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  • Miyto

    Poor lord Kid, he does not know how to outgrow his trauma.
    The fear that was built into those walls will feel much better once it the walls are rebuilt with better experiences. (I do like the visual analogy of the wall and had helped a friend use a similar one for understanding her mind, learning to see past the wall. She decided to make a door so that she didn’t have to deal with all the things at once, but could do so over time.)

  • Mattias42

    Easy words to say…

    When it’s not your brain and genuinely horrific power being held together with some spit, grit and duct tape.

    • trev006

      Not easy, by any means. Nor is her spiel entirely true. It is, however, good enough. For instance, surviving in a logical manner means accepting some norms, no matter how powerful you are. But a sociopath enjoying incredible temporal success will not understand it. I am not displeased.

      It does occur to me that the metaphor, once again, is Allison brute-forcing her way through a problem. Brain surgery with a wrecking ball. The metaphor’s flaws are self-evident, and therefore the prognosis is predictable yet unhappy.

      It has been some time since an unambiguous victory, so I would rather be wrong.

      • Sterling Ericsson

        One question this all raises though is whether the whole scenario of “destroying a wall with a wrecking ball” isn’t just a metaphorical visualization of the problem based on Alison’s personality and perceived capabilities.

        Do we really know for sure that the inside of Patrick’s mind looks like this and it’s not just a perceived version of the situation, which would be different for different people?

        Then again, I suppose this is more like Patrick’s chosen perceived visualization of his mental interior, considering Feral’s was also of her own design.

        It’s hard to tell whether Alison is having any direct input on any of it.

        • trev006

          Given that Patrick refers to it as a city, and that he is the one directing its security and operations, I am inclined to think it is his thoughts that determine what the metaphor becomes. I never thought that Allison might perceive things differently, though. That is a good insight!

          Still. I can’t help but contrast the very Allison wrecking ball with the lush and powerful growths of Technicolor Catgirl Land. They could destroy walls, provide color and nurturing, and bring out the Component in Patrick’s mind.

          But he was never known for his excessively trusting attitude, no matter how cute or kind the stranger is. For better or worse, this is a problem that Allison will be the one to solve.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    I do think a big point to make with this chapter is that having emotional walls aren’t inherently bad. Emotional distance when making decisions can be a good thing. However, there’s a massive difference between holding off emotions when needed for a choice and closing off all emotions permanently in order to avoid or not address the trauma associated with having emotions.

    It would be great if Patrick could work through these issues with a therapist and naturally break down his walls or at least gain the ability to lower and raise them as he wants. But he isn’t exactly in a state to be able to do that and I don’t know if his powers would prevent him from being able to engage that way without direct help like what Alison is doing.

    So, in order to give him the ability to fix his walls in the future and actually design them from a more stable base, this does seem like the best option for him. Destroying his emotional barriers right now is the best way to give him the opportunity to rebuild them properly.

    • DeColumna Vanessa

      Where is he going to find a therapist that will work for him? He can hear everything the therapist thinks before opening xer mouth.

      I agree, this is a best case scenario for him, come what may on the next few pages.

      • scottfree

        That’s no bad thing: a therapist isn’t going to try and trick him into doing something harmful or unhealthy. The difference is that Patrick has mainly, by the nature of his ability, done more receiving than talking. He may know everything the therapist knows just by commuting into the city on the same train, but unless he’s telling her how he feels he has no knowledge of how to apply her training.

      • Sterling Ericsson

        Yeah, that’s my point. With the way his powers work, I don’t think therapy is really an option for him.

      • Mathew Pederson

        Does anyone recall what Allison’s major is? We know she had a philosophy class, so she may be studying exactly this kind of thing. In a sense, Allison *is* the therapist (although one with incomplete training who is using far more proactive methods than is professionally acceptable. It’s almost like she thinks she’s a superhero or something…)

      • MisterTeatime


    • friendlymosquito

      I’d also like to add that HE came to HER for help….so, probably he’ll just have to take what he can get. She’s the only person he even a little bit trusts, and if he doesn’t like how it turns out, well, it’s not like he had a better option.

    • M. Alan Thomas II

      This is definitely a local minimum, as it were; there is no getting better from here without destabilizing the system through a massive and traumatic input that will make things worse before they get better.

  • craptastic

    I read that as “time to put away the walls and grow, the fuck, up” but I guess mega girl doesn’t cuss/swear.

    • trev006

      Allison swears routinely. Hopefully not in front of actual children, just the anthromorphic personification of trauma-induced sociopathy? Eh.

    • Blayne Farson

      She’s repeating what was said to her by Patrick so long ago when he gave up being Menace and what she said when she hung up her cape, but walls this time instead of toys, I’m frankly amazed no one else in the comments had mentioned it at the time I posted this, unless I did not see it anyways.

      • Olivier Faure

        R Lex Eaton mentioned it. You’re not special!

        • R Lex Eaton

          That’s not very nice. >>

          • Olivier Faure

            (also, there’s an infinite number of you in parallel universes who also posted the same thing, so you’re not special either 😛 )

          • R Lex Eaton

            Smartass. XP

  • Gotham

    Okay so I know Boytoy Lord struck first and it kind of legitimizes self-defense but, wouldn’t it have been interesting if Smol Patrick wasn’t so dumb. Could Alison claim she has the right to take control, over Patrick’s agency and desires, for what she (but not him) considers mental health… if The cutest baby Pat hadn’t tried to murder her?

    Alison talks big about the importance of feelings but at the end of the day the moral of this story is “Be strong so that you can impose your worldview by waiting for people to attack you and crushing them back”

    • Sterling Ericsson

      Patrick, full real world form, was the one that chose Alison to be involved in this in the first place. He basically invited her in to fix the problem. Her methods of doing so should honestly have been expected by him if he didn’t know/guess already.

      He chose her as the method of fixing the issue, whatever that entailed.

      • ObviousPuppetAccount

        He was asking for it?

        • Gotham

          OH COME ON

          • ObviousPuppetAccount

            I was saying it in a farcical matter, because I agree with what you said. Also, I posted it before you posted your comment, so it wasn’t in reference to you.

          • Gotham

            I know I know ♥️

          • ObviousPuppetAccount

            Ah, sorry, my bad.

        • KatherineMW

          Allison’s dream in the beginning of the chapter: “Break me as fast as you can. I’m trying to kill you. One day, you’ll put me back together.”

          I think it’s possible that he was, quite literally, asking for it.

          • Tiago Quintana

            Many here already predicted the narrative would be on Alison’s side. Their criticism is exactly that it shouldn’t be.

          • Stephanie

            To be fair, if Patrick primed her to smash up his brain, that doesn’t necessarily mean the narrative is on her side. It could mean he’s successfully manipulating her. To what end, I don’t know.

          • Weatherheight

            Never, EVER trust the mastermind. Anyone who believes Doctor Doom or Lex Luther doesn’t have an ulterior motive for practically anything they do is sort of missing the point.

            Just once, I want the heroes in a mainstream supers comic realize they’ve been played and done exactly what the villain wanted. And there’s not one thing they can do about it.

            Besides Watchmen, of course.

          • Zorae42

            Xanatos is too strong to appear in a mainstream supers comic.

          • She IS doing exactly what the villain wants: help him break down his problems so he can build himself back up as not, or at least less, of a villain.

          • Weatherheight

            As of yet, having no outcome, we cannot say that is Patrick’s end goal with confidence.
            For all we know, this is an extremely complex plot to suborn Alison’s will.
            It could also be exactly as you say.
            Or Patrick is trying to suborn Tara’s will.
            Or this is where we find out that Clevin has been a latent all along and Patrick has planted the seeds in his mind via verbal suggestion to allow Clevin’s powers to come to the fore, and right now Clevin has burst into a fusion state and is a very slowly expanding ball of energy that has already engulfed 21 city blocks, killing thousands but most importantly killing Sabron DeFae, that bastard who stole Patrick’s favorite toy car when he was four and who totally deserves to die in a way that honestly cannot be linked back to Patrick, I mean, come on, how can it be Patrick’s fault that this guy developed powers oh and incidentally where was MegaGirl during all this, hmmmm?
            Super Hero Comics, man.. they be crazy sometimes.

          • Khlovia

            Silly Donkey.

          • AshlaBoga

            Huh, I never thought that was Patrick talking to Alison. But now that seems by far the most likely possibility.

      • Gotham

        It’s the time of the night when we have to state that a pretty boy passing out drunk and self-destructive on your very bed is not giving consent to mess around with his brain for his so called own good.

        I don’t any one of y’all telling me he was asking for it

        • Tylikcat


        • Stephanie

          I completely agree that passing out on her bed doesn’t constitute consent to brain modification. That said, after being reminded of the “break me as fast as you can” line from Alison’s dream, I can’t help but wonder if Patrick either deliberately or subconsciously primed her to make this decision.

          • Gotham

            I think so too.


          • Misspel

            Wow. I stayed up 30 minutes past my normal bed time reading this discussion. Thanks for having a mostly civil philosophy discussion (those are the best kind).

            Well, my biased, unoriginal, tired, 2 cents. I think that Alison is going too far to be considered ethical with how she is attempting to modify Patrick’s mind. But it is entirely in character for her to act this way. Doing something to try and help him would be justified. Trying to destroy everything that could possibly be bad and not worrying about collateral damage or consent as long as it is her very best effort. That is what Alison does to solve problems. She needs to learn to stop a think a little more. And I think that she knows that (it is why she is in college instead of flying around in a mask punching people) but hasn’t completely internalized how that applies to her decision making process.

          • Hiram

            Right? I feel like I just read a slightly stretched synopsis of Superman: Red Son.

            I agree that accountability is incredibly important when creating a functioning, stable and rational power structure. However, this is a triage situation and Alison’s primary responsibility is not to Pat. Power and control are very different things. Alison doesn’t have the experience or luxury to use the later. She’s like a surgeon, cutting for the very first time and… Shit. Okay, cool debate guys. I’ve got to go marathon Weird Al songs now. Cya.

        • Olivier Faure


          (or, well, to interpret ambiguous signals and possible subconscious messages as being consent, in this case)

        • Zorae42

          What if the issue was physical instead of mental?

          For example, if your shady friend collapsed drunk and feverish with a hand that’s clearly rotting off. And you’re left with the option of taking him to a hospital (which he wouldn’t want cause he’s done some things), letting him straight up die, or trying to cut the hand off without his explicit consent? Would it be considered acceptable to try and help “for their own good”? I mean, there’s lots of things that could go wrong, and there’s even the potential of making things worse (if you consider immediate death worse).

          • Gotham

            Do you assume he wouldn’t want to be saved?
            The analogy collapses because here Lord Babyboy (and much of the Brain Patrol) seem to thinks the walls are the most amazing thing, likely indicating that Patrick Prime thinks the same.

            If you’re friend *wants* to keep his rotting hand then I call breach of consent still, …until you include the “and die” to the end, at which point yes things become ethically messy.

            Euthanasia has nothing to do with suicide, people.

          • Zorae42

            As far as I can tell, Patrick doesn’t want to die. In fact, Lord Boy wanted to kill Alison because he saw her presence as a threat to Patrick.

            So… Part of the rotting hand is the fever that has him convinced his hand is perfectly fine and completely unrelated to his current dying condition. Or, probably more appropriate, it started out as a finger and he was”perfectly fine” then. The fact that it’s now consumed his whole hand and is clearly becoming lethal is unthinkable to him. He wants the hand and doesn’t want to die. But he really really can’t have both.

          • Gotham

            The situation changes if he’s not in a position to give any informed consent, be it to decide to act or not act (contrary to sex, in which case it’s never a bad call to refuse to give consent, uninformed or not)

            Most importantly though, in this case the important matter is Alison herself. She’s not in a position to take this decision on her own specifically because she has the physical ability to act and break his consent uninformed or not, and nowhere near the authority.
            That’s the same thing that happened with Max, all over again.

            We must always start off the assumption that powerful people are wrong.

          • Eric Meyer

            Must we start with that assumption? Could we not instead start with the assumption that everyone wants to help?

            The way I see it, in both metaphors, is that doing nothing is more morally reprehensible than doing something, no matter how well trained one is. It could be tied into the Good Samaritan laws- the idea that anyone _should_ try and help, even if they don’t have the medical knowledge to do so, and so have legal protection in case they fail or make things worse.

            That suggests, to me, that our society would damn her more for sitting by and doing nothing, than for attempting to help and possibly screwing things up. And she, herself, would feel/think that way as well.

            I think, morally, we are all obligated to try and help in the way wee are most confident will fix the damage, whether or not that is the actual best way to do so.

            Now, whether or not she’s right from a _treatment_ point of view.. that gets trickier. After all, anti-vaxxers believe they’re ‘helping’ as they systematically dismantle centuries of disease protection, as might someone who once heard about ‘exposure therapy’ and decides to throw spiders on their arachnaphobic friend. Will what Allison is doing help Patrick out? I think yes. But it might not. It might harm things more.

            What if, behind that Door, is Patrick’s projective mental powers, and he realized that HE was actually influencing his mother to be ‘evil’ all along, and by breaking it Menace will end up becoming Legion in body as well as mind? We don’t know. But I don’t think that’s an excuse to not try and help.

          • Gotham

            Well, I believe that if Superman were real he would be morally justified by doing nothing while the world was burning (and infinitely accountable for every actions he instead chose to take) because the alternative is a countless history of tyrannies.
            It’s not a perfect model, sure, I would prefer to have some laws enticing good behavior over apathy (though I don’t think a legal obligation to rescue people in immediate danger is necessary, people choose to do it regardless)

            Is it that radical a viewpoint? Gurwara himself was talking about the sacred value of inaction an issue ago, and the one he played-acted as criticizing the sanctity of inaction was the tyrant.
            You inevitably get to tyranny when morally, ethically or legally people are compelled to act, because people more powerful than others will always exist.

          • Dan Steadman

            I believe that IS a radical viewpoint, it’s also the sort of unpleasant attitude which I associate with many of the things that are wrong in the world. You are essentailly saying that philanthropic actions have no moral justification. If you have the power to do good then you are morally obligated to do nothing. That’s a bit Randian don’t you think? If you help people out of the mud or save lives you are just enabling their weakness?

            I think the ethical scales tip in favour of ‘If you are in a position to add positive outcomes without making unreasonable sacrifices then you should’. Otherwise you should probably opt out of society and cease to get any benefit from it’s works. We are social and communal creatures by our nature and we generally (I hope) accept that selfishness is a negative and working to the commmunal good is a positive. I’m not saying everyone should become a self sacrificing martyr because we are not ants. What I am saying is that people who are in a position to do good and in fact do so should be lauded. People in that position who don’t should be viewed with suspicion.

            Another thing….People keep saying in these comments, that tyrants represent some sort of ultimate evil as if that were a forgone conclusion. That anyone who imposes their will on others in any way is therefore some sort of representative of evil. I say that is sheer rubbish! Cruelty is the evil that some tyrants impose but any caring mother with a small child exposes the shallow lie that tyrants are automatically evil or even bad.

            I’m sorry, I am tired and probably not putting this in the most compelling or clear way but some of these selfish and smug philosophies really seem designed to annoy me in the same way that evangelists, smug in the knowledge that I’m going to hell and they are going to heaven do.

          • Gotham

            You understood a lot of the thing I said very wrong. Managing to get that I could ever defend that despicable Ayn means I really messed up somewhere in my explanation.
            To sum up:
            I didn’t say Power is morally obligated to do nothing, I said it should be morally justified in doing nothing. Which obviously shouldn’t get them out of the absolute hatred they deserve if they’re not helping their fellow humans. Of course trying to help others less fortunate is the moral thing to do.
            Something less moral to do but also much better to do is let less fortunate people handle their own sticking out of the mud and merely enable them to do so because having Power means running the risk of taking control of their lives, appropriating their struggle, muting their voices. We did quite enough of that already. The best thing Power can do is step aside.

            Keeping expecting Power to do good like you want to only keeps its own worldviews alive and we never move forward. It means only it gets to choose. This is why it is necessary to allow for inaction to be justified.

            And the last thing you said about tyranny is properly terrifying and I won’t even try to argue it’s validity

          • Dan Steadman

            Cool, point taken and tyranny was totally the wrong word! I misused it but in my defence so has everyone else on this list. Tyranny is the cruel or unjust use of power. What I meant to say was the the use of power to make others decisions for them is not in itself, necessarily evil.

          • Eric Meyer

            I think what I’m taking issue with in your stance (and how interesting that your username is Gotham, btw) is that you are equating power with moral bankruptcy. Is it not possible for someone who is morally wholesome to have power? Or even, by acting on good moral standings, to gain power until they are in a position of it?

            And I don’t agree with you on the “sacred value of inaction”. I firmly believe in the old adage that states: “All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”. Inaction in the face of evil or suffering is, in my eyes, the same as a declaration of approval, if not outright abetment of that evil or suffering.

            And on the legal side of things, I’m talking less about the laws that _require_ action (of which there are, in some places- I think Canada’s Good Samaritan laws require that you attempt to give aid) and more of laws that prevent repercussions for mistakes made while attempting to ‘do right’- suggesting that the society in which those laws were made values well-meaning action over ‘safe’ inaction.

          • Gotham

            It’s really interesting to me this instinctive tendency to jump to the defense of power. #NotAllPowerfulMen style. It’s a narrow-minded way to consider things. Yes, powerful people and entitity can be and do some good, but who cares?
            It’s not about figuring out the truth of the matter, it’s about creating a mental attitude of absolute, unquestionable and everlasting distrust of authority, to manage to erase years of cultural conditioning that left it ingrained in us that natural trust of Power.

            With great power comes great responsibility, they said. They said it so much we didn’t realize it meant we were robbed of ours. The biggest movie franchise in history created a narrative where the literal embodiment of America refuses to have to be accountable for his actions and it’s framed as just as valid a point as the non-tyrant one

            We have nothing to lose by never trusting Power. Safe for some amount of mental sanity, maybe (it takes a heavy toll), and Power itself might get sad. Who cares. Power is not affected by the oppressed, especially not by some measly vile disdain.

            And ideally, it’s perfectly safe: either Power does nothing/something good, and it gets to live one more day, or Power fucks up even once and it needs to be obliterated /immediately/.

            But this model only works if we give inaction a pass. If we don’t, Power always gets to choose. Because we implicitly tell it is has to. Because “evil might triumph if good men did nothing”. Because among its litany of inexcusable lies, Power told us and itself that it could ever be a good man.

            So yes I do in fact equate Power with moral bankruptcy. Absolutely, all of the time. Not to fool myself into accepting a quite silly intentional hyperbole as truth, but to force myself to better question and challenge authority. And look at it this way: either I’m not powerful, and it /literally/ doesn’t matter, or I am powerful, and hopeful with enough self-awareness not to absolutely fuck up about it?

            I mean clearly it’s the better worldview. It’s not super compelling, granted, but on the other hand yours excuses “mistakes” made by Power thinking it was justified. I simply cannot accept that.

          • Eric Meyer

            But Power, in a general sense, is what allows for safety. The person who takes charge in a natural disaster, organizing teams to move rubble and distribute aid, is someone with Power- the power to tell someone to do something, and have it done. And really, that’s all that Power boils down to.

            Way back in the dawn of society, it was the one who was Strong enough, or Clever enough, or Wise enough to keep themselves and others alive and healthy that was listened to, that had Power- and they became the leaders because of that.

            Saying that Power is inherently bad, or dangerous, is saying that we, as humans, should be Prey animals, unable to do anything to protect ourselves. That we shouldn’t have weapons to stop wolves from eating us, or make fires to keep the cold from killing us, or use vaccines and antibiotics to prevent disease from creating epidemics. Because all of those things are Power- and, by their very nature, give those who distribute and create and control them Power as well.

            Now, centralized power in this day and age, yes, that can have issues. One person in control of 10 or even 50, that’s Power, but it’s not as dangerous as one person in control of 50,000. Decentralizing the Power is a righteous cause, I’ll agree, but that means, more, of giving everyone _equal_ power, moreso than removing power from others.

            On a more personal note: Power is your parent telling the school board that you did nothing wrong when standing up to a bully, and deciding to reward you instead of further punish you. Power is the Fire Marshal telling your neighbor that they can’t aim fireworks at your house. Power is the police officer pulling a rapist off their victim and cuffing them.

            It is true, that Power can also be the county sheriff embezzeling funds to buy themselves a house, or the school administration not punishing the bully because their parent is on the school board, or the rapist themself, with greater physical or emotional power than the victim. I will admit that.

            I think this argument boils down into the classic “Safety vs. Freedom”. Do you want everyone to have the same Power, the same Freedom to do whatever they want, whether or not it is dangerous to themselves or morally wrong or self-destructive? Or do you want to give that Power to others and reduce your own Freedoms in the hopes that they can keep you Safer?

            I fall a little more towards the Safety side of things- I do want my own freedoms, but I’m perfectly willing to give up the freedoms that would allow me to cause significant physical harm to people. (Emotional and social harm? Eh, let everyone work that out themselves.)

            But yeah. I just… I mean, correct me if I’m wrong (and I’m not attempting to attack you) but it sounds like your definition of “Power” is “Others who have power over me”- those with more money or social clout who can make things hard for you and those you care about. When I think about Power, I’m thinking about any and all agency that any individual Human may have over the world around them.

          • Gotham

            I’m not saying we should remove Power. It’s counterproductive and most certainly impossible. I’m only saying we should be absolutely unforgiving. That it’s too dangerous to trust.

            Some anthropologists think that early humans erected chiefs not out of merit— they (often he) got privilege and agency, sure, but in return, they also got the actual intended role of Power: be the scapegoat.
            That’s what Power should be, first and foremost. The one we destroy when things fail.
            When that’s cemented into culture over millennia, maybe then we can start trusting the ones foolish enough to want the job.

          • Eric Meyer

            Alright. I can see where you’re coming from. In a way, what you’re saying is that the “Great Responsibility” is the burden of perfection balanced by the threat of annihilation. I can understand that.

            It seems an odd pairing, though, to say to someone “Go, help us, lead us, command us to do what we could not do on our own, but if we decide we don’t like it, we’re gonna kill you.” And I’m not so certain of how well it could work in this current age, namely due to the state of education. That sort of decision making by the masses almost requires a mob that is intelligent and level-headed enough to see when difficult choices are necessary- else you’d fall into anarchy or idiocracy much too quickly.

            You’ve given me something to think about, and I’m glad we had this conversation. Best wishes to you.

          • Zorae42

            Yeah, I know that having the belief that “sometimes violating consent is okay if it’s for their own good” is a pretty dangerous slope. Because people are bad and have used it to excuse terrible things (currently are since ABA and Gay Conversion Therapy are still things that exist). I still personally think in my allegory saving your friend’s life is an acceptable moral choice. I’d similarly be okay with someone forcing their friend into rehab to try and save them. But I can also recognize how someone wouldn’t ever think stepping over that line is acceptable no matter what the motivations or consequences of not acting are.

            I will say that with Max she violated his consent for her personal gain/the gain of the many. Here she’s violating Patrick’s consent for his own sake – yeah some of it is self defense and hope that fixing him will get her access to the info she needs, but I believe she is doing this is largely for his benefit. And while what she’s doing does tread some into the dangerous territory of “your way of thinking is wrong so I’m going to forcibly correct it”, it think that since she’s ultimately just trying to fix her hurt friend I’m okay with it… For now. If he magically turns into happy go lucky Patrick or neurotypical Patrick I don’t think I’ll ever forgive her.

            I also think that because she’s not in a position of authority I find it more acceptable. Probably seems like weird logic, but I think friends/family “doing what they think is best” feels kinda acceptable (given that’s truly what they’re doing and not overstepping my personal line of what is okay to do against someone’s will). But Doctors being allowed to ignore patients’ requests because “they know better” seems horrifying to me. Maybe it’s a frequency thing or maybe it’s a trust thing.

          • Tylikcat

            We haven’t seen a version of Patrick that particularly represents Patrick’s external behavior. Which makes me pretty hesitant to equate fifthPatrick and childPatrick’s opinions on this subject, especially considering Patrick’s tenderness towards Alison. (I’m staying away from the PatrickPrime terminology until we have more support for it.)

          • Gotham

            I would have thought the same if the Brain Patrol had been in tension over this issue, but instead it seems like even in the midst of open war between the parties, they all appear to defend the greatness of walls. Safe for RK, admittedly.

            (And I will stay away from official nomenclature because it is funnier)

          • Weatherheight

            No to mention that potentially draws in Transformers analogies, which could take a very unfortunate turn at this point in the story arc…

          • Tylikcat

            War is hell.

          • There’s a well developed set of ethics around informed consent. If the patient can’t communicate then you do the minimum necessary to ensure they can give that informed consent for the rest of what’s needed.

      • If you’re the metaphoric hammer, then even multiple-personality-disorder looks like a nail?

        • Weatherheight

          The multiple-personality-disorder that stands up will be wrecking balled down.

        • Sterling Ericsson

          I mean, if you could actually get rid of the other personalities through metaphysical means, I suppose it would be an effective treatment mechanism.

    • Shjade

      Given what Alison has consistently demonstrated in the comic to date, I’m pretty sure she still would’ve felt compelled – if not outright righteous – about taking control of the situation to resolve it as she saw fit when it became clear to her that Patrick would not be resolving it to her satisfaction himself.

      I don’t think she would’ve taken quite so abrupt or violent an approach to the problem minus the murder attempt, but I’m pretty sure it would have still been demolition-based to some degree.

      • Weatherheight


        Love it!

    • Zorae42

      I don’t think she would’ve. Because if he hadn’t tried to kill her then she could’ve just gotten the information she came for.

      I think she would’ve told him that his walls were unhealthy, but as long as he gave her what she needed and let her go, she wouldn’t have taken it upon herself to fix him.

    • Giacomo Bandini

      Alison is defending again attacks… present and future, against her and other persons. At this point Patrick is incredibly dangerous. He is capable to ensnare other person’s mind inside his own, and to hurt and even kill themonce there are inside himself, He is a living weapon, just like Alison, but with an extremally complicated and fragmented personality, which makes him absolutly untrustworty. And beside.. he just tried to kill an innocent woman, for the “crime” of being nice to him. He is a monster who needs to be neutralized. But how? There is no way to neutralize his psychic powers, and physical imprisonment cant stop a psychic attack; and also, she needs to find a way to the waking world, which we are not sure even exist. The only think she can do is change his mind, his motivation who are making him a dangerous monster. It may not work, or even worse things, sure…but there are not many more choices

      Suppose a foreign country attacks yours, and you barley defeat them, you make sure they cannot attack you again. So you take away their weapons, of course, but also, you remove their leaders. You do what is necessary to reduce the threat of futures attacks.

      • Gotham

        By any of that logic Alison should have been disposed of /immediately/, as soon as she threw a mug into someone face or hell, as soon as she destroyed a snack dispenser because she was frustrated.

        And I don’t even necessarily disagree, my issue is not what needs to be done but who gets to make that decision.

        • Giacomo Bandini

          Patrick is responsible for the deaths of thousands of people. He is trying to kill Alison, he is developing new and apparently uncontrolled powers, and he seems to be relapsing into villany. I do not think it can be paragoned to Alison.

          Everyone gets. Everyone of us is making the best he can to assure himself and his loved ones safety. Powerful beings, nations or individuals, simply can do it better.

          If you attack me with a baseball bat, when i am around my loved ones, well, and i have not a clear way to escape, and you are not trusty enought to negotiate with, well sorry, but i have to fight back. If i can disarm you and just restrain you well, that is good. But if for whatever reason i cannot do that, and i have to beat you into submission, i will do: i’m aware that doing it i can really harm you, or even kill you, but i cannot allow you to swing that bat around mine or my loved ones heads.

          • Gotham

            I’m… not criticizing self-defense? Ever?

            I’m saying there’s a difference between shooting the robber that breaks into your home and threatens your family (ah, the scenario that literally never happens in reality ♥️) and systemically butchering the [REDACTED] because you say they’re threatening your country. Even if they actually were!
            What matters is not the act of self-defense but the scale of the players.

            Alison shouldn’t get to choose, because her power gives her actions too much leeway. I know she’s trying to be nice and that’s too bad because she is /too dangerous/.

          • Giacomo Bandini

            The … scale of the players?!? I do not get it, If anything the scale is in favor of the mental Patrickes. The sentinel is clearly stronger, and they have the number advantages. Alison has a good idea, but it’s just an idea. She can’t be sure she will be able to pull it of, if it will work before the sentinel kills her, or even if it will work at all. And on the plane of risks, well, Alison is risking her life, the sentinel can kill her, while is not clear what would happen should Alison’s plan work. Maybe mental trauma, maybe catatonia; but maybe he can be actually happy.

            I have to say, i like very much your military example, and i think i’m going to use it. You are a general of an army, defending your country. You have been ambushed by an enemy army, lead by an evil king and his tre leautenents: one of them is really evil, the others not so much, in the past one of them even propose you a alliance, but right now they are loyal to the evil general, who is hell bent to destroying you and your country because he is concinced that you are too dangerous for his nation.
            His army is clearly stronger and you were forced to reatraet before total defeat. Luckily you were able to retrat in a valley, very well natural defended, where the enemy can’t follow you.Unfortuatly you seem to be trapped too ebcause the only way to leave is fighting the enemy, who is still too strong. So you consider your options: you can wait here, hoping that the enemy will go back home, or that some allied army decided to come to your rescue, or you may try to find a way to escape the valley unnoticed and get back to you capital, so that you can raise a bigger army. But while you wait, you have absolutely no idea on what the enemy is planning: maybe he will discover a way to enter the valley, or he is already marching on your capital.
            While you think about that, one of your underlies come to you with a proposition: he suggest a very risky plan to fight the enemy and then, with a surprise move, eliminate the evil king and his leautenents. It’s a good plan, but there is a problem: you do not know for sure the consequences. Probalby the new leaders of the enemy army would be less evil, and it could be reasoned. But maybe it will be even a more evil army; it’s also possible that the army falls in total disarray, and goes back to its own country and devastate it.
            What are you gonna do, General Gotham? Would you give the order, or not?

          • Gotham

            I have /no/ idea what this interminable thought experiment is supposed to stand for, this is fun. Why are there two good lieutenants and one bad one? Why are there lieutenants at all if we just kill them all anyway? Are the first military options still part of the experiment or just there for narrative flavor? What is any of this supposed to reveal? My stance toward utilitarianism? Politics? …mathematical probabilities?

            It’s like if the trolley problem took five hours to tell and you had no idea which way the tracks would reorient if you pulled the lever. It’s a puzzle, not a moral dilemma.

            Anyway you mentioned the invading army is clearly stronger anyway so most of none of this matters, I’d have no remorse in slaughtering them all in self-defense so I’ll go with whatever plan does it

  • Dave M

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

    • trev006

      I think I read that in a Reagan/ Gorbachev hurt/ comfort fic once.

      Of course, I also have a drill scar on my scalp, so I assume some mental trauma is being glossed over.

    • I first saw this movie when I was 13 or 14. I had a fever and was a bit delirious.

      The movie made perfect sense 🙂

      Clearly I didn’t need no education 😀

      • Weatherheight

        First time I saw that movie, I was well and truly baked.
        Second time I saw it, I was sober as a judge.
        Liked it much better the first time, made a heck of a lot more sense the second time.
        And that was being a HUGE fan of the album from the first day it was released.

  • Guancyto

    Alison, I know all your heroic instincts are working against you right now, but the point of coming in like a wrecking ball is to NOT get so caught up in making speeches that you let yourself get surrounded by the bad guys.

    • Locolollipop

      I saw that as more of a visual that all his attention is focused on her, thus all the aspects we’ve been presented with being there.

    • yrsegal

      Except that words are, most likely, the best form of attack against Lord Boy she’s got.

    • Olivier Faure

      It’s okay, Lord Boy shouted “Stop her” hysterically, so he’s basically doomed now.

      • palmvos

        I will provide for lord boy a cape!

    • To Patrick’s brain, she’s currently the villain. Hence, monologuing.

      • Weatherheight

        The genre savvy is strong in this one…

  • S.I. Rosenbaum

    Demolition therapy

  • S.I. Rosenbaum

    Also, this is a very Kirk solution to a problem.

    • R Lex Eaton

      With a fine Kirk Speech to accompany it.

      And topped off with an ironic echo.

    • Devon Jolly

      It is? Kirk was the one who’s famous line was “I NEED MY PAIN!” when offered the ability to do super therapy an heal it.

      • Teka the Budgie

        Was that the weird brainwashing Vulcan who was Spock’s bro in the fifth movie?

        • yeshallbeasgods

          That’s the one.

      • The Improbable Man

        I love that line, and I agree that it’s a Kirk solution. Patrick is walling off his pain. He needs to learn to live with it rather than making it disappear.

        I get that it’s canon that Sybok was really helping people, but it sure felt like some kind of cult-like brainwashing when I watched that movie. So I understand your perspective, but Kirk was not walling off his pain.

        • Dan Nicholson

          He was helping people. And brainwashing them. You can do both. In his case, he was taking advantage of people’s gratitude for the tremendous relief from pain… and using that to get them to further his own goals. You don’t need unethical mind-control-telepathy for that. Just lacked professional ethics of real therapists. 🙂

    • Pol Subanajouy

      The Kirkiest

  • Noone

    I don’t know man, isn’t everything good and bad behind that wall? The emotions of everyone he ever met?
    I don’t know if the joy of having the emotional memories of a thousand parents holding their new born babies in their hands weighs up against having to live with knowing what it feels like to murder a single person.
    Statistically there must be a lot of really, REALLY bad stuff behind the wall.
    A lot of people have done some things that nearly left them broken with guilt or have had stuff happen to them that nearly destroyed them. Some of them probably did get broken and destroyed.
    The memories from one person might be managable, but from multiple? I don’t know if anyone is strong enough to handle that, certainly not all in one go.

  • NotPatrick

    This whole speech is just so cringe-worthy. It just conflates so many unrelated things into one big jumbled mess. First, there is no coherent notion of ‘logic’ that embraces all of the uses that either Allison or this Straw-Vulcan version of Patrick want to make of it. For the scattered uses which Patrick has tried to make use of it, ‘logical’ would probably be best understood as meaning something like “conceptually elegant” or “composed primarily of easily understood discrete mathematical structures cumulatively arranged into some clear architecture”. For Allison’s usage, there is literally nothing that ‘logical’ as an adjective would apply to, other than vague allusions that it probably has something to do with formal logic devoid of any axioms. But it definitely has something to do with why machines are gross and various facts about human emotional psychology, except its only to show why Patrick’s unrelated use of the word is not viable. Everything else is just a jumbled comic-book writer’s attempt to teach us what computers are.

    • Tiago Quintana

      “Straw-Vulcan”. Yes, that is a perfect description for Anima. Patrick (and, by extension, Anima), has routinely been shown to absorb knowledge directly from other people’s minds, he (and, by extension, Anima) should know of critical thinking and dialectics and be capable of formulating a proper counter-response (off the top of my head: “Well, no duh, Alison, the point is that logic can regulate our emotions and let us prioritise one over the other in accordance to the situation”) instead of just standing there slack-jawed.

      • Frag

        Patrick is not in a state where he capable of thinking clearly.

        Also, just because you understand psychology – forget telepathy, consider people who are trained as counselors or psychologists – does not mean that you can reason clearly about yourself, and do not need help from someone else to work through and reflect on your own issues. This is especially true of Patrick – remember the scene on the bed? “You mean, you can’t read your own mind!?”

        That does not mean Allison is right, just that Patrick’s behavior fits.

        (Long time lurker here, de-lurking to post a comparison to Pink Floyd’s The Wall, but I see someone else beat me to it.)

        • Tiago Quintana

          Honestly, with the reveal that Patrick is capable of editing his own mind, I find it very odd that he also can’t read it.

      • shink

        You both seem to be forgetting the part where everything Anima and Menace do is done through the lens of being unable to analyze Lord Boy’s axioms, or even recognize that they are in fact axioms. To both Menace and Anima the pain and trauma that has shaped Lord Boy’s feelings and caused him to have a desire to shut out the world are the very basis of all decision making. Alison is pointing out that the feelings of Lord Boy is an axiom, and one in desperate need of reexamining.

        • Tiago Quintana

          See “the narrative is on Alison’s side”. 🙂 That the plot aligned things so Alison would be in the right does not validate the justifications she’s using.

          • Devon Jolly

            The funny thing is that it appears as if Patric was the one to teach her about axioms in the first place. Remember Guwara, the mass hallucination?

          • pidgey

            You’re using the word “appears” pretty freely here.

          • Devon Jolly

            an odd statement.

          • 3-I

            It’s interesting how comments like these always crop up whenever Alison does anything active. Comments about the narrative unrealistically or artificially supports her doing something. Especially considering that when she is being lectured to for months, nobody seems to say it.

          • Tiago Quintana

            Yes, because I made those comments when she fought against Cleaver, or when she went after the invisible killer, or when she founded Valkyrie, or when she attacked the people who tried to kill Feral. Oh, wait, I didn’t!

            If you’re going to debate the point, I’d really like it if you did so in good faith. Otherwise, I’m going to ask you to stick to your strawmen and keep me out of it.

          • You may not have made those comments, but other people did. Because EVERYBODY has different ideas about what Allison should and should not do in any particular circumstance. EVERYBODY here thinks that she’s done some things right and some things wrong.

            Including Allison.

          • Tiago Quintana

            Yes. That can be called either “textual analysis” or “having an opinion”, depending on a variety of things, neither of which are inherently bad, as you seem to be making them to be.

          • … I don’t think they’re bad. I am not sure where I was misleading, and I’d genuinely like to know, so I can correct that impression. That’s one of the things I genuinely like about this comment section.

          • Tiago Quintana

            Oh, I apologise! I mistook you for the same person who made the initial comment. Conflating the two is what gave me that impression (and, to be honest, led to my reply being more aggressive than it should have been. Again, I apologise!).

          • 3-I

            I’m not going to debate your point. I’m just pointing out a trend I have noticed among the commentariat at large- which, you know, includes people who are not you but say similar things- to favor Alison not taking action.

            Pointing out trends that you claim not to have participated in ain’t a strawman argument. You’re not being attacked.

        • NotPatrick

          I doesn’t make any sense to talk about anyone’s “axioms” here as a fundamental source of moral principles. First off, logic needs axioms just as much any particular theory. There’s no particular reason why one should prefer classical logic to intuitionist logic or modal logic or constructive logic, so where you’d even draw the line between what is a value-neutral part of logic and what is a part of our actual ‘theory’ is pretty hard to determine. But suppose you manage to agree on a standard neutral ‘logic’ (say, first order classical logic). Now are the non-logical axioms added by something like set theory, number theory or group theory now a part of our moral underpinning? No, of course not, so then we have to come up with a sufficient excuse for them not to count, and then another for the laws of physics and such.

          Of course, we still have nothing in our theory with that magical required property of being able to “prompt action”, so we need to add some sort of predicates “Good(x)” “Bad(x)” to allow us to assert the moral significance of certain sorts of things. And for some reason we then decide to primarily use the word “axiom” to refer to axioms containing such predicates. Except in all of this, we still have no particular link between assertions and actions, no particular reason why we should consider a proof of Good(A) as naturally prompting an action. Why is that link so much more natural than some particular entity deciding that any proposition containing the predicate Red should prompt some spinning motion?

          What seems unbelievable to me is that the various Patrickuses (Patricki? Patrickpodes?) would have just the required kind of irrational fear of non-logical axioms containing moral predicates necessary to make all of this convoluted criticism possible. Especially when a formulation of their desires wants and goals in terms of utility functions is what would be more conventional, more popular among all the hip reductionists since forever, and would handle all of the supposed hang-ups about explicitly recognizing the motivation behind some action.

        • NotPatrick

          I doesn’t make any sense to talk about anyone’s “axioms” here as a fundamental source of moral principles. Logic needs axioms just as much any particular theory. There’s no particular reason why one should prefer classical logic to intuitionist logic or modal logic or constructive logic, so where you’d even draw the line between what is a value-neutral part of logic and what is a part of our actual ‘theory’ is pretty hard to determine. But suppose you manage to agree on a standard neutral ‘logic’ (say, first order classical logic). Now are the non-logical axioms added by something like set theory, number theory or group theory now a part of our moral underpinning? No, of course not, so then we have to come up with a sufficient excuse for them not to count, and then another for the laws of physics and such. Of course, we still have nothing in our theory with that magical required property of being able to “prompt action”, so we need to add some sort of predicates “Good(x)” “Bad(x)” to allow us to assert the moral significance of certain sorts of things. And for some reason we then decide to primarily use the word “axiom” to refer to axioms containing such predicates. Except in all of this, we still have no particular link between assertions and actions, no particular reason why we should consider a proof of Good(A) as naturally prompting an action. Why is that link so much more natural than some particular entity deciding that any proposition containing the predicate Red should prompt some spinning motion?
          What seems unbelievable to me is that the various Patrickuses (Patricki? Patrickpodes?) would have just the required kind of irrational fear of non-logical axioms containing moral predicates necessary to make all of this convoluted criticism possible. Especially when a formulation of their desires wants and goals in terms of utility functions is what would be more conventional, more popular among all the hip reductionists since forever, and would handle all of the supposed hang-ups about explicitly recognizing the motivation behind some action.

          • Tylikcat

            Patricii? It is derive from the latin, but I always screw up my latin plurals.

    • Ptorq

      Her speech is everything I would expect from someone who took ONE philosophy-related course in college, taught by a guy who wandered in off the street. So, props for internal consistency

      • Devon Jolly

        Actually, earlier stuff in this chapter suggest that Guwara was a mass hallucination caused by Patric’s current breakdown and evolving power-set. Patric taught Allison the line of BS she’s feeding him. How’s that for a mind-fuck?

        • elysdir

          I didn’t see Gurwara’s presence in Patrick’s mind as an indication that he was a hallucination.

          • Devon Jolly

            Patrick’s been projecting things at Allison as part of his evolving powers, the real teacher had his mind messed with, and Guwara was a part of Patricks mind. It’s only a small jump to Patrick projecting to the class the Guwara is there teaching them.

          • The problem with this argument is that Patrick’s broadcasts have been uncontrolled and metaphorical – dreamlike even. But if we presume Gurwara was Patrick-mediated then that’s a conscious, directed narrowcast, and its message was completely inimical to the Lord Boy regime, because it taught Alison to care about the feelings and concerns, i.e. emotions, of others.

            So either Patrick is simultaneously unable to control his talent, and to wield it like a master, or we have to introduce a further, rogue element to Patrick’s brain with special powers not possessed by the other avatars.

          • Devon Jolly

            Split personality. Anima talking about taking over and driving Patrick to street bum when Allison hit him with the loonytoons mug pretty much suggests it. Guwara being in his head and able to do things better than the two or three fighting personalities isn’t that much of a stretch in abnormal psychology and it’s downright expected in Superhero comics. Remember the Onslaught arc from Marvel?

    • Weatherheight

      Zen and the Art of Motorcycle maintenance puts the lie to her speech, I should think.
      Philosophically, Alison’s tirade is pretty sophomoric (in the truest sense of that word).

  • Urthman

    The fact is, all of this is metaphor. There’s no actual wall in Patrick’s brain and Alison isn’t actually swinging a wreckingball inside his skull. I think all she’s actually doing is “forcing” Patrick to pay attention to things he’s deliberately ignored for a long time. And by “forcing” I mean she’s doing something analogous to shouting or waving things at him in ways that he’s unable to ignore.

    • Tylikcat

      Alison was able to access Patrick’s power when she jumped into Tara’s mind. But even aside from that, I don’t think any of this is stuff that should be taken lightly. Dealing with trauma is really hard.

  • AustinC123

    ‘You can’t derive an ‘ought’ from an ‘is!’ If I smash this brain apart it’ll be because I FEEL LIKE IT!!’

  • Zac Caslar

    Cue up “The Heavy,” because how ya like her now?!


    Ahhhh, I’m having so much fun with this. It takes courage to be that drastic and this is what a heroine is for.

    Swing for the fences, Mega Girl.

    • Merle

      It’s always a good time to queue up The Heavy.

  • KatherineMW

    She’s absolutely right.

    In a way, it’s like the distinction between ideology and policy, but on a personal level rather than a governmental one. You’ll see a lot of people (technocrats) saying we need to avoid ideology and just govern by policy, but policy and evidence can’t tell you WHAT you want to achieve, You need a value structure, a worldview, that’s the foundation for deciding what your objectives are, and then use policy and evidence to determine the best way to achieve those objectives.

    • Olivier Faure

      (Okay, so today is “I jump to every bait I see” day! Let’s get to it!)

      This is arguing over labels more than concepts. In my experience, most people who say “govern by policy and evidence” mean “Instead of using 95% ideology and 5% policy and evidence, we should really be closer to 5% ideology and 95% policy and evidence”.

      In other words, have a value structure as simple and close to first principles as you can get, and derive the rest from evidence.

  • GreatWyrmGold

    Alison, you’ve already established that the status quo is bad. That doesn’t mean your solution is better. Are you ever going to get to establishing that?
    …No? Just assuming that breaking the existing system will make things better? You should know enough history to know how stupid that is…

    • R Lex Eaton

      Kind of an untenable alternative when the established order here wants her dead.

      She’s been making cracks in the walls since they first met. Outwardly, this seems to have been good for Patrick. And then he started pushing her away.

      • Weatherheight

        It’s possible that expulsion would suffice, but yeah, dead is the more likely goal here.

    • Laurelinde

      The trouble is, if the status quo is on the verge of killing Patrick pretty imminently, she doesn’t necessarily have time to work out a better or ideal solution (or doesn’t believe she does.) I feel like part of this is Alison’s tendency to default to ‘when in doubt, break stuff’, yes, but also partly desperation. Patrick needs some kind of brain first aid and possibly there is no one in the world capable of really knowing what to do. (And if there is, there’s no guarantee they’re not part of the conspiracy and would harm him anyway.) At this point, she may well just feel that doing something and having tried is better than sitting back and watching him die.

      • GreatWyrmGold

        I’m not convinced that the status quo is on the verge of killing Patrick. Nor that smashing up Patrick’s mind shouldn’t put him into a vegetative state (or at least give him serious brain damage).

  • I disagree wholeheartedly.
    Isn’t the most rational and logical thing for a human being to seek its well being? Why should I want death and despair? I wouldn’t define “prioritizing life” as an emotional drive. Even emotionless bacteria do that out of necessity. Emotions are shortcuts that our brain developed in order to instinctively know what’s the most logical thing to do without the effort of actually thinking.
    This dualism between logic and emotions as they were incompatible is just a bad sci-fi cliché. (Damn you, Mr. Spock!)

    • Olivier Faure

      Yeah, Allison is conflating emotions and drives here, which aren’t quite the same thing.

    • “Seeking its own well being” as being a goal is an unprovable axiom.

      We can state that an organism that seeks its own well-being is more likely to survive to reproduce, and therefore will have more evolutionary success. That is a statement which is subject to observation, measurement, science, and logic.

      However, to jump from that to “an organism SHOULD seek its own well-being” is a value judgement. At that point, you’ve switched from the physical realm of the observable to the metaphysical realm of ethics and morals.

      It’s a pretty simple jump, and the vast majority of ethical systems accept it as a reasonable axiom, but it IS an axiom that has to be taken on faith.

      We can state that “seeking one’s own well-being is likely to lead to happiness”, and, if we can agree on a measurable definition of “happiness”, that statement can be part of logic and the observable universe. But to go from that to “being happy is good and is a goal” is, again, a jump to metaphysics.

      Aristotle buys that argument, more-or-less, but says that it’s not easy to define “happiness/well-being/eudaemonia (which is his term for “happiness/well-being”). Jeffery Bentham argues that maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain is the goal of ethics, but that has to be spread out over EVERYBODY, not just PERSONAL pleasure/pain. Confucius argues that actions that help the traditional community — one’s family, one’s Emperor, one’s society as a while — are good actions, whether or not they help individuals, and whether or not they cause pleasure or pain. Kant argues that actions are good or bad in themselves, instead of based on their effects. The Catholic Church argues that, in some cases, the same action can be good or evil depending on the purpose of it, and that same “doctrine of double effect” is also part of modern Western medical ethics (for instance, if there is a terminally ill patient who is in great pain, the only painkiller available is morphine or some such, and the only dose of morphine which has a chance of easing their pain also has a good chance of killing the person — then giving them that dose to ease the pain is morally acceptable, but giving them that dose to END their pain isn’t.)

      None of those are provable or disprovable. They’re all metaphysical, ethical axioms. While it SEEMS like “continuing to exist” and “not being in pain” are OBJECTIVELY good, their goodness isn’t part of the physical world, and is therefore not part of logic. Once you accept those axioms, THEN you can start using logic on them, but the actual acceptance of them is metaphysical — and we access the metaphysical more through emotion than through logic.

  • Olivier Faure

    The really annoying thing is that I both disagree fundamentally with Allison and think I could formulate every single one of her arguments better than she does.

    • Smithy

      I’ll take you up on that, because I am honestly curious.
      Why actually do you disagree, and/or how would you formulate her argument?

      • Olivier Faure

        I think a lot of the discussion here has outlined both good counter-arguments and defenses of Allison’s position.

        Regarding why I disagree: I think Allison’s stance, and by extension the stance of real life people who act like Allison, comes from a place of arrogance and naïveté. Allison has barely a year of entry-level philosophy classes under her belt, and yet she’s acting like she’s an authority on how the mind works (while talking to a telepath, who presumably has studied more psychology than her). She’s acting like the stereotypical first year student, who knows enough about her discipline to make some amount, sense, but is completely blind to how much she still has to learn.

        Otherwise, she’s conflating value statements and emotions, which aren’t the same thing. She’s also making a lot of vague philosophical-sounding metaphors (“a computer needs a program to run”), which don’t really have a basis in reality. I’m not sure about the “basic cognition requires emotional input” part, but I don’t think it has much basis in reality either. She’s assuming that the walls of the city are only useful to repress his trauma, but for all we know the compartmentalization they represent is the only thing keeping him sane despite his mind-reading powers. She’s also conflating Anima’s goal (“live without irrational desires”) with wanting to be emotionless and mechanical, which is a bit of a jump (though the narrative is kind of pointing in that direction anyway).

        I think a more convincing argument for Patrick would be to tell him to look inwards. “Patrick, you’ve been with abuse survivors before, right? Can’t you that what you’re doing to yourself in the same thing people like Cleaver did, compartmentalizing away painful emotions and going for easy solutions? There’s a lot of bad stuff you need to deal with, and you absolutely need tools to protect your mind, but how do you decide what’s bad? With rules you set up when you were 10 years old, that you’ve never updated since? You becoming Menace wasn’t an accident, and you know it’s hurt you. You’re hurting yourself again and again, and the only way to go past that is to try something different. Accept some short term emotional pain now, before it’s too late. Destroying the walls will hurt you, but you will not survive if you don’t rebuild this city better. Come to terms with that.”

        (I mean, that would still be massively arrogant and presumptuous, but it would be at least somewhat convincing)

  • KingOfAllExplosions

    “Gross! Machines are worse than brains!”

    Someone give this writer a Pulitzer.

    • Olivier Faure

      Wow, that’s a little mean-spirited.

  • 12th

    Another round of “Love the comic, hate the comments”.

    • Devon Jolly

      Rofl. I tend to agree.

  • Ricardo Alves Junqueira Pentea


    She really does like to decide how people should live, eh?

    Well, he did ask for it, though…

    • Devon Jolly

      Girl presenting as a boy, is arguing with guy mentally presenting as a girl (anima says shes patrics truest form) about the trauma that made him that way and is about to bring a hammer to his head for being “wrong”.

      I love how ironic this comic series is.

      • FM-96

        “Girl presenting as a boy”

        Wait, what? Did I miss something?

        • martynW

          Well, she does seem to have adopted the physique of a ten-year-old in this realm, but I think it’s still basically female.

        • Devon Jolly

          Alison went from being the girl next door to looking like a boy. Dress, hair, lack of any figure, manerisms.

  • Dawn Smashington

    Has anyone else thought that Patrick might be working for whatever the conspiracy is? Like, maybe because she was getting new powers, she became a target for whoever’s been killing supers, and he’s part of that? Am I crazy?

    • Eileen Young

      I think that Alison might be becoming a target not because of her new powers but because she’s starting to make a difference socially with Valkyrie.

    • Mechwarrior

      To be honest, I’m still not convinced that this “conspiracy” is anything more than the result of an inferiority complex on Patrick’s part.

      • Weatherheight

        I tend to agree, but I suspect that there is some sort of little “mini-conspiracies” set/grouping out there that Patrick has somehow linked into one large set/group.

  • Eileen Young

    Huh. I think if any part of Patrick is persuaded, glowing green Alison might actually help with the teardown.

  • TravellingStranger

    Can’t say I’m delighted by the whole ‘your way of thinking and feeling is wrong, and you’re a monster because of it’ angle. Being delivered by someone who has never more obviously been a first-year psychology student is just the insult to the injury.

    • Weatherheight

      I’m seeing more philosophy there than psychology, but definitely first or second year (at best).

  • Jshadow

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much nonsense stuffed in one page and trying to pass it off as compeling phylosophy.

    And if Patrick isn’t turned into vegitable by the time this is over I’ll be really dissapointed.

  • I’m surprised she didn’t throw out “Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them!” in a thick Scottish accent while she was at it.

    With the language she’s using, I think this is more influenced by modern neurology than my boy David Hume, but I can still fantasize about a crossover between SFP and Existential Comics. Maybe she’d make Kant cry when she pointed out he did not, in fact, solve philosophy.

    • Ray Radlein

      Don’t Feuerbach until you see the whites of their eyes

      • Weatherheight

        And never pay full price if you can Hegel.

  • LatePocketwatch

    I think I’d take apart the argument more if it wasn’t an interesting bit of character interaction, basically she’s relapsing into what she thinks a costumed hero should be with dramatic one liners that don’t sum up the argument as much as strawman the opposition as an inherently bad quality, immaturity. If the intent was to focus on the argument itself, I think that would have worked better as an after action report or conversation, like when she talks to her shrink or visited that blade cancer guy in jail.

    • Weatherheight

      Interesting word choice – relapsing…
      This makes me wonder if a part of how Alison is acting here is a function of Patrick’s memories of Alison struggling to reconcile with Alison as she is now (since this area is essentially all about Patrick structuring input into a manageable whole). And THAT is affecting Alison’s reactions, causing her to be more as she was during the foundation experiences the two of them shared.

      • LatePocketwatch

        It doesn’t have to involve telepathic influence. This is likely the first time she’s seen Patrick in his ‘Menace’ costume in years. It would be weirder if she didn’t react to that and she’s not in the most stress free position right now.

        • Weatherheight

          Sort of where I was driving towards, but stated more succinctly here.
          Full marks.

  • martynW

    Not sure I like an epistemology based on the primacy of feelings.

    Why isn’t it logical to prioritize life over death? If you look at most of the vicious killers of our history, irrational emotion was usually in the driver’s seat.

    • palmvos

      because logic is a tool, not an ethos. Logic is used in most religions its just that the starting assumptions are … different … than what other people might make. I can prove death is preferable to life using logic. its all in the assumptions.

      • martynW

        Well, you can’t separate the logic from the premises, that’s true, but if you stick with premises as solidly based in reality as possible, logic and reason work pretty well.

        Of course, since we’re not omniscient, false premises show up all the time. That’s human. But at least we have to work as hard as possible to avoid it.

    • Smithy

      But it’s not “logical” to prioritize life over death. Logic doesn’t care one whit about life or death, happiness or despair. Logic CAN help you achieve whatever your goal is, but it can’t give you that goal.
      For instance, logic could tell you that the best way to save your town from floods by building a dam, but there is nothing strictly logical about saving your town, that is your own desire. Now, there is perhaps some logic in saving your village if your goal is to “survive” and you depend on the village for that. But desire to survive is not a logical statement itself, and there are probably other logical and easier ways to save yourself (secure your very own house, change its location, change village, etc).
      Logic gives you solutions, it doesn’t pose the problems.

  • Dropkick

    I agree, privileged white woman, abuse survivors just need to grow up. Is next chapter going to be her curing someone with major depression by telling them to cheer up and smile more?

    • Giacomo Bandini

      This must be the strawmanning of the year. No, not privileged white woman or abuse survivors does not need to grow up. But YES, MONSTERS needs to grow up. Patrick is just not an abuse survivor, but an abuser himself. Change or die.

    • palmvos

      given that she is trapped, her spotter is trapped, and she is bleeding. she’s being nice and explaining herself. she really doesn’t need to explain anything at this point.

  • I love how this comic routinely reminds me that reading the comments is always a mistake 🙂

    • See, I have the opposite reaction. I strongly disagree with about half the comments, but this is one of the few comments sections I know where the comments are actually worthwhile, whether I agree with them or not.

  • I’ll make the same point I made on the previous page.

    We’ve passed beyond what’s best for the patient. Alison is bleeding and Feral is unconscious. Whether Alison’s action is best for Patrick has ceased to be the primary ethical driver. Alison has to take action, because the patient’s internal kangaroo court is not just holding a bomb on her and her unconscious bestie, it’s already started the ten-second countdown, and she has to hope that taking them out of the equation will stop the process and save at least two lives, and hopefully three.

    • Agreed. Whether what she’s doing is better for him isn’t her primary motivation. In her conversation with Feral, she used the word ‘poison’. She’s also talking about actively destroying parts of Patrick’s mind. She’s not here to selflessly improve his psychological state. She didn’t enter his mind solely to save him and told Anima as much.

      She may die. Feral may die. Because Patrick’s power is growing as his mental state continues collapsing, Patrick and others may die if Al fails. If her escape from his mind via poisoning it (again! her word!) also helps him, cool. But survival is primary.

    • M. Alan Thomas II

      I agree that she’s aware that this is a potentially lethal situation for her and possibly Feral—although I’m not sure how vulnerable that intellectual knowledge actually makes her feel, given that she’s been effectively invincible for years now, and it’s anybody’s guess what Feral can survive, especially after nigh-unending torture in the transplant lab—but I would argue that she is still primarily interested in helping. If she was in rapid-action, move-or-die mode, she wouldn’t be stopping to explain the benefits of her actions to Patrick; she does so because she’s trying to help him as much as possible even if the delay’s potentially harmful to herself.

    • masterofbones

      Sure, Alison should do what she can to minimize harm. However, I would generally propose that stepping into an alien starcraft and smashing things that you dont understand is *not* a good way to stay safe.

  • Weatherheight

    I can’t even… Okay, psych major keeping his big mouth shut on this speech.
    Suffice to say, she’s taken over Anima’s role now… in the worst possible sense.

    • Smithy

      Actually I’m quite interested, what are the aspects of this whole speech which you disagreed with?

      • Weatherheight

        Remember everyone, Smithy asked for this.

        “Machines are worse than brains.”
        That’s a value judgment which is highly debatable. An awful lot of psychological dysfunction is a result of cognitive dissonance between reason and affect. One way of coming to grips with cognitive dissonance is to examine it rationally, both the roots of the affective response as well as the experiential input and the rational process. Machines have neither affect or reason – they have programmed functionality (which, BTW, arise out of rational process). An otter banging a shellfish on a rock is using a really primitive machine, but as multifunctional that rock is, it doesn’t ever act cruelly or vindictively. The otter, on the other hand, is still up for debate.

        “Basic cognition requires a tremendous amount of emotional input.”
        No concrete evidence that this statement is true (although it certainly seems to have a lot of weight in humans). Cognition in humans depends largely on input / feedback loops from neural input and recognizing / establishing patterns, which is not the same thing as affect (or emotion). Affect is an outcome of that neural input and is correlated with cognition, but correlation is not the same thing as causation.

        “You’d know that more intuitively if the foundations of this place weren’t designed by a scared infant.”
        a) Intuitive insight is based on a non-conscious reason, not necessarily emotional maturity.
        b) If we can believe our narrator (Patrick telling us how this all came about), Patrick’s walls were not developed by a scared infant – they were developed by a jaded child, which is far more dangerous. Children have learned to be cruel and deceptive and to reap the rewards thereof.

        “Logic can’t prompt action,”
        Self evidently false. Strong emotion is more likely to provoke action, but logic can prompt action.

        “It’s not logical to prioritize life over death or happiness over suffering. These are judgment calls. Those are value statements. Those are emotions.”

        This was fairly reasonable until we got to “those are emotions”. There is a huge difference between a pain response (life over death, lack of pain over pain) and affect. Pain response is evolutionarily reflexive and reasonably consistent across individuals, affect is experientially intuited and is not at all normative. Barring a genetic or nervous defect, all people will pull away from something physically painful; the same thing cannot be said for affect and emotional pain.

        “You have to decide who you are based on what you feel, and after that, you can be as logical about those feelings as you like.”

        Had Alison said “you have to identify what it is that you’re feeling, and after that you can be as logical about those feelings as you like,’ I could get behind that, but the act of deciding is a rational, logical process. If you “have to decide who you are based on what you feel”, that leaves a big portion of the human race caught in a catch 22 of depression, bipolar, and psychosis disorders, people who have in large measure a great deal of difficulty of reconciling their affect with their cognitive and experiential functioning.

        “Time to put away the walls and grow up.”

        The implication is that Alison is going to force that choice and she’s going to tear down the walls. That kind of radical deconstruction can work, but more often it ends with an outcome that is less than favorable. It’s nearly always better to give the person an opportunity to “tear down the walls” themselves. If I ever get to that point where that kind of intervention is necessary, call in a freaking professional, not some college student – odds are good enough I could end up worse off and at least the pro would be able to quickly determine what went wrong and how to mitigate it.

  • Jovial Contrarian

    “Holy guacamole, Alison! It turns out that your kinda-sorta-?-friend has mental issues bigger than a dill rabbit on a horn pickle! I mean, it could take YEARS of therapy to get him into shape, and who’s going to take a mind-reader as a client? What are we going to do?”

    “… Imma give his thought, ideas, emotions and brain-stuffs a physical form…”

    “Yeah, and?”

    “… and then Imma punch ’em.”

    Alison Green, problem-puncher.

    • Zorae42

      Hey, since she can’t punch her Dad’s cancer can you blame her for wanting to punch her friend’s mental problems?

    • palmvos

      that is her shtick. she specializes in the one punch solution.

  • McFrugal

    Emotions are chemical alterations of your value structure meant to push the human mind towards decisions that contribute towards survival. They’re essentially just saving you from having to think about things as much. Certainly not necessary to create a value structure. At worst the only base assumption you need is “Survival is good, both of myself and my genes”.

    • But that IS a base assumption. And it’s one that only sometimes leads to ethical behavior.

  • JohnTomato


    Aristotle does not believe that the purpose of logic is to prove that human beings can have knowledge. (He dismisses excessive scepticism.) The aim of logic is the elaboration of a coherent system that allows us to investigate, classify, and evaluate good and bad forms of reasoning.

    All reasoning has a purpose. All reasoning is an attempt to figure something out, to settle some question, to solve some problem. … All reasoning is expressed through, and shaped by, concepts and ideas. All reasoning contains inferences by which we draw conclusions and give meaning to data.

  • Hiram

    Well okay, but like… start with the outer walls and maybe leave up the building labeled “Insane war criminals and clowns”.

    • palmvos

      I don’t know sometimes the Joker has a good point…

  • Hiram

    Alison, honey… you’re going to make Lisa super sad if you keep dumping on machine brains like that.

    • palmvos

      no, shes not- some of what Alison is saying is probably from Lisa (off screen)

  • yumtacos

    omg am i dumb? i just realized now that the philosophy professor was just an aspect of him too, which he foisted on the whole class as bait to get allison to help integrate the rest of his personality. duh!

  • David B Huber

    None of us can comprehend the enormity of what Patrick has endured. I believe Patrick’s mental state is due to external attack by Gurwara who has been excising his knowledge of the Conspiracy. I believe that Patrick reached out to Alison as a last resort, inviting the one person he trusts into his mind to arbitrate an inner dialog between his fractured coping mechanisms (being unable to read his own mind). I believe Patrick rendered Feral unconscious when she decided it was time to kill him to save Al. And I believe Patrick has manipulated Alison into destroying his inner barriers which have become more hindrance to growth than protection…

    If Patrick survives this pupation he will emerge very wise or very insane. Hopefully the insanities will fall beneath the wrecking ball.

  • ryan almazan

    okay serious question what will happen when all the walls come down? Patrick mind is home to thousands and thousands of personality and identity from all the minds he have read, so when the wall comes down what exactly will be left? will it be the Patrick we all know and sometime love or will it be a chaotic amalgamation of all his identity mixed together, or will it be a free for all of all the minds he read each one screaming and fighting for dominance? for the right to exist.

  • Pol Subanajouy

    Whoa, where did Lord Boy come from?

    • palmvos

      from the depths of childhood trauma.
      seriously we are in a mind- you travel as quick as thought.

  • ObviousPuppetAccount

    Hey moderator(s) of SFP, quick question. In the previous page I made a comment that said “Ever been to tumblr?”.
    Why was this comment deleted?

  • El S F

    (this is what I always think watching trek)

  • MoonicaMusing


  • Darkoneko Hellsing

    Aah, I like how the giant metal ball is just floating behind her.

  • Are values and emotions really the same thing? I would say that emotions are things like happiness, sadness, anger, fear, etc. while values are things like caring about human life or human freedom. I can easily imagine someone having plenty of emotions but no values or plenty of values but no emotions.

  • Kerlyssa


  • masterofbones

    Im supposed to believe that a child soldier with half an english degree is better at psychology than someone who *reads minds* for a living?

    No. Thats absolutely absurd. What’s next, will Alison start teaching fishes to swim better?

    • Danygalw

      He can’t read his own mind, and his mental landscape is a city run by a literal child.

      • masterofbones

        We have seen him literally reading his own mind throughout this arc. That was a one-off claim by Alison that never made any sense to begin with.

        Now, lets pretend that she was right, and somehow being able to stroll through his mental landscape picking apart thought patterns and memories isn’t reading his own mind.

        He is still the *foremost* expert on how human brains work. He has more insight into the human mind than every single psychologist in the world combined, because he gets to see their inner workings 24/7. And yet Alison, who knows *nothing* on the topic(she knows so little she actually considers herself more of an expert than him) is going to be the one that fixes him?

        • Danygalw


  • Danygalw
  • Sazazezer Mililpilipi

    If Shockwave truly existed and was truly logical, i imagine that he’s spend all his days standing completely still, doing nothing at all.