Issue 1CoverPage 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10Page 11Page 12Page 13Page 14Page 15Page 16Page 17Page 18Page 19Page 20Page 21Page 22Break Issue 2CoverPage 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10Page 11Page 12Page 13Page 14Page 15Page 16Page 17Page 18Page 19Page 20Page 21Page 22Page 23Page 24Page 25Page 26Page 27Page 28Page 29Page 30Page 31Page 32Page 33Page 34Page 35Page 36Page 37Page 38Page 39Page 40Page 41Page 42Page 43Page 44Page 45Page 46Page 47Page 48Page 49Page 50 Issue 3CoverPage 1Page 2Page 3HolidayPage 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10Page 11Page 12Page 13Page 14Page 15Page 16Page 17Page 18Page 19Page 20Page 21page 22Page 23Page 24Page 25Page 26Page 27Page 28Page 29Page 30Page 31p 32Page 33Page 34Page 35Page 36Page 37Page 38Page 39Page 40Page 41Page 42Page 43Page 44Page 45Page 46Page 47Page 48Page 49Page 50Page 51Page 52Page 53Page 54Page 55Page 56Page 57Page 58Page 59Page 60Page 61Page 62Page 63Page 64Page 65Page 66Page 67Page 68Page 69Page 70Page 71Page 72Page 73Page 74Page 75Page 76Page 77Page 78 Guest ArtTuesdayWednesdayFriday Issue 4CoverPage 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10Page 11Page 12Page 13Page 14Page 15Page 16Page 17Page 18Page 19Page 20Page 21Page 22Page 23Page 24Page 25Page 26Page 27Page 28Page 29Page 30Page 31Page 32Page 33Page 34Page 35Page 36Page 37Page 38Page 39Page 40Page 41Page 42Page 43Page 44Page 45Page 46Page 47Page 48Page 49Page 50Page 51Page 52 Issue 5CoverPage 1Page 2NewspaperPage 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10Page 11Page 12Page 13Page 14Page 15Page 16Page 17Page 18Page 19Page 20Page 21Page 22Page 23Page 24Page 25Page 26Page 27Page 28Page 29Page 30Page 31Page 32Page 33Page 34Page 35Page 36Page 37Page 38Page 39Page 40Page 41Page 42Page 43Page 44Page 45Page 46Page 47Page 48Page 49Page 50Page 51Page 52Page 53Page 54Page 55Page 56Page 57Page 58Page 59Page 60HiatusPage 61Page 62Page 63Page 64Page 65Page 66Page 67Page 68Page 69Page 70Page 71Page 72Page 73Page 74Page 75Page 76Page 77Page 78Page 79Page 80Page 81Page 82Page 83Page 84Page 85Page 86Page 87Page 88Page 89Page 90Page 91Page 92Page 93Page 94Page 95Page 96Page 97Page 98Page 99Page 100Page 101Page 102Page 103Page 104Page 105Page 106Page 107Page 108Page 109Page 110Page 111Page 112Page 113Page 114Page 115Page 116Page 117Page 118Page 119Page 120Page 121Page 122Page 123Page 124Page 125Page 126Page 127Page 128Page 129Page 130Page 131Page 132Page 133Page 134Page 135Page 136Page 137Page 138Page 139Page 140Page 141Page 142Page 143Page 144Page 145Page 146Page 147Page 148Page 149Page 150Page 151Page 152Page 153Page 154Page 155Page 156Page 157Page 158Page 159Page 160Page 161Page 162Page 163Page 164Page 165Page 166Page 167 Issue 6CoverPage 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10Page 11Page 12Page 13Page 14Page 15Page 16Page 17Page 18Page 19Page 20Page 21Page 22Page 23Page 24Page 25Page 26Page 27Page 28Page 29Page 30Page 31Page 32Page 33Page 34Page 35Page 36Page 37Page 38Page 39Page 40Page 41Page 42Page 43Page 44Page 45Page 46Page 47Page 48Page 49Page 50Page 51Page 52Page 53Page 54Page 55Page 56Page 57Page 58Page 59Page 60Page 61Page 62Page 63Page 64Page 65Page 66Page 67Page 68Page 69Page 70Page 71Page 72Page 73Page 74Page 75Page 76Page 77Page 78Page 79Page 80Page 81Page 82Page 83Page 84Page 85Page 86Page 87Page 88Page 89Page 90Page 91Page 92Page 93Page 94Page 95Page 96Page 97Page 98Page 99Page 100Page 101Page 102Page 103Page 104Page 105Page 106Page 107Page 108Page 109Page 110Page 111Page 112Page 113Page 114Page 115Page 116Page 117Page 118Page 119Page 120Page 121Page 122Page 123Page 124Page 125Page 126Page 127Page 128Page 129Page 130Page 131Page 132Page 133Page 134Page 135Page 136Page 137Page 138Page 139Page 140Page 141Page 142Page 143Page 144Page 145 Bonus Content1234 Issue 7CoverPage 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10Page 11Page 12Page 13Page 14Page 15Page 16Page 17Page 18Page 19Page 20Page 21Page 22Page 23Page 24Page 25Page 26Page 27Page 28Page 29Page 30Page 31Page 32Page 33Page 34Page 35Page 36Page 37Page 38Page 39Page 40Page 41Page 42Page 43Page 44Page 45Page 46Page 47Page 48Page 49Page 50Page 51Page 52Page 53Page 54Page 55Page 56Page 57Page 58Page 59Page 60Page 61Page 62Page 63Page 64Page 65Page 66Page 67Page 68Page 69Page 70Page 71Page 72Page 73Page 74Page 75Page 76Page 77Page 78Page 79Page 80Page 81Page 82Page 83Page 84Page 85Page 86Page 87Page 88Page 89Page 90Page 91Page 92Page 93Page 94Page 95Page 96Page 97Page 98Page 99Page 100Page 101Page 102Page 103Page 104Page 105Page 106Page 107Page 108Page 109Page 110Page 111Page 112 Show Comments Gotham Who is this wretched ghoul and what has it done to Patrick Oakreef I mean he was a super villain… Tsapki And now he is drunk and/or drugged. I mean how many supervillains relapse because they just had one really crappy day? AbacusWizard How many supervillains *become* supervillains because they just had one really crappy day? Scholiast Pretty much every villain in Batman stories. Kid Chaos Speaking of which… 😎 https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&persist_app=1&noapp=1&v=NC16orUje4M Gotham In 3D? What the hell? Are /you/ a supervillain? Kid Chaos Mwahahahahahaha!!! My evil plan is working! 😈 Tylikcat Inclusive of Batman? Scholiast Oh, but of course. Bats is as batty as the rest of them, and he also had that One Bad Day. Weatherheight Or made one really crappy decision whose consequences and implications they didn’t stop to think through in their haste? Gotham Nobody develops such a quick affliction of jaw skeletalization and is not /still/ a super villain. Lysiuj https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7c346833491a63433a834bebe2921d01e7d1c8e11b3bbb7371b84cb27460e23a.png More like pat clev, amirite? (I mean, this is the sort of stuff shippers have field days with!) Cori J. OH GOODY he says. OH GOODY. Kid Chaos This ought to be bad. 👿 Lysiuj This ought to be good… 😉 Kid Chaos I suppose it all depends on your point of view. 😜 Gotham “May I speak frankly, Clevin?” “Sure…?” “Within the hot second I was able to feel the softness of your skin upon mine and to probe your mind, I have become irrevocably infatuated with you and enamored with unforgivable desire of your flesh. While the girls are outside talking, let’s bathe in this bed of sin together.” Lysiuj “You know, Patrick…. If there’s anything I can say… or do… to make you feel better… at the end of the day……” Gotham Finally this webcomic is getting interesting. Cori J. “Clevin, you like movies about gladiators?” BadExampleMan We really should have closed comments at this point. Nothing anyone says after could ever top this. AdamBombTV … Go on… Lysiuj “May I speak frankly” Weatherheight “May I spank freakily?” ::watches as this gets flagged as being completely and utterly inappropriate: (I regret nothing) Lysiuj And this was posted by an ass, no less 😀 palmvos I am mad that I did not see this in time. Kid Chaos Ship it! Ship it good! 😍 Tylikcat …I’m not sure if I’m old enough to be part of this conversation. (Wanders off to be traumatized.) Lysiuj Oh, surely you’ve seen much worse on the internet? Tylikcat It’s possible that I’ve written worse, at least in very short form. Something to do with the way I’m invested in these characters. Zorae42 After not going for Klevin walking in on Alison in a compromising position with Patrick, instead Alison is going to walk in on Klevin and Patrick in a compromising position 😀 Cori J. Panel 2 was the first thing I saw on page load and I laughed SO HARD https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98dai6CC5BA Cori J. LOOK AT THE ENNUI. THE DISDAIN. THE TOTAL BOREDOM. And then the IMMEDIATE devious intrigue that screams, “Child’s play. Watch me tie this poor fool into a knot he and armies of psychologists will never be able to untangle.” He could do this in his sleep. Menace is back, baby! Weatherheight https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0AF8ojt378 Cori J. I am dyyyyyyying this is so perfect Lysiuj I like the transition from Patrick asking to say what he’s thinking, to Alison being told to say what she’s thinking. Magma Sam Y’know, looking at the situation, Alison telling Feral that Patrick is really Menace, and then Feral coming to the conclusion that Alison is being manipulated and running in to tear Patrick apart might not be the worst outcome, because suddenly ‘Patrick being sinister’ is looking very likely. Rando Best. Best train wreck possible. bryan rasmussen Patrick talking to Feral after she says “Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t..” Weatherheight And Patrick gives Tara TEN good reasons, all of which are completely plausible to Tara, which reasons then allow Tara to recontextualize much of Tara’s life, causing Tara to become Patrick’s staunch ally. Mwu-ha-ha. bryan rasmussen That’s the implication. Gotham On a more serious note, the timeline of the story is confusing. I get that Alison intended to lie but I thought the sentence “I hadn’t seen him in years” carried only truth. Especially the event Feral references, wasn’t it /actually/ genuinely years ago? Noah All of issue 6 covered just over 2 months and there’s nothing indicating that the entire rest of the fic covered more than a single semester. Since there isn’t anything indicating that more than a month has passed since the end of issue 6 it is highly unlikely that the entire fic has covered more than a year and a half, and even more unlikely that it’s been an entire year since Allison visited Feral at the hospital. ampg I think we might be in Al’s junior year at this point, and the series started sometime in her first year, so two years might be an acceptable range. Regardless, she definitely saw Patrick within the last year. WizP I was curious about this too… so I spent way too long digging in to it: Quickish version: I’m guessing it’s been less than two years since Feral was attacked, and between 6 months and 10 months since Alison has seen Patrick. To the best of my research (below) Feral was attacked approx 1 year before Issue 6 ends. The last time Alison saw Patrick was approx 4 months before Issue 6 ends. The part we don’t know is how long has lapsed between the end of Issue 6 and the beginning of Issue 7 (which opens the same day we’re currently in.) There is evidence that some time has passed, but it’s hard to tell how much. Issue 6 ended a couple weeks after Lisa accepted the Valkyrie “proposal” and now Valkyrie is being launched, which suggests quite a while (of course a lot of work had been done before the proposal was written… Alison talks about workshops and research and help from her dad and all sorts of stuff in the proposal). Alison/Clevin and Feral/Lisa were both new relationships at the end of Issue 6 and they seem to have deepened somewhat, but obvs relationships happen in all sorts of directions and timelines so there’s not a lot too concrete there. One piece of evidence that suggests that it may not be very long between end of Issue 6 and beginning of 7 is Lisa is just now sharing Rich’s results from research into Gurwara… but maybe that kind of research takes a long time? My guess is between 2 and 6 months have lapsed, but that’s taking some leaps. —- Here’s the long version, of what we know before too much guesswork comes in: There’s 8 months between when Feral was first in the hospital and when Clevin gets cut by Moonshadow http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-5/page-77-2/ Earlier that same morning Alison’d met with her advisor about picking classes, so it seems to be towards the end of a semester http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-5/page-53-2/advisor Probably the same day or the day after Clevin gets cut, Alison sees Patrick for the last time (because she’s trying to track down Moonshadow) http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-5/page-93/ The end of that very long night is also the origins of Valkyrie Clevin’s out of school recovering for a couple months. http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-6/page-30-5/ Although you could read that conversation as Clevin’s been out of school for up to a full semester, the issue began with Alison’s proposal for the course of independent study, which says that she’s done two months of work on Valkyrie so far. So I’m putting time between Clevin getting cut and them seeing each other again at 2-3 months. (To make this all a little shakier: The proposal says it was approved by Lisa on March 1, which doesn’t totally line up in my head with the dates we learn from Karapovsky. Of course, the proposal has a voiceover-type-feel so I feel like it could sort of hover over that whole chunk of time in that issue.) On the same day as that conversation with Clevin where we learn he’s been out for a couple months, she starts her class with Gurwara. The class started on February 4th, as we learn from Karapovsky later (http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-6/page-145-2/) March 18th, when we meet Karapovsky, was the same day that Alison and Clevin hung out in a date-y way for the first time, and the end of Issue 6. So working backward: Issue 6 ends March 18th. It’s been 1.5 months since Clevin came back to school. He came back to school approx 2.5 months after he was cut (that step involves some guesswork). He was cut the same day as the last time Alison saw Patrick, aka approx 4 months before the end of the issue. And 8 months before that was the attack on the hospital, the day after Feral smelled Patrick on Alison. Gotham Okay, chapeau to you, sir. AdamBombTV Things are fine… Everything is fine… Patrick is about to invite Celvin to an all night pasta place in order to get to know him better is all… everything is totally fine… RUN LIKE HELL, CELVIN! Gotham It’s actually Clevin, but I like the mental spinoff adventure where Patrick successfully creates his time machine and bring Clevin with him on social justice battles through time, but their friendship is tenuously tested and ends up breaking and Clevin becomes a super villain called 1st Baron Kelvin (anyone with that name /has/ to have ill intent) in 1848 and creates the Kelvin unit of absolute thermodynamic temperature scale. For evil!! AdamBombTV I want to live inside your mind, maybe build a summer home there. Weatherheight All is well! All is well! Weatherheight Yeah, I thought this might be too obscure… Martine Votvik Wow, Allison must really trust Clevin to be able to handle his own, leaving him alone with the unstable mindreader and all. Kid Chaos She can only handle one crisis at a time, and I guess Feral got dibs. 😸 Weatherheight “Dammit, people, I can only hit one thing at a time!” Loranna Clearly, Alison needs to learn the Earthquake Stomp, the Thunder Clap, the Huff, Puff, And Blow You All Away, and/or the Spinning Clothesline. Personally, I suggest the Spinning Clothesline. The image of Alison twirling around like a mad ginger top brings a smile to my face, plus learning that skill will lead naturally into the Drill Through Ground maneuver! Loranna Weatherheight ::waves a hoof happily at Loranna:: Missed you! Actually had a character who used the Spinning Clothesline as a way to justify an auto-fire attack Loranna Oooh, neat: HERO System, or some other? ::sets out carrots for the burro:: And sorry I’ve been quiet; things have been busy-hectic of late. Loranna Weatherheight Hero System – Speedster. She would run up to the target, plant the forward foot, pirouette while flinging her arms out, then continue to run past. And yes, I did spend 3 points buying immunity to dizziness / vertigo. No need to apologize, I have already forgiven you. 😀 Rando Yay, make him think he is a dog, I want to be right! Rando Also this is seeming more and more like he was super juiced up by the senator lady, in an attempt to screw with Al’s life. Gotham Also, I get that Patrick’s sole focus right now is the wild passion in Clevin’s eyes but, his mind reading is not usually blocked off by brick walls and this is a New York apartment. At best they are three meters apart from each other and he could definitely know what’s up. Heck I’m sure he could hear them talking with normal non-powered human hearing. Shouldn’t he try to prevent his super well kept secrets from spilling? Weatherheight Patrick is a Mastermind with powers. Emphasis on the Mastermind. Everything he does is almost certainly planned. He’s said it before – he doesn’t need mind control to get people to do what he wants. The associated implication is that, whatever it is the he’s doing, he’s doing everything for a reason. He orchestrates, he doesn’t use such crude tools as physical violence. Gotham That would imply that the shagginess, the carpet ruining, the head smashing and the momentous vulnerability were all intentional misdirection. Is it what you take from the previous pages? Weatherheight I trust nothing about Patrick at any time at face value. Manipulators manipulate, even when getting kicked in the teeth by life. This moment with Clevin may be a windfall (and personally, I doubt it’s anything but intentional, although the text clearly neither supports nor denies my head-canon), but Patrick is going to milk it for all he can get out of it. If we assume Clevin•X•Alsion has been going on some time and if we also assume this has stalled out Patrick’s plan, that gives ample time for Patrick to sort out a plan to get things back in motion. I also concede I’m likely spinning moon dust out of pixie farts here. Half the fun of this forum is how wild the speculation can get. Gotham Mostly, I have reservations because it seems like a lot of random and pointless effort and reliance on coincidence if the plan was to encourage Alison to tell the whole truth to Feral. Weatherheight That’s the rub – knowing what he intends to make happen. Practically everything Patrick has done “on screen” has had an obvious end toward which his actions were directed – but there were also other ways to interpret what he was doing, some of which now seem more plausible (the Mug Incident™ being the most obvious). I’m most likely wrong here – but this is fun. ::wiggles his ears deviously:: Stephanie The head bashing is the one thing that isn’t plausible to me as manipulation. I can buy Patrick growing out his hair, not showering for a few days, and putting on a mentally unstable act. But I can’t see him intentionally risking brain damage if it wasn’t absolutely necessary. Besides, if his goal was just to meet Clevin, he could have intercepted him on his way to the drugstore. I don’t see what he gains by smashing himself in the head that he couldn’t get some other way. Gotham Plus if the goal was to meet Clevin, letting Alison tell Feral everything as collateral makes absolutely no sense. Weatherheight Indeed – but the question is, “What is the goal here and what does Patrick believe is required to implement it?” We’ve already seen him risk potentially lethal consequences to achieve a desired outcome a la the Mug Incident™ – had Alison been a bit more accurate and thrown it a bit faster, Patrick might be pushing up daisies now (then again, maybe not – skulls are remarkably resilient). I don’t think Patrick’s goal was “just to meet Clevin” – Clevin’s presence is bonus here. I’m also not sure Alison is the main target here. It’s starting to look like Tara is the one being manipulated and Alison is the tool for doing so.. Then again, I’m a jackass. 😀 :brays in a loud and obnoxious manner, then wiggles his ears mirthfully:: I have to wonder if one of Patrick’s allies might be a precog. I also wonder what the outcome of “copying” the knowledge of all those scientists is – did Patrick achieve that goal and were there side effects. ::waves a hoof happily in greeting in Stephanie’s direction:: Stephanie Sure, it’s possible his real target wasn’t Clevin–but that still brings us back around to “why would he need to smash his head?” For example, if his goal was to convince Alison he needed to go to a hospital (perhaps to get her to call Tara in for help), he was definitely selling past the close there. cvar Goal: Find the person manipulating Menace’s old network and then kill them. “Hello… Clevin.” zellgato i’m 99% sure one all of that but the carpet bit. I think that was improv. I think this was entirely about inserting himself back into her life in a sympathetic “Fix me” situation. Which.. given her recent occurances is something she likely would unknowingly enjoy. control her by giving her control. but i’m also pretty sure Clevin is a brain puppet and has been for a while. and this is gona be updating his programmign or about to set off a trigger. Mayhap the next panel will be Clevin choking him to knock allison off balance. Gotham And the weird dreams and visions are then completely intentional and manufactured for that purpose? zellgato Allison’s dreams? It is likely part of her own power set adapting and learning to defend against mental manipulation. Or. She’s always had taht defense and because of her power upgrade it occasionally slips (like when she flies and becomes less durable). The guy said he could read he always.. but on the reverse he also knows how to read people and somethinga bout her draws him in and all. Arkone Axon Actually, it reminds me of TWO different books, one by Christopher Stasheff and one by Lois Bujold, in which a mind reader looks into someone’s mind… and falls in love with what they find there. So it could be the M/M version of what happened between Tara and Lisa: https://youtu.be/E2tMV96xULk?t=24 Danygalw He is very drunk! Weatherheight Panel one is probably every nice guy’s dread. Which seems only fair, since the final panel on this page is clearly Alison experiencing one of her’s. Charles Moore I just noticed that Patrick is wearing the “Green Family Reunion” tee shirt. So good! Eric Schissel as in CRFH!!! reference?… Just checking… AustinC123 Alison gets accused of a lot of things. Assault. Torture. Manslaughter. I truly believe that leaving Clevin alone with Patrick is the most recklessly irresponsible thing she’s ever done. HanoverFist You say “accused” as if we did’t see her do those things first-hand. Some guy Some people will do some really impressive Olympic level mental gymnastics to excuse the things done by people they like. AustinC123 Boy I wish everyone would stop reiterating whether or not they think Alison is a bad person. It is a boring conversation to have one time, let alone twice a week forever. Scott I don’t know, I kind of think that’s the entire appeal of this comic. Instead of a superhero who can always be counted on to save the day by the end of the arc, let’s see what happens when a superhero has the best of intentions but is always struggling with figuring out what’s the right thing to do. If everyone always agreed with every decision Allison made, this would be a pretty boring comic. Lethologica Agreeing or disagreeing with each decision Alison makes =/= constantly rehashing whether or not Alison is a bad person after every decision (or, often, when no particular decision is being made and people just can’t stand that such a terrible person is daring to kiss her boyfriend or whatever). Scott I don’t know. I think there could still be an interesting discussion there. Maybe you recognize that Allison is trying to do what she thinks is right but feel that the moral perspective she uses to determine what is right is so flawed that she can only be described as a bad person. Maybe you recognize that Allison makes bad choices with horrible consequences but that she does so from an honest intent to improve the world and consider her a good person. Either way, if your only problem is the frequency of the arguments and not their content then…well the only advice I have is to contribute new ideas yourself or to stop reading the threads you recognize as a rehash. You aren’t obligated to read every comment for every new thread so if you frequently find yourself frustrated with the repetitive nature of the conversations, maybe you should start reading something else. I honestly don’t mean to be a dick. I just think that complaining about the content of a comments section (for any reason that isn’t a ToS violation) is about like complaining about the weather; there’s sure to be some people who agree and some who don’t but you’re not going to change anything. That same guy Yeah Alison is probably an imperfect Mostly Good person and without some huge plot twist/reveal/development, that probably isn’t going to change. I can see where discussing whether she is good or bad on each individual’s subjective scale biweekly could get out of hand, but aside from pointing out art errors and arguing about how super powers REALLY work, that’s pretty much what comments sections are for. Rando Nah, she is a pretty terrible person, who thinks she is a good person. Mostly good people don’t maim and torture other people to get their way. JeffH Right. Because she maimed Patrick with that mug. You can see all the maiming now… Rando I never said Patrick? Zinc Well then, who do you she maimed? I’ve been familiar with the claim she maimed Patrick, not anyone else. Still that same guy Maiming is a bit harsh. She threw a cup at him with non-superpowered force and it didn’t leave a scar. Torture is a bit much as well. What she did to Max and Rat would probably just go down as Battery and Extortion. She does and gets away with a lot of shitty things, and isn’t the shining paragon of goodness and light that some people in and outside of the comic seem to think, but overall she’s alright. Arkone Axon What she did to Max and Rat would go down as Assault and Battery, terroristic threats, and (in the case of Max) kidnapping and torture, and (in the case of Rat) kidnapping and reckless endangerment. The problem with Alison is not that she’s a “bad person,” but that she’s spent her whole life being told how awesome she is…nonstop. Constantly buttered up and cajoled by people who were never able to tell her when she was out of line. As a result she behaves not unlike like a Hollywood celebrity – they try to be good people, but no one will tell them when something is a bad idea. http://www.cracked.com/blog/twenty-years-in-the-life-of-mel-gibsons-publicist/ Still that same guy Actually, Rat would be Unlawful Imprisonment, as she didn’t take him anywhere. “Torture” isn’t really an individual crime in America, either… but I’m being pedantic at this point so I’ll knock it off. I disagree on the non-stop praise bit though. Until recently, a thematic element has been that pretty much everyone has been telling her what a horrible jerk she is or has been, with varying degrees of accuracy. Though that did sort of stop when Alison’s efforts towards self-improvement got abandoned. Lisa Izo Actually torture is a crime in the US. 18 USC 2340A and 18 USC 113C Still that same guy Yes. My point was that individuals largely don’t get charged with it (that I could find) in lieu of other charges that are practically identical. I wasn’t as unambiguous as I should have been. Lisa Izo Usually when prosecutors charge people with crimes, they often tend to list as many applicable crimes as possible. Gives more negotiating in case of pleading and in case the defendant doesn’t meet all the requirements in one crime or another. Usually people do not get charged with JUST one crime when torture is involved. I get what you’re saying though. I’m just being a lawyer – sorry, law school warped my ability to argue like normal people argue sometimes 🙂 Arkone Axon “You’re under arrest for child cruelty, child endangerment, depriving children of food, selling children as food and misrepresenting the weight of livestock!” Lisa Izo +1 for quoting Futurama. Arkone Axon Who exactly has told her what a horrible jerk she has been? I don’t mean the comments, obviously – there’s a fourth wall between Alison and us. But who in the comic itself has told Alison off? Still that same guy I don’t think anyone has said “You’re a Jerk”, but from memory… Patrick, Brad, Her ex-roommate (Violet? admittedly not a reliable critic), her sister, her mom, her doctor, Moonshadow, the professor she got fired, whatever Gurwa is/was, some of the people at Brad’s group, Hector (who might have actually called her a jerk, but I’m not going to look to confirm), and various randos, Honestly, I figured a big thing near the beginning of the comic was that everyone but the government was mad at her and she was trying to fix that. But, I also thought her and Violet(?) were going to have a Goofus/Gallant thing going on, wrt Social Justice issues, but that didn’t really happen. Arkone Axon Um… no, none of those people have ever truly called her out. Patrick has been working with her (and pushed her away when she got too close, because he was afraid of her feelings and his own). Brad never actually told her off. Violet was… well, she was a selfish jerk who got Alison kicked out onto the street. Her sister is her little sister (and younger siblings tend to be dismissed, especially when the older sibling is a celebrity). Never heard her mother actually chew her out. Or her doctor. Moonshadow said nasty and untrue things about Alison while trying to murder her because Alison was trying to stop her from murdering the man she’d kidnapped, drugged, and likely tortured (including suggesting that Alison is not a “real” woman; she actually denied Alison’s femininity because Alison doesn’t see herself as a victim). The professor was immediately fired and the worst thing he communicated to Alison was the epiphany that people are genuinely afraid to tell her harsh truths (in this case because when one guy finally did because she accidentally killed the love of his life, his career was derailed by sycophantic administrators). Gurwara… never actually chewed her out (I’m still impressed by him; he got her to chew HERSELF out, but that’s still not the same as someone else saying “you were wrong here”). No one in Brad’s group really talked to her. Hector… was mad at her because he had to give up his childhood dream of being a superhero and they both said things they later regretted; that was a fight, not a chewing out. The only one we saw who was genuinely angry at her (other than the professor) was the hotheaded pyro. Otherwise, we’ve seen people ask for her autograph, show off how they own her action figures, gush over her presence… oh, I do remember one other, a European friend of Feral’s who tried to chew her out (Alison’s response was to make thinly veiled threats of murderous violence). Which is why I linked that satirical article about “Mel Gibson’s Publicist.” There’s also a book I used to own a copy of, “violence, Blunders, and Fractured Jaws” (by Marc MacYoung), about using awareness techniques and… etiquette and courtesy, to avoid violence. In one chapter the author discusses people who use violence to protect others from bullies… and the danger of using violence when it’s not justified, and your friends don’t want to hurt your feelings so they agree “yeah, that jerk had it coming.” And then it progresses from there – with no one telling you “you shouldn’t have used violence on that guy,” until finally someone beats you up – and everyone cheers for the person who beat you up, because you became the bullying jerk and no one warned you during your descent into villainy. Still that same guy The people I listed did criticize her, and to her face. Some have been subtle about it, and some have done so without what either of us would call proper justification (hence the varying degrees of accuracy qualification), but they did do it, which was my point. This is from memory, so maybe some of it is wrong: I believe during the Feral arc, Patrick criticized Alison’s attempts to solve the world’s problems as largely futile. Brad stated flat out that Alison wasn’t a good friend, and later reminded her that his group isn’t a recruiting pool for her. Someone in Brad’s group was upset that Alison gave a speech to abnormal looking people about how they were awesome, or whatever. Her mom criticized her for trying to lesson herself to fit in, and then for pushing others too hard. Both of which were normal parenting, honestly. Fired Professor’s legitimate criticism was that Alison carelessly caused a lot of collateral damage. Gurwa criticized her for being obstinate in class, which is doubly worse in a philosophy class. Hector was mad at her for thinking The Avengers or whatever was beneath her, which did culminated in his dream dying, so that’s sort of 50/50. I don’t remember what I thought the doctor’s problem was, and everyone else’s problems were largely meritless. I only brought them up because Alison was shown to think they were important at the time. I think we are mostly in agreement about the overall effect on her character, Arkone Axon Patrick didn’t criticize Alison’s attempts as futile… in that particular arc. He DID criticize her efforts to solve the world’s problems – and his own (because in his own mind he was less “megalomaniacal supervillain” and more “cocky teenaged revolutionary taking on the establishment with only his wits, his guts, and his friends”) when they first met in the flesh. When he quit, a few days before she unmasked and quit as well. You’re right about the others and their criticism… the problem is that it wasn’t nearly enough, and it was drowned out by the “Alison is awesome you are awesome Alison let us tear into anyone who dares criticize you in any way” crowd. (And that’s NOT the people commenting in Disqus. That’s the people IN THE STORY, who hero worship her and treated her like a teenaged pop singer whose antics grew steadily less forgivable as she grew older). That’s really her biggest problem. She doesn’t have people to slap her upside the head and tell her “you done goofed. Knock that crap off and stop acting as if you’re the center of the universe.” (And yes, I think we’re mostly in agreement) AustinC123 Holy cow, Arkone Axon’s opinion about Alison! Reiterated again and unrelated to the current comic!!! As true as the north star and as nuanced as a straight line. Can’t wait til next week, when we get to hear exactly the same arguments, but this time: again! Arkone Axon Yes, yes. “Hahah! Arkone repeats the facts about Alison’s crimes! Coupled with Arkone commenting on why Alison did bad things while trying to be a good person!” Please do continue with the “personal attack fallacy.” It’s literally the ONLY thing you can use in regards to this topic, and it says more about you then anything I could say. AustinC123 I apologized to Lisa Izo because I realized Lisa Izo wasn’t saying exactly the same thing Lisa Izo always says. You are saying the same thing you always say, which is boring. I am not attacking you, I am saying that your point is the same thing over and over again. Your content has been debated repeatedly – I am not debating your content. That’s my point. I am so, so tired of seeing your content debated. Please stop saying the same thing over and over? Please? These boards would be better if you would stop saying the same thing over and over. Rando You could always just…not read it. Instead of trying to meta-mod the conversation and attack people for wanting to talk about something different than you. Arkone Axon Yes, I’m saying the same thing I always say: “This assertion that Alison’s actions were not really crimes is untrue, here is a reminder of the multiple felonies she committed.” You want me to stop correcting factually untrue statements, convince other people to stop making factually untrue statements. Again: this isn’t me spouting my “opinion,” this is me reiterating inconvenient facts that contradict other peoples’ headcanon. (also, your personal attack – which was a copy/paste of the one you made to Lisa Izo – was exactly that. Including the way you declared “unrelated to the present comic,” as if we weren’t discussing Alison’s behavior and the morality of her decisions, and in a thread where people are specifically discussing the legality of her actions) AustinC123 I suppose,. to the extent that I am associating the point which you say over and over again with you personally, that this is a personal attack, but more than that it is a personal appeal: please stop saying the same thing over and over. Your point has been made. You are not contributing meaningfully by saying it again. Arkone Axon Except that people continue to make the same factually untrue statements. If you want me to stop “saying the same thing over and over,” look to the people who continue to dismiss Alison’s actions in the previous chapter as “twisting a selfish jerk’s arm for refusing to save millions of lives.” (To borrow from current events, it’s kind of like referring to the cop who arrested the nurse in Utah as “sitting an uncooperative twit’s ass down for actively hindering an investigation.” Specifically, this officer: http://www.sltrib.com/news/2017/08/31/utah-nurse-arrested-after-complying-with-hospital-policy-that-bars-taking-blood-from-unconscious-victim/?ncid=edlinkushpmg00000313 ) You don’t like it? Tough. You made a personal attack. You still have not acknowledged that you engaged in a deliberate attempt to wound my emotions in order to silence me, let alone apologize for the attempt to achieve a hurt, unhappy silence. So my response to your personal appeal is: No. AustinC123 Ah, well. On behalf of a fan community which wishes for more nuanced discussion on a work of fiction written to examine moral grey areas, my response to your response is: ah, well. Arkone Axon Translation: “Speaking as a self-appointed representative of the entire fanbase, I’m going to pretend to be the mature adult because you won’t stop voicing an opinion I disagree with.” You were rude. You were immature. You were offensive. And I say that with the caveat that in half a day the comic will update and these comments will go unread by most. This message is aimed directly at you: You were rude, and so I have zero interest in either complying with your requests, or letting you pretend to be the “mature and civilized adult” without poking holes in that pretense. AustinC123 As I said, I’m not surprised that you insist on saying the same stuff over and over, but let’s not pretend that you’re not going to stop BECAUSE I was rude. You’re gonna say the same stuff over and over because you want to! It’s your thing you like to do! Arkone Axon Actually, I’d stop in a heartbeat – if you acknowledged your actions and apologized for them. That’s the mark of a truly mature person: someone who can admit when they’re wrong. AustinC123 I hereby acknowledge that I was rude and dismissive of you and your opinion and I do apologize. Thank you in advance for being respectful of our agreement to hold off on repeating your default talking points re: Alison’s character and history. Arkone Axon I accept your apology for being rude. I will stop commenting in this thread. …Not going to stop repeating my “default talking points,” mind. As long as people continue to repeat blatant untruths, I will continue to correct them with the facts. But I will stop harping on this particular thread; you apologized for your discourtesy, I’ve accepted it, moving on. AustinC123 Ho hooo, tricksy! Never mind, I still think you stink!! Rando Cool, we will make sure to have this conversation again on the next comic, since you asked so nicely. Glad you are enjoying the conversation AustinC123! motorfirebox Most people don’t have the option. Rando Everyone has that option. Everyone else just doesn’t get a free pass for doing it. motorfirebox Yeah, exactly. Most people have to deal with consequences. Most people’s behavior would be significantly different if they didn’t. GreatWyrmGold I’d argue that she tries to be a good person, but is way too good at justifying excessive action for anyone’s good. I guess that comes with spending adolescence beating up superhuman crooks for occasionally-flimsy reasons. Regret Well trolled. Lisa Izo At best, she can be summarized by the quotes “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” – St Bernard of Clairvaux, and “Anger is the enemy of non-violence and pride is a monster that swallows it up.” – Mahatma Gandhi. At worst, she’s just a monster who doesn’t like to deal with the self-realization of being a monster. “There are very few people who are going to look into the mirror and say ‘That person I see is a monster.’; instead, they make up some construction that justifies what they do.” – Noam Chomsky Tylikcat Can Noam Chomsky really have such a homogenous set of friends? I totally know people who think they’re monsters, generally for somewhat flimsy reasons. I have my moments, mostly because of remnants of my fairly alienated upbringing (I’m haven’t been an angsty teenager for ages now, I cope. Though it’s a little weird right now, as my father is dying.) I’m sure a lot of people float in a happy pool of self justification. Mostly, I think the generalization that everyone does so is right up there with “everyone think their own religion is the best” – a vast over-generalization lacking sophistication. Lisa Izo “Can Noam Chomsky really have such a homogenous set of friends?” He’s not talking about friends, but rather about the nature of evil people in general. The basic idea is that there are very few people who are actually evil for evil’s sake. They almost always rationalize what they’re doing as something good, or rationalize what someone else is doing as something good despite it being obviously bad, just because they agree with them and are going to their baser instincts. “Though it’s a little weird right now, as my father is dying.” I’m really sorry to hear that. My condolences. “Mostly, I think the generalization that everyone does so is right up there with “everyone think their own religion is the best” ” And throughout history, a lot of people have used religion as their rationalization for doing evil things in the name of good. Alison’s ‘religion’ is social justice. It has the same adherence to a set of dogmatic rules that allow her to do evil and delude herself into thinking that she’s doing good because it fits into her dogmatic understanding of social justice at that moment, even if they conflict with their own basic tenets on a fundamental level. There’s a reason why so many religions are based on utilitarianism. That being said, I recommend this new TV show – The Good Place. I won’t even tell you why I’m recommending it. It’ll become obvious. Zorae42 His intent may have been to be about evil people, but he didn’t specify that and instead said “very few people”. Just as there are evil people who will justify their actions and not think of themselves as evil, there are good people who make minor mistakes and blow them out of proportion and consider themselves monsters for it. Happens to teenagers and people with depression. Arkone Axon I agree with you here 100%. It is very, VERY important to help such people (I know more than a few… there are people I know who have failed to commit suicide on certain occasions only because they promised me they wouldn’t, or because I lent them money and they hadn’t paid it back – and I still won’t let them repay me, because it’s worth it to keep them alive). That being said, Lisa Izo is right about the evil done by people thinking they’re doing the right thing. In the Jewish faith they call it the “Yatzer Hara,” the Evil Inclination, the desire to indulge in selfish sin (i.e. to do things you know are wrong because… you want to.). And the problem with the Yatzer Hara is that it’s easy to rationalize what you’re doing, to justify it. Until you’ve convinced yourself that giving in to the temptation is the moral thing to do. This is why one particular variant of the Yatzer Hara is “the evil born of Good Intentions gone astray.” “This is everybody’s fault but mine.” —Homer Simpson Lisa Izo +1 for quoting Simpsons. Lisa Izo The reason he says ‘very few people’ instead of ‘No people’ is because it’s foolish to deal in absolutes. There can always be a few outliers or exceptions to the rule. Teenagers can be quite evil and delusional jerks, just like adults. Hell, I taught for a year as an aide – teenagers can totally suck and be horribly crappy people who have no concept that they’re being horribly crappy and hypocritical people. Also I was a teenager not THAT long ago, I remember that we can suck even as teenagers. And just like adults, teenagers can act like they are not, even while they are doing something bad. Being a teenager does not exclude you from humanity. The person in the ‘popular kids clique’ who treats the ugly kid like a loser and picks on them without even the slightest self-realization that what they’re doing is vicious and cruel, just ‘what happens in high school’ for example. It’s not like bullying is a rare thing among teenagers, right? 🙂 Zorae42 ??? I wasn’t criticizing his use of “Very few”. I was criticizing the fact that he didn’t say “very few evil people”. Because there are quite a few people that do look in the mirror and think they’re monsters (although usually they aren’t). I didn’t say teenagers couldn’t be evil. I was using them as a one prevalent example of the sort of person who blows their shortcomings out of the water and views themselves as a monster because of them (when they really aren’t). Mostly due to parental pressure, not being comfortable with who they are yet, and not having enough experience to properly weigh their mistakes. Not to mention teenagers have a high rate of depression meaning that they are more likely to have such an inaccurate, bad view of themselves. Yeah there are a lot of evil teenagers who don’t think they’re bad people. But there are a lot of them who aren’t bad people and think they are. Which makes his “very few people” statement too generic since the intent was (I assume) to comment on the nature of evil people instead of people in general. Lisa Izo I think that Chomsky’s quote was about those people who DO bad things not recognizing themselves as being bad, and that’s pretty much it. Whether people are inherently good or inherently bad – that’s more a Calvin vs Hobbes debate. 🙂 Also the quote isn’t really about people who are NOT evil but think they are. It’s about people who are evil and think they are not. I think I get your post now though. Magma Sam … okay, I’m compelled to ask. Which religions are “based on utilitarianism”? Abrahamic religions having “X is good because god says so” hardly seems based in utilitarianism, as one example. Lisa Izo Oh wow um… that will be a VERY long conversation to get into. Entire theses have been written on what you’re asking me to elaborate on, but okay. I’ll give the cliffnotes version of examples of utilitarianism as part of various religions, including Abrahamic religions. By the way, i’m not even saying that it’s the ONLY way to interpret religion, but when religion does use utilitarian logic, it’s usually responsible for the most atrocities because it’s where man tries to interpret what God thinks is good or bad, so they will go to the good place or the bad place. Or in the case of Judaism, which does not have an equivalent of Hell, although it still does have the concept of negative consequences for bad actions. At least when it comes to the Abrahamic religions, there’s a question of Utilitarianism vs Kantianism, as well. Although in Christianity (and to a lesser extent Judaism), a lot of it comes down to following the commandments issued by god in Deuteronomy 28:1-68 – God issues to the Israelitesvia Moses the 10 commandments – positive consequences if obeyed, negative consequences if disobeyed. In Islam, it’s more about following the Quran and the Sutra and hadith for this same concept of ‘the more you follow it, the more you are ‘good,’ while the more you disobey, the more you are ‘bad’ (with certain exceptions like martyrdom which puts you (at least in the more literal readings of Islamic texts) in Paradise after death. With other non-Abrahamic religions, like Hinduism there is literally a utilitarian formula to determine if you were good enough to advance up the hierarchy or bad enough to go down the hierarchy of reincarnation. So yes, X is good because God says so can be based on utilitarianism, because God is telling the followers what is good and what is bad, and so you’r supposed to do more good than bad, and there are some bad things for which sometimes no amount of good will help (although in Catholicism and I’m asuming some other subsects of christianity, if you confess you get the sins absolved). The whole concept in Christianity of Jesus sacrificing himself is a type of utilitarian balancing act – he sacrifices himself to counteract Original Sin in man, for example. Todd “Alison’s ‘religion’ is social justice.” Was wondering when this right-wing chestnut was going to show up . . . . Lisa Izo Right wing chestnut? What’s right wing about it? Human beings are social animals, and need SOME form of rules for behavior to live by so as to not devolve into anarchy and barbarism. You know, in order to maintain some form of justice. Whether karmic justice via a deity, capitalistic justice in the idea of risk and reward, justice by the State, or ‘social justice.’ For a long period of time, for most of civilization really, this role has been filled by religion of one form or another. In societies in which religion is either banned or not in vogue, some other thing fills the void that is used to provide some sort of moral center for rules of the individual, so they can function within society. In fascist and socialist and communist systems, the role of religion is usurped by an all-powerful state. Libertarians on the more extreme side put their faith in capitalism as the role that religion normally fills (unless the libertarian is also religious for some reason). In other systems, it can be usurped by other moral systems. In Alison’s case, it’s a system of ‘social justice.’ I noticed that you made your snide comment, without actually even TRYING to debate the merits of what was said. Most likely because you don’t have a good comeback to arguing something on the merits. Religion, ‘the state,’ and social justice all seem to fill the same need for a moral set of rules to follow for the individual. Todd Seriously, Counsel, I don’t see the point of “debating” anything with someone who’s mind seems pretty much already made up (or if the point’s settled as far as I’m concerned), nor do I see the point of hashing over, again (personally and historically speaking), terms that keep coming up when right-wingers gas on vs. left-wingers. Lisa Izo Actually I think the reason is that you’re incapable of debating. Little hint – just trying to insult people isnt debating. The idea that social justice fills the same void that religion tends to take up, or adherence to the head of state as the all knowing father motif, is not a right wing thing – it’s just simple observation. One that you seem incapable of discussing without ad hominem attacks and miscategorization for some reason. Todd Well, ring-a-ding-ding-ding . . . . Lisa Izo And… you’re just proving my point. AustinC123 LITTLE HINT Lisa Izo Well it’s not exactly a big hint, now is it? The basics of a civilized debate, as opposed to kindergarten yelling, is ‘do not start calling your opponents names in response to their making legitimate points,’ ‘do not resort every time to ad hominem attacks,’ and ‘at least try to address ONE of the points if you’re going to speak.’ It’s not exactly like I’m asking for him to be at the level of Christopher Hitchens or Winston Churchill or Cicero or something. I’m just expecting halfway coherent posts rather than ‘ring a ding ling’ and ‘Counsel, I don’t see the point’ and ‘Right winger! Right wing chestnuts, you right winger!’ for something that isn’t even inherently right wing – unless he also thinks religious dogma is left wing. Tylikcat I’m not saying the rationalization is not common, just that I think the generalization is stale. People who consider themselves monsters are not *that* rare. The intersection of the set of people who consider themselves monsters and people who do truly heinous things is necessarily a bit more uncommon (and I wonder how many of them are teenagers or very young adults) but I doubt not unusually so considering that neither group is a huge proportion of the population. With religion – people have often done awful things for religion, but especially these days, in cosmopolitan, largely secular societies where religion is often a personal thing, it’s fairly common for people to see their religious choice as personal, and not better than anyone other’s or something that should be generalized across society. (I’m using “religion” loosely and inclusively here.) The generalization doesn’t hold. There’s a lot of doubt that it ever did. Thanks for the condolences on my father. It’s a weird situation. I haven’t been in contact with him* since I was fifteen. It’s more strange, and has me thinking a lot about the past (I moved out on my own when I was fifteen, and took him to court, successfully, the next year, and then some years later ended up helping my sister escape from his house when she was fourteen**) than heartbreaking. I used to wonder if I’d come if he called me to his deathbed. Or if I’d come even if the request didn’t start with an apology. If sounds like him mind might be affected enough at this point to make that kind of thing moot. I’m still doing what I can to keep an eye on the situation, as it affects my 35 year old brother (yes, the Nazi apologist hate blogger) who has never lived independently. There’s probably a great deal of money in it for him, but I just don’t see that situation going well. *Okay, excepting one email, about a decade ago, which which he mansplained – and I use the word with care – my own research to me. ** When I left, my mother had full custody of my younger siblings. My mother, it turns out, is not reliable. Arkone Axon My condolences as well. My own father is… well, “dying” is the best way to describe it. Things are just falling apart for him; his heart’s bad, his joints are bad, he keeps going into the hospital for tests and such. It’s not a case of “terminal illness,” just a case of “parts are breaking down and getting worn out.” We had some unpleasant stuff in our past relationship, but there was always respect, and later I realized my parents never, ever meant to hurt me and that they always tried to do the right thing by me. Which is why I’ve been arguing against the position of rushing to “save the world” without taking time for consideration. I learned what it’s like to hurt someone you love. And my father (and my mother, who is… an interesting personality, let’s leave it at that) were there to help try to mitigate the consequences of my horrible, horrible mistakes. After that, I forgave my parents for… everything. Tylikcat I’ve spent a lot of time re-hashing the past recently. So many things sprang from events when I was in my early to mid teens. My closest friends have been subjected to some pretty morose blogging under a pretty tight filter. But while, hell, I was a teenager, and not a perfect one, the things I regret almost always are events that I didn’t control, or things relating to information I did not yet have (and often wouldn’t have for years.) Both of my parents were criminally bad in their parenting, if in very different ways. I broke with my father because it wasn’t safe for me to do anything else. I held on to my relationship with my mother for decades longer, and finally cut ties because I couldn’t deal with being complicit in her treatment of my sister. (It also took me a lot longer to understand my relationship to my mother. My father was straightforwardly menacing, I’ll give him that!) I still wish they were people I could have relationships with under vaguely reasonable boundaries. (With my mother “I’ll totally forget the past as long as you stop doing more awful things” would be fine. It’s always been higher with my father.) Arkone Axon Yeah, the statement about “information I did not yet have” definitely strikes a chord with me. My parents knowingly permitted my brother to defraud me and steal a great deal of money from me, because it was me being robbed and nobody cared. …Except… years later, it turned out that my parents did NOT know about the fraud. My brother relied on one of the standard lynchpins of a good con: don’t let the victims communicate with anyone else, especially each other. After the truth came out my brother ceased to be the favorite child. Then there’s the intense unhappiness they inflicted upon me because… they were instructed to place me on psychoactive medication that was supposed to help, and instead just pacified me… meaning I wasn’t able to express anger or unhappiness when I was being hurt. Meaning I literally couldn’t say “that is hurtful to me, please stop.” So they didn’t know… and my brothers jumped for joy because they knew they could get away with deliberately cruel actions for their own pleasure and/or profit. And all that amounts to a lot of unpleasant memories that I try not to dwell on (Because then I feel the rage that I couldn’t express then, and I waste time and energy in a fury over issues long since dead and buried), because it’s better to move forward. You’re a successful person, you’ve achieved a lot, and it’s important to remember that. Even if you can’t help but wish for what might have been, you can look to what you have and what you’ve accomplished. Lisa Izo “I’m not saying the rationalization is not common, just that I think the generalization is stale.” Well he did come up with the quote in the 1970s, so that’s almost 50 years ago. “People who consider themselves monsters are not *that* rare.” I’d be willing to bet that it’s a WHOLE lot more rare than people who rationalize when they do bad things so they can keep a good self-image about themselves. ” I doubt not unusually so considering that neither group is a huge proportion of the population.” Try to remember high school outside of your designated clique 🙂 “With religion – people have often done awful things for religion,” It’s not just religion – it’s pretty much any set of dogmatic rules which people adhere to in order to have some sort of moral center or means by whih to live in society. Religion just happens to be one of the first and mostpersistent ones. The State is another big one, especially in fascism and socialism. And the modern day equivalent in democratic nations, when not ‘the state’ is social justice. Mishyana Assuming that most people “keep a good self image of themselves” seems shortsighted and where the flaw in your argument comes in for me. Show me someone who doesn’t have at least occasional or, more often, even regular bouts with self-doubt, even if they put up a good face, and I’ll sell you the first of many bridges I’ve got in stock. It seems to me that making a caricature of ‘people doing evil who think they’re doing good’, is something of a strawman. In short, I think the number of people who suffer from the sort of constant self-assurance about the righteousness of their actions is a good deal smaller, or at least more limited, than you’re presenting. Lisa Izo There’s a difference between having occasional self-doubt, and thinking you are an evil person, or even thinking you’re in the wrong. MOST people rationalize their bad behavior away because almost no one wants to think ‘I am the villain of my story.’ Your attempt to categorize what I’ve said as a strawman is, in fact, you mis-labelling what I said as something I did not say in order to argue against an easier statement – in other words, you’re strawmanning me. Zorae42 Depression is not really an uncommon disorder. And it comes with strong feelings of worthlessness/thinking you’re an awful person. And it sucks because you don’t want to feel that way, but you can’t stop feeling that way – which leads into nasty spirals of feeling bad that you can’t stop feeling bad. Sure, MOST people don’t have those feelings. But “most people don’t” isn’t equivalent to “very few people do”. Because there are millions of people with depression which is not at all “very few people”. Mishyana Right, so rather than address my actual point, you’ve decided to patronizingly try and explain something to me that you’ve mistakenly assumed needed explaining based on what you *thought* my interpretation of your point was… rather than, y’know… what it actually was. Alrighty then. The irony at this point is so thick it actually has its own gravitational pull, so I’m going to go ahead and leave you to it. Have a good one. =) Mishyana There’s more than a little irony in explaining to me what I said (in fantastically patronizing fashion, no less) in order to accuse me of misinterpreting what you said. But hey, you do you. Tylikcat Post-facto rationalization is kind of a species sport. Though the original quote had addressed just people who didn’t call themselves monsters, not what reasons they might have. I barely attended high school at all, certainly not for long enough to have a clique as such. And even then it was a weird school.* Mostly it was my EEP cohort,** and then the teens I met through the SCA, my SF geek friends, or the pagan community, or the punk and then the goth scene… During my own teenage years I was preoccupied with paying rent and keeping myself fed, taking my dad to court, and trying to get enough money together to go back to school (being an underaged college student can be awkward that way). So I want to say “I take your point,” but really, my experience of how teenagers worked from my own time is kind of warped. My next exposure was a generation later, with the wushu kids, and I think it’s different when you’re seeing it as an adult. Still, this all might influence why I totally know off the top of my head quite a few people who at least have thought they were monsters at one time or another. This isn’t about it being a unique property of religion, either. I’m perfectly willing to concede that there are many philosophies or social theories that people can cleave to with a similarly religious fervor. But that doesn’t mean that all people have one that they then believe is *the best*. Some people in fact think other people’s values may well be just as valid as their own, just, better suited for them. (Personally, I mostly don’t give a damn as long as it doesn’t actively fail to play well with others.) * To my despair, my little hippie shoe string budget politically radical high school is now the only boarding school in Seattle. That was a brief but entertaining sojourn! ** We were at the time pretty fucked up. Which is maybe predictable for 13 year old college students. I’m kind of amazed how much I like most of the group as adults. Debbie Jackson I’m very sorry to hear about your father. I hope you manage to keep strong through this <3 Tylikcat Thank you. I wrote a bit about the details below – I was outcast and disinherited (yes, those are separate things, my sister was just disinherited) from that branch of my family more than twenty-five years ago (for reasons I’m comfortable with, more or less) so it’s more weird and complicated than heartbreaking. Luckily, due to having a really big family, on both sides, I have plenty of relatives I’m in touch with an like. I just don’t know if there’s anyone responsible keeping an eye on my brother. Magma Sam To be fair, I see the comments being mentioned too, and I’m pretty sure a large part of this is very specifically the ‘Alison is a tyrant’ side that makes some extremely provocative comments that practically amount to graffiti, hamfisting in the bloodlust no matter how farfetched, thus provoking people to respond to it. I personally would love to let the issue die (and I’ve only spoken on it once or twice), but there’s some people with a crusade and lacking the willingness to ‘stop’. Dan Steadman I’m not sure I agree with you premise that Alison is either a) so messed up she can’t tell right from wrong or b) makes bad choices from an intent to do good. This comic has a hell of a lot of grey areas and it seems to polarise people. That said, I think that anyone who argues that Alison is wilfully trying to make bad or selfish choices is not reading the same comic I am, irrespective of whether people agree with those choices or not. I would humbly submit a third choice. Alison is attempting to get by doing as much good as possible, occasionally making mistakes, but taking the power she has as a serious responsibility. Maybe people could cut her a break and stop acting as if she was a conventional superhero like Superman who never really has to deal with moral and ethical dilemmas. Mishyana All of that. AustinC123 Scott – yeah, I agree. That’s why I do indeed ignore many of the most frequent posters here and hey look, I did contribute something. I replied when someone posted something I found objectionable as a reply to that contribution. I would also note that people complain about the weather all the time, especially if them often visit somewhere with bad weather. AustinC123 The discussion to which I’m referring is not a nuanced exploration of the moral weight of each decision/action, but a constant re-articulation that a person who made a decision/action many pages ago cannot be good. Lethologica I think we’re making the same point here. (I would add that there’s also value in comparing present actions and articulated views to past actions and articulated views, which comes a lot closer to discussing the character of the person who took/is taking those actions and articulated/is articulating those viewpoints. Still separate, though.) AustinC123 Lethologica – yeah, I agree. GreatWyrmGold Or that a person who made a decision/action many pages ago must be good. Or that those exact actions don’t count for one reason or another. There are some fandoms which attract people who are really, really good at disagreeing with you in an interesting manner. This is not one of them. Such people are here, of course, but not in unusual concentrations. Zorae42 I don’t think they were complaining about Alison being a super hero that struggles to figure out the right thing to do. But rather the fact that the comments debate whether she’s a good person or not every single comic. And not even about the new things happening, but her past decisions. It’s gotten kind of stale. At least it looks like there’s going to be new material to pick apart now AustinC123 The exploration of moral ambiguity is indeed one of the defining appeals of this comic, which is part of why the constant entrenching of Yes or No positions is so silly and boring. GreatWyrmGold Sure, but when the same points keep getting brought up every page and said page fails to let most (if any) of them be recontextualized, it gets dull. It’s like playing the same level of a video game every 15-20 minutes for a whole day. And not in one of those games like Hitman where the levels are interesting and emergent-behavior-ey or branching-path-ey, something more like a platformer where you quickly learn the most efficient way through. Mishyana Fair enough, but I think there’s a difference between “watch her struggle with the right thing to do” and “Where are more nails, clearly we have not secured her tightly enough to this cross yet.” That same guy Boy it’s a good thing that isn’t what I was doing! My comment only specifically covered part of Alison’s fan-base, which occasionally refuses to acknowledge that sometimes Alison does Bad Things. But it’s a good thing I wasn’t discussing whether the central character in a comic about justice and morality was a good person or not. That would be totally off-subject and I wouldn’t want to bore you. AustinC123 Your sarcasm is a bit confusing, but if you genuinely think that this reply emphasizes that you WEREN’T doing the thing to which I was objecting, I think you’re wrong about that. It instead re-engages the argument with which you were, indeed originally engaging, and which I said was boring. Still that same guy Perhaps if you stopped trying to frame others’ positions to suit your arguments, you would be less confused. My original reply ignored whether Alison was a good person or not and merely explained to Hanover why someone might say Alison was “accused” of doing something she was explicitly shown doing (except the manslaughter bit, she’s had legitimate legal defenses in both common instances). Your reply to that stated that you thought people’s constant reiterations of whether they thought Alison was a good person or not were boring. Which would be fine, on it’s own, except for the implication that the people of the comments section shouldn’t discuss things you find uninteresting. My reply to that was clarifying that I was not at the time even discussing Alison’s theoretical moral alignment. The sarcastic bit at the end was to highlight the futility of being bored by the discussion of an important thematic element to this comic, IE: Whether Alison is ‘good’ or not. AustinC123 I don’t believe you think your original post was agnostic as to whether Alison was a good person. If you truly think that, I would say the writing was confusing and led us down a confusing tangent and we should stop here. To be clear: I do indeed wish that the contents of this comments section were more interesting – or to be more specific, less repetitive. Again, I do not believe you can in good faith argue that you weren’t expressing an opinion as to whether Alison is good. Still that same guy And I don’t believe you actually believe that.. My original reply specifically didn’t mention Alison by name and was only meant to remind that guy why someone might soften someone’s actions by implying they were accused instead of explicitly shown in the narrative, as was his question.. That was literally all I had said in that line. Any ‘confusion’ from that is suspect, and your accusation that I was offering an opinion on Alison’s overall morality with it is tenuous, if not baseless. Maybe had I replied to you directly instead of the other guy, but I didn’t. Complaining about people discussing Alison’s goodness/badness might be sensible in the pages where she’s not present, or where she’s out on a date montage, but on a new page during a sequence where she’s being dishonest to her friends about something that directly effects them? AustinC123 I think we’ve established that we don’t understand what we’re reciprocally talking about that further conversation is clearly not useful. Still that same guy Would that be why you flagged all my comments? AustinC123 I don’t think I know what you mean by ‘flagged.’ Is that a specific thing with this message system? masterofbones Personally I think the complaining about the “problem” is worse and more consistent. The complaints happen every single page, the accusations about allison are not nearly as frequent. AustinC123 You think that people come to these comments and complain about people commenting about something that no one has actually commented on? As in: without a single example on the new comic, they bring up how much they don’t like people acting like (the problem)? If so, that has not been my experience. masterofbones Yup, I’ve seen plenty of “inb4 Alison is a terrible person” kind of stuff, and *any* time that someone says something bad about Alison there is someone there to say “oh look, someone bashing Alison” AustinC123 So the numbers are equal. masterofbones You might need to check your math there. inb4 is people saying that people will hate on alison *before* anyone has spoken negatively of alison. A response is when people complain about people hating on alison *after* someone has spoken negatively of alison. If the first happens *sometimes* and the second happens *every* time, the complaints about haters are more frequent than the actual “hating”. Not that it really matters. The “haters” often have a point in their statements, while the people complaining about haters are almost always vacuous “stop being so mean” comments. So even if they were equal in number, the complainers are far lower quality comments. AustinC123 Yeah, I am confused – people hate on Alison before people speak negatively about Alison? Are these not the same thing? I was also not understanding the original point – people complain about people speaking negatively about Alison in the absence of any examples of negative speaking? What are they even talking about, in that case? As to which side is more interesting, agree to disagree. masterofbones >What are they even talking about, in that case? Imaginary future accusations of Alison being a problem. Have you never seen anyone say “Inb4”? Its not a complicated concept. Lisa Izo If they didn’t want discussions about whether Alison is a good or bad person repeatedly, they shouldnt, and wouldn’t, make the primary story arc of the entire webcomic for the past year+ about whether Alison did a good or bad thing and whether she is a fascist/tyrant or not. It’s clearly not that boring if so many people (myself included) seem to keep discussing it. I do the same discussion about Watchmen and Ozymandias (and to a lesser extent, Rorschach, since they’re both different extremes, as is Dr. Manhattan, and even Night Owl – as the ‘everyman hero’). If it is boring to you, might I suggest that you look at your own stance on which side o the discussion you fall, and see if maybe your own stance one way or another might not be that solid? (I’m not really sure what your stance is, but Im assuming since you seemed to mainly attack the ‘Alison did an evil thing and is not a good person’ proponents, that your stance is ‘Alison did not do an evil thing and is a good person.’ Shutting up one side of the debate doesn’t actually enhance your side though. AustinC123 If I saw a pattern of people saying ‘Alison is good’ over and over based on months-gone examples I would complain about being bored by that. I am asking one side of the debate to shut up because only one side of the debate is boring me. Mishyana And some people will continually rehash past sins as though people can never move beyond them, seemingly for no other reason than to provide themselves a pat on the back for being so flawless and self-righteous. So, y’know, six of one, half dozen of another! Zinc I think it was “accused” as in “her past misdeeds have been repeatedly mentioned in the comment section on almost every single page”. RDW0409 Yeah, I’m definitely expecting that this is the last time we ever see Clevin alive and under his own free will. RIP, Clev. Ptorq Patrick MAY have been lying, but he’s explicitly said that while he is a telepath, that’s ALL he is; he doesn’t have “mind control” in the sense that he can force people to do anything. (Though he also said “If you can see someone’s deepest desires and still can’t get them to do what you want, that says more about you than the person you’re trying to control.”) There’s always the possibility of blackmail, but I doubt Clevin has done anything bad enough to make him a good candidate for this. Patrick is pretty clearly in a dark place right now, so I wouldn’t put it past him to tell Clevin some things that Clevin would rather not know (and/or that Alison would prefer that Clevin not know), but I suspect that’s going to be the extent of it. Zinc His denial of having mind control powers was quite a bit of time ago, though. As we know, powers evolve, and sometimes secondary powers manifest. If you had asked Alison a few months ago, she would have denied being able to fly, for example. There’s pretty good evidence that Patrick’s powers have grown since last we’ve seen it. It’s not yet clearly exactly how, though. Arkone Axon Even if he did have mind control powers… he made no attempt to disguise his disdain for the need for such. “If you have full access to the sum total of a person’s thoughts, beliefs, hopes and fears, and you still can’t make them do what you want? That says more about you than it does about them.” Zinc Sure. I don’t really know how mind control entered this conversation to begin with, and his evolved powers — assuming that’s what Alison has been experiencing recently — don’t particularly look like mind control to me, anyway. Quite a bit of mind-fuckery going on there, which could possibly drive people insane (and maybe in that sense not in their own free will?), but hardly mind control. GreatWyrmGold Because some people expect unforeshadowed twists wherever the phlebotinum is vague enough to squeeze a diabolus ex machina in? Todd Why? Filthy Liar Patrick is a brain destroying person who is (apparently) barely in control of his powers right now. Clevin is a college freshman. Stephanie Do we know he’s a brain destroying person? He never has been before. Evelyn Shea Literally, perhaps not, though his new powers raise questions. But being around Patrick is not psychologically or socially healthy. He’s shown he’s manipulative, unstable, and willing to do fucked up things to people to meet his ends. He drugged an entire room of top scientists so he could use them, for example. He’s proven himself dangerous to sanity even without having invasive powers. Todd While it’s entirely true he’s been shown to be manipulative and willing to do fucked up things (not so sure about the unstable part), I fail to see how simply sharing close air-space with him is neither psychologically nor socially healthy (and I’m not even sure what “socially healthy” or unhealthy means). GreatWyrmGold I’m not sure Patrick is inherently bad for your psyche. Being in his way definitely isn’t, but I’m under the impression that he directly left a positive impression on many of the villains he worked with—both psychologically and socially, in the sense that a group of friends is better than being an outcast. (He mainly did that because that sort of thing is a good way to keep people loyal, but just because they were being manipulated doesn’t mean it wasn’t healthy for them.) AustinC123 My impression is that he turned a significant percentage of the superpowered (pre)teen population into career criminals via manipulation and probably blackmail. Todd ??? What on Earth does being a college freshman have to do with anything? Will he break if you sneeze on him or something? Gotham So, contrast exists Todd Mmm . . . . Some guy College Freshmen have been burdened with a stereotype of being fragile and ill-equipped to deal with ‘real world’ problems. To what extent you can call “Actual Mind Reader quasi-reformed Super-villain” a real world problem, I won’t judge, but I assume that Filthy Liar’s intention was to illustrate that Clevin and Patrick aren’t in the same league. I like to believe that Patrick would look inside Clevin’s mind and see such a horrible darkness that he has an aneurysm and dies, but that’s just me. Todd Hm. I’ve heard, of course, the old saw about students in general (especially those whose sympathies lie on the left of the political spectrum) being dismissed as being unequipped to handle “the real world”, but I’ve never heard it applied solely to freshmen. That same guy It doesn’t have to do with their political leanings, so much as it has to do with culture shock and the struggles one endures when they leave home the first time. Some people never did laundry, cooked for themselves, took care of basic medical needs, managed a basic budget,and so on until they got to college. Some of those people don’t actually manage it for a good while (if ever), and the results are visible enough to have created the stereotype. Obviously there are people that cope very quickly or never had a problem anyway, but in doing so they’ve avoided making a spectacle out of themselves. Evelyn Shea Patrick is especially good at manipulating people and getting in their heads. (literally, I suppose) Psychological torture is kinda his wheelhouse. He also has/had a thing for Al and she just left him with her current boyfriend… Nothing good can come of this. Ian Osmond Does he have a thing for Alison, or is it only that Alison has a thing for him? She made a move; he backed off. Tylikcat Mm… the way he briefly clung to her, eyes welling up, before going full on supervillain at her is my strongest argument for. I think he would like to,* but it would be a terminally asymmetrical relationship, at least in his prior state of telepathy. He’s a fuckwit, but it’s at least somewhat situational. Involuntary receptive telepathy is pretty screwed up. * At least in the way that mean people both yearn for and fear intimacy. masterofbones If a girl is interested in a guy, the guy is automatically always interested back, no matter what he claims. /s if somebody actually thinks Im serious here. Todd Not sure about the torture you mention, and, if he had wanted Al for himself or to punish her for refusing his feelings (and wasn’t he the one refusing her feelings?), wouldn’t he have done this by now? Wouldn’t Clevin simply have been disposed of or at least warned off if Patrick had wanted to do this? Lu Maybe the whole creepy Patrick willing to have fun with Clevin thing is happening so his mind is busy enough for catching up and intervening in Al and Feral’s talk. Maybe. Jeremy I’m reluctant to ask, because I usually avoid the debates on Alison’s character, but I’m completely blanking – can you remind me when she committed manslaughter? Miss G Remember when she chucked the dude out the window of the hospital. Jeremy Thank you! Ian Osmond Wouldn’t that be more second-degree murder, rather than manslaughter? I mean, it was probably justified — “he has a flamethrower and just killed a bunch of people” is probably as good an argument for “justifiable homicide because it was the only way to protect innocents” as any ever put forth — but that’s really supposed to be the job of the authorities to decide. If the cop had said, “Meh, you’re good; you just saved a bunch of people — if you want to come down to the station later so we can buy you a thank-you cake, but if not, that’s fine too”, that would have be one thing. Some guy Actually, no. He was committing violent felonies including both murder and arson of an inhabited building, both of which give an Affirmative Defense against prosecution, allowing lethal force under every state’s laws that I’m aware of. Even California. Even you, a regular guy who doesn’t have Alison’s enormous support network could come across someone trying to set a hospital on fire and/or murder people, kill that person, and reasonably expect to be home for dinner that night. There are theoretical exceptions to this, but I can’t recall ever hearing about them actually coming up in the real world. Arkone Axon Yes. The ONLY thing she did that was out of line in that particular instance was when she started threatening the crowd to demand to know who sent the bastard. And that was quite understandable on her part – even if she were an ordinary, unpowered person who had managed to kill the murderous arsonist with conventional methods of self defense, she was pissed and upset and any reasonable police officer or first responder would have worked to talk her down after such a horrific incident. GreatWyrmGold I can’t recall the context for said actions coming up, either. That same guy For Alison’s actions? A guy with a flamethrower burnt up all of Feral’s surgical team (Feral, too, but she got better) Alison showed up just in time to not actually save anyone, and killed the guy via throwing him through at least one wall, threatening a crowd of offensive but otherwise peaceful protesters, and assaulted a cop. An ambitious DA could add unlawfully discharging a firearm as well as some other stack-on offences, but she was never shown to be arrested. Arkone Axon Not quite… Alison didn’t save his initial victims, but she certainly stopped him from killing anyone else. Her rant against the crowd and the police officer were certainly out of line… but in her defense, she just killed an arsonist who had murdered an entire roomful of people who were trying to save lives. “Emotional duress” applies here. She’s done nasty things, but killing the arsonist was not one of them. Rando She could have easily detained him without killing him. Some guy That depends on a lot of things we don’t know. Maybe she killed him because he was hurting her friend (which is impossible to prove), maybe knocking the guy through a couple walls was the quickest method to end the threat (which is vastly more important than apprehending the guy, and the basis for legal protections granted to regular people that kill active arsonists). Rando All she had to do, to disable him was destroy the nozzle on the flamethrower. Which she was already in range to do as she threw him out a window. It had nothing to do with ending the threat the quickest, it had to do with her taking the law into her own hands. Hell, throwing him out the window was far more dangerous to everyone in the area than just destroying the flamethrower and taking him into custody. That same guy The problem with that is, depending on the model flamethrower, smashing the nozzle can cause a flashback, which explodes the fuel tank, which is kind of a bad thing in a hospital. I don’t expect that was a big consideration for her at the time. And she didn’t really need to take the law into her own hands as the law is pretty clear about eliminating threats like that guy. palmvos ok, wait a minute. there is a guy operating a flamethrower in a surgical room. that guy is threatening the entire floor of the hospital just by being there. throwing him and his stupid weapon out of the building by the most expeditious manner is entirely justified. or have you forgotten that they store oxygen in those rooms? as an example of the danger-a woman wearing an oxygen mask lit a cigarette with the mask to one side. she died of the 3rd degree burns.(source- Darwin awards- nominee at least) and although the room was purpose built to do what they were doing, they would have had a full suite of life saving equipment handy, just in case something went wrong. if anyone in that hospital needs to go on trial for murder it was the nurse who let the idiot with the flamethrower in, as she clearly knew what he intended. (yes i know Patrick got her too.) Rando No, throwing the man wearing a bomb out into the middle of a crowd of people instead of simply disarming him is not justified. Still that same guy To be fair, him landing by the crowd was just dramatic convenience for the next panels. Alison couldn’t possibly have aimed that way, as operating theaters generally don’t have an outside wall, and I’ve never heard of one with an actual outside facing window. Your insistence that disarming someone of a volatile area of effect weapon like a flame thrower is ignorant bordering on silly. Sure, it can be done ‘safely’ against someone that isn’t resisting in an area that isn’t already on fire. Pretty much any damage to the tank, pressurization system, wand, or hoses ends up spewing its fuel source all over the place, which ends poorly for the operator and anyone else nearby should this happen near an ignition source (such as being in a room that you just set on fire). This issue is magnified when the room that is on fire is inside a major hospital, and is also why most militaries stopped using them (there are way safer ways to set everything on fire now). None of which matters in all probability, as Alison was trained as a soldier and conveniently had a scene a few pages prior demonstrating that she reacts to such situations on instinct, one of which being “Punch the threat until it’s not a threat”. Arkone Axon The only one there who really took the law into their own hands in that case was Patrick – he’s the one who quietly rounded up the conspirators involved and had them killed. Alison killed one person who was in the middle of a murder spree in a hospital when there were only nanoseconds in which to act before someone else was torched. Patrick killed his collaborators with a cold, calm, thought out decision. Rando There was no one else to torch. He had already killed everyone in that room? Aside from the two invulnerable people. Arkone Axon Uh… setting aside the fact that one of them was a regenerator rather than invulnerable (and she was the person he was there to kill – to torch until there was nothing left), that still leaves the rest of the hospital and the people in it. Including anyone who was bedridden due to their condition, or about to undergo their own procedures. Rando Feral is essentially invulnerable. She suffers no lasting damage from anything. Also, just to be clear. You are claiming the non-super flamethrower guy, would have been able to escape from Al, get into another room, and torch everything in it. Before she would have been able to move forward the 2 steps and detain him? Because we already know that isn’t true, as she was able to move forward and punch him to death. She could have just flown him through the window, and held him in midair while disarming him. Arkone Axon “Regeneration” is not the same thing as invulnerability. Had the flamethrower guy not been interrupted, he could have cooked Feral down to ash. No more DNA, no more viable tissue… no more regeneration. This was a premeditated assassination attempt by people who had done their homework. And I’m not saying that the arsonist could have definitely escaped or otherwise done anything in particular. What I AM saying is that legally AND morally speaking, Alison was entirely justified in immediately terminating the threat posed by a murderous arsonist who showed no signs of stopping. Was it the best option? Perhaps not. Was it a good option? Yes. And in a panicked, stressful violence filled situation like that, “good enough” is… good enough. Arkone Axon Eh… not so sure about that. Every second he was alive, able to move under his own power, and in possession of a flamethrower with fuel remaining was a second he could be spraying napalm over innocent people. Stopping him immediately was the most logical move she could have made. Lisa Izo I’m pretty sure that both of you (Arkone and Some Guy) are correct about her motivations on killing the psycho flamethrower a-hole. Both because he was a continuing deadly threat, and out of anger at what he had JUST done (plus I’m pretty sure there was some emotional shock involved as well). Rando As I mentioned, she already had to get close enough to throw him out the window as she would have to disarm him. She decided she was judge, jury, and executioner. Because she was angry. This wasn’t her first horrific situation, anger is no longer an acceptable excuse for her to take the law into her own hands. Lisa Izo You do have a point there. Although I have in the past argued that it could have also been emotional shock that made her act like that, even if later actions have called that excuse into question. But you have to admit, in the heat of hte moment (no pun intended) it’s not all that unreasonable for someone to just punch/throw someone away from them if they’re at risk of killing even more people in the hospital. I can’t help but give her a pass on that – it seemed like something most people would do in the moment. Lashing out – whether in anger, in shock, or to save people inside the hospital. In hindsight, everyone’s vision is 20/20 about what they could have done to take him in alive (even if anyone actually wanted him taken in alive). Compare it to a police officer shooting a terrorist dead after he shoots a bunch of people and is about to start shooting more – I’m not going to weep any tears for the terrorist and I’d be fine with him being killed on the spot by the officer. As for her punching him into a group of protesters…. Alison is not a bright person. Rando She threw him into the crowd of protestors, while still wearing the active flamethrower. She was the risk to more people. If you want to compare it to a cop, it would be a cop opening fire on a suspect who was standing directly in front of 100 hostages. Yeah, they stopped the threat. They also could very likely kill several people in the process. Lisa Izo Punched him into the crowd of protestors, not threw. And yes, she did risk people’s lives. I’ve said many times that Alison is not a bright person and that she thinks with her fists.And I havent really been an Alison fan ever since the Max incident (before which I was a fan of the character bigtime and made excuses as well, even during the Moonshadow arc). So no one can actually call me an ‘Alison excuser fangirl’ anymore, if anyone reads ANY of my recent posts for the past few months. That being said, you’re attributing general intentional malice to her action at the hospital (at least as far as putting the protestors in danger from punching the arsonist into the crowd) where it’s recklessness instead. She’s done it before – like with the giant robot that she threw killing Professor Cohen’s husband. She’s reckless and doesn’t think in the moment about consequences of her actions because, like Arkone has said a few times elsewhere, she’s always been told how great she is. It’s just ‘collateral damage’ to her that she doesnt even think about. What she did with threatening the crowd AFTERWARDS, however – that’s malice, although I did used to attribute it to emotional shock. After the Max incident, I had to rethink how Alison’s mind seems to work, and it might not have been just emotional shock and was instead just rage because she knows no one can stop her no matter what she does anyway. Rando She has super strength and invulnerability, all she had to do to disable him was destroy the nozzle on the flamethrower. It’s not a gun, it needs the pilot light to do anything. She was already in range, since she picked him up to throw him out the window. She had already detained him and could have easily disarmed him. Instead of handing him over to the authorities to face justice, she decided she was judge, jury, and executioner and instead killed him. Because she was angry and no one can punish her for it. disqus_OGo1yusSeL You sound like the kind of armchair expert that dissects violent confrontations post facto from the safety of your home. People react in differing ways to stressful situations, the ‘best course of action’ isn’t always obvious, and even if it is, information you’re not privy to means that whatever you do could have adverse effects. You’re literally no different than the kind of idiot who looks at a case of police shooting an armed assailant and cries about how the officer should have ‘shot him in the leg’ rather than aiming for the center mass. Rando Alternatively I hold someone with super strength and invulnerability with years of dealing with high pressure situations to a higher standard than a squishy meatbag with a gun. But way to throw baseless personal attacks. Arkone Axon No, he’s got a point. Have you ever been in a violent confrontation? They’re SCARY. Even if you’re not at risk, they’re still scary. When two beloved pets start attacking each other, even though you’re not at serious risk it’s still a panicked, scary, intense situation (what to do? What to do? Hold them down? Pull them apart? Splash water on them? Meanwhile one’s got the other and won’t let go…). When something in the house catches on fire, it’s a scary situation (What to do? What to do? Pour flour over it? Cover it with something round and flameproof? That fire looks like it’s about to spread FAST and in every direction at once…). I’ll condemn Alison for what she did towards Max, because that was premeditated evil. But walking into an inferno with three charred lumps that used to be good people trying to do good, and one charred lump that might have been most of Feral – or just Feral’s corpse? Alison resorted to the action she was repeatedly conditioned to resort to during years of “superhero” work as a child soldier. Namely: Attempt to land a single fight-ending punch. Rando Also, I went back and checked. She literally flung him into a crowd of protesters. With the flamethrower still on him. That was FAR FAR FAR more dangerous than taking the half a second to disable the flamethrower and detain him. Then she slams a truck into a car causing them to both explode. Safety was the farthest thing from her mind. She was only thinking of revenge. Arkone Axon http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-3/page-65/ She didn’t throw him. She PUNCHED him. Probably a blow to the chest, given that the man’s face remained intact and he moved as a single object with the acceleration applied more or less center mass. She wasn’t thinking about much of anything at that point – and I can’t really fault her on this. I’ve dealt with dangerous situations and violent attackers, and it’s easy to second guess someone after the fact and apply 20/20 hindsight to a situation you weren’t in. But there’s a bit of a “fudge factor” when it comes to emergency situations like this one, leeway granted to incidents where adrenaline and terror and panic limit one’s capacity for rational thought and “good enough choice RIGHT NOW” is better than “best choice long after it’s too late.” It applies not only to the whole “lethal force is permitted when defending against attackers possessed of apparently lethal intent,” but also things like Good Samaritan Laws (which protect against criminal or civil suits for consequences arising from reasonable attempts to assist. For instance, if you pull an unconscious person from a burning building and save their life, they can’t sue you because a few bones got broken while you were dragging them past obstacles). When she went after Max, she was committing premeditated felonious actions. But the flamethrower guy? That was her stopping a mass murderer from adding to his tally. And the truck and car thing… that wasn’t about revenge, that was just sheer rage. That crowd was HATEFUL – not only were there members of a terrorist group in that crowd who had aided and abetted the murder of several doctors and nurses and the attempted murder of someone trying to atone for her past crimes by saving lives, but they were screaming at Allison and calling her things because they were stuck in their self righteous “Feral and everyone around her need to die” mindset. THEY were the ones looking for revenge. Rando Was it ever proven there were people who aided and abetted the murder? Was it ever proven they even knew what was going on? All they saw, from our perspective, was a man get punched out of the hospital window to his death, right into the middle of their crowd. Then a crazy woman showed up and demanded people immediately tell her who was involved with him, while hoisting his corpse around like a rag doll. Then threatened to murder all of them when they told her to screw off. Also this is not second guessing. Tossing a person wearing a flamethrower several hundred feet into a crowd of people is super dangerous. It is never a good idea. She is very lucky that tank didn’t explode. — And this wasn’t a hate group railing on someones rights. This was a protest against using not fully understood barely human organs as transplant organs. They did nothing that we saw, to warrant having their lives threatened. Arkone Axon Was it proven: yes. Yes it was. At least, to beyond a reasonable degree of doubt. (Unless retconning gets done down the line) Patrick is the one who de-escelated things by holding up a placard to inform her that he’d scanned the crowd and already had their names (meaning it was unnecessary to threaten the crowd. That kind of “enhanced interrogation” is utterly pointless when you’re friends with a mind reader). I will agree with you that PUNCHING a person wearing a flamethrower (not throw, PUNCH, as in “violent strike with the fist”) could have caused considerable collateral damage. As I’ve noted elsewhere, Alison is NOT good at limiting collateral damage. She was never trained to do so, she was never taught to use tactics to avoid doing so. Fortunately, he didn’t turn into a fireball. And this wasn’t a protest against using “not fully understood barely human organs as transplant organs.” This was a protest against using the thoroughly researched and medically approved metahuman organs shown to perfectly bond with recipients with zero instances of tissue rejection, solely because the metahuman did some horrible things which she was attempting to atone for. Rando > This was a protest against using the thoroughly researched and medically approved metahuman organs They have studied the effects for the years required to prove there are no unforeseen side effects? There are a lot of other problems than simply tissue rejection that can occur when you are putting essentially cancerous tissue into another person. Arkone Axon The medical experts involved all seemed to concur that the organ transplants were perfectly viable. After all, if problems arise years later- that’s still years longer than the patients would have lived without those organs. I’m not about to disagree with you regarding the need for thorough research by qualified experts… which is why Alison’s actions with Max were especially problematic. IF there are future issues that would arise from the use of Feral’s organs, then they’re going to come about all the sooner thanks to the acceleration regeneration rate due to her augmentation. Which… is one more reason why the doctors would be pretty pissed when they find out (in addition to the whole “deceived into taking part in medical procedures without the consent of all parties involved, jeopardizing their medical licenses” thing). They did approve the use of Tara’s organs… at her previous power levels. But this was like kidnapping and torturing someone in order to force them to concentrate medicinal serum to create pills containing ten times the dosage of the original tablets. That could very well lead to problems down the road. Magma Sam Yeah, as a good demonstration of the “panic response” and “good enough” concepts, I recall having seen the movie Sully which talks about the water landing of a flight plane, and the investigation into the ethicality of his actions thereafter. (wikipedia link provided: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sully_(film) ) (Though obviously Spoilers if you actually read the wiki article.) Still that same guy I was being glib while offering context, but I think we are in agreement that killing the arsonist wasn’t an illegal or immoral act. I’m not even salty about her behavior outside so much as the apparent lack of consequences, which could be attributed to the pacing of the story at the time. GreatWyrmGold Yeah, that’s not very common IRL. Gotham When she was legally ManofSteeling around (yes, that’s a verb now) Jeremy When she was still a superhero? Wasn’t that violence officially endorsed/approved? Gotham Yes. She still left dozens of dead innocents in her wake, though. No matter how sanctioned and sanitized. Jeremy Again, I’m struggling to remember; have we been given any details about those deaths – do we know anything about the numbers involved or the context? Hiram Well she did punch a robot through a building with her old professor’s beau and a number of other people inside. Jeremy Thank you! Gotham Only gleaned from places like here: http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-5/page-147/ (fifth panel) There http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-2/page-46/ and there http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-3/page-74/ Numbers unclear, innocent bystander victims, in the context of superheroing. Manslaughter fits best. Jeremy Thank you! Arkone Axon Basically… I’ve referenced another comic called “Grrlpower,” which shows superheroes using their powers in a safe, sane, and responsible manner. http://grrlpowercomic.com/archives/1223 Whereas Alison was recruited, “trained,” and utilized by an establishment so bad that when she finally met Menace, she learned that from his point of view he was taking on (in his own words) “the bloodiest regime in history.” She was working for people who didn’t mind a little “collateral damage.” The only difference is that instead of doing it with bombs and drones and “double tapping” the target (which often means killing first responders coming to rescue the victims of the first strafing run) they were relying on a child soldier who was easily manipulated and misled. Lisa Izo I will say it, and keep repeating it. Alison is not a bright person. AustinC123 Holy cow, Lisa Izo’s opinion about Alison! Reiterated again and unrelated to the current comic!!! As true as the north star and as nuanced as a straight line. Can’t wait til next week, when we get to hear exactly the same arguments, but this time: again! AustinC123 Lisa Izo, I have to apologize. I saw this comment immediately upon waking up and I misread it: I thought you said “not a good person.” My reply was based on that misreading. I’m sorry – though I often have a problem with your messages here, this was not in the same mold and I jumped off the handle. Again, apologies. Lisa Izo 1) Apology accepted. No, I just said here that she’s not a BRIGHT person, because I was responding to someone about how she was doing something really stupid by leaving Klevin with Patrick. Gotta admit, that’s monumentally dumb. I can only asume tahbt she believes that Klevin’s poofy hair will be a good buffer against Patrick’s psychic powers and psychic projections 2) You could always delete that post. 🙂 AustinC123 I could, but I wanted to stay on the hook for my mistake. If you would rather I delete it, as the wronged party I will defer to your choice. Just let me know. Lisa Izo Honestly doesn’t matter to me. I don’t really worry about what other people on the interwebs say about me unless I know them well enough to respect their opinion, or if I know them in RL. I’m fine with whatever you do with it. I’ll give you points for standing by your error though – it’s a stand-up thing to do. tygertyger “May I speak frankly, Clevin?” KABOOM! AveryAves http://puu.sh/xoRWL/524200cd80.jpg Duality of man Walter Hello…CLEVIN. Ominous. HanoverFist For fuck’s sake Patrick, are you really that unable to resist the urge to fuck with people? Including those who are trying to help you? They could turn you in so easily and yet you just can’t be civil for one fucking night. Tylikcat People generically, or Alison’s new boyf in particular? Danygalw honestly I think that’s just how he talks. he could be about to say frankly “I like your hair”. i would not put it past him. Gotham I don’t know what you’re talking about. Clearly Patrick has been abducted between the previous page and this one and replaced by a young Grand Moth Tarkin, judging from the cheekbones. Arkone Axon Bear in mind that he might genuinely be planning to do right by Clevin. Alison is known for causing collateral damage; Patrick saying the right things to convince Clevin to flee for his life might be the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for him. CrimsonCarnivoreOnAClayCourt New headcanon: the severity of Feral’s swearing is inversely proportional to the severity of the situation. Cookie’s too big for milk dunking? F-bombs all the way. The sun blots out, the seas run with blood as the demon horde descends on humankind in the name of their dark master? “Fudge buscuit.” ampg You know she’s saying “Shoot,” like, “Go ahead, hit me with your crazy story,” right? It’s not a substitute for cursing. Brian Roney Porque no los dos? palmvos ::reference family feud:: google translate says… why not both. Arkone Axon Why not Zoidberg? https://media.makeameme.org/created/Why-not-Zoidberg-vyotfu.jpg palmvos ::family feud:: Survey says.. ::Rasberry:: Shjade Because she doesn’t know enough about the situation to be swearing about it yet, and in context it would make no sense as an addendum to “tell me everything.” zopponde “Oh goody” Mistress Dizzy Oh, THIS is not good. Todd Hmm. Good luck, Little Pondfish! It looks like someone’s about to open the forbidden weir to the sea, sweeping you though to God-knows-what . . . . (Not that I think I mind much: every time I hear “Everything happens for a reason”, no matter how well intentioned, my teeth start to hurt.) Lu That patch on Patrick’s forehead looks like a Bohr diagram – so on he mood of the scene bryan rasmussen So it’s either 1.letting Clevin know the stuff about Allison that means he won’t like her anymore 2. letting Clevin know that Patrick knows the TRUTH about him. palmvos but what is the truth about Clevin? is he an agent of the conspiracy sent to sabotage her efforts? he’s secretly from the government to give the goverment a lever on Alison, or he’s from the government and he’s here to help, hes a space alien, hes a transsexual from Transylvania, hes involved with max’s family and is part of a subtle revenge sceme, he is a my little pony fan, he likes 50 shades, or he’s a twilight fan. SaiyanHeretic I think I found a typo. In that last panel, Feral is probably supposed to be saying “Shit.” elysdir She’s saying “shoot” with the colloquial meaning of “tell me what you’re going to tell me.” SaiyanHeretic It was a joke. The implication being that Ally told her off camera, and Feral’s reaction was “Shit.” palmvos I refuse to believe the jump cut will happen before Tuesday. besides I wont have the materials ready before then. zellgato ……………….Are… you stupid? I’m sorry.. I don’t care how broken you think the former supervilllian who was at least and probably still is partially obsessed with you is, you don’t leave anyone you care about who can’t defend themselves in saidr oom alone with him. ‘Also clevin bro. That pat pat was weird. Granted I”m still not entirely convinced Clevin isn’t some brain puppet. Lysiuj “That pat pat was weird.” Well, love is often strange… Tylikcat It’s infectious. Alison got it from Gurwara. Clevin got it from Alison. Soon we’ll see it spreading through the ranks of Templar. Weatherheight And suddenly we’re in an episode of ST:TNG. Which was quicker than I expected, actually. palmvos the internet comment section, the continuing mission to sink to new lows,, to find new innuendos, and to boldly say what should not have been thought in the first place. palmvos the ship reappears. like the flying Dutchman. may the originator be rewarded. :: borrows Patrick’s smile:: JeffH I guess I don’t see Patrick as “partially obsessed” with Al, and I really don’t think Alison sees him that way. She’s clearly made a mistake, but she probably thought Patrick was: 1) Unconscious, and 2) at the core, the same person she used to take long drives with. I’ll grant you that this is naive, but I think that’s who she is. zellgato Yeah it is who she was.. but felt like she learned a few things lately. Learned what she honestly believes and learnred what she wants to believe. and learned that she is fine risking herself and her values for what she wants to believe in… but she might be learning soon that she should not risk other’s for her own want to believe in the best…. Patrick is kinda partially. She’s the tool that talked back, the tool that wouldn’t obey him through manipulations but through directness. She was something different than others. I haven o clue in what way he might be partially obsessed. But he clearly has her in high in his brain. Lu I think the whole creepy Patrick willing to have fun with Clevin thing is happening so his mind is busy enough for catching up and intervening in Al and Feral’s talk. ampg Oh, Al. How are you handling this so badly? palmvos because it is happening in real time do you have any idea how many times i think of just the right thing to say…. two hours or more later? how many times i have struggled and struggled and then went to bed disappointed, tired, weary, pissed off, and in a really bad mood. only to wake up and solve it right off? Filthy Liar Patrick’s powers must not be working, otherwise the shame of that lank-ass hair and his general appearance would be blasting into him from Clevin. Dude needs a shower. Patrick_GETS_me Clevin is too sweet to judge anyone. He’s probably feeling some pretty intense pity, but I’m sure Patrick is used to hearing pitying thoughts toward himself and I doubt he values Clevin’s perception much. Lostman Alison, why did you leave your boyfriend alone with Patrick? I see nothing good from this! cphoenix In this strip, especially toward the end, Patrick reminds me of Speedy from A Girl And Her Fed. Speedy is non-human (and thus, from our point of view, pretty sociopathic) and with an IQ of 400 IIRC. He’s pretty manipulative, and enjoys it. Patrick isn’t that smart, but when talking one-on-one with a person, he might as well be. As long as he knows what he wants, he can easily get it. What does he want here? Gotham Plus he does look somewhat like a ruffled koala Arkone Axon “Got yer nose!” palmvos give it back! Eve Patting someone having a bad time and telling them, “Everything happens for a reason,” is a crap thing to do, but I think he’s about to get disproportionately punished. Preacher John Tbh, I think it’s an incompetent thing to do – which is excused because Clevin is a well-meaning but super-naive college kid who’s what? all of 20 years old? and as far as we know has lived a fairly conventional lifestyle e.g. he’s the only person in the apartment who *wasn’t* a child soldier. Clevin’s waaaaaaaaay out of his depth, not to mention obviously hella nervous around creepy Patrick. He’s under pressure, and winging it as he goes along – hence saying stupid stuff. Poor guy, Patrick’s gonna twist his melon. :/ Some guy The thing about that is, “Everything happens for a reason” is only comforting to people of certain religions and philosophical bents, while being nothing at best and offensive at worst to others. Clevin can’t be faulted for saying something dumb to Patrick since he (probably) doesn’t really know who Patrick is, but he still could have tried a little harder were that just some regular guy instead of Patrick. Arkone Axon He went out to get stuff for his girlfriend, realized he forgot his phone, and came back after less than five minutes to find a drunk and ill man in his bed. He’s doing his best, all things considered. Dan Steadman Why do you think Clevin is super naïve, unless of course you mean ‘super’ naïve? He seems like a relatively normal, if somewhat unusually well adjusted and introspective guy. Not being a super himself shouldn’t change that. That being said, Alison’s panicky ‘look after him while I talk to Feral’ probably wasn’t an optimal choice as she has a definite blind spot when it comes to Patrick and his moral ambiguity/villainy. JohnTomato Very much like the value of sending “Thoughts and prayers” to someone in crisis. Jordan “May I speak frankly Clevin?” “Sure” “Oh goody. The reason I’m here at all is because Allison was in love with me. The reason I’m still here is because she still is. The reason she’s even with you at all is because you made and continue to make it so damn convenient for her. The reason you do that is because you know you will never be able to relate to her, comfort her, support her in the way she deserves. The reason for that is because you aren’t special like her. Life and death never weighted on your shoulders, the government never put you in a box to experiment on, the hardest choice you ever had to make in your life was opening up to her once at the risk of her realizing she doesn’t need you after all. Yes dear Clevin, everything happens for a reason, and the reason I know that is because I read minds easier than books. So when I say these things to you…you know they’re the truth.” Gotham “Erm… it seems you missed the note where she told me all of this already and we’re totally fine that ‘us’ is a purely physical thing.” “…” “Don’t you dare tell me /I/ made things embarrassing.” Patrick_GETS_me Patrick’s sly smile combined with repeatedly using Clevin’s name in conversation is giving me major Hannibal Lecter vibes. “Is this Clarice? Why, hello Clarice.” I always find it creepy when people repeatedly say the name of the person they’re talking to in one-on-one conversation. In other contexts it usually just sounds patronizing, but this is an extra level of creepy. palmvos I would like to state that if we get another jump cut and skip these two potentially VERY interesting conversations to disarm North Korea or something… I will be very disappointed. I hope I’m wrong but my jump cut detector is going off. MedinaSidonia Weatherheight said something that got me thinking about the trope of the master manipulator: “I trust nothing about Patrick at any time at face value. Manipulators manipulate, even when getting kicked in the teeth by life…” This resonates with me. I’ve known plenty of manipulators. However, in my experience, manipulators are their own worst enemies because they can’t stop themselves from wanting more. Eventually even a schmuck like me figures out that he’s being manipulated, and removes himself from the relationship. Now granted, even in my case, the time between the initial manipulation and my getting away from the manipulator can take years, and during that time they can do a lot of damage. And. I question the trope that a mind-reader or hyper-intuitive person could be *that* good at manipulating people. The whole deal with manipulation is that it’s subtle; it doesn’t work that quickly. So if someone could read my mind, how would that help them Jedi Mind Trick me? I mean, give me a concrete example of how it would play out. Scenario A: A normal piece of shit control freak. This person has to be kind to me initially, because I’ll just walk away from some rude, aggressive asshole I don’t know. I get to know them and, slowly, slyly, they start negging me or whatever. After weeks or months go by, they are manipulating me. Scenario B: The mind-reader or hyper-intuitive character looks at me, and in the first instant they know about that time my mom started crying when my dad was driving us on one of his “shortcuts”, or at least they observe my micro-expressions and start to intuit my emotional buttons. Within a few minutes they have lots of information on me that a mundane couldn’t have. And they use this to manipulate me… how??? If they do or say something that trips my alarm bells, I’d just get the fuck out of there, and I can’t think of what they could do or say using that information that *wouldn’t* trip my alarm bells. In short, paint me a picture of how Patrick’s ability is so dangerous *in the short term*. palmvos lets start with this quote: “Never appeal to a man’s better nature. He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage.” Read more at http://izquotes.com/quote/236356 he would use your inherent desires against you. now go read some of Scott Adams blog about master manipulator. this is what a normal person without micro expressions or even presence can do. next go find someone who will pull the veil back and honestly discuss how advertising really works. Patrick can sell an Eskimo a freezer on mail order and leave with the Eskimo convinced he got the better of the bargain Pythia I don’t know how it would work with you, but I can tell you how it would work with me. Let’s say Patrick wants me to do something that I wouldn’t otherwise do. Say… iunno, let him out of a cell. He’s in a cell, and I’m not supposed to let him out. I have various “soft” spots so to speak (family I love, specific things that I hate, etc). All he needs to do is poke and prod those in such a way as to get me to do something irrational, and put me in a position where said irrational action is letting him out. For example, let’s say that I’m a former EMT or something, and he feigns a heart attack convincingly. I’m gonna open that door freaking out to try to make sure he’s alive. Now he has an open door. Or, let’s say that my grandmother is slowly dying of Alzheimer’s. He can promise me access to resources to get her out of the hellhole she’s living in, and into a developed country’s hospital to do clinical trials if I let him free. Or, let’s say that he knows I only took this job because I’m desperate for anything that will pay. He can promise me EXACTLY WHAT I NEED from a job and convince me to be his minion, because he would know exactly how much experience I have, exactly what I’m good at, and exactly what I want (as well as what I don’t know I want, but is still there in my brain). Over the course of a single conversation, somebody who knows what I want, what I NEED that I’m not self-aware enough to realize I need, and who can see how I came to need these things, and exactly every single way I like to lie to myself (say, tell myself I’m better than I am at X, or that Y is more likely to happen than it is, etc etc) can ALSO SEE exactly what lies I am likely to believe. What lies I am EAGER to believe, because if X or Y or Z were true, then something that I care about would be also. If I were religious, he could convince me that it is the right thing to do, and he would not have to know anything about my religion other than what I believe to be true about it to spin it that way. Manipulation is not only about long-form establishing a relationship, creating trust, planting seeds of doubt, etc etc. There is also: “Hey, pass me the salt.” “Get it yourself.” “What, so now the basic courtesy of passing the salt is beyond you?” “…Geez, fine. Here you go.” That’s on-the-nose and clear to the point of being cartoony, of course, but that’s because I’m a shitty manipulator. And that is manipulation. It’s modifying a person’s behaviour to suit your needs. The point is that quick, simple things like that can go a lot further when you know exactly why a person would react in this or that way, and what makes someone what they are. If you want a more competent example, you should listen to the Once and Future Nerd. There, an orc has a conversation with a human smith. The smith’s whole family had been killed in an orc raid. He has EVERY SINGLE REASON to hate the guy. But he’s also poor, and he’s also their prisoner, and the orc in question is well-spoken and charming. And by the end of the conversation, in the short term, the smith has turned over to the side of the people who murdered his family and destroyed his town. Why? You could argue it’s because the orc went all Marxism on the guy, and sure, I guess that’s part of it. But most of it is that the orc knew the human’s weaknesses. He understood his pain. And he quietly shifted the blame from the orc raiders to the upper class, smoothly redirected the conversation towards “see, I’m not such a bad guy”, and ended the thing by giving the guy agency and importance and “the chance to do the right thing” and be “part of a cause” when he felt his future was nothing but an impending, futile death. Pol Subanajouy OH GOODY Ian Osmond “May I speak frankly, Clevin?” “Sure!” “Oh, goody…. I want to let you know that you’re the best thing that could happen to Alison right now, and I care about her — but only as a friend — and, whether or not this works out between you in terms of dating, I’m really glad that you’re there for each other, and I think your lives are both enriched by this. You just keep being you, Clevin; you’re one of the good ones.” That’s what he’s going to say, right? Gotham Still he’s going to add it in somewhere that while his sexual fantasies about Alison are /loud/ and /vivid/ they are dishearteningly /tame/. Tylikcat “Dear boy, you are a vanilla sundae without any chocolate sprinkles…!” Preacher John Oh yeah, there’s 4 people in the apartment, 3 are supers with a brutal & bloody history because they grew up as child-soldiers, but let’s leave wet-behind-the-ears Clevin the baseline civilian in charge of the drunk unstable sorta-ex-supervillian. What could possibly go wrong, Alison? Doh! palmvos I submit the short list as a large paperback with 200 pages of double collum single spaced items. JohnTomato “I can never find my Magneto helmet when I need it!” cannibalism Patrick if you say anything mean to Clevin I’m going to burn the entire world to the ground I swear Lisa Izo His hair is becoming too poofy! It’s gonna blow, Captain! palmvos don’t worry. we have Ben Stiller ready to go in and fix it. Lisa Izo Another alarming thing is apparently the poofiness has attempted to latch onto Feral. Fortunately she has healing powers. And it sort of looks cute on her. martynW Oh, Lord, they’re not even going to find the bones. AshlaBoga How long does it take to talk a seemingly healthy person into a complete psychotic breakdown? We shall now find out😈 Renee Lucero Ramirez I think Patrick is not happy with the fact that Clevin is sleeping with Alison. xD I know it’s a dumb comment but I find it funny coming from the guy who rejected her and played with her feelings some time ago. Arkone Axon …Wait, I just realized… Patrick must have one HELL of a hangover. No wonder he’s feeling grumpy and looking to share the misery… R Lex Eaton Hooboy. Just when you think you have someone figured out… In all seriousness, Patrick is giving me vibes like a weirdly skewed Richard III character type. The manipulator where only the audience sees the person beneath. Except here… It’s like that kind of character got put through the X-Files process and is now the Machiavellian Möbius Strip. We see all the angles, but which is the person beneath? Giacomo Bandini it strikes me how Patrick sounds so much more in control, so much more like his old self in this conversation than in the converation with Alison. Maybe this is because he sobered up, or because he openly show his weakness to Alison, differently than how he behave with a stranger like Clevin. But i like to think that is because splitting his head open actually worked: he has dumbed his powers so he could control them, and be back to his usual self. That means that hitting his head wasn’t just a way to escape pain, but also a way to get back his self control, which he so desperatly needs (“I’m supposed to be good at this). Mishyana Oh well surely this will end well and not at all in tears or tragedy, Patrick is obviously going to give Clevin sound investment advice and that is all jandesf Oh boy Lheticus Videre Can we get an option to hide comment replies, here? The toxicity level of the replies to the top comment is way too high for me. Arkone Axon You can flag them as being inappropriate, but… otherwise, afraid not. It’s funny. These comments used to be better moderated; there was a great deal more courtesy in the comments section when I first started posting here, and when I marveled about that I was told that Brennan and Molly moderated the comments sections for exactly that reason. But I also recall the comments sections using a different service than Disqus, so that might also be it. palmvos it was using disqus then. the comment section broke molly. I think it was 3000 posts to one comic that she had to moderate and it was too much. Lysiuj Just block anyone who’s gone past your breaking point (though this isn’t possible with temp account posters), or minimize comment threads with the minus sign in the upper right corner of a comment. Fluffy Dragon There Gurwara goes again, with the hand-patting. Sendaz You heard the lady. Keep him in bed and don’t let him fall asleep. *cue up Barry White music* 😉 Teasing… Patrick is probably going to try and crush Clevin’s worldview with some pithy comments about the big bad world or even the others, but it was a thought. 😉 palmvos it is also possible that Clevin infections hair will infect Patrick. Alison’s hair is immune. (have you seen what it takes to give the girl a haircut?) Hawthorne Hello, Clar…evin. Zachary Chandler This comment section seems really tedious, so I’m not going to bother with it, but I’d like to say that I really enjoy this comic and look forward to the updates. To the creator! Good work I say!