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The Young Protectors: Engaging The Enemy Chapter Three—Page 52

330 Comments on The Young Protectors: Engaging The Enemy Chapter Three—Page 52

Hmmm…

I’d like to take this moment to direct your attention to a Con that I’m a guest at — Nijicon in Pennsylvania! It’s taking place on October 18th and 19th so there’s still time to get a ticket and make travel plans. And it looks like it’s going to be a blast. If you’re in that part of the world and you’d like to get a chance to meet me and have lots of fun with other cool folks who are into stories with LGBT heroes, you should totally come! I’d love to see you there! 😀

We had our fifty-seventh bonus page in a row on Wednesday and then y’all just blasted past the target on the donation bar below! That means that thanks to your generous donations, and in addition to our regular Saturday updates, there will also be bonus pages on Wednesday, August 20th (page 53!), Wednesday, August, 27th (page 55!), Wednesday, September 3rd (page 57!), Wednesday, September 10th (page 59!), Wednesday, September 17th (page 61!), Wednesday, September 24th (page 63!), and there will now be an additional bonus page (page 65!) on Wednesday, October 1st! You are ROCK SO MUCH!

Special thanks go out to long-time supporter Saxon B. (who makes their 105th (!) generous donation to The Young Protectors!) and a warm welcome and grateful bow go out to new supporter Antonia S. for their generous donations over the last few days!

Big hugs go out to long-time friends of The Young Protectors Daniel N., Robert B., & Stephanie C. for their super-generous $25 donations! And this makes Stephanie’s thirty-sixth, Daniel’s thirty-seventh, & Robert’s eightieth (!!) super-generous donations to this comic!

Superhero-strength hugs go out to long-time super-friend Christopher M. for their amazingly generous $60 donation, their twenty-fifth (!!) amazingly generous donation to this comic!

And finally, ZOMG!, mondo wrap-around hugs and deeply grateful bows go out to long-time mega-friend Christopher D. for their stunningly generous $100 donation, their ninety-fourth stunningly generous donation to this comic! Thank you so, so much, Christopher!

Thank you all so much for your generous support!

So! We’re learning more stuff! We’ve learned that The Platinum Priestess thinks Spooky’s all sex-crazed boy and not enough magic man. We’ve learned that opportunities to summon Kings of Hell and all their friends to our world doesn’t seem to come around every day. And we’ve learned something about the nature of our world — or, at least, what it used to be. Will The Platinum Priestess be able to convince Duncan that their true and only motivation is to save the world as we know it?

Tune in this Wednesday to find out! Hope to see you there! 😀

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!
  • Of course wasn’t ready, but so lovely!

  • He’s not happy… and damn, could he be more sarcastic xD

    • Saxon_Brenton

      Snarky Annihilator is snarky.

  • davefragments

    “he was not alive when the walls were built, I was. . . ”
    Stunning comment!

  • Sapfo

    That seems good that he is not happy

    • Yes, he seems very skeptical overall about this whole endeavor. So why is he questioning everything now, I wonder?

      • …I’m going to be the evil person here and ask the question of ‘does Kyle have to die for this to work?’ It would explain why Duncan is now so reluctant and has so much guilt weighting down his shoulders…

        • stickfigurefairytales

          *whimpers in concern*

        • Ugh. A terrible thought but certainly a legitimate question. Hope it’s not true!

          • Although my other conclusion is perhaps Duncan decides to take the high hero road in the end and sacrifice himself / take whatever the punishment is for Kyle. I just get the shudders with what the trade-off will be…

          • I think that’s a possible scenario, one that I’ve seen presented before (most likely by you!) but I wonder if he would have the same power to make such a sacrifice…unless that seal Llaampy gave him might provide him with enough power or connection to let him do such a thing.

          • SofiaT

            I think that’s very possible, but hope it’s not the case.
            I’d rather see him get out of this arc alive.

        • Saxon_Brenton

          Ah, er, uhm… That’s not a happy thought.
          Possible, of course. It would certainly add some character conflict for Annihilator. But, ergh, that reeks of the type of things I come up with when I’ve been using the Dark and Paranoid Conspiracy Theory Stick.

          • Yeah I know not original at all, but it is the end that is the most certain for anyone / everyone. We love to dodge the thoughts, not think about it, deny it but the one thing we cannot avoid is death.

            I guess that is why it is the most predictable, because it applies to everyone even if we cannot see or tell our expiry date.

            I know Alex will think of a very creative and amazing way for everything to play out and the pieces to fall into place, but there is always the chance someone will not make it out.

        • b3nc0

          Wouldn’t he have kept him captive-available?

          • Very very true ~__^ Would it have brought everyone around sniffing too soon though?

            However, if Duncan is worried – I am worried.

      • TwilightDreamer

        Yeah, for such a smart guy, he didn’t think these things over more sooner? 😛
        Still, even Annihilator can’t escape emotions forever…

        • Feelings of regret and affection, the all important what-might-have-been, could prove to be his Achilles heel.

          • TwilightDreamer

            Definitely…and I can’t wait to see when and how he has to face those feelings.

  • stickfigurefairytales

    Yep, that’s completely and totally our only motivation!

  • I’m still wondering (worrying?) over just what it is they have to do in order to save the world. You know something needs to be sacrificed in order to make it work… and it’s going to be some terrible trade off…

  • stickfigurefairytales

    I’m excited that we got a good close-up look at Sircea’s tiara. Now we can say definitively that the bull is flanked by a pair of rampant stags. Anybody want to weigh in on the heraldic implications?

    • Bull? You still see a bull? I was about to comment on the ‘unicorns’ actually being the stags I thought the middle animal might be – and that it probably now DO show the horned lord xD

      I see it more as a goat or a larger stag flagged by the two small ones LOL Hmm.. a bull, you say.. *studies the design some more*

      • stickfigurefairytales

        Its nose seems very bovine to me, although I can’t tell if it has a pair of horns or not in the hair on its head.

        • Hmm.. do we need Alex on this?
          I want to know now. Alex.. what is the animal in the middle for sure? The stags are pretty obvious now 🙂

          • Looks like a Bison to me. It’s the nose.

          • stickfigurefairytales

            I could see that, especially with the slightly different hair up top.

          • Agree with you about the hair on top. Not quite Bisony.

        • SofiaT

          Yep, I was about to write that if it’s not a bull then it’s a cow. Something bovine, for certain.

          • I would wonder about a cow. I mean with it being female. Because of the female divine etc. If any of that made sense. I guess I was meaning a cow would make sense.

          • Klaus

            It has no horns. If it is a bovine, this means that either it is a breed that has been specifically bread to be hornless, or it has been dehorned. Hardly a symbol of power in either case.

        • Acintyabedhabedhadasa

          An aurochs?

          • b3nc0

            & that would suit PP ancient age!

          • stickfigurefairytales

            I could see that!

    • SofiaT

      It could be Apis?

      The bull (or cow) looks like it’s wearing a headdress, which reminds me of the Egyptian god Apis.

      • Klaus

        The Apis bull was required to be black with a white triangular marking on the forehead.This had no symbolic significance, but simply meant that it should look like typical cattle of the area. The Mnevis bull was all black for the same reason.

  • Curse? What curse?.. that magic doers become more or less insane after awhile, or what?

  • stickfigurefairytales

    But how is letting demons take over most of the world not turning it back into another ring of hell? (Unless they’re planning on double-crossing Laampros…)

    • I’m wondering the same thing. I mean, you let them in, but how do you get them back out? Is that the power she keeps referring to? The ability to repair the walls AND send the demons back to hell?

      • stickfigurefairytales

        Maybe she gets the power, repairs the walls, and then goes, “Ah ha, but it was opposites day when you signed the contract, so we actually agreed to NOT let you in!”

    • b3nc0

      Insane eons-old sorceresses always think/believe they can double-cross Hell’s Kings…

    • TwilightDreamer

      Oh I think they are….but I’m not sure I can see it working…

      • stickfigurefairytales

        Double-crossing demons rarely works out well for anyone, in my experience.

        • And how many demons have you double crossed? Lately?

          🙂

          • stickfigurefairytales

            I never said it was firsthand experience.

          • I think you or someone else should write a story about that. Or maybe that’s what Alex is doing now.

        • TwilightDreamer

          lol, nope…never does 😛

  • mogoskier

    I love this page but Alex said Magic man and all I can think of is this.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LqgphkUVs2g

  • stickfigurefairytales

    The Platinum Priestess and Emma Frost clearly shop at the same store for their outfits.

    • b3nc0

      For the first time I find Emma Frost’s outfits rather austere or humble…

      • stickfigurefairytales

        True, she doesn’t have all that bling.

  • Sapfo

    My brain is kind of sleepy so it means I am focuses on some strange things. I am awed of the way you have done nature in the background. Forest. Is there a name for the method that has been used making that forest?
    Oh wait, did PP say something? Sleepy brain needs some sleep before she starts to think about the meaning of what PP is talking about, and Duncans reaction.

    This page is a lovely! Thank you to the makers.

  • SofiaT

    So once upon a time Earth was a ring of Hell?

    Now I want a comic about THAT!

    • stickfigurefairytales

      Me too!

    • Ditto!

    • stickfigurefairytales

      I wonder if Earth was one of the outer-ring suburbs where wealthy demons would commute from for their day jobs in downtown hell.

    • Librarican

      Maybe it was a ring of fire…
      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=It7107ELQvY

    • Saxon_Brenton

      Well, Satan does occasionally get referred to as Rex Mundi, the king of the (material) world. The infernal heirarchy might have had more direct access and control before the walls of blood and pain were erected.

      Of course, the phrase is usually meant as a contrast to the idea of the spiritual world, and the eternal city of the celestial Jerusalem. By contrast what I immediately (and flippantly) thought of was the physical universe having calved off from hell. Like an iceberg, or an amoeba undergoing mitosis

      • SofiaT

        Or it could have been set free.

        Those walls may have been built to separate earth from hell… and if Sircea was alive back then, it could mean that she’s some sort of demon herself?

  • TwilightDreamer

    Man, may I just say how WEIRD it is to hear two super villains speak of saving the world?? XD
    I think Spooky would be a lot better than she’s giving him credit for, but we’ll have to see I guess.
    Love the detail on PPs tiara by the way.
    Oooo…Duncan, was that sarcasm mister? ;D
    lol! omg this story is still dragging me further and further in…love it!

  • Lovely snark there, Duncan

    • SofiaT

      I love that he’s a cynic as much as I love Kyle being innocent and naive.

      • I really hope he doesn’t trust PP as far as… Well he could probably throw her pretty far, but let’s say as fast as he can say her name.

        • stickfigurefairytales

          People with super strength make that idiom much more complicated.

        • SofiaT

          It all comes back to their shared history.

          Duncan is not the kind of person to put his faith in anyone, has probably been burned plenty of times in his youth, before he learned better and became the cynical Duncan we know and love today. But if he met Sircea while he was young enough… who knows?

          We can all be pretty blind when it comes to people we care about.

          • True. Of course the next question could be, does he actually care about her or is this just a mutual business arrangement?

            I’d like to think he knows her well enough to at least be suspicious. Or start becoming suspicious.

          • SofiaT

            He’d better.

            And we haven’t really had much evidence either way so far, but my gut tells me he does care.

  • Wayne Small

    alex it looks like duncan still has feelings for kyle

  • CH

    Primary, not sole Darling. She’s a complicated one our Sircea.

  • David Welbourn

    That askance look that Duncan’s giving in the final panel! … He’s looking at that giant glass box hinted at a couple pages ago, isn’t he? We are leading up to a big reveal, aren’t we? I can only suppose that whatever’s in the pandorean box is not gonna be pleasant.

    • b3nc0

      What’s in it or… what’s it intended to contein, in a giant-demontrap-future-magicpower-plant theory…

      • Klaus

        The other part of the key.

  • *peeks out from under a rock and says* You know, PP kind of makes me think of Doris and Anni/Duncan as Goob *quickly hides back under her rock*

  • silibub

    Both of them have pulled such great pouting expressions throughout this exchange, I’m starting to think it’s one of their powers. And I’m always impressed by the pacing on each individual page, dropping all these tantalizing crumbs of information that hint at the whole picture.

    I’m curious when the walls were built — around the time of Solomon, maybe? If it happened during Sircea’s lifetime, then she has first-hand experience of what it’s like to live in hell, or at least a ring of it. Maybe it was bad enough that she really does have a personal stake in repairing the walls, and isn’t simply using it as a convenient excuse to power up. She might have even had a hand in their construction, which would be interesting.

    Her reaction to Duncan’s mention of Spooky was also less fiery than I would have expected — a bit resentful and skeptical, sure, and definitely dismissive, but nothing that suggests personal feelings of antagonism. It would be nice to know whether she and Spooky have ever actually met, or if they just know of each other by reputation and formed their opinions accordingly. I’m sure Spooky isn’t someone who should be brushed off so lightly, though — he might not be as knowledgeable or as powerful as Sircea, but I think he’s more clever and creative than she’s giving him credit for. (Which is probably a good thing for him — I think if she saw him as a legitimate rival he’d probably be dead by now.)

    As always, plenty to mull over after this update. Thanks Alex, Adam, and Vero! I appreciate that stunning closeup in particular. ♥

    • I thought you might especially like that… 😉

      • silibub

        I’m so predictable.

    • b3nc0

      About Spooky VS Sircea maybe the all conjuring demons thing might guarantee him a certain source of power that Sircea needs more complicated & longer summonings or spells ¦¦°.9

    • Saxon_Brenton

      I will second being surprised by the comparative mildness of the Priestess’ dismissal of Spooky.

  • Okay, if Sircea was alive when the walls were built, where was she when the idiots were doing the Grey Working? I mean, if she was so powerful? Unless because of her power she became a bit complacent and thought for certain no one would be THAT stupid?

    *snort* I think we’re reminded each day how foolish people can be. Darwin Awards anyone?

    • silibub

      LOL, I think the implication was that it was planned without her knowledge somehow, or she would have been sharp enough to intervene.

      • SofiaT

        Unless she did know it was happening and allowed it for her own reasons… maybe she was the one behind it all along but let others do her dirty job, and they failed her with their incompetency?

        • silibub

          That’s a possibility, too! The way I read it, she seemed angry that they presumed to try the ritual in the first place, but she could be omitting her own involvement to save face.

        • I did have the thought that she might have allowed this to happen but why? So she can get more power? If that’s the case, she’s had to wait for a long time for this moment.

          • SofiaT

            For all we know, Sircea and Laampros planned all this together thousands of years ago.
            There are so many ways she could be lying and I’m suspicious enough to think of at least a dozen of them.

          • Ahhh! Hadn’t thought about one. Interesting…

        • b3nc0

          Or they did just the right job for what she wanted then and their big reward was her granting them insanity…

          • SofiaT

            Leaving herself as the only “coherent” user of magic… until Spooky came along -and now the mirror, mirror on the wall no longer tells her she’s the most powerful of them all…

          • b3nc0

            What kind of hunter shall she send him to collect his heart?

      • Which I guess was why I wondering about complacency.

        • silibub

          Right — got that on my second read, sorry! I wonder what kind of tabs she was keeping on other magic users before they all collectively lost their marbles — it seems like a general theme with magic and its practitioners is that rivalry is fierce, so she may well have been very watchful at first but then got a little lax once she was confident enough in her own power.

          • Seems about what I was thinking. Silly Sircea.

          • silibub

            Tsk, wife. Constant vigilance!

          • Always!

  • I really am enamored of that last panel. Just so perfect with his speaking aside. I wonder if it’s under his breath or he’s daring to say it loud enough for her to hear? That face is perfectly executed! Love it!

    • SofiaT

      Duncan: supervillain, silver fox, master of the side eye.

      • Ha! Yes. I wonder how proficient he is with the girlfriend snap.

  • b3nc0

    Who bets there’s a double-spread next update showing the entire site including the glassen walls and all the pentacley structure of it all?

    • ooooh! I hope so.

    • Klaus

      There are two bits of scaffolding at right angles. The site is wide open to the other sides, or much of them. Not very pentacly.

      It is not symmetrical either. The big wheel is at one end of one piece of scaffolding, not at the center. The other scaffold is almost, but not quite, aligned with the center of wheel. This provided that the stairs of the more permanent looking platform under the wheel are aligned with the center.

      Behind this second scaffold is a stockade, btww. I wonder if it holds sacrifices. and if so what they are.

      All this from page 47.

      • b3nc0

        Sorry it took me this long to reply… The misunderstanding comes because in French pentacle doesn’t only mean pentagram but all geometrical design with a spiritual/magical/mystical/occult purpose and can, then, inhold right angles.

        Here’s an invocation pentacle as an exemple: http://iza-voyance.com/pentacle/pentacle_carre_magique.htm

  • Madock345

    Damn, alex, you took on a big challenge trying to write a character like Sircea, ancient and knowing all kinds of secrets, but you’re doing such a good job! I can actually buy her as being several thousand years old! Usually when writers try something like this the characters don’t seem to act like you’d expect someone that old to do, they make the kind of mistakes you expect from much younger people, but you’ve pulled it off so far!

    Also, I really like the design on her… circlet? Crown? Headpiece? Silvery thingamabob.

    • purplefoxglove

      Adam was kinda fond of the expression Rorschach tiara 🙂

  • I don’t think Sircea is giving Spooky enough credit. Yes, there might be a lot of nuances in this that it would take a while to fully comprehend, but he wouldn’t need to be a genious to know something would need to be done if he knew the walls between dimensions are about to break down.

    In fact, I’d say that Spooky maybe most of all would be the one who’d react and do a lot to prevent this from happening. Spooky has BEEN in hell. I think he’d do a lot to not make earth’s dimension into one.
    Sircea and Duncan has made a large mistake here in counting Spooky out from what’s going on. It might actually be their biggest mistake – for the reason I just mentioned.

    By keeping Spooky out of the loop about earth turning into another part of hell, he now only knows that THEY want to open up a wall and leave the earth to king of hell. Not knowing anything else, Spooky is going to fight hard for it not to happen (not to mention the others).
    Sircea being too ..arrogant (?) to believe in the powers of others might be their downfall here.

    Hmm, about Sircea. So she was around when the walls were build. Does this actually mean she, as suspected, might have been a deity who (to quote @Gryphongirl2:disqus) ‘lost her juice’ when she gave up some of her powers to (help?) create the walls. Great powets must have been used to do that.
    She could have been heavily weakened by that – left ‘only’ with her great magic and the powers she has left.

    So the grey magic working left pretty much every magic doer insane – and affected even Sircea and made her weaker. As in her mental state was also affected which might even have increased her willingness to sacrife a few billion lives to save the earth.

    Heck, she’s seen worse, right, and if earth survives there’s enough human left to build up again. After all she come from a time where a lot less people lived, and the ethic lines weren’t what they are in current time.
    They’ll save the Amercican continents so enough humans are preserved, get power again so she (and Duncan) can once again rule an earth. Shesh.. it’s better than the alternative, so why are Duncan questioning the greatness in this idea by suggesting that they get help from Spooky?

    Back to Spooky again. I wonder.. did he end up in hell somehow because it was his 13th birthday and some powers set in and did it – or was it coinsidence and this was the day that the ‘greys’ did their huge mistake? A mistake that left them all insane and with a short weakaning between dimensions, Spooky found himself suddently in hell but out of reach of the ‘curse’… which is why he’s (still) not effected like every other with magic powers.

    • Great analysis, Danish! Makes me wonder about Spooky ending up in hell during the mistake. Perhaps his innate abilities came into being that day while they were doing all that damage (and he was eating his cake).

      Fascinating thought! Spooky somehow being shielded by hell itself from all the destruction. Who would have thought of that but maybe our Alex?

      Sircea is old enough that she might consider a mere human to be a gnat or just not very important at all. How short their lives are, how fragile their bodies with no magic powers to speak of.

      Very interesting!

      • I’d say one of the biggest differences between Sircea and Duncan’s thinking is their ethic lines based on their age difference.
        Duncan is far more bothered about the possible sacrifice of a LOT of humans than Sircea is. He might be seen as a bad guy who has done bad things, but he’s very well aware that this is beyond anything he’s ever done and he doesn’t like it.

        He’ll do it if there’s no other option, which we see him almost ‘desperate’ trying to find, but he’s aware that he and Sircea has different motives as an end result.
        Oh, he wants power and he’ll stand with Sircea, but I wonder if/when we’ll see his line be crossed compared to hers. What will he do then?

        • Will he try to stop her? I wonder if he can…BUT maybe with Spooky, Kyle, and the rest, maybe he could stop her.

          Or maybe all of them might have to band together to stop Llaampy and the rest from staying here.

    • b3nc0

      Some of my neurones tell me they have great things to reply here but as it is my second sleepless night in a row (got into a Tumblr frenzy last night) and a 3d good ol’ insomnia one tuesday, they can’t seem to agree on which one to choose nor how to formulate it, so, I’ll come back refreshed later today *hopes he can keep his word* alright actually hopes he’s not in a maniacal phase

      • I have been in a Tumblr frenzy. I know it well. G’nite!

    • Klaus

      Spooky of course would understand the need to strengthen the walls, but he would not understand how to go about it. He might not even be able to assist.

    • Very nice analysis, Danish. Very fun for me to read. You’re asking good questions. 🙂

  • b3nc0

    Good night then fellows campers! [Well not really a night night more of a period of sleep night.] And good anything to everyone else!

  • Bravo(a) gang. This is another dynamic, smart and beautiful page.

    I just love that instead of mustache twirling, we get real thoughtful dialog. If Sircea is insane, she’s a crafty one that doesn’t accept for one minute that she IS. I love that she has real smart and thoughtful reasons for her own actions. Sure she may be a self-centered megalomaniac… OR she may be right and she’s the only one (cough) who can save the world(?) 🙂

    However, I love that she’s smarter and more interesting than I ever expected. I would have congratulated you guys for simply making Duncan more complex than I expected, but now I’m feeling some of that same energy with Sircea. I’m really interested to know what parts of her vision (if any) she’s right about and what parts Duncan knew about and which are new to him.

    Adam and Veronica, huge compliments on how grand this page is. It accompanies the subject of world saving and domination perfectly.

    I love the grand wide shot in P#1 and Sircea’s head shot and serious expression (not a mustache being twirled anywhere).

    I also really like the switch to the high angle shot in P#2 that let’s us see her powerful pose and then back to that great expression of calculated power in P#3. Heck, I’m tempted to believe her in #3… she looks SO confident.

    P#4 is a great spread, where she lays out the way the world is going to work and poor Duncan looks cranky and stubborn. Love his expression.

    P#5 Oh Duncan. I always have trouble with him trying to pull off self-righteous sarcasm this late in the game… DUDE… what did you think you were doing with her for the last half decade? Did you really think this was totally altruistic? I don’t buy that for a minute. Duncan was as crafty and manipulative as a villain could hope for while ramping up to the hell-date and he enjoyed every manipulative minute of it. He KNEW he was up to no good and he enjoyed it right up until the end when he had to leave a paralysed Kyle in the warehouse. That monologuing was, perhaps, the first moment when he was really starting to question the ‘good’ of what he was doing vs. the ‘harm’. It seems that, for what it is worth, that introspection has grown ever since he left the warehouse.

    Duncan: “Because of course, that’s our true and only motivation… to save the world.”

    So, as much as I like to see Duncan question their motives with a jaundiced eye. I must admit I have trouble not rolling my eye’s when he delivers a line like this one and acts like it’s only Sircea who has questionable motives.

    We’ll just have to see. Hero, villain… it’s DEFINITELY complicated. HA!

    Alex, Adam and Veronica — thank you so much for a great end to a long week. So so much appreciated.

    • Another lovely analysis, Christopher. One of the reasons we have this scene here is to give y’all a chance to get to know Sircea better before things get action-y and your reaction to her character pleases me to no end. Thank you for offering such thoughtful and thorough responses to our work! 🙂

  • karmakat

    interesting “tiara” she wears… nearly makes me think of a druid design… odd with her style of magic.

  • Hmm.. more thoughts (and babling as I think of it) about weaking walls, demons and various grey’s working their magic.

    Spooky ended up in hell 7 years ago, and made it back through a dimension gate 6 – around the time Kyle came into HIS powers.
    Earlier Spooky told Kyle that there was powers in birthdays – powers to use in spells. Spooky’s birthday seems to have been used by someone to create power, something that weakened the walls enough to send Spooky to a hell dimension. Could have been an accident result or deliberate as a ‘payment’ for a deal with dark forces (that did or didn’t fail and increased the insanity amongs those doing magic).

    I kinda wonder if Spooky’s return was at the exact same time as Kyle’s powers suddently set in, as in another short crack in dimension walls created a new boom in power – demonic powers which affected Kyle’s demon side?

    Spooky said in the bonus comic that he knew the walls are weakening, but also that he didn’t know why Sircea and Duncan would bring a king of hell to earth – telling me he doesn’t know how weak the walls have really gotten and/or has no capacity to understand how evil a deed Sircea and Duncan are willing to perform to ‘save’ earth as they see it needed (with the dominant part in that need being Sircea).

    Something Spooky also mentioned earlier was the ‘gates’ of hell, meaning there’s actually opening in these walls already and has been for a while. Have they been there all the time or is it the weakenings that has created them along the way?

    One thing we know for sure is that other demons walk the earth, having Spooky hunt them for once, meaning they probably came through a gate from somewhere. In connection with Kyle it also makes sense that either demons made it through a gate to earth, or other humans have ended up in one part of hell before this. How else could Kyle have been created – unless he was spawned in some weird non-birth way xD

    Since it apparently take a huge amount of power and ceremony to get a king of hell to earth, it seems more logic that either some woman ended up in hell (or what ever Kyle’s mother is) rather than the opposite way around.
    Anyway it’s someone (-thing) that made it through a gate (back) to earth.

    Could be interesting to know if Kyle was born on earth, or sent through a gate to end up there because he was born looking so human and ‘weak’.

    There’s a lot of unknown things in all of this, but what I take away from all we know so far is that magic doers have done a lot of spells so far, including ‘playing’ with the fire aka. various demons along the way.
    It’s also clear that these gates of hells have been opened more than once, but maybe more to let humans and ‘minor’ demons through. Spooky got back through a gate, and made sure that it was only him who got through, so it’s not something easily opened/accessed.

    (Actually shows that Spooky has some power that shouldn’t be overlooked)

    Still it’s increasingly weakened the walls. Soon it will no longer will be a question of something making it through a gate, but instead how much/many they can keep from doing it?

    • Klaus

      But at the end of seven years they pay a tithe to hell.

  • And now my brain has spewed what more or less logic thoughts I have about the page right now. It’s time I go to bed and get a nap.
    Another great and intriguing page as usual, and as always I’m left with wanting more and with new questions I want answers for 🙂

  • Nate

    Which suggests a solution that Siircea has missed.

    Spooky has the knowledge.

    KYLE has the power.

    • Saxon_Brenton

      Oh, I like that idea.

      • Dragon

        Me too! What do you want to bet that’s exactly what happens?

    • Clef

      Indeed! That was my thought, too. Spook’s got the know-how to direct Kyle in a team effort to save the world!

      Go team!

    • Or a solution she hasn’t missed but is hiding from Duncan, as she has ulterior motives.

  • Dennis Grace

    You can almost see the sarcasm dripping from his face in that last frame.

  • Richard Grant Muir

    So, the world was another ring of hell in the past… that would explain the midwest, hee hee!

    • timemonkey

      Or all of America really.

  • Quinten Rogers

    I was thinking Spooky was not affected because of his time in hell!

  • John

    My big problem with all the information we are receiving is the source. Sircea asserts she is the only one, that what they are doing is right etc etc

    But for me, it all comes back to this grey working which left in such an enviably unique position.

    The law of unintended consequences states that for every outcome of an action that was intended, at least two occur which act against you. If PP was involved in the Grey working, and was thus able to gaurd against its effects then she knew it would drive other magic users insane (else why the gaurd).

    I’m willing to bet she did NOT mean to weaken the walls of hell which would make this somewhat desperate measures to contain the damage she inflicted. I’m guessing she wishes to do this without spooky’s help because he might realise she did the damage in the first place.

    And if the grey working was somehow linked to his trip to hell I suspect he would be… discomposed by this realisation.

  • Klaus

    She was there when the walls were buildt. But who buildt them? Humans, or something else? If earth was just another ring of hell, how did humans live back then? Are there any humans still in hell, whose ancestors were on the wrong side on walls when buildt? What other creatures still live in hell, beside demons? What is a “ring” anyway?

    How does all this mesh with extraterrestials? Was all of our universe once a ring of hell? Or did the earth suddenly pop up in a preexisting universe when the walls went up?

    • SofiaT

      The earth could have been part of a hell realm to begin with, and then separated when the walls were built. If science in this comic universe is like are own (at least the basics, since obviously there are powers in the world that Alex created that don’t exist in RL), with dinosaurs roaming the earth, evolution etc, then that option doesn’t seem viable, as it screams “creationism” to me. Don’t those who believe in the theory of “young earth” believe that it was created 6,000 years ago (4004 BC)? If we accept though that evolution and scientific truth as we know it does not apply to this universe, then that possibility makes perfect sense.

      If, on the other hand, natural history in TYP universe has been the same as in our own, maybe Earth was created billions of years ago but some few thousand years ago it was overrun by demons and turned into a “colony” of Hell. Then humans (or magical users, or most specifically Solomon) fought back and built the walls that forced the demons back to their realm and denied them access to ours.

      In that case, what Sircea is planning here, doesn’t seem too different from what she claims they’re trying to avoid.

      • Acintyabedhabedhadasa

        4004 BC was Bishop Ushher. Other YEC supporters give slightly older dates–for example, 10,000 BC or so. (If anyone wants to avoid Sircea being almost as old as the universe.)

        • Klaus

          The Jewish calendar, on the other hand, claims that the world is 5775 years old.

      • bergulme .

        Yeah, that’s I thought.

        For the world building: Interesting! Earth being Ex-hell gives me a feeling of insecurity and threat.
        Last page showed the cube with a “Lamb of God” kinda image.

        I wonder what that meant and how PPs cow-and-stags tiara comes into this. In christianity stags are enemies of the snake and often symbolize souls saved by baptism.

      • Dakejev

        Now I’m wondering if Sircea’s mom wasn’t named Lilith… XD

    • Acintyabedhabedhadasa

      And how long ago was earth a part of hell? If Sircea remembers the wall being erected, then it must have occurred sometime after the evolution of humanity (and she gives her age as something on the order of 6000 years). But how could humans–let alone all life on earth, from roses to rabbits–have evolved under hellish conditions? And if the wall was built in archaic human history, then how is this consistent with the historical record?

      • timemonkey

        Assuming she’s not actually a demon or something that merely looks human.

  • xLizardx

    “Or our world returns to being just another circle of hell” – returns! Interesting implications there 😀 I love the world-building in this comic: there are so many passing details which capture my curiosity, so that it’s not only the plot which is compelling, but getting to discover more about the story’s universe as well.

    • Dakejev

      Same here. I love it when the story writer has put a lot of thought into the world around the action; it adds a lot of depth into the story and the characters too.

  • timemonkey

    I had a thought the other day. What if the kids pull it off, like everything goes as it should? They find the right spot, call in the airstrike and PP and Annie die in aerial fire? What if their actual role in the comic is set up and plot exposition to get us caught up and to alert the kids to a bigger threat?

    • Dakejev

      Not sure that anything short of a nuclear bomb could kill PP and Duncan.

      • timemonkey

        So maybe they’ll be nuked.

        • Dakejev

          I doubt we’re that lucky.

  • Toli Bera

    PP, If I may sidebar with you ma’am, he may be young and inexperienced, but uh… why turn away more magic? team: Together Everyone Achieves More. it’s kinda a thing.

    • Dakejev

      I think PP only sees the M and the E in “team”.

      • Toli Bera

        Do you think Duncan is just a pawn in her plan, or are they really even partners?

        They mentioned magic folk going mad… did PP go crazy in her own way and is trying to sink the ship? they just mentioned not wanting to let the world fall under demon control… and their deal allows a demon to take control of a part of the world…. kinda seeing a flaw here.

    • Klaus

      Most likely it would take more time to instruct Spooky in what he needs to do then they have.

      • Toli Bera

        but he has first hand demon fighting experience, has mastered his magic, and figured out how to travel between worlds at an early age. I’d say the heavy lifting of any training he might need has been done.

        • Klaus

          All true. but he is young, and has not had much time to study the more intricate details of magic.

          • Toli Bera

            sort of like the different approaches to education: Spooky went to the school of hard knocks PP went to Julliard.

          • Klaus

            We do not know about PP’s education. But she has had so much more time than Spooky. Even if the 6000 years is a lie.

          • Lindsey Amethyst Hampton

            Exactly. So while Spooky can do the moves, he doesn’t know why this move must follow that one, and might be tempted to cut out necessary moves at a critical point in time, because he doesn’t know what it’ll affect ten moves down the line.

  • Pikinanou

    Well, if they do indeed save the world, they might as well make sure they get a better social position, as a reward 😛 and getting youth won’t hurt neither, right? That is, if Laampros can’t take it back from them, after they betray him

  • Loving the details we see on Platinums headgear

  • Kit the Coyote

    Its seems Sircea is more in charge here than I thought, Up until we started into this bit I thought this was Duncan’s show.

  • Cydney Sabin

    Waitwaitwaitwaitwait… “Return” to being another ring of Hell? So our world used to be part of Hell? Wow… That explains a lot… Yet still more questions than answers…

  • Sunseahl Silverfall

    Reading the comments everyone seems to be suggesting that Sircea is as old as humanity itself…. I’d like to offer a slightly altered analysis….

    She may have been around for a VERY long time, that I grant, but even so we don’t have to look back that far to see the signs of “hell” in humainty’s history…. the last few traces of magic openly prevalent in our world, “the walls” being completed, being about the Middle/Dark ages and before that a more and more obvious role in the mythological creatures teaching humanity, growing certain cultures and peoples…

    The gods of Greece and Italy, those of Egypt, those of the Maya, Aztec, Inca… the gods of Asia…. These were all seen as gods or demons at one point or another and don’t necessarily have to be exclusive of one another nor does the legend of such things disprove in any substantial way that Earth has to go way, way back for find traces of hell.

    I think it’s quite plausible that the various sentients of “hell” built the walls too, possibly starting a good many thousands of years ago alone, why? Because the creatures that inhabit the earth plane are dangerously mortal. Demons, gods… however you see hell or the aspects of it these beings knew that a plane of mortality could sate their desires fleetingly but never full time and int hat they’d destroy everything they need to sate those desires later… besides…. it’s also MUCH more fun to toy and destroy mortals when they seek you out first.

  • Klaus

    All the other adult heroes and villains are dealing with the crisis of colliding trans-world identities. Does that have anything to do with the walls collapsing? It sounds like something with parallel worlds, and is that not just what Hell is?

  • purplefoxglove

    Waitwaitwait – if this world was separated from hell to create a safe haven for humans to live in, and the demons are dying to take it over again (as I understood this dialogue so far), why are there demons guarding the gates?

    See http://webcomics.yaoi911.com/archive/ete-bonus1-page-25/

    I always thought guarding the gates meant that the Karaura demons made sure no demon (or stray human) crosses over without permission, no matter in which direction. Or do they check if the gates are passable yet?

    • Klaus

      Or they may prevent the gates from being destroyed.

      • purplefoxglove

        But isn’t that desirable for the demons? Destroy the gates, flood the earth, have fun with all these feeble humans. Earth was, after all, a circle of hell before. What would they have to gain from it remaining separate from their realm?

        • Klaus

          Which is just why the demons would not want the gates the destroyed. Without the gates, how would they get to earth?

          • purplefoxglove

            Ah, that makes sense. I’d always assumed that with the gates destroyed, there would be permanent openings between the worlds. You’re right, the opposite could happen, too…so the Karaura demons kept the humans from closing the gates for good. Which leads to the question…when Spooky killed the demon in the bonus comic, did he destroy the gate after he passed through?

  • Terri Sutton

    Is it just me or is Duncan being very sarcastic in the last line.

  • justkeepondriving

    I have to say, I’m really liking PP’s outfit, and getting to see it close up in these last few pages. I do wish she had an even classier outfit (something less revealing) but I love the details in this one. Also, I notice what looks like the head of a bull carved into her headpiece? I’d love to learn the significance of that! It’s not an animal I would’ve imagined being associated with her.

    • TheManBehindTheCurtain

      Don’t think that is a bull, but rather a cow. It doesn’t have any horns and if it was a bull you can bet they would have put horns on it. Old cultures very often associated horns with power.
      The stags on either side of the head do have horns though, so they are male.

      • justkeepondriving

        You’re right, no horns. And I didn’t even see the stags! Well done.

      • Klaus

        But cows have horns too.

  • My thoughts wander in different directions after the revelations of the past few pages. Firstly, I must commend Alex for writing villains(?) that speak intelligently and sensibly. Second, Adam and Veronica’s work bringing Alex’ words to life is simply stunning. The detail in Platinum Priestess’ tiara is exquisite. The coloring is incredibly subtle but important in establishing both mood and personality. Now, for where my brain wanders.

    My initial take on Sircea’s argument is “arrogant.” She might well be correct based on the information she possesses but a careful intellect constantly updates that information and adjusts accordingly. An arrogant personality simply assumes they are right and that is the end of things. Duncan’s questions strike me as a prudent mind experienced with how things change, often rapidly. “No plan survives contact with the enemy” and all. Sircea’s certainty in such a case might unnerve him. “She is deliberately blinding herself to possibilities that might improve our chances. What else might she be wrong about?” This isn’t classic villain grandstanding and clashing egos at all. Rather, I see a clash of powerful intellects.

    Onward, Sircea drops hints that leads me to think that she might have played a big hand in what went wrong twice before. If she was present when the barrier was originally created her craving power and blind faith in her own judgment might have created the very weakness she claims to want to repair now.

    If this proves true then I would not put it past her to have played a pivotal role in the failure of the Grey Working. I consider what might be big enough that every powerful magus on Earth took part. Oh, maybe something like propping up the dimensional barrier? A barrier that Sircea might have weakened originally and oh, dear, if they prop it up then it weakens her. Can’t have that!

    I have a strong feeling that Sircea is up to her elegant eyebrows in what caused the problems in the first place. Duncan is a man of action. He might not be as knowledgeable about magic but he trusts his instincts. He’s getting red flags and his partner is poo-pooing them. If I were Duncan I would prepare a contingency just in case Sircea 1. revealed that she was just as crazy as other mages, or; 2. She was responsible for the problem he was fighting so hard to stop.

    Regardless, I greatly appreciate the level of intelligence that I see in these characters. It is refreshing to say the least. Thank you Alex. Thank you Adam and Veronica for giving the magic life and beauty!

    • Thank you, Donald! I’m very glad to hear you’re enjoying this scene.

      This isn’t classic villain grandstanding and clashing egos at all. Rather, I see a clash of powerful intellects.

      Nicely put. 🙂

      • Alex, the pleasure is most sincerely mine. I happen to be part of a writing group that strives to handle heroes and villains in an intelligent manner.

        We did this because we were tired of cliches and could find few alternatives in existing media. Imagine my pleasure when TYP came along. You handled this writing with the same care as when you wrote the interaction between Deacon and the doctor in “Artifice.” That tells me right away not to expect the expected.

        If anything there might be homage to comic book tropes but otherwise this is fresh, new creative territory. I cannot express the pleasure I get from reading TYP. I’m tickled when you take time to respond to my messages. I get a total fanboy rush. Thanks for giving me these opportunities, Alex! I cherish them.

        • It’s my pleasure to have you here, Donald. Thank you again. 🙂

  • SofiaT

    That’s what I meant by “part” of hell. In my mind, those rings of hell are not a big disc separated into rings like a vinyl record, they’re different planes of existence that are somehow connected -and earth was connected to them until the walls of blood and pain were built and cut off the access.

    When Duncan performed the ritual, he and Kyle didn’t move physically, but the portal he opened allowed the two worlds to align for a while and for the “bubble” that contained them to exist in both planes simultaneously. Like one world was slipping in the other http://webcomics.yaoi911.com/archive/ete-ch2-page-46

    I could be wrong, but I blame Philip Pullman’s His Dark Material trilogy for putting the idea in my head. Now it won’t get out.

  • TheManBehindTheCurtain

    I think the first panel shows quite clearly that PP is afraid/concerned by Spooky. I think either she doesn’t understand how it is that he is un-affected by the madness (and that lack of understanding worries her and makes her wonder what else she doesn’t understand), or that she knows exactly why Spooky is unaffected and that indicates he is a far greater threat to her (and more powerful) than she wants to admit.
    Also her contempt for men in general is quite obvious and she is only indulging Anni/Duncan because she has to for now.

    • SofiaT

      I’ll agree with everything but the last part. Sircea gives me the impression that she feels contempt for anyone who isn’t her, regardless of gender. I believe ths is the second time someone mentions misandry in the comments and, while that could very well be true, I haven’t read any such clues so far, in her speech on this page or any of the previous pages. Unless I missed something?

      • TheManBehindTheCurtain

        That may be true. We have not seen her interact with anyone other that Kyle that one time and with Duncan. I suppose being 6K+ years old would make for a very opinionated and “hardened” personality in anyone.

        PS. what’s with her and Spooky and head gear? Is that the secret to not going mad? Have a spelled piece of head gear to prevent external influences like the curse? All the other mad mages shown had no such stylish head gear. 😛

        • SofiaT

          *whispers* it’s so the aliens can’t control their minds.
          I bet there’s tin foil on the inside of Spooky’s cap.

          • TheManBehindTheCurtain

            Well PP’s headgear does have a tinfoilish look to it.

          • Klaus
          • SofiaT

            The tinfoil is sewed in the lining.

          • Maus Merryjest

            And Sircea’s tiara? It’s REALLY tinfoil. She’s very good at the origami thing. Six thousand years of practice and all… just look at that detail!

      • I was thinking that whatever Sircea was apart of in her youth may have been female led and why she would possibly think less of men, especially male magic users. I could see her being very much about the female ruling dynamic.

        • SofiaT

          I can see that as a possibility. And I don’t think it would be OOC for her to hate men or think them beneath her. It would quite fit her, actually.

          But, to me that’s head canon. I’ve never seen any hint in the comic that her contempt is gender specific, yet I’ve read a couple of posts that commented on it. From what I’ve seen so far, she thinks everyone is beneath her and has not even hinted that she is prejudiced against men. So I wonder where the idea of her obvious misandry is coming from.

          • I don’t think she hates men. I think she thinks them lesser creatures and barely tolerable, good for running errands, heavy labor, and any task she feels beneath her. True, she thinks basically everyone beneath her, but for me it was just some of her expressions and maybe how I read her words.

            Granted we haven’t seen her interact with another woman of power, so who’s to say.

          • SofiaT

            If she’s 6,000 years old (and we have no reason to believe she’s lying on that), she must have lived her youth in what was one of the most horrific times to be a woman. She could have been brought up in a matriarchal society I suppose, but if she grew up in Greece, Egypt of Mesopotamia, she would have been treated as little more than an animal. Like another Medea, she would take power wherever she could find it, using her sexuality and magic to rise beyond what was usually the fate of women in that time.

            In that context, I can totally see her hating men.
            But again, that’s head canon.

          • True, it’s all speculation until we learn more of Sircea’s history (hint hint Alex). I guess for me I like the idea of Sircea coming from a tribe of powerful women, like the Amazons, where at one point they had been respected.

            Of course it’s hard to tell such things because for the most part women’s accomplishments throughout history have been erased or brushed under the rug as insignificant.

          • Maus Merryjest

            Sounds like a Sircea mini/retrospective would be a good idea! Now that I’m finally getting close to fixing my green card thing, I might actually start making money so I can throw some of it at our wonderful team.

          • It would be an AWESOME idea. I would think Sircea would be all for it as well. 🙂

          • Steven K.

            Though I believe there were mother-goddess worshiping peoples going back over 20,000 years, so I think you’d be correct to think there were at least some ancient societies that held women in higher regard and within which it wouldn’t have been so horrible.

    • Tyler Griffin

      I kind of read her expression as introspective. As if she were begrudgingly conceding the point and working the numbers in her head. But I agree that she has a strong dose of disdain for others. Perhaps her age and power have combined with her knowledge of the fact of the curse she mentions to create this self image as “the Only Competent Magic User” left. Here she is confronted with an undeniable fact that another sane magic user exists, and I think she examines that fact and sees the possibilities it might open, but she needs to still be special in her own mind so if she can’t write him off as insane, he MUST be woefully ignorant.

    • Maus Merryjest

      Now that’s a good point to contemplate: The grey working weakened Sircea and all magic users at the time.. but Spooky isn’t affected. Which might mean he could be potentially more powerful– or reliable, at least.

      So, why wouldn’t Sircea want to collaborate with him to save the world?

      Once again, I suspect Sircy wants to save the world– but only just enough so that she can have a go at it. Dun dun duuun!

  • Tyler Griffin

    I have two proposals for directions that I could see this story going in that I have not seen raised.
    1. The kids fail. PP and Big D pull off their caper. And we story jump forward to the aftermath. This could happen but feels like a trope to me. Thus I don´t really expect it but it seems worth mentioning.

    2. The gang succeeds. They arrive at the scene and through whatever mix of circumstances rise up, they stop Laampros from enterin. But doing so involves Amanda having to send the minors into combat. This causes the PTB to come down swift and hard on the “vigilante” search and rescue team. The military officially breaks up their party even treats them as criminals (specifically thinking of Kyle-Prince-of-Hell-Dated-the-Supervillian here). It also causes PP and Anni to miss their chance to prevent the collapse of the walls, further resulting in some Kyle/Duncan team-up time a they try to duck the law and still save the world. PP/Spooky could happen as well as it might be decided by the PTB that after this incident ALL magic users are officially persona non grata, sane or not. This could allow PP to get a little perspective on life, remember the fun and joy of youth and lose some of her cynicism. Amanda, of course, would find a way to recollect Fluke, Flyboy, and Tsunami and set out trying to catch up with Silver Spook and Red Doom (do we have official ship names? Can I throw in a submission or two?) to still save the barriers

    • SofiaT

      What does Red Doom stand for?

      • Tyler Griffin

        Duncan and Kyle. Tried to combine their mask names but my tablet won’t let me write Anni’ s out fully so I had to improvise

        • SofiaT

          Ah, yes. I think the name you’re looking for is the majestic ship The Redilator.

          Occasionally it’s a submarine, but mostly it’s a ship.
          I’m its captain and AJ is the first mate. Welcome aboard.

          • Tyler Griffin

            Yeah, it would have let me do Red Annihilation, but I kept thinking about Kyle and Duncan’s conversation about picking their names at the restaurant . And the ego and compensation implications of such, and well. I’m choosing assume that neither of those men have ANYthing to compensate for, lol. Realities it must be then.

          • Tyler Griffin

            Oh dear. Not again…. Redalitor

            Wait. Why will it allow me to make up my own word here but won’t let me do annihilator.

            And now it will…. but on second thought Red Annihilator makes me feel like they should speak in bad Rocky and Bullwinkle Russian accents….

          • Tyler Griffin

            *Realises that he is now talking to himself on an online message bored and slips back into the corner, conspicuously whistling innocently*

          • SofiaT

            😀

          • Klaus

            To state the obvious: the admiral is the admiral.

          • Last time I checked, the definition of submarine was not: “a leaky canoe that’s been blasted by cannonfire and thoroughly sunk.”

          • Mwahahaha, that’s the decoy. We have hundreds and hundreds of them scattered about. >:D

          • Saxon_Brenton

            [slaps forehead] Ah! So that’s the explanation.
            I’ve been looking for extra building materials to expand the 100-Donations-Club treehouse in anticipatipation of Chris Dangerfield arriving in a few weeks time – but I couldn’t find any.
            If the Redilator team has been making oodles and boodles of decoy ships, then that’s obviously where all the timber has gone to.

          • Sorry. With David and his pitch forks, we’re constantly in a state of building.

          • Not just me. Many have flocked to serve under the pitchfork banner. Including our newest recruits – Fluke, Spooky, and Kyle

          • We shall overcome!!

            In other words: *lalalalacan’thearyoulalalala*

          • *taunts*

          • Very convincing decoys. I was under the impression your “fleet” had rather lost its vitality (not to mention its buoyancy) since the trip to hell. 🙂

          • We’re good builders!

          • SofiaT

            Nope, we’re still here!
            Laying low at the moment, but still here.

    • TheManBehindTheCurtain

      I think the final result will be more the standard type when 2 worlds collide. It ends up neither as good as you hoped nor as bad as you feared.
      For me this suggests that some demons (like Alex’s dad Lamprois) gets through and are “stuck” in the human world, while most others are left back in hell and the world walls are repaired thanks to a few tricks Spooky picked up/learned about in hell that PP had no idea about at all. She only has human understanding about power and magic (unless she is a actually demon, hence the 6K+ years old) so it’s logical to think that Spooky’s magic is based on demonic knowledge and understanding.
      Beside’s I think it would be pretty interesting to have Alex’s dad in the human world, but he would need to have considerably less power since he is cut off from hell (presumably a major source of his power). It makes for a fun, complicated relationship for Alex and Anni later on.

  • purplefoxglove

    “Oh, and, Sircea dear, I’m afraid you won’t have a choice about Spooky not getting involved. Contrary to our agreement, I left Kyle alive after the spell was done. I’m pretty sure he called his friends and the whole team should be here in, let’s say, any second now.”

  • Hours

    I love all the information we’re learning in these pages with PP and Duncan. Not to mention, Duncan looks sexy as hell in those last two panels.

    Plus a bonus, I learned what prurient means! 😀

    • purplefoxglove

      Yes, I too found that Alex’ comics were quite educational 😉

      And hell yes to Duncan being too sexy for his own good!

    • Keneu

      I was reading Artifice the other day for the first time and I came across the word “puritanical”. At first I thought it was a made-up word but it does exist. It still sounds like a mix of puritan and satanical to me, though.

  • Wayne Lunkwitz

    Duncan has no idea how bad he messed up…and knowing how powerful Kyle is……the rest are just as powerful.

  • I want to learn the PP’s secret to haircare, but it probably involves sacrificing innocents or something.

  • GrumpyPanda94

    did anyone else notice that there was a bison (i think) and a couple of bucks on her head??

    • Klaus

      Yes

    • Klaus

      If this is a bison, where are the horns?

    • Steven K.

      Yeah – I can finally make out that the side-figures are stags, and you can also finally jut about make out the curved horns on the central figure, though they don’t stick far out and remain sort of close to the surface.

  • Saxon_Brenton

    I don’t thnk this idea has been voiced before – apologies if it has.
    People have been wondering why Spooky Jones hasn’t been affected by the insanity causing effects of the Grey Working. The favourite supposition has been that he simply wasn’t on Earth when the Grey Working went into effect, what with him being displaced into a hell for a year.

    However, let me propose a far nastier alternative.
    (Takes out the Dark and Paranoid Conspiracy Theory Stick)

    On page 51 the Priestess says “… it rendered every other human on earth with true knowledge of magic dangerously insane.”
    Let us take this statement literally, and turn our attention back to the bonus comic, page 20, where Spooky goes all poltergiest-y, throws the table around the room, and shows Amanda a vision of various leering demons, before exclaiming, “You see?! That’s what’s inside me! That’s all that’s left inside me!”
    Now, initially I interpretted this metaphorically: that while he was in hell Spooky had to fight to survive, and had to make some ruthless choices and actions. This was backed up (to my way of thinking) with his statement on page 21 that he’d done bad things. (self -recrimination seems to be a running theme in this webcomic…)

    But for the sake of this theory, let us further assume that what Spooky said is also literally true. There’s a part of his psyche that is contaminated with demons. Spooky holds this part of himself in check by willpower and pure Spooky awesomeness. But it doesn’t change the fact that part of him isn’t human, and that part protects him from the effects of the Grey Working.

    In summary, Spooky wasn’t procted because he was in hell. He was protected because hell is in him.

    Your thoughts?

    • SofiaT

      Hands up the best theory I’ve read on that issue.

    • purplefoxglove

      That’s a very good analysis, and very possible, too. The impression that I got from Spooky’s little outbreak was that he either absorbed demon powers or even the demons themselves, a little bit like the dragonborn does with dragons after defeating them. Which would go along with your hypothesis nicely, because neither the powers nor the demons are human.

      Your quotation of the PP gave me another idea: what if Spooky hasn’t been human to begin with? We don’t know anything about him before he turned 13…and there are certainly enough non-human-beings running around in this comic universe.

    • good theory!

  • Maus Merryjest

    I don’t doubt that PP wants to save the world— for herself. After all, you can’t take over the world if someone else has already done it!

  • bronakopdin

    wait what?! It seems I missed out quite a bit! two weeks of holidays, I had a nice trip, yet I seem to need to reread some stuff and all the new paged before I can really comment xD

    glad to be back though! 🙂

    • Saxon_Brenton

      Glad you enjoyed your trip.
      With regards to the comic: Yeah, we’ve got plot exposition happening. Seems like every update is providing some juicy new bit of information.

  • Keneu

    The Priestess did mention on the last page that what Spooky lacks an adequate knowledge about magic, or something like that. So is what Spooky does magic or not? Or is the Priestess just being an academic snob? xD No, but seriously, the Priestess has the know-how and the “true” magic, and Spooky has the experience of being in hell and some cool powers too – if they worked together they would be the ideal team to stop the demons.

    • Klaus

      Catching a falling man is one thing, rebuildimg the walls between the world and Hell another. Spooky does not have what it takes, either in knowledge or in power, to even be of help there. Or so PP thinks.

      • Keneu

        He has knowledge about how demons think and behave and what will earth become if the plan goes awry. But of course, admitting that would mean she has to step from her mighty horse.

        • Klaus

          This still does not mean that he has the slightest clue about how to repair the walls.

    • Phyre Storm

      What Spooky does is magic, but according to Sircea, he’s not advanced enough at it to be any help. If you were trying to compose a symphony, you wouldn’t want “help” from someone who’s just learned to bang out “Chopsticks.”

      Personally, I think she’s either underestimating him or lying because her real plan is something Spooky would never agree to help with.

      • Keneu

        I was thinking more along the lines of “he does magic but in a unexpected/not conventional way, that’s why she doesn’t think it’s ‘true’ magic” – but what you’ve said makes sense too. I also believe that she wants to take over the world – we have no guarantee that the walls will really crumble on their own, and even if they will end up being torn apart, why keep it secret and make an one-sided move?

  • Dannysmartful

    I haven’t read all the comments, sorry in advance if this has already been answered. . . but if she’s 6000 years old already why did he ask for “an eternity of youth?” when bargaining? (chp 2 pg 40)

    • Saxon_Brenton

      We have had no firm information one way or another. Speculations include:
      1) She has had one method of having lived for so long, but she forsees that it will run out at some point, and is taking the opportunity to renew it. (Or maybe it isn’t going to run out, and she’s simply taking the opportunity to upgrade.)
      2) A significant variation on 1: she had proper immortality but the Grey Working has interfered with it and she is now taking the opportunity to renew it.
      3) She has survived this long with a succession of short term increases in her lifespan, and this is simply the most recent renewal.
      4) The Annihilator needs the immortality, but the Priestess doesn’t. The Priestess is simply asking for it as part of a trick to keep Laampros from realising that the Priestess is planning something. (including but limited to the possibility that receiving a supernatural gift from Laampros will act as a link that she can use to siphon off power from the demon lord.)

      There may be others that I’m blanking on at the moment.

  • Don’t need to try to control-

    Got the moves like Mike Jagger-

    http://youtu.be/iEPTlhBmwRg

  • Librarican

    I’m thinking more and more about the Minotaur myth in conjunction with this story (you also see it’s influence in the Hunger Games series, which most people don’t recognize). I think it has been established that Spooky was sent/brought to hell seven years ago. Now Red has also been sent to hell. The sacrificial imagery of Kyle on the night of his birthday. Laampros had those massive horns.

    PP has a cow/bull/bison imagery on her adornment. And actually she looks like she has horns herself with the way the side pieces stand up. Maybe she is meant to be a stand in for the Minotaur for this story. If there were seven YP members that would really solidify it, but I’m counting only six…. Unless Duncan is Theseaus in this story, volunteering and making the seventh “sacrifice” and the one who ultimately saves the day.

    • SofiaT

      If Duncan is anyone from greek mythology, he’s Sisiphus. 😀
      (Or Odysseus -who was rumoured to be Sisiphus’ son anyway, and not Laertes’).

      Devious, self-serving, cunning and -somehow- still lovable.

      I just hope he doesn’t share Sisiphus’ fate…

      (P.S: I thought that it was pretty obvious the whole “tributes as a punishment for rebelling” deal was a re-telling of the Athenian tributes to Minos myth)

      • davefragments

        According to Camus, Sisyphus believes himself to be more powerful than any of the gods. After all, he is the only one who can roll the rock up the hill. Because of the rules, no other person and no god of the ancient Greece Pantheon can replace him or roll the rock. It is specifically his rock and therefore, he is more powerful than any of the gods.

        Therefore, Sisyphus walks down the hill, happy at his fate. I know, I know, that’s also very absurd and logical and (my last word) absurd.

  • Klaus

    We are still missing a very important part of the puzzle: who supplied Hunter and Killer with that dampener, and why?

    • John

      I thought they stole it. But then; how did they know it was there to steal?

      • Klaus

        But who are “they”? Not hunter and killer. They want to see themselves as heroes. They may be somewhat careless about collateral damage, but they would not just wade in and kill everybody. If that was their style, they would just have shot a couplt of granades into the restaurant.

        • I would almost have suspected it was Sircea, trying to get rid of Duncan, but she needed him to get to Laampros…

          • I’m guessing Sircea, too, but for different reasons. What’s a better who to speed up a romance by some action scene bonding? Dangerous, of course, but we’re talking about the woman who’s totally fine with giving most of the world to a demon king in order to save it…

          • But if it were her, surely she would have told Duncan about the extra danger – he could have been killed and that would have ruined her plan. Unless her plan involves other things…

          • Maybe it’s one of those “I wanted you to react naturally!” situations that crop up in fiction every now and then.

          • Klaus

            Could be, but I expect better from Alex.

          • IamM

            She needs him now . She also needed him to remain committed at least until Kyle was manipulated into opening the portal for the parlay with Lampros.

            A working power-dampener is a good way to deal with opposition from Duncan or most other supers later. And a taste of mortality would strengthen his resolve to use Kyle selfishly.

        • John

          Hmmm, good point. Have to go back and check the panel where they’re discussing it.

          Regardless you’ve raised an important point to bear in mind; there is still a loose end out there, flapping in the breeze.

    • davefragments

      I think Hunter and Killer were part of the plan to enable Kyle’s seduction. I’m not sure if Duncan knew it but Sircea is quite capable of that type of deception.

      • Klaus

        I take this:
        http://webcomics.yaoi911.com/archive/ete-ch2-page-31/
        to mean that he did not expect the damper.

        • davefragments

          I thought more about that. He wanted to impress Kyle but tweedledum and tweedledee didn’t behave as he expected. Perhaps someone thinks that damper can stop all the magic and hold back the walls of the dimensions? Tweedledum and TweedleDee might have stolen it just to capture Duncan which is how things got out of control. If it is an alien device that stops magic what does that say for magic? All the “adult” superheroes are off-planet discussing with aliens how to keep the dimensional walls from collapsing. And yet, Sircea ssays she’s the only one who has the power. There’s more messed up in all this than merely Sircea’s quest for world domination. Her plan is to open the world to Laampros (the hell dimension) and let him rule half the world’s landmass. How does that solve the dimensional walls from falling.
          Now we are supposed to believe there is a plot here to try to neuter Laampros’ power and to send him back to hell and seal him there.
          I’m hearing all sorts of cross-purpose lies spouting from every available orifice (think Janus or Orwell) and None of it is making much sense to me. He says – I’m about to create hell on earth for a few million people” and she says – oh woe, the dimensions are going to collapse. and she says – I can fix them – but that means letting gel reclaim earth?
          I call that cognitive dissonance. I usually only experience it when listening to Charles Ives or Schoenberg’s atonal stuff. Makes me itch.
          Sircea is making me itch.
          None of this seems to fit his and her story.

          • Klaus

            I don’t think the damper stops magic. It did not stop Circea’s pixie dust.

          • Steven K.

            I think she has to let Laampros in so she can use him as a power source – draw power from him (while he is contained by some other means – maybe in the big clear box) and then use that “arcane power” to fix the problem of the failing interdimensional infrastructure.

          • davefragments

            That might be. Dangerous because he won’t be the only demon through the portal.

        • Jakk Anthony Guzman

          Hunter and Killer knew where Duncan was going to be because Duncan tipped them off. So it seems that someone else besides Hunter and Killer wanted Duncan dead, and I’m sure that someone wasn’t Sircea.

          I don’t think that Hunter and Killer are smart enough to know about a secret government research, so someone had to have given them the tech to use on Duncan. Perhaps someone in the government wanted to test the dampener on a supervillian to see if it really worked?

          Also, Hunter and Killer have disappeared (Chapter 3, page 34, panel 1). Are they alive? Dead? Did someone get rid of them to keep them from talking?

          • Klaus

            My thoughts exactly. Hunter and Killer would not have known, and even if they did, they could not have carried out the theft. Someone else is involved. Whatever plans Circea have for Duncan, she would not want him dead yet. All the adult villains are way out out of town. Who then?

          • IamM

            Maybe Sircea was confident that Duncan could best Dumb and Stupider even without his powers (or was ready to swoop in and save the day if needed), but felt the need to test the device and/or remind him what life would be like if his powers waned with age?

  • ka8ob

    Maybe off topic, but some here might appreciate. Have you ever flown through the universe? A video of some 400,000 “nearby” galaxies: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08LBltePDZw
    Since we are flying trillions of times faster than the speed of light, I figure this could be done by dropping out of warp every 1/60 s for a snapshot.
    We now return you to your regular programming.

  • Jac

    Is she Gandalf, or Saruman? The world may never know.

    • Steven K.

      I didn’t know Istari had leanings to become transexuals. I would have had to happen relatively recently though – at least not till after estrogen could have been chemically isolated, etc.

      • stickfigurefairytales

        What about magic?

        • Steven K.

          Well, I suppose you got me there, as “magic” could potentially do or account for anything. In that sense, it’s a “deus ex machina” sort of thing.

          • stickfigurefairytales

            Yup.

      • Jac

        Well, it was more of a metaphorical question, but it seems to have led into some interesting discussion anyway.. 😀

  • davefragments

    So this lady wants to rule the Americas and fix the dimensions at the same time. Those two aims are in contradiction of each other. Fix the dimensions means no Laampros, rule the Americas means Laampros gets the rest of the world. I want to say like pick one lady because you can’t seal out Laampros without opening the dimensional wall.

    And then there is Duncan. he says Spooky Jones might be able to help Sircea seal the dimensions and but a few pages before this page, he says that he is bringing hell to earth and that’s going to make lots of people suffer. Remorse is an interesting emotion. Again, the outcomes are at odds with each other.

    • Jakk Anthony Guzman

      Maybe she means sealing the walls after they let Laampros through and complete the bargain. Laampros said he would kill Duncan if he failed, so I guess that means that Laampros has to get through and the bargain has to be completed.

    • zunden

      I was thinking… If Earth used to be a circle of Hell, but then they built walls around it to keep Hell out, and the walls are now ripping open, by sewing the walls around a smaller area, she could not only fix the walls, but potentially reinforce them. As a metaphor, think of the ozone layer as fabric. If you wanted to get rid of the hole, you could either use a patch, or just overlap the two nearest pieces and sew them shut. Lacking an effective patch, the only option would be to sew, but sewing it shut would make it smaller.

      Then again, I really don’t trust PP, so. You know. Maybe she’s just full of it.

  • mogoskier

    Wow, disqus got really fancy overnight.

    • If you don’t want the new version this time, it comes with the option to switch back .. at least for now. You can find it under your profile settings when you have opened Disqus.
      There’s a ‘Switch back to old version’ in the drop Down menu next to your icon (not here but when you have opened up Disqus).

  • I am not sure how long I will be camping tonight, I have to wake up early to get my hair cut. *sigh* It was either tomorrow morning or Saturday and I am unsure I am strong enough to resist cutting it off myself until Saturday afternoon.

    • stickfigurefairytales

      Well, glad you’re here now, anyway. I hope you like the haircut results tomorrow!

      • Well, I am slightly nervous because I have never gotten it cut this short before, but I have hopes for it. Nicole has been cutting my hair for almost 20 years, when I showed her the link to the cut I was thinking about she loved it and thinks it will look good on me.

        • stickfigurefairytales

          Yay! Well, I think you can probably count on someone who’s been cutting your hair for so long.

          • Well, if it looks the way it should I will be changing my avatar. ^_^

          • stickfigurefairytales

            Oooh, I hope we get to see! ^_^

    • silibub

      I always wind up booking hair appointments early, too, but I’ve been going to the same woman for over a decade so I just take what times she gives me. Good luck with yours — I’m sure it’ll look great!

      • My hair is at the point where I am highly tempted to cut it myself just to get rid of it. Her only other opening this week was for 1 on Saturday. I don’t think I could have kept away from the scissors until then. ^_^

        • silibub

          Smart to get it over with, then! You’re getting a lot cut off, huh?

          • ……probably about 90-95% of it ^_^

          • silibub

            Bold move! I cut nearly ten inches off mine in January and I like it so much better at this length. You’re gonna look awesome!

          • I get my mom to cut mine about twice a year, taking 4-8 inches every time. My hair grows pretty fast. At summertime I get it cut so it’s around my shoulder, at winter it get’s to be longer.
            This summer I got it extra short (just touching shoulders) so might not get more than 4 inches taken off nex time.

          • silibub

            Oh wow, I’m jealous — my hair grows medium-slow, I think. Although now that it’s shorter, that actually turned out to be convenient, or I’d have to go in every month to get it trimmed.

          • Yeah.. my hair has alway grown pretty fast even though it’s gotten thinner during the years.
            It’s slowed down a little but I think it grows an inch a month on average – faster just when it gets cut and slows down a little. The first time I decided to get long hair back in 9th grade my hair grew from just under ear lenght to down mid-low on my back in half a year xD It doesn’t grow quite as fast now but still ..

          • stickfigurefairytales

            Wow, that is fast!

          • LOL.. I wish it would stick to just my hair. Let’s just say I cuss that I forgot to bring a tweezer with me, going to my parents place for 2½ days. I can go home and pluck the new stubs that’s shown. Some are 1-2 milimeter long already.

          • I had 12 inches cut off once, it was just a bit longer than what it is now.

          • stickfigurefairytales

            Wow, your head is going to feel so much lighter!

  • ….Numa Numa appeared on my tumblr dash. I am helplessly addicted to this song. I love it. I thought I would find it on you tube and share it. …this was the first time I have seen the official music video……I feel like I have been missing out all these years…..
    http://youtu.be/0HR4hp_-kSI

  • In for camping from my parents older and slower computer.
    It’s always interesting because it also has a Danish dictionary that tries to take over my text sometimes, xD

    • Morning Danish sweet!

    • Good Morning!

      So if we see some odd text from you, we’ll run to Google translate.

      • *lol* It’s more that it changes random Words to start with a big letter, and ‘who’ it want to spell WHO (the organisation) and NeXT for (next) and such. I have to edit all the time.

        • And here I was hoping to learn new words. lol

          • davefragments

            I can teach you three new words in Turkish . . .
            (alarms go off)

          • Are these words not allowed on public television.

          • davefragments

            Of course they are ordinary words. . .

            Towel
            Coffee
            Bath

          • Ha! And here I was my mind going to bad places.

          • Oh I can teach you new words 😉 What do you want to know how to write in Danish?

          • Ha! Hmmm, I may need to think about this, so many words. 🙂

    • stickfigurefairytales

      Hi Danish!

  • *Pokes*.. silent camp or disqus acting up?

    Testing, testing. who is lurking in the shadows just waiting to strike? Show yourself >.>

    • *sneaks in and out* Winter Soldier watching… 😉

    • They are too busy watching that link I posted on repeat. ^_^

    • Saxon_Brenton

      Hmm. Disquis seems to be working. I’d say silent camp.

      • Yeah .. I’m sure people will get more active when a new page is up 🙂

    • As for myself, I am working on typing up an email for themice about the proofreading I did for her. ^_^ It is taking a little longer than I thought it would to type up….

    • davefragments

      I’m catching up on my email from today. I had chores to do today.

    • stickfigurefairytales

      I’m lurking around! *waves wildly* Oh…I do not seem to have mastered the stealthy aspect.

    • silibub

      Hi Danish! I’m lurking around but not to strike — just reading. How are you?

      • Going better some of the time, but my back has some issues still.
        I’ not exactly expecting to strike either, not on this old computer that reacts slower 🙂

        • silibub

          Ahh, that’s frustrating to still have your back acting up. I hope you’re taking it easy. And since you have a digital handicap with your slower computer, it should be the ideal time to try swooping in for a first comment but…I’m feeling especially lazy so I’ll just wait for a page announcement, haha!

          • Yeah, it really sucks. Hope some chiropractor or physio. can help improve it soon.
            *lol* Yeah,this update isn’t the day I can hunt well xD
            I’m going home to myself later, but now I make it from here.

  • Hey everyone!

    Vero is having a bit of trouble with her Internet so I’m going to be posting up the penciled page for now and a little later on tonight I should be able to post the colored page. Thank you for your understanding! 🙂

    • silibub

      Works for me, I love seeing the penciled pages, too!

    • davefragments

      I always wondered what your pencils looked like. This will be the first page I get to see a pencil and a color image and compare the two to see how much is color and how much is raw image. This is inexpensive thrills tonight. Makes my day.

  • davefragments
  • Kabbalist

    If their true and only motivation was to save the world (as we know it), they wouldn’t have had to put in all those bits about becoming eternally young and healthy and ruling the American continents, would they? Or is the Priestess going to try and tell him that all of THAT stuff was just window dressing to make the deal seem more plausible to Laampros the Terribly Convenient? The problem with 6000 year old beings is that they take a very LONG view. The enslavement and torment of a generation would still be “temporary,” to her and possibly an acceptable price to pay for preserving and repairing the Walls. There’s so much here that could be “justified” as making the best of a bad situation (from her viewpoint), presuming she’s even telling Duncan the truth right now.

  • I still am very impressed with the level of craft exhibited in this overall twist and reveal.

    Unlike a lot of big reveals, it’s utterly not contrived, it flows very naturally, and is completely believable within this world.

    Even years later, this is possibly the best executed crazy ass reveal/twist I’ve ever seen because it really is a total shift in the entire narrative thus far and yet it is done so well it just works perfectly.