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  • trev006

    “You just said free under the sun.”

    “Well, obviously it will take some time-”

    “You JUST said.”

    The Conspiracy could gaslight Duval, make him doubt if his free will is even his own. But people without loyalty don’t know what levers work on people who have it.

  • Daniel Carrier

    Is he assuming Duval is being blackmailed into this or something? Menace knows what everyone wants. He’s not going to pick someone he needs to blackmail.

    • trev006

      He thinks, rightly or wrongly, that Menace can hear Duval’s thoughts anywhere, and that Duval may be getting tired of it. Questionable Consent, even if Duval actually does retain his free will. It’s good tension, and although we think Patrick treats his employees very well it might not actually be true.

      Curse unreliable villains as exposition fairies.

    • Cattya

      How do we know that this Odin guy isn’t just implying such to get some sort of reaction out of Duval? Certainly unless Duval is incredible at hiding all emotion, Odin will get *something* out of it. But how much will he get? (why are we calling him Odin? I came in late here…)

  • Olivier Faure

    I get the feeling that Mr Duval’s willing cooperation isn’t really required.

  • Dean

    “Forget you, pal. Three more years of playing CEO, and then he’s buying me Bermuda!’

  • Gotham

    Well well well, Odin played so well into Mr. Duval’s hands one has to wonder if the old god can read minds too—or, well, read the texts sent to him by the beautiful Italian lady who introduced him here and got him to expose his insecurities to her earlier, maybe willingly looking for weaknesses to exploit, but I think he was /this/ open to her for our benefit first and foremost, we would have a hard time feeling the dramatic tension that Tony may betray Patrick without a shred of foreshadowing—

    Thing is, Patrick knows Tony’s insecurities, most likely very well. So I’m torn. On the one hand, this is a very common trope and I can perfectly see it play out in the next few pages with Tony spilling the beans, on the other hand, Patrick as we know him would have prepared for such an occasion. So much so I’m starting to think Tony here /lied/ to the beautiful Italian lady about his insecurities so that Patrick and Tony could fall into the wolf’s trap with a trap of their own, pretending to display a false weakness.

    But this is needlessly convoluted. This is the problem with Patrick’s omniscience, it’s so OP it’s getting detrimental to good old efficiently simple and clear storytelling

    • Amakawa Yuuto

      One thing that I think should be considered – and is much easier than the “I know you know I know tango – is that Patrick doesn’t control people that way. He “befriends” them. By telling them what they want to hear, but still.

      Odin here isn’t offering Mr. Duval a chance to revolt against an intimidating master, he’s offering him a chance to betray a friend.

      • Gotham

        Not what he was saying moments before they embarqued on the gondola would lead you to figure, is all.

      • bryan rasmussen

        I would expect that – but the last arc showed a Patrick not really able to be a friend to people. I would expect him to not depend on fear but maybe my expectations are too much.

        • Amakawa Yuuto

          I did put “befriend” in quotation marks for a reason.

          One thing Patrick emphasised in his recollection of his first meeting with Alison was that it was the first time he didn’t just say what he knew the other party wanted to hear.
          He’s a liar, he manipulated people without end, but from those we saw, at least while he was Menace, his “minions” thought of themselves as his friends. I see no reason why he should have changed his way of doing things. It’s easier to control people if they think you aren’t controlling them, after all.

          And it’s perfectly possible to feel insecure about taking credit for achievements made by a friend, even if that friend needs you as his figure head. It could be that Odin here misreads that insecurity as resentment.

    • Tom O.

      So can Patrick overover this conversation, or does the conspiracy have done way to block his powers?

      Also, anybody curious what Moonshadow is up to these days? Maybe Patrick tipped her off and she’s there in the room listening.

      In any case Patrick and Allison have many biodynamic friends/allies/etc. I feel like there might be a giant battle coming. I’d love to see Allison bust Cleaver out so he could die fighting the good fight instead of wasting away in jail.

      • Shjade

        Unless Odin raped somebody, I don’t know why Moonshadow would care about this conversation.

        • Eric Schissel

          … well, Rindr for example, if that story is true.

          • Shjade

            THIS Odin.

          • Eric Schissel

            Talk about a new start in one’s immortal life!

      • Ellie

        I don’t see breaking Cleaver out of prison ending well. What if whoever is running the society uses his blades to kill Alison?

    • S.I. Rosenbaum

      that’s not what “playing into [someone’s] hands” means

      • Gotham

        Can you tell I’m writing my thesis these days and utterly sleep deprived?

    • Weatherheight

      I’m hoping that Mr. Duval’s first words after the meeting are being spoken into a phone and they sound a little something like this…
      “Patrick? I’m in…”

      • Gotham

        “For the love of God Tony you promised me you wouldn’t do the 90s Hollywood hacker oneliner”

  • Gotham

    Another thing I’m noticing a few pages too late:

    Nobody (I think) made the connection that we went from a wild Roman style Bacchanalia to a dude that is so blatantly Odin you instantly know who I mean without me having to be precise about it. And then there’s the Exquisitely Crafted Table, praised be Their ergonomics, which is definitely Arthurian in inspiration.

    So my question is, what’s up with these mythological elements thrown together willy nelly? Two is a coincidence, three is a suspicious coincidence.

    Is the Conspiracy literally our myths, our cultural memory, made flesh, raging against the dying of the light in a world where teenagers getting superpowers is sure to create new stories to override the old?

    • What.

    • Orzahn

      I think, our myths and legends were the first “biodynamics”. The current ones have been referred to as the new gods in parts of the comic. And seeing as how most old stories tell about the shit gods would get into out of spite and such, I wouldn’t put it past them to not only still have positions of power and wanting to maintain the status quo but also wanting to teach the current generation a few lessons.

      • Gotham

        On the one hand, I really wish the story doesn’t go that road on a Watsonian level, the whole “gods are real and they are among us” is overdone and not terribly fitting thematically with the story SFP has been so far…

        On the other hand it canonizes and legitimizes the Exquisitely Crafted Table as the actual real deal of legends and I can’t not love it

        • trev006

          This is not fair criticism. SFP has already explored what could happen in India when biodynamics are regarded as reincarnations of Hindu deities. The simplest drama explanation is that in secular America, taking on the trappings of a god brings liability for very little benefit.

          Or simpler, that he’s just a guy with a cool eye scar.

          • Gotham

            I don’t feel like these are the same.
            SFP is pure magical realism, presenting us with a common world with its common, complex and systemic problems, through the lenses of trashy superhero comic book conventions. Someone thinking they have become the reincarnation of a god fits into that mold because, not having read the story you mention except for the four pages here, I still figure it turns out the narrative ends up questioning whether these are actually reincarnated gods.

            Having actual Odin actually here from the actual dawn of time tells us much, much more different things about what kind of universe this is, something that doesn’t quite fit with the subversive voice the webcomic is aiming for.

          • Blub Blub

            As far as I know the biodynamics age normal, if they are not regenerating like feral or maybe have a body made from stone or something like that. I find it way more fitting that some of them are just crazy and believe to be gods, or are believed to be gods and just role with it. The old gods are still here isn’t a trope I like without an explanation why they didn’t act in the last millennia. Modern people with delusions and powers are why better.

          • trev006

            No one’s said yes, this is Odin, much less justified all or even any of the Norse mythology around him. While it is heavily implied that Lord Ramesh is just a dude with blue skin and an extremely cynical fundamentalist advisor, there is some room for the possibility that devas are real. Which the advisor may be deeply regretting, along with most of his life choices.

            The comic is definitely a deconstruction, and your passion is admirable, but please don’t insist that a given element can’t logically fit into the universe. I know artists find criticism of incomplete storylines -absolutely frustrating-, ever since I talked to a major one at a convention. Especially when similar elements have already been used in this timeline and the character hasn’t even developed an identity yet.

          • Gotham

            I never said it wouldn’t logically fit I said I personally wished the story wouldn’t take this turn and explained my reasoning as to why after someone speculated it may take this turn. If someone said “maybe The Storm™ was created by ancient Egyptians to fight against aliens” and I said “I don’t know about this” would you also condescendingly lecture me on how I’m being reductive and hampering down the authors’ creativity

          • Lex of Excel


            Hmp. I’ll let that slide. Taste accountable and all.

            As for the Odin-alike, I doubt he’s superhuman in any way. Just a rich dips*** angry about not getting powers or living in a transhuman setting where he could have functional immortality.

          • Gotham

            Comics books are the lowest form of art aka the best

          • Lex of Excel


            Can’t tell if sarcasm…

            Dunno, I just find myself growing sick of superhero deconstruction–even one as well written as SFP. Bald-facedly saying that superheroes are ineffective and have no reason to exist (and, in the case of a lot of Mark Millar’s work, that anyone who thinks otherwise is childish and idiotic) is just as rote these days as anything from the Silver Age. It’s not like Pintsize was wrong to suggest something that powerful and amoral elites corrupted for their own purposes. Exploiting children and their hopes is relatable as hell in this day and age. Alison and her contemporaries find themselves in transition from the authoritarian heroes of the 00’s to a new kind of hero for a new kind of world.

            …sorry. Drives me crazy when people disparage any genre as trash. No offense meant.

        • Ibrinar

          It was done far less often then them not walking among us, I don’t think much of the concept of something being overdone in regards to setting details ( though this is a little late to add such big setting details). But about not fitting, I think it makes very little sense for old gods to exist and still be alive but a world like ours where they are just considered myths to come to pass. So they just all collectively decided to disappear in the shadows? (But that criticism applies to many masquerade plots, if something exists from the start it ever developing to a point where hiding your existence entirely both makes sense and is feasible is unlikely. Well for a low number of gods it is feasible unlike for vampires, but why would they all do that? Some surely would choose to get worshiped.)

          • Happyroach

            Well, if the other gods decide the one who wants worshipers needs to fall in line or die, that makes a difference in maintaining a masquerade. Especially if these are “gods” who can be killed.

      • Eric Schissel

        I liked that idea when Seanan McGuire played with it in her “Velveteen vs.” series (or anyway the one I’ve read so far) and I like it now…

    • Weatherheight

      In the Supers RPG that I occasionally mention, the original “gods” were “merely” biodynamics (to use this comic’s jargon).

      Which became inconvenient to my character, whose power was to transform himself into a sentient plasma state surrounded by a spherical force field (Code named Dyson, after Freeman Dyson’s megastructure).

      Pesky worshippers…

    • David B Huber

      An excellent idea! The gods of yore being tulpas once actualized by worshipers, now empowered by the attention of millions more followers in mass media such as web comics…

  • Hiram

    Meet the new manipulative corporate mind slaver, same as the old manipulative corporate mind slaver.

  • Kid Chaos

    “I’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse…” 💀

  • MaxArt

    “There are many people in this world more dangerous than Menace”

    Oh, that’s where you’re so wrong. Menace can single-handedly destroy all humanity.
    Or rather: no-handedly, since he can just use his mind.

    • Gotham

      Well, Alison could do it too, albeit handedly, and most likely much faster.
      I think the “more dangerous” applies.

      • MaxArt

        Patrick could convince anyone to commit suicide without even making contact with them.
        How can Alison beat this?

        • Gotham

          Punch into Earth so hard it shatters? She is our Superman stand-in so speculating about an upper limit to her power seems futile.

          Also, again, instead of coercing a person into suicide, she can just punch the dude. Again, there is contact (don’t know why that’s a detriment to her by your account) but there is also much less energy and time spent.

          • Weatherheight

            Cataclysmic Meteoric Impact – with herself as the meteor.

          • David B Huber

            Easier still, Alison flys out to the Asteroid Belt and chucks Ceres and a few other rocks at the Earth. Game over.

          • Weatherheight

            I’m not sure if she can hold her breath that long – easier just to reach peak speed in the atmosphere by circling the globe (causing massive shockwaves, assuming she can exceed Mach 1) then plow through a few major volcanoes. The gases and particulates resulting will shut down our communications networks, then a significant portion of our transport systems, and finally the respiratory systems of a big chunk of life on the planet.

            Then the sustenance resource wars kick in and things get really bad…

          • MaxArt

            “Less energy”, are we talking about the *same* energy? To break a planet into pieces?
            But then again, we don’t know if she can express that much energy.
            And even if she could, physics just rule the possibility of destroying a planet in a single move. Even accepting a super-human like her, she’s limited in space and mass, so she wouldn’t be anything more than a bullet. She’d have to travel at relativistic speed to make considerable damage to the Earth. (I can do the math, if you want.)
            There’s nothing in this comic that makes us think she can do that. Nothing about the opposite too, but I’d feel the story would starting making less sense.

            On the other hand, we *do* know Patrick can do the other thing. Or will be able soon.

          • Gotham

            I’m so glad we’re having a “the universal law of physics just wouldn’t allow it” conversation about a universe where a girl turned into a ghost encased in a glass canister

          • Zorae42

            All Alison would really have to do is go punch a few holes in some nuclear reactors. Or holes in people maintaining them. She could pretty easily end the world if she felt like it. And we’ve yet to see any method of stopping/restraining her to stop her from doing so.

            I’m pretty sure the amount of energy she spends on punching people is about the same as the amount of energy he spends on convincing people to kill themselves. Plus his seems like it’s much harder to do since he has to dismiss their humanity while seeing their every thought and feeling.

          • Filthy Liar

            I mean, she can fly. The laws of physics are really just suggestions to these people.

          • MaxArt

            To them, yes.
            To the rest of the world, no. They’re still supposed to work.

    • Tom O.

      Or he’s right and there’s some even scarier folks out there

  • Tim F

    It would be funny if ‘Odin’s ring crapped out a bunch of new rings while they were talking. I’m not sure if Draupnir does that on command or just once a week.

    • Aresius

      It craps eight new rings every nine nights xD

  • Philip Bourque

    If there are people more dangerous than menace and you can protect him from them, doesn’t that make you even more dangerous?

    • Weatherheight

      But how sure is Odin that Menace hasn’t already taken steps against those more dangerous than Odin believes Menace to be, thereby making Menace more dangerous than Menace appears to be?
      Mwu ha ha…

      • Philip Bourque

        That’s the thing about running the conspiracy. You always think you know better than everybody.

  • Zechariah Val Judy

    I like how the lines of the dome make this room feel claustrophobic, like a trap.

  • Eric Meyer

    Huh. I feel like these old dudes are projecting rather a lot. Sounds like the entire “Conspiracy” is ‘little’ more than people in power who happen to have a phobia of mind-readers using their power and positions to hunt them down.

    Like, what if the partnership is welcomed? Huh? Didja think about that?

    Either that, or Oldin here is himself a mind-reader, and using that to uncover deep fears in the other guy to manipulate him. Which the other guy may or may not recognize.

    • bryan rasmussen

      well if he’s odin then his powers should be mental.

      • Weatherheight

        Odin’s classical powers are mostly about illusion and brute force and extreme political & psychological savvy (with frequent hideous lapses of judgement, because this is what gods do). Less telepathic / mental than charismatic / psychological.

        But yeah, Odin spends a lot of time convincing others to do his dirty work. There’s a parallel here with this guy and Patrick in that sense.

    • Sterling Ericsson

      Don’t forget that said conspiracy also went and purposefully killed all the biodynamic people with abilities that could permanently improve the world.

  • Callinectes

    “Trade one shady master for another? Where do I sign up?”

  • Tylikcat

    “Also, we’ll pay you better.”

    • Gotham

      And this is why the forces of good lost in the fight against the end of the world.
      Because there ain’t that many job openings for people well into their 60s

  • Scott

    Yeah, it seems obvious that freedom is not actually on the table. Rather, the offer appears to be trading one shadowy, manipulative master for a different shadowy, manipulative master. It will be interesting to see if Duval picks up on that as well and what his reaction will be…

  • The question, of course, is, “Does Mr. Duval work for Patrick out of fear, or out of loyalty?” I mean, the rest of his “minions” are actually as close to friends as Patrick knows how to have. He actually cares about Daniel, Rat (whatever his name actually was), and the rest of them.

  • I think I need to do a re read.I think in the past menace discusses how he recruited mr, Duval

  • Elbadasso

    Well IF there’s a pantheon of “old” gods then they may well have some sort of corporate agreement that has all the right powers to keep it going in perpetuity. A guy who slows time on a personal level or steals life to give it to each of the pantheon to keep them alive. Someone who reads minds enough to know who the new threats are. Someone who’s fast enough to take them out and go deal with them. Etc. All of which would not only match various mythic pantheons but also be diverse enough to keep the group as the secret power they are.

    • Bruce Munro

      He said “the gift only manifested for those born under the storm. Bad luck for geezers like you and I” only a few pages ago: that would seem to imply to me that, unless he’s lying, there is no “elder pantheon.”

      Of course, that doesn’t mean they don’t have their own pantheon: if they were quick enough on the jump to wipe out all the supers with world-changing powers before anyone else figured out the possibilities, they may have recruited the _Very Worst_ supervillains into their own private secret army before Menace ever got around to putting together his own forces.

      • Elbadasso

        The way I took that was that there was no storm in THEIR lifetimes. But there might have been one way way way before.

  • JohnTomato

    Mr. Duval, are you willing to sell your soul for Rock & Roll?

  • Sterling Ericsson

    Heheh, the conspiracy doesn’t know about Patrick’s new (technically old) ability though. They’re in for a surprise.

    • Bruce Munro

      I dunno: they claim they have a way to block his telepathy, shouldn’t it work in all modes?

  • Ray Radlein

    …but how’s your 401(k)?

  • Danygalw

    “Not being a slave to his will?”

    okay but why do I feel like the ‘he’ in that is very specific?

  • David B Huber

    Odin seems supremely confident about their being more powerful – much more powerful – beings than Menace at his beck and call…

    Yet a projective telepath could best even a precog and with enough experience could discomfit a near-omniscient! And any mere physical power (speed, strength) is worse than useless if you can’t trust what you see.

  • Darkoneko Hellsing