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Artifice Page 73

78 Comments on Artifice Page 73

Huh. Maven looks so surprised in that first panel…

We have new Fan Art by geekypnai, a very sweet and intimate moment between our heroes to balance out the drama occurring in Maven’s office. Thanks, geekypnai!

Oh, and we yet again hit the donation target on Thursday! That means that in addition to the regular Saturday updates and a bonus page next Wednesday, that there will be an additional bonus page (page 76!) on Wednesday, February the 15th! Woo hoo! You all rock!

Special thanks go out to long-time supporters Mark L. & Anna P. and a warm hug and grateful bow go out to new supporters Rebecca F., Anne H. & Levi L. for their generous donations over the last few days (and a high-five to Levi for getting the ball rolling again with their $10 donation!)

Big hugs go out to long-time friend of Artifice Shan S. for their super-generous $25 donation!

And a mondo, android-strength hug goes out to long-time Artifice superfriend Meagan S. for their amazing $50 donation!

Thank you all so much! 😀

Now… what do you think Maven’s expression in the last panel means?

If you particularly enjoy any of these pages and use Facebook, please click the Like button on that page. It’s useful to know what’s working and it helps me get the word out!
  • …that first expression of Maven’s is utterly priceless.  I don’t imagine she’s taken by surprise very often.  As for the last panel?  That face, to me, says “I don’t believe a word you’ve just said, but we’ll go with it for now.”

    Excellent 🙂

  • Kel Z

    Oh hah she looks a little satisfied with this “resolution” by that last panel…

    Really love the facial expressions in this one. Deacon’s expression in panel 3 says so much.

  • Oh dear God.  Decon, don’t you dare do this!  Don’t you dare do this!  Dosen’t Dr. Maven have ANY sense of humanity?  Oh GOD!  *cries*  Alex, you’re stressing me way too much here.  Like dear God, she’s going to let him kill the love of his life!  …unlife?  …synthetic life?  Either way, I’m ready to cry!

  • HannahDJA

    OMG NUUUUUU. Deacooooon! No killy Jeffy! -hides Jeff in her shirt- NU. I am just… dying… inside! Who knew that a story could feel so freaking real! Mr. Alex! You are no fair! Nuuuu Deacon….. I WANT WED-NES-DAY NOW. ; 3;

  • Hyperminimalism

    I love the look Deacon is giving over his shoulder; just so subtle that you can barely see his face (true intentions).  He’s not going to kill Jeff.  He’s going to make it look like he intends to until he can think of a plan (if he doesn’t already have one) and fly by the seat of his pants as things come.  He’s no longer an AI programmed to follow orders without question–that much has been made apparent.  Even before he met Jeff and slept with Jeff, this was made apparent. 

  • fujoshifanatic

    The work Winona has done on this page is truly excellent! Deacon’s facial expressions are so intense, and I love how he refuses to look Maven in the eye as he’s saying all these diabolical things — so very telling! And Maven’s expression in the last panel sends chills down my spine! She looks like she is going to get some…fun…out of Deacon’s proposal. D-:

    You’ve got me hanging on page by page now Alex; I’m too scared to even speculate what happens next! This ride is exhausting (you’ve even got me camping, which I haven’t done in ages), but so much fun! Thank you for another excellent page guys; now it’s time to break up camp and get some much needed sleep. 🙂

    • You’re very welcome, fujoshifanatic. I’m glad to hear we got you camping; that’s always a big compliment. Sleep well. 🙂

    • Myrtu

       I think he can’t look her in the eyes. She used a command to stop him from possibly attacking earlier on.

  • Sharon Kerr-Bullian

    Oh dear, it won’t surprise me if Maven starts asking more questions. She looks like she’s about to question his motivation for doing this.

  • Aikka

    Deacon, you better have a good plan and excuse for saying this 😛

    As for the last panel, well, suspicious i think o.o
    At least if i were on her place i wouldn’t believe it so easly.

    Actually, i look similar now, suspiciously looking at Deacon wondering what is he thinking and planning to do >.<

  • melinda stumpf

    the doc is falling into deacons trap so he can save jeff

  • RustyBurrell

    *clutches pearls and faints….again*

  • tom1988

    What’s really exciting about this page is that Deacon is finally showing how cunning he is. Whereas previously he was reduced to a powerless, lovestruck victim by Maven’s interogation (I know the feeling), now he’s demostrating his super-intelligence as he appears to be trying to decieve her.

    He’s so convincing that I’m not even sure whether he believes it himself. They’re speaking in half truths. Yes his actions were a weakness, although he hesitates to say it, knowing that’s not the whole picture. Yes, he’s using his last chance to prove himself – the resignation on his face shows his sincerity – yet he’s surely not completely given up. Yes it is, Maven thinks, but not all I’ll need to see. She’s no doubt also thinking what an interesting game they’re playing and what fun lies ahead.

  • Kayla

    Deacon should incorporate the use of other Deacon models to help in breaking Jeff out. Surely there are tons of them in that building, somewhere. Then Deacon should be all SMASHCRUSHCRAZYHULK on someone. For no real reason, I’d just like it for entertainment purposes. You know, I have a feeling the latter is the only part of this plan that’s gonna end up happening.

  • Pronombre

    those eyes Deacon’s eyes…  I think they are scary in some way.

  • thisboybroken

    Deacon is extra adorable in panel 3. Me thinks he is playing Maven… I hope that is the case, I would hate it if I were forced to never speak to you again Jeff, lol

  • Wow, the art is fantastic on this page (even more so than usual!)

  • CK

    I’m sensing a masterplan at work.

  • Hmm… Deacon not killing him is too predictable, i think it is more to it than that. The suspense! Or maybe I am wrong? I hope so.

  • Fulgin

    I’ve been enjoying this comic for some time.  Great writing, great art, thoughtful comments.  In particular, Alex has done a wonderful job of withholding just enough information.  For example, everything Maven has told us that “Jeff” has said has, in fact, come out of Deacon’s mouth at one point or another.  And all those weeks Deacon and Jeff were alone gave them more than enough time to plan for a situation like this.

    Frankly, I don’t believe Maven’s threat.  Deacon is a far more valuable asset to the company than she is, and she’s smart enough to know that.  Deacon’s destruction would not look well on her next performance review.  OTOH, a controllable Deacon would be a major feather in her cap.  But is she willing to stake her job on it?

  • But will he really kill Jeff??  Or is he smarter than that, and find a way for the two to be else where…..

  • Tristan MacAvery

    In the old TV shows, this would be the spot for the famous “Dun dun DUUNNNNN” music…

  • Wow. Can she really be falling for this? Is Deacon really this good?

    What supreme arrogance on the part of the company to create androids that not only are super intelligent but also possess a full range of human emotions, sexuality, and sex organs (!). It makes me wonder if the A-series through C-series were failures of sorts because the company tried to remove or suppress the “human” components of their androids. Perhaps the ability to kill/be a good soldier depends on being human to a degree? 

    It astounds me how the representatives of the company we have seen so far assume that the androids should never want anything more than what they are programmed to do. Very short-sighted and foolish.

    Perhaps this is beyond the boundaries of this story, but I believe the company will someday be forced to capitulate rights to the androids to be able to continue to use their services.

  • Theory: Deacon knows SatanCorp doesn’t actually have Jeff, they have some random colonist who lived on Da Vinci 4. No one besides Deacon knows what Jeff looks like, and he could have misled to Maven about any number of things. Deacon could have discovered a surviving colonist, and knowing he would be questioned, scoped him up not caring what would happen to this colonist because Jeff said they were all assholes to him. Who is the company going to believe: an android who (supposedly) can’t lie? Or the rambling denials of some surviving colonist who probably knows their company’s deep dark secret?
    He’s telling the truth about killing Jeff as in “I will kill this person you are calling ‘Jeff’ even though he isn’t my Jeff”. (Jeff is still safe at Da Vinci 4 (where there is plenty of food, drinks, cable, and yaoi.)

    And then Deacon killed the asshole colonist, escapes the witch, and returns to his true love as prince charming. The End.

    • JM

      So good!!

    • ErykaSoleil

      I am a fan of your theory, Alex S, and a little disappointed that I didn’t think of it myself. 🙂

      • ErykaSoleil

        Although . . . that theory would mess with all the fan art up to this point, wouldn’t it?

        • Thanks! It wouldn’t have to. For all NeenerCorp knows Jeff is a 5 ft, 250 lb, redhead with one eye and missing teeth. (Please someone draw fan art of this, as it would be hilarious).

          • ErykaSoleil

            You just made me laugh out loud at the end of a tiring day. Thank you. 🙂

          • My pleasure!

  • C K

    I love the look on Maven’s face in Panel 1 — it’s as though even *she’s* thinking, “Jesus, Deacon, that’s just *cold*.”

    The expressions on Deacon’s face are also very subtle and interesting.  In Panel 3 his eyes look sad, maybe even resigned, but in Panel 5 they’ve shifted to what appears to calculated cunning.  Or at least that’s what I’m desperately hoping.

    I’m still clinging desperately to hope — he hasn’t said he *will* kill Jeff, just that he *can* and implied that he *should*.  I think the pauses in his words are significant…the beat before he says “weakness” makes it seem as though he’s picking his words very, very deliberately.

    Yet again, this comic is fantastic and leaving me desperately curious to know the outcome.  I especially can’t wait to see Jeff again.

  • I feel like Deacon caught Maven off-guard with his proposal, but that she’s totally not willing to let that stop her.  I’m very excited to see what happens next and I hope they really don’t actually have Jeff!

  • yellowrock

    I like the vista outside of the window.  Maven looks like she’s up to something!

    Also, I feel left out for not donating, but I simply can’t, cause I’m moving soon!  :O

    After I get settled in and aren’t broke I’ll start helping out again though, no worries.  :3

    • I was so caught up in nail biting anticipation that I didn’t even notice Maven’s view (at the low, low price of one (1) soul). I’d love that as my background.
      Edit: Come to think of it, have long have they been talking? It used to be daylight. AND WHAT”S HAPPENED TO JEFF IN THE MEANTIME!? *combusts if a fiery pillar of excitement*

  • Lead me to him and I’ll set him free. Or it will be like that sad scene from Last of the Mohicans where she jumps off the cliff after the man who saved her.  T_T

  • S Thompson

    The look on Deacon’s face in panel three makes me want to hug him SO HARD.

  • Oh come on – Maven’s not going to fall for THAT!  (Is she?)

  • Yukiness

    Although I haven’t been talking about the art lately (I mean, look at that up there! It’s so fucking beautiful what could I say?!) I must say something now.

    Winona has managed to capture the subtle expressions of humanity that many artists strive their whole lives to achieve. I have seen only three other artists accomplish this and I can’t help but be astounded by the way Winona did it. Panel 3 and 5 are stupendous feats of Winona…ness(?)

    Awesome page you guys

  • … Bad Deacon for thinking of that.

    Bad Maven for encouraging him!

  • Momo Javrotsky

    ;_; oh my goodness

  • milo

    Yeah I wouldn’t eat it if I was her. Then again I don’t think she did. But she is curious. I didn’t think she was evil until the last panel where she is considering the possibility of deacon killing jeff. The true mind of an emotionally detached villain.

  • I love it how he says all of this to her over his shoulder. There’s a message in that 🙂

  • Hm, dunno about evil really. To me personally, she looks amused more than anything else – by this whole “I am so gonna kill my lover now” act on Deacon’s behalf…

  • Araceli Rodriguez

    wow. i am really loving that third panel… also the fifth. his face is just so aghfelruwngf. ya know?

  • i hope you have a plan Deacon…

  • qu_gon_robot

    Maven: O RLY?
    Deacon: YA RLY.
    Maven: Me gusta

    But in all seriousness, I have a feeling that if Deacon’s to portray such major flaws in character, the karmic laws of fiction will probably punish him in an ironic and awkward way; I’m thinking something along the lines of Maven killing him after all, being disgusted by such a display of weakness.

    And I`d still feel bad for him because I don`t feel too confident at my ability to self terminate at will either 🙁 (I hope I`ll have the guts to do it for someone I love, but either way, the very prospect of it is terrifying to me).

    • Lynn Keller

       O.M.G. I just imagined the last panel as the me gusta face and I nearly peed myself laughing.

      • Superjenny

        You too, eh?  XD

  • Ryn

    *hits deacon with a heavy book* Moron! you are being manipulated.


  • Kenne Stuart

    Deacon, I bet is scheming, I think… I hope. There is no way he is gonna kill Jeff… is there? ;A; 

  • show of hands, who wants maven to die? chances are she won’t since the comic will need an antagonist/villain, but who wants her to die?

    • *raises hand*  normally I’m against killing but considering her corporation built that boy to kill innocent people  she’s a threat to very humanity. so off “OFF WITH HER HEAD!” oops wrong story….

    • ErykaSoleil

      -IF- she dies, I don’t want it to be just because so many people dislike her. I’m tired of seeing really smart, competent bad guys die simply because they’re the antagonist.

      • true…. I just hope if she dies she takes the entire corrupt system with her. theres no way a society could have gotten so bad that killing an entire colony of ignorant hicks wouldn’t invoke some public ire. I don’t want her to die because I hate her, I actually kinda like her as a villain, I want her to die because she dangerous. she’s okay with killing people, sociopaths should not be shrinks.

      • tom1988

        Ideally there will be a spin off titled Maven in which the anti-heroine finds herself wandering the cityscapes and alien planets, searching for evidence in various murder mysteries and other thrilling tales. Along the way she meets a range of characters, falls in and out of love and resorts to unconventional methods in her attempts to resolve her patients’ issues.

        However -IF- she dies, I’m assuming her death will at least be in style and I won’t have a nervous breakdown from wanting to change it.

        Either way she’ll never die in my heart.

  • He looks so pained and dead inside… and Maven looks so smug… T_T Oh Deacon, I hope you are just putting up a face and have an mantastic plan for saving your… well.. man!

    • Or maybe the look isn’t quite smug… more like she thinks he has something up his sleeve “Believe it when I see it”

  • Lynn Keller

    Maven looks a little…TOO knowing in the last panel. Almost like the next page is gonna be, “Well, sh*t Deacon, we were all just messing with you, but if you REALLY want to go and kill that cute little pal of yours, go right ahead. You’re free to go, afterall.”

  • akagenki

    I suddenly get the impression that I could be really good friends with Maven if I knew her in her person life outside of work.

  • Wow I got mentioned for my $10 donation~
    I’ll be able to donate again once I get my tax return, because this series must continue!
    I do hope it’s eventually released in a physical form

  • ErykaSoleil

    Just for fun: One of the possibilities I have entertained is that Maven is secretly really pissed at the company for some reason, and is hoping to get Deacon all riled up against them.

    I doubt that’s where this is going at all, but it’s fun to imagine Maven as some sort of really well-covered resistance fighter or undercover operative. 🙂

  • Yaminox

    I don’t know if I have mentioned it before but I LOVE deacon’s green eyes!

    that’s an interesting expression maven has in the last panel

  • Lorescien

    Deacon, you sir are a massive cu–, oh, nevermind. It’s not worth the time to insult him that way. Maven, however, definitely is that. She’s a horrible, evil bitch. -_- Wow… I just got really ragey over a webcomic. You guys do good work! XD

  • That psychiatrist is going to be dead at Deacon’s hand, I think.

  • HoneyThistle

    …it means my suspicions about her have been confirmed.  She’s a sadistic, psychotic psychiatrist.  
    Alliteration ftw

    • ErykaSoleil

      Thank you for giving me a fun new enunciation warm-up for public speaking. 🙂

  • I got a feeling!  And that means, more cowbell—er, CAMPING!

    • Okay everyone! Gather around the fire and I’ll tell you a haunting tale. Its name is “The Powertripping Bitch in Purple”. This ghastly tale begins with a repulsive doctor who likes keeping good little webcomic readers away from their sexy man-love.

      • :::strums guitar:: Word.

      • Pronombre

        Oh Good nigth!*seats* Oh gosh! I won’t be able to sleep  because of that haunting tale!…  But I want to heard it :’I 
        *eats marshmallows* 

  • wasEnkidu

    I’ve… been AVOIDING you guys for the last week. TT_TT I’m sorry! But I was so not looking forward to what Deacon is about to do that I had to steel my courage before reading any more!
    Panel3 Deaconface just breaks my heart!

    •  Same here with that 3rd panel, Enkidu. The dead eyes of resignation… ;_;

  • That eyebrow lift has so many implications. What is going through your mind, Miss Maven? This twist keeps my heart pounding like none other.

    • Derkins


  • man this is like the best soap opera ever made

  • Stranger

    Seriously hope she dies.

  • ACK!! NOOOOOO omgz!