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  • James Crofton

    Jesus, wtf.

  • So Menace is Rachel Lindt? I did not see that coming,

    • Kaladin Stormblessed

      Rachel would have killed anyone that did that in front of her though.

  • Hiram

    “Lots of people talk to animals. Not very many listen though. That’s the problem.”
    -Winnie the Pooh

  • Gotham

    Did Pearl fucking snap that damn dog’s neck?

    How exactly else am I supposed to interpret this sequence of visual storytelling

    • Kid Chaos

      Pearl was biodynamic! Only super-strength could snap a dog’s neck like that. 😵

      • Lisa Izo

        I wouldn’t say superstrength. But only a sociopath could snap a dog’s neck like that.

        • LaGrange

          Aaaaand there’s ableism in this thread too, for completeness, because, y’know, it’s mental illness’ fault. I’m done.

          • Gotham

            Okay well yes this one’s the second worst. I’m sorry, this is not representative of the comment section, these two are just baaad and left to conspire together. Don’t go because of them please?

          • LaGrange

            Ah, um, I just meant, done with this thread, and also I failed at being done with this thread 🙂

          • Lisa Izo

            Okay so lets see…. saying that killing a dog with your bare hands requires being a sociopath is …. ableist…. and against the mentally ill.

            Well it’s against sociopaths. Do you like sociopaths? Hrm.

            I’m amazed at how dumb some of the responses are to this.

            It doesn’t take superhuman strength to snap the neck of a toy breed dog. Not sure how that’s ‘ableist.’

            It does take someone who is either has no conscience (ie, a sociopath) or has some other mental disorder that would allow her anger to get to such a psychotic level that tearing ones nylons = death.

          • Gotham

            As someone very close to someone afflicted with antisocial personality disorder (i.e. the actual scientific name of what you badly equate as sociopathy), I’d like you to stop speaking out of your ass please

          • Lisa Izo

            God either you’re being intentionally obtuse or too lazy to read posts and links…. I don’t equate it. Psychology Today equates it. I don’t think you know anyone with antosocial personality disorder by the way. I think, as always when you respond to my posts, you’re just looking for reasons to fight. It’s rather sad.

            Also, I said that sociopathy is a pattern of antisocial behavior and attitudes. Also from Psychology Today.

            And yes, killing a dog for ripping your nylons is sociopathic. It’s antisocial behavior, and if you seriously don’t think it is and are not just arguing for the sake of arguing (which you do ALL the time), then you worry me.

          • Gotham

            I’m not responding to your posts, you’re responding to mine. The comments you come up with on your own are never worth thinking about.

          • Lisa Izo

            Actually you have responded to my posts multiple times. You continually do, just to try to start fights. Including your post in this thread, in which you responded to a post I responded to Kid Chaos over.

            Not to mention that if my posts are not worth thinking about, you sure seem to coplain about mine a lot, for someone you don’t think about. 🙂

          • Gotham

            No, I meant the /content/ of your comments is generally uninteresting, their form definitely are worrying, I’ve seen you drive away people from the website by mere proximity. This needs to stop, Lisa.
            But knowing you, I figure you live in your own little stupid world where you’re convinced this is not the case, and what you said was true despite it being demonstrably false—and potentially so on the very webpage you are currently looking at without scrolling—and you can’t beat narcissistic cluelessness with reason.

            So I’m going to keep repeating the lie that you’re a flat earther to everyone and pointing out evidence that doesn’t exist until you manage to get the analogy, which with your smarts should only take fifteen million years

          • bryan rasmussen

            is sociopath normally classified as a mental illness? ( mean – is it treatable?

          • LaGrange

            Not all illness, mental or physical, is treatable. It’s actually an outdated term that usually refers to a range of afflictions, and they are manageable, and many people referred as such turn out much better to hang around than abusive yet neurotypical folk. In practice people with disorders referred to as sociopathy tend to be more likely to be victims of abuse.

          • Yes, the ability (or lack thereof) of current healthcare to ameliorate any condition shouldn’t somehow prevent it from being recognised as a condition!

            It’s quite probable that “manageable” was the intended meaning, but those not as experienced in the field of chronic dishealth tend to use “treatable” as shorthand to mean receipt of medical assistance and effort expended towards improvement. Most people here wouldn’t imply “a quick fix” in this way.

          • Zac Caslar

            Being the victim of abuse is no permission to perpetuate it though that “the abused abuse in turn” is one of the great tragedies of human nature.

            I doubt Patrick’s mother was just inspired to kill animals as a stress response.

          • LaGrange

            “Being the victim of abuse is no permission to perpetuate it though that “the abused abuse in turn” is one of the great tragedies of human nature.”

            What are you talking about? There’s no excuses here. A sociopath doesn’t have to be an abuser, what I meant was that they’re more likely to be victims than abusers (and yes, then ca be both).

            “Why isn’t she being defended as the probable victim of emotional abuse as a child?”

            Who said she should be defended just because of that? Are you just jumping into a thread to shit on disabled people because that’s how you imagine a new year’s evening party time?

            “Let me remind you of something you already know: the problem of the sociopath isn’t what they are, it’s what they have an increased probability of doing. Like harming others.”

            See, after reading that statement, I’m pretty sure you’re far scarier than most sociopaths.

            “Calling her a sociopath isn’t necessarily accurate, but saying she’s likely done something “sociopathic” is exactly appropriate.”


          • Zac Caslar

            I like that you can’t actually discuss the points made, just the version you’ve read. That probably makes me “scarier than most sociopaths.”

            Which I am also enjoying because that confirms my initial impression of what you were saying before I forced myself to sit and down and think it through.

            So downside is I was actually wasting my time. Upside is, happy holidays to me.

          • Gotham

            Hey you. I’ve seen a pattern of upvotes that may suggest you take issue with me. Can I kindly ask what’s your damn problem?

          • Zac Caslar

            Hey when can’t fight you should run.

            Works for me.

          • Arkone Axon

            Again you’re missing the point. Nobody’s complaining about her mental state, per se. Nobody’s demonizing her over her mental health. They’re complaining about her ACTIONS. The fact that she apparently just killed a dog. And speaking as someone who’s had plenty of arguments with Zac Caslar in the past… I’d much rather have them around than a sociopath who thinks people should be more concerned about “ableism” than murdering dogs.

          • While engagement isn’t always a good idea (a lesson I should learn!), sometimes it is useful to check back and read through a divisive thread anyway, assuming you can refrain from further comment if commenting would cause you harm of course….! I’ve found it very helpful to be able to support and upvote others making arguments I would have otherwise made had I chosen to stay in the conflict – it bolsters them without pulling me back into the whirlwind.

          • Lisa Izo

            Since when is sociopathy an ‘outdated term?’

            Sociopathy – an informal term that refers to a pattern of antisocial behavior and atttitudes.

            Yknow, like snapping a cute dog’s neck for accidentally tearing your nylons.

          • LaGrange

            “Since when is sociopathy an ‘outdated term?'”

            Approximately the nineties. You’re welcome. It was never particularly good, but it’s been falling out of use by any non-terrible person since then. And, uh, you know, there’s plenty of terms used to describe both a lot of decent people and “undesirable” traits, I won’t even use them because they’re now almost universally accepted as slurs. Same actually applies to “antisocial” – I hate to break it to you, but there’s nothing “antisocial” about breaking a dogs neck. In fact I’ve had the rotten luck of knowing groups where that would be the social activity. Antisocial people generally _learn_ to be decent, not the least without it they usually don’t live very long.

          • Jason Ling

            “There’s nothing antisocial about breaking a dogs neck” thanks for summing up why every decent person should hate you.

          • Gotham

            They just mean one doesn’t need to be antisocial to be cruel. Being antisocial is a complex mental illness that doesn’t preclude or necessarily implies certain kinds of behavior, and the simplification “sociopath = insane jerk” is a hurtful stereotype. You managed to understand the absolute opposite of what was said you goof pay closer attention next time

          • I wish I could summarise so succinctly.

          • “Antisocial Personality Disorder”, and behaviours being “antisocial” by strict medical definition – which is what’s being discussed above – are extremely different from what we mean when we say someone’s ‘being antisocial’ in casual or legal use. The legal definition requires someone to be distressed who doesn’t belong to the same hosuehold, and the psychiatric definition refers to a person who is endemically impulsive, irresponsible, manipulative, deceitful and reckless, and often entirely lacks the capacity for interpersonal empathy.

            The actions of Patrick’s mother may, but do not necessarily, fit either the medical or legal definition. As horrific as she’s being, she’s not actually causing distress to anyone outside her household; and while nothing precludes her from being written as having ASPD it isn’t required for someone to suffer that condition for them to treat others cruelly and perpetuate abuse.

            In other words, you’ve just blanketedly condemned another human being to universal hate because you didn’t understand what they were saying. Maybe don’t jump down someone’s neck so fast next time; at least not before considering what context they are writing in!

          • Lisa Izo
          • Gotham

            Wait wait, don’t tell me…? /That/’s what you meant when you said that I was “too lazy to read posts and links…”?

            So you googled sociopathy and clicked the first link you found and think it instantly gives you the authority to speak on the matter, and you colossal mistake dare call me lazy?

          • Additionally it seems like being “too lazy to read” or “too stupid to comprehend” links actually refers to not immediately accepting the full premise and content of that single google share..
            If I disagree with something (in this case, because it’s being presented in too simplified a manner, and too many conclusions are being drawn from that single short sentence) it certainly doesn’t automatically imply that I didn’t understand it!

          • Yes; please, don’t leave on the account of one or two specific people. Like any online community dealing with societal issues, the regular commentation group on SFP has a few inconsiderate voices who more often than not act as foils for the majority of the rest of us. This isn’t to criticise dissenting voices – variation of opinion should be positively encouraged and enlivens the debate section – but to say that some personalities here are indeed harder to deal with than others. With some of said people full and detailed discussion is not only possible but often worthwhile should you actually have the spoons for it; for anyone else, or anyone who insists on forcing the debate regardless of whether their debate partners want to continue, there’s the block button.

          • Lisa Izo

            Let me get this straight….. you think that killing a dog by snapping its neck with ones bare hands is NOT a sociopathic response for nylons being torn?

            Is it a normal reaction for you?

          • LaGrange

            It’s not sociopathic. Plenty of “normal” people are cruel to animals, arguably most.

          • Lisa Izo

            And you consider cruelty to animals to not be antisocial behavior. Gotcha. Stay away from my dogs, man.

            Your definition of ‘normal’ is a lot different than most people’s.

          • The use of “sociopathic” in the vernacular is completely different from what it actually means – which creates a lot of frustration in the MH community due to the inherent sensationalisation and ignorance that usage spreads, not to mention ableist assumptions about whether people dealing with such conditions deserve to coexist in ‘normal’ society. Clearly LaGrange is going off the medical definition here.

          • Lisa Izo

            Even in psychology, sociopathic doesn’t actually mean a specific mental disease. It’s a group of things, which manifest in antisocial behavior and attitudes.

            Like killing doggies for ripping your nylons.

            But lets say, for the time being, that you had someone who was so mentally unbalanced that their uncontrolled rage would have them kill a dog for a ripped nylon. Or drown a cat because it… I don’t know… pees on your shirt that you left on the floor.

            That person’s still also a sociopath. Not normal. Abnormal, antisocial behavior on a Jeffrey Dahmer level. That’s not hollywood. And there’s a difference between ‘I’m abusive and insensitive’ and ‘I’m abusive and insensitive and I kill the beloved family pet just because I’m miffed about my nylons.’ Yes. She’s evil. She’s also sociopathic. She wasnt killing the dog in order to force Patrick to comply with something. She’s killing the dog because of nylons.

            “Damagingly linking APD sufferers” by saying sociopathic. Geez. The lengths people will go in order to be offended and ignore the whole ‘killing animals for the lulz’ part.

          • Putting aside the fact that you’ve literally restated a part of my own post as this response’s opening lines, you can surely see how it is that implying that APD sufferers are, at base, all a bunch of abnormal and monstrous people who “kill animals for the lulz” *absolutely* creates a damaging and generally unfair link for the majority of that group. Imagine you’d instead been trying to say that “He’s hyper-religiously extremist. He’s also a practising Muslim. His extremist doesn’t come in the form of a brainwashed apocalypse cult, it’s shaped towards Jihad and the righteousness of sacrifice.” Someone making this statement wouldn’t necessarily *intend* to demonise perfectly benevolent, respectful Muslims in comparison, yet they’re definitely planting the seed of an inextricable link between Islam, extremism and malice in their readers’ heads, nevertheless.

          • Lisa Izo

            Except I didnt generalize anything about APD.

            Also not sure where you’re making the comparison to muslims.

            I said it takes a sociopath to do what she did to that dog. You agree that my definition is correct. The fact that someone wants to conflate what I said to ‘APD’ just seems to be because they’re oversensitive and spoiling for something over which to get offended. I mean sure, they could get offended about animal abuse and killing animals being entertainment, but then they couldn’t direct their anger at another poster like me.

            I wasn’t making any sort of hypothetical example of negative example of people with mental illnesses. I wasn’t directing it at any demographic, save for the demographic of sociopathic people who kill animals for no reason – and I frankly have no reason to care about hurting the feelings of THOSE people. Nothing I said was half-informed or a sweeping negative generalization of anyone who doesn’t deserve it, unless there’s some reason I should be worried about offending animal abusers. Which I’m not.

            So no, I don’t see how calling someone who snaps a dog’s neck for tearing nylons to be an unfair link to everyone who is antisocial but NOT killing animals. I see how someone can try to unfairly conflate though in order to attack another poster though (namely how Gotham tries to attack me). Fortunately I don’t really care about Gotham’s attempts to goad me into a fight, and I don’t care about Lagrange’s mistake in thinking that my saying sociopath is ‘ableist.’ Unless he means I’m Able-to-resist-killing-animals-when-angry-ist.’

          • I disagree with your definition and consider it incorrect. I disagree that “it takes a sociopath to do what she did to that dog”. It takes an abusive person to act in this abusive way – the fallout from which may, or may not, be made easier on their own psyche by certain aspects of an APD spectrum disorder, should they actually possess such a thing. But neither ‘sociopathy’ as a vernacular term or APD as a diagnosis are in fact required. There are plenty of cruel, manipulative, non-APD-afflicted people in the world who still derive pleasure from the distress and suffering of those around them and from exercising absolute control.

            As for the Muslim comparison, that’s a near-identical example of your own, original commentary, simply with the subject matter switched out for something that might more easily demonstrate how accidental demonisation could occur. I’ve already said quite clearly that increased negative bias doesn’t need to be intentional to nevertheless result from such comments. Hopefully this example helps illustate some ways in which that could come into being.

          • Lisa Izo

            Well then I guess you disagree with the dictionary or what Psychology Today defines sociopathy as being. Which is not simply ‘APD.’

            Nothing I can say about that. Have fun with your personal ‘definitions.’ You know what my definitions are, since I gave the links.

          • If your definition isn’t the medically accepted definition of the last fifteen years, then you’re just making sweeping generalisations about a demographic category which you’ve self-created in order to then reject all external correction applied to it; but you’re using as its descriptor a term which already (poorly) describes, and villifies, a different pre-existing demographic. As a result your comments are harmful and damaging to said existing community, and you’re getting called out on them.

          • Lisa Izo

            Except Sociopathy does not mean APD. Even according to the medically accepted definition of the last 15 years.


            Sociopathy is an informal term that refers to a pattern of antisocial behavior and attitudes. Literally the first sentence.

            There ya go. Yawn. Didn’t make a ‘self-created’ definition. That’s the definition.

            I’m getting called out by people who want to defend killing animals when you get a case of the miffs by saying that being sociopathic means I’m calling out specific people with mental illnesses which are not harming other people or dangerous, a la Hannibal Lechter Hollywood stuff. Beyond the mental instability of thinking it’s a good idea to kill animals when you’re angry, or to defend ‘people who kill animals for no reason.’

          • You keep quoting the same exact source. It even identifies the term’s definition there as being ‘informal’. Yet for some reason you’re ignoring the *official* definition of sociopathy, as an archaic and no-longer-appropriate alternative term for APD, taken directly from the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) – the pre-eminent US APA-published authority on mental illness. The DSM-5’s diagnostic term for sociopathy *is* antisocial personality disorder. Why does this somehow hold less water for you than a subjective opinion-piece blog? Is your patient-targeted reading material somehow more authoritative than the leading texts of the field?

          • Lisa Izo

            “You keep quoting the same exact source.”

            Because it is the definition of sociopathy. Not some ‘self-defined’ definition as you incorrectly claimed.

            “It even identifies the term’s definition there as being ‘informal’.”

            Geez can you read? It doesn’t say that the definition given is the informal definition. It says that sociopathy itself is an informal term used.

            “Yet for some reason you’re ignoring the *official* definition of sociopathy”
            Actually you’re the one ignoring the definition, since the sentence about APD says ‘the CLOSEST thing in the DSM to sociopathy is APD. Not ‘sociopathy is APD.’ Seriously…. stretching much?

            Just read it. If you think it says something it doesn’t say, then we clearly have nothing to say since you’re reading into the definition. And reeeeaaaching to say it’s what I said, when it wasn’t.

            But hey, you keep on arguing. I’ll try not to lose any sleep over it.

          • “THE sentence about APD”…? I’m not using your sole, subjective source as the basis for my understanding. It’s less a question of my English comprehension (which, surely, you can see for yourself is superlative, even if it does make me blush to actually type such a thing) and more a question of your apparent presumption that every single one of your conversation partners enters mutual discourse without already pre-possessing their own knowledge and experience in the matter at hand. So the fact that I’ve phrased something differently doesn’t automatically imply that I misread your explanation. It indicates that I have my own, seperate pool of knowledge with regard to this field of interest.

          • Oh; also, “sociopathy is an informal term” implies strongly that the definition given is thus not the basis for strict medical terminology. If I were to clarify my original point however I might say that psychopathy and sociopathy are both colloquialised, descriptive terms for aspects of antisocial personality disorder.

          • Lisa Izo

            No it doesn’t. It implies that the word ‘sociopathy’ is not itself a term that has a definitive medical terminology. This is supported by the next sentence, saying ‘the closest representation of sociopathy in the DSM is APD.’ Meaning that the word ‘sociopathy’ is not in and of itself meaning APD.

            Or to put it more simply:

            If you refer to APD, you’re referring to someone who might be sociopathic, but if you’re referring to a sociopath, it doesn’t mean you’re referring to APD.

            If I wanted to say ‘you have to have APD to kill a dog’ I would have said that.
            Instead, I said you have to be sociopathic to kill a dog for no reason.’

            Also psychopathy is different than sociopathy as well (it’s also there in that same link).

            So… how much longer are you going to be defending people attacking me for saying that someone who kills dogs for no reason is a sociopath?

          • I won’t suddenly agree with your position unless it changes or some common ground is found, because to describe someone as “a sociopath” automatically implies they’re in possession of a mental illness or personality disorder .. which by the very nature of the definition’s lack of medical weight is impossible without referring to ASPD in specific. You *might* say that somebody was demonstrating sociopathic tendencies – and had you in fact phrased your original post in that way, we wouldn’t currently be sat here arguing the specific definition of the word – but you can’t apply the word to someone as a direct adjective without directly insinuating it to be an innate and broken aspect of their personality.

            Regardless of all of this, nothing you’ve written so far comes close to broaching my original point – which was that you do not need to be somehow removed from the human baseline, sadly, in order to be abusive or violent or cruel. The only way the sentence “you have to be sociopathic to kill a dog” is an acceptable generalisation in my eye is if the definition of “sociopathic” were loose enough to incorporate “being willing to kill a dog for whatever reason”.

            I disagree with this assertion. Sociopathy (both the disorder ASPD itself and the more woolly, tendency-based definition you’re insistent on) is used to reference a very specific set of dysfunctional personality traits which we absolutely cannot assign to every animal abuser in the world without exception.

          • Lisa Izo

            I should just make a cut and paste for this, since you seem like you don’t understand the same thing I keep saying.

            Sociopathic is a blanket term for antisocial behavior and attitudes.

            Which can be shown by, for example, killing a dog by snapping its neck for ripping nylons.

            Now go make another several paragraphs repeating yourself again while ignoring my very simple post.

          • No, not until you actually pay attention to the multitude of different points you continue to ignore within all of mine, foremost of which is the main, original point I’ve rephrased for you above. To whit, once more: that I entirely disagree with your base assertion that sociopathy is *requisite* for abusive behaviour.

          • Lisa Izo

            All your points are wrong, because my point is that I used sociopathic as the blanket term which it is.

            Your turn.

          • Lisa Izo

            That’s one sesquipedalian post you just made.

          • I tend towards loquaciousness, especially when pressured or tired. As a mitigation for this I also naturally tend towards the use of specific and technical language in order to express myself more exactly in fewer sentences. I didn’t consider the above overly complex, though. And am disinclined to believe you’re arguing in good faith, in any case. So what does word choice matter, so long as my meaning is achieved?

          • Lisa Izo

            Wow, you made a sesquipedalian post to explain a sesquipedalian post.

            I find when people do that, it’s because they realize what they’re saying is wrong. Or because you’re unsure about what they’re saying. So they try to hide behind big words. Or try to use big, overly complex words to reaffirm to themselves that they are smart. And no idea why you’d be ‘pressured.’ You’ve been repeating the same thing over and over with me responding the same way each time.

            (and yes I know sesquipedalian is a sesquipedalian word. I’m being ironic.)

          • Don’t be ridiculous, even under the guise of irony. Sometimes a human being other than yourself simply has a different conversational style (not to mention a differing debate style, seeing as this hasn’t resembled a friendly conversation now for quite some time). I’ve already gone to the specific effort of explaining the source of my tendencies for you, quite unnecessarily I might add; so you have absolutely zero right to dismiss that explanation and assert malicious mistruths in response.

            By the way, I happen to be tired and pressured regardless of this conversation and for entirely unconnected reasons. Not everything revolves around you and your experience of the word.

          • Lisa Izo

            Actually that post was not sesquipedalian. It was just repetitive. Sesquipedalian is about using overly complex words where simple words will do.

            It’s not a natural writing style. It’s faux intellectualism.

            But hey, I’m fine with you doing that. It just seems like you’re writing for no reason other than to keep arguing and rehashing the same thing over repeatedly, despite it being very clear that I am using the word sociopath in the way most people think of it, and you’re using it incorrectly, as if ‘sociopath’ is an actual psychological illness by trying to say that I said APD instead. Despite the going on 10 times now which I’ve said I didn’t.

            You’re arguing for the sake of arguing, not to make a point anymore.

          • Gotham

            I am so genuinely proud of you for keeping on trying.
            On this New Year’s day, nothing could warm my heart more. ♥

          • It’s getting a little bit frustrating now that the conversation has moved on from legitimate exchanges of ideas to pointless sniping at my grammatical style, though.

          • I resent the misrepresentation, by the way. Harm to animals and harm to human beings are both utterly awful and should be avoided whenever possible. You just don’t seem to appreciate any of the other posters’ efforts here toward mitigating that second one.

          • Lisa Izo

            You guys are the ones doing the misrepresentation, misrepresenting what I not only clearly said,but what I’ve now repeated multiple times with links and the definition used.

            I don’t appreciate over-sensitive people angling for a fight with me over nothing by attempting to stretch what I said into some sort of hate-based attack just because they can’t deal with the actual post I made NOT singling out anyone except Pearl.

            Then again I also don’t care what they’re saying either. Between us, I’m the one who doesn’t think it’s the domain of ‘normal’ thinking to kill dogs for nylons being ripped. Gotham and Lagrange are the ones who are saying that normal people do that. And you’re the one defending their stance. Pretty sure I’m in the clear.

          • Nobody’s misrepresenting you, however some of us have been trying to warn you about some of the unintended consequences of your earlier comments. Obviously this isn’t proving useful or successful and so it’s not worth devoting further effort to until that changes. But the effort certainly doesn’t imply any sort of agreement or defence to the strawman perspective you’ve just alleged.

          • Lisa Izo

            Actually you are the only one making a strawman perspective, by saying that I’m saying something ridiculous that I did not say, rather than the definition I’ve repeatedly been using of sociopath.

            You’re definitely misrepresenting me. I’m literally telling you what I’m saying, and you’re continually ‘warning me’ about what it means, when I repeatedly have said what I’m actually saying, different than what you’re trying to language police enforce me as saying.

          • It’s absolutely hilarious that you’re calling me out for “policing your language” mere minutes after complaining my words were too polysyllabic for your personal tastes.

          • Lisa Izo

            I don’t actually care that you’re using overly complex words unnecessarily. Definitely not telling you what your words actually mean, unlike you.

            But yeah, you’re being the language police. You’re saying what my words mean, despite having the definition that I’ve used, which are different than what you’re trying so hard to claim.

          • Calling something antisocial, toxic or abusive certainly isn’t the same as describing it as ‘normal’, by the way! The objection here is to the use of the specific term ‘sociopathic’ as it strongly implies that the person under discussion has or is diagnosed as having ASPD. People abuse and kill animals sadly all-too-frequently. It’s more ‘normal’ than you probably expect. And not all of those people, by a long distance, are ‘sociopathic’. The evils of this world aren’t so easily pigeonholed.

          • Laurelinde

            Honest question: is there a word which does describe people with behaviors that fall under the colloquial definition of ‘sociopathic’ (so, cruel, remorseless, without empathy or compassion, manipulative, violent) regardless of any medical conditions? I assume there aren’t as many people like that as there are on tv crime shows, and plenty of them that do exist are neurotypical, but would there be use for such a descriptor if ‘sociopath’ is irreparably linked to anti-social disorders? (FWIW I did not know that ASPD and sociopathy were often intended to mean the same thing, although I’m not sure I have an especially good idea what ASPD encompasses. But I wouldn’t have used the terms interchangeably.)

          • Gotham

            I think the progress we’re making as a culture is realizing that these traits don’t innately exist in some people. The capacity for evil is not something you find on the same shelf as “shy” or “imaginative”, it’s entirely dependent on context, environment, access to power… and as such it would make sense that we’re starting to lose the words ascribing these qualities.

            It doesn’t pack quite a punch, but how about you start refering to these people who are selfish and manipulative and sadistic but in full knowledge and control of their missteps, as assholes? ’cause that’s what they are, at the end of the day

          • You could also simply refer to said people as “manipulative and violent abusers” if that’s how they allow themselves to enact in the world whatever motivations are behind this sort of behaviour.

          • Izo overstepped this line in claiming a few deleterious mistruths and making unfair representations, in my opinion, as follows. That the descriptor ‘sociopath’ can be applied safely to neurotypicals without stigma or emotional load because it doesn’t automatically bring to mind the medical definition (absolutely wrong on every count). That *only* someone ‘sociopathic’, which I’m arguing is a term inextricably linked with diagnosed ASPD neurodivergence, would be capable of acting in the way which Patrick’s mother has just acted (corollary: no neurotypical person could abuse in the same way). That, even if we did accept abuse to animals as being a solely sociopathic tendency, it’s fine to immediately describe the abuser as having ‘sociopathic personality traits’ from that one encounter (fundamental attribution error). That having awareness of possible nuance to come in the motivations and mental health of Patrick’s mother somehow equates with defending her actions and calling the abuse of children and animals ‘normal’ (false equivalence up the wazoo..). And lastly, repeatedly, maliciously conflating her own misuse of the term ‘normal’ as meaning ‘neurotypical’ with the idea of something being ‘normal’ meaning ‘socially acceptable’ or ‘commonplace’, then re-attributing that confusion to those of us arguing against her, to misrepresent our arguments.

          • Sociopathy is a somewhat outmoded term for a component part of the larger ASPD spectrum. Like I said above, I think it’s perfectly reasonable to describe an isolated behaviour as sociopathic in some cases (if it actually *is* so – cruelty doesn’t necessarily have to be) or to describe someone who repeatedly engages in that behaviour as showing sociopathic tendencies. But to actually call someome “sociopathic” or “a sociopath” implies strongly that they fit and/or are already in receipt of the associated personality disorder diagnosis.

          • This is one reason by the way that folk were cautioned to be careful of their language when describing Donald Trump as “a narcissist” during the Presidential race – because it could so easily be construed as deleterious slander. (Or libel, when written.) There was no solid data on his medical records to go from and it’s extremely problematic (not to mention excessively rude) to accuse someone of having a serious personality disorder without that person first undergoing a formal psychiatric examination. Saying that Trump displayed “the behaviour of a narcissist” or “narcissistic tendencies”, on the other hand, was seen as a typically accurate witness assessment.

            Since the election, things have changed – a vast array of psychiatric professionals have been observing and drawing conclusions about Trump’s state of mind as evidenced by ongoing public and private behaviour, and the overwhelming consensus among these is that he is, in fact, very nearly the textbook case example of a narcissist.

            Still no details on whether this has been diagnostically proven, though.

          • Pizkie

            This is a really good question and, I think, one that gets to the core of the issue being discussed here.

            The term Antisocial Personality Disorder was introduced partly because “sociopath” in laymen’s eyes was starting to take on the meaning you’re used to ascribing to it, and thus it became near-impossible for people to accept the diagnosis if they had it. I find it telling that Izo is arguing for the informality of a term that covers “antisocial” behavior, as if that word were also broad and informal. I wonder how long before we have to replace the current label because the mainstream have caught on. It seems our understanding of words will always be stronger than our understanding of the issue.

            To replace, I would go with any of the following: asshole, jerk, horrible human being, abusive, cruel, etc.

            Neither captures the exact nature of “sociopath”, I’m well aware. And I maaaay be leaving the original topic a bit here, but I feel this is a point that bears saying: Part of the benefit of using a word like “sociopath” is that it’s Othering. It posits terrible people as abnormal, as ill, as divergent. It makes it easier to uphold the Just World fallacy – that humans are not inherently bad, it’s just outliers who do bad. It’s just their brains that are broken.
            And granted, sometimes broken brains make people do terrible things. But more often, it’s structures, systems, institutions, that make it really easy and even normal (in context) to do terrible things, no wonky brain chemistry required. The ease and frequency with which we label undesirable behavior “mentally ill” makes it harder to solve the multitude of problems we have because it obstructs the actual causes.

            Which may be getting off topic for a rich, seemingly-priviliged lady snapping a cute dog’s neck for no systemic reason or damage of her own… but then, we don’t exactly know, do we?

          • Stop claiming to define ‘normal’ within this context as meaning ‘average, socially acceptable behaviour’ when you know full well that it’s clearly being used to mean ‘neurotypical’. It’s even in quotation marks to imply this use doesn’t mesh with the views of the poster…

          • It’s not *necessarily* sociopathic, I’d say. Most likely a lack of emotional empathy makes the act far easier but it isn’t actually required.

          • Arkone Axon

            I personally find two things to be highly offensive. The first is the assumption that mental illness is a sign of immorality, the way “crazy” is a label that automatically devalues the other person.

            …The other is the reverse, the way someone being evil is considered insane and needing help. The inmates at Arkham Asylum, as it were (and I hate the way the moment they prove they have an obsession or MPD or the like, they’re automatically ruled “not accountable for their actions.” About the only criminal Batman ever caught who belongs in Arkham is “Humpty Dumpty,” who didn’t understand why he couldn’t just take his abusive mother apart and put her back together like any of the appliances he rebuilt). Being neuroatypical is not a problem – but being a cruel, evil asshole is a problem.

            So… you’re complaining because this is “ableism?” Izo didn’t blame her behavior on multiple personalities or schizophrenia… Izo pointed out that this is apparently a woman capable of breaking a dog’s neck over a $2 pair of pantyhose, then go out to dinner without a care for either the corpse of a dog on her living room carpet, or her son crying over said body.

        • Kid Chaos

          A super-strong sociopath? Oh, crap… 💀

          • Lisa Izo

            Or a sociopath of average strength.

            I’m astounded how some people, like LaGrange and Gotham, are getting all up in arms about the use of the word ‘sociopath.’ Which means a pattern of antisocial behaviors and attitudes (and in psychology it’s most often represented by Antisocial Personality Disorder).

            I’m saying she’s a sociopath, because it’s definitely antisocial behavior to kill dogs for tearing your knickers. And I’m guessing that LaGrange and Gotham do not think that’s the case. I guess they just hate dogs.

    • Thomas S

      I think a violently shaken torso of a toy dog could snap its neck.

      • Gotham

        Well aren’t we all going to spend some cheerful New Year’s celebrations
        2017 you stayed true to yourself to the end

      • Mechwarrior

        That’s a small dog, but nowhere close to small enough to be a toy breed. Based on the dog’s size relative to Patrick, it would probably be around 30 pounds, maybe a little heavier.

        • Lisa Izo

          Toy breed makes it more evil.

    • Kittenbot Doomypants

      No. Just… No. I don’t… fucking.. no. Can’t… I’m going to go curl up and cry now.

      • Hugs and comfort for when you get back to Disqus again. Vivid, emotional storytelling, mayhap, but it definitely could have used a similar content warning as we had a couple months ago.

    • Tani M

      I could posit a completely different interpretation. The snapping sound is of Skippy’s nails getting a trim. Skippy is freaking out, and his panic is hurting Patrick.
      This is an optimistic interpretation, so it’s probably not going to happen.

    • You’re also the one who had everyone else believing the “snap” was specifically neck-dependent, apparently-! It’s how I read the page at first myself but on re-reading it the neck isn’t necessarily the only sensible presumption to be drawn here. We’re clearly just conditioned for pessimistic thinking / an overabundance of emotional drama. 😉

      • Gotham

        That’s why I was asking everybody!

  • Meghan

    He was reading the dog’s mind as it died. I wonder how many people he’s read as they died? That would mess you right up.

    • Gotham

      Did the dog actually die? Is it not just me going on the wild end from a very very unfortunate onomatopoeia?
      This is nonsensical.

      • palmvos

        let us not assume the dog is dead. we already have one donkey here we don’t need any more (the one we have provides good snacks!). I for one will wait for a body, corpse, became one with the force, ect.

        • Weatherheight

          Hmm.. is it just my imagination or has there been a dearth of newcomers to our little group of late?
          Maybe I’m not reading as thoroughly of late (solstice celebrations – they garnish your time).

          • palmvos

            i think the ‘this is my first post’ posts are vanishing. I have a terrible memory for names- but some commentators seem new. they may not realize we have a welcome table for them.
            ::looks at welcome table:: ::its bare::

            ok, i’ll get some more cookies and various fruits and veggies.
            ::tosses apple to weatherheight::

            ::a black forest cake with one candle appears::

          • Weatherheight

            ::neatly catches the apple, does a little tap dance, and trots off to enjoy his apple::

            ::trips over his own hooves::

            ::mumbles something about the cold and drags a bottle of moonshine over to the table, nudges a mason jar into place, and pours himself a well earned snort::

          • palmvos

            I’m in Texas… and i had to scrape ice off the car this morning. and I don’t live in the pan-handle! so yes it is cold!
            ::pours steaming hot chocolate::

  • R Lex Eaton

    …Okay, either Patrick’s little journey in self-gaslighting has backfired something fierce, or Gurwara’s meddling is even worse than I suspected.

    There’s no way any of that is a genuine memory. Something’s hinky here.

    • Mechwarrior

      I agree. The unlikeliness of a normal woman having the strength to casually pick up a dog that size and snap its neck is reason enough to suspect that something is rotten in Denmark.

      • JeffH

        Maybe the “Snap” was in the woman’s mind? Something she’s imagining while saying to herself, “Dammit, I could kill that dog!”

        Would still be pretty violent to a kid…

        • Mechwarrior

          That is a possibility I hadn’t considered.

      • Jay

        I dunno, that dog looks to be about 20-30 lbs, I think most adult women have the strength needed to both pick up that sized animal and apply enough force to snap it’s neck. Now, knowing how to and being willing to are two other stories entirely. I mean, I know how because I’ve worked with animals enough to know the vulnerable areas, but I would only be willing to if it was a last ditch necessity to keep the creature from hurting others.

        Personally I really like the theory that this is patrick’s young mind exaggerating the real events because he can read both the abuser’s and the abused’s minds. Seems legit to me. Also, let’s note his current emotional state and the fact that in his position he doesn’t have a clear view of the events. Anything could be happening, anything that results in a snap, maybe the dog bit her in defense, or at least snapped at her.

        • From an answers’ thread elsewhere: “Also, it’s a very bad idea to try to lift dogs by picking them up by their front legs, like people pick up human babies by lifting them by their arms. Human shoulders are built so that they can withstand that, dogs’ shoulders are not, and doing so can cause serious injury.”

    • LaGrange

      I don’t know about necks, but you can _seriously_ damage a dog – and the bigger the easier – by trying to lift it by the tail. I know, because I used to hang out with animal rescue (mostly cats, but dogs happen and you deal with them anyway) and “Spot got picked up by the tail and now can’t hold poop so got thrown out” was _depressingly_ common.

      And yes, memory is trash, but also, I can totally believe yanking a mid-size dog by the neck could really hurt it. Maybe not outright kill, but hurt.

      • R Lex Eaton

        Was warned about that regarding turtles. Tails are still part of a creature’s spinal column. Mess it up, and you cause catastrophic nerve damage.

      • deebles


    • Nathaniel Samuels

      I think the fact the memory is hinky is why it’s been tossed out/ is beyond the barriers. Seems to me that the component that Pattrick tosses out may be corrupted memories that he can’t clearly categorize as being his or someone else’s. IE he had to toss out most of his early childhood cause it was from before a time where he’d mastered properly sorting between his own thoughts and those of others.

  • Gotham

    So guys, going for the likeliest assumption that it’s my own extrapolating that makes me understand this as Patrick’s mom crushing the vertebrae of the family’s pet dog with her bare (bear? those fingers, man) hands like a stealth operative, I actually find a few things interesting here.

    First off, I find the transition from the one-way mirror of a secret shady military laboratory last page, to a museum of horrors like a twisted reverse of the Hall of Memories where each displayed piece is a new intrusive insight into Patrick’s trauma, really cool. Props to the authors.

    Second, again assuming this is “just” some animal abuse where Pearl slapped Skip or threw it violently on the ground—and not fucking crushed his bones—it’s interesting that Patrick would put that memory so close to the previous one, almost as on equal footing. There’s that time he was tortured for god knows how long by pedophiles, and also that time his mom hurt the dog. I understand that he was his only friend in a time where he had absolutely no support, but come on, it’s not like the dog is dead, right?

    This webcomic that made it believable how society would restructure itself around the apparition of teenagers with superpowers won’t jump the shark by asking us to believe that this “SNAP” is shorthand for murder, right? Suffocating the dog I would have (dishearteningly) swallowed, but nope, you won’t make me accept that /Patrick’s mom/ knew of a way to end the life of a living being in such a way that would result in a sharp, red “SNAP” sound

    But oh well people who still held hope that Patrick’s parents loved him last page sure must be reconsidereding

    • Shjade

      Patrick’s mom, who’s obviously a direct part of experimentation on Patrick?

      Yeah, I’d believe she could just kill a dog like that.

      My problem with the idea is less “would she do that” and more “why wouldn’t she have done that sooner,” since if she’s capable of this kind of emotionless murder I’m willing to bet a dog would have given her cause to do this before. So why this time? Straw that broke the camel’s back? I dunno. That and it’s a little over the top.

      Edit: I suppose it’s possible he’s just reading her mind about WANTING to kill the dog, but that isn’t generally how we’ve been shown Patrick reading someone’s thoughts, so possible but less likely.

      • zellgato

        If she did. likely they got the animal as part of the experiments.
        that section ended. and they just let it stay with him for emotional management.
        so its superfulousalready

        • Arkone Axon

          In which case she just destroyed a vital piece of equipment that was keeping the test subject manageable, because the equipment was doing its job and making a warning signal regarding the test subject.

          Assuming that she really is so cold and heartless that neither the dog living in her house, nor her own child, matter as anything more than things to be used for her benefit, then that’s still an incredibly stupid thing to do. And contrasted against previous pages, incredibly inconsistent. Was that the moment that Patrick read her mind and realized his formerly loving and concerned mother had been taken over by a Puppetmaster alien parasite the previous weekend?

          • zellgato

            That is assuming they still were testing for something. Currently.. for all we know the next stage started tomorrow– or this even was the start of the next stage where they intended to remove it.

            We don’t have enough info to really know what is going on fully.

          • Arkone Axon

            Good point. Very good point. We don’t know what’s going on… it’ll take a while. Look at what happened with Max – first we see him as a decent and pleasant young man. Then we see him spouting stupidity (while having dinner with someone he ought to know disagrees with him on that particular subject). Then we find out that he was spoonfed that crap by parents who made him feel worthless for having a “useless” power. Then we see Alison doing “the necessary and right thing” (as opposed to… literally, anything else). Then we see just how badly she screwed up and how her “necessary and right thing” has definitely made things much, much worse, and we STILL don’t know how bad it’s going to turn out.

            So far all we’ve seen is Patrick showing up, apparently falling apart mentally. We saw Clevin fleeing after a ridiculously simplistic and unimpressive speech meant to break him. And now we’re seeing these memories… but there’s still not enough information. So… we’ll see.

            All I’m saying with my previous post is that, even if his mother really was a heartless sociopath who used her child for experimentation without remorse, then acting this way makes her deserving of her own spot on this page:


            That’s the kind of petty cruelty that we saw in “Bioshock” with Suchong. The guy who you find stapled to a table, along with the recording of his last moments of stupid evil.

          • Gotham

            I don’t know where you get the “formerly loving and concerned”. This up there is the only characterization we’ve got, and as such it’s not inconsistent with anything else.

        • Nightsbridge

          He had skipper back when he first developed his powers, he’s not part of any tests.

    • Calum Cameron

      I was assuming we were supposed to interpret this as a reveal that Patrick was not the first member of his family to have superpowers.

      Patrick’s mum angrily grabs hold of a dog with her SEEMINGLY normal human hands, and the dog gets SNAPPED.

      The implication, to me, is that Patrick’s mother is a lot stronger than a normal human, and therefore there’s something we haven’t been told about when it was that superpowered people REALLY started popping up.

      • Dwight Williams

        No, no superpowers required. Just an exposition of her capacity for cruelty maneuvers on a moment’s whim.

  • Jshadow

    Okay now I think the author is being too melodramatic, it’s kinnda funny because it comes off as try hardy.

    • Tsapki

      Well, we are in someone’s brain looking through their memories, so some scenes are going to be a tad unrealistic.

  • JohnTomato

    If I didn’t know the strip was plotted out two or three months in advance I’d say this was Seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

    • palmvos

      it is SAD just not that SAD. its a different SAD. my comment is SAD.

      • Zorae42

        Nice, what class is your comment? I’m guessing Sorcerer as it seems like it’d be Charisma focused.

        • palmvos

          I have no charisma. many people hate me. (points at various commentators) I’ve even been blocked, at least I think I’ve been blocked. my comments are generally based on the spray principle. keep making them and every so often it works.

          • Zorae42

            Ah, so you’re a gosh darn Gunslinger then.

            Heh, I was making a joke – SAD is an abbreviation for Single Attribute Dependent in D&D 😉

  • notquiteotaku

    This managed to go from heartbreaking to absurd in a single page.

    Also, not to be melodramatic, but I would have appreciated a trigger warning for animal cruelty. I did not need a depressive episode that early in the day.

    • Gotham

      Not just that, honestly. Child cruelty is pretty rough for many as well, I’m thinking a content warning for the whole issue would have been helpful, especially considering we did get one for the depiction of self-harm some forty pages ago.

      • I’ll agree with this; a content warning for abuse would have been really helpful, here. Even though it did heighten the emotional hit of the story to have this come at us “out of nowhere”, and references to an unpleasant past have been foreshadowed in the plot for quite a while, some people may be seriously struggling with this content.

    • Randolph Carter

      It is a classic kick-the-puppy.

  • Camilla Taylor

    Oh god, dog killing. It’s worse than I thought it would be.

    • Lisa Izo


      You can always tell when someone’s irredeemably evil the second they ‘kick the puppy’ (or snap the puppy’s neck if kicking isnt evil enough).

      • Arkone Axon

        Because being the leader of a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world isn’t nearly enough by itself. :p

        • Lisa Izo


          • Gotham

            I agree that the picture is comical, but I think you both misunderstand why it exists. Comic books are trash art (ergo the best kind) for children, and children don’t /necessarily/ understand the concept of a “ruthless terrorist organization”. This may be confusing to some, but everybody instantly knows that someone who kicks a dog is a fucker. Thus, storytelling shorthand.
            I agree that this is kind of cliché, but at this point of cultural zeitgeist it’s almost as cliché if not worse to point it out sarcastically, so no need to feel so self-satisfied

  • Christophe2314

    I wonder if that’s the dog’s neck snapping or Patrick’s mind. I’m gonna go with both.

  • Ptorq

    I think it might be possible to break a dog’s neck that way, but I don’t think it would be easy, especially not the sort of dog this appears to be (a bull terrier of some kind). Maybe something else snapped and we’ll find out what soon.

  • Arkone Axon

    I’m not the only one who is calling bullshit on this one, I see. This had better be a false memory or something – because otherwise we’re being asked to believe that a middle class suburbanite wife and mother would casually pick up the family dog, snap its neck, then go out to dinner as if nothing had happened.

    Though honestly, the whole “neck snap” thing is a joke. Yes, it’s possible to break the neck. Yes, as a very large and strong adult male, I can break someone’s neck. I can do so by rotating their head until the twisting pressure causes the joints of the vertebrae to finally separate, much like when breaking a chicken leg off the thigh after slicing through the meat. I cannot do that by casually gripping someone’s face or shoulders and twisting – I would have to apply a considerable amount of effort while holding their torsos immobile. Or possibly by putting them in a “triangle” choke hold from behind and then sommersaulting over their shoulder to put my entire weight behind it (note: that move is A: not one I’ve practiced, and B: deliberate murder).


    There was a silly Scifi channel movie about horror movie characters coming to life – but because they were pulled out of a TV instead of a big movie theater screen, they came out as midgets. The vampire (marvelously portrayed by the same actor who did a number of roles in the 90s) was momentarily confronted at one point by the male protagonist when he tried taking his female friend hostage (to stop the diminutive vampire from turning her into his undead bride). The vampire purred with a chilling nonchalance, “…Speaking as someone who has ACTUALLY broken necks… it is neither as easy… nor as painless… as you seem to think…”

    • Calum Cameron

      It’s already been pretty clearly established that Patrick’s mother was VERY FAR from just another middle class suburbanite wife and mother. We haven’t been told her deal yet, but we know that whatever she was scared Patrick enough that he keeps trying to move on every time she enters a memory, and we know that she at least consented to, if not organised, her son being experimented on by an abusive evil scientist dude.

      And now it appears that she was also strong enough to snap some part of a dog using only her bare hands. This is, remember, a world where not everyone is what you or I would call “fully human”. Superstrength and telekinesis both canonically exist. The interesting thing is that we were previously led to believe that they didn’t really exist, or at least weren’t very common, until recently – but that may have been something we were all misled about.

      It may be relevant to note that, if Patrick’s mother was indeed secretly the world’s first superstrong woman, then there are some very odd and Freudian possibilities regarding his relationship with Alison, the OTHER superstrong woman in his life.

      • Gotham

        Oh my God the Alison is Patrick’s mom rabbit hole is WIDENING

      • Arkone Axon

        Yeah, but even then… look at the previous page. That doctor did not live in fear of Patrick’s mother. If Patrick’s mother was as strong and ruthless as Darth Vader, then that doctor would NOT have slapped the woman’s kid like that. Or even treated her like a “typical patient’s parent,” for that matter – he would have been behaving like a terrified lackey hoping not to incur her displeasure.

        (And if she had been hiding her powers around others, then the memory of her walking in should have been followed by Patrick’s memory of his mother seeing the red mark from being slapped, seeing the look on the doctor’s face, putting things together, and then taking the doctor apart)

        • Gotham

          You’re assuming she would care.

        • Calum Cameron

          Why are you assuming Patrick’s mother gives a shit about her son?

          Are you forgetting this is the son SHE either consented to or, possibly arranged the experimentation on in the first place? Are you forgetting how scared Young Patrick looked at the sound of her voice?

          Preeeety sure it’s implied that Patrick’s mother isn’t exactly the loving protective type who would care whether you slapped her little lab rat or not.

          • Arkone Axon

            We haven’t seen any specifics regarding experimentation, though. The closest we’ve seen to that was a montage of treatments for his undiagnosed and mysterious condition. I’m not the only person here who has commented to the effect of “this brings back old memories.”

            And, again… if she were that cold and cruel, she’d still know better than to harm the dog that is keeping her lab rat in his cage and running through the maze.

          • Calum Cameron

            Would she? In my experience, cruel people usually expect they can control people through fear alone. And, I mean, Patrick’s ALREADY not co-operative, so she probably doesn’t expect killing the dog to make much difference. Even if it does, what’s he gonna do, exactly? Read her mind really hard? You and I know Patrick is clever enough to find a means of escape or revenge, but she doesn’t necessarily. Adults often underestimate kids. She probably doesn’t expect ANYTHING she does to make it unduly hard to control him.

    • R Lex Eaton

      My best guess as to the context? I’m thinking there’s some Patrick Bateman-style unreliability going on here. Maybe the dog didn’t die, and he archived the feeling going through his head at the moment–association of memories by emotion rather than context. Maybe it did happen, but not in the way depicted?

      For everyone’s sake, I hope that’s the issue, rather than some outside force…

    • The issue here is that you’re contrasting a smallish dog with a fully-grown human being. From what I understand, dogs are particularly vulnerable around the ribcage, and various parts of their skeletal systems are deviated in a manner that human equivalents are not. In the second-to-last panel Pearl appears to have a firm grip on the poor dog’s shoulders. It’s possible that she yanked the shoulders and/or forelegs too far apart from one another and cracked the ribcage. There’s literally zero confirmation to date as to whether or not “snap” stands for a breaking neck.

      • Arkone Axon

        I’ve got smallish dogs as pets. They’re not “particularly vulnerable,” not like that. Bodies, all bodies, are designed by nature with specific requirements. Form follows function, and all that – and the head and neck area are critical. The spinal column of chordates (the phylum that includes fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals) is a truly impressive and magnificent design. A series of hard overlapping bones like the finest of plate armors, each one sandwiching an elastic padding to absorb impacts and provide excellent flexibility with the connecting muscles. Muscles and ligaments that not only allow for voluntary movement, but also further contribute to the structural integrity of the joints (that’s why I described twisting off the chicken leg AFTER cutting through the flesh. Carve a turkey and you have a similar deal there. The soft tissues not only depend on the skeleton for support, they also provide additional strength to the structure as a whole).

        And all of that, all of it, is meant to provide protection to the central nervous system – the most critically important part of the organism. Without the spinal column there can be no control of the limbs and other parts necessary for locomotion and acquisition of food and procreation. Without the brain there can be no control of the internal organs – once the brain goes, that’s it. That is why the skull is the heaviest and sturdiest bone structure in our bodies, that is why our spines are so well constructed.

        That being said, it is possible that the “snap” referred to Patrick’s mind breaking… but the context implies that his mother effortlessly lifted up a 20-30 lb dog and snapped its neck, because it… caused a rip in her pantyhose. In front of her traumatized, crying son. Before going to a dinner and show. Yeah.

        • As I say, we simply can’t tell what’s actually happened in-comic until next update. We currently have no context as to what exactly snapped, and how. I’m not sure where this notion of a *neck* snap came from aside from Patrick’s sobbing reaction which would work just as appropriately as a child’s reaction to seeing their beloved pet suffer any broken bone. That said, yes – dogs *are* particularly vulnerable in the areas I mentioned *in comparison with the skeletal construction of other creatures*. The head is indeed well-protected but I was talking about the shoulder blades and the ribcage – of a non-climbing mammal whose form is designed for short spurts of horizontal movement only. I had a quick google of the issue after posting and came across this on an Answers site which summarises nicely: “Also, it’s a very bad idea to try to lift dogs by picking them up by their front legs, like people pick up human babies by lifting them by their arms. Human shoulders are built so that they can withstand that, dogs’ shoulders are not, and doing so can cause serious injury.” And the shape and gender of a person isn’t quite so impactful on their strength as you might suggest; I’m female, five-seven, untrained and I don’t work out, and I have chronic physical illness… but I can lift a corner sofa on my lonesome. Obviously the jury is still out and we can debate this ad nauseum, but I don’t feel like it’s so completely implausible as you and several other commentators have suggested for Pearl, as a non-bioynamic, to have at least dislocated a shoulder or broken a small bone if she were treating the poor dog especially roughly.

          • As for motive, quite a few people now have posted their own experiences of child abuse. Abusive parents often don’t need a reason to kill or injure their children or indeed their kids’ beloved pets. There’s a very strong indication already (at least from Patrick’s own perspective) that his mother is a figure of terror in his life. That sort of person doesn’t stick around to provide aftercare when they damage a person. The damage was their goal.

          • Arkone Axon

            That’s my point. I didn’t see any such indication in previous pages (aside from the way her appearance has been blocked out… which may be Patrick’s attempt to hide who his true parents are, because Alison might recognize them or something). She kept taking her child to therapy sessions and doing everything she could to help him. She rushed to open the door to the doctor’s office when she heard the slap. That was not the behavior of a parent who doesn’t care or who wants their child to suffer. This seemingly went from “parents inflicted pain while trying their best to help” to “parents inflicted pain because they don’t give a crap.” Incongruous.

            On another note… why are my comments here getting peppered by replies from someone I’ve blocked? I’m fairly certain I know who it is, and I’m slightly tempted to unblock them just to see what drivel they’re posting… someone really needs to move on with their life…

          • It’s far more likely and far more evocative to have “Pearl” illustrated as a silhouette within Patrick’s memories because that’s how he currently is capable of actually remembering her, than it is to assume that kid-Patrick has somehow mysteriously covered her up to prevent his own identification whilst permitting every other aspect to be witnessed. That is, she’s so utterly a figure of horror and threat, Patrick is literally unable to consciously or subconsciously bring himself to focus properly on her appearance. The idea that she’s silhouetted because she’s seen by him as a force of pain and destruction is also borne out by the panic with which he moved on from her first encroaching appearance.

            This is a very clear reference to the common dissociative responses many survivors have as a result of their abuse or emotional trauma. To survive and maintain what sanity it still possesses Patrick’s mind is literally erasing details from the memory of his abusive mother. I can attest to this first-hand. The person most responsible for my own trauma (who still lives nearby and tries to greet me on the street with false smiles as a power play, one I’m not letting her win) was nameless in my memory for quite some time. I literally couldn’t remember her name because my psyche was trying to protect me by wiping her existence. It was terrifying. But, I can attest; it happens.

            Disqus blocks are ridiculous and ineffectively applied. They really ought to be bi-directional. If someone is blocked, they shouldn’t be able to see their blocker’s messages, for the safety of that person, nor should theirs be shown.

          • Arkone Axon

            Most of your post is a long, articulate, and well thought out argument. I think the best answer is the one offered by Zellgato, that we need to wait and see where this is going (because people are also still in disagreement as to whether the dog was actually killed or not).

            As for the Disqus blocks… no, I haven’t been refusing to accept direct experiences, as I said elsewhere. I have however greatly enraged a few people by disagreeing with them. This particular individual (Gotham, I can tell because it lists her name from when you replied to them) decided that I am completely and irredeemably racist and sexist because I… disagree with her premise that it should be legal to punch “Nazis” in the face. This after an initial disagreement in which she claimed to have done infinitely more for female victims of spousal abuse than Erin Pizzey (the woman who started the first battered womens’ shelters in the U.K. and U.S.) by “simply not repeating” Pizzey’s statements regarding some of the behaviors of the women she was helping. You can check for yourself in the comments sections of previous pages… or not, it’s not as if I have any reason to lie about it (especially since any such lie could be easily disproven with a quick copy/paste).

          • Gotham

            I’m not even going to bother with the rest (okay I lied I will a little: /my premise that it should be legal to punch “Nazis” in the face/. That’s not a strawman, that’s an honest-to-god statue carved into raw diamond. I kinda want it now)

            …and jump right into the wonderful:
            “no, I haven’t been refusing to accept direct experiences”
            My God. I genuinely laughed out loud the irony lost on him is so flabbergasting.

          • I felt the need to lay out at least my direct experience of having had my direct experience dismissed, just to make sure that it was clear that a perceived refusal to accept such things was a reasonable conclusion to draw from the text so far.

          • Unfortunately, I stand by my comment. It is a dismissal of others’ firsthand experiences if you refuse to take them at face value or disaree with them because they conflict certain aspects of your own. I’m sure this isn’t entirely deliberate and it is somewhat understandable, but, you need to be aware that your experiential circle is not absolute. It’s quite possible for other people to have suffered abuse first-hand and yet have a different reading of it than you have, because abuse and abusers differ too. You responded to my other comment thread for example by saying that “you have experienced abuse first-hand” and so are qualified to invalidate the claims I had been making before. But I’ve *also* experienced personal trauma, PTSD symptoms, abuse of certain kinds, and my writing is *also* qualified in the same way which is why I stated directly that certain behaviours were possible (not, ubiquitous) to begin with; when you responded to my comment by insisting on your own greater experience, you invalidated and denied mine. Thus the reason I say you refuse to properly accept others’ direct experiences is simply that you are treating those perspectives as being innately inferior to yours, regardless of whether you’ve said so overtly, and of whether they’ve similar or greater first-hand acquaintance with the issue than yourself.

            Regarding whoever it is you’ve had blocked, that’s absolutely between you and them, the situation of the block itself and whether or not it persists. My point again remains valid. Blocks on Disqus are entirely problematic in their current form. As the blocked party you should not IMHO be able to see your blocker’s name pop up in response to anyone, nor should either of you see one another’s posts and responses. I’m not overtly or tacitly supporting random other Disqus’er simply by saying there should be greater seperation. I’ve seen other, concerned responses myself and came to the conclusions I came to autonomously. Also; let us not get ourselves into the legal minefield of comparing simple assault with provocation versus illegally preaching genocidal ideology in public and thus inciting to violence and hatred.

            I’m extremely tempted to take offence at the insinuation that some of my post is not an articulate and well-presented argument (only “most”) – it can be those things even if you did not actually agree – but I’ll take the compliment as it was intended. Especially as it’s now 3am!

          • Gotham

            I realize how little it’s worth, but I do feel conflicted about seeing his comments still and having the ability (whichI often concretize) to answer them. Decency and respect urge me to block him as well to respect his terrible terrible terrible wishes (and compensate for indeed a pretty bad blocking system here on Disqus, what gives)

            On the other hand, I had been following this webcomic for years and only decided to start commenting specifically because his toxicity was getting worrying. I’ve now seen two people leave because how problematic discourse with him and the other one have been, not counting the potential others who did not make it obvious.

            I honestly don’t know what to do.

          • Unfortunately I probably can’t answer that for you. Blocking in return isn’t a perfect solution as you’d never know if you yourself were unblocked later or anything that happened in between. Yet as it is, it’s a bit one-sided. If you know someone can’t see your responses to them I think it would be reasonable to refrain from challenging them directly, mocking or belittling them, or posting full counter-arguments as if they’d been written for that person’s receipt as opposed to other readers. Basically, don’t mislead other readers unaware of the block so that they get the wrong idea and assume you’ve won every argument by dint of good rhetoric when actually it just hasn’t been read! If you feel you really ought to leave a follow-up to something or continue a conversation with others on the same thread, then make sure it’s clear you’re doing so for others’ sakes and that your blocker won’t see any of the content.

          • Arkone Axon

            Oh, for the record? The person you’re agreeing with? They’ve been informed they were blocked. They were informed I was blocking them right before I blocked them. They have continued to make posts, and they continue to claim that I can read them. They have also claimed that Lisa Izo and I are the same person.

            And them blocking me in return would be just fine by me. Whatever they want to do or not do is up to them… though their continued posting responses to someone who has blocked them might be construed as continued harassment.

          • Arkone, please, refrain from responding to posts I make to someone completely different, especially when I am trying to defend *your* rights as the excluded party and to advise them *not* to respond to you in any manner which would mislead others to read you both as being actively in discourse. Not that they were doing so; indeed, they were expressing regret that the current situation is unfair to you, as it so happens. Everything you’ve presumed about their post is entirely incorrect and so is everything you’ve just presumed about my intentions.

          • Arkone Axon

            Debbie, please refrain from making passive-aggressive comments implying I am somehow at fault for “challenging them directly, mocking or belittling them, or posting full counter-arguments” after weeks of continued posts from someone I had to block for their deliberately offensive behavior, for whatever reason. They were blocked. They were told they were blocked. There is no appropriate reason to see “This user is blocked” in response to almost every single thing I have posted on the last few pages. Whatever they have to say, it does not matter. They were blocked. They are attempting to circumvent that blocking. I should not have to clarify further as to why that is a problem.

          • Ugh. I’m sorry to have to do this, but I’m shutting this down. You’re now literally railing against the one person who was trying to advise others *not* to do precisely what you’re complaining about them doing. The comment about “challenging them directly..” was aimed AT YOUR BLOCKER AND NOT AT YOU. It was advice for them NOT TO DO THESE THINGS TO *YOU*! And yet, I’ve said this all above.. so, since you didn’t accept my clear, unmistakeable statement of that fact, there’s nothing else that I can say to elucidate matters.

          • Just re-read the thread. Seriously.

          • Arkone Axon

            Yeah. I haven’t blocked you. So I can read exactly what you’ve been telling them, even if I can’t read what they’ve been saying. At no point did you express the idea, “since they’ve blocked you, you really should just stop posting and move on.” There’s a saying I favor for situations like this: Don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining.

          • You’re kidding, though. Right? Because my entire post https://disqus.com/home/discussion/strongfemaleprotagonist/page_62_49/#comment-3685340472 was intended quite specifically to do exactly what you’ve just claimed I haven’t done “at any point”. I know full well that you can read my posts on Disqus. It would be utterly pointless to claim falsely about my own prior posts and actions, and I’m really not that much of an idiot, nor so duplicitous, as you seem to be painting me to be. In other words you’re completely overlooking the blatant and obvious facts – that you’re utterly, almost wilfully, misreading me – in favour of believing me to be up to something that benefits no-one and is completely untenable even in the first instance. Just read it, I mean, for crying out loud! “don’t mislead other readers unaware of the block so that they get the wrong idea and assume you’ve won” – this was me advising people not to post on your comments in an unfair way, eg, rebutting all your points without your knowledge or ability to reply. “refrain from challenging them directly, mocking or belittling them, or posting full counter-arguments” – all of these were me telling others not to do these things unawares to you out of respect and ethical conduct. So no, I’m not soiling your leg and telling you it’s raining. But I am getting mighty tired of standing in this heavy rain with an umbrella held over your head, just to suffer a stream of constant and ludicrous accusations about it being a watering can.

          • Gotham

            I think another problem is that he gets to see my comments as “This user is blocked” without the mention as to which comments they are an answer to, which in Disqus’ often hectic presentation can more times than it is true, make him think I’m answering to him. That isn’t to say I have never done it, but he might get some relief out of realizing this, maybe? Never quite enough to stop playing the victim, sure, but I’m doing my best…

          • I do think it’s inappropriate, though, to just automatically assume that an invisible answer is necessarily written in response to you, the blocked party, let alone must necessarily be malevolent or vitriolic in some manner. I can understand the tendency to paranoia in such circumstances (I’ve felt it myself) but as thinking beings of free will we really should be exercising checks on that sort of impulse and confirming our suspicions before we act on them. Especially if someone else has already stated said suspicions aren’t correct! Even when the content of your answers has been directly stated in opposition to the false versions being assumed – which I had to be careful about doing to begin with as couldn’t be sure if you’d have consented or not – those statements of fact still weren’t accepted..

          • Gotham

            I consent, now and any other time, if you ever have to know.
            I hope you’ll also indulge me clearing my name from the accusations he’s thrown my way, despite it being I feel unnecessary. It feels really uncomfortable not to…
            I’ve never claimed he can read my comments ever since he blocked me, because I know how blocking works (and I’ve mentioned it in the responses I was writing on multiple occasions for the benefit of those who could read them) and I’ve claimed he and Lisa were the same person only in painfully obvious jest, which was lost on Lisa (I knew that’s the risk I was taking, I guess)

          • Ended up being a very unfortunate jest on your part, then…
            But when dealing with somebody predisposed to take your dialogue in the worst possible light conceivable (and occasionally even worse than that) there is a certain point beyond which nothing constructive can be said. I didn’t think that Axon and I were close to being at that point, but sadly it currently looks that way.

          • Arkone Axon

            Okay… first of all, when I referred to “most” of your previous comment being a well thought out and articulate argument, that was because most of it was devoted to a singular argument, a single specific topic. The part that was not part of that was your commentary on the disquus issue.

            That being said… a few things. First of all, I never discounted your experience or implied it was inferior to my own. Unless your argument is that because I disagree with you, that constitutes a dismissal of your experience. Guess what? Disagreeing with you isn’t an invalidation or denial of your own experience. You are a separate individual; someone else saying “I had my own experiences that led me to a different conclusion” shouldn’t be seen as some sort of painful personal attack – and if it does, then you have an important new skillset to develop, that of not taking personal offense by someone saying, “I disagree.”

            Second, you claimed that I felt the need to block people because I irked them by denying their life experiences (even though, if I’ve irked or offended someone, they should be the ones to block me. In other words, if I’ve blocked them, it’s because I felt the need to put an end to their continued offensive behavior, not the other way around). I clarified by explaining that this person became outright offensive and deliberately abusive, justifying their behavior on the grounds that because I disagreed with them, that made me racist, sexist, and just a horrible person. You then turned that around into a passive aggressive suggestion that I’m trying to “warn you away” from someone. Coupled with a complete and total failure to grasp the point that “Nazi” has become completely and utterly devalued as a label after decades of it being used to describe everything from “holocaust denier” to “someone who smokes in public.” In other words, we’re not talking “simple assault with provocation versus preaching of genocidal ideology,” we’re talking “premeditated physical assault versus voting for the “wrong” candidate.”

            (Which probably includes me, because I voted for Johnson because I couldn’t vote for Stein, because you can’t do write-in ballots on an electronic machine. Also because I happen to be both pro-Israel, and Jewish – and these days “Israel is fascist” and “Jews are Nazis” are claims being made very publicly and openly by anti-semites who have now grown that comfortable with being openly hateful)

            Or to put it another way: you’ve been accusing me of “invalidating” your experiences in one breath, dismissing my own experiences with the next, and implying that to disagree with you is to be deliberately offensive with both. You’re not a monarch and I’m not your subject, and I am allowed to disagree with you without having committed a crime. This is not a “safe space,” this is a semi-public forum for the free exchange of ideas between intelligent and rational people. It’s one thing to be offended by deliberate rudeness and boorish behavior… but do not expect me to accept that disagreement is offensive. I disagree with that.

          • Once again, you do not have to be in agreement with my own argument in order for it to continue to be well-thought-out and articulate. I’m glad you appreciated the first argument but the second was still perfectly decent!

            Yes. You actually *have* been dismissing and invalidating *my* experiences and implying that yours are somehow superior, by the way in which you’ve constantly countered everything I’ve put forward with anecdotes of your own and then reinforced each one deliberately as proven because of your own history (which implies that mine are not so reinforced in comparison). It may not have been intentional but it certainly occured. And when I expressed this, you have then rejected the premise twice that your comments can be taken this way (which, technically, dismisses me *again*!) – and are now turning the table to accuse me of doing the same. I was happy to discuss all this in a calm and polite manner – I just didn’t want your comment about “not dismissing anyone” right after having dismissed me to go unanswered – but you’ve clearly read far too much aggression into my response and are now misrepresenting me on top of it all. You can see how this seems to have devolved into bad-faith, no?

            I do in fact respect and appreciate your own experiences and have endeavoured to demonstrate that in my writing. Unfortunately, I only read the comment wherein you referenced your own contact with abusers very late on, and so that has been mentioned solely above. But you will notice the way in which my approach changed to accept and incorporate the areas in which you’d just demonstrated first-hand experience. That’s what I mean by “accepting others’ experiences”. It doesn’t diminish my own to do so. You are in the same way perfectly welcome to share a differing first-hand personal statement of abuse than the statement and explanations for it that I chose to share, even if the two then end up seemingly in conflict. The comment you’ve made above about ‘individual experiences’ is a near word-for-word reposting of something I’ve already written, and what I’ve been trying to get across all night and day! But you are *not* welcome to disagree with me as to whether said abuse, or incidents like it, happen in the world – just as I would never claim that you were somehow incorrect regarding yours.

            Regarding your second point about blocking other people, I’ve said absolutely no such thing, and you’ve completely misread my previous replies if that’s what you’ve taken from my commentary. To whit: I said that you may *currently* be irking or offending people *whom you have already blocked* by further posts which, of course, they can still see, but not reply to you about. This was in direct response to your own complaint about what blocked people might be saying behind your metaphorical back and your apparent concern that I was speaking on behalf of someone else. I mentioned those potential motivations simply to demonstrate that I was not parroting or taking sides in any manner – to which you, seemingly out of the blue, started listing old conversations and personal slights that one such person had apparently bombarded you with. I wasn’t sure why you were saying any of this or to what end, but I didn’t appreciate the attempt to randomly sway my opinion, and calmly stated that I’d act on my own observations either way. Now I’m being described as completely failing to grasp a point from the use of a single quotation-demarcated word. This is something of an escalation and it’s one I’d like to see withdrawn. Hopefully on reading this paragraph you’ll agree.

            As for the Nazi-punching comment, I was talking very specifically about literally punching literal actively-lawbreaking Nazis. It doesn’t refer to anything else, and you may notice, even then, I suggested we didn’t debate it. 😉

          • Arkone Axon

            Again: countering your arguments with my own does not “invalidate” your experiences. If you feel that they are, then that is a problem on your end. And yes, I have indeed had experiences with abusive people. Physically, mentally, emotionally. I know about passive-aggressive behavior. What you are doing right now is passive-aggressive behavior. You are attempting to play the victim and imply that I am at fault for disagreeing with you, or for calling attention to your behavior.

            I did not accuse you of denying my experiences in regards to the original issue. I did point out that you were doing so with regards to the blocking issue, suggesting that I must have blocked other people because I irked and offended them. I stated exactly why I found it necessary to block another person. I only mentioned the fact that you COULD look at those old conversations because I have in fact had to deal with false allegations in the past, and “check the logs” is the best defense against that. And your suggestion that we not debate the issue was itself coached in a very passive-aggressive format (“let’s not debate the merits of “simple assault,” phrased in a way to make it sound as harmless as possible, with “preaching of genocide and public incitement to violence,” phrased to imply that calling for violence is worse than engaging in violence). Again: I know passive-aggressive behavior. I am intimately familiar with it. I grew up with it. I was outraged the first few times i was accused of engaging in it myself. I was horrified when I realized I was emulating the behavior I despised in others, after years of growing up with it. I put a great deal of effort into learning not to relapse into it. I know it when I see it.

            (Oh, and being very emphatic. This is “assertive,” i.e. not aggressive, not attempting to attack, but straightforward and direct communication: I am indeed dismissing your… arguments. Not your experiences. I am rejecting the proposition that to reject your argument is to deny or denigrate your experiences. Disagreement is not an offensive act)

          • Kalirren

            Uh…If you’re looking for an indication of that type, look again at the bottom center panel of http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-7/page-58-4/
            where the Patrick persona that is talking with Alison is scared of his mom’s dialogue balloon.

          • Gotham

            Debbie, don’t you understand?! Bodies are designed by nature with specific requirements. That is why the skull is the heaviest and sturdiest bone structure in our bodies, that is why our spines are so well constructed. Have you learned *nothing*

          • Um – sarcasm? Not sure if I got the joke, if so?

          • Gotham

            Sorry, my own annoyance toward his tendency to spout commonplaces with the most condescending tone there is.

          • I do find it deeply pessimistic that within the comments thread for such an enlightened and community-focused webcomic, readership and creative team, can yet be found so many epitomic missing steps. If a toxicity problem in the comments grows to the level of directly driving other readers away, it should really be handled by the admins – as opposed to being left for readers such as ourselves to disclaimer, shoot down and/or block as appropriate. If everyone blocks the same person, nobody will know why their new conversation partners keep vanishing.

          • Not to mention nonsensical halves of a conversation such as this one where at least two participants are fully aware that their words cannot be seen by certain members yet their fellow conversants’ posts are visible to all and sundry-!

          • Lisa Izo

            I’ve yet to ever block anyone 🙂 Even the people who have directly cursed me out. Free speech all the way.

  • Shiromisa

    Since it seems to not have been pointed out yet, on top of the animal abuse, it seems Patrick’s mom is neglecting to feed him. Abusive as hell on multiple levels.

    • Agreed. He was clearly miserable and tormented before this began.

    • Ray Radlein

      A dog could easily interpret withdrawn distress as a lack of food, though. Food == Love is a pretty common element of the pet psyche.

      • Weatherheight

        ::glances around at the abundance of carrots::
        ::wiggles his ears happily::

  • zellgato


    • ColaKitteh

      Moonshadow we need you

  • Zerilan

    This is so stupidly over the top that it being a fake memory to tug at Allison’s sympathy is the only really plausible explanation.

    • martynW

      I gotta admit, I haven’t seen many examples of someone killing their dog for ripping their nylons. Maybe some lowlifes would kick the dog or something.

      • Arkone Axon

        Especially the bit where she displays the strength to pick the dog up, then snap it’s neck, then go out to dinner without a care. Even Cruella DeVille needed lackeys armed with blunt implements (and sharp knives for the skinning) and accustomed to manual labor. That did not look like the silhoutte of a woman attending Crossfit.

        • martynW

          You realize how embarrassing it’s going to be when we find out she just snapped her purse shut.

    • LaGrange

      “This is so stupidly over the top”

      Did animal rescue. I have some pretty bad news about humanity for you. This is not over the top, this is _nothing_ compared to what really happens. And, from what I remember from Twitter, I have confidence the authors know what they’re writing quite well.

      • Zerilan

        I have friends who do animal rescue and vent a lot about what they’ve seen. I’m still not buying this coming one page after him being restrained and slapped around by a paedophile.

        • LaGrange

          Such experiences _increase_ the likelihood of experiencing the others, it’s not like those are independent variables like dice throws. People experiencing abuse in the past are more likely than others to experience it again. If he was living in a perfect environment where one day someone snapped and killed the family dog then sure, that would be weird and require some justifying. Someone who had experiences like the previous panel? Yeah, that could happen

          So yeah, good for you for not being able to imagine it, but, uh, yeah, this is plausible. Knowing the story it’s probably not what it looks like, sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was.

          • Arkone Axon

            Oh, we can believe that someone would be that vicious, petty, and cruel. What we have a hard time believing is that a slender, unathletic suburbanite soccer mom would go from “spending hours at a time taking my child to get treatment for his problems” to “prepare to walk out of the house and ignore the miserable child, then break the neck of the dog for trying to call attention to said miserable child.”

            We can buy someone like the psychiatrist killing a dog… but even then, not because the dog was jumping and whining for attention.

          • LaGrange

            They can kill the dog by treating it brutally – for example by yanking the animal up too hard. And people kill _other people_ with the direct reasons being just as flimsy.

            There’s usually a deeper, “real” reason, a long-harboured frustration and anger and desperation – but they don’t even have to involve the victim. Even here, the dog clearly wasn’t hurt just because it damaged some clothes. There’s quite a bit of fury in play here.

          • Arkone Axon

            I’m not seeing it. She was getting ready to go out to dinner and a show. And the dog was clearly well cared for previously – people who abuse their animals don’t go from “nice treatment” to “sadistic and petty torture” without warning. The most they’ll do is go from “nice treatment” to “accidentally harmed the pet without realizing what they were doing.”

            And I’m saying this as someone with four dogs, three of whom were given up by owners who couldn’t keep them, and two of those three were literal rescues after being abandoned. I’ve seen animal abuse, and… every kind of evil act requires a rational, a reason, a justification. This woman did not seem like the sort of person who harms animals on a casual level. If for no other reason than she seems intelligent enough to realize that killing the dog would result in: an animal’s corpse either stinking up the house or making a big, incriminating lump in her garbage; her husband no longer wanting to go out because suddenly showing up on time for dinner is a trivial concern; her child being utterly miserable and traumatized the whole time they’re out… if she were pissed because she wanted to drink her Jack Daniel’s in peace and quiet and the dog was barking while chained up in the backyard and never allowed in the house, that’d be one thing. But this… I just don’t see it.

          • LaGrange

            “I’m not seeing it.”

            Good for you. I’ve seen it. EDIT: and with any abuse nearly always, it’s “not that sort of person” according to almost everyone other than the victims.

          • Gotham

            Don’t— don’t try to argue with that one. He’s the worst one here.

          • Arkone Axon

            I’ve seen it too. I’m not seeing it here. I can believe that Patrick’s parents might have hurt him without meaning to, hurt him with the best of intentions… but nothing about them in previous pages suggested that they were capable of that level of casual petty cruelty. That would require a level of narcissistic self-centeredness you don’t see in a parent who’d drive their kids to a therapy session and give up entire afternoons every month to help their child.

          • You may not see it, but clearly other people do. It’s extremely possible when taken as continuing evidence of an abusive and toxic home environment. There are plenty of people out there who treat their children as poorly, or worse, than this woman is doing, and plenty of abusive parents who put their “problem” children through years of invasive and unnecessary therapy in order to twist them into a more personally pleasing shape. As horrific as that may be to you, don’t invalidate the informed, first-hand statements of those who’ve seen it directly. And don’t use “we” as a shorthand to imply that you’re speaking on behalf of the majority of the comment thread (or even the smaller subset of people who wondered whether the comic was going too far) when invalidating other people’s personal opinions. At least one new reader is being put off engagement in the community because they’ve been led to believe that your comments above are representative.

          • Arkone Axon

            Um… one: when did I say “we” as a shorthand to speak on behalf of anyone else? The only time I did so was when I was referencing actual statements made by others, such as Zerilan. I’m not putting words in their mouths, I’m recalling their own words.

            Two: I’ve dealt with abuse firsthand. I’ve dealt with it from both people who genuinely had good intentions and never meant to be hurtful, and I’ve dealt with it from people who knew what they were doing and were positively gleeful to be able to be sadistic and hurtful without fear of repercussions. My position is that what I’ve seen of Patrick’s mother in the previous few pages implies the former (pain and abuse inflicted by accident and/or with the best of intentions), not the latter.

          • Tylikcat

            People can be complicated. My mother took me to a lot of medical appointments – for a while there, really a lot. She also tried to poison me. (There were also a lot of pet issues, but at least on her part, I’m pretty sure those weren’t deliberate harm, mostly lying and being irresponsible.) She also, at other times, denied me important medical care (including a broken ankle, once) – it’s all over the map. And did some things which may have been covering up my father’s molestation, but… well, it’s really hard to figure out what she knew. Her ability to re-write reality is pretty epic… but not in a total break from reality sort of way. I mean, she was a teacher for years, and served on the Seattle school board (though thankfully for only one term).

        • Gotham

          Well, the thing is this is a place where this kind of memories are literally stacked next to each other. That may seem over the top in presentation, I get that, but that’s the nature of the place, I guess.

      • Weatherheight

        My cousins are seriously into animal rescue. Some of the stuff they post is just… beyond belief. And it happens way more often than I can believe (and I am one cynical donkey…).

  • The Distinguished Anarchist

    …Does that silhouette look eerily familiar to anyone else?

    • Loranna

      That was my thought when I first read this comic this morning.

      Calling it now. Patrick and Max are brothers. Mommy McSenator is the real reason Menace exists. Gurwara is the as-yet unseen PatrickDad, trying a complicated time travel scheme to undo the damage he caused in his reckless previous incarnation.

      Also, he regenerated before becoming Alison’s ethics professor.

      *waves to the burro, leaves carrots*


      • Gotham

        The silhouette and the mannerism fit interestingly well, I have to admit. On the Doylist side of things, the only reservation I have would be that it’d be kind of… gross, I guess? for lots of people that Alison essentially fell in love with two brothers, no matter the extenuating circumstances. I don’t have a problem with it myself, but that’s a reason I see strong enough for it not happening.

        On the Watsonian side of things, the bear hands are clearly not the same

        • palmvos

          well- Clevin could be Gurwara’s son by another woman.

          soon Alison will, by marriage, become her own uncle.

      • ColaKitteh

        Pearl = Patrick’s mom = Max’s mom? Whoa. I really like this theory. Patrick and Max do have similar cheekbones and eyebrows when you think about it.

        • Gotham

          Although given his grief about his power, you’d expect having a brother’s whose very own must have seemed so much cooler than his may have come up during that time when he told his backstory to Alison. “Why him and not me” sort of whining.

          Brainwashing may not be impossible (Patrick has been definitely shown to be able to manipulate thought, after all) but it would be really weird that, after having wiped Patrick from Max’ memory for whatever reason, he would /still/ end up complaining about not getting his fair share.

          Such a stubborn ass.

          • ColaKitteh

            Maybe they’re half-brothers. While Patrick and Max do have similar facial features, they’re also slightly different. Max seems to be white, but I am not sure what race Patrick is. He seems to be Asian/Middle Eastern/maybe mixed race? Perhaps Pearl was a diplomat of sorts or businesswoman who worked abroad and married a local man and had a kid with him. This kid was Patrick. Then Patrick ran away due to the abuse he suffered, and their marriage fell apart, causing her to move back to America and have a baby with another man, aka Mr. Prescott.

          • Gotham

            Granted we’re subverting the premise left and right these days, but supers are supposed to be the young adults who were in gestation during The Storm™. If that’s not to be challenged, then Patrick and Max would have to be twins, necessarily.

          • ColaKitteh

            Very good point! Pearl is a senator, however. I can imagine that maybe she would be tasked with raising a top secret living superweapon (which implies that The Storm™ is just a story they told the public). Maybe Gurwara is Patrick’s father, and he’s meddling with his memories to protect him from discovering some sort of horrible truth which would put him in danger. They do look sorta similar. Maybe Gurwara stole whatever is causing people to have superpowers from the US government and released it worldwide to even the scales globally. Down the rabbithole I go!

          • Gotham

            It was then that Gotham, thinking of rabbitholes, thought of rabbits, and how the duck would fit into all this, when suddenly it struck her:

            The rabbit-duck illusion.


          • ColaKitteh

            “It’s duck season!”

            “No, it’s wabbit season!”

            “No, it’s duck season!”

            Weren’t Al and Patrick watching Looney Tunes together? We have come full circle…

          • The Duck from issue 6 page 112

            Daffy isn’t invited to Donaldmas anymore.

          • palmvos

            in my head cannon- that is now the episode Patrick was howling at.

          • Gotham

            It was /exactly/ that episode, he deconstructed the joke afterward.

          • palmvos

            you… made me look it up.

          • Insanenoodlyguy

            We literally saw the storm. Everybody saw the storm. And it just wouldn’t add up. Why create random powers across the globe? Better to create all your experiments in the lab. And letting them out to be raised by senators? Don’t let them out period! THat’s the only way to do proper mad science.

          • palmvos

            you do know that if all villains and dark conspiracies followed the evil overlord list…. well.. the heroes would loose. I mean look at The Last Jedi
            both sides perform acts of criminal stupidity in order to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
            *spoiler end*

            i wish the trilogy would go:
            The Force Awakens
            The Last Jedi
            From His Nap
            because Disney deserves it.

          • Zorae42

            I say it should be “From Her Nap” and it’s just Ahsoka coming in and taking Rey under her wing and bitch slapping Kylo Ren to death.

      • Weatherheight

        ::wiggles his ears at Loranna happily::

        Miss you!

        And Clevin is the Companion…

    • Shjade

      …not even a little bit?

      Patrick’s mom’s silhouette has a distinctly hourglass midsection dip vs Max’s mom being nearly a straight-line shoulder to hip. Also you can see both their hands, and there’s zero resemblance to those.

      I’d GENEROUSLY call this “a reach.”

    • Not seeing it. Patrick’s mom appears to have significantly stouter legs, and a different hairstyle (admittedly changeable, particularly over 15 years or so), the major similarity is that triangular nose, which may just be a visual metaphor for a spiky personality.

      Plus all the biodynamics are roughly the same age, and even if Patrick manifested earlier, he’s close enough to Alison’s age for her not to find his age unusual. So Patrick and Max would be not just brothers, but close in age range, so aware of each other unless Mommy Dearest is successfully running two households each ignorant of the other – which is significantly more difficult for a mother than a father.

      Equally we have one mother who is abusive, and another who is significantly over-protective. If she protected Max, why wouldn’t she protect Patrick?

  • Nathaniel Samuels

    My personal theory is that component might be the memories of others that have blended so finely with his own that he can’t separate them and thus his only recourse is to toss them out. All the memories and experiences beyond the barriers might be memories so corrupted that he can’t genuinely differentiate between them being things that personally happened to him or the experiences of others that he’s picked up. Thus the memories end up seeming a bit nonsensical and unreliable cause they’re really the amalgamated traumas of several different people mixed in with his own.

    It would really make sense for Patrick’s earliest childhood memories to be the most distorted by the influence of others. He hadn’t yet invented the barriers/ a system for keeping his thoughts neatly sorted and separated from external influence.

    • An interesting theory and one that may very well hold water, especially given the descriptor chosen for such memories; the use of the word “component” in electronics is the name for a type of video cable in which signal remains split up into multiple seperate component channels rather than being combined seamlessly into a composite. If that’s a deliberate allusion, memories infected with Component may simply be memories which for various reasons were too traumatic, vivid, multi-faceted or faulty for Patrick to properly reassemble and file away.

    • Weatherheight

      Kind of what I was thinking, considering the additional evidence. To my thinking, Component is anything that distorts the truth of a memory, whether that is “blending” from other people’s psyches and memories into Patrick’s own or from Patrick’s emotional reaction to the construct changing details.
      Patrick has heretofore had a dedication to seeing things as they are in a pretty literal sense (his reaction to Looney Tunes and the absurdity they represent is telling to me); the problem with that viewpoint is that most people spend a lot of time making associations and adaptations that have little to do with reality (Doobie Brothers “What a Fool Believes” leaps to mind – and I have been such a fool…). That’s got to create a gulf between Patrick and “usual human experience”. And that gulf has to be confusing as hell for him (“Dasher sees this, Dancer sees that, and Donner sees something completely different! What the hell is really going on here?!?”).
      Easier just to chuck it outside the official archive – and that brings up other issues in terms of psychic development (“Hey, where’d my foundations go…?”).

  • Darkoneko Hellsing

    holy sh*t what.

  • Weatherheight

    Well, whatever happened, it happened off-camera, so speculating on exactly in what manner the dog was injured is a bit premature. The snap could have been
    (a) Skipper being broken by brute force alone,
    (b) Skipper being thrust violently against a countertop or tabletop,
    (c) Skipper being slammed to the ground,
    (d) Skipper being thrown to the ground,
    and the snap could be any of Skipper’s bones being broken, not necessarily its neck. It’s pretty easy to break bones with a really bad stroke of luck.

    All that said, it seems reasonable to infer the Skipper has just been injured or slain by Pearl (And yeah, I’m loving that nickname), and this is hurting Patrick on multiple levels.

    For those expressing the idea that Patrick’s ability is making this worse than it actually is, I agree with you. Patrick is getting at least three different reactions to this event, I think (his own, Skipper’s, and Pearl’s), and the blend is probably going to be synergistic. That said, animal abuse is still pretty horrific – we should treat our pets with kindness, I feel.

    • Gotham

      I was fairly shocked when I saw this this morning, but the combination of many people saying this is way too farcical and your level-headed comment brought me back to careful consideration. Nonetheless, I feel that the onomatopoeia is clunky, even if we are indeed meant to get it as what instantly comes to mind.

      Even in the further-reaching scenario that I managed to come up with, that nothing is happening to the dog and this is just the visual representation of /Patrick/ snapping (and thus Menace being born), I think there had to be other ways to represent it without the altogether unpleasant imagery we all were subjected to 😐

      (And thank you I love creating fanon ♥ Now where’s the duck fit into all this and who was it who pushed so hard a while ago that the conspiracy was the US postal service so that I can crush their dreams)

      • Ha, you ninja’d me! Same potential alternative reading that I hit on, I just read your post after I responded to Weatherheight… but I dismissed it as a likely probability because the effect of those last two panels should that actually be the case are decidedly over-the-top. Less so if it’s a child seeing his best friend and beloved companion injured by the people who are supposed to be his other loved ones, even if not fatally.

      • Weatherheight

        It’s been a thing in this arc – leave us with something with a lot of ways to interpret it and watch the comments boil over (and usually it’s over the longer over-the-weekend gap). Whether it’s intentional or coincidental, I can’t say. Since I binged the first four volumes except for the last month or so (came into the theatre *way* late), I didn’t notice it so much before this volume.

        But it feels like it’s more common to me.

    • Bearing in mind that the “SNAP” could also just be Patrick’s psyche snapping.
      I think it’s likely a physical snap, as well, but we won’t know for sure until the next page comes.

      • Weatherheight

        My thoughts, executed concisely and cogently. 😀

  • ColaKitteh

    This is really horrifying given that Patrick can read Skipper’s mind. If Pearl killed Skipper, then Patrick likely feels responsible for Skipper’s death, because Patrick knew Skipper’s last thoughts (Skipper was trying to get help for Patrick) and probably feels guilty for his death (“If I hadn’t been weak, then my best friend would be alive”). I do believe that Pearl snapped Skipper’s neck, many abusive parents do murder their children’s pets. I think that Patrick has consciously erased his memories of his abusive parents as a self-defense mechanism.

  • David Brown

    My mother killed most of my pets. Luckily she only made me watch four of them die: Christmas (black labrador), Rudolph (desert tortoise), Wednesday, and Friday (Reeve’s turtles). Sparky and Pug (cockatiels) she moved from my room where I could care for them to her balcony during the winter. My friend Stephen’s box turtle he had me watch while he went on vacation- but my mom took the turtle’s cage and put it in another room and bought locks for the doors to keep me from caring for it. When he got back from vacation I had to tell him what happened, and showed the locks, but I still lost a friend. My mother was rather pleased with herself when she saw the look on my face when she showed me Stephen’s obituary years later.

    One of my friends moms, when we were kids, adopted injured dogs (only small ones). Toto was a pomeranian that had been thrown into a dumpster from a balcony by a college girl who got the dog as a gift from her boyfriend that she broke up with- and he had to walk around with his head close to a 90 degree angle all the time. Otherwise he would get really dizzy and throw up, because of that injury.

    My point here is just because (assuming) your parents care about you, or you would never hurt an animal for such reasons (or maybe any reason), don’t apply your own values to others. Very rarely will it line up with reality. The world is an awful, horrible place, and humanity is totally worthless and is best left to annhilate itself.

    Patrick knows what I know. I’ve seen it too.

    • Gotham

      Oh my God.
      I am… so sorry.

    • ColaKitteh

      Thank you for sharing this. I spend enough time on certain websites for children of abusive parents to know that this is shockingly common. I hope you’re far away from your mother now. You’re very brave to dare to share this.

    • That’s .. that’s simply horrific. Thank you for elucidating, and I am so, so sorry.

    • Tylikcat

      Nothing was ever that overt in our family, but I’ve been thinking a lot about my brother’s pets. My brother generally didn’t have the super urgent reasons he had to leave like my sister and I (hence our break with our dad’s side of the family in our teens – and we’re close, I’m staying with my sister as I write this). He stayed. And there’s probably a lot I don’t know about. But I do know that at least once – and I think maybe more – he went on vacation, and went to great lengths to get our dad to promise to take care of his pets in his absence, and came back to find them all dead. (After three incidents where I went to camp, and came back to find that my cats were dead or had “run away” – it’s more complicated, one was a tragic accident, and one might have been a real running away – I stopped getting pets until I moved out when I was fifteen. And then my next cat stayed with me for seventeen years.)

      But I wonder about this, because this is the brother who is now a fucked up hate blogger who has never supported himself and is generally a wart on the butt of humanity… and we were really close when we were kids. I don’t know.

      I’m really sorry for your experiences. Parents can suck a lot.

  • Lostman

    I’m going to take a wild guess here, and say Patrick killed his parents. Along with his career as a super-villain as him subconsciously lashing out at the world.

    • palmvos

      that is not a bad theory- it would explain the blotting out. he can’t deal with the reality of his deed.

    • Weatherheight

      I’ve assumed that Patrick killed his parents ever since the story about Daniel killing his own parents. Patrick using that kind of trauma to co-opt someone’s loyalty seems to be very in keeping with his life prior to meeting Alison face-to-face.

      The question is: Has the tiger changed his stripes since that meeting?

      (Incidentally – tiger/stripes, leopard/spots… is there a saying someplace about zebras and their stripes? I wonder about these things…)

  • Todd Wylie

    Patrick didn’t have to be watching. Reading minds would let him “see” what happened.

    Menace could have been even worse. Dark moment

  • MaryEllenCG

    Holy shit. Did she just kill the dog?

    • palmvos

      many are assuming so.

  • Dave M

    Am reminded of Alison & Daniel talking about how their respective upbringings made them who they are. Now maybe I’m being very cynical here, but it seems these memories are designed to trigger Alison’s particular version of survivor guilt (“The only reason I’m not an unstoppable psychotic killer is that I was surrounded by good people who cared for me and taught me otherwise, and without them my true violent mass murdering destructive nature would not be held in check”). I’m not saying the memories are false, just that Alison is getting selected ‘highlights’ designed to emotionally manipulate her to “choose” a particular path.

    Either way, it seems pretty clear that for Patrick to be sane & whole the barriers need to come down so this trauma can be processed, acknowledged, and moved on from. In a way the Menace personas plan of “destroying the city” to get to the Anima is not without merit. Destroy the city, lower the barriers, merge the 4 personas back into one Patrick, and bingo! You end with one Patrick and his memories as the only occupants of his mind, It’d be the most “human” Patrick has been for a very long time. And a good place for healing to begin.

    • palmvos

      this plan has been tried before… tear down the wall!

      • Weatherheight

        “Since, my friend, you have revealed your deepest fears,
        “I sentence you to be exposed before your peers!”

    • R Lex Eaton

      Indeed. As I’ve said before, you can’t solve a problem by pretending it doesn’t exist. Pain is a shaping factor in our lives, and a part of making us who we are. It’s something to be avoided, yet a necessary part of building a sense of empathy.

      What is compassion? Owning your suffering!

  • ApostateltsopA

    That sequence seems unlikely, has Patrick over sold?

  • “Miss Belle” – https://youtu.be/gWiUxOF9_pY

    {For forty years i thought that i remembered that that starred Anna Quayle…}

  • Any time a beloved pet appears in a comic or film, there’s at least a 60% chance it will be killed off for plot or character development. Especially in stories with horror, but not exclusively.

    • Weatherheight

      I guess we find out on Tuesday if SFP needs to be added to the “Does the Dog Die?” website

  • Paul F.

    Just because he remembers it, doesn’t mean it’s accurate.


  • Steven Bear

    Hate to harsh your buzz, but this is pretty lame.

  • This feels like a setup. I’m not saying that abuse doesn’t happen, but… this feels too tidy. Too deliberate. For Alison.

  • Philip Bourque

    I can understand the need to create a sympathetic background for a super villain, too much tragedy can have the opposite effect. It can get to the point where it just looks like you’re checking off a list of tragedy as opposed to making the villain sympathetic. Worse still, sympathy and suspension of disbelief held by the audience can be replaced by resentment of the author.
    Furthermore, in the past few decades, exposition like this usually centers around the villain’s mentality; for example, stories involving Marvel’s Magneto (Eric, Max, whatever name they want to use) will go back to his history as a holocaust survivor and the oppression he faced in a death camp. For DC, the Joker backstories will focus around a “normal” guy having one bad day culminating in a chemical bath.
    The Menace persona had been presented as a more Saturday Morning Cartoon Super-Villain TAKE OVER THE WORLD!!! type with an obsession with control as opposed to the more physically violent and potentially genocidal mind-set that we’re seeing here. Though the shady government organization does call back to the whole conspiracy thing, so far it doesn’t seem to be consistent with the character we’ve been presented previously. Of course I could be missing something since the flashbacks aren’t over yet.

    • Arkone Axon

      Eh… you provided two radically different examples of villainy. Magneto really doesn’t see himself as a villain – or when he does, it’s a martyred “villain because I must be.” When he faces the X-Men, his expression tends to be one of wistful resignation, fighting people he genuinely admires (and has actually fought alongside and even LED; he took over the school in the 80s when Xavier tried retiring to live with Lillandra of the Shi’arr). As one person put it, “some villains will risk their freedom for wealth, or their lives for revenge. Magneto will damn his soul for the sake of his people.”

      Joker… at his best, he’s a completely unhinged anarchist who does whatever seems funny at the time, be it stealing a kid’s report card or gassing an entire building. (at his worst he’s just ridiculously over the top, much like with this here). The “one bad day” thing was just an attempt to justify what he does (in TAS, Batman informs Harley Quinn that all the sob stories Joker told her were blatant lies, crushing her misconception of her “Pudding” as a sweet guy underneath the surface).

      Menace… Menace didn’t even see himself as the villain. He was a freedom fighter taking on the United States government, armed with only his wits and his mind reading abilities and his loyal friends. He played up the role because he wanted to intimidate his enemies (the corrupt politicians and the military-industrial complex). He didn’t even quit because he “gave up villainy,” he quit because he realized it wasn’t working any better than Mega Girl’s strategy of “punch everything.” They didn’t “bury the hatchet,” they realized they were both duped into fighting each other by a greater threat (though I hope the “greater threat” isn’t nearly as cheesy as is being suggested here).

      • R Lex Eaton

        Reminds me of this bit of lore from Marion G. Harmon’s “Wearing the Cape”:

        “Supervillain culture worships power; by definition, a supervillain is strong enough to do what he wants and lawbreaking is a display of strength. Fans of villain rap and fashion are attracted to what it represents: total self-empowerment and a challenge to the system. Because superheroes stand for the system, they and supervillains are literally Homeric enemies, like Hector and Achilles of old.”

        In this way, I suppose Patrick takes the term of antagonist to its basic root: the one who affects change.

        (Great series, BTW.)

      • Philip Bourque

        The point was how villain backstories are often used to explain and expand the character’s psychology but it appears to be doing more to confuse the issue in the case of Patrick/Menace. Also, Patrick is still a super villain, he’s just not wearing the costume.

    • Consider that this is happening in Menace’s head,and despite his current craziness… he is in control. Menace/Patrick knows that Alison is here. Who’s to say that this isn’t a show? Remember the whole situation with Max, and how we were all quite ready to hate him… but it turned out Alison messed up hard?

      I have faith in the writers. If it rings false, like too many cliches… it may be on purpose.

      • Philip Bourque

        At the risk of reopening a dead debate, Alison didn’t mess up. She, at worse, sprained Max’s arm and may have made a political enemy. Maybe. Feral was improved and is apparently suffering no ill effects and is helping more people than ever before. I don’t see how Alison ‘messed up hard’ and in fact in terms of simple numbers of people saved, she came out ahead.

        • Gotham

          There’s a reason Batman doesn’t kill the Joker.

          • Philip Bourque

            Yeah, the writers would have one less interesting villain to work with.

          • Gotham

            So by that dismissal, you actually, genuinely don’t agree with the in-universe explanation as to why that is? How Batman is supposed to be the incarnation of an order that would admit its own inconsistency and thus failure if he resorted to murder? How that’d ultimately prove the Joker right?

          • Philip Bourque

            Humans can justify anything. Batman is not a symbol of order, he is a vigilante. Joker likes to play with batman to get him to break his code (which batman has only had since the mid 80s). Batman isn’t about ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, he is about solving the problems the villains present him with (the aspects of the great detective and ‘hero’), being tortured by his past, by the issues his villains have and by his failures. Well, it’s a matter of perspective, really.
            Interesting story I read once: once upon a time, the Joker thought the Batman was dead. And so he put away his toys, donned makeup and dyed his hair to make himself look normal. He found a boring, unassuming job and took the name Joseph Kerr and stopped smiling.
            And then one day, evidence of the Batman’s survival appeared and Joseph Kerr died, while the Joker smiled again.
            Such a delightful tale, wouldn’t you agree?

          • Gotham

            That’s neither of the questions I was asking but yes I do know some batmans and how you can twist the narrative to explore interesting questions like these ones which, again, are completely removed from the topic at hand.

            Ultimately, while two years ago I would have found people supporting the rule of the powerful merely fatally flawed, considering the political climate of today’s world, I now find it extremely concerning and inexcusable. Yes, Alison made a choice that undoubtedly saved countless lives. What she also did was showcase that we cannot get rid of oppression to make the world go round and if you’re okay with that, well… you’re not invited to my New Year’s Eve.

          • Philip Bourque

            You do realize none of that matters, right? What you or I think has no bearing on this story. All that matters is what story the author wishes to tell and how we the audience choose to interpret what we are being told.
            And rest assured that I shall greatly mourn my lack of invitation to your celebrations.

          • Gotham

            I know.

            But of course it matters. Stories and how we interpret them help us resolve difficult questions, process our own thoughts, communicate with one another. The Alison-Max situation brought fruitful debate here that I definitely found interesting when neither Lisa Izo or Arxone were talking and that helped question and shape my own set of principles. The opinions we have about this, how much it moves us or leaves us indifferent, how much it reaffirms or challenges our beliefs shape the future of the entire world.
            This is literally what matters the most.

          • Philip Bourque

            Except this is the internet where it is so much easier to entrench ourselves in our own ideas, surround ourselves with people who share our thoughts and we look at those who disagree with us and say “those people are wrong and stupid”. Case in point: I believe those three people you mentioned have blocked you. I know Arxone has since they’ve actually said so multiple times. And you, well look at how dismissive you are of them. Neither side appears to be interested in hearing dissenting opinions and more in reaffirming their own ideas. I feel that internet forums and chat things like this are poor places to expand ideas and challenge beliefs because it is so easy to run away.

          • Gotham

            No no, don’t go conflating the dismissal of dumb dumbs with genuine engagement. I remember Stephanie being one of the most eloquent proponent of utilitarianism and despite vehemently disagreeing with her (a shame we never got to talk about it directly) her insight and perspective was essential to my own.

            Make no mistake though, I’m not making some kind of ableist argument, I don’t think intelligence is the line that separates normal people from those two jerks. Empathy is. The ability to consider an argument no matter how foreign, no matter how wrong even, and reverse-engineer its creation to understand where someone is coming from. Genuine understanding, the first step in critical discussion.

            I don’t disagree with you though, the Internet can become this awful place of echo chambers shouting at each other and demonizing the opposition to the point where no empathy can ever be achieved. But it won’t be hopeless for as long as some people still try. And even if everybody else is faking it, well, at least I know I am. I may be abrasive but only because arrogant ignorance needs to be beaten down with a shovel until it fucking cries for mommy /before/ you can do any meaningful work trying to extend your hand.

        • I think that it’s reasonable to say that Allison acted with good intentions from a basic utilitarian standpoint, but simultaneously violated several ethical ideals and failed to consider potential negative consequences of her actions, so also messed up?

        • Arkone Axon

          Uh… even Alison admitted she messed up. That chapter ended with:
          The “golden goose” no longer available for augmenting any other biodynamics for benevolent purposes.
          A terrified and paranoid young man on the run from the unstoppable bully and now fully motivated to empower anyone who might offer to protect him from his abuser.
          A politically powerful woman all but promising that her revenge for what happened to her son will be subtle, impossible to trace to her, and utterly devastating when it hits.
          A full confession of her multiple major felonies given to a “trusted professor” who turned out to be a spy for some as yet unknown agency.

          The reason why Alison can still be regarded as a hero is because she admitted she messed up (as opposed to Moonshadow, who went gleefully over the edge into serial killer territory).

        • palmvos

          ‘At the risk of reopening a dead debate..’
          not risk. certainty.
          please. I’d like to continue pretending that we have all agreed to disagree.

      • Weatherheight

        Having seen the level of manipulation of others Patrick has performed in the past in canon and his repeated redirection of the pain of others into forwarding his own goals, there isn’t much I can’t see Patrick doing, no matter how controlling.

        I really want to like Patrick; I really want him to overcome his own limitations and become a positive force in the world (mostly because I like the narrative of “If Joe can overcome all this, then surely I can overcome my petty crap…”). But my innate sense of caution / fear tells me not to trust him any farther than I can throw a Sherman tank (and with hooves, this isn’t all that far…)

        I trust the writers too. I like that Daniel is a murderer with very little remorse but at least I get how he got there and can see myself in his life. I like that Mary is a homicidal rampage dialed up to 11 and I kind of agree with her (and I’m a little ashamed that I do). Max is an immature nozzle, but I too struggle with issues of independence and control and not getting what I want out of life and wanting to blame someone and hate them for it.

        The strong reactions indicate the writers are connecting with the readership, if not everyone at the same time with the same narrative fireworks.

    • I can thoroughly assure you that the reaction of abuse survivors to their trauma frequently incorporates a desire to “do everything differently” as well as an overriding need to maintain control and thus their own security.

      • Philip Bourque

        Admittedly, my knowledge of psychology is middling at best, so I’ll take your word for it. Old saying: The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

        • There’s a broad spectrum of reaction of course as with all things (and I’m not a qualified psychoanalyst myself) but certainly Patrick’s “villain motivations” match up pretty well with what we’re seeing of his past here.

  • Lisa Izo

    Okay. This is beyond evil. This is beyond Captain Planet evil. This is like…. Skeletor evil.

    • Arkone Axon

      No, not her pants. That wouldn’t be petty and evil enough. The dog ripped her pantyhose. Y’know, the things that come in four-packs from Walmart for under $7.

      I am wondering if the next page is going to be Alison bursting out in laughter. “I… I’m sorry… I’m sorry… let me breathe… hah… haha… okay… Jesus… okay… sorry… I almost bought all this… you lost me with the dog… I almost bought it, but I couldn’t believe the bit about the dog…”

      • palmvos

        I like Alison, but i kinda doubt she’s that together about this place. but Tuesday we may see.

      • Lisa Izo

        Wait! She’s not evil enough. The man and woman should also be literal nazis and are going to a nazi dinner party. Where they afterwards go to burn crosses on the lawns of minority family homes. Right before finding babies to throw off bridges.

        Because so far it’s been so subtle as to whether the people who tested Patrick are evil or not.

        It definitely couldn’t be that Patrick is feeding Alison BS to make her sympathetic to his hard young life. Right?

        This is my sarcastic tone.

        That being said, if this does turn out to be fake, and Allison does figure it out, at least it makes an exception to my belief that ‘Allison is not a bright person.’

        • Arkone Axon

          I’m hoping that we do. The chapter with Max was an interesting one… first we saw him as a genuinely nice person. Then we saw him turned into a strawman mouthpiece. Then we find out he was just quoting his emotionally abusive parents, and then he was made into a victim (though it’s interesting that some people STILL don’t get that, even after Alison herself has acknowledged, “what I did was horrible, unforgivable, and not even effective, because now I’ll never be able to make use of Max’ powers again and he’s inclined to aid my enemies because they’d be protecting him from his abuser… and I can’t exactly blame him for thinking of me as such.”).

          So we’ll see. The story arcs ARE planned in advance, so I’ve been told… so we’ll see how things turn out.

    • Tylikcat

      It seems entirely likely that this isn’t the conspiracy at all, but just Patrick receiving really bad mental health care (and let’s face it, men with money visiting underage prostitutes in foreign countries might be awful, but it’s not uncommon) and probably all the worse because his own mom can’t deal with him. What’s going on with her is probably the most interesting part… well, that, and how much anyone has figured out about what he can do.

      • Lisa Izo

        I’m sure there will be some shock therapy thrown in at some point as well. We haven’t seen enough ‘evil tropes’ yet being placed into Patrick’s ‘memories.’

        • Arkone Axon

          …And suddenly I’m thinking of an old silly CGI show, “Tripping the Rift.”

          “What do you say we string him up by his tentacles, put electrodes on his gonads, and turn the juice full up!?”

          “We… kinda did that last night. Boy, did that get him off…”

  • Hey, I’ve been thinking this for a few days, though I’m sure I’m not the first:

    Patrick can’t read his own mind, right?

    Who’s to say he can access his own memories?

    Maybe these are memories of other people, either living, dead or nonexistent, that his mind has adopted for himself as a framework? People keep saying that this whole thing is hitting too many cliches. Maybe that’s on purpose. It’s too bleak, almost cartoonish, because these are not all real memories. I feel like the dog is real. I feel like his parents are real. Did the dog get killed by his mother? Possibly. It’s also possible the dog only got hit by his mother in a moment of stress.

    Patrick has done something bad – he feels justified. In fact, he’s so desperate to feel justified, that his mind has cobbled together a framework of villains and reasons. Reasons that make him the victim, the good guy.

    Reasons that are perhaps, curated specifically to twig Alison’s sense of sympathy, that black/white thinking that she’s still struggling to escape.

    Even worse: What if Patrick doesn’t realize that he’s basically implanted his own memories? After all, the number one function of the brain is to avoid pain.

  • Lauren

    Please please PLEASE put content warnings before violence against animals. Please.

  • Oren Leifer

    So, this reminds me of two different stories at once. First of Limetown, where a man is severely mentally shattered as a result of reading the mind of a hog* as it was being killed, and second of the backstory of a character in Worm, who was a foster child who saw their own companion, a dog, drowned by her foster mother. In both cases the characters withdraw and become disconnected from humanity, but in many ways Patrick as we saw him as an adult suffered the opposite problem, becoming overconnected to other people and not strongly enough seeing himself as a person (at first with faults & flaws, but now possibly not seeing his own positive qualities).

  • that was too dark and triggered me … the author should put a trigger warning on such posts

    • The author has done so in the relatively recent past; however, I agree, and several other commentators here have said the same. This was a step too far to be posted without warning.

  • Dr. Mercurious

    You know…I didn’t see one post wonder if the mother didn’t snap the dog’s neck by accident. Seriously, you’d have to be pretty strong to do it with sheer hand strength. Alison herself has mentioned she’d had problems with her own strength and people may have died because of it. We already know that powers have been appearing for longer than everyone thinks…

  • AustinC123

    A point that seems to be weirdly absent from most of the comments here: Alison specifically went off the grid into the darkest, least-processed memories available from a life full of very challenging trauma. People who are scoffing at how absurdly dark this is don’t seem to be appreciating that this is all framed as THE WORST STUFF PATRICK HAS EVER (not) DEALT WITH and instead absorbing it as a representative random sample of life experiences. As always, these are mostly the same jokers who consistently refuse to take this advice, but: at least TRY to engage with the storytelling on its own terms rather than constantly re-contextualizing it according to your favorite agenda?

    • Bruce Munro

      He’s pretty much guaranteed a traumatic childhood due to his powers. Making his mother a sociopath that kills his dog for tearing her nylons is gilding the lily.

      • AustinC123

        Yes, but a life without any genuine trauma would also be unsatisfying and I would say that being telepathically aware of your mother killing your beloved dog rises to the level of elevated fictional realism without leaping miles ahead of it (assuming of course that that is indeed what happened on this page, which I think likely but not certain). I am happy to accept Patrick as Patrick without this backstory, but given that we are now following Alison along a literal and explicit tour of Patrick’s worst memories, well… I am not sure that we should be expecting emotional sterility, you know? Into every life some rain must fall, Patrick has cordoned off all his downpours, and Alison is taking a safari through monsoon season.

      • AustinC123

        I don’t hard-Disagree, to be clear. This page is rough. But the reaction of ‘oh hahaha, this level of trauma is absurd’ is really misguided. Bad things happen to everyone, let alone one of the most exceptional people of his generation, and if the purpose of this whole section is to show us the worst that Patrick has ever experienced it does not strain my suspension of disbelief to see some cruelty to an animal.

      • Gotham

        I’d disagree with that “pretty much guaranteed”. Much of the webcomic’s purpose has been to show us that despite an entire generation having powers that would radically alter their lives and that of everybody around them, their experience have been very different depending on factors that may have nothing to do with their powers. Alison turned out okay because there were people to support her when she felt the most alienated. Patrick could have had the same support, but random luck of the family draw had it he didn’t.

        Another important factor in that representation to not forget is that these events naturally stack up. It’s not supposed to be fairly distributed. Pearl being a monster could explain both that she would leave her son to be tortured in a secret lab by pedophile and hurt the family dog /and/ much more other occurrences of physical or mental abuse. Trauma breeds trauma one way or another.

        Can I also kindly ask that you would use another word than “sociopath” to describe her actions? Sorry to be a stick in the mud but, people don’t need to be mentally ill to be assholes. It even turns out the vast majority of them aren’t.

        • Yes; only one particular commentor is using that term, and has already caused several different flavours of offence so far in attempting to argue for its continued appropriateness to the situation. Sociopathy is a very particular and very severe subcategorisation within one particular personality disorder (which is, already, a very severe diagnosis to throw at someone). What’s more it doesn’t mean what media and colloquial users tend to assume it to mean. It says nothing about the behaviours an individual actually engages in, rather describing the atypical way in which they view the world with a general dearth of emotional empathy.

  • JohnR

    You people demanding trigger warnings disgust me. This kind of thing happens every day…suck it the fuck up.

    • Sadly yes, it does. On the other hand, THIS is a piece of freely available entertainment with no recommended minimum age rating. People who’ve already lived through horrible scenes such as above shouldn’t have to veto all entertainment media in case they end up getting flashbacks, just for the sake of an easy four-word heads up. Warnings don’t hurt anyone.