SFP

Sorry for the promo after the intense page, but hey, Canadians: Molly will be at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival this weekend, table 201, with copies of SFP Book One and Book Two, as well as her other graphic novels! Here’s a full list of her panel appearances. 

Show Comments
  • Gotham

    The gun has a green muzzle flash too.
    Patrick knows being a supervillain is 80% coherent branding.

    • Aresius

      I’d say that’s just his power aura filling the room

      • thatonesungod

        but the voldemort!

      • Gotham

        😑

        • Aresius

          I’m afraid I can only see a blank square instead of an emoji 🙁

          • Kenneth Mayer

            Patrick is blocking it IN YOUR MIND!

          • Andrew Rian Hansen

            It doesn’t look like anything to me…

      • Cori J.

        Super Saiyan Patrick is so OP they can’t show it or else our minds will be affected too

    • Dean

      The rest is having a traumatic origin story.

      • zellgato

        and also helping to cause an expanded traumatic orgin story

  • Markus

    Personally, I think he was trying to make her regret it, but loving him as extremely as she did and regretting her murder as extremely as she wanted him to were so incompatible they couldn’t fit in the same brain together. She didn’t kill herself out of guilt, she killed herself because trying to hold those thoughts in the same brain feels about the same as trying to keep a fist sized swarm of fire ants inside your own eyeball.

    • The Warrior of Many Faces

      Jeez, THAT’S a vivid image I didn’t need. *shudders*

      • Markus

        No problem my dear, dear, dear, dear, dear, dear, dear, dear-

    • BiologyProf

      I think Patrick hands her the gun. He might be commanding her to commit suicide.

      • Taylor Elnicki

        I agree based on the color of the skin/shirt grabbing the gun.

        • Fluffy Dragon

          also no blood or painted finger nails.

          • Gotham

            It’s a right hand, not the one she would be covered with blood on.
            But yeah it does seem to be Patrick’s regardless.

          • IanB

            Plus she shoots herself holding the gun in HER LEFT hand.

            Which means she would have had to switch hands after picking it up, which is somewhat awkward, but absolutely makes sense if he’s handed it to her.

  • Aresius

    1) Yay, it finally came up! 😀
    2) She was turned into an unconscious puppet for the last 30 secs of her life, I think? Edit: I suddenly though the last pannels sound just like HAL’s death, was he shutting her down?
    3) Is it just me or that’s one hell of an uncomfortable way to hold a gun?

    • CityFace

      2 – yep. He changed her and from that moment the person she’d been, horrible and flawed as she was, ceased to exist. He killed her. Perhaps he had in the process created a new person? Or had he reduced her to an automaton? Either way, his mother died when he “made” her love him. What was now loving him was no longer his mother.

      He has the power to make anybody do what he wants, but he also knows that this is an illusion, since what/whoever is now doing his bidding is not the person they had been. That person dies the second Patrick changes their brain. This ability is even too much for him to bear, that’s why he blocked it out.

      Does that stand up philosophically? I ain’t got the slightest, but it sure seems to be what’s happening here.

  • Devin Awe

    I think Patrick might not have been lying when he said he couldn’t control people’s minds. Because I don’t think he’s in control here. He might be able to try to influence them, and put thoughts and feelings in their heads, but he has very little actual control over what happens afterwards.

    • Lostman

      So… if he not in control, then what is?

    • .Q

      like in the inception movie? he can plant an idea but the outcome might not be what he expected…..

    • Thomas S

      I think it’s clear he can influence minds – his Mothers mind at least, or maybe his Mothers at most. I am unclear how much of this is brain re-wiring (once done, it is sustained) or mind manipulation (Once done, the mind reverts).

      Is this a wider skill? Insufficient data – It could be a skill knowingly exercised or unconsciously exercised, or a skill not used again from this point on, for reasons of trauma.

      Is this traumatically damaging to his mental health? Hell yeah, for sure. I’d be messed up by compelling my mother to commit suicide by discharging a loaded gun to her own chest, while compelling her eyes to be closed & compelling words of support and encouragement to be chanted. :rolleyes:

      This memory could be a distortion though, that plot option is still available, remember the retrospective memory distortion when Patrick’s altered memory of the time watching cartoons on a bed with Alison was romanticised.

      • Eli Pomerantz

        could be because his mother was an “empty sociopath” he could affect her… although that might still count as lying

        • Thomas S

          Well, it turned out it was not a feature of his mother that needed to be found to enable telepathic influence, but a feature of his attitude towards his mother …

  • Was pulling the trigger her own idea, or one that Patrick put in her head?

    • friendlymosquito

      That is the question.

      • Oh — I missed that the hand picking up the gun is Patrick’s. So this is something he wanted…

        • The Improbable Man

          The hand is putting the gun down. Patrick has been holding the gun (either in his hand or in the holster) all this time, he puts it down so his mom can pick it up.

          • Deliverance

            On the previous page both of Patrick’s hands are clearly shown not holding his gun, so we can rule out the idea of him holding it in his hand the entire time and putting it down.

            OTOH we can’t see the pistol on the limited areas of the table we are seen on the previous page either, which argues that it probably wasn’t on the table.

            So it could be either way.

            He is either a) taking it from wherever he had put it (probably holster) and putting it down on the table for his mother to pick up, or b) picking it up from the table to hand to his mother.

          • I’m inclined to agree with Deliverance—Patrick was last seen holding the gun six pages ago. Since then, we’ve seen his hands holding milk and cookies, and then his head. It’s possible he holstered the gun and is now putting it down, or that he put it down upon arriving in the kitchen.

            Why he would now hand the gun to his mother instead of simply having her pick it up, I’m unsure.

          • Dave Huber

            Perhaps – just perhaps – Patrick is struggling against his mother’s command to unholster his pistol and set it on the table so she can pull him through Death’s door with her?

          • TimG

            I think this is correct. The gun was last seen in Patrick’s hand on page 93, when they were still in the upstairs bedroom. On pages 95 and 96, he is still in the bedroom and both his hands are empty. He presumably had put the gun back in its holster by then. Now, downstairs in the kitchen, we see someone’s right hand, with Patrick’s skin tone and a gray sleeves, shakily touching the gun on the table, while the mother’s speech bubble comes from the other direction. Then we see the mother holding it in her left hand. Both Patrick and his mother are surrounded by the green glow the entire time, indicating him using his mind-control powers, as tears flow down his cheeks. The mom smiles and refers to him with terms of endearment the entire time.

            This all adds up to: Patrick places the gun down and mind controls the mom to pick it up and kill herself. He feels hesitancy and regret, indicated by the shaking and crying, but she — under mind control — feels no hesitation (or, at least, is completely incapable of expressing any hesitation, even non-verbally.)

          • TimG

            By “this is correct” I meant The Improbable Man’s statement that Patrick’s hand is putting the gun down. He definitely holstered it back in the bedroom, since we see him clutching his face in both hands while standing next to the bed, right before he mind controls his mother the first time. (There was no where else he could have put it except back in the holster, assuming he didn’t drop it on the bed or the floor — the mother was already established to be standing in between him and the bedside table.)

        • Natsumeg

          I wonder if that’s going to end up ambiguous. People don’t always know why they do the things they do, and they end up scouring their own past obsessively for years and years trying to figure out their own motivations.

  • The “hand shaking” lines suggest that this isn’t something Mom WANTS to be doing, and that she’s trying to fight against it…

    And, y’know, according to some people’s ethics, this may be the LEAST evil thing Patrick’s done in this whole sequence.

    • BiologyProf

      I believe the hand that’s shaking belongs to Patrick.

    • Deliverance

      The speech balloon is coming from a direction opposition the body that is extending that arm, making it unlikely that it is the mother picking up the gun unless she is a ventriloquist.

      More to the point, perhaps, the skin and clothes colour of the arm that picks up the gun clearly matches Patrick, not his mother.

      So Patrick is the one shaking. His mother appears to be quite fine with it.

      • You are right; I misread the direction of the speech balloon.

  • sammybaby

    0_o

    • sammybaby

      Y’all I think I need a Care Bear Stare.

  • Olivier Faure

    Well, that was fast. I expected a few more pages before someone pulled that trigger.

  • Zillian

    Oh *dear*.

  • StClair

    … now to see how Present Patrick handles this.
    Or doesn’t.

  • OptimisticCentrist

    When the police come to investigate, this is going to be an open-and-shut case of murder-suicide (which was probably Patrick’s original plan). The fact that she served herself milk and cookies, but didn’t eat them, in between the murder and the suicide is a bit odd, but not enough to raise any suspicion.

    Patrick’s fingerprints on the gun might be an issue.

    • Dave Huber

      I’d expect supervillain Menace to have taken precautions to leave fingerprints only if he wants to…

  • David B Huber

    The police might buy murder/suicide but despite her earlier homicidal impulse I have a feeling Alison is going to have a problem with this. Not to mention Patrick lying about not having mind control powers…

    Of course I expect his response to be “Alison! Wait! I was *trying* to STOP her!”

    • Jeremy Perez

      He had this memory buried deep in his mind, which leads me to believe this is actually a suppressed memory, and he forgot the could do this. Given the fact this is a traumatic memory, and it’s conclusion, I’d understand why, subconsciously or not, he’d forget about it.

      • David B Huber

        I think it’s clear Patrick’s intent was to stage a murder-suicide because his father’s active hatred was even more disruptive than the colder disdain of his mother. He didn’t want to; he HAD to. Even so, he clutched at the last-minute hope they might “think well of him”…

        When that proved impossible, even then he tried for a better outcome by fixing his mother. Except he couldn’t.

        But what if his mother really did commit suicide? Unable to bear the loss of free will – more precious to her because it was all she had – she invited Patrick back into her mind and latched on, determined to take him with her!

        The only thing more terrifying to Patrick than a mind he could no longer read would be a mind he couldn’t escape…

        “To death – or life – for both of us!”

        • Cori J.

          I love this interpretation.

          Do you think she was hoping that by killing herself while he was in her mind, he would die with her? Perhaps she compelled him to hand her the gun while they were connected? Stands to reason if Al can alter his mind and exert a certain level of “control”, so too could his mom.

          Especially awesome if her desire to kill herself is driven by that artificial adoration of Patrick, knowing that her death is the only way he’s ever going to find peace. Or that she was rendered unable to kill him because of her love, so she did the next best thing to be free of him.

          Patrick turned his mom into a Medea after all!!!!!! 😀

          • David B Huber

            Yes, I’m interpreting his mother’s serenity while Patrick is trembling as evidence she has seized control of their mind meld with the intent of taking him with her. Indeed, your notion that her motivation stems from the very compulsion Patrick implanted makes perfect sense; remember Claudia declared “I did love you, Henry. In my own way.” after killing him (and it was her choice to kill; Patrick only specified “stab”). So Patrick made her love him – in her own way…

        • Weatherheight

          The loss of agency (or the undeniable repudiation of the illusion of one’s own agency) is a traumatic thing to confront. I’m with Cori J. – nice insight.

    • Gotham

      “She killed her husband… got herself milk and cookies, and then shot herself.”
      “A classic case.”

      • Brandon Quina

        “I think these might be Menaces’ parents.”
        “…shit.. how did we get stuck with this case?”
        “What case? Looks like a suicide to me.”
        “Yeah. Me too.”

  • Eileen Young

    Patrick erasing his mother makes a lot of sense like this. I wonder, though, if he erased just his memory of doing this and thus of that ability or if he also changed his own mind not to have that ability.

    . . . though he can’t read his own mind. So either he couldn’t make himself not have the ability, or his ability to read his own mind was sacrificed as part of this.

    • Cori J.

      You ever seen the end of the movie Sphere? It’s like choosing to not have to choose.

      • Weatherheight

        To quote Rush…
        “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”

    • Brandon Quina

      Can he really not read his own mind, though, or was his mind a deliberate mental construct created by himself that didn’t want to let him know what it was doing because it was trying to make sure that “Patrick” was a thing that could exist and what that “Patrick” would be?

      I mean, you can’t really lock stuff behind walls and create barriers if you can just read your own mind and look at everything, after all.

      • Nyzer

        By all appearances he can’t read his own mind like this. Feral didn’t know what the inside of hers looked like until she got in on the mind meld. Patrick MIGHT have been able to read his own mind, but he’s got that whole fractured personality thing going on, so he’d see multiple different confusing things all at once.

  • LatePocketwatch

    Nitpick. A lot of the drama is undercut for me when when the close up of tear tracts resembles the blown up milk splash in cereal commercials. Glowing background, lightning glare, whited out eyes are all established tools of portraying extranormal powers but crying mercury less so.

  • Brooke Dick

    sweet, darling, dear dear dear sweet innocent dear dear dear dear dear dear sweet nepeta

  • Fluffy Dragon

    so… just so I understand this correctly.
    Patrick puts down the gun he’s been holding for the last few strips, with a shaking hand (no blood on his hands, nor painted finger-nails).
    mother dear picks it up and shows no signs of having the shakes what-so-ever.

    right?

    • Weatherheight

      He wasn’t holding the gun at the kitchen table, and Claudia’s hands were both blood spattered. It seems to me he’s picking it up and handing it to her rather than setting it down.
      I could be wrong, however – it’s pretty ambiguous in the art.

      • nat365

        Either way, he’s providing her access to it, so it’s not too important in the grand scheme of what’s happening – but I’m leaning towards him putting it down so his mother can pick it up, rather than him directly handing it to her.

  • Weatherheight

    This is bad, but I had several much worse scenarios in mind.

    That said, Patrick is in telepathic mind-link with someone while they killed themselves (bad enough)
    While simultaneously being the driving force of that self-murder (even worse).
    While either forcing or enabling that self-destruction and believing that, as bad as this is, it nevertheless is more palatable than any other option now available (little bitty more nudged to worse).

    It would be nice if Patrick would try to make Alison understand over the next few pages.

    • Zac Caslar

      I’d be surprise if she exploded at him over this. This is so much pain and trauma mixed up with so much unavoidable bad luck that it’s almost beyond judgement. I struggle to imagine any value to piling on him about what he’s “done” here.

      • Weatherheight

        I’d like to see how Patrick is processing this “new” information, and how he explains it to Alison – not because I’m interested in potential conflict, but I want to understand both his reaction and her reaction to this situation.

  • JohnTomato

    Mom isn’t an actual person. She’s a memory of Pat’s. These actions will absolve Pat of the guilt/PTSD he’s been carrying forever.

  • (((A. Nuran)))

    Achievement Unlocked: Shattered Despair

  • nat365

    So – two possibilities. First one, Patrick changed her to make her regret murdering her husband/love him and miss him, and those emotions caused her to commit suicide (which Patrick facilitated by giving her access to his gun because he could sense her misery).

    Second one (and the one I think is more likely), Patrick realised that there was no real human left after he changed her the first time (as evidenced by how she happily told him to change her again, to make her into whatever he wanted her to be), and thus since the original woman was already dead (and had been since he changed her the first time), he manipulated her into suicide as a form of ‘mercy’.

    Either way I can see why those memories were locked up!

  • More cookies for Patrick!

  • Kid Chaos

    Oh, crap. 💀

  • Ouch. That was brutal.

    I wonder how Patrick saw this playing out. Was it a desperate plea for his mother’s love, and hence the tears when it fails? Or was it a last ditch attempt to save her, which he always anticipated failing, and hence the tears?

    Still, unsurprising that it is the memory he locked away most of all, m/patricide has always been looked on with extreme disfavour. Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first send mad….

  • Well, that settles the Patrick!Mom is also Max!Mom theory.

    • Gotham

      Well someone didn’t account for the shot potentially missing.
      Or being nearly, although not, fatal.
      Or the gun being a prop all along.
      Or this scene being entirely fabricated.
      Or time travel.

      • Weatherheight

        Interesting.
        His interest in time travel has several dramatically appropriate foundations now.

  • Jovial Contrarian

    The way she’s holding that gun, that’s a gangsta way to shoot yourself.

  • Walex B

    When Patrick-of-today says “this is terrible” of this memory he was understating it. Our author is perhaps piling a bit too much terribleness here.

    An aspect of this terribleness is that in all this Patrick is acting in self-defense, or at least self-preservation as he is depicted in the memory as being in terrible pain: as he explained, the feelings of his parents for him give him enormous suffering and he is barely surviving. And those parents: one did not harm him, but abandoned him, the other tried to kill him, but because mentally defective. And Patrick himself obviously was completely insane, even if lucid, at the time.
    I suspect that all this related to Gurwara’s lessons, in particular around page 6-39 and 6-130.

    • Cori J.

      Oh my god this IS the Gurwara-in-the-park lesson of GET THE FUCK OVER IT ALREADY you got it bang on. Well spotted, dude.

  • Gotham

    The truth is, Patrick didn’t seal off this memory with extreme prejudice because it was the most terrible and traumatic thing he’d ever done:

    He did it because if he remembers he can mind control people he can’t help but do it all the time with any excuse, like, as presented above, “uuuuuuuh the gun is too heavyyyyyy you do it you kill yourself I don’t wannaaaaa”

  • Franklin J Gomes

    At least Patrick keep his promise, he wasn’t the one that shoot her…

  • AustinC123

    OH MAN, this is amazing.
    He can’t “CONTROL” minds in the same way he can’t “READ” his own mind – of course he can, in the same way that we all “read” our own minds, but the experience is so different from the exercise of his power, where other people can be understood as separate from himself and understood rationally whereas his own thoughts don’t feel like that, they feel just like being alive, unexamined and irrational, that he doesn’t recognize them as such. In the same way, controlling another person’s inner life immediately makes them inseparable from you, and the changes you make are totally uncontrolled and alien and alienating… man, this makes SO MUCH sense to me, and packed into such efficient storytelling. Absolutely bravo.

    • Eli Pomerantz

      nice analysis

  • Ophidiophile

    Holy shit, she controlled him! Or rather, manipulated him into freeing her. Either that, or he was so repulsed by what he’d turned her into that he had her kill herself, and then blanked the memory so that he would never tamper with another’s mind again.

  • Gotham

    I don’t think it’s the actual explanation but I do like the idea that he decided to kill her and forget he could mind control after she said that he “just had to change her again”. Because he could. Because it would be that easy.
    As someone who forbid himself to even make friends because his ability gives him too much of an advantage—despite, and I think you’ll agree on that, craving love and validation like one yearns for oxygen to survive— I like the image of the wealthy affluent white cis boi filled to the brim with privilege but who, in a tragic night full of regrets, became woke.

  • Dan

    The promo takes away from the power of your scene ending IMO. Oh well.

    • Zac Caslar

      What?

      • Filthy Liar

        Dan is weird about commercials, apparently.

  • that’s fucked up and i knew this could never end well

  • Filthy Liar

    Patrick, basically history’s greatest monster. (Not really obviously, but that was fucked up.)

  • shink

    Well, once again Molly and Brenan deliver on the dramatic punchline. This is a memory worthy of Patrick warping his own psyche around needing to forget what it is to even feel for another person. This is the emotional association Patrick has with loving affection; compelling his own mother into suicide as she proclaims her love for him. this explains why Lord Boy was determined to kill the person he associated with loving caring strength if her existence meant potentially unlocking this memory again. This would scar anyone, and Patrick more so as he literally felt her love in a tangible sense as she shot herself. He didn’t think he was lying when he said he can’t control people’s minds, no to acknowledge that power is a step towards remembering this. Lord Boy quarantined this in the wilderness behind a wall, and than enforced strict discipline among his people to make sure they never went beyond the wall. He also exiled the aspect of Patrick’s identity that forms his emotional core beyond the wall, making sure it didn’t influence his actual decision making just to ensure that he didn’t accidentally come closer to this memory. To put it another way “nuke it from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure”.

    I am forever amazed that Molly and Brenan manage to deliver on the incredibly high moral and emotional stakes they set for themselves in this comic, I tip my hat to them as this was a master class delivery even for this comic.

  • Cori J.

    It’s a testament to the stakes at hand and quality of writing that this horrorshow feels anticlimactic.

    It speaks highly of Patrick’s regard for Allison (and, perhaps, his desperation) to entrust *her* with the ability to alter *his* mind in this fashion to any satisfactory result.

    • Dave Huber

      So true!

  • Cori J.

    I hope the first words out of Al’s mouth after all this are, “How did you know you could change her?”

  • zellgato

    huh magical muzzle flash. Also… that is athe weirdest way to do a suicide thing. unless he takes the gun anyway. in which case it would look like a double murder robbery.

    Guess that kills my head theory
    unless she lives through this and does the conspiracy in revenge/left over orders.
    cause.. shooting yourself like that can go awkward pretty quick

  • Irrevenant

    Why do so few people recommend this comic? It’s awesome.

  • Philip Bourque

    So do you think it was any one thing that prompted Pat to block off this memory or was the whole thing from start to finish just too much to deal with?
    I think he may have consciously forgot that he could manipulate people’s minds, but he’s been doing it subconsciously ever since.
    Al: I’mma super hero! I save stuff by punching people!
    Pat: Super heroes and super villains are dumb! You need to help me with this conspiracy thing. And you think I’m cool/attractive/sexy
    Al: Being a super hero is dumb. There’s a conspiracy thing I got to stop. Punching stuff is still cool though. And Patrick is soooo dreamy. *sigh* <3

    • Weatherheight

      Ever since the oft referenced conversation in the car, their initial meeting has been very ambiguous to me as to what *exactly* went down. Was Patrick being honest and open or cunning and manipulative when first they met face-to-face?

      • Philip Bourque

        He was being Patrick. He ignored the things he didn’t like, railroaded his own agenda and ideas through and didn’t even allow for any contradicting thoughts. You’ll notice Al didn’t try to argue against him, she just accepted what she was being told. You can’t trust anything in this comic; Al’s powers aren’t super strength and invulnerability, Pat can control minds, Guwara isn’t a substitute teacher.
        How many more lies are there? Is anything in the comic true? Maybe it’s all just pity Pat deluding himself into thinking he’s special.

        • Weatherheight

          Heh – wasn’t there a movie or tv episode or something that was a superhero story that turned out to be a kid’s imagination?

          I mean, besides The LEGO™ Movie? 8D

  • Nathan B Earl

    “My perfect boy.” Man, the McElroy brothers got weird.

  • a person

    Calling it now, Patrick is going to change his own mind with the power so he doesn’t remember any of this.

    • ampg

      Well, we already know that this happened, though – he locked this whole memory behind the forbidden door.

  • Zorae42

    While this was a great, powerful scene, I really dislike how ambiguous it is.

    Did her mind turn to mush with the conflicting commands of loving Patrick and missing her husband who he had her kill and he had her shoot herself because he couldn’t fix it? Was she in torment on the inside over grief while still giving him the loving front and he killed her to release her from it? Or did he set the gun down for her because of her grief and she shot herself while he frantically tried to fix her and failed?

    Did he realize that she was gone when she asked him to “fix her” again and never made her miss her husband and just went straight to killing her?

    Bleh, I doubt we’ll ever know for sure.

    • David B Huber

      Or did Claudia force Patrick to hand over his pistol as he struggled with all his might to turn the gun away, saving both of them?

    • Weatherheight

      To be fair, ambiguity is pretty common along the way (until it isn’t) in SFP.
      I suspect an answer will be forthcoming, but Eternal only knows when we’ll see it.

  • Merle

    This may be tied with Empowered’s Mindf██k for “most tragic psychic family backstory”.

  • J B Bell

    In his defense, he is an orphan.

  • S.I. Rosenbaum

    i’m not sure that house is architecturally possible

    • allneonlike

      That gable is exactly the kind of illegal, code-violating renovation someone like Claudia would have murdered, bribed, or blackmailed her way through the housing association to get approved tho

  • Glotos

    Just a thought…Whatever Patrick is able to turn his mother into is what he’ll be feeling from her whenever she’s less than a continent away. Maybe he decided the silence would be better than the haunting refrain of his effectively cooing at himself.

    • David B Huber

      I like that idea! Wish I’d thought of it! 😉

  • herefor1reason

    This is really reminiscent of what Amy Dallon (Panacea) does in Worm. At least, that’s my read on it. Patrick broke her mind and by trying to fix it to be more human, he made her something that wasn’t a person anymore. He has her kill herself at the realization of what he’s done.