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  • Robbie X Pierce


  • JohnTomato

    “And in the end
    The love you take
    Is equal to the love you make”

    • BMPDynamite

      It’s raining.

  • Dirka

    And now he stabs her.

    • Mattias42

      Yeah… not buying it. Even Alison has at her own most painfully clear moments said how much it kills her that violence is never the answer.

      This is the core of the mam Patrik dreams he could be, or something, and we’re a page or two away from him forgiving her for melting his brain.

      And of COURSE it’s going to be 100% sincere, too, just for extra lemon-juice and glass in the wound.

      • Graeme Sutton

        It could just as easily be Alison’s ideal of who Patrick could be, Patrick isn’t restricted to just having anthropomorphic personifications of his own personality in his head.

        • Weatherheight

          I like this idea a lot.
          Wouldn’t it be a nice twist to have large portions of this be Alison’s dealing with the defenses and the real avatars have yet to be deal with on the other side?
          Turtles all the way down, baby.. turtles.

    • zellgato

      can’t trust the wabbit seaeson shirts

    • Eric Schissel

      (“He does so have to shoot me now! I demand that you shoot me now!”…)

  • wahahahaha

    It is quite clearly duck season, please stop with the misinformation

    • Weatherheight

      Actually, technically, March 29th is baseball season!
      (Although Spring training exhibition games opens today, March 23rd, 2018)

      • GreatWyrmGold

        Yeah, but the umpire gets mad at me if I shoot baseballs. For some reason that’s not an edge case covered in the baseball rules.

        • Weatherheight

          Which frankly is disappointing.

        • Eric Schissel

          “That was a baseball? I thought it was a disguised Color out of Space or something– no wonder my weapon was more effective than I expected. … Meep.”

          • GreatWyrmGold

            That’s slightly different. But I should try that sometime, just to see the look on the umpire’s face!
            I’d have to look quickly…

    • The Duck from issue 6 page 112

      I strike again.

    • MoonicaMusing


  • trev006

    Molten streams of 8-bit emotion leading to Happy Patrick, wearing a T-shirt Jeph Jacques will certainly steal? Allison getting to feel purely happy?

    Don’t leave me here alone! Not without anyone to hate! GYAAAAAAH!

    • rpenner

      It’s not 8-bit… it’s Lego.

      Everything is Awesome!

      • Weatherheight

        Everything is cool when your part of a team
        Everything is awesome, when you’re living out a dream! (HEY!)

  • ColaKitteh

    Wabbit season!!! Like… the mug.

    Now hug! :3

    Also, behind him is the Green Door. Coincidence? I think not.

  • Gotham

    Oh my God I can’t believe we were right about the fifth Patrick being his furry persona!

    Now please please please be explicit about the door. Did he come out of it? Did he intend to go in to retrieve something or someone else?
    “What? No. This is just around where I was strolling. We are totally not going to go in for twelve issues still /at least/.”

    • Weatherheight

      Okay, even I didn’t go that cynical.
      Thank you for being you!

    • Steele

      I think we’re already on the other side of the door, and that it leads back into Boy’s hall of memories. 5th Patrick was trapped outside the walls.

  • Weatherheight

    Happy ending…?

    • Loranna

      In all this catastrophic release of Component upon the landscape, I find myself wondering . . .

      Are we about to see the shape of Patrick’s mother again?

      Incidentally, red and yellow Component makes . . .greenery? No, wait! It may *incidentally* make greenery, but it *definitely* made that orange jacket Looney Tunes Pat wears. We may all relax now people! Patrick’s brain is still following sane and recognizable laws ^_^


      • Weatherheight

        ::waves his ears happily at Loranna::

    • Zac Caslar

      Really, donkey? Does this comic give away flawless, painless, growthless endings? Really?

      My advice is to put Gotham on block. You won’t miss much.

      • Weatherheight

        On the contrary, while Gotham is certainly on the extreme side, they act as a nice counterbalance for the other end of the spectrum.
        And they make me look tame, so I got that going for me, which is nice.
        ::nibbles on some chrysanthemums::

        • Zac Caslar

          Happy to differ with you on that, but I don’t have the patience to bottle feed logic and ethics to lost children.

      • I like Gotham, myself. Don’t necessarily agree with them, but they are expressing their ideas coherently and in interesting ways.

  • Franklin J Gomes


  • bryan rasmussen

    oh Patrick was waiting for Allison behind the Green Door. Also the area is hot and steamy. You’d think a telepath would have a more subtle mindscape.

    • Walter

      I, at least, wouldn’t. I feel like a telepath’s mindscape should dispense with subtlety and basically wave the intended effect at you like a huge sign.

  • The Dread Pirate Steve #812

    Yeah, I teared up…

  • Olivier Faure

    I want to say it one last time and then I’ll (probably) shut up on the subject:

    I am not okay with the comic depicting Alison’s actions as reasonable and ultimately successful. Neuroatipicality is a thing, and people assuming that they know better than other people what’s good for them the way Alison did (“Read a book!”) is a pet peeve of mine. It’s naïve and and arrogant, it’s hurtful, and it’s the source of age-old persecution of mentally ill people, that continues to this day.

    (also, I find it kind of ironic that this comic is coming out that same day as SSC’s article on involuntary psychiatric hospitalization: http://slatestarcodex.com/2018/03/22/navigating-and-or-avoiding-the-inpatient-mental-health-system/ )

    • motorfirebox

      Patrick’s mind was literally killing him and hurting the people around him. And he showed up at her doorstep on the verge of collapse, asking for help in every way but verbal. When he projected his mind to her, he projected a door, not a solid wall.

      Neuroatypicality is a thing, and persecution of mentally ill people is a thing, but so are toxic thought patterns and so is the value of an outside perspective. If a person is being destructive to themselves and those around them, and they’re repressing a bunch of horrible things that happened to them, it’s not unreasonable to assume that the repression is at the root of the destructive behavior and it’s not unreasonable to help them break out of that repression if they come to you for help. That remains true even if the person believes that they’re better off with those things repressed.

      Now, if Patrick wakes up and is A-OK cured, I’m gonna have some side-eye. He’s got an ocean of godawful strong, very negative emotions that he’s never allowed himself to experience. Breaking out of repression is just setting the bone, not healing the fracture.

      • Olivier Faure

        That’s all true. I’m more annoyed by the attitude of Alison, and the fact that she’s so sure of her conclusions after 30 minutes of looking around, than about the actual conclusions.

        I mean, the last chapter ended with a monologue where she said “I should really take the time to talk things out instead of jumping to violence to solve my problems, but I never do because it’s not like anyone can stop me anyway”, and I’m not really seeing the progress here.

        • Gydd

          You could argue she did do her best to talk things out first. She spent the first goddamn how long being led around by Anima, Boy, and Keeper, AND successfully resisted the urge to go ‘I’ve met a friendly figment who is directly opposed to the figment that is his super villain persona. SMASH!!’.

          It was only when she ended up in a situation where it was clear(er) that she couldn’t just bug out; had had it proven that her understanding of Patrick’s mind was flawed as all the figments were being bossed around by Boy, who was clearly not thinking straight; and had an experience of a definitely healthy brain in Feral, who was now in danger as part of it; that she decided that enough was enough and to start smashing things.

          If she leveled the city in the first 10 pages of entering it, she’d have clearly learnt nothing. As it was, most of the point of this chapter was highlighting that Patrick’s mind was utterly *broken*. It’s not meant to be the sterile thing the city was, it’s meant to be alive and growing like Feral’s mind, or what we’re seeing now.

          • Kifre

            None of her chats with Anima, Boy, and Keeper were motivated by trying to fix anything, though. She went in as a data pull and all of her interactions up until Lord Boy ordered her dead were in furtherance of that.

          • pidgey

            Well, probably only up until she saw Gurwara. In any case, plenty has happened since then to change her priorities.

          • Kifre

            Well, yeah. My point is that the interactions up to that point shouldn’t be credited to Al as an attempt to ‘talk things out’ because her goal was to use Patrick, not to fix him. The actions relevant to the Al trying to help Patrick are those that occurred after her priorities shifted.

        • pleasechangemymind

          I don’t think she’s sure of herself. I think she needs to be sure of herself, so she’s pretending to be. I think that’s what she does most of the time, judging by the multiple times she’s admitted that she has no fucking idea what she’s doing.

          But as it is, she’s not the one who jumped to violence. Do we not remember the whole “and that’s why you have to die” bit? Patrick’s brain is not only destroying him physically (judging by his real world state) and sending dangerous psychic shockwaves out into others, but also literally trying to kill her while she’s in there. I don’t think taking violent action in self-defense is unreasonable, especially since she has no other way to escape.

          Also, as much as I identify with what you’re saying with the whole aneurotypical-people-don’t-need-to-be-cured thing, I don’t think Patrick’s case can really be compared to just straight up aneurotypicality. Cause he *does* need a cure. He desperately needs help. I don’t think his gonna be sunshine and daisies after this, but as it was, the way he was functioning was unsustainable.

          • Gwen

            Agreed. As someone who is neurodivergent myself, I have benefitted from help changing not who I am, but how I can best function as myself in the world. Is suddenly breaking down all the barriers and flooding the city an ideal solution here? Probably not. It would be ideal to find ways to integrate emotion with reason through a more controlled process. But Allison is working with the tools she has available and her ability to think of solutions to a complex problem on the fly.

          • Katrika

            You mean her lack of ability to, since she just punches everything?

        • motorfirebox

          I’ll say this, generally when other people try to give me advice about how to manage my mind, they don’t know what the fuuuuuuuuck they’re talking about. Giving them some kind of direct ability to rearrange my mental furniture would be an even worse idea than it sounds like. The value of other people, in terms of my own mental health, has generally been as sounding boards, or at most to push me out of my current cycles of thought and work up new approaches.

          So there’s definitely at least a few levels on which someone swinging a giant wrecking ball around inside your brain in order to fix you is somewhat unrealistic.

          • Dan Steadman

            Okay, I use hypnosis to rearrange peoples mental furniture all the time. I shift emotions, change memories and add or remove them all the time. Obviously I do this with as close to full consent as I can but the fact remains that I regularly guide people into sometimes profound and lifechanging experiences in their own head and I don’t even have Alison’s current advantage of seeing what is going on in there.

            Also the brain and the mind are worlds (and words) apart, wrecking balls to the brain are a bad idea but to the mind…well it might just be an epiphany.

          • Happyroach

            I tend to think that once you’re using telepathy to murder the people in your mind, we’re a bit beyond the “talking cure” level.

      • Zorae42

        You know, Patrick has always come off as someone on the autistic spectrum to me. The overly formal way of speaking, the not caring about certain social niceties, and the obsession over certain things.

        But now, since seeing this version of Patrick, I’m worried that the comic is going to paint his formal self as a product of repressing all his emotions and he’s going to wake up and be ‘Neurotypical Patrick’ with some mental trauma.

        And that would really piss me off.

        • Elaine Lee

          Not everyone who represses their emotions is on the spectrum.

          • Elaine Lee

            Need to add that I don’t see folks on the spectrum as especially repressed. Or always formal.

          • Zorae42

            Repressing emotions isn’t necessarily part of being on the spectrum. You just express/process them differently.

            Heck, that’s part of what makes the possibly so upsetting. His repressed emotions being what led to his autistic like behavior has such gross implications.

            Plus I’m tired of seeing characters with autistic traits whose creators/people involved make sure to deny are autistic. Like damn can’t we have nice things? Or just things in general? It’s gotten better with some recent media (Power Rangers movie), but it’d be really upsetting to see it happen yet again.

            And god Neurotypical Patrick would be so boring.

          • freemage

            Patrick is absolutely not neurotypical. But the odds that he’s specifically diagnose-able within the existing framework of psychological therapy are vanishingly small.

            In general, that’s going to be true of biodynamics, really–they’re dealing with stuff that no human in recorded history (other than perhaps mythologized tales) has had to cope with. But most of them at least have analogues. Allison’s adolescence, for instance, has a at least some parallels with the world’s child soldier population.

            But Patrick? His power-set, development and so on are literally unique. His assorted coping mechanisms (fracturing his own personality, locking away ‘component’, creating a superficially stable environment for absorbed personae) are likewise unique. Mapping him to autism, or to sociopathy, or to any other DSM-approved or -discredited diagnosis, is going to prove insufficient as a result.

      • Zac Caslar

        Well put. Complaints about the “simplicity” of this scenario too eagerly ignore all the setup, all the established danger, and how little Allison wants to harm Patrick.

      • Eric Schissel

        if you mean neurotypicality, the term is not well-defined. People in the community I tend to find myself in (high-functioning autism) use it to refer to people outside that community, even though people can be not on the autism spectrum but not in any vague sense of the word “neurologically typical” (Charles Stross parodies this practice, I think – a character in his novel “Rule 34” uses the term neurotypical too in his (2nd-person – the novel is entirely in 2nd person, but with different PsOV) internal monologue, but several chapters in the reader figures out that the character is a sociopath, and he’s referring to non-sociopaths when he uses that term. Which makes, of course, perfect sense, from his pov.)

        • motorfirebox

          Yeah, “neurotypical” is a pretty vague term. The person I was responding to coined the term “neuroatypical”, and I decided to use it as well—sort of a catch-all for everything outside of “neurotypical”, as poorly-defined as that is.

    • MaxArt

      > I am not okay with the comic depicting Alison’s actions as reasonable and ultimately successful.
      Not sure about that. We’ve only seen Alison’s perspective, basically, but it’s not like this comic lacks of multiple point of views.

      That being said, probably none knows Patrick better than Alison and boy, Patrick did need help. I don’t think Alison would have acted if the time wasn’t so desperate.

      Is Alison successful? We actually don’t really know yet… As someone said in the other page, he might be having a brain hemorrage right now… XD

    • Vespayik

      Someone being neurodivergent and/or mentally ill does not excuse all the bullshit Patrick’s pulled.

      • Kifre

        Who said that it did? Not Olivier Faure.

    • Tylikcat

      Mm. Considering that she was trapped, had been injured and was likely to be more injured, I was pretty okay with her going after the walls (but not the rest of the city indiscriminately) if and only if she went and found fifth Patrick. I don’t think it’s an optimal solution, but she’s in a pretty bad place herself. Fighting with the rest of the crew strikes me as a worse option.

      Two other notes – we haven’t seen the rest of Alison’s plan (and from what she said to Anima, I think it’s fairly likely there’s more to come). And we don’t know what kind of Patrick this is going to produce in the long run.

      This isn’t therapy, even if Alison does care about Patrick. It’s closer to warfare, though I think she’s aiming for least harm. (Least harm as much as she can plan for it. She’s an undergrad who likes to solve problems by punching them. I’m not claiming her solution is ideal.)

    • Elaine Lee

      Umm… telepath. Not real. Cartoon. Doubtful Patrick is meant to represent someone with a non-powered human’s mental illness. Also doubtful he’s meant to represent someone on the spectrum, as others have posited.

      But if we’re talking real world, I did take a look at your link. Since I have a family member who might have benefitted from being involuntarily hospitalized in the past, and know how difficult it is to accomplish that, I can’t completely share your POV. There are times when outsiders have to intervene. When a person is a danger to themselves, to others, or to both. There is “neuroatypical” and there is “terrifying loose cannon.” Refusing to see that both exist is, in your own words, naïve and arrogant. Perhaps you have overly identified with Patrick?

      • Katrika

        Oh ok, since it’s not real we don’t get to criticize it?

        • Marc Forrester

          With fantasy fiction, people don’t generally criticize the actual text, but their own interpretation of what the text represents in the real world. That interpretation is likewise fictional and open to criticism.

          It’s turtles all the way down.

          • Katrika

            So do you have any specific arguments…?

          • Katrika

            Seriously I know I’m coming off as obnoxious and slamming but I’d really love to have a discussion about what you think I’m missing in my analysis. It’d be interesting. No worries if you don’t want to do that, though, I get it might not be fun.

          • Marc Forrester

            In this thread particularly, it looks like you missed… Everything past word five of Elaine’s post?

          • Katrika

            Eh… I admit I wasn’t so much replying to Elaine as to my own gripes with the comic, and for that I apologize to Elaine. I don’t think Patrick’s situation is going to map with being neuroatypical or being an abuse survivor, even though he’s certainly one and easily read as another, because his power is a complicating factor. But even though that complicating factor is what’s pushing Allison to move so quickly and even allowing this in the first place, I think it’s also why her actions are irresponsibly dangerous to more people than just Patrick, because if she guesses wrong, it’s not just going to impact him but everyone around him in a very tangible and unavoidable way.

          • Marc Forrester

            Yeah, that’s the theme of the whole piece really, isn’t it? Alison’s a superpowered teenager trying to become a superpowered grown up, but things keep happening and demanding action *now* and it’s so easy to just slip back into make snap decision, punch, rationalise later.

            I love it because I still have no idea how much tragedy, comedy and/or parable will be in the final mix, but I do still trust it to *have* a planned ending.

          • Katrika

            I wish I could! I’m only so upset because I really liked this comic years ago and it feels like the promising stuff I saw in it and keep seeing in it keep being sidelined for less promising stuff.

        • Zac Caslar

          You really live in a universe where no one is decent? Where no one can be a friend?

          Wow. My pity actually eclipses my loathing.

          • Katrika

            Um. Where did I say that? Friendship is super important, and I think most people are decent at the core. I just don’t think what Allison is doing here is decent or being a good friend, even if her intentions are good.

            Why… do you loathe me?

          • Zac Caslar

            Let’s consider the history of Feral after she and the Wild Pack after they and Allison do that thing -can’t remember, too lazy to go look up the specifics.

            The Wild Pack falls apart. Some succumb to mental illness, some get into crime, some get into drugs, and Feral’s girlfriend Crystal flat out dies.

            What’s Feral doing?

            She’s drinking, womanizing, and lethally brawling with people who can’t actually hurt her ie being actually self-destructive.

            Turning herself into a perpetual universal donor comes after she sobers up, faces her sense of isolation and decides to go traveling. After she sheds her strangling provincialism. After she stops living just to chase an escape.

            So that’s the charge against her being “self-destructive.” Giving of yourself is the opposite of self-loathing, and Feral is literally “giving of herself.”

            I’ve been following SFP and it’s community since launch and one thing I don’t think I’ve ever seen is an >actual activist< or even someone adjacent to them say, "this disgusts me. How dare Mega Girl try to change the world for the better?! Why doesn't she just accept her privilege as her due and let life meander on when it doesn't affect her?"

            OTOH there is a limitless supply of armchair nhilists who "know" doing nothing while intending no evil is "better" than attempting action while intending good. No mistakes no tragedy; no harm no foul.

            These people disgust me. The typical retort involves accusations of chlidishness except that children at least the defense of innocence. A child doesn't know there's a problem even before they don't know better. An ignorant adult is someone who is refusing to know, and that's far worse.

            I had distinctly mistaken you for one of them. And I provisionally apologize, with the provision being that I was wrong in my assessment.

            Feral wanted to help her community. She flamed out when she stopped. Her joining Allison's causes makes sense from the view of someone who's realized they don't know what to do even as they know what they want. In this regard Feral is wise if wisdom involves knowing her limitations.

            As a contrast we have Furnace who had a similar drive to be heroic, but who refused to listen to anyone else out of a wounded rage. He ended up being ineffectual, than harmful, and finally dead.

            As for the consequence of Allison’s intervention I don’t think you’re going to like what happens. This series is about courage succeeding and heroism working out. Patrick is not going to suffer catastrophic brain damage -not that I’ve seen anything in this work that suggests he should– and to me it’s obvious this scenario is his desperate attempt to save himself by reaching out to the one person he knows on a literal psychic level is safe to let into his cognispace to undo years of damage and his fragmenting sense of self.

            This is all kicked off by her confrontation of him after all.

            As for the kidnapping…I will get to that later. IMO it’s critics have points, but as usual they ignore everything they don’t like.

          • Katrika

            Okay, first off, you’ve been a huge dick to me and I think it’s pretty shitty of you to justify that with ‘I thought you were an edgy nihilist and not a social activist, oops’. Of course it’s good for Allison to help people. The fact she leverages her superpowers to work as a fireman is one of my favorite things about the comic. As for Feral, yeah the organ donation thing is actually super helpful and an admirable self-sacrifice, but I contest that it’s not self-destructive. She was a violently self-destructive person who turned all that outwards and did some real messed up stuff. She sobered up and feels a lot of guilt for her previous actions. Now she wants to constantly donate her organs despite the pain that causes her.

            To me, that’s still self-destructive because it’s taking her guilt over what she did and then coming up with a way to punish herself for it while helping other people. The helping other people is an integral component. I think her leveraging her power for organ donation is a good idea despite the pain it causes her, and I think that pain willingly taken on to help others is an admirable burden to bear, but the part where the ethics issue gets serious and where I’m getting my self-loathing self-destruction from is the scale of it.

            There will always be people who need organs. It’s not fair of that burden to just be on Feral. Feral trying to donate organs 24/7 shouldn’t have been allowed by whatever ethics organization was making that decision, despite the fact that that scales to more organs for people. The current solution with Feral donating part-time and then getting time to mentally recover in-between donations is good. Her original idea not only hurts her, it hurts people around her because that’s absolutely going to psychologically mess up the people performing surgery on her.

            And just because something fits with the narrative and theme of a story doesn’t make it good writing, which is my gripe with all this Patrick stuff. I’d take more time to reply to you, but actually, you said you hated me when I was trying to explain my point of view, so fuck it. Look in a mirror.

          • Zac Caslar

            Ever consider how wierd it is that I was rude and you were polite in response and now that I’m being polite you’re being rude in return? That make sense to you? Confuses me.

            So… what’s fair got to do with anything? “Unfair” would be Tara not wanting to help anyone -like whatsisname dipshit the richboy- but it’s not ethical to carve anyone up for their organs just because from an extreme utilitarian perspective those “donations” would benefit more lives than the skin sack currently lugging them around.

            I’m trying (honest!) not to be too condescending here, but seriously…how fragile are people in your world? Operating on Tara was traumatizing the surgeons?! And this is a serious ethical concern?!

            Just…no. There’s nothing there. You don’t like it, and that’s whatever, but there’s no ethical stake there. They rotate shifts and personnel and whatever but I can’t take seriously the idea that “harm” is being done by the weirdness of watching Tara’s guts restock over and over again. Death camp doctors and genocide quartermasters have done far worse and personally suffered very little.

            And I get your point about her being self-destructive by that interpretation. As you see it she was subjecting herself to a very long lifetime of utter agony as a kind of penance. The difference is that I don’t see penance, I see service. I see someone making the most selfless choice she possibly could. That’s not self-destructive because what she’s “losing” -nothing tangible, btw- in suffering she’s gaining in getting to make a difference as a profound good in the world.

            Moreover this is her choice and that makes such a sacrifice the most powerful of all.

            Actually keeping themes and narrative lined up is pretty much the definition of good writing. If the execution -dialogue art etc- are solid that’s moving from good to great. As a contra example there are some Youtube essays on Batman V. Superman: DoJ that illustrate this very nicely. If you’re looking for a break from this back and forth you might find them illuminating.

          • Katrika

            It’s a known fact that torture psychologically damages the torturer in similar but less pronounced ways than it damages the person being tortured. While Feral is not being tortured she’s being operated on continuously without anaesthetic and the knowledge of that is going to damage the surgeons even if they agree with her principles. That’s not a consequences of fragility, it’s a consequence of having an operating sense of empathy. It’s also something they can get desensitized to the longer it goes on, but that’s also arguably a form of emotional damage, just a protective one.

          • Zac Caslar

            Valid, but we’ll have to disagree about the worth of the damage.

            While I agree that abuse abuses the abuse (slavery brutalizes the slave holding society, frex) it’s clearly and forever a distant second to whatever cause mandates the torture/slavery/veganism/whatever.

          • Stephanie

            >To me, that’s still self-destructive because it’s taking her guilt over what she did and then coming up with a way to punish herself for it while helping other people.

            I don’t think the events of the comic support that “punishing herself” was what motivated her, even in part. When she found out she could help more people while suffering less, she was overjoyed. She didn’t display any disappointment that her punishment would be lessened, or any hesitation to dial back her vivisection hours once she learned that 40 per month would max out her impact.

          • Katrika

            Cause like, you’re completely misrepresenting everything I said. I never said Allison should just let everything meander on. I think it’s disgusting that she told an abuse survivor to grow the hell up because his coping mechanisms are childish when his coping mechanisms are a big part of how he kept functioning for years. Is he healthy? No! Are his coping mechanisms sustainable? No. But yeah, her hot take on it was disgusting.

            And that’s okay, because characters are allowed to be assholes and to be wrong, except that the narrative keeps pushing Allison as the only solution to things. She’s the ONLY one Patrick can let in, which is justifiable given their long history and backstory, except she’s also Daniel’s ONLY friend because she visits him sometime in his horrible inhumane prison, and she’s the ONLY one who can fix Feral’s situation. She’s the one who barges into support groups for minority groups she doesn’t belong to and tries to recruit them when they should just be able to deal with their own shit there, and she gets mildly called out for it. She’s the one who looks at the face of rape culture and how it damages everyone and her solution is to set up an… app? Wow, saving the world there!

            It’s okay to be full of good intentions but unsure how to implement them, because frankly, that’s where every activist starts! I actually like Allison as a character! What I don’t like is how any criticism of how she handles things gets some people assuming you hate social activism!

          • Zac Caslar

            Yeah, but she’s not wrong.

            Surviving abuse is one thing, but growing past it is another. At some point the survivor themselves has to say “I have get past this or I’ll never escape.” Allison, having had a solid look around Patrick, has had plenty of time to see that his mind is a jumbled fortress of suspicion, isolation, and unprocessed trauma and has come to the conclusion that this is why she was let in: to end it. Nothing about that strikes me as illogical or out of character with the actual events shown.

            Yeah. Speaking of looking in a mirror I’m gonna ignore this second paragraph because you seem to be irritated that Allison does anything despite not doing so alone. Clearly you’re well past smart enough to understand how having PoV character/allegory for a class of person works, so i’m moving on…

            Have you ever consider that this misunderstanding might be because you sound pretty effectively like someone who hates social activism? Like put that frame on and re-read your second paragraph? First you charge Allison wit doing too much and being too central, and then you accuse her of doing too little and acting too indirectly. Do you identify with her? Do you think Allison is the person you could be? If so, do you resent that? When she tries to build alliances is it satisfying to see her fail because it proves that success isn’t possible?

            No no, I don’t expect an answer. I know who I see in the mirror.

            Also, I’m gonna ignore that accusation of “misrepresenting you.” You put forth points of contention and I answered them.

          • Katrika

            Sure, it’s in character for Allison to tell Patrick to shut up and stop being a baby about his horrible trauma, but that doesn’t make it a good thing.

            I think the question the narrative of Strong Female Protagonist tries to address is how someone still in the process of growing up and discovering themselves, and in a relatively privileged position, can figure out how to effectively engage in activism. I think that falls apart because I don’t think Mulligan has an effective answer to that question, meaning the character arc Allison goes through cycles around and around. I feel like the comic has strayed from the original messages and roots and that attempts to show Allison messing up have gotten their fangs pulled after around the Mary arc.

            You say that Allison will of course not put Patrick into a coma or inhibit his sense of identity. I agree. But what you see as following the narrative I see as Mulligan not allowing Allison to deal with serious consequences of her actions anymore. It’s almost as if the narrative is shielding Allison from that, and I don’t think that’s feminist or progressive, I just think it’s boring.

            I think Mulligan means well but he’s also been notoriously bad about taking actual constructive criticism when the writing fumbles something he doesn’t have a ton of experience in. I think the backlash from the Mary arc probably scared him.

          • Zac Caslar

            Agree with your first point in theory, but not in practice. It’s like working out: if you never hurt, you’re not making any progress. But of course: stretch first.

            I disagree. I think Allison is still changing, I think she’s got a lot of ambitions to have foiled, I think what you see as failure I see as useful complexity. The Mary Arc had no satisfactory ending; that to me made it all the stronger in making Allison face a situation that could not be justly resolved. In modern social justice terms I see this as being like having too many good causes to care about: I can’t do them all and none of them are trivial. If I were important I’d have some real stress about what to choose and what to lose.

            Duly noted. I haven’t said there won’t be any complications from whats going on, just that given a panopoly of bad choices Allison is making the best one. Sometimes that’s all you get.

            I think you’re reading a lot into a meta-narrative that I would creepingly associate with conspiracy thinking. To be clear I don’t assume that’s what’s going on, just that I’ve found it healthy not to believe in what I can’t clearly source and to not read in intentions where they can’t be established by at least a pattern.

            I can see the argument that SFP has gotten morally murkier but I see that as also being part of a shift away from superheroics as metaphors and into the weeds and guts of social justice. This episode with Patrick has been the weirdest SFP has been in a while.

            Me gusta!, I say.

          • Katrika

            Shrug. It’s very possible I’m just reading more into it because I’ve gotten to the point where I’m not enjoying the comic. If someone is getting good stuff out of it, I’m not going to tell them they’re wrong even if I disagree.

            I’m admittedly being really cynical by assuming there won’t be huge uncomfortable consequences from what Allison just did. I still think it’s a pretty big violation and I’d like that to be addressed, but it’s not like it’s out of character for Allison to lash out when under pressure or to attempt to help someone she cares about in an extremely direct manner.

            I’m probably going to bow out of the comments section just because I don’t particularly think I’m anything near objective right now.

          • Zac Caslar

            Hey, gigantic dick that I am I think you gave as well as you got AND you inadvertently pointed me to Star Hammer and that ain’t bad.

            So, coolio. I hope you find your center wherever’s good and come back for more later.


          • Katrika

            Also, while I admit my criticism of it was jumbled, you’re missing my point: Allison’s driving philosophy is that people are all in this together, but the writing fails to back that up. I don’t think she can solve the issue of rape or domestic violence, and an app connecting superheroes with local places that need help is a good idea. It’s such a good idea, in fact, that I don’t really buy that Allison would be the first person to think about it. If she’d gone into that and realized people were already working on similar stuff and just used her social pull to help streamline that, that would be one thing, but we’re presented as it being her Problem To Solve.

            I don’t think Allison is the person I could be. I relate to her but I also think there’s stuff I understand way better than her. I also think part of that is because I suspect I get some stuff way better than Mulligan, just as he’s certainly got experiences I don’t have. That doesn’t really have a bearing on my opinion on social activism in general.

          • Zac Caslar

            I think you just dislike her. Sorry, but it’s all I’ve got. It’s been a pleasure playing out the string and I thank you for elucidating your musings, but I suspect this is about done.

            Sure it could have been thought of before, nobody wanted to actually be a slave in Rome but the European emancipation movement still took for-fucking-ever to succeed, but the app wasn’t done regardless. We don’t know why and it’s not likely to be the purvue of SFP to ask. There are always good folks pushing at the margins of social justice, but there is also always a catalyzing moment or person who actually breaks through. This is inescapable. Fair has nothing to do with it; take your winnings and spend them because you might never get what you want but maybe you’ll get what you need.

            Allison believes we’re all in this together, but not everyone agrees. Part of what we’re seeing here is why and that how some of that why seems extremely defensible in that #NotYourShield kind of way.

            Hey, you might be right. Ever consider your own webcomic or blog?

          • Katrika

            Seriously, are you like, okay?

        • Stephanie

          > she’s so self-loathing and self-destructive that she literally talked people into vivisecting her continually to donate organs

          I think that’s a terribly uncharitable interpretation of her motives. She didn’t volunteer for that to destroy herself, she did it because it was the absolute most efficient way for her to help people and it was something only she could do. That’s something to admire, not something to pathologize.

          • Katrika

            I guess my interpretation of it was that there was an element of both to it. But I also thought it was her choice to make. It’s not like she would necessarily have to keep doing that forever even if Allison hadn’t done what she did… if there was a point she needed to tap out I think people would have respected that. So even if I don’t necessarily see it as the best choice for her and her alone it doesn’t necessarily have to be.

      • Zac Caslar

        This. Isolation magnifies pain. Doing nothing and than saying “wow who knew” is complicity.

    • Devon Jolly

      How about… no. While there were plenty of bad Psych hospitals, requiring that broken people balance their neurochemistry so they aren’t a threat to everyone around them or regularly in states of horrible personal trauma is a good thing. The problem is over-prescription and staffing unempathetic people. Letting them all out caused merry hell last time we tried it.

      • Katrika

        It caused merry hell because Reagan slashed funds for outpatient care so that people couldn’t get medication or therapy. The push away from inpatient care started BECAUSE improved medications meant more people could function with outpatient care, if it had been provided for them.

        A ‘broken’ person and ‘one of them’.

        • Devon Jolly

          So you agree it was a bad thing and much more careful steps should have been taken.

          Former Navy, I know alot of PTSD cases.

          • Katrika

            Yup! Mental health care is important. Inpatient care isn’t a bad thing either… at the very least a temporary mental health hold can get someone off the edge of being suicidal and get them some resources for the future. I do think if mental health care was less underfunded, there would be less unpleasant experiences in inpatient wards… as it is even the good places have to try to stretch resources, and I think that can unfortunately result in people getting care that’s not what they need.

            Still, resources like the one linked can be very useful… because it’s important for people to be able to trust the system enough to get the help they need, instead of trying to ‘stick it out’ because they’re scared. Of course, that situation as it relates to Patrick is quite different, because telepaths don’t exist in real life!

          • Devon Jolly

            Telepaths may not exist, but Jordan Peterson and psychs of his caliber are pretty close. Also, ironically not joking, Elon Musk is making progress towards fixing that oversight. Not sure if I should be scared.

            In other news.

            The problem I’ve come up against alot is that rather than understanding or competent psychiatry; teachers, doctors and psychs (in and out patient) prefer to over-prescribe and shoe you out the door rather than treat, and those who actually need pills refuse to take them.

          • Katrika

            Jordan Peterson? I dunno if I’d call him near-telepathic.

            I think even if someone has a condition that requires medication to treat, such as schizophrenia, it’s important to carefully consider their feedback and what they’re comfortable with. Because of how delicate brain chemistry is a lot of medications have potentially quite nasty side effects, and when you get one of those in the process of trying to figure out what you need, it’s understandable to want a break from shuffling things around! And I think people respond best to treatment when they’re respected and listened to… medication can be a wonderful boon but it’s not a cure-all. So we definitely agree on that.

          • Zac Caslar

            I wouldn’t call Jordan Peterson coherent, never mind telepathic, but I’m a fan of Sam Harris so….

          • Zac Caslar

            As I know it this is an problem not with medicine, but with the institutions governing it.

            Doing as you describe is grossly lucrative and tangentally does some good so it’s a “win-win.”

          • Katrika

            Uh, wait, are you calling me a sociopath?

          • Devon Jolly

            *snort* Depends on how well you do with understanding people who’s experiences you haven’t had. That is the basis of empathy, who’s lack means sociopathy.

            I don’t know enough about you to say, but god if there aren’t a lot of people on the _loud_ left who openly proclaim their inability to feel empathy.

          • Katrika

            Because from my point of view you and Zac just jumped to debating the sociopathy of leaving things be when that’s not something I see anyone saying… it’s just a bit weird?

          • Devon Jolly

            It was a progression from Empathy and what the radical left want people to think the general consensus is. He thinks its scorn, I think it’s sociopathy, and their proclamations fit the profile.

          • Zorae42

            Lacking empathy doesn’t make you a sociopath. You can be bad at putting yourself in other people’s shoes but still understand that they’re sad and want to do things to help them. You can lack empathy and still have oodles of sympathy and compassion.

          • Devon Jolly

            Ehh… sorta kinda maybe. Every source I can find online codifies Sociopathy with an inability or reduced ability to empathize paired with anti-social behavior, which is basically acting on that reduced or missing capacity to empathize.

            I don’t think most lefties are sociopaths. I don’t even think most radical lefties are sociopaths despite their constant mouth-breathing about how they can’t understand what it’s like to be X because they’re not X which is the whole definition of Empathy, and their obvious anti-social brand of activism.

            But its morbidly humorous nonetheless.

          • Zac Caslar

            The joke here is not that you think Lefties are sociopaths, but why.

            What you’re interpreting as sociopathy is the opposite: it’s projecting too much into the other person’s shoes. Seeing others as being just as “super unique” as one wants to see oneself.

            Take as an example the Charlottesville Nazi rally boys. Through the lense of empathy the worry they have for their displaced social status is a legimate concern worth acting upon. They’re worried, or something, so they’ve come to say something.

            Well, losing track of the NAZI element is the “too much empathy” example. “Good intentions” drive all kinds of monstrous calamities because “good” is so subjective and hence the ceaseless back and forth about the nature of ethics.

            AFAIK once you’re seriously considering ethics you’ll find the ground is never as solid as it was when you had something to believe in. But on the upside you’ll get used to the footwork and imo come out better for it.

            It’s like learning to dance; the first thing you have to accept is that you need to learn and for the serious adopter from thence comes constant self-improvement because you’re never done ’til you can’t dance any more.

            Upside? Motherfucker you can groove and that’s always a plus. 😀

            On topic: though they’re used interchangably Empathy and >Compassion< are different things. And having too much Empathy flattens out Compassion, turns the impulse to help into a rationalization to isolate which absolutely cannibalizes solidarity by turning every person into a sovereign cause of one.

            It is possible to be too Compassionate, but it's fucking difficult. I couldn't give you an immediate real world example. No, Ghandi wasn't one. I suppose overdosing on Compassion creates paralysis as no one can be judged to be truly in the wrong therefore no action that's possibly detrimental for anyone can be taken.

            So anyway. Yeah. Forgot my last point.

          • Devon Jolly

            Actually my point was that they _proclaim_ themselves to be suffering from the basis of sociopathy. not that I’m interpreting them as such.

            Im not sure what you’re going with in your last point either. Compassion is acting on empathy or sympathy. You feel for someone’s position and feel moved to aid them whether you are similar (sympathy) or different (empathy) to them. Having compassion is often conflated with having a conscience and similar to the definition of sociopathy many common definitions both colloquial and official note sociopathy as acting without conscience.

            The absurdity of the situation is that they’re clearly acting with (misguided) conscience, but proclaiming from the rooftops to be lacking in the basis for such a thing, both in writing and in rhetoric.

          • Zac Caslar

            Not following your initial assessment, sorry. It’s likely I don’t know any Lefties that crazy.

            My point is that Empathy and Compassion are seperate things; my followup claim is that you don’t need Empathy to exercise Compassion. We have discussed that it’s possible to be Sociopathic while also adopting Compassion as strictly utilitarian strategy.

            I get your point about the -very absurd- idea of an active denial of empathy as the basis for an advanced form of compassion and to that I say: fuck it, people sometimes believe absurd shit however well reasoned it may look. Taking a good idea to a stupid extreme.

            Ever read Ayn Rand? That shrew was cray-cray. Or the ruffled feathers over the movement for “Compassionate Conservatism”? Or PETA. The Fuck, PETA.

            Dunno mang. I agree, but what’s next?

          • Devon Jolly

            Well, as I said a couple of times. Most of them aren’t. Alot of the radicals probably aren’t. But then there’s their rhetoric, Journalists, hosts and politicians who proudly proclaim their lack of empathy.

            If you’re using ‘compassion’ as a utility you don’t feel and thus are moved by, then it’s not compassion, its merely utility. A masquerade.

            On Ayn Rand, girl was a kook. No doubts. But Yaron Brook from the Ayn Rand Institute makes a *_DAMN_* good case for her philosophy.

            Capitalism depends on voluntary transactions.

            Voluntary transactions depend on the maker seeing it as less valuable and the buyer seeing it as more valuable than the set price.

            This schism in perceived value creates excess wealth.

            Excess wealth is the legacy of capitalism.
            If: capitalism is greed

            Then: Greed is Good
            Enlightened self interest then means that taking care of yourself benefits others as a side effect.

            This means that self interest which is taught as a moral flaw is a better means of selfless caring for others which is taught as a moral good.

            The argument seems sort of circular, and Ayn Rand ate her own movement and shat it out the other end, but from a purely pragmatic standpoint, it’s sound.

            Socialism/Communism are pretty much mirrors of this. Both in moral reasoning and in end result.

          • Todd

            “Capitalism depends on voluntary transactions.”

            Wow! Pull the other one!

          • Devon Jolly

            rofl. Where does your objection come from. Das Kapital?

          • Todd

            That and lived experience.

          • Devon Jolly

            Das Kapital is 100 years out of date in regards to a rapidly evolving system. Back in the 1910’s when company towns were a thing it may have mattered. Now? roflmao.

            Have you ever been forced to buy something Todd? On the off chance you have, have you been unable to shop around and find what you consider the best combination of low price and acceptable/good quality? The only thing I can think of that you’d actually be forced to buy without choice of provider would be your Utility bills, which you could wave off by having chosen different living arrangements from the market. Sometimes even without that you have a choice.

            The short of it is, what transaction have you had in a capitalist country that wasn’t voluntary or a tax? If you’re willing to pay for something, you consider having that thing to be more valuable than the money you pay for it. You would look somewhere else or decline to buy it altogether otherwise.

            In a market with few regulations, this is the greatest level of calculus.

            In a corporate market, this is still the primary calculus, but government BS plays a major role.

            This is where force starts.

            Socialism is more forceful than even corporate monopoly.

            Fascist worse still, as it’s really the government who is the corporation, though at least they still act in economic interest.

            The worst is Communist, where you ARE forced to buy and your ration card makes all the decisions for you.

          • Todd

            “Das Kapital is 100 years out of date”

            And yet the mode of exploitation it dissects is still with us, doing the exact same thing it’s been doing since before Capital was written. Don’t worry, though: better right-wing propagandists than you have been repeatedly (and more desperately) declaring the book useless for a while now despite its timeliness. You’re in good company.

            Yes, I (like you although I doubt you’ll admit or even acknowledge it) and a sizeable chunk of the planet’s population have been forced to buy things and sell things (as well as freely do the same). Off the top of my head, I’ve been forced to buy products I didn’t want because the market is flooded with crap that crowds out stuff I do want to buy because the stuff I want has been undercut by producers with big pockets that can sell cheap (the stuff I want disappears because it’s not profitable enough to keep making). As for what I’ve been forced to sell, I’m a worker; ipso facto, I’ve been forced to sell my labour-power since the day I was able to work in a system designed to exploit me and others like me.

            “Socialism is more forceful than even corporate monopoly.”

            “Socialism is forceful.” Well, duh. It involves using law backed up by force to achieve its ends, same as capitalism has done since its inception.

            (As for who’s more forceful, that’s a hard one, depending on how you measure force. I prefer to ask “cui bono?”)

            As for your definition of communist, try reading some Marx on that then compare it to what used to be “Actually Existing Communism”.

          • Devon Jolly

            I’m alot more concerned that reputable Economists have called Das Kapital out of date than anything any political talking head has to say on the subject.

            Would you mind clarifying something, anything, you’ve been forced to buy? Your…vague…example only states that you bought something you didn’t want because the product you wanted wasn’t available at some store. You were hardly forced into it, you made a value judgement that you’d be better buying than not and that you’d be better buying now than searching for the right product.
            This is not force.

            As for being ‘forced’ to sell your labor, again, you were not forced, you chose to work for someone else rather than start a small business, not work at all, or go on wellfare. Certainly the first two are more honorable, but you still had a choice of four.

            Unless you’re a con on probation/parole? Then you’d be forced. Or I suppose your family may have forced you, but eh system certainly didn’t.

            Socialism/capitalsim force. Umm.. no. Capitalism doesn’t force you to work. You’re free to rot at the fringes of the system.

            Ah, yes, we come to the “No True Scotsman” argument that’s always brought up with the failure and despotism of communist systems. While it is true that there has never been a proper communist country (only communist towns), that’s because they’re all in the proper communist transition period where the totalitarian state is brutalizing everybody so that they can learn the joys of being communist… or die trying. The problem is that so long as it is a communist STATE, it will NEVER be “true” communism, and no communist state will ever dissolve itself, so you’re endlessly shit out of luck.

          • Todd

            “reputable Economists”

            This doesn’t mean much, considering the ties that bind mainstream economists and their departments (never mind the bots churned out by the Kochs’ private “universities”) to capitalists and their mouthpieces (and, no, I’m not talking conspiracy theory, just the power that wealthy donors have over institutions as well as plain ideology).

            “Would you mind clarifying something, anything, you’ve been forced to buy?”

            I did. You just don’t accept it. I wonder if you’re looking for something like a gun-to-the-head scenario. Even company stores never did that, and they absolutely employed force.

            “As for being ‘forced’ to sell your labor”

            Yes, you can start a business (although the stats on start-ups aren’t encouraging), assuming one haves what that takes, in all senses of the phrase, depending on the business; I know I don’t, and nobody should be punished for not having it.

            As for “not working at all”, you do understand the concept of starvation, right? As for welfare, that’s kind of disingenuous of you to offer that when the class of people you support have been working hard (and are still at it) on reducing and even eliminating it.

            So, choice, to you, is utterly devoid of the “Gun-to-the-Head-while-Playing-Chess” scenario: any move you make isn’t forced, even the ones that don’t permit your opponent to blow your head off with his gun; you would choose either course, death or life, fully and freely, not giving a rat’s ass about possible outcomes.

            On that note, your responses haven’t been really surprising or interesting, just average, and I’m getting tired. Bye.

            (PS: the “no true Scotsman” stuff, no. I told you to compare theory with practice/reality; one can be closer to or further away from theory for various reasons, some legit and some not.)

          • Devon Jolly

            PETA, yeah, I like my PETA better. People Eating Tasty animals. Real PETA bash the heads of dogs and cats with mallets because its somehow more cruel to be a pampered house-pet? And want to end Horse racing when they know it’ll send most horses living now to the meat factory? (though that’d probably up the breeding of horses, good meat gets demand) They also protest safari’s, knowing full well that when the parks get shut down the land is paved over for cities or farms and the animals shot for being a nuisance or harvested for Ivory.

            PETA is stupid, self defeating and ineffectual.

            As to Compassionate Conservatism… IDK. I really don’t. On one hand traditions are traditional BECAUSE THEY WORK, and Liberals trying to tear them down because they’re traditional is fucking retarded. OTOH, if there’s a better way and the old thing that is worse is in the way, it’s stupid to defend the old thing.
            This is why I prefer science. It doesn’t just replace shit. It tries out new things and only goes for replacement when you find success.

          • Zac Caslar

            Yeah, ultimately aiding others is an excellent survival strategy.

            “Enlightened self-interest” and all that.

          • Flesh Forge

            “Telepaths may not exist, but Jordan Peterson and psychs of his caliber are pretty close.”

            lol get a load of this guy

            this fucking guy, for real, look at this guy

          • Devon Jolly

            Got an actual rebuttal, FF?

          • motorfirebox

            I’m not sure that ascribing mental illnesses to people who disagree with you actually requires much in the way of rebuttal.

          • Devon Jolly

            Have you actually read what I said?
            Anything their Journalists write?
            What their speakers say?
            The basic definitions of these terms?
            I’ll grant that it’s rude to do so, but that doesn’t make the point any less relevant.

            Also, you’re replying in an… odd place. That’s got nothing to do with what Flesh Forge was mocking or what I was criticizing him for. There’s plenty of replys to Katrika you could have posted this too for continuities sake.

          • motorfirebox

            Yes, I have, on all counts. And the fact that you think that it adds to up sociopathy makes it clear that you don’t know what the word actually means. Which is as far as I’m going to take this because, well, you’re the kind of idiot who describes mental disorders to people you disagree with. Attempting to reason with someone whose basic premise is unreasonable is rarely fruitful.

          • Devon Jolly

            You obviously haven’t read my posts though. I don’t think most of them are sociopaths. But their rhetoric, especially intersectionality, representation and why we need feminism rants, constantly claim a lack of empathy as their basic logic. Lack of empathy is the central feature of sociopathy.

            This. Is. Bizarre.

            I don’t think I can be any more clear, logical or reasonable than this. Your reply “I don’t like you calling social justice sociopathic, you’re being unreasonable” without offering any argument (IE reason) as to why I’m mistaken is unreasonable by it’s simple nature.

            Thus, I ask you.

          • Flesh Forge

            How about “Jordan Peterson is a regressive idiot and a shithead who is real dumb” how about that

          • Devon Jolly

            Explain why. All you have so far is a bias accusation.

            Peterson, before he became a media sensation is the single most cited living Psychiatric Professor.

          • Flesh Forge

            His claim to mainstream fame is “women don’t belong in the workplace” lol. He’s a regressive shitbird, pretty open and shut.

          • Devon Jolly

            You’re a deaf ignoramus. You need to listen to/read something he’s actually said/wrote at some point rather than what your obcessively triggered echo-chamber have claimed about him.

          • Flesh Forge

            lol you mean like this


          • Devon Jolly

            You stopped halfway through, didn’t you. Immediately after you heard that phrase, rather than listening to the explanation for the example?

            You probably also ignored the earlier quote that Men and Women in the workplace is a long series of complicated questions that few people are posing an which CANNOT be properly solved by any one ideology.

            Rofl. If you’re going to strawman, find an argument where he’s not being reasonable and milktoast.

          • Flesh Forge

            it’s a 2:40 minute spot and pretty much every second of it is him making flat assertions that are very dubious, and are in a roundabout way saying “women don’t belong in the workplace”, it’s plain as fucking day to normal humans. If you want to chase your tail looking for hidden meanings in long series of complicated questions go back to whatever right wing circlejerk turned you on to JBP in the first place.

          • Devon Jolly

            *sigh* Peterson is always very straight forward and clear in his words. His answer to should women be in the workplace was “I don’t Know” His answer to why is it in question was “its an experiment only 40 years old” His numerous points on Makeup are obvious and correct to anyone who knows the history of the material or has EVER TALKED TO A GIRL on the subject. His answer to why should it be a rule, was “It’s a double-standard” which if you’re not against double standards there’s a bigger problem here than me being centrist disagreeing with your radical leftism.

            As I said before, the case against makup was made by feminists in the 60’s. That’s about as milktoast as you can get.

          • Flesh Forge

            Every word you just wrote is a clear example of “part of the problem”.

            e: also funny that a) you’re calling yourself a centrist if you’re at all in doubt that women should be allowed in the workplace and b) you’re calling me a radical leftist for saying, yes, women should be allowed in the workplace lol

          • Devon Jolly

            I’m saying youre a radical because you have the same crazed stawman outlook about everything you read without seeming exception.

          • Zac Caslar

            Seems like “doing nothing” is the new empathy. “I’m not going to oppress you with my smothering concern for your health and happiness when I can liberate you with my scornful indifference!”

            Totally not a bad sign of a decaying social fabric, nuh-uh.

          • Katrika

            Uh what do you have against me and why do you keep upvoting your own comments?

          • Zac Caslar

            a) a bad first impression,

            b) it amuses me to do so! ho ho ho.

          • Devon Jolly

            Honestly it seems like sociopathy is the new empathy sometimes. At least with mental cases screaming “you can’t understand because you’re not X” actually has some minor shred of reality to it.

          • Zac Caslar

            I agree. And I generally respect Intersectionalism for having a legitimate point in the idea of “you don’t know what it’s like to be me” with a bonus multiplier for particularly marginalized people.

            But there’s also a kind of looming arrogance to the proposition as it very quickly can mutate into “you can’t know what it’s like to be me” as though there were sincerely unique human experiences.

            And that’s where I call bullshit. That’s a kind of magical thinking that turns every problem into a eternal monolith, into a monument to itself. Everyone might have a unique perspective, but no one is in a unique event.

            I’ve had PTSS-case friends and the walls they put up to protect themselves end up being shrines to their damage and estrangement. “Stay out!” means no healing gets in and no infection drains away.

            As a social movement it’s a disaster in the making. Denying empathy turns us into miserable hogs butting each other aside for a chance the scraps in the trough instead of breaking loose and claiming the actual food itself.

    • KatherineMW

      Here’s my read. Just as in physical health, there’s a distinction between “your nose looks funny, so you need to have plastic surgery” and “you have leukemia and need medical care”, in mental health there’s a distinction between neuroatypicality and serriosly harmful, damaging mental illness.

      Patrick just tried to kill Allison on the basis that she’s the only person who’s ever been kind to him. His mental state is seriously on the “leukemia” end of the spectrum, and a lot of the chapter’s made it clear that he is on some level deliberately seeking her help in dealing with it.

      • Zac Caslar

        Also it’s been made explicitly clear that Allison is in real peril while navigating Patrick’s inner citadel.

        The platonic ideal of her unsorting his mess one synapse at a time is obviously not an option, not against Lord Boy on Lord Boy’s own turf with no reliable allies and goddamn Dr. Guwara running around looting the place.

        That idea solution would also, for the purists, be horrifically invasive seeing as she’d have to sort through everything and re-order it according to what she thinks he’d want. He can’t tell her, as we’ve clearly seen, at the minimum because of the discord in his head so what person he ends up being would be in Allison’s hands …err mind… to a truly disturbing degree.

        So yeah. No. Smashing the walls, flooding the fortress, and letting Patrick holistically reassemble himself is clearly the actual kindest option.

  • Ladon

    “Patrick! I broke the bad brain thing!” “I know! Now I’m a healthy, functioning human being!” “That is so great!” “Isn’t it? Let’s make out!” “I uh… got a boyfriend. Remember?” “I will fucking end him”

    • Marc Forrester

      You should totally make HiSHE style fan comics.

      • Ladon

        My unfortunate lack of artistic ability means that I will have to continue to settle for making up silly conversations in comments sections although I appreciate your support.

        • Princeling

          I also hav no artistic ability, didn’t stop me from making a character for a board game!!! her name was Princess Puffles, the Demonic Octopus, leader of the armies from hell!!!!!

          srsly tho, there’s no harm in trying!! or u can just take panels that already exist and mess around with them!!!!!

    • Locolollipop

      His new supervillain originstory..

  • Pomegranate

    Huh- soooo Patrick you gonna punch her then hug her? Seems like an appropriate reaction to me.

  • Kiersten Oliver

    I bet Patrick could be an excellent dog rescuer.

  • Wolftamer9

    I’m still not convinced something like this can happen without potentially nasty consequences in the future.

    I can still see him being so traumatized by facing his feelings without experience or a coping mechanism that he goes back in time and kills all those people with powers. (Is that a running theory yet?)

  • Philip Bourque

    I thought about making a snarky comment to this story-line, but I think I’ll wait until it’s actually over before I do so.

    • Weatherheight

      ::splashes around in the mud puddle::

      Come on in, it’s fun!

      ::jumps with all four feet and does a butt-plant in the mud::

      • palmvos

        ::makes mud pie::
        ::begins evil cackle::

      • Philip Bourque

        But the view from this side is pretty nice. I find the comments to be more entertaining than the comic.
        Wellll… Okay, but just a small dip this time.
        I’ve seen comments saying that how Pat was killing Al and how the brain thing was killing him and thus is totally justified in her actions. If she was doing this with the goal of getting the heck out of Dodge, I’d applaud her. Let’s face it: getting out was never a thought in her head. She had 2 objectives: 1. Conspiracy info and 2. Saving Patrick. Laudable goals, but the second is terribly misguided. Since she met Lord Pity Pat, she has discarded objective 1 completely and is now solely focused on objective 2.
        The current situation, as I see it, is like this: imagine Pat has physical cancer instead of a psychological tumor. The tumor itself is attached to some pretty vital stuff, but it helps keep things running, even if it will ultimately be the death of him. No one knows how long he has because he has refused to see help (doctors can’t be trusted, grrr!). So now that the tumor has grown fairly big and has begun interfering with his ability to function and started emitting a mist that is toxic to others, Pat, in a pain induced mania, has stumbled into Al’s apartment and locked the door and closed the windows. Al has tried to make sense of Pat’s mad ramblings (she thinks she understands). Now, Al thinks she’s reached an epiphany, she stands up and poses heroically, shouting dramatically “I shall save you!” and then proceeds to tear out the tumor with her bare hands. All with the goal of saving Patrick’s life. No more, no less. That’s where I feel we are right now.

        • Weatherheight

          I love the fact that she’s trying to save Patrick, but her method seems really improvised and chaotic.
          “Winging it” rarely leads to a viable solution, in my experience.
          Nice summary.

  • Wandered In

    Wow, who could have expected that everything would go fine, because coping mechanisms are really just people’s excuses for not being mature and rational and smashing them has no possible negative consequences?
    Oh and all those engrams of people he absorbed, those don’t need any kind of structure, what a twist!

    Well… I expected it. I’m hugely disappointed that this is how the author chose to structure this sequence and construct this metaphor.

    • pleasechangemymind

      What, because Alison’s reached something good in him for a moment that means there will be zero consequences? I doubt it. Shits gonna be fucked when he wakes up, not knowing how to process these feels. I’m excited.

    • The Warrior of Many Faces

      Just because the conversation started in a friendly manner doesn’t mean it’ll end that way. Maybe wait until we reach the end of the storyline before you start bitching, hmm?

      • Kifre

        Know what, pacing vs. publishing schedule is a choice that the authors have made. The natural consequence of which is that people will absorb and respond to pages as they’re available. If you don’t like the ‘bitching’ scroll on by instead of playing comment police.

        • Marc Forrester

          Point is, that wasn’t a response to the available pages, but to projected assumptions about the next six.

          • Katrika

            The available pages show Allison deciding to punch her way to a solution when she probably could have just left and taken more time to decide how to help Patrick, such as actually getting the help of experts and asking his consent.

            Obviously Patrick’s coping mechanisms were already in the process of breaking down, but that doesn’t mean that completely tearing them apart and unleashing a storm of emotion and identity onto him is in any way a reasonable course of action, yet it’s the one Allison takes, and people are still defending her? He says himself without the walls he can’t keep his own mind separate from the minds around him… the obvious conclusion to draw from that is that by ripping down the walls, Allison is killing his identity.

            But people keep saying not to judge her on that because it might turn out okay? That’s dumb. How it turns out doesn’t matter when the point is that Allison’s actions and intentions are monstrous and selfish and irresponsible, and that defending her because you think Patrick is a bad person is inherently pretty sketchy.

          • Marc Forrester

            I rather got the impression that she *can’t* leave because a powerful psychic is holding her there while he works on hemorrhaging her brain.

          • Katrika

            Right, but he wasn’t doing that until she started stirring up shit. Which, to be fair, does not mean she deserves to be trapped there while he attempts to hemorrhage her brain, but does mean that it’s unfair to characterize her actions breaking down Patrick’s walls as a righteous action by a friend who knows better than he does What He Needs AND argue that she has to do it because she’s trapped and being attacked. It’s an extremely dumb and risky thing to be doing that could easily result in Patrick being more of a danger without him even intending to be due to breaking down his abilities to deal with his power… and that’d be fine if she was doing it because she’s pushed into a corner, but the fact that she executes it with a raised eyebrow and a casually condescending lecture doesn’t flow from that.

            It’s not Allison I’m mad at so much as the writing.

          • Marc Forrester

            That is how people are, though. Backed into a corner, they’ll get angry and scared, they’ll lash out, and they’ll adopt simplified personas that jettison all the messy, crippling complexities and act with certainty in the moment. This arc is a superhuman fight sequence, and the only difference between Patrick and Alison is that his personas have distinct faces.

          • Katrika

            Yeah, fair enough.

          • Stephanie

            >he wasn’t doing that until she started stirring up shit

            Lord Boy wanted her dead already, and still would have even if she hadn’t messed around with the Component. His issue with her wasn’t what she was doing inside his mind, it was with what she’d already done just by listening to him and believing him. He specifically cited their first meeting, when her kindness compromised the barrier, as his motive for trying to kill her.

          • Zac Caslar

            Whoa. Uh, nope.

            Allison’s intentions are established as positive over and over again; her incursion into Patrick’s brainspace is literally not possible without his consent. Yes, her choice is dramatic and dangerous, but he’s at the Stage 4 Cancer part of his problems and this is being done at his allowance.

            You bring up a solid point about how his powers work and the danger breaking up the levies of his psyche present, but it’s also possible that the reason he has that imprinting of other people into his mind is because of the fragmenting he inflicted upon himself.

            That poor younger Patrick did so makes sense; he had a lot of maturing to do under some very terrible circumstances, Trauma response is about survival; he made a survivor’s choices. Problem ends up him not changing now that he’s got an adult’s tools; the literal issue might be that he can’t.

            And finally: no, outcomes are everything. Everyone is a Utilitarian when they’re making a serious decision. Means change Ends so it’s not as simple as “The Ends Justify the Means,” but no mistake: even the most suicidally stupid bus-bomber does so because he’s certain he’s going to get something out of it.

          • Stephanie

            >when she probably could have just left

            I don’t see evidence that she had the option to just leave. She managed to break out of Patrick’s mind only to end up in Feral’s. Both of them were unconscious and didn’t appear to be able to wake up. So I don’t think she could leave–not after Lord Boy started trying to kill her, at least.

          • Weatherheight

            However, we also don’t have any evidence that she can’t leave either. So far as my reading has gone, can’t see that she’s actually really tried.

            Try playing all this as Inception 2 and it gets really hard to tease out truth from lies in the text. 😀

            Also, welcome back. 😀

        • Zac Caslar

          Uh, no.

          “Playing comment police” is how a community regulates itself; especially without actual moderators, and crashing projects with overwhelming negativity is an actual organized thing that happens.

          Especially when the projects involve socially active women, social justice, complex themes of identity, and white men behaving badly.

          Maybe do a little research on the tactics and campaigns of Gamer Gate before you come shrieking back at me.

          • Katrika

            I’m a gay socially active woman who’s sick and tired of white men behaving badly and I think it’s pretty nasty to assume that people who disagree on the merits of one specific work are gatecrashing bigots. SFP isn’t even that progressive anymore*, even if I can appreciate the intention.

            *Not a bad thing, stuff that WAS progressive 5 years ago should be less progressive now.

          • Zac Caslar

            Aww, don’t shut down like that*. You were making progress. 😀

            You’re right! But I am also correct. This is also a thing and a recent thing and an ongoing thing and #MeToo has a lot of work to do and a lot of damage to undo.

            I don’t see every nakedly hostile gatecrasher as being necessarily intentionally disruptive, but I also cover enough virtual ground to know that even, rather especially, with GG so damaged it’s spooging a lot of little hate sperm around and they’re hungry for a rug to ruin.

            As Trump has demonstrated he and his aren’t the disease, they’re the symptoms. And stuff like SFP and Democracy Now! tend to pull in vagabond haters and pay-for-play racists/reactionaries/the usual.

            *Like I would.

          • Kifre

            If there were any evidence of that happening, or if there were anything damaging, abusive, -ist, etc. about the commenter’s statement, calling it out would be an appropriate and justified response. But that wasn’t what the commenter did. What they did was to come in with “you’re not allowed to say that yet” in an uncalled for and inappropriate way. And given the sexist language they chose to employ, I very, very much doubt that they were somehow trying to protect the standards of the community, here.

    • Ben

      I suspect this is a distraction technique designed to delay her opening that shockingly conspicuous door behind him.

      • Pretty sure that we ARE behind that door right now. This is the other side of the door that we saw before, and the thing that is locked out of Patrick’s mind is Patrick.

        • Weatherheight

          It would be interesting to me if there is a green door here, another behind the wall (where the original door was), and the “REAL” mindscape is the place between those doors.

          I have a feeling you’re right though.

  • Flesh Forge

    Nice to see Alison has ankles again, will they be staying?

  • GreatWyrmGold

    “Now that you’ve destroyed my coping mechanism for my trauma, my trauma will have no further side effects. Because the way that I tried to keep my broken self safe is the real</i problem."

    • octopod42

      Oh, I missed the part where this was the very last page of the comic and there won’t be anything more happening in this world ever! Thanks for telling me! Well, I guess I better join you in giving up on any chance that there will be further effects in the future from this drastic thing Allison just did…


      • ObviousPuppetAccount

        Weren’t we still waiting for the bad consequences of Alison forcing that one guy to help Feral?
        Or aren’t we allowed to complain about that yet? Let’s give it a few more months.

        • sagelynaive

          There was an entire arc about her trying to deal with the ethical repurcussions of that which also led to her being threatened by a congresswoman with political power so like I think it’s been addressed there will probably be more consequences to come but I’m pretty sure that was all last chapter. That was the entire Gurwara thing. Im not saying Im fully satisfied with that, but I am saying it was literally addressed a chapter ago.

          • ObviousPuppetAccount

            Yeah, she threw up, had a cry and a congress woman vaguely threatened her and even months later nothing has come of it, except for her basically being told that what she did was “the right thing(C)” by Guwara. For all his bluster and talk, he made it quite clear he personally didn’t care abput what she had done.
            Feeling bad while refusing to change isn’t a bad consequence. Having a talk with someone who, at most, says she can just do whatever she wants because no one can stop her isn’t a bad consequence. Being threatened and not have anything come of it for about a year isn’t much of a consequence at all.
            I mean, am I asking too much here? Or do we have to wait for a year of nothing again?

          • sagelynaive

            I’m not saying it was a good consequence, I’m saying that it hasn’t been ignored in storyby any means. I definitely think it needs to be addressed further at some point, but it’s definitely not like they haven’t talked about it at all. They literally just finished a long long thing about that issue a /chapter/ ago. The story is finally getting back to the /main plotline/ of the conspiracy after a good long bit of ignoring it in favor of Alison feeling bad about the Max thing.

            Max is not the main conflict. The main conflict is the conspiracy. Alison didn’t interact with the main conflict the entire time she was feeling bad about the Max thing. If you know even a cursory amount about storytelling you’ll know that giving something that much time can only be done in small doses or you’ll lose the main plot. If you want Alison to get immediate consequences for some side plot and derail the entire story then I’m afraid you’re gonna be disappointed. The threats from Max’s mom are a promise, that at the worst time possible the consequences of the Max thing will take effect, and make whatever conflict is going on worse, making it much more satisfying.

            Also the thing releases two pages a week. A year irl is not a year in comic time. It’s probably been like a month in universe since that thing with Max’s mom and Gurwara, if I remember correctly. As far as the storyline goes we’ve literally only just moved past all that mere pages ago. It makes complete sense that none of the dark machinations that Max’s mom promised would be hard to notice have come to fruition yet.

            If this were a book that you could read all at once the pacing would be fine, and any action by Max’s mom or anyone immediately would seem crazy rushed and would take up so much time you’d forget the book is actually about a conspiracy. But it’s not a book. It’s gonna take a little bit to unravel, because twice weekly web serials are slow work. There’s very little immediate payoff, and a lot of slow burn build up, that’s increased by the upload schedule. If you don’t have that kind of patience it’s possible long-form WIP webcomics aren’t your cup of tea.

            In conclusion, asking a twice a week comic to make good on threats that are only slightly pertinent to the main storyline within a single chapter of when they are made, and as a result continue to not address the main conflict of the series (the conspiracy), simply because it’s been a year in real time and you’re getting antsy, IS asking too much. Find a different medium that you’ll enjoy more.

          • ObviousPuppetAccount

            I wasn’t asking for her to talk about what she did, and certainly not for her to justify her actions to herself so that she is free to continue doing very questionable things in the future. Only now without feelings of guilt.

            I was asking for bad consequences of an action that certainly SHOULD have bad consequences, next to the obvious good consequences that it had. A talk with a philosopher that is all about her pushing away her feelings of guilt so that she doesn’t even have to feel bad about what she did is the exact opposite of what I wanted.

            You can argue that Max isn’t the main conflict of the story, but that doesn’t take away that he was the main conflict of an entire chapter. A chapter that has ended without any moderate negative side effects for Alison.

            As for the time frame, we apparently had time for literal months of a philosophical debate, right after the act, where Alison learns to justify her actions, but it is too much to ask for a few pages of actual bad consequences sneaking up on her. We didn’t even get a single panel of a television broadcast in the background saying “famous congress woman XYZ has put forth bill 84A-C which will require biodynamics to wear ‘Alison Green can eat my shorts’ T-shirts at all times”.

            After all those pages of philosphical debate you can’t say that the comics slow output base is a defense for its actual slow pacing. Comic book series have started and ended since Alison choke slammed the amazing Ayn Rand man through a table.

          • ObviousPuppetAccount

            Why is your other comment “awaiting moderation”? You said absolutely nothing hateful or bad.

            A few days ago something similair happened to one of my comments. What is going on with this comment section?

          • sagelynaive

            I have no idea. Maybe it was too long? Just in case though, I wanna make it clear that I mean you no ill will, and I enjoy having this discussion with you, you’re really good at making your points.

          • ObviousPuppetAccount

            I didn’t read anything you said as bearing ill will towards me. If anything, I was the more rude one in our discussion. Which is part of why I find it so weird your comment got tagged for moderation.

            I wanted people to know that you said nothing bad in it, because when comments get deleted it makes both parties in the discussion look very suspect, while we we’re just having a civil discussion. You certainly said nothing that would, in my opinion, justify deleting or even moderating the comment.

            We might not agree on the topic of the comic, but I also do not bear you any ill will and did enjoy the discussion as well. Even if I got a bit caustic. I hope your comment does not get deleted.

        • octopod42

          I guess we are still waiting for some kind of mysterious philosopher to show up and force Alison to question her ethical assumptions or something like that.

      • GreatWyrmGold

        Given the framing, it’s almost certain that this will have a more or less positive outcome. Nothing has yet suggested that anything Alison has done in this arc is particularly damaging; so far, it’s been treated as if Alison is saving Patrick, dragging him out of his shell and breaking his bad habits.

        • Stephanie

          I agree that the outcome is shaping up to be overall positive, but it’s definitely premature to say that his trauma will have “no further side effects.” Getting rid of all the calcification around the trauma may allow him to start healing, but it doesn’t mean he’s immediately healed.

          • GreatWyrmGold

            It’ possible that this arc will have a satisfying conclusion. But something—I can’t put my finger on what—makes me pessimistic about the odds of that happening.
            I’m also not convinced that getting rid of the calcification was a necessary first step, or even helpful. That wasn’t the cause of Patrick’s problems, that was just another symptom.

          • Stephanie

            It sure didn’t seem to be getting any better the way it was. Patrick was barely functional when he showed up.

          • GreatWyrmGold

            “Things aren’t getting better on their own, so let’s bring in someone who’ll make some kind of change” is literally how we got President Trump. Try finding a less problematic justification for your position.

          • Stephanie

            Excuse me? That was completely unnecessary. Try finding a less hostile way to have a conversation about a webcomic.

          • GreatWyrmGold

            That wasn’t hostile, merely blunt.
            That sort of logic has always bothered me. In the current political climate, it disturbs me. I try to point out these kinds of issues as clearly as possible, in hopes that people realize where they went wrong and won’t do it again. An effective way to do this is to point out a notable example of the same arguments being used to support something absurd, and I think most readers of this webcomic would find Trump’s presidency absurd.
            (And, hey, if I can share my insights into how Trump got elected—something that still seems to baffle many left-leaning folks—that’s just a bonus.)

  • ampg

    Just popping in to say that I really love the composition of that last panel.

  • LatePocketwatch

    It’s all well and good it’s looking like she was right, but unless there was a dome forcefield I’m forgetting it would have been better to take a fly over the walls and find this aspect of Patrick first. Gathering all the information before prescribing necessary trauma is basically the point of medical ethics which given Allison’s interests she should have been exposed to at some point.

    • Marc Forrester

      Everything’s a metaphor, so yeah, there probably would be a dream logic glass dome if you tried to fly over the walls without smashing them first. They’re representing an attempted mindproof barrier.

  • Nikki

    Loving all the comments suggesting this is going to have no negative consequences just because we haven’t seen them yet, put me down for team Patrick (not this Patrick, complete-irl-Patrick) Is About To Cry Havoc And Let Slip The Dogs Of War, Possibly On Himself

  • Brooke Dick

    h-his shirt,, my heart,,,

  • Lostman

    And now we find what on the other side of the door.

  • Walter

    Wabbit Season t-shirt is callback to Best Memory. I think this is the version of Patrick who lived outside the barrier.

  • Katrika

    This is sickening. How can you portray the kind of violation Allison just did as a good thing?

    • ObviousPuppetAccount

      Well, mostly by not focussing on the city that is now breaking down with all the Patricks melting into their traumatic memories while his mind is being torn assunder.
      Just ignore that part. It’s fine. Don’t worry about it.

    • Because NOTHING she could have done would have been a good thing. There were no good things to do, including doing nothing. This… was maybe the LEAST bad thing available.

  • Julia McGuire

    THAT SHIRT! And the tears! This is so cute.

  • Eileen Young

    Oh, I love this. The whole city was constructed to keep feelings out and everything contained, and here he is where she made him feel a thing in conjunction with Looney Tunes, so he’s stranded out in the feelings and strung out because of it. I bet this Patrick couldn’t even go into the city, but he’s also so transparently ill equipped and uncomfortable stuck outside the city.

    And this looks a little less kempt than Feral’s mind, and nothing is blooming. I just love everything about this.

  • Jshadow

    Wait… wtf just happend? I’m not following….

    • Stephanie

      Al destroyed the walls of the city, revealing a more natural mindscape similar to Feral’s, which presumably had surrounded the city the entire time. Beyond the walls, she found what appears to be the “true” Patrick persona–I’m not sure if the fragmentary Patricks reintegrated into him or if he’s a separate entity that was just out here the whole time. Basically it looks like the city wasn’t Patrick’s entire mind, it was just an artificial construct he’d built up within it. Right now I’m kind of seeing it like how an oyster forms a pearl around a painful grain of sand, but we’ll probably get a better idea in future pages.

  • wsw

    She’s flown over the walls and met Looney Patrick who had been banished, but the other figments are still in the destabilizing city. I still think a truly resolution still involves some fusion of them all. This destruction will probably cause chain reactions into… something.

    I don’t fully see it as violation because the mindscape is a bit more down fantasy lane then the rest of the comic, which only so far has done more standard sci-fi fare. Feral’s mind gave us a example of how a mindscape is supposed to look. This puts the acts of flusing the emotion in into the same realm as standard fantastic stuff like something like a my little pony friendship beam, or whatever abstract sillyness fiction has made up. Such fictions of the mind tend to be a more black and white, and as we’re seeing here, quite mallable then a real mind. As far as we know Patrick’s repression might only be possible because of his telepathy powers interacting with his own mind this way, and the narrative kind of implied something very weird has being going on in here.

    I’m not even neurotypical myself(autism), and any linking any mindscape idea to it is just so far-fetched I literally can’t take it seriously as a real offense. Fictional mindscapes are just our (cultural) associations with certain concepts, a healthy dose of magical thinking, and making it all glowy for good measure. It gives a emotional response when consumed as fiction and it is fun to imagine what kind fictional conception of the mind would end up looking for yourself(I’m a kind of a Persona fan which heavily involves Jungean shadow selves), but it has little to do with real psychology and it’s attached ethics for these reasons.

    One thing that can be argued is that this specific arc and involved mental superpowers might not work as smoothy as the more physical superpowers seen up until now for the comics theme of examining social justice/philosophy things. These add to the known reality, while psychological mindscapes that can be altered as shown in this arc clearly supplant some of reality.. All the discussion here is valid, but also get very subjective as a result. We have advanced psychological ethics vs emotional goo that causes a jungle.

    • R Lex Eaton

      Which is why I want to reserve any more serious thoughts for issue’s end and for now, enjoy the sight of Patrick in a late 90s indy film.

      • Weatherheight

        He really should be holding up a boom box here, shouldn’t he?

    • Katrika

      Feral’s a self-destructive self-harming mess with a lot of trauma, which doesn’t change the fact that she’s my favorite character but does strain the plausibility of the comic portraying her mind as how minds are ‘supposed to look’… especially since even healthy non-traumatized people are super varied and it wouldn’t surprise me if mindscapes and the symbols used in them were extremely individualized. Maybe rampant plant growth means endurance, change, and thriving to one person (Feral) and chaos, destruction, and loss of control to another person (Patrick). Plus, as a telepath who sucks in memories and feelings of other people into his mindscape, even a healthy Patrick would probably have significant differences in how his mind was structured than someone else would.

      This isn’t to say Patrick was coping well before. His walls and structures left him functional for a long time, but that was breaking down. I just don’t think breaking that all at once without his consent or agreement should improve anything.

      • wsw

        Based on her own thoughts it’s mostly symbolism for a mind that engages in emotions ”freely”. Up until today I didn’t see it as something present in all minds, let alone Patrick, but here we see some plants outside the walls. Present Feral on a surface level is content, in love, a bit of a freewheeler, which seemed to translate in her mind being a bit of a hippy stereotype. I’m stressing the surface bit because I know Feral has hidden trauma, but it’s not dominant in her present state, and she’s to a extent aware of it. I suspect the reason it didn’t show up is because it would bloat the pacing of the comic. And again it’s a bit of a case of symbolism of the mind not really matching well with real life psychology.

        My opinion of breaking the walls without consent is that we have many holes on how SFP’s mindscape rules works to know to determine if it’s good or bad practice as real world outsiders. We only have the narrative seeming to push it as positive up until now, which may introduce backfiring elements at a later time. You can even turn consent up until it’s head because here we have another figment of Patrick who’s clearly approving of her actions afterward, and was imprisoned without his own consent before. I say that mainly to argue the current situation is a bit vague and unrealistic to work with.

        • Katrika

          Yeah… it’s complicated but I think it’s also interesting to compare what the narrative wants to say to what people are actually coming away with… some people are clearly agreeing with the narrative.

    • octopod42

      We’ve replaced these readers’ science fiction superhero setting with magical realism. Let’s see how long it takes them to adjust!

  • zellgato

    Hmm. This is probably the version of him, that enjoyed being around and working with her.
    guessing he was behind the door until everything busted.

    That. or he’s about to try and throttle her… i mean he has a wabbit season shirt on.

    but more likely he’s saying thank you and goodbye. Cause Patrick’s gonna end himself now.

  • OptimisticCentrist

    Here’s my theory. This is the person Patrick has been trying to become since he decided that super-villiany is childish. Up until this point, he’s been kept in a small, walled-off part of Patrick’s mind because he’s too contaminated with component to be allowed in the city but too fragile to be exposed to the full horrors of the lands outside the barrier. He’s the newest and weakest of Patrick’s personality aspects, and he’s not a perfect person, or even a complete one, but he does represent a genuine attempt on Patrick’s part to be a better, more functional human being. He’s not a solution by himself but he might be able to serve as part of the foundation for one.

    • aseariel

      I like this idea.

    • Teka the Budgie

      That theory fits with the t-shirt and the resemblance to current day Patrick (more so than any of the other versions). I was hoping this was the united Patrick that integrates the other aspects of his personality, but your version makes more sense.

      I also really like how it involves Patrick in his own recovery. Allison broke down the walls to let him in, but he will be in charge of how he goes about repairing his mind.

  • *cries*

  • BMPDynamite


    • palmvos

      shall we link the still alive song?

  • sagelynaive

    Y’all party poopers in the comments are forgetting 1. Alison Green would never do anything but what she did here. Anything else would be wildly OOC. 2. This comic is from her point of view, and will therefore show everything she does in a positive light until and unless she herself is shown that it is negative. 3. Patrick’s mind is not a normal mind, there’s no saying that doing this will have the effect to think it will. It’s, get this, fiction, and the main character can fly. I know that’s not a great argument, and In universe consistency is important, but we haven’t had inuniverse telepathy junk yet. The consequences of this dont have to be as dire as you make them 4. It’s been 2 pages. Give it a sec. We just spent an entire arc having Alison explore the ethical repurcussions of strongarming Max. Give the comic the benefit of the doubt. 5. It’s fiction. It isn’t and never will be a perfect picture of mental health, especially since mental health is not the comic’s main focus. Chill and let people read the comic. Like, real Patrick is here, I’m excited. Is he real Patrick?? Let’s talk about that.

    • palmvos

      is he the real Patrick? well no. I think we have to get out of Patrick’s head for that. what is this Patrick then? this is the guy who was pulling the strings I suspect- the one who made Patrick seek out Alison in the first place. that’s a piece that made no sense so far- none of the other facets really seemed to want Alison- she was just a tool or a problem. so who in this mindscape drove Patrick to Alison? or are these mental projections just noise running on the larger mind- the actual will has been somewhere else the whole time?

      • Weatherheight

        I have this cynical suspicion that this is all a soundstage in Patrick’s mind (a mindstage, if you will), and that this story arc is actually Inception 2: Patrick’s Counterattack (Gundam Style!).

        • palmvos

          ::begins singing in another language::
          ::still out of tune::

  • Sterling Ericsson

    So, was the Green Door the exit or was the Real, Complete Patrick avatar being kept locked behind it by Lord Boy?

  • Walex B

    I dunno if the author realizes it, while trying to be usually very politically correct, but many of the stories painted here are somewhat realistic, with people not being totally good or bad: Alison is a bit of a bully, for very good reasons usually, like with the guy whose superpower is to amplify that of other people and Feral, and now with doing psychotherapy by wrecking ball on Menace.
    Eventually it will all come down to what Gurwara was discussing with her in pages 6-38 and 6-131…

    • JohnTomato

      “very politically correct”

      When was the last time American pseudo-conservatives were on the historically proper side of a social issue?

      • ObviousPuppetAccount

        What does that have to do with anything?

        • JohnTomato

          That neo and pseudo conservatives are, politically, more PC than liberals.

          • ObviousPuppetAccount

            Once again, what does that have to do with anything?

          • JohnTomato

            “I dunno if the author realizes it, while trying to be usually very politically correct,” – Walex B

          • ObviousPuppetAccount

            Was it objectionable that he claimed the comic tries to be politically correct?
            Could you give me something more to work with? I genuinly don’t understand what you are trying to say here.

          • JohnTomato

            That being PC is now a pseudo-conservative thing.


          • ObviousPuppetAccount

            So, the only point of Walex B’s post you disagree with is that he uses the term “political correct”?
            That seems like a relative minor thing to disagree about. Even more if you take into account that most people, regardless of politcal background, will associate “politcal correct” with the left. I’m not even saying if they are right or wrong to do that, it’s just become a rather common association.

          • JohnTomato

            Because most people are below average intelligence and enjoy propaganda as it absolves them from any critical thinking.

          • Lurkin’

            “MOST people are below AVERAGE intelligence”

            The amount of painfully condescending irony here can warrant only one response: a chorus of awkward crickets chirping.

            Unless you mean average as in mean rather than median (though both are the same on a bell curve), and simply believe yourself to be so far above the rest that you actually skew the average, in which case … nope, awkward crickets still the only appropriate response. Yikes.

  • Giacomo Bandini

    Alison made the right choice?. Let’s try to do a logical evauation when we do a logical analysis of the possible outcomes: let’s try to guess what are the most reasonables outcomes, the best or the worse, for every choice.

    Lets start with the choice of break the barriers:what is the best reasonable outcome? That is the simple one, Patrick gets completly cured, Alison recovers the informations, everybody safely wakes up. Happy ending.

    Now, what would be the worst case scenario? Patrick’s mind gets completely destroyed, and the psychical backlash ends up destroying both Alison’s and Tara.s minds. Tre vegetables, or even worse, two dead bodies and a vegetable, i do not think that psychic death could kill Tara’s near immortal body.

    So, we have a very good, fable like happy ending, and a catastrofical one. Let’s consider the other possibility, to not break the barriers.

    The best possible scenario is to implement Anima’s plan. Menace is destryed or imprisoned,Anima becomes the dominating persona, Alison recovers the informations, and she and Tara safely returns to the waking world. All is good.. except that AnimaPatrick is not a good person, not at all. She is cynical, cold, tyrannical: sure, not a supervillain, not costumes or dreams of military conquest; but still, she is very very dangerous. Would Alison release a extremely Intelligent high-functiong sociopath, with increased telepatic powers on the world? Or she would turn him in? If he gets turned in, its lobotomy..he is too dangerous, and his telepatic powers cannot be restrained. If she does not, well… he is capable of litterally anything. Probably, the moment she let him go, he would immediatly start plotting Alison’s demise – after all, Anima is still Lord Boy ‘s servant.

    And for the last scenario…. Alison and Tara remains imprisoned inside the latter’s mind. Indefinitely.
    What happens then? Difficult to say. Probably Clevin would find their three unconscious bodies. He would probably try to awoke them, and his mind will be ensnared too. This could go along for a while, but soon the dipartment will become aware. Probably they would send Paladin’s robot to recover them. Could an ensared mind be safely awaken? Not sure, but i guess it could work. Maybe electric shock, maybe drugging Patrick to famacological coma. Something like that. At least, they can artificially alimentate them until they can be saved. It would be a terrible mess, but in the end, but i think they all survive.
    But Patrick….. well, there is no chance for him. If he is lucky, prison for life on a remote island, tended by paladin’s robots, under mind numbing psycopharmacs. But if the government does not want to take any chance? Lobotomy, or good old bullet in the skull.

    So what s the right choice, in the end?
    It all boils down to what you fear the most. Do you fear the catastrofical breakdown? Or the danger that an anima possesed Patrick could pose? Or the danger that Alison and Tara endure trapped in his mind?
    I think that the decisive point, for Alison, was that only in the first scenario, Patrick has a chance to live a happy life. She is still a hero, after all. A hero still try to save the world. She could not settle for damage control. It is not in her nature.

    • palmvos

      fear should not be the primary decider. fear makes someone drive in a car across the united states because flying is too dangerous. now that you’ve mapped out some extremes, now the hard part or you aren’t doing an FMEA here. assign probabilities- start with words then numerical % can be assigned. also break down things further- minds being trapped is the failure- how to mitigate it. If you want to use logic- don’t reinvent the wheel! John Keogh has the patent and wed have to pay him.

      • Giacomo Bandini

        No. I’m having fun, and i want to keep it that way.

  • Mishyana

    Would have preferred to leave this a few strips back, but I fell behind some. No worries, it’s not too far off topic =P

    This whole sequence reminds me of an early episode of this radio program I listen to called Radiolab; in particular, an episode called ‘Choice’, which in part explores the processes we go as people to make choices, how to short circuit that ability, the limits of it, and why emotion actually plays an important role in decision making.

    For the last, they shared the story of this guy who was happily married, had a couple kids, but then had surgery to remove a brain tumor and somehow in the process lost his ability to feel emotion. And with that loss goes his ability to effectively make decisions. Like he’s apparently be at work preparing to sign a contract and spend half an hour trying to choose between the pen with blue ink and the pen with black ink. Starts at about 22 minutes in (but really, you should all be listening to Radiolab anyway).


  • Darkoneko Hellsing

    I… wouldn’t let my guard down until the door’s actually open, tho.

  • Professor Harmless

    Quiet. We’re hunting Elmers.