Happy Halloween! My solo graphic novel, THE WITCH BOY, is out today from Scholastic! It’s a middle grade book (ages 8+) about magic, gender, family, and summer in the forest. You can get it on Amazon or at your local bookstore. Obviously it’s a very different vibe from SFP, but if any of that sounds interesting to you or to any kids in your life, early book sales can help a new author like me out a lot! Thanks!


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  • Theobservantwolf

    Hmm, does the sentinel have a scar across the left eye? The same marking was in the previous page too… Alison weathered that blow pretty well!

  • M. Alan Thomas II

    And @Gothamheart (“Gotham”) wins the “Awwwww” prediction!

    • Franklin J Gomes

      Two times in a row!!! Someone is a wizard or (thematically appropriate) reading the authors minds

      • Jshadow

        It’s either a wizard, or predicatble writing.

      • GreatWyrmGold

        Strange minds think alike.

  • Arkone Axon

    So… Clevin’s getting dumped, isn’t he?

    • Danygalw


      • Arkone Axon

        Since her relationship with Clevin started, it’s been strongly implied that he is 1: a rebound relationship; 2: in danger just by being around her (he’s already almost died when Mary wanted a distraction); 3: accepted as romantic material purely because he’s the polar opposite of her usual “type,” the sort she’s always been attracted to. And here comes the “bad boy” that is not only her type in general, but whom she was badly crushing on specifically (and “terrorist leader” definitely falls in the “bad boy” spectrum). And she has just literally seen the “sweet inner core” hidden under Patrick’s surface.

        This is usually when the rebound boyfriend receives a speech involving phrases like “it’s not you, it’s me.” This sort of thing is why a lot of us were against Alison and Clevin dating in the first place – simply put, he deserves better than to be a rebound fling (we all do, really). Especially since that conspiracy is still around, and Alison has recently made some very powerful personal enemies (as in, it is now personal between them). So… dumped is quite likely, but that beats being stuffed into a fridge…

        • R Lex Eaton

          I can see the way your logic is working, but if I can offer a different interpretation…

          I don’t think Alison’s reaction stems from romance. I remember how, right before her powers evolve, she dismisses Patrick’s transparent attempt at manipulating her and says she knows he’s a good and decent person beneath all that. He calls that all into question pretty quickly, of course, but here…

          “Awww… he DOES have some humanity in him! I was right about you, Patrick! Isn’t that a great reaffirmation of human compassion and–” SMASH!

          At least, that’s how I see it. It will be interesting to see how this affects her and Clevin, though.

        • ampg

          But I’ll bet if you gave Clevin the choice of a happy but ultimately temporary romance with Al, or no romance at all, he’d pick the former. After all, other than the one sign that she might take him for granted a bit, they do seem to have a loving, healthy relationship, at least right now. He might be OK with the idea that they’re not going to end up as life partners.

          • Arkone Axon

            One of my favorite book series is “The Dresden Files,” by Jim Butcher. One of the running subplots in the series is the relationship between Harry Dresden and his apprentice Molly – who is not only a very attractive woman (with all the magical specialties one associates with “enchantress”), but also happens to have had a mad crush on Harry since she was a young teenager. If you gave her the choice of a happy but ultimately temporary romance with Harry, she’d be stripping down before you could finish asking the question.

            …But Harry constantly refuses to give her what she wants, because he’s known her since she wore a training bra, her father is his best friend, and because, to reference “Firefly,” he does not want to go to the special hell. And Molly may want it, but Harry is the knowledgeable one, the one who can make the informed decision.

            Just as Alison is the knowledgeable one. She chose to accept the convenience and comfort that Clevin provided for the moment, without pausing to consider the long term repercussions for herself… or for Clevin. A broken heart is NEVER fun… and a broken heart is the best case scenario.

          • Nebty

            Ehhhh, I like the Dresden Files too, but I’m not seeing the comparison. The biggest problem being that Alison and Clevin are the same age. They’re both confused young adults who are trying out new things. Also, this is Alison’s first real relationship (I don’t really count the couple of dates with Max). It’s kind of a given that your first relationship won’t work out. Does that mean you don’t try?

            Going back to the Dresden Files, Harry won’t try with Molly because she’s young enough to be his daughter and that’s creepy. Alison’s not under that same obligation.

          • Arkone Axon

            They’re both the same age, but Alison is privy to information that Clevin is not. Namely, that she’s being targeted by powerful and dangerous groups (and she just told Feral that she’s actively ENCOURAGING them to take shots at her. She seems to have forgotten that if someone shoots her with a missile, she might survive but the people in her vicinity won’t). Not to mention that she had just had two romantic “upsets” in short order (first the breakup with Patrick, then what happened with Max).

            She’s taken lives. She’s seen COMBAT. It keeps having to be pointed out that she’s a child soldier who has been through a whole lot of crap. She’s supposed to be responsible here, because she’s the one with the information and experience that Clevin lacks.

            (this is why a number of people have advanced the theory that superheroes not sharing their true identity with close friends and loved ones achieves the exact opposite of the intended goal of “keeping them safe.” Hard to avoid getting stuffed into a fridge when you don’t know that there’s a costumed nutcase with a butcher’s knife nursing a grudge against your beau)

          • Zorae42

            Except Clevin knows she’s dangerous. He might not know the specifics of what she’s doing right now. But the incident with Cleaver was public and Moonshadow literally gave him a fatal wound to distract Alison. Clevin knows all this and still wants to be with her.

            Saying she should refuse to date him because it puts him in danger totally denies his agency in all this and infantilizes him.

          • Arkone Axon

            Moonshadow was a serial killer who showed up because Clevin was friends with one of her designated victims. That’s a “one off” in terms of danger. But unless she’s told him, “by the way, I’ve been actively working to piss off a super secret shadowy organization into coming after me,” he has no idea of his current danger. Especially since it’s an organization that was killing superpowered kids before she even put on a costume in the first place.

            Plus the bit about the ex-boyfriends. Does Clevin know that she used to date a supervillain whom she’s still carrying a torch for? Or that her last relationship ended with her committing a multitude of felonies because he wouldn’t freely share the use of his body for her desires? You want to talk about denial of agency, how about dating someone who has no idea that your last romantic partner was restrained by your superior strength and then told, “nobody will help you, nobody will save you, nobody can hear you scream, and you will now do what I want or I will kill you?”

          • Nebty

            They’ve been dating for, what, 2 months? That seems like a 3 month anniversary kind of confession to me. Also, uh, “…wouldn’t freely share the use of his body for her desires”? That sure is a way of putting that. Are you trying to make some kind of sexual assault analogy? Because that is gross and out of place.

            You seem to be arguing that Alison should go through life friendless and alone because she’s a superhero. And hey, other superhero stores have done exactly that. But that’s not the kind of story this is. There are real-life people who are targeted by hate groups or tyrannical governments. There are real-life people who use physical violence as part of their jobs. Should they not have romantic relationships either? This whole line of argument seems silly when the point of the comic is that it’s a more realistic take on superheroes.

          • Arkone Axon

            No, I am not arguing that Alison should “go through life friendless and alone.” But I do believe she should be more responsible. Those real-life people who are targeted by hate groups and tyrannical governments (and for that matter, criminal organizations that think car bombs and drive-by-shootings are smart options) do not let their loved ones go uninformed of the danger. “Honey, please be careful – if someone looking like this and acting like this comes near, get someplace safe and try to let me know if you have an opportunity.” She’s been behaving as though her inability to be physically harmed somehow extends to those around her… and not informing others of the issues, or letting them provide assistance (either in drawing out the conspiracy OR in limiting collateral damage when Alison’s trap is sprung) is robbing them of their agency. Simply put: she’s not trusting them to make their own decisions for themselves.

            And in answer to your question, am I attempting to make some kind of sexual assault analogy? No: I’m deliberately and very pointedly making a sexual assault analogy. Imagine her actions, and his, with the genders reversed. Alphonse learning that Maxine is a Magical Princess type, with a special power innate to her bloodline that he can use to accomplish his goals. Al tries explaining why he needs her to do this, but Maxine is scared – she knows that people will come after her if they learn about the secret of her innate abilities. Of course Alphone could take the time to persuade her, acknowledge her fears, respect her decisions, and find a way to address her concerns so that she can still do this for him… but it’s so much easier to just pretend he’s made a legitimate attempt, then grab her, make it clear that Maxine lacks the physical ability to stop this from happening – it’s only a question of how much she wants it to hurt. He then drags her off to make use of her body’s abilities, ignoring her screams, pleadings, and tears. And then afterwards, when she’s speaking calmly because she’s in shock and numb from the realization that someone she trusted would do this to her… Al tells her that he did it because he was stronger, and anytime he feels like coming back to do it again, he will.

            Notice how incredibly VILE that sounds? Notice how turning the perpetrator into a muscular blonde man and the victim into a shapely but unathletic female makes it seem like a truly horrible thing to do? Well, as I pointed out to R Lex Eaton in another thread on this page’s comments, there’s a simple litmus test to apply to moral quandaries. Just reverse the situations of those involved, and see how it looks.

            (Also, please don’t argue that women cannot commit sexual assault, or that men cannot be victims of sexual assault. Even though Alison didn’t apply any sexual overtones to her behavior… which still doesn’t make her actions any less heinous)

          • Nebty

            Man, is there a report button around here somewhere? Because this comment is really gross…

          • Zorae42

            Moonshadow was a one off. But as an ex-Super Hero it’s a given that she made a lot of enemies when she was active. And we have no idea how many are still free and hiding or have free relatives. And with Alison being invulnerable, targeting her non-super boyfriend seems like something they might do to get revenge/take her down a peg. Again, he doesn’t need to know about the specific organization she’s currently trying to root out to know that dating her is inherently dangerous.

            Now you’re deflecting/changing the subject. The point still stands that making the decision that it’s too dangerous to date her for Clevin is saying that he can’t make his own life choices properly and denying him the choice to make them.

          • Arkone Axon

            Actually, he DOES need to know about the specific organization, and that she’s specifically attempting to provoke them. There’s a difference in threat levels between “superpowered criminals nursing petty grudges against a retired hero who foiled their schemes half a decade ago,” and “secret organization with unknown – but presumably massive and powerful – assets, being actively prodded into going after a hero who only pretended to hang up the cape.”

            So what denies him the choice is the lack of information. He deserves to be allowed to make an INFORMED decision about whether or not he wants to get involved in this level of danger. The danger level is far greater than he knows, far greater than he can be reasonably expected to know.

            Also, the fact that she’s got enemies is not the reason she should have pushed him away (at least for the time being). The reason she should have kept him at arm’s length is that she just got out of TWO relationships that ended very badly (and one of which it turns out hasn’t actually ended). It’s not fair to someone to make them a rebound fling.

          • Zorae42

            ??? I mean, you can only get so dead. And it would be reasonable to expect both groups to potentially not make it a very quick/painless death, or to go after his family. Yeah one is a lot stronger than the other. But Clevin is way weaker than both of them and wouldn’t stand a chance against either – making the danger pretty much the same all around.

            I don’t know what you mean by ‘turns out hasn’t ended’ since she was never in a relationship with Patrick. She may have crushed on him, but that’s nowhere near “being in a relationship” (especially since she then decided he didn’t like her that way and was fine with just being friends). And thinking that it’s sweet he views her as being strong/safe/protective doesn’t mean she wants to get back together with him. Heck, she’s willing to let him die to get the info she needs from him. I don’t think she really has those feelings for him.

            Plus, Clevin knows she just got out of a relationship with Max. He knows she wasn’t sure about her feelings for him and was still willing to date her despite all that. And since she dropped the ‘I love you…r’ bomb I’m pretty sure she’s figured out her feelings for him and doesn’t just see him as a ‘rebound fling’.

          • Arkone Axon

            “I mean, you can only get so dead. ” We’re not talking about the amount of deadness, but the likelihood of deadness (And yes, I just used “deadness” as a word). Clevin knows there’s a slight risk… he doesn’t know that the risk is greater than he believes it to be. It’s kind of like how farmers in the American Midwest were told that they were only being exposed to “mild” levels of radiation from the nuclear tests… when in fact they were being exposed to rather massive doses and lied to about it (this is why people today believe even a little radiation can be dangerous). Clevin thinks the only danger is old enemies showing up because Alison is retired… he doesn’t know that Alison is actively goading a large and powerful conspiracy. He is not being given the information he requires to make an informed decision. Kind of like how Spider-Man and other heroes never ever tell their own romantic partners about their secret identities… and the result is a completely unexpected kidnapping and/or murder a la Gwen Stacey (and the exceptions show what happens when said lovers are informed and aware. When Mary Jane Parker was aware that her husband was Spider-Man, she was easily able to figure out when the Chameleon was impersonating her husband, and then deal with the situation. With the aid of a baseball bat. Resulting in a somewhat less extreme version of… this: http://www.superstupor.com/sust12272007.shtml )

            And… not sure what you mean about Alison being prepared to let Patrick die. She just dove into his head to SAVE him. Not just the information he may possess, but to his life and sanity.

          • Zorae42

            Except one of those people literally gave him a fatal wound. People with a grudge against her have done way more to hurt her/the people around her than the shadowy government that she’s honestly not doing a good job of provoking just yet (I assume because she’s still trying to figure out how). A way for in danger women to get in contact with super heroes isn’t really on par with the people they’ve killed.


          • Arkone Axon

            No, Moonshadow gave him a potentially fatal wound – if he’d been given a literally fatal wound he’d be dead. And Clevin does NOT know that she is dangerous. He knows that she used to interact with dangerous people, but he believes her to be retired from active hero-ing, much like a veteran soldier who was discharged and now works as a peaceful activist. He has no awareness of an organization that was killing children before the biodynamics knew of their own existence. He also has no awareness of her deliberate intentions of picking fights with said organization. And as you just said – people with a grudge against her have done much to hurt the people around her. Moonshadow used a knife and was less interested in hurting Alison than in escaping. Her other enemies didn’t think to target any specific individual… but she’s picking a fight with people who would think nothing of blowing up a building she’s in just to express their displeasure. Collateral damage isn’t a big issue with them; they proved that when they murdered a kid who could have cured every disease in existence.

            On this matter, she should INFORM him of the risks and then let him make an informed decision – otherwise he is indeed being infantilized, because she’s making the decision on his behalf (like when Homer Simpson forges Marge’s signature on a loan application or will… to Marge’s considerable and fully justified displeasure). The other issue – the fact that she’s had two relationships fall apart due in no small part to her violent tendencies, as well as the fact that one of them is a wanted terrorist with absolutely breathtaking personal issues – is why she should indeed distance herself from him – she needs to work on herself. She needs to learn better behavioral patterns so she can be a better partner for future relationships. And she needs to establish that she can be a secure and complete person in her own right, not needing someone to make her life complete (because then she can GIVE, from sufficiency, not merely take, from need. Alison may have her faults, but she’s no whiny damsel desperate for her One Twu Wuv like that twit from “Twilight”).

          • Lisa Izo

            Unfortunately, Clevin seems like the type of person who would be a big pushover with Alison, and I feel like she’s just going to walk all over his feeling and he’ll be like ‘okay’ because he doesn’t have the self-confidence to realize he deserves to be treated better.

            If Alison was smart, she’d stick with ‘all around harmless good guy’ Clevin. He’s loyal, he’s loving, he’s not going to argue with her because he has this crush on her (and she seems to not like when people challenge her intellectually in discussions since she’s not good at winning arguments which doesn’t involve punching or threatening to punch), and most importantly, he hasnt killed thousands of people. Plus he’s not an Ayn Randite, which apparently is something which makes Alison think is worthy of being thrown into the sun (or being forced against their will by threat of arm-breaking or dumping in the ocean). Oh and I guess he gives good foot massages and makes decent pasta.

            If she was to leave him because she wanted to PROTECT him from her enemies, then okay… I could respect that. That would be noble of her. She’s be doing the ‘if you love someone, let them go’ route. But I don’t think that’s why she’ll leave him. She’ll probably leave him because she’s too into bad boy Patrick instead.

            So I repeat, if Alison was a smart person, she’d stay with Clevin and be happy for being in a good relationship for a change (assuming she was able to bring down that conspiracy that Patrick keeps going on about, or assuming she just stops going after that conspiracy, thus making herself no longer a target). She’d actually be HAPPY with him. But I’ve made my opinions about Alison’s intelligence levels quite a few times in the past. To the point that it’s become my mantra about her.

            “Alison is not a bright person.”

        • Danygalw

          She wasn’t attracted to annoying rich boy because he looked anywhere near “bad boy”.

    • Glotos

      I dunno…Clevin’s still got the sane thing going for him.

      • Arkone Axon

        Yeah, but it’s ALISON. Her track record of making smart decisions remains spotty at best. (then again, as I pointed out in my response to Danygalw, a smart decision would have been to tell Clevin right away, “I’m VERY flattered…but I just dumped someone and it’s not fair to you to make you the rebound guy for someone you’re crushing on so badly. Especially since I’ve been trying to piss off some very powerful people… and I think I may have succeeded, so you should probably keep a safe distance from me until the smoke clears…”)

        • bryan rasmussen

          When you’re mega-girl you don’t need to make good decisions.

          • GreatWyrmGold

            Didn’t she quit being Mega-Girl a while back?

          • palmvos

            yes, but shes in her early twenties. its really hard to make good decisions at that age. that’s why we make them pick their first career at that age.

  • Franklin J Gomes

    “We need to go to the tower! It’s our only hope!”

    -Insert “Predator” joke-

    -Insert “Star Wars” joke-

    • Arkone Axon

      -Insert “Dark Tower” joke-

    • Bob Stewart

      -Insert “Airplane” joke-

      • Patrick picked a really bad week to give up not drinking?

    • Weatherheight

      – Insert “Into the Woods” joke –
      – Insert “Tangled” joke –

    • Kid Chaos

      -Insert “Get to da choppaaaaa!” joke (what? All the good ones were taken). 😜

  • Gotham

    And again, Anima!Patrick seems overly eager. Is it, really, their only hope? Or, say, could Alison strut at a leisurely pace in the opposite direction to distract the Sentinel while getting punched through the ground repeatedly to literally no effect?
    (I even processed that she was yawning at first instead of coughing, as if to say “Is this really all you got”?)

    Disclaimer: if I again manage to predict what next page will be and this will entirely be Alison’s plan, I swear to use my spoiler powers for good.

    • Herwood

      Your powers are too great! You are next on the list!

      • AdamBombTV

        SHHHHH, Don’t tell him about the list! Now quickly, help us lure him into this net.

        • Gotham

          It’s, her, actually.

          • AdamBombTV

            Correct pronouns now loaded and will be used from this point forward. Thank you for upgrading “AdamBombTV comment bot.”

    • Pol Subanajouy

      No, use your spoiler powers for evil. Because that’s the narratively appropriate temptation to crop up just as someone discovers a new power. But you knew that was coming because these are spoiler powers.

      *jumps down rabbit hole*

    • Weatherheight

      The genre savvy is strong in this one…

  • Darkoneko Hellsing

    Uh, she looks actually bruised (unless I’m mistaking dust stains). Is it because it’s a dream world ?

    • Gotham


      • Darkoneko Hellsing

        soil, dirt

        • Kid Chaos

          Powdered rubble. 💀

  • bryan rasmussen

    wait a second, this is all a big manipulation from Patrick to get something he wants.

    • R Lex Eaton

      It’s quite possible, yes. He’s like an X-Files character that way.

      • Merle

        This is reaching Legacy of Kain-levels of self-weirdness.

        Now we just need a page of Patrick attacking himself with himself while trying to attack himself.

        • R Lex Eaton

          And that’s why I love superhero stories.

    • Elaine Lee

      If he can’t read his own mind, how can he control his own mind well enough to manipulate a visitor to it?

      • There are (at least) a couple of real world engineering parallels. Write Only Memory has real engineering uses – simple example, a single bit of memory that’s also wired to an LED, more complex example, data that’s write-only in this system, but is alkso readable by a different system.. And there’s Black Box Testing, where you test code without actually having access to the internals (though there you normally have an idea of what is supposed to happen).

        If Patrick has a good enough model of what”s gone into his miod, he may be able to logically model its internals as an extreme version of black box testing and the memory palace plays into this. But the simplest answer is he doesn’t have control of what’s happening, that Menace, and the Anima, and the Staypuft Marshmallow Girl are all running autonomously

    • Stephanie

      Yeah, I’m kind of getting that vibe. It felt like the Anima was really making a meal out of setting up the Sentinel reveal to get this exact reaction out of Alison.

    • Weatherheight

      Of course it is.
      And not.
      I mean, if this is a Jungian scenario, conflicting interests and desires are a necessity.

  • Herwood

    Its interesting that the Female Patrick said that it was Menace’s perception of power and safety that made the Sentinel. So I am wondering whether the Menace personality is bad or not. He could be the true Patrick or not, I am not sure.

    • GreatWyrmGold

      Tell me something. Is your right hand the true you?

      • Glotos

        No, but it makes for a very compatible date.

        • GreatWyrmGold

          My bad, I should have seen that coming.

    • Weatherheight

      They’re *all* the true Patrick.
      None of us, not one of us, is just one thing.
      Our minds are very good at discriminating between one thing and another, making comparisons and contrasts. We believe that, because we think that way, that our conclusions are thereby valid in every aspect. But those ways we do not think also have something valid to say.

      You are the sum of your parts – and you are more than the sum of your parts.

      • Herwood

        Yeah, but I’m not ruling out that it could be a sort of mental attack. Like maybe its a mental virus sent in by The Professor (you know the one that managed to fool an entire class, school and teacher for a really long time). I know its far fetched but when it comes to the mind-scape in a superhero comic I don’t rule out much. XD

        • Weatherheight

          It’s a possibility – Patrick’s power set heretofore hasn’t included mental illusions, but nothing in canon precludes it, either.
          I don’t think this is Arjun, but again, nothing precludes that either.
          I’m taking things at face value until I get a clear sign things aren’t. 😀

  • David Nuttall

    Just remember Alison, in Patrick’s mental mindscape, you are likely more vulnerable than you are in the physical environment.

    • Weatherheight

      Mostly because you believe you are more vulnerable, since this isn’t your mind…

    • Nightsbridge

      She might be even stronger, if her fortitude is instead based on how strong Patrick thinks she is.

    • Walter

      Or possibly the exact opposite. Menace has lost to her a lot, and Patrick is in love with her. She may be literally invincible here.

  • spriteless

    OMG the plot is moving so fast! I was afraid this place would pull a 9th elsewhere!

  • Dwight Williams

    First flattered, then flattened.

    My apologies.

    • SaiyanHeretic

      Yeah, she was touched.

      • Weatherheight

        You might even say gobsmacked..

        • palmvos

          whatever she was definitely floored.

          • Lisa Izo

            All these puns are simply smashing.

      • and then touchéd

    • AdamBombTV

      I want you to go stand in the corner and think about what you did.

      • palmvos

        i thought it was pretty clever actually.

        • AdamBombTV

          *I know, I’m just angry that I didn’t think of it first*

    • Mechwarrior

      Standard first relationship.

  • Walter

    First 2 panels are best 2 panels.

  • Pol Subanajouy
    • In any case, it was exactly MY reaction.

    • Will be useful for whenever someone gets a photo of cute wildlife about to maul something.

  • Jeremy

    I love Alison’s response – the move from Awww to sh– is perfect!

    So now it’s a question of whether real Alison can defeat idealized Alison…

  • Weatherheight

    And this is the reason why Alison should no longer be a superhero – completely wrong reaction.
    The correct response is,
    “Aw, shit! Diving for cover, GM! Diving for Cover!”
    “Make that roll, Alison…”.

  • JohnTomato

    1. Giant Al is crying? Not something one sees a golem do all that often.

    2. When a new person talks about “our only hope” it may be their only hope.

    • martynW

      I think that’s just a lighting effect. I could be wrong.

  • ukulady7

    That was the most naive thing I’ve ever seen. When are we going to get some character growth for Al? She still seems like the overprivileged kid that accidentally killed her professor’s husband and then got him fired. Or, more recently, the girl who left her boyfriend alone with a sadistic mindreader/romantic rival and expected that to work out fine. Her need to feel important comes before everything else.

    • Gotham

      I’m not the greatest Alison apologist there is, but this seems over the edge. I don’t even see how what she’s doing here is proof of naivety. She may have been conditioned by her life experience to act as if “danger” was an elusive thing and doesn’t have the most combat-ready attitude she could have as a result, but she knows she has that weakness of perception to contend with. That makes her specifically not naive. Proof of that is she suffered no negative consequence of taking that blow. You’d expect naivety to matter being pointed out only when it has consequences.

      Also, I mostly take it the two panels are here for some light levity.

      • R Lex Eaton

        Indeed. I’m certainly not under the impression that Alison has no flaws (indeed, it’s part of why I like her so much), but with some attitudes, I wonder why they even read the comic to start with…

    • Kerlyssa

      wait, when did this happen? killed her prof’s husband?

      • Arkone Axon

        She had a professor who hated her, and when she complained about his unprofessionalism he was immediately fired because the school board was making it clear: her good opinion matters more than justice.

        …Then when she tried to apologize for the school board’s overreaction (she did NOT intend to get him fired, she just wanted a fair grade), she saw the picture on his desk… and realized that back when she was Mega Girl, she threw a robot through a building to stop its rampage. A building that was also a hospital. Where a doctor was refusing to leave because his patients needed him. And was on the phone with his husband… just long enough to say he loved him before being crushed to death.

        It’s in the archive. It was very emotionally touching… at the time. But as Ukulady7 pointed out, she… really hasn’t learned much from those experiences…

        • R Lex Eaton

          To be fair, I’d be pretty emotionally distraught from that revelation, too. And not exactly in the right frame of mind to try and convince a guy with legitimate reasons to hate me to stick around me when he probably doesn’t want to.

          And yet, I still like Alison. I think she DOES learn from her mistakes, slowly although it might be. She’s not the same person she was at the start of all this. And changing for the better is the kind of thing that takes years, not weeks. It’s all part of Humanism. The idea that humanity, for all its inarguable flaws–all of which stem from our inherent irrationality–is still worth defending.

          • Arkone Axon

            Oh, I agree with you about humanity being worth defending. In fact, I like to point out the virtues of humanity to those who can only see it’s flaws (when I play in RPGs, I love to play human characters. Few things are as satisfying as seeing a friend’s reaction to their Fomori Drake Mystic Adept get outperformed by a boring old Human with no magic, no special background… no spending half the starting Build Points on being as exotic and special as possible…)

            But I actually liked her more back then. When she was struggling to figure out how to fix things… as opposed to when she started acting as if she had it all figured out, when in fact she doesn’t. It seems as if she learned most of her lessons in the five years between her retirement from heroing and the start of the comic proper. I want to see some ACTUAL growth… where she learns to start empathizing with other people, not just being a Moral Crusader without much compassion for the individual in front of her.

          • R Lex Eaton

            That’s an interesting insight, I grant you. I suppose I’ve been focused on the question of her morality rather than compassion. Even though I have different views on how she’s developing and why, I do appreciate that you’re capable of an intelligent discussion on it. Unlike some people I’ve had the displeasure of arguing with… (Not naming names, they know who they are.)

            Though to be honest, and I fully admit this is my own personal tic, I find Alison and her brand of moral certitude VASTLY preferable to Guwara and his advocacy of absolute moral relativity. That makes me furious with an intensity I find hard to put into words.

          • Arkone Axon

            I do agree that some moral truths are indeed universal (and when in doubt, there’s a simple litmus test. Just switch the roles around… does it still seem “morally relative” when you’re the one in the hotseat?). But I do have to give props to Guwara for two things. First, the way he pointed out that you can decline to participate in a Grand Crusade or Noble Cause and still be a decent person (even if Alison totally failed to grasp the lesson until long after she’d really messed things up). That is a VERY important lesson to learn… throughout history, most of the worst crimes have been committed by people who had zero tolerance for those who… disagreed, or who simply declined.

            …The second thing I have to give him props for was how beautifully he trolled Alison. Whether he turns out to be a hero or villain (or both, or neither), I have to say, that was pretty damned hilarious… :p

          • R Lex Eaton

            Well, to put it bluntly, I don’t find trolling funny. At all. I have no sense of schaudenfreude to speak of because the concept of laughing at others misfortune baffles me.

            But you did remind me of a certain character in comics who I associate with Guwara, at least philosophically. The Comedian from Watchmen.

            The kind of character who also had a memorable scene where he dismantled the idea of superheroes making the world a better place. And it makes me just as morally furious as it did here. (To the point where the villain’s plan is motivated, in no small part, by proving him wrong.)

            People like that make me sick. Saying that change for the better goes against human nature and using that to abuse people who actually care. And with Edward Blake, that was the point. I too desire for them to not have the last laugh at everyone else’s expense.

            So yeah. To me, Guwara is an asswipe when it’s all said and done. And I have yet to see anything that will convince me otherwise.

          • Arkone Axon

            I’m not a fan of trolling of… innocent victims. Bugs Bunny is a character who specializes in trolling; Bugs is the ubertroll. But most of his victims deserved it (and when they became too sympathetic, such as when Elmer Fudd appeared too ineffectual and good natured to be adequately deserving of his fate, they introduced new characters such as the nastier, meaner, and bad natured Yosemite Sam), so it was funny to the majority of viewers. (Which is why I was never a fan of Tom and Jerry. Jerry was a sadistic little twerp and the primary justification seemed to be “it’s okay to be cruel to cats.” This was especially true in the 1963 Deitch cartoons with Clint Cobbler, whose treatment of Tom approached that of the “Itchy and Scratchy” parody of the Simpsons)

            In the case of Alison… she definitely deserved it. At a bare minimum. Since she can’t be incarcerated or otherwise punished, this was the closest thing they could do to someone so self centered that it took a troll to get her to acknowledge that all her attempts at self-justification were a poor cover for the reality that she had committed multiple felonies against an ex-boyfriend, and in doing so made things much worse for herself and others.

            But let’s look at the Watchmen… because we’re in TOTAL agreement there. The Comedian… no, he’s not like Guwara. The Comedian was a nasty little sociopath who attempted to rape his teammate while he was still a teenager. He wasn’t attempting to “dismantle” the idea of superheroes, he was attempting to justify his atrocities. He was having fun, and claiming “it’s all just a joke” was his way of escaping responsibility (until he learned about the villain’s plan and was so horrified that it tore down his elaborate facade of moral apathy, leading him to sob drunkenly to his former enemy while begging for forgiveness for everything he’d done).

            Watchmen has a lot of good examples to compare and contrast to Strong Female Protagonist. For instance, the villain? Much like Patrick… and much like Alison. He wanted to save the world. He thought of a solution that would require a “moral compromise.” And he rushed to enact it – without giving anyone a chance to talk him out of it, or point out that there were better methods (such as eliminating the insanely and violently aggressive and expansionist governments in charge of both sides, for instance). So quick to create sacrifices, and claiming he made himself feel guilt for every single one… and yet he still did it. Which doesn’t exactly make it better for said victims. At the end of the day results really DO count for more than intentions – I’d rather take a jerk who helps me for their own selfish benefit than a saint who robs and betrays me for the greater good, any day of the week.

            Another good character to look at… Rorschach. Alan Moore detests the fanmail he receives from people saying “we need heroes like Rorschach in our world.” Because Rorschach is NOT a hero, and that was the point. He’s a murderous thug whose idea of intelligence-gathering is to walk into a bar that he’s decided is filled with “thieves and whores” (and our only evidence for this is Rorschach’s claim), then start torturing people at random (which literally relies on the “thieves and whores” having sufficient sympathy to trade information in exchange for Rorschach releasing his victim). He has his very, very rigid sense of right-and-wrong, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to do The Right Thing (including hospitalizing police officers and murdering mentally ill masochists). You can see parallels to him in Alison, and in Mary, and in that fire guy who Mary murdered.

            Personally I don’t do schaudenfraude… but I do derive amusement from karmic justice and commuppances for those who actually deserve it. Or to put it in internet terms: I don’t like griefing, but I love it when griefers get pwned.

          • R Lex Eaton

            I do get what you’re saying, and it’s satisfying to find a comic book fan who views Rorschach the way I do–an unpleasant, dogmatic homeless man–And I’ll even grant you that Alison did learn from Gurwara, albeit not in the way he probably intended. To me, that’s important.

            In my eyes, our mystery man can’t be trusted. Not only did we find out that he’d been there all along with the seemingly only purpose of yanking Al’s chain, but I worry about what this exercise was intended to achieve. How he kept avoiding the basic idea of what right and wrong is in favor of power dynamics. Power is a tool, and humans have relied on our tools to make things better. And his view on the “convenient lie” of morality? Even if he has a point, it doesn’t matter. That lie has also helped to make the world a better place and allowed us to achieve so much. If it’s a lie, then I’ll take Slim Charles’ advice and fight on that lie, for it brings truth.

            (As an aside, I often wonder of the validity of Alison being unaccountable. I recall how Warren Ellis said in Black Summer that any superhero who decided to enforce their way via violence would quickly have the entire world mobilize against them. Or, more likely, make a weapon capable of killing them and have a SAS ream use it in the cape’s sleep. Watch me be super wrong about this, but I have a feeling that if this sinister group wanted any given biodynamic dead, it’s by no means impossible–Not even for Mega Girl.)

          • Arkone Axon

            Alan Moore agrees with both of us about Rorschach – hell, he deeply regrets writing it in the first place, because it helped kick off the X-treme! dark/dork age of the 1990s. Heroes should be… well, heroic. Grim and surly and grunty just… well, it gets old.

            Yes, “Guwara” cannot be trusted. Whatever he was there for, it clearly was some sort of shadowy purpose… we’ll find out later on. But it’s interesting that he took the time to offer some comfort to her, and to steer her away from the possibility of going full on supervillain, a la “Justice Lords” (from the Justice League DCAU show).

            As for why they haven’t killed her yet… it’s because she’s been too useful to them. She was taking on Menace, who was challenging the military-industrial complex (from his point of view, he was the hero, the daring and cocky underdog, the heroic rebel challenging the most powerful government on the planet with only his courage, his wits, his mind reading power, and his trusted allies to save him). She was smashing things and doing big, awesome battles… big, and public, and distracting. Selling action figures in her likeness, while people paid lots of attention to her… and not enough attention to other things.

            (Imagine superhero battles going on in THIS world. Now think of the current political issues you’re concerned about, the crap that politicians are trying to pull. Imagine if nobody even NOTICED those things happening, because of said superhero battles)

  • Hiram

    Alison really needs to stop beating herself up over every little thing.

    • R Lex Eaton

      Well, can ya blame her? She’s been granted power and has to find–

      Oh, wait. Pun. *facepalms* Neeeeeevermind.

  • Hawthorne

    Just bought my copy of The Witch Boy! Congrats on your debut! 😀

  • doobydoobydoo

    I feel like this is less of an “awwww” moment and more of a “that’s creepy” moment, but okay Alison… BTW my library has a bunch of copies of Witch Boy on order for our childrens’ section right now, I can’t wait for them! And I picked up my own copy, too.

  • “Rrraaarrrgh! Staypuft Jello Girl Smash!”

  • BMPDynamite

    First two panels were my reaction too, Ali.

  • discrepancy

    Listen, I get the desire to have all sorts of people giving all sorts of opinions in the comment section, but at this point I think it’s pretty clear Arkane Axon and Rando are saying things because they’re either mentally disturbed, they can’t STAND that there’s a female lead, or they both get a kick out of saying incendiary things to watch people react.

    Can we do something about them?

    • Rando

      Hey troll, I have barely even commented over the past couple weeks. I haven’t even commented on this page.

      Maybe instead of calling for people to get banned, you should figure out why seeing people who disagree with your world view upsets you so much?

      • discrepancy

        Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand scene!

        That’s a wrap, folks!

    • Arkone Axon

      Well, there’s a few options.

      1: Attempt to dox us, encourage RL as well as online abuse, and reiterate at every turn that we deserve it and therefore it’s okay.

      2: Click on that little triangle thing in the upper right corner of each comment and then select “block user,” so you don’t have to deal with the incredibly harmful and painful trauma of reading something that disagrees with your opinion.

      3: Attempt to debate and argue with us – while always keeping in mind that we’re not just wrong, we’re EVIL. We’re sadistic monsters who pull the wings off butterflies and boil cats for fun, because anyone who disagrees with you is evil.

      Or (and this is a last resort, so be very careful, I might be engaging in some sort of especially evil ploy just by tricking you into betraying your ideals by doing this)…

      4: Accept that someone can have a different opinion on a certain subject, and even in regards to individual aspects of the subject. Hell, maybe it’s possible that we’re criticizing Allison because we think she deserves to be held to a higher standard. In fact, it’s quite possible that we might just maybe have a good point or two when we claim that Alison did in fact commit multiple felonies in regards to Max, or that she was trained by the U.S. government to engage in military operations while still a legal minor (i.e. a child soldier), or that she loves fighting and violence (in her own words), and is struggling to find a more effective solution.

      Of course that last one is CLEARLY not an option, since we’re dangerously insane, evil, sexist, and nasty. After all, if we weren’t all those things, we wouldn’t be making comments you disagree with, right?

  • Yeeeeeah. I do not trust Anima!Patrick with a 10 foot pole. This whole thing is too pat, too black and white, and feels manipulative. (even aside from the creepiness of Giant Alison– though “awwww!” was my first reaction too. XD)

  • Aww, i was expecting to see an Alison-shaped hole in the ground when she got up…

  • Joe in Australia

    “He loves me!”
    “He really loves me!”

    This is such an abusive relationship.

  • Pyro

    “Awwwwwwww! Patrick! Oh shit.” is my constant mood.