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  • yeshallbeasgods

    Oh… oh dear…

  • Gotham

    WELP. That settles that mystery.
    So the green meandering Patrick’s brain is inconsequential to the existence of Alison, good to now.

    I’m still betting 80% on this ends up being a terrible idea immediately and she ends up murdered in the next pages. It’d be the better option because the other is she’s currently in confinement, forever in love with him and secluded from the world…

    • Alexandra Lamberton

      I’m betting she’s some kind of parental love zombie or she winds up killing herself out of guilt because of how she’s hurt him in the past

  • Emmy

    So, uh …

    The incredibly toxic atmosphere in this comment section a while back motivated me to delete my Disqus and my entire comment history along with it.

    I just signed up again to say —

    HOLY CRAP!!!!!!

    • Zac Caslar

      It can really be like that, yeah.

      Welcome back -however fleetingly.

      • Gotham

        Oh you scoundrel.

    • Philip Bourque

      Menace made you do it. =P

    • Welcome back! Hopefully it’s a little gentler, now.

    • Ferb Freeman

      I made a subreddit for strong female protagonist, r/SFPWebSeries

    • Johan

      Aww geez, well, welcome back, let’s hope it’ll go better this time 🙂

    • Ruby

      Welcome back! Btw I like your Fallen London profile pic, I’m a fan of the game too. ;D

    • Khlovia

      Well, welcome back and you’re not alone. I’m pretty conflict-avoidant myself, and I venture here only in a very cautious and gingerly manner. We both need to practice harder the fine art of ignoring idiots, I guess.

  • Olivier Faure

    … Wow. This storyline has been a little predictable so far, but *wow*. I did not see that coming.

    That brings up the question of why Patrick made himself forget he could do that.

    … and wait, does that mean that some of the people alleging to have been mind-controlled by Menace were actually telling the truth?

    • Vaporware

      Considering he was hiding that ability from himself, and how this appears to be the first time he realized he /could/, I think it’s probably true that he was not in the habit of directly mind-controlling others.

      Patrick has often been portrayed as, despite his issues, an essentially moral individual. As Menace, certainly a criminal, but he’d been badly marginalized in the first place and we don’t really have a clear picture of what his villainous agenda actually was overall. His apparent care for similarly marginalized biodynamics like Rat and Carver suggests that even at his worst, he still experienced some semblance of duty towards others and in particular towards those who found it impossible to integrate into society.

      We may find out otherwise in the next few pages, but I wouldn’t find it unrealistic or out of character for him to have decided to erase his memories of his mother and what he’d done to her to keep himself from the temptation or risk of ever violating someone’s will like this again. This is consistent with his already expressed and explored tendency, cultivated early in life, to partition and cull broad swathes of his own personality to remain cognitively consonant under emotional stress.

      He already knows and has expressed that even as a mere, reflexive ‘reader’, he is a profoundly violating person to be around, and seems inclined to minimize the effect his awareness of others has on them while still pursuing his own life goals (which are themselves altruistic: locating and uprooting The Conspiracy).

      This is, of course, all likely exacerbated by how he is now processing what he’s done to Claudia and how it has affected her. Consider for a moment what /that/ must be like, especially for her…someone who has gone her entire life incapable of feeling love or empathy, having that grafted in suddenly, in /this/ context. Experiencing not just aspects of parental affection for her son, but…her son who is /Menace/. Her son who just had her murder her husband to demonstrate her monstrosity to him. Which she knows she willingly did because seconds ago she felt /nothing/.

      Her son who was driven to this point in part by her own actions and historic abuse.

      All of /that/ is now processing in Claudia’s head, and Patrick doesn’t just have a front row seat, he’s standing backstage watching it all play out. Feeling it as if it were himself, the same way he felt their loathing.

      I expect there’s plenty of reason for Patrick not to want to know he can, or ever did, do this sort of thing to anyone. Even someone like Claudia who contributed so much to his own psychological maiming.

    • Nico Campa

      He never said he “couldn’t”, he said he “didn’t”. I think that this was the one and only time he did and I think we are going to learn why he never did it again.

      • Scott

        Actually, he did say that he couldn’t. “I have never been able to mind control anybody, at any time, ever.”
        Now, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t lying or simply not remembering that he could. But he did, very clearly, say that he could not.

        • Nico Campa

          Ah, you are right. My mistake.

        • TeaJay

          …hm. You’re right, he does say he couldn’t. I’m currently assuming he made himself forget (through simple mind palace shenanigans, not explicitly through his primary powers)—but:

          He says controlling “like a marionette” later. And that’s very much not what he’s doing here. He’s changing his mother’s personality and her emotions (creating the ability to feel love as he understands it wholecloth, in fact). It’s not…necessarily a lie to say he can’t control people. If this is all he can do then he can alter their neural landscape, but that is a different beast from assuming direct control of their body.

        • Sterling Ericsson

          It’s probably that he had locked the memory off before the rest of the Menace stuff.

          Also…hmm…what if killing someone he’s mind-controlling puts a much more active and direct copy of them into his mindscape?

    • Tom O.

      I don’t think he wants to remember he can do this, because then he’ll frquently have to fight the urge to do so. And the guilt of having done so.

      • Wolftamer9

        Ah, the Panacea conundrum… this is guaranteed to end badly, of course.

        • NotTheSimurgh

          Can’t possibly end worse than that did…

          …or can it?

          • Devon Jolly

            No body horror. Only half as bad.

          • Wolftamer9

            It absolutely 100% can and may.

        • AshlaBoga

          It might not be a good thing for Mega Girl to be in his head.

          Mega Girl and Glory Girl might be about to have a whole lot in common.

    • Herwood

      Yeah, I think so. He’s been unconsciously mind controlling people all the while believing that it was just his mastery of persuasion and his intimate knowledge of peoples thoughts.

      • Ophidiophile

        If he could use mind control without realising it, how did we end up here? As a child, he would, like any child, have been desperate to have his parents love. He didn’t get that. Even in the memory we are witnessing, he is still craving his parents’ love. He didn’t want his father to die, he wanted his father to stop hating him, but instead, he made his mother kill his father, by appealing to her sociopathy. Patrick has to conciously want to use mind control in order to use it. He may have even just realised it, in the way that a person might not realise the solution to a problem until they are desperate enough to try anything.

        Patrick compartmentilizes his bad memories so that he doesn’t go insane, or more likely, commit suicide or destroy the world. It’s possible that as Menace, Patrick did know he can control people directly, but wouldn’t his first encounter with Allison have turned out differently if that was the case?

        More likely, what is about to be shown is so horrifying to Patrick that he locked the memory away. The memory of the first time he felt like a monster, the first, and only, time, he thought and behaved like his mother. He didn’t erase her from his memories because she was so terrible; he was trying to erase the part of him that was like her.

        • Mike Elsner

          Maybe he couldn’t do it as a child. We’ve seen powers strengthen or change over time. Alison only recently learned to fly.

          • Ophidiophile

            Good point. I hadn’t figured in the increase in powers.

    • Eli Pomerantz

      the increased breadth of power is pretty recent – is this is what messed him up recently, then he didn’t lie then, anymore then if you asked an early Allison if she could fly and she said no. However, we don’t know when this memory was, and he does still seem to be wearing the menace gear at this point, so perhaps it was a lie

  • Incendax

    I assume he really has to hide this power, or the Conspiracy will kill him ASAP.

    • Weatherheight

      Not a bad assumption… I like it!

    • critically_damped

      If I remember right, the conspiracy knew what powers the kids had before they manifested.

      • llennhoff

        But did they know about stage two powers?

    • Johan

      Good point. Also, I hope we’ll learn a little more about this conspiracy soon cuz so much has happened I keep forgetting that it’s a thing.

  • rpenner

    Love, American Style
    Truer than the Red, White and Blue
    Love, American Style
    That’s me and you


  • zarawesome
  • bryan rasmussen

    so much for not being able to make someone do what you want when you can read their whole life says more about you than it does about them.

  • Weatherheight

    Well, I assumed he was either outright lying about his mind control (or lack thereof) or telling the truth.
    Turns out, it was both!
    “it can be both.” indeed…. 😀
    This is a rather nice twist – pateintly waiting to see exactly how this outcome is so traumatizing to Patrick.

    • cphoenix

      Maybe he could have done this to his father, and saved his father’s life… if he’d only realized how a few minutes earlier.

      • Weatherheight

        Interesting.. another idea I like.

      • Tylikcat

        Though I’m fairly certain his father was capable of loving him, and didn’t – or was more horrified and disgusted by him. It might have been a much more involved fix? (Obvs, I don’t know how the mechanics are supposed to work here…)

    • Zac Caslar

      I’m not sure it’s actually “mind control” so much as flipping some internal switch on her capacity for empathy. There doesn’t have to be any specific contravention of will involved. “I can change how you view something” is miles different from “I cast Dominate Monster; roll your Will Save.”

      • Weatherheight

        If it is re-writing/flipping a switch, that’s as close enough to “mind control” as makes no difference to my mind, particularly if it’s permanent.

      • Herwood

        I doubt that he just turned on her empathy. If he did I doubt the first thing she would feel for him is love, or whatever we are seeing from her right now. She is acting exactly how Patrick wanted her to act.

      • zellgato

        I think if she randomly acquired empathy she’d probably had gone straight for the dad. who she stated she actually loved in her own way

      • motorfirebox

        Eeeeh ummmm wellllll. A few issues.

        First, it doesn’t read to me like he’s turning on her ability to feel empathy, it reads to me like he’s creating within her a specific sense of love for him. If on the next page she turns around and feels horrible remorse for what she just did to her husband, then sure, but unless/until something like that happens I don’t see much evidence that he “fixed” her overall lack of empathic sense.

        Second… I mean, where’s the line? Momma isn’t evil because she (appears to) inherently lack a sense of empathy—you don’t need to feel empathy to understand and act on the idea that other beings have value, it just makes it easier to do so. Momma made a choice to hurt people; altering her mind so that she has stronger internal incentives against that kind of behavior would, I think, be a level of mind control. It’s not the same level as Dominate Monster, sure, but it’s on the scale.

      • Frag

        I don’t think this is mind control, or altering her mind at all. I think this is Patrick consciously projecting instead of just receiving thoughts. He’s projecting his own feelings, and with it his entire reality, as a person and not a thing. Directly experiencing that for the first time is shattering her.

  • Weatherheight

    Incidentally, does anyone else hear Christine Baranski as Dr. Beverly Hofstadter from The Big Bang Theory in that last panel? Say, from around 3:00 to 3:10 in this clip?
    Just me?


  • That’s an impending suicide if I’ve ever seen one.

    • Masala Nilsson

      Yeah, I was thinking the same. There must be SOME reason we haven’t ever seen or heard of Claudia in the comic until this storyline.

      • Johan

        Also, kid-Menace did say he couldn’t read her mind anymore so …

    • Tom O.

      Either that or he kills her because he can’t stand the constant artificial thoughts of love emanating from her.

  • Aresius

    I admit I had discarded that possibility ._. Then again – why did he get his father killed just to prove his mother’s sociopathy, when he could have turned both into his ideal folks? Was it actually an act of mercy for his weak father to spare him from mindslavery? Was it simply easier to work on his mother’s “clean slate”?

    • Tel B

      he didn’t know he could do this until just now, just like alison didn’t know she could fly until she did.

    • Kid Chaos

      Maybe he repressed the memory, along with his ability to directly manipulate people. 😵

    • Ellie

      Or maybe he still somehow thought she wouldn’t actually do it.

    • Weatherheight

      It’s a cliche in comics that extreme stress / trauma gives supers the ability to manifest new powers. That’s my guess as to what is going on here.

      We’ve long had a rule in our supers games that a new power can be manifested in the middle of the fight if:
      a) the character is no more than two points short of being able to buy the power (the usual reward for most fights/scenarios)
      b) it fits the power set of the character
      c) the GM has already seen the writeup of the power, it fits within the campaign limits, and has approved it, and
      d) it is dramatically appropriate (“The rest of your team is lying on the ground and the only one left is you, you sad excuse of a hero. And what are you going to do?” “KANEDAAAAA!!!!)

      • Aresius

        That would fit…but he spoke about it first. To me, that means he has tried this power before and knows he’s able to use it – much like if Allison had said ‘Ok, I’m flying out of here’ before taking off in a huff. Maybe he was keeping it low, if he already knew about the Conspiracy, or as self-justification (I did not force anyone to obey me, I just knew what they needed to hear to work for the Greater Good I envision), but now he was feeling truly desperate

        • Weatherheight

          Quite possibly, although I’ve had moments myself when I suddenly realized the solution to a problem and verbalized it before I did it. I can see either interpretation.

  • AbacusWizard

    First thought: whoa, he really *does* have mind control abilities?

    Second thought: or is he tricking her into *thinking* he has mind control abilities and letting placebo do the rest?

    • Weatherheight

      Which “her”? 😀

      • AbacusWizard

        I had originally meant Patrick’s mother, but I suppose either interpretation could work!

    • Insanenoodlyguy

      Wouldn’t work. You can’t trick somebody into feeling something alien to them. She doesn’t have empathy. Telling her she does would be like telling somebody they now had a third eye. Maybe they’ll check real fast but they won’t actually start seeing out of a new third spot.

  • AbacusWizard

    So I was re-reading the first flashback to the original Mega-Girl/Menace showdown, and I noticed what could be a visual similarity between the “I can make you love me” panel in today’s comic and the “Everyone who could have saved the world is dead” panel in THIS comic:

    Is that lightning bolt between their eyes significant?

    • allneonlike

      I think you’re right although I really fucking hope not. One devastating psychic rape is enough. Even if the only thing he implanted in Alison’s mind was the belief that these other biodynamic kids existed and were killed, and she developed feelings for him by herself, she’ll never be able to trust that he didn’t compel her to love him too. How long ago was that? Five years give or take? Jesus christ. That’s a lot darker than anything we’ve seen in this comic so far. The scope of that violation, christ.

      • discrepancy

        No, the lightning between them is a common visual representation of an especially fierce glower. It has been used since the earliest days of Western animation.

        • AbacusWizard

          That was my assumption when I first saw the early strip in question, but the visual parallels to the panel in today’s strip made me wonder…

          • Eileen Young

            In that panel his eyes are dark, too, whereas they’re light here, and it’s more squiggle than lightning bolt in this one. If anything more subliminal is happening in the other one I’d bet it’s more like Allison going ‘you say I can’t save the world, fucking watch me, dare accepted.’

        • Shjade

          That and, if his plan was to MC her into going along with his interests, why’d he keep monologuing afterward? It would’ve been redundant if she was already on board from mind-whammy.

      • Weatherheight

        “She (Alison) will never be able to trust that he didn’t compel her to love him too.”

        Regardless of the art, this is an excellent (if not necessarily iron-clad) insight…
        Hopefully, this will be addressed in the text.

    • E S M

      I think it’s the panel afterwords that’s more significant. Patrick WAS powerful enough to be a villain.

  • ColaKitteh

    Whoa! So he does have mind control abilities after all… What a plot-twist! …Is Alison in danger?

  • Thomas S

    The logic i see, says suicide for shame, love and momentary insanity.

    Also, would not Lord Boy have caught up by now?

    • ampg

      My understanding is that destroying the walls caused all five Patricks to reintegrate into the Patrick that’s with Alison right now.

      • Insanenoodlyguy

        No, this Patrick was behind the wall as well. I’m guessing the rest are desperately scrambling to hold up a framework that is falling apart.

        • ampg

          Oh, yes, I get it. They did seem to be swamped by “component” when we last saw them.

      • Thomas S

        I can see how you might think that, but I don’t think the Patricks have integrated – the wall was to keep out dangerous overwhelming emotions – not to enable the capacity to be separate anima aspects of the one person.

  • Giacomo Bandini


  • Question for the floor: at what point does changing someone to no longer have what is, as far as modern science is able to tell, a permanent psychologial condition become simply destroying a person and replacing them with someone who looks the same?

    Or, as an alternative, I wonder how terrifying, confusing and downright unbearable empathy and love would be for someone who hasn’t really felt them before?

    • Sergio Le Roux

      That was addressed once in a House, M.D. episode.
      And they used Science! so it must be how it really works. And the TV is never wrong.

      • My parent’s sibling, who is a neurologist, shows their students House MD episodes and gets them to commentate on the inaccuracies as a teaching exercise.

        • Tylikcat

          Pop me some popcorn!

          • palmvos

            coming right up!
            I’m on a low carb diet so please eat it all.

          • Tylikcat

            I was thinking metaphorical popcorn anyway. Corn is also on the list of things that don’t seem to be working for me, but I like the *idea* of popcorn.

          • palmvos

            food is rich with metaphors. its an essential element!

  • Stephanie

    OOPS. Now the literal supervillain remembers that he actually can fuck with people’s brains directly. I’m sure nothing bad will come of this.

    • ampg

      Well, at least he seems terrified by it?

    • Olivier Faure

      “Are you gonna use your emotion-control to make me love you?”

      “Yeah, still no. I’m really fond of you to an unhealthy degree, but you did throw that mug at my face, and you’re planning to have me thrown to jail. And as much as exacerbating your unfortunate crush on me might solve that problem… well, mentally warping one instable abuser into loving me was grotesque and traumatizing enough.”

      • Johan

        Ouch XD

    • AshlaBoga

      While he’s got the most powerful superhero in the world trapped inside his mind…

      Yeah, no way that could possibly go wrong 😉

  • Professor Harmless

    First, kudos for a surprising turn to the story. Second, I suppose this would fall under my prediction of patrick forcing empathy upon her, but it’s a bit of a stretch. Finally, Allison faces a new conundrum, can she continue to let this troubled young man go, knowing now his instability and the true extent of his powers?

  • ampg

    This twist reminds me a lot of “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland,” where Jafar spent the entire series trying to break the rules of magic to make his father love him, just so he could kill him and watch the heartbreak on his face as he died. I’m guessing that’s where this is going, as well.

  • tygertyger

    Sacramental excrement! No wonder he blocked that out!

  • Darkoneko Hellsing

    …oh gods.

  • Walter

    Woah, I did not see that coming!

  • Pol Subanajouy

    Okay, so there was an Option C. This will not go well. Oh boy. The implication that Patrick has been holding back all this time is alarming.

    But hey, forcing someone to do something good against their will is something he and Al can bond over now, right? (Yes, still not over that.)

    • Insanenoodlyguy

      Alison, for all her moral ambiguity during that scene, never raped someone’s mind. This is a whole new level.

      • APersonAmI

        Neither did Patrick. If you must use an inaccurate term for shock value, please don’t use it as if it were somehow a technical term.

        • Insanenoodlyguy

          He just forced empathy into somebody. He has literally taken her mind and forced a change in it’s inherent nature against her will, possibly to the point that she is going to kill herself depending on which of our speculations turn out correct. She has gone from being incapable of love to being “made” to love him. While you may disagree with the usage of the term, I used it because I believe it is accurate. This is nearly on par with care-bear-stare level soul warping (And I generally use a different word than warping) and it’s terrifying.

    • Ellie

      Yeah,but Alison forced a selfish person to act selfless for selfless reasons while Pat forced a selfish person to act selfless for selfish reasons.

  • AustinC123

    Bonnie Raitt was wrong!

  • Herwood

    You can tell a web comic is good when the comment section can’t even predict the next page!

  • Herwood

    This is really interesting because it pokes further holes into Patrick’s old “I am right about everything and completely understand people because of my telepathy.”

    Not only has Patrick failed to manipulate people to do his will by reading their thoughts, but he may have been subconsciously mind controlling people instead of manipulating them.

  • Caitlin Yilmaz

    Okay but this is starting to raise some red flags now for Alison’s “benevolent tyrant”- she kidnapped and threatened to kill one person already to “do the right thing” so what’s to stop her from voluntarily/involuntarily manipulating a now psychologically vulnerable dude who she now knows can make people do something via telepathy by telling Patrick it’s the right thing to do. Either that or this’ll be the complete opposite and Alison will realize you can’t simply force people to do things and will try to atone or something.

  • zellgato

    Called his powers allowing for people control!
    I still think his power is also semi subconcious. and its been actually changing himself, that he himself is a puppet to some extent without realizing it. We have the “good version” who still isn’t “good good” but tries to be evil for a better purpose. and then we have the “selfish” version who changes people as he likes without letting the other side know.
    The subconcious version she’s talking to right now is the one who helped her into his head, and the one who connected Feral to give Alison an out earlier.

  • Well, I guess we know why Allison has such a crush on Patrick now.

  • Gotham

    Again tho I have to ask, why not shoot the broad? Why the desperate need to have her love him and not dad, which I assume would have required far less drastic needs to get him to love him, possibly not even brainwashing?

    Put another way, other than narrative efficiency which I’m sure is the real answer, why kill dad when other options were available?

    • Virgil Clemens

      Why do you have to ask? The narrative of these events strongly imply he either didn’t know of his potential or wasn’t sufficiently distraught to invoke the use until this point.

    • a_lethe_ia

      maybe he lied to himself about her true self and so having her kill his enabling dad who closed off his eyes to the abusive person his wife is was.. something he hoped she wouldnt do..
      children love their parents,no matter how bad.
      there is always this small, stupid unrealistic hope, that maybe, just maybe this time they’d change. that they’d come back, apologize.

      but they dont

  • Mechwarrior

    What the heck is with the ads?

  • JohnTomato

    Patrick, you have more issues than National Geographic, and half of them are Mommy Issues.

  • Skudplastr

    So, remember when Alison did something really similar to Max, just with intimidation instead of mind control? I’m glad she’s finally in a position where she’s forced to stop claiming the moral high ground and actually try to understand and relate to people.

    • Virgil Clemens

      She lit a match once, so she obviously relates to Furnace’s abilities as well.

      • Skudplastr

        Umm need proof, what page?
        But seriously, don’t blow me off like that. I’m not saying her abilities are similar to Patrick’s, I’m saying she also **abused** her power to manipulate someone to her will, even if her actions could be argued as “for the greater good.” It’s not an accident that these plots are in issues 6 and 7, respectively, one right after the other.

        But what do I know. You’re probably one of the “Pickle Rick” types who thinks you “have to have a high IQ to understand this comic” or some crap, and all it takes is a one-liner from you to shut down anything anyone has to say that you don’t like.

        • Virgil Clemens

          Page proof? I was making fun of your analogy, not making some kind of specific reference to a time where she lit a match.
          If you’re going to equate low intensity extortion to what Patrick did, and not intend it as a frivolous joke, then you should use *way* more salient examples than Max (of which there are several).

          • Johan

            “low intensity extortion”? Seemed pretty damn intense to me. That’s the part that made me give up on this story for months.

          • Virgil Clemens

            I said absolutely nothing about the legality of her behavior.
            Compared to behavior of US law enforcement? Compared to a *plurality* of her prior actions? If you’re going to equate her behavior to Patrick’s mind control, you should use something a ‘teensy bit’ closer on the spectrum than what she did to Max.

          • Johan

            I wasn’t talking about legality and I think what she did and mind control are comparable. They both force their own will upon someone who can’t fight back. And it seems equally traumatic to me. But maybe we just have different views.

          • Virgil Clemens

            The legality part was in response to APersonAmI (not sure how the comment ended up lower on the thread).
            Yes, both holding someone physically weaker than you in an arm lock to get your way and altering someone’s brain are both technically ways of forcing one’s will on another. Technically. My whole response has been that comparing the two is akin to comparing a lighter to Furnace, both are on the spectrum of “generate fire.” It’s a doubly poor comparison when there are multiple better examples of extortion on the part of Alison.

          • APersonAmI

            “Intimidation”, as in, forcing someone to do something under threat of physical violence, is a criminal offense in the US, with different punishments depending on the state. In Montana, the sentence can go up to 10 years in prison.

            The system of law in the country this story takes place in seems to disagree with your assessment that what Allison did was a minor offense.

    • Morgan Allen

      Alison has done impulsive and dangerous things, but I’m still baffled by how mildly inconveniencing someone to spare thousands from death and agony even counts as a moral conundrum.

      • Skudplastr

        I totally get how it looks like nothing compared to what people like Patrick and Moonshadow are doing, but threatening to cause someone serious physical harm goes beyond a mild inconvenience. That’s especially so when they aren’t able to do anything to defend themselves.

        Technically, it could still not be a moral conundrum, **if** Alison was still operating under the “might makes right” philosophy she used as Mega Girl. The problem arises if you say that mind control is harmful because it overrides other people’s wills, and for this reason people should not use mind control on others. Forcing someone to “choose” between doing what you want them to do and being harmed isn’t a real choice, so you could say it is similar to overriding that person’s will. For the mind-controller an the super-strengther to be treated equally, you would have to tell the super-strengther that she can’t threaten to harm someone for the same reason the mind-controller can’t use mind control, even if each person has good reasons for using these tactics.

        To say that Alison can use threats of physical violence to ease the suffering of her friend, but that Patrick can’t use mind control to make people do what he wants them to, is similar to saying that one country should disarm and eliminate all of its nuclear warheads while another country (not naming any names here) can control over 30% of the world’s nuclear warheads because it uses its nukes for Freedom and Democracy.

        BUT!!! I’m kind of putting words in your mouth that you didn’t say, so I’ll backtrack a bit. I’m saying all these things under the assumption that you even believe that Patrick shouldn’t be using mind control on people. If you don’t, then there’s no conundrum! 😀

        Personally, though, I think he shouldn’t. I also think Alison shouldn’t have **forced** Max to use his power, even if it was to help Feral and, by extension, all the people she was trying to help. Alison herself has her doubts as to whether what she did was right. But maybe I’m being too black-and-white about this. Alison’s situation involved a person who was in a position to improve society, at no cost to his personal wellbeing, and yet refused to. I could see how you could argue that it’s similar to a situation in a certain country (again, not naming any names) where, if you rank the population by income, the top 1% make significantly more than the bottom 50%, and where homelessness, malnourishment, and lack of access to medical care are serious problems.

        THE IMPORTANT THING, though, and the point I might not have made clear in my first comment on this thread, is that Alison could at least understand how someone in Patrick’s situation could do something so awful, and **not** because he’s “evil” as Mega Girl would have likely concluded. Sure, she’s still going to turn Patrick over to the authorities after this, as she should. And they definitely won’t get back together, as they shouldn’t. But she might be less inclined to throw mugs at him, and more likely to treat the situation similarly to how she did with Cleaver, with more compassion and a desire to bring about rehabilitation.

        • Morgan Allen

          “…if you rank the population by income, the top 1% make significantly more than the bottom 50%, and where homelessness, malnourishment, and lack of access to medical care are serious problems.”

          Yeah, this is why I don’t see Alison’s call as a significant moral conundrum. The state uses the threat of overwhelming force to compel moral action on behalf of wider society every day. And I don’t see the enforcement of progressive taxation as any more troubling than Alison’s decisions.

          I also don’t see how this is comparable to what Patrick decision. Alison used force to temporarily abduct one person and benefit thousands of innocents. Patrick is using force to permanently rewire one person for his own exclusive benefit. He’s doing it for understandable reasons, but it’s ultimately selfish behaviour, and the cost/benefit calculus here is very different.

      • APersonAmI

        What she did is a crime, and the sentence can last 10 years or so. Probably not the same sentence you’d get for doing what Patrick did on this page, but the law is clear on it being A Thing You Should Not Do.

        • Morgan Allen

          Oh, sure, legally speaking it’s a crime. But legality and morality aren’t identical concepts.

  • a_lethe_ia

    well.. some sociopaths are capable of selective empathy. The Father of my So is one-definitely, but the only beings he ever cared for were his children. not enough to not harm them in massive collateral damage, but on the other hand enough that he was able to stop drinking and have as much self control as he can to not loose any contact-and..well his daughter is able to wrap him around her fingers, she never experienced him in its worst, that stopped before when he was at risk of loosing contact to his son..

    so its very much possible that his mom has this very little pieces of empathy for some person or thing- children, or an animal.. or herself and he basically redirected that so she would focus it on him.
    the effect of that to her would be..well lets say interesting.

  • Natsumeg

    Oh no. Now she’s going to remember every horrible thing she’s done in vivid new context.

    • Merle

      Or worse, now HE’s going to remember every horrible thing he’s done in vivid new context.

  • McFrugal

    This looks like he was pushed into doing it. Like a different, more powerful psychic made him do it.

  • DaktariD

    Here it comes. The villain Patrick has been seeking is actually … Patrick himself.

  • Phillip Krzeminski

    A lot of people are assuming he is mind controlling her – it could be that he has just changed (I hesitate to say “fixed”) her brain so that she can feel and is no longer a sociopath. I suspect that now that she can feel, she is going to understand what she has done to her husband and kill herself.

    • Shjade

      We’re not assuming, we’re going by the text: “I can MAKE YOU love me” is not “I can give you the ability to love.”

  • Shjade

    …y’know, this puts his rebuffing of Alison’s advances in a whole new light for me. I’d been wondering about his reasons for always maintaining that physical distance – not that it’s unusual/abnormal to make that decision, but the comic made a point of drawing attention to it, which could indicate it has some importance beyond just “he’s not interested.” So I’d just been mulling it over now and then.

    I would think “He’s not sure if she’s attracted to him or if he’s compelled her to feel that way” is a pretty persuasive reason to be uncomfortable with her advances. Even if he’s never TRIED to do that, knowing that he COULD cause it to happen might be enough to sour any affection she sent his way.

  • Audrey Ryer

    Ah, fuck.

  • Vespayik

    Holy shit dude. I was NOT expecting that. This kind of turns everything on its head about him saying he -couldn’t- psychically force people to do what he wanted them to do with his powers. Also friggin’ tragic because he KNOWS that that love isn’t real.

  • plainclothes supervillain

    Wait. Is this why Patrick was so upset, way back when Allison suggested he could be a rapist? Because violating consent of the body is one thing, but the mind–we in the real world have very little context for a violation so complete. The only thing that could even compare is some of the ways patients were treated in asylums before the reform in the 60s. He’s lobotomizing her. It’s monstrous.

    This also begs the even more sinister question. The information inside those black folders, led by the orders of someone he can’t even see in the minds of others?

    I can only think of one other person who is erased so completely in Patrick’s mind. And that’s Claudia.

  • Zac Caslar

    “Filthy oxytocin monkeys!”

  • RobNiner ♫

    Pretending your Terezi when you’re actually Vriska

  • Crow

    General reminder that this may not be mind control. What if instead of his powers saying (saying is not optimal, but I’m trying to personify them) “HUG ME AND TELL ME YOU LOVE ME”, they are actually saying “I can see what is broken and I will fix it”. In this way, he might have cured her of affliction instead of controlling her mind.

    Before anyone jumps down my throat, I’m not discouraging the differently-able or neurodivergent or whatever classification is en vogue. But it is a disorder for a reason, and if you asked me whether I’d prefer being a sociopath when I have the choice, the responsible non-edgelord answer would be “No. I’d rather not.”

    • Dave M

      And if you asked a sociopath whether they might like to be empathic they would probably give the same answer “No, I’d rather not”.

      Chuang-tzu (the 3rd century BC Taoist philosopher, not the DC universe mad scientist), wrote about how we always prefer the state we are in now, and wilfully avoid any change of that state (out of fear of the unknown as much as anything). He was musing on why we fear death when it’s the most natural and unavoidable thing to happen to a living being, but the idea works on smaller scales as well.

      • Crow

        Holy crap Dave good point. Can you come break both my legs? I realized that the only reason I liked being able to walk was because I hadn’t read enough 1,800 year old thought experiments.

        • palmvos

          well I can get an aluminum bat. and there is a donkey around here somewhere.
          also there is this box that might have a cat inside.. wanna look?

      • Tylikcat

        Zhuangzi* is my favorite of the daoist philosophers, though omg, he’s a bear to read / translate in the original. (He was also hugely influential on the development of Chan, though my fondness for Zhuangzi precedes my having anything to do with Chan.) Have you seen the comic book adaptations? They’re utterly charming.

        * I use pinyin pretty much exclusively.

      • Tylikcat

        And, of course, the sociopath that I actually liked (and knew the best) ended up giving a different answer, and went out to try and learn to be empathic, because his lack of empathy was fucking up his life. (He was also extremely intelligent.)

    • ObviousPuppetAccount

      Well, the real problem is wether it is ethical to force someone to be “cured” as it were.
      If an 80 year old person has a treatable cancer can we really force them to undergo chemo even if they really don’t want to? It could make their family suffer if they see grandma or grandpa “giving up”, but isn’t it the old person’s right to make that choice for themselves? Even if that choice might be “bad” from the doctor’s and family’s point of view?
      What if someone with heavy bi-polar disorder doesn’t want to be cured because they feel that if they lose their active periods they lose something really special?
      Sure, you can go up to them and try to convince them that you think they should take their medicine for all kinds of reasons, but to force them to do it doesn’t seem ethical to me. Even if they are actually wrong and their active periods only delude them into thinking they would be less of a person if they didn’t have them.
      Then you have the cases of people with serious disorders who aren’t a danger to anyone and are functional in society. For example: people with schizophrenia can function in society without ever harming someone and can lead productive lives, even while suffering from their condition. Would it be ethical to force these people to be cured if they don’t want to be cured?
      And if we only want to cure people who harm others and commit crimes because of their mental disorders, what is really stopping us from “curing” all people in jail. People (that I don’t always agree with, but it is important to notice since in practice this argument would start to be made by people who have influence) have argued that all violent offenders suffer from some kind of disorder, since they couldn’t function in society without resorting to harming people. It would be a very easy road to “curing” a lot of criminals from their bad behaviour. Could we really call that ethical?
      I mean, Momtrick is obviously a special case, since she actively abuses and murders those around her. Still I think it is a violation of her rights as a (terrible) human being to force her to feel empathy. Sure, lock her up for her crimes and keep her away from people she will harm, but don’t go into her mind and remove the bad things unless she agreed to it.

      • Crow

        What else should we make voluntary? Learning to read and write? Paying taxes? Potty training? Not sexually abusing children? There is all sorts of stuff that society decides is good or bad, and imposes those value judgements on individuals. You can call me ableist all you want, but to claim the thing that makes her abuse her child and kill her innocent husband is equally valid and entirely her choice sounds just off the wall to me.

        • ObviousPuppetAccount

          I’m not calling you ableist. I’m saying that forcefully curing people is a dark path to walk down to. Simply arresting her or offering to cure her if she wants it are much better options that don’t involve violations of basic rights.

  • Dave M

    So, has Lord Boy not only been suppressing the trauma, but the conscious knowledge that Patrick can alter minds? Allowing Patrick to believe he is convincing people to do his bidding because he knows all their weak points and such, while subconsciously altering their mind to fit his purpose?

  • Hermitage

    I wonder if he can actually implement this on anyone that’s not a sociopath. He specifically observed his mother’s mindscape is *desolate*, no vegetation, no people, etc. She has literally no one taking up any empathetic bandwidth, insinuating himself there, even ineffectually, is an automatic win.

  • Danygalw

    he CAN mind control people

  • Johan

    I hope he didn’t just give her the capacity to feel, cuz it would probably kill her. Then again, he said something terrible was about to happen …

  • ObviousPuppetAccount

    Wow, changing someone’s mind by force. I bet Alison is insanely jealous right now.

    • Darkoneko Hellsing

      or scared.

      • ObviousPuppetAccount

        Of course not. Just think of how many people that disagree with her or just won’t do the obvious right thing she could force into thinking the right thoughts.
        She wouldn’t even have to threaten them or have them live in constant fear and with the always present threat of rebellions. She’s just be able to make them stop thinking bad thoughts and have them all be in it together. And they would thank her for it.
        That’s what she has been fighting for in this comic the entire time. That is what she would have done several times if she had Patrick’s power.
        Now, she might act scared or even appaled, but you just know that deep down she’d be stoked to have that power.
        Having a moral world is just so much easier when you can actually ban wrong thoughts. After all, if you don’t agree with Alison, you obviously don’t deserve your free will.

  • E S M

    So Patrick has, and has always had, the ability to fix every social problem he complained about. He could’ve beaten the conspiracy at any time (assuming there even is one, and the fact that Allison never really pulled on that thread is suddenly a lot more relevant), he could’ve solved every social issue Allison threw her head against the wall at.

    Even if there’s no more to reveal, there’s a pretty good argument to be had that Patrick really is evil, because he could’ve done everything and chose to do nothing.

    • Duke Araja

      Wow. I think you’re seriously missing the point here.

    • ObviousPuppetAccount

      Someone with a million nukes also has the ability to solve every social issue. That doesn’t mean it’s a good or moral idea to use them.

  • bryan rasmussen

    An interesting parallel between Patrick’s using his power to make people do what he wants and Allison’s. I guess that will be explored a little bit more explicitly in the future.

  • Scholiast

    It’s worth remarking that it was fairly obvious all along that Patrick had some kind of mind-control power. That is, he was not just receiving but also broadcasting (to use a radio analogy). How else would Allison be in his mind? That has to be a two-way communication for it to be possible, and it’s almost certainly not in her power set.

  • It doesn’t look like anyone else thought of this possibility, so I’ll just share: What if Patrick can dictate what Mom feels only because she’s a rare example of the perfect psychopath? An emotional blank slate, if you will. And he feels terrible about that and made himself forgot he did it because it’s still more power than he’s comfortable with.

  • Jordan Hiller

    Oh no… This is bad. This is really really bad.

  • Adlersong

    I’m gonna guess that Patrick’s mother is about to kill herself out of remorse. I could be totally wrong, but making someone who’s tried to kill you suddenly love you feels like the kind of idea that backfires pretty quickly.

  • Patrick, my dude, that is not a thing you want to be doing, going in people’s minds and messing around with their feelings without their permission. It’s gonna be a bad time.

  • Caitlin Yilmaz

    I wanna bring up a point: remember when patrick and alison were staying at the hotel and as soon as alison tried to touch his hand he backed away. What if that was somewhat due to muscle memory/ involuntarily thinking that her feelings were artificial- like how his mom is holding him here?

  • Zac

    1: She’s faking and attempts to kill him.
    2: She is actually one of his minions (Reaper? I think that was the one with Cleaver from Chapter 2)
    3: She is the one using his criminal contacts, and he has been unable to find her since he blocked her from his mind.
    4: She loves Menace not Patrick and becomes a copycat.
    5: It was the duck all along.

    • palmvos

      5. i vote for 5.

  • Orudein

    when you realize this won’t update for two days and die a little

  • TimeLordeVictorious

    I’m really, really worried about what’s going to happen on the next page.