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I’m not sure which possibility leads to more enjoyment on my part though 🙂 Kid Chaos *facepalm* God Almighty…Furnace really *is* as dumb as he looks. Charles M. Hagmaier A “sting”, right. With what looks like a dozen civilians exposed to all the screaming horrors implicit in contact with the crazy-as-shithouse-rats cartels. Furnace is officially a well-intentioned, bumbling schnook, but Liida’s people are cowboy lunatics if she’s on the up-and-up. Must be federal, nobody else would pull that sort of idiocy without a massive load of overeducated entitlement and all the backing of bulletproof civil service protections and lumbering blind Leviathan behind them. Rich McGee Canon says the superhero community has, for the most part, won the “war” against the villain biodynamics, and following that their handlers shifted them to dismembering organized crime. How many unopposed supers does it take to tear down the drug lords in coordination with a government that doesn’t have to fear assassination or insurrection as much as they do in reality? And given that Lidia’s powers are obviously capable of highly effective group defense with minimal prep time, how much risk were those hostages really in? We don’t have enough info to criticize the sting operation. It’s quite clear that Inferno has a poor power set for hostage rescue, though. MrSing She says that “These girls and their families went into danger…” Which means that they exposed civilians to the whims of the famously psychotic cartel. With the implicit statement that they could very much get hurt or killed. Practical, maybe. Ethical? Not so much. Mechwarrior Unless Alison went undercover and her family was put into protective custody, I’m guessing that the government would be hard-pressed to put together a no-risk sting operation. By their very nature, such things are dangerous, but it seems that all the women were aware of that and chose to volunteer to do so. masterofbones So they were in danger, which is the point. Mechwarrior There’s no such thing as “not in danger.” The world is dangerous. The point is to minimize the amount of danger of a given action, which had obviously already been done for these women. masterofbones Go back to the beginning of the thread and read it again. You have gone way off topic here. Mechwarrior I wasn’t addressing the OP. I was addressing another poster’s misconceptions about the acceptable level of risk involved in sting operations. Lostman This just goes to show that both sides aren’t really good at there jobs; as much as Furnace charging in did much harm than good, it’s still Lidia’s plan that involves putting civilians in harms way. The question is did Lidia as much she did plan, did she ever think that thing’s might go awry; not just from Furnace screwing things up but also the fact that a cartel member may of known who she was or cartel about knew about the string long before hand? There fail to plan but there also relying on dumb luck to achieve goals: it ends badly, if the first plan fails then have a fell back plan in reserve, don’t hope for everything to work out in the end because it doesn’t. Be batman Be Xanatos Be the British Military and plan everything out. And most of all be prepared when things go to hell. Classtoise She never said those were civilians. For all we know, they’re all empowered, and the sting went south because, say, a fireball hurling asshole swooped in to “save” the day. masterofbones “risked their lives” Scar Man!!! So I was right. He is scared of bullets. You get the feeling that this isn’t the first time he’s done this? Jerden A fear of bullets is rational for everyone except Alison, and maybe Cleaver. Scar Man!!! True Some guy A (presumably Mexican) Federale is complaining about someone ELSE fucking up a cartel related operation? Least believable thing that’s happened in this superhero comic! Charles M. Hagmaier Is she a Federale or an American Fed? I share your disbelief in the long-term capacity of the Mexican Federales to maintain a bio-dynamic superhero team without them going Los Zetas in relatively short order. That same guy I assumed that if she were an American officer, Furnace would have been called off. Having said that, I’m not positive that Furnace actually works for the US government, as I don’t recall it ever being explicitly stated. Cops don’t arrest him at protests and Alison knows who he is, but that’s about it. Pol Subanajouy Yep, only good things came from it. Scar Man!!! What I meant to say is that he’s still scared of bullets despite the fact that he is more equipped to deal with them than a normal person Rod That last bullet, had it not been such a sloppy shot, could have ended him before he even had a chance to react (as it is, he probably still has a flesh wound from it.) I’d say his fear is more of sneaky guys wielding bullets than the bullets themselves, but either way, it’s totally understandable. Scar Man!!! This all goes to show another problem with superheroes. Special forces, cops and any other people charged with going into stressful, dangerous situations are given training on how to stay calm and think logically in those situations and even they fail at that frequently as we all know. A superhero, especially one who started in high school like most of the supers of this universe, has none of that training and a ton more ways to endanger everyone around them. dragonus45 Yea god forbid he hear about a bunch of people about to be sold into slavery and try to do something what an asshole. Rod Honestly, he shouldn’t have. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and while someone might feel good because they “tried to help,” if that “help” has a far greater chance of causing tragedy than actually doing lasting good, they should leave that help at home. He’s not an asshole because he tried to help, but because he did so with dangerously inappropriate tools–and then reflexively used them in a disastrous manner when he got spooked. That guy should *not* be a superhero, or at least not one who goes ALONE on rescue missions. Mechwarrior Zero points for trying to help when his actions would have killed all the people he was attempting to rescue were it not for the intervention of someone completely unknown to him. Conrad Verner is better at being a hero than he is. Markus So an attempted rescue with the risk of instantaneous death is worse than slow, painful death by repeated torture, rape, and mutilation? Even failing as badly as he did there his failure case was better than he could reasonably assume the average case involving him not trying to save them was. Mechwarrior See Nobody’s post below. Furnace was totally unsuited to taking action in a rescue attempt of this nature, but he went in, apparently of his own volition. Intent isn’t magic, he gets no credit for acting in such a bold, reckless manner- there are far more options that he could have taken that would have had much lower risk to the people he was trying to save. They just required that he do some thinking instead of charging in Leeroy Jenkins style. Markus Outside of mystery sting lady, who Furnace has clearly never heard of, what currently active hero could go in and cause less collateral damage? Paladin’s leaning back on civilian work, Moonshadow’s moonlighting in murder, Pint Size is useless here in the short term, Alison’s immune to giving a shit about life behind the domino mask, Feral’s grown into organ sack, and every other meta we know is hardly relevant or a villain. Ironically, as more heroes tap out for personal reasons heroes like Furnace with strong but overspecialized powersets have more pressure to go into suboptimal missions, because nobody else is going to do them. Furnace is probably less useful here than a wide variety of other metas, but the fact that his power has much fewer civilian applications and he has much fewer civilian ambitions makes him one of the last supers staying on. When all you have is a burning hammer, you tend not to worry whether your nails will set on fire. Mechwarrior How about a squad of trained professionals being sent in instead of relying on an immature teenager just because they’ve got superpowers? Nobody As the others have said it isn’t wrong that he went to help but that he went alone when his powers where his powers would be more of a liability than a benefit. He knows other supers with powers more suited to the operation that could have been called in to rescue the hostages while he provided support(drawing fire and preventing escape). Ian Osmond His instincts are good. His heart is in the right place. That doesn’t make it okay. Following your heart without listening to your brain gets people hurt. dragonus45 It’s nice to know that some people have no sympathy for a person freaking out when they get actually lethal and dangerous bullets shot at them. Mechwarrior If he can’t avoid going boom when he gets shot at, he shouldn’t be attacking people who will shoot back at him in any place where there might be civilians around. Opus the Poet Both you and dragonus45 are correct. Freaking out because you are getting shot at and bullets have a 9% chance of permanently killing you is “normal”, sending someone who responds to that freakout by incinerating the immediate area so the bullets can’t hurt him is not a wise choice. Hence the belief that Furnace was acting on bad or incomplete intelligence on his own. motorfirebox When the person puts themselves in that situation, no, I don’t have much sympathy for them. masterofbones Because the guy who is a superhero employed and informed by the government definitely was told to save these people by his facebook friends. motorfirebox Furnace is flying around in spandex blowing up cartel soldiers because he wants to be, regardless of how much assistance he has from the government. The guy’s addicted to being a ‘superhero’—when we first saw him, he was using his amazing powers to threaten protesters. Likewise, it seems vanishingly unlikely to me that Furnace has tried to get proper training, equipment, and backup. If he had, he’d have all that. This is a government that has, within the past decade, fought a four-year-long civil war against a superpowered insurrection. The defense and law enforcement budget is going to be unlimited. Furnace could probably get one main battle tank for every day of the week if he asked nicely enough. The opportunities for Furnace to be more than a flying, flaming idiot are essentially endless. So while there are certainly others, possibly many others, who share the blame for the current fiasco, Furnace bears most of it himself. Rod The splotches you saw on it were molten lead from the bullets he melted. Presumably he melted the lead again and it slid off (and probably incinerated all the dirt and grime on the suit to. Nice way to get clean in a hurry…) Rod Which makes me wonder: as long as he’s been doing this, and as much collateral damage as he has presumably caused, why is he still continuing? Or is this the first time he’s messed up this badly? (Although personally, even one incident of accidental incineration would probably be enough for me to quit.) Ian Osmond He didn’t kill any innocents this time; “all” he did was completely wreck a sting operation. According to Alison’s firehouse captain, Furnace HAS killed bystanders before, and repeatedly. Why is he still continuing? I guess because he deeply WANTS to be a good guy — he just sucks at it. He wants to be the hero, he wants to be admired, and he has a powerset that SUCKS for doing heroic things. It would almost be admirable if it didn’t get people killed. Rod Well to be fair, fire as your only weapon would probably cause collateral damage pretty often. But again, if that’s the case… how long would one keep using it as one’s only weapon? Rod It might well have been a reflex or a response so well-drilled he couldn’t stop it in time. I’d almost have to give the guy that benefit of a doubt, because otherwise, yeah, that’s pretty horrible, right up there with grabbing a civilian standing next to you and using them as a body shield (in his case, a roomful of civilians.) Jerden What, you mean that doesn’t count as a reflex reaction? Grabbing hostages is a perfectly rational response to danger! Jerden And I assumed that it was her superhero name. Opus the Poet Pendejo is slang for “asshole” in my part of Texas, I assume it’s the same for at least parts of northern Mexico as well. Jerden Well I know that now, but grammatically it seemed like it would be her name. Still, learning all the time! Mechwarrior If he knows he can’t fully control his powers, and he keeps putting himself into these situations where he’s forced to use his powers to defend himself, and he doesn’t restrain himself from flaring up regardless of nearby people, he is a murderer. It was a very reasonable idea that there might be more guards inside the compound, it’s not like that was some sort of surprising twist. Furnace is a coward who’s so scared of getting hurt that he puts everyone around him at extreme risk to protect himself. He has no business trying to play hero. Lostman He’s just some guy with crap powers trying to do the right thing. Asher Freeman Irrelevant. If it wasn’t for the teleporter there, all those innocents he was about to rescue would have been leftover barbecue. This is the kind of shit they start Superhuman Registration Acts over. Rich McGee That may not have been a teleport effect. She may take things around her out of phase with reality, or throw up a shield that combines cloaking, or something. Doesn’t make much sense to teleport the hostages right back to where they were. Be curious to see if we get to see more of her. S.I. Rosenbaum I think he just killed one of the hostages Opus the Poet No, Furnace is a BIG asshole. Pendejo fits. RobNiner What’s he doing in Mexico anyway? Some guy Unless the protesters started shooting at him (and the cops), he wouldn’t have used this little trick on the protesters. He’d have been more selective with his targets, or used a lot less heat to inflict non-serious burns to disperse the crowd. If the crowd did start shooting, then as in real life, all bets are off and whatever happens, happens. That the cops themselves felt the need to be at the protest in big robots and whatever else is a pretty good indication that he was invited for his intimidation factor (regardless of Alison’s opinion) and MechaCop didn’t seem to have a problem reining him in. That Alison (a much more powerful biodynamic individual, who is only predictable to the writer and readers, but not the other characters of the world IE: Throws giant robots at hospitals) showed up in the company of someone that was using her to deliberately escalate the situation sorta ruins the moral argument that he shouldn’t be there. Basically, He’s a grandstanding jackass in a world of unmitigated grandstanding jackassitude, and Violet is worse for society than this flaming brodude. Ryan I think assuming that he would show any restraint if any of the protesters had gotten violent is giving him too much credit. Mechwarrior Furnace has yet to demonstrate that his powers come with a setting that’s smaller than the blast radius of a hand grenade. Violet was certainly a problem (being brave as long as she had her invulnerable room mate to hide behind), but Furnace has nothing but offensive abilities and a short temper. His presence at the demonstration wasn’t going to end well and MechaCop really wasn’t doing a lot to restrain him. Also, regarding the robot at hospital incident, Alison had been told that the building had been evacuated before she tossed the bot. That’s much different from Furnace flaring up while in a room full of civilians. That same guy The very first panel he’s in is demonstration. He’s partially on fire for the whole sequence, and flew away in a pillar of fire that hurt no one yet caused them to flee. Even assuming ‘hand grenade’ is a lower limit for direct applications of his powers, you can toss fire over the crowd’s head. Assuming he was given a tenth of the training Alison was, he’d have some sort of basic crowd control method worked out by then. MechaCop didn’t do much, because a robohand on his shoulder and “Whoa, whoa, take it easy. Look…” was all it took. The only reason Violet isn’t a villain is that her only powers are a complete lack of self-awareness and Alison’s baffling level of forgiveness. If Alison’s recklessly caused actual fatalities can be forgiven as Bad Intel, so should Furnace’s theoretical ones. The only obvious difference is that Alison threw a giant robot at a building which at best would result in millions in damage because she thought her one liner was cool. Furnace reacted defensively and inconveniently to getting shot. Furnace is written as a horrible jerk, so I guess it’s possible he’s always Wrong and Bad and I’m a fool for expecting differently, but I’d be pretty disappointed given how well the earlier chapters did at showing that things are more complicated than black and white. Zac Caslar Wait, how is Violet not a villain? She’s a murderer. She kills for her own pleasure. She’s got a tragic component, but that dismisses nothing. Mechwarrior Violet was Alison’s room mate at the beginning of the comic. The worst thing she’s done so far has been to throw a soda at a cop while at a demonstration (which she only did because Alison was there- Violet is very brave if there’s an invulnerable person she can hide behind). You’re thinking of Mary Kim. Zac Caslar I totally am! Thanks much for the clarification. Yeah, what the hell has Violet got to do with anything? Violet is harmless if obnoxious and yes, capacity for action directly informs a necessity for judgement. Still that same guy Actually, I’d put the thing where she wanted Alison to let Chill Bro Miles take the drunk girl home so as to not ruin the party above her other antics. But no, I wasn’t seriously stating she’s an actual main villain. She’s just not really a good person. Honestly i assumed she was going to be Goofus to Alison’s Gallant when I first started reading. I’m not exactly wrong either, in that most of her activism seems geared more towards being seen as an activist than getting anything done. I can’t recall a time she’s shown up in a non-negative fashion, though, and I’m still betting that she’s based off someone the creator actually knew IRL since the characterization has been perfect. Mechwarrior Oh yeah, forgot that little discussion. Mechwarrior Also, Violet is a vapid, self-absorbed person who chooses her friends based on what they can do for her rather any personal affection. Who hasn’t known someone like that? Insanenoodlyguy after reading down the line here… is it wrong that I now ship Furnace and Violet? Zac Caslar Where’s it written that Allison’s been “forgiven”? And if you think necessity doesn’t trump justice you live in a far better world than the rest of us. Still that same guy She’s been given a pass on basically everything she’s done wrong. She killed several people throwing a robot at a hospital, the only consequence depicted was that she got a bad grade from a professor that lasted less than a week and resulted in his dismissal. Also she felt bad about it for awhile. She threatened to kill a group of protesters on live TV and in front of police. the only depicted consequence was that Miles brought it up when she forcibly prevented him from raping that girl at the party. I suppose she could have had actual consequences off-camera, but given the way she seems to do whatever she wants, whenever she wants, I doubt it. She even seems resigned to her special treatment now, in contrast to when she inadvertently got the professor fired. Despite everything, I do like Alison as a person and I don’t like Furnace as a person, but it’s just really disheartening to see the only humanizing moment this toolbag’s had get largely ignored in favor of ‘Yep, dude’s an asshole.” Insanenoodlyguy I’m in between here? I mean, I agree with you that this comic is very much avoidant of black and white… but Furnace is pretty clearly a jerk. Ignoring his powers and this scene entirely, he’s SAID things that were jerk-indicative, and I don’t think flame powers can be blamed for that. Ryan . Haymarket riot. Potatamoto So, Furnace is indeed as bad as I had assumed in the last page. A ‘superhero’ who’s willing to incinerate the people he’s supposedly trying to save/protect when his own safety is in danger. Oh, I’m sure he was feeling just *terrible* when he thought he burned all those women to death. Poor baby. In contrast to what Lidia’s saying up there, there are many ways he could indeed be a superhero without being the guy who busts in the front door and yanks out the civilians. What was his overall plan there? I’m assuming he couldn’t fly away with all of them, he didn’t help any backup with a truck or anything get inside. So he was just going to run in front of them and think that he was badass enough to take out any remaining gunman before they could get a single shot off? Probably that. So he knows he has no way to protect himself than the Nova Blast there, and he’s willing to sacrifice innocent bystanders in order to save his skin. And he still throws himself into situations like this one. What a moronic, worthless piece of crap. Some guy You’re making a lot of assumptions. His immolation could have been reflexive and/or a poorly controlled new power. He may have reacted poorly to a developing situation (IE: there wasn’t supposed to be hostages here in the first place and he was looking for legitimate targets instead of risking a forest fire while incinerating the whole place from air). If this was a planned rescue operation, maybe he was the only guy close enough to get there in time. He can probably fly faster than the backup truck(s) can drive. Maybe his intel was wrong and he thought the danger was over with 15 charred skeletons instead of 16. Maybe he thinks he’s badass enough to kill all the bad guys because up until now that is exactly what has happened every single time and this is literally the first time it went wrong. Maybe he doesn’t really have a way to protect himself at all, and can’t explain himself when being confronted immediately after what is possibly the most stressful and disturbing moment of his life. Maybe that he started losing his shit when he had no reason to believe anyone was watching because he thought he unintentionally killed everyone he was trying to save is the most important bit of character insight we’ve had for this guy so far. …Nah, he’s just a moronic, worthless piece of crap. Potatamoto Well, I’m glad you agreed with me at the end there! But let’s see…Okay, if it’s a new power with that level of destructive capability, he shouldn’t be superheroing *at all* in the first place until he gets it under control, or at least figures out the ins and outs of it. If it’s reflexive (which I doubt) that might sort of make it worse…he jumps into these situations without being able to control when the battle might cause him to fry everything within…I dunno, how big is that house? Say, a 50-foot spherical radius. But regardless of how the bullet-melting power works, if this was a planned rescue operation, he should not be going into that house AT ALL. That’s not his role. If he was in any way responsible he wouldn’t go NEAR civilians while there was any remote possibility that he could go off like that. He’s artillery…he takes out the exterior defenses. He’s definitely not the guy who goes in to get people out while bullets are still potentially flying. Yes, maybe there were only supposed to be 15 targets, as you said, and the 16th was a total surprise. That is precisely why he doesn’t go in there until the place is deemed secure. Intelligence can indeed be wrong. He’s too dangerous and can cause too much collateral damage. (Collateral damage being in this case innocent people burning to death.) Or hey, “Maybe he thinks he’s badass enough to kill all the bad guys because up until now that is exactly what has happened every single time and this is literally the first time it went wrong.” So, given that he has no extra-sensory perception that we’ve seen, if this is the first time that a single armed enemy combatant has escaped his notice long enough to get a bead on him, I’d say he’s just been lucky to this point, and relying on luck in this kind of circumstance is still horribly irresponsible. The only way this episode could be even slightly excusable is if this mission is literally the first time this power manifested, and given the fact that we didn’t see him pause for a moment after the first time outside, and that he started trying to explain himself to Lidia inside, I very highly doubt that’s the case. So then we’re left with the fact that he presents a clear and lethal danger to anyone and anything within a certain distance of himself during a combat situation, and he willingly puts innocent people in that radius during a combat situation. So yes indeed, moronic, worthless piece of crap. That same guy Heh, not quite. Though I’m not actually disagreeing with you, either as neither of us know what his actual power limitations are, what his actual mission was, or any of the really important details we’d need to accurately judge how much of this is his fault and how badly he’s screwed up. You’d rather the local military/law enforcement handled it, with the grace and restraint that their known for in cartel controlled areas? Or the Wait and Hope option? Yes, he’s not an optimal choice for a rescue mission, but you don’t always get the best guy for the job. Speedgirl was busy evacuating people from a collapsing building, Teleporto can’t fight for shit or risk beaming into walls, Cleaver’s still in MegaJail, and Alison can’t be bothered with problems that aren’t right in front of her. We don’t know what his actual role is, or what the actual mission was for that matter. His lack of surprise implies that it was some sort of rescue op, but unless he just goes around doing this in his spare time (a possibility I actually am willing to consider), someone else planned the mission and gave him his orders. Maybe he violated his Air Support Only order, or maybe he was told to do anything and everything to get to the hostages as fast as possible despite being unoptimal for the role. I don’t know, and neither do you. He very well may have been fantastically lucky his entire career. Maybe he spent the majority of his time training to be the best whatever his job is that whatever his employer is has ever seen, and with the bad luck of Plot Necessity and Kickstarter Obligation, this was the first time any of his many skilled opponents managed to get the drop on him. Maybe he’s just barely good enough to retain his employment and the good he manages to do stays just ahead of the collateral damage. There’s plenty of ways to excuse his actions. “I shouldn’t be here, but they had to send me anyway so Please God, let this hammer find only nails for once.” does it. “I’ve seen what these people do to women and children. If I can’t save them, I’ll at least make it quick.” does it. “First they send me on a routine incineration mission, then they tell me there are hostages but they hear I’ve already been spotted so I get to stumble through the type of mission they told me they would absolutely never send me on.” does it. Any version of “I’m a Soldier, and I was given a lawful order.” does it by simple virtue of him not being responsible for the mistakes of others. His commanding officer is the moronic, worthless piece of crap. He’s just a jerk. I don’t actually expect Friday will prove you wrong though, I just kinda hoped that someone else would be open to FlameBroDude such a cartoonish stereotype. Potatamoto None of the scenarios that you’re describing are impossible or even really bad ideas from a story perspective, but you’ve describing a whole character arc for him, and dumping that on us after the fact is, frankly, much sloppier writing than I’ve seen this webcomic use thus far. Not that I don’t agree with what you said about supers being used in more mundane matters…that’s a very bad situation, and it’s just gonna keep getting worse. But if they were going to introduce that plot point here and get some sympathy for Furnace, they really should have established some of that stuff for this mission before this point in time. So I’m pretty confident in my assumption that he’s superheroing it up on his own here. Nothing of what we’ve seen of him before or during this mission really leads me to give him the benefit of the doubt about anything. But you know, I use ‘worthless piece of crap’ because, let’s be honest, that’s pretty much how he’s behaved every time we’ve seen him thus far. But despite that, I’m not wholly unsympathetic to the guy. As I said in another post here, he’s been conditioned by his training and his own childhood expectations to want to be the Mega Girl type of superhero, when his powerset is clearly very unsuited to the role. But just because he’s a waste of space now doesn’t mean he can’t change. In fact this little episode could be a turning point for him…something to bring him up short and re-evaluate the way he’s been acting and feeling. And he might consider himself VERY lucky that what woke him up was THINKING he burned a bunch of innocents to death, and not actually doing it (which he very easily could have.) So while I just loathe him right now, I don’t consider anyone in this comic to be wholly irredeemable, so we’ll see how he reacts going forward! Still that same guy It looks like we were both wrong anyway, haha. I’m still interested to know how he knew where the cartel was, even if their ‘abduction’ was reported on the news. Some guy “Fire” managed it, but I think they made it easy for her, having her powers only burn things she wanted to burn (unless the plot dictated otherwise). It’s pretty ludicrous that they are bothering to ‘sting’ the cartels at all, or that there are any cartels left after the Good Guys(tm) won the Great Biodynamic War. Either whoever sent Furnace sent the wrong guy for a rescue operation, or he was sent there to erase that cartel operation completely and because (like it or not) he is still a superhero, decided to check for innocents (or stumbled across them while looking for a snack) before writing his name in the ashes. There’s a lot of things wrong with the guy, but unless this is a solo project on his part he’s really not to blame for how poorly he’s handling this situation. I really don’t like defending him but I think he gets more shit than even someone with his profound unlikeability deserves. Sabriel I feel bad for Furnace right now. I still don’t like him, but he’s obviously overwhelmed and miserable. (You can feel sorry for somebody without excusing their actions. He’s reckless and selfish and he almost killed dozens of innocent people. There’s no excuse for his choices or his attitude, but he’s in pain and that sucks.) Potatamoto I can totes get behind this sentiment. It’s why I felt bad for Patrick after the last time we saw him, despite the fact that he was a supervillain, totally deserved what Allison gave him, and should be locked up as soon as this ‘conspiracy’ biz is wrapped up (if not before.) I have to admit that I’m not feeling particularly sympathetic towards Furnace right now, comparatively speaking, even though we know Patrick was a full-on supervillain and deliberately ended and/or ruined who knows how many lives. Honestly, that might just be because Patrick’s douchiness is mostly flashbacks and monologues, while we keep seeing Furnace’s first-hand. (Weird dichotomy…I still felt bad for Patrick, even though I felt like Allison was 100% correct to throw that gift back in his face, literally. After all, wasn’t that whole event pretty much throwing the entire relationship he and Allison had formed back in her face?) So I dunno…in an abstract way, I am feeling for Furnace, in that he clearly so badly wants to be the kind of superhero who swoops in and saves the day, holding the girl in his arms, and his power set is so utterly unsuited for it. Which is probably a point where his childhood expectations and that whole ‘teenaged government super-soldier’ thing intersect in a terrible way. I guess a lot of my sympathy is dependent on how Furnace behaves after this incident…if he keeps this up, I’m not gonna have much. Ryan This looks like more or less a vindication of Allison’s perspective that the typical superhero antics that work on supervillains are wholly unsuited for dealing with most of society’s problems, but more creative uses of superpowers can do some good (as long as they are not interrupted by typical superhero antics). Some guy That would really depend on the quality and direction of said education. It’s counter-intuitive, but it is absolutely possible for someone to have too much ‘education’ to be effective at their job, and working in government will hammer this reality into you no matter how much optimism and faith in humanity you had when you started. Mechwarrior You know, it’s sort of an interesting parallel that PS238 just had a character with powers that are almost identical to Furnace’s who made a point of never actually using them because he was terrified of the potential for collateral damage. Identical powers, opposite reaction to them. Rich McGee Firedrake? Quite sensibly uses his showy powers (which presumably include some defensive tricks or he’d be dead already) to draw attention and attacks away from his more useful team mates while they save the civvies and set up to beat down the bad guys. Furnace doesn’t seem to have the “safe to friendlies” defenses to do that as well as Firedrake, but he’d certainly be better off with team backup than as a loner. Butterfly Wason Uh… You seem to be confused about what is going on in this scene. This has nothing to do with hiring foreign terrorists to test out the capacities of superheroes. This is a sting operation to bring down the cartels. Which means that the female superhero and the rest of the women there actually volunteered to be captured by the cartel so that they could keep tabs on the group and help bring them down from the inside. A plan which Furnace just ruined by A) killing all the cartel guys in the base (thereby cutting off connections with the rest of the cartel) and B) nearly killing the other superhero and all of the civilians who volunteered for this dangerous mission. This wasn’t a scenario designed as a test for Furnace. This was a real life-risking undercover operation which Furnace just decided to butt into so he could be a hero, without knowing anything about what was actually going on. And as a result, he nearly got himself AND everyone else killed. The female superhero is right – he has no business being a superhero. Personthing But we don’t KNOW why he was there. If the government sent him, ruining the sting operation ISN’T his fault (though almost incinerating the civilians is STILL very bad). And if he became a superhero the same way Allison did, you CAN’T exactly blame him for THAT. TheGonzoMD . He wasn’t supposed to know, that’s the whole point of a sting operation. He wasn’t supposed to fucking be there. This shows us that he probably didn’t even contact the authorities before charging in, else wise they would have said “We have it handled, fuck off” TheGonzoMD . -If your main power is fire without the ability to NOT give people horrible burns, don’t be a superhero. -If you lack the presence of mind to realize that threatening protestors with this power is massively overkill, don’t be a superhero. -If part of your power set is losing control when you’re in danger and turning everyone around you into charred skeletons, DON’T BE A GODDAMN SUPERHERO. Personthing If the government grabs you and trains you to be a superhero, you don’t have much of a choice, do you? motorfirebox I don’t recall that we’ve seen the conditions under which Alison and the others actually put on masks and became superheroes. It always seemed more to me like it was the kids’ idea, and the government just sort of went along with it. I’d like to believe that if the government had actively encouraged them to use their powers in support of the government, the kids would have all had a little more training. Not to mention support and direction. TheGonzoMD . He’s doing his best… AT BURNING PEOPLE ALIVE. motorfirebox If they weren’t a sting operation—one involving an undercover superhero with pretty excellent protective powers—Furnace would have massacred the civilians he came to rescue. He really is as dumb as he looks, if only for not properly clearing the place and maintaining a better awareness of his surroundings in an extremely dangerous situation. And if he can’t do all that by himself, then he’s an idiot for not bringing backup. motorfirebox If your best efforts keep ending up getting people killed, you really need to stop and spend more time improving the quality of your efforts. Training, equipment, backup, communication—any of these things by themselves could have prevented Furnace from almost killing a bunch of civilians. All of them together, and he might actually be pretty effective. I don’t fee bad for Furnace, because he’s more interested in being seen as a superhero than he is in acting heroically. Perlite Guess you can say that cartel guy is… TOAST! This might explain why they didn’t look as terrified as one would expect them to have been. Stephanie Gertsch Not only that, but the rips from earlier have mended themselves! Forget super strength, I want a perfectly fitting self-repairing outfit that keeps me comfortable no matter the extremes of weather. Stephanie Gertsch I saw the first panel and my reaction was pretty much as horrified as Furnace’s. Then I saw the people in the other room and was like “Wait, no way they could survive behind a wall!” and then Lidia started explaining and I couldn’t start laughing. While I do feel some sympathy for Furnace (he looks genuinely horrified) I am really surprised by the number of comments defending his actions. “Well, he couldn’t know FOR SURE he would go all boom! He was just trying to HELP, and that sting operation looks way more risky anyway, riiiiiiight?” This character has always been a fan favorite to hate. Maybe a few panels from his point of view carry more weight than seeing him nearly incinerate a room full of people? Zac Caslar Hey, it’s the Bill Cosby problem. You only have to rape _one_ woman to be considered a rapist. All the good you did do (very little in the case of Furnace) and all the good you _might_ do are worth nothing compared to the harm you would have done but for a moment of serendipity. This is the equivalent of a mass-shooter opening fire and having his weapon jam, and he doesn’t get a pass just because he got unlucky. I’m no fan of Furnace as a person, but I think he’s got worth as a _concept_. He’s the guy who plausibly intends good things, but lacks the maturity to accept that traditional CQC heroics are absolutely not his forte. He’s a flight-capable pyrokinetic. That’s a genuine gift, but not for superheroing. On an actual battlefield he might be death incarnate or maybe he could work hazardous cleanup (“we need a flying incinerator”) or if he’s a full pyrokinetic he could work in some capacity extinguishing flames or etc etc -I don’t have a ton of ideas, but I’m confident more exist. Also I’m not discounting him being enraged enough to try to fry Lidia in response. “No witnesses, no crime” is a common enough rationale. Rich McGee “You only have to rape _one_ woman to be a rapist.” Fixed that for you. Some guy “You only have to rape _one_ person to be a rapist.” Fixed that even more. Ian Osmond True, but I think it’s a riff on the old joke, “I raised a family full of strong, happy children. But do they call me Robert the Father? I built that bridge over the river. Do they call me Robert the Bridge-Builder? But you f*** ONE GOAT….” Insanenoodlyguy I think your a bit unfair to Furnace there. He’s a lot of things, but your putting him in supervillian territory. I don’t think a guy that looks that horrified thinking he just torched innocent people is about to promptly torch those people after all. Kid Chaos According to Wikipedia, it is literally “a pubic hair”. Also translated as translated as “dumbass”, “asshole” or “jackass”. Take that! Kid Chaos “You lost coherence a little after ‘federal’.” So does most of the U.S. Gov’t. Kid Chaos *epic facepalm* Kid Chaos Groucho always was smarter than he looked. Mechwarrior That brings up some interesting implications: who sent him, and for what purpose? Insanenoodlyguy the same shadowy organization that runs everything, of course! Kid Chaos The Post Office? Insanenoodlyguy YOU DO NOT SPEAK ALOUD OF OUR MASTERS ARE YOU INSANE OH GOD I HAVE TO RUN NOW Kid Chaos YOU WILL BE ASSIMILATED. RESISTANCE IS FUTILE. Rich McGee Pretty much anywhere that Spanish is spoken, as far as I know. Certainly includes the Philippines, if my friends from there are any indication. Rich McGee I find myself wondering where Khlovia learned Spanish. You can hear “pendejo” as an insult on the street around here, and I live in upstate New York. Khlovia It was quite a while ago. Rich McGee His powers work weirdly. If he put out enough heat to melt (and probably vaporize) lead bullets in flight at short range, why isn’t the whole building ablaze? There are boards and crates behind him. Why aren’t they burning, or outright blasted to ash? The gunman is smoldering bones, but the crate next to him is intact, not even charred from an omnidirectional blast of flame that pushed fire out of every window. Either he can control how much heat goes where a lot better than it appears (in which case why were the hostages in danger?) or something sucked a lot of heat out of that flash in specific areas. Some weird effect of Lidia’s defensive power? Some guy Artistic Necessity and Comic Book Physics. The heat required to cremate a guy that badly that fast would have turned his gun into a puddle and significantly damaged the stonework by itself, would have set everything flammable nearby on fire, and consumed an important amount of the oxygen while possibly creating toxic compounds with the nitrogen. Weird Things happen at high energy states. All that would be a real pain to depict and and even bigger pain to explain, so it get’s handwaved away to the same place that everyone else’s physics-defying powers come from. Which is good because holy shit would “How super powers REALLY work” be a horribly insufferable theme. Mistress Dizzy I saw some tumblr post about just that, where it’s like 3 pages of story and then 15 pages of mathematical proof, and the author is Neil Degrasse Tyson… Mechwarrior The crates appear to be metal, but the ceiling should definitely be on fire. Some guy I just assumed that the government had several branches of superheroes. Alison got to be Justice League. Furnace got put in the Outsiders. Cleaver’s probably in negotiation for The Suicide Squad. There’s probably a substantial Army Engineer Corps analogue as well, or would be IRL. Since I’m bored and this is far down enough that no one will see it anyway, here’s how that went!: Gen. Manfred ‘Man’ Aisling: “Okay, we’re forming The Guardians(tm)! Who are our candidates?” Dr. Thomas Chong: “Here’s Mega-Girl. Super strength, invulnerability, freckles.” “Sounds good, she’s in! Who else?” “Sonar. Good hearing, good yelling, precise speech.” “Looks like a bat. he the boy from the Enquirer? Can he fly?” “No. No.” “Okay, he can help Mega-Girl with crowd control. Who else?” “Moonshadow. Invisibility and image projection, possibly psychic based.” “She can scout around for Mega-Girl. One more?” “Pint-Size. He shrinks.” “That’s all?” “He’s also enthusiastic, and not stupid.” “Okay, he can be “In Charge”, leaving Mega-Girl to do all the actual work. That all of em?” “Two more. Furnace. Pyrokinetic, Flight.-” “Well now! Maybe he should be on the Guardians too! “-sounds like a kid from a FPS Voice chat. Never, ever stops.” “*sigh* Problem Solvers it is. Last guy?” “Dave. No codename. Lithokinetic, but only with concrete, not at combat effective rates.” “Bridgebuilders. Someone’s going to have to clean up after everyone else. Where is he? I’m thinking of putting in a pool.” “Dave’s not here, Man.” Mistress Dizzy I don’t know what this is, but you should write fanfic for this comic. Please? I have cookies. Don’t make me beg. Insanenoodlyguy No, see he recognized that truck at the beginning! It was a bad guy truck. So he knew this was a bad guy place! And that’s all he needed to know! Mistress Dizzy Ok, so… 2 things. 1. Furnace looks absolutely horrified in the first three panels. If the other biodynamics powers are growing out of their own comprehension, who’s to say Furnace is exempt from that? Maybe the bullet melting trick is something he’s always done, but never to the level where he can flash-torch an entire freaking house. 2. He is an asshole, yes. Trying to rescue someone in another country and then berating them for not speaking the language where YOU come from is too awful (and close to truth) to be funny. But he doesn’t seem like he wants to actually hurt those women. He seems genuinely upset. So yeah. Once again, this comic is making me feel sympathy for the ‘bad guys’. I LOVE this comic for blurring those lines. Ian Osmond I think your point #1 is absolutely spot-on, and thank you for it. I bet you’re right: he probably just did his normal “become hot enough to become bulletproof” thing, but it went way, way wrong — this was the first time that he’d ever done something like that. Mechwarrior He did it outside a couple minutes ago. If this was unexpected, he probably doesn’t know very much about how convection works in an enclosed space. Ian Osmond Or that this, right here, was the first flare-up he’d had of that magnitude. People have been having their biodynamism increase under emotional stress — getting shot may have just kicked Furnace up a level, way beyond his ability to control it. chaosvii I get that Furnace wasn’t part of the undercover sting, what my wording intended to say was that Furnace was either acting independently from any operation, undercover or otherwise, or in the case that he was somehow a part of an op here, it is the worst op ever devised and achieves the bonus failure of compromising an active op. (I’d put money on acting independently, as you might expect). masterofbones You mean the girl that retired, and has since fought off a riot, defeated one super-villain, continues to be a vigilante, strong-armed a different supervillain into obeying her, and just generally failed at having a normal life? Sorry, Allison kinda is evidence the other way. masterofbones >made death threats against rape victims and members of the media. To be completely accurate – He stated that publicly accusing someone of rape during the time when the “rapist murderer” was running rampant was as good as killing the accused personally, and it was his job to stop murderers(plus implications of what “stopping” included.) He didnt say that it was wrong to accuse someone of rape. His problem was with making sure that accusation didnt cause a *death*. … All that said, of course threats are a terrible way to go about this. But I wouldn’t have batted an eye if he had instead *begged* the populace to wait to accuse people of rape until after the murderer had been caught. It is a solid point he is making. Essentially, he has good intentions and good ideas, but his executions of those ideas are *hot headed* and jump to violence way too quickly. I wonder if his powers have any influence over his personality. Darkoneko Hellsing yeah, you’re more of an outside kind of power. Well unless there’s absolutly no friendlies inside. MrSing Furnace did nothing wrong. Rod Almost torching a roomful of innocents–people he was trying to save–qualifies as “nothing wrong?” Still that same guy She could still be arrested when she calms down, despite the futility of trying to contain her. If she resists arrest, she’s a criminal and the world has a Problem. “Angry Protesters” are still just “Protesters” until they start violence, and Unpopular protesters still enjoy the same legal protections as Popular ones do . It’s kind of an important concept in a free and just society. Even if it were possible to arrest and charge everyone at a protest for a crime that happened incidental to it, I don’t think anyone would like how that got applied in reality. Still that same guy You’re projecting here, buddy. He’s a superhero because he has powers and he’s willingly on the good guy team, despite said powers being more useful for super-villainy. Perfection isn’t requirement. We don’t know why he was at the protest, whether he was requested/ordered to show. He stood down when a cop told him to, and left when Alison threatened him. He was probably there for the same reason cops bring APC’s to real protests (or more likely, as a convenient plot device to establish that Alison is stronger than him). I don’t ‘clearly’ like him. I empathize with him. If you don’t understand the difference, that’s unfortunate. I say he’s written that way because that’s literally what’s happening here. He’s a fictional character that someone is writing. I’m not saying Alison is worse (although it could be argued she is), nor am I saying she’s better. I’m pointing out that Furnace gets a lot of flak for doing a lot of the same things Alison does, and that it’s not fair. He gets less slack than actual self admitted murderers do largely because he’s a douche and they’ve ‘reformed’. It’s easy, but it’s not Right. If you can ignore that he’s a jerk and she’s usually awesome, think about it this way: He actually still tries to help people despite his unpopularity, vulnerability, and sub-optimal powerset and gets shit on for not being perfect. She quit to go to college because despite punching the world into a better place, it was all a waste since she couldn’t punch the world into a perfect place. 3-I If someone shoots at him, he turns into a living bomb. If someone SHOOTS at him. He turns into a living bomb. IF SOMEONE SHOOTS AT HIM HE TURNS INTO A LIVING BOMB. That funny little quirk in his powerset makes him actively LESS useful to have in more or less any situation that would require a superhero than any non-biodynamic you pick up off the street. By flying into a deadly situation, he is making it more deadly. When he is in a violent altercation, literally everyone around him is less safe. You know who else has uncontrollably dangerous powers? Cyclops. But Cyclops has been shown to turn his powers on himself when the visor gets knocked away, instead of letting anyone else be hurt by them. You know who else? Captain Atom has been shown in some continuities to explode if his suit gets damaged. Except his response has routinely been to get the hell out of there, and it takes a hell of a lot of power to do that to him. When you are interacting with criminals, it is fair to assume that SOMEbody is going to have a gun. Furnace is allowing himself to be put into situations where he knows that he is LIKELY to be turned into a living bomb. That is unconscionable. (And don’t tell me the government’s forcing him to do it, because, in case you’ve forgotten, he can turn into A LIVING BOMB, and it is difficult to compel people to do things when you cannot actually pose a threat to them without causing massive collateral damage. See the Hulk.) Ignore absolutely everything he’s said and done, ignore all of his outright extremely jerkish tendencies, and you are still left with the fact that everyone in the room is less safe whenever he shows up. He is not a superhero when him appearing endangers everyone else. I mean, hell, even Mega Girl up there has to actually, y’know, lift up something heavy to be endangering civilians. Nobody is asking for perfection, but to be a hero, you do need to not be making things worse every time you walk into a room. That means that if your power set includes becoming a living bomb when you’re shot at, you have a duty to take precautions not to be friggin’ shot at. How hard would it have been for him to yell at the captives from OUTSIDE the enclosed area, AFTER being sure there was nobody around to shoot at him? (Also, the “is written” thing is something you said ONLY about Furnace and not about any other character. When you say stuff like that, it sounds- to me, at least- like you’re saying that the writer has failed to portray this character in the way that you think they deserve, or isn’t doing them justice. You are implying that his flaws are bad writing and everyone else’s are character traits. If that’s not the way you feel, then, well, that’s unfortunate, because that’s what you said.) Still that same guy Repetition doesn’t increase veracity. His unfortunate method of defense isn’t in dispute. A big gimmick with Cyclops is that someone knocks his visor off, and someone gets hurt/things get broken before he closes his eyes. He gets forgiven, He’s still a superhero, and he still gets sent on missions. I wouldn’t say he’s forced to go on these missions. I wouldn’t even say he’s coerced. He seems to believe in whatever his agency’s mission statement is enough to have not quit superheroing like everyone else has. Unless you think he’s just flying around Mexico burning cartels on his own, someone drew up a mission for him and they think the benefits outweigh the risks. He’s supposedly a trained professional soldier. He’s aware of his abilities and liabilities, and set about neutralizing all the threats before springing the captives which would have negated the danger he poses had he been successful (which presumably he has been in the past, given his continued employment). Mega Girl throws robots at hospitals because it’s quicker than doing it right, but she continued on superheroing despite admitting to Cleaver that she’s killed a lot of innocent people unintentionally. I’d argue that he took precautions to avoid getting his human bomb self shot at, they just weren’t enough this time. Yelling at the captives from outside is easy. It just doesn’t accomplish much if the captives are being held captive in a room with a locked door. I wasn’t aware I needed to remind you that every other character “is written” as whoever they are as well. Sorry I guess? As for portrayal, it’s too early to say. Every other surviving named character has had at least one humanizing moment so far. Maybe that’s what they’re going for with Furnace. Maybe not, and he’s just a conveniently unlikable plot device unworthy of getting a real name. Him being a huge jerk is at least interesting because everyone else’s flaws got a nice big explanation, and Furnace is still a big ugly bag of unknown potential. Shino Allison said that cops didn’t want him to be there. So he probably invited himself there. Rod I’m wondering what her power is. It’s obviously NOT teleportation. Still that same guy Of course I have legal protections. What you fail to grasp is so do they. Even if they did try to protest me at my doorstep, I’m not allowed to start killing them unless they turn violent or refuse to leave my private property. One exception. If they showed up with a gas can or other such things that someone could reasonably believe they intended to do arson, in which case the law says I’m protecting an inhabited dwelling against imminent threat of arson. Which is a far cry from a group of people with disagreeable opinions on public property under supervision of the police. Hate speech isn’t different. You’ll notice the WBC rarely gets arrested despite everyone hating them. They’re entitled to express their shitty opinions just like you or I. masterofbones He also should never go near anyone ever, because if a random person started shooting him, he might hurt random bystanders while saving himself. /s Mechwarrior And I just remembered the most appropriate quote possible for this page (and possibly this webcomic). “Do you know what a hero is? Someone who gets other people killed.” Potatamoto Oh, don’t get me wrong. Patrick has always been worse than Furnace! (Though I would have to say that ‘killing a few innocents occasionally’ isn’t really the kind of thing I’d overlook, regardless of how much good Furnace does otherwise.) But Patrick was a supervillain and *deliberately* killed innocent people and ruined innocent lives, and there’s no forgiving that. But sympathy doesn’t imply forgiveness. As Sabriel says up there, you can feel bad for even the worst people and that doesn’t mean you’re excusing or condoning the terrible things they’ve done. Hunting down this elusive conspiracy for Allison is great and all, but it doesn’t come close to making up for what he’s done, and at the very least he deserves to be in jail. motorfirebox It’s almost certainly his idea to bring nothing more to the table than his own superpowers, though. masterofbones The made up degree thing seemed especially egregious to me. She is just doing this to fit in with society(if she wanted to learn something there are better and cheaper alternatives to college), and then she goes and decides not to follow a normal course schedule. Alison is essentially a perfect example of a celebrity living a year “as a poor person”. She is doing what her idealized view of normal does, despite it having very little to do with reality. It is no wonder her mere presence offends some people. Mistress Dizzy Look at his expression, though. I really don’t think he did that level of power on purpose. He looks like he’s about full-on panic. Al’s powers are increasing, Cleaver’s powers are increasing… Who is to say his aren’t as well? Except that Furnace’s powers are immediately more dangerous and destructive. He is an ass, but… this comic is all about nuances, and today, he does need some defending. …barring that, maybe someone has that nitroglycerin thing they were using on Alison’s hair? Ian Osmond Well, someone who is TRYING to prove that statement wrong, anyway. masterofbones And showing exactly how impossible of a task it is? Fineltour Not to take away from his general jerkiness, but the scorch marks don’t show on the back wall. It is entirely possible that he has more control of his powers than some are suggesting and focused them away from the room with the hostages. His look of shock may simply be because the room was suddenly empty of hostages and his immediate thought was that he’d accidentally consumed them after all. That moment of shock and confusion extends throughout the rest of the discussion. motorfirebox Well, the thing is, he’s not just seen as a hotheaded loose cannon—he actually is those things. Those are exactly the qualities that have gotten him in trouble in this situation, and it’s not a stretch to think that they’re probably qualities that have gotten him into trouble in other situations. He wants to be a superhero, and that’s fine, but it’s pretty clear he doesn’t have what’s required right now. Instead of trying to get what’s required, he’s just jumping in anyway. That’s on him. Mechwarrior The only reason he didn’t torch them was due to outside involvement from someone he wasn’t aware of. He seriously did something wrong; the fact that someone prevented it from being a total catastrophe doesn’t change that. Saying that he didn’t screw up this time because nobody got hurt by his actions is like saying that a drunk driver who blew a stop light and crashed into a fire hydrant didn’t screw up because he missed a pedestrian. MrSing That driver did nothing wrong. I bet that driver was Furnace all along.