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I think it has to be the shape of his eyes. Slightly slanted, almond shaped, and narrow. Must be the classic “this is an evil look” sort of thing that it triggers. He’s probably perfectly fine, the nicest guy ever, and he’ll die in some utterly tragic way and leave our hero to do the “lash out at the world” thing in grief. (or he really is evil, and I’ve seen through it the entire time….) Richard Hughes Two very privileged people, these! Richard Griffith A crack in his prefectness. He does not know the working folk. Some guy Unless the next panel is “Oh wait, yes I do! It’s ME!” to show off that he’s also artistic. chaosvii They’re all done by his secret siblings his parents keep trapped in the evil underground lair made out of piles of money! Insanenoodlyguy Oh dear this boy is too rich. Richard Hughes He’s polite! He’s friendly. He has a sense of panache, and a sense of humor. Richard Hughes Oh, she probably has way more money than he does 😀 Some guy And right after her pet project started having money problems too! screechfox Oh. Oh, I want to like Max. I really do. He seems to mean well, but he’s clearly also a guy who’s doesn’t think about his privilege (as opposed to Alison, who does her best to think about her privileges and her disadvantages) and is kind of used to getting his way. I foresee this going one of two ways: Alison will realise they’re kind of incompatible, and she’ll try and explain and break it off with him (which may lead to good conversations or more unsavory thngs), or Alison explaining and him making an effort to change, with them both offering ideas to each other. I see the former as more likely. (There are other possibilities, but with the themes of this comic, these seem most likely.) Richard Hughes I don’t know… Being rich and white and male might be just enough privilege to let him see eye to eye with someone who is invulnerable and can fly and punch through tempered steel! Roman Snow Naw, previous strips presented Clevin as the safe, boring option. Max has always been the “unreasonably charming” option. Johan Yep, makes sense 🙂 Hawthorne “They used to be real animals, but our taxidermist dabbles in botany, and, well…” Lostman Well due to genre convention everything we know about superhero stories (and others) tell us to noot trust Max. Tylikcat I honestly think most supervillains are more interesting. For instance, Patrick. Tylikcat I am willing to take as given that there are good narrative reasons why Patrick has to be off getting himself together. I mean, seriously, Patrick has to get himself together – and that could totally be another strip* – but it makes sense that it’s going to be a bit before it can usefully intersect with Max’s timeline. Max? I am sure that this is going to make more sense soon…? * I have elsewhere expressed an interest an watching many episodes of “The Universe Instrusive Slaps Patrick Upside the Head” SuddenFan 2) He seems well-meaning 3) ??? SuddenFan Re: bullet 4 You just never stop diagnosing, do you? ∫Clémens×ds My bad, I forgot: /s chaosvii Sarcastic diagnosis is still engaging in a diagnosis for the sake of humor. ∫Clémens×ds Hm. Yes. But. A facetious one. Not worth much salt psychoanalysis-wise. chaosvii If you engage in it repetitively, and in the same “this guy sucks” tone, people will either enjoy your niche style or heckle you for running out of fresh material. What’s going on here is the latter, not a “how dare you say stuff that’s not true on the Internet, of all places!” bit of outrage. I’m imploring you to handle hecklers with a better line than “I’m just kidding” when they say “man even if you’re kidding that’s a shitty thing to say” especially when you’re joking about how terrible a fictional character’s jokes are. ∫Clémens×ds My, do I resent the moderation system for making me miss this pearls of nonsense. I handle my hecklers the way I want. Get off your high horse and, once again, I’m going to have to ask you that if you have such a problem with the specific way I choose to interpret the webcomic and answers to those who plain can’t tolerate it, to stop answering my comments. I’ll even be magnanimous enough to let you believe that’s why I’m not answering to yours. Katie RL That was my assumption too! Reading all the comments, I can see how he might just be privileged/unaware, but my first thought was definitely WATCH OUT AL, HE’S GOT PLANT POWERS Darkoneko Hellsing Oh, no, not her boyfriend. I’m pretty sure they leave common people to tend to that. Hiram The bottle was clearly so Alison could christen the redund-o-copter for it’s maiden flight. Yes, I know that only raises more questions. ∫Clémens×ds Oh my God. Max is a secret biodynamic whose superpower is making helicopters appear. Best. Character. Ever. Thursday Violist Oh, no! Money! My only weakness! ~Allison, when Max turns supervillain on her. Or, alternatively, she finds out that Max and Patrick are brothers. It makes sense, right? while one of them knows exactly what to say to make Al swoon, the other always says the exact wrong thing. What else are brothers for? ∫Clémens×ds I mean obviously Poe’s law and all but damn if I wasn’t sure it would be obvious from putting everything on the same level as not having a particular interest in garden sculpture that it was a joke Rumble in the Tumble When you’re doing an “Arson, murder, and jaywalking,” only the last thing mentioned is a joke. So, a victory for Not Understanding Sarcasm on the Internet, I guess :v ∫Clémens×ds That’s it? That’s your excuse? That I didn’t follow the Constitutional Guidelines of the Internet We All Signed Before Being Bestowed The Wifi Password? I don’t even know why you’re still being petty about this I told you I wasn’t actually accusing him of a tasteless joke, what more do you want from me? ∫Clémens×ds That’s interesting. And absolutely not my experience, at all. chaosvii Well yes, the people that don’t follow that rule are very often people who are uncomfortable with their own feelings, and so throw a smokescreen up to avoid addressing whatever they feel at any given moment. I really don’t appreciate the company of such folks, as their sarcasm is of middling quality, and is frequently only an indication of their genuine nature insofar as it displays how petty they are about a given matter. Which goes against the very spirit of using a petty facade to induce mirth in others by my reckoning. If I saw Max as such a person, I’d be very cross about him, rather than largely ambivalent about his moral fibre & more interested in his humorous disposition, ∫Clémens×ds That explains your indulgence. I have to say, if the only way to differentiate between the two is quality of humor, I’m not convinced with that specific one. The “unwarranted” part was genuine. I’m an only child, unless if I had dead big siblings, ahah, erm chaosvii If you can’t hear the vocal tones & sense of timing, quality can probably only be determined through an evaluation of how skilled they are at making multiple jokes for the same audience within a given comedy session. If you can’t adapt to your audience after the first joke which elicits a poor reaction, then you’re likely making the jokes for your own amusement, which is lazy comedy. Very distasteful, and terribly self-indulgent. Alternatively, the lack of adapting is because you never learned how to read an audience and thus you’ll continue to bomb because you aren’t even trying to mix things up. Such would be boring by itself, but I’ve almost always encountered folks in the latter category suffering from the former as well. They suck at entertaining others with their wit & they don’t even care. So they rarely, if ever, improve their midiling quality sarcasm. As for how that grim jest could actually reflect a sincerity within him, consider these possibilities: *It’s a remark that indicates that he appreciates his family, which is why it would be absurd for him to treat hypothetical family members he’s never had the pleasure of having *Rich people are often portrayed as ruthless, and he is mocking the idea that he would be cruel as a way of diffusing the personal experience of being slightly bothered by the presumptions some people make about him *He has a slight envy for others with siblings, but acknowledges that he has all sorts of lovely things happen to him because he’s an only child. Were he ever given the opportunity to relive his life with siblings or keep the wealthy only child lifestyle he grew up with, he’d see the options as being exceptionally morbid. Thus the mockery of such a choice, have hypothetical siblings, or retroactively kill them for the piles of money you’d be giving up Speculation to be sure, but this is pretty easy for me to imagine as a real human motivation behind gallows humor, as tastelessness comes from all sorts of people, angsty or otherwise. ∫Clémens×ds I considered all of these possibilities. Still got away with the one that made me chuckle to most to comment about. You’re really being annoying and forgetful here, considering I always was the contrarian to consider improbable circumstances for alternate interpretation of objectively wrong behavior in some of the villains we’ve had over the months. I genuinely don’t know what you’re worried about. If you’re scared I don’t doubt my own principles enough, reflect on which of us has come up with guidelines about what self-deriding cynicism entails and means completely first degree. I won’t even hold against you the revelation of recent pages. Any outcome could have occurred. I won’t even say you’re the absolute worst at recognizing obvious narrative tropes. Just will you let me fucking joke about this webcomic without “well actually”-ing me every five minutes ∫Clémens×ds What? Even Alison says he has weird notions of what being even means and is for. Do you realize how cringeworthily transparent something must be in order for Alison to realize it? chaosvii She didn’t say that he was trying to one up her, that’s what you read out of it, she said different words that could be interpreted in additional ways. And even if she thought as you do, it would still be presumptive. I’d imagine you’d have no problem with the statement Alison could be wrong about yet another thing. 😛 ∫Clémens×ds I agree with the entirety of that statement but I’d be offended you would consider I didn’t take my own subjectivity into account. Or is it that the infinite interpretability of fiction puts a relativistic shade on only my own? chaosvii I did think you’d consider it, yet here we are, with you coming to a lame conclusion as the premise for a joke people take issue with and supporting it with nonsense. Your joke about him one-upping others as a chronic compulsive character flaw is of low quality, doesn’t stand to scrutiny, and you haven’t defended it when pressed. Sometimes one finds oneself so desperate that one presents Alison Green’s evaluation of reality as a star witness for one’s defense against hecklers. I don’t envy your fate 😛 ∫Clémens×ds Wow. How hypocritical of you to the upteenth extreme to call out “Alison Green’s evaluation of reality” against me. Did you seriously think it would shake my belief structure enough to miss out on the fact that you consistently have been giving me shit for months about it? Your masculinesplaining about my jokes is getting out of hands, pal. ∫Clémens×ds So I’m going to do a complete one eighty on everyone and say that… I actually have no issue with Max not knowing his gardener’s name. (But hold your gasps for the fateful day I will deem one of Alison’s action as *not* a complete disaster, which I’m still hopeful for) Given how it’s framed as the last sentence of the page, with an odd emphasis if it were to be just a character building element and not what will surely become the starting point of a fully fledged plot thread, the insufferable contrarian in me is already readying himself to “well, actually” away his lack of responsibility toward his parents’ employees with the added bonus of sigh-inducing in-universe justifications nowhere supported by the text like, I dunno, “he’s not necessarily living here all year” or something. This was a long sentence. chaosvii I mean there’s all that, and also the fact that no one is obligated to express offense at the fact that he’s honestly expressing something that he’s not aware of in a fashion that doesn’t even imply that he has no interest in ever learning this information. It’s a reaction that some people have, and opt to rationalize, and some people don’t, and had no idea that it requires rationalization. And yet still others who don’t have the reaction of “how dare he not meet one of my standards!” recognize that he’s violated other standards before, yet hasn’t this time. Falling into the third camp is really not all that novel once you read so many stories that you internalize that some characters were not written with you in mind. That the intentionality bias is simply a cognitive fault everyone deals with from time to time. And whatever you feel about a given character that hasn’t been the worst thing ever reflects on what you want out of people rather than what people really ought to be doing (which has been determined long ago because obviously all of humanity had a decisive vote about whether a guy should know all the people who effect his life pretty directly or not). Gluten Tag You made me laugh. Shame on you. 😉 Graeme Sutton That laugh? Also racist. TRenn Maybe he was being literally serious about siblings “trapped under big piles of money,” but it was because they all took “Duck Tales” as a documentary and tried swimming in a pool full of money a la Scrooge McDuck. That’s plausable, right? >.> <..> M. Alan Thomas II I agree with all of your points but counter with The Law of Conservation of Detail. What’s the point of the conversation otherwise? 🙂 Actually, I’m reasonably certain that you’re right and that there will be an interesting take on that tomorrow, because otherwise there’s no reason for it to be a cliffhanger line. (You could drop the first panel and add one at the end if you were going to continue in the obvious vein.) Dean ‘We’ve tried everything to stop it! Traps, poison baits… we even sat up all night one time, waiting for someone to show up! No-one came, and in the morning, all we found was a bush sculpted into the shape of a giant hand flipping us the bird!” chaosvii “And the next day, it was re-sculpted into a dove!” Soqoma I also really miss Patrick (and the ethical conundrums that he represented). Soqoma His sense of humor is definitely the only thing keeping my interest/tolerance of this guy going, and it is STRAIN-ING. (if this was choose-your-own-adventure, I would have stayed at the concert….and probably dating Lisa, but that’s neither here nor there) Christophe2314 3) Profit!!! ZBass Perhaps it requires a modified ‘choose your own adventure’, where you get to pick which character you follow for the next chapter? Aurabolt Honestly? I’m still entirely convinced Max might be a plant by Patrick, in order to keep tabs and, in some way, to keep himself involved in Allison’s life while not consciously being there. He was pretty shaken up the last time we saw him-with his superior intellect and understanding of people, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the case. If nothing else, I like Max…but if he is a plant, he might fall in love with her for real? Who knows at this stage, but I’m waiting to find out. Eliza I still don’t trust him and I don’t know why, this is very conflicting masterofbones Could also be a “batman”. Fun-loving rich-kid by day, vigilante for justice by night. Desires to make connections with Alison, but needs a good cover for doing so. Abel Undercity He does’t know the name of his gardener. Dump him. Flipz While the first three points are mostly fair, I feel like number 4 doesn’t really apply. I wouldn’t expect to have to remember the name of every fast-food worker I’ve been served by, but I would make the effort for, say, a waiter or waitress who repeatedly serves me at a restaurant I go to a lot. That holds doubly true if the person is working for me in my own home (or my parents/my parents’ home, if it’s a family home I’m living in). Now, granted, it’s likely that Max’s parents either use a service or have changed employees since Max moved out, so I still wouldn’t expect him to know the peoples’ names, but if he’s spending any significant amount of time there I’d expect him to know at least some of the regular help by name; it’s only polite, after all. Tylikcat For that kind of topiary work, if they use a service, it’s a hell of a service. There’s a downside to hiring a service – you tend to get people who are working for a service, are generally not well paid and not invested in the reputation of the parent company. Sure, there are exceptions, but they are exceptional enough that it doesn’t really count as using a service, and they tend to be people you hire for the long term. (It’s really different to get people to do routine landscape maintenance as opposed to do something stunning and unique. That kind of topiary is in the latter category.) Markus I feel like it’s a tad hypocritical that almost every main character has ostentatious amounts of wealth but only Max is characterized negatively for the volume of privilege it provides. chaosvii Well, you see, he’s uh…an individualist! And he said disparaging things towards no one in particular, therefore meaning he was targeting Klevin! And he… likes to make jokes when people want him to be totally srs business! Worst of all, he made Alison uncomfortable, and only apologized once! Due to this and the fact he’s in a superhero comic that is conventional in every conceivable measure, never deviating from overused tropes and predictable nonsense, he’s a villain for no actual story reason, and every bit of evidence that he’s just some rich kid is actually heavy-handed plausible deniability deliberately inserted into the narrative so that we can all be not surprised when the cliche reveal of him being evil or whatever happens. Which it definitely will! Shjade It is, so far, Max’s main defining characteristic, which is somewhat different from the rest of the cast who have significant wealth. Who’s Max? No idea, other than that he’s fairly quick-witted and rich. Not really good qualities for making someone instantly likable, most of the time. We didn’t find out Al is rich due to her previous hero gig until after we’d already gotten to know a fair bit about who she is apart from that fact. Paladin’s position of privilege is mainly expressed via how she’s trying to create and help people and what’s holding her back from doing that as effectively as she’d like. Patrick is…well, Patrick’s kind of a jerk for reasons completely unrelated to his financial position. And so on. ampg Define “ostentatious amounts of wealth” – Al only really had enough to keep her afloat until she cashed the Guardians checks (which she then sunk into Valkyrie). Pintsize was (and probably still is) subsidized by the federal government. Lisa is being subsidized by the university. Patrick is insanely wealthy, but that’s definitely portrayed as a source of suspicion WRT his possible continuing villainous activities. I do take your point that they’re all at least upper-middle class, which has quite a bit of privilege baked in, but I think Max’s level of wealth is being clearly portrayed as way beyond that. Markus Al is solvent enough to turn down a massive amount of licensing money until she needs to start a charity. She most likely won’t ever make more than six figures, but she’s most likely going to direct more money through her charity in the span of ten years than most Americans see in their lifetimes. Pintsize not only makes money from that licensing deal, but is a layup for research grants and until recently was on a government payroll as literally the most valuable para left to the US military. Him making high six low seven figures annually would be unsurprising. Eight figures would be surprising, but probably something he could achieve by accident in the next five to ten years, especially if he puts himself into his education in a serious way. Lisa has a mandatory patent sales deal for all of her tech that she’s trying to dig her way out of by inventing so hard that she bankrupts a multinational corporation. There’s a good chance that within the next five years she actually does it. So yeah, ostentatious amounts of wealth. Nothing on Max’s parents’ annual capitol gains, with the possible exception of Lisa, but definitely more than Max’s trust fund pays out each year. phantomreader42 Lisa is being subsidized by the university Lisa is not only being subsidized by the university, she’s also stuck in a contract that requires her to sell her inventions to a (former?) supervillain, but he is at least PAYING her for them, so she could potentially have a lot of income from that. Markus I drive for Uber, and I secretly resent the people who remember my name, because I can never manage to remember anyones name and them calling me by name in the little goodbye conversation makes me feel like a jerk for not remembering theirs. Markus 4.) He’s rich. Izo You missed that also, he’s rich. And he’s rich. Rich The Bluegeek “Bet this works a lot better on all the girls who can’t fly” Great line! But, being able to fly is still kind of a new thing for Alison, isn’t it? Not to mention the fact that he has the skills to fly a helicopter is still kind of impressive. Don’t get me wrong, not a Max fan, but the disconnect here isn’t all one-sided. Also, makes me think Max’s folks could solve her foundation’s money problems real fast, though if that happens I’ll bet there’s an ulterior motive. Random832 I feel like if you knew more about Gandhi you’d pick a different analogy. Rumble in the Tumble Well, one could easily work him as a nazi and a pedophile, but shitty analogies and metaphors are my superpowers :f Philip Bourque I wonder if he’s helping his friend whose apartment burned down. Pol Subanajouy Oh yeaaaaaaaaahh…money stuff… Jack Lostthenames Warren Patrick is a supervillain, Max is the 1%… KLEVIN is the only romantic side-plot of the PEOPLE!! #teamklevin #stillklevin Kerrima I’m bored of this guy now. It would be great if he showed personality beyond “good-looking”, “has money”, and “occasionally sarcastic”. This comic has so many incredible characters, “male love interest from every rom-com ever” didn’t need to be added to the cast. Raven Black Next panel, it turns out he’s kidding and he does his own topiary! Amulya I know. Ugh. Why does everyone hate this guy? He has literally provided no indication of being a “douchebag” other than being really rich and privileged (which does NOT translate to douchebag). He hasn’t done anything positive either, granted, so we shouldn’t judge him either way. Seriously, the commenters are treating this Max like they treated that guy in Chapter 5 who said the Invisible Slasher’s actions were “Bonkers!” and “Just Bananas!!” before revealing he was actually r̶a̶p̶e̶d̶ mind-controlled in the past. Didn’t we learn from Bananas-guy not to judge on “privileged” reactions alone? Arthur Frayn I call him a douchebag because that is how he reads, just as Professor Gurwara reads as an asshole. If you see no “literal” proof that Max is approaching Alison as a pickup artist looking to add her to his scorecard, then you need to reread the pages where he appears. Silverwizard Really? I am a privileged white guy. I do my best to not be an asshole. But I definitely am willing to show up with a BMW to impress a girl. Including the woman I married. That doesn’t mean he’s an asshole, or doesn’t care. LaChatSayWha Yeah, she won’t have to waste all her time in that dreary school getting her MRS if she can hook this rich guy! Really, it’s just a dream come true. /s Kid Chaos Max isn’t Batman material; heck, he isn’t even Robin! 😎 fairportfan I still don’t like (or trust) this guy. ampg He’s super charming, which I’m sure is very attractive to slightly-awkward Alison. Izo Only if they get married then divorced. That was a joke btw. Pyro I like Max but goddamn, Patrick is irreplaceable. Danygalw I thought the implication was that *he* does the topiary. Aroel Maybe a foil to Alison as someone with tons of privilege who doesn’t examine it? Maybe someone she can examine her privilege with? Aroel Theory: What if Max wants to be this universe’s equivalent of Batman and is interested in Allison for that reason? Allison will not be happy when she finds out, and will immediately smack down a non-biodynamic trying to imitate the superhero method of using violence to solve social problems, as many biodynamic children were forced to do? Happyroach I just assume he’s posting to Twitter. A lot.