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 50 Show Comments Francisco Telepathy + dangerous would probably lead to Menace. Joe in Australia I love how Feral codeswitches for dramatic effect. leoboiko “Somehow, some people knew. And they had had them killed.” “And, behind every attack, deep inside every conspiracy, there lurked the same shadowy figure… The name of that figure? It was duck.” The Duck From issue 6 p.112 It’s Mister Duck, thank you very much. Weatherheight “The only clue? At every crime scene, we found an origami duck.” “Shouldn’t that be a crane?” “A duck, dammit! Always a duck!“ Lisa Izo The crane is the duck. zellgato Careful Howard will take you out for knowing too much. Arkone Axon …I just watched the first episode of the Ducktales reboot, and now I’m picturing the first non-biodynamic heroes to appear. Heroes from another world, come to defeat the TRUE bad guys… …and one of those alien heroes will travel around on a single wheel, while another brandishes a cane, a third screams unintelligibly and is driven by rage, and the fourth… IS… the Terror that Flaps in the Night… Launchpad I’m a pilot. Lisa Izo Blathering blatherskites! Gotham I’m of two minds here. I can appreciate a page whose purpose is to recap long untold lore for newcomers and the non-zero amount of people who had forgotten this was a thing that mattered a lot years and years ago, but it’s a bummer to be provided with no new information or plot progression. Feral knows, admittedly, and that’s progress but that I could have gathered just as well if we saw an ellipsis followed by “and now you know everything except who he was.” Mostly I’m saddened we’re missing the complete shattering of Clevin’s self-confidence and sense of worth happening right now in the other room. Rando Yeah, it is kind of annoying to have recap pages in a twice a week medium. They are useful for the same reasons though, so eh kind of a wash. But yeah, lets get back to Clevin being reduced to a sputtering pile of hair! tygertyger Something tells me it’s not going to be that simple. Weatherheight For the use of the phrase “sputtering pile of hair”, I must upvote this comment. motorfirebox Eh. I don’t see this page as telling us what we already know, I see it as telling us how much Feral now knows. That’s the real takeaway, here, not the recap but the fact that Feral is in on the real juice. Rando That could have been easily accomplished without spending a full page detailing everything out. Get rid of everything today except for the look in the last panel. Then immediately cut to her reacting to what was “said” off panel. Bam. Same effect, done quicker. It’s a recap page (and I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that). motorfirebox I don’t think that really works, because of the amount of information available to be conveyed to Feral. The layers of secrecy between characters are such that we actually do need to know pretty specifically what each character knows, unless the question of what they know is intentionally left open for dramatic tension (dramatic unirony?). If it had just been Feral’s reaction, we’d have to guess, for instance, whether or not Allison told her who Patrick really is. Or just how much she said about Patrick in general. I think this page might also be a recap page, but I think it’d be fairly necessary in its current form even if we got a recap at the beginning of each chapter. Elaine Lee Almost everyone who comments here has forgotten that each one of these installments is only a single page. The content of the pages seems momentous because we are getting each page after a wait of several days. When this chapter is collected in a book, it will be Book 3. The information in this page appeared in Book 1. Not only that, but it gives extra insight into what Alison is thinking in the moment and sets Feral up to maybe do something really stupid with that info. Regular comics are only 22 pages long and there is some recap info in every issue. Commercial TV throws in a few lines of recap after every ad. Don’t think it’s a waste of space to throw in a bit of recap, after several hundred pages. And I’m sure we’ll get back to Clevin. Gotham I’m not saying some refreshing is bad, and I very much enjoy some amount of clarification / contextualisation (we do learn a lot by the way Alison tells it), only that it’s too bad the opportunity was not used to add another piece to a very, very old puzzle we are all dying to get to at some point in our lifetimes. I have this image in mind of intercutting Alison&Feral talking seriously about this, with Patrick drunkenly revealing insane secrets he had kept hidden from Alison, to a Clevin who doesn’t have enough context to make sense of it. Dramatic irony! Use of the visual medium! It would have been cool and fun. This page is just okay exposition. goodmorning Worth noting that I’ve read this whole comic several times, and it’s still been long enough that I totally forgot this whole conspiracy and thought this was a brilliant page revealing the real plot. Now I’ve seen the links people have put up and feel silly, but people can definitely use the refresher, whether they’re reading a page at a time or all at once in a book. alexikakon Considering how regularly people in the comment section fight about Alison’s level of honesty/conflicts that can be avoided by just having a conversation with someone, I think it *is* important to have a page to see how Alison tells information, and what information she tells. It serves as a recap for people who need it, it gives us another glimpse into Alison’s character (how she went straight into the juicy conspiracy mystery and desperately dodged any discussion of how they know each other, what does she understand about the situation, etc), and it also lets us be reminded that the recap information *is* a big deal, by seeing a new character react to it for the first time. If we just got a “…and that’s everything.” conversation skip, we wouldn’t actually have any idea what information she imparted and they’d have to ‘waste’ another page with Feral parroting some of it back in reaction to give us the gist of what she said anyway. So, tl;dr: I respectfully disagree! 🙂 Gotham I just want one bit of juicy info to chew on, just oooone. I’ve been obsessed about this for three years! If next page is Feral saying “oh I know all about this I killed them all two months ago let me tell you the tale” all is forgiven. Arkone Axon Upvoting you even though that wouldn’t be possible because Feral was still being vivisected 24/7 two months prior. But also acceptable would be: “Oh, is that all? Shoot, I gots me a nose, Lisa’s got her tech, that boy of yours can read minds… now that you’ve finally SHARED THE INFORMATION, we can all work together and track down them bad guys in no time at all.” Dean “I’m pretty sure one of my donor kidneys is in one of those guys. If I concentrate hard, I can tell you what he’s doing right now.” palmvos dean.. that would be creepy, awesome, and really really complicate things. so i think it won’t happen. but I’ve been wrong before. palmvos that would be too simple. and i predict someone will claim a dues ex machnina on that. bryan rasmussen I also think it’s important that it’s Feral being freaked out at the news. palmvos i would point out that i was wrong. I predicted a jump on the previous page because the last couple of times we got to this kind of scene.. the authors skipped the discussion. and i believe the comment section went on fire at least once because of it. so I agree that this scene was important. now can we please see what Patrick and Clevin are up to? ::big anime liquid eyes:: AustinC123 You think YOU’RE of two minds Gotham Isn’t that what I said? Arkone Axon Maybe… or maybe not. Maybe Patrick doesn’t intend to shatter Clevin. Maybe he intends to do the exact opposite – just to screw with Alison. …Then again, he’s badly hungover and an impossibly sweet guy just gave him an empty platitude. Grumpy Patrick is unlikely to be good natured Patrick. Rando “Hmm, should I tell my fellow supers, or at least my close personal super friends, about this vast conspiracy to kill us if we are deemed too much of a threat to their rule? Nah, better not tell anyone so they can potentially stumble into it themselves and get killed.” Arkone Axon Like Lisa Izo said, Alison is not a very bright person. Funny thing is, she could be – if she were in the habit of thinking. She doesn’t do much thinking, though. She just goes with her emotions. She “follows her heart.” Which is a really stupid thing to do. (I can think of two particular examples of why listening to the “heart” is stupid. The first was a stupid TV show called “Felicity,” about a girl who changed universities at the last minute because a boy signed her yearbook with the words “wish we’d gotten to know each other better,” spends the entire series “following her heart,” and being repeatedly established as being selfish, ready to compromise her morals in the face of temptation… the final season has her going back in time from 2002 to 2001 to change history rather than let the boy who got away marry someone else. And while doing so, failed to mention to anyone in the summer of 2001 that they might want to do something about something that would happen on September 9th… the second is a former friend who listened to a manipulative and unpleasant person about how I was a bad person. What killed it was when my ex-friend told me that she had literally no proof that I had ever done anything bad, but she “knew in her heart” that I was a selfish and horrible person. Everything that followed after that was practically a formality) AustinC123 So your first example of listening to one’s heart rather than one’s brain is that you watched Felicity? Arkone Axon No, my first example is that I live with someone who looooves TV, and tends to marathon shows on Netflix and Hulu. But yeah, watching that show is a good example of the foolishness of “following your heart.” At least, if you can stand to watch the show. Mostly I know that she had a bad habit of acting on impulses and “feelings” without stopping to consider thinking about things for a moment, that she eventually picked one of two guys to be with, and when that guy dumped her and the other one was getting married, she went back in time to derail… everything, for all her friends, because she’s just that selfish. At least not all the shows that get watched in this house are that bad. “Westworld” is interesting enough that I might get into it myself, even if the themes have been explored numerous times in the books and other media I generally prefer. Sarah Brand In fairness, if Alison’s goal is to keep her friends away from the evil conspiracy, telling them about it would almost definitely backfire. tygertyger Oh, the eyes in that last panel! Priceless! Todd I’ve always liked the trope with the cigarette: the shock/surprise is so much the ash gets too long and droops or breaks off. It’s like a very understated jaw-drop Apromor This particular scene of having Al tell someone else kind of makes me think that Patrick made the whole thing up because he wanted to stay out of jail. bta “Wow, that’s heavy. How do you know he’s telling the truth?” “He showed me some papers.” “That’s all?” “Well, duh. It’s a secret worldwide conspiracy. Of course *they* wouldn’t leave traces.” “But can you trust him?” “Oh my god, Feral, he was just a telepathic supervillain bent on conquering the world! Why would he lie to the person come to arrest him? It’s not like I’m one of his minions or anything. There’s something special between us.” Weatherheight There is so much to mistrust about this story, but the source is our biggest problem. This is the big problem with being a liar – sooner or later, people will figure it out and not trust you anymore, even when you’re being honest. There is a part of me that wants everything Patrick said to be true. And that Patrick is the head of the group killing off these people. To whit, he told the truth, just not all of the truth. What would be even better is that Patrick is the head of the organization and is killing off these people and that, once their remains are unearthed / discovered and tested, none of them have any biodynamic markers and Patrick is just a bug-f*ck crazy bastard. A very convincing bug-f*ck crazy bastard, but a bug-f*ck crazy bastard nevertheless. I’m hoping that Tara calls Alison out on this story, asking her if she’s tried in any way to confirm it. Arkone Axon Here’s a big question: How many outright lies has Patrick told? I mean, he’s definitely a murderer and a terrorist and all that… but how many actual lies did he ever tell? The closest he came to lying AFAIK was when he spewed his crap about “special snowflakes” before using the truth as a deliberate weapon to hurt Alison and push her away (because he’s still an immature punk, powers and pretense at being a Doctor Doom expy aside). But can anyone point at a statement he’s made that was ever proven to be false? Philip Bourque How many verifiable facts has he stated? Why lie outright when half-truths and inaccuracies are so much more effective at manipulating people? My opinion? Patrick is totally fruit-loops and the conspiracy is nothing more than a delusion he strung together because he peered into one too many brains ages ago. Shjade On the other hand, he sure had access to the rich kid’s file on his abilities pretty dang quick considering how deep his rich and powerful family tried to bury that secret. I don’t see a reason for Patrick to have made up this conspiracy. If he wanted to avoid capture, there are more practical lies he could have told to achieve that goal, if that was the route he wanted to take. I don’t see the upshot of this being false. Weatherheight All the information Patrick had on Max that we have actually seen and heard independently verified by Max is all information known by Max. Patrick, the receiving telepath, could have gathered that information telepathically and produced a realistic looking file that has all that data (truth) with additional data that upholds Patrick’s story (lies). When telling a lie, make it one your audience will believe – appeal to their perceptions, appeal to their vanity, appeal to their sense of right or wrong, but appeal to your audience. It doesn’t matter if we buy it, what matters is whether Alison buys it. And the more they buy it, the less likely they will investigate and the longer you have to extricate yourself. Mastermind One of the things I love about this story is that we’ve been given just enough information to spin this however we like. 😀 Arkone Axon Well, let’s see… he’s always been spot on accurate when it came to reading what’s in Alison’s head… …he was telling 100% truth about Daniel (i.e. Cleaver), allowing Alison to befriend the poor kid… …he told the truth about Tara’s plans to become a perpetual organ donor… …pretty much every time something he said was tested, it turned out to be the truth. Dwight Williams Based on that kind of track record…it gets easier to believe whatever else he tells her. Cyrano111 Given that Patrick was in the midst of becoming the leading expert on time travel when he had that conversation with Allison, and that (as someone pointed out at the time) his own reflection was faintly visible in front of him as he explained that he could not see who was behind the conspiracy, it seems very likely that he will *become* the person behind the conspiracy, but that he himself does not know that now. Time travel would also explain how biodynamics were eliminated before anyone knew about biodynamism. Flamma Man The more I think about this “conspiracy” and the people behind it, the more I’m trying to think about it from their perspective about why they would kill these world changing biodynamics and it…seems really simple? These children would change the way the world works, not gradually, but in an instant because their abilities are that powerful. How could the world change fast enough to not cause utter chaos and potentially even more deaths? Even the end of the human race, biodynamics and non-biodynamics alike? Just to spitball, say there was a child in South Africa that made everyone around them in a 20 mile radius functionally immortal (never getting sick, improving their health) just by being alive? And as we’ve seen, powers develop and get stronger. What if this field, as these people observed and estimated, would eventually expand to the entire world? It’d be making one of the leading crises in the world (over population) even worse and potentially fast tracking food shortages and water supplies around the world. So, logically, this child cannot exist, they need to be gone. Then what about a child that could potentially cause explosions the size of a country and eventually a country? It’s too much of a risk leaving them alive too? What if that person’s government took advantage of them? What if anyone did? Again, it’s too much of a liability to keep them alive. Oh, but what about Patrick trying to buy out Bradley’s company and patents with his excuse being that her inventions could get the attention of these people and the conspiracy, you say? I just…don’t buy it? It would just make this mysterious organization just seem really boring and honestly kinda dumb? Why get rid of her patents that are going through legal channels being approved? It’s not even like some of these inventions would change the world in an instant, she’s still decades away from actually having any kind of functional AI. But, also? Patrick is a terrible human being despite his potentially poor upbringing and I barely trust anything that he says. Rando I don’t think Patrick is lying. There is very possibly some shadowy cabal behind everything pulling the strings. He could believe they have nefarious motives and think that he is protecting her by burying her patents. I think more likely his lack of information or world view is skewing his perception. It also comes down to though as you said, just because they are a shadowy cabal hiding from the public, doesn’t mean what they are doing is “wrong” or has large scale ill intent. This is what has always made me eye-roll at the whole x-men/inhuman conceit as well. The normal people don’t segregate and kill them because they are covered in green fur. They do it because they can blow up a city by blinking, frequently kill a large number of people when the powers first manifest, and a significant number of world ending attempts can be attributed to them while they refuse to get involved in anything that doesn’t involve them or their kind. They always showcase the implementation badly, because comics and bad-guys. But really, registering and tagging mutants/inhuman genetics before they activate and removing anyone who will be a problem IS what they should be doing. I’m sorry you were born with the ability to kill everyone in a 200 foot radius when you sneeze and are treated differently for it, but you kill everyone around you when you sneeze. Rando Also, since my stance on the shadowy cabal can appear contradictory from my established stance on Max/Al; There is a difference between being forced to jump into the path of a bullet to push the target out of the way and being killed (say shooting out the tire causing you to crash) because you were about to knock a bus full of orphans off a bridge into a canyon. R Lex Eaton So the pro-humanity movement and such are unequivocally right to pronounce judgement on others because of the dangers they pose? Since we’re on the subject of Marvel, I’m reminded of the trial in Ultimates for Bruce Banner’s rampage as the Hulk. Did he kill tons of people in that instance? Yes. Did he deserve punishment? Probably. Did he have to be tried in a courthouse mere blocks away from the crime scene, refused any attempt to appeal the sentence, and have his execution within hours, all because of the risk that he might become a monster again? Hardly. If you have to throw out any and all semblance of due process in order to ensure that the public can be kept safe, I’m sorry, but you’re not helping. (Also, I’m still not convinced that Max Prescott didn’t have his fate deserved many times over. Alison might have made a bad call in that instance, but she never at any point claimed to be right in doing that, and only did so because there was no alternative. That, in my eyes, is more forgivable than some rich asswipe refusing to do good they’re capable of out of spite.) AustinC123 ‘If you have to throw out any and all semblance of due process in order to ensure that the public can be kept safe, I’m sorry, but you’re not helping.’ I dunno, man. 1. wars, 2. cops are allowed to shoot people they consider a threat dead in the street I would be very in favor of (Ultimates) Bruce Banner being killed very quickly. R Lex Eaton And if Banner were an active threat, that would mean all the difference. As it stood, he was only a potential threat. Now, I’m willing to admit that certain powers might warrant some type of registration, a la a firearm. But unless someone can emit radiation or control disease, or something equally dangerous and without much positive applications, it’s a bit much. And even then, only unauthorized use of such powers would be a crime. AustinC123 He’s a ‘potential’ threat in that he murders dozens of people every time he gets mad (including stuff like being threatened by his therapist probing too deep and stuff). The potential is waaaay too high and once the potential is triggered he can’t be stopped. It’s like a psychopath with a rifle except you can’t take the rifle away ever. R Lex Eaton And, again, does that justify the blatant mistrial that goes on to set legal precedent for the rest of the superhuman population? Including the later storyline which outlawed mutants for existing? AustinC123 I don’t think a trial should have been necessary at all. Something that dangerous and uncontrollable should be destroyed immediately. Whether that one storyline “justifies” a further storyline is kind of an odd question, but in general, if I lived in the Marvel universe I would be in favor of extremely strict controls on anyone exhibiting superpowers or seeking to acquire superpowers / superpowered tech. R Lex Eaton Pretty distressing for anyone who can’t help having superpowers and has been shown society’s willingness to eradicate them and others like them if they so much as look at them funny. Because that’s the logical end point. Legal or otherwise. AustinC123 Well, yeah. Great power, great responsibility. We have licenses for cars, so if you can fly through buildings we should have at least comparable safeguards, and if those safeguards are impossible, you should have your ability to fly through buildings removed one way or another. R Lex Eaton And I agree wholeheartedly with that. There’s moderation involved, is my point. No need to resort to genocide. AustinC123 Not in the Marvel universe, no. There are only a few mutants which I think would need to be killed right away – and demonstrations of good character could certainly be taken into account! R Lex Eaton Such demonstrations work both ways, though. The very idea of putting people to death isn’t the best way to convince those like them of any good intentions. In my opinion, for what that’s worth, such punishment must only be reserved for those superhuman who are found guilty of high crimes that warrant such a response. Trial by jury. Fairly and justly. Not simply because of the dangers they pose in a purely theoretical sense. Ultimate Hulk is one case. But that doesn’t mean everyone like him is fair game. Good talk, I think. Rando Long conversation I missed, but to sum up; Yes, they should all be forced to register, be segregated for training/initial emergence of power, and be tracked. The degree should be varied based upon what their abilities are. You have green fur over 100% of your body? Check in every 6 months just to ensure your powers haven’t changed. Can warp the earths magnetic field killing all life on the planet? You wear a tracking device so your location is known at all times and alerts when you use your powers. Do something illegal (felony+, not shoplifting etc) you are executed. Sorry, but we can’t take the chance. As to your Bruce Banner/Hulk question. Yes, he should be executed as quickly as possible. He has already gone on multiple sprees killing countless people and causing untold property damage. Not executing him immediately is putting the population at further risk. You can’t use our current judicial system with a meta human population. The existing system assumes that once a person is in custody they are no longer a threat to anyone which is not the case with someone who can turn into an unstoppable killing machine whenever they get angry. R Lex Eaton So, in short, superbeings are an undeniable threat and no good will ever come of their existence? Because that’s what this entire approach says. Now how do you convince those unfortunate superpowered people that this is the right course of action? Rando Yes, they are an undeniable threat, all it takes is the wrong person getting the wrong power and they can end all life on the planet. Without registration, no one would even know it could be happening let alone try to stop it. Even if you scale it back, to a city. That is still far more power than any single person on the planet is capable of having without any sort of checks and balances in place (someone can build a nuke but you can track the materials required to build it, transport it to the location, etc). “Sorry you have to wear a tracking device bro, I don’t want the planet to explode. At least you can fly?” Honestly, not my problem to figure out how to make them agree with it. It’s not up to them. R Lex Eaton So how does that reconcile with Max and his right to live a quiet life? Under that logic, he’d go to the block. This is getting tiresome, to be honest. Rando I don’t know what the block is. How was being registered preventing Max from being able to live his life quietly? R Lex Eaton The chopping block. Where any and all threats go to be erased. He can enhance powers to world-ending levels, so that’s reason enough, right? I mean, as long as we’re throwing babies out with the bathwater here. Rando I never said anything about killing people for having powers. I said register and track, the same way we do currently for weapons owners. I said kill the Hulk/Banner because he HAS KILLED countless people already. R Lex Eaton I know what you said. I’m pointing out the consequences of that methodology. And that it makes no sense to discard potential good that can come from superpowers all because of potential risks that can’t be reasonably accounted for without becoming a police state. Rando Again, where is this supposed discarding coming from? Are we murdering people who have registered fire arms? Are we a police state because we track nuclear materials? R Lex Eaton We’re not dealing with firearms or nuclear weapons. We’re dealing with human lives and whether or not having inborn dangers that are not easily nullified or removed gives the rest of humanity the right to destroy, enslave, or oppress them. Like I said earlier, though. I have no more interest in discussing it if you’re going to sling insults. Please leave me and the other readers to our enjoyment. Thanks. Arkone Axon I think you misunderstood what Rando was trying to say. I believe Rando’s stance is: 1: register all superpowers. Not just to keep an eye on them, but also to provide assistance in controlling and developing said powers. 2: deal with lethally dangerous threats as such. I.e. don’t kill Sabretooth because he’s a mutant, kill Sabretooth because he’s a cannibalistic serial killer who thinks children are a tasty late night snack after having their parents for lunch and dinner. R Lex Eaton Okay, good points, all. And it can be pulled off when done in the right way. I’m not opposed to something like the deputizing system from Champions or Aberrant. And there are plenty of more collectivist societies that might be able to pull off a working system. Such things must be held accountable, though. In the case of Aberrant, the charitable foundation helping out was secretly sterilizing all registered supers as a method of controlling them. When they were found out, it didn’t go well. (Granted, the Aeon Foundation was trying to preemptively win the world war that would result from this revelation, but that’s getting into timey wimey stuff outside the point.) Arkone Axon You should REALLY check out “Grrlpower,” then: http://grrlpowercomic.com/archives/48 I’m also minded of City of Heroes (and oh, I miss that game!). The backstory was truly incredible: the timeline was a realistic depiction of how superheroes would have functioned in the real world, and it all led to the game mechanics that were also very well thought out. Superheroes were all registered (including “natural origin” heroes, which meant everything from unpowered martial artists and archers to aliens born with invulnerable skin). Then they were given security license ratings in recognition of their achievements. Most PCs were presumed to be members of Hero Corps, a private company that contracted to cities (like a sanitation business or utility company), and a lot of NPC superheroes were… police officers or soldiers (cops in Paragon City had a lot more to throw at rampaging supervillains than pistols and tasers). Champions Online is similar – and I believe it’s based on the Champions RPG that you just mentioned. With a catgirl supervillain who became a bad guy specifically because they agreed to turn her into a furry in the first place (“like, are you Hunter-patriot guys serious about trying to overthrow Canada?”) and Grond… if it’s the same setting, then saying “Grond” should confirm it, given the nature of… well, of Grond. R Lex Eaton I LOVE GRRL POWER! So glad you brought it up. Spinnerette has a pretty good take on the concept as well. Oh man, City of Heroes takes me back. First MMO I ever played. And yeah, Champions Online is that exact setting. And I love it so…! Arkone Axon I’m going to be attacked for saying this… again… but: Max did not act out of spite. Max refused to cooperate with someone who couldn’t be bothered to even pretend to civility while demanding he risk everything for the sake of her ideology. His specific words were “it’s always going to be no, just to you.” Meaning someone else who was not a jerk could have easily gotten him to cooperate. It was like walking up to someone who was ready to share their lunch with someone who was hungry, then punching them in the face and screaming at them for being selfish before stealing the food they would have shared if you’d asked nicely. It’s a point I keep having to reiterate, because it’s a point that people keep ignoring. Because the moment you acknowledge it, Alison’s behavior goes from “evil act for a greater good” to “horribly immature, selfish, and stupid act that was completely pointless and counterproductive.” R Lex Eaton *shrug* Seems pretty spiteful to me. “I get to use my gift however I please, because it’s mine by right to abuse.” Prescott seems lacking in both basic empathy and self awareness to get off on victimhood. Did he get an unfair shake? Yes, but it’s hard to feel sorry him in any case. So it makes me wonder. If he actually did get a set of abilitiesto his liking… how would someone like him use it? (Not disagreeing with your point re: Alison, though. Such things happen whenever two people refuse diplomacy and simply take it as obvious that their way is the right course of action. It only reinforced each others self-righteousness. And I hope Ally can learn from it. But from someone better than Gurwara. Because he can sit and spin on a desklamp.) Rando He was choosing not to use his power, because he didn’t want to have to spend the rest of his life hiding from people who want to take advantage of it, and are willing to hurt him to make it happen. Exactly like what happened THE VERY MOMENT Al found out about his power. And she is supposed to be one of the good guys. He voiced his rejection in a personal way because Al was verbally attacking him for refusing to put his safety on the line to save her friend. R Lex Eaton Your views on Alison are duly noted. I still don’t agree. Max had been gifted with something that could do so much good and refused to use it, even under anonymity, because it’s anathema to his worldview? Yer breakin’ my heart. He can enjoy his well-deserved exile. Rando It has nothing to do with his world view. It has to do with the fact he will be hunted and tortured for his power. Which was already been proven to be true. BY THE GOOD GUYS. R Lex Eaton So the happiness and livelihoods of Feral and all those she helps are less important than one spoiled brat and his self-serving nonsense? Rando So to be clear. To you, not wanting to be hunted and tortured for the rest of your life. Assuming the next person who forces you to use your powers on them doesn’t also kill you after you are done so no one else can use you against them. Is being spoiled and self serving? Not wanting to be tortured is spoiled and self serving? That is the stance you are going with here? R Lex Eaton I’m saying that with great power comes great responsibility. There is a middle ground between never getting a moment’s rest and refusing to do good you have the ability to do. My point is that Max should never have to been strongarmed to begin with. No decent human being would look at the situation presented to him and say “screw you, got mine.” The reasoning above isn’t about his wellbeing. It’s an excuse that props up his shoddy excuse to be terrible. If he were any kind of decent person, we wouldn’t be having the discussion we’re having right now. It would never have come to that. More given to you means more is expected. I don’t understand why this could possibly be viewed as a bad thing. I wonder, too, if Max considered taxation a form of robbery. Rando He was afraid of being tortured and hunted by people if they found out about his power. The first person who found out about his power literally did exactly that. A good guy. Someone who is not supposed to do things like that. She then threatened that she would do it again whenever she felt like it. This entire situation is exactly about his well being and your refusal to admit that is being disingenuous. But hey, if you want to get judgemental. How dare you sit here on your COMPUTER arguing about ethics and obligation with some random person on the internet rather than HELPING IN A SOUP KITCHEN or GIVING ALL OF YOUR NON-ESSENTIAL MONEY TO THE POOR. There are people living on the streets, starving to death. And you are spending time and money on frivolous entertainment. You selfish heartless monster. You should be ashamed. R Lex Eaton Now you’re just being silly. So long. Arkone Axon Just so you know… my father is dying. That’s not a plea for sympathy, that’s an explanation of my moral standpoint, and of one of the people who helped me formulate my moral beliefs. My father is dying of… old age. Nothing specific, just parts wearing out. Heart condition, joints, etc. Minor wounds ending up needing a doctor’s care because they’re turning necrotic, that sort of thing. Larry Niven wrote (in “Death By Ecstasy,” a short story published back in 1978 and republished as part of his anthology “Flatlander”) that a man could live forever as long as you kept shoving spare parts into him faster than they wore out. If Feral and Max were real, and my father could be saved by Feral’s transplants, that would be an amazing thing. But if my father knew that the price of his new heart and joints would be a guy young enough to be his grandson getting kidnapped and tortured by people who spat on him for not wanting to be endangered like that, he’d refuse. My father would rather die than live under those circumstances. He’s a retired U.S. Marine, and they have very strong notions about death before dishonor. R Lex Eaton Jeez… sorry to hear that. Believe me, I’m not saying that Alison was right in forcing Max to help. I can recognize that it was wrong to do, and I appreciate that Alison recognizes it as a moment of weakness that she’s trying to improve. It’s a different moral quandary than what I was getting at. It just… frustrates me when someone with the means and opportunity to do good refuses to for the least valid of reasons. And To me, given everything surrounding the dilemma, here’s what I’d say to Max: No one would ever have known. It wouldn’t be hard. You know it’s right. Arkone Axon Here’s the thing, though. Go back into the archive and read it… PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT MAX IS SAYING. Notice the misery in his words? When he was a young teenager he JUMPED OFF A BUILDING, hoping to develop flight powers on the way down. That’s how miserable he was. He has parents who filled his head with Objectivist crap, and when he developed a power that could help others but not himself he was made to feel ashamed for it. He lived in fear of having his secret found out, because if he does his life would be in danger. He is a rich white heterosexual cisgendered male – with all the same problems as LGBTs with homophobic parents, as closeted homosexuals in ultraconservative communities, as daughters of overcontrolling parents from sexist patriarchal cultures. Think about how easy it would have been to persuade him to become one of the good guys, if you had been Alison and had her resources. Like… Lisa. “I know someone who can invent all kinds of stuff. You sign the check, she’ll give you a supersuit and you can fly just like me. One of my best friends always said comics were the “guidebooks” for what we do… well, there are superheroes with the same powers as you do. C’mon, you don’t have to be alone anymore.” Hell, when he asked her “do you know what it’s like to have a useless power?” she should have told him THE TRUTH. “Actually… yes. I can punch things REALLY hard… but I can’t beat world hunger by punching it. Or crime. Or poverty. I’ve been struggling to find a way to save the world, and “punching things hard” doesn’t do it… but don’t you see? Your power is AWESOME. Your power could save the world. You’re looking at it all wrong, and I’m sorry I didn’t see it sooner – you’ve had people filling your head with self-doubts. I just wish you’d had parents as supportive as mine, who would have taught you to be proud of what you can do.” Instead… Alison refused to show him any empathy or sympathy. She “killed the goose that laid the golden egg” because she couldn’t take a deep breath and realize that she was refusing to consider Max as being part of the humanity she wanted to save. That’s the problem with ideological extremists. They take about “humanity” as a great big nebulous cloud… but the individual humans that make up humanity tend to be extremely expendable… R Lex Eaton …alright, good point. Maybe I should reevaluate a few things. To tell the truth, Prescott isn’t anywhere near the worst examples of morality on display in SFP. I actually want to see him again at some point, if only so Al can get a chance to rectify things. In the end, only one person in this setting has gotten under my skin to the degree where my blood boils every time they come up. In the end, my greatest fear in this story isn’t that Alison might go too far… it’s that the world she seeks is an impossible goal for even the most capable of people. That all we are is all we will ever be. Prove them wrong, heroes. Rando > In the end, only one person in this setting has gotten under my skin to the degree where my blood boils every time they come up. Is it Clevin? It’s Clevin, isn’t it? R Lex Eaton Clevin is alright by me. Arkone Axon Very good points… my only concern is that individuals with such powers should not have their rights curtailed just because they have them. To borrow from (and edit) the exchange at the start of “X-Men 1”: “Are mutants dangerous?” “That’s an unfair question, Senator. The wrong person behind the wheel of a car is dangerous.” “Well we do require people to get a license to drive.” “Driving is a PRIVILEGE, Senator. Not a right. As the DMV will be happy to remind you.” “But these… mutants… have the potential to wipe out entire families!” “As does a madman behind the wheel of a vehicle. Which can also be used for the benefit of society, which is why they were invented.” “…So are you suggesting we conscript mutants to serve?” “You mean like that third world nation Genosha? No. I’m suggesting we offer mutants understanding, support, and training to be able to use their powers responsibly, and then benefit from their membership in the community.” “You really think people want to live next door to someone who can blow up houses whenever they get angry?” “Senator, superpowers have a great deal of versatility. Right now a mutant called Iceman is in the senate’s cafeteria. He’s making ice cream. He says that the secret to perfect ice cream is controlling the ice crystal formation… he makes VERY good ice cream. My friend Storm has been thinking about returning to Africa where she was employed as a weather goddess – except she keeps getting called on by the National Weather Service to stop catastrophic hurricanes and floods before they touch land. I will admit that I know a number of mutants with bazooka eyes and super strength and such… they’re VERY good at construction, which is a good thing because our school keeps getting demolished.” “Ah hah! See!? Powers can be dangerous!” “I’m fairly certain that Marko Cain would have been a violent bully with a criminal record even if he hadn’t become the Juggernaut, Senator.” Rando Yeah, that conversation was always a strawman argument. Yes, driving or owning a gun is a privilege and can also be dangerous. We can also remove a persons ability to drive or own a gun legally. You can’t remove a mutant’s ability to shoot lasers from their eyes. Well, you can, but they get pissy and defensive about that as well. 😛 Basically, are you ok with an average citizen building a nuclear reactor in their garage? Yes good things can be done with it, it can also be used to kill thousands of people at the drop of a hat. If you aren’t ok with that, why are you ok with someone with the biological ability to trigger nuclear blasts walking around undocumented/registered. Yes, Marko Cain would have been a violent bully with a criminal record regardless. But his kill count would have been in the hundreds, rather than the millions. Arkone Axon Oh, I never said they should go undocumented. They would need not only documentation, but also training, medical care, etc… things to make them an asset rather than a liability. I think the best example is actually the Hulk. He’s constantly being attacked by the military, which throws literally HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS worth of weaponry at him… which he then smashes. Then they blame him for it, get pissy, and send even more tanks and bombs and mecha at him. All they have to do to resolve the issue of the Hulk is build a nice tropical resort on an island far away from anything else, then limit contact to airdropped supplies and the Avengers (when they need the Hulk for something). Leave Hulk alone… and leave Banner to do research and make discoveries and do amazing things to benefit society. But no, instead of being REASONABLE about it, they go straight to the “violence, domination, and control” plan… and then keep going back to it again and again and again, even though it never ever works. Rando Classic hulk was sent into space to live on a planet in peace for the rest of his life. Events caused him to come back, destroy new york, and stage an alien invasion. I believe Strange also sent him into an alternate dimension for awhile, but ended up coming back as well, I believe also badly. While Classic hulk wasn’t as bad as Ultimate hulk, he still caused a lot of destruction and death at the drop of a hat. Even Banner himself wanted to kill himself multiple times rather than continue, he just physically couldn’t. Arkone Axon No, classic Hulk caused a lot of destruction – but not death. That’s actually been made into an important point. The Hulk has actively NOT harmed any innocent people, using Banner’s incredible intellect to make certain that falling objects, debris, explosions, etc, never hurt bystanders. By contrast, Bruce Banner DID kill someone by deliberate design: his abusive father, when he knocked the bastard’s skull into the headstone of his mother’s grave. That’s one of the two most important aspects of the Hulk, something people (including too many Marvel writers) forget: Hulk was created by Banner, but ultimately they’re just separate aspects of the same whole. Just because he’s mad doesn’t mean he doesn’t control what he’s doing. The other important thing is that Bruce Banner became the Hulk after saving Rick Jones from the gamma bomb blast. Meaning that Banner was a hero BEFORE he became the Hulk. He isn’t just “angry monster that smashes things and occasionally sides with heroes” like Hyde from “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.” The classic Hulk is a hero with the mindset of an angry child – angry at abusers, angry at those who would hurt the weak, angry at oppressors. Even at his most childish and mentally limited, Hulk was still a pretty sweet guy to anyone who made the effort to get to know him. Rando That was Cho saying Hulk has never killed anyone, which was him just fanboying out and trying to convince him to stop attacking NYC during WWH. I checked, and the whole reason the illuminati shot him into space, was because he was killing people. They bring it up repeatedly. Maria Hill is quoted from the Vegas rampage right before this. “26. Two kids and a dog.” “Innocent people are dying because he walks the earth.” Arkone Axon That would be a gross departure from how he’s always been portrayed… which I completely believe happened because Marvel essentially murdered my favorite characters about twenty years ago and have been raping the corpses ever since. They’ve also given us “One More Day” (“because wives are icky and fans can’t relate to a hero with a successful relationship!”), the destruction of the mutants (“This’ll teach Fox to not let us have the movie rights back!”), the blatant twisting of characters in truly bizzare ways.. Honestly, I am convinced that Disney considers Marvel to be a “loss leader.” “Yeah, we’ll let them continue to piss away millions down the drain with their idiotic comics. Meanwhile, we’ll be making billions at the box office and with merchandising rights.” (Seriously, they were bought out by Disney after going bankrupt. Because they went bankrupt. Marvel. A company with worldwide brand recognition, and they couldn’t sell enough comics to cover their expenses) But yeah… CLASSIC Hulk was a hero filled with rage over the gentle nature of a child. That’s before they started doing the “let’s make all the heroes into jerks who spend more time fighting each other than they do villains” crap. Rando > That’s before they started doing the “let’s make all the heroes into jerks who spend more time fighting each other than they do villains” crap. Well at least they haven’t turned Cap into a Nazi yet. Oh…whoops… juleslt When mortality rates fall, fertility rates follow. Overpopulation is not a leading crisis anymore, as most models project that global population will plateau at 10-11 billions. The more pressing issue is the consumption per person, as more and more of the existing population aspire to Western living standards. Doing it the American way would not be tenable even if we halved the world population. Rando > When mortality rates fall, fertility rates follow. There is a big difference between fertility rate lowering due to the fact you don’t need 6 kids to have 1 survive, and everyone is now immortal and never dies, ever. Any modern civilization’s birth rate is unlikely to change if they became immortal. They are already having children because they want to, not to provide for them. Plus if they are immortal, they are more likely and capable to continue to having children as the years go by. In a 100 year span, allowing ~25 years between children you are looking at one family becoming what, 12? Not accounting for multiples, or how the immortality would affect those chances (as the rate increases as you grow older). That is untenable even on a small local scale. juleslt I was taking issue with the idea that overpopulation is a leading crisis in the real world more than with the hypothetical effects of immortality. Arianwen Overpopulation does actually lead to lower birth rates in wild populations: e.g. when rats are overcrowded the females will stop going into heat, while birds will lay fewer eggs, etc. (There are also behavioural changes, like parent-offspring cannibalism.) I’m not sure if there’s been any studies into similar physiological changes in humans (the analysis would be tricky, and any experiment would be ethically dubious) but it’s not improbable they exist. Behaviour might trump physiology, of course. Tylikcat It’s sort of true? Access to better medicine means people live longer, and tend to have fewer babies… but the change in birth rates lags the change in death rates, and access to birth control also often has cultural elements (there’s also a huge amount of how much are women allowed education and other autonomy – it’s complicated.) So, if immortality set in, people would probably slow down their birth rate eventually – but likely not in a timely manner? Nico Campa I think it is more than just how powerful their powers become, but how they effect the status quo. The medicine/drug industry (at least here in the US) is billion dollar industry that would instantly lose its entire worth because of one child who can heal anyone that comes within range of their powers. Their ability to instantly change the world and thus instantly erase the need for entire industries threatens the wealth and livelihoods of those controlling those industries. As for Bradley’s patents, well that depends on what the patents are for and how they might upset the status quo or undercut the profits of those industries. A nano device that can be injected be injected into blood stream to remove cancer, without the numerous and expensive medical procedures, and that can be made easily and for low costs would be a medical miracle, but would certain threaten those who make their wealth charging exorbitant amounts of money to treat cancer. Or how about cheap and environmentally friendly electric cars that can charge themselves while you drive, certainly be a threat to the automotive industry and the oil industry. Zorae42 To be fair, one could argue that if we allowed the ones who could end world hunger, provide infinite energy, and cure all diseases to live, then we’d be dependent on them for all those things. If those children were allowed to live, change the world, and then die, there’d be massive chaos. Tylikcat Government exists to provide good management. Managing turmoil might be hard work, but just “Oh, change is scary, kill them all,” is pretty basic. Zorae42 Sure, but going from everyone having free energy and not ever going hungry to suddenly not being able to feed half the people or power half the planet would cause massive panic that the government wouldn’t be able to control. It’s not really “change is scary” but “developing a major dependency on a limited resource is very bad when that resource runs out”. (Note, just playing devil’s advocate here. Pretty sure they killed them to protect their money.) Weatherheight Theoretically, if those issues were resolved, resources dedicated to those problems could be re-purposed to dealing with the problems after the person dies. ::rolls over onto his back and begins braying, all four hooves failing the air:: ::grins idiotically:: Knew I couldn’t say that with a straight face… Khlovia You’re so cute when you do that. AustinC123 Mark me down as in favor of people being healthy and functionally immortal. Lostman The one thing I always wondered about Patrick is this: how can a man who can not read his own thoughts, want to take over the world? palmvos he did. he originally thought that was a good way to ‘save the world’. so he played the role and made a play for power. then he grew up and realized that that kind of power really only exists in comic books, movies, and novels. so he made a deal with mega girl to buy himself some time. Thomas S I so wish there were tags for characters, or a wikia that was up to-date. I’d so love a clever archive dive about now. Rando Assuming you meant cleaver and got autocorrected? The cast page tells first chapter and last chapter appearance. Not perfect, but helpful. juleslt I’m finding a reference here: http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-5/page-104/ But it sounds like there was an earlier reference that I can’t remember Gotham It started at the very very beginning! http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-1/page-18/ S.I. Rosenbaum A really great place to discuss deadly conspiracies is your outdoor fire escape in NYC Bauke meh, worst that will happen is someone screaming “Hey! People are trying to sleep here! Shut the f— up!” 😉 Gotham It’s okay, the floor below is mostly occupied by a wacky tv sitcom scene involving a wife, her husband, a nude lover, two bananas and a lamp. There’s not listening in. If anything the distant laugh track is relaxing background noise to hefty angst-inducing conspiracies. AdamBombTV It’s exactly like a confessional booth in a church, whatever’s is saidhout there is held in stric JohnTomato Always beware of “Lurkers.” Incendax I’m sure the conspiracy will be given a logical reason for existing, in universe. But I think the whole thing is just SFP’s way of maintaining the status quo and keeping the world relatable, instead of the world becoming a super-advanced civilization. Granted, that’s what comic books do anyway. critically_damped That’s what PEOPLE do. Opposition to change is probably one of the biggest motivations our society has. Allowing people to keep on without having to learn, or to adapt, is the largest market that exists. The status quo is God in real life as it is in serial fiction, because the status quo is just as reliably profitable in real life as it is in fiction. bryan rasmussen I wonder how long it’s going to take Feral to regenerate her normal levels of sarcasm. Weatherheight Your scathing wit, your biting tongue… I miss it so… Weatherheight The only problem I have with this whole plot is the idea that, before powers manifested, people were killed off because they would have had those powers. Even given the option of time travel, this strikes me as implausible. I can *claim* “Bob’s power would have been X and therefore would have changed the world”, but if we have no manifestation of powers, we have no way to confirm any of this. Frankly, it makes more sense to harness Bob’s power rather than remove it from the equation. Given the information supposedly available, harnessing that power set is likely just as possible as killing the character. I will admit that some powers might not be practically harnessable but surely most biodynamics can be contained. They managed to keep Daniel contained, after all. I feel like I might be better disposed to this plot if I had a few concrete examples of what powers and who these people were; better, some proof that they had not yet manifested but we have enough information about other biodynamics and how their genetics tied into the manifestation of their anomalies that we can say, “Steve has these markers and very likely would have manifested a power something like this but he was killed prior to manifesting his powers.” Maybe I missed it, but there is this vague nebulous threat that sounds plausible enough to be terrifying but about which we’ve been given no concrete details and this threat’s only source confirmation is Patrick. I don’t trust Patrick. Once a Mastermind, always a Mastermind. We are all pawns and he won’t or can’t quit the game. Gotham Think Doylist! The way I see it, the conspiracy is a metaphor for the way our society crushes the potential for radical change all of us are capable of harboring within ourselves to maintain an exploitative status quo. The in-universe logistics, the hows and whys depend upon that metaphor. It would cheapen its impact if this was all a bunch of gobbledygook. Maybe the twist is “there is nobody pulling the strings, it’s all of us together doing this harm to ourselves” but at the very least I believe that these kids existed and were killed before they could display their powers. Which makes at least one thing interesting: the notes that Patrick had back in issue 1 clearly state that their powers manifested, and described how. Before they should have. So, yep. Time travel. Weatherheight First paragraph – I like it! Very sweeping but intimate at the same time. Our source for those notes is Patrick – until he provides external corroboration or Alison obtains external corroboration they cannot be taken at face value. To my mind, the idea that “you shouldn’t believe someone’s story just because you fear it to be true” is a very important message in this day and age and not cheap at all. And Patrick’s timeline directly contradicts the timeline presented by the government folks / Alison’s keepers / the rest of the information available to the rest of the world. One of these timelines is a lie. The trick here is figuring out which one, which Alison should be working harder towards, IMHO. I guess the issue I have is “before they could display their powers”. If this means “before they used their powers in public”, then the story becomes more plausible. If it means “before they ever manifested powers at all”, then this is really problematic. His story seems to have changed somewhat, and I can’t tell if it’s because I’m misreading it or if it actually has changed. I take nothing that comes out of Patrick’s mouth at face value. Arkone Axon He had external corroboration. He had those folders. And it was made fairly evident that he didn’t compile the notes on the kids in them. He ACQUIRED those folders… he obtained the records kept by someone else, someone who was aware and observing, and… culling. Gotham I think the argument is that it would not be impossible to fake all of it. It merely takes a printer. Arkone Axon That would actually be the example of “Occam’s Razor” used with criminal trials and the concept of “reasonable doubt.” I’m actually thinking of the Simpsons, and Reverend Lovejoy’s reaction to finding the collection plate money in his daughter’s room: Lovejoy: I guess it’s obvious what’s happened here. Bart Simpson has somehow managed to sneak his bedroom into my house. [everyone looks at him] Well, come on! Use your imaginations! Sendaz Except they weren’t killed before they manifested, despite how Alison is phrasing it. http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-1/page-18/ When Patrick was first telling her about the killings he shows her his notes, showing they HAD started manifesting their powers, it just wasn’t common knowledge at that point. Gotham It takes out a huge chunk of their menace if it turns out they just reacted to the discovery of the existence of powers instead of somehow knowing in advance. I’m not into it. AshlaBoga They might have known in advance, but not known who’d get what. Those files imply they were watching these individuals since they were wee little tots, and that’s how they figured out their powers so young – they knew they’d get something, they just didn’t know what. Arkone Axon You’re forgetting one particular question that STILL hasn’t been answered… and that no one even asks in the setting itself. Where did the powers come from? How did the biodynamics get their powers in the first place? A number of superhero universes have attempted to come up with reasons. The Japanese hero Guyver lives in a world where humans were genetically engineered by aliens to be responsive to their technology, and werewolves and similar monsters were simply spontaneous manifestations of powers that could be made far more powerful and dangerous when deliberately stimulated by people who knew how to do it (and Guyver himself wears a symbiotic organism made by those aliens that becomes insectoid armor). In the DC “Young Justice” setting (and I’m so eager for season 3 ^.^ ) we learn in season 2 that many humans carry dormant “super” genes for some as yet unknown reason, which cause them to gain powers somehow related to their personalities and personal backgrounds instead of dying when exposed to dangerous situations (and the Reach attempt to conquer humanity in order to make them into conscript soldiers). And of course in One Punch Man it’s fairly obvious that the titular character got his powers from living in an abandoned area populated mostly by monsters, doing his strength training while exposed to the same background radiation that created the monsters. But here we have THIS setting… and the implication is that a shadowy conspiracy killed those kids. So… how did they know about it? Perhaps (like with the Takisians in that stupid “Wild Cards” setting, which is grim and gritty and angsty) the same conspirators CREATED the biodynamism? If so… what are they planning? What do they hope to gain? What is the desired result of a plan that involved seeding the entire planet with biodynamics and quietly culling children who threatened the established socioeconomic system? Gotham Again, I think it’s better to apply a Doylist perspective onto that question. Maybe we’ll get an answer that will come to recontextualize how we’re meant to understand what the webcomic is trying to say, but as of now, it’s best to see The Storm™ as the applied Phlebotinum that enables us to explore these questions of power and authority, inequality and agency, and everything else the story subverts from conventional superhero tropes. It’s solid enough as it stands. A reveal may be in the works, but I see it running the risk of being unnecessary and potentially undermining all the work that’s been done in 7 issues so far. In short: the Storm™ may have no cause, and that’d be fine. Now the conspiracy, however… Arkone Axon True enough. But my point is that to suggest that Patrick is lying about all of this is to leave huge unanswered questions about A: his motives, and B: the fact that there’s something that caused the powers, and nobody ever did investigate that. Seriously – in all the comics in the archive, have you ever seen anyone discuss an investigation into the origins of the biodynamics? The media and the establishment were very quick to bury that question with distractions of “Oh look, giant robots getting punched by teenaged girls!” Gotham The same reason our protagonist is not a scientist trying to make sense of how superpowers throw everything we thought we knew about physics models into question: focus. There are a tons of stories that can be told within that setting and in all honesty yours isn’t the most interesting to me. I’d love to get a spinoff (I can dream) about how business tycoons reacted to powers. The way the world was changed not because silly teenagers got into superhero fights, but because years of examination of the guy who can teleport brought us new insight into our future as a spacefaring species, or how Feral’s idiotic plan to give organs to everyone is radically disrupting the medical industry forever. A story about opportunism and greed but also cunning and innovation, a complex and interesting dive into the capacity for capitalism to be both a force for exponential progress and dehumanizing exploitation. This is not this story though. But I’m sure it’s happening somewhere outside of frame. MrSokar You don’t think years of experimentation on/with biodynamics has any connection to trying to find their source? Arkone Axon We haven’t seen anyone bring that up. I mean… that should be a HUGE concern for everybody. “What WERE those storms that coincided with the appearance of biodynamis? Were they manmade in origin? Something terrestrial? Or something else? And WILL IT HAPPEN AGAIN?” Dave M Which raises the question of how much of the American biodynamic program (and the rise of super villain Menace), was just window dressing. Create a real life super hero comic setup (right down to costumes and secret identities) add a powerful super villain with lots of resources, and people are going to find things to get way more excited about than dry science about the chemical & energy make up of ‘The Storm’. AshlaBoga Don’t think of it as before the powers manifested, think of it as before they became significant. Alison was always better at sports than other girls, to the point where she thought they weren’t trying. We know that Patrick has had his powers active to an extent years before the grand reveal so it’s likely that 0.05% of someone’s powers might be active at age 5. It’s not too difficult to extrapolate what someone might be capable of if you have all their information. Of course, who the hell would have that info? A) Someone spying on the entire world, 24/7 B) Someone who already knew who had biodynamic potential. If B) then how? Did they engineer something before the storm? zellgato Yakno. I do tend to wonder how much of that story ist rue and how much is his plan that makes him sound more noble and important. probably both honestly. Feral’s got that “oh fuck” face.. and probably will go “and you left him with the normie cleven!? lets get back there” Arkone Axon Patrick literally quit being Menace five minutes before Mega-Girl crashed through his window. He had the folders. He is now homeless, hungover, and miserable. Where’s the MOTIVE? Suppose he’s actually planning to do something. Then… what? What does he stand to gain from such a deception? zellgato Eh.. There is no way he wouldn’th ave some sort of trace on the one person who can really end him. and we haven’t any real proof of the homeless, hungover miserable bit. Not enough proof anyway. And motive… why not? If you grew up knowing whateveryone thinks and will probably do.. and you met someone who just didnt’ care and in fact defied your expectations . WHy woudln’t you gain interest in it? Or hell, he could legit be addicted to manipulation. He could have legit tried to go straight and just can’t stop manipulation fearing that if he stops he’ll actually lose everything. Which he did. Really.. we have no strong proof one way or another.. and because he’s a known manipulator..you kind of need more proof than the average person. I can totally see their bein some sorta evil org. But .. I also can’t help but wonde why such a thing woudln’t have found him over the years. In fact that seems like the kind of thing you’d want to join or would start that sort of thing. So basically.. I can’t follow this until there is more evidence of him being truthful to his stated asperations. Its like the Angel-Buffy storyline one… If they look super evil it takes a lot to make someone believe they aren’t. You need to put in visible effort not say you’re putting an effort in. I’m still of the be lief that there is a scheme in the background, that isn’t really his scheme, but he is using it for his own aims. And he is addicted to manipulation but is doing his dammest to not do it anymore but has problems like any addict. Also I do think his powers have upped, and I think his powers actually are working on his subconcious. And in the end his subconcious will be the actual main villan doing all the most horrible crap via surrogates its controlling. Including Clevin at certain times. All without his knowing. and this whole thing will come to a head where she has to redo the moral test. WIth lives on the line. Arkone Axon Bear in mind that Buffy was dealing with officially Evil baddies. Not realistic baddies, but “we actually benefit from human suffering and so it is logical for us to pursue evil for the sake of evil” demonic types. And even then, they weren’t consistent in their approach to evil; the smarter ones actually agreed with Spike: “We like to talk big, vampires do. “I’m going to destroy the world.” It’s just tough guy talk. Struttin’ around with your friends over a pint of blood. The truth is, I like this world. You’ve got… dog racing, Manchester United, and you’ve got people. Billions of people walking around like Happy Meals with legs. It’s all right here.” Patrick is clearly not a “kick puppies and drown kittens” kind of guy. You don’t accumulate the kind of wealth and power he possessed unless wealth and power are more important to you than petty sadism. So again: where’s the motive? zellgato Oh. No the bit I was talking about was when Angel and the crew took over wolfram and heart. They didn’t even give them an ounce of a moment to explain how and why they took over the LA branch and made it their own. Angel was already a long standing proven good guy, as was wesley, and chordy (though she was coma) . Hell that crew was even varified by witchy powers. But. Even when it was confirmed heh ad his soul still and all that, they directly stated they can’t take that risk. They did not nuke them, didn’t attack and kill them. But they woudln’t give them feral slayers to help, Nor would they let them help with world ending stuff. Because the risk was simply to high. They let them be and kept an aeye on them hoping that they’re on the up and up, but verfied the truth just in case. Patrick should be the same. You simply should not take the risk. You should give him support, try your best to go with it and make sure he’s on the up and up. but you should NOT trust him. Should not assume he’s safe to be around. Trust isn’t earned one time and its forever. Trust is built up and built down and maintained by their actions. He hasn’t earned it enough. More so considering the last time they met and what he told her. There is supporting him in case their is massive evil. Yeah hell yeah. but. You don’t lave him unattended, out in the wild, and at the very least you never leave him alone with the civilian. More so with a civie you care for. Arkone Axon Bearing in mind that I never actually watched Angel (hell, I haven’t even seen all of Buffy; I’m not a huge TV watcher), but… …Yeah, you’re right about the need to trust, but verify. Which… is really why Alison should have taken Patrick to the other Guardians and worked with them as a team. Her grandstanding and prima donna behavior has repeatedly worked against her… that’s why her epiphany at the end of Issue Five was such a huge breakthrough for her: “Hey, I can cooperate with people who lack my raw power level and respect them as being equally important to our organization!” They could have blown the lid on the conspiracy years ago, if Alison hadn’t kept making everything all about her. zellgato Yup yup, something along those lines. martynW That forgotten cigarette ash says it all. Giacomo Bandini I actually like this page. For once, Alison is using a simple but effective tactic to steer Tara’s attention from Patrick’s real identity. But from the other hand, i think it offers us an interesting perspective on how Alison’s mind works: it’s not that she forgave or forgot about Patrick’s many crimes, it’s that from her perspective all the evil he has done pales compared to the evil the cospiration has done. MOre precisely, the actual evil that Patrick committed is nothing compared to the potential good the actions of the conspiracy has squandered. Exposing the conspiracy is an absolute, and must come over anything else. Alison is….. VERY utilitarian. I love it 😉 Gotham Alison was very quick to forgive, their relationship is only strained because Patrick kept disrespecting her intelligence. /She/ was the one to tell him his villain shtick was ripped at the seams, even. Alex The characters have become very child-like in appearance. It was especially noticeable on patrick on the previous page. They’re really cute but look around 10…it makes it a bit hard to take some discussions by the characters seriously Darkoneko Hellsing *bombshell drop* Apromor These two talking and pretty much only these two: “gasp, danger whatever am I to do” “Look I’m not talking about bullets or bombs…” Philip Bourque I still think Patrick’s conspiracy thing is just as likely the result of delusion and paranoia as it is of being real. Patrick has been afflicted with the thoughts and reasoning of other people for how long now? All of that has helped shape him into the pleasant and upstanding person he is today… vomiting on Al’s floor. bryan rasmussen actually the main problem with the whole the conspiracy killed people with superpowers before anyone knew about superpowers thing is that how do we know that the people who were killed had superpowers then? Lostman I’m a feeling that there was a masquerade, or time travel is some how involved… Jshadow I thought this subplot was done with back in 1st chapters… Arkone Axon 1: the only ones who stand to lose money are the people who sell anti-rejection drugs for transplant recipients, so their bodies won’t attack their new organ. Those guys are making lots and lots and lots of money from the other stuff they sell, so it’s not like with the girl who could talk to viruses. She had to go FAST before she ended disease entirely. 2: I referenced Larry Niven’s book “Flatlander” in another comment. In it, the protagonist observes that “a man could live forever as long as they kept shoving spare parts in him faster than they wore out.” The kind of bastards that would do all this would also be the kind who’d want a full set of replacement organs every few years so they can live forever.