SFP

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  • Anondod

    That *is* more sad.

    • Tylikcat

      He’s also right. Alison is the one bringing value judgements (well, is sad that? something) into it. Does that help?

      • thebombzen

        Keep in mind that it’s one think to think value judgments and other thing to say them. We judge other people all the time but are nice enough not to say it. Alison doesn’t have that luxury when talking to Patrick so she essentially needs to use *crimestop* around him.

        • Tylikcat

          Oh, I know. I upvoted the original post, because it resonated with me.

          I guess I think it’s only partly an involuntary response, and much more an encultured one. Cutting is a thing, that has a whole set of cultural connotations in our society. There is a lot of shame attached to it. Alison is operating in that context. Patrick is the recipient.

          …and it’s exactly what you’d expect of Alison, and her upbringing and her life experience. No question. It leaves me sad, and frustrated, because the default seems to be looking at all the ways people are broken, rather that looking at the things people did to get through hard situations and make it.

          (And yeah, Patrick’s in a bad place now, but that just mean’s he’s more vulnerable when Alison is seeing him like this. And I know there’s a whole narrative about admitting your vulnerabilities and healing, but, um, Alison is not the person I would want near me in that situation? Even if she meant well.)

          • Arkone Axon

            I’m not only thinking about when I was a kid and in a very bad spot, but also when I found out my niece was cutting. I never self-harmed (I had plenty of other people to do the harming for me), but… seeing those wounds on the forearms of someone whose diapers I changed… it makes me think of a line from a Lois Bujold novel, “when they’re cut, I bleed.”

          • Tylikcat

            A bit over a week ago I was having a conversation with a friend who had attempted suicide earlier this year, about the shame she feels around anyone seeing her scars. That is one of the ways this is hitting maybe a bit close to home for me.

            Some of the rest – hell, my history should be written across my skin, some of it self inflicted, but hey, magic etch-a-sketch skin, lucky me. (Though there’s one scar that you can see on my face, very faintly, if I’m really tired. And then it disappears again. Weird, huh?) Not everyone close to me is so lucky, and some people have a lot ore sense of shame attached to their past. (A big chunk of the anger I feel towards our parents – hell, maybe most of it – might be because I can’t take away the sense of shame my sister feels about her teenage years. She’s gotten through a lot, but… And some of those scars are visible, though not in any of the aforementioned ways.)

            And some is just the normalization of expectations. Yes, Alison, Patrick’s life has been outside of your experience. News. At. Eleven.

          • A lot of society’s still stuck at lock-it-away-in-the-attic when it comes to visual scarring, which really doesn’t help anyone with newly acquired scars, or scars associated with all the stigma already wrapped around mental health. πŸ™

          • Lisa Izo

            It’s definitely sad. Not an excuse for mass murder. But it’s sad.

          • Dwight Williams

            No, but it might have helped keep his body count lower than it could have been.

            Disturbing thought, but there we are…

          • Lisa Izo

            I don’t know. I think his self-cutting is because he doesn’t (or didn’t in his teenage years) have a good sense of self because of his out-of-control telepathy. I’m not sure how self-cutting prevented him from killing even more than the thousands he did murder. So… it’s sad, yes. I just don’t see it as a particularly good excuse.

            I agree that it’s definitely a disturbing thought if the self-cutting were instead like some sort of ‘self-punishment’ instead.

          • Dwight Williams

            Not my best thinking on this subject by any means. No arguments there.

          • David Brown

            Quite possibly was killing other people because in the state of mind he was in, he thought it was himself.

          • Lisa Izo

            Man, this thread suddenly got dark…

          • Possibly especially when she means well!

            Alison’s analysis of situations can be a little shallow/naiive.

      • Cyrano111

        Is it even *possible* not to bring value judgments into your own thoughts?

        • Tylikcat

          Oh, not entirely. But it’s probably possible to practice approaching a situation as “I don’t understand what’s doing on here, I’m going to watch and listen and try to figure it out.”

          • Cyrano111

            Isn’t that a value judgment? “A reaction based on reason is preferable to a reaction based on emotion”.

          • Tylikcat

            Who said anything about reason versus emotion?

          • Cyrano111

            I don’t insist on those particular labels. But whatever label we attach to “I don’t understand what’s going on here, I’m going to watch and listen and try to figure it out”, favouring that method over some other method, such as “I don’t care what’s going on here, I’m going to jump in to help my friend” or “This makes me feel very angry and I am going to lash out in response” is making a value judgment about the best way to respond to situations.

          • Xin

            Watching and listening could itself be a calm or meditative and natural emotional response, or to use one’s intuition, or a few other things depending upon how one interprets Tylikcat’s comment.

            I don’t think it needs to necessarily mean deferring to logic to take a bit to watch and listen to try to figure it out. Have known rather “emotional” friends to do that, too, and come to their own kind of understanding of situationss.

          • How to be a Good Ally 101!

          • Tylikcat

            Holding space for a telepath has got to be an upper class course.

      • Xin

        Given that “sad” seems to be “things shouldn’t be this way” in some way, it seems like a value judgement. Even if the intent is to empathize or be supportive.

  • Psile

    Just a reminder Alison: you got all the best powers with almost no downsides.

    • Kid Chaos

      Except figuring out how to “put her good where it will do the most”, as Wavy Gravy might have put it. 😜

      • Rando

        That’s not a downside. That is life. Everyone has to deal with that, powered or not.

        • Isaac Burke

          It’s harder with super-strength than, say, if she had the ability to invent anything or the ability to enhance other people’s powers.

          Easier than “my hands are knives” though.

          • Rando

            Still easier than not having any powers at all, also.

    • cvar

      I can’t think of any downsides to her power. I guess she needs to go see a specialist about cutting her hair, a process which involves more angle grinders than is normal, but that’s not really a downside.

      • Svalbardcaretaker

        Isn’t allowed to drink/drugs, didnt have sex until recently, the government is building ships to evacuate to Mars in case she goes insane…

        I mean they are light, but she has some.

        • masterofbones

          Well, two of those were self-imposed, and the last is a problem for other people…

          • MisterTeatime

            The first one is also a problem for other people, which is why she self-imposed it. πŸ˜›

          • masterofbones

            Eh, that’s a restriction most reasonable people would make in the situation, so I’d call that a legitimate downside to the power.

        • Lisa Izo

          She is allowed to drink and do drugs. No one can stop her anyway. Just like no one can stop her from torturing people and threatening to murder them if they don’t do what she wants. She just chooses not to drink or do drugs (although she has done the other thing). Her powers literally give her almost total freedom to do whatever she wants without much threat of consequences for her actions, unfortunately.

          She didn’t have sex also because of choice. Because she isnt sure if she’d hurt someone, although this seems to be entirely in her head as well, based on the conversation with her doctor – the one where she explained that Alison is fully capable of not hurting people on an unconscious level, which is why if she grabs something, it doesn’t automatically get crushed even if she isn’t thinking ‘don’t crush this, don’t crush this.’

          As for the building ships thing, that was a joke. Alison has no real weaknesses at all (which honestly makes her a less interesting character in that respect – perfect people are boring). Her main flaw is that she’s a hypocrite, not particularly bright, prone to violent outbursts for various reasons stemming from her overemotional and pretentious attitude, and she thinks there’s such a thing as a one punch solution to the world’s problems, despite her originally having a breakdown because there is NOT a one-punch solution to the world’s problems). She’s actually LESS mature and self-aware than she had been when she first quit being a superhero.

          Her main weakness, if anything, is attacking her friends and family to who are not virtually immortal (ie, anyone but Feral) in order to keep her in mind. Although honestly, with someone of Alison’s limited self-control, tha twould probably backfire because she’d go on a rager and it would get those people she cares for killed in the process, then she’d get all emo about it.

          However, IF she actually can get drunk (and it’s not clear she can, but it’s plausible since she still need to eat and sleep and breathe air), that does open another weakness up to exploit. If she can get drunk, then she is not invulnerable to toxins. That’s a point of attack possibly, if she was to ever get more out of control on a wider scale than the limited capacity that she’s been out of control so far.

          • Ben Posin

            I think you’ve hit on her main weakness. She has a fantastic power, and while the power doesn’t seem to have downsides (so long as she can keep from breaking her own bones with it again),the fact that her power seems to be based in telekinesis rather than just generic comic super toughness/invulnerability suggests she’d be as vulnerable as anyone to drugs and poison. Gassing her might be more difficult than most people given her ability to hold her breath and fly through any sort of obstruction to get away, but she doesn’t seem to be taking any sort of extraordinary care regarding the sources of her food—we saw her buy a cafeteria sandwich, saw her eat at a restaurant with Max, etc. If I was the President and thought she was going rogue, I’d call up some sneaky CIA type folks and task them to find a way to slip her whatever quick acting and tasteless poison is in for black ops this year.

            I suspect it might be possible to blind her with some sort of laser, and to intefere with her with some sort of sonic attack as well. It doesn’t seem like heat/fire bothers her if I’m remembering correctly, but have we seen electricity applied?

          • Lisa Izo

            I don’t remember seeing her electrocuted, but high levels of electricity have been used on other comic book FISS types, like Superman and Supergirl, so maybe you’re thinking of them since Alison seems to be sort of a deconstruction of that powerset? But I don’t recall seeing a page where someone used electricity on her. Just fire (which did nothing to her).

    • I dunno, she sometimes seems to be seriously lacking in the get-a-clue stakes.

    • Zorae42

      There aren’t any downsides, but I wouldn’t call them the “best powers”.

      Strength, invulnerability, and flight are pretty cool, but are pretty common amongst super heroes (and thus rather boring imo). I’d much rather have teleportation or shapeshifting powers or even Lisa’s super engineering abilities.

      • Lisa Izo

        Going to get flak for saying this probably, but Lisa has utterly wasted her power of super-intelligence. If there was EVER someone who could find solutions to make the world better, it would have been Lisa. But instead she was busy making AI who can joke and giant robots instead of bioengineering methods of curing world hunger and solutions to the world energy crisis. Cloning methods/artificial organs for replacing body parts that don’t involve either torturing biodynamics or threatening other biodynamics with torture in order to allow another biodynamic to have a little less torture.

        And before anyone says ‘But Templar had a screwy legal thing in place that allows them first crack at any patents she tries to sell and then sit on the invention ideas despite that not being how the law works but lets say it does for the purposes of this ficitonal world’, she could have just invented whatever, put it out on the internet for ANYONE to see if she didn’t care about making a profit and cared more about saving the world.

        And before anyone says ‘but she wouldn’t have money to make those items’ – Blueprints and prototypes are not as expensive as wholesale manufacturing, and worst case scenario, she sells the first few patents of something to Templar, THEN puts the important stuff on the internet for someone (or several someones) enterprising to make a fortune off of, and her personal reward is she took part in saving the planet. She wouldnt have to patent it. Then she doesnt have to sell it to Templar and have Templar be the only one with access. Everyone who could afford to manufacture her inventions would be able to. Competition would drive down any potential prices since the blueprints/schematics would be available to everyone as long as Lisa doesn’t have an ego about everyone needing to think she, personally, saved the world, rather than just being content in the world being saved.

        That being said, I’d like the standard FISS superpowers (Flight, Invulnerability, Superspeed, Superstrength). I don’t care if it’s common. I just wouldn’t use it to torture people to make them do what I want. πŸ™‚ Otherwise…. time manipulation :).

        • Eric Schissel

          I wouldn’t mind having seen/seeing Lisa go full Manfred (from Stross’ Accelerando – http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/fiction/accelerando/accelerando-intro.html ) but a life like that is _hard_.

          • Lisa Izo

            I’m going to have to read that ebook now πŸ™‚

          • Eric Schissel

            Enjoy. Only just found out it was an ebook but have read the print version twice at my library. (Something of a favorite author of mine anyway fwiw with a very interesting online blog generally in my opinion.)

        • Tylikcat

          I don’t know if it were ever established how broad Lisa’s gift is. Maybe she’s just not a bioengineer.

          I mean, mind you, I fully support her in working on what interests her.

          • Lisa Izo

            Oh, I support her working on whatever interests her too. She shouldn’t be forced to do things to help humanity if she doesnt want to. It’s a free society. And objectively, she isn’t using her powers to do a lot of things that she could be doing, out of the reach of Templar’s attorneys. πŸ™‚ I just am using Alison’s reasoning, and also basing it on her complaints about Templar and the patent problem.

        • Shjade

          Lisa, I may have misunderstood, but I got the impression her ability isn’t generalized immense IQ, but more like…bursts of paranormal insight. Some things just make sense to her. I think her course of research and development was more chosen for her than what she chose.

          • Lisa Izo

            I was under the impression that it was super-intelligence related to inventing things, somewhat like Forge (or maybe Sage, who is more about being a human computer mind), or like Gear from Static Shock. I don’t really her to be very much like Sylar from Heroes, which seems to be to whom you’re comparing her.

            The main reason I think my interpretation might be the correct one is because of Lisa’s comments about Alison’s non-super friend who helped with the programming. But it’s not like the authors have gone into any detail about how her powers work exactly , so I guess there’s room for interpretation. πŸ™‚

            But if her powers ARE super-intelligence related to inventing stuff, then she’s woefully misused her powers (to the point where I’d expect that Alison, to be consistent in her supposed beliefs, should threaten her life to make her use it for better use … except that she’s not a rich white het male, who is probably not an Objectivist brand of libertarianism).

        • Brandon Quina

          We’ve heard Lisa describe her abilities as, if I’m not mistaken, having to do with being really got at things like robotics, electronics, computers, machinery, and so on. She’s not just, in my understanding, “SCIENCE!” girl.

          It’s like complaining why Einstein wasted his time with advanced math and everything instead of doing something more useful.

          • Lisa Izo

            Einstein was human with no superpowers though.

            And Einstein did discover the link between mass and energy, which led to nuclear energy, which could then lead eventually to nuclear fusion, which WOULD solve the world’s energy needs forever. He also discovered the Quantum Theory of Light, which allowed what we know as modern television to become possible. As well as smartphones, computers, and laptops. So…. yeah he did do something pretty useful.

            He also did fundamentally change the face of physics as we know it – rather than waste time building AI that made bad jokes before destroying itself πŸ™‚

            Don’t get me wrong btw – I like Lisa as a character πŸ™‚ But based on all things being equal, she does massively under use her abilities, even based on Alison’s ‘requirement that all people with powers must have to make the world a better place’

          • Pizkie

            The thing with the Einstein analogy is, Einstein didn’t actually KNOW he would end up reinventing physics as we know it. He knew there was something worth studying there, something possibly worthwhile and useful, and he set on the grueling work of doing it. I wonder how many times Einstein went down a rabbit hole of useless calculations on his quest to figure out the right things that would eventually get him famous.

            You say Lisa is wasting her time making robots who tell bad jokes. But what happens if she actually creates real, benevolent AI? She will revolutionize society probably more thoroughly than Einstein and possibly even Newton. Will it have been worth it then?

            No one gets it right on the first try. Change is a process, as is genius.

          • Lisa Izo

            “Einstein didn’t actually KNOW he would end up reinventing physics as we know it.”

            Pretty sure he did, actually. When you find mathematical proofs that counter all existing beliefs up to that point, you probably get a little inkling that you’re onto something big. πŸ™‚

            ” I wonder how many times Einstein went down a rabbit hole of useless calculations on his quest to figure out the right things that would eventually get him famous.”

            Actually this is something I know from a paper I once wrote on Einstein. Apparently one of his main processes for figuring out mathematical proofs was, after writing a BUNCH of calculations, then start all over again using the answer he came to as a starting point, and he’d do that multiple times. Taking into account potential errors and as part of his method of developing his proofs and theories.

            “You say Lisa is wasting her time making robots who tell bad jokes. But what happens if she actually creates real, benevolent AI? She will revolutionize society probably more thoroughly than Einstein and possibly even Newton. Will it have been worth it then?”

            I’m just pointing out the hypocrisy with which people look at Lisa and make excuses for her not using her genius to directly help the world inthe same way that Alison forced Max to do. Instead, she goes about this circuitous way by working on stuff which is NOT a ‘direct worldsaving invention’ – but instead works on creating robots for humor and death-dealing (assuming that the basic design for the giant killer robots were her design, even if modified by Templar afterwards). Strictly speaking, trying to create AI in a sci-fi sense has this huge likelihood of either creating a permanent artificial slave race or our new robot overlords. πŸ™‚ Whereas spending ones intellectual capital creating green energy-based engines to solve the energy crisis and food production for the entire planet… I have a harder time thinking of how that could go screwy.

          • Zorae42

            It’s not hypocrisy. I’d judge Lisa just as strongly if an owner of an orphanage for amputees asked her for her prototype legs that she didn’t need and she said no because her old legs made her sad and the owner was rude to her once.

            It’s fine to work on non ‘direct worldsaving’ stuff. Just that if someone presents you with something that will save/help a lot of people with little to no effort required and minimal risk to yourself, you’re an asshole if you say no simply because you’re an selfish prick. As we have yet to see Lisa do that, she’s fine.

          • Lisa Izo

            “I’d judge Lisa just as strongly if an owner of an orphanage for amputees asked her for her prototype legs that she didn’t need and she said no because her old legs made her sad and the owner was rude to her once.”

            Actually…. why hasnt she eliminated paralysis and people with lost limbs from the entire planet by making the schematics for her artificial leg available to everyone, now that you bring it up?

            Why should someone in an orphanage have to ASK her to do that for them? It’s not like anyone who is getting Feral’s organs asked Alison to torture Max in order to amp up Feral’s powers. For that matter, it’s not like anyone asked Feral to subject herself to torture in the first place to donate the organs. I do think it’s hypocrisy, at least on Alison’s part, that she doesn’t hold Lisa to the same standards that she held Max, simply because she thinks Max is a jerk and doesn’t think Lisa is (despite Lisa having done nothing to help the world via her powers, just like Max has not).

            “Just that if someone presents you with something that will save/help a lot of people with little to no effort required and minimal risk to yourself, you’re an asshole if you say no simply because you’re an selfish prick.”

            There is zero risk at all to Lisa to start providing artificial limbs to every hospital in the area to give to patients who have lost their legs and/or arms, artificial eyes to people who are blind, etc. There’s less than zero risk, in fact, since she’d be seen by people as a savior and seen as a humanitarian or visionary just like other people who’s ever invented something which had helped millions of people. She hasnt done it though. And since she hasn’t, by the rule of Alison’s ‘Use your power to help humanity or I will break your arms and dump you in the ocean to die’ edict, she is a ‘selfish prick’ as well.

            Mind you, I don’t actually consider Lisa a selfish anything. She’s possibly my favorite character. She is under no obligation to do anything for anyone, unless she wants to. I just find it odd (and yes, hypocritical) that people didn’t give the same freedom of choice to Max, who actually WOULD be at risk to every supervillain (or other biodynamic who thinks of themselves as a superhero, despite doing evil stuff) who wants to use him to augment their powers.

          • Missing

            It’s not hypocritical though. The effort on Lisa’s part is dramatically higher compared to Max, and you need to force way more than just one person to get it done. Besides, the risk to Max isn’t fundamentally different since his secret was already out and Al actually put in reasonable precautions against further exposure (and sounds like they worked on her side).

          • Lisa Izo

            The effort is minimal (I’m suggesting her just making available the schematics, not putting the money into building it all), along with the risk being less than it was for Max should his identity become known to supervillains (or other supers like Moonshadow, etc). You need to be intellectually honest enough to admit that if it’s okay to force Max, it’s okay to also force Lisa. Or it’s not okay to force either of them.

          • Zorae42

            Just giving out the schematics wouldn’t help anyone. We don’t know the cost of the materials to make her cool robot leg, and we don’t know how much companies would charge people for something they really need/want. Just look at the monster that got a hold of the right to distribute that HIV drug a few years ago.

            Providing artificial limbs to every hospital in the area would be a continuous endeavor that would require a ton of time/resources on her part, not really equivalent.

            “Why should someone in an orphanage have to ASK her to do that for them?”

            Because there is a difference. It’s the difference between expecting someone to lend you the pencil they aren’t using when you ask and expecting someone to decide to go around giving pencils to everyone who needs them. One is expecting someone to agree to do one quick/easy thing with no downsides when being directly asked to do it, the other is expecting someone to devote their entire life’s effort to helping people.

            Lisa has already shown that she’s better than Max in this matter. Alison has asked for her help multiple times and every time she’s said yes. She agreed to be Alison’s mentor when she wasn’t really a teacher, she let Alison in when she showed up on her doorstep in the middle of the night after getting kicked out of her apartment, and she agreed to devote a bunch of her free time to the non-profit organization Alison wanted to create. Lisa has shown that she’s a wonderfully non-selfish person, and there’s really no comparison to make between her and Max.

          • Arkone Axon

            That last sentence is the whole difference between Lisa’s position (and mine) versus yours.

            Max wasn’t just being asked to “wave his fingers.” He was being asked to risk being exposed as the “permanent power upgrade on legs” that he is, to the entire world. For a worthy cause presented to him by someone who couldn’t even be bothered to be polite to him long enough to ask. When he refused (making it very clear that the refusal was specifically to Alison, and that he might have said “yes” if someone – ANYONE – else had asked him without being such a horrible and offensive person the way Alison was), she then demonstrated that he was 100% right to be afraid, as she did things that would have everyone in agreement that she had become a supervillain on the spot, if not for their respective genders (had Max been Maxine, had Alison been Alfonse, then there would be no question about it).

            Whereas Lisa has been asked for very little by comparison. She agreed to take a student (which she’s technically required to do) as long as the student developed her own course curriculum and projects. She let a miserable friend crash on her couch after Alison had a truly, truly horrible day (complete with learning the truth about not just one, but a half dozen “friends”). And she agreed to help her student with the project said student came up with (also known as “doing her job as a professor). None of this entailed any particular risk to herself.

            But the big difference is twofold. One: Alison ASKED Lisa for help. She DEMANDED that Max help (even when she first showed up, it was clear she wasn’t about to take no for an answer). Two: Lisa CHOSE to help. Max was denied that choice.

          • Zorae42

            I’m really tired of your denial of Alison asking Max for help. It was done off panel. Since it cut to her apologizing for her (completely justified) walking out on him and then him saying “No” to her plan. She had no reason to expect him to say no at that point.

            If he was actually as concerned about the risk of being found out he wouldn’t have dropped that concern so quickly and brought it up sooner (and probably would’ve asked her how she found out/who else potentially knows about him since that’s like, a big deal??? and he was prepared to let her leave without ever even asking if there was someone else out there that knew about him??). And guess what, there was no risk of anyone else finding out since Alison made sure there were a shit ton of precautions in place to prevent that.

            Lisa is there as a researcher, not a professor; she’s not even getting paid by the school. And Alison asked to do an independent study with her, something actual professors (which Lisa is not) are 100% allowed to decline if they want to. She let a student, with superpowers and ptsd and in a bad mood and enemies, she had barely talked to into her personal home for an indeterminate amount of time (not a night, it doesn’t take a single day to find a new apartment in a big city). And she’s not just “helping” – she’s literally designing all of the tech/programming stuff Alison needs to make her idea work. Which, as the term “independent” in ‘independent study’ implies, is not required of her. She took time from making progress in her research – the thing she’s actually paid to do and needs in order to maintain the grant money she’s getting. She gave up her limited free time (which she really needs to take more of, she’s practically running herself into the ground) and her privacy. And she did it all for an ongoing period of time. Lisa has done a lot for Alison, and all just because she’s a kind person.

            Again there’s nothing about Lisa to judge since she said yes when asked to go significantly out of her way to help someone in need – which is why she’s amazing and selfless. Max said no to slightly going out of his way to help a ton of people in need (for selfish reasons), which makes him a selfish jerk. Of course, there’s no punishment for just being a selfish jerk. And Max’s jerkishness didn’t mean he deserved what happened to him. But that doesn’t mean he’s not a jerk, and it’s not hypocritical to think of him as a jerk and think of Lisa as a good person (unless she also refuses to help a bunch of people for completely selfish reasons).

            My god, the fact that he can’t even comprehend the idea of doing something to help people for nothing in return just makes my skin crawl. Not, “I’m not a person who would do that,” which would be understandable. But, “Nobody is like that,” like it’s justifiable to be selfish and there’s no reason to feel bad about it. I think that’s 90% of the reason I dislike him so much. I mean, I like good villains. I like ones that are tragic; I like ones that are evil for evil’s sake (if they go about it with overly complex and cheeky plans). I don’t like people that are needlessly cruel/selfish and then expect to be treated like they’re a good person.

        • Zorae42

          I mean, I wouldn’t turn down the FISS superpowers – they’re still really good. I just wouldn’t call them “the best”.

          • Lisa Izo

            Oh I know they’re not the best. They just seem the most straightforward and simple to use without some massive downside to whammy you πŸ™‚

        • palmvos

          Lisa, what we call ‘intelligence’ is a very very broad subject. I have instinctive understanding of how things move other things (gears, belts, bending, etc.) but even in my younger years certain basic elements of computer programming and circuit design were HARD. my father coded for a living before it was a living. my son can code fairly well. my wife can read, write, and analyze what she reads rather well when she chooses too, but she has such a limited understanding of mechanics I finally concluded that she treats all mechanical things as if they were magic. so, just because Lisa can make a motorcycle does not mean she can solve North Korea, fusion, photosynthesis in a ‘jar’. multiple metal 3d printing, or how to start a capitalist based system that will feed the world. in fact that may be why she’s working on AI, because she hopes that it will be able to solve these things.

          • Lisa Izo

            I’m not even necessarily talking intelligence in all of its forms. Even if her intelligence is limited to inventing technology, she’d still be massively underusing her abilities (or should be in Alison’s eyes if she wasnt such a hypocrite). From how she’s talked about her intelligence in the past, and how she’s talked about her inventions, it hasnt really struck me as her treating it like magic, or like how Sylar sees things. She strikes me a lot more like Forge, who does similar things with his super-intellignce (except he also does stuff like creates time machines to try to literally save the world, create cures to plagues, etc)

          • palmvos

            the reality is that most of the really big problems in the world, cant be solved purely by technological solutions. most involve people. Lisa Bradley is not who can solve them. that guy who just puked on the carpet and has snowflake scars is actually the best equipped. however, his morals are about as questionable as the kid with cookie all over his face denying he ate any.

          • Lisa Izo

            I do think giving everyone who lost limbs/can’t walk/can’t see artificial limbs/eyes/etc is something that CAN be solved by technological solutions. Better than a mind reader can.

            Since Lisa solved that for herself already. Without solving it for other people as well. Again… no one should force her. But Alison did force someone else to do something against his will ‘for the greater good.’ And I don’t see her forcing Lisa to do the same thing. She could eliminate paralysis and blindness and traumatic injuries from the entire planet, if only Alison would threaten to murder her. πŸ™‚

          • palmvos

            you think too small. the reality is the major innovation Lisa has on her limb is direct connection to the nerves. which… wait for it…. we just about have now.

            and i did a little digging and….

            http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/next/tech/durable-prostheses/
            (3 year old article)
            https://www.newscientist.com/article/2120461-amputees-control-virtual-prosthetic-arm-using-nerve-signals/

            its not the technology, its the usability. even this isn’t purely a technological problem.

          • Lisa Izo

            I just thought of another power which would be… sort of gamebreakingly useful in real life. Probability manipulation, when taken to its extreme. You could basically be omnipotent if you could alter the probability of different events happening.

            I want a billion dollars without anyone getting hurt and without doing anything illegal, by the end of the hour, tax free. Probability of this is .0000000000001%. Change that probability to 100%.

            I’m hungry, I really would like my refrigerator to be filled with my favorite foods, despite that I havent gone shopping and I don’t feel like cooking. Probability = 0%. Change that probability to 100%.

            I’d like to have Alison lose all of her superpowers permanently right now for unforeseen reasons which will not harm anyone else. Probability of that is .000002282%. Change that to 100%.

            I’d like to create a cure to cancer by accident while I’m making some key lime pie, which can be duplicated because I will discover the exact recipe. Probability = 0%. Change that to 100%. Here you go, Alison’s dad, you’re cured.

            I’d like to have Feral’s motorcycle ready to be driven. Probability = -12%. I know that makes no sense. Okay there are some limitations to this power apparently.

          • palmvos

            that power is almost the perfect murder weapon. there is an infinitesimal but nonzero chance that the electrons in Alison’s body will move to her immediate right. (the left is for her underwear) once that happens Alison’s body will completely cease to exist. no DNA, no blood, no body. just an enormous electrical discharge. but your motives are far from pure so…
            ::takes the cup of tea away from Izo::
            hey this tea is cold!

        • Todd

          This is assuming her gadgets could even be made by someone else.

          I recall a mention in the Wild Card series of books that people who had become gadgeteers due to the wild-card virus made things that worked, even contrary to physical laws, but those same things couldn’t be created by others viz Modular Man’s creator. Paladin’s power could be something like that.

          And, in response to Psile, remember: Alison’s powers seem to be TK in origin. She could end up like Unus the Untouchable if her powers grow beyond her control.

          • Lisa Izo

            I’m assuming her inventions can be made by other people, given the deal with Templar. They made giant robots based on her schematics and patents. I’m assuming she isnt making giant robots for Templar directly, given her hatred of Templar.

        • A day late…

          Hi Lisa. Two thoughts. Thought the First:
          There are different kinds of intelligence (as mentioned below). The girl gifted in math may not be skilled in understanding people, The boy Mozart may not understand architecture. So a super intelligence in engineering may not be applicable to other fields.

          Thought the Second:
          You asked why Lisa Bradley doesn’t give her money or patents away (she could still manage personal wealth). One answer is that she may simply not want to, of course. But there’s another – she may have a vision which requires accumulating as much wealth in a short time as is reasonable. A real life example is Elon Musk, who is building a complete technological ecosystem which will provide an escape from our disastrous use of fossil fuels. Solar house roof tiles, battery energy storage, electric vehicles, charging stations. Space X may be a side project (!), I dunno. If he were giving much of his wealth away, he would still be a comfortable millionaire, but not be able to build the totality of alternative-to-fossil-fuels that he is building. Maybe Lisa B. has some similar big picture.

          • Lisa Izo

            “There are different kinds of intelligence (as mentioned below). The girl gifted in math may not be skilled in understanding people, ”

            Yes, and i’m saying that her particular intelligence – inventing things – could be easily used to help the world on a wide scale. But she hasn’t.

            “You asked why Lisa Bradley doesn’t give her money or patents away (she could still manage personal wealth)”

            Actually I just suggested that if she wanted to get around Templar’s legal hold on her inventions (which I’ve in the past mentioned is sort of dumb from a purely legal perspective since that contract seemed to be easily made voidable) is to just not patent the inventions in the first place and just make them available to everyone on the internet or in the public records. Patents are just a legal construct used to prevent other people from cashing in on your invention ideas for a short period of time. You don’t HAVE to patent something you invent if your goal is to get it out to the public and don’t care about making a profit off the idea.

            ” One answer is that she may simply not want to, of course.”

            Yep. In which case, based on Alison’s rules for Max, Lisa is just as bad and should be forced under threat of bodily harm.

            “But there’s another – she may have a vision which requires accumulating as much wealth in a short time as is reasonable. ”

            She probably wouldnt be starting a non-profit with Alison if accumulating as much wealth as possible was the main goal. But lets assume she did have a goal of accumulating wealth. She can make a bunch of patents that have no military application, let either Templar buy them or if they don’t, let others buy the patent rights, and quickly make money that way. THEN once she has enough money, she can just release other schematics for her ‘make hte world a better place’ goals, if she has any such goals that don’t involve her also getting rich in the process.

            “A real life example is Elon Musk, who is building a complete technological ecosystem which will provide an escape from our disastrous use of fossil fuels.”

            I’m going to get so much hate for saying this, but most of Elon Musk’s ideas are scientifically flawed or impractical, and at the very least are not profitable. Tesla, Hyperloop, SolarCity – only Tesla was even somewhat commercially practical, and overall it hasn’t done very well. The other two – they’re scientifically impractical so far… especially the Hyperloop. Elon’s best invention so far has been Paypal, although I do think SpaceX has real possibilities – but most of Elon’s inventions are only possible because he gets massive grants from the government that prop up his company. If the government didn’t fund him so much, he wouldn’t have much money if not for his sale of Paypal.

          • Arkone Axon

            Even if most of Musk’s ideas are impractical/flawed, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t come up with some real gems. I think the main reason Tesla has failed to do particularly well thus far is organized and orchestrated opposition by the automobile industry and the petroleum industry; they HATE Musk with a passion.

            http://bgr.com/2016/04/26/ferrari-vs-tesla-electric-cars-obscene/

            Tesla is actively fighting to be able to sell to consumers. The cars simply aren’t AVAILABLE to a majority of people. Because it’s an undeniably superior product – faster, more reliable, safer, more economical – and so the response by the larger competitors has been to try to foil it at every turn.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesla_US_dealership_disputes

          • Lisa Izo

            Musk’s ideas might be interesting general concepts, but when he tries to put them into action, most of them are incredibly impractical or don’t work when you take actual scientific principals or economic realities into account. SolarCity and the Hyperloop, are probably two of the most impractical ideas, which he would never even be able to START without massive government grants which are basically money sinks for taxpayer money. He spreads his ideas around so much that he doesn’t focus on the few ideas he has which would be useful AND practical and cost-efficient, like SpaceX. As for Tesla, it doesn’t even do what is advertised. It gets lousy mileage. It’s more of a status symbol than a useful vehicle. And it’s been teetering on the edge of bankruptcy for years, and would have gone bankrupt and taken all of Musk’s businesses with it if not for the government continually propping him up with literally billions of dollars (4.9 billion dollarsi n subsidies from the government), which is sort of insane when you think about it.

        • If Lisa cracks generic AI, then that’s an immense force-multiplier to apply to every problem we face, or will ever face.

          • Lisa Izo

            Yes, it worked so well for Skynet and various Star Trek episodes with Lore and Data and I Robot and Humans and Dark Matter and pretty much most fiction involving AI πŸ™‚ /s

        • Arkone Axon

          I had to go through the thread to see what you were getting at, with regards to how people are judging Max unfairly but give Lisa a pass.

          But I do disagree with the idea of her wasting her powers for three reasons.

          1: You never know what will be a useful discovery. Her development of A.I. capable of understanding humor could lead to a mastery of comedy that could itself bring about world peace (i.e. an extension of something Tim Allen learned in prison, when he used his gift for comedy to avoid being beaten by the larger, nastier inmates). Or to an entirely different view of the world, a new way of seeing things that leads to all kinds of revolutionary discoveries and philosophical realizations.

          2: It is, as we both agree, her time, energy, and powers to use as she sees fit. She wants to build robots. Ergo, she has every right to build robots. I’m sure I’ll take some flak for mentioning Libertarianism (on account of it having been hijacked by Objectivists who think “limited and restricted government” means “no government oversight to prevent the wealthy and powerful from doing whatever they want”), but the whole concept of Libertarianism can be boiled down to “do whatever you want, as long as you’re not hurting anyone else. And then have just enough government to make sure everyone’s free to do as they please without being oppressed by anyone else.” Where things get murky is with regards to “how much government is enough?” (personally, I’ve increasingly come to agree with progressive/socialist ideas on the matter; in Star Trek nobody has to work to eat, but everybody works because they want to do something meaningful) But compulsions and restrictions and the draft are… the opposite of a free society. She wants to use her gifts to do something that makes her happy and makes her feel fulfilled; that’s something everyone should have.

          3: Lisa, Alison, Max, and Patrick (and Brad, Mary, Daniel, Tara, Hector, Amanda, and Chris) all have one thing in common. They received their powers as CHILDREN. Children who were then forced to come to terms with their powers in a world full of adults who should have known better but had long since decided not to care. Some of them were recruited into becoming child soldiers working for the establishment. Others tried to rebel against the establishment (notice how all of Patrick’s henchmen – or allies, as he calls them – were social outcasts, like that poor rat guy that Alison locked in a dumpster for laughs). Some became murderers, some became saviors, and some just tried to achieve some semblance of a normal life. Throughout only a few of them had genuinely decent role models (and even then the influence of said role models was limited. I don’t think Alison’s father was able to do much against a four star general purring, “good job! Don’t worry about the people in that building, collateral damage is always a part of it!”). So Lisa was stuck finding her own way… I find it notable that she doesn’t even bother with her suit of armor much anymore, having found other things to do with her time. She’s trying to find a better way, and she has no one to help her find it.

          • Lisa Izo

            I was using the ‘wasting her powers’ argument to support the whole ‘treat Max and Lisa the same way’ argument actually πŸ™‚ I don’t actually disagree with anything you’ve written here.

        • MrSokar

          If her lab has shown us anything is that Ego is one this she has in abundance.

  • That suggests he could control other people after all. Otherwise he would have an easy way to know which body was his.

    • Missing

      He’s mentioned before that his mind-reading was quite a bit deeper than basic surface thoughts. He could actually acquire knowledge and skills with mild effort. And since he can’t read his own mind, I imagine it would actually be difficult at times to keep track.

      • Lance Allen

        You know, I have to wonder about that whole “you can’t read your own mind” thing, especially in light of what we’re seeing in these last few pages.

        I think it’s probably an incorrect understanding on Ali’s part, that he can’t read his own mind. I think it’s more a matter of being unable to separate his own thoughts from those around him.

        He has drives and motivations, and he acts upon them, but I think those drives and motivations are as much a reaction to everything he feels from the people around him as they arise from his own thoughts. If you could read the secret thoughts of everyone around you, especially with the inherent negative bias that humans have, you’d have a very cynical view on life, and very likely a very “all this has to go” attitude, too.

        So when Patrick chooses to do something, and puts it into motion, it’s one part “logical” reaction to what his senses tell him, and one part “Oh, that’s *my* thought? Okay.”

        • Lisa Izo

          Good analysis.

        • DonSimpson

          I was thinking that if Patrick could read his own thoughts, he would read that he was reading his own thoughts, and then read that he was reading that he was reading his own thoughts, and so on, until his brain froze up.

    • The way I read it, it suggests the opposite. He can read minds, feel what other people are feeling, sense what they’re sensing, but the only body he can make do anything is his own. If you’re feeling and sensing everything that another person is feeling and sensing and you can’t turn it off, how do you tell which set of feelings and senses actually belong to your body? It’s the body you can actually make feel or sense something. And the easiest, most intense way to do that to yourself? Pain.

    • Eve

      Anyone else thinking of Le Guin’s “Vaster Than Empires And More Slow” at this point?

      • Tylikcat

        Not until you mentioned it…

        • Ray Radlein

          Well now we know that YOU can’t read minds at least

  • Wouldn’t just pinching himself have done less lasting harm? Or if that’s not persistent enough, maybe wear a rubber band around his wrist tight enough to make welts?

    • Missing

      He could likely pick up the pain from other people, so pinching isn’t sufficiently unique. I imagine the scars are the waking version of the top from Inception for him.

      • Oh, that’s an interesting analogy. OTOH cutting would match sensation and visual action, so any pain stimuli should be sufficiently individual. OTGH cutting as a form of self harm is a common manifestation.

      • palmvos

        and the size makes sense- he needs a big enough and ordered enough pattern that it won’t be duplicated. and cutting would be better than tattoos because A. more sensation, and B. continuing sensation. he was probably trying to make it so he ‘feels’ the scars as he moves.

    • That’s not really an analysis of cutting that hangs together. There’s an awful lot of people out there doing exactly what Patrick did as a reaction to the other stuff going on in their lives.

  • Kid Chaos

    It looks like Patrick’s powers are out of control, kind of like Prof. X in “Logan”. πŸ‘Ώ

  • Oh right. For some reason I thought they were like in the shape of snowflakes and someone with ice-powers was trying to freeze his abdomen or something.

    • Kid Chaos

      I always knew that Patrick was a special snowflake. 😜

    • LlubNek

      probably just figured if he’s gonna scar himself it might as well look neat.

  • Walter

    Oh Patrick, we can’t quit you. Shine on, you crazy diamond.

    • thebombzen

      Remember when you were young? You… drew on your body to remember which was yours…?
      Β―_(ツ)_/Β―
      Shine on, you crazy diamond.

  • Lheticus Videre

    Oh, NOW I get it. Patrick’s powers increased so much that he actually got a glimpse of the fourth wall, the fact that he’s a character in a webcomic, and it drove him batshit insane. That’s why he was able to recognize the symbolism to us, the audience. of Alison “looking down on him.”

  • Urthman

    I really love the way these one-sided conversations with Patrick go. (Although I feel slightly insulted that the artist felt the need to have him do James McAvoy’s silly I’m-Using-My-Telepathy gesture in panel two.)

    • E. Howell

      I think that was more of an expression of “Are you kidding me right now!?” incredulity?

    • StClair

      not just McAvoy’s. It’s the Pstandard Psychic Pstance. πŸ™‚

    • palmvos

      I do that when I have a headache. he may have one.

  • Patrick_GETS_me

    YES! Today’s last panel might be the best in the entire comic so far. I love the complete transformation of Patrick, he allowed on tiny bit of self-doubt in and now instead of hearing other people’s thoughts and using them to manipulate or be smugly superior, he’s hearing Allison’s judgement and pity and it’s only feeding his downward spiral.

    • I’d have said he actually reclaimed a little bit of control by having to explain something to her she probably should have known.

      • palmvos

        in retrospect, yes it is obvious. but, I suspect it even took the authors a while to realize that side effect. its such a basic concept that most people don’t realize that it is a concept.

        • MisterTeatime

          There was a title-text in Chapter 2 about how, on a busy road surrounded by other drivers, Patrick could probably drive blindfolded. So they’ve known almost since the start that he has passive access to other people’s senses. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve had this in mind for a long time.

  • AdamBombTV

    You know, he looks good in green.

  • Miyto

    You know, rather than “intentional self harm,” his intent seems closer to “doing his own tatoos.” Patrick made those as a meaningful piece of art that gives him a sense of agency and reminds himself that he is not just the sum of everyone else’s experience he is his own special snowflake. So long as he has the right skills with a knife and a clean blade, this is probably as safe a getting a new tatoo and would enable him to add on to the snowflakes whenever he felt the need.
    While ignoring enculturation and trying to view it from his perspective, I’d say this was a healthy act of self expression.

    .

    .

    .

    Please don’t flame over this post

    • Todd

      It certainly skates an interesting line between self-expression, self-help, self-hurt, and self-awareness . . . .

    • Tylikcat

      I don’t know if healthy or unhealthy are even appropriate post-facto judgements. Not all of the things you do to get through a shitty part of your life have to be perfect. They don’t even have to be good. They still might have helped you get through it.

      Given that Alison’s reaction is not voluntary, I’m trying to articulate why it bothers me so much. Imagine that what was uncovered were scars from some accident or battle. Yes, she’d be worried, and curious, but she’d also feel compassion, and a social obligation not to stare and not to shame him. (Granted, Patrick would hear everything.) They both went through traumatic teenage years. It’s a thing.

      This is equally the evidence of… well, I don’t even want to choose the word trauma, just because Patrick gets to choose his own words. Yes, it’s self inflicted, but shit happened, it was a while ago, he lived. It may or may not be relevant to current shit.

      But this is shit that is shighly stigmatized, so it’s okay for Alison to have a giant reaction. Which, again, isn’t entirely her fault, but oh, it makes me weary.

      • StClair

        I don’t think it’s even the cutting that she’s reacting to; it’s learning that as a younger man, he would (often!) lose track of himself, his own body, so completely that this was the method he chose to find his way back. That he had to (or at least chose to) resort to something this extreme as a tether, a trail of breadcrumbs. That his personal boundaries and sense of self were that thin and fragile, as a direct result of his biodynamism.

        • Tylikcat

          Well, it was both – she was sad, and he tried to reassure her / explain, and then she was even more sad.

        • Lance Allen

          I think the saddest thing, honestly, is Patrick’s ability to read thoughts more easily than he can think his own, but he seems to lack the understanding that comes with it; He gets that she feels it’s “more sad” but he’s obviously flabbergasted by this feeling, rather than grokking the underlying social assumptions and the empathy that contribute to it.

          • palmvos

            it may be impossible for him to understand. it is important to realize that at his core he is normal . his ability to read thoughts is as much a part of him as his hearing and is just as subtle. for example I acknowledge that the hearing tests and other things say that my hearing is different (less sensitive) than normal. but emotionally i don’t really believe it. he probably can’t conceive of what it is like to only know your own thoughts.

            blank! i want those italics!

          • AshlaBoga

            Patrick knows many things, but he Grokks almost nothing at all

          • palmvos

            i dispute that. he understands some things better than many people ever will. his views on psychology are probably very interesting. its just that some things are hard for him.

      • Alison’s reactions, sad then sadder, seem consistent with falling into the mistake of seeing the cutting as the problem, not a symptom of the problem/coping mechanism. I suspect she’s probably going to take a while to work her way through the logic.

        • Danygalw

          ?
          “something went terribly wrong for him”
          ->
          “oh no it was even worse”

        • alllright

          It seems to me that the sad then sadder response is actually the opposite of this–what makes it sadder is recognizing the problem, rather than merely seeing the symptom. Having to use self-cutting as a survival mechanism is sad (even if just because it implies that one required a survival mechanism, which is to say that there was something one had to survive). But if the thing that one needed to *survive* was the possibility of forgetting which body is actually yours! That’s way sadder–and that’s the origin, not the symptom. Or, maybe the origin is his power, or whatever. But still.

    • I don’t think it was just self-expression, though. I think he was literally losing the sense of proprioception, the sense of “I am this body”, due to his superpowers. We talk about “finding out who I am”, but for young Patrick that was more than a figure of speech. Self-inflicted harm, and pain, become then a certainty: it hurts more when I do this to this body, this body is me.

      He just chose to do this self-pain in an artistic way, due to teen Patrick being a lovable cute gothboi. But the art is secondary: the primary driver is proprioception.

    • Raven Black

      “So long as he has the right skills with a knife”

      … or someone nearby does. πŸ˜€

  • StClair

    Some people are naturally introverted, shy and awkward. They have to learn how, and push themselves, to be social.
    Others are naturally outgoing, friendly, social chameleons. But what color is a chameleon, or a mirror? For some, the real challenge is learning to pick themselves out in a crowd.

    (I’m an example of the former, while one of my brothers is the latter. Fortunately, the person he eventually figured out he was is pretty cool.)

    • Rando

      A mirror is white to white-green depending on its quality.
      A chameleon is leaf green to brown depending on the species.

      Get what you are going for, but both those examples actually have answers. πŸ˜›

  • Hiram

    That’s pretty much the rational behind a lot of tattoo though. People taking control of themselves however they can. He applied an even hand to it. If he ever grows chest hair the scars may do some strange things, though.

  • S.I. Rosenbaum

    oh god

  • Zorae42

    Looks like the family reunion shirt had a name on it after all.

    • Lysiuj

      The Green family appreciate puns. I knew there was something I liked about them.

      • Rando

        At the expense of explaining the joke, what is the pun? I feel I may be missing it from not having any family to have reunions with.

        • Zorae42

          Maybe the color of the shirt?

  • Olivier Faure

    Patrick, if you don’t want people to get sad looking at you, vomiting on their carpets and smelling bad enough that they need to give you a change of clothes are bad first steps. Aren’t you supposed to be a millionaire?

    • Rando

      You don’t get “vomit on your ex’s drunk” in your Armani outfit.

  • That overly precise speech pattern when you know you’re drunk and trying to logic your way through it.

  • Lance Allen

    Does anyone ever think that part of the reason Patrick talks so much, in such complex patterns, is that it’s another way of knowing which voice is his? Which thoughts are his? His mini-diatribe in Panel 3 smacks of talking just to hear himself talk, but in a very viscerally literal sense. When he’s speaking, he’s adding another sense or two to differentiate which thoughts are his, rather than the dozens, or hundreds, of other thoughts he’s sensing. It’s like the cutting, but in a verbal rather than physical sense.

    • Danygalw

      …oh boy.

    • Todd

      Interesting idea, and it seems reasonable (especially given his little monologue on Bugs/Daffy/Elmer and Wile E. Coyote/Road Runner). However, it’s entirely possible that he’s just a really smart fellow who’s trying to unpack his thoughts into discrete bits to make the whole easier to digest/follow (and while Alison’s smart enough, I don’t think she’s in his league). I’ve seen roughly the same thing happen when specialists (used loosely here to mean a member of a group that uses language coded for other group-members) who are used to explaining things talk to non-specialists about something technical in their areas of expertise.

      • Cori J.

        It think he’s incredibly specific with language because he wants his thoughts to be understood as clearly as possible without having to repeat himself. Consider the fact that, from puberty, he could instantly know with certainty whether his words conveyed his thoughts properly to the listener. He’s had lots of practice twisting language to be understood, or carefully misunderstood as it suited him.

        His understanding of others is instantaneous; everyone around him is limited by the filter of verbal and physical communication. So when he’s trying to get a complex point across, it’s laborious. Radical download/upload rate ratio.

        • Missing

          That is an awesome revelation of the social side-effects of telepathy.

    • Stephanie Gertsch

      Also, since he is now aware that he cannot hear his own thoughts, talking out loud might be his way of figuring out what he really thinks. A lot of people journal or record themselves as a way of processing their thoughts. Poor Patrick was so distraught at the realization he couldn’t hear his own, I can imagine that he might want to speak out loud.

      On the other hand, he’s always been given to elaborate speeches so it was probably his habit even before he knew he couldn’t read his own thoughts.

      • Tylikcat

        I wonder if he can’t hear his own narrative consciousness – that strikes me as both unlikely and extraordinarily maladaptive. Maybe? But he is able to pick up on other people’s motivations and deeper thinking, which seems a lot more plausible as something he’d be blind to in himself. (He clearly is blind to at least that much in himself.)

        • AshlaBoga

          He may be more aware of other people’s inner workings than his own. And like someone who’s brilliant at almost every subject, but average at one, he may avoid the more difficult activity of self-analysis

    • Olivier Faure

      Maybe it’s the opposite, and Patrick viscerally likes to talk because it allows him to “see” himself by echoing through other people’s minds?

      • AshlaBoga

        “Thinking of you” may refer to Patrick as said you. He’s listening to people think about him

    • Dwight Williams

      Something that didn’t occur to me until you raised the question…

  • Lisa Izo

    I really like the expression on Alison’s face in the second to last panel. It really does look like she is thinking ‘Oh god that’s even more sad!’

  • Cori J.

    is…is no one gonna comment on the Charles Xavier pose

    • Rando

      I already called it a few comics back. He was turning Clevin into a dog.

    • Arkone Axon

      That’s not a Charles Xavier pose, that’s a Ricky Rickardo pose. “Aie yi yi yi!”

  • AustinC123

    I’ve been meaning to post this on these boards for a while. Seems relevant.
    http://www.vulture.com/2017/08/the-toxic-drama-of-ya-twitter.html

    • palmvos

      that isn’t even remotely on topic.

      • Todd

        palmvos, why do you think it’s irrelevant?

        • palmvos

          this was an article about a YA book, that featured fantasy racism that a reviewer wrote a 9000 word essay against because of how the racism was presented. this comic although bio-dynamism is represented as a racial analog, isn’t really about that. also- i come here to read discussions of the comic above. other than the VOTE announcements there aren’t a lot of get the word out things around here.

    • Todd

      Austin, why do you think it’s relevant?

      • Cyrano111

        I imagine the suggestion is that it is relevant for observations like this, involving other people, elsewhere:

        One author and former diversity advocate described why she no longer
        takes part: β€œI have never seen social interaction this fucked up,” she
        wrote in an email. β€œAnd I’ve been in prison.”

      • AustinC123

        Sorry, I should have been more clear – I had little time and had meant to throw this up for a while.

        There seems to be a general impetus in these replies to comics to take issue with the story itself for the failings of the characters and the lack of apparent consequence for those failings. The following quotes from the article resonate most strongly with me in this regard:

        “if children’s-book publishing is no longer allowed to feature an unlikable character, who grows as a person over the course of the story, then we’re going to have a pretty boring business.”

        “It was this premise that led Sinyard to slam The Black Witch as β€œracist, ableist, homophobic, and … written with no marginalized people in mind,” in a review that consisted largely of pull quotes featuring the book’s racist characters saying or doing racist things.”

        • Danygalw

          That’s an over-simplification of Sinyard’s argument.

          • AustinC123

            That may be true, I haven’t read the original review, just this article.

  • Anna

    Anyone have a feeing Clevin is gonna walk in soon and realize that Allison has known exactly who Menace is this entire time and their relationship is going to implode? Just me? Okay.

    • Cyrano111

      I don’t know about the implosion – Clevin might not have as visceral a reaction to the news as, say, Hector would – but as soon as Patrick arrived I began wondering whether there was a way she could explain his presence that did not at least implicitly involve outing him as Menace.

    • MrSokar

      I don’t see any reason why Clevin would have any idea who Patrick is or Al spilling his secret to anyone.

  • Jac

    It’s like a nametag at a party! Wait, which name was mine?

  • Renee Lucero Ramirez

    I think I get it. He said his mind reading was deeper than just reading thoughts, so I assume the guy could feel other people’s emotions, pain, happiness and thoughts, he can feel their hole being, and when you’re unable to turn it off, it could be that he would loose himself, not knowing which thoughts and feelings where his or other people’s because he felt so connected to all of them, so he eventually forgot to actually listen to his own thoughts or allow himself to pay attention to his own emotions when this was all buried under everyone else’s shit. So the easiest way to remind himself who he was, which was his body, was with physical pain. He had no way of knowing which where HIS thoughts or if they where just someone else’s cause everybody else’s thoughts feel as real as his own to him.

  • Renee Lucero Ramirez

    I adore this comic…I never thought about this interpretation of mind reading, it’s amazing and mind blowing.

  • screechfox

    This page is tragic and sad, but I do want to appreciate how incredulous Patrick looks in that last panel. As someone who struggles with empathy sometimes, I find that panel sort of morbidly hilarious, and kind of relatable.

    (Admittedly, me and Patrick are kind of on different pages empathy-wise, given that Patrick is literally hyper empathic to the point that, y’know, he can’t read himself.)

  • Abel Undercity

    Oh, God, I just pictured if the drunks I’ve known in my day were telepathic…

  • Mouser

    Body Mods? Not sad.
    Body Mods do you can tell “you’re you”? Probably understandable if you’re were in his shoes.

  • Hiram

    Here’s Patrick talking about snowflakes, since that seems relevant to this page –
    http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-5/page-106/

    Hm, does anyone else think he might be misrepresenting when these scars were made? When Allison suggested he could not read his own mind he reacted like that ‘couldn’t be so’ despite the fact that maintaining his individual sense of identity is something he’s struggled with all along? Something doesn’t add up. Am I paranoid to think the showing up a stinking wreck was done with some underhanded intention?

    • palmvos

      no you are not. Patrick is most definitely manipulative. It hasn’t been a year since the mug incident in comic so I like many find this fall hard to believe without some external agency. the new york postal service maybe?

  • McFrugal

    Hmm… I think that would be less sad if he was able to hop bodies.

    That would explain why he’s drunk, too. He spent too much time in the body of an alcoholic (guess who!) and picked up the habit.

  • JohnTomato

    Willfully obtuse

    Yes, he’s an American.

    • Arkone Axon

      He’s actually talking about her taking his words literally, “looking down on him.” In other words… she’s the American. :p

  • Zorae42

    I can’t tell if I want to accept that he has fallen so far after she dumped him. Or if I want to believe that this is all some sort of play to get back in her good graces. After the stuff he said to her, how else could he have gotten her to not immediately demand answers and then throw him in jail/care about his well being other than showing up in such a pathetic state?

    And letting her see those scars? Yes, ‘let’. Most people (or at least self-conscious ones) wait for the change of clothes before getting undressed and then do so privately. He could be not even remotely self-conscious and not notice the scars anymore/not realize how she’d feel about them. Or he could have shown them to her in order to humanize himself and get her to feel compassion for him.

    • Arkone Axon

      1: he’s DRUNK. You’re assigning cold blooded calculation to a guy who puked on the rug.

      2: He DID have privacy when he started undressing. She brought the change of clothing in while he was stripping down.

      3: Technically she should have thrown him into jail when she first confronted him. Or at least brought him to her team so they could make decisions what to do with him, as a team.

      • Zorae42

        1: He could be ACTING. I’m assigning possible cold blooded calculation to a guy that is highly skilled in manipulating people and believes the ends justify the means.

        2: I fail to see how an open door is private. Again, why would you start stripping when you still need to get the new set of clothes from someone? Unless you don’t care about them seeing you. Hence, ‘let’.

        I’m just making up speculation that would explain his current actions while maintaining his previous characterization as a manipulative bastard. Legit character growth seems more likely than such complex calculations. Although both options seem appealing storywise (long cons are fun, character growth is good).

  • MrSokar

    I have to say, catching up on over a year of this comic in one sitting is a lot to take in.

  • Lisa Izo

    Is anyone else having their computer start to freeze when they type in these comments, no matter which computer they use?

    • Tylikcat

      I think Disqus is overloaded (or, at least, there’s something going wrong affecting performance there). I’ve found it useful to type my comments into a separate editor and then cut and paste them in.