SFP

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  • That Patrick is filtering out the appearance of his mother is…intriguing.

    Also, that kid really could use some social skills. I guess that’s what happens when you’re a lab rat.

    • Zac Caslar

      Or he’s also “on the spectrum,” as they say.

      • Zorae42

        I personally don’t think he is. He may have some of the characteristics: overly formal way of speaking and disregard for social pleasantries. But I think those are merely the result of needing to pick his words very carefully around his abusive mother and his powers letting him hear what people are thinking.

        I mean, he’s by definition Neurodivergent, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s “on the spectrum”.

      • As someone with Asperger’s Syndrome, I can say with some authority that this just means he’s got a larger and more extensive amount of work than most do, to learn that skill.

        Responding bluntly to the inner monologue of other people is always going to throw other people off, because it’s hella invasive. You need to pick the right time and place to bring that stuff up with somebody, and also question whether or not it’s appropriate to do so at all.

    • Johnny Awesome

      I think he’s just a classical INTJ personality — and it’s obvious his home is abusive, at least emotionally (if not physically) which is undoubtedly a big part of his behaviour.

    • If they’d tried to give him a more normal childhood, he might have been extremely sociable 🙁
      As it is he still hasn’t realised that putting up a false front would help him integrate.

      • Insanenoodlyguy

        I don’t know. I made a large rant about it above, but the short version is that Patrick would have had difficulty with self-expression in formulative years because he’d take longer then everybody else to understand all the subtle ways you communicate with others. When you know what they are feeling and what they want to say (and what they DON’T want to say) even when you have your eyes shut and your ears plugged, how well are you going to pick up on the million-different little things humans do to communicate with each other? He’d never have to. Facial expressions? Body language? You don’t need those to communicate, he knows your happy because you are happy. He knows your sad because you are sad. How do you know? That’s like asking a child “Why is the red car red?” Because it’s red silly!
        Patrick would present weird as heck because of this. His edge on empathy would actually cripple the development of several critical parts of how we develop empathy for interaction with other humans. In fact he’d need extensive therapy to help him understand what most children younger then him would pick up unconsciously. There’s a reason adult Patrick is so precise with words. And a reason he was honestly surprised when explaining to Allison why he cut himself made it sadder. He knows how to present as a normal human but he stopped being one years too early to really get them.

        • Tylikcat

          And yet, from what we know, he has as much access to all that information in other people, and how the physical cues feel, and how they respond to it, as everything else. He was probably a really weird kid, but he’s also really smart, and clearly made the effort.

          • Insanenoodlyguy

            He did learn, eventually. But I think rather then having a leg up it was actually harder to get started.

          • Tylikcat

            I agree, I just think he might have been less limited in how he learned than the picture you seemed to be painting.

    • Insanenoodlyguy

      It would make sense that Patrick has a unique problem with expression, ironically because he’s so good at manipulation now.
      Around 4, we develop “Theory Of mind.”, the understanding that others have different thoughts and don’t know what we know (Google the “Smarties” test if you’d like, but short version: If you say, have a box that says it’s candy, they’ll think it’s candy. But they open it up, and nope, it’s got buttons in it. Now if you close the box and ask them again what’s in it, they’ll know it’s buttons. But then you ask them what their mom in another room would say if we showed her the box: The child who doesn’t have a Theory of Mind yet will say buttons, they know, so mom knows.). Theory of mind helps us form empathic accuracy, amongst other things. When we understand others don’t know what we are thinking, and vice versa, we have to start looking for ways to determine what they are thinking, and we have to be able to make clear what we are thinking.
      Patrick would inevitably have arrested development on this: He in fact does know what others are thinking. Until he grew older and the value of manipulation would occur to him, he would have far less need to develop empathic accuracy naturally: You don’t need to learn to read other’s body language when they will tell you they are angry/happy/sad before they are even in the same room as you. You’d never need to look for signs somebody is not being truthful because they have never been anything but 100$% truthful all the time (Lies would be especially confusing I imagine, why would anybody lie when you’d immediately know it’s not true? It has no value beyond “being silly” games you might play with a toddler, right?). Because adults especially can read children in ways they don’t realize, Patrick would understand he was doing something that was upsetting the adults but would probably take longer then you’d think to realize the extent of how different he was. I mean, Dad knew when he was in pain when he limped inside after tripping on that rock, mom knew when he was angry at her even though he didn’t say anything… doesn’t everybody know what other people are thinking?
      Of course, as we see in this page, he would eventually develop Theory of mind, but he did it for entirely different reasons then the rest of us, and learned how to express himself as a one-way expression of intent and emotion rather then an essential part of two-way communication like the rest of the world.

  • Nicole

    Hm he’s helping his mother

  • Gotham

    Dadtrick is reacting like he just heard the news that Patrick can read minds. Either they kept him in the dark till now and told him that the secret torture lab was in fact a summer camp…

    …or the playground assault the doctor’s visit the experiments and the dog snapping all happened on the same day. This is a little much. Especially how quickly Pearl would have managed to readjust and gone back to caring about dinner parties.

    In any case, Dadtrick calling Pat a “psychopath” makes me wonder if Pearl (who the fuck is Claudia) told him it was Patrick who killed the dog.

    • Nik Gervae

      There are no date labels on these memories; they are likely out of chronological order.

      • Tylikcat

        I would tend to agree, except Patrick appears to be more or less maturing.

    • Danygalw

      “These quack doctors that Claudia *keeps* finding”.
      He didn’t just hear. “Your son can read minds” isn’t the sort of thing one gets used to quickly.

    • He hasn’t just found out; he’s in ongoing shock. The spiralling mindset above is more like a picture of the thoughts that race through his mind every time he interacts with his child, showing Patrick the huge ambivalent tear between what his father wants to feel (ie. love, pride, closeness) and what he’s actually still feeling (panic, frustration, fear, desperation, helplessness). Having a serious and unresolved home issue like this can wear on the mind constantly until you’re left with deep mental channels carved by that slow erosion.

    • Teka the Budgie

      My initial guess on reading this was that the parents have known there’s something not quite right about Patrick for a while, but since none of the other anomalies have shown up yet, the doctors took a while to get to the diagnosis of “can read minds.” It’s not something that would be the first guess if you’re not in a world where superhumans are already a thing.

    • palmvos

      also- look at Patrick- he’s significantly older in the dinner memory than the dead puppy memory.
      based on a handful of conversations with my parents about my growing up and raising my (conflicted) son- these kind of things are a process it takes time to realize and process unusual aspects of your children.
      also go talk to mothers with grown kids. they still think of them as babies and they were babies… 30-40 years ago! I tell my son when his mother goes on about him being a baby… that first impressions are big and after peeing on me he made a dozy of a first impression. #parentaljustice

  • Gotham

    What do you mean “who was that” can’t you pick up context clues how could she be anyone else other than his mom jeez Alison stay focused

    • Tom O.

      Yes, but who *is* his mom, who can break a dog’s neck so easily?

      • therufs

        I’m super confused that no one has brought this up yet, because I thought that was a known fact.

        • MisterTeatime

          That congresswoman was Max’s mom (thus the threat of vengeance for how Alison treated Max).
          If she’s also Patrick’s mom, that implies Max and Patrick being brothers/half-brothers/step-brothers… most likely twins, actually, since all known biodynamics were in utero at the same time. That would probably have come up in at least one of the scenes from Patrick’s past so far.

          • therufs

            _Oh yeah_. No, I totally just had them confused. (Though that would be an epic twist.)

          • Insanenoodlyguy

            There have been people speculating that they are one and the same, but nothing confirmed in canon. And with this page, increasingly unlikely to be the correct theory.

            I think Peardia is just… a woman. Not anyone special, Alison will not gasp if she see’s her face. She’s the most significant figures in PATRICK’s life, but I don’t expect her to be part of the conspiracy or anything.

          • Weatherheight

            Peardia…
            That’s when she pays you every day for your living expenses.
            ::ducks and runs and hides::

          • Sterling Ericsson

            “since all known biodynamics were in utero at the same time.”

            That’s false. Patrick already disproved that hundreds of pages ago. There have been biodynamics around for a fair bit longer than the current crop of them. Also, it appears that Patrick himself was born a few years sooner than the main group as well.

            That’s the whole point behind the Conspiracy in the first place, that there were already biodynamics earlier.

          • Gotham

            I… think you’ve been misinterpreting some information. There is just the one batch of biodynamics generated by The Storm™. They have however started being aware of their powers at different times, (and that whole thing about the Conspiracy somehow knowing they had powers before themselves even did) Patrick being one of the earliest ones, but nothing indicates that he was born sooner than the others.

            The webcomic even went to the length of telling us the government was keeping track of their sexual activities to assess whether their own children could become another generation of biodynamics (and if I remember correctly, the answer as of now is that the superpowerful horny teenagers didn’t create offspring yet, which is one of the biggest pill to swallow in this universe)

          • Tylikcat

            They have children, the children aren’t old enough. But the youngest of then is approaching old enough. So.

          • Gotham

            Well I guess it’s always a good time to binge read the whole webcomic again

          • Ray Radlein

            It’s something Max’s mother said to Allison.

          • Ray Radlein

            I think they’ve created offspring already, but none of those offspring are yet old enough for their powers, if any, to have manifested (working on the widespread, though apparently erroneous, assumption that powers manifest in very late childhood or puberty).

          • Blub Blub

            he isn’t older then the others. his powers activated sooner.

          • Insanenoodlyguy

            If this is a shared family situation, clearly Max is the “Golden Child” it would be very weird that Patrick would dine with his family while Max did not, in that case.

        • Gotham

          A ton of people did! But it’s very shaky.

          • Insanenoodlyguy

            At this point incredibly unlikely for multiple reasons.
            1. Where’s Max? You don’t have a brother who doesn’t show up to the dinner table when your a kid for family get-togethers. Plus you’d expect a “And my twin-brother got such a great power!” in Max’s rant even if he never named a name.
            2. Setting’s all wrong. Max was born into privilege. This is clearly not a filthy rich family, not with a table that modest. Maybe Patrick will make her wealthy but their being brothers just makes less and less sense.
            3. Revenge/Pragmatism: Even if Patrick/Meanace had some twisted “She made me what I am, I owe her that.” thing going on, and he doesn’t strike me as the type, you don’t leave such a blatant threat around. Her ability to expose him alone is reason to get rid of her once he’s making a play for power. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s not alive in present day just for that reason alone. She certainly wouldn’t be allowed to be running around with tremendous power and influence.
            4. Fame. So he lets her run free and powerful for some reason… Allison wouldn’t need to guess who his mom is, she’d know. Not because she’s met her, but because who wouldn’t know that one of the most wealthy industrialists in the world has a senator for a mom? Estranged or not, tabliod’s make their living finding out stuff like this. Their hiding it makes it even more compelling, some expose can come out about how they are obviously part of some rich conspiracy even if they hate each other because that sure looks like a good story! Allison knows nothing because Patrick came from nowhere special.

  • McFrugal

    There is absolutely no way Patrick is doing this by accident.

  • Markus

    So Pat’s largest self-lobotomization to keep from shattering his own psyche was censoring out the face of his mother? Jesus dude, like, just… Jesus.

    • Gotham

      Seems he did more than her face. Be it voluntary or not, reacting so casually now (to suggestions of felony, no less) seems like another coping mechanism.

      • Weatherheight

        I imagine having seen his mother (apparently) kill his dog (apparently) must have helped him to realize that Pearl is a person with whom he cannot trifle (yet). I suspect this is “biding time” behavior with healthy dose of “appeasement to gain leverage”. This tends to fit in with his behavior thus far.

        Powerful enemy? Flatter, appease, enable, coerce, mislead – whatever it takes to gain sufficient leverage to get that enemy under his thumb or convince them to be his ally.

        OR

        Victim who finally realized that what he’s been doing isn’t helping.

      • AmberWriter

        More than her face, yeah. Notice we never see what she’s thinking…

        • Kalirren

          Oh that’s -really- creepy. I didn’t notice that before.

          Yikes.

        • Weatherheight

          Wow – yeah, good point.
          Is it because “can’t” or “won’t” or “did but blocked it because it’s too painful”?
          Nice insight.

          • Insanenoodlyguy

            I’d put down money that far more than what she looks like, this is the actual point of the blocking.

          • Kalirren

            We know Patrick could read Claudia’s mind – “Yes, that is a felony.” So he did block it.

          • Weatherheight

            That leaves the two options of “won’t” or “did but blocked”, then.
            Or the possibility that Patrick’s not giving Alison access to those thoughts – assuming this is all for her benefit…

    • Philip Bourque

      People block out entire years worth of trauma. One person’s face isn’t a stretch.

  • Weatherheight

    It’s interesting to me that Daddy Andrews wants to put the blame for what Patrick has become squarely on Pearl’s shoulders (No wait! CLAUDIA! – Well, crap, I have a dear older friend named Claudia – utter sweetheart and sharp as a case of hypodermic needles. going to make the name easy to remember, though).

    I’m getting the feeling that Claudia has known about Patric’s anomaly for some time and withheld this information for some time (years, perhaps, based on Patrick’s apparent age) from her husband. It’s also possible that Daddy Andrews has been aware but in denial of both what his son is and what his wife is, but the inner monologue doesn’t *quite* suggest to me he’s been aware of Patrick’s anomaly.

    He does seem to be aware of that Claudia being a piece of work.

    Interestingly, we also have a small element of “my anomaly isn’t quite what I wanted” popping up in Patrick – if there’s anyone who would benefit from Mind Control, it’s Patrick, but the guy with the (at the very least) controlling mother got… receptive telepathy and psychic integration.

    That’s gotta suck.

    • Olivier Faure

      Oh yeah. This is putting his “If you can’t manipulate someone like a puppet once you hear their every thoughts and desires, then you don’t deserve mind-control” speech in a whole new light.

      • Weatherheight

        Wow – Yeah, it does.
        Can’t believe I didn’t get there – good thought.

  • Zorae42

    I’m guessing ‘extreme emotional shock’ is the cause of all the personas’ creations, and the events of the previous comic are what caused this first Patrick persona to appear. The reason he’s now so mature in this memory is because he’s managed to put his worst memories behind barriers and is able to function ‘better’ without them there.

  • Kid Chaos

    Like, wow, man; that is some seriously Twilight Zone shit right there. Good thing he can’t actually “put them in the cornfield.” 😵

  • Olivier Faure

    Okay, this is getting interesting. I wanna know more about kid Patrick’s felony-enabling shenanigans!

    Also, interesting that the only part of Mom that isn’t blacked out by Patrick’s “old barrier” is her hands.

  • Gotham

    Pearl (I’M STICKING WITH IT) is the only one with a glass of wine at the table.
    How’s that for visual flavor.

    • palmvos

      you’ve identified an art mistake- 3 people, two glasses. out of sympathy for the man’s plight i declare he has a bottle of something good on the floor hes taking swigs from.(don’t bother me with the mechanics) Pearl is a piece of work.

      • Gotham

        Look closer at the first panel.

        • palmvos

          flapping fudge…..

  • Merus

    I suspect that Patrick learnt some of his more charming characteristics from his mother.

  • As someone with fairly severe ADHD, I wonder if hearing my inner voice would be akin to hearing someone channel surfing.

    • Zac Caslar

      Perhap’s it more like listening to an ever increasing number of televisions all at once.

      • David Brown

        That’s part of how my schizophrenia works. You know Professor X’s “Cerebro”? Imagine all those screens but each one is a different identifiable moment in a cartoon, video game, commercial, or something I can see visually in my head that was only written as text or spoken aloud. None of them ever stop.

  • Darkoneko Hellsing

    Now the question is whether they HAD to pass throught there, or whether young Patrick unconsciously wanted someone to finally see that and/or talk with her.

    • Or consciously.

      Or… when you’re dealing with this situation, is there really a clear demarcation between “consciously” and “unconsciously”?

    • Hermitage

      He has a parent/guardian that immediately began researching on a small child, probably for how best to use him for said felony-related activities.I have the nasty thought that this may literally be the *best* part of the barrier he’s taking Allison through to minimize dilly-dallying.

      I mean, baby Patrick may be play-acting, but he mostly just seems irritated that Allison is losing her gd mind at ever horror-tableau on show here. I could believe that he’s basically rolled out his version of the red carpet for her and she still thinks this is all awful. Kind of like IRL Patrick’s dismissive comment about self-harm basically being a landmarking system only for Allison to still have an internal melt-down about how that was still awful.

      • Weatherheight

        Well, to be fair, what’s happening here is monstrous and awful. I feel you’re right, he’s irritated that she keeps losing it, but I feel it’s more about her naïveté than her not getting the deeper meaning of what he’s showing her (vulnerability, empathy, seeking common ground).

        It does appear Alison has a second anomaly – she had parents who were apparently loving and compassionate and who weren’t using pieces of dung.

  • Gotham

    I know consistency and dream rules don’t go hand in hand, but I’m perplexed by the fact that we get to witness what it’s like to hear thoughts for lil’ Patrick. It’s certainly the first time this was showcased in the comic, with the real world merely implying his power. This time, not only do we see the other end of the conversation, but at the playground we also saw the representation it manifested in him.

    I wonder, does that mean that Alison can “hear” or “read” it too? If not, that last tableau would be kind of confusing, as well as the times Skipper was communicating with Patrick. But then, we don’t get to hear what Pearl is thinking. Is it intentional on Patrick’s part? Or a necessary consequence of blocking out her figure? Or is it there to Patrick’s senses but not Alison’s?

    Oh and completely non related because I’m already posting too much: it’s the same table.
    The very one Patrick was hid under.
    Uh.

    • Weatherheight

      Now that you mention it, it does look like that table, doesn’t it?

      Maybe it’s unique to my family, but we’ve never pushed our dining table up against a wall when not being used for eating. Or is that just my family’s peccadillo?

      ::reaches down and pets the peccadillo, which grunts happily::

      • palmvos

        as someone who has moved many many times and ended up with two tables. ::glares at spouse:: it depends on the house’s floor plan- where we live now one table is against the wall and the other is close but a full circle can sit around it. also it appears that Patrick is an only child.- this makes it easier as a table against the wall can still seat everybody.

        • Weatherheight

          Oh, yeah, that’s happened to me a lot, too. But usually when a table is placed, there it remains most of the time. The perspective we have shows this one is no longer pushed against the wall, where before the perspective implied it was against the wall (Patrick appears to be leaning against a wall, or is that just me? First panel seems to suggest my viewpoint here isn’t wrong…).

          Maybe this perspective is “looking through” that wall…?
          I think my head canon is going to have to be that they moved the table from where it was when Patrick hid under it…

    • Insanenoodlyguy

      She can, because she’s reviewing Patrick’s memories. He could “hear it” so anybody experiencing it can to.

  • Lostman

    I’m calling it now: the mom is Alison doctor. Mostly how we know little we know about her.

  • Khlovia

    Young Guide-Patrick’s facial expression, panel one: “What part of ‘beyond the barrier’ do you not understand?”

  • Pol Subanajouy

    Again, there is so little we can trust in this narrative. Who is the mother figure? We can’t even trust she is a singular entity. Or why her face is hidden.

    • R Lex Eaton

      [This person has been redacted for your mental and emotional convenience]

      For my money, I’m betting this is a result of Patrick’s problem from issue 5. There’s no guarantee that this memory is even his–entirely or partially. Self-psychosurgery becomes less effective without an effective sense of self.

      Of course, at least he’s trying to pick and choose what parts to keep and cast away. He’s not removing his own sense of empathy so that other people’s thoughts stop bothering him. Because I know where that leads to…

      *post traumatic Empowered flashbacks*

      • Zac Caslar

        Yeah, Mindfuck’s brother the one time “Brainbow.” I feel that connection.

        • R Lex Eaton

          Oh yeah. It’s making me anticipate/fear the next volume, that’s for sure.

          It’s my favorite comic coming out these days.

          • Zac Caslar

            Absolutely.

            IMExp Empowered can be hard to introduce readers to as it’s got kind of a sleazy start that also well predates the current level of audience sensitivity to depictions of sexualization, but it’s damn good once the reader can get passed that.
            And it’s romantic. How about that?

            If you haven’t read it yet “Soldier of Love,” which is Kindle exclusive iirc, is one of the best stories yet.

    • magnetoo

      I keep wondering what the point of “beyond the barrier” IS, given that they seem to be pretty fully accessible. It does make me wonder whether it’s a real barrier, or just something done for show, for Allison’s sake.

      • Insanenoodlyguy

        The real barrier isn’t what mom looks like, but what mom is THINKING. We haven’t heard a single thought from her yet.

    • JohnTomato

      “Again, there is so little we can trust in this narrative.”

      What I said Wednesday. How much of it is defense, how much is putting things into ‘normal’ cookie cutter shape acceptable to society.

    • Danygalw

      Why not?

  • Philip Bourque

    I’m sure that people are thinking that Pity Pat’s parents are horrible people, but are Alison’s any better? After all they gave her up to a government/military organization that trained her as a child soldier, put her through rigorous experimentation to determine the limits of her abilities and threw her into life threatening situation time and again.

    • Miss G.

      But they didn’t subject Allison to any form of abuse. They probably didn’t know what to do, so when the military offered an option to help children with powers they took the chance. And even though they let the military take responsibility of Allison, it didn’t seem that she was there against her will. It was probably a family decision and they were with her every step of the way it seems like.

      • Philip Bourque

        We don’t know what they did.Clearly the typical physical abuse wouldn’t have been effective. Perhaps they kept her at an emotional distance? Any flashbacks to Alison’s childhood were focused on her time as Mega-Girl and I don’t recall her parents being in any of those. What we do know is that as an adult she has an amicable relationship with her parents. She has difficulty relating with people her age, views the world in a black and white morality with a side of you either do good or your the bad guy. She does exceedingly well within a organized command structure and follows orders without question from those she perceives as her superior officers. She tends to flounder when she has to think for herself and obsesses with doing the ‘right’ thing. Her go to solution in the face of adversity is violence.

        • Insanenoodlyguy

          You’re fucking reaching here dude. Every interacting with her family shows they cared about her and vice versa.

          • Philip Bourque

            Watch your language! We don’t want to traumatize people more than they already are after the dog abuse.

          • Insanenoodlyguy

            Oh noes

    • palmvos

      1. Patrick’s powers are CREEPY. look at that ‘dinner table’ conversation.. tell more than 10% of the worlds population would be able to converse with the kid Patrick behaving like that and not be extremely uncomfortable at least. look at what he told the doctor. Remember that for Patrick this is normal.. he hasn’t figured out that hes the only one doing this yet.
      2. Alison’s powers though extreme are understandable. helping her grow up to be a useful member of society just needs a few extra conversations (for example: Alison, if you use your full strength to grip… you can crush cars.. you are going to need to be calm and think about what you are about to do)
      3. when the doctors and other ‘learned’ people do not know what to do they get creative. yes a secret pedophile is the last person who should be studying children but they don’t know how far down perversion hes gone yet. sadly that often looks like abuse… what do mechanically inclined children do with clever mechanisms… they take them apart to see how they work. what makes you think the doctors are any better?

      • Philip Bourque

        I don’t recall saying anything to contradict that. We know a lot more about Pity Pat’s parents than we do about Alison’s. They never appear in any of her childhood flashbacks.

        • Insanenoodlyguy

          Now you’re just flat out wrong. Reread chapter 4.

          • Philip Bourque

            Oh right, chapter 4. Completely forgot about that. Let’s see… You know what? I could say stuff. I could analyze every panel until doomsday, but it won’t change your anything.

          • Insanenoodlyguy

            I can’t tell if you are sarcastic or not. I can notice you rather then have an actual defense you seem to be making it sound like I am somehow the obstinate one for thinking a thoery objectively wrong is flawed. Yeah still going with troll. Don’t feed folks.

        • palmvos

          ‘I’m sure that people are thinking that Pity Pat’s parents are horrible people, but are Alison’s any better?’

          ok, somewhere in the far past- look at how Alison’s mother handled the soccer game. both parents found themselves with a child that required help. this isn’t that unusual, though in our world it’s usually on the other end of the ability spectrum. so reaching out for help isn’t really a problem. once that happens the parents give up some control – that led to the child soldier Alison.. and the medical abuse of Patrick.
          the dead puppy incident and some of the stuff at the dinner table memory are very disquieting i’m still don’t entirely believe them but as one person pointed out- I didn’t have a dysfunctional home- school was where I was systematicaly tortured so i tend to be more cynical about people outside my family.

    • Weatherheight

      You have a good point, but motives matter here – Alison’s parents didn’t do all of the above as a means of enriching themselves or forwarding their agenda, which it seems Claudia may well have done. While rather abhorrent, the option Geoff and Susan selected was the least bad of a bunch of pretty awful options. It may very well be that the scientists we see here aren’t the same agency Alison got to deal with – this may be an agency utterly unrelated to that one (covert agency versus military agency, for example). Different missions usually mean different methods. Remember, the CIA did the “enhanced interrogation techniques”; the military just handed them over to be “techniqued” (And yes, both are reprehensible acts).

      One can take the situation differently – Alison’s parents saw sociopathic biodynamics threatening the material and conceptual fabric of society and endangering the lives millions. After talking with their daughter, they elected to allow their daughter to volunteer to participate in a plan to stop that, the only apparently viable plan on the table. After those scientists carefully determined the limits of her anomaly (determining that very little could harm her physically) and after they provided her with martial and tactical training to minimize the risk into which Alison was sent, Alison chose to heroically placed her life on the line to minimize loss of life and property damage in the face of unprecedented situations. That same agency also provided continuing health & anomaly monitoring and regular counseling to minimize her combat trauma.

      Same situation, different viewpoint.

      • Philip Bourque

        We don’t know what they did.Clearly the typical physical abuse wouldn’t have been effective. Perhaps they kept her at an emotional distance? Any flashbacks to Alison’s childhood were focused on her time as Mega-Girl and I don’t recall her parents being in any of those. What we do know is that as an adult she has an amicable relationship with her parents. She has difficulty relating with people her age, views the world in a black and white morality with a side of you either do good or you’re the bad guy. She does exceedingly well within a organized command structure and follows orders without question from those she perceives as her superior officers. She tends to flounder when she has to think for herself and obsesses with doing the ‘right’ thing. Her go to solution in the face of adversity is violence.

        • Teka the Budgie

          Wasn’t there an arc about Allison’s childhood starting with the parents buying a dog during the storm?

          • Insanenoodlyguy

            Phillip has either completely forgot chapter 4 or is a troll. I’m starting to suspect the latter.

          • Weatherheight

            Philip has a particular viewpoint that I respect; it’s very much focused in one direction most of the time, even if I don’t always agree with it. He offers a way of looking at the comic that I find adds to my understanding rather than just being an irritant.

          • Philip Bourque

            Nope, had totally forgotten about. Not that it matters, after all it’s very easy to justify whatever position or ideas we hold.

          • Insanenoodlyguy

            Fair enough then.

          • Philip Bourque

            Yep, which I had totally forgotten about.

        • Weatherheight

          In my experience, people who have been abused in any way by their parents don’t have amicable relationships with their parents. Those relationships are usually, at best, civil – more often they’re non-existant or extremely tense.

          All of your points are right, but I wasn’t talking about outcomes, I was talking about another way of interpreting the actions of Alison’s parents that still conforms to what we see.

          • Philip Bourque

            Unfortunately my perspective is tainted by a very cynical and negative view of things. While people will view the good in people, I will see the bad. For example upon reviewing chapter 4, to me it seems that Alison’s parents were keeping a physical distance from both their daughters unless they needed to make a point. Notice it was Alison, not their parents who comforted the infant Jen when she was crying. Someone else would see something more positive.
            Incidentally, you’re welcome and I’d like to hear this riddle.

          • Weatherheight

            Gonna take some work on it… might be a while. 😀

  • Jshadow

    Why is mother being censores IN-UNIVERSE?
    Because if the idea is that Patrick is blocking her image out of what ahorrible person she was, I’m afraid that’s not gonna help. You’d need to have amnesia or something.

    • Gotham

      Patrick’s actually fine with her cruelty, it’s just that his mom was really really really bad-looking. Unbearably so.

      Yes, he’s that shallow

      • Jshadow

        Not sure if serious or just keking.

        • Gotham

          I take offense to the term “keking” but yes I’m not often serious you’ll find

          • palmvos

            this is my first exposure to this term… may I know why it is offensive?

          • Gotham

            Because I volunteer as a suicide hotline counselor and I’m morally and contractually obligated to not hang up when deplorable manchildren tell me about this shit without realizing this is the very fucking cause of their sheer alienation and misery.

            Nothing against the commenter above me, this is not even what he was referencing, but the less we combine those three letters together the better. For me.

          • palmvos

            ahhh… thank you.

    • Danygalw

      Because she’s beyond the barrier. The large one. The old one.

  • Transhumanish

    It also looks like Claudia put the blame for the dog’s death on Patrick, prompting dad to think PATRICK is the psychopath, when mom is the one who seems to act more psychopathic so far.

    • Zorae42

      We don’t know that. I mean, he did attack that one kid for hurting the little girl’s feelings. We don’t know how many similar incidents to that happened. Also, accusing normal seeming people of doing terrible things out of nowhere would also seem pretty ‘crazy’.

    • Ray Radlein

      If it’s hard to believe a grown woman could snap a dog’s neck, I’m guessing it’s even harder to convince someone that a little kid could. Especially someone who has seen that the little kid adored the dog and who doubtlessly knew that the mother didn’t.

  • Ophidiophile

    Okay, now I’m wondering how Patrick didn’t become an absolute monster who tried to kill everyone. Or get someone else to kill everyone. Exposed to the corruption in everyone’s soul, it would be hard not to want to cleanse the world and get some peace and quiet. There must have been someone (besides dogs) he met who was kind and loving enough to give him hope, to make him believe humanity was worth letting live. Someone he wanted to protect. The memories of which would not be beyond the barrier. So, yes, let’s get back to the Hall of Memories.

    • Gotham

      I spoke of that, I want to see a scene that acknowledges that humanity though carrying the greatest capacity for evil, also carry that of good. To be able to witness firsthand the most humbling of humanity’s hopes and dreams.

      It clearly won’t be in that pavillon, admittedly.

      The whole story of Patrick and his actions (especially what we saw in issue 4) /only/ makes sense if he’s the greatest believer in the beauty laying inside us.

      • palmvos

        you mean otherwise he’d be working on mass murder/genocide?

        maybe he is one of those not able to suicide easily, menace was his first draft – fix the world. the Patrick that came after that is obsessed with finding the conspiracy (that may or may not be there) as a way to keep himself from seeing his own despair. getting up each morning wishing the sun hadn’t risen is tough, it takes a certain stupid stubbornness.

        • Blahorga Slisk

          I just had a very dark idea pop up. What if he is grooming Alison to be the one who’s to be his final judge?

          I think he doesn’t trust himself anymore. His mind has fragmented into so many parts he doesn’t know what or who he is or what he is going to become, and thus he needs someone to sum him up and pass judgement, and he thinks that someone is Alison.

          With that I mean he’s found someone who is working through the problems that comes with having powers that is starting to crowd the God level while trying to fit into a world filled with people so vulnerable and fragile she could kill someone by sneezing at the wrong time. Face it, she lives in the world of cardboard, and just like Supes she really love the feeling when she get to cut lose and rip things up without having to bother with the consequences even if it results in people dying. (for an example see issue-2, page-43)

          Ever since she was a kid all they asked of her was to go smash things, and if someone died she was told it was for the greater good. The result was that she got really good at punching things and people, and doing something you’re good at while being praised for it really feels good.

          Patric’s own mind is the only one he knows he is unable to read. He’s seen dead spots where there should be people, but can only suspect that there might be minds there that’s shielded from him.

          Alison is another matter. She is wide open and Patric knows her thoughts and what she values. He knows how she handled Feral, Daniel, Mary and that obnoxious fire dude Furnace. Actually I wouldn’t be surprised if he had coordinated it all, including the professor that never was, putting her through a crash course to prepare her for the task of being the one who finally decides if he’s a Menace to humanity and has to be put down like a rabid dog or if it’s possible to save him from becoming the monster he’s afraid of turning into.

          I know this is a dark and quite horrible theory, but Patric is quite messed up and he knows it.

          Writing this turned into a long archive spelunking expedition, which is good, but has cut into my sleep schedule in a bad way, so I’ll better stop here for now. I’m not sure any of this will make sense in the morning though…

          • Weatherheight

            I doubt this is true – Alison just cannot be the best example of someone capable of judging whether Patrick has really and truly gone to the Dark Side. She might be a good enough person to make the call, but I sort of doubt she’d be able to see clearly that he’s gone too far until it’s far, far too late.

            But I want this to be true. I really, really do.

          • Blahorga Slisk

            Well, I think Patric has a lot more feelings for Alison than he’d like anyone to know, and that he will do all he can to keep that from her even if he gives her access to almost everything else. And this would be another reason why he might see her as the best choice for a judge, jury and executioner rolled up all in one.

            Given the scope of his powers it’s hard to find someone who could actually do anything about him even if they were to judge him reasonably fairly. After all if he’s so far gone that he poses a threat to all of humanity then it’s quite likely he would have no problem taking out anyone who even thinks about stopping him.

            Alison he has placed on a pedestal and turned into an object of worship. If she were to decide he had to die for what he is or is about to do then he might not be able to bring himself to stop her.

            Dark, cruel and twisted, but I can’t ignore the feeling that Patric hasn’t been torturing himself by pushing Alison away just for the hell of it, or even as an attempt to protect her. There is more to it than that, or he’d have found a way to break all contact and keep her out of his life. That he’s ruthless and pragmatic has been demonstrated repeatedly. But where Alison is concerned he seems incapable of letting go.

          • Weatherheight

            A cogent counter argument. 😀

      • Weatherheight

        I completely agree – assuming Patrick wasn’t just telling Alison what she wanted to hear. And that’s the rub – can we ever trust Patrick about anything he tells Alison, given what we’ve seen him do in the past with his minions? Is Alison a cog in his machine, or the key to his salvation?

        (Speaking of which, MORE MINIONS, please, Brennan and Molly! Names, powers, backstory, the whole salami, the whole enchilada, everything)

        I really want to trust Patrick and believe he’s better, but given what we’re seeing here, it may be that this version of Patrick (post meeting-Alison-face-to-face (Alison’s Patrick?), as opposed to Menace) may be so very badly broken that all the king’s horses and all the king’s men may not be able to put “Patrick” back together again. This version may be very, very delusional, much as Menace was.

        Assuming that everything up to this point isn’t an act, it may be that Alison may have been placed in the role of Savior in Patrick’s mind, the one who can save him from the Menace persona. I shudder to think what might happen when Alison inevitably fails him (Saviors have a high standard to uphold and most often they fail).

        • Insanenoodlyguy

          He’s the opposite of better either way. He’s breaking down. That’s why Allison is in here.

          Also, who said she’s meant to save him from the Menace Persona? Animus certainly isn’t better.

          I suspect Menace is far less a manifestation of Patrick’s “Evil” and more about maintaining order.

          • Weatherheight

            I didn’t really mean to pit this as an “Animus vs Menace” framework. rather a Patrick after he meant Alison versus Patrick Before he met Alison.

            That said, totally true!

  • bryan rasmussen

    So that’s what happened to Patrick’s parents, he helped them move the money, which is a felony, some of it went to him in a really sneaky hard to track way, but unfortunately the government somehow found out about the main amount of the money and Pearl / Claudia – the dog killing knife nosed lady and her enabling coward of a husband went byebye.

  • Veev

    I don’t know if the authors have been doing research on traumagenic Dissociative Identity Disorder, but Patrick has a textbook case.

  • JohnTomato

    Panel #1 has Patrick’s facial expression at Evil Twin Level 9.

  • StClair

    I just want to observe (or agree with a friend who did it first) that Dad is doing about as well as any of us here would. Intrusive thoughts are something no one can control, but he’s trying to manage his internal monologue along with his outer behavior, and to remind himself that this is his son, not a (dangerous) freak.
    Of course he’s scared. But he’s trying not to be, or at least not to show or act on it.
    “The thoughts we choose to have are what matters, along with what we choose to do.”

    • It absolutely can’t be pleasant for Patrick to hear, and of course his father realises this, and channels it straight back into that horror and self-loathing already present. But yeah. At least he’s trying. And he’s accidentally identified himself as a potential ally for young-Patrick against the mother, too.. if only he could come to see his kid as something more stereotypically relatable than a psychopath. Patrick empathises perfectly well, he empathises *too* much.

  • I don’t know why but the “He’s not a freak, he’s your son!” part of the fathers internal monologue keeps getting me.

    • Herwood

      I know! For some reason it makes me like him… I mean, if suddenly in the real world your child started acting like a psychic, it would freak you out too!

      But I really like that his last thought is that he IS his son.

    • Teka the Budgie

      It’s a good line. I also wonder, “Why not both?”

      • Weatherheight

        I update this for beating me to the punch and for having an animal as an avatar.

        • Teka the Budgie

          Only on the internet can we have a conversation between a budgie and a donkey and it somehow doesn’t seem weird…

  • Danygalw

    “He’s not a freak, he’s your son”
    Oh, good.

  • Dave M

    Ok, just throwing this out there. Back in the Conspiracy wing Alison saw Gurwara. Neither the record keeper or Anima reacted to his presence or his flight (with documents, suggesting he was covering up the conspiracy). When Alison gave chase, they only reacted by warning her she didn’t know where she was going, as if they were unaware of Gurwara’s presence. Alison then follows the metaphorical white rabbit down the rabbit hole and ends up here. Almost like that’s where someone wanted her to be. Could Lil’ Pat have created an illusion of Gurwara from Alison’s memories to lure her here? Or was Gurwara real and led her here (for god knows what reason, or just because he likes playing head games with people)? One thing is for certain, I wouldn’t trust Lil’ Pat’s agenda any more than I’d trust Anima’s or Menace’s. These memories are quite probably real, and deeply repressed, but if you think Alison is seeing these exact memories through random chance? Then I have a bridge crossing Sydney Harbour you may be interested in buying. 🙂

  • Hermitage

    I wonder if Dark Pearl is in shadows because she’s impervious to his ability. He’s so used to being able to hear and feel every thought that being cut off is basically like blindness for him. It’s been hammered in over and over again that anomalies were only found at a certain age, but we already see though Patrick that it is a lie. I suspect his mother has similar capabilities, and only lets Patrick hear what she wants him to. Perhaps she even has *true* telepathy, and his responding in words instead of mentally is a little act of petulance for his dog.

    Probably all wrong, but fun to speculate!

  • Hiram

    All we are saying is give peas a chance.

  • Liz

    To everyone jumping on what a piece of work Patrick’s mother must’ve been, a reminder – he recalled Allison laughing with him at the hotel. What we’re seeing here is probably not an accurate recollection of what happened. It’s possible the same impulse that caused him to remember Allison laughing has also caused him to place the blame for some things he did onto someone else, like his mother.