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  • Jorb

    Guess it was Clevin after all!

    • Markus

      I’m in Clevinth Heaven.

      • Lysiuj

        The road to hell is paved with Clev intentions.

        • Zinc

          This page has Cleved my heart in twain

          • Robbie X Pierce

            Waiting for the clevee to break

          • Izo

            Cleven if some of these puns are pretty Clever, I think we need to stop now because pun wars are pure Clevil.

  • Arkone Axon

    Oh… no… oh no… no… no… poor, poor Clevin…

    This poor kid. This poor, poor boy. He has no idea what he is in for. He’s now dating someone with serious anger management issues, a tendency towards violent outbursts complete with physical abuse, all the PTSD to be expected from spending her adolescence as a child soldier… not to mention that she’s now a marked target from very powerful and dangerous enemies on account of her stupidly evil behavior of the last few days.

    This was selfish of her. Horribly so.

    • AshlaBoga

      Eh, he’s probably mature enough to realize that she has some PTSD issues. She was a young teen soldier, and he’s a compassionate guy – I doubt it will be a complete surprise.

      Now, the whole enemies with a Senator and knows the civilian identity of Menace but has given him 2 years to complete a mission? That’s probably going to be the big issue.

    • Jubal DiGriz

      You make good points, but also damaged people get to have relationships too. A good relationship can help improve someone, help them figure out ways pasts their faults and issues.

      And with luck, that’ll happen for Alison before Clevin is kidnapped and held ransom in exchange for the secret of how Feral was enhanced, or Patrick decides to get clingy.

      • Arkone Axon

        The problem isn’t that she’s damaged, the problem is that she’s… toxic. At least at this point in her life, as far as romantic relationships are concerned. She’s proven herself to be genuinely abusive, and there’s a frighteningly large chance that Clevin is going to end up as one of the many male victims of domestic abuse who find themselves bereft of support because of popular misconceptions.

        People who are damaged should not be looking at potential romantic partners as something to help them fix themselves. That’s what a good therapist is for. A romantic partner is someone to focus on your welfare and happiness while you’re focused on their welfare and happiness. Seeking a romantic partner as a balm or a stepping stone is very, very selfish and unfair to the other person.

        • Zinc

          I think saying she has “proven herself to be genuinely abusive”, in the context of domestic abuse, is a bit extreme. The situations where she used her physical dominance were far outside the norm for a relationship in context and scope. Her last interaction with Max was not about whether he wanted to go watch a movie or a soccer game, it was about saving the life of a friend, and thousands of other people as well. In a previous interaction between them, when he deeply insulted her (by insulting Feral), she hadn’t reacted by any sort of abuse – she just left.

          I think the event most similar to domestic abuse she was involved with was throwing Patrick’s gift at him – and this was immediately following pretty awful emotional abuse coming from him. Also, she didn’t put any of her super-strength behind the throw, and had expected him to duck, being a mind reader; it was intended to show disdain, not to injure.

          • Arkone Axon

            Her last interaction with Max was about her demanding (under the guise of asking, coupled with blatant insults and dismissal of his viewpoints and fears) that he do what she wants without regard for his own welfare, and then committed multiple violent felonies, including threatening to commit murder. That’s in addition to how Max is now in hiding (as would any other victim of violence at the hands of a physically powerful and violently impulsive stalker) and therefore unavailable for any other world saving augmentations. The only way to top her current “I’m a violent stalker that restraining orders were invented so I could ignore them” sheet would be to then track him down and tell him, “there’s nowhere you can run that I can’t find you.”

            (Also, nice touch pointing out how, when Max insulted her friend, Alison chose not to engage in any sort of violence. A normal person would call that “baseline civilized behavior.” I did not realize that refraining from breaking the bones of a physically weaker individual in retaliation for being insulting was praiseworthy behavior deserving of a cookie)

            The incident with Patrick’s gift consisted of him saying nasty (But not entirely inaccurate) things because he was being an idiot, followed by her inflicting what appears, to judge by the silhouette, to be broken teeth, fractured facial bones, and soft tissue damage. And saying that she “didn’t mean to” is literally the most common justification for physical abuse, ranking even above “it’s their fault because they made me mad.” Which, you’ll note, makes it two for two on the “hitting all the boxes for domestic violence bingo” card.

          • Zinc

            I will start from the second paragraph – no, I was not saying she deserved a cookie for that (though somehow I did have the premonition you would claim I did). I was just pointing it out as an action which is inconsistent with the “Alison the Domestic Abuser” narrative you are promoting. I agree, people don’t deserve cookies just for not being abusive; but it does make them, well, not abusive.

            Regarding Max: It was not under the guise of asking – it really did start out as asking. After he refused her request (which she didn’t expect, because it didn’t make sense to her, although it was logical for him), she became demanding. I don’t believe that she intended to use force before coming, again, because she didn’t expect that Max would refuse to begin with. The dismissals and and insults, which I don’t excuse, also only came after he already refused, probably not in her original request (which we didn’t see). And while I don’t disagree or dispute that the things she did to Max were awful, and everyone would have been better if she had convinced him by different means, ignoring the enormity of the context and the stakes at hand and just labeling this as a case of abuse, is intellectually dishonest. That was my whole point.

            Regarding Patrick: I don’t get any of those things you are getting from the silhouette. It simply is not detailed enough to reach definite conclusions. The particles flying might be from the mug, not teeth. I don’t see anything indicating fractures or tissue damage. The only clear indication of injury is the blood on his hand in the next page, which is not even in copious amounts.

            And as for the justification – Patrick is literally a mind reader. I’m not saying it’s his fault because he made her mad – but I am saying it was entirely his choice to let the mug hit him, a choice which Alison didn’t expect him to make, and also one which she didn’t fully know the consequences of in advance – as she didn’t know what the gift contained, unlike Patrick. The strip makes all this absolutely clear, in the delay after Alison’s picking up the gift, Patrick’s resolve to take the hit, and her surprised reaction to him being hit. Throwing things in general is kind of abusive and Alison intended to display her wrath, but it was not supposed to injure. Sustaining the injury was, in fact, Patrick’s decision.

            To state my point more explicitly: These are two interactions in which she reacted violently. There are a few more, but all that I can remember right now were of her “superheroing” (with Cleaver, against Tara’s assailant, in the party defending Daphne). We’ve also seen her interact with many people and friends without resorting to violence at all. I am seeing these two interactions had extraordinary contexts, and I don’t believe similar contexts would arise with Clevin in the (currently) foreseeable future.

            Question: Would you also say that Gurwara’s willingness to threaten, and later kill, the doctor he believed was not trying to save the life of his friend, in a time of war, indicates that he is an abusive spouse?

          • Arkone Axon

            Regarding the “cookie” comment: that was a rather pointed observation of how you are implying that Alison deserves recognition for basic decency. “I could have caved in his skull with a punch for saying that, but I didn’t! Praise me for showing self control!” No. You don’t get praise for not resorting to violence just because someone was being a twit. I say that as a large and very physically powerful person who can literally kill with his bare hands. And if I did so… that would be murder, and it wouldn’t matter what the person said to provoke me; if it isn’t in self defense or the defense of another person, it’s completely unwarranted. Alison choosing NOT to kill/cripple an unpowered person for saying mean things is a very bad example to have made.

            Regarding the example of Max: Not only has this been argued into the ground, but Alison and Gurwara’s discussion in the park has established CANONICALLY that everyone attempting to justify her actions is in the wrong. Alison did not ask, she did not respect, she simply took and sneered at her victim. And in doing so she was STUPIDLY evil, as in not only was she evil, but she was evil in a spectacularly stupid fashion. From now on my TLDR when anyone brings it up will be “TLDR: Max was the victim, Alison was completely unjustified, even Alison admits it.”

            Regarding Patrick: First of all you literally just blamed the victim. Second, she threw that mug with sufficient speed and force to make it shatter AND come out of the cardboard box, and (again, speaking as a large and physically powerful person) when you are powerful and capable of inflicting damage by accident, YOU TAKE EXTRA CARE NOT TO DO SO. Three: it doesn’t matter if you can read the mind of the person who has decided on the spur of the moment to launch a piece of cardboard wrapped ceramic with the speed and force of a stone bullet from a sling, if you don’t have the reflexes and speed to dodge it.

            Has Alison not interacted with many people and friends without resorting to violence? Yes. So do most abusive spouses – that’s why they’re abusive SPOUSES and not just “the crazy person everyone knows to keep far far away from.” They’re good the majority of the time… until something sets them off. At which point the abuser claims that being provoked justifies their actions… and the law (and civilized people) state that no, it does not.

            Lastly: no, Gurwara’s actions are not those of an abusive person, they are the actions of someone who may have engaged in immoral and murderous activity in a time of war. I’d ask you not to compare apples to oranges, but… you just gave multiple examples of blaming the victim.

          • Zinc

            (You like text, right? I hope you like text, there’s quite a lot of it here)

            First, re: Gurwara, I’m glad you feel that way, I agree. I was mostly asking because I didn’t know what your answer would be, and was interested. I disagree with you that it is comparing apples to oranges. The comparison I argue for is that that the examples discussed of abuse by Alison are in unique and extreme situations, and therefore not necessarily predictive of Alison’s behaviour in a normal relationship. Similarly to how Gurwara’s actions during a time of war would not be predictive of his behaviour normally. Gurwara’s example is definitely more extreme, which is why I brought it up, to understand whether you agree with the principle in general. My understanding now is that you do, but that we disagree about whether the contexts surrounding those interactions are unique and extreme or not.

            Regarding interactions with other people: Good point. I agree that it doesn’t necessarily provide any useful information on her behaviour in spousal interactions. But then, my main point is that her interaction with Max and Patrick don’t either, as both were outside the context of romantic interactions – definitely the case for Max, while Patrick is a bit more complicated. So.

            Unfortunately most of your arguments re: Max are about things on which I already agree with you, and have even stated so in the previous post, while ignoring the points where I disagree, and which I hold as essential. I agree that What Alison did to Max was categorically BAD. Evil, Stupidly Evil, all of it, yes. I am saying that the context for that interaction matters not because it justifies the act, but because it could indicate that this is not normal behaviour for Alison that Clevin is likely to experience, but one she resorts to in extreme circumstances. I also disagree with you when you say “Alison did not ask”. It is plain wrong – she did ask first, and was refused. Only after being refused did she resort to violence. In a previous comment you said that asking was a guise, which I think is unfounded – there is no indication (to my recollection) that “coerce if refused” was her plan all along rather than one she came up with on the spot; she was in fact surprised by Max’s refusal to begin with, as it didn’t make sense to her. And again, I am 100% NOT saying that this excuses her latter behaviour, just that saying that “she did not ask” is wrong and paints her in a worse light than she earned – and her actions are despicable enough on their own, they don’t really need any further embellishing.

            Regarding Patrick: First, please read my reassessment of the scene in a reply to David Gillon below, if you haven’t yet. In summary, I now think that the whole interaction was extremely abusive, but still think the context was extraordinary and does not indicate the she is “genuinely abusive”. I also disagree with you on the (relatively minor) details regarding the mug: On the force that Alison used – I get that you are big and powerful, but Alison is much more powerful than you are. She could have just as easily thrown the mug with sufficient force to kill Patrick on the spot, so she did control its speed. Assuming she intended to throw the mug so that the trajectory would pass near his face (and he avoid it), I’m not sure if it’s physically possible to throw it with less force than she did and have it follow that trajectory. Again, NOT saying that throwing it is a good thing in the first place, and definitely not saying that she deserves a medal for choosing to throw the mug with less than lethal force. Regarding Patrick’s lack of super reflexes, it is irrelevant – the comic clearly shows him acknowledging Alison’s intent and standing firm, not only failing to make an effort to avoid it but actively accepting it, despite having sufficient warning to react. Also, afterwards, Alison seems to believe he was capable of ducking (and had expected him to), and given her fighting experience, I’m pretty sure she is supposed to know a whole lot more about people’s reaction times than we do.

            About victim blaming. Victim blaming is despicable, but I take issue with the way you use it rhetorically – as if by claiming I am victim blaming you can end the discussion there (a la Godwin’s law), without even establishing that someone is the victim, whether I am blaming them for anything, and perhaps most importantly, whether they are actually blameless. And the thing is, just because someone is the victim of a crime, that really does not automatically make them blameless; it is very rare, and definitely not the rule, but not impossible. I am also not even saying this is necessarily the case here, despite your claim that I am. The problem with victim blaming, to my understanding, is when people automatically and often assume and respond as if the victim is at fault; and of course the damage it inflicts upon the blamed victims, as well as those who are deterred from taking action due to fear of blaming. But it does not mean that, in nuanced and rare cases, it is always wrong or evil to question more thoroughly. And Patrick’s mere presence tends to make everything nuanced and complicated.

            As a radical example, please consider the following two scenarios:
            1) A person is crossing a seeming empty street at night, neglecting to look left and right. Out of nowhere, a speeding drunk driver emerges, and hits the pedestrian at 70 mph, killing them instantly.
            2) A person stand near a street at night, and in the distance they notice a speeding, zigzagging car. They decide to jump in front of the car as it gets near for unknown reasons. Maybe they thought it hilarious? Maybe a friend dared them? Maybe they had a death wish? We might never know, since the car hit them at 70 mph, killing them instantly.

            Are both pedestrians victims? Are they both blameless? Again, the scene with Patrick and Alison is more complicated and nuanced than these extreme cases. My point is that assigning victimhood and blame/blamelessness based simply on who caused physical injury to whom is too simplistic for the matter at hand. I don’t think the fact that Patrick emotionally abused Alison just seconds before her outburst should be discounted, and neither should his capability to read minds. If anything, I would claim that they are both victims of each other’s abuse, and both responsible for their own actions – in the case of the mug, Alison is responsible for throwing it, but Patrick is still responsible for his choice to let it hit him. I hold that is very different from blaming Patrick for being hit, though they may seem equivalent to you. Perhaps we should ask Patrick for his opinion on the matter.

            Finally (yay), about the cookie… I guess I will be mostly repeating myself, as you too basically just expanded on your first comment while completely ignoring my clarification. Saying that it was a “pointed observation” of how I was implying something doesn’t actually make it any more true that I was implying it. As I claimed before and claim again – I wasn’t, and never claimed I was. Alison did actually say a line like that to Daniel once, but that doesn’t mean I agree with it. I see how taking tha comment out of context makes it appear to imply that, but the context matters, and I regret not clarifying it to begin with. The context was not me claiming “Alison is a good person”, the context was me claiming “Alison is not abusive in normal situations”, which is a specific sub-claim. I completely agree that not responding to an insult with physical violence or an outburst does not earn you a medal and is an extremely minor indicator of being good (only by virtue of the opposite reaction being a major indicator that you are not), but I do think it is important evidence against the claim that Alison is genuinely abusive. That interaction was much closer to what might be expected in the course of a relationship than her later ones, and Alison reacted coolly and without any hint of being abusive. It is also especially relevant since it was in a romantic context, and with Max, specifically; it wouldn’t have mattered if it was her roommate, instead.

          • Zinc

            (Again, there was a long [8 longish paragraphs] reply from me to this, from nearly two days ago, that appears to have disappeared. I waited a bit longer before mentioning it this time, hoping it would resurface like the previous one, but it hasn’t yet. I actually do have it backed up this time, but don’t particularly like the idea of reposting something that already mysteriously disappeared once… I write this mostly to let you know that I had indeed replied to you, in case you didn’t get to see it before it disappeared.)

          • Arkone Axon

            I know. I actually saw it on my comments panel. Don’t worry about it. We’re only a few days from the next page, and getting closer to see what the consequences are going to be.

          • Stephanie

            Well said, but be wary. In the past, I’ve made the mistake of trying to reason with the person you’re responding to. Trust me, it’s a waste of time. Their rants will only get longer and more baffling, they will not budge on anything, and they will eventually start attacking your character if they haven’t already.

          • Arkone Axon

            …How would you even know what I’ve been posting? How would you even know who it is making the posts? I thought you’d put me on ignore after I called you out on throwing insults and personal attacks into your every post?

          • Zinc

            I assume that she can still see that I am replying to you, by the “Zinc -> Arkone Axon” thing at the top of the comment. I imagine she guesses roughly at what you might have been posting by the content of the replies and past interactions. Though in fairness, I don’t feel that you’ve attacked MY character at all in the discussion.

          • Arkone Axon

            I haven’t. I also didn’t attack her character, either. I simply pointed out that she was engaging in immature and rude behavior by attacking MY character. A lot of personal attacks, insults of the “you disagree with me and therefore you’re an idiot” variety, you could go back into the commentary for previous pages (if you really wanted to, but it’d be a long, boring, pointless task).

            That being said, I blocked someone else on Disqus. I’ve seen their attempts at replying to me a few times since then – but the only reason I know it’s them is that they’re the ONLY person I’ve had to block. When someone you’ve blocked attempts to post something, you not only don’t see the text, you don’t see their identity.

          • Incendax

            I think Clevin is going to be perfectly safe from domestic abuse, as long as he doesn’t turn out to be a villain. Heartbreak on the other hand? That might be in his future.

          • Zinc

            There used to be a long reply from me here, even had a few upvotes. Seems to be gone now. I’m not sure why – I don’t think there was anything offensive in it, just clarifications and rebuttals. Probably won’t have the patience to write it down again.

            And also my comment above is marked as awaiting moderation… Would really like to know why.

          • Tylikcat

            If you go into your profile, is it still listed?

          • Zinc

            I don’t have a profile, I post as a guest (it’s also why I don’t upvote, in case you wondered). I guess it’s a risk involved in guest-posting…

            (I chose not to make a profile out of fear that I might get addicted to the comment section. Not helping too much, though…)

          • Weatherheight

            “Go ahead, kid, the first post’s free…”
            Yeah, it’s a little addictive, but it can be fun.

          • Zinc

            Ayup πŸ™‚
            I’m fully aware that I get easily addicted to trivial things, and this often adversely affects important things such as productivity and (currently) sleep. When I am more prescient, I avoid such temptations by not taking the first steps, such as creating an account. But, unfortunately for my superego, I can post here as a guest…

          • The comment is still there; you just have to click the link below “marked for moderation” where it says “show comment”.
            Presumably someone reported it for their own reasons.
            I personally didn’t see any harm in the comment, especially as you managed to provide a civil and sensible explanation of the other side to Axon’s argument without stepping into domestic violence apologism.

          • Zinc

            Thank you for the kind review πŸ™‚

            It’s rather moot now, but just to clarify: At the time of writing the previous comment, my first post in this thread did indeed appear as “awaiting moderation”; my other comment (a.k.a “6 paragraph monstrous wall of text”) was just gone – there was no “awaiting moderation” or anything. Maybe it was only that way for me, it might have appeared differently to other users, I don’t know. I assumed it meant it was already moderated and found to have been justly reported, which surprised me, hence my comment above. I also thought it meant it couldn’t be brought back, which dismayed me, since I spent quite some time writing it.

            Anyway, both comments are back here now, so I’m happy, at least…

          • masterofbones

            >The situations where she used her physical dominance were far outside the norm for a relationship in context and scope.

            She destroyed a vending machine because she was turned down by her crush and wanted comfort food – she has shown violent tendencies when upset about minor things as well.

            >Also, she didn’t put any of her super-strength behind the throw, and had
            expected him to duck, being a mind reader; it was intended to show
            disdain, not to injure.

            LOL. “I swear I expected her to duck my punch officer! I wasn’t even putting my strength behind the blow, and I telegraphed and everything!”

          • Arkone Axon

            Yeah. There’s an excellent comic about two old men meeting up on the street. One is a retired superhero and one a retired supervillain. One of them is homeless, because they surprised a newbie superhero one night and the kid got killed by accident, and the legal system said “”oops” doesn’t get you off the hook for involuntary manslaughter.”

            http://imgur.com/gallery/h2my0

        • I’ve been pretty clear in my condemnation of Alison’s behaviour towards Max, and I’m well aware of the issue of female on male domestic violence, but Alison hasn’t shown any signs whatsoever of behaving like a classic domestic abuser. What she has behaved like is someone using violence as a calculated tool to achieve a predetermined end. The ethics of that situation are so fraught half the fanbase thinks she was right to do so.

          Alison doesn’t think she was right, though. She possibly thinks what she did was necessary, but she has clearly concluded that it was also wrong and has tried to make amends. She’s finally slept, Feral is safe, and Gurwara knocked some sense into her. She’s thinking clearer than she has in days. The last thing she’s looking for is a boyfriend to abuse. I think at this point, lashing out at Clevin might well break her, but is also the thing least likely to happen as she’s going to be paranoid about overcorrecting what she has recognised as a flaw in herself.

          • Arkone Axon

            All of that sidesteps my actual point: that Alison is being extremely selfish by seeking a romance with Clevin at this time. She needs to learn better methods of dealing with people under difficult conditions than with violence. Again, look at her formative years. She spent her adolescence being conditioned to resort to violence as a standard option in dealing with any situation, especially stressful ones.

            Basically… I’m reminded of a short story by Larry Niven that I adore for multiple reasons. “Death by Ecstasy.” The protagonist (Gil “the Arm” Hamilton) pays tribute to his murdered friend with the ceremonial drunk, culminating in him using his “floating cigarette” trick to pick up a girl named Taffy. The next day he goes to see his mind-reading colleague, Taffy, whose job is to use her telepathic abilities to make sure the ARM operatives are okay. She promptly begins to ask Gil questions about Taffy. “What’s her last name? What does she do for a living? How old is she? How much do you know about her? Five minutes ago you were thinking to yourself how us flatlanders are impersonal and uncaring. What IS Taffy, a person or a foldout?”

            Needless to say, Gil realizes he owes Taffy a phone call at the least… it leads to a very lovely relationship that is shown in later stories in the setting. But the point is that Gil was (rightly) rebuked for treating Taffy as a source of pleasure and comfort during an unhappy time in his life. And it’s fine to seek pleasure and comfort during unpleasant times… but not at the expense of others. Alison isn’t working on herself at this point. She isn’t pausing for self-reflection and figuring out how to better handle stressful situations without resorting to violence. She isn’t seeking a professional mental healthcare worker who can help her with that. And she most certainly isn’t doing anything to prepare for the retaliation that’s going to be coming her way from Max’s mother. She’s just letting Clevin give her pleasant feelings so she doesn’t have to think about any of that… and what’s going to happen to him when the consequences come home to roost?

            (also, I highly recommend you read that story. I usually mention it to highlight why I admire Bill Gates so highly, but there are numerous reasons to recommend it)

          • I think you’re missing an important point. Clevin wants the relationship. he’s been hovering around Alison for months, he knows the risks of being around her, he knows she’s rebounding from Max and she told him her life was complicated right now. And Clevin still wants her.

            You keep saying she should deny herself to Clevin. That’s treating him as a child incapable of assessing risk for himself. He knows the situation, he still wants to go ahead. It’s his decision to make.

            WRT seeking help and locking herself away as a nun while she does so. No. There’s a major part of the population who deal with psychological and other health issues on a daily basis and who will never stop having to deal with them. Should they be denied a full social life because of that? The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with a Disability is fairly adamant they should not be, that it is a basic human right for someone with psychological or other health issues to have the same right to a loving relationship and participation in society as everyone else.

          • Arkone Axon

            Clevin wants the relationship, yes. And he’s also unaware of what exactly he’s getting himself into. She, on the other hand, does know – and she’s not telling him.

            As I stated in a different comment, this is being posted by someone who is in fact part of the population who deals with psychological issues on a daily basis and who will indeed never stop having to deal with them. Should I be denied a full social life because of that… well, setting aside the people I’ve dealt with who felt my social life should be defined as “acceptable target,” I am in fact in a romantic relationship. With someone who is VERY much aware of my personal issues. Full disclosure, full understanding, because anything less would have been monstrously unfair and selfish of me.

            And yes, she should deny herself to Clevin. That’s treating him as someone who is unaware of the actual risks because he doesn’t have all the information. He DOESN’T know the situation, and she does. And she’s not telling him because she’d rather snuggle him and hold his hand because it makes her feel good… because his future welfare is less important than her immediate comfort. That is not love, that is selfishness.

          • I think it’s important to note here that Alison is still working through her issues and is not yet at a stage where disclosure would be useful or straightforward. She hasn’t had any formal diagnosis, presumably because her set of experiences are seen as so extraordinary that one-on-one guidance was considered the better option by the government agency that treat their supers less as people and more as potentially malfunctioning tools of public order. And for herself, she has demonstrated some self-awareness of a serious anger problem and frustration with the world as it presently stands – but has chosen to take peaceful and positive steps to improving that tendency ever since becoming aware of it, by putting herself in a position to learn the nuances of ethical behaviour from the people she’s started to become frustrated with.

            This isn’t an attempt at apologism for her actions so much as an explanation of why she might not consider the current state of affairs to be worthy of acknowledgement as an ongoing, serious or permanent problem – because she believes she’s already fixing the issue, she isn’t considering the damage that could be done in the meantime, and therefore is basically in denial.

          • Arkone Axon

            An EXCELLENT point, actually. She isn’t seeking treatment for the same reason that an alcoholic decides not to seek treatment. “I don’t need professional help, I just need to cut down a bit! Yeah, I got this!”

            (Or if you prefer a non-mental health example, I can think of at least one person who refused to go to a doctor/dentist in spite of rather compelling evidence of the necessity. Not because they couldn’t afford it, but because they didn’t think their bleeding gums and broken shards of teeth or the oozing scalp wound were a big deal)

          • “Actually”… XD
            But hey, I’m glad you agree!

            However I feel like your reading of the situation is far more untenable and inevitably damaging than mine. You see Alison as an alcoholic, someone trapped by an overwhelming and permanent personality defect who cannot improve without treatment; I see her as someone struggling with emotional issues and a lack of coping skills (since she was never led to believe that she needed any and had very few curbs on her behaviour). So I believe Alison actually does have it in her to succeed with Klevin and with her current endeavours despite receiving no specific professional help, just as some people through self-care or concerted research and effort or plain good fortune do manage to cope with their conditions undiagnosed in the real world (and thus be stuck with the label ‘high-functioning’ when they finally do get a diagnosis). It’s not common or likely and it’s probably not the easiest scenario for her to handle but she does seem to have the potential to be one of the semi-fortunate few.

            It’s a shame she’s not working more focusedly on herself instead of trying to take on several enormous projects at the same time, of course. That’s a very reliable recipe for failure. But I get the impression that at least some level of Alison’s coping methodology and even her self-care thus far is to succeed at helping others and thus feel better about herself and her place within their world, so it might not completely backfire. For me, the jury is out as to whether this will be a Good or Bad Thing; I’m looking forward to finding out in-universe.

          • Arkone Axon

            Yes. Yes I do see her as trapped by an overwhelming personality defect. One that existed from the very start (notice how she looked down on her classmates for not being as capable as she was prior to the development of her powers), then was greatly exacerbated by the authorities during her adolescence.

            Think of it like a high school football athlete. American football, in a place like Texas – where Football is King! Booyah! Sports sports sports! Hell yeah! Our team RULES! So as long as the boys do well on the field, they can get away with anything. That’s not just an unwritten rule, mind – we’re going to teach them that. All that matters is winning on that field. THE WORLD WILL END if you don’t win, but if you do then you’ll get whatever you want. And if you’re having trouble with math – we’ll just change those grades, and if the teacher complains then he obviously doesn’t understand and he’s the bad guy. Whatever you do, it’s justified and condoned by the authorities AND your fans. Your victims will be demonized – that girl was asking for it! (Sound familiar? *Coughs “Fuck Max”*)

            I was trying to pull up the details regarding a case in the 90s where a math teacher gave a failing grade to the team’s star football player, and not only did the principal change the grade but he also reassigned the teacher to an elementary school, while the entire community was divided between cheering at the punishment of that nerdy BASTARD who almost cost them the big game, and booing because reassignment wasn’t nearly enough for the jerkass teacher. (Incidentally, the former high school varsity player ended up in prison, and as far as I know he’s still in there) Couldn’t find it, but I do have a few others:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glen_Ridge_rape

            http://interactives.dallasnews.com/2015/carter/

            Much like an abusive male from a misogynistic culture can realize “holy shit everything my father and uncles and friends taught me about women is massively wrong and I need to change for the sake of this woman I love and want to grow old with,” Alison has realized “holy shit I spent my formative years being taught to resolve every situation by finding the right spot to punch, and people cheered for me even though I was killing innocent people by accident.” Well… now she needs to work on that. She needs to FOCUS on that treatment, or else she is indeed like an alcoholic who intends to simply cut back a bit while starting a new relationship. That’s unlikely to work out.

          • We don’t disagree here – as said before the main difference I can see between our perspectives is that I read Alison as already working on the problem. Not perfectly, and her focus could definitely be better, but not as loosely as someone who thinks they just need to “tone it down a bit for a few weeks” either. Her actions are more like those of the alcoholic who has already been deliberately abstaining from drink for several months now, despite some slip-ups resulting in the occasional bender, and is now taking a directed class on temperance and self-control. She’s not going to AA yet or fully exploring the roots of her issue with a proper psychologist but she is attempting direct self-improvement and talking to a ready ‘listening ear’ when she finds one (whether that’s Daniel, Patrick, the government-sponsored general physician, etcetera). I’m of two minds when it comes to whether her problems are innate or simply a result of being in the environment you describe above to the exclusion of all else, and along with seeing slightly more progress being made, that raises my estimation of her chances with Clevin from “almost negligible” to “a toss up”.

          • And might I just say, that example you’ve given is .. believeable, but horrifying, and quite indefensible. That’s what the dentist and doctor exist for..

          • Arkone Axon

            Well, in the case of the guy needing dental work… he was not exactly an intelligent person. He spent a few years in prison after being arrested for stealing a car… and he was caught because he got sleepy and took a nap in the driver’s seat WHILE STILL IN THE MIDDLE OF HOTWIRING IT.

            In the case of the guy with the scalp wound… that man happens to be extremely intelligent, but he’s also a victim of the rigidly established gender roles and sexist bullshit that Emma Watson has pointed out hurts both men and women. Bleeding scalp wounds after falling off a ladder are things you walk off, because Real Men(tm) never show a reaction to pain, fear, or sadness. (It really pisses me off because I love him very much, and it hurts to see him in pain but just soldiering on and pretending it’s perfectly normal and fine)

          • I did assume both injuries were contracted simultaneously by the same person..! It’s still an issue that people wouldn’t seek help at this point but the seperate scalp scenario is slightly less overwhelmingly stupid. I wouldn’t want anyone to ‘walk one off’, but I can see not wanting to take the time or cost of medical care on for something that might just be bandagesable. I’m really sorry that you struggle to get him to take care of himself, though.

          • Zinc

            I think it’s a bit too early to make assumptions about what she will or won’t tell Clevin. We’ve only seen them together for two panels on their first date. She might tell him of the risks involved on the next page, or at the end of the date, or not at all, but it’s too harsh to judge her for not texting “Hey. Did you know that dating me might put you in horrible danger?” or something. In the recent past we’ve seen her being honest and upfront with Clevin about being in emotional turmoil; this was before being threatened by Max’s mom, by the way. I hope that sort of honesty will be her way going forward.

            I completely agree with you that it would be selfish of Alison to engage in a relationship without making Clevin aware of her issues and the dangers involved in associating with her (though I also disagreed at length about Alison herself being dangerous to him, rather than her enemies). I just don’t agree that it is 100% certain that this is the sort of relationship she intends to pursue. I think being upfront with him about what dating her might entail for him, and allowing him to choose whether he’s willing to take those risks to be with her – an approach which I understand from your post you apply yourself – would be more fair towards them both than deciding for him.

          • Zorae42

            He might not know the exact details of the danger he’s in. But he does, in fact, know that he’s in danger by dating her. Remember, Moonshadow gave him a fatal wound (unless immediately tended to) just because he was standing nearby Alison. And he still wants to date her even after that.

            The only thing he doesn’t know is about her emotional/potential mental problems. And this is literally her first date. She’s allowed to find out if she really does like the guy like that before telling him about all her problems. “I have serious mental problems” is like 3rd date material at least.

          • Arkone Axon

            She shouldn’t be on that first date in the first place. In the previous 48 hours she physically assaulted/tortured/threatened/kidnapped her ex-boyfriend, broke down sobbing in the park, had a hard but important lesson provided by Gurwara (the guy who others have been quick to demonize because “Alison doesn’t like him – HE’S A VILLAIN!”), and attempted to make amends with her victim only to find out he’s gone into hiding with his life permanently derailed because of her, and his powerful and well connected mother has just lain down the gauntlet. Alison needs the following:
            Psychotherapy from someone qualified to treat potentially dangerous and abusive individuals seeking to change their ways;
            Legal counsel from someone qualified to advise her regarding the incoming storm of problems she’s about to suffer courtesy of a very, very, very pissed off parent;
            Some time to squirm in her shame. She done goofed. She done goofed BADLY. She needs to own it, accept it, and come to terms with it. Only then can she do what Feral did when she went from “murderous vigilante” to “most benevolent and heroic individual in the setting.”

          • Zorae42

            Ah, so this isn’t about Clevin then. This is about you wanting to see Alison punished.

            You probably should’ve just said that from the beginning.

          • Arkone Axon

            Did you really just suggest that seeking therapy and treatment for mental health issues is “punishment?”

            Or are you simply suggesting that taking the time to come to terms with having kidnapped and tortured her ex-boyfriend is a waste of time, as opposed to blaming the victim, rationalizing it away, and refuse to ever accept personal responsibility in lieu of immediate gratification?

          • Zorae42

            No. I suggested that “Time to squirm in her shame” was.

            Who ever said she was never going to come to terms with all the stuff that happened? Wanting to take a break from all that to feel better for a bit is not a bad thing. Nor does it mean she’s decided that she doesn’t care about what happened. It just means she needed a break.

            Her problems aren’t going to magically disappear because she went on a date for a bit.

          • Arkone Axon

            Yeah, that would be the “taking time to come to terms” bit. Shame. Shame is what you feel when you have done something wrong. What Alison did was very very very wrong. She now has the choice of running from that truth, of rationalizing it, blaming the victim, twisting things in her head so she was justified and fuck Max and yadda yadda… or she can thoroughly take the time to accept how evil her actions were, so that she can work to prevent it from happening again. And squirming in shame is a key part of that – to look at the evil, to say “I did that,” to feel sorrow and shame and remorse. To REPENT.

            And I say that as someone who has wallowed in a LOT of shame. Someone who has, on more than one occasion, felt like a total heel. And rightly so. Not only because I deserved to feel ashamed, but because by doing so, by facing the shame, by repenting of my mistakes and misdeeds, I was able to grow and improve and not repeat them. Even today I squirm when I remember some of those things… and I never, ever, ever want to stop squirming. I never want to escape the memory of those mistakes, because they help me to be better for those around me, for those I care about.

            And – as I’ve stated repeatedly in these comments – I understand mental heath issues, and being in a relationship while having said issues. And I understand that what Alison is doing is selfish, stupid, and immature. Especially since her last two romantic interests both ended up on the receiving end of physical violence at her hands.

            (And the reason why I don’t want to see Alison “punished” is because she at least admits that she was abusive and vile and that it’s not okay to get violent because someone said something upsetting. Imagine her echoing that husband that Moonshadow killed. “What did you just say?”)

          • Zorae42

            She did face them though, when she talked extensively with Guwara. She tried to make amends/repent when she went back to Max’s house. She still feels bad about it. But constantly wallowing in shame just for the sake of punishing yourself is not healthy. It leads to dark thoughts that don’t help you or the people you hurt. Sometimes you need a break from the wallowing to remind yourself that you are worthy of redemption, and then when you go back to it, you can do more productive wallowing.

            “And I understand that what Alison is doing is selfish, stupid, and immature”

            See, this is where you still haven’t explained yourself.

            Clevin wants to be with her despite knowing about the risks to his personal health. Alison has mixed feelings about him and wants to find out if she actually likes him that way. As this is a first date, it would be kind of strange to start telling him about all of her baggage (especially since she doesn’t even know if she wants to continue this). So nothing wrong with dating him right now.

            If she were to go out with him for months without ever telling him about her emotional problems, then I’d agree that it would be selfish, but that’s not what’s happening here.

          • Arkone Axon

            I have explained myself. Repeatedly. She’s not only exposing Clevin to the dangers of being stuffed into a fridge as a superhero’s lover, but she’s also exposing him to the dangers of provoking someone who has repeatedly been physically abusive towards her romantic partners.

            Furthermore, she’s just gotten through a very rough and emotionally/psychologically intense few days. What she is doing to Clevin is really not much different from a male hero fulfilling a fan’s dreams by taking her for a one night stand. Yeah, the girl’s going to be thrilled that this is happening – but the hero ought to know better. And Alison ought to know better.

            And she did NOT face them. She had a quick epiphany… but she’s done yet. Psychological growth and recovery requires TIME and WORK. I speak from personal experience – and I’m referring to both the “established behavioral patterns that need to be modified” variety, and the “finding a workaround to bypass neurochemical imbalances” variety.

            (also, trying to avoid shame is extremely unhealthy. She not only has to live with the fact that she completely destroyed and derailed Max’ life, that he just gave up his family, friends, schooling, hobbies, favorite restaurants and recreations in order to avoid a violent superpowered stalker, she has to live with the fact that she JUST DID THAT. This isn’t shame about something she did five years ago, this is shame about something she did to a guy who hasn’t finished unpacking his stuff in his new living space far far away from everything he ever loved in order to avoid Ms “Whenever I want to come back and torture you into doing what I want again, I will.”)

          • Zorae42

            You’ve explained yourself repeatedly, using poor arguments that many people have pointed out the flaws with.

            Clevin decided that the risk of dating Alison is worth the risk to his health. Not going out with him because of it would be treating him like he’s unable to make his own decisions and would be terribly wrong.

            Those were some pretty extraordinary circumstances in which she was abusive with them. It’s only an issue if the person in question is emotionally abusive themselves or if they’re willing to let lots of people die for reasons she finds unacceptable (which doesn’t mean Max deserved violence, but that does seem to be a very rare situation to be in). And Clevin doesn’t seem like the type to be either of those things.

            If this was a one night stand, then maybe I’d agree with you about that. But it’s not. It’s a first date. She’s made no indication that she plans on using him to make herself feel better right now and then discarding him once she’s done so. It seems more likely that she’s deciding whether or not this is a thing she wants to continue doing. And even if she does ultimately decide that she doesn’t want a relationship with him, then she didn’t “use him” for the time she went out with him. She was making a decision about whether or not she wanted that type of relationship with him. Which is a completely mature course of action.

            Again, people with emotional problems are allowed to have relationships. And they aren’t immediately required to tell everyone they might ever have feelings for about them. It’d be wrong and selfish to not tell them after dating for a long time. But while still deciding whether you even want to have the relationship, you don’t have to (nor should you) tell the person about all of your mental issues.

            How is wallowing in shame going to help Max in any way? It wont help Alison either. Shame and guilt are paralytics. It’s good to feel them, but it’s bad to “wallow”. Because then you aren’t likely to take action to prevent said bad thing from happening again. Because you’ll be too busy feeling awful to do the things you need to do. Running from shame is bad. But she’s taking a break, not ignoring it forever.

          • Arkone Axon

            “Those were some pretty extraordinary circumstances in which she was abusive with them.”

            That’s how it usually is, yes. Most abusers generally don’t go to bed wondering “did I inflict the daily beating today?” Most abusers are generally nice and decent… until something triggers them. Until they experience a particular stress condition. At which point abusers (and their apologists) will point to how rare the abuse is and blame the victims for causing the conditions in the first place. Civilized and mature people hold themselves responsible for their own actions, and don’t believe that it’s okay to say things like “why do you have to make me hurt you?”

            ” It’s only an issue if the person in question is emotionally abusive themselves or if they’re willing to let lots of people die for reasons she finds unacceptable”

            TLDR: Alison tortured Max to save one person, he only refused as long as it was her asking, Alison herself admits it, denying it is trying to establish “headship” as canon as well as being a torture apologist. (Not even going to touch on how Patrick whispering painful truths into Alison’s ear to push her away is not only not considered emotional abuse by most actual abuse victims, but is also possibly the least of his many many many crimes)

            “Again, people with emotional problems are allowed to have relationships.”

            This isn’t about whether or not she should have a relationship, this is about whether she should be rushing off to have a happy little date and enjoy herself when Max’s entire life has been completely destroyed with him having to give up his family, friends, school, hobbies, etc just to avoid the abusive superpowered stalker, his mother is 100% justified in seeing Alison as someone who needs to be ENDED, and it just happened in the last 24 hours. You don’t get to “move on” from your misdeeds when your victims haven’t even had enough time to unpack their things in the safehouse they’ve relocated to.

            “How is wallowing in shame going to help Max in any way? It wont help Alison either.”

            That last paragraph would be the only thing you’ve said here that isn’t a rehash of “Alison is justified in everything she does because she’s the heroine.” And to answer that: Guilt and shame are a form of PAIN. And pain is a message. The message is “don’t do the thing that makes you feel me.” Pain can be a friend in that regard. To face it is to become stronger.

            Will facing her shame help Max? No, it won’t – what’s done is done, she’s broken it and can’t fix it and that’s something she’ll never be able to change. But it will help Alison – and despite what you claim, I actually am rooting for Alison. I’m rooting for her to grow, to mature, to become more than a spoiled selfish brat who thinks “I know what’s best, and that justifies everything I do! I will make people help me save the world even if I have to use violence!” You know, like the perpetrators of all the greatest and most horrific atrocities in history all thought. But she should NOT be taking a break from it. It’s only been 24 hours since she brutally tortured and terrorized a powerful and dangerous woman’s son to get what she wanted. She needs to be facing her shame AND preparing for the future retaliation.

            (Also, I made a point of not using the word “guilt” because I feel that guilt and shame are subtly but definitively different things. Guilt is what other people want you to feel, in order to manipulate you. “I’m suffering and other people are hurting and you should feel bad about it!” Shame is when you have done something that you genuinely know to be wrong. Shame is what you feel when no one is trying to guilt trip you into feeling selfish and horrible so you’ll do whatever it is they want you to do)

          • Clevin knows more than enough to know exactly what he’s getting into. He’s already had first hand experience of nearly dying because he was a convenient soft target in close proximity to Alison. He undoubtedly was in school when Cleaver came looking for Alison. He is very well aware that Alison is a walking Ground Zero. That situation hasn’t changed, it’s true irrespective of whether he knows about Max, and he’s still back for more.

          • Arkone Axon

            He knows she’s a target because of her enemies. He doesn’t know about her psychological issues that she really needs to be addressing. That’s not even touching on how she has just pissed off what is quite likely to be the deadliest enemy she’s ever dealt with thus far (Max’s politician mother).

            But essentially Alison is like a police officer. When someone opens a romantic relationship with a police officer, they are aware that their potential lover has a dangerous job that may even involve enemies following them home because they’re criminal jerks. What they may not necessarily be aware of is that their potential lover has anger management issues, a pattern of unwarranted violence that they’re invariably quick to justify, and a penchant for physically assaulting previous ex-lovers (who all deserved it, of course).

            Clevin does NOT know what he’s getting into – Alison is withholding critical information because her immediate comfort is more important than his future welfare and happiness. As stated elsewhere: I speak as someone with neurochemical/psychological conditions in a romantic relationship. She is being irresponsible and selfish.

          • “her psychological issues that she really needs to be addressing”

            She has a temper, shock, horror! It’s a psychological issue she shares with 99.9% of the human race,

            As for a pattern of assaulting previous ex-lovers, Patrick manipulated her into the loss of control, and she tries to fight back from it – so she’s the victim not the abuser (as I’ve already pointed out). While Max is simply the victim of circumstances (what his gift is); she’d have done that whether she had a romantic relationship with him or not. However she may have taken pleasure in it that she wouldn’t have taken with a more casual stranger, so I’ll give you a partial point.

            And before claiming special authority in an argument, check whether your disputant can claim the same, or more.

          • Arkone Axon

            “She has a temper, shock, horror! It’s a psychological issue she shares with 99.9% of the human race,”

            99.9% of the human race are not automatically resorting to physical violence against targets lacking the ability to defend themselves or retaliate. The fact that she gets angry is not the issue, the fact that her response to becoming angry is to smash something is the issue.

            ” Patrick manipulated her into the loss of control, and she tries to fight back from it – so she’s the victim not the abuser”

            Once again you blame the victim. “They made me mad! I had every right to hurt them! I was just defending myself against their mean words! They’re the bad guy! That’s why the cops should be arresting them for saying mean things!”

            “And before claiming special authority in an argument, check whether your disputant can claim the same, or more.”

            Great. You say you have a neurochemical condition of your own? Did you enter into a relationship with someone without warning them that it might be a bit trickier than they expect? Did you show that you care about them by making certain it wouldn’t come as a nasty surprise? Or did you do what Alison is doing, by putting your immediate comfort first and expecting them to deal with it?

          • “99.9% of the human race are not automatically resorting to physical
            violence against targets lacking the ability to defend themselves or
            retaliate.”

            Neither is Alison, we have precisely one incident when she was manipulated into violence, and rather than bring the building down, she threw a mug.

            ‘Once again you blame the victim. “They made me mad! I had every right to
            hurt them! I was just defending myself against their mean words!
            They’re the bad guy! That’s why the cops should be arresting them for
            saying mean things!”‘

            Patrick deliberately manipulated Alison into an explosive loss of temper. That’s abuse. Been there, faced that, know abusive bullying when I see it. And if you dismiss the seriousness of psychological abuse it’s clear you’ve never faced it.

            And there we are again with you insisting anyone who has any kind of MH issue or neurodiversity can’t safely have a relationship and is selfish to try. Rubbish; in fact ableist rubbish. See UNCRPD Articles 19 and 23

          • Arkone Axon

            “Neither is Alison, we have precisely one incident when she was manipulated into violence, and rather than bring the building down, she threw a mug.”

            We’ve seen numerous incidents in which she was “manipulated” into violence. Most of them were the defense of herself or of others. Some were less so.

            “Patrick deliberately manipulated Alison into an explosive loss of temper. ”

            If you say something offensive and I punch you in the mouth, then I’m the one who gets arrested. And (assuming your claim that Patrick deliberately goaded the superstrong and violence-prone person into attacking his comparatively frail form is even remotely accurate) if you say something offensive with the exact intention of provoking violence, then if I resort to violence – you’ve accomplished your goals. Which begs the question: what did Patrick hope to achieve by persuading Ms “loves to fight and kill” to attack him?

            “And if you dismiss the seriousness of psychological abuse it’s clear you’ve never faced it.”

            I spent the first quarter century of my life as a psychological punching bag for members my family. Most of my years in the education system involved dealing with bullies at all levels, from physically inferior twerps who knew how to work the system (see my above statement about goading others into violence) to actual teachers who got off on treating students like crap (And that’s not even counting when I was brought in to fill the heavyweight slot for a varsity wrestling team. Those pubescent thugs made baboons look like a christian reading group). Yeah, I know what psychological abuse is like. I also know that it generally happens in situations where the victim is powerless to respond effectively. I.e. situations other than what Alison has been seen in.

            “And there we are again with you insisting anyone who has any kind of MH issue or neurodiversity can’t safely have a relationship and is selfish to try.”

            As I stated a week ago, I’ve got “neurodiversity.” Except my particular condition isn’t something cute and photogenic and seen on TV or video games with a character who is brilliant but eccentric. I’ve got one of those “ugly” conditions that it is still, to this day, socially acceptable to make fun of – and that includes teachers jumping in on the bandwagon. When I saw my condition being showcased in an episode of “South Park,” I was genuinely delighted – because it was the most respectful, well researched, and accurate depiction I had ever seen.

            In other words, this is a fellow “neurudiverse” individual calling you out on your crap – MY issues are no one else’s fault or responsibility, including that of my romantic partner. I do NOT have the right to use my condition as an excuse for why other people should have to take on additional stress and frustration on my behalf.

            I’d say the best way to sum it up would be what a woman with bipolar disorder said during a heated exchange with a fellow gamer with OCD who was complaining about the “day jobs” feature in City of Heroes. “I learned long ago that it’s MY job to adjust to the world, not the world’s job to adjust to me.”

          • Zinc

            I reread the entire confrontation scene while researching my reply to you in a different thread here, and it significantly changed my opinion on how abusive Alison had been in that scene. The thing is, the mug throwing was misleading – it may have cause the most physical damage, but it was not the most violent or abusive she got – I think this page takes that title:

            http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-5/page-112/

            (The previous two are also important. It’s kind of interesting how the “I think you should go”, followed by Alison demand that he answer her and find Mary for her – which he at first refused – is similar to her interaction with Max.)

            So yeah, her behaviour is completely abusive here. She was displaying her strength and physically intimidating Patrick – you can see how scared he is when she lifts him by the collar. But I do think it is also important to note that she is completely in control of her strength (after the initial impulsive outburst on pg 110), and avoids injuring Patrick – she shatters his desk, not his bones; she lifts and drops him, rather than defenestrating him. And once again, when she threw the mug, which is the only injury she inflicted (except for some bruising in the initial outburst), she doesn’t expect it connect.

            And no, I am not saying she deserves a cookie for not killing him and “only” shattering his office and throwing him around. I am merely saying that one may expect that IF she does act abusive in the future, she will show similar restraint – being terrifying as all hell, but not actually causing physical harm. IT WOULD STILL BE VERY BAD, if she acts this way.

            Regardless of finding this interaction abusive, I still stand by my original claim – that these were very extreme circumstances for Alison, which are very unlikely to be repeated in the course of a normal relationship, with anyone who isn’t secretly a supervillain.

          • I’m glad you provided that link because I’d been looking for it. I think you actually need to go back a couple of pages further to http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-5/page-110/ to get the essential context that Patrick deliberately manipulated her into a loss of temper when she challenged him that he isn’t the evil villain he likes to paint himself. And remember, Patrick doesn’t cause people to do anything accidentally. I’ve been there, a lot of the bullying I faced at school was deliberately intended to push me into a meltdown and violent loss of temper.

            If someone deliberately pushes you to a place where they know you will violently lose your temper, are you the abuser, or are they?

            And as I read the scene she doesn’t throw him across the room, he does it himself when she visibly erupts (some form of levelling up?) So the only two acts of violence, other than the verbal ones from Patrick, are the table smashing, which is temper defusing, and the mug throwing, which she’s certainly chagrined by. I’d forgotten there was that reaction frame between it hitting Patrick and her exit.

            And getting back to whether Clevin is safe, I’d say they chances of him deliberately manipulating her into a loss of temper are probably fairly slim.

          • Zinc

            Oh, I completely agree that Patrick’s emotional abuse matters. I just wrote a stupidly long reply to Arkone above that includes some of my opinion on that, amongst other things.

            I think it is risky to follow the “Patrick is a genius maniplator” too deeply. He can read minds, but he can’t predict the future (well, assuming he didn’t invent time travel since we last saw him), and he might not be infallible. It might be possible that his manipulations will not go to plan, lead to different results than he had intended. Maybe he was had not intended for Alison to lose her temper, but something else? Did he know that this course of action would grant her the ability to fly? Did he foresee Alison threatening him (he certainly seemed scared at points)? Was the part about not being able to read his own mind actually a shocking revelation to him, or just another act and manipulation? How about the things that came after it? When he reminded her of her gift, did he already know she would throw it at him? And so on and so on. By the way, if I remember correctly, all of this was discussed extensively in the comment sections of those strips – you might want to read those too, if you have a few spare hours.

            I find these to be really interesting questions, but as we have seen so little of Patrick since, I don’t think we have enough information yet to judge any answer as better than wild guessing. Everything might have been exactly as Patrick planned, or maybe only the first half, or maybe none of it. Maybe he didn’t have a plan at all and was just saying random things for kicks. I think at most three people have the answers at the moment, and one of them is a cartoon character.

            Also, I would count lifting Patrick by the collar and holding him to the window as an act of violence. He certainly seemed afraid.

    • Lostman

      Well… this is a superhero story after all. He may very well end in her fridge by the end of this.

    • Tylikcat

      You really might want to tone things down about PTSD. I went into my teens with some fairly serious PTSD, thank you my beloved family.*

      I dated extensively. I was extremely responsible about it. I mean, I swear, first it’s people whining about Max having PTSD, now it’s Alison? (I’ll grant you, Alison is more likely, considering the greater exposure to trauma. Still, hardly a given, and not a rule-out when it comes to dating.)

      * And I was living independently starting from when I was fifteen.

      • ampg

        Yes, thank you. It’s incredibly stigmatizing to suggest that someone dealing with a long-term mental health issue is automatically disqualified from having romantic relationships.

        • Scott

          I understand being frustrated with people colloquially using an actually disorder incorrectly. It definitely serves to stigmatize those with the disorder in a negative way.
          However, I think that Arkone was simply trying to point out that many romantic relationships are needlessly disastrous because one member of the couple enters into the relationship without an existing foundation. While there are obviously exceptions to everything, Allison seems to be in a position where she is questioning and changing so much in her life right now. She’s trying to figure out who she is, what she believes, what she wants to do with her life, and what she should do with her life. While this certainly shouldn’t be seen as precluding her from dating entirely, reasonable experience would dictate that it is going to make any relationship she does have exponentially more challenging.

          • Tylikcat

            I’d be much more likely to agree with you had we not been through this so many times before. This is hardly the first round of “Oh, noes PTSD!” in the comments section. Arkone has been involved in some of the previous ones.

            “She’s trying to figure out who she is, what she believes, what she wants to do with her life, and what she should do with her life.”

            …most people’s dating lives are most active in their late teens and early twenties. Which could also be described by the quote from you I’ve included above. So at least, she’ll be in good company.

          • AshlaBoga

            Failure is a stepping stone on the path to success.

            I doubt they’ll be together in 5 years, but she’s never had a boyfriend and she’s 21. A dozen dates or so to start learning about real romantic relationships will do her some good (because otherwise she’ll be like me and go on her first date when she’s 26 and feel terribly awkward because his 22 year old date has infinitely more dating experience).

          • Scott

            Those are very good points. I personally think this relationship is doomed to fail but I agree that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s no reason to start. We learn a lot from our failed relationships even if the process is painful.
            I apologize if I jumped into a topic with more backstory than I was aware of. I don’t spend much time reading the comments here so I wasn’t aware that the PTSD issue was one that had already been discussed.

          • Tylikcat

            Dead horse road kill. Not the on the shoulder sort of roadkill, but the kind that everyone has been driving over, until it is flattened, and tracks of blood and flesh bits have been left up and down the road. And various carrion birds that have stopped to feast were also hit, and they in turn became road kill. Ad nauseum.

          • ampg

            “However, I think that Arkone was simply trying to point out that many romantic relationships are needlessly disastrous because one member of the couple enters into the relationship without an existing foundation.”

            Then say THAT. Make the point in a way that doesn’t stigmatize people with mental illness. Words matter.

          • Arkone Axon

            Who’s “stigmatizing?” I’m speaking as someone who had plenty of experiences with psychological issues, including ones that are considered acceptable to mock and make fun of. I am one of the last people who would ever dismiss mental health as something shameful. But as someone who has indeed had plenty of such experiences… you don’t go dragging someone else into your crap without giving them plenty of advance warning. And you sure as hell don’t treat them as a pleasurable drug to avoid facing your issues.

      • Arkone Axon

        Tone things down about PTSD… we’re talking about someone who was recruited into paramilitary work in early adolescence, spent her formative years engaged in extreme violence in actual warzones and experiencing the same horrific encounters as firefighters and EMTs, then had a very public meltdown after learning that everything she had been doing was essentially meaningless… and that was all before she was old enough to legally vote. Yeah, I’d say “ALISON HAS PTSD” is a fairly reasonable claim to make.

        Also, every time someone belittles her behavior towards Max, it emphasizes just how strong bias can be, and how universal. I find it especially interesting that this is coming from the same person who can’t stop whining about her own negative experiences, then rushes to accuse anyone who comments on them as “woobifying” the whiner.

        • Tylikcat

          As I’m still not entirely clear what woobifying even means, I’m pretty sure you’re confusing me with someone else.

          • Arkone Axon

            Nope. You were the one who talked about your ex-husband, then reacted with scathing annoyance when I commented on the information you presented then said “good grief!” when someone else called it “woobifying.” That was when you claimed your problems with your ex-husband stemmed from him seeking to “own” your intelligence. Which is something I have never heard of anyone doing outside of a Frank Herbert novel. Were you married to the Baron Harkonnen?

          • Izo

            Any road followed precisely to its end leads precisely nowhere. Climb the mountain just a little bit to test that it’s a mountain. From the top of the mountain, you cannot see the mountain.

            πŸ™‚

            I happen to also like these ones too πŸ™‚

            β€œGive as few orders as possible,” his father had told him once long ago. “Once you’ve given orders on a subject, you must always give orders on that subject.”

            β€œA ruler must learn to persuade and not to compel… he must lay the best coffee hearth to attract the finest men… a good ruler has to learn his world’s language… it’s different for every world… the language of the rocks and growing things… the language you don’t hear just with your ears… the Mystery of Life… not a problem to solve, but a reality to experience…

            Understanding must move with the flow of the process.”

          • Arkone Axon

            My favorite is this bit:

            “I am a predator, Moneo.”

            “Pred …” Moneo broke off and shook his head. He knew the meaning of the
            word, he thought, but the word itself shocked him. Was the G-d Emperor joking?

            “Predator, Lord?”

            “The predator improves the stock.”

            “How can this be, Lord? You do not hate us.”

            “You disappoint me, Moneo. The predator does not hate its prey.”
            “Predators kill, Lord.”

            “I kill, but I do not hate. Prey assuages hunger. Prey is good.”

            (Something I think about whenever I see criminal types crowing about being predators, wolves among sheep. Wolves don’t look down on the sheep – a sheepdog is a wolf that stopped pretending to be an enemy)

          • Izo

            Woobifying means making someone into a person who makes you feel extremely sorry for them.

            It’s a trope – “the Woobie.” To quote TV Tropes – “Basically, the first thing you think to say when you see the woobie is “Aw, poor baby!” A story with the Woobie allows the audience to vicariously experience relief from some pain by fantasizing about relieving the Woobie’s pain. An important aspect of the Woobie is that their suffering must be caused by external sources. It’s intended to make the victim seem sympathetic and compelling rather than pathetic by virtue of their suffering.

            The more you know….
            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b3570918cdcc2b1fda8079a5897c9a047ccdccc3608402879449890c6fee9283.gif

    • JeffH

      So you think the obviously right thing for her to do is to wall herself off from all positive human interaction?

      Maybe she’s trying to get a healthier emotional lifestyle. Maybe she likes Clevin, even if she may not think she’s going to marry him.

      • Kifre

        This may be a stronger point, if it didn’t seem that Ali didn’t seem to be using Clevin. I mean, she’s been craving intimacy, but Clevin did not become a candidate until she was presented with his willingness and availability. It’s also suspect because …well….she’s clearly using human contact to distract herself from her guilt about what happened with Max. She talked it out with the prof. but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that as soon as Feral isn’t around Al is right back to staring at the ceiling above her bed.

        • JeffH

          You may turn out to be right (the beauty of serial storytelling), but my sense was that Alison’s perception of Clevin changed when she saw him, “in his own element” — playing in his band to raise money for a good cause. At that point, I think Clevin changed from “fanboy” (which I’d imagine is not uncommon for the world’s most powerful superhero) to “interesting guy”.

          I see that as the more relevant transition, vs. Feral disappearing after hanging with her for a night or two.

          Again, I don’t see these crazy kids getting married, but I’m puzzled by the number of people attributing harsh and nefarious motivations to a young woman being interested in dating someone who is interested in her.

      • Arkone Axon

        No, I think the obviously right thing for her to do is seek therapy and NOT look for romantic entanglements until she has gotten some treatment for her numerous issues. Like in that South Park episode where the Devil seeks advice from G-d about which guy to date (And one of them is the sexy bad boy known as Saddam Hussein), and G-d tells him, “neither one – straighten your own self out first, THEN you can think about dating.”

    • MartynW

      She could also blow him out of bed with a fart. So? He knew the job was dangerous when he took it.

      • Arkone Axon

        Upvoting because that’s hilarious. :p

  • Weatherheight

    ::doing his best to imitate Eeyore’s voice::

    Good choice, I suppose.
    If it is a good choice.
    Which I doubt.

    ::ends Eeyore’s voice::
    All things considered, this is.. ah hell, I have no idea any more…

    • Jon

      I think the words you’re looking for are “Cute, but increeeedibly likely to end in tears.”

      • Which really applies to a lot of Alison’s life right now, honestly…

    • Jovial Contrarian

      “There’s nothing like a good choice.”
      “Yup, and that was nothing like a good choice!”
      “DOHOHOHOHO!”

  • zellgato

    Goodluck!
    I hope no one is stupid enough to kidnap or kill him. More so in front of her.
    cause she’s pretty close to nuking a country or two if she isn’t allowed time to calm down and work on her problems slowly.
    Assuming he isn’t secretly evil

    • Oldlion

      Well, if you want to nuke a country or two that’s the perfect plan then.

      • zellgato

        Honestly I’m occasionally surprised no ones tried to use her to nuke their enemies. Whether criminal orgs, or what have you.
        Though I suppose they may have in the past anyway. but she seems far easier to target currently than before.

        • Arkone Axon

          …That… is very true. She’s easier to manipulate into violence than the Hulk.

          • zellgato

            She has has a lot more soft targets than the Hulk does. And less reliable “habitual hero” friends.

            I can’t believe that no one is stupid enough to try it. Unless maybe the brain reader guy is protecting from the shadows as thanks or something.

    • Weatherheight

      Thank you for giving me yet another circumstance to contemplate of Alison completely losing it and taking humanity back to the stone age… πŸ˜€

  • Markus

    My girlfriend and I have run into that sort of lexical drift that just kinda happens when you talk with a person way more than anyone else for a long amount of time. It’s gotten to the point where the word ‘gay’ now means ‘basically any heterosexual interaction between two fictional characters.’ For example, when Steven and Connie blush at each other in Steven Universe because Steven kept Connie’s glowstick bracelet in the freezer until he saw her again, that was $169% gay.

    In that context, I have just one thing to say about this page:

    Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay

    • Markus

      Etymologically, I’m somewhat certain that this change is a product of repeated rewatchings of Shawn of the Dead, in which Nick Frost’s character says ‘gay’ any time Simon Pegg and/or Kate Ashfield do anything vaguely romantic.

  • Zinc

    This page is wonderfully cute. Thanks Molly and Brennan πŸ™‚

    I get the feeling that this relationship is doomed due to Alison’s baggage, but I hope they both enjoy it while it lasts.

    • Markus

      Baggage is fine if you’re good at unpacking.

      • Zinc

        It doesn’t matter how good at unpacking you might be, if the house isn’t big enough to store it all.
        Well, maybe you can have a yard sale for the rest.

        … What were we talking about, again?

        • Retrikaethan

          get some storage containers.

          • Anarquistador

            But then the baggage becomes your responsibility. And you’ll get yelled at for not handling it properly.

          • Omegarex24

            The only thing about baggage that matters is if you have a matching set.

          • Timothy O’Brien

            And if you don’t?

        • Weatherheight

          Put yourself in self-storage.

          • Dean

            There are currently enough self-storage lockers in the US to house the country’s entire population. Look it up if you don’t believe me.

          • Weatherheight

            So, wait.. Garrison Keillor was prescient…?
            Huh…

            ::begins watching his ears twitch::

          • Pyro

            Put reality in self storage.

          • palmvos

            that is a neat trick… i cant even raise my eyebrow without super glue and monofilament.

      • Balthazar

        I don’t know. You might start hoarding instead of letting things go. I’m not sure you’d like to share a cluttered house together with someone. I mean, a little is fine but to the point where you can’t walk around without stubbing your toe on something? That’s kind of a deal breaker.

    • MartynW

      Take it from an old guy who’s been married 40 years. There’s ALWAYS baggage. It’s how you deal with it that counts.

      • Zinc

        Right, but there’s all sorts of baggage. It can be a backpack, a hand luggage, a suitcase, a bursting suitcase carrying an overweight fee, etc.. Alison’s baggage, ranging from her days as a child soldier to events that happened less than three days ago, seems to me of the variety that requires a cargo ship or five. And we don’t yet know Clevin’s maximum payload.

        • Weatherheight

          The Titanic…

          • palmvos

            is disappearing…

          • Balthazar

            Speaking about letting go of unwanted baggage @theRealRoseDewittBukater
            #thereWasRoomForTwo

  • Mr BreaksIt

    Honestly, I’m kind of disappointed by this outcome. I would have preferred Clevin to have just been a decent guy friend of Allison who once had a crush on her but managed to move on into a position of simple mutual respect, instead of the cliche “surprise! It was your shy friend all along!”

    • Elaine Lee

      “All along” usually turns out to mean “for the moment.” This is the beginning of Alison’s first relationship, which means it’s likely not her last. And of course, she’ll screw it up! She’s had no practice.

      • Zinc

        I’d say third relationship, after Patrick and Max.

        First healthy one, though, hopefully…

        • Mechwarrior

          Max didn’t even last for a full date, and Patrick didn’t do much better, so I really don’t think it’s justifiable calling either one a “relationship.”

          • Zinc

            Max did last a full date – their first date went spectacularly well, see the ending below. It was on their second date that he crashed and burned.
            http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-6/page-56-3/

            And while there was never a romantic relationship with Patrick, there was a long period of mooning from Alison, which Patrick was entirely aware of. They were never boyfriend-girlfriend, but their relationship went slightly beyond friendship, especially for Alison.

          • I’d say it went a lot further than ‘slightly beyond friendship’. Patrick was willing to drop everything to roadtrip with her at a moment’s notice. I’m not convinced they ever consumated the relationship, but I think they were as fully boyfriend/girlfriend as two socially awkward people with a horde of issues can be.

          • Zinc

            I agree it went a lot further, I guess I used that phrase as I was in the context of defending the claim that it could be viewed as a relationship at all. But I disagree with most of the rest:

            I don’t know how much we can glean from Patrick’s willingness to go on the road trip at the drop of a hat. He said that he was interested in finding out what was going on with Tara himself, and Alison actually provided him with an alibi for why he was there – it might have drawn someone’s notice if he had gone alone. Also, it is possible (and my opinion) that the entirety of their relationship should be viewed in the context of Patrick emotionally manipulating her, as he revealed in their last confrontation. He was definitely aware of her feelings for him, and Alison was aware he was aware, but he rejected them without ever openly acknowledged them or talked about them. This had him at a distinct advantage, as he had a clear view into her mind while his own thoughts were opaque to her. Alison pretty much says this explicitly in their confrontation* (that scene also pretty much confirms their relationship never really became romantic, though Alison tried).

            Now, all of this COULD certainly be excused by saying that he was not manipulating her, but was just socially awkward, as Alison was. But I find this unconvincing – Patrick is a mind reader and a master manipulator. He might very well be the least socially awkward person in the world. He is also not romantically inexperienced, unlike Alison – he claims** to have had many satisfied lovers (well, he doesn’t actually say it explicitly, and he may have been lying to hurt Alison, but still). I think the fact the appeared socially awkward during the road trip arc was only a part of his emotional manipulation of Alison.

            For all of the above, I considered this to be an extremely unhealthy relationship for Alison.

            * http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-5/page-112/
            ** http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-5/2509/

          • I think you’re missing an important part of the denouement, just prior to the mug throwing, when Alison realises that Patrick can’t read his own mind. http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-5/page-111/ and the two following pages. And when she says that, we see something we’ve never seen before – a Patrick who is completely thrown, who doesn’t know what to say.

            And that’s why I say Patrick is socially awkward. He’s never learnt to read people and to struggle his way through a conversation, feeling out how the other person will react and adapting to it. He simply jumps straight to the end of the scene and reads what he needs to say directly out of their own minds. He’s never learnt how to interact with people without that aid, and it’s left him doubly disadvantaged when he comes to read himself. If reading minds is the only way Patrick knows how to interact with people, then is using it abusive, or essential?

            When Alison has that insight into Patrick, she reads him better than he has ever known himself. I think it’s an important point that her anger in the scene isn’t at the inner-Patrick who can’t interact with people in the normal fashion, nor at the outer-Patrick skating by through relying on mindreading, it’s at his refusal to face his own reality.

          • Zinc

            I didn’t so much as miss it, as didn’t know what to make of it. Actually I think I never really understood Alison’s comments and Patrick’s reaction before, i.e. why it mattered that he couldn’t read his own mind; but your explanation seems spot on, and is very appreciated!

            I’m not sure I follow you to the conclusion that he is socially awkward, though. He seems to be able to compensate just fine, as long as the conversation is not about himself. Perhaps that is why romance with Alison was problematic for him – it might have been too personal. But I’m not sure if the comic supports this conclusion, seeing as he once more avoided discussing the topic of his rejection of her advances. I still find it plausible that it was all manipulation, to begin with.

            And as I pointed out below, it’s also possible that EVERYTHING was a manipulation by Patrick. He knows his own mind just fine, he just said all those stupid things in the first half to make her reach that wrong conclusion, to get her to get over her infatuation with him – for whatever nefarious or benevolent reasons he might have had. The guy just makes everything complicated. I think this might be in character for him, although maybe it is too convoluted for the comic in general.

          • Arkone Axon

            So… he said what he did in order to get Alison to smash his face with his own present to her?

          • Well, potentially; taking the smaller hit for a longer-term payoff by introducing some guilt and sympathy back into the mix of her emotions. Zinc’s point is a good one – with Patrick, and with manipulative people in general, we really can’t be sure what his intentions actually were. We can argue and surmise and offer differing levels of sympathy or judgement but we can’t be *certain*.

            But honestly my reading of the scene is a little more generous. His plan for it almost certainly derailed the moment she broke his outward-turned mirror. I don’t think the last pages were carefully construed plotting.

          • Arkone Axon

            And my own reading is that one should never automatically attribute malice to a situation where stupidity is a more likely motivation. Patrick is a mind reader, yes – and what he was reading had him nervous and awkward. His present to her was a Looney Tunes mug. That says a lot about the nature of their relationship.

          • Zinc

            I’m not saying he definitely did, I find it far more likely that he didn’t. And if he did, I certainly have no idea what his goal might have been to make him want that. But I think it’s possible. He used to be an evil mastermind, and he might still be one. We don’t really know his goals.

          • A true relationship is two people opening up to one another. Patrick can’t even open up to himself. So socially awkward. It’s a bit like Cyrano prompting Christian in the effort to woo Roxane in Cyrano de Bergerac. If someone needs to prompt you, isn’t it a sign you’re a bit awkward? In this case it’s Patrick prompting Patrick, but he’d doing it be reading the cheat sheet in the other participant’s brain.

            As for it all being a manipulation, why did Patrick decided to throw away the relationship with Alison? It results in him being put under a deadline to produce evidence on the conspiracy he’s devoted his life to exposing. And even if there were a reason, why do it in such a way that Alison’s rage is so palpable he throws himself across the room to get away from it, and that’s before she starts breaking the furniture. Needless personal risk is not Patrick’s style. And he seems genuinely not to know how to respond when Alison realises he doesn’t know his own mind. It’s the only time we’ve ever seen Patrick at a loss for words.

          • Tylikcat

            I think Patrick does just fine in business or quasi business situations. He ran a super villain organization just great. He does fine running a multi-national.

            His relationship with Alison is pretty far outside of those specs. But I don’t think it’s as simple as his failure to open up to himself, though that’s a part of it. He’s stuck in this horrible asymmetry in all relationships – everyone he will ever be with will always be far more open with him than he will with them, because of his telepathy, and it’s fucked up. I think he’s terrified that Alison only likes him because she, not being a telepath, can’t see the horrible person that he really is (and by that, I mean that he fears himself to be). There are many fucked up layers of self loathing in there.

            And I think there was so glimmer of… I don’t know about redemption, but maybe hope, when he pushed Alison away, but she called him on his bullshit. (Hell, that right there might have been a reason not to duck. That she saw through him might have been the best thing that has ever happened to him.)

            He needs to make some kind of deal with Lisa about her IP in exchange for some kind of telepathy blocker so he can have friends that are actually peers. Or… something. In a lot of ways, he’s one of the the most isolated people in the comic.

          • The asymmetry is a really good point!

          • masterofbones

            That explanation doesn’t really make sense though. He should have been able to see her coming to that conclusion sooner than she could and therefore prepare for it.

            Just a few panels before Alison becomes convinced that Patrick can’t read his own mind, she says something quite insightful – “You just say whatever gets the job done. Right now I hate you. Why do you want me to hate you?”

            Assuming that Patrick didn’t forget how to read minds at the drop of this bomb, it seems odd that he would immediately say something that triggered even more rage. If he didn’t want her to be angry, why didn’t he bullshit some sob story to convince her to comfort him?

            I think he was playing her. You don’t win a game of wits with a mind reader. It just doesn’t happen.

          • It depends how far ahead you look. Think of it as a chess game. If Patrick is looking five moves ahead, but the problem arises on move six, with no way out after that first move, then he may commit himself to a strategy that’s actually a no win for him.

            He starts to panic when Alison tells him he’s a good person and demands he admit it. He’s already lost control of the conversation at this point. He actually starts out on the backfoot, because Alison developing a relationship with Lisa is something he couldn’t control. I think his mistake is back in the last two panels of http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-5/page-103/ when he starts to tell Alison something and then realises there is some important reason not to (what we don’t know), and that he needs to distract her from that. So he goes down a different tack than he intended.

            Page 104 is very interesting if we assume Patrick is very poor at understanding his own mind and does care for Alison, because it ends with them both saying, for Alison, ‘they’ll find me’. And the ‘they’ in question is the conspiracy, who’ve killed everyone they ever targetted, bio-dynamics whose common factor was world-changing powers. Does Patrick look at Alison and realise the cost may be the life of the one woman he truly cares about? Because the next thing he does is start throwing anything at her that he thinks will repel her and destroy the relationship, Why did he suddenly decide he didn’t want the world’s most powerful combat asset on his side when he takes on the scariest conspiracy in history? Perhaps because he suddenly realised he was putting her at risk. Knowing how other people’s minds work is still subject to being thrown out of gear if you don’t understand your own mind.

            And when Alison tells him that, in spite of all that, she still thinks he’s a good man – which Patrick can’t bear to think about himself, because telling himself he’s a sociopath is how he survives the horror of what he’s done – that’s when he calls in the nuclear option on his own situation by asking what all the little Mega-Girl fans will think when they find out she retired for him.

            That’s actually damage limitation.He gets what he wanted, but at the cost of using the worst possible exit strategy on the relationship, because it’s the only option left open to him. He’s crying by this point, they both are (and I don’t think he’s a good enough actor to cry on demand, he’s never had reason to practise), but it was an opening to sieze back the initiative and he took it. And it’s exactly the kind of thing he could have picked out of her mind at some point.

            What comes after, with Alison’s realisation he doesn’t know his own mind, and his panic, is actually sort of coda to the whole thing.

          • masterofbones

            hy did he suddenly decide he didn’t want the world’s most powerful
            combat asset on his side when he takes on the scariest conspiracy in
            history? Perhaps because he suddenly realised he was putting her at
            risk.

            But that would mean that this *was* all intentional manipulation on his part. The only question is how skillfully handled it was, but the results are the same regardless. He wanted her out because interacting with him was dangerous for her. He got her out.

          • Yes, but when did he realise she was at risk and he couldn’t bear that? I think it’s during the conversation, which makes this all on the spot improvisation.

          • I’d say that explanation doesn’t really make sense.

            Patrick can read minds, but it’s not an instantaneous process if someone is thinking through an issue. The conclusion isn’t there to be read yet. For a set opinion, yes, Patrick can short-cut to the end, but for an opinion that’s in the process of forming that isn’t going to work. Patrick’s smart, but I refuse to believe he can read and process all the inputs to someone’s decision faster than they can process them themselves (and being able to emulate someone’s thoughts would imply he can emulate their brain within his, which is a whole different level of mental ability we’ve not really seen evidence for).

            Patrick’s dropping in and out of control of the conversation depending on whether it’s something he can read or not. If we assume he’s trying to keep Alison out of the denouement with the conspiracy, or that he’s trying to distract her from a slip (both of which are implied), then triggering her rage is a potent strategy to distract her and drive her away, and keep her from thinking about what went before the rage. And when she keeps insisting that she can see through him to the good man beneath (which is possibly true), that’s when he reaches for the nuclear option of ‘what will all the little Mega-Girl fans think?’

          • Weatherheight

            Unless Patrick is a heartlessly manipulative bastard and every bit of so-called affection was just a play to get her on his side for some nefarious scheme…

            Or what you said. I can see that too. πŸ˜€

          • Zorae42

            But if that was the case, then why did he throw it all away?

            Unless her breaking up with him was also part of some insanely intricate scheme.

          • Weatherheight

            ::waves his hooves i a vaguely aggressive manner::

            Ninja’d!

          • The thing is, I can totally believe Patrick as a heartless manipulative bastard – we know he is one. But I’m not convinced he’s capable of faking a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. In his own way, Patrick is just as socially awkward as Alison (and Lisa, and Pintsize, and Cleaver, and Moonshadow, and Furnace – bit of a theme here).

          • Zinc

            Huh. Why do you consider Furnace to be socially awkward?

          • Tsapki

            Furnace clearly had issues with women and anyone he could positively identify as less than moderately conversation. Not sure if that counts as being socially awkward but I could understand the view that it does.

          • Zinc

            Interesting, thanks!

          • Seems pretty clear to me. There was some sort of destructive relationship with his father we don’t know the whys nor wheres of, but that clearly set a pattern for an inability to cooperate with anyone, even the law enforcement agencies he theoretically wanted to support.

          • masterofbones

            > I’m not convinced they ever consumated the relationship

            Seeing as Patrick veered off *hard* whenever Alison began thinking sexy thoughts, I’m gonna guess no.

          • bryan rasmussen

            Just putting this here – not necessarily in response to what you said but as it ties in.

            My theory is that Patrick is a virgin.

            But he said he could please his partners how he wanted – yes but I think what he wanted at that moment was to get Allison to stop being interested in him.
            Either his power has limits or it has none, I think it has limits and that limit is in fact time based – the people whose minds he reads probably only indicate through their emotions and other mental processes likely responses to an area of conversation – to a potential manipulation.

            So he does not know exactly what the reaction of Allison would be to what he says – in my theory it is clear why he is surprised by can’t you read your own mind, it is because she thought it basically as she said it, the reaction was near real-time and he had to deal with it as such.

            This makes him a more interesting character because he can fail as well.

            So back to why I think he is a virgin, if he is not an all powerful manipulator some things are things he needs to do at the time. Like he needs to pull away from Allison because he doesn’t want to have sex with her. And he says to her that he is a sexual superman to piss her off but also to bolster his own self image because unfortunately he is not at all introspective and does not read his own mind. He doesn’t recognize his own need to protect himself/make himself feel better in this case.

            So he needs to make himself feel better about being a virgin because as mature as he is in some ways he is very insecure about this? – well, sort of. But really I think he is a virgin not because he doesn’t know how to get a girl to go out with him; if that was what he wanted he could get it the same way he can get anything he wants.

            Patrick’s limitation in this case is the same as his limitations in anything else – they are limitations that are either self-imposed or imposed by his power.

            Now of course he has to worry a bit about sleeping with Mega Girl specifically since ‘reading minds’ (the phrase he hates) doesn’t allow him to know the future and so he can’t know if Allison’s worries about the loss of physical control and hurting someone would actually happen.

            But his main worry is about himself.

            There was a science fiction story about a telepathic person who was looking for another one so he could mate and pass on his genes for telepathy, for him sexual contact was awful because of first how open people were during sex but then as they got closer to orgasm how awful and animal-like they became and finally how the conscious thought seemed actually to be snuffed out at the moment of orgasm.

            I suppose something like that would be more likely to be affecting Patrick than that he is a super lover that is also super manipulative that knows everything but didn’t do it with Allison but for reasons of his own made her mad, pretended surprise at the concept of not knowing himself, got her to give him 2 years before going to the get rid of him, and let her break his face with the sentimental cup that she never got to see the look of but which he may show her some time in the future?

            No, Patrick does not know himself, he is a virgin and feels weak about that because he feels he cannot have that contact and as a consequence feels the need to lie grandiosely about his conquests.

    • Zorae42

      He’s not really her “shy friend”. I mean, he’s in a band, he helped put together that big fundraiser party, and he even asked her to the movies like 4 times.

      It’s just that she was always preoccupied when he asked. And Patrick and Max are so incredibly not shy that they make him seem shy by comparison.

  • Giacomo Bandini

    Aaaaaaawwwwwww.

  • Anarquistador

    “Hi. All my friends have things going on and I’ve burned bridges with everyone else. Okay if I finally give you the time of day?”

    • zarawesome

      and gurwara’s just price gouging me

      • Balthazar

        A penny saved is a penny that can be used to pay a philosopher.

    • Brandon Barrus

      Pity dating is best dating?

      πŸ™

    • ukulady7

      She totally should have dropped her many personal goals to make no make out with a guy she’s just getting to know. Why wait until things progress naturally like 2 people in their 20s?

      • Walter

        “She totally should have dropped her many personal goals to make out with a guy she’s just getting to know. ”

        Yes, this.

      • Happyroach

        “Why wait until things progress naturally like 2 people in their 20s?”

        You mean like, wait an hour after dinner?

    • BMPDynamite

      Overly harsh. Funny, but overly harsh.

  • spentgladiator

    This unfinished message thing is actually an excellent lifehack. Gotta try it.

    • M. Alan Thomas II

      I suspect that it’s one of those things that only works when it’s narratively convenient, which real life never is.

      I had a heck of a time in the first two-thirds of my life trying to figure out the difference.

      • Balthazar

        Sometimes, I hold on to random things I find, just in case they are a key to solving a mystery case I might find myself in later down the line. Also, I get wary when I have insignificant small talk with friends while hiking in the woods cause I’m afraid we’ll find a body.

        Neither has happened so far.

      • Tylikcat

        I think it’s partly having the right friends. Or maybe the wrong ones.

      • juleslt

        Roundworld seriously lacks narrativium, but we make up for it with romanticising and selection bias πŸ˜›

  • Zorae42

    It looks like she may have gotten a full night’s sleep finally!

  • Rugains Fleuridor

    So it was Clevin. Alison needed a day like this. I don’t suppose the relationship will get too personal all at once.

  • christianaellis

    This page made me so happy.

  • leila

    Clevin didn’t come here to play games!

  • sammybaby

    D’AWWWWW.

  • Walter

    You go girl!

  • Kenneth Mayer

    Can I ask a dumb technical question? Did Clevin’s phone alert him that she was composing and erasing a message? My phone doesn’t tell me when people are doing that with an SMS or FB message, but I’m wondering if other apps have that feature. Help an old Gen Xer out, people.

    • ClockworkDawn

      Well, she accidentally sent the text, hence the cute “finish the end of your text?” line. He probably saw that she was texting, stopping for a bit, and starting again, thanks to that lil bubble that pops up on most messenger apps when someone is typing.

    • Superfrick

      My FB messenger does the three dots thing if we both happen to be online and active at the same time, yeah.

    • Walter

      He was typing and erasing too, so when she accidentally sent one she was able to see the “…” that meant that he was typing. They ‘aw shucks’ed into it.

    • Weatherheight

      My iPhone will let me know when the person I just texted is replying to my text, within a relatively small time frame.

      I think Clockwork, Walter, and Superfrick’s combined answer covers all the bases. πŸ˜€

  • Superfrick

    I see a lot of mixed emotions on this. But people are messy and complicated, and one date is just that. One date. I see just as much potential for happiness as I do heartbreak.

  • ladle

    I feel like I’m staring at the beginning of a car crash. I just hope they don’t get hurt too much.

  • Urthman

    I’ve re-read the last two pages a dozen times and I still have no idea who texted what to who. Did Clevin somehow see all the things she was typing and revising? Or was there just one of them that got accidentally sent? Is the message with the smiley from Clevin or Alison?

    • Zinc

      Alison kept writing and erasing messages without sending them, until she accidentally sent “Hey. Did you”, causing her to jump in the penultimate panel of yesterday’s strip. She then saw Clevin was typing an answer in the ultimate panel. The message from today’s first panel is the reply Clevin sent.

      • Walter

        Meaning that he was also typing and deleting stuff, most likely. Synchronicity.

        • Zinc

          While that would be cool, I think the comic contradicts that possibility – Alison clearly saw him typing his sent response (as the “…”), so she should have also noticed him typing earlier, and there’s no indication of that.

          Although his prompt reply might mean he was thinking of her and waiting to hear from her, maybe specifically thinking of what to write – typing and deleting, but mentally.

          (Well, we have no real indication of how long it took him to reply, maybe he had to scrap 10 messages until he got to one he liked. But I think in that case we would have seen Alison panicking or something…)

  • scrubjay

    πŸ™‚ I’m happy for Alison!! I’m happy for Clevin!! Cute page!! πŸ™‚

  • scrubjay

    my Hot Take on the discourse: Alison and Clevin are both nice!! they’ll be nice together!! let’s enjoy Alison smiling!!! look at the emoji clevin used it’s cute!!

    • Balthazar

      It’s so rare to see tactful emoji usage in this day and age. 😢

  • Nick

    clevin is the worst

  • Kifre

    Ew πŸ˜›

  • Eva SmiljaniΔ‡

    They look too happy for this to end well. I know what stories are like.

  • Hey! Clinton and Bedford Avenues don’t intersect! Are you sure that’s not Clinton Ave & Fulton St?

  • Jeremy

    It’s nice to see them share a sweet moment. Everyone needs a break from their stress. Even if they don’t have a long term relationship, it’s nice just to have someone to enjoy spending time with.

  • Stephanie Gertsch

    I’m looking loving the rosy tones on this page. It’s such a great way of conveying mood, when the characters don’t even appear together until the fifth panel and even then there’s no dialog. It’s all done with body language. Great page.

    • Weatherheight

      And here I thought we were going to get the reds to go with the blues and the pinks…

      Nice new avatar, BTW. (If this is older than a week or two and I’m just now noticing, I blame myself).

      • Arkone Axon

        No pinks. Just reds and blues. And a few freelancers, but you won’t find many of those around here lately. Then again, why are we here?

        • Weatherheight

          To quote Huey Lewis and the News…

          “We’re not here for a long time
          We’re here for a good time.” πŸ˜€

          • Arkone Axon

            And to quote Caboose…

            “She’s mean! This place is filled with mean ladies!”

  • JohnTomato

    Al should be enraptured by the hockey playoffs!

    I keed…

  • synthiesia

    Honestly, I think that Clevin deserves better

    • synthiesia

      Allison is going to decide he’s not a good enough person, and then she’s going to hurt and leave him too. Plus she’s only using him because she wants to feel better.

      • Zinc

        Just because she is “using him because she wants to feel better”, doesn’t mean she is ONLY using him because etc.. I think their previous interactions also indicate that she actually cares about him and is interested in him. Even if she decided to reach out at the current time mostly because she’s feeling in the dumps, doesn’t mean there isn’t also a good foundation for a relationship.

        And Clevin is also partially using her because he wants to feel better, as well as caring about her. Wanting to feel better is one of the main underlying forces that compels us humans to seek companionship. There’s nothing particularly wrong with that.

  • BMPDynamite

    nam,jdkl fjierj qfoae jfijif jeiqwjfgvirj fiqwj AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA <333333

    • Zinc

      Yes, my cat is also very excited about the current page.
      ^_^

  • Tsapki

    Hmm, so with Patrick it was a flying mug, with Max things ended with a sprained arm (?) and extortion.

    Alright every place your bets on the end stage damage of this relationship!

    • Arkone Axon

      I’m going with “collateral damage,” i.e. “stuffed into a fridge” or whatever equivalent they go with.

    • Edward L. Howell

      Heartbreakingly slow disenchantment.

  • shink

    Clevin is safe, an escape from the stresses of life. In a world of pain, responsibility, pressure, loneliness, betrayal (moonshadow), guilt, and an overwhelming feeling of pressure to make things better for people Clevin is the one beacon of calm and comfort. Clevin didn’t get picked cause Molly and Brennan are trying to enforce the “go with the nice guy” cliche on us, he got picked because Alison desperately needs to take time off, decompress, and chill with someone who is emotionally invested in her having a good time.

    • Cartheon

      Exactly. Actual nice guys tend to do pretty well romantically, because amazingly enough people are attracted to nice people.

      • Arkone Axon

        Yep. There’s two questions I ask to those who complain about nice guys finishing last. One is: “What do you have to recommend you aside from being a nice guy? Being a nice guy is the bare minimum – you want an attractive, pleasant, interesting woman, but what kind of man does that woman deserve?”

        And the other is: “What makes you so certain you’re a nice guy? Who told you that you’re nice?”

        Then I show them something like this and tell them, “if you can’t see the problem here, you’re not a nice guy.”

        http://i.imgur.com/YKXEOad.jpg

  • Darkoneko Hellsing

    …ooooooooh
    soItWasHimYaaaaaaaay

  • Laurelinde

    Am I the only one who feels like this is a dream? I mean it’s almost certainly not, but it feels too…well, dreamlike, compared to everything that’s happened recently. I don’t really know how to process this. I’m not against Alison and Clevin having a relationship but there’s so much on her plate right now and he deserves something real.

  • Dawn Smashington

    Ick prediction; Clevin’s going to be a Mary Jane. How do you hold any power over the most powerful person in the world? You freakin’ kidnap their boyfriend/girlfriend. But we’d need to see someone go full supervillain for the first time since supervillains were tossed into prison or killed. My bet’s on Patrick. Cleaver maybe, or even Moonshadow for her own reasons, but I’m so voting Patrick.

    • Arklyte

      Patrick is the person you should fear above everyone else if you decide to ruin Al’s happiness. He’s afraid to allow anyone close, but he cares about her and kidnapping a person she’s feeling good with will get you into situation you wouldn’t want to be in ie he doesn’t care much about laws and morale when goal is clear.

    • Arklyte

      P.S.: Want “proper” supervillain? Here, share my paranoia over Paladin motivation and methods.

  • The beginning of Alison’s dates always make me think of my own life. it captures the sweetness that barely covers an ocean of anxiety.

    but you know, sometimes there’s nothing wrong with testing something out to see if it fits. or just wanting to hold someone and not wanting anything more for the future yet. I hope they at least have that kind of moment, that kind of understanding.

  • zathura

    Oh. My. God. What is wrong with you people? This is cute AF! Yoll are putting some heavy duty malevolence behind her actions that just isn’t there. Is this the most responsible thing to do? Probably not but its not heinous. Chill out.