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  • RobNiner

    Ze plot thickens.

  • Ryan

    I think the doctor is a good influence on Alison. She keeps Alison grounded.

    • Really? The therapist/scientists are at the top of my theoretical list of “semi-evil conspiracy to eliminate ‘dangerous supers'” that Patrick is obsessed with. Law of Conservation of Detail strongly suggests that they’re Chekov’s Gunmen, especially since we don’t have a thundering herd of mooks to screen a Guy Behind The Guy.

      • Ryan

        I mean, that comment was 80% a setup for the pun. But if they knew anything about the conspiracy, I’d think Patrick would have found that out by now.

        • Kittenbot Doomypants

          Except, short of Patrick going and spending time with Alison’s contacts, how is he going to know? How far does his power extend? Have we established that yet? It’s not like he can read minds through Alison’s presence. Which would be creepy and cool at the same time if he could.

          • Ryan

            He knows what Alison knows about them, and if he thought any of them might have ties to the conspiracy, he would have followed up. Or maybe he has simply investigated every one of Alison’s associates that he could on the theory that a super-powered person with a stated intent to change the world is probably being tracked by the conspiracy to stop super-powered people from changing the world.

          • Kittenbot Doomypants

            Yes, but as we’ve already seen, Alison, despite her experiences, tends to be a little naive with her contacts. The good doctor, for example. Alison didn’t even bat an eye when she was told that Mary was accounted for. Granted, she may have believed that Mary tricked the men, but she, for all appearances, believed that the doctor was telling her the truth. Hence the outpouring of conspiracy theory comments. Alison has her set beliefs that she tends to ignore everything else. She’s stepped out of the super hero “job” and yet, she still feels she’s above the law, and can/should stop every little infraction she sees with full force. Whether or not they’re really something super-power worthy. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t say I’d do it differently, just pointing it out.

      • Ian Osmond

        There’s a difference between “government scientists” and “that particular scientist.” I do believe that she has Alison’s best interests in mind. Whether that means that The Gummint does, that’s another question.

        (And, if they don’t, it would tend to suggest that Furnace was right all along, wouldn’t it?)

        • Insanenoodlyguy

          oh hell, if he lives through this and was right about everything, he’ll be so insufferable

      • Arthur Frayn

        I looked up your terms and I think I disagree. Those are TV Tropes with some application to video games. This is a long arc webcomic with deeper thinking and an awareness of the Very Big Picture. I give Brennan Lee Mulligan credit for not falling into stereotypes and cliche, which is what I think of TV Tropes. The Law of Conservation of Detail may be true for stories that only last 42 minutes (plus commercials), but in a novel it’s just lazy. Anton Chekhov wrote plays and short stories. Here we can have many guns and gunmen.

        I don’t accept your “laws” any more than Occam’s Razor is the definition of scientific method. The simplest answer based on direct sensory evidence is that the Earth is the center of the universe, and the sun, planets and stars orbit us. The Copernican solar system, modified by Kepler’s elliptical orbits, is a more complex answer.

        Brennan and Molly have painted a very big world so far. I think the government scientists are as much pawns of the anonymous manipulators as the powered young people and SFP’s Bush the younger.

        Dr. Rosenblum definitely has her own agenda, it has to do with women’s and minority rights, and she might be covering for Moonshadow because she agrees with her. But this is a complex world, one which questions the tropes of classic superhero comics – with monolithic bad guys and pure good guys. The government people are up to usual government BS and are likely as confused as anyone else.

        • Lostman

          If Dr. Rosenblum plan is to recruit young powered women (no pun intend) then that would look really weak and really dull on the good doctors part… hear me out; at the end of the day; Alison and Mary are still human, they still need to eat and drink and they both can still die. I also like to point out that Dr. Rosenblum works for the government. What stopping the conspiracy making her despair?

          The I believe that she has a bigger in store for Alison…

        • Travis Staggs

          Actually, it’s not lazy writing to use specific tropes. Those tropes exist for a reason: because they exist. People are a large amalgamation of small and large rules that they consciously and subconsciously strive to follow. The only problem with using tropes is using them one-dimensionally.

          Further, it isn’t lazy writing to let you get to know characters before revealing them as the bad guy. It’s good writing, in that no one wants to read a mystery novel, where at the end you find out its someone you never met or heard of. Is it more realistic? Certainly. But it’s also a big deal to invest in your characters as a writer. The absolute worst thing you can do as a writer (imho) is to make a character who exists to fulfill the purpose of being ‘that one guy’. It’s not memorable in any good sense of the word. Almost as bad, though, would be to dive into an arc specifically for one character that is a bad guy. Show, don’t tell. Doing a major exposition on a character I’ve never seen that takes months to complete because the character’s way wasn’t properly paved would be a bit of a travesty.

    • RobNiner

      Awful pun. Awful

  • dbmag9

    Dammit Alison this is *not* what ‘taking care’ looks like.

  • For example, if its telekinesis, what are you pushing AGAINST? and if its the ground, what happens to a person who happens to be between you and the ground when you pass by at high speed?

    • fairportfan

      TK wouldn’t necessarily push against anything, any more than a rocket pushes against the air.

      • Ryan

        Are you sure you know how rockets and/or Newton’s 3rd law work? A rocket in flight most definitely pushes against the air.

        • Ian Osmond

          Well, it pushes the air. That’s not exactly the same idea as pushes AGAINST the air.

          • fairportfan

            I once read a (medium bad) SF novel in which it turned out that there was no gravitational attraction between masses – instead, space exerted “universal repulsion” against all matter. An isolated object in space would be pushed against equally in all directions and thus feel no net force – it would be in free fall.

            However, matter partially blocked the repulsion, so if you were on (or near) a large enough mass – say, a planet – there would be a net force pushing you toward said mass – which would feel precisely the same as if the mass attracted you to it.

            But if you could develop something – a force field, or the equivalent of Cavorite – that could partially block the repulsion, all you’d have to do is put it between yourself and where you wanted to fly to and off you’d go…

            Presto – reactionless space drive!

          • Kid Chaos

            That would be an Alcubierre or “Warp” drive.

          • fairportfan

            I’m pretty sure that the book was by Don (“Executioner”) Pendleton.

          • Kid Chaos

            “The Executioner” investigated/blew up a theoretical interstellar stardrive??? Must have missed that one. But anyway, the “Warp” drive would be reactionless, allowing for a zero-g environment aboard your ship. In theory, anyway.

          • fairportfan

            No – Pendleton was a typical pulp author before he created Mack Bolan – he wrote SF, mysteries, westerns … for all i know he wrote romance fiction; Heinlein wrote thirteen romance stories back in the day.

          • Heinlein did? Which sub-genre? Are they available somewhere?

          • fairportfan

            I have no idea. I know he wrote them under a pseudonym (of course).

            I understand that the women’s magazine editor sort of blackmailed him for a few more stories by threatening to reveal his shameful secret…

            I suspect that the Unmarried Mother in “…all you zombies…” is at least a little inspired by that experience.

        • Not how 3rd law works, a rocket pushes against its reaction mass. This works even if there is no air at all (space). TK flight could work by pushing against the gravitational field of the universe. Since AFAIK we don’t get TK flight in our universe I have no experimental data to fall back on. 😉

        • fairportfan

          How do rockets in space work, then?

          (Well, the front of the rocket definitely pushes against the air its moving through, i guess)

          And i definitely know how Newton’s Third Law works; apparently you are a tad less sure.

          Actually, a theoretical really well-designed rocket could operate with the exhaust coming out at just about atmospheric pressure, in which case it wouldn’t be “pushing” against anything.

          Here’s (http://tinyurl.com/qeu5hnb) an image of a page from a book titled Blazing the Trail: The Early History of Spacecraft and Rocketry, which points out that a rocket’s efficiency is actually decreased by having to push its exhaust out against air.

          • Ryan

            A rocket doesn’t need to push against an atmosphere to move, but if the atmosphere is there, it surely pushes against it anyway. Or rather, its exhaust pushes against the atmosphere. (And no, I’m not talking about air drag at the front of the rocket.)

          • fairportfan

            The push against the air has nothing to do with the rocket moving, and, in fact, is a parasitic factor that decreases the rocket’s performance; a rocket doesn’t operate by pushing against anything external, which was my point.

            A rocket operates purely by Newton’s Third Law, which functions exactly the same in or out of atmosphere.

          • yes, BUT, there is exhaust, a reaction mass, coming out the end. and anything in line with the other end of that is going to feel it. if you were directly under the space shuttle during first stage, you would be squished flat before you were burnt crispy. Also, the point is that we DON’T know if her tk is just manipulation of forces, or a beam of force between her and other objects. which is the point of not using it until some testing gets done, you know?

          • fairportfan

            Why would you expect TK to work that way?

            As i said, it’s almost never shown that way in comics and SF, because it is an “action at a distance” effect.

          • Because the comic has had a high tendency to show some scientific consequences to the way that a lot of power work, and a LOT of modern sci fi works have had similar issues with TK, including Worm, Legion of Nothing, and Super Powereds, three rather popular super hero serial novels that i would bet at least one of is/was read by the writer. And yes, if you reach out with your hand and pick something up, the force is transferred along your arm, into your torso, and down your leg into the ground. both the additional weight from the mass of the apple, AND the opposite force of the force used to lift the apple.

          • fairportfan

            I have to be honest and say i’ve never even heard of those three – they sound interesting – got links?

            I still hold that “action at a distance” TK is as likely to be without recoil as with it – but:

            What my point is, however, is that until the author tells us what it’s like here, assuming it is either with or without reaction is premature and bootless.

          • But, the discussion at hand was the doctor cautioning Allison not to use the power until they test it. Because THEY don’t know either. What if she generates radiation while in flight? What if its powered by a mass energy reaction that is drawing power from the sun, in a “will cause a supernova” way? no one knows. hence, TESTING!

            http://www.drewhayesnovels.com/superpowereds/ super powereds is about five “powereds” people with abilities, but no control, who are part of an experiment to make them supers, ie, in control. then entered into college in a super society that treats powered as third class citizens, behind normal people.

            http://inmydaydreams.com/ legion of nothing, the grandchildren of several ww 2 era superheroes that are very similar to some of our own (The main character, The Rocket, is iron man) who take on their grandparents mantles, while dealing with world ending doom. Also, the rocket is TOTALLY me, in that hes very impulse control, hyperfocus hyperactive.

            https://parahumans.wordpress.com/ WORM. Um… a million and a half words that get grimmer and darker as you go. If Stephen King wrote super hero horror, he would read worm, and ask what the FUCK was wrong with the author. but its good. really good.

        • Preacher John

          Rockets are reaction engines. They push propellant / reaction mass in one direction, causing the body of the rocket to move in the opposite direction (because: Conservation of Momentum / Newton’s 3rd Law / “every action has an equal but opposite reaction”).
          So rockets do not need air to “push against”, and unlike jets (which suck in air, burn fuel in it and blow the exhaust out the back) rockets do work in the vacuum of space. See also my video on the 3 propulsion methods used for Interplanetary Travel, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjZzVKR6OgQ

        • Arthur Frayn

          Rockets in air push against air, but rockets in space push against nothing. It’s called action-reaction. Back to The Leaking Pen, gravity continues to work through intervening objects and people, why shouldn’t hypothetical TK?

      • Ian Osmond

        Necessarily. Hence, “hold off until we can study it a bit more.”

        • fairportfan

          Why? Generally, as portrayed in SF and comics, TK is like a “reactionless drive” – motion produced with no backreaction against anything. Otherwise a TK user who lifted something much heavier than himself would be crushed.

          • Ian Osmond

            And that may well be what it turns out to be. But, well, they don’t KNOW that. Not YET anyway. Remember: THEY don’t know they’re in a webcomic. They don’t know if things work like they do in SF or comics.

            Alison is kind of assuming that they do. But, well, yeah. It is an assumption. And now that it is pointed out that it is an assumption, she realizes that, well, it’s probably a good idea to test that assumption.

      • Alison has proved that she can’t push against anything in the grip of an actual TK – she used herself as propellant to knock out that guy with the swords with a thrown boot when she was caught and floating semi-helpless in his bubble of float.

        • StClair

          That was then. She also couldn’t actually fly before.

      • I have a TK character who ‘flies’ by basically slingshotting herself from object to object. In an open field, the skill is useless from anything higher than 6 inches. However, in a city full of buildings (and a master’s in physics) she can get to some pretty nasty speeds.

      • but a rocket in flight pushes WITH air (hot gas, whatever) and anything in a line of direction from the exhaust is going to feel force.

    • Mechwarrior

      TK works by pushing against the 4th Wall.

    • Arthur Frayn

      I thought about it, and it’s not TK. When Alison’s new anomaly first manifested in Patrick’s office, a lamp and small objects were floating around her. It’s something like a personal will-based gravity/force field.

  • Pol Subanajouy

    Well if the strong emotional reaction from the conversation with Patrick sparked her power of flight, I wonder what a confrontation with Moonshadow, a former teammate, will produce!

  • Rod

    “Seriously though, Alison. Be careful using this new application. Without understanding the deeper principles at work, it could be dangerous.”

    Ooooh, foreshadowing! Hope this doesn’t mean she’s due to pull a Furnace and nearly (or actually) harm a bunch of innocents on reflex.

  • First, they’re hard-science PhDs who do therapy on the side, I strongly suspect their professionalism weighs more heavily on the science end of the gig than the therapy end. Second, the police procedural stereotype of the awful foster parents abusing the children in their care is a stereotype for a reason beyond narrative convenience. Lastly, we’re watching these individual therapists interact with their “pet pigs” or “project pigs” – it doesn’t mean they haven’t been butchering the faceless herd offscreen like pig farmers will do.

    • Lostman

      Then what’s the end goal?

      • That presumes that the master race was deliberate. Do these people really look like a guy with a plan? They’re dogs chasing cars, and a decade ago they caught an eighteen-wheeler. They’ve just been doing… *things* ever since.

        Alison’s handler in particular has an unnerving Heath Ledger look to her.

        • Lostman

          True, this then lends into the question of what then we’re they trying to do… even then you have to wonder who ever done this even was human…

          • I just finished reading the published first volume, the inciting event certainly didn’t present as a humanly crafted act. A month’s worth of global storms? That’s either an accident of catastrophic scale (and we haven’t seen any signs of older practitioners of super-science or Weird Science like in this last year’s The Flash) or some sort of really unlikely natural phenomena or actually supernatural Act of God[s]. The devas certainly are of the opinion that it’s the last one, although their gurus may just be the Hindu nationalist version of our American dogs with PhDs and a yard full of biodynamic eighteen-wheelers.

          • Lostman

            practitioners of super-science: are they support by some government or are cooperation?

            unlikely natural phenomena: Did some group catch wind what was going on?

            supernatural God creature: does she/he/it have people on the ground?

            Everything contacted to black folders and who created them, once we find the who than only we can get the why and how… problem is that the only that can happen is that Alison gets off her butt and launch a investigation herself…

  • Well, no, Pintsize has established that there are rule books. They’re just very silly rule books.

    • Lostman

      I think we need a new rule book.

  • Ian Osmond

    I know a number of people with Asperger’s who were very disturbed by the idea of the new version of the DSM changing Asperger’s to “autism disorder, not otherwise specified.”

    This may be related to Asperger’s, of course — categories tend to be very important to many people with Asperger’s. Nonetheless, I’m neurotypical, and I totally get it.

    • StClair

      Possibly, or possibly “Asperger’s isn’t that bad, but I’m not autistic; ‘everyone knows’ that autistics are freaks who have to wear helmets!”

  • motorfirebox

    “And whatever you do, don’t use this new application of your anomaly to fly to Missouri.”

    • ampg

      Looks like she called from the airport, actually. 🙂

      • motorfirebox

        Well, sure, if you want to be all factually accurate about it. I never put much stock all that hoity-toity “knowing what you’re talking about” stuff.

      • I just assumed she picked up a cab at the nearest airport after deciding that flying right to where she was going wasn’t exactly stealthy or subtle.

        • Arthur Frayn

          Not a cab. That’s a dark luxury car, probably provided by Patrick. She scared the sh)t out of him and made him realize he doesn’t even know his own mind. He’ll do anything to appease her now. Yes, she blocked his texts, but I’ll say she still texts him commands when she wants something.

  • I wonder how annoyed Stephen Hawking is about the diagnostic havering over whether or not he actually has ALS due to his unusual failure to swiftly die of it?

  • Jared Rosenberg

    Or a Casandra moment?

  • Perlite

    On one hand it’s good to see that Allison is being careful and trying to be more responsible with her new found powers, on the other hand I can’t shake the feeling that the good doctor is hiding something.

  • Rich McGee

    Dave’s not here, man.

    • RobNiner

      Dave dead, Jim.

  • ampg

    I would just like to say that I love her doctor’s habit of shorthanding aphorisms.

  • Oren Leifer

    It is ironic that sunglasses make a great disguise for Alison, but they do because her face is famous. Sunglasses cover her eyes and disrupt the lines of her face, as well as covering her eyes, and are the inverse of the shape of her mask. Also, a deeper thought here: Alison is having to do the day-to-day cover up any celebrity or otherwise non-biodynamic famous person would have to do. In other words, this time her putting on a disguise is to make her more human, rather than great-than-human.

  • Elaine Lee

    Not fond of the blond joke thing.

  • Kid Chaos
  • That’s probably true, given that there are a very large number of puppies in the world.

  • Ian Osmond

    Depends where you are, really. Depends who you are. Depends what your face shape is like. Alison looks unusually “normal”. She looks like a completely typical white, middle-to-upper-middle-class American college-age female — and, if someone fits neatly into a category, our brains often just register it as “member of category”, rather than individual, unless you’re actually paying attention.

    And a small change, like sunglasses, DOES make a significant change in how quickly we recognize someone. Wearing sunglasses as a disguise doesn’t do anything against someone who knows you, or is looking for you, or has a reason to pay attention to you, but it does make it more likely that someone who’s just walking past you will not even bother to notice you.

    The third part, “where you are”, is also significant. If you’re in a major city, especially but not exclusively LA or New York, wearing sunglasses is a signal saying, “Even if you do recognize me, please do not recognize me right now.” If you live in an area with recognizable, famous people, there’s a politeness thing about not pestering famous people when they’re sending the “Hey, Guys, Not Right Now, Okay? I’m Doing Other Stuff” signals.

  • Ian Osmond

    Everybody has blind spots — and, ironically, Alison’s been raised to be so caring of others, then put into a teenager-hood where her entire job was to protect others, that the fact that it’s unjust TOWARD HER probably helps keep her from noticing that it’s unfair.

    “I’ve got a good life, and I’ve been raised to believe (correctly) that I am privileged. This thing is done to me. Therefore, it is a thing that is done to privileged people, and is fine.”

    And, hey, classifying more people as biodynamics and making them register? That’s a GOOD thing, because they get more services! I’m not sure what those people who are now being classified as a new tier-IV level are complaining about! Most of us like it!

  • Arthur Frayn

    Did you read the mouse-over text? Also, indications are that she was never friends with Mary, just team members together. And, she just took a plane.

  • Arthur Frayn

    I was just re-reading SFP from the beginning and was struck by Alison’s dream at the beginning of Issue 2. Her point of view is flying over fields and then a city, and is hit by a hurled manhole cover. On the ground she’s disturbed that she’s bleeding, and Mega Girl is confronting her saying “Who gave you the power to fly? Say you’re sorry!” Later in that issue Cleaver cuts her head and she is wounded for the first time since she was a child. Now she can fly. I think she’ll do even more to transcend her superheroic younger self, who’s still in her subconscious and just a bit jealous.

  • fairportfan

    It wasn’t TK – it was sorcery.

  • Meghan

    Have we seen this specific door before? Edit: Never mind. Right. Mary. Address. Confrontation with Patrick.

  • phantomreader42

    Humans have history with both organized and disorganized bastardy. The former would probably be relatively easy for a mind-reader to unravel.

  • Or The Railgun from A Certain Magical Index and A Certain Scientific Railgun. Although she needs something ferrous to work with, she’s been known to pull the iron in dirt for her tricks, and to stick to the sides of concrete walls using the rebar inside.

  • S.I. Rosenbaum

    Why does she need to set up an appointment? How many patients does this doc have?? And how many of them are capable of taking out a major metropolitan center if they sneeze too hard?

  • Ryan
  • Ryan

    On the plus side, she could probably catch the jet and bring it to a gentle landing.

  • Darkoneko Hellsing

    Also, dat alt text 😀