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Ever!” “Why” “I don’t need a why! I don’t have to explain myself to you!” “You have to…” “I have to?! Or what!” At some point he’s got to realize that not every request, suggestion or strongly worded statement is an attempt to control him. Aaron J. Shay That’s his baggage, much in the same way that Alison’s baggage is expecting all people to try and do the right thing when given the opportunity and the ability. David Gillon His reaction to being told what to do, even if only by implication, is so strong I found myself wondering if his relationship with his parents is borderline abusive. Walter If his power is super obviously great/beneficial it is easy to imagine his early life was borderline slavery. (CureCancerBoy may want to play outside, but how dare he be so selfish.) He may have violently rejected the entire premise that anyone gets to tell him what to do, and even today any hint that someone else gets to dictate his actions provokes the same reaction. Oren Leifer Yeah, it’s be pretty ironic/depressing if Max is SFP’s version of Worm’s Panacea, with all it implies (social pressures to help others, alienation from family when refusing the “obvious” need of others, etc). Masala Nilsson Yeah, and the way his replies/reactions are worded makes him look more than just a little like a petulant eight-year-old kid. Tylikcat Eh, growing up isn’t always mandatory. Especially for straight white wealthy men. Jeremy Cliff Armstrong Nice use of stereotypes. Pot meet kettle. shink55 As presented Max is that stereotype though. Zac Caslar Not that that claim disproves Tylikat’s statement nor is Tylikcat necessarily any of the things in his/her profile. But nice use of stereotypes. Pot, meet kettle. AveryAves My dude you have to realise how true that statement is though Like and we have been shown this in the most direct fashion with Max desika Huh? It’s not stereotyping. It’s how privilege works. I don’t think Tylikcat is saying all straight white wealthy men are immature – just that if they are, they’re more likely to get away with it. Rachel Pardon me, but I think you should read Tylikcat’s post again. They said nothing of straight white wealthy men being immature. They didn’t say most of them were immature, or even half, or even “many.” What they said is that it is less necessary for them to grow up. Which, I mean, is hardly arguable, but if you want to go for it I have time. But yeah, Tylikcat didn’t really connect a bad trait to the category of straight white wealthy men so much as connect the ability to have the trait and still have it be accepted by society with being in the category of straight white wealthy men. Cyrano111 This is just a reflection of Al’s axiology class. She seems literally not to be able to understand that someone could be able to help but choose not to help. That’s what “have to” means for her. sammybaby Okay, wait. What? Who is this guy really? Sarah DOES MAX HAVE POWERS TOO Insanenoodlyguy Okay so he’s got some kind of ability or something… I”m still going to say Allison’s got the idiot ball. she’s learned what kind of man he his. This is just desperation then? I gotta say, I’ve felt the weakest parts of this comic have been dealing with this guy so far. BaalBereth Because, for better or for worse, Allison, not everyone is prepared to make sacrifices of themselves for the sake of a better world. Jacob Johnston Boom, right in the ego. Fortooate maybe his power is that he can instantly make everyone on the planet know what exactly is going on in a webcomic Richard Griffith With great power, comes a total insensitivity to, nay blatant rejection of any responsibility for, the plight of others. Julian Arce So I guess he was in the secret file? Steele Al, dude, just tell him he’s NOT ALLOWED to do what you want him to do, and he just might in order to spite you! James D’Amato “It’s rabbit season!” palmvos forgive me, but what does this child have that Alison wants so badly? max isn’t an adult, he’s a child. at least from the arguments presented so far. Amal El-Mohtar Oh man, I misread this situation almost totally, I think. Just going to sit back & see where it goes. atma This is so interesting! It’s like, Al is the bigger, better person. But Max is using all the right words. Maybe that’s what this is, the coming of age saga of a person who is good, whose aims are good, but is simply bewildered at how to do it. In a world where everyone you meet isn’t necessarily interested in being good, and even those who are carry their very own baggage and insecurities. So good! CrimsonCarnivoreOnAClayCourt OK. Best guesses here. Alison has changed her mind and decided that whatever conspiracies are lurking out there, Patrick is too dangerous to run free. She’s plotting an elaborate takedown of Templar Industries, and she’s hoping that Max’s company can handle the business side of things or Max can set himself up as bait, since Patrick clearly has an interest in him. Despite my growing hatred of Max – public relations are a good thing to have, you spoiled, short-sighted shitstack – I admit he’s got a point if it’s the bait thing. MisterTeatime Damn, Alison. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t just read it, but you actually said something that made me interested in what Max has to say. Opus the Poet Who is Max? I mean he looks familiar and I have been reading this comic almost from the beginning, so I think I would remember him. chaosvii An underwear gentleman who becomes rather ungentlemanly when wearing pants. Pol Subanajouy Oh look, I see a stone, one side painted white, the other side painted black… Lostman So Alison has a problem; she has to get people to rally to her, and to her cause. The issue is that not everyone is following which frustrates her very much. So Alison has to two choices to go with: A. Accept the fact that not everyone will join. B.Find away to make people join. Korataki So, Max is almost certainly a biodynamic- and apparently choosing not to use his abilities. If that’s the case then now Guwara’s lesson is fully manifesting. Alison has yet to fully process what happened in that classroom and still cannot wrap her head around why some people choose paths that seem overtly selfish. I really wish Al hadn’t impulsively run back here to try and convince him. She desperately needs sleep and downtime to think and regain some measure of equilibrium. She’s running herself ragged for her cause, and both she and her cause are suffering for it. pleasechangemymind Yes. Please, Alison, it’s self-care time. Get some sleep, have some tea, maybe just sit down and breathe for a minute… Walter Also, like, if getting him on board is SAVE COUNTLESS LIVES levels of important, then maybe Alison isn’t the right girl for the job? Talk to your friends, find SOMEONE who can get through to this guy, set up a meet cute, whatever. Like, shady is ok if the payoff is countless lives. In particular, make sure Moonshadow doesn’t kill him. That would be brutal irony. Mouser Allison (in her current mindset) is completely the wrong person. Oren Leifer Try to find someone who he might see as a peer, perhaps, or someone who can see where his line of thought is going. Perhaps someone else who Alison had a level of flirtation with… In other words, call Patrick and ask him for more direct help than just Max’s power and bio. Shjade Frankly, now that there’s such a high probability Max is more empowered than we knew before, I’m more than a little concerned for Al’s safety at this point. If this escalates, with her being this exhausted and grasping for answers, if he’s got anything at his disposal that’s more useful than physical force for making a conflict go in his favor… Arthur Frayn You haven’t heard of him because he’s “going Galt.” He found nothing worth doing in a corrupt world, and so he’s waiting for the hoards of undeserving “looters” to drown in their own excesses. Never mind that he inherited his wealth and never worked a day in his life… Silenceaux I wondered if it was something like this. Trying to get an inside view on this perspective to understand it. I still don’t really think this is going to get her anywhere, but it is kind of a noble attempt, so kudos for that. Psile Interesting. Max has been elevated from dickhead that she can leave in the dust to dickhead that she is forced to deal with. Dealing with people who have different world views and ideologies from you can be very important to defining your own values, in my opinion. Tylikcat Well “forced to” is interesting here. Lostman Who the hell is Max? Izo He’s a psychopathic rabbit who works as a freelance police along with his partner, Sam, who is a snarky dog that talks like Sam Spade. Together, they fight crime. Sorta. Santiago Tórtora I wonder what is this potential Max has to help so many people. I don’t think Allison is talking about general throw-money-at-the-problem philanthropy. Could Max be a retired superhero like Allison? Someone with a power more useful than just super-strength, that can help a lot more people (or make him personally rich) Weatherheight I’m thinking more “never got in the spotlight” than “stepped out of the spotlight”. But I agree with the basic idea you’re espousing. ampg Must…resist…urge…to…speculate…. palmvos give in to your inner creativity.. speculate… then join us. we have cookies! *some girl with weird shoes made off with the cake* Kid Chaos Oh, please, hold nothing back. 😜 Weatherheight Space whale. Max is a shape-shifter and can turn into a space whale. Remember I said it here first. 😀 There. Pretty sure that gives you lots of room that is in the “less bizarre” section. HanoverFist When is Alison finally going to realize that this guy is a selfish jerk? I mean I get that she’s desperate for funding, but some people just aren’t salvageable. Aaron J. Shay I don’t think she’s after funding, here… It seems like there’s something else at play that hasn’t been revealed to us. The Improbable Man I’m thinking this isn’t about money. He’s probably got some kind of anomaly that is amazing and can solve real problems, and Patrick found out about it. Maybe the only reason he hasn’t been killed by the conspiracy yet is that he’s a selfish ass that won’t use it to help others. Guess: he can predict future disasters, and instead of using it to prevent them, he’s only used it for personal gain. For example, he used it to get close to Alison, who he sees as some sort of conquest, by learning that she was a firefighter, and seeing the burning building in advance. KatherineMW Oh, I like that guess. I’ve been trying to think of a power that wouldn’t require much effort to use, but is cabable of making a VERY major difference. That’s a good candidate. Shjade I dunno, if he could predict future disasters he would’ve known how his dinner date would turn out. Eric Johnson This is all based off of the assumption that Patrick is not behind the conspiracy. He is a master manipulator and may in fact be pulling the strings so as to set up a confrontation between Allison and Max. screechfox /Oh/. That’s not actually an ‘oh’ of understanding, but it’s definitely an ‘oh’ of something, alright. Quite Likely Why would she have heard of him? Johan Because apparently he has the power to save the world, and she just finds it weird that nobody knows about it. I’m curious about that part too. Quite Likely I thought the implication was just that she wanted him to do something with his money, since that’s the only unusual ‘ability’ we have seen him having thus far. Johan She already knew he was rich, and didn’t ask him to do anything. And then she reads a secret file about him and immediately goes to him. Also, why would she be upset about not knowing about him if he was just rich? Weatherheight Again… Subtext! Johan I … are you agreeing with me or pointing out I missed something? If it’s the later I’m curious. Insanenoodlyguy No, Patrick wouldn’t send her a file on “How rich this guy is”. If this was just about money, he’d figure his check would, you know, take care of that. Weatherheight Subtext! Axel_Celosar Well…. this guy is clearly 100% douchebag and I wouldn’t feel bad in the slightest if Allison clocked him in the face. Mistress Dizzy I hate to say it, but he’s right. (Childish, but…) He has no obligation to explain his reasons. No is a valid response, and there’s nothing Al can do. Not everyone can handle the burden of saving the world, and not everyone wants to. Both are valid. Steele I’m also starting to suspect that Max is one of the high-level Bios who probably would have been murdered along with the other high-tier world-savers, except somehow, whoever did all that knew Max wouldn’t give a shit and let him live. If he has any notion of that whatsoever, staying out of the world saving business is probably in his own best interest… Richard Griffith Not “overlooked” but rather family of someone powerful who is involved in the conspiracy. Steele That, too, but I was on my way to work while typing on mobile (on a bus, not driving ant typing, don’t worry!) and didn’t wish to be too verbose! Weatherheight Or caught wind of the consequences of acting and opted out to save his skin. Or has an ability that let’s him operate unnoticed (a bit like Bink in a A Spell for Chamelon by Piers Anthony) while still having significant impact on the world. Soo many interesting ideas going on here. Izo Probably helps that he’s from a rich and powerful family and it might have been more trouble than it was worth to kill him on the off chance he MIGHT use his powers, given his personality profile which suggested he wouldn’t. Insanenoodlyguy These people didn’t think Max was a risk. The others were killed as children. Nobody would have waited around to see if the rich boy would grow up selfish or not. Doesn’t mean his powers couldn’t be beneficial, but they wouldn’t do what say, the disease talker could do. So at least on paper they aren’t that tier. Allison might be getting creative here or they are one tier below that risk threshold, the only other theory that’d make sense would be Richard’s where they were part of the conspiracy. pleasechangemymind I agree, sort of. He has no *obligation* to, per se, but they *are* having a conversation. It’s only decent to explain your reasoning, or at least politely state why you can or cannot share your reasoning (as in “I’m sorry, I promise I have reasons, but I don’t feel comfortable sharing that with you”). Given that he responded with basically “no, and because I said so,” I can’t give him that much credit. I mean, sure he doesn’t have to save the world. I can think of a million ways in which that would just be too much for him to handle. But the way he’s saying it earns him zero points from me. Loranna It would be the polite thing, yes. Conversely, from Max’s point of view, he’s already shown politeness by letting Alison into his home to begin with – he did say, last page, that coming back took a lot of nerve on her part. And he stood there, arms folded, brows furrowed oh so fiercely, and listened to Alison go on and on about an idea he probably knew from the first sentence that he wasn’t going to like. He’s being petulant, and growing more and more petulant, but I suspect, from his perspective, that he HAS made concessions to Alison already. And if Alison really feels she needs his help – or rather, the world needs his help – then her current approach is killing any chance of convincing Max later, when he’s had time to cool down and mull over her proposal. Loranna Izo It would really be great if his power is to cure diseases (like cancer) and he was shown to not be a total jerk by curing Alison’s father after he cooled down. Even if he decided to not use his power for anyone else. Makes it hard for people to see him as a villain if he saves the life of the protagonist’s father. Although I just don’t want it to be forced (either through threats and intimidation or social threats). Darkoneko Hellsing “why aven’t you fought and died yet ?” uh. Izo Probably because he’s too smart to go into a situation where he’s going to get killed. ruhrow I feel like we missed a huge explanation for the beginning of their conversation (why is she even speaking to this jerk again?) and while that can be fun/suspense building, we missed TOO much this time and now I’m just completely lost. masterofbones Patrick sent her a dossier on Max. Something in it was such a big deal that Allison was willing to immediately go back to him and apologize and ask for help. ClockworkDawn You can’t force people to be good people while still being a good person yourself, Al. Infinitive Holy shit. Max is biodynamic. And, I think, with a big-time power, from what Allison is saying. And that’s terrifying. Imagine Superman who believed in personal freedom at any cost. We’re talking Dr. Manhattan here, except without a sense of social responsibility. And Max might not be a supervillain yet, but something tells me that Allison’s about to give him an accidental big, fat push into that role. Izo Um… if someone was like a Doctor Manhattan, I’d sure as heck hope that he or she DOES believe in personal freedom at any cost. A superman who doesnt believe in the rights of the individual becomes someone like Ultraman (Superman from Earth-3), or Dr. Doom, or Black Adam, or Red Skull. Those are examples of superpowered beings who have a sense of ‘social responsibility’ (from their perspective) but without any concept of individual freedom. What do each of those people have in common? They’re supervillains/mass murderers/terrorists/threats to the entire world. I have a problem seeing Max being ‘pushed’ into the role of a supervillain in that respect, since he seems dead-set against anything which involves forcing another person to do something that they have not agreed to do. That seems to be a very un-villain-ish behavior. Etveck That’s exactly what Dr. Manhattan is though, or at least what he becomes. Though Max is still human and I would assume that if he was anywhere near Dr. Manhattan levels the secret organisation or whatever would have not let him be around. Newbie To be fair, if he was Dr. Manhattan level powerful, then the conspiracy would be in for quite a ride in trying to get rid of him. Ben Posin Wow, talk about building some dramatic tension. So, what, Max isn’t just super rich and a bit of a Randite, he didn’t just happen to meet and date Mega-Girl, he’s also (I’m guessing) a bio-dynamic with some sort of extremely societally useful ability who is happier living it up on the sidelines? Goodness, Alison lucked out in her axiology professor, he really blew open the problem for her. I really hope we’re going to eventually get back to Gurwara! leoboiko Chekov’s Axiology Class Elaine Lee Bang! Loranna Wait. Is Max a biodynamic? . . . And Alison is “asking” him to put on the cape, so to speak? Ah well, on to important matters! Like how, in Panel 5, the curve of the back of Alison’s couch makes her look like she’s grown a tail! A tail which, I note, seems to draw in ambient light, as the shadows around Alison deepen as she pleads with Max to Be A Hero. Or maybe it’s symbolic of how she’s digging herself in deeper, but I think the evidence of the comic as a whole points more toward Alison evolving into a Saiyan, so I’m sticking with her having grown a tail. Oh, and Alison? I know you’re trying to do the right thing, but Max has made it clear that he’s not interested. No means No, even for rich egotistical male possible biodynamics. Loranna masterofbones Trying to convince people to do things that they don’t currently want to do is fine in my book. On the other hand, Allison’s *methods* for doing so are… ineffective at best. Loranna In this particular instance, Alison has come to Max’s home, after offending him and ditching him on their date, in order to pitch an idea to him that involves him Doing What She Says To Do. And, as far as we know so far, there is no crisis, no -immediate- need for Max to act. Max is in his rights to refuse her request. He is also within his rights to refuse to explain his reasoning – and he’s already given Alison a pretty good idea of how he thinks, during their date. Mind you, he’s -probably- refusing to explain himself, in part, out of spite, but we already knew that Max is kind of a petty person. Alison’s still pushing her luck here though. He said he doesn’t want to help, he said he doesn’t want to explain why. She’s his guest right now; she shouldn’t be riling her host so much. Especially not if she’s hoping to get his help in the end. Loranna James D’Amato I feel like the context of HER telling someone to do something is really difficult in any discussion. Being so powerful and unassailable makes talking to her on a level playing field difficult. It has to be so intimidating to contradict her, and there must be an edge of implied violence too. I feel when people reach a point in an argument where they sense their deeply held worldview is being shaken, they are more likely to doubledown than capitulate. Coyotzin Oooooh… so THAT is what the confidential file was about? But dang, either that document had more than one name or Patrick is stalking her. David Gillon “or Patrick is stalking her.” It’s Patrick. Of course he’s stalking her! (And Lisa, and Pint-Size, and Brad, and he’s probably got someone on staff in Feral’s operating theatre). TheCrimsonKnight I’m betting on him being a supervillain who went into hiding, but am very interested to see where this goes 😮 chaosvii Or better yet, someone who would have become a supervillain except he has no aspirations to affect the world at all if he can simply get what he wants by living a fairly normal life with fat stacks of cash legally acquired through superpowers. Izo I doubt he’s a supervillain. Supervillains tend to not believe in individual liberty beyond their own. Max seems to think that way for EVERYONE (including himself). Mechwarrior Not necessarily. Supervillains also tend to be very self-serving and prone to blaming other people for their own bad behavior, like saying that’s it’s the victim’s fault for not being strong enough to stop them. Insanenoodlyguy No, Patrick would have figured that out. And it’d give Allison a leverage she isn’t using. Besides, she’d understand then, he’s a bad guy. The fact is, for all he’s a dick, he’s more lawful neutral then evil. That’s what she can’t wrap her head around. Philip Petrunak I’m betting he can control time. This is how he became so rich, by altering events in the past so his family could become super wealthy. After all, there are plenty of biodyamics who can move through space, why not time? chaosvii That would make his remarks about a lack of siblings potentially very chilling then. Insanenoodlyguy Too powerful. Now he IS the conspiracy. The one thing Patrick couldn’t find would be an organization that isn’t operating out of the present. Max doesn’t build it till he’s already won. Aaron J. Shay Ding ding ding, I think you’ve hit it on the nose Aaron J. Shay They exist, believe it or not. Aaron J. Shay She still believes, for whatever reason, that Max has the capacity for good. And she’s willing to risk her pride in order to go back to him and try to convince him. That takes, as Max said, a lot of nerve. That takes guts. I respect that quite a lot. Snowdove Why do I feel like she is talking to herself more than to him? It’s like she already knows that she can’t expect him to do anything to help, and she is trying to figure out why he would make that choice. This feels more like a monologue than a conversation. Like: you aren’t going to help people. You can. Can you help me understand why someone would make that choice so that I can figure out how to make people do good things? Weatherheight Or in a more human pattern of behavior… “Help me understand why you don’t want to do it so I can use your feelings to manipulate you into doing that very thing (with the best of intentions, mind you).” or maybe… “You’re being selfish. Selfishness is wrong. Help me understand why you’re selfish so I can help you get past being selfish.” But the first one is more likely. Brandon Quina I’m beginning to wonder if this guy, somehow, isn’t Gurwara. …or related to him in some fashion.. chaosvii That would be weird and stupid. He’s simply one of the many people that Gurwara alludes to when he demonstrates that not everyone finds Alison’s values compelling. JohnTomato Alpha Male revenge scenario? Pyro MAAAAXXXXX YOU SHITBAG Loranna Alison is clearly developing light-manipulating powers similar to Moonshadow’s, in preparation for their inevitable rematch. Which may or may not coincide with Alison’s descent into darkness. All shall fear the arrival of . . . Mega Shadow, the world’s most powerful girl! Loranna screechfox Sometimes you have to deal with stupid people for the good of [insert thing here]. I don’t necessarily agree with the things she said (the apology, for instance), but I understand why she has to do them. And she /is/ determined, and sticking to her guns of trying to help. Even if I don’t have a clue what [insert thing here] is, aside from a very vague “the world”. screechfox We still don’t know what her plan is and what she’s asking Max to do. But it’s probably very likely (at least from what I gather from the last two panels) that it’s something only Max can do. James D’Amato I genuinely think that that Allison doesn’t believe in selfish people. She has demonstrated that she believes if people fully understand a situation, they have the inherent goodness to make the right choice. When she was speaking to patrick he mentioned her believing that a telepath could never commit murder (or some crime I can’t remember and don’t have time to look it up.) Whatever cheekbones can do, she sees it as part of her one punch solution. She really believes that she can make him see that. This may be her learning the lesson that some people struggle to do the right thing, even if it is obvious. Lostman I’m going to guess retied cape like Alison. Lostman Maybe this is a very important spoiled rich brat, one she should of known about from what I am getting. Kifre I wonder if Max’s sensitivity to perceived imperatives is somehow related to his experiences as a biodynamic individual (which I where that last panel is obviously going, right?). It’s interesting how self-centered Allison actually is in her own, blindingly altruistic way. Much like she didn’t understand how not everyone could achieve the same things as her and have their own limitations, she hasn’t really grasped how everyone has their own agendas and aren’t following the same set of imperatives she is. Izo Ah ha. Max is biodynamic David Gillon I think it’s his surname, looks like ‘Prescott’, making his full name Max Elliott Prescott. Weatherheight On third look, this seems more reasonable. Dammit. 😀 Walter Makes sense. I think you are right. C.L. Inky …Because he doesn’t want to? Seriously, why is this such a hard concept to understand? Alison wants to do something with her powers that saves the world, fine. That’s admirable. I like it. But not everyone in the world will share her point of view. Why is it so hard to conceive of a person who thinks differently from oneself? Did she not have any friends growing up? Or, you know, meet any people in college? I mean, for Luna’s sake, does she just assume everyone is on her side in all things at all time? Jeez, this is kind of taking a weird turn here. Don’t get me wrong, I am not in any way condoning Max here, but…she had to expect this would be something she’d come across. masterofbones She made exactly one non-superhuman friend at college. She has a few fireman co-workers, but she doesn’t seem to have become very close with any of them. Growing up, all of her friends were superheroes doing superhero things. And now that she is an adult, she ignores all instances where her worldview doesn’t match reality. Izo And her non-superhuman friend took the opportunity to abuse the fact that she was superhuman at the protest/riot by throwing stuff at the police and expecting that they won’t do anything back because alison was there. David Gillon I wouldn’t class Violet as a friend so much as someone out to exploit her relationship with Allison. Walter You can assume SOME commonalities though. Like, if you had a button that you could press that would, I dunno, end world hunger, and you were like, meh, its all the way over there… that would be odd. Izo It’s way over there, and you will have to spend the rest of your life continually pressing it, and doing nothing else. Also you need to get across this floor of razor-sharp spikes which shoot up randomly. 🙂 Zac Caslar …not necessarily. Think about it: who else gives her this problem? The other known Biodynamics are cooperative because they essentially don’t have a choice. The exceptions are Moonshadow, the basically apolitical vigilante, and Furnace, who is dead. Oh, and don’t forget that Max knows about Feral and that he LOATHES her. He finds her repugnant and repulsive -not a little Randian, of course. Her social encounters, even with normal people, are either cooperative or indifferent because nobody has to explain to most of them that it’s worthwhile to aid the destitute. This is the first time Allison has _really_ encountered someone with privilege AND the impetus to protect it. I think it is essentially very normal to flounder in the face of someone who simply won’t help others. Why doesn’t Max care? Because he doesn’t have to. That’s the essence of privilege. “Your problems aren’t my problems.” See also the entire Trump voter bases’ stated rationale for acting as they do. To be sure I hope she punches the loathsome little prick into tomato soup and paints the moon with his guts, but that would still (probably) be the wrong approach for the problem. Walter At a guess, he has the power to change other people’s bodies, and it is “works at a glance” levels of casual. He could go most of the way towards “fixing” the biodynamic problem, as well as help a lot with garden variety racism (by letting people be any race/form they identified as), as well as end lots of old age, lots of cancer, etc. Weatherheight And I like this idea. Totally unlikely, but interesting as all get out. AmberWriter OHMYGOSH THAT DIDN’T EVEN CROSS MY MIND *BOOM* pidgey This sort of scene is troublesome for a comic that updates one page a day, because it forces people to focus on all the wrong things in the storytelling. I would encourage the author to consider updating multiple pages at once if you want to take this kind of narrative approach. Not really much to say here. Max and Alison already had this fight, and while presumably now the stakes have been raised, we don’t actually know how or what it means. The only new thing is that Alison apparently decided that Max was legitimately in her sphere of influence. Whether she’s right remains to be seen. Weatherheight I agree in principle. However, the forum is a lot of fun for me, so I’m actually more content with things as they are. Some of the side conversations have been both enlightening and fascinating and were sparked by an idea raised but not explored so much in the comic. Also, lots of smart and funny peoples in here. Renaldo Bingles So, clearly Max here has some sort of regenerative property and is very closely linked to cancer. “Fought and lost and died” AND saves millions? Max has the cure to cancer. bryan rasmussen if he’s prescient it would explain how his date with Allison went, since he’s also a giant idiot. bryan rasmussen yeah I’ve seen plenty of guys walking around with cheekbones just as good and writing their phone numbers on t-shirts. Hiram Prediction: Whatever Max is capable of doing to save people would simultaneously reduce market pressures that keep him filthy stinking rich. Walter Eh, rich doesn’t really work that way. Once you are mansion rich, you can’t really lose it if you don’t decide to put it at rich. Crow But once you’re Mansion Rich, there are a lot of upkeep and lifestyle costs. You need to be bringing a lot of money in to just keep the things you have. Plus, if the richness comes from some sort of business, you will lose your money trying to keep the business running while it fails and stops bringing in money. papino134 i just understood he cant die well yes but not permanently and i guess it hurt a lot The Improbable Man Yeah, that’s what I was thinking, but you beat me by 6 hours! Izo On the other hand, Max is someone who’s never killed hundreds of people or been a terrorist, unlike Patrick. Although I do think Alison is wasting her time trying to get Max to do something he doesnt want to do, especially since the only reason she is there is because she found out he has powers. And once she finds out, she goes from hating his guts to asking him for a favor involving using his powers. Seems a bit too soon to ask for favors. Mind you, I still think Max is a jerk. But he’s a jerk who isn’t hurting ANYONE else and not trying to control other people’s lives against their will, unlike Patrick. Even someone like Alison (who is a really good and extremely caring person, and is IMHO a much better person than Max) has more innocent blood on her hands (ie, bystanders like Professor Cohen’s partner) than Max. Weatherheight Not necessarily weird, but maybe extremely lucky in having a wonderful social circle. I know a couple people very much like Max, one of whom is even more over-the-top. He’s an acquaintance, not a friend. The other is a lot more low key but shares many a viewpoint with Our Max. He’s only occasionally strident (Less than myself, to be honest). Shjade Well dang. Weatherheight Also, nice idea! The entire dossier is made up by someone hired by Patrick, as well as the others, with just enough truth to make it seem truthful. bta If that’s true then I guess Allison keeps falling for guys with psychic powers. Izo I should hope it wouldn’t be. It would go against everything that Alison stands for to try to force him to do something against his will. pleasechangemymind “How the fuck have I never heard of you before?” WHO IS MAX GALT Izo I don’t think Al is selfish. I think she figures her own integrity and the integrity of Valkyrie is more important than $25 million from a terrorist organization run by a mass murderer who she already told she was going to put in prison within 2 years time. That’s actually selfless not selfish. She believes in justice for others and doing what’s right even more than her own dreams and goals. Izo I really think that you’re onto something! That seems like a really good guess! Loranna I suspect that, were this an RPG, Alison’s Flaw: Hopeless Idealism, would be one the Evil Game Master would NEVER let her buy off. At best, she’d buy up her Wisdom/Insight stat enough that she can – eventually – see past her own idealism. Sometimes. When she isn’t under a lot of emotional stress, giving her a penalty to such rolls. >=D Loranna Tsapki Going to go ahead and speculate on this. What if Max is a healer? Able to heal himself or other via some active rather than passive ability. It might explain why he took a shot at Feral. Mechwarrior No, I’m pretty certain that he took a shot at Feral because he’s an asshole. Izo This is also a reasonable assumption. And both could be correct. 🙂 Izo It’s a reasonable assumption 🙂 Loranna It’s more, people are inferring that Max is biodynamic, from the way Alison’s talking on this page. We don’t have any confirmation yet that it’s true. We’re coming into this scene at the tail end of Alison’s Big Plan, with no idea what she actually said. That’s In Media Res, a classic method for drawing a reader into a scene; start in the middle of the action, so they follow along to find out what’s happening. Loranna The Improbable Man It looks like Prescott to me, which I assumed was his last name. Tylikcat I have to give you this one. Elliott is the middle name? prak “I am but a humble mind-reader. […] If you can hear someone’s darkest desire, and see their entire memory laid out in front of you, and you still can’t get them to do what you’d like, it says more about you than the people you’re attempting to control.” Alison stop being a superhero because she wanted to start fixing the world. Patrick was a villain because he thought fixing the world required that he be in control of it. She needs (or wants) Patrick to go back to doing what he was doing as a villain. Loranna Give in to the snappily-dressed, gold-accessorized Snark Side! It Is Your DESTINY! Loranna Quite Likely Max is a super? When did we find that out? bta He’s *not* a super. Not a superhero, supervillain or superneutral, nothing, or else she’d likely have heard of him. He has apparently done nothing attention-worthy with his amazing mysterious power and she can’t understand why. Zechariah Val Judy I get the feeling that half the reason he’s jumping on each of these little phrases is that for him, this is not a new argument and the things she is saying are old irritants. If he does have power to change things, he’ll have had dozens of well-meaning authority figures trying to get him to use them for the greater good since he was a little snot. And now she’s not starting a rational discussion, but invoking the passion of a hundred old arguments with authority figures. Weatherheight Hehehe.. told you Gurwara had a point. Well concealed in the prickliness, mind you. Don’t you hate it when you start agreeing with someone you can’t stand? 😀 Izo My brain hurts from having to justify something Gurwara said. It does make this webcomic absurdly good in how it managed to make me do that, though. Weatherheight Nicely said! Weatherheight You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey through an ambiguous place whose boundaries are that of wild speculation. That’s the signpost up ahead – your next stop, the Fandom Zone! When we don’t know, we make up shit. It’s a thing. 😀 dragonus45 Hmmm, seems like Alison isn’t quite understanding the meaning of consent here. Izo It’s an age-old question about whether humans are inherently good, and civilization makes them have the ability to be bad, or if humans are inherently bad, and civilization makes them have the ability to be good. Hobbes believed the latter. Rousseau believed the former. Maybe the answer is somewhere in between the two extremes? Weatherheight As a philosophy instructor of mine once said, “Human nature versus cultural nurture is a tricky thing. It is human nature to crap in your pants, but that does come with a big down-side.” I wish he’d replaced “down-side” with “down-load”, but there you are. Insanenoodlyguy No, they killed the others as kids. I mean, I’m sure it’s a good power, but it’s not considered (at least by these shadow players) a world changer worth killing over or they wouldn’t have let him live long enough to chance it. Selfish is a condition that could change, too risky. Izo Unless he, unlike a lot of other kids, never bothered to use his powers at all until later, and even then sparingly so. Or maybe his family is so rich and powerful and had friends in government that it was deemed too much of a risk to try to kill him. Weatherheight See post above. Mwu-ha-ha. Insanenoodlyguy I still don’t think it’d be enough, unless his parents actually were PART of the conspiracy. Money alone wouldn’t be protection, or Patrick would have found them by now. Insanenoodlyguy Ohh, I like this one. The conspiracy missed him because nobody figured it out at the time. It’s not as overt as the diesase talker, but it’d still be huger, and it gives Allison that personal investment that could even push her over the edge of “I’ll make you.” Insanenoodlyguy I’d honestly prefer it has nothing to do with his money. Narratively it’s better that he simply DOESN’T USE his power. Apathy born of selfishness instead of simple selfishness. Insanenoodlyguy Selfish, no, but stupid. Insanenoodlyguy She hasn’t heard of him cause he never used his power. At least not publicly. Insanenoodlyguy No, we will learn that what he could do would be amazing… if he ever chose to do it. Cyrano111 Wasn’t this the discussion Pintsize and Allison had when they first met? Where he pointed out that obviously becoming superheroes was what the government wanted them to do, but it couldn’t say that to them? Weatherheight I do believe you’re right. Foreshadowing… maybe? 3-I The real problem is that instead of not doing the right thing because they’re being manipulated or not doing the right thing because they’re not paying attention, we’re now dealing with “not doing the right thing because you’re a self-centered jackass who can’t even be bothered to have ONE GODDAMN CONVERSATION without making a threatening posturing stance about how YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME and refuses to even try to justify his beliefs.” Lysiuj Yeah, that’s what I was thinking; except, a few comments here make me think that he might have some good reasons for it, like being coerced into using his powers in the past, not wanting to expose himself as Biodynamic, etc. Guess we’ll have to wait one or two pages and see if he has some good reasons, or if he’s just a self-centered jerk who can’t even be bothered to say “I’m a self-centered jerk”. Johan Yeah it’s hard to really tell what’s going on without a few more pages. I believe Max has excuses for the person he’s become, it’s quiet clear there’s some trauma buried in there, or he wouldn’t react that violently. Still don’t like him but I really want to know more. Izo If he never really used his powers though, or only used them later on sparingly, they might not have known about his powers until much later, and by that time it was clear he was not someone who was going to be using the powers. I mean… i’m assuming the conspiracy learned what the kids powers were because they actually used them at an early age. If he didn’t use them at an early age, how would they have known? Mechwarrior You know, this is really like the worst judgement Alison has shown in the comic to date. I mean, seriously, you just ditched a guy due to being a horrible person on a date, and then hours later you come racing back to try and get him to do something for you? No, Alison, the guy is never going to say yes to you in that situation. James D’Amato She is entitled to be a little naive though, she’s still like 19 right? I wouldn’t call her hopeless. She is growing and learning. To a certain extent, thank god she believes what she does. More than any biodynamic individual we have seen, she could be a destructive force. Her assertion that people are good has to help her use her powers responsibly. SFP has always been a thoughtful and inspirational book. I doubt we’ll see Allison grow into the one dimensional idealism of a character like Superman (not that I don’t love Superman.) She is being challenged intellectually on all fronts. I believe she will develop a complex nuanced moral code. That said, I doubt that SFP will end up suggesting that cynicism is wisdom. I generally dislike the jaded “you grow up when you realize people are bad” mentality that masks itself as moral relativism. I am excited to see where Allison goes. I love her flaws. They are part of what makes her so likeable. Santiago Tórtora That sounds like they are a waste of time. If the characteristics in question are corroborated, why do you even need the stereotype? Mouser None of this has anything to do with Max having any powers – except the powers of the purse. He has access to funds that Allison wants. Funds that he sees no benefit to simply giving away. Allison want Max to do something. She think it’s the bestest thing in the world. For Max’s own reasons, he chooses NOT to do this thing. He’s saying “No.” Considering all the practice Allison has had lately, she REALLY should be getting better at acceptance of people not agreeing with her or her plans. Not EVERYONE wants to save the world. Not EVERYONE will sacrifice everything for YOUR plans. The kinds of things she wants to do require building consensus and cooperation, two things she’s never really HAD to do. Also, I think Allison is about to discover that some people just don’t care, and you can’t force compassion into someone. David Gillon Lot of people speculating Max might be a precog or a healer. But Allison says (P5) “Doing an act of unspeakable heroism”. IMO, that argues for something actively in the face of danger. Society tends to misuse ‘heroism’ around passive acts, or just existing (e.g. with disability), where risk isn’t a factor, but I don’t think Allison would. Allison understands what real heroism is, she’s ‘seen the elephant’ (i.e. combat) and she’s apparently comparing Max to biodynamics who have died fighting (P7). And (P7) “How the fuck have I never heard of you before?” seems to argue he has in fact been active in a way Allison should have heard of. Which makes me wonder if he may be ex-Black Ops, which might also fit his issues with authority. Allison ultimately balked at being a civilian child-soldier, how much worse would it be to be a military one? And if that’s the case, Allison’s in the process of berating someone for being in the same situation she was at the start of SFP. Weatherheight OR… ::puts on his best evil grin:: Max is behind all these killings and has managed to fool everyone, including Patrick, using his vast cosmic powers! Mwu-ha-ha-ha! (Pretty sure it’s not this, but I wanted to be the first to go to the severely ridiculous logical leap). ::waggles his ears and does a little tap dance with his hooves, then jumps backwards as far as he can:: Weatherheight I find the plot line interesting if only because they point out that the act of the precog telling what he’s foreseeing is *not* an action the precog foresaw, thus his telling has potentially already altered the events that follow in some small but potentially vitally important way. And they do this in the first issue of the story arc. Damn shame about Jen, though. Hope that gets fixed by the end of the plot line. Weatherheight OR He’s foreseen the consequences of helping her and they are… untenable. The entire dating gambit was an ill-conceived attempt to redirect her onto a new path that failed miserably… or was exactly what he needed to thwart her and make it stick. Fun movie-viewing suggestion – watch Minority Report, but keep this thought in mind. Agatha (the female precog) has foreseen the one possible future that can get her and her brothers out of the tanks, and the entire movie is her moving the chess pieces to achieve that end. Then note how many times people are motivated to act based on what they are told by the precogs. A bit scary. Mechwarrior No, Minority Report was an utterly stupid movie. The book was a lot better. Weatherheight Neat insight. Weatherheight I didn’t think he would have much of a backstory and I am frankly thrilled that he is more than a Glass Man (that’s an obviously transparent Straw Man). ::pulls out a feedbag of popcorn and a big bucket of lemonade with a long straw and flops to the ground:: Please tell me a story! Weatherheight Brennan and Molly have had a lot of fun taking existing tropes and re-framing them in uncomfortable and thought-provoking ways. I feel this is the main draw of the story and assists with keeping it fresh and unexpected in a very well-mined genre. Crow Foreword: I love this comic, and while there is criticism in my comment, it isn’t meant to be overly harsh or vitriolic. I can’t speak for anyone else, but the reason I dislike Max so much is a much more base reason. I find him incredibly, breath-taking-ly boring. I think his arc is boring. I think his static disposition and predictability are boring. I don’t think throwing in a twist that he’s powerful makes him any less boring as a piece of the narrative. I know that people often see the past through rose-tinted glasses, but I went back and read the Feral arc and the Moonshadow arc. I reread the complexities of developing feelings for Patrick and the painful moment where he tries to push her away. I loved SFP back then, and while I still read the new page on update days, I’m just waiting and waiting for this Max business to be over. Bring back Patrick and Pintsize and Cleaver. Yes, Alison is having to question the nature of free will and selfishness, but unless something really changes in the next few pages, the only thing keeping me ‘turning the page’ is hope that this arc will wrap up soon and we can move on. Crow I agree about the slow-burning discovery part, but only to an extent. If Friday’s page is also nebulous and we get more of “I’m a jerk and you can’t change my mind” without learning anything new about why, that would get my goat just a little bit. Olivier Faure You make some interesting points, but I’d say you’re being very harsh to Allison. Most of her decisions and thought processes do include a healthy dose of humility and self-questioning. Besides, this situation can hardly be blamed on her alone. Most communications problems are a failure of every party involved, not just the party you don’t like. Mouser I’m wrong – that’s what was in the folder.