him and then he died anyway. She would feel like an idiot for not insisting that he augment Feral ASAP.

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      I feel like no matter how unavoidable that was, what Alison did made her responsible of his fate now.

      • n05

        She pulled the lever.

  • Stephanie

    It wouldn’t be much of a utilitarianism vs deontology dilemma if it didn’t actually work, would it? If the plan had been a total failure, then the “moral” would just be “violence isn’t justified if it doesn’t accomplish anything useful,” which everyone already agrees with.

    This is the part where the readers get to decide for ourselves: is any outcome good enough to justify violent coercion? Can an outcome as immensely good as this justify it? And I don’t think we’ll all arrive at the same answer.

    • SJ

      This is the part where the readers get to decide for ourselves: is any outcome good enough to justify violent coercion? Can an outcome as immensely good as this justify it? And I don’t think we’ll all arrive at the same answer.

      I’ll save you some time: we won’t.

      • Stephanie

        Yes, that’s sort of my entire point.

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      I genuinely don’t think you realize how immensely loathsome it is to merely question this. Writing is not neutral. I too can come up with a story wherein for whatever reason, the only way to save the world is to rid it of Black people, and the protagonist is the only one badass enough to bloody their hands and do the impossible choice to save countless lives. It isn’t hard.

      And it’s fucking despicable.
      I can’t and won’t believe this is why we’re told this story.

    • n05

      The problem is that violence doesn’t really get anything done unless it is in the extreme (ie genocide). Violently forcing someone to do something is usually a huge waste of time and effort, because if you don’t immediately kill them they will seek vengeance upon you and cause a whole bunch of problems for you down the line, preventing you from hosting your charities and building your Valkyrie organization.

      Bribery works much better, because you drag the person you are bribing down into moral grey territory with you, making it more difficult for them to appear as a martyr in the future should your backroom dealings go public.

      Bribery and extortion! It’s like violence, but doesn’t turn your target into a martyr!

  • Santiago Tórtora

    Kind of a stupid question, but if the doctors decapitated Feral, would she grow a new head or a new body? Or would she just die?

    If she grows a new body, they could use that for a sort of (dis)assembly-line, where Feral torsos are shipped to other operating rooms and operated on in parallel.

    • Izo

      Good idea. They can just start chopping her head off and letting her head regrow bodies over and over again. What a brave new world we live in…

  • The point, I suspect, is not to blow the story for new readers. See also Furnace, no mention of his currently blown-up, drowned and buried status.

  • Stephanie

    I…don’t think the part about logistical limitations was a “wacky throwaway joke.”

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      “with storage and transportation and such” is still a kind of weird way to put it. That’s why I went with the (unlikely by my own admission) possibility that it’s a lie.
      That’s certainly the way I speak when I make stuff up, to add “and such” to a bunch of wacky reasons why something.

  • Stephanie

    Yeah, I think that’s likely. Stories are driven by conflict. This is a big deal, so it will probably spark a big conflict. My hope is that it will still have been worth it, in the end, but I don’t expect everything to be perfect for long.

    • Izo

      No, it’ll be perfect and next, Alison will eliminate smoking because smoking kills more people than people who die from not having organ donations.

      http://i.imgur.com/mtCcQQO.jpg

      • Stephanie

        I honestly don’t get what you’re trying to say here. Have you considered maybe just continuing to read the comic and see what happens, instead of deciding in advance that it’s going to turn into a superficial wish-fulfillment cartoon?

        • n05

          Izo is on a sarcastic rampage for some reason, pay him no heed

          • Izo

            Her. Seriously, if my handle was Iza would that be more obvious? I’ve actually been correcting people a LOT on this despite many posts that have already clued in stuff about me RL. Just seems a little gender-obvious to use a pseudonym of Iza as if it has to end in an -a to signify being a woman, while ending in an -o signifies being a man. The name is based on a roleplaying character I once played in a World of Darkness game when I was a teenager.

          • n05

            I don’t read every comment, and Izo’s IRL persona doesn’t concern me. I shoulda used “them” in hindsight but I’m not used to doing that. I’ll remind myself of that in future.

            Also, I don’t appreciate Izo’s rampant sarcasm simply because it is confusing. Look at how many people didn’t clue into which part of Izo’s comments were sincere or satire. Sarcasm is difficult enough to clue into in verbal format, using it in text is asking for confusion to spread.

            When you’re actually trying to have a debate and not just tell a joke, sincerity is the way to go. Sarcasm tends towards derailing the argument and making it about something else, like the use of sarcasm in comments for example. ._.

          • Izo

            You mean like when I was being sincere and getting people attacking me personally and making ad hominem attacks? Yeah… that works really well. (psst, that’s more sarcasm)

            I also would write multi-paragraph long posts, only to have someone repeat the same thing I just refuted in about 15 different ways with sources. Then I’d repeat myself in another 15 ways, and again get the SAME response again, as if they didn’t read any of it. Or I’d get someone saying something like ‘Figures you’d side with the rich white male.’ Which I found hilarious since I’m not rich (not poor, just not rich), not white, and not male. Plus at least some of my relatives did flee from countries which were fascist in the government.

            So… If a sarcastic reply actually works better, so be it. Not to mention it’s more fun for me to be sarcastic when responding to something I find to be absurd from the standpoint of freedom and liberty-based logic. I used to actually say ‘I am being sarcastic’ at the end, but it does take a little away from the emphasis when I have to spoon feed it to anyone, even without the sarcastic inflections that are missing in text.

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            I was wondering if it was genuinely the first time it happened to you on message boards. I think a lot of it comes down to those awful gender expectations, not necessarily your handle. The behavioral remnant of a long history of teaching women to stay quiet when men are speaking are difficult to get rid off and affect anybody’s impressions. And it’s entirely our own fault to assume rather than leave it undefined in our minds before we knew for sure.
            You have my sympathies if it does bother you.

          • SJ

            “Some reason?” I think it’s pretty clear what the reason is.

            Also, I think that she’s mentioned a couple of times that she’s not a he.

          • Izo

            Only about 20 times. 🙂 I should rename my handle Iza and put a picture of a girl in the icon since I come off so manly, I guess. Maybe add some flowers in a sig.

        • Izo

          I’ll explain what I’m saying. Smoking kills people. Smoking has no benefit to anyone. Therefore, Alison should use her powers to destroy every cigarette company on the planet, and get every tobacco plant on the planet and throw them all into the sun. Thus saving millions of lives, which I believe qualifies as countless countless, and getting rid of something bad that people choose to do, instead of relying on convincing them with words.

  • Micah Matheson

    No one can force me to give blood. No one. No law on the books permits anyone to strap me to a table, stick a needle in my arm, and withdraw my blood without my express consent.

    If the President or the Pope or my own mother or father are dying, and are in desperate need of a blood transfusion, no one can legally compel me to give blood. That is a right to bodily autonomy that I enjoy.

    It doesn’t matter what the outcome is. It doesn’t matter how many lives it saves, or who they are. If Max wants to make that decision, to contribute his own power to Tara’s cause, then that’s his decision. If he makes the decision to *not* help, then forcing him to comply through violence and pain is an ethically and morally wrong act. Ethics and morality do not look at the ends. They look at the means.

    Allison is in the wrong here. Yes, Tara is happy. Yes, more people are saved. That’s beside the point. Allison has assaulted someone – technically two people – and forced at least one of them to perform a biological act that they did not want to do. That does not make this situation good or happy. Or, rather, it *should* not make this a good or happy situation. But so far this comic seems pretty content to lodge itself firmly in a certain spectrum of storytelling where Allison can do no wrong.

    • “where Allison can do no wrong.”

      So how come everyone is so busy debating the morality of her actions?

      What the story keeps showing us is Alison facing moral dilemmas, and taking options that aren’t entirely ethical. There was absolutely no room for any doubt in the story telling that Alison was deliberately torturing Max. In fact the story went out of its way not to show the payoff of her action until afterwards, in order to focus us on the ethics of her immediate action.

      I don’t know when the sword of Damocles will fall, but it’s hanging over Alison’s head, and she keeps sawing at the knot.

      • Walter

        Yeah, +1 to that. If you pay attention Alison is pretty consistent about her beliefs, and the story doesn’t shy away from pointing out the ugly parts.

        Ref: This page

        http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-5/page-149/

        Always gets me. Alison is basically saying that Moonshadow should stop killing rapists because what if she kills someone who isn’t one. The Alison who said that line is the one who knocked on Max’s door.

    • Stephanie

      Alison has done plenty of wrong throughout the comic. Even well-intentioned decisions have blown up in her face. I don’t know where people are getting the idea that she’s some kind of Sue whose decisions are always portrayed as perfect.

      Ethics and morality certainly can look at the ends, by the way. There are some ethical systems that don’t take the ends into account, and there are others that do.

      Personally, I would rather live in a world where I can be forced to, e.g., donate blood if it will somehow save an enormous number of lives, than in a world where I could just unilaterally decide that all of those people have to die because I’m scared of needles. And I’m really scared of needles, so I don’t say this lightly.

      • Izo

        When will you be going to donate blood? I’ll even come with you and donate as well. I do so fairly regularly, not just during emergencies.

    • Campor

      Alternatively there is such a thing as shades of grey. It may be morally wrong for Allison to have forced Max to spend a few hours of one day doing something that would save countless people and make life better for someone in otherwise permanent torture, but from some points of view it would have been morally worse to not perform the act that you know would save those people. There is no realistic system of government or really any system at all that benefits everyone equally, at some point you need to make a choice. Allison made the choice that in this case, it would have been wrong to simply turn away and let these people suffer/die because Max deserved his autonomy.

      Morals aren’t universal. Allison clearly feels crappy about what she did to Max, but she wouldn’t have done it if she thought the outcome wasn’t worth the act. Needs of the many and all that.

      • Izo

        Not too crappy to not do it again. Especially if the boost isn’t permanent.

    • Psile

      If you had a loved one who was dying and there was one person on earth who could give the blood needed to save them but they wouldn’t because they didn’t want to and literally no other reason, what would you do?

      Personally if I thought there was a way I could make it happen I would. I know that in the real world, there isn’t a way to really force someone to give blood and have the blood be medically viable for transfusion, but if that were somehow possible I would do it. I’d take whatever the consequences were and the fact that I did something like that to someone would weigh on me but I would do it. I have a hard time understanding someone who would just go “Well, that’s their right” and start dusting off their funeral clothes.

      I don’t know if you are using some particular definition of ethics or if that it is somehow official, but you can’t just hand wave the saving of a life by saying that ‘morality does not look at the ends’. They both matter, and should both be weighed.

  • palmvos

    *cough*
    the laws of thermodynamics, and conservation of matter have been suspended in this case..
    sorry for any inconvenience

    • Izo

      I wonder if they could hook Feral up to a generator in addition, somehow to gather the transfer of matter and energy which is taking place in order to solve the world’s energy problems, in addition to the world’s hunger problems (Feralburgers anyone) and health problems.

      • palmvos

        ::waves Scifi guys suspension of disbelief flag::

        • Izo

          We’ve left the suspension of disbelief waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay behind at this point. Right now I’m figuring we can end disease, world hunger, and the energy crisis with Feral.

          And with no more energy crisis, that will probably get rid of a lot of sources of war too. Sure, lets go with that too.

          • palmvos

            give in to your anger… unleash your hate… then…
            have a cookie. (welcome to the dark side)
            stay away from the Darth Scion cookies- they are rotten.

          • palmvos

            izo, if you watched the reviews (there aren’t many) he waves it when the movie gets hard to believe. like the Jason in space movie. i forget which one he burned the flag it was so bad.

          • Izo

            OHHHH.. you’re talking about SciFi Guy from Nostalgia Critic on Channel Awesome?

            I only really have watched Nostaglia Critic and Nostalgia Chick reviews (Nostalgia Chick is awesome, especially her review on superheroine movies).

  • Stephanie

    I’m guessing she didn’t force one for herself because she already knows she can’t save-the-world-for-good with physical strength and durability alone. Being even stronger and tougher wouldn’t change that, so she couldn’t justify coercing Max into boosting her.

    • Izo
    • zellgato

      Probably.
      At least not yet.

      Honestly I am surprised though she didn’t force one for herself, and then make him do….WHY CAN I NEVER REMEMBER HIS NAME. The character I like.. the slicey crsytal guy.

      his powers are killing him already. he’ll die no matter what. If a power occurs he may gain control over it. Granted he might die. which would be hell ofa thing for Max to see I suppose..

      but she’s on that slope. I think if she falls a bit she’ll end up doing osmething along those lines someday.

      • Izo

        Slicey Crystal guy? Do you mean Cleaver? Cleaver wlil be cured next week by having Feral organs implanted him and Feral arms attached to him to take the place of his cancerous arms.

  • Stephanie

    I’m pretty sure they didn’t caption it “unrepentant serial killer” because that would have been an enormous spoiler for new readers. The way they worded it is technically accurate (she is killing bad people), but vague enough not to be spoilery, and takes on a new and sinister tone once you know the details..

    • Observer

      She isn’t killing bad people. She’s killing people that have been accused and acquitted of a crime and you’re supposed to take her word for it that she somehow possess perfect information that proves their guilt and that she will never, ever make a mistake.

      Except that by her own admission she will and probably already has made mistakes and killed innocent people. But that’s just the price you pay to appease her warped sense of justice.

      She is a psychopath and Allison is an evil person for letting her go.

      • Stephanie

        If I remember right, Alison didn’t let her go. She escaped by replacing herself with an illusion halfway through their conversation.

  • palmvos

    I feel that it was not Alison’s decision to make. She did not have the right to make that decision herself, other people should have been involved.
    now, it is really hard to tolerate the naked display of power that Max tried to do. If Alison had chosen to go public instead he would have serious problems, and made modern libertarians look even worse than they already do..
    perhaps Max, Patrick, or the reporter that is muckraking on Alison should send Alison a copy of:
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005GPSLHI/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1
    might help her understand a few things.

    • Izo

      Another book to put into my e-book download list.

      • palmvos

        I’m adding it to the pile of things that say- ‘morality has no place in politics’..

    • Giacomo Bandini

      The ironic thing is that by choosing to use coerction, Alison kept Max’s secret. If she had gon public his life would have changed forever. Now, as hard as it may sound, he can keep his old lifestyle, if he can forget, or forgive. From the bit that we know about him, i guess he won’t do any of that.

  • Stephanie

    That seems unlikely.

    For one thing, Tara is conscious for the surgeries, that’s the whole reason they’re torturous. She would know if they weren’t actually taking as many organs as they said they were.

    For another, that’s a pretty wild assumption to make about Alison’s motivations. Her whole deal is that she’s looking for a one-punch solution to the world’s problems, and this is the closest she’s come to one. Why would she screw it up out of sentiment for one person?

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      I don’t actually believe it is the case either. The webcomic seems to want us to accept this new reality no matter how unintuitive it seems.
      But I like where it goes better.

  • mugasofer

    (2 kidneys * 12 months * 40 hours * 60 minutes * 9 regenerations per minute) / (17,815 kidney transplants in the US / 4% of people live in the US) = 1.16, a number close enough to 1 that it makes me suspect the numbers in the comic were chosen based on a similar calculation.

    Of course, as you say, this ignores waiting lists; but it also ignores the fact that most countries have worse healthcare than the US. I think this would actually justify the “many times over” comment.

    518,400 kidneys a year is enough that it can absorb every one of the almost 10,000 people on the US kidney waiting list without trouble. I can’t find figures for how many people are on waiting lists worldwide – but only about 80,000 people actually receive kidney transplants worldwide every year. It’s likely the bottleneck would be improving global medical care enough, in this scenario.

  • Stephanie

    My guess is that telling Alison about Max is part of Patrick’s grandiose plans. He surely could have predicted that Alison would immediately get Max to boost someone into world-saving tier. A few people have suggested that he’s trying to draw out the conspiracy, using Feral as bait.

    • Insanenoodlyguy

      Or max as bait. Or he wants some blackmail material over Allison. “You let me do what I do or everybody knows exactly what you did.”

      Might be a combo too. Chessmaster plan!

      • Izo

        In which case Alison might just kill Patrick to keep his mouth shut. At this point, why wouldn’t she? It’s ‘for the greater good.’

        • masterofbones

          He would know if she would react like that

          • Izo

            I don’t understand what you mean by what you just said.

          • masterofbones

            That’s because you can’t read my mind.

  • SirKaid

    > Grammatically it can refer to either “regenerating your heart” or
    “regenerating your heart 8-10 times a day”.

    The doctor is saying that earlier Feral regenerated fast enough to harvest 8-10 hearts in one day. Now, she is regenerating fast enough to harvest 8-10 hearts in one minute.

  • Stephanie

    The person on the phone was Dr. Rosenblum, who is a researcher of biodynamic abilities–arguably an even better source of information than one of Feral’s doctors would have been.

  • Steak and kidney?? Or long pig? I think the pie’s going to cause heartburn later.

  • Stephanie

    The Moonshadow one is written so that it’s not a spoiler.

    • Izo

      It’s still troubling…. er… I mean… it’s peachy keen. (keep forgetting that I need to suppress the part of my brain that believes in outdated stuff like due process and liberty). My bad.

    • Izo

      No, it’s a value judgment. It could be written to be both non-spoiler and ALSO not a value judgment that what Moonshadow is doing is heroic.

      • Stephanie

        I don’t get the impression that it was intended to be a value judgment. It carries a sinister implication that becomes apparent only when you know the full story. It’s like saying “Norman Bates is a guy who really loves his mom.”

        • Izo

          Calling her a hero doesnt carry any sinister implications – it mitigates them.

          • Stephanie

            Where is she called a hero? Her caption says, “Used to be in the Guardians, using her light bending powers to fight supervillains; lately she’s struck out on her own and has been fighting a different kind of evil.” It doesn’t call her a hero.

  • Stephanie

    Based on the context, it appears the doctor is saying that Feral previously regenerated her heart 8-10 times a day, but now regenerates it 8-10 times a minute.

  • “if Patrick is right about the conspiracy thing, this *will* draw them
    out. Good show, Menace and Mega Girl. Hopefully Feral lives through
    this.”

    Oh, very good point!

  • “And this is bad for the story.”

    I rather think it’s the conscious intent of the story!

    • MrSing

      Yes, I know what you mean, and I even agree with you to a large extent.
      But I think Alison’s bad side would have stood out more if Max hadn’t been rich or so spiteful or so calm after the fact.
      In hindsight this just might be subtle story telling building up to a slow descent to the harsher consequences of Alison’s actions, but I’m just very gosh darn impatient when I’m reading webcomics.
      I want my vindication and I want it now! :V

  • Stephanie

    This was her plan. She told Max that she had a plan to save countless lives, and that’s exactly what she accomplished. She’s not upset because her plan didn’t work, since it definitely did. Either she’s upset about what she had to do to accomplish it, or she’s exhausted, or more likely both.

    • Weatherheight

      Or both and realizing that Tara still wants to do even more than what Alison arranged if possible and realizing that What Tara Wants and What Alison Wants aren’t exactly as equivalent as Alison thought.

  • Izo

    No, that is a hanging head of relief that she did the right thing, I say!

    Also my powers of sarcasm are apparently not that good.

  • That’s actually pretty close to how I see this working.

    The only way to match Tara’s recuperation speed is to repeated eviscerate her entirely, and then dissect each organ out of the viscerae in a separate theatre.

    It’s like the old barber-surgeons who could take a leg off in seconds, they just did it in a very simple manner and tried to tidy up later..

    • Izo

      Yep.

  • Stephanie

    It is a high priority, but it’d be really unreasonable of her to demand that that amount of resources and time be devoted to torturing her for no reason.

    • Crow

      Devil’s Advocate, though: Many people would consider it ‘really unreasonable of her’ to become the Perpetual Donor in the first place. Biodynamics have a way of turning common standards of acceptability on their heads. All of Alison’s mass casualties and collateral damage during the Mega-Girl days were called ‘really unreasonable’, even though putting those numbers on a piece of paper outside of the context would be viewed as a catastrophe.

      • Stephanie

        Becoming a perpetual donor was to save as many lives as possible. Being in surgery 24/7 now that it’s no longer necessary would mean tying up an enormous amount of other people’s time and resources for no reason except her own gratification.

  • Izo

    I’m wondering if you realize that I was being massively, MASSIVELY sarcastic.

  • Stephanie

    The Deus Ex Machina “perfect solution” would have been something that allowed her to get her one-punch solution without compromising any of her other principles. The “perfect solution” would have let her save the world without staining her own hands. The very fact that she had to hurt Max to accomplish this makes it, by definition, not the kind of “perfect solution” @Psile was talking about.

    In the “standard comic book” scenario, she would have come up with some perfect emotional appeal that changed Max’s mind, or maybe she walks away in despair but then Max has an attack of conscience at the last second, or someone Max loves suddenly needs an organ and he finally understands the true importance of boosting Feral. Something in that vein.

    • SJ

      The Deus Ex Machina “perfect solution” would have been something that allowed her to get her one-punch solution without compromising any of her other principles

      She didn’t compromise her principles. Compromising her principles would have involved either figuring out a way to get Max to do what she wanted willingly, even if it would have meant choosing a course of action that would have been a greater personal cost to Alison, or accepting that she didn’t get to save the world.

      Alison’s axiom is “We will all work together.” She didn’t compromise a damned thing.

      In the “standard comic book” scenario, she would have come up with some perfect emotional appeal that changed Max’s mind, or maybe she walks away in despair but then Max has an attack of conscience at the last second, or someone Max loves suddenly needs an organ and he finally understands the true importance of boosting Feral. Something in that vein.

      This scenario is still perfectly consistent with the “standard comic book” scenario, it’s just a more meta-version of one. Max is, basically, a Lion-Turtle.

  • Izo

    The really funny part is some people don’t realize I’m being sarcastic in my posts.

    Back to the grind…

    Yeah! Screw Max! He’s a white het rich male anyway. Plus he’s a libertarian and might read Ayn Rand. Death is too good for him.

    • Psile

      We all know you’re being sarcastic. This is not a Colbert moment. The comments I have read are responding to what the sarcasm is implying, not treating it as though it is a legit opinion meant to be taken at face value.

  • Izo

    I’d take that bet, since I no longer seriously think that the comic will show anything negative about what Alison did.

    I mean… since what Alison did is super awesome and good right? Woo! Death threats!

  • Extreme pain reactions confuse people because they’re outside of their experience. I’ve had people visibly decide I was lying, because if I was in the amount of pain I was describing, they couldn’t understand how I wasn’t screaming on the floor. Yet I’ve simultaneously been in so much pain I couldn’t think straight (and that time I was curled up on the floor), and crying in laughter. Pain isn’t quite as all consuming as normally imagined.

    There is a qualitative difference between chronic and acute pain, it’s less easy to adjust to acute pain, because it’s short term, but Feral has had so much exposure to extreme pain, even before the surgery began, I’d guess her pain reactions are atypical.

    Which is not to say she hasn’t suffered, see her tears, just that it hasn’t destroyed her.

    • Weatherheight

      I have a brother with significant back damage who has been slowly decreasing his morphine dosage over time because, while his pain has been unbearable, the side effects of morphine on him are equally upsetting (inability to transfer short term to long term memory reliably, liver issues, and general malaise).

      Watching him learn coping strategies is both inspiring and heart-breaking.

  • Izo

    No, this will be perfect forever! Also everyone on Earth will get a free puppy. Even the ones who are allergic, because Feral’s organ donation will make them no longer allergic. And Alison’s father will be cured of cancer. And so will Cleaver. Also Brad will get back a non-bat face. And whatshername with the gaseous body will get back a body. Everyone will be happy forever because of Alison’s one punch solution and surely nothing will backfire at all.

    • Lostman

      I’m not sure if your using sarcasm, or if that upset. But if I know Brennan, and Molly play with expectations. There going to be consequences somewhere down the line, we just haven’t seen it yet, or thought of it yet.

      • Izo

        It’s sarcasm. Also a bit upset. But it’s mainly sarcasm. I’m more upset about the gore porn on the Season premier of the walking dead.

        But I do have increasing doubts that Alison will have personal consequences for her action, and that the moral is that what she did was fine.

    • palmvos

      Izo….
      we are 6 pages from the event. 6 blanking pages. Jackson managed to take 5 pages and stretch them out into a 2 hour movie. (it was awful but he did it) some of the things in this arc were set up 1 or more issues ago. so there have been more than 20 pages of setup. have some patience. revenge is best served on a cold plate. Karma is a patient mistress. give our authors time. I’m just glad i get timely updates. (not mentioning any names….)

      • Izo

        My comments are more to the people supporting this than to the authors. Especially since I don’t think Brennan reads the comments until much later, so as to not influence him, or so I recall Molly saying once.

      • SJ

        Izo….
        we are 6 pages from the event. 6 blanking pages…

        So, out of curiosity, when does the statute of limitations expire? How many pages are we required to wait before we’re allowed to ask when the consequences are coming? Who gets to decide?

        Any chance that you could let me know when it would be reasonable to expect consequences for Alison’s actions to happen, so I can skip the next one, or two, or fifty-two weeks of the webcomic, and just come back when that happens?

        • palmvos

          Feral was setup in issue 3 complete with her gift/sacrifice. that was two issues ago. issue 4 had 56 pages and 5 had 167 pages.(that means issue 5 took almost 2 years to complete. ) so lets say 260 pages.
          shall i send you an appointment in google calendar?

  • The point is to avoid spoilers for new readers.

    The cast page descriptions are absolutely accurate, but don’t tell us the character’s stories unless we already know them..

    • Izo

      Saying Moonshadow is still a hero is inaccurate. If one is truly avoiding spoilers, it would be something like ‘Moonshadow was one of Alison’s former teammates in the Guardians’ then some brief description of her powers

  • جيمس هارلو

    “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day, give a man a heart, and then what? Watch him get obliterated in the next ethnic cleansing or natural disaster, or just sink into poverty and disappear? If saving the world means preserving it just how it is, then saving the world is not for me.” — Alison Green.

    • palmvos

      ‘Why did you do such a thing? Such kindnesses will mean nothing, his path is set. Giving him what he has not earned is like pouring sand into his hands. :::: And would that be a kindness? What if by surviving another day, he brings a greater darkness upon another? :::: The Force binds all things. The slightest push, the smallest touch, sends echoes throughout life. :::: Even an act of kindness may have more severe repercussions than you know or can see. :::: By giving him something he has not earned, perhaps all you have helped him become is a target. Seeing another elevated often brings the eyes of others who suffer. And perhaps in the end, all you have wrought is more pain. :::: And that is my lesson to you. Be careful of charity and kindness, lest you do more harm with open hands than with a clenched fist. ‘
      another powerful woman….

      • Tsapki

        I can’t help but wonder if you didn’t bother identifying this powerful woman as Darth Traya, Lord of Betrayal for some reason.

        • palmvos

          she has many names- when she said that- she was Kreia. in many ways she was like jolee at the time. that particular encounter (like many for her) was a no-win initially. if you took the dark side route she also lectured you.

      • Lysiuj

        It is such a quiet thing, to fall… but far more terrible is to admit it.

  • It’s accurate, she’s just not fighting the evil people think.

    • Izo

      Yes, without letting stupid things like due process and the justice system get in the way. After all, what does justice have to do with social justi-wait let me redo this post ….

  • Psile

    Wow, jeez. That is kind of a huge assumption. I think it’s much more likely that the authors got their facts wrong. If Allison’s plan was to just lie to Feral she didn’t even need to bother getting Max in the first place because Feral’s body is already capable of producing organs as fast as they can harvest. She could have just lied, done whatever it is you think she did to get the doctor to go along, and the result would have been the same. I’m not doubting the logistical facts presented. The math here doesn’t add up to me either, but I think it’s less “Allison suddenly became a psychopath for no reason” and more “The authors aren’t doctors and don’t work for UNOS.”

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      I still have my eyes glancing toward Alison’s expression with curiosity and suspicion.

  • Grayson Towler

    Well, there is another perspective here, though it isn’t explicitly stated in the comic. Max keeps his powers secret for reasons of self-preservation. Alison just used him against his will to further her own agenda.

    What if word gets out? What if someone with a different agenda decides a person who can amplify a biodynamic power by such an insane degree would be useful? Can Max protect himself? Will Alison be there to protect him? Could she even protect him if someone like, say, Furnace, got the Max Treatment?

    Judging by the display we’ve just seen, Max is now at once the most dangerous and vulnerable biodynamic case in the entire world. And Alison may have just opened Pandora’s Box.

    • Sam

      “Could she even protect him if someone like, say, Furnace, got the Max Treatment?”

      Considering one of the things people are arguing about is whether Max makes people’s powers 1440 times more potent, or a mere 144, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say “no”.

    • Seer of Trope

      And thus, Mega-Girl fucks it up again.

  • Izo

    Oh wait I forgot my new attitude.

    The Moonshadow one is great. Murder is fine, heroic even in a different way, as long as you at least think the person MIGHT be a rapist but aren’t actually sure – as long as you have a hunch, or might be one in the future even if not one in the present. Cutting innocent people’s hamstrings is fine in order to evade being caught, because if you get caught, you can’t continue your good works of murdering people. Kidnapping people is also fine. It’s like Minority Report, but it doesn’t suck quite as much.

    http://i.imgur.com/7h7vApb.gif

    • Stephanie

      So the whole excessive sarcasm thing is something you’re intentionally committing to, even to the point of “correcting” your previous posts? God, why? You express yourself so much better when you actually say what you’re thinking instead of just acting theatrically exasperated.

      • Izo

        Actually, when I say what I’m actually thinking, I get piled on by people with ad hominem attacks, or have to repeat myself to re-justify what I’m saying when people say the same point I refuted about 20 times in a row.

        Plus this way is more entertaining, and I don’t get called hateful names as much by people who disagree with me, because half of them think my obvious sarcasm is serious. Not to mention I’d rather joke than be angry over a webcomic.

        • Stephanie

          Where are all these ad hominem attacks and hateful names you keep referencing? I don’t think I’ve ever seen that happen in these comments, like at all. Our posts don’t even go up immediately because they are being prescreened for that kind of thing.

          • Izo

            Maybe you haven’t noticed them since they’re ad hominem attacks on me, instead of you.

          • Stephanie

            I actively looked for them after you mentioned it and I couldn’t find them, apart from one person who was hostile about your “social justice warrior” comment. It’s entirely possible that I have missed others, yes.

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      For the love of God cut it out

      • Izo

        My new attitude is for the greater good.

  • Ilzolende Kiefer

    Certainly I think that the consequences of Alison’s act are by far a net good. I don’t think that’s in question.

    What is in question is how it reflects on her as a person, and while forcing someone to save hundreds of thousands of lives is pretty justifiable, the way she did it (she didn’t seem to be attempting to be maximally persuasive, she didn’t get someone more diplomatic to ask Max first, she didn’t try to pay him, she maybe didn’t seem to have enough of an “I’m sorry that I’m forcing you to do this” attitude, etc), and other acts that she’s refused to do (such as accepting a check), suggest that she’s not acting in a principled manner, and might be prone to immoral choices in the future.

    I don’t think this was the only way she could have gotten Max to do this, I think this was the most straightforward way and the way Alison preferred to act. Although there could have been some urgency to this, we’re now cutting straight to Feral being out of surgery without implying it’s been 40 hours later, which suggests that Alison could have taken the time to find someone capable of calmly and persuasively negotiating with Max.

    Thus, while I prefer this set of Alison’s actions to the set of actions where she gets information about Max and then sits around and twiddles her thumbs for a day and never tries to get Max to boost Feral, I think she could have done better, and I think the ways in which she fell short speak extremely poorly of her. (Refusal to act in a beneficial manner is a very common vice which does not suggest a risk of committing atrocities, while quickly resorting to coercive force such as threats of murder (abandoning Max in the Atlantic) in service of the greater good is a rarer vice which does suggest a risk.)

  • LordofBlackulas

    What could she possibly offer him to try & convince him? She has few resources while Max has many. She appealed to his empathy in part because that’s what motivates her & in part because SHE HAD NOTHING TO OFFER HIM. What do you get the man who has everything when you want him to do you a favor?
    I’m not saying what she did was right (I completely believe it wasn’t) but it’s very understandable from most people’s point of view.

    • MrSing

      The point is that she didn’t even try.
      She demanded his help without considering to give him compensation.
      Who knows if he didn’t actually want money? It seems unlikely, but we don’t know.
      It is entirely in the realm of possibilities that if she had gotten someone else to sit down with Max and discuss some sort of compensation for his help, he would have done it. But now we’ll never know.

      • Axel_Celosar

        He’s already rich, what the fuck does he need more money for? Plus Max stated outright that even if he wanted to help, he STILL wouldn’t do it if it meant spiting Alison.

        • SJ

          He’s already rich, what the fuck does he need more money for?

          Right, because you know what rich people say all the time? “You know, I don’t need any more money; I’ve got enough!” Oh wait, that’s right… that doesn’t ever happen.

          To say nothing of the fact that, while money is probably not in the Top Five list of things that Max might want, that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t something he wanted that Alison couldn’t have arranged for him to have. But, of course, we’ll never know, because she didn’t bother to ask.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    Alison’s usual style kinda got a wrench thrown into our general expectations when she started torturing a guy, wouldn’t you say?

    • Santiago Tórtora

      Not really. I bet that’s not even the first person she tortured. She probably tortured or at least intimidated a minion into revealing their boss’ plan before.

      Hey, remember that rat guy who she interrogated by locking him in a garbage can and threatening him with violence? That is a thing that happened in one of the earlier issues.

      • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

        Oh, I had forgotten this guy.
        Indeed.

  • Grayson Towler

    Yeah, I actually got that impression myself, and was somewhat disappointed.

    One of the things I like best about this comic is the ambiguity. Guwara, for instance, has been my favorite character thus far, because he suggests a level of depth and complexity in the writing I really admire. To have him reduced to a one-line “What is his problem?” description felt like a let-down.

    I would hope the cast page bios can be tweaked to preserve some of the ambiguity that makes the comic itself so rich.

    • Stephanie

      I don’t think “What is his problem?” was intended as a value judgment, and I don’t see it as any kind of disrespect toward the character for his description to be a single line on the cast page. Cast pages have to walk a fine line between establishing the character’s role in the story, and not actually spoiling said story. His role in the story has been to come into minor conflict with Alison for reasons that aren’t yet clear.

  • Axel_Celosar

    I could understand that in the original way of doing it, but now? With her regen exponentially increased like this? They wouldn’t even be able to make the first incision in her without the cut immediately healing afterwards.

    • pidgey

      I kind of have this vision of Tara falling through this setup of carefully arranged buzzsaws, Super Meat Boy style, and after about 1 second all of her skin, bone marrow, thoracic organs, etc. are lying in a neat pile ready to be packaged and Tara’s head is lying on a conveyor belt, quickly regenerating her whole body at the speed required to be fully healed by the time she reaches the top, ready to start again.

    • I suppose that depends on whether her regeneration functions identically for all organs and aspects of the body. The heart is both central and essential to survival – it makes sense that Feral’s systems would regenerate that first and fastest and leave relatively minor matters like skin and bone tissue until afterward.

      Alternatively, equipment designed to pull and seperate even as the incisions are made. The raw edges being held far enough apart that they can’t touch or easily grow a skin graft between the two might just be enough to provide a window of extraction?

  • Izo

    They’re using a shovel. She regenerates so fast they no longer need to be careful if they waste a few organs. Paladin can probably get in on this action by inventing a robot which will do the work for the surgeons. And if Templar tries to take the robot away, Alison can just beat them all up or kill them, or threaten to kill them, or break their arms as long as it doesn’t take more than 15 minutes or four hours, which others have told me it the necessary amount of time under which violent means is acceptable to achieve ones ends. Then everything will be fine. Forever.

  • Stephanie

    God, I hope not, but it also seems like the most likely way for this to go pear-shaped.

  • Sendaz

    This is a bit of a side note, but this has been bothering me for a while.
    Feral’s surgery pain.
    Now we know drugs and such don’t last as her body metabolizes them too fast.
    Yet, they can keep her chest cavity open for long periods of work without her regen forcing it shut.
    So one possibility is they are constantly cutting at the edges as they try to regen, keeping it open.
    Alternatively, the two sides might not regen until brought back into place and then they reknit.
    In either of these scenarios, I still think they could have done something along the lines of using a drug to block the initial pain and while its still working either severing her spine at the base of the neck or drilling a hole in the skull to allow a device to be inserted to either keep the spinal nerve cells from reattaching or performing a continuous mini-lobotomy to the main pain centers. Even after the drugs wear off, by this point the device is in there doing its thing to mitigate the overall pain.
    Granted zero feeling is not much better than torturous pain, but still if she was in there doing her part, did the docs really look at all possible solutions to make it a bit better for her, or did they just say hey she said she can live with the pain and drugs wont work so lets get cutting….
    I know the ongoing torture of surgery makes Feral’s contribution that much more noble, but given her physiology, it seems there should have been options on this.

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      At the very least, the back and frontflips the story has to make to keep justifying its scenario the way it wants it to are very entertaining.

      • Sendaz

        Yeah, I have tried my own hand at writing superhero fiction and I get bogged down fast when you really start thinking about all the avenues and trying to maintain a cohesive storyline without straying too far out, so I don’t envy them the task at times.

  • TheLordofAwesome

    Lot of people in the comments jumping the gun a bit with the whole “Of course everything went fine! Nothing bad will come of this!” line of thought, both positive and negative. Though I suppose that’s something that can’t be avoided with a webcomic that updates one page at a time. But people need to seriously need to cool their jets if they don’t think nothing bad will come of this. Why wouldn’t anything bad happen from this?

    First of all, Feral’s healing factor has been boosted significantly and what the doctor her says might not hold up given the fact Feral got boosted when she was asleep and out of surgery. The doctor has no idea how exactly this’ll affect things because they’ve literally haven’t tried. For all they know Feral could be effectively impossible to operate on.

    Secondly, Max. Al literally kidnapped him and tortured him into this. Sure it was for the “greater good” but last I check what she did was a crime. There is certainly potential for legal repercussions against Alison for her actions, and Max strikes me as the sort of guy who would put aside not wanting people to know about his power out of sheer spite. The only way Al would get out of that would be if she went full Übermensch tyrant and said, “Fuck you. I’m right, you’re all wrong and I’ll kill you if you disagree.” Either that or the government is so terrified of her going full Übermensch tyrant that they make the most bias kangaroo court case to ensure she wins just to avoid that.

    I’m of the opinion that what Al did was wrong. Her intentions were good, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions as they say. And yes, Max was being an ass and he could save a lot of people if he used his powers rather than not, but the thing is it was well within his right not to help. No one is obligated to help anyone, and you certainly can’t take away people’s right to be assholes! Imagine if someone broke into your house, held a gun to your head and said “You are going to Med School and you will become a doctor, or I will kill you.” That is basically what happened a few pages ago.

    • Tsapki

      Except some people are not actually intelligent enough or have the funds to go to Med School, to say nothing of the time it takes to be able to actually reliably save lives with your training. Is the gunman going to keep the pistol to your head for four years without the need to eat, sleep or relieve themself?

      A more apt example would be kidnapping an actual doctor and forcing him to perform life saving surgery at gunpoint, while supplying all the equipment needed for said surgery.

      • TheLordofAwesome

        That analogy doesn’t quite work as well, considering the gunman is forcing a person who is already saving lives to save another life, which he is under oath to do anyway.

        Where as mine is a gunman (Alison) forcing a person who doesn’t have the desire to be a doctor (Max) to go to Med School to become a doctor to save lives (use his power to boost Feral in order to save more lives than before).

        Sure, not everyone can get into Med School but that isn’t the point of the analogy.

    • Psile

      Just because they say something doesn’t make it true. Personally, I think that the road to hell is paved with horrible atrocities. Also, I just watched the season premier of The Walking Dead and without getting into spoilers let’s just say it is really hard to call what Allison did torture after that. Arguing semantics is pretty pointless though. We all saw what she did and are going to describe it how we want.

      I agree with you that things might not shake out how Allison planned. We did see her talk to her Doctor before speaking with Max, so she didn’t go in completely uneducated but it is really just hard to say.

      Yes, what Allison did was a crime and I actually think she would probably accept the punishment if Max reported her. I don’t think he will, though. I think he will either pursue alternate methods of ensuring his safety, like hiring super boosted assassins, or he will get killed by the conspiracy, adding more guilt to Allison’s actions. Max has gone to great lengths to hide his identity, and I think he will explore far darker options before just going to the cops. It’s all speculation, though.

      What Al did was wrong. Leaving Tara to suffer the pain of 1000 deaths while simultaneously allowing those in need of organs to die is wrong when you have legitimate power to stop it. It is wrong of Allison to sit on that information, to just stand idly by while deaths happen that she could prevent. Maybe a better option would have just been to report Max, to use her platform to make sure everyone knew about his power. With that comes the possibility for failure, though. It is ultimately still dependent on Max to cave to social pressure, which he has proven himself quite resistant to. Max might just move to some island and cut himself off from anyone. Then Allison can’t even force him because he is public now. With hundreds of lives on the balance Allison performed the only option available to ensure that those people could live. There were two wrong choices here, and the way I saw it Allison chose the lesser of the two evils.

      • Izo
        • Psile

          I’ve already read the whole line of Injustice comics and played the game all the way through. I’ll briefly outline the differences. I’m not gonna worry about spoiling Injustice from here on out, so if you’re still reading be warned.

          After Superman killed Joker for murdering his wife and unborn child, he slowly began the descent into becoming the dictatorial overlord we all saw in the Injustice video game. Personally, I think it is an interesting look into how a person can go from good to bad and I enjoy the comics.

          Firstly, it is showing how a person CAN go from good to bad. This is not the fated path. Just because it happened to Superman in this comic doesn’t mean that is the path Allison is going to follow. Even in this comic Batman keeps telling Superman “You can come back from this”. I think he says that up to the point where he kills Green Arrow. Allison isn’t irredeemably tainted which I’ve said before is just not a thing. So those are the main differences, aside from about a trillion levels of degrees from what Superman did to what Allison did and the motivation behind it. Superman shoved his hand through Joker’s chest out of revenge. Allison twisted Max’s arm for a specific purpose independent of herself.

          Also, um where does Batman get off lecturing Superman about torture? Batman is constantly threatening all variety of criminals with horrible beatings, usually if they don’t tell him where the bomb and/or hostage is.

        • SJ
      • TheLordofAwesome

        A quick correction, we did not see Alison talk to this Doctor, we saw her talk to Dr. Rosenblum who is a different character.

        Also, good intentions can also lead to horrible atrocities.

        But moving on…

        Torture is defined as “the action or practice of inflicting severe pain on someone as a punishment or to force them to do or say something, or for the pleasure of the person inflicting the pain.” Considering when Al & Max got to the hospital she used her super strength on his arm, which caused him to scream in pain, to get him to do as she asks. That by definition is torture. It might not be severe torture like, say, waterboarding someone, but it is considered torture none the less.

        The situation with Tara is a awful situation no matter how you slice it. Tara allowed herself to be assigned to a torturous existence to help others of her own free will, which is pretty awful. I can understand why Al went to the lengths she did. She did it partly for her friend’s sake, partly out of her egomaniac desire to find a “one punch solution” to all the world’s problems. She felt that sacrificing one man’s free will was a price she was willing to pay. In that regard is what I have a problem with.

        Normally, I’m all for the “Needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”… when it is implied to certain situations. I’m against taking away a person’s free will to achieve that end. I’d probably make an exception if that person is particularly shitty such as a terrorist, but Max was just a rich jerk. He certainly didn’t deserve to be made to do it by force.

        if Al had used social pressure to get him to do it, it would still be shitty but it wouldn’t be as morally wrong.

        TL;DR: I’m okay with manipulation, but force as an option is a no-go.

        • Giacomo Bandini

          Have you considered that using social pressure could have ended damaging Max’s life way more than the violence?

          It’s telling me that to some people the everlasting damage to Max privacy pales between a temporary suspension of his”body autonomy”. It sounds Ideological, to me.

        • I believe what Alison did is definitely coercion, but I’m not sure whether it’s really severe enough to count as torture. Definitionally the concept of torture is the infliction of physical or psychological pain in order to elicit some action or piece of information, so it would theoretically apply, but the practical application of criminal law would probably stop short of that definition as Alison’s actions did not truly involve the infliction of severe pain and suffering? Does the theoretical definition matter more or less than the scale and intent of the result?

          I agree that it was wrong of her to physically transport him against his will, let alone to cause him deliberate pain (even for a few moments). I can see her reasoning and the desperate nature of the situation but regardless of which choice available to her was *less* wrong they were both still wrong to some extent. Inflicting some sort of pain or damage on Max was almost necessitated by his response unless Alison had been willing to literally walk away, though, and many other potential methods would have caused greater damage in the long run.

          • Izo

            “so it would theoretically apply”

            Torture: (noun)

            1. the act of causing severe physical pain as a form of punishment or as a way to force someone to do or say something

            2. the infliction of pain to punish, coerce, or afford sadistic pleasure

            You misspelled ‘accurately’ and spelled it as ‘theoretically’ instead.

          • No, I used the term “theoretically” to differentiate between the academic definition of a term and the common practical implications it holds in everyday usage. Most people don’t think of strong-arming as equatable to torture – which is about as close to an exact definition of what Alison’s just done as one can get – even though it is by the dictionary definition, because the public perception of torture revolves around the extreme.

          • (By the way and following up on your issues with Stephanie lately, this came over as pretty heavily condescending – I didn’t misspell anything, even if you disagree with my point or choice of syntax.)

  • Izo

    No, there are lots of other ways for the comic to continue and to show how Alison did great stuff here with nothing at all negative. Nope. Nothing negative at all. Remember…. Max is a RICH WHITE MALE. Who’s a LIBERTARIAN. He might as well be a baby killer. Plus it was only four hours, which the guide to morality tells us is the necessary time for a violation of personal liberties to be no big deal. I think it was written in the Constitution even. Or Alison will add it into the Constitution after she makes another head hang to show how she feels bad about doing what she did, even though everything went perfectly well with nothing bad happening to anyone or anything.

    Except Max. But again. Rich white libertarian male with evil looking cheekbones. Might as well be Donald Trump.

    • Stephanie

      Right, the authors clearly want to portray Alison’s decision as unambiguously perfect with no downsides, that’s why Alison is visibly unhappy on this page. Obviously she is experiencing no doubt or internal conflict whatsoever. Also, it would totally have been okay to let all the people who need transplants die painfully if Max had been poor or female or nonwhite or non-libertarian, that’s clearly what the authors are getting at here.

      • Izo

        Psst, you forgot to add that you were being sarcastic in there. People might think you mean what you wrote as your actual opinions instead of the subtext that you mean the opposite. 🙂

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    Yay, $0.3!

  • Weatherheight

    A lot of that time is spent in anesthesia (useless on Tara, or so we’ve been told), avoiding cutting through important stuff in ways that are permanently damaging (as you say, not problem with Tara), and closing correctly (again, not really an issue with Tara). In her case, surgical skill, doctor fatigue, and surgery space and choreography are going to be the limiting factors.

    Once they get organized, I don’t see five minute per organ as being at all unrealistic. I haven’t spent any time doing surgery so I don’t know how much elbow room is required (maybe one surgeon on each side?).

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter because Brennan can make up whatever he wants.

      Which makes it kind of damning all of the things we have to just accept for the scenario to work instead of just, like, don’t tell me it’s simply too far-fetched we had instead of this one dude out there who has a superpower than makes people sleep through anything.

      • Weatherheight

        The pacing of these last few weeks is really muddying the waters here. I’m impatient for more information, too. However, I have a mollifying influence (Not Molly.. just.. oh bother…).

        I have a D&D game I’ve been running for 28+ years, being run in different areas of the campaign world. I currently have a fellow in the game who wants to know everything, especially things his character has no reason to know. And this thirst for knowledge has led to 4 TPK (Total Party Kills) so far, directly caused by him. And never without being warned prior to going. He’s twice talked the party into going into areas that the powerful NPC group in town has gone to and said, “Yeah, no.. never going back. We’re extremely lucky to be alive.” The party knew this, went anyway, and got… significantly incapacitated (I had contingency plans in place the first time, the party created contingency plans the second time). This person has talked the PCs into going further into areas where they were already struggling to survive on two occasions, with similar results. And oddly, the party keeps following his ideas. Admittedly, lately they just tune him out or tell him to “Shut the hell up, DeathWish.”

        The point here is that he’s unwilling to allow the story to unfold or investigate and consider things he already knows. Having him in my group has been… instructional regarding my own tendencies to want to “exceed my grasp”, as the metaphor goes.

        I’m willing to let the story unfold, and tI’m trying to trust Brennan’s and Molly’s artistic instincts here and to wait patiently.

        Like I can do anything else…
        ::glances over at the barrel the readers are collectively being hung over and grins dopily::

    • Sam

      Permanently damaging /to the organs/. The doctors aren’t worrying about causing pain or lasting harm to the donor, because the donor is a cadaver. The difficulties of removing viable organs are still present in Feral’s case, and, according to an earlier strip, actually worse.

      • Tsapki

        Which is why they have been developing specialist equipment for it.

      • Weatherheight

        Usually a corpse – kidneys, for example, can be taken from a living donor in some cases.

        That said, I wasn’t referring to a usual organ donor. I was referring to Tara – normally, when one does surgery on a living patient, one tries to minimize trauma. In her case, the appropriate comparison is to a living donor, not a corpse. Trauma is not ot an issue for her. The issue of not damaging the organ itself is present in both cases, corpse or living recipient.

        All the problems do remain in effect in the case of the recipient, so that will cause issues unless they set up several surgical suites – no, check that – dozens of surgical suites with appropriate staffing to perform the implanting of the transplanted organs.

        Serious economic boom to whatever city gets the campus located within its governance.

      • Stephanie

        Do we know that the organs don’t regenerate? I remember that they don’t transfer Feral’s ability to the recipient, but do we know that they don’t, themselves, retain the ability? Because the whole “universal donor” thing really only makes sense if the organs continue regenerating and are therefore able to resist the host body’s attempts to reject them.

        • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

          Really? I mean, it can “make sense” in a myriad ways. It’s not like cat eyes make more sense human biology-wise than “Tara has somehow all blood types at once”

          • Stephanie

            Well–it’s impossible to have all blood types at once, because blood type labels denote the presence or absence of specific proteins, and of course you can’t both have and not have the same protein. I mean, I know this is a comic about superpowers, but that’s a situation where it just wouldn’t make sense by definition unless the SFP-verse’s baseline human blood works really differently than ours. But, if you have more theories about ways that Feral’s regeneration ability might make her a universal donor without the regeneration being retained in the transplanted organ, I’m interested in hearing them! I love talking and speculating about that kind of underlying mechanistic stuff.

        • Kifre

          Actually, the universal donor thing doesn’t make sense at all if it’s dependent upon the organs regenerating. Because, look, you’re relying on the idea that an incompatible organ will be attacked by the recipient’s immune system, right? If the damage/threat in donation were limited to the donor organ being damaged, sure, regeneration would solve the problem…but it’s not. You also get all the symptoms of a robust immune response….swelling, fever, etc. which are the body’s way of trying to stamp out invaders, sometime at the risk of harm to itself. Those wouldn’t go away with regeneration and would basically just make the recipient miserable for so long as they had the organ.

          I don’t know what the role of imunosuppressant drugs might be…but I get the sense that the point of telling us that Feral is a universal donor is to say that there’s no risk of rejection which would require a recipient to be immune compromised in order to live with the organ.

          • Stephanie

            That issue is resolved if we assume the organ takes signals for its regeneration from the surrounding tissue. In that case the “correct form” for the organ to regenerate into would become one compatible with the host body, complete with appropriate antigens.

            Alternatively, inflammation is caused by damaged cells releasing histamine etc, right? It’s possible that Feral’s cells don’t release those signals when damaged–maybe because they recover too quickly, maybe because it’s a “required secondary power” for her regeneration to work without leaving her feverish and inflamed, who knows.

            There are probably a lot of ways it could work depending on what assumptions we make, whether the organs regenerate outside Feral’s body or not. I’d be interested to know how the creators picture it working.

          • Kifre

            Well, histamine does cause swelling, but remember that there does not have to be tissue damage for histamine to be released. Nor is histamine the only cause of swelling and inflammation. Just the presence of something the body identifies as not belonging and that triggers an immune response. So histamine would be released for a non-compatible organ regardless of whether that organ was intact or regenerative. And even if the organ were immune to swelling, the area around it wouldn’t be.

            Taking cues from surrounding tissue is interesting…but I’m stumped as to how that would actually work. Or how it would have become part of Ferals’ powers to begin with. Why would pat of being regenerative mean adapting to foreign tissue within the body? What purpose would quickly assimilating the genetic makeup of nearby tissue serve? And more importantly, why wouldn’t we have seen some really interesting manifestations of Feral’s anomaly if that were the case? Genetic assimilation would be super cool but far removed from how her powers currently manifest.

          • Stephanie

            Well, what I’m picturing is basically that the tissue regenerates into the “correct” form for the environment it’s in. That could just be the mechanism by which Feral’s regeneration normally works–the tissues filling in the blanks, forming themselves into round pegs to fit in round holes, becoming functional in context.

            I don’t mean that it would adapt to foreign tissue in Feral’s body, but that it would conform to the living tissue that makes up the body it’s operating within. Put a heart in some other person, and then in order to be a working heart, it has to regenerate into “that person’s heart.” A square peg for the square hole it found itself in. Of course this is completely wild speculation.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    Utilitarianotopia: the country where you get the same protection and individual rights as any modern developed nation, …except sometimes. Come visit!
    Population: 0

    • Giacomo Bandini

      “and a lot of other benefits that modern developed nation doesn’t provide” And is populated, mind you. Would it be paradise? I don’t think so, but that does not mean that there won’t be any upside, and some people will choose it.

      • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

        You would be surprised how many people, when choosing between guaranteed rights and not-so-much are going to lean toward the former.

        If you don’t, well…
        When you imagine yourself back 200 years into the past of your own country, you don’t expect to be a slave, do you.

  • Weatherheight

    It’s more likely that “Mohammed would come to the mountain” as they say – hence my conclusion that just building a huge medical center around and studying Tara would make more sense for all but the most seriously incapacitated patients.

  • The phonecall was to Dr Rosenblum, Alison’s own biodynamics specialist.

  • Izo
    • Weatherheight

      Make sure you collect that royalty. 😀

      • Izo

        That’s not me. That’s Jay Leno. We look …slightly… different. By which I mean we’re different ethnicities, genders, heights, chin-sizes, social classes, religions, professions, and I don’t actually like eating doritos.

        • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

          I suspect that it wasn’t what Wéveurayte (I give up, French can’t communicate those barbaric sounds) was implying at all

  • Weatherheight

    More Johnny T! Teleporting High Fashion with an Adorable British Accent!

  • sadder_fish

    You’ve missed one possible interpretation: the distal indexical “that” can refer here not only to “regenerating your heart” or “regenerating your heart 8 – 10 times a day” but to “regenerating your heart 8 – 10 times”. I actually think that this interpretation is the most sensible one.

    Before, if Feral’s heart was removed at the beginning of the day and then removed immediately after it had regenerated, and this process continued throughout the day, her heart would regenerate 8 – 10 times over the course of 24 hours. Now, she is regenerating so quickly that, were her heart to be constantly removed as soon as it had grown back, it would be removed/grow back 8 – 10 times in a minute.

  • MrSing

    He’s kinda cute, actually. As long as he doesn’t sneeze on me I’m okay with it.

  • Izo

    Nothing bad will ever happen ever again forever.

  • Weatherheight

    Yeah, I’d say this is a pretty good definition of “countless, countless lives.”
    Of course, now I feel a little bad for all those bald and balding people… 😀

    • Dean

      Scalp transplants. Who wouldn’t want Feral’s long, flowing mane?

  • Weatherheight

    Indeed.. what about Patrick?

    ::gives out a half-hearted attempt at a maniacal laugh that sounds a bit like a sputtering toy airplanes and shuffles off stage left::

  • Weatherheight

    And in the corner of a old brownstone in New York City, the Hannibal Lector Appreciation Society orders ten cases of Chianti.

  • Weatherheight

    Based solely on the yet-limited information we have, it does seem Alison chose the lesser evil here (and potentially several orders of magnitude lesser evil).

    When you go throwing stones in ponds, ripples happen – and the fish get headaches.

  • SJ

    Seeing a lot of people point out, rightly, that organ donation doesn’t work like this. To that end, I would like to offer two possible counter arguments.

    1) The organs themselves can now be cut in half and regenerate into full organs due to Max’s involvement. Maybe they can only do this a limited number of times, and so that’s why they need Feral to come back, albeit far more occasionally. Furthermore, it doesn’t take so much time to remove a heart because they don’t need to be nearly as careful about not taking too much artery/vein. Just rip the whole shebang out, trim it down later.
    2) Magic of fiction.

    I have resigned myself to the fact that Applied Phlebotinum’s Max’s anomaly will end up working however the authors need it to work, in order to justify Alison’s world view.

  • Weatherheight

    There are so many ways for this to go south just on practical issues, I’m likely to get hypoxia from waiting with abated breath

  • Weatherheight

    I suspect that they took biopsies from her and measured the healing rate now and compared it to previous healing rates, then extrapolated.

    However, they may have done a few test surgeries right after the boost to get their numbers. If that’s the case, I suspect some level of panic and discomfiture as previous surgery methods needed to be adjusted on the fly during the surgeries. Tara being in a bed is probably corresponding to a symposium in the next conference over relaying their findings. 😀

    • Stephanie

      That’s certainly possible, although my assumption was that she was in bed because Alison previously arranged with the doctors for her to be removed from surgery for the “procedure.”

  • Danygalw

    The teleporter is no more altruistic than Max.

  • Danygalw

    It has so far.

  • Danygalw

    She’s really, really, really, really hard to kill.

  • Izo
  • Danygalw

    Because Alison asked him.

  • Weatherheight

    That’s possible, I suppose, but given her current regenerative status, I expect to hear a lot of assassins going..

    “Oh, come onnn! That was a [insert newest super weapon with a cool name here]! Dammit!”

  • Sengachi

    No. The exchange rate is just too good.

    Cost: Outside odds of the death of one person, specifically a person who has made it abundantly clear that they will never use their resources to aid others under any circumstances.

    Benefit: In the short term, the cessation of eternal torture of one of the most genuinely good people in the world. In the long run, the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

    In my opinion anyone who wouldn’t take that exchange has something genuinely wrong with how they evaluate moral good (or has some truly alien moral axioms). Anyone with normal human moral axioms is either ridiculously overvaluing self-determination or can’t properly contextualize the good defined by saving that many lives.

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      You don’t realize how dangerous it is to put body autonomy under question.

      • Sengachi

        I’d like to reframe what Allison is asking Max to do slightly. Let’s say someone is badly wounded, and me and someone with bad germaphobic OCD are available to help. I’m trying to help stop the wounded person’s bleeding, but I’m not enough on my own. So I shout for the person with OCD to help me put pressure on the wound. They don’t want to, they’d rather not get dirty.

        I say “fuck that” and proceed to scream at them until they help put pressure on the wound, forcing them through their squeamishness. Have I violated their autonomy? Hell yes? Has the experience probably traumatized them? Definitely, way more than Allison traumatized Max. Would I do it again? Absolutely, their squeamishness does not rank higher on my list of priorities than someone’s life.

        And I doubt many people would criticize me for that. So what’s different in this case (you know, other than that the cost is even smaller and the benefit hundreds of thousands of times greater)?

        • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

          The difference is you’re not the world’s stronger human being.

          Y’all really don’t get it. This is what matters. It’s really annoying to see nobody speak about how power imbalance inevitably affects the morality of your actions. I’m vehemently against the powerful using violence to control and oppress the powerless, but okay when sometimes even the same violence is used as a means of revolt by the oppressed against the dominant class. Had Tara herself, lowly country lesbian girl, subdued Max, entitled rich white fuckboy, to get a power amplification, only to then be judged for assault and sentenced according to her particular situation…
          I would have been so absolutely fine with that.

          Alison can do whatever she damn wants, and never fear retribution. My reaction to what she did (and how all yours should be as well, honestly) is the same I entertain with absolutely all power: scolding, merciless indifference when it doesn’t fuck up, absolute outrage when it does.

          Applauding what power does even when it does things right is too dangerous. Alison, because she is powerful, never gets a thumbs up.

    • SJ

      Cost: Outside odds of the death of one person, specifically a person who has made it abundantly clear that they will never use their resources to aid others under any circumstances.

      This is an intriguing interpretation of what Max actually said. And, by intriguing, I mean bullshit.

      He refused to use his powers to help Alison. He didn’t refuse to use his powers “to aid others under any circumstances.” Just Alison… And Feral, by transitive property, I guess, but I still maintain that that had more to do with him not wanting to do anything for Alison.

      If it was that important to Alison, then she should have swallowed her pride and done whatever it took to get Max’s willing cooperation, even if that meant divorcing herself from the project, and letting someone else take over.

      • Campor

        Max made it fairly clear that he didn’t want to use his powers to help anyone else. He felt it was a waste of powers. We have to assume he was told the situation and refused, knowing perfectly well how many lives he was condemning for the sake of his pride. That is not the attitude of a reasonable individual, and I personally don’t feel that morally it would be right to sabotage the project (which without Allison wouldn’t have the recognition of one of the most famous heroes in the world) to satisfy his ego in order to help those people for this one occasion.

        • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

          Max’ reasons don’t matter. Heck, only Patrick could know for sure he was even telling the truth. If Alison decided to do what she did specifically because his expressed reasons didn’t fit with her, that’s even worse.
          Like she’s the objective reference frame who can deem the opinions of others justifiable or not.

        • SJ

          Max made it fairly clear that he didn’t want to use his powers to help anyone else. He felt it was a waste of powers.

          Yeah… that’s not what he said.

          Page 82:
          “Let me be very clear about something. I don’t need a why. You’re asking me to do something for you. Something I don’t feel like doing.”

          “Why don’t you feel like doing it?

          “That doesn’t matter! Believe it or not, I don’t have to explain myself to you! You are not the boss of me!”

          And, from Page 85:
          “My answer is no. It’s going to stay no, and it’s always going to be no. And even if I wanted to do it, I might still say no, just to you.”

          He didn’t say what you claim what he said. You are inferring what you think he meant, based on your opinion of Max. Now, that may well have been what he meant, but that’s not what he said, and it was not “fairly clear” that he meant what you claim he meant.

          And he most definitely did not say, or even imply, that it would be a “waste” of his powers. The only time he even uses the word “waste” is when he is describing his powers, from his point of view, as useless. He doesn’t have a high enough opinion of his abilities to look down on the idea of “wasting” them on Alison’s cause; he doesn’t think his powers are valuable enough to be wasted.

          The only two things that are made clear by the text are that 1) Max think’s that Feral’s sacrifice is stupid (I think “selfish” was his actual choice of words), and 2) that he’s mad enough at Alison to refuse to help her, just to spite her. It doesn’t say anywhere that he’d refuse to use his powers to help somebody else, as long as they would/could keep his secret.

    • Wulf

      “Some people just aren’t capable of understanding that others don’t see the world through the same lens they do.” -Sengachi

  • Weatherheight

    ::checks the back of his Drivers License::

    Yep, doing my part!

  • Weatherheight

    Signing up for Discus has been very useful to me. I would recommend and encourage doing so (between Discus and Gravitar, I’m pretty much covered vis a vis commenting flexibility).

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    The act of coming up with possible explanations to explain plot misgivings that are not substantiated by the text has an informal name I fancy, coming right from the Game of Thrones fandom; honeypotting.

    The fact of the matter is that a significant part of the commenting reader-base seems quite unconvinced by the lengths at which the scenario went to justify itself against what common sense would indicate, and that’s just a little bit annoying.

    Now, if it’s a lie… things get instantly more interesting.

  • Bo Lindbergh

    One for the Taralison shippers…”You changed the way my body works without asking first. Bad Alison! To make things even, you have to let me do anything I like to your body.”

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    It doesn’t matter what his flawed (deeply deeply flawed and stupid and dumb and stupid) reasoning was. Body autonomy is too important to start putting asterisks at the end of it. We establish these unbreakable rules because any loophole is too easy to abuse afterward if we don’t. If individual rights don’t come first and foremost then it’s unavoidable that inequalities and abuse proliferate.

  • palmvos

    prepare to loose that dollar. the doctor would be monstrously negligent if they did not check for that. and given the speed of her current regeneration the 13 hour nap she’s already had is more than sufficient to give indications that the organs are now aggressive when separated, so the doctor would be a lot less pleased.
    (ill take my dollar in nickels and dimes so you can say you nickel-ed and dime-ed me.)

  • Jared Rosenberg

    and now people she gives her organs to slowly become Feral. 🙂

    • Stephanie

      God, that would be amazing. Imagine a world where everyone can regenerate from any injury or illness. Sure, there’d be a few edge cases that would suck, but on the whole it would erase such an enormous amount of suffering and loss from the world. I don’t think it’ll happen, but that’s a victory condition right there.

      • Izo

        And overpopulation wouldn’t be a problem either because reasons.

        • Stephanie

          Can you chill out a little? You don’t have to argue with me on like every comment I make just because you disagree with me about whether Alison’s actions were justified. You keep saying you’re only mad at my ideas and not me, but that’s increasingly not the impression I’m getting.

          • Izo

            Stephanie…. I’m not just responding to your posts or disagreeing with just your posts. Although you’ve been the only one who people give me grief over disagreeing with, because you’re the most vocal person for the other side of the argument. If you werent making a large amount of the posts on the other side of the argument, I wouldn’t be responding to them obviously or disputing those ideas. Heck, I even sometimes upvote you, even when you’re making a point that I’m disputing (I notice you never do the same but that’s your choice – I think maybe you’re getting a little personal in that respect though).

            I made a valid argument in the post you just responded to. You said it would be great if everyone had Feral’s healing powers and longevity. I pointed out overpopulation. Instead of trying to make this personal, maybe you can respond to my argument? I seriously have no personal animosity against you (or anyone) in particular. I don’t even know you in RL. If we hung out in RL, we’d probably get along – it’s not like I don’t have friends (including really good friends) who probably would argue the same things with me that you are arguing. Just respond to my arguments when I make them, or if I inadvertently (important word) do make something personal, point it out and I apologize about it. Nothing I said here was personal, either inadvertently or on purpose. I would appreciate it if you could apologize to me?

          • Stephanie

            If you’d said something like, “Wouldn’t overpopulation be a problem in that circumstance?” I’d have been happy to engage in a discussion on that topic. It’s something I’ve given a lot of thought to in the past. But the condescending sarcasm? The implicit assumption in your phrasing that I’ve never even considered the overpopulation obstacle? Was that necessary?

            It’s one thing for you to be condescendingly sarcastic when you and I are in the middle of a heated debate. That’s par for the course, it’s a natural response to the frustration when someone strongly disagrees with you, I’ve responded with that tone a few times myself. It’s a totally different animal when I’m trying to have a cheerful conversation in a completely different thread about a completely different subject, and you chime in with sarcastic condescension. I don’t see how I can interpret that as anything but hostile, it doesn’t make me want to engage, and I’m not going to apologize for being upset about it.

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            Izo, is there any way that we can speak somewhere else in private, if you would be willing?

          • Honestly, it seems like the two of you are among the most frequent SFP commentors, so you’re more likely to come into conflict when you disagree than anyone else by the simple law of averages. Taking some time and space from one another to allow cooler heads to prevail, and then a calm conversation – preferably in private – about how to resolve these issues, is probably the best potential solution here.

            I’ll keep this short, but from the perspective of this reader at least you both have valid points about the other poster’s conduct, and most of the elements you’re irritated about in one another appear to be perpetuated unconsciously. From my external perspective, Izo’s phrasing is condescending at times but often seems to be inadvertently done – although a more respectful or conversational tone might cause fewer problems. They also use sarcasm and belittlement for comedic effect regarding aspects of the story with which they disagree but these aren’t necessarily directed at the others in conversation with them. Stephanie’s irritation with that is therefore *quite* reasonable – but expressing that irritation is also potentially inflammatory if the intent to condescend is assumed, especially when it’s vividly described and clarified. You’re both justified in picking up on the other one’s frustration and in being frustrated yourselves but there may not be any underlying ill intent on either side. I hope that assessment is accurate, at least. .. and if it is, reaching mutual agreement and understanding would probably help more than any number of recriminations or requested apologies.

          • Stephanie

            Thank you, I appreciate your bringing in a neutral perspective. I think you’re right, especially the part about how no ill intent exists on either side. I know that tone is hard to get across in text, so if a comment seems hostile or condescending, I should ask for clarification before getting upset.

      • Axel_Celosar

        Actually he meant literalyl turn them into Feral. The organs overwriting the person’s DNA and turning them into a straight up copy of Feral.

        • Stephanie

          Oh, well, that would suck.

  • Insanenoodlyguy

    Just because she could doesn’t mean she can. In an optimal situation (teleporters, surgeons standing by wand ready to be rotated out), yes, she could meet the worlds demand. But transportation and storage logistics don’t work that ideally all the time or even some of the time. But what’s probably true is that Feral can complete the list the surgeons currently have in this timeline. Not every hospital is going to request these organs, because of logistics: You can only move organs so far so fast and so often. What she does have is a radius that’s impressively large who’s means can be met, but it’s not worldwide.

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      Organs are nice, but what Tara can’t materialize out of thin air are qualified surgeons (which, arguably, is much more valuable) and hospital equipment.

      There is absolutely no way to reconcile oneself with the fact that she meets the entire world’s demand other than just to accept it because the text said so.

  • Insanenoodlyguy

    But she’d go through this trouble for a good friend. It’s an answer to her specific problem. She can produce so much she’s satisfied with her work, while now being able to have a life.

  • Insanenoodlyguy

    no, but bear in mind with Feral you can speed it up a lot. Normally you have to be very delicate with organ surgery for obvious reasons. With Feral you can basically use a scoop and clean off any extra bits off the surgery table.

    • SJ

      Not buying it; all we know is that Feral’s organs can regenerate inside of her body. It doesn’t follow that the organs can heal themselves from any additional damage once they’ve already been removed. That is neither explicit nor implied, and it doesn’t jive with what is known in canon, anyway, about Feral’s anomaly not transferring.

      • Insanenoodlyguy

        I said scoop, not cut. You cut out the organ and don’t worry about any viscera that comes out with it, that can be cleaned up by another team and any damage made inside is healed in a minute or less.

        • SJ

          To “scoop” out multiple organs per minute? Do I even want to contemplate how sharp that implement would have to be?

          And how do you scoop out enough to make that a viable strategy, without compromising any of the other organs on the donation schedule? It’s not like they have it set up so that Mondays is “heart day,” Tuesdays is “lung day,” Wednesdays is “liver day,” etc. All of those surgical teams are working simultaneously, and not necessarily in concert. How do you “scoop” out the heart in the manner that you’re suggesting, multiple times a day, and still keep the lungs viable?

          • Stephanie

            Maybe Mondays could be “heart day?” I mean, why not? Relentlessly hack out a couple of organs that aren’t too close to each other and just do that all day. Do different organs another day. I don’t think there’s any particular reason they would need to extract all the organs all the time, now that there’s a surplus.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    Tara is homosexual. “I hate you because you have been given the eyes of a lesbian” doesn’t seem so far-fetched when the very concept of homophobia is already the stupidest thing on Earth

    • Campor

      I can imagine the backflips people would go through to make this a viable argument too. It wouldn’t be long before you’ve got the extremists discrediting anyone with Feral’s eyes as ‘They see the world through homo-vision’ or something equally ludicrous.

      • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

        “Ms. Cooper, I have terrible news.”
        “What is it, stunningly arousing doctor?”
        “Well, that’s it, actually. Your power enhancement… somehow affected your homo-vision. You know see the world even gayer than you did before, and could find yourself hallucinating a fantasy of fabulous colors and killer fashion styles that may lead you toward a loss of your sense of reali–”
        “THIS IS AMAZING”

        • Izo

          Please … no more – I’m laughing too much at this thread 🙂

      • Izo

        I’m sorry – cracking up from that last sentence 🙂

    • Izo

      Wait, they actually list the sexual orientation of an organ donor? I don’t remember that checkmark box when I filled out the card. I’m pretty sure the reason they werent donating eyes was, as said in the comic, because they would show that the origin was from someone biodynamorphic. Not from someone who was a lesbian.

      • Lysiuj

        Both – people recognize those are her eyes, people know she’s both Biodynamic and lesbian. So people who recieve her eyes will be easily recognized, and targeted by both dynaphobic and homophobic individuals/groups (presumably there’s a lot of overlap between the two).

  • I do in fact think that Hitler was destined to fail for that reason, and that the Universe never allows evil to triumph over good.

    It actually is not that complicated, either. The worse a situation is, the more things struggle to change their situation. And on the other hand, the better the situation is, the more things are content with it.

    So it is like entropy. Low entropy situations are unstable and must tend toward high entropy situations. Likewise, evil situations are unstable and must tend toward good situations.

    And yes I am willing to apply this to concrete examples like Hitler. There is nothing impossible about him winning the war. Suppose it happened. He also had plans of completely eliminating the populations of Eastern Europe, to make “room” for more Germans. If he had started to engage on this project, it would evidently have caused discontent — and therefore instability — of the most extreme sort. And the consequences would be as they usually are in such situations, and his great empire would pass away, and things would improve, going back to a normal, stable, and good situation.

    • Santiago Tórtora

      Suppose Hitler, after killing most of the people in Europe who opposed him, died happy believing that his dream was on the way to being fulfilled. Suppose further that his successors were very competent administrators and led Europe to a new age of super-prosperity. Also they are not evil so they let go of the whole genocide business and paid some nominal reparations to the survivors of the groups Hitler exterminated.

      It would feel like, although Hitler’s goals weren’t really fulfilled, he certainly *got away with something*. That the nazis, even though they became good people in this hypothetical, still didn’t get what they deserve.

      That hypothetical sounds far-fetched, but it’s pretty much what happened in North America after the Europeans killed so many natives. Is that sort of injustice allowed to happen in your worldview, or are North Americans holding some dangerous karmic debt?

      • I think something like that can pretty much happen, although personally I would be skeptical that Hitler would have “died happy” even if he had been externally very successful. (Not that whatever personal misgivings he might feel would be anything like sufficient “punishment” for what he did.)

        It’s not easy to define what the “triumph of evil” would be, but given my account, a real triumph would be reversing the general tendency, so that things started to tend towards evil overall, or at least to get bad and stay that way. It’s like the comparison I made with the laws of thermodynamics: it is not impossible for entropy to decrease, it is just unlikely, and it will not tend to do that overall and long term.

  • Amulya

    Feral is openly lesbian.

    • Izo

      Okay yeah I know she’s lesbian. I’m not sure how eyes and being a lesbian have anything to do with each other though.

      • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

        Well, Tara’s eyes have to do with being a lesbian that they reside on a lesbian person.

      • SJ

        Okay yeah I know she’s lesbian. I’m not sure how eyes and being a lesbian have anything to do with each other though.

        One of the reasons Patrick mentioned why Feral wasn’t donating her eyes is because it would be too obvious that the donation came from a biodynamic person. Therefore, they would draw unwanted attention to the recipient from dynaphobics.

        It’s not a stretch to believe, since Feral’s identity is publicly known, that people would also find out that the eyes came, not only from a dynamorph, but also from an openly gay woman. Therefore, homophobic.

  • DasJepix

    People are doing math all over, while I’m simply happy to see Feral in glorious current-Molly rendering. she looks just a pinch softer now, like a feral housecat that just never got used to living with people.

  • SJ

    They can always send her on a one-way trip to Mars, to join The Most Interesting Man in the World.

  • Tsapki

    What could Alison possibly offer Max that he can’t already easily acquire with his money? The idea sounds as likely as trying to pay for groceries with some cool rocks you found outsude your house. Grocery store employees can get their own rocks, they don’t need yours.

    As for having someone else convince him, he seemed pretty upset anyone knew about his power. Increased the number of people who know seems counterproductive.

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      She could have tried at least.

    • Izo

      /s signifies sarcasm. There. I’ve fulfilled my legal obligations for warning about sarcasm.

      “What could Alison possibly offer Max that he can’t already easily acquire with his money?”

      He can easily acquire $25 million? When did you find this absolute certainty of a fact out? Also when did 4 hours work for $25 million become insignificant? How rich IS Max that he makes that much?

      Oh yeah I forgot… when you become rich, you no longer want more money because wealth eliminates that need. Most people who make $1 million quickly stop coveting money. That’s how humans tend to work. A total lack of wanting more.
      ….. /s

      “As for having someone else convince him, he seemed pretty upset anyone knew about his power. Increased the number of people who know seems counterproductive.”

      It’s not like Alison could have refrained from telling Max that she had told Feral. After all, someone told Alison.

      Then again, it’s a well known fact that if you THINK something won’t work, that’s just as good as having tried and failed.

      …. /s

  • David

    I suspect the doctor’s logistical limits have more to do with how many organs can be transplanted into patients. That process is considerably more difficult that simply removing the organs from Feral and couldn’t be scaled up easily.

    This site (https://www.kidney.org/news/newsroom/factsheets/Organ-Donation-and-Transplantation-Stats) suggests there are on the order of 16,000 transplants/year. If Feral is regenerating 2 kidneys/minute then 40 hours/month = 57,600 kidneys/year which probably exceeds the world’s capacity for transplants.

    • Oren Leifer

      Yeah, also considering transportation, I made a comment above about how it would make sense for Feral to go on a world tour to transport those organs, because having her fly somewhere would be easier than the logistics of transporting so many organs so far.

  • Some thoughts. First, the acrimony in the comments is pretty painful to read; understandable, but really not that enjoyable.

    Second, regarding the last couple pages, I’ve finally found what is, to me, the perfect metaphor:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-zczJXSxnw
    (That’s my suspension bridge of disbelief, if the metaphor is too subtle…)

    Third, I’m still waiting to see how Brennan proceeds from this point, but right now… it feels a bit like we may have jumped the shark.

    WHEE!

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

    AGAIN!!

  • Wanfar

    chill guys it’s just a story for enjoying (many people love it including me) no need to get technical

    • Stephanie

      Aww, that’s half the fun, though.

  • Izo

    Remember on Angel where they save the world from the fallen Power that Was who brought world peace at the cost of just a few lives a year as sacrifice? 🙂 I’m wondering how many people here would have thought that Team Angel was in the wrong.

  • Walter

    Yeah, they totally would. Feral is solving the world’s organ donor shortage problem. If she wants pretty much anything that’s fine.

  • Izo

    And any extra hearts and organs can be used to solve world hunger. Cannibalism? Pssh, it’s for the greater good.

  • Walter

    Yeah, it was a pretty rotten plan. Like, what if he still said no after she wrenched his arm? How far was she willing to go?

    But, it did work. Give it that.

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      And the Emperor definitely brought Order to the Galaxy for a good many decades too!

      • Izo

        That’s… actually true. Utilitarianism in action. Utilitarianism is the Dark Side.

    • Eternal

      In my opinion, she already went too far when she used force.

      There should have been a way to make the law force him to help. I don’t know about other countries’ laws, but here in France “not helping someone in danger” is illegal (as long as you don’t risk your own life by doing so).

      If it’s not possible to do it this way, it should still be possible to shame him into helping through the media.

      • Stephanie

        But if the law forced him, wouldn’t that still ultimately mean coercing him on threat of violence? The only differences would be that it would be done through an intermediary and that it would take much longer, with people dying in the meantime.

        • Eternal

          Yes, it would still ultimately be using force to make him save people. The difference here would be the same as the one which exists between a democracy and a dictatorship.

          The law (and the system that enforces it) embodies the collective force of all citizens. Thi is why the State has the monoply on the legitimate use of violence, and why it is wrong for indivual people to use force to enforce justice (or worse, their own “justice”).

  • Izo

    According to the World Food Program in the United Nations, 21,000 people die each day from hunger or hunger-related causes. One person every four seconds. Most often, it is little children who die in the greatest numbers. In addition, poor nutrition causes nearly 45 percent of deaths in children under five each year – 3.1 million children every year.

    Obviously, since this is about the greater good, and I have been convinced completely and utterly by the brilliant utilitarian arguments in favor of such things, as well as being shown how nothing negative came from Alison’s action, that nothing bad can come of doing something bad as long as a lot of people are helped as a result and it saves countless, countless lives, now that Feral is freed up from organ donations for operations, she should stay in her chair and have parts sliced off her to be made into food for the starving people of the world, thus also ending world hunger.

    Surely there’s no flaw in this plan, right? After all, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one. Easy, easy math. If Feral agrees, even better – it means no one has to strap her in the chair against her will. Since she regenerates organs so quickly, she’ll probably not even have to be on the operating table constantly still. Or maybe Alison can make Max give her another boost on top of her boost. She can break his leg or bust a few ribs to make sure he complies. I think this is a great idea. Who’s with me?

  • Giacomo Bandini

    I just have a realization, it might be interessing. I was asking myself: why the conspiracy did not have “silenced” Max already? His power is a world-changing one, this arc just proved it, why keeping hm alive? Alison took five minutes to figure a way to use Max power and change the world. Coulden’t the conspirators have tought of something similar themselves?
    And then i realised: Max is the conspiracy weapon against Alison. He has human frailiites, so he can be coerced into powering some other byodinamic killer and point them against Alison. And they have the perfect one: cleaver. Already on similar level of power on his own, Alison won’t stand a chance if he ever got Maximized. Sure, they got the problem of a savage and unstoppable Cleaver on the loose, but bonus point, Cleaver is dying: just wait a few years and, bang, problem solved.
    I think that the human connection between Alison and Daniel could be the “nail” that ends derailing thei entire plan.

    • Stephanie

      God damn would that be heartwarming. It’d probably do Alison a lot of psychological good if just being kind was enough to save the world, even just that one time.

  • Izo

    Letting a personal fear of needles prevent saving lives? And I’m sure that you DO save will be very grateful – even if you aren’t Feral and can’t save countless, countless lives? If you save a dozen lives, isn’t that still more important than a phobia? Have them give something to calm you down beforehand. Or don’t tell them about your phobia and look away. It’s for the greater good. I will go with you and we can do it together. Blood Donation sisters! They give you free cookies and juice afterwards, and a sticker.

    • Stephanie

      I really do not appreciate you trying to make me feel guilty over something I can’t help, and I equally do not appreciate you making light of my phobia. I want to be a regular blood donor, and the fact that that isn’t possible for me is a sensitive subject. I don’t mind debating with you about Alison’s actions, but if you can’t restrain yourself from making it personal, I’m not interested.

      • Izo

        Understandable. I’m actually debating about Alison’s actions, but it got interwoven into yours so I apologize. I did not mean to make it personal.

        Lets get back to the Max subject.

        If Max did not want to help because he had a phobia about using his powers and it getting out in the public, should he be forced and be told to get over it?

  • Izo

    We can call that plan B. It might be a problematic plan since some people who hate biodynamics might not be rich or libertarian.

  • Izo

    My posts are not to the author, since he doesn’t read the comments. It’s to the people who support what Alison did and see how this is all turning out perfect for her and for the world.

    Although if someone does write something happening good from something bad and it doesn’t look like anything negative is or will happen to that person as a result, it’s not a huge stretch to think that maybe they do support the idea. It’s like an Aesop’s Fable where the moral does put you at least a little into the mind of the author. Of course, since this is a deconstruction, the author might be completely displacing himself and his own personal views from the story. So again, my posts are not to the author since I am not a mind reader and Brennan doesn’t make posts. The only even slight insight I have into anyone involved in making this comic is which comments Molly upvotes, and she’s already said that we shouldnt take her upvotes as signifying approval or disapproval of someone’s comments.

  • Hiram

    Feral needs to metabolize something to fuel her regeneration, and can’t shed heat any better than any other human. A flamethrower would still do the trick, and a flame-thrower is a toy next to some of the horrors people have at their disposal.

  • wiltbloococo

    “But if my way works, we won’t have to [find them]. They’ll find me.”

    I’m convinced that this entire plot with Max and Feral was set up by Patrick. Last time they spoke, Alison (violently) ordered Patrick to track down the conspiracy. Shortly after, Alison gets mail from Patrick pointing her to a biodynamic who can, combined with another biodynamic, drastically affect the world. Exactly like those murdered biodynamic kids in the black folders.

    Why would Patrick help Alison after their emotionally charged “break up”? Because he’s doing exactly what she ordered him to do. He’s tracking down the conspiracy exactly the way Alison mentioned.

    What’s next? I’m expecting an attempted murder on either Max or Feral. Patrick, with his influence, will have both under surveillance, and when the time comes will be able to catch the assassin and begin to unveil the conspiracy.

    Another theory: the reason Alison seems so distraught, hanging her head down, is not simply because she’s guilty over strong-arming Max. It’s because she’s in on Patrick’s plan, and knows she’s putting the life of two innocent people at risk.

    • Stephanie

      I definitely think this is likely. It’s the kind of thing Patrick would orchestrate. I don’t get the impression that Alison is in on it, though. She already had the motivation to do what she did–she wanted to save the world and she wanted to save Feral.

      • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

        I’m going to start getting sad when you approve of ideas I’ve had days ago already but not when I say them 😞

      • Sendaz

        Have to agree with Stephanie on this.
        Alison may do a bit of bump and push on someone, but she would not want to intentionally put them in the line of fire. Herself? Sure. But not others, not even Max, hence her promise to him to try and keep his identity out of things.
        Patrick may well be orchestrating something, though this is not certain just yet.

  • SJ

    Alison’s axion is “we should all work together,” yes. That doesn’t mean she has no other principles

    Okay, I’ll bite: what are her other principles?

    … or that she had absolutely no qualms about coercing Max.

    So you say. I say that that position is not particularly corroborated by the text.

    She wanted everyone to work together without her having to coerce anyone.

    If anything, the text suggests the opposite: she only wanted everyone to work together without coercion insofar as she wasn’t (isn’t?) smart enough to realize that everybody else doesn’t necessarily want what she wants. Look how fast she was willing to pivot to brute force and violence when she realized that she couldn’t just expect other people to get in formation with her, and you’ll understand that all those platitudes about working together were only so much lip service. And I’m not just talking about Max, you can look at her outburst in the classroom as evidence, too.

    • Stephanie

      You don’t think her whole argument with her professor about how she didn’t want to be a tyrant to fulfill her axiom qualifies as evidence that she had qualms about using coercion? Or the fact that she was visibly upset both while twisting Max’s arm and while remembering it on this page?

      She’s not a paperclip AI, man, it’s not that outlandish for a person to have more than one moral principle. We know she cares about autonomy and consent because it’s come up before, she just apparently doesn’t care more about those things than she does about meeting the entire world’s need for perfect unrejectable organ transplants. The whole point of the scene was that she overcame her qualms with coercing Max, it would have been completely pointless if she were just “beep boop must maximize cooperation at all costs, all other moral principles are irrelevant” for her entire life leading up to that moment.

    • Psile

      I have been summoned.

      Actually, Stephanie pretty much summed everything up. Allison has said and acted in such a way that indicates that she doesn’t want to use her powers to force people to do things her way. That is a principle. Might doesn’t make right. Even when she is fighting with Cleaver she tells him at the end that she knows that violence and fighting don’t solve anything. Now she is faced with an agonizing choice of sticking to that principle or saving somewhere in the neighborhood of 6000 more-or-less innocent lives per year.

      How this contrasts with they typical comic book is the absence of the mantra “There is always another way.” A perfect example is the season finale of Supergirl, so spoilers for that incoming. Supergirl is in a situation where her enemies are going to use a mind control to take over the whole earth and turn them into drones, then apply the same method to take over the whole galaxy. High stakes, is what I’m saying. The only present solution is the detonate a kryptonite dirty bomb (her enemies are kryptonian) murdering all the Kryptonians in the city (except Supergirl b/c she can fly away) and also killing a few hundred thousand people who are innocent.

      Instead of actually having to make this choice the decide instead to broadcast a hopeful message over the radio and inspire people to break free of their mind control using the power of hope. This solution was not out of place in the world of Supergirl, and I enjoy the show greatly. However, it is exactly what I’m talking about.

      Making the protagonist, Allison in this case, actually make the decision rather than get bailed out is indicative of a different kind of comic so the tropes about there always being another way and moral event horizon don’t apply.

      Also I have to address this:

      “If anything, the text suggests the opposite: she only wanted everyone to work together without coercion insofar as she wasn’t (isn’t?) smart enough to realize that everybody else doesn’t necessarily want what she wants. Look how fast she was willing to pivot to brute force and violence when she realized that she couldn’t just expect other people to get in formation with her, and you’ll understand that all those platitudes about working together were only so much lip service.”

      So I am genuinely wondering if we’re reading the same comic or if you are being sarcastic. You say that Allison pivoted to brute force ‘quickly’ but this is the first time in over 300 pages she has forced someone this way. Yes, she has fought people but that all pretty clear cut self defense or defense of others. Also do I really have to bring up the stakes of the situation again? They matter. We’re talking about 6000+ lives saved annually. It’s not like Allison was upset that Max didn’t take her on a nice date or something.

      ” And I’m not just talking about Max, you can look at her outburst in the classroom as evidence, too.”

      This confuses the bejezus out of me. Allison was upset that the professor rigged the game to be lost and at the other students for not working together but I don’t really see how this makes her a tyrant. I mean, people get frustrated and she didn’t even confront any of the students about their choices or anything. Even her “outburst” was just shouting ‘I’ll be ready next time!’ Truly the words of a egomaniacal tyrant. Her criticism was focused inward toward what she could do, not what everyone else had to do. I’m just not sure what you’re getting at with this.

  • Supergenii like Lisa are perfectly at liberty to risk their necks in homebuilt giant exoskeletons they tested themselves, but the regulations around medical devices are rather tighter and you’re probably looking at several years just to get a prototype certified. In fact some of the existing surgical robots take longer to do the same procedure than a human surgeon, but have other advantages such as reduced recovery time.

  • SuddenFan

    “Even if we take the absolute minimum and says it takes one minute per organ.”

    It’s not one organ per minute, it’s 8-10. And that’s for hearts, her previous kidney rate was 30 a day, that’s presumably been upped to 30 a minute as well.

    That’s 864,000 kidneys a year, or more than 10x the previous kidney transplant rate. 40 hours a week might be overkill!

  • Oren Leifer

    Either way, Feral’s heart grows more every day.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    Necessarily. You can’t keep your Christ metaphor if there is any way to make the thing painless.

    That could be a good homework for readers.
    “Take Tara’s established situation and find the way to improve it via a power enhancer so that it nevertheless remains sacrificial in nature but also stays consistent with aforementioned rules and doesn’t seem too convenient.”

    I’m sure Brennan was pulling his own hair out on that very same question a few weeks ago, blaspheming about his past self who came up with Tara’s position years ago.

    In all fairness, what we got is not so bad.

    • Kifre

      Lesbian Dynamorph Jesus is my new fav.

      • Izo

        Ok I just have to upvote that.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    For the record, I didn’t– I fully expect it’ll come at some point but I’m not bitter this hasn’t happened yet.
    I definitely would be offended if it never happened, though.

  • deebles

    I’d imagine that all this very rapid organ extraction might require very specialised facilities and teams, however. Although I can imagine spending the 40 hours on one continent one week and another the next, devoting time in between to moving patients close, prepping them, looking after them post-op and getting them home again.

  • Darkoneko Hellsing

    Yay, cast page. For when you can’t remember the name of that one character XD

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    It’s a good thing your own opinions about what Max believes and doesn’t and why are utterly worthless in the face of his own.

  • palmvos

    I was thinking more along the lines of a sapphire as big as a fist… carved into a rose.

  • Sergi Díaz

    Actually, I guess thermodynamics apply on SFP world, so she needs to eat… a lot.

  • Sergi Díaz

    Maybe he just discovered it recently.

    • palmvos

      Remember that Max’s mom suppressed information about Max’s power. during the visit with Tara, Patrick exchanged a flash drive for some files. then a few pages later, Alison gets a ‘confidential’ file from Patrick with a 25 million dollar check. It is not stated- but that file came from a China, who would not respect the wishes of a senator in restricting information on a bio-dynamic. so Patrick only recently learned about Max’s power.

  • Ben Posin

    I’m seeing a common critique (other than the numbers one) in comments below: folks are angry that Alison’s experiment with tyranny seems to be working out well for Feral, with no immediate backfire or consequence for Alison. This puzzles me a bit. There’s the obvious point that this chapter isn’t over yet, and things could backfire shortly. But even putting that aside, I still don’t understand where the hate is from. Neither the real universe or the SFP universe is a simple morality tale where karma instantly hits people for doing things you think are wrong. And isn’t that more interesting? The core struggle in this comic stems from the fact that Alison really COULD get away with flexing her powers and enforcing her will over people. It’s something that comes up over and over again—in her conversation with Mary, in her confrontation with the mob and police officer after the attack on feral, in her conversations with Cleaver, in the subtext of her discussion with Gurwara. If using her powers to enforce her values automatically came with failure, there wouldn’t be much of a dilemma here.

    The story only becomes more interesting now that Alison has to grapple with the fact that when she stepped away from what she thought were some of her ethics and axioms, she got stuff that she thinks is really important done. Will she go back to use Max again? Will she take more public steps to enforce the greater good, and if so, how will folks react? Stuff is going to change for her and the in comic universe, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it breaks out.

    And seriously, the fact that the story has gone down this path doesn’t mean the author thinks Alison was morally justified. Fiction doesn’t have to work that way. And even if he does, let’s let things unfold a bit and see if his position is a bit more nuanced than you might be thinking.

    • Stephanie

      This is what I’ve been trying to express, but you did a much better job of it. Thank you!

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      Not failure, but dramatic consequences. It’s not the same. Those can definitely be how she decides to act afterward.
      And writing a story where anything can go and there’s no message because such is life is… so weird a thought. That’s so contrary to everything stories are and how they work.

      And still, it’s a careful line the authors have to tread when deciding what happens next not to end up justifying abuse of power.

    • n05

      Some people are failing to realize that each page of a comic is not even a scene in a film. You can’t expect karmic justice to befall a character <10 pages after they acted! That would be a horrible story! Its like if Voldemort died for good in the first 10 pages of the Harry Potter books "because he was a tyrant and he deserved it". Sure he was, but if you want to tell a story that isn't just a fable, you need to stretch it out!

      Allison up til now has been hinting at her tyrannical desires, and is only now starting to actually use tyranny as a tool. We'll see the whole consequences of this in maybe 100+ pages, but it needs time to sink into the other characters!

  • SJ

    You’re overlooking the third option: she didn’t actually believe it, when she said it the first time.

    The reason I don’t believe that she meant it, like I said about the classroom, just look how fast she was willing to pivot to force when the rest of the class wasn’t willing to get into formation with the black stone initiative.

    What I believe is, what she said to Cleaver in Issue 3, that it’s just lip service to Alison. That it’s what her parents taught her, because they’re good people, but it’s not something that she necessarily learned. I don’t think that Alison said that because she believes it, I think that she said it because she knows that it’s just some shit that she’s supposed to say, when she’s around other people, so that they aren’t horrified by her presence. Her saying it to Cleaver was just a conditioned reflex.

    If anything, I think that Alison is kind of an agnostic, when it comes to the idea of believing “I don’t have the right to force others to do what I think is right, and being powerful doesn’t give me that right.” I think that she wants to believe it, because she was taught to believe it. But I don’t think (and, frankly, I’ve never thought) that, when push comes to shove, that she actually believes it.

  • SJ

    I dunno. There were so many comments on the last few updates that they like broke whatever they were storing them on. I think they are doing something right. Way more commenters since this arc started.

    That only proves that the storytelling has been polarizing. “Polarizing” is not a synonym of “good.”

  • Mechwarrior

    Alison, this is your inner yuri speaking.

    Kiss Feral, she looks adorable in the last panel.

  • Psile

    “My answer is no. It’s going to stay no, and it’s always going to be no. And even if I wanted to do it, I might still say no, just to you. Just to watch you realize that, for once, you weren’t going to get your fucking way. How does that sound?”

    I think Max made things pretty clear.

    • MrSing

      That was after Alison had severly soured the conversation by insulting Max and trying to guilt him into doing what she wanted.
      He says: “And even if I wanted to do it, I might still say no, just to you” because he really dislikes Alison at this point.
      This is very likely just something he is saying to get Alison off his back and out of his house.
      It is still possible that if Alison had simply send someone else in the first place or had been more polite and open to compensating Max for his efforts, it wouldn’t have come to that point in the first place.
      Alison is just a terrible negotiator that caused Max to entrench himself even further until he said this.
      There is no telling what would have happened if a better negotiator had been arguing with Max.

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      “My answer is no. It’s going to stay no, and it’s always going to be no. And even if I wanted to do it, I might still say no, just to you. Just to watch you realize that, for once, you weren’t going to get your fucking way. How does that sound?”

      “Oh about I buy you French fries?”

      “Oh, sweet, I’m starving! Well okay then. Woaw, I suddenly realize how endlessly foolish it was of me to expect that even my own perspective on my future decisions and what would influence them would be anything else than hot garbage.”

  • Izo

    No, but unless there’s some MAJOR twist, I don’t see this getting to a point where she pays a REAL price for what she did, or finds that anything negative happens as a result so her ‘save the world’ plan goes up in smoke. There seems to be a lot of Deus Ex Machina in play to make sure that her plan DOES work with no real consideration to any negative implications, in addition to the very forced trolley questions.

    • Stephanie

      Six pages…Six pages since she slammed Max’s head into the table, I just checked for the actual figure. Six pages. Just give the story a chance to happen.

      • Philip Bourque

        A normal human body reacts pretty quickly when something changes. From the looks of things, I’d say that this is at least 8 hours after Max did his thing. They apparently had enough time to do tests to determine the changes. That is more than enough time to determine that things are going sideways.

        • Stephanie

          “Something goes wrong with Feral’s organ donation” isn’t the only way for this to go sideways.

    • Psile

      I’m genuinely curious as to what you think would be a ‘real’ price.

      There has to be some good and bad. It can’t just shake out perfect. I’m conjecturing that Feral will live, allowing the good work to still be done but Max will probably be killed which will serve to prove that he was right all along. Then it’s a matter of is it really okay for one person to die, non-voluntarily, for others to live? That’s a lot harder question.

      Only time will tell…

  • Izo

    Okay, now that’s some twisting of words. Nuclear wisdom. Heh.

  • Izo

    800,000 kidneys will feed a whole lot of people dangit.

  • Izo

    Aw shucks 🙂

  • Stephanie

    You are saying directly to me that even considering the position I hold on this issue is “loathsome” and “fucking despicable.” You are comparing my position to that of a hypothetical genocidal racist. You are calling my moral code despicable. There is essentially no difference between that and calling me, as a person, despicable.

    I do disagree strongly with your position and I think it would have been morally wrong for Alison not to ensure Feral’s augmentation. But I would never call you or your code “loathsome” or “despicable” or “awful.” I certainly wouldn’t call it loathsome to even so much as entertain the idea that Alison might have been wrong. I understand where you are coming from with your ethical system and I believe that you, like me, subscribe to the moral code you believe can create the best world.

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      I don’t believe you are a despicable person. I’m really sorry that it’s inevitably going to sound arrogant but I genuinely believe you don’t realize the implications of your belief system. If you did, you would understand why I not only disagree but can’t bring myself to even respect it.

      Your belief system justifies slavery. It justifies class, casts, gender roles, discrimination. It justifies people telling women what they can and can’t do with their body. “Maximizing happiness” is always, always a fancy method of the dominant group to justify removing the agency of the people they oppress. Think how easy it is to say, according to your belief system, that slavery dramatically increase state production to the point that “everybody benefits” because even slaves have “job security”, or something just as disgusting. What’s the hardship of an entire racial minority in the face of the economic prosperity it provides?
      Think how easy it is to say, according to your belief system, that leaving the suffrage to privileged white men prevents uninformed voters to corrupt the democratic process.
      Think how easy it is to say, according to your belief system, that living babies bring more happiness to the world that the mothers who might not want them.
      Think how easy it is to say, according to your belief system, that individual freedom matters less than collective security.
      Think how easy it is to say, according to your belief system, that a woman’s choice to wear a hijab matters less than the upset it causes xenophobes.

      This is what happens when “the greater good” passes above the irrevocability of equal rights. Always.

      • MrSing

        Aye, like I said before: Utilitarianism is about fulfilling the needs of the many by using the few, the strong, and the weak.
        Deontology is about protecting the few, the strong, and the weak from the needs of the many.

  • Filthy Liar

    It seems like no one knows for sure. Alison said she’d come back and grab him again if she needed to, so I guess it doesn’t really matter. It seems likely to be temporary, because the comic likes to make people make choices, and a permanent boost is too easy. That’s just a guess though.

  • Izo

    As much as I like to poke holes at the lack of medical logic in the storyline, this part actually DOES make sense. There are people who are universal blood donors (with a few rare exceptions because of certain antibodies that cause reactions). So it’s not a stretch of logic to say that a person could be universal ORGAN donor as well.

    • MrSing

      Actually, it is kinda non-sensical.
      The only reason that blood donors can be universal is because blood is basically a liquid that runs through your body. It has a few complex enzymes in it that can cause fatal rejection reactions in other bodies, but mostly it is just a salty solutions. (Hmmm!)
      Organs are an entire different beast. They contain thousands, if not millions, of complex enzymes and foreign matter that are extremely specific to your own body. The human body HATES it when something is inside it that isn’t it’s own human body. The longer an actual person has a donated organ in them, the higher the chance is that organ will eventually be (fatally) rejected. That’s why organ recepients have to take immune system supressors.
      The idea that there exists an universal donor is probably the most unrealistic thing in this universe where we have people that fly while they are on fire and don’t become a delicious toasted meal.

      • Izo

        “Organs are an entire different beast. They contain thousands, if not millions, of complex enzymes and foreign matter that are extremely specific to your own body. The human body HATES it when something is inside it that isn’t it’s own human body.”

        Feral’s organs could possibly act in the same way stem cells act, as far as the immune system is concerned.

        I’m just saying that of all the far fetched ridiculous things in this story arc from a medical standpoint, this is probably the LEAST ridiculous thing that I need to suspend my belief for. I can see it being scientifically plausible even.

  • Izo

    People are going to get angry at you for using sarcasm without writing out that you’re using sarcasm.

  • Balthazar

    Wouldn’t it be funny if this was all Patrick’s plan on luring the power killers out. He knew Alison would use Max’s powers on Feral and that Feral’s new regeneration rate may prove dangerous to the status quo of the world… or maybe Patrick’s just a nice guy and I’m over thinking this.

  • Izo

    “She may not have personal consequences now… but there is chances for that down the road. Remember, she been visiting a government doctor since her teenage year. It would seem a little dumb for the military, and the heads of state not to have a plan to kill every powerful superhero just in case’s.”

    I just really doubt it. When Alison asked if they had a plan, all the doctor could do was joke that they have a fleet of ships ready to evacuate the planet. Most storylines have been to emphasize that Alison is, effectively, immune from punishment except that which she inflicts upon herself.

    “Another thing I will point out that Alison is not invincible, well: only physical invincible. Her emotions, and reputation are not bullet-proof. As others pointed out, Alison feels guilt over her actions.”

    But feeling bad or guilty is not really an adequate or satisfying punishment for what she did. Besmirching her reputation isn’t either, especially if Alison decides to go all Injustice Superman on the world. And like you said, Alison is a hothead.

    ” Now the fallout from recent events may not impact Alison directly, but surely will fall on a upon Max’s poor head.”

    Then she isn’t getting punishment. She isn’t paying a consequence. OTHERS are paying a consequence for her actions. Others who Alison doesn’t even like, and who the audience is pretty much told not to like because he’s a douche.

    “News of Feral enhancements will spread, questions will be raised.”

    I don’t find that likely either. The questions part.

    “Now even through superheroes “officially” win the war against villains. But there plenty are of bio-dynamics are not superheroes, still wield just as deadly powers.”

    Again, how does this cause a negative consequence for either Alison or Alison’s perfectly successful plan with Feral which has absolutely no downsides for her or for Feral or for the world or for anyone except Max having to live in fear for the rest of his life?

  • Balthazar

    And we all called moon shadow out for murdering rapists… well I guess threatening and murder are different. Alison hasn’t gone that far… yet.

  • bryan rasmussen

    I agree, although not sure that money would have made that big an impact on Max. Of course she did tear up a really big check from Patrick (which she can afford to do because she really doesn’t need anything), maybe big enough that even rich kid Max would have been tempted. I mean he’s not really rich, his parents are – and given his issues with authority maybe he doesn’t like his parents that much and being somewhat dependent on their money.

    But really the fact is that while might makes right is not true, for
    many cases throughout history the truth of the statement is irrelevant
    to its effects. Allison doesn’t have to sacrifice on anything to get
    what she wants if the thing she wants is an actual possibility, she can
    act and take it.

    • Stephanie

      The big check was made out to Valkyrie, not to Alison specifically, so she probably couldn’t have just handed it to Max.

  • Stephanie

    I do think she has suffered consequences for her actions. Not the same consequences a non-superpowered person would, but the fact that she has unique privilege due to the nature of her powers is something that is acknowledged and addressed in the comic.

    I don’t think I would consider any bodily invasion to be too far if it would save an enormous number of lives. Of course, in the real world there isn’t really a plausible scenario where that would be the case.

    • Micah Matheson

      You do realize that justification is a bone-standard argument for those who want to make abortion illegal, yes? And was also used to justify some of the worst human rights violations the real world has ever seen? Vivisections during World War II? Or, more recently, Chinese doctors removing the organs from members of Falun Gong against their will?

  • SJ

    That only goes to show that she finds it more difficult to use force against people that she likes. What you see as proof that she has always believed those things, I see as proof that she likes those people enough to accede to the lip service.

    Besides which, I have my doubts that she could actually make Menace or Pintsize do something that they didn’t want to do, because I think that they would both outsmart her.

  • Thursday Violist

    Re: ‘Is it “worth it” yet?’

    Like many other people who have commented on this page so far, I also still maintain that there was a better way she could have done this. Sure, the ends may justify the means in this situation, but that doesn’t mean it was impossible to achieve those same ends with better means:

    From what we know about Max, many of the audience can and have thought of ways to convince Max to help that he would have agreed to do. Alison, on the other hand, went straight from appealing to Max’s better nature (which he arguably doesn’t have) => insulting him => threatening him => injuring him and forcing him to go along.

    There’s dozens of other avenues she could have gone to achieve the same result.

  • palmvos

    “My humor is very highbrow and subtle, apparently”

    that must be sarcasm….

  • Stephanie

    That doesn’t really make sense. Why would it serve the greater good to kill people who don’t become involuntary doctors? The dropouts can be useful by doing almost anything else.

  • Stephanie

    The $25 million check was made out to Valkyrie, not to Alison herself.

  • Dean

    Heart disease? That’s a liver.

  • MrSing

    Well, hey now!
    We should at least first invade their privacy and search their homes and computers to be sure.
    (Don’t judge me! Let the man who is without sarcasm throw the first stone.)

  • Dean

    The comic ends when everyone in the world except Alison has become Feral.

    • Sendaz

      But what if they all still have a crush on Alison? 😛

      • Dean

        Obviously they would need some kind of rota.

    • Izo

      It’s like Agent Smith in the Matrix, but cuter.

  • robertskitch

    Hooray for the cast page! ^_^

  • Lord Quinton

    Max ceased to be innocent when Allison informed him of how he could use his powers to help Feral, and he chose not to just to spite Allison. This does not mitigate the fact that what Allison did was wrong, While i applaud her actions, i must admit, its probably more because Max is a douche than anything to do with Feral, I also recognize that there where many many better ways to get what Al wanted rather than go straight to brute force, but lets face it, she’s still in her early 20’s, and she spent her whole teenage life ‘saving the day’. It’s going to take her a long time to get out from under that mindset, if she ever does.

    • Izo

      Mixture of sarcasm and sincerity here, people. And in the interest of preventing confusion, I have taken Jenassari’s advice (I hope I got that name right) and put an /s after most of my sarcasm-laced statements. I might have missed a few.

      “Max ceased to be innocent when Allison informed him of how he could use his powers to help Feral, and he chose not to just to spite Allison.”

      Yes, because not doing something to help another person but not actually doing anything to hurt anyone else means you are guilty and should be punished. Your logic, sir, is impeccable.

      /s

      “While i applaud her actions, i must admit, its probably more because Max is a douche than anything to do with Feral,”

      Lets go donate blood. If you don’t, someone can come over to beat the crap out of you. Don’t worry, it’ll only take 15 minutes for them to beat the crap out of you. We might also have to give some other tissue if you’re a particularly rare blood type. But it’s for the greater good, and won’t take more than four hours top.

      Just a little heads up, the person taking the blood is doing so through an experimental means so I can’t say it’s 100 percent safe from you getting a disease but I’m pretty certain you won’t. Also I’m going to have to insist that you do this every few months – don’t worry, I can send someone over to your house to help persuade you with a teensy little death threat and twisting of the arm or wrist. I’ll feel bad about it afterwards a little, so that will make it okay.

      Yay! I’m helping make the world a better place from you non-innocent people who don’t want to do what I say!

      /s

      “While i applaud her actions, i must admit, its probably more because Max is a douche than anything to do with Feral,”

      It’s good that you admit that your morality of when forcing another against their will is acceptable is entirely based on if you like the person or don’t like the person. Anonymity or lack of familiarity with another person breeds lack of compassion.

      Now to show my superpower of mindreading of other posters, since they ask the same questions about 75 percent of the time.

      But Izo, you scurrilous cad, Max is not compassionate! He therefore deserves no compassion!

      Agreed. So how about give him neither compassion NOR forced torture. Just ignore him and leave him the hell alone.

      But Izo, then countless, countless lives will never be saved!

      Except Feral’s anomaly was already speeding up naturally, like most biodynamorphic people. Eventually it would have gotten to this point. But who cares about being patient when violence can get stuff done so much faster. Especially if you don’t have to worry about consequences for your actions.

      But Izo, Feral will be suffering as a result!

      If only she wasn’t being forcibly strapped to a table and having her organs ripped from her against her will.

      ….. /s

      Well… except she wasn’t.

      But Izo, there was no other way!

      Which Alison found out in the exhaustive 5 minutes of trying to guilt then insult Max before going to torturing and threatening him.

      …. /s

      Aside from paying him $25 million, offering him a favor in the future from the most powerful person on the entire planet, bringing Feral to him after telling Feral the plan so she could ask Max HERSELF and see if Max would also say no to Feral, who Max doesn’t have a problem with and who doesn’t ‘get everything she ever wants’

      But Izo, you’re a rich white male! (this one’s for you, TheDaviesCR)

      I’ll be sure to inform my bank account, my parents, and my uterus that you’ve altered those three aspects of my existence. You’re hilarious. Never change, TheDaviesCR. Never change.

      “, I also recognize that there where many many better ways to get what Al wanted rather than go straight to brute force, but lets face it, she’s still in her early 20’s, and she spent her whole teenage life ‘saving the day’.”

      Being young is no excuse for being a criminal or violating the rights of others. I’m still technically a millenial (millenials are people under 30, right?) and yet in my entire life, I’ve yet to force someone to do something against their will through violence upon them. And if I -was- to force someone to do something against their will through violence upon them (as unlikely as I believe that to be), I would expect and DESERVE to be punished for my criminal offense and put in prison.

      “It’s going to take her a long time to get out from under that mindset, if she ever does.”

      I wonder how much farther she’ll go on her road of ‘might makes right’ before she gets out of the mindset. Moonshadow might have a teammate again. Maybe she’ll get to that whole throwing every person who’s read Ayn Rand into the sun thing. Hopefully Cleaver hasn’t taken the line of bull that Alison was feeding him to heart, when this new philosophy is how Alison REALLY thinks. Which is very similar to how Cleaver had thought before the talk with him.

      Or maybe, before she becomes Injustice Superman, someone like Max would need to eliminate her as a threat to anyone whom she decides is a jerk or doesn’t like – especially him. Maybe by empowering someone else to the point where they can beat her. Or maybe HIS powers will augment so that he can de-power people, or alter people’s powers. I dunno. And Alison wouldn’t be innocent.

      • Stephanie

        “Except Feral’s anomaly was already speeding up naturally, like most biodynamorphic people. Eventually it would have gotten to this point.”

        It was speeding up gradually. This was a huge change. Even if we assume that her power had no inherent “cap” beyond which it couldn’t have increased naturally, it would have taken a very, very long time for it to get to this point. During that time, an enormous number of people would have died who will now, instead, be saved.

        Mothers, brothers, dear friends, partners, daughters, slowly dying in hospital beds, realizing that the lives they thought they’d have will never be, saying goodbye to everyone who loves them, being erased. Coffin after coffin lowered into the ground. Is Max’s autonomy worth more than the lives of those people?

        • Izo

          “It was speeding up gradually. ”

          According to the doctor it was speeding up exponentially. And she was still saving lives in the meantime.

          What I’m seeing here is that Alison was simply impatient. Impatience is not worth removing someone’s autonomy.

          • Stephanie

            My understanding was that the doctor said that it had been speeding up gradually, but it had sped up exponentially following the “procedure.”

            She was saving lives in the meantime, but not nearly as many lives as she can now. The people she was not able to save at her previous level of regeneration would have continued to die each day. In our world, in the U.S. alone, something like 22 people a day die waiting for a transplant.

          • Izo

            “In our world, in the U.S. alone, something like 22 people a day die waiting for a transplant.”

            And those 22 a day could be given organs at the rate Feral was donating. Without Max.

            As unrealistic as it is to think that Feral should make herself responsible for the entire world in one fell swoop, at least with her, it was her choice. It’s even more unrealistic to think that Max should make HIMSELF responsible for the entire world.

          • Stephanie

            It’s canonical that Feral was not able to satisfy the global need for organs before her boost. So she couldn’t have saved all of the 22 a day, or whatever the figure is in the SFP-verse. It’s just a fact that there was a gap between “people Feral was able to save before” and “people in need of transplants,” and the people stuck in that gap would have continued to die every single day.

            I think Max became responsible for the welfare of those people when it became apparent that he was uniquely able to save their lives. With great power, etc.

            To use an analogy, if I saw someone hanging from a cliff and I didn’t help them up, and they fell to their death, I would consider myself at least partially responsible for their death even though I’m not the reason they were hanging from the cliff. I had the power to save them and chose not to exercise it, therefore condemning them.

          • Izo

            “It’s canonical that Feral was not able to satisfy the global need for organs before her boost. So she couldn’t have saved all of the 22 a day, or whatever the figure is in the SFP-verse.”

            8-10 of each organ per day. That means she can save at least the 22 a day who need an organ that day or they die. Your own words dispute what you’re saying.

            “I think Max became responsible for the welfare of those people when it became apparent that he was uniquely able to save their lives. With great power, etc.”

            1) It wasnt ‘apparent’ that he was uniquely able to do so. This is horribly railroaded, in fact.
            2) Feral was already saving them on her own.
            3) Using great power means using it responsibly. If you USE it. He wasn’t even using it. If Max did not even exist, those people would be in the same state they were if he does exist.

            “To use an analogy, if I saw someone hanging from a cliff with no one else around, and I didn’t help them up, and they fell to their death, I would consider myself at least partially responsible for their death even though I’m not the reason they were hanging from the cliff.”

            You’d be wrong. You’re not responsible unless you prevented anyone else from trying to help them, or if you told someone else that you’d help them, they left, then you didn’t hep them.

            And if you had to run across broken glass to grab them before they fell, are you still responsible? Because Max is now at risk of every person who wants to use him for his powers.

            “I alone had the power to save them and I chose not to exercise it, therefore condemning them.”

            Why exactly are you the only person who can do anything to save him? Also how are you comparing potential but undefined people when you have no reason to think that the existing people around can’t save them with an actual person?

          • Stephanie

            Are you really denying that Feral was, canonically, not preventing literally all deaths of people who needed transplants? I’m about to overuse the word “literally” a lot, but this is literally the canon. Putting the “22 a day” figure aside for a second, it is absolutely, 100% canonically true in the universe of SFP that Feral was not able to prevent all of those deaths. Denying that means claiming that the canon was that Feral was saving literally everyone who needed a transplant already, directly contradicting the information presented in the comic and rendering this whole arc utterly nonsensical.

            But if I have to address the 22 a day figure in this context, unboosted Feral is only capable of saving the 22 a day if the people responsible for distributing organs can magically predict the future and know which 22 people are going to die on that particular day if they don’t get an organ. There are more than a hundred thousand people in the US alone who are in need of a lifesaving transplant. Feral was–again, canonically–not able to meet the need. That is why it is plot-significant that she is now able to meet the need.

            “You’d be wrong.”

            Obviously, I disagree. Within my worldview, I would be partially responsible for Cliff Guy’s death, end of story.

            “Why exactly are you the only person who can do anything to save him? ”

            Because in this scenario I’m the only person who knows he is hanging from the cliff and who is close enough to save him.

          • Izo

            “Are you really denying that Feral was, canonically, not preventing literally all deaths of people who needed transplants? I’m about to overuse the word “literally” a lot, but this is literally the canon.”

            She literally regenerates 10 hearts a day. 22 people literally die of not having viable organs per day. Hearts are literally not the only type of organs. Feral can literally regenerate more than 10 organs a day, since she can also regenerate kidneys, lungs, blood, spleens, intestines, ears, and every other part. Simpler organs might even regenerate faster than something complex like a heart.

            Not to mention hearts can be artificial. We’ve done that in real life. Paladin apparently doesn’t care about people enough to create something better than what non-supergenius doctors created DECADES ago.

            ” There are more than a hundred thousand people in the US alone who are in need of a lifesaving transplant.”

            Not each day they don’t. They can be kept alive long enough for Feral to donate the organs on an as-needed basis to those who are in the greatest need, without resorting to torturing innocent people who do not want to help.

            “Feral was–again, canonically–not able to meet the need.”

            Nothing in canon said she is not able to meet that need. She’s just not able to meet them all at once. And again, why not get Paladin to help?

            “Choosing inaction is still a choice, and has moral weight.”

            It’s not a choice if you’re forcing them under penalty of death to act.

            “Within my worldview, I would be partially responsible for Cliff Guy’s death, end of story. Yes, even if I had to run across broken glass.”

            Then you’re more saintly than the next person. However, you’re not allowed to demand other people be as saintly as you are. You can’t be both a saint and a devil simultaneously.

            “Because in this scenario I’m the only person who knows he is hanging from the cliff and who is close enough to save him.”

            Another trolley question – this is a tired example of consequentalists to FORCE a binary decision where none generally would exist by limiting things to just two choices when three, four, or more can exist, and where one ignores ALL other things which would lead up to this limiting binary choice.

          • Stephanie

            Again, Feral canonically was not meeting the need. No amount of connecting in-comic figures with real-world figures changes the fact that, in this story that we are reading, unboosted Feral’s maximum capacity of organ production was not supplying organs to every single person who needed one.

            If you’re arguing that she should have been able to meet the need…the strategies you described to make that possible are already in practice to whatever extent is feasible. People who need organs are already kept alive as long as possible. Urgency of the need is already factored into who takes priority in receiving transplants. This was not sufficient for Feral to meet the need.

            The only way pre-boost Feral could actually save every person from dying would be–again–if we had a perfect forecast of which individuals would die on which exact days. That is not possible. If a person capable of perfectly predicting the future with that degree of specificity existed in the SFP-verse, we would know about it, because they would be a huge deal.

            I should also add that–again–the 22 a day figure is for only the United States. People in the rest of the world also need organ transplants and die without them.

            “It’s not a choice if you’re forcing them under penalty of death to act.”

            I don’t understand what you’re saying here. I said that choosing inaction is a choice and has moral weight–in contrast to the viewpoint that only action can have moral weight. Yes, it is possible to use force to prevent someone from choosing inaction, but that’s a separate debate.

            “However, you’re not allowed to demand other people be as saintly as you are.”

            I’m allowed to expect them to be, and I’m allowed to judge them if they’re not, and I’m allowed to be in favor of a system that would demand it of them. If that makes me a devil in your eyes, that’s fine.

            “this is a tired example of consequentalists to FORCE a binary decision”

            Simplified scenarios are necessary in order to illustrate ideas. Forcing a binary decision is necessary in order to clarify your priorities. In the real world, the decision is not binary, but the way you prioritize your ethical principles informs how you approach the non-binary decision.

          • Izo

            “Again, Feral canonically was not meeting the need.”

            Show me where, canonically, she was not able to meet the need of 22 organs a day?

            “No amount of connecting in-comic figures with real-world figures changes the fact that, in this story that we are reading, unboosted Feral’s maximum capacity of organ production was not supplying organs to every single person who needed one.”

            It was able to, however, supply organs to the people who, that particular day, needed one. Anything more means the doctor was just being stupid in how to organize the distribution of those organs and not giving them on an emergency-as-needed basis.

            “The only way pre-boost Feral could actually save every person from dying would be–again–if we had a perfect forecast of which individuals would die on which exact days.”

            If only we had speedsters and teleporters and people who can fly with the organs to who needed them in time!

            Oh wait, we do in the comic. Alison should force them, and for the flying, she should do it herself. Paladin should set up a network capable of letting the hospital know instantly when someone in the country (or world) needs an organ. Their lack of a proper distribution method capable of handling this is not Max’s fault.

            “That is not possible.”
            In canon? It sure as heck is.

            “If a person capable of perfectly predicting the future with that degree of specificity existed in the SFP-verse, we would know about it, because they would be a huge deal.”

            Doesnt need to be a future-predictor. It can be someone who can instantaneously travel from one place to another or travel very fast (faster than planes, like Alison can) and having a phone or internet service.

            “I’m allowed to expect them to be, and I’m allowed to judge them if they’re not, and I’m allowed to be in favor of a system that would demand it of them.”

            Not from physical force, you’re not. Your right to expect other people to do something ends, under any reasonable situation, when it involves hurting that other person.

            But we’ve argued this particular point quite a bit already.

            “Simplified scenarios are necessary in order to illustrate ideas.”

            Simplified scenarios can only illustrate simplistic ideas. And are horribly inaccurate because it ignores valid third choices.

            “Forcing a binary decision is necessary in order to clarify your priorities.”

            That’s like me telling you ‘Will you kill your mother or will you kill your sibling. You have to kill one or the other.’ And then eliminating any third option that you might come up with because it doesn’t fit my extremely limiting and simplistic scenario.

            “In the real world, the decision is not binary, but the way you prioritize your ethical principles informs how you approach the non-binary decision.”

            But it doesn’t actually! You cannot prioritize ethical principles based on a lack of information and artificially removing valid options.

          • Stephanie

            “Show me where, canonically, she was not able to meet the need of 22 organs a day?”

            That’s…god, I feel like I just have to start over. That figure is the number of people in the real-world United States who die waiting for organ transplants each day. I used that figure–with the caveat that it was not taken from the comic–to highlight the obvious fact that deaths from lack of transplants are ongoing as long as the total need for transplants is not met.

            “22” is not the total number of people in the world of SFP who require an organ every day. It’s not like 22 people wake up every morning and go, “Gee, looks like the old ticker conked out, better go pick up a new organ.”

            “Doesnt need to be a future-predictor. It can be someone who can instantaneously travel ”

            No. That would not work. You can’t just shove an organ into someone at the last moment as they rasp their final breaths. You would need to know in advance that these specific 22 people are going to die next Tuesday, and schedule their surgeries before those of the people who are going to die next Wednesday. Not to mention that you literally just said the other day that we can’t assume they have access to a teleporter.

            The entire premise of this arc is that Feral was not able to meet the organ transplant needs of the world until Max boosted her. I honestly don’t understand why you are arguing with me about this.

            “That’s like me telling you ‘Will you kill your mother or will you kill your sibling. You have to kill one or the other.’ And then eliminating any third option that you might come up with because it doesn’t fit my extremely limiting and simplistic scenario.”

            I would accept that hypothetical if you were using it to illustrate a point. I don’t need to “beat” a hypothetical, I just need to make a decision within that scenario and recognize the point you’re communicating. For the record, I would kill my mother, because I know that’s the choice she would prefer.

            “You cannot prioritize ethical principles based on a lack of information and artificially removing valid options.”

            Yes, you can. You can say, “Boiled down, in isolation, I would break this principle before that one.” Then, in a real-world scenario, you know where you can make compromises if they become necessary. There is not always going to be a perfect solution that does not require violating any principle, no matter how complex the scenario.

            By considering the trolley problem, I can recognize in myself, “I would compromise my principle of doing no harm to preserve my principle of saving the most lives.” You can consider the trolley problem and recognize in yourself, “I would not compromise my principle of doing no harm to preserve the principle of saving the most lives.” The point of these hypotheticals isn’t to force you into a particular ethical system. They are a tool to help you clarify your own.

          • Izo

            “No. That would not work. You can’t just shove an organ into someone at the last moment as they rasp their final breaths.”

            Doctors are able to give an estimate of how long a person has left to live though. So based on doctors estimates, do the organ donation on an as-needed basis to those who need it most. You know…. like they do it NOW…. except now they’ll have more organs available to meet the need. Without even torturing people!

            “You would need to know in advance that these specific 22 people are going to die next Tuesday, and schedule their surgeries before those of the people who are going to die next Wednesday.”

            No you don’t. This is not how surgeries work. They have estimates of who is most in need of organs on a list. The people at the top of that list get the organs first. The doctors do not choose, in RL, who is on top of that last because they’re employing psychics.

            “Not to mention that you literally just said the other day that we can’t assume they have access to a teleporter.”

            I also said that a teleporter DOES exist – Feral’s friend. Mentioning the teleporter was following up on when I said, sarcastically, that all they need to do is force that teleporter to work for them to save lives by teleporting the organs to who needs them. A few death threats, maybe he has family that Alison can threaten to kill if he doesn’t comply. You know, for the greater good.

            “The entire premise of this arc is that Feral was not able to meet the organ transplant needs of the world until Max boosted her. I honestly don’t understand why you are arguing with me about this.”

            Because it required torturing someone and physically forcing them, against their will, removing their bodily autonomy in the process.

            “I would accept that hypothetical if you were using it to illustrate a point. I don’t need to “beat” a hypothetical, I just need to make a decision within that scenario and recognize the point you’re communicating. For the record, I would kill my mother, because I know that’s the choice she would prefer.”

            And what if your sibling were a parapalegic who couldn’t leave his or her bed for the rest of their life, who your mother was taking care of? Will you still kill your mother because she’d prefer that?

            Or… what if both your mother and your sibling were begging you not to kill them, and neither was willing to say ‘kill me so you don’t have to kill her.’

            The trick to the trolley question is to keep eliminating any third choice which would make you feel that either of the two choices is a ‘good’ one. It’s also why trolley questions are inherently flawed.

            “Yes, you can. You can say, “Boiled down, in isolation, I would break this principle before that one.” Then, in a real-world scenario, you know where you can make compromises if they become necessary. There is not always going to be a perfect solution that does not require violating any principle, no matter how complex the scenario.”

            No, no you cannot make the best decision based on a complete lack of information. You make a poor decision if you don’t have all the data.

            Asking questions like:

            “Would you kill 5 old people to save one child?”

            “Would you beat a child and cripple them for life to save the lives of 10 adults, 5 of whom are criminals, but 5 of whom are innocent (and you have to save ALL 10)?”

            “Would you let a trolley kill 5 healthy men tied to a track, or 5 crippled children tied to a different track, if you could only choose one set of five and the other set of five die?”

            “Will you cut off your son’s arm with a rusty saw to save the lives of your 5 friends?”

            They’re PROFOUNDLY lacking data about which other realistic third choices can be made, or any data to give more insight into the dilemma. They belong in a Saw movie, not in anything remotely resembling real life choices.

            If a person thinks they can make a decision whether or not to compromise all of their principles without even having more information available than the absolute minimum, then their principles were never very strong to begin with.

          • Stephanie

            The transplant waiting list is not ordered exclusively by who needs transplants the most. It also takes into account how good a candidate you are. And the fact that we don’t have psychics means that we don’t actually know the exact order people are going to die in, which is my entire point.

            I don’t know why you assume that Feral’s organs aren’t already going to people at the top of the transplant list. There is no reason to think that her organs would be intentionally allocated suboptimally. Evidently, they have been, and this still was not enough to save the lives of everyone who needs a transplant.

            Again, the premise of this arc is Feral could not save everyone, which motivated Alison to boost her so that she now can save everyone. If you don’t accept this, I question whether we’re reading the same comic.

            “Because it required torturing someone and physically forcing them, against their will, removing their bodily autonomy in the process.”

            Yes, that’s your argument for why it shouldn’t have been done. That has nothing to do with the question of whether people would have continued dying while waiting for transplants if Feral had not been boosted.

            They would have. This is not in question. Every single shred of canonical evidence having anything to do with this says that unboosted Feral was not able to save the lives of everyone who needed a transplant. If you really believe what you’ve said you believe, this should be irrelevant to you. There is absolutely no reason for you to argue about this when you wouldn’t believe coercing Max was justified either way.

            “And what if your sibling were a parapalegic who couldn’t leave his or her bed for the rest of their life, who your mother was taking care of? Will you still kill your mother because she’d prefer that?”

            Yes. I would take on the responsibility of taking care of my sibling to atone.

            “Or… what if both your mother and your sibling were begging you not to kill them, and neither was willing to say ‘kill me so you don’t have to kill her.'”

            Still my mother. I’d be robbing her of 40-odd fewer years than I’d be robbing my sister of.

            You can throw any hypothetical in the world at me, and I will accept the premise and answer it. The only time I’m going to quibble about third options is if you start in with “if you’re a utilitarian, why don’t you do X in real life.” Hypotheticals are a tool, not a challenge.

          • Izo

            “The transplant waiting list is not ordered exclusively by who needs transplants the most. It also takes into account how good a candidate you are. And the fact that we don’t have psychics means that we don’t actually know the exact order people are going to die in, which is my entire point.”

            Actually, the list FIRST takes into account who needs the organs the most desperately, THEN Takes into account how good a candidate they are. And again, there are also other people who donate organs in addition to Feral. And there is also the Paladin artificial organ option. Point is this is an artificially created trolley question, for which there are multiple non-autonomy-violating, non-torture options.

            “Yes, that’s your argument for why it shouldn’t have been done. That has nothing to do with the question of whether people would have continued dying while waiting for transplants if Feral had not been boosted.”

            And now I’m again going to bring up that people are dying because Paladin isnt making artificial organs.

            “Still my mother. I’d be robbing her of 40-odd fewer years than I’d be robbing my sister of.”

            So quality-of-life doesn’t factor into the utilitarian formula? It’s a raw number game? Okay. Next hypothetical coming below

            “You can throw any hypothetical in the world at me, and I will accept the premise and answer it. The only time I’m going to quibble about third options is if you start in with “if you’re a utilitarian, why don’t you do X in real life.” Hypotheticals are a tool, not a challenge.”

            You have two siblings who are identical twins, Kara and Lara, in some sort of Saw movie device, and you don’t have any concept of who will live longer. Kara has leukemia (and it’s possible that one day she might go into remission with treatment). Lara has clinical depression, is suicidal and has tried to kill herself on multiple occasions, but right NOW wants to live, and with treatment might not want to commit suicide in the future. Either one of them could die at some indeterminate time in the future, but you also don’t know when. Both of them beg you not to kill them. You love both of your siblings very much. If you kill neither one, nothing happens to you but both of them die in a far more horrific manner than if you kill one of them personally. One needs to die so the other will live because reasons which are unimportant since this is a trolley question. Who do you kill.

            The question behind this trolley question is what do you consider more worthy of life – someone with an physical disease which could kill them, but could go into remission, or someone who has a mental disease which can cause them to harm themselves, but could be treated. ie, quality of life issue between people with physical diseases or mental diseases

            (I’m going to probably stop the hypotheticals after this one since I think we’re getting close to a tangent)

          • Stephanie

            OK, I’ve reached my limit on the amount of time I’m willing to spend arguing whether or not something that’s explicitly true in canon is actually canon.

            I choose whom to kill by flipping a coin.

          • Izo

            Except it’s not canon that there couldn’t have been other solutions. It’s just other solutions were not even looked at.

            But fine, we can end this particular thread since we’re at an impasse.

            As for the trolley question answer, that doesn’t seem to imply any ethical consideration at all in that decision. But like I said, that’s the last trolley question I was going to make in this thread. I don’t consider them good thought-experiments anyway.

          • Stephanie

            You have to make a lot of unsupported assumptions to conclude that “other solutions were not even looked at.” Like I’m sorry the comic doesn’t go into extensive detail about the underlying logistics of Feral-organ allocation, but there’s absolutely no good reason to assume that her organs were being distributed in any way less efficient than what’s done in the real world.

            If you give me a trolley problem that doesn’t bring a stronger one of my principles into conflict with a lesser one of my principles, the solution is to choose at random. If I have to choose to send a trolley down one of two tracks, each of which has one person tied to it, I choose at random.

          • Izo

            “You have to make a lot of unsupported assumptions to conclude that “other solutions were not even looked at.”

            Not really. You SAW the progression of Alison’s ‘talk’ with Max right after she received the folder and talked to Dr Rosenblum. She went immediately from asking to violence, without thinking of other ways to accomplish the same goals without using Max at all.

            “If you give me a trolley problem that doesn’t bring a stronger one of my principles into conflict with a lesser one of my principles, the solution is to choose at random. If I have to choose to send a trolley down one of two tracks, each of which has one person tied to it, I choose at random.”

            Then you missed the point of the last trolley question. It was meant to ask if you considered mental disease or physical disease to be worse and the suffers of either to be less worthy of life.

            My own answer is that neither sufferers of mental diseases or physical diseases are less worthy of life, but that’s why I detest trolley questions for their unrealistic and guided answers that lead to railroaded (pardon the pun) results.

          • Stephanie

            “without thinking of other ways to accomplish the same goals without using Max at all”

            One, Alison was not the one in charge of distributing Feral’s organs. People who make those decisions for a living were already distributing them at least as efficiently as they are distributed in real life. And that, canonically, was not enough to save everyone.

            Two, Alison has desperately wanted to free Feral from her torture since long before she knew Max even existed. There is no good reason to assume that she has never tried to think of other ways to accomplish that. But if she’d come up with the ideas you’ve presented here, she would have gotten one of two responses from the hospital: “We’re already doing that,” or “That won’t work, for the following reasons.”

            “It was meant to ask if you considered mental disease or physical disease to be worse and the suffers of either to be less worthy of life.”

            My response answered that question. I don’t see either as less worthy of life than the other, so I flip a coin. Easy peasy.

          • Izo

            “But if she’d come up with the ideas you’ve presented here, she would have gotten one of two responses from the hospital: “We’re already doing that,” or “That won’t work, for the following reasons.”

            Where has that been stated? Alison didn’t ask the hospital about any of that, or offer to distribute the organs as a type of organ courier.

            “My response answered that question. I don’t see either as less worthy of life than the other, so I flip a coin. Easy peasy.”

            Then you haven’t answered the question that the trolley question was asking.

            You didn’t make a choice. You let a coin and random chance make the choice for you.

          • Stephanie

            I said if she had presented those ideas to the hospital, she would have gotten those responses. Those are the correct responses to those suggestions.

            “Then you haven’t answered the question that the trolley question was asking.”

            Sure did. Question: “How do you prioritize the lives of physically ill people, relative to the lives of mentally ill people?” Answer: “I prioritize them equally.” As you can see, the trolley problem has succeeded in clarifying my priorities. That’s what trolley problems are for.

            Heads up, I added a bit to my previous post while you were typing your response.

          • Izo

            “I said if she had presented those ideas to the hospital, she would have gotten those responses. Those are the correct responses to those suggestions.”

            Or so you assume.

            “Question: “How do you prioritize the lives of physically ill people, relative to the lives of mentally ill people?” Answer: “I prioritize them equally.” As you can see, the trolley problem has succeeded in clarifying my priorities. That’s what trolley problems are for.”

            No you didn’t succeed in clarifying your priorities. You sidestepped it, thus sidestepping the need for a trolley question in the first place, and proving that trolley questions are inherently flawed. You used a coin in place of your own conscious thought.

          • Stephanie

            Really? It’s “sidestepping” to say that I don’t value one specific thing more than another specific thing? You know that it’s possible to value two things equally, right?

            It’s not a flaw of the trolley problem that my response to one accurately reflects my worldview. Come up with a trolley problem where my response inaccurately reflects my worldview and I’ll concede it’s flawed.

            I mean, honestly. “Quick! You have to choose–this pile of red M&Ms, or this equally large pile of yellow M&Ms!” “Well, I don’t really care what color they are, so I’ll just pick one at random.” “You’re sidestepping the issue! You’re using a coin in place of your conscious thought! How can you possibly not care whether your M&Ms are red or yellow?” Like, I just don’t, that’s really all there is to it.

          • Izo

            “Really? It’s “sidestepping” to say that I don’t value one specific thing more than another specific thing? You know that it’s possible to value two things equally, right?”

            No, it’s sidestepping the trolley question to not actually choose, and instead have a coin choose for you, bypassing the entire philosophical question of which do you value more, by saying ‘I value both the same.’

            You said it yourself earlier- the trolley question is supposed to simplify the choices to let you choose a binary choice in an ethical dilemma in which you would be responsible for one situation or another situation. You didn’t make a binary choice – you let a coin choose for you so that you can blame random chance instead of questioning your own hierarchy of morality.

          • Stephanie

            “Blame” random chance? I’m not blaming anything. I’m choosing at random because I don’t have a preference. If I have to murder my own sister, I guarantee you I won’t be “blaming” the coin I used to decide which one. I am responsible for my decision regardless of how I make it.

            How does this argument make sense to you? Are there really no two things, in the entire universe, that I could name that you would have no preference between? Can there be no hierarchy with more than one item on a single tier? You accept the existence of “greater than” and “less than,” but not “equal to?” It seems like you’re blaming the entire concept of the trolley problem for the fact that you didn’t like my answer to this one.

          • Izo

            “”Blame” random chance?”

            … you do understand wordplay right? It’s a term.

            “Are there really no two things, in the entire universe, that I could name that you would have no preference between?”

            Yes, killing one person or killing 5 people. I have no preference. I don’t want to do either. Yet that’s the entire point of the trolley question, which you are avoiding.

            “It seems like you’re blaming the entire concept of the trolley problem for the fact that you didn’t like my answer to this one.”
            There was no answer to like or dislike. You didn’t have an answer – you just flipped a coin.

          • Stephanie

            If you truly have no preference between killing 1 person or allowing 5 people to die, congrats, you get to flip a coin. Of course, if you give that same answer regardless of how many people are tied to the first track, then I might say you’re dodging the question.

          • Izo

            I consider killing any number of people abhorrent and something that I would be incapable of doing as a first option, and if I flip a coin to excuse myself from having to make that choice myself, then I would be dodging the point of the question, no matter how many people.

          • Stephanie

            You’re still responsible for a choice you make by flipping a coin. You’re responsible for choosing that method to make the decision, just as much as if you made the decision by any other metric.

          • Izo

            No, the point of the trolley question is to make a binary choice based on which thing you think is more against your morality. There’s not supposed to be an ‘equal’ for it. You’re sort of proving why trolley problems are inherently flawed.

          • Stephanie

            There absolutely can be an “equal.” Especially when numerical amounts come into play, at which point there has to be an “equal” somewhere. That kind of tipping point is as genuine a representation of your principles as any “>” or “<" comparison.

            I mean, honestly. There's two trolley tracks, each with a completely identical person tied to it. Can you flip a coin on that one or is that "sidestepping"? How about parallel two tracks with nobody tied to them at all?

            You're artificially limiting the ways you can respond to the problem within its rules, and then complaining that the problem is flawed.

          • Izo

            “There’s two trolley tracks, each with a completely identical person tied to it. Can you flip a coin on that one or is that “sidestepping”?”

            They’re not identical. Mental disease vs physical disease. That’s not ‘identical.’

          • Stephanie

            I didn’t say mental and physical disease are identical. I gave you a new trolley problem where both people are literally identical.

          • Izo

            But I’m the one who thinks trolley problems are inherently flawed, remember? You’re the one who thinks it’s a good representation for getting an ethical thought process of one thing being preferable to another. If they’re both identical, how is it a trolley problem? For that matter, how can two people be exactly identical?

          • Stephanie

            I said they’re a useful tool for clarifying how you prioritize your values. This can include determining that two values of are equal priority to you.

            “For that matter, how can two people be exactly identical?”

            Doesn’t matter. That’s the scenario.

          • Stephanie

            OK, I’ve thought about this some more and I think I have a better way to explain what I’m getting at.

            I sit down Alice in front of me and propose to her the original trolley problem. “There are five people tied to the tracks. You can switch the trolley to different tracks with just one person tied to them. Do you flip the switch?”

            “No,” Alice says. “That’s not enough people in danger for me to justify murdering someone.”

            “OK,” I say. “There are a million people tied to the tracks now. Do you flip the switch?”

            “Yes,” Alice says. “That’s way more people in danger than I’d need to justify murdering someone.”

            “How about six?” “No.” “999,999?” “Yes.” “Seven?” “No.” “999,998?” “Yes.” And so on.

            After continuing to titrate for some time, I should hit upon a number X that balances the scale. This is the point where Alice’s principles say, “The moral weight of allowing X people to die is exactly equal to the moral weight of killing one person.” This is Alison’s personal trolley problem reversal potential.

            So I ask Alice if she would flip the switch to save X-1 people. She says no. I ask if she would flip it for X+1 people. She says yes. I ask if she would flip it to save X people. She says, “I would flip a coin to decide.”

            Did Alice sidestep the question? Or did she tell me exactly where she stands?

          • Izo

            “So I ask Alice if she would flip the switch to save X-1 people. She says no. I ask if she would flip it for X+1 people. She says yes. I ask if she would flip it to save X people. She says, “I would flip a coin to decide.”

            While that was a really interesting way to put it, yes, you are still sidestepping the question (or Alison would be). Because what’s the difference between X and X-1 and X+1? What magical reasoning makes X ‘I don’t know whether I should or shouldnt, flip a coin’ vs ‘Sure I will’ or ‘No I can’t’ Doing X+1 or X-1 at least gives you an insight into the number of people Alison considers worthy of sacrificing her morals. Artificially saying X isnt so I will let random chance decide sidesteps the issue for magical reasons of whatever ‘X’ is.

            So no, she did NOT tell you where she stands at all. You have absolutely no insight into her character whatsoever in the scenario you presented.

          • Stephanie

            I thought that was a pretty clear explanation, but look up “reversal potential” and perhaps you will see what I mean.

          • Izo

            I didn’t say it wasn’t a clear explanation. I said it doesn’t change that it doesnt give any insight into the choice being made because you just use an artificial number X, instead of saying X is where you wont and X+1 is where you will.

          • Stephanie

            Again, look up “reversal potential.”

          • Izo

            You’re still missing the point of why saying ‘X’ is one thing, but X+1 is another thing being any different than X-1 is different than X or X+1 is not avoiding an answer to the question.

          • Stephanie

            Look up reversal potential.

  • Julian Arce

    So glad you did this math – I almost did it myself but I had a terrible workweek. In general we can all agree that Feral cannot possible fulfill all demand of organs the world needs, but could supply more organs that we had the logistics means to transplant. And also think that we all love this hypothetical questions about Feral because it distracts us from really thinking of what Allison did, and whetever we think she was justified or not

  • Izo
  • Called it!

    Seriously, though, it made a lot of sense. There was an upper limit to the number of organs that could be properly transported, and to the feasible frequency of implantation surgeries elsewhere, which apparently Feral’s regeneration has now fully surpassed no matter how quickly they’re harvested from her. I’m envisioning a production line type affair where dozens, even hundreds of medical staff are on hand during her surgical hours, relaying organ after freshly boxed organ to one another in a makeshift production line.

    Almost certainly there’s still a shortfall due to the cost of surgical treatment in impoverished areas or anywhere without free healthcare, as well as a few dynamiphobic patients who’d refuse anything but a baseline human transplant. but at least Feral has some measure of a life back. I wasn’t expecting her regeneration or the retrieval time to be reduced quite *this* much but even a week or two off a month makes an enormous difference to a life comprised entirely of pain and torture.

    Unfortunately I have to now agree with some of the earlier commentors on this page that the end result of this improvement will likely be protests, intervention by wealthy industry interests and more danger to the main cast due to this upheaval – forcing the anti-power killers to overplay their hand and reveal their identities to Patrick, which is just what he intended by sending Alison Max’s details.

    • Burke

      I’m wondering how long the boost to her powers is going to last. I mean, when Max turns somebody up (I just got that, man I’m slow), is it permanent? If not, how long does it last? Does Alison plan to squeeze him for a refresher on a regular basis?

      This is absolutely great, don’t get my wrong, I know someone with fibromyalgia, and if I could do something that would get their pain down to one work-week a month, I would put on soccer cleats and stomp my way through a puppy farm if that’s what it took to make it happen. I’m just wondering what the long-term logistics are for this, because it could really come around to bite a lot of people in the end.

  • crazy j

    How the heck did the FDA approve of all of this?

    • Stephanie

      Biodynamic individuals have existed for a few years, and the government has already had to make dramatic adjustments to accommodate that. I’m guessing their approval process works differently than ours.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    Also how cool racial purity is. (Yay…)
    And I agree with you, as I said, the author’s intent essentially doesn’t matter anyway. It can be informative –assuming we ever manage to genuinely know it– and that’s pretty much it. We shouldn’t judge stories on the intent of their authors.

  • Sendaz

    That’s a good point, so it could have been down to bad timing.

  • Sendaz

    I wouldn’t do anything for a Klondike bar, but I would have done some real sketchy stuff for a Blueberry Hostess Fruit Pie. 😛
    Probably a good thing that they don’t make them anymore.

  • Lysiuj

    Fair enough, this is just a different use of the word ‘message’ than I am familiar with.

  • MrSing

    No no! I’m certain that it’s “No one can arrest you if you murder all the witnesses.”

    • Arklyte

      I thought it said “…if you pay taxes properly”…

  • Sendaz

    We don’t know it’s permanent yet, the more likely answer is its a temporary boost.
    How long it lasts remains to be seen.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    We are not talking about your personal opinion on what would fictional people do.

    • Izo

      I’m pretty sure we are, actually.

  • Psile

    So Allison is not a great sales person. Maybe she should have been nicer to Max, stroked his ego, told him he was pretty. Then, after she’d buttered him up she could have asked if he could take some time out of his busy schedule and hop on down to a hospital so he can save several thousand lives annually. You know, whenever. No pressure. If he said no she could have tried to get other people to present to him, maybe set up a power-point presentation. Then after several months of begging, after Max’s ego has been stoked enough and he feels in control again after he didn’t get something he wanted (Allison) he might deign to perform an act that I would classify as the bare minimum of human decency. Oh, every day spent waiting some people are gonna die who don’t have to. So you know, take your time developing that perfect pitch.

    Also what Max said implies that he would always say no, to anyone, just because he wants to spite Allison.

    “Just to watch you realize that, for once, you weren’t going to get your fucking way.”

    He is emotional so maybe he is exaggerating, but still: holy crap. I don’t hold to the view that what happened to Max is justified because of what kind of a person he is. I think it’s more of a greater good scenario and Max’s morality is irrelevant. Let’s talk about his morality for a second though, since we’re on the subject of whether or not he deserved more consideration before Allison went to the violent solution.

    Think of how many people Max would have allowed to die due to his inaction. About 6,000 people a year die on the transplant wait list, and then there’s the fact that Tara is undergoing constant torture. I’m gonna go ahead and say Allison probably knows the numbers, given her closeness to the situation. And now you’re Allison, and you’re listening to this guy justify allowing those people to die and Tara to suffer because he doesn’t want to. He doesn’t even think he has to justify his inaction. He thinks he’s doing her a favor by even answering he question at all. Then when he thinks he’s won he is all “well, good talk” like they’d just had a spirited discussion and would have to agree to disagree when in fact he had just calmly doomed thousands to death by his inaction.

    A lot of people would have just snapped there. I’ve known people who have waited on the transplant list for years, and at least they were able to substitute dialysis. If I was faced with a situation like that, I would be furious in a way I don’t think I’ve experienced yet in my life. So when I say that Allison was remarkably calm, that is what I’m talking about because that is a staggering body count. Honestly, Max is a complete sociopath who is trying to justify his lack of any kind of empathy at all with ‘personal freedom’. So maybe Allison could have been a littler more patient with him, but she showed remarkable restraint to get as far as she did.

    • Izo

      “So Allison is not a great sales person.”

      I know that when I go to Macy’s and someone slams me against a wall and tells me to buy a dress or they’ll break my arm or kill me, my first thought is always that ‘they’re not a great salesperson.’ Especially if I do find that I look good in the dress after I get over my nervous shakes from the near death experience.

      • Psile

        Dang, Macy’s has stepped up their game. I usually went in there to avoid the murder threats of Old Navy. Now where will I shop? 🙁

        • Izo

          I’d say Amazon – it’s safer than the Macy’s authoritarian tyrant salepeople, but the dress they forced me to buy WAS very nice. And once my arm heals from being broken by the bad salesperson, I’ll probably even be able to wear it.

    • Stephanie

      Great post! You really put into perspective the sheer magnitude of Max’s assholery.

      I do think Alison should have made a stronger effort at diplomacy, kept things civil, suggested some possible trades for Max’s cooperation, etc. There will probably be some kind of blowback as a result of her resorting to violent coercion, and it would have been better to avoid that if possible. But I very much agree with you that what she shouldn’t have done was let a single additional day pass without boosting Feral, even at the cost of violently coercing Max.

    • Arkone Axon

      What I just read here amounts to the same argument I’ve been hearing since she first decided “I am right, he is wrong, time to rationalize violence.”

      I’m not going to bother responding to your use of the “Appeal to Ridicule” logical fallacy (i.e. the sarcastic mockery and equating a genuine attempt at persuasion with satirically extreme pampering of a strawman bad guy). I’m just going to go straight to your one line that sums up your entire post, your entire attitude:

      ” Honestly, Max is a complete sociopath who is trying to justify his lack of any kind of empathy at all with ‘personal freedom’. ”

      So far here’s what we’ve seen of Max. He has been rescued from a burning building. He has offered Alison stimulating conversation during moonlit walks. He has used his wealth in an attempt to impress a girl he really likes. He has admitted to not knowing the names of the gardeners hired by his father’s assistant. He has quoted Ayn Rand and her train fanfics. He has a power that makes him extremely valuable to other metahumans and which his parents have kept secret lest he be victimized over it.

      What part of that screams “complete sociopath” or lack of empathy? Did he show a lack of empathy when he said that it was possible to believe both in the importance of freedom of choice AND the importance of treating others as family and coming together? (Page 55 of this chapter)

      Is he more of a sociopath than Patrick, the guy who spent years terrorizing the world as a supervillain and caused the deaths of thousands? Is he more of a sociopath than Mary, who tried to slit Alison’s throat for attempting to stop her from murdering anyone she decided deserved to die? Is he more of a sociopath than Violet, who got Alison kicked out of her own dorm and played up what a victim she was while Alison was too tired to even protest such poor treatment?

      What if his powers had been regeneration like Feral’s? What if the offer Alison had posed had been “you agree to get on that table half the time so my friend can have a life as well?” If he had refused, would that have given Alison the right to bodily drag him to that table and force him to be harvested for organs against his will?

      • Psile

        “What I just read here amounts to the same argument I’ve been hearing since she first decided “I am right, he is wrong, time to rationalize violence.””

        I’m not using Max’s massive issues as a justification for the violence. 6,000 dead people is the justification, but we’re talking about whether Allison should have tried harder before resorting to violence. My position is that she tried hard enough, given the circumstances. I said that about 1/3 of the way in, but I understand that there was a lot to read.

        “I’m not going to bother responding to your use of the “Appeal to Ridicule” logical fallacy (i.e. the sarcastic mockery and equating a genuine attempt at persuasion with satirically extreme pampering of a strawman bad guy).

        I’m gonna make jokes if I find something absurd to the point of comedy. It’s an internet comment board, not Harvard Debate club. I genuinely think that, given what he said, Max would never willingly help anyone with his powers ever especially if he thought Allison wanted him to unless he had an extreme personal connection to them. All the pampering is a comedic attempt to underscore this point. It’s not my fault Max is a strawman. I didn’t write him. I’m just examining his actions, their results, and what this says about his moral character.

        “I’m just going to go straight to your one line that sums up your entire post, your entire attitude:

        ” Honestly, Max is a complete sociopath who is trying to justify his lack of any kind of empathy at all with ‘personal freedom’. ”

        He has a power that makes him extremely valuable to other metahumans and which his parents have kept secret lest he be victimized over it.”

        So the reason I skipped all the stuff in between is that it doesn’t matter. I never said that I thought Max’s personal views equate to making assault on him justified. I think they are a fine justification for ditching him on a date, but once we start talking about solving all the organ donations ever we just entered a whole new realm of morality. It kind of feels like you are assuming that I think Max’s situation is justified because I don’t agree with his political views, which is just not the case. It does make it very easy to dismiss my views if you think I’m that petty. Since we’re bringing up logical fallacies I think this would be a strawman fallacy, making me a simple, petty SJW who just can’t stand the idea of anyone having different ideas from them. Now I’m sure you’ve been going back and forth with a lot of people and I can see how it would be easy to kind of lump them in together. I’ve seen people offer that kind of justification (Fuck Max he’s and asshole. Who cares?) but that’s not what I’m saying.

        The reason I included that last part is because it is kind of related to the subject. Max has a power that could save thousands of lives with minimal effort to him which both he and his parents have hidden lest he be victimized for it. That’s the whole argument to me. He alone has this power, and I don’t see how he would be in much more danger than some other biodynamics. Palladin has been exploited, but Palladin still hasn’t let that stop her from trying to make the world better. Max is putting his personal comfort over 6,000 lives annually.

        “What part of that screams “complete sociopath” or lack of empathy? Did he show a lack of empathy when he said that it was possible to believe both in the importance of freedom of choice AND the importance of treating others as family and coming together? (Page 55 of this chapter)”

        That would be the part where he refused to help Tara save 6,000 lives annually because he was scared of some kind of vague threat and because he was angry at Allison. Anyone who can be totally unmoved by that level of suffering has issues with their ability to connect to other humans that could be described as sociopathic. The fact that he said that maybe another idea can be right, as long as his views are also right, just really doesn’t come close to balancing the scale.

        So to summarize before I get into the rest of it: Max is a monster, and Allison still tried to reason with him. I think she tried plenty hard.

        “Is he more of a sociopath than Patrick, the guy who spent years terrorizing the world as a supervillain and caused the deaths of thousands? Is he more of a sociopath than Mary, who tried to slit Alison’s throat for attempting to stop her from murdering anyone she decided deserved to die? Is he more of a sociopath than Violet, who got Alison kicked out of her own dorm and played up what a victim she was while Alison was too tired to even protest such poor treatment?”

        Okay, so now we’re changing the subject. What other people did doesn’t have any bearing on what Max did. Also you’re assuming that I agree with Patrick or Mary. I’m not even gonna address Violet because we’re talking about murder, not getting kicked out of a dorm. Without going into a whole thing about these other issues I don’t agree with either Patrick or Mary. They are way too extreme, and you may recall that Allison tried to physically stop them both. Patrick is the only one whose body count is comparable to Max’s though he would be directly responsible for those deaths rather than passively responsible. I usually shake out on whatever side is not responsible for thousands of deaths, whether active or passive.

        “What if his powers had been regeneration like Feral’s? What if the offer Alison had posed had been “you agree to get on that table half the time so my friend can have a life as well?” If he had refused, would that have given Alison the right to bodily drag him to that table and force him to be harvested for organs against his will?”

        They aren’t, but okay. It’s a fictional world so a hypothetical isn’t out of place. This would change everything because my whole stance is “Max’s suffering saves thousands of lives so it is the lesser of the two evils.” Once you start drastically reducing how many lives it saves things get murkier, especially if you ramp the amount of suffering Max experiences by a huge factor. Once you reduce it to an insane amount of suffering for Max vs an unclear amount of benefit for others (It’s impossible to say if other organs wouldn’t have saved them on a smaller scale like that) you start to balance the scales more to the level of personal choice. Feral chose a life of valiant sacrifice, but not everyone is forced to make that choice.

        • Arkone Axon

          Actually, you pretty much have rationalized that Max deserved to have his nightmares made real. The reason why I mentioned Violet, Mary, and Patrick is that those three did bad things. Emphasis on “did.” They actively engaged in specific behaviors. Max has done nothing – literally nothing. He is being demonized for his inaction, rather than his lack of action.

          I’m large, athletic, and have trained extensively in martial arts since childhood, have had my share of violent confrontations, and has basic familiarity with firearms – and one of my biggest peeves is with internet tough guys who comment on the victims of mass shootings or violence in general with claims of how they wouldn’t be scared in a conflict situation and would simply charge and wipe out any attackers (Special recognition to those “Operators” who refer to anyone NOT constantly training for an eagerly anticipated post-apocalyptic situation as “sheeple”). And I’ve already mentioned elsewhere the name Alan Turing, the guy who was a great hero and was “rewarded” for it with chemical castration instead of incarceration after his homosexuality was revealed to the world

          Max IS scared of being found out. And with good reason – the first metahuman to tell him to his face “I know about your powers” then assaulted and kidnapped him for it five minutes later, and then told him this would be a repeat occurrence whenever she felt like it. To say that he’s a “sociopath” because he’s afraid of what he was then immediately proven right to be afraid of is to say that every GLBT who refused to come out of the closet is a sociopath, or that every victim of violence who didn’t immediately calm their heart rate, steady their trembling limbs, and rush in like the protagonist of a video game where food instantly heals wounds is a sociopath.

          • Psile

            “Max has done nothing – literally nothing. He is being demonized for his inaction, rather than his lack of action.”

            Doing nothing is absolutely a choice, particularly if you alone are able to act. I’m a good swimmer. If I’m walking by a pool and I see a child drowning and I’m the only one nearby then that child just became my responsibility. If I didn’t want to jump in and save that child despite the minimal risk to myself then I’m a sociopath. Max basically did that 6,000 times a year. The only thing this analogy doesn’t capture is the potential danger to Max. Maybe if the child was in the ocean, where there was is an outside chance I could come to harm it might be more apt but no analogy is perfect.

            So you repeat this a few times, and I’m gonna make sure I’m very clear. I would like to think that I am not an internet tough guy. I am fully aware the dealing with action situations in real life is completely different than the movies. I’ve shot quite a few rounds down the range, but I’m under no delusions that I would be anything except a liability in an active shooter scenario.

            Just because I’m advocating that Max, a fictional character, should feel compelled to take action in a very specific circumstance does not mean that everyone should feel compelled to act. No one is asking Max to go Jason Bourne on an active shooter. We’re talking about taking a road trip to a hospital, not joining the army.

            Allison’s actions after Max decided not to help are not justifications for his decision. He obviously felt pretty calm in his decision, and the idea that she might not take no for an answer didn’t seem to dawn on him until it was actually happening. Doesn’t seem that scared. He spent most of the time talking about how upset he was that he got sucky powers and briefly mentioned the possibility of danger to himself.

            Also no one is suggesting that Max go public. He could have visited Tara in secret. Hell, Tara is working with the DoJ to have this whole thing even set up. I’m pretty confident that they could have moved Max there and back in relative secrecy. The risk is really very minimal, and ironically if Max had gone public Allison would not have been able to coerce him because he would have had immediate legal recourse. Technically she could have still physically forced him, but the risk of physical assault is something he can’t escape as a human being. I risk it every time I walk down the street, and women risk it ever more every time they do the same.

            Max could help without revealing his identity, without putting himself in any direct danger, and with minimal impact on his daily life. It would also save, in this case, thousands of lives. You can’t equate Max’s actions to an LGBT person not coming out because that would have real effects on their daily life, and more importantly it is a self contained decision. The main positive effect is slowly changing societal norms to the point where that is acceptable. That’s a far cry from directly saving thousands of lives. It is, as far as I understand it, something they mainly do for themselves. Also, someone running at an active shooter is putting themselves in direct and obvious mortal danger instead of vague danger from possible future hypothetical scenarios that they might not be able to avoid anyway.

            tl;dr – No one is asking Max to perform an act of great heroism, just to take half a day and save thousands of lives while the personal risk he assumes is minimal. He’s refusing out of spite, so I’m sticking with sociopath.

          • Arkone Axon

            Actually, that’s exactly what Max is being forced to perform (not asked, forced). Just as a whistleblower is not asked to merely upload a few files to the internet. And that is why I compared you to one of those “internet tough guys.” You are sneering at and condemning (and yes, calling him a sociopath for saying “I’m afraid to do this thing that someone I don’t like wants me to do” counts as both contempt and condemnation) Max for being unwilling to make himself a target for every metahuman who looks at him and sees only his powers and what they can do to further the goals of the metahuman. You’re saying that you’re prepared to make yourself (and any loved one who might be kidnapped, coerced, or threatened to manipulate you) a target for the sake of others. And that anyone unprepared to do the same thing the moment someone they don’t like says “hey, I know you dislike me and I’d feel bad about that if I respected your opinion, but I have an idea of how you can help others,” then they deserve contempt for… being too afraid to act.

            You want to play the “women risk physical assault just by walking down the street card?” Okay, try this comparison. Compare Max to a woman who is being asked to make herself a constant, highly visible target of ultraviolent and extremely powerful men who have (for one reason or another) rationalized that raping her whenever and however they choose is justified and for the greater good. And that if she doesn’t choose to place her future security in the hands of nebulous and unquantified third parties, then she will be strapped down to a chair and raped by the person doing the asking in the first place. And afterwards openly admits that the only difference between themselves and the other ultraviolent and extremely powerful would-be rapists is is that their greater good really IS good, and that makes totally different and better.

            Oh, and be sure to add in that she faces contempt and ridicule because she admits that one of her reasons for refusing is that she doesn’t even like the person making this “fucking base-level, decent, no-brainer request.”

          • Psile

            Wow, lots of emotional appeal in this one, another personal attack, and a rape allegory.

            So you didn’t even address the fact that he wouldn’t have to expose himself to the whole world. No one forced him to take a bill board advertising his abilities. Allison was able to accomplish her task in pretty solid secrecy without his consent. Imagine how much easier it could have been if he had went along. That kinda torpedoes your whole comment, but moving on…

            I’m just sick of people comparing what happened to Max to rape. I’m done. Look it up in the dictionary. It’s not the same.

            Even if Max did publicize his powers, which again he doesn’t have to, it’s not like he lives in a lawless society. People can’t just waltz over to his house and take him. He’s more likely to have his mansion burglarized because it’s obviously full of expensive stuff than to be targeted for his superpowers. There are probably a few Allison-level supers out there who are genuinely capable of just ignoring most standard law enforcement efforts. At least one of them is locked up and another is dead. So Max is at danger mainly from them, but Max has a bunch of public options available to him. I imagine the govt could commission Paladin to make him a bunch of guard robots, for example. Bring in his wealth, and his options just expand. Living in secrecy could place him in even more danger because if anyone does find out, he has no protection. A more malicious person might make Max use his powers and then kill him so no one else can get boosted. That is what Allison meant by the situation being complicated and mainly dependent on what Max wants to do.

          • Arkone Axon

            You’re the one who played the gender card first. I simply responded to what you gave me. But I will indeed look it up in the dictionary. Merriam-webster’s online dictionary website. And assuming that we’re not talking about the plant (i.e. the source of canola oil), here’s what we get:

            1: an act or instance of robbing or despoiling or carrying away a person by force;
            2: unlawful sexual activity and usually sexual intercourse carried out forcibly or under threat of injury against the will usually of a female or with a person who is beneath a certain age or incapable of valid consent — compare sexual assault, statutory rape;
            3: an outrageous violation

            So… was he robbed, despoiled, and carried away by force? Yes. Was this an outrageous violation? Yes, unless we assume that Max cannot possibly be a victim because he’s the male offspring of wealthy caucasians (i.e. racism, sexism, and classism). Was there unlawful sexual activity carried out under threat of injury? Eh… no. She missed that one. She neglected to grope him while carrying him away by force and taunting him about his inability to prevent her from doing anything she wanted. So that’s only two out of three.

            “Imagine how much easier it could have been if he had went along.” You’re… really making this easy, at this point. Change “he” to “she” and… just… too easy.

          • Psile

            Okay, I said I was tired of the rape thing because rape and violation are not the same thing and rape has a specific emotional weight to it that you’re intentionally trying to leverage.

            Honestly I don’t really see the point of writing anything. You’ll just take a sentence or two out of context and act like it’s what we’re arguing about and ignore something that doesn’t fit that narrative. I noticed you haven’t defended Max the sociopath in a while. I assume you see my point then.

            Anyway, say what you want. I’m gonna move on to the next page.

  • Anna

    I have a weird feeling like Feral’s about to kiss her.

  • I think any really accurate utilitarian assessment of the “greater good” should include the degree of ethical corruption to society that would be involved in accepting the outcome of said utilitarian assessment. As complex as that would make the calculations involved, the answer would be a lot less misleading.

    • Stephanie

      That’s a great way of phrasing it! I also believe this. Breaking an ethical principle should be counted as a harm intrinsically, on top of whatever concrete harm is being done, and factored into the calculation.

  • Lysiuj

    Okay, I get what you mean. (Although your wording implied a difference between a story where things can happen for a variety of reasons, and a story where they must happen in a certain way in order to convey an idea.)
    But I still hold that a character succeeding at something, or facing little to no consequences, doesn’t neccesarily mean the author thinks the action was right, even unconciously.
    And in particular, I doubt this when it comes to deconstructions, where things are often not what they seem; and with stories that are interested in exploring a wide range of opinions, beliefs and decisions, while not painting anyone as completely right or wrong; and with stories that don’t show the main character to be always right.
    SFP is all of these. As far as I can tell, if there’s a message to this arc, and the comic in general (message in the sense that you used – conveying ideas and communicating), it’s this – here’s a complicated situation, there are no easy answers, let’s explore what happens (and let’s let you discuss it in the comments).
    Of course this requires that we present a case where no actor, action or idea are completely right or wrong. You already said downpage, that even considering the option of ‘violence/coercion for the greater good’ is bad. So if Brennan tried to paint that as one option in a situation with no easy answers you’ll probably still have a problem with that, since he’s presenting it as an option to be considered (correct me if I’m wrong).

    • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

      Actually…
      The more I wander in my travels among the realms of fiction, the more I come to believe it is exceedingly difficult to present a narrative voice that is anything but very morally simple.

      Don’t get me wrong, the subjects of these work can be very complex and present a very wide range of perspectives, and while I think we will disagree on SFP’s nature (It is by no means The Wire, merely a deconstruction of usual superhero narratives) I will admit that a simple distinction between right and wrong is far from what we relish on this website.
      But go one level higher and unless you painstakingly craft each aspect of your medium (and I even think this is either impossible or not worth the excessive amount of time it takes), the narrative voice can’t hep but abide a strict binary morality. Even more so the more media you add: the art of storytelling is one, text is one, drawing is one… each coming with their different symbols and codes that complement each other to convey an idea and making it less ambiguous in the process.

      Maybe you could convince me that there’s a Great Russian novel somewhere that doesn’t work like that. I’m not convinced.

      I’ve been trying to write this message for hours now because I gotta admit I’m not swooned by my own argumentation. It’s so difficult to explain.
      But I think the best way to explain it is like this: at the end of the day, no matter how complex is your story and its characters and their relationships and the unfolding cascade of dramatic events that make it up, there still are what you say, and what you don’t say. What’s in the frame, and what’s not in it. What you show, and what you don’t show.
      From this very unavoidable binary arises one of the things a narrator deems “good” and deems “bad”. It might be involuntary (it often is) and I certainly don’t think it’s a bad thing that it’s how stories work.

  • I don’t believe so? She made a point about having to hear the direct, personal accounts of her targets’ victims first-hand before she would actually go so far as to kill them. The closest she ever came was Furnace – and she still refrained from killing him, insisting that he answer the question even as he cried out as to what she was waiting for. She had no victim in his case but his ignorant responses to the media had given her serious cause to suspect he was covering something up.

    • Izo

      Wasn’t that guy who Alison was throat-strangling someone who had not yet actually committed any crime. He was probably GOING to, at least according to Alison (although not according to every other person at that party, including Clevin, who we all know is a nice guy who plays a musical instrument) but he had not yet.

      So… he was technically killed without having actually committed a crime.

      And of course there was Furnace. And just because she refrained from killing him doesnt mean she didn’t commit other crimes against him, such as assault, battery, and kidnapping. Oh yeah and there was Clevin, where she sliced his leg so deep that he had to go to the hospital and thought he was dying. Lucky thing he’s not walking with a limp for the rest of his life. But Clevin deserved it because he was in the way. (/s)

      • Thechynd

        After the death of the guy Alison strangled, evidence was found on his computer that he’d sexually assaulted several girls at his boarding school. http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-5/2308/

      • Stephanie

        I don’t think anyone is arguing that it was acceptable in any way for Moonshadow to harm Clevin. Just that Moonshadow did follow a code with her serial murders, and that code included making certain that the people she killed had actually committed rape. That’s not defending her actions, just laying out the details. She didn’t kill potential rapists, she killed people who had raped.

  • Balthazar

    Yeah but he’s never going to use… oh.

    That would be interesting if Max is found dead because Alison outed him.

    • Arklyte

      He’s already dead by now. I thought that he was more like an extra battery for a short time, but he’s too OP for now. Even if biodynamic powers were shown to progress on thier own and his reluctance ie denial, it’s still a bit too much.
      However he might still play a role. For example, hethe one who can actually kill Cleaver or anyone who has major drawbacks to their power developement. Patrick would have likely simply turned into a “vegetable” if “boosted”.

  • MrSing

    Bit off topic for your post, but in a lot of older books I have seen people use this “G-d” spelling instead of “God”.
    I always wondered, is there a reason for that? In most cases the text doesn’t seem to “take the Lord’s name in vain” or something like that.
    It sometimes happens to ordinary names or places too and I always though it to be strange.
    So, do you know why this happens? Genuinly curious.

    • Izo

      It actually originated in the Jewish religion as a show of respect and reverence for God while still being able to refer to God. There’s no ban in judaism against writing the word ‘God’ BUT in Jewish Law, it’s forbidden to destroy or erase the name of God (and some argue it’s also forbidden to destroy or erase any substitution for the name of God – ie ‘God’). Since writing it down means it is likely to be destroyed (if the letter is thrown out or ripped up, or if the email is deleted), some religious people (and even some not-very-religious but still respectful-of-religion people) have adopted this idea and just say G-d instead.

      • MrSing

        Ah, I see.
        Thank you, that was very interesting.

    • Arkone Axon

      It’s because I’m Jewish, and we’re not supposed to write His name down. In Hebrew His name is represented by a couple of little scribble marks rather than actual letters of the Hebraic alphabet. So it’s just part of my religion (which you of course do not have to abide by. You want to spell His name out, go for it. This is MY religious stricture to abide by, not yours).

      • MrSing

        Thank you for the explanation, much appreciated.

      • Lysiuj

        As an Israeli Jew, I’m curious – I’ve never heard of this ‘scribble marks’ thing, could you explain what it is?

        • Arkone Axon

          Every copy of the Pentatauch I’ve read has had them (usually in tandem with transliteration as well as the english translation), and… just checked. Those two little marks are the letter “Yod” written side by side with a vowel point underneath. So every time I’ve read a prayer beginning with “Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech Haolam” (“Blessed art thou, Lord our G-d, King of the Universe,” for those unfamiliar) “Adonai” was represented by what amounts “Y-ah-Y.”

          • Lysiuj

            Oooohhhhh… interesting, thanks!

  • Psile

    “His first foray into being a dictator was to kill the joker, a violent psychopath who had just gotten Superman to kill his wife and unborn child. Then he started doing more nuanced things which Alison would do as well, in order to ‘help the world’ with ‘one punch solutions.’ Like ending all crime and war on the planet. Sure it meant that he would threaten to kill anyone who didn’t comply, but he didnt actually kill anyone other the Joker at first until people had the audacity to start resisting where threats alone and some minor injuries didn’t dissuade them.

    See the comparison yet?”

    Superman beat Green Arrow to death with his vastly superior strength in front of his own parents, his assault on Arkahm cost Nightwing his life, went to war with the Green Lantern Corps resulting in several deaths, killed Black Canary, killed Oa the sentient planet by shoving it into the sun, and he vaporized a crowd of non-powered protesters. Off the top of my head. Those are just the murders.

    Superman’s first “nuanced” act was to dismantle a foreign military, shut down a protest in Australia paralyzing a man who stood up to him and after that he took every one of Arkahm’s inmates to a secure facility managed completely by himself with no kind of trial or due process. I suppose that there is a vein of similar thought, but honestly you could say that with any hero or any movement that involved any kind of violence. You have to look at actions, at the severity of the actions. It’s like saying that someone who pickpockets and someone who kills 3 people shooting up a 7-11 while robbing it are the same because they were both trying to take something that wasn’t theirs.

    Just because Allison did this doesn’t mean that now she’s going to go around making everyone do everything by virtue or her superior strength. It was a very specific set of circumstances that led Allison to this point, and I imagine it would take tremendous stakes to get her to do it again.

    As for Batman, yeah you’re right. Batman’s actions don’t justify anyone else’s. Everyone has to own their own moral choices. It was just an aside, not really part of my primary argument.

    1) Batman is not from a different universe. He is a DC hero and exists in the DC multiverse with everyone else in the Injustice comic.

    2) I wasn’t trying to justify Superman’s actions in Injustice. Just to be clear, Superman is 100% wrong in Injustice and ‘good intentions’ don’t excuse him. Batman’s mortality doesn’t justify his use of what you have described as torture and I doubt that Gordon could actually arrest him if he wanted to given that Superman tried for 5 years with almost the full force of the Justice League to find him and couldn’t.

    3) Yup. This is totally true. Two wrongs don’t make a right and all that.

    • Izo

      “Superman beat Green Arrow to death with his vastly superior strength in front of his own parents, his assault on Arkahm cost Nightwing his life, went to war with the Green Lantern Corps resulting in several deaths, killed Black Canary, killed Oa the sentient planet by shoving it into the sun, and he vaporized a crowd of non-powered protesters. Off the top of my head. Those are just the murders.”

      Yes. Why are you ignoring that Superman’s motivations were to keep his rule intact, so he could continue to ‘make the planet safe?’ He vaporized a crowd of non-powered protesters. Can we think of an example of what another superpowered being in THIS comic would have done to a bunch of non-powered protesters if not for Feral and Patrick? Do you think that, if Feral had been at Max’s house and refused to help still, Feral would have let Alison do what she did?

      The point I’m making, which you sort of ignored or didn’t notice, was that Superman was doing great evil to freedom and liberty, and also just in general, because he thought that the moral way that he had been handling things did NOT work. That’s how Alison is reasoning things now from what she did to Max to get something she wanted. It always takes a single step at first.

      “Superman’s first “nuanced” act was to dismantle a foreign military, shut down a protest in Australia paralyzing a man who stood up to him and after that he took every one of Arkahm’s inmates to a secure facility managed completely by himself with no kind of trial or due process.”

      So are you saying ending war is a bad thing? What’s to stop Alison from doing something similar? Superman forces people to do work for him as well. He forces superVILLAINS and superheroes to work for him through fear as well as being idolized. That’s what Alison has done also, with Max.

      “I suppose that there is a vein of similar thought, but honestly you could say that with any hero or any movement that involved any kind of violence.”

      No, you can’t. Because usually there’s some heroic code of ethics which reign in their powers. Alison violated her code of ethics by forcing Max. Or she never had a code in the first place and was just lying when she talked to Cleaver, or talked to Cohen, or talked to Gurwara.

      “You have to look at actions, at the severity of the actions.”
      So if Max had still refused while Alison was twisting and about to break his arm, would breaking the arm be justified? What if he still refused. Would ripping the arm off be justified? How about if he had an iron will and still kept refusing. How much severity of torture is justifiable? What sort of objective standard are you using?

      “It’s like saying that someone who pickpockets and someone who kills 3 people shooting up a 7-11 while robbing it are the same because they were both trying to take something that wasn’t theirs.”

      The problem with your comparison of those two crimes is they ARE different. In one, people were killed. In the other, people were not. However, they were both immoral and evil crimes. Why do you think the pickpocketer should be given no punishment at all simply because someone else did something MORE evil?

      Alison threatened to kill someone and tortured him because he did not want to help her and she wanted to make him help her. Why do you not see the inherent problem in this, or the slippery slope that this can inevitably lead to, as has been evidenced by dictators THROUGHOUT history, as well as in fiction.

      “Just because Allison did this doesn’t mean that now she’s going to go around making everyone do everything by virtue or her superior strength.”

      Why wouldn’t she? She’s not only done it to Max once. She said she’ll do it again. Why exactly would she not do it to someone else if she doesn’t like them, regardless of if they did anything criminal or evil?

      “It was a very specific set of circumstances that led Allison to this point, and I imagine it would take tremendous stakes to get her to do it again.”

      Actually she tends to repeat the same actions over and over again, but this time there was no one to tell her to stop. Except Max, who was her victim. In the past, her victims had someone else, or multiple other people, who told her to stop who she would listen to, whether it’s Clevin, or her ex-roomate, or Feral.

      “1) Batman is not from a different universe. He is a DC hero and exists in the DC multiverse with everyone else in the Injustice comic.”

      Injustice Batman is from a different universe than New Earth Batman. They’re from parallel universes. Just like Frank Miller’s Batman is from a different universe. Just like Red Son Superman is from a different universe. Just like Silver Age or CSA or Justice Lords are from different universes. In Injustice Batman’s universe, Lex Luthor is one of the good guys and has always BEEN one of the good guys, and never was a villain. There are differences.

      That’s what multiverse MEANS. Different universes.

      “2) I wasn’t trying to justify Superman’s actions in Injustice. Just to be clear, Superman is 100% wrong in Injustice and ‘good intentions’ don’t excuse him.”

      Then by the same logic, good intentions do not excuse Alison either.

      “Batman’s mortality doesn’t justify his use of what you have described as torture”

      It doesnt justify torture (although again, you didn’t seem to notice my reasons why a lot of what Batman does is NOT physical torture at all, and not directed at people who are not actively criminals, but that’s a moot point), but it does mean Superman needs to be held to a higher standard, since he has less that can punish him. Batman can be taken down by a bullet. Superman can not be taken down by nuclear warhead.

      “and I doubt that Gordon could actually arrest him if he wanted to”

      Actually, Batman has admitted, many times, that Gordon is too good a cop to not have figured out who Batman was, and at any time could have arrested him, frozen his accounts through legal means, and eventually arrested him. Any time he wanted to.

      http://s5.photobucket.com/user/bemused1/media/NML%20vol%204/NMLv4p15.jpg.html

      https://comicnewbies.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/jim-gordon-knows-everything.jpg

      https://comicnewbies.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/jim-gordon-knows-everything-2.jpg

      In fact, even in Injustice, Gordon eventually tells Barbara he’s known for a LONG time, not only about Batman, but about her, and Dick, and everyone in the Bat Family.

      In Injustice, Gordon sacrifices himself to protect Batman, Barbara, and the Resistance.

      https://comicnewbies.com/2014/08/21/jim-gordon-says-goodbye-to-batman/

      He also knows in New Earth and tells Barbara it’s best that she doesn’t be ‘completely’ honest with her, because right now he’s letting them do what they do and protecting himself from having to arrest them by ‘not knowing.’

      “given that Superman tried for 5 years with almost the full force of the Justice League to find him and couldn’t.”

      There have been several alternative futures where Gordon has been able to find and stop Batman, with just the Gotham Police. Batman will never go as all out on Gordon as he would with Superman.

  • MrSing

    This kind of stuff is why I dropped out of college.

  • MrSing

    Cannibalism is the new vegan.

    • Izo

      “Jim! Why are you eating a hamburger! You’re a vegan! How could you?! You promised to be more ethical!”

      “It’s okay Sarah…. it’s a Feralburger. No animals at all were harmed to make this! All I had to make sure is to not get any cheese on it.”

      “Feralburgers? Wow! That’s good eatin!”

      • bryan rasmussen

        As feralburgers become popular the hamburger ends up being replaced, until you can’t even buy those anymore. This of course allows farmers to lower the number of cows in existence, decreasing the amount of methane in the atmosphere and improving global warming. The tragic side effect is that Feral can no longer get a big ass hamburger, and that she too must eat the delicious feralburgers. Because of her energy intake needs she ends up having to eat 1000 feralburgers a day, soon she is back being operated on 80 hours a week in order to supply enough feraburgers that she doesn’t starve to death.

        • Izo

          And now that’s the plot twist!

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    I’ve never said I was about unchallenged individualistic freedom, I am about the absolute guarantee of equal rights under every circumstances. These have nothing to do with each other.
    As far as I know, we have yet to collectively find such a fatal flaw in that system. Which definitely might be the case, nobody knows the future and the same way utilitarianism fell out of fashion, I don’t have such a high esteem of my perspective to consider it impossible that say, feminism might be the downfall of modern civilization.
    But for now, we don’t know, so I’m staying hopeful.

    And you might sidestep these examples I’ve given but it doesn’t matter. Your justification for it is very shady (What, if slavery actually turned out to be an economic powerhouse, which for the record it isn’t, and happiness was objectively higher than if everybody was free but life inevitably less stable, you would be okay with it?) but the core problem is that by questioning absolute equality in any potential respect you inevitably condone inequality. That’s what that means. You can’t have one but not the other. That’s… in the name. That’s not abusing the system, that’s the system.

    • Stephanie

      “As far as I know, we have yet to collectively find such a fatal flaw in that system.”

      I know Harrison Bergeron was a satire, but honestly that scenario is no less absurd a criticism of “absolute equality” edge cases than “racial genocide” is for utilitarianism. And yet I don’t call your philosophy “loathsome” because it could theoretically be applied–by a horrible hypothetical person who is not you–to justify intentionally handicapping people’s physical and mental capabilities.

      “And you might sidestep these examples I’ve given”

      Is it sidestepping to say that those examples have nothing to do with my belief system? Because they don’t. I one hundred percent do not believe that disenfranchising everyone except white men would optimally minimize suffering. I don’t need to justify my principles against the accusation that atrocities could be rationalized by additional positions that I do not hold.

      If you engage with my actual principles, instead of making up ones I could hypothetically have but vehemently don’t, you’ll see a dramatic dropoff in “sidestepping” from my end.

      “What, if slavery actually turned out to be an economic powerhouse, which for the record it isn’t”

      Exactly. It isn’t. So my belief system doesn’t support it. I’m not going to throw out my belief system because it would support something reprehensible in an alternate reality I don’t live in. My belief system is tuned to this reality, and its ultimate intent–like yours–is to create the best possible world within the confines on that reality.

      • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

        Oh, I see. Turns out your actual principles are that of an utilitarianism that prohibits every situation where discrimination emerges. It has a name, actually: Not Utilitarianism.

        Well, I don’t find Not Utilitarianism despicable, if that satisfies you.

  • MrSing

    We already have the ability to make “blades” that have an edge of 1 atom’s thickness.
    They are, unfortunately, incredibly fragile and not useful for cutting at all.

  • MrSing

    When she flew out with MoonMoon to escape the exploding dam she had the actual physical MoonMoon in her hands.
    http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-5/page-146/
    If she ever had a chance to apprehend her, that would have been it.

    • Stephanie

      Good catch. That was her opportunity–if she had continued holding onto Mary after resuscitating her, Mary wouldn’t have been able to slip away. I wouldn’t say she chose not to apprehend her, as Observer phrased it, but it was an avoidable tactical error that allowed Mary to escape.

  • Sam

    2-3 microns isn’t all that sharp, actually. The edge of a standard razor or scalpel is substantially thinner than that, let alone a glass or diamond surgical tool. Now, whether Cleaver’s arms are actually meant to be “impossibly sharp” and the author just didn’t do the research, or their indestructibility combined with Cleaver’s immense strength is what actually gives them their cutting ability, I can’t say.

    • Izo

      I’m pretty sure razors are not 2-3 microns. But I could be wrong. Still, my point is that Paladin can probably make something thinner than current RL technology allows.

      Lets just say that Paladin can make a blade that’s one atom’s thickness at its edge. I’m pretty sure that, in RL, there are blades which are near that level (if not even thinner) if you use techniques like ion milling. I think the sharpest blade on the planet is a single crystal diamond blade that is about 1 micron at the edge and is used to prepare samples for transmission electron microscopes.

  • Lysiuj

    Some of them do…

  • Philip Bourque

    Careful now, those lives haven’t been saved yet. They still have the opportunity to be horribly, horribly screwed.

  • Sam

    “Here how national security: you spy on people that you think may harm you, and make plans to kill them. You don’t tell them your going to kill them. The good doctor is most likely under law forbidden by to tell Alison of any plans to kill her if she went AWOL. The joke was most likely a way to shrug of the question.”

    That would be a fun conversation:
    “Hey doc, if I ever decide to start randomly murdering people,what’s the government’s plan to deal with me?”

    “They’ll flood the air around you with nitrogen while you sleep. You’ll be dead within minutes.”

    “Oh. Uh. That’s… good to know?”

  • Stephanie

    Helped him, yeah. But I think it would be meaningful to her if her kindness ended up also being the downfall of the conspiracy.

  • Izo
  • Izo

    And you… seriously don’t think there was the slightest chance that a person who is rich doesn’t want to be compensated for his or her work anymore, especially in the tune of $25 million for 4 hours of work?

    Are you…. seriously saying you think Max is so rich that that amount of money is toilet paper to him?

  • Izo

    “It’s just my recollection–possibly wrong–that it was stated in the comic that Feral is a universal donor because of her regenerative capabilities.”

    I read that as being that her regenerative capabilities have the side effect of her organs being universal donor organs in the same way 9 percent of people’s blood are universal donors. There’s nothing to suppose that the organs keep regenerating once out of the body, though. In fact, that would be sort of horrible, because that means that once damaged organs leave Feral, those organs will keep regenerating until there’s an entire new Feral, so that there would be two Ferals.

    • Stephanie

      Maybe her brain is required to coordinate the regeneration of the entire body, and isolated organs can only regenerate themselves. Who can say? I wish we’d get bonus pages or something about the mechanistic deets.

  • Stephanie

    “Wouldn’t overpopulation be a problem in that circumstance?

    Now could you respond? Thanks.”

    Meh. It’s normally something I love to talk about, I’ve got some ideas on how to address it with minimal infringement of individual freedoms and minimal opportunity for whatever-ist exploitation, but I’m not really feeling it right now. Not when it’s being demanded of me like this. I write my thoughts in these comments to have fun and exchange ideas, and this would feel more like an obligation. If you ask me again some other time, I’d be happy to share my thoughts and get your feedback.

    “Well, in that sentence you aren’t taking into account overpopulation problems”

    Because I was making a lighthearted comment about a fantasy scenario, not constructing an argument. If you want me to construct an argument about something, please just ask me first, instead of responding as if I’m failing at something I wasn’t even attempting to do.

    “The few times where my words were such that it was becoming a personal attack on you, I apologized.”

    You did, and I appreciate that.

    “acting like it was a condescending attack so that others will come down on me.”

    That wasn’t the intent or the goal, and doesn’t appear to have been the outcome. One person did chime in with a respectful and compassionate take on our disagreement. To be clear, I acted like your comment was a condescending attack because I sincerely believed it was one.

    I appreciate your clarifying that you didn’t intend to be condescending, and I believe you when you say that, but it read very much like condescension at the time. Even though it wasn’t your intent, you used words that would have been equally appropriate if you had been trying to make me look stupid. I don’t believe I owe an apology for a reasonable interpretation of your phrasing. But I won’t ask you for an apology either, since you didn’t intend to be unkind.

    Let’s move on and maybe both try to drop the sarcasm. It’s too easy for it to come across as hostile or belittling in text. I’ve been aiming for a more pleasant tone in the replies I’ve made to you since the one above.

  • Izo

    Actually no. He had a message to tell by writing it. Source of my knowledge is Tolkien’s own words.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/noble-smith/jrr-tolkien-reveals-the-t_b_5373529.html

  • Izo

    That’s… horrifying but innovative.

  • Izo

    (and killed a doctor and who knows how many patients who that doctor was taking care of, lets not forget the innocent patients that were killed from her reckless indifference).

    Probably was also a children’s cancer ward in that hospital…. hmm.

    Well at least she destroyed a giant robot by not looking at where she was throwing it. Not sure how many dead cancer children that’s worth but I’m sure there’s a utilitarian calculation for it.


    oh yeah I almost forgot. /s

    • Stephanie

      I don’t believe that utilitarian ethics would justify her throwing a robot into a hospital, since she could have instead thrown it, like…pretty much anywhere else.

  • Psile

    “I have found myself responding to multiple people with essentially the same thing over the last couple of hours, so I’m just going to truncate this”

    Fair enough. I feel ya. Also, how you get the quotes to have that little bar in front of them?

    “To summarize my opinion of this subject, I doubt Alison’s sincerity.”

    Okay, so you make a lot of points but they boil down to this from what I can tell. I think you have a point but I don’t know if I take it as far as you do. I’ve been doing some back reading and I think that it’s safe to say that Allison defaults to solving her problems with violence, but she’s trying to change that. Allison lived her formative years punching her problems away, and now she’s starting to realize that it just doesn’t work that way. She says as much to Cleaver after they fight. So while I concur with you that Allison uses violence to solve problems, she’s trying to change and usually backs down once the realizes she’s slipping back into old habits. So I think that Allison does believe that might doesn’t make right and tries to act accordingly but doesn’t always succeed. Like all people she isn’t always the person she wants to be. When she doesn’t succeed everyone around her is reminded that they only have autonomy because she allows it and that is terrifying on a basic primal level.

    So I still hold that she had to compromise that moral. She wasn’t caught up in a rage. She made a calculated, logical decision to use her superior strength to force someone into something in direct contrast with the person she is trying to become. In order to do that she had to do something she would consider to be wrong even if she thought it was the least wrong option.

    To my original point about the difference between this and a typical comic book. Typically in my experience a comic would proceed with this dilemma by having the protagonist agonize over their choice and then choose to stand by their morals. They would then typically be rewarded by the writing for this action. If they choose not to stand by their morals, the consequences of their moral failing will invalidate whatever benefits their actions might have. Now the comic is not over and if there is one thing everyone on both sides of this debate agree on it is that this isn’t over.

  • Izo

    “Nope, not telling you to leave,”

    Seems like you are. How about you stop doing that? Or conversely, you can leave if you don’t like reading the comments of people making valid criticisms of the topics being brought up which the creators clearly are allowing since the comic is all about deconstruction of comics and social norms and philosophical viewpoints.

    “just don’t see why you’d spend your time here”

    It’s called debating a point. But I think you are having trouble with that concept, like a lot of people who say stuff similar to what you just said, ANYWHERE.

    “I stop seeking it out. But if reading a comic that seems to drive you nuts, and bitching about it to people that still enjoy it, is how you get your jollies, okay.”

    Going to channel the spirit of Max for a moment (if only I could also channel his bank account) …. one sec.

    Okay. Got him. Stop struggling Max, sweetheart! I just need your attitude for a bit! You should be used to take-charge women forcing you to do things by now!

    Since you clearly are awful at telling what other people’s motivations are or what other people are thinking, or what other people’s views are of the comic (and btw, I like the comic, the artwork, and even most of the time the storyline and issues raised, and have mentioned this before, including before this arc when I was an Alison supporter and arguing on the other side), maybe you should either go somewhere else that you’d enjoy the comments more, or just not read the comments since you don’t need to read them in order to enjoy the comic. Or not read mine. Or not respond to mine.

    But definitely do not tell me what to do or how to think (unless you’re also offering me a raspberry soda since I’m a sucker for those) or what my motivations are when you clearly don’t know.

    Okay Max, you can go now. Go back to living in fear of Alison. Have fun!

    Or do tell me what to do, and I’ll just ignore your rather rude suggestion. I don’t care much. Your entire premise though is ‘If you don’t like it, leave.’ Ignoring that I do like the comic, and I DISAGREE with the message being sent in the current story arc, as it so far exists. Can it change with a twist? Yeah. And if that happens, my opinion and posts would change as well.

    • Alon Rand

      Look, I didn’t go hunting for your comments to give you a hard time. You replied to me, with heavy, heavy sarcasm that looked to be mocking the comic as a whole, everyone that reads it generally, and me in particular. It was not unreasonable to conclude from that single comment that your attitude towards all of the above was deeply negative, and it is not my job to exhaustively research your entire comment history to determine otherwise. I responded to the first and only contact you had with me – which you initiated – in a pretty mild fashion. I made no demands of you, I didn’t call you names. I asked you a question: why are you here if you seem to not enjoy it?

      You are welcome to feel all self-righteous for flying off the handle over that, but it’s not justified given what I actually said. I’ve been polite in the face of your rudeness and ranting, but I’m done now. Fuck off.

      • Izo

        “Look, I didn’t go hunting for your comments to give you a hard time.”

        I know you aren’t. You’re just one of those people who try to snuff out discussions that you don’t like by telling people to leave. I frankly don’t care.

        “You replied to me, with heavy, heavy sarcasm that looked to be mocking the comic as a whole, everyone that reads it generally, and me in particular.”

        I reply with heavy sarcasm to everyone, including people I agree with, on this story arc. You’re not special in that respect.

        “It was not unreasonable to conclude from that single comment that your attitude towards all of the above was deeply negative, and it is not my job to exhaustively research your entire comment history to determine otherwise.”

        Have you ever watched a TV show where you don’t like a particular arc, but like the show itself?

        “I responded to the first and only contact you had with me – which you initiated – in a pretty mild fashion.”

        I wouldn’t even know if you had contacted me before or not. I barely pay attention to the names of people to whom I respond.

        “I made no demands of you, I didn’t call you names. I asked you a question: why are you here if you seem to not enjoy it?”

        I’ve already answered that question.

        “You are welcome to feel all self-righteous for flying off the handle over that, but it’s not justified given what I actually said.”

        Didn’t say you’re not. I answered your question by calling you out on what you said. Nothing self-righteous about it. If my comments criticizing a comic annoy you so much, why do you bother to read the comic comments? See? Same logic as yours.

        “I’ve been polite in the face of your rudeness and ranting, but I’m done now.”

        Wow, that’s your politeness? 🙂 To paraphrase Alison, I guess you like telling other people what to do, but don’t like other people telling you what to do

        “Fuck off.”

        First person who curses the other person out loses the argument. I win. 🙂

        • Alon Rand

          Aren’t you cute, declaring arbitrary rules to make yourself feel successful. Not recapitulating this back and forth again. I said I’m done, so I’m done. Congrats – you were a douche from start to finish.

          • Izo

            “Aren’t you cute, declaring arbitrary rules to make yourself feel successful.”

            1) I am frickin’ adorable.
            2) The second you resorted to namecalling and cursing me out, I’ve tuned out of the idea that you have anything coherent to say since you can’t talk logically anymore.

            “Not recapitulating this back and forth again. I said I’m done, so I’m done.”

            And yet you’re still posting. Curious.

            “Congrats – you were a douche from start to finish.”

            More namecalling. What poor debating skill you have. Hm… I hope you don’t hire someone to try to break my arm if I don’t do what you say.

  • Izo

    You seem to be having fun thinking of ways to induce mental images of nightmare fuel for me. It’s cool. I didn’t need all that… sleeping peacefully stuff.

  • Stephanie

    Calling an “egomaniac desire” seems unfair. It’s not entirely inaccurate, but I think it’s important to remember that Alison isn’t just some random trying to reach beyond her grasp. She possesses unique abilities that, if applied in the right way (whatever that is), have the potential to effect enormous change. Wouldn’t she be selfishly squandering those abilities if she didn’t aim to use them to benefit humanity as much as possible? With great power comes great responsibility.

    She has previously had an issue with trying to solve all the problems by herself, which you could certainly call a counterproductive egomaniacal impulse, but with Valkyrie it seems like she’s catching on that she’s more useful in tandem with others.

  • Stephanie

    “What we’re talking about here is quite literally the mindset of historical dictators, be they Fascist, Communist, or simply Royalist (“I rule by divine right! G-d authorizes everything I do!”)”

    I thought we were talking about the utilitarian mindset of trying to minimize suffering for all of humanity. The actions you’re describing make sense for someone who wants to selfishly exercise ultimate power, but they don’t make sense for someone who wants to minimize suffering.

    • Izo

      “I thought we were talking about the utilitarian mindset of trying to minimize suffering for all of humanity.”

      Many dictators throughout history thought what they were doing WAS minimizing suffering for all humanity. Communism in Russia was started under the guise of helping the poor, suffering workers (proletariat). Nazism in Germany rose to power because of the punishing effects of the Treaty of Versailles on Germany and hyperinflation, which then let Hitler and Himmler and others use their antisemitic views paint the jews as an easy scapegoat. Anyone who ruled by divine right did so because God said it was so, and God would favor our people if they put my royal line in power.

      It’s almost ALWAYS some sort of utilitarian mindset that causes dictatorships, usually in the mind of very disturbed individuals. That’s how the dictators get people to follow them. People don’t follow someone who says as his platform ‘I’m going to make you all suffer more!’ No… they follow someone who says ‘I will stop (or minimize) your suffering!’ … and when they get in power they don’t, or they do for a while, but then start taking away all the other rights, or find a scapegoat to kill.

      (so…. are people preferring the non-sarcastic posts? hopefully I won’t be having to repeat the same thing over and over again, to the same responses over and over again, but I probably will. Which is why sarcasm works better.)

    • Arkone Axon

      That’s the point that I’ve been trying to make – and in the comic, the point being made by Gurwara. And by Patrick (though he demonstrated it with a personal example rather than merely talking about it). Nobody thinks of themselves as the bad guy. Nobody gets up in the morning deciding to do horrible stuff for fun. Tyrannical regimes don’t just get started by sociopaths. They get started by people who have a golden vision of how to make the world a better place, and then find themselves facing an obstacle to their golden path… and then decide that a little moral pragmatism will solve that obstacle…

      • Stephanie

        I’m not sure I buy that tyrannical dictators who murder craploads of people are motivated by utilitarian ethics.

        • Izo

          What don’t you buy about it, specifically? There have already been a lot of examples given.

          • Stephanie

            Systematically executing enormous numbers of people is not a utilitarian act unless there’s actually some legitimate reason to expect it to save even more lives, which has never been the case. That’s the act of a power-mad psychopath, not a utilitarian.

          • Izo

            “Systematically executing enormous numbers of people is not a utilitarian act unless there’s actually some legitimate reason to expect it to save even more lives, which has never been the case.”

            To quote Ozymandias and Dr Manhattan:

            “I have condemned and killed millions… to save billions.”

            As for you saying that has never been the case that a dictator did not think there was some legitimate reason to kill enormous amounts of people to save more lives?

            Almost EVERY dictator thinks he (or she, I suppose) has a legitimate reason for their atrocities for the greater good. Every single one in history. There has almost never been someone who woke up and thought “Today, I will do evil stuff so I can be evil.”

            People are not two dimensional captain planet villains typically.

          • Stephanie

            If your “legitimate reason” is, e.g., that you hate Jewish people and want them to die, you’re not following utilitarian ethics. Ozymandias is not a real person and there has never been a real-world scenario where a reasonable person could expect executing millions of people to save billions.

          • Izo

            “If your “legitimate reason” is, e.g., that you hate Jewish people and want them to die, you’re not following utilitarian ethics.”

            Well actually you just gave the reason that the nazi party gave, although they didn’t just say they hate jewish people and want them to die. They couched it in other terms, putting the jews in the role of scapegoats responsible for the extreme poverty that the German people were suffering from the Treaty of Versailles, since the jews owned many businesses through their own innovation. To the nazis, taking the treasure and business of the jews and making them a scapegoat in order to return Germany into being a world power to be feared was their example of utilitarian ethics. The nazis did not consider jewish suffering to be equal to that of ‘aryan excellence’ or non-jewish german suffering, so the equation for them meant that Germany no longer being impoverished was worth making the jews (and later the romany, the roman catholics, the intellectuals, the poles, and the homosexuals) scapegoats to be exterminated.

            “Ozymandias is not a real person and there has never been a real-world scenario where a reasonable person could expect executing millions of people to save billions. ”

            I totally forgot that Alison is a real person. How foolish of me.

            Yes, comparing a fictional utilitarian tradeoff in a comic deconstruction with another fictional tradeoff in another comic deconstruction is surely ludicrous and makes no sense at all…

            /s

            “At best it’s tribalism–“if I horribly screw over these people, it will benefit my people.”

            Since Ozymandias was American, and the people killed were American also, it was hardly tribalism.

          • Stephanie

            Ozymandias, again–not a real guy. Arguments From Ozymandias are not applicable to the question of whether real-world dictators have been motivated by utilitarian ethics, which is what we’re talking about in this thread. This specific thread is not about Alison.

            You can reasonably compare Ozymandias to Alison, but what you have been doing is comparing Ozymandias to real-world dictators.

            The tribalism part is about dictators, not fictional guys from really excellent comic books.

            As for Hirohito–again, tribalism, he was using kamikaze to win a war for his people. I don’t think he was ever sitting in his war council like, “OK, how do we minimize suffering and maximize happiness for all people in the world? I know, kamikaze!”

          • Izo

            “Ozymandias, again–not a real guy. Arguments From Ozymandias are not applicable to the question of whether real-world dictators have been motivated by utilitarian ethics, which is what we’re talking about in this thread.”

            Maybe my sarcasm was too subtle. I put and /s in and everything. But… ALISON IS NOT A REAL PERSON EITHER.

            And then I gave examples of real world dictators as well, so not sure why you are ignoring them (except for Hirohito which I went more into detail about – Stalin, Hitler, and Mao all engaged in utilitarian reasoning as well, despite them being awful, evil people – their calculations on what was a net good for humanity just happened to be skewed by their bigotry, paranoia, or god complexes.”

            “As for Hirohito–again, tribalism, he was using kamikaze to win a war for his people.”
            No, it wasn’t tribalism! Entire papers and books have been written about this. Not to mention how is it tribalism to kill your own people or make them worship you as a living god?

            He was trying to win the war for his people by sacrificing the pilots by having them locked in the planes, making sure they had limited fuel so they couldnt fly back, and having them know if they managed to come back, death was waiting for them, so they might as well die taking out the enemy instead. How is that NOT utilitarian ethics in practice? Kill a few pilots, take out an entire aircraft carrier or destroyer which could take out hundred or thousands of other soldiers. Needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many.

            “I don’t think he was ever sitting in his war council like, “OK, how do we minimize suffering and maximize happiness for all people in the world? I know, kamikaze!””

            Justification for evil acts is almost never spoken outright. Alison was also not saying ‘I am going to do this because I’ve done the calculation that threatening to kill you maximizes happiness for the world’

            “You can reasonably compare Ozymandias to Alison, but what you have been doing is comparing Ozymandias to real-world dictators.”

            How about I compare him to Machiavelli’s the Prince instead? Which is essentially a textbook on how to be a successful tyrant.

          • Stephanie

            “Maybe my sarcasm was too subtle. I put and /s in and everything. But… ALISON IS NOT A REAL PERSON EITHER.”

            I addressed this. This thread is not about Alison. I will talk to you about Alison in other threads.

            “How is that NOT utilitarian ethics in practice? Kill a few pilots, take out an entire aircraft carrier or destroyer which could take out hundred or thousands of other soldiers.”

            The part with all of the warfare. Utilitarianism isn’t about minimizing suffering exclusively for your own country at the expense of people in other countries. Sacrificing your pilots to gain an advantage for your own country in a war is basic cost-benefit analysis, not utilitarianism. An actual utilitarian leader would be acting for the benefit of all people, not just their own guys.

          • Izo

            “I addressed this. This thread is not about Alison. I will talk to you about Alison in other threads. This thread is about whether real-world dictators were utilitarians, so there is no reason for any cartoon characters to enter into this discussion.”

            I gave you real world dictators as well.

            Not to mention it’s a little unreasonable to want to compare a fictional character to real world ones ONLY.

            “The part with all of the warfare. Utilitarianism isn’t about minimizing suffering exclusively for your own country at the expense of people in other countries.”

            Actually, there are rules even for war.

          • Stephanie

            “Not to mention it’s a little unreasonable to want to compare a fictional character to real world ones ONLY.”

            That’s the opposite of what I said I wanted to do. Let’s just drop this particular thread, we’re clearly looking to talk about two different things here.

          • Izo

            Ok, but I did mention real world dictators also. Could we talk about comparing Alison to other fictional dictators then? Since that’s more comparing apples to apples, rather than apples to oranges?

          • Stephanie

            I’d rather prune this thread, there are too many to handle right now.

          • Izo

            Why prune THIS one? Seems like a good method of comparison and it isn’t going off on tangents.

          • Stephanie

            Because I’ve gotten bored of it, and I don’t have to continue a conversation if I’m not feeling it.

          • Izo

            Fair enough.

        • Arkone Axon

          Oh, some of them are indeed selfish sociopaths like Stalin. But others are like Lenin, seeking to create a worker’s utopia for a people who had suffered under the Czars for centuries.

          In fact, for a really good example of what I mean, check out “The Romance of Three Kingdoms.” Each of the leaders has their own belief in the rightness of their cause, each of the leaders justifies their actions… and the result is such death and carnage and suffering that it’s no wonder why the Chinese believe “may you live in interesting times” to be a curse.

  • Izo

    And I’m going to dispute your percentage number as sarcastically as possible.

    • Sendaz

      Bring it!
      Disputing adds 4.13476209% enjoyment.
      Seeking witty response to sarcastic comments add 2.451114876%
      Applying any of the above in a technical fashion is a further 6.89055577777(repeating)% increase of enjoyment.
      Woo!

  • Psile

    Actually the cheque listed the Valkyrie Project as the recipient, so I don’t think it was that.

    • Sendaz

      Please do not take this the wrong way, but as several people have kept throwing this up about how she couldn’t have used the cheque for this-couldn’t give it to Max- etc… , but do any of you understand how cheques work?
      Again, not trying to be sarcastic¹ or offensive, but there seems to be a disconnect on how people think cheques work.
      I mean I understand nowadays most people get paid via direct deposit which goes straight to their bank accounts from work. But in the not so old days, you actually got a paycheque from work.
      Which you would in turn, take to the bank and deposit into your account. Which usually took a few days to clear.
      From this you would then be able to write cheques of your own to use said funds.
      You wouldn’t walk around with said original paycheque in your pocket until you found something of the same value and just sign it over. Yeah once upon a time you could, that’s called third party checking, but nowadays most places don’t do that anymore because of fraud and such.
      Plus Patrick would NOT have written a cheque out to Max directly, even if it was fully intended as a bribe for Max, that is too direct a link.
      Rather he dumps over a ton of money on the Valkyrie Project, or more specifically 2,753.25 lbs if all were withdrawn in just $20 bills to be precise, of which Alison and Paladin hold the pursestrings so either one probably has access to the accounts. Which means they can in turn write out cheques or use a card linked to said account to draw on those funds. Hell, maybe she pulls it out all in cash, what major bank is going to question her beyond asking did she want it sacks or wrapped on a pallet? They probably have seen stranger….
      Now there is at least one step of separation between Max and Patrick and considering it’s Alison in the middle, how many people would think to look further than her?
      And for those saying she couldn’t do it without divulging Max to Paladin, that’s not necessarily true. All Alison would have had to say is she had a line on some specialists she wanted for a special project and a backer to finance them, so the moneys would be coming in and going right out again. She wouldn’t be lying, but still wouldn’t need to be spilling the beans on everything.
      So while Patrick was probably expecting her to use it for a variety of things, one of those things could well have included as some have suggested hiring max as a ‘special consultant’ for his work. It would be not much different than how his father hires the gardeners, strictly off the books and cash only.
      Remember in the files that went with the cheque it listed Max as a ‘Prospective Business Associate’ which granted might have been a euphemism by Patrick for “live bait for my devious plan to lure out the New York Postal Service, mwahahahaha…”², but more likely meant Patrick felt Max could be worked with.
      But for bad timing, with it arriving after Alison and Max had had their falling out, and not being privy to the files, we can’t really know if it might have worked or not.

      ¹ Seeing as Izo is having to cover herself on this, I better do the same. 😉
      ² Happy now ∫Clémens×ds 🐙? 😛

  • Stephanie

    ” it would be very easy to argue that hiring Max as an independent contractor would further Valkyrie’s goals.”

    Right–she’d have to argue it, she’d have to justify her use of the funds to her co-founder. Which means spreading knowledge of Max’s ability.

    • Izo

      You can have a contract which has a non disclosure agreement in it saying that Person X is an independent contractor for Valkyrie, and one of the terms of the agreement is that his or her identity will not be disclosed.

      Also…. argue to who? To Paladin? Who doesnt even know about the check in the first place? You know… she tore up that check without even discussing it with her partner first.

  • Stephanie

    This would probably be workable if Max would agree to letting Paladin in on his ability, which I think is a tall order.

  • Lysiuj

    Schroedinger’s antigen?

  • Weatherheight

    Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more!

  • Stephanie

    Yes, it was in her possession, but she would still only be able to use it through the organization.

    • Izo

      No, you’re incorrect on several levels. She can use it since she’s the founder of Valkyrie, and Valkyrie is not incorporated and they do not have shareholders. She can claim that Max is an independent contractor and the Feral plan further’s Valkyrie’s minimally-described goals. And lets say it was incorporated and the plan had nothing to do with Valkyrie. She could lie and say it did.

      Unless you think a lie which does not hurt anyone is worst than physically hurting people and threatening their lives if they do not comply. Which do you consider to be better? A lie which helps people, or violently hurting someone to help people?

      Plus, legally, it is a partnership and therefore indistinguishable from her own individual self (and Paladin). IF someone sues Valkyrie, they are suing her directly as well. She cannot hide behind Valkyrie. In fact, the only way you can argue that she could NOT use it to give to Max is if she was doing something illegal in ripping up the check, under the argument that she was supposed to first get her co-founder’s permission (Paladin).

      • Kifre

        This is maybe only the second time I’ve regretted not taking business associations …

  • Stephanie

    Some people believe that kind of thing, stupid as it sounds.

  • Weatherheight

    Given Max’s reactions thus far, I doubt it – it seems he has to will his power to activate and I just can’t see him risking helping out someone relatively unknown; narratively it doesn’t wash with me based on current evidence on the part of Max and who he is. On the other hand, Patrick could have been the one Max initially augmented when they were testing Max’s anomaly, which would explain some things, so you could be right.

    ::shrugs his shoulders in the most eloquent way a donkey can::

    Patrick was already grossly powerful when his anomaly originally manifested (if the implications of the plot elements already revealed can be trusted); he was able to keep on top of several allies at onceWe already know Patrick can read an entire crowd of people in a fairly short amount of time and get their personal data and remember it (again, assuming he’s not lying about his abilities). His eidetic memory and ability to integrate the knowledge of other persons (as witnessed by his brain-trust experiment back in chapter 5 ) are also insanely powerful.

    The idea of Patrick with time travel capability still gives me the collywobbles.
    http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-5/page-99/

    Speaking of allies – whatever happened to the lady (I assume it’s a lady) that visited Daniel with the data file? Anyone able to remember if she has a name?
    http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-2/page-14-2/
    http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-2/page-18-2/

    And remember, Patrick is likely even more powerful than he was when his anomaly manifested – after all, Alison, Daniel, Mary, and Chris all got more powerful without augmentation by Max.

  • Weatherheight

    Just noticed the revamp of the archives (can’t believe I missed that!).
    Niiice!

  • Stephanie

    “from a storytelling perspective, what is the reason to show that Alison is unhappy”

    Because it tells us something about her reaction to this situation, how her decision affected her. We see that she’s unhappy that she had to hurt someone to make this happen, and we also see that she did it anyway.

    The point of that doesn’t have to be to make us feel bad for her, it’s just…showing us what she’s feeling right now, about the events of the story. It gives us a handle on where our POV character stands in relation to this situation, and narrows down the range of ways we can expect her to respond to it as it progresses, and how she might process it over time. It helps us understand her, which is not necessarily the same thing as sympathizing with her.

    I don’t think I’m explaining this well, but I’m trying to say that making us aware of the full breadth of a POV character’s feelings about a situation is intrinsically important in storytelling, not just as a mechanism for influencing the audience’s opinion of the character.

    “Which is why her feeling bad rings hollow to me. It feels like crocodile tears.”

    I think that’s a reasonable interpretation of her body language. It’s not my interpretation, but it’s still a justifiable one to have. I think she is genuinely upset that she resorted to violence again to achieve this, or even more broadly upset that she lives in a world where violence can be a solution at all. But you could certainly also interpret her body language in this scene as her trying to convince herself she feels bad because she thinks she “should.”

    “Being powerful does not make you better than everyone else. It just makes you more powerful.”

    I don’t necessarily think she has violated that principle, to be honest. She didn’t coerce Max because her power makes her better than him. She coerced him because the alternative was for countless people to die painfully while waiting for transplants. Max had the power to withhold their salvation, but he’s no better than everyone else, so Alison took that power away from him.

    “Please stop assuming that I’m out to get you. I promise, I’m not. I think you’re a fine, polite, thoughtful, non-hypocritical person, and you actually make interesting posts on this one particular issue which I happen to intensely disagree on with every fiber of my being to the core of my very soul.”

    Thank you, I appreciate that. I have also enjoyed exchanging perspectives on this with you except for the times you were being sarcastic, and you have made some great points. If your posts seem hostile to me in the future, I’ll remind myself that you said this and that your intent isn’t hostile.

  • Weatherheight

    It’s also possible that Patrick never got close to Max, but rather got the information of Max’s existence and where the dossier was kept from one of those scientists whom Patrick kidnapped and brain-drained in chapter 5. It seems reasonable to me that Patrick would have gotten as many experts in biodynamics as well as those in physics (bound to be some overlap).

    That scientist might never have gotten so far as to make up a full psych profile on Max before Max got yanked from the examination protocols by Senator Mom.

    • Sendaz

      while that is true, Max wasn’t living like a hermit in the mountains, he was in the same city as Alison, and even had an apartment. Again Patrick doesn’t have to be touching range to read someone, so what would have stopped him from even just situating himself in range during the day or hell rent a room next door and just tune in for a while to see what the guy may know. Patrick is a planner and as such he gathers intel. How much he has gathered versus what he shared with Alison remains to be seen.

  • Izo

    No. She asked once nicely, he said no, then she asked mean, he told her to leave his house, then she insulted him while asking, and he said ‘now I probably wouldnt do it just because it’s YOU asking, even if I wanted to do it.’ Then she hit him and threatened to kill him and then hurt him some more when he resisted even afterwards. Within the scope of about 5 minutes. And apparently she planned on doing this from the minute she came into his house, since she had everything ready to do it and had told the doctor apparently and made sure Feral would be sleeping at the time.

    So that’s not asking if you come with a predetermined response for a no being violence. That’s not offering him something he wants in exchange for something he has. Money. A favor from the most powerful person on the planet. Favors from OTHER powerful people who owe Alison favors. Nah… she didn’t bother with anything like that because hitting people is all a thug like Alison seems to be good at doing. How someone with her fame and access to money could have had Valkyrie go broke so quickly also makes me think that she doesnt know how to do plans in the first place. She calls accounting ‘money stuff.’ She’s a grown woman and calls accounting ‘money stuff.’

    Yknow, ever since she attacked Max and tortured him, stuff about her which I used to find cute and endearing, I now just find showing that she’s just… a really, really dumb person. That sorta sucks. Hope something will turn around that perception but I don’t see it happening. As soon as the comic made Gurwara start to seem like the good guy (given how much I argued AGAINST him before), something in my mind flipped.

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    Do you use Telegram? If not, do, it’s nothing nasty and you will be able to uninstall it very easily afterward. Add me as CoherenceEngine.
    I’ll delete this comment once I got news from you there.

    • Izo

      Can I get a link to Telegram? I’ve never even HEARD of this before, and I’d rather not give information for stuff like my Steam account or my email since I value not being able to have people easily harass or stalk me in RL.

      • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

        Okay look, just send me an email at [email protected]. I won’t mind if you don’t trust me to keep your email address to myself despite my assurance that I have utterly no care for it, so you’re free to create and use a throwaway account like mine.

        • Izo

          Done.

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            Answered. Sorry it took me so long.

  • Izo

    Or Feral can start seizing uncontrollably all of a sudden as her healing factor starts going so out of control that she can neither move or communicate anymore because of rapidly mutating cells. She’ll still be able to donate her organs for 40 hours a month to supply the entire world, but during the rest of her month, she will be in an effectively vegetative state… except her pain receptors are still on and working at superhuman capacity as well, which is now happening every single second of every day of her life since the uncontrolled healing of her cells is now excruciatingly painful. So basically she would be in a hell which makes the hell she was in voluntarily before seem placid in comparison, even when she’s not donating, just living with the seething, helpless dread of when operating day will come by again, and now she’s unable to ask them to stop and rescind her voluntary status.

    So then Alison goes to Max and beats the hell out of him, blaming him for what happened, and killing him in the process Negan-style before realizing that it all happened because of her own actions. Although she won’t care that she killed Max, since Max is a douche.

    Then Patrick calls her up and asked if the $25 million check was enough to convince Max to get Max on board, and if not he probably has some incriminating evidence on him that they could use instead.

    ….

    Or you know, nothing could happen and everything could be great and Feral and Alison go out for waffles.

  • palmvos

    But am I sarcastically replying to your sarcastic post?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJUri4jzyu0

  • palmvos

    eh.. just beg your local library to stock it. I know of one that has a whole section of graphic novels. then you just need to use that bus pass…

  • Shweta Narayan

    yes ok. uh, do you realize you’re doing exactly what you were angry with Al for doing at the start of her scene w Max? Like, *continuing* to interact w someone who specifically asked you to leave them alone?

    • Izo

      And again I didn’t notice who I was posting to. I tend to not look at people’s names unless it’s pointed out to me or I’m in some very long thread with them. You posted something having nothing to do with anything that I could have used to identify you (unless I bothered to look at the names). I wasn’t intentionally posting to YOU. PS – you’re not in a private house, you’re on a public messaging forum.

      • Shweta Narayan

        When I asked you to stay away from me, you did, in fact, say you would. This being a public forum does not mean you have zero responsibility to at least *attempt to do the thing you said you would do after being awful and upsetting*.

        Meh. I wish I was surprised. All I can say is, your comments about Al are hypocritical in the extreme, given the excuses you’re making for yourself.

        • Izo

          Believe it or not, I’m not focused on talking to you, and I don’t particularly care about what you think about my entirely non-hypocritical comments about Al. And I don’t seek out talking to you. I could live my life quite happy not hearing from you when I’ve been nothing but polite where you are concerned. In fact, talking to someone who got angry at me over something I said weeks ago is pretty much the last thing on my mind.

          Good bye again. I won’t be responding to your posts again. And if I do, believe that I was not doing so intentionally because I’m using no effort to seek you out in anyway. In fact, if you had not let me know that I was responding to you, I would never have realized it.

          Bye. No responses are necessary from you.

          • Shweta Narayan

            Believe it or not, your focus is irrelevant. Your actions are what’s doing harm. That, and your conveniently changing framing of what happened.

            1. I didn’t get angry, I was deeply hurt and upset at your loud and continued transphobia, which does hit me personally. When you hurt people, that is actually your bad and can last for longer than convenient for you, especially when you keep poking at the wound by not taking 0.5 seconds to check a name before responding.

            Maybe if that’s too much work, try *not* being a loud and continued bigot in public spaces in future.

            2. Not deliberately seeking me out is entirely besides the point. You. Agreed. Not. To. Respond. To. Me. The onus was on you to deliberately *avoid* responding to me, and you have not only not done so, you’re now making excuses about how it is unreasonable of me to expect you to do what you said you would. After, may I note, *causing harm in the first place*.

            3. Politeness does not actually change the fact that you are doing repeated harm by violating a boundary that I asked you to respect and you agreed to respect. You claimed a few weeks ago that doing harm wasn’t your intent. I was quite the fool to believe you at the time.

            4. Given how much your actions are at odds with your claims, I’ll believe your actions from here on out.

            Said actions say you’re so focused on what you want that other people’s hurt is entirely irrelevant to you, or only relevant if they have the ability to inconvenience you about it. People asking you to leave them alone only registers as an inconvenience. What’s to stop you? Nothing. And if you want to, you will.

            At least Al was trying to help someone and not *just* indulge her own desires.

            5. I would ask you to stop replying to me, but we’ve already seen how effective that is. I will stop replying to you when you stop twisting the narrative to your own convenience.

          • Izo

            “Maybe if that’s too much work, try *not* being a loud and continued bigot in public spaces in future.”
            Okay that’s about enough with your being a slanderous, thin-skinned, RUDE person. Don’t respond to MY posts now? hmm? I wasn’t ever bigoted. I made statements on grammar and science, and I stopped ONLY because it was upsetting to YOU in particular. And since then, you’ve been rude, belligerent, and offensive with INTENT to be offensive. If anyone here has made this an unsafe space, it’s been you, and I really no longer have any sympathy to you having been made upset by the gender thread about proper grammer and scientific nomenclature from WEEKS ago, entirely because you’ve been behaving like the offender you claim I am. Your actions, not mine, are the offending ones.

            “You claimed a few weeks ago that doing harm wasn’t your intent. I was quite the fool to believe you at the time.”

            Doing harm was NOT ever my intent. But you have decided to make me the bad person regardless of what I say, even after an apology, and ending the thread. Then you attack me verbally by calling me a bigot, based on a thread in which I said nothing at all offensive, or that could even be viewed as offensive, without even recognizing it was you I was responding to, and you just have been going out of your way to attack. You’re the only one here who’s intending to do harm.

          • Shweta Narayan

            If doing harm was not your intent, you’d be going “ok I’m doing harm by responding to this person so I will stop.” You would not require the other person to do what you, specifically, did agree to do.

            I have asked you politely. More than once.

            I have also *tried* stopping responding to you. For several weeks, You just. keep. pushing. your. way. into. every. conversation. I. try. to. have. here. On. And on. and on.

            THAT is why I am responding now, and I’m not “politely” stopping for the sake of your comfort. I want you to actually LEAVE. ME. ALONE. Not just say you will and then ignore the fact that you said so.

            As for “going out of my way”, I have *only* addressed you in the last month *because* you were violating the agreement we had and reinforcing the harm you did. The moment you stop doing that, I’ll stop responding to you.

            So, having said that. What one does *not* do with no intent to do harm:

            1. Dismiss the injury by saying the person hurt is just thin-skinned
            2. Decide how long the injury is allowed to last, dismiss it because it was weeks ago
            3. Tone police the person they’re hurting and demand that pain be expressed in the politest possible, most ignorable way or it doesn’t count
            4. Act like pointing out the harm they’re doing is abusive, as opposed to, y’know, repeatedly (and at this point CERTAINLY knowingly) doing. harm.
            5. Act like an apology that includes agreeing not to contact a person counts for *anything* when you follow it up by contacting, and contacting, and contacting.

            Your actions are speaking. Loudly. I am merely responding to them. If you want my response to be different, try acting differently, because I will not be bullied off a site I find interesting and fun with the exception of *one person*, because that one person thinks it’s TOO MUCH WOOOORK to glance at a username to see if it’s someone they have been causing harm to.

          • Izo

            TL;DR most of this (especially after seeing ‘tone police’.. arrest yourself then)- didn’t bother to read most of your whiny, conceited post since anything you said after calling me a bigot means I don’t give a crap what you think anymore. The only bully between the two of us is you.

          • Shweta Narayan

            You go on doing that!! Being told you’re a bigot is obv WAY WORSE than actually being one and so obv the right thing to do is stick your fingers in your ears and continue doing bigoted things!

            BUT IT DOESN’T MATTER :):) I’m happy! I have learned that Disqus DOES have a blocking feature, so I can stop having brainspace taken up with your immense sense of entitlement :D:D BAI IZO

          • Izo

            Hooray. Now I don’t have to worry about walking on eggshells around you because you got upset about grammar and science questions from weeks ago, which I then voluntarily stopped asking about, to the point where conversations that have nothing to do with that seem to trigger you. And the only one who was namecalling was YOU. You’re the one with the massive sense of entitlement. But it’s great that you can block me. Now when I inadvertantly respond to your posts (which apparently I’ve done only twice within the past several WEEKS), I don’t have to listen to you whine and namecall.

            Bai back. Not that you can see this post anyway. 🙂

  • MartynW

    If she’s generating tons of organs, she’s definitely going to need more of those hamburgers.

  • Stephanie

    I just don’t think the scenarios are related.

    Alison killed people in the process of stopping bad guys from killing even more people. Tara took up time and resources in the process of saving many lives. I’m not saying that it was right for Alison to kill those people, that she couldn’t have been more careful and done a better job minimizing the damage–I’m not defending it. I’m only saying that it happened while she was actively accomplishing something useful.

    If Tara insisted on continuing to be operated on when she’s not saving lives, she would be taking up time and resources in the process of…nothing. In fact, she’d be handicapping her own ability to help people by taking up the time of surgeons who could instead be working on transplanting the harvested organs into the recipients.

    So I don’t think that the fact that Alison’s collateral damage was considered acceptable, in the context of her saving the world from supervillains, means that it would be considered acceptable for Feral to demand to be in pointless surgery 24/hrs a day.

    Another difference is that Alison killing civilians by accident was something she did all by herself, whereas keeping Feral in pointless surgery would require the cooperation of many people. Also it’s not like the state could successfully punish Alison for killing those people even if they tried. It’s really just a whole different situation.

  • Stephanie

    The thing is that it’s basically the same thing when what’s “loathsome” is like, my core principles. That is me. I can’t help but take that personally.

  • I don’t remember if i’ve said it before – but is she a “Universl Donor” type person>

  • Tsapki

    Not sure if anyone linked this in, but if we are looking at numbers, this page may be important.

    http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-3/page-39-2/

    Feral’s heart per day rate was about 8-10.

    Her lungs per day rate was 15-20

    Her liver and kidneys were upwards of 30.

  • Sergi Díaz

    Well, if thermodynamics don’t apply all hell breaks loose and it’s actually quite easy to solve many world problems. Alice herself could do it.
    About the human meat part, there was a controversial case in Germany some years ago. Rammstein then composed the song Mein Teil which translates to… My part. Just look it up at Wikipedia xD

    • Izo

      Alison’s powers COULD be explained in the same way that Maxima’s powers are in Grrlpower, or Superboy or even Superman’s powers are in DC. In Grrlpower, Maxima basically has a limited form of a telekinetic field that works when she’s touching something, so huge things don’t break under their own mass when she lifts them. Same principle for the Kryptonian biomatrix and for Superboy’s Tactile Telekinesis (although Superboy’s is more malleable and based on conscious thought, rather than unconscious).

      I’m just saying though – by the very fact that Feral is now healing at at rate of 8-10 hearts within a minute, all that extra mass is coming from nowhere, since there’s no way that someone who is foregoing solid food, or even all food could be doing that without thermodynamics taking a nap.

      So… yeah just solved world energy crisis, and with it, more than a few causes for war. And remember the whole cannibalism thing – world hunger is no longer an issue either.

  • MrSing

    Any plan fails if you don’t try it.
    Violence is always a solution, but there are a few good reasons it is seen as impolite to use it immediatly before trying other stuff.

  • MrSing

    Of course they can, as long as a small enough ammount of people suffer and a large enough ammount of people benefit, it’s okay with utilitarianism.

    • Stephanie

      But they don’t. It’s not okay with utilitarianism, because the conditions you just named are not true for those things.

      • MrSing

        Ah, but that’s not the case all the time and under all circumstances.
        Utilirarianism does, as a cold hard fact, say that it is okay to discriminate or commit genocide as long as the net value of utility in the world is positive.
        That’s the whole point of it. The NET value has to be high enough. If that’s the case, not only is the action moral, it is your moral duty to take the action. No matter how reprehensible we might find those actions.

        • Stephanie

          I’m saying the net value isn’t high enough. The value gained is not greater than the costs, so net utility does not increase, so utilitarianism does not justify those things.

          • MrSing

            Proof it. Show me the math.

          • Stephanie

            You’re the one who made the claim that utilitarianism justifies genocide and slavery. In order to support your claim, you need to prove that genocide and slavery increase utility.

          • MrSing

            Okay, very well.
            Say, a very large society is in constant uproar because a small portion of that society lives amongst them.
            The people of this society are irrational, they are extremely hate filled towards this small portion. There are riots every day, production is down, everyone is fighting the goverment for protecting these few people.
            Civil war is on the horizon.
            In this civil war a certain million people will die, everyone will be miserable, the society will be in ruins. For the sake of argument, let’s say that somehow the goverment is able to protect the small group of people.
            Every life is worth 1000 utility points, the damage to society is worth 100000 negative utility points, if we take a standard dollar to be 0.01 point, the general misery the war costs to people is an average of 50 utility points. Let’s say ten million people survive the war.
            The gratitude of the small group for being alive is 600 utility points per person, there are a thousand people in this group.
            So with a little bit of math that’s -1499500000 utility points.

            If the goverement, however, decides to kill the small group, a mere thousand people will die. People will be happy and the society continues on without having to do repairs. Let’s say that the happiness of one person is 10 if the small group dies. The lives of the small group will be worth 1000 utility points, once again. That’s eleven million happy people and a thousand death. No damage to society, because the small group was basically harmless and couldn’t effectively defend itself.
            That’s about, well hey, it’s +109000000 points.

            So, while one could argue that this is not the most efficient solution. According to utilitarianism, it’s pretty much a done deal if this is a choice.

          • Stephanie

            OK, I think I see how we’re talking past each other.

            I am saying utilitarianism doesn’t justify genocide, because in the real world, genocide doesn’t increase utility. This is true.

            You are saying utilitarianism could justify genocide, in a hypothetical scenario where genocide increases utility more than any alternative approach. This is also true.

            I think that whether utilitarianism can justify atrocities in fictional scenarios is irrelevant to whether utilitarianism is a useful and beneficial approach in the real world.

          • MrSing

            Well, the problem is, how do we make the calculations?
            You see, what I’ve done in my calculations, horrible as they are, is how some people do few utility.
            And since we have no standard agreed upon utility system that does not condone horrors like this, even in real world situations, any attempt to use utilitarianism has an incredibly real risk of being used like this.
            That’s why I’m being such a nuisance in asking you to do the math.
            Mostly to show how incredibly though (in my opinion impossible, but I could be wrong) it is to agree upon the utility of a life, happiness, misery and how to do these calculations.

          • Stephanie

            I don’t think you can assign an “absolute” utility number to an individual life, but I do think you can weigh different numbers of lives against each other.

            An attempt to use utilitarianism can go awry and be used to rationalize atrocities, but I believe that’s true of any ethical system.

            Also, I should probably mention that my weirdo impure version of utilitarianism heavily prioritizes minimizing suffering. Maximizing happiness is nice, but not critical.

          • MrSing

            I hate to say this once again, but I’m really going to have to see the math on that.

            I know I’m sounding like a broken record, but when it comes to utilitarianism, the math is really the most important part.

            For example, when you are weighing lives against each other, is it ethical to weigh the life of a person that endangered others as much as an innocent person?

            If terrorists take someone hostage and threaten to kill them, for example, should we enact the plan that saves the hostage and kills two terrorists instead of the plan that kills one hostage, but ensures the survival of all the terrorists?

            If you purely weigh lives against each other, it would be best to go with the plan that kills the hostage, but that doesn’t feel quite right.
            So how do we make that calculation?

            And what if the terrorists have large families and circles of friends that all love them extremely dearly, and the hostage is a loner who has no family or friends? The death of the hostage will, arguably, cause less suffering than that of one of the terrorists, by mere virtue of not being missed.

            Minimizing suffering does also not seem the way to go then.

          • Stephanie

            That trade of “one hostage for two terrorists” only works in isolation. In the broader scheme, everyone benefits if we mutually agree that the welfare of people actively committing crimes is a lesser priority than the welfare of their victims. We start breaking that rule just to eke out a couple of lives here and there, we lose utility overall, because people will take advantage of that. Not to mention the risk that the terrorists, who are now already primarily responsible for the hostage’s death, will continue to terrorize in the future. So maximizing utility doesn’t require sacrificing the hostage when you look at the bigger picture.

            When you’re talking about the difference between one life and an enormous number of lives, however, the calculation becomes simple. You don’t need to know the value of each individual life to know that, for example, five million lives are more important than one.

            Without omniscience you can’t be certain of the absolute value-over-all-time of one choice over another. That’s why you have to leave a lot of “padding” in there, to guarantee that the majority of your “lesser evil” choices will actually increase utility. Sort of like how a difference between two groups in a scientific experiment isn’t considered significant, or acted upon, until it reaches a certain threshold.

            Having said all that, if you were actually omniscient and you could truly prove that allowing the hostage to die would cause less suffering–on the whole and across the entire lifespan of the human race–than allowing the two terrorists to die would, then yeah, sacrifice the hostage. It might not feel right, but if you can actually prove it will improve the world, then your choice boils down to “more suffering or less suffering.”

          • MrSing

            I guess we will just have to agree to disagree on this topic then.

            In my opinion it would never be just to kill an innocent person, no matter how much it improves the world or minimizes suffering.

            Well, at least we both gave it a good shot. It was a good discussion.

          • Stephanie

            A valiant effort? 😛

  • MrSing

    Well, utilitarianisme purely looks at the end results.
    The normal end result of a pregnancy is a baby. So from a purely utilirianistic viewpoint, ending a pregnancy while the fetus would have turned into an actual human being is the same as preventing a human being from coming into existence.
    It’s debatable wether a pure utilitarian would call this murder, since preventing existence is different from ending existence, but they could make a strong argument against abortions.
    (Note: I agree that a fetus isn’t a full human and I support the right to abortion under most reasonable circumstances.)
    And those doctors sure believed that they would save a whole lot of lives. One person dying to save five is a-okay under utilitariansme. In fact, this whole story line is about removing organs to save lives.

    • Stephanie

      I should clarify that I’m not a pure utilitarian–I don’t believe that every gain justifies any sacrifice that’s smaller than that gain. I believe that the cost of breaking ethical principles like “respecting autonomy” should be factored into the equation. So even if I believed that a fetus was a life, a one-to-one-ratio of “lives saved” to “people’s autonomy violated” wouldn’t cut it.

      • MrSing

        That’s one of the biggests issues with utilitarianism: how does one make the calculations?
        You will find that as soon as you out a value on the utility of a human life, happiness, and misery, a whole lot of unethical side effects start popping up, no matter if you put an extra moral cost on breaking principles.
        Unless that moral is infinite, in which case you’re basically practicing deontology anyway.

  • Lysiuj

    testing testing…

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    You hadn’t with me. And I can’t say I’ve read all of the discussions you had with others, which you can’t blame me for, because my do you comment a lot.

    What you believe in is not utilitarianism. “Utility” is defined by its distance from individual needs, if that’s something you’re still on keeping then you’ve just described my system plus a desire for overall trend toward improvement that obviously I and every human being share. That’s… not utilitarianism.

    Let’s make really sure.
    You say slavery and genocide don’t increase utility, –which quite frankly depends on however you define utility hence why it’s so dangerous and irresponsible– but I’m guessing capitalism does? It definitely does wonders for life (look at me writing to a stranger at the other side of the world) and leaves exploitation in its wake, creates and perpetuates social classes, a necessary feature of its process.

    No matter how much I enjoy holding the sum of humanity’s knowledge in my pocket at all times, I believe the cost of that benefit, even without having to pay it myself, is too much. According to your belief system, it’s not. According to your belief system, the gender wage gap is worth the prosperity of business it enables, for instance.

    You can’t have both. You can’t say on the one hand that you stand with the advantages of these systems and on the other that you stand with relieving the people they crush. It doesn’t make any sense.

    • Stephanie

      I don’t think that capitalism is the optimal way to increase utility. It’s not the absolute worst system, but it can and should be improved upon.

      If you define utility as minimizing suffering and maximizing happiness, which is what utility is, slavery and genocide do not increase utility. They just absolutely don’t.

      ” According to your belief system, the gender wage gap is worth the prosperity of business it enables, for instance.”

      No, it’s not. I don’t believe that it promotes prosperity, and certainly not sufficient prosperity to justify the cost. If you want to know if I believe something, just ask me.

      “You can’t say on the one hand that you stand with the advantages of these systems”

      I said that I don’t. They aren’t advantageous systems.

      • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

        Right. The systems you stand with are not utilitarian.

        • Stephanie

          What non-utilitarian system are you saying I stand with, exactly?

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            Okay, enough. This is tiring and I genuinely don’t like to be this annoying to someone else.
            I’ll just say this: if the moral systems you believe in end up merging with mine because the utility you defend is attained through equality, then the distinction doesn’t matter.

            You’re just going to end up wasting your time defending your usage of “utilitarianism” to a lot of people who will be warrantedly outraged by it.

          • Stephanie

            I’m not annoyed. I was confused. I couldn’t tell what system you were referring to.

  • KevlarNinja

    If I may say, I’m glad that there is now a cast page. While I’ve never thought of it before now, it’s always handy for new readers.

    I kinda miss the old About page, but I guess the new one looks a touch more professional and straight-forward, so I can live with that.

    My only REAL problem with the update is the way the archive now works. It just opens up to all of the pages, which is a lot to scroll through with the length of the later issues, and I found just selecting an issue and getting a list of all of it’s pages to be more streamlined.

  • SJ

    Yeah, because you know what’s super effective? Asking somebody to do you a solid, right after you’ve badgered and insulted them.

    http://img.pandawhale.com/93824-60-percent-of-the-time-gif-img-aJ6E.gif

    • Axel_Celosar

      Also you’re forgetting that Max clearly showed that he’s a complete asshole during the date as well.

      • SJ

        Well! Why didn’t you say so? That totally makes her violating his civil rights without due process okay!

        https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/94/f0/cb/94f0cb21bd56b93e42b4e712200eced6.jpg

        • Axel_Celosar

          Yeah well, twisting one guy’s arm for a few hours vs. a close friend suffering for years on end without stopping. As tough as you like to sound about this, you’d do the same thing in a heart beat.

          • SJ

            “It was just a few minutes of discomfort; I don’t know what y’all are so upset about?” – Dan Turner (paraphrased)

            Seriously, that’s how you sound, on this “a few hours” BS.

          • Axel_Celosar

            False Equivalence. Rape does not equal a simple arm twist. And frankly, you’re being amazingly insensitive and a moron at the same time right now.

          • SJ

            Uh-huh. You’re the one completely lacking in empathy and sympathy for a law-abiding citizen who was the victim of assault and battery, abduction, and what amounts to armed robbery, but I’m the one who’s insensitive.

            Whatever you say, champ; you do you.

          • Axel_Celosar

            Yeah. Because you think twisting a guy’s arm is as bad as rape. You’ve got fucked up priorities.

          • SJ

            You’re the one victim blaming, sport.

  • Monochrome

    I too find that 40 hours per month unlikely, but in the interest of figuring out how such conditions could be met one possibility is that the organs themselves have powerful independent regenerative properties for a period of time after being extracted. Perhaps after the initial heart of kidney is taken out it is possible to cut them in half a number of times with each step down the pyramid doubling the total number of organs out to x cuts. This would also make the “exponential” claim make more sense.