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Lysiuj So how do the cat and mouse figure into the (increasingly large) animal conspiracy? Also the spider who is weaving the web, of course. Lisa Izo The cat is clearly meant to throw suspicion away from the duck. The cat is the duck, as is the mouse. Weatherheight No, the mouse is weaving the web, clearly indicating that either… a) animals were also affected by the storm OR b) we got us a Lockjaw Situation going on. I will concede that the web may be made of tangled cats and dogs, which indicates to me somebody has one twisted and sick anomaly. Xin I will concede that the web may be made of tangled cats and dogs, which indicates to me somebody has one twisted and sick anomaly. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/128592a50ae42120d6e3f9265a6248f6a6efecddf891dbbd98af5da02932c8d9.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9faddca96fa05962e961ba105ce216b5b6ec6de14a5b70b39eaac2865e2aeb6e.jpg Or perhaps an indication of too many skeins of yarns in the vicinity? Jac touché Arkone Axon That… that mark on his side… is that a scar from shrapnel? Did they retcon things? Because you look at these two pages: http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-5/page-114/ http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-5/page-115/ In those pages, it looks as if he got hit in the face (And was sufficiently injured that Alison was left muttering the classic abuser’s line to project the guilt onto the victim). Reconstructive surgery (and all the filth and stubble) could hide that, but… it was on the face. So what IS that mark? Tsapki It’s looks almost too symmetrical to be a scar. Seems almost like a snowflake pattern, except it seems to work with a eight part fold rather than a six part. dbmag9 So… it’s a very special snowflake? palmvos I wonder how many people know on the drop of a hat that a snowflake has six part symmetry. 8 part symmetry might be a paper snowflake pattern. Tylikcat Not if you know how to fold a paper snowflake right! Raven Black Tangled web, perhaps? Tylikcat …maybe? Not sure about the feathered lines. Ray Radlein That doesn’t look a THING like a cat, though. Danygalw If you’ve read the spoilery trigger warning last page, go reread it. Arkone Axon I have. I’m just asking the questions because this is one hell of a twist. David Gillon You’re fixated on portraying Alison as the abuser in the fight with Patrick, but Patrick deliberately and repeatedly provoked her with the intent of making her lose her temper. And Patrick was well enough in the immediate aftermath to find his superglue and start repairing the mug. Zorae42 Oh boy, don’t even try with them. It’s not worth it. They’ll go, “So you’re saying the victim was asking for it? Typical abuser justification.” Patrick was definitely out of line in this case, but Alison was even more out of line for attacking him. Fighting words are not protected and a punishable offense, but they don’t hold up as a defense for committing assault against the one using them. I also agree with your assessment that she didn’t throw it hard enough to cause scarring, and apparently the comic has now shown relatively strong proof of that. Arkone Axon More importantly, they shouldn’t even try because I blocked them some time ago and have no idea what they even said. And yes, it’s not worth it to expect me to hold Alison to different standards than I would anyone else. Do not expect me to ever agree with the attitude that “Alison is so morally superior that anything she does is justified, and if her target is asking for it they’re not a victim, they’re an asshole who deserved it.” http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ProtagonistCenteredMorality Ian Osmond Not to rehash things TOO much, but just in case anyone is tuning in late, the argument in favor of Ali is “he’s a telepath who is constantly reading everybody’s emotions and thoughts and has spent the past several years constantly manipulating everybody into doing what he wants them to do, so making her throw that at him must have been something he was deliberately doing.” Of course, if you go that route, then you get into questions of free-will… Patrick has been very clear that he doesn’t have mind-control powers; everybody who followed him did so because of their choices. Which means that Alison had free will to throw the mug or not. On the other hand, Patrick DID know that she MIGHT have and …. … so, like that. Oh, also, Alison has PTSD and anger issues. On the other hand, whether that actually counts as a mitigating factor or not is another question…. Is that basically the summary more-or-less? Christopher Brooks You’re forgetting the part where Patricks telepathy has possibly made him completely alexithymic and/or… alexicognitive/whatever you’d call not being aware of/able to perceive your own mental processes and reasoning… but instead of this being an explanatory factor for some of his behaviour it is instead something everyone makes fun of him for in the comments. Also a reason why if he knew if she would throw the cup or not is not necessarily relevant to if he would step out of the way. Weatherheight Interesting point. I’m not sure if Patrick is truly suffering from an difficulty in experiencing, expressing, and describing emotional responses – he seems to be adept in recognizing those processes in others, analyzing them and manipulating others using their emotional states. As I understand the diagnosis, it not only affects the patient’s own affect but also seriously impairs their ability to accurately interpret the emotional responses of others. Not being able to understand the emotions of others is, as I understand it, part of the diagnosis. But this might be a very non-traditional expression. Thought provoking. Have to think about it. On the other hand, telepaths traditionally aren’t able to perfectly understand their own cognitive/affective processes. I’m not sure Alison’s comment so long ago is as profound as she thought it was. Wondering if Patrick took one too many scientists into his head and that left him vulnerable to someone/something else. Arkone Axon Honestly, the part that I find the most pertinent is what he said about how he started his campaign against the U.S. government while he was… what, thirteen? Fourteen, at the most? He was a KID who started doing all this. He made a buttload of mistakes (just like Alison) and had no one to give him adequate instruction (just like Alison). It makes me think of how Cleaver combined the macho gutter-language with his monstrous appearance to cover up the fact that he was a sad, lonely teenager whose parents were horribly abusive before he transformed and killed them. How much of Patrick’s previous mannerisms and statements were an attempt to play himself as the brilliant mastermind, while inside he was feeling like a fraud and terrified that everyone would figure it out? Debbie Jackson Those issues don’t count as mitigation, only explanation. But the strong likelihood of Patrick being *aware* of Al’s issues and deliberately *exploiting* them, I would say, does swing the blame for the heated argument’s existence (if not form) back over to his side of the flipped table. Tylikcat In terms of what was going on with Patrick, I kind of felt like the first five panels here touched on the heart of it: http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-5/page-110/ I think he was going off the rails powered by his own emotional reaction pretty much from that point out. Modeling it as a reasoned, chosen response misses the point of the exchange. (And seriously, I think Alison pwned him right up until she lost it and threw the gift at him. But I do see that in in the context of him lashing out at what he knew were *exactly* her weak points. Not an excuse, but context. It turned it into a no winners event, because he had been pulling some serious shit, and she’d been calling him on it up until then.) We might not have all the information about what was going on with him. But the Keep-It-Simple-Stupid answer, I think, is back with him being an involuntary telepath. It sure looked like he wanted to accept the love Alison was offerring… and he knew that she could never know him the way he knew her. Oh, and he hates himself, and therefore thinks that her love is based on everything she doesn’t and can not know. Arkone Axon That’s actually why Alison’s current situation is so… problematic. She’s a child soldier who was encouraged to use violence as her first, last, and only option by a government that used her as a distraction from its misdeeds, and now she’s being allowed to run amok with no one to offer her any genuine counseling. The closest thing she’s had to genuine therapy came from a professor who turned out to be a mysterious impostor agent with an as yet unknown agenda. That’s also why she shouldn’t be snuggling with Clevin and bragging about her achievements while pontificating on issues of morality. What she should be doing is getting some real therapy from a qualified professional and working through her issues, preferably while avoiding dragging anyone into the line of fire. Ian Osmond I really hope that we’re allowed to date and actually work on new projects and, yeah, get kudos for our existing successes while we’re still broken. Because, y’know, I’m married and all, and still trying to get therapy and working through my issues. If people are required to be fixed before they get to do the rest of that stuff, well, there aren’t a whole lot of people who are going to be doing stuff. Arkone Axon I… HOPE there’s a difference between your situation and Alison’s. In particular: Are you being actively hunted by dangerous individuals who were killing children long before you antagonized them? Are you currently engaged in multiple felonious conspiracies ranging from “collaboration with known terrorists” to “kidnapping, torture, and medical fraud?” Did you marry your spouse shortly after breaking up with your previous partner and then assaulting them, driving your ex into hiding to escape the very real threat you pose to them? And (this is the big one) are you ACTIVELY SEEKING THERAPY, rather than lashing out at the people around you before feeling sorry for yourself? Weatherheight I prefer to think Patrick is very, very good at subconsciously figuring out the odds of someone doing something at any given moment and being able to subconsciously analyze on the fly how what he says will shift those odds in any given direction. He’s very good at knowing just what to say to get what he wants. Debbie Jackson That isn’t what they said; no justifications for Allison, just a revocation of Patrick’s alleged “abuse-victim” label and replacement with “deliberate manipulator knowingly provoking the situation”. Which I’d say is accurate – there’s no way he could have been ignorant of the effect his words were causing, nor his target’s likely reaction, both via long acquaintance and through literal mind-reading. And he even repeatedly claimed the opposite. They’re both to blame. Plus this, with which I also agree: “Patrick was well enough in the immediate aftermath to find his superglue and start repairing the mug.” He clearly wasn’t about to be rushed to the EMTs and I’m not sure why anyone insists otherwise. Arkone Axon That last bit about the superglue… I’m not going to ask if you’ve ever been in an extremely stressful situation. I’m just going to reference that scene in one of the Godfather films: https://youtu.be/im3vHOEm-r4?t=110 People react to extreme situations differently. Not to mention how they react after being injured (especially cranial injuries). Now, I’m not saying that Patrick’s a good guy wronged here. Far from it – he’s a terrorist who killed a LOT of people, but with the best of intentions. Not unlike Alison herself, in fact. But Alison’s the one who took things to a physical level. Alison is the one who LET him provoke her. She reminded herself that he could read her mind and she still decided “violence time is now! I hit things in a righteous fury, that makes things better!” The concept of a superhero is someone who is BETTER than the supervillain. Not “it’s all just shades of grey” crap. There are things you do not do as a hero, or as a heroic character, because you ARE the hero, because you are not the villain. It doesn’t matter if the villain does things. You don’t do them, because you’re better than that. Yes, I’m holding Alison to a higher standard – if she’s going to claim moral authority, she needs to earn it. I will not disrespect her by holding her to a low standard; she doesn’t need a participation ribbon. (Also, Alison lost the right to moral posturing – especially with regards to Patrick – the moment she decided to neither turn him over to the authorities, nor to bring her fellow heroes in on the “track down the conspirators” project, nor to keep him on a short leash and instead pine and moon over him because she thought he was cute) Zorae42 Sooo, in response to them pointing out that if he was injured to the point of heavy scaring it would be highly difficult to immediately text Alison and start gluing the mug back together – both of which require decent fine motor skills, something that is hard to keep together while in serious pain and blood that would be everywhere if he had been hit as hard you speculated – you provided a scene from the Godfather about a guy being freaked out and just sitting there ages after he killed a prostitute? Oh man, that’s so relevant. You sure proved your point there. And when they stated that they weren’t talking about justification for Alison – merely stating that Patrick is an “abuse victim” is as accurate as calling someone who called a bunch of black people the “N” word an “abuse victim” – you yet again launch into a long winded statement about how Alison was wrong. We get it, no one’s arguing she was right to throw the damn mug, just that he wasn’t a faultless victim. Come on man, I expect better of you than this. Arkone Axon No, you don’t expect better. You’ve done a bangup job of demonstrating your preference to use mockery and insults against anyone you disagree with. But let me try a clarification. 1: The scene in question has a man being so overwhelmed by the reality of the situation that he mentally retreats, at least for a little while, into the desperate hope that he can “fix” it, make it better… just wipe up all the blood, she’ll start moving again, it’ll all be fine. Until reality slammed its way back in again and all he could do was go back to wallowing in misery, grief, and guilt. The same thing happens to a lot of people who have been in stressful situations. That’s why EMTs are taught not only about the need for informed consent, but also the concept of “implied consent,” meaning that if you’re clearly in need of emergency treatment but (due to delirium, shock, or fear of prosecution) refuse said treatment… they can drag your ass to the hospital anyway, because better to have you pissed off but alive and intact, rather than being sued because you later came to your senses and found yourself minus a limb or with crippling lifelong issues (or your next of kin feel that you would have lived if they had taken you to the hospital). Even when it’s not a case of “seconds count and the patient can’t even move,” they’re still instructed to be as persuasive as possible in getting the patient to agree to care. “Yes, ma’am. I appreciate that you feel fine… but you went flying through the windshield because you weren’t wearing your seat belt. Also, you have a two inch depression in the middle of your forehead, and I think you feel fine because you can’t feel the pain from your hand being “degloved.”” 2: It was Debbie Jackson who used the term “abuse victim.” I would call him an “assault victim.” I.e. it wasn’t an abusive relationship, but what she did to him was undeniably a felony assault. So it’s not comparable to “calling someone who called a bunch of black people the “N” word an “abuse victim”.” It’s more like calling someone who got hit in the face by a concrete brick thrown by a pissed off associate an “assault victim.” Tylikcat I don’t think injury is required to feel guilty. Facial scars do heal? Mine do, certainly, and I’ve gotten some doozies. Weatherheight Most scars heal, given enough time. The degree to which they heal varies by individual and time since they were gained and depth. Lots of factors. Arcian Somebody seems a wee bit drunk Markus I choose to believe that this is what Patrick sounds like when he’s too drunk to Tetris together the perfect series of faux-profound quips to make Al think that he’s smart. Lysiuj I love how he keeps holding one finger up, like that’s gonna make him more impressive and convincing. palmvos is this typical behavior for drunk people? I haven’t been around many. GreatWyrmGold Depends on the person, both in how they normally act, how their inhibitions play into that, and how those inhibitions react to alcohol. Tylikcat Well, there was the dear friend who spent an hour declaiming about pepper… Weatherheight Pepper is rather important… Arianwen I’ve never been drunk, but my parents filmed me coming off anaesthesia and apparently I start talking in polysyllables. Arkone Axon This is actually pretty tame. He’s not throwing things or getting belligerent or even engaging in abusive language and profanity laden rants. (This is why I much prefer weedheads to alcoholics. Marijuanna users are SO much easier to deal with…) zarawesome *angrily fixes coat lapels* listen here you little shit McFrugal That is a tattoo. Also this is totally going to end with her in a compromising situation with him and Clev walking in on him because he forgot his phone. palmvos you are probably right. this is just too classic a setup. I’m going to hope for some trope inversion. I don’t suppose we could have a doctor distract Clevin for a while? Tom Baker perhaps? Loranna He’s just a curator now. No more house calls for him, alas. Loranna Ian Osmond “Hi, Alison, just getting my ph… oh, my. Do you have a naked friend who is completely drunk and sick and hung over here? Let me go get him some ibuprofen and some water!” Clev seems like the sort to go ahead and jump to the right conclusions. Lisa Izo “Also why is he wearing my clothes?” Tylikcat That *has* to be her t-shirt. Avram Grumer Clevin standing out in the hall, overhearing the conversation, making shocked faces like Mr Furley on Three’s Company. Ray Radlein Clevin, when the walls fell Weatherheight The question is… Voluntary tattoo or involuntary? Thomas Tyrrell I think the snowflake tattoo relates to the monologue he had about the people/snowflake cliche the last time he met Alison. http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-5/page-106/ If his conclusion then was that people were like snowflakes in that despite their uniqueness, ‘when you take even the smallest, smallest step back, they become truly and utterly indistinguishable’, then the tattoo might be a way of reminding himself to keep things in scale. Negathle White ink on pale skin. Bold choice. Reminds me of one of my favorite tattoos https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/abc3471ed286bd7bcd1b956a1671b4fca5ef0b33d27cf9cea01f71332896e8e0.jpg Tylikcat Oh, I love it! Lostman Tattoos are also used as brandings… Kittenbot Doomypants Patrick’s been having some issues here. Definitely appears more gaunt than the last time we saw him… though that could be the artwork to depict just how screwed up he is currently. Lysiuj He was definitely having a crisis last time, but even so you don’t go from that to this without spiraling quite a ways downward. Kittenbot Doomypants Agreed. We knew he was having a crisis, but damn. He’s spiraled. As in, he never recovered from his issues before at all. There’s almost no choice but to feel bad for him. Kevin B. pro-tip: *Don’t* let people throw up in your sink! Getting all the chunks out of the drain is un-fun. Just put them in your bathroom to hug the toilet for a while. Dean American kitchen sinks generally have garbage disposals, or so I understand. Oren Leifer Not bathroom sinks Negathle Not in low-end and mid-cost apartments and rentals; too annoying to repair. The only one I’ve ever seen in an apartment was our high-end in Maryland, and that rent was $1800 for a one bedroom + loft. Older houses often don’t have them either unless installed by a previous owner (my current flat in Upstate New York doesn’t have one; wouldn’t use it anyway). Akiva Every place I’ve lived in DC has had one, and I haven’t been living *that* well. 🙂 Avram Grumer I have never seen a garbage disposal in an NYC apartment, and I’ve lived here almost my entire life. Lisa Izo I have. Depends on the apartment’s age. Tylikcat As noted, it’s hit or miss in rental properties, and somewhat regional. (Neither of the apartments I rented in Seattle did – before that I’d been in shared houses. Nor did the housebarge, but, well! The Cleveland apartment did, but that was conspicuously high end. …and the places I’ve owned have had them, though I have mixed feelings about using them.) MedinaSidonia Oh my yes. I just flashed back to the morning after a barleywine festival in Brooklyn. Two fellow beer geeks stayed with me. Not good. Weatherheight Follow up with drain cleaner of some sort. Works a treat. Keep it on hand. Filthy Liar Nice, Clevin gets to walk into naked smelly dude time. Merus Congratulations, Megagirl! You defeated Menace! His one weakness was having his closest friend tell him to fuck off palmvos I think that’s a common weakness. a bit like Sydney being vulnerable to bullets. MisterTeatime It was certainly common enough in chapter 5. Pol Subanajouy *tries to work out the mental image of a tangled…cat* *is amused* I’m a simple man. GreatWyrmGold Clevin: “Why is there a half-naked supervillain in your bathroom?” Alison: lets him smell Patrick’s clothes Clevin: “Eurgh! …So why did he come here, again?” Tylikcat Does she even explain the supervillain part? “So, um, Clevin? Remember my fight with Menace…? Well…” Arkone Axon Technically they never actually fought. She showed up and he told her he was quitting. The closest they came to a fight was that lover’s spat where she threw the mug at him after he said very stupid things. But yeah… and I don’t think any fabrication will hold up under close examination. Especially since Patrick is still drunk and unlikely to cooperate with any alibis. “You didn’t tell him? You didn’t tell him, Ms Green? Nuh uh, you should totally tell him… I iz Menace, boy! I am here for our final confrun… confran… conf… confound it, I think I’m gonna hurl again…” Tylikcat But they’re widely believed to have fought, so unless she’s told Clevin the story, he probably thinks so too. Xin Hmm, for all Clevin knows, though, this is just some random drunk guy in the bathroom. If he makes strange claims like that, it wouldn’t be *that* unusual — I’m sure Mega Girl gets crazy fan mail and such. …also, I’ve been wondering: does anyone actually know what Menace looks like? Alison asked Lisa (Templar) before if she’d ever met him in person… and Daniel (Cleaver) seems to have, but does the public at large? It would seem the public at large doesn’t necessarily know what Menace looks like given that Patrick was posing as the assistant to another old man at Templar Industries. (He’d be under a lot more scrutiny otherwise.) We (the readers) don’t have all the details of Mega Girl quitting or of her fight with Menace and how it appeared that he defeated her, in the first place. Was something exciting staged? Did she surrender? I can see it being more plausible for obsessed fans to approach Mega Girl claiming to be a superhero or supervillain than for Clevin to think this was Menace… though maybe Clevin would be a bit preturbed by it anyway. Or, we don’t really know what Patrick’s powers have evolved to, but perhaps he’s done something to alter what Clevin ends up doing tonight and Clevin doesn’t get home after all? ColaKitteh Patrick = special snowflake c o n f i r m e d ! Strawman More than anything, I love how effortlessly Alison carries Patrick around with the longest stare in the world. Tylikcat I’m seeing a lot of “It’s a tattoo” commentary. Totally, valid, but, in terms of other possible forms of fairly permanent body art: Scarification seems obvious, with all of the repeated straight line patterns. (Not that curved lines can’t be cut, but it’s harder.) (There are more and less permanent versions of this, when done recreationally, and I don’t know all the ins and outs as much as I know they exist.) Branding Cold branding (there’s apparently a pretty big liquid nitrogen scene out there? I mean, this is not what first comes to mind for liquid nitrogen for me.) …all of this seems pretty organized for off his ass Patrick, but who knows what he’d like these days? Though the thought of him hanging out in the fetish scene while he’s in a downward spiral just seems deeply wrong. David Gillon It probably is body art, but I’m not quite ready to rule out scarring of some description Tylikcat Do you mean non-intentional scarring? Because everything but the tattooing above is both body-art and scarring. It’s in a weird place, for body art – not the best for display, and not the easiest area to work on. Back would be much better if someone else was doing it, front would be much better if he were doing it himself. So maybe the spot itself is significant? Or, I suppose, he was running out of room? Tylikcat Okay, with your update, I get you. Though… it’s super patterned for trauma. I mean, it could be something someone did to him non-consensually, and I suppose with the kind of history he has who the fuck knows, but… Lostman I see it as a branding of sorts. Tylikcat From someone or something else? Lostman I was thinking that it was a tattoo, a way to brand him. We never seen him without his shirt, heck there are a lot of things we don’t know about Patrick. Strawman Okay, I lied. More than anything, I love that Alison’s idea of a spare shirt is one which seemingly says “Family Reunion” (and happens to be green) as if it was her father’s genuine idea of a Christmas gift that would delight everyone especially in public. I can even imagine Jen encouraging this idea with side glances to an Alison with death in her eyes because Jen knows she’s not the one who appears in trash tabloids under the category “Fashion Fail” Psile So I forgot for a second that Clevin actually did forget his phone. This could get very interesting very quickly. Eva Smiljanić Get you a girl who can throw you over her shoulder and carry you to bed. Tylikcat Try finding guys who want that who don’t want you also to tie them up and spank them. (Which just isn’t my thing.) Dave Van Domelen That’s one heck of a complex Feynman Diagram he has there on his side. Tylikcat Ha! I was all… “Maybe it’s a metal binding structure, kind of like a heme? No… No, that central ring has got to be a peptide chain, but what the heck is going on with the rotimers?” JohnTomato Patrick has been sleeping rough for a least a month. You don’t make holes in your socks overnight and the boots were most probably high quality. Almost zero facts to even begin speculating on his body markings. Again, no smoochies for Clevin tonight. Brian Roney Speaking as somebody who is very well off and just had a big toe poke clean through a sock and had to go the rest of the day like that, this does not require sleeping rough. It just requires being focused on other things and either not noticing or caring. Tylikcat I have a number of socks with holes (they’re Durn Tough socks with lifetime guarantees, and I haven’t decided if I’m going to bother trying to do something about that – mind you, I still love the brand, I just am hard on my socks) and every once in a while I’ll put one on in a hurry and get stuck with it. That the rest of his clothing shows such signs of wear, that he is generally disheveled, and stinks, now… Mike Howard Theory time: Is this what happens when an already OP telepath pays someone (e.g. Max) good money or favors to enhance his powers? Is he overwhelmed by all the input? MisterTeatime If the shirt Alison’s carrying just says “Family Reunion” with no surname, I heartily approve. Stealth puns FTW. Rando So he stabbed/removed/injured himself in what appears to be roughly…his kidney? For some reason, and is now suffering from severe drunkenness. Was he previously unable to get drunk somehow due to his powers? So purposefully crippled himself in order to allow it? Alternatively he did it in order to kill himself via a drunken bender. Walter Such a hot mess. Walter Tinfoil Hat On: That mark is what it looks like when Max Max’s someone. We didn’t see it on Feral because it instantly heeled up. Patrick’s current state is due to his amp’d power being beyond his capability to endure. He is drinking to try and block it out. JeffH I don’t think this is right, but I LOVE the idea! Cori J. [TW: SELF HARM] Guys…that is not a tattoo. Those are razor marks. 🙁 Tylikcat That’s what it looks like to me. Lostman So he been cutting himself? Debbie Jackson Not sure if that or scarification or simply a pale white-ink tattoo. Either way a statement, but.. Tylikcat The only reason I tend to lean towards some kind of cutting is the way the design is composed of short straight lines. Sure, it could be a tattoo, or a brand, or whatever. It could be white-out. But it’s really typical for razor marks. Todd How’s this? He’s been living rough to hide from The Conspiracy. He’s found out that The Hidden Masters are Brood-like aliens who deliberately caused the mutations in order to create super-powered hosts for their eggs/young so they would inherit the powers of their hosts. Patrick found this out the hard way by getting captured and impregnated, but he managed to get away and use super-technology (either alien or something created by a super like Paladin) to have the egg/larva removed from the implant spot ie the center of the scar (it couldn’t be simply cut out with a straight cut, like one would need to remove an organ, because the alien’s form is like a starfish [Starro!] or jellyfish or spider that extends limbs or nerves outwards from its body under the host’s skin). He’s not drunk but drugged to the gills to deal with the pain (extremes of which, IIRC, can cause vomiting). He followed a mental “tag” he earlier put on Alison in order to get help from her. Tylikcat Like I know? My experience with recreational or self-harm oriented cutting isn’t extensive. But I do know a lot about auto surgery* And that would be a hard spot to reach. Easier for him than me (trying to see around my tits) but trying to get that kind of precision and symmetry would be hard. Either he has help, or he’s had practice, I’d guess. * Much of it because I have that whole researcher “I know how to cut things and stitch things up” thing going for me, and sometimes I’ve a few days up a trail and lack options, and some days I have someone telling me that they want to use general anesthesia to remove a sebaceous cyst on my scalp, which is asinine, and a) I *hate* any kind of sedation or anesthesia and b) yo, that’s way more dangerous than me spending a bit of time with a scalpel. Rando Given his state, recent experiences, and location of the mark, probably something with the kidney. Possibly, purposefully destroyed his kidney, in order to get a replacement from Feral for some reason? Since Feral is maxed out, it is possible a super getting an orgran transplant from her, would also have their powers supercharged. Which would account for his powers having been buffed up, and losing control / projecting. Tylikcat Okay, I *do* know surgical scars, and unless this is some special power related thing, they do not come looking like pretty snowflakes. (You need something deep – a single long cut or puncture rather than these fine feathery cuts. These are far too superficial.) You don’t have pretty snowflake scars over your kidneys because of kidney surgery, unless its for some kind of ritual purpose. Now, maybe it will turn out we have someone who feeds through patterned suckers of something. Also, remember that everyone’s powers were increasing prior to Max coming on the scene. Rando It’s hard to tell with the level of detail in the comic, but those may not even be scars, its possible it is also just white sutures/staples. Yeah, typically kidney transplant incisions are a single long one, but it is also possible he has some automatic robo surgery that uses a different incision pattern for its limbs. Like you mentioned, that is a difficult spot to reach, even for self harm. Especially for cutting a specific pattern into your own flesh. The fact it is pretty directly over his kidney and his current state makes it suspect. What powers have actually increased outside of Max’s influence? Al’s hasn’t really gotten stronger, she just gained the ability to fly. Which isn’t really a big deal since she just has localized TK. Whats his name got sharper/harder, which could also just be attributed to getting older. Is there someone else I am forgetting? Not saying you are wrong, just don’t remember anyone else atm. Tylikcat Feral’s power had been increasing (at a slow but constant rate) prior to Max-imizing. Moonshadow’s illusion powers seemed to be expanding. Hard to say about Cleaver, as it might be more of a cancer development thing. I think Dr. Rosenblum might have mentioned this as being a thing while talking about Al’s flying, but I’m not going to look up the reference now. Xin Hrm. Why in a star pattern, though? Cori J. Based on what other commenters have pointed out, it’s a snowflake meant to condemn his own assessment of human beings as being unique, but indistinguishable from each other en masse. I’m sure subsequent pages will reveal its meaning, but my initial assumption is that his self-loathing has developed into pathological self-flagellation. The mark is likely a punishing reminder that he himself is human, not special or above any others, suffering the limits of dysfunction and lack of self-awareness just like the rest. A cruel memorial for his hubris. I’ll also hazard to guess that the snowflake shape wasn’t his plan at the outset. It may be the result of repeated incidents of self-harm which developed into a visual symbol that held a bitter meaning for him. It might even have helped him rationalize the dangerous compulsion: the symbol must be completed, so he must keep cutting; and If it’s merely body art, it certainly won’t escalate to something worse. This dude really needs a friend right now. </3 Xin Thank you for the explanation! Didn’t see the comments below in this thread. That all makes a lot of sense… poor guy! Perhaps Clevin will be a friend to him if/when he returns from the store. Cori J. Clevin becoming helpful besties with Patrick and Al not being able to say anything to stop it is the EXACT kind of messy hijinks I want lmaoooooo. Thank you for this image, I will pray for it now. Cori J. Wait, no. Patrick FALLING FOR perfect sweetheart holy-shit-how-can-a-mind-be-so-pure Clevin is what I really want. Cori J. On third thought, never mind, Patrick is way too self-destructive and corrosive to let an angel like Clevin anywhere near his taint. Or maybe he IS that destructive and would like to ruin Clevin… Goddammit the multishipping got me, send help Xin Haha! Hijinks, indeed! I agree, that would be an interesting storyline to see. You’re welcome for the image. 🙂 Xin Haha! Hijinks indeed! I agree – I’d love to see how that storyline goes if they become helpful besties. You’re welcome. 🙂 Xin “It might even have helped him rationalize the dangerous compulsion: the symbol must be completed, so he must keep cutting; and If it’s merely body art, it certainly won’t escalate to something worse.” Quick addition comment on it escalating to something worse — do you mean psychologically? I recall reading of much self-harm/cutting more based upon the adrenaline and other chemicals released in a more addictive fashion than a life-ending desire? I’m not very well-versed in it and don’t have personal experience, either… should read more about it. Tylikcat Well, that’s the part you’re most likely to see in the addiction literature. I have not specifically looked up whether there is literature looking on the affects of cutting on dopaminergic neurons in the nucleus accumbens, but I bet it’s there. (This is the neurobiological standard for an addiction effect – I helped teach a class on it a couple of times, way back when – though I think it is often misused. In the case of cutting, I’m not going to make that claim. Internet shopping? Maybe.) (BTW, just pre-emptively – enriched environment effects are super important, and incredibly cool. But please don’t even start on the whole this is the be all end all of addiction studies crap.* Or that no one is studying this – people study enriched environments both in addiction contexts and otherwise all the time. Blarg.) Anyhow, it’s often framed as a maladaptive coping mechanism. It’s framed as a lot of other things – I just went diving into pubmed so that you don’t have to. (Though you certainly can. Pubmed, your friend and mine. Pubmed, your tax dollars at work**: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed ) Just to vent, bleh, I’d forgotten how irritating I find some parts of the straight psych literature. And this is one I have some biases on – a lot of the studies are particularly interested in self harm as it relates to suicidiality or interpersonal violence. Since self harm is pretty well established to exist in absence of those, that was pretty clearly not what I was looking for. (Also, a lot of them were paternalistic and annoying, and hell, I’m in my forties and in academia.) I found one review that looked non-awful and seemed appropriate for this forum – though I’ve only skimmed it so far. http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.clinpsy.121208.131258?rfr_dat=cr_pub%3Dpubmed&url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori%3Arid%3Acrossref.org&journalCode=clinpsy I don’t think folks without institutional access will be able to download the main paper (it let me download it after I turned off my VPN, but I think that was a cached cred), but PM me at twitter – same name – and I can send you a copy. AKA: How I was late getting to the farmers market… 🙂 * Though think of Patrick in terms of enriched environments is kind of fascinating, since his ability to regular his sensory input might be whacked. ** If you’re in the US. Xin “It might even have helped him rationalize the dangerous compulsion: the symbol must be completed, so he must keep cutting; and If it’s merely body art, it certainly won’t escalate to something worse.” Quick addition comment on it escalating to something worse — do you mean psychologically? I recall reading of much self-harm/cutting more based upon the adrenaline and other chemicals released in a more addictive fashion than a life-ending desire? I’m not very well-versed in it and don’t have personal experience, either… should read more about it. Soqoma And this, ladies and gents and non-binary friends, is what being over someone feels like. martynW Is that a tattoo or a weird blast scar? motorfirebox Huh. Looks like Patrick’s anomaly is getting worse, too. I wonder if he knows he’s leaking. Xin When one’s telepathic supervillain ex-unrequited-love shows up drunk in a superhero comic… Previous plot trajectories change! Complex webs are woven, possibilities created! The plot thickens and becomes a tangled cat! Cori J. As Patrick can read Al’s thoughts and we can’t, I love their interactions because it makes me wonder how much he’s reacting to. He’s drunk, I guess (word of god says so—his sarcasm is so bad! lol) so he’s too slow to react to each thought. Like, I’m probably reading too much into this, but once he said “cat” the first time, I like to think Alison probably had the silent observation that, yep, she was in fact picking him up off the floor and carrying him away to stop him from hurling on the carpet, just like you would with a sick cat. Hence, “…Cat.” Xin Like, I’m probably reading too much into this, but once he said “cat” the first time, I like to think Alison probably had the silent observation that, yep, she was in fact picking him up off the floor and carrying him away to stop him from hurling on the carpet, just like you would with a sick cat. Haha! I was totally thinking along the same lines when I first read this page, too! It would be an interesting experience to be telepathic and trying to communicate while drunk.