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(i leave intelligent commentary to other people. i’m just enrapturedby the glowing eyes.) 21stCenturyPeon Between the glow and the sudden head-turn, did she just throw Magnum at someone? Sark Le tigre! SmilingCorpse That’s obviously Blue Steele. Notice the subtle differences. Debbie Jackson It can’t be Blue Steel – she turned right 😉 Weatherheight https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coGBgkjGQ9g Weatherheight Is this a Wilhelm Scream? Or is it just very similar…? Not on the official list in IMDb… Danygalw She’s dressed and muscled like a young woman, but wrinkled like she’s old—not that they look like wrinkles except in the extreme close up of the other guy, but, it does there so I’m assuming they’re meant to be wrinkly people not made-of-wood people. Lysiuj I think she’s just a slim older woman though. Both her face and her arms have some lines but not many. IanB They could be scars? Gotham “Here, all hopes and dreams and thoughts and WiFi signals are absorbed by the Exquisitely Crafted Table, which hungers for your immortal soul, from whence They draw Their power. Also wood is a very poor conductor for mind-readers” Olivier Faure Damn, you beat me to it. Johnny Awesome There is but one Table, and Gotham is their prophet. All praise be to The Table. Also, you may recognize the table because Jesus ate the Last Supper at it before young Napoleon bought it a few years later. There is still a bit of homemade water-wine staining the one corner. Jojo The one corner of the Round Table? Johnny Awesome That’s why the Table is so awesome, it’s basically the Tardis but more Exquisitely Crafted. (I will fit every mythology into that of The Exquisitely Crafted Table before I’m done here… and yes, [SPOILER!] Harry Potter’s wand is obviously made from The Table, and Odin is sitting right where King Arthur sat when he owned it!) Irrevenant Sonic screwdrivers work poorly on it also. Gotham The way the conversation went, I’d still say there’s a 75% chance Tony is playing Odin, in a ploy fomented with Patrick, a 20% chance he was always coerced against his will all this time and he’s being genuine bout betraying him now, and a 5% chance he legit doesn’t know Patrick = Menace but suspected Menace was still around. Place your bets. Also can we acknowledge how awkward Tony must have felt when Odin said his associates were leaving and Sif here just went silently to stand in a corner of that room in view of everyone SmilingCorpse Hmm. I’ll place 100 on the Ploy, 50 on the puppet theory, and 15 on the genuine move. Just to hedge my bet. Tom O. While we’re betting, anybody want to handicap who dies by the end? I’m thinking Patrick and Cleaver, at least. Ellie Alison’s Dad might die. Moonshadow/Mary Kim’s fate might be left ambiguous or she could be killed. I think someone might TRY to kill Alison now that the government knows it’s possible to hurt her with Cleaver’s blades, maybe for some of the same reasons cited in that one superman deconstruction fic I can’t remember the name of rn (i.e no matter how good/stable she is now, she could develop some kind mental illness or neurodegenerative disease later on and we’ll all be fucked, so we better kill her sooner rather than later). I really hope the comic doesn’t end with Alison’s death though because that would be really depressing. Ellie Just remembered the name of the fanfic, it’s called The Metropolitan Man (https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10360716/1/The-Metropolitan-Man ). It’s really dark, but there’s a list of content warnings in the first chapter. Jerico Mele Hey, just wanted to thank you for posting that link. That was one of the better done pieces of fanfic I’ve read in a really long time. Talina M 25 that the table gets it . Lysiuj … gets what? Talina M Gets destroyed Lysiuj *GASP* Weatherheight NOooooooo! Weatherheight “The next man that makes a move, the table gets it!” “Hold it, everyone, he’s not bluffing!” “Listen to him, people; he’s just crazy enough to do it!” “Drop it or I SWEAR I blast this table’s splinters ALL OVER THIS ROOM!” “Oh Lawdy-Lawd, he’s desp’at! Do what he say, do what he SAY!” >>sounds of a large table being moved<>more sounds of a large table scuffing across the floor<< “Oh baby, you are so talented.. and they are SOOO stupid!” Talina M Moral of the story: Never bring a knife to a chainsaw fight. scottfree There’s also a real possibility that Patrick is staking/pretending to be Odin, offering Tony a chance to betray him and run. He may be looking for a way of eliminating the one guy who knows the most about Menace. Ellie No, if anyone in the room is Secretly Patrick, I’m bettin it’s gonna be blondie there. That bone structure? Patrick’s. Those scuff marks all over her skin? Some kind of body paint or make up. The! Evidence! Is! There! But in all seriousness, If Patrick wanted to find out if Tony wanted to betray him, he could just read his mind and eliminate him without setting up something like this. Jake That does bring in a serious issue. If Tony truly is willing to betray Patrick at the slightest of prodding and the slimmest of assurances, wouldn’t Patrick be aware of this and have taken steps to prevent it. Ellie Looks like the blonde is shaking her head in response to fake!Odin’s “is he telling the truth” look, so I’m betting that Tony is lying here. Ellie ….Or she could be nodding? It’s hard to tell. David B Huber Or could her head be snapping around in response to her master’s call? Danqtz No stochastic spoilers, please! Margot liking mostly for the bit about Sif standing in a corner Glotos Her face is on what I think of as the masculine side, especially with the hatchet nose. I actually had to go back and look at Patrick’s face, to be sure that wasn’t him in a wig. Tim F THAT is interesting. She has similar powers (if she’s detecting lies) and she looks like Patrick. It makes you wonder a little about how the biodynamic generation happened, no? Patrick doesn’t look much like his paychopathic ‘mother’. Weatherheight She’s Patrick’s twin sister, whom he killed in the womb, but now she’s managed to manifest a psychic body and is back for revenge. Nah. Been done. 😀 AdamBombTV Gotta say, he believed the room to be shielded awfully quickly. Hey Tony, I also have this rock that keeps away man-sharks, you want it? You want proof? I don’t see any man-sharks, do you? monsterzero Also, wouldn’t he have to spend the rest of his (or Menace’s) life in shielded rooms? Sounds like prison. Elliott Sims Depends on how long the rest of Menace’s life is expected to be. IanB I think we’ll find that there are people who can psychically shield, and that that biodynamic power is more common than telepathy. So, he’ll get a new “administrative assistant” provided by the Conspiracy. Gotham Funny thing is with all the biodynamics there has to be a man-shark somewhere whose sole highly lucrative business venture is to confront con artists Weatherheight Or one who provide rocks that protect against man-sharks and other biodynamics with sea-/water-based powers. IanB I think it plays into the story-line where he’s actually luring the Conspiracy out into the open. He was quick to believe so that they would trust him. The potential flaw would be if THEY have a telepath that can find out he’s deceiving them. But, if he’s really tuned in to Menace, then Menace might be able to overlay into the mind to hid the deceit. Wheee, the potential counter-impacts of telepathic battles! Dan Nicholson Surviving hunting a god-tier mind-reader is good proof. Knowing how the protection works would be… dangerous knowledge to take out of the room. Olivier Faure So the lady who looks like Patrick can detect lies? Adding fuel for my “she’s secretly Patrick from the genderbent dimension” theory! Tom O. And she’s shaking her head because Tony is lying? Weatherheight Or she’s shaking her head because she can’t tell one way or the other…? So many ways to interpret a simple head shake… bryan rasmussen boy. this is where the power to make someone believe they really want to do something would come in handy. Lysiuj So unless she’s really into glow-in-the-dark lenses… this is our probably first confirmation that people have had powers before the storm generation, right? … Or maybe she’s from the storm generation, but her powers gave her accelerated aging, or just the appearance of old age? … Or maybe she’s from the storm generation, but whatever the conspiracy have done to her over the years has caused her to age prematurely?? Weatherheight I feel she just looks old or prematurely aged. Probably caught in a traumatic situation and rescued by The Conspiracy and now she serves them because they saved her. Hopefully it’s not that trope-y a background / origin story. Insanenoodlyguy So, this confirms it. At some other point, some other generation, there were powers. This explains how they could get all the kids so quickly, and why. Powers increase with age, and somebody was a precog, power sensor, or a thinker. Tom O. Maybe powers have existed for a long time and the conspiracy is about keeping them from interfering with normal society because when they did that in the past, it went horribly wrong. In this case the storm might have generated so many biodynamics that the conspiracy couldn’t keep up. Although I doubt the author would borrow so liberally from Star trek (prime directive). But it’s be interesting if the conspiracy wasn’t actually straightforward evil. Gotham God I hope not this make literally no sense thematically Ladon You’ve been carping about that for a while. I think you may be missing a bit of bigger picture, here. FIrst off, the whole conspiracy NEVER really meshed real well with the theme you’ve been touting as the one true theme to this comic Gotham You should maybe try and learn to be less emotionally affected by my own appreciation of this webcomic. After which you may start to state things that are actually true Ladon Ah, yes. I see now. Before, I was beating my chest and rending my clothes, shouting “oh, ye gods, why is man cruel?” in response to your take on this comic that I disagree with. Now that I realize that my emotional state should not be dependent entirely on the opinions of an Internet commenter who reads the same webcomic as I, I have ceased weeping and turned my energies towards beating my sword into a plowshare. I am also appreciative of your refutations of my views. I will forever hold in my heart the sentiment “maybe you should be less wrong”. Gotham Well, I didn’t elaborate because I already did in this comment. You didn’t get preferential treatment because their comment was an easier springboard to elaborate on my /actual/ opinions than having to start the painstaking process of listing the myriad ways “A big shadowy conspiracy that predates those powers isn’t an obvious sociological impact” is missing all the points by lightyears. Hiram “If the Conspiracy does have superpowers aka actual power beyond their shadow web of influence, none of this makes any sense.” How so? The existence of super powers in the new/old guard either isn’t really relevant to the conflict between the two. ( You can’t punch people into poverty any more effectively than you can punch them out of poverty. The scale of society is to enormous for it to matter if a person who’s stealing peoples pensions also has laser eyes. ) Or if you’re treating superpowers as a metaphor for capacity to steer society instead of irrelevant thereto, then it stands to reason that the old guard with it’s entrenched influence also has superpowers. I mean who has more capacity to steer society than the people who have been running it? The fact that young people are waking up to the fact that they have power does not preclude the existence of power in old people. Gotham The fact that this is a webcomic created by an author makes it possible that all pages after this one are just densely packed Hitlers and this is just canon. The inherent logic of a fictional universe is really not interesting to me, only what it means thematically. You said it yourself (I don’t know why by the way it really doesn’t help your argument). Poverty isn’t created by punching people into it. And yet, poverty exists. This alone should convince you that the metaphor is best if the Conspiracy’s hold over this world is done without powers. The power to steer society isn’t done with superpowers, but with systems, societies, beliefs, movements. This is the whole damn entire point of this whole story David B Huber Ultimately, change will come as nanotech Replicators reduce the cost of goods to the point where all our needs are charged to our decendants on the expectation that someone in the family tree will create something of such benefit to society as to balance the ledger. Of course that presumes energy too cheap to measure, whether from fusion or over-unity systems. Plenty of raw materials in our landfills! Hiram “(I don’t know why by the way it really doesn’t help your argument)” Because bringing up and discussing the points someone makes is how rational discourse works. “This alone should convince you that the metaphor is best if the Conspiracy’s hold over this world is done without powers.” Why? You’ve yet to explain HOW that hurts the metaphor. To me, that’s like saying that the conspiracy’s hold on the world has to have been done without hands, because it’s not about hands. It can be both things. Saying that something has to be only one thing and no other things or it distracts from the message is asking for one-note aesop villains. Gotham Okay so sorry for how arrogant this is going to sound but I explained my opinion in enough comments already and all necessary material for you to come up with actually thought-out counter-arguments is ripe for the taking. I can’t work with any of this. Get on the level. Hiram Uh huh. Well sorry you can’t work with any of that, I guess. Insanenoodlyguy well, I think the Odin reference is probably hitting on this: it happened before. Not recently, but along time ago. The conspiracy is the players who stayed in the game this long, and apparently they don’t want the new generation changing things too much. Gotham But it doesn’t, like, urg Okay, so, superpowers are a metaphors for the potential of a new generation, and what will collectively drive it to steer the world whichever way. The webcomic used this metaphor to comment on the unjust distribution of power, on what factors will or could determine how a person will use their own power (selfishly or selflessly), on how it’s a new generation’s burden, with all this power, to judge the sins of its ancestors, and to ponder on ethics. This isn’t a metaphor for /this/ generation of young people we currently have in the real world, but the perspective every new generation gets when they start to become young adult and realize they can effect meaningful change on the world they inherited. What they stand in contrast with, is the world they were born in. It’s the older generation, and its systems, its intricacies, its traditions, its staggering refusal to change, its problems it refuses to confront, its sense of overwhelming complexity. A new generation of people has the power the old world doesn’t have, but what they do have is a trick far more mischievous: it makes you think its too much of a beast to even try to change anything. That it’s just too big, too convoluted, too obtuse. And this, all of this, is a lie, their last line of defense against “kids these days” and their tendency to want to improve the world to the detriment of the old generation’s grasp on it. It’s a Conspiracy. Elusive, everywhere, intangible, most likely fake but instead the result of a converge of factors, and most importantly, actually powerless against the new generation which, if they learn just enough, if they don’t fall prey to its lies, could just dismantle it. If the Conspiracy does have superpowers aka actual power beyond their shadow web of influence, none of this makes any sense David B Huber I appreciate your point, Gotham, but shift your perspective back a step. What if the previous biodynamics themselves effected that exact level of change, shifting human civilization from a partnership model to a dominator model as hypothesized in Riane Eisler’s The Chalice and the Blade? In the name of Progress of course… Perhaps the original order was dismantled as you’ve envisioned, and what we see unfolding now is the response of the Lord’s of Order to contain a reenactment? Gotham You’re thinking in terms of lore, not themes, is the thing. Yes, the fact is that the sempiternal story of the new generation having to confront the old and find their place will never stop happening and being told. Every new generation lives through that story, each of them gets metaphorical superpowers and has to face a metaphorical conspiracy, before they become the metaphorical conspiracy a newer generation gets to challenge again. But the thing is, this story only works once from the perspective of the new generation, and this is the perspective we’re following. From the point of view of Alison and pals, the world that killed its best chance at improvement in a relentless effort to refuse to change is one single entity defined by her struggle against it. I can see what argument could be made for introducing the fact that once, the old generation /was/ the new generation pestering against its own elders: that this struggle is the only constant, that history ceaselessly repeats itself. Only, this is not a realization for Alison to make, but the Conspiracy. It’s not the burden of the new generation to learn that lesson. It just muddles the story with a pointless, edgelord relativism bordering of childish cynicism if we need Alison to realize “oh, tyrants are bad but they once were idealists too”. I swear to God, if we ever get to a scene where Odin tells Alison “we’re not so different you and I” you will hear me flip tables from the Moon. Yes, even the mighty Exquisitely Crafted Table, cursed be ye. The way the voice of a new generation transforms into “the establishment”, without a core, without a driving force other than the weight of tradition, apathy, and laziness, is fondamental to that metaphor. One of the wrongest thing it accomplishes, if Odin is from The Storm™: The Prequel, is that everybody else from his generation who don’t have superpowers is admonished of their crimes. And that’s, just, no I don’t even think Odin here belongs to the Conspiracy. The mere fact that the Conspiracy would be /real/ and a thing you can actually point to defeats one of the most salient point the webcomic made: that you can’t punch all problems until there aren’t anymore. Making them real and having superpowers is the best way to undermine the poignancy of that metaphor. Disclaimer: I may very well be wrong about all of this. In fact, the metaphor can still hold if we accept “a few old dudes in a poorly lit room” is supposed to actually stand for “the world the new generation inherits”, I just think it’s not as good, and I wish it doesn’t happen. Weatherheight Thematically, I agree with all your comments. I’m not sure that “the new replaces the old” theme is entirely a problem for the old (“The new need to learn the lessons of the old or be doomed to repeat them” is the obvious trope to counter that assertion), but everything else is on point, given the tendency of the comic to suggest non-genre-trope answers to genre-trope problems. My problem is that having a bunch of guys with powers whose origins are shrouded in legend is that implies they are also functionally immortal. That hasn’t seemed to be a theme within the comic – nobody seems to aging differently as a result of being biodynamic (one could argue Daniel is manifesting cancer cells earlier than normal, but childhood cancer is a thing). One of the things we have established in our various supers games is that anyone can buy “long lived” as a character power, but you need to have a freaking good excuse to have “does not age / eternal youth / immune to aging” as a power. A few of us have had it turn up as a power that the GM bought for us, but in general it’s considered a bit gauche to have all of your characters live forever. Having The Conspiracy be real doesn’t bother me, but I agree that using powers to resolve the problem of “the powerful will everything in their power to retain their power” is seriously undercutting the major themes of the comic. I’m betting that the lady with the glowing eyes is a lot younger than she looks, and that her powers involve psychic shielding in some capacity. I’m very happy that we finally are seeing someone else with mentalist powers. It’s just way too convenient that (a) there were no other mentalists but Patrick in the world, (b) all the other mentalists who were spawned are now dead, or (c) every other mentalist has been co-opted by The Conspiracy. That said, there should be at least one who has joined The Conspiracy (mostly because it’s the smart play). David B Huber Well said! I find myself agreeing that the level of world-building we’ve come to admire would be ill-served by the trope we’re being led to expect; besides, Brennan & Molly are more subtle – not to mention craftier! – than that. “More dangerous than Menace” could mean many things: wiser, more ruthless, better connected or simply unassailable. That last would be in accord with your wish, if I’m understanding correctly? An entrenched Culture which merely behaves like a Conspiracy? As for “Odin”‘s comment re: those born under the storm, I feel he is dissembling. His expression is too knowing. Almost like Midas expressing envy of Croesus. I don’t believe Odin and his cronies are earlier biodynamics. But I still think they could be tulpas (thought constructs built from the beliefs of human beings) who evolved from feeding off believers to feeding off cultural archetypes. Gotham I like the idea especially if they are representative of collective belief it fits just wonderfully, the problem with giving a face to the Conspiracy is then that you can punch that face. If the story ends with an absolute victory over the tyranny of systemic injustice through a fist in anyone’s face, I’m going to be perplexed David B Huber Agreed. But regardless of their true nature these folks are guilty of infanticide. By any measure they have a fist to the face coming! 🙂 I anticipate Patrick will change his moniker from Menace to Measure and unite with Alison and both their teams before the Elders can be brought to justice. Only to learn after the last face has been punched that it made no difference! Because the Conspiracy Patrick uncovered was merely a reflection of our Dominator culture… But the ending will reveal a ray of hope as a hell-bent ideal or two struggle into the sunlight – not from vigilantee justice, but due to the selfless examples of Feral’s gifts of life and Alison’s foundation. Insanenoodlyguy Except somebody killed all the most powerful kids before they could be threats. Powers or not, somebody out there had the organization and the pull to get that done. Gotham I’m just saying, I hope the un-universe explanation the webcomic is going to give us won’t come to stifle that metaphor. How do you metaphorize the oppressive nature of generational conflict? How do you personify that antagonist when its primary characteristic is that it’s unpersonifiable? I don’t know, it’s on Brennan to figure out but I’m confident, he’s smarter than me. David B Huber It has been done. One of my favorite portrayals is “Babes in Arms” (1939 film version). Mickey Rooney’s superpower was “Hey kids! Let’s put on a show!” 😉 Dawn Smashington I really like your take on all this. I’d like to add one thought to the end here; each generation was once “the new generation”. Having another come up behind them doesn’t erase their memories and experience of being young and wanting to change the world for the better. Like, how you get old folks flipping off Trump and such. In this metaphor, where powers=being the new young generation, we’d have older biodynamics who know how to use all of these things against them. That, I think, lies along the Conspiracy metaphor too, as in that’s what the older generations do here as well (minus the superpowers). Gotham This is part of why I think it’s better if they don’t have powers. Most among the old generation is just become part of the collective, found a place they don’t want to risk into an unfair society they fear to challenge. Not all of them are bad people, it’s just immensely tiring to fight. Some among the old generation are still willing to participate, but they recognize their role should be mentoring, assisting, sharing their experience and giving guidance, all the while leaving this struggle to the ones it befits. This is why the old generation doesn’t have powers: because this isn’t their fight anymore. This isn’t their story. The new generation is the only one that can manage to change the world, because it’s becoming theirs. It may introduce a neat concept though: powers will eventually disappear. They have been growing, as young people gain more and more agency and maturity, but eventually their story will find a resolution. At the very least, this webcomic will end, and with that, the end of Alison’s struggle. Maybe last page is Alison’s children taking up her mantle. They did foreshadow that biodynamics were starting to make babies early in the webcomic… David B Huber Wow! Imagine a Biodynamic Duo where Media combines the powers of Alison and Patrick while Renew can heal others with a touch… Talk about social change! David B Huber “Most among the old generation is just become part of the collective, found a place they don’t want to risk into an unfair society they fear to challenge.” You just described me! 🙂 Risk aversion stemming from hostages to fortune. Or maybe laziness? Dan Nicholson I feel like not enough people are freaking out about the yellow-eyed woman’s eyes lighting up there. Lysiuj Hang on, it looks like not just the lady’s eyes, but also Odin’s eye might be glowing – at least it might be a brighter shade of green than in the last few pages when we saw it. http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-8/page-9-8/ So maybe the two of them are communicating psychically? Gotham Then again what proof do we have that his other eye is /not/ pristine white because it’s actually constantly glowing on the highest setting? Very relatable, the cranky old grandpa who messed with his parameters Gotham Also like didn’t he just say two pages ago that he didn’t have powers and felt super sad about it Weatherheight As I said above… Close association with the table does things to one’s eyes… “Doctor, my eyes”, indeed… JohnTomato “Safe” is such a relative word. Tim F I think everyone understands what happens in case of no deal. Gotham Y’all think Lady glowing eyes just tilted her head dramatically, but you’re all wrong. I know the truth. This is just a spectacularly bad hair day Lysiuj As chance would have it, it’s also a bad eye day. Gotham Seriously though, her eyes were already yellow when we met her a few pages ago, so the glow could very well just be the mystic property of this mysteriously lit room without light sources or windows Lysiuj The room doesn’t just keep all thoughts inside, it also keeps all light inside. Truly the Table’s hunger is boundless. Weatherheight Close association with the table does things to one’s eyes… “Doctor, my eyes”, indeed… Pol Subanajouy Oh hey formerly sleepy woman is certainly looking alert! With eye-shine and everything. I wonder if that means she has some powers? Tim F She was bowing with her eyes lowered. It’s a sign that ring boss / Odin is more than just respected; they consider him more like the head of their religion / cult. Dean It’s going to take more than fast talk and a fancy table to turn Tony, I think. Patrick knows everything about Tony- every shameful desire, every secret dream, every thwarted ambition. The first time he met Tony, he knew exactly what to say and do to win his complete loyalty. I think Odin is expecting Tony to lie to him here- what would be the point of suborning who’d change allegiance so easily? IanB Odin may not realize how entrenched Menace is in the company. They are a shadowy operate-in-the-shadows organization. They may think that Menace just stops by and mid-whaps people on an occasional basis, vs acts as a perpetual presence. You know, when he’s not having psychotic breaks. StClair Last panel: https://i.imgur.com/5p6Ek.jpg Weatherheight Whose art is this? It seems a bit like Walt Simonson…? Walter Blondie’s headshake bodes ill for the man from Templar. Urthman Maybe Patrick can’t hear anyone in that room, but there’s a woman standing right outside the room that can hear you guys. IanB That was my first thought, and that Odin was noticing she was there, and it’s about to be a problem. Dawn Smashington I really got an “our actor friend is about to be killed” vibe here Bruce Munro I’d say something about being surprised about the older generation actually having Powers, but I see other commentators have already said it at much greater length. 🙂 Darkoneko Hellsing Daniel’s anomaly caused him to turn into crystla, I wouldn’t be that surprised if some caused people to age faster but;… David B Huber Honestly, my suspicion is that young, overconfident biodynamics have been lured in by the bacchanal raves and drugged into submission with a variant of the zombie potion.