Doesn’t look like he wants to hear about how he was nearly taken out by a mythical creature.
Under circumstances like these, one’s adrenal glands shoot so much adrenalin into your bloodstream that you can feel ’em clench in the middle of your back, and then your heart rate goes to about 300. He’s going to have to let some of that fight-or-flight juice wear off, before he’ll be in any shape to listen to anyone about anything.
No doubt. I think someone besides Shelly is going to have to have a word with him and fill him in on what just happened. May be a job for Monica the Mediator.
No, Justin doesn’t really know Monica. The one who has to step in and explain things is someone he has a connection with. Which means Bud is going to have to completely blow her “crazy chick” act and tell Justin what’s what.
But then that’s just redundant of Kevin’s revelation to the masquerade.
Bud was the ditsy blushing blonde around Kevin, then broke her facade and revealed the truth behind herself and Monica. For her to do the EXACT same thing with Officer TB seems like retreading the same ground, with only the options of “Officer TB behaves like Kevin and accepts Shelly” or “Officer TB behaves the opposite of Kevin and shuns Shelly”. Unless the whole point of this arc is to push Shelly back to her “I can never get close to anyone” phase she had back pre-GGG, I can’t see any other reason for events to unfold such a way.
For a bit there Dave I wasn’t sure if you were talking about moments where someone suddenly touches your ass, or moments where you almost die.
Same thing right?
A much younger and even more (?) sleep deprived me learned the trick of making the glands pump adrenalin “on demand”. You feel good (or at least not so bad) for a little while, but soon enough, back to the, er, small of the back, if you will. The glands start to get tender, as I can attest. So, it need not be a Fight, Flight, or Fuuu, er… Fun (Yah, that’s it) situation.
Justin is in shock right now. He is starting to bleed and his system is reacting to the tramua it just suffered. The delayed bleeding is fairly normal for shock victems when injured by very sharp items. His system goes into partial shut down, pumps blood into the center of the body mass. and adreniline starts flowing. Of course he isn’t rational. He’s lucky to be that coherent. His training probably helps with that. Right now they should be calling 911 as soon those slices could start really bleeding depending on how deep they are. Justin may collaspe as well if he doesn’t lie down soon. The time for Shelly to talk is after he comes to in the hospital and after he’s had time to think about it. The other problem is she can be charged with assult on a police officer. This is going to be a interesting week.
Surely it would ‘just’ be Assault, wouldn’t Justin would have to be on duty for any charge of Assault-Police to be applicable? Or does it work different in the US?
I really don’t think she can be charged with anything that would stick. What is he going to say? “I swatted her on the butt and she turned into a monster with claws and fangs and lightning reflexes! Then she turned back into a sobbing, terrified girl! If not for her cat-like reflexes, she might have killed me!” I think any defense attorney would tear his testimony apart.
Man! Hope this isn’t another dream sequence.
That would seem like cheating, I agree.
In any case, this is the first time Paul has drawn the face of male rage in Wapsi Square. He’s drawn angry men and suggestive horrors, and described the worst in words. But never an image like this.
I think the ‘best’ we can still hope for is that this is one of Shelly’s metamorphic friends testing her in plasma. Shelly’s emotions are real, though. No. Matter. Else.
I think this is real, in every sense of the word. I think Shelly is going to have to pick up the pieces of her life because Justin isn’t going to be mentaly flexible enough to deal with this. This one hurts.
As if 80,000 years of loneliness and exile wasn’t life-shattering enough. Aargh…
I think being nearly literally disemboweled would put me in more than a bit of a piss too. So much for the ‘Say nothing, it’ll be fine’ plan.
I think you hit the nail on the head with that comment. Poor Shelly. This would leave lots of pieces to pick up…and it’s a lesson in why keeping secrets from significant others is damaging. If she really wanted to keep him around, she needed to tell him more. I think Tina said something along those lines a while back…
Paul’s usually been good for keeping dream sequences with Shelly to 1-2 updates max. This would probably be the first to last 3+ updates, so I doubt this is one.
Well, the only slightly good thing I can see in this, is that an angry reaction to having been attacked may be a healthier thing for Justin than just staying frozen with terror and soiling his pants, or falling down dead with a coronary.
Damned slightly, though.
Poor Shelly! This could break her worse than she’s ever been broken before.
I agree. This is bad. Very bad. Or maybe not too bad. I don’t know. He’s still in panic mode. He’s not thinking clearly yet (although admittedly refusing to allow someone who just clawed him and still doesn’t look quite human to touch him is a fairly reasonable conclusion) and he might think very differently once he calms down. That being said, it looks bad.
Yeah. Got a feeling i’m not gonna enjoy the next few strips.
Well, i’ll enjoy them, i guess, but there’s “enjoy” and then there’s “enjoy”, if you get me.
I third it.
In addition to you point, it should be remembered that he is a policeman and therefore, he sometimes has a gun.
well I guess RL police have this happen… a real bummer, if you fave sexy GF turns out to be the **worst** crim ever, tho… 😮 😮
🙁 awwww crap…poor copper and poor poor Shelly. ;-;
I know! That’s what I said. *sniffle*
I REEEEEALY hope that’s Phix in disguise, and that this is part of Shelley’s “training”.
I think the only metamorph we know of capable of pushing Shelly this accurately would be Creepy.
This is not Nudge’s style or expertise, and I’d be amazed if Shelly would be surprised by Phix so soon after being told of training, and having known her for 80,000 years.
I….can’t recall Creepy changing shape – other than somewhat normal to goblin-like, so, yeah, what you said.
Also: Dear God, Justin, No. Keep it together.
Metamorph isn’t quite the right term for her. However, she’s manifested images before Shelly’s wakeful gaze (boxing bell, Monica’s butchered head).
And that was before she spent 80,000 years in defensive isolation, too. But damn.
I think you’re on to something.
If there’s anyone who can suspend Shelly’s disbelief that way it would have to be Creepy Girl.
This is going to be a rough week, folks.
oh, yeah… it’s gonna be a doozy that’s for sure… now he’s gonna have to rethink his “you don’t have the Psycho-Chick-Flags” line of reasoning, and come to the conclusion that it’s HIM not the girls that are wacky…. THEN we see if he stays with Shelly or continues to wig out and shun her totally… (much to Bud’s advantage… until he finds out about HER as well!)
… at which point he would probably decide that his only reasonable choice is to take Holy Orders and move to a small hermitage located high in the Andes.
Nah, he’d end up meeting a nun who’s secretly a fallen angel trying to repent for her past actions or something. The Wapsiverse is just fun that way
Yes, well, I feel certain this is a “flag” he has never come across before. Whatever happens, at some point his couriosity has to get the better of him and he would want to know WTH just happened.
So, we have one male counterpart who isn’t all accepting.
Of course, Kevin and Alan never came quite so close to evisceration.
No, but Alan was always romancing on the edge on annihilation:
Jin still can eviscerate, btw, just like she did to the Lanthians in the pit. Happily, she’s sane now, and Alan probably knows better than to cheat on her like her ancient priest boyfriend did, and to avoid constructing murder-rape pits in the first place.
Ah, but Alan didn’t understand – like twenty-seven colour glossy photographs with circles and arrows understand – what she meant at that point…
Well, remember, Arlo wasn’t convicted of conspiracy, just of littering (and he had to pick up the garbage); I don’t think Alan is in any position to understand anything right now, with his adrenal glands squeezed to the size of sun-dried currants right now…
That’s JUSTIN, not ALAN.
Ooh, for an “edit” button… 🙁
Well, from what (little) we saw pre-revelation, the mannerisms between the three males were very different.
Allan was very laid back and accepting of whatever life threw at him.
Kevin was morally grounded yet self-doubting, allowing life to throw him to the wolves with little protest.
Officer TB’s damaged goods and doubting of both himself and others. He also seems more confrontational than Allan or Kevin, combine that with his career training (being a cop, after all), and he’s very likely to give you a different reaction.
Not to mention Alen and Kevin were best friends before they started dating Monica and Jin too. They’re bound to have…similar dispositions when it comes to off the wall stuff. Officer TB…well he seems to be more…grounded and Shelly just broke the world as far as he knows…and attacked him for nothing.
Brilliant move there guy. Yell at the deadly creature who is unable to control her sphinx side. Poke at her with a stick while you’re at it. Lets see if you can make her lose all control.
Anyone mention Justin’s a cop, yet? Just thought I’d roll that out there.
He doesn’t know yet what he can’t control.
I know some cops. I like them alright, but they all have that “the rules don’t apply to me” thing going on. That and a massive sense of entitlement. I’m just about sick of hearing about the “thin blue line”.
I’ve known some utterly standout exceptions to the rule, but do find that many officers are simply bullies with guns.
Well, I’m dissapointed, but not suprised. The rage response from Justin is understandable. If your a male who’s been brought up with the idea that real men are tough and don’t get scared and your girlfriend brings you face to face with primal terror, to save your ego there’s only one way you can really react.
Justin is giving us the example. He’s re-establishing his macho self image by yelling at a woman who could kill him with little effort. I think maybe Shelly dodged a bullet with this one.
Only because Justin isn’t carrying his sidearm.
*Rattles the Jar*
Either way, I’m pretty sure Shelly is faster than a speeding bullet.
I guess a dark pun is still a pun.
[Fires into jar.]
We laugh that we may not sob like a little girl.
I don’t think it is so much a male-reaction as it is a cop-reaction. When someone’s threatening violence, you talk them down calmly. When someone’s actively violent, you insert yourself and use force to subdue the situation.
Probably doesn’t help that Officer TB’s mentioned being burned in matters of the heart in the past, and even a history of dating crazies/freaks.
Granted, that’s not to say non-cop males wouldn’t have a similar reaction, or Officer TB’s being male isn’t contributing to this response. I just thing it has more to do with him being a cop, than his history of being burned by freaks, than him being a him.
There’s also the fact that Justin accidentally instigated it with the butt slap. I’ve wanted to react the same way after getting my ass slapped unexpectedly. Not all of us think it’s ‘adorable’ when guys do that. XD Especially when they do it hard, and it hurts. Forget the bear–he poked the sphinx.
Sonic, I think it’s part and parcel of the same thing. Law Enforcement in general has a very macho culture that even the female LEOs have to adopt. So you take biology, add a dash of cultural reinforcement and enhance it with a profession that encourages macho behavior and you get Justin’s reaction.
Contrast Kevin who is a nature photographer and has to work around wild animals. Granted, the last assignment we know about involved ducks (vicious creatures though they are), but we can presume he’s worked in proximity to some of nature’s larger and deadlier fuana. A macho mindset while filming, say, Kodiack bears at a salmon run will get you killed and probably eaten.
If Monica had turned out to be a Sphinx and had clawed him like this, I’m sure he’d be freaked out by it, but he sure as Hell wouldn’t be yelling at her.
@ChrisHerself: Understandable. Though I wager a retaliatory ball-tap may be a bit more socially acceptable than a public disemboweling (not sure which would hurt more, though). (>^_^)>
@Boxilar: I can agree to that, though Kevin is perfect to a fault, so that may not be fair to OfficerTB. I was more just referring to the fact that I doubt the other less-perfect Wapsimales, such as Allan, Daren, and even the long-forgotten Owen (or the not entirely human Tepoz), would have quite the same aggressive response as OfficerTB.
I don’t think it’s a male reaction or, as Sonic Thunder suggests, a cop reaction. I think it’s a human reaction. When frightened that much, there are two instincts: curl up in a little ball of fear (flight), or lash out (fight). He lashed out. It’s normal.
Terrifying in its own way, but still normal.
I have to agree with you there. His reaction is prefectly understandable. His outburst doesn’t even technically mean he has any anger or hate in him (well maybe some anger). He’s just scared and he’s acting defensively.
We’ve been reading, and knowing all about, Shelly for a long time now. Justin still have to get a clue.
For all I know, his anger may be internally directed. By his own submission, he is a weird-chick magnet and saw no such signs in Shelly, neither before or after asphinxiation. Now he’s gasping for air wondering why the mother-of-all-weird-girldfriends didn’t set any of his alarms off. Being betrayed by yourself is way harder to cope with. He’s hurt, likely in shock and soon passing out from blood loss, all due to someone he let himself being vulnerable to. That’s some case of Mondays.
On the other hand; they’re now past scratching the superficial relationship and need to claw out of the mess they’ve dug themselve into.
Isn’t that a jar I see here?.
Is there something wrong with Shelly’s hair? (Is she turning sphinxy?)
I think you may be right, that’s too large an area for a reflected highlight on something as highly curved as a head. She probably is sphinxing out.
This is very sad.
wonderful? i’m puzzled at your choice of words. Terrific would be a good word, ie; arousing feelings of terror.
They both need to gather themselves. Even if this seems to be the perfect time for panic.
Hey, if Shelly’d been a couple inches closer with that slash, they’d be gathering Justin with a stick and a spoon…
Haha, apparently I’m the only Wapsi fan who is really glad he had an adverse reaction!
I mean, c’mon. All of the guys can’t possibly deal with their supernatural chicks so well. Suddenly WHOA a guy has a different reaction? AWESOME!
Plus, I’ll admit, I don’t really like him. lol. 😛
Well, Alan’s initial reaction was also anger. He didn’t accept her at first and was about to walk away. After that he was eased into it via a long talk with Jin. Kevin’s introduction was just comical. This is very different. Several levels above either of the others. Life and death, with a monster you thought was a just a great woman to boot.
Point. I would guess there’s an element of betrayal to Justin’s reaction.
Alan was also warned long before Jin’s reveal to him, and he had Kevin as wingman-in-the-know. And a lot of Alan’s help to Jin is off-stage.
Interesting that Bud seemed to have been there both times for Monica and Jin. She seems to be completely in the dark about this one.
Bud was Monica’s watchdog and Jin’s teammate at the time that she helped the two of them. She most likely is not playing watchdog for Shelly. Not to mention she has her own problems that she is working on now.
True, Bud’s golem obligations bound her directly to Mon and Jin, but she’s formed a real bond of friendship with Shelly–unlike the last 56 times.
This bond is Bud’s own to win and keep, or lose. This is all hers, and it’s been developing for a few very human years. Blowing her first close friendship could be much more devastating for Bud than watching Monica be lucky-in-love or the Lanthian princess whose every wish came true.
What I’d really like to see is for things to work out between the two of them… eventually. In other words, this bad reaction is to be expected, he keeps panicking, he pushes her away, some time passes, he comes back, either out of curiosity or because “you know what, I kind of liked her, claw marks or no claw marks,” and the story goes on from there.
Anyhow, that’s what I’m hoping to see happen. Based on my prior track record with predicting Paul’s plots, it probably won’t, but whatever.
See, I’d like to see him lose it and not be able to accept this at all. They have had no one like that, you know? Everyone has either immediately or slowly accepted who they are. People aren’t like that. I’d like to see this layer.
But, again, never really cared about Justin as it is so my point of view may be a little skewed. Hehe.
You’re hardly the only one. I said last week that I rather hoped for this, and I know I wasn’t the only one.
Granted, I don’t like it, but that’s because I’m non-confrontational (angry people scare me) and I wanted Shelly to have a happy relationship. I still wanted this to happen though…just for the sake of reality.
Of course. This being such a “reality” based story.
Maybe elements are not reality based but people and human emotion is in fact a basis of reality. So yeah, I’d like characters to have some realism to them. Otherwise you can’t get a grip on them and they’re uninteresting. All the girls have realistic personalities. Alan too and Kevin to a…lesser extent. And cool, they all are great with the supernatural thing. But not everyone would be so cool with something so big being sprung upon them. Y’know?
To geek out here, it’s like Buffy. She definitely had all these people accept her and love her as a frigging super hero type but there were people who were freaked out or even felt threatened by the fact.
I have nothing funny to say on this one. I don’t usually will pain onto characters but it is about time something like this happened. The guys of the Wapsivers were starting to seem too perfect. It adds realism for at least one of them to not be OK with the wierder side.
Shelly may have come to the right conclusion before daring to rethink trying keep him:
And… Nazis, drug lords and Lanthians. Wapsiworld has never been paradise. But we’ve always been treated to tragedies as being things of the past to be overcome. Here we’re entering into one going into the future.
That’s where that burning feeling of freshness is coming from.
Understandable reaction. Not sure I’d do any better in that situation. Makes sense storywise – like a lot of people have already said, it makes sense for him to freak out a bit. Even without the supernatural bit, its kinda normal to NOT be okay with somebody leaving three jagged slashes across your chest.
That doesn’t change the fact that describing how I feel about this would require more profanity than the average Jerry Springer episode.
And tomorrow, it’s his turn to transform into a mythical beast.
no, THAT would be too easy… while i would love this to be a *training session* with Phix in The Library… i just don’t REALLY want it to be one either… i guess we’ll just have to wait and see, huh…
T’was Brilligh and the Slivy Tove.. Apologies if I spelled that wrong .
Did Gyre and Gimble in the Wabe:…
All mimsey were the morogroves
And Justin rath outgrabed.
“Beware the Jabb o’ Sphynx, my son–
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!”
i’m kinda serious about this though, if bud makes a move i’m afraid this poor bugger will be left with a problematic psychosis of some kind. i mean he apparently already has a problem with finding crazy chicks, why not add apocalyptic to the dice throws.
Give the guy a break…..having been in experiences where it is “Fight or Flight”, I see him not giving into either as a good thing. He may not have it in him to get pass this, but then he may suprise us (and himself).
Justins reaction does not seem right to me.
He surprised her.
She instantly attacked an unknown assailant.
Surely he doesn’t believe her to be the wilting flower type?
She came within inches of exiscerating him with her bare hands. I’d say his reaction is fairly reasonable, if not relatively mild.
If someone suddenly, without warning or any signal whatsoever, suddenly fired a shotgun into the ground between your feet, how rational would your first response be? Especially if some of the buckshot hit you.
Justin is reacting / freaking out in a completely normal manner. Adrenalin plus pain plus a large dose of WTH was THAT??? Anger / Fear response.
I would hope i would be looking at the other person
Shelly is sobbing her eyes out.
She was attacked.
If she knew Justin was there then sure – i can understand Justins anger
But..if she thought she was alone and someone hits you..you punch back – THAT is instinct.. claws or no.
You’re really overstating it by calling it an attack. He patted her on the behind. He didn’t grab her, or make any moves that could have reasonably been construed as an actual attack. She still went straight to lethal force.
I’m with you, Paula. At first it seemed reasonable but Justin’s reaction has been stewing in the back of my mind for a couple of hours and, no, anger does NOT seem right. Primal fear, wonderment at what in h*ll just happened, relief at being alive, total freaking out – any number of emotions could arise instantly but not anger.
A person – especially a cop – that startles a loose canon does not exhibit the mental prowess for lighting fast thinking to get to anger and rejection. Anger is a response that requires some cognition. His words are “Don’t touch me!” – angry words of total rejection. The only rational for his anger would be him feeling betrayed because of Shelly’s withholding her alternate aspect. (There may be more but I can’t think of any yet although Boxilar offers a possibility.) But the mental process to reach that conclusion would take a lot more time than what appears to have elapsed.
So, yeah. This doesn’t seem right. But then, given Pablo’s skill and propensity for plot twists, it shouldn’t be surprising.
His response makes perfect sense. He’s injured, his hindbrain is screaming “I’m gonna DIE“, he was startled…this sums up to “scared (perhaps literally) shitless”. And as an author whose name escapes me once said, “Anger is always fear in disguise”. Justin’s an “Alpha Male” personality, and doesn’t like to be scared, so he sublimates it into anger.
Yup. Spider Robinson’s musician/bartender character Jake said that, and I think it’s true or very nearly so.
I agree, Justin’s reaction is unfortunate but not at all unusual, given what just happened.
I’ve read what peeps have said but..nope. to me 100% not a proper reaction from someone you are sleeping with.
Hopefully tomorrow Shelly will give back as good as she is getting because..just..no.
Expected better from Justin.
You’re not the only one Paula to think that Paula.
There’s something not quite right about the situation. The whole thing feels a little TOO scripted to me.
Handcuffs, ok. Scarring does not seem his style. Pull back and reasses. Okay, current girlfriend has some control issues, but it seemed relatively minor compared to past girlfriends. Now current girlfriend can sprount claws and fangs and can eviscerate a punching bag at near lightspeed. And wasn’t there a report this morning about some bar brawl involving some racist drunks and a pissed off Hispanic woman?
Alan’s seen Jin suicidal and seen her destroy a knife by slamming it point first against her wrist, but I’ll bet she never turned into a giant snake in bed to squeeze him. And then again, he seems a regular at the Cereberus club. Hmm. (Oh, yeah, with the lights flickering like that and some drinks, you do occasionally see some weird things …)
Kevin’s heard everything second hand, but has Monica ever poited over to surprise him at one of his shoot location, or said, ‘Hey, I know some lovely, small, private islands. Bring your camera if you want. No passport needed?’
Sort of off-topic but I imagine the police report wouldn’t mistake Shelly’s Native status by calling her Hispanic… considering that the three dudes’ obnoxious mouthing off against Indigenous peoples was why Shelly took them out in the first place.
Poor Shelly. She’s trembling, crying, cowering in that last panel. It’s heart wrenching. Yes, Justin’s freak out is a natural reaction to what happened. But man! I can’t even guess what happens next for either of them, but I’ll be reading along avidly.
Me thinks it’s about time the MIB stepped-in and had a little chat with Justin, you know? Enforcer to enforcer?
Aand .. I am afraid this is very real, no dream sequence, no Nudge shenanigans, no Phix-induced hallucination.
I also believe this is more educational to Shelly than 80,000 years in relative isolation. She’s always had a ridiculously short fuse, and her sphinxiness is only exacerbating that -not so nice- trait.
I think this unpleasantness might just be advantageous on the long run, although it seems somewhat harsh at the moment.
I’m wondering if we’re not seeing an MIB agent in the process of blowing his cover.
Shelly’s become somewhat immune to control signals from her previous handlers (First Owen, and then Monica), so perhaps the Powers are arranging for a new one.
Actually the MIBs don’t need to do that much:
1- Replace the punch bag and clean up mess
2- Replace his top and glasses
3- Maybe get his cuts to heal
1 & 2 are enough to convince others that he’s crazy if he tries to tell anyone.
3 would make him wonder if he imagined it.
After all many of the people sent to the Gulags believed that they were in the wrong and psychological experiments have shown that people would ignore the evidence of their own eyes if that conflicts with the assertions of the group they are in.
Personally, I really hope the “MiB” never appear in comic. Ever. To me, it seemed a somewhat pointless revelation, considering Jin’s prior boasting about her control over all the world’s secret political players (immortals and mortals). And we know they keep an active eye on them (Tepoz’s and Kukuklan’s conversation way-back-when).
If anything, it just seems better to know that the MiB exist as confirmation that Bud & Brandi have a hand in their masquerade, rather than leaving it all on the shoulders of the Jin and May (both still of questionable mindset). Especially now that Jin’s likely to die.
Wapsi’s got so many minor characters (new and old) I don’t see what adding another MiB character, or revealing someone like Officer TB to be MiB, would really do for the comic. But, that’s just my personal opinion, that they’re better remaining “in-the-shadows” than ever on-screen.
…I think I know what’s going down.
So I’m going to shut up now.
I detect a Mona Lisa smile….
But if we don’t know what is your insight, how can we applaud you when it is revealed?
The traditional method would be for Yamara to figure out a short sentence which summarizes her prediction (possibly as an allegory, possibly in Latin or another foreign language), scramble the words and letters around, and post it in a comment. After the big reveal, Yamara wcould then tell us how to decode the scrambled comment. Hence, establishing priority for the prediction, without posting an actual spoiler. Astronomers and other scientists used to use this trick… I’ve done so myself when publicly pranking a friend.
I had actually composed one of those, but it was too transparent, and would just distract from Paul’s drama anyway.
I’ll just promise to admit that I was wrong, or how I came to the conclusion if I’m right.
Unless…. Ehhh.. A “switcheroo”?
As much as I hate to say this, this is a very normal reaction to a surprise injury from a loved one. I had similar reactions when a niece pounced on me and caused my knee to give out. I was on the floor and didn’t what ANYONE touching me, It was a purely instinctive reaction and I think the same is happening here.
On the unpopular side I hate to admit that Justin is the one boyfriend that has had no contact with any of Shelly’s friends at all. This can mean that she wanted to keep him totally separated from her wacky supernatural life or she wasn’t sure about him as a long term boyfriend. I just hoe that I am wrong in my observation, she seems to have been good for her so far.
Also, Justin and Shelly’s relationship was more physical and convenient than deep and meaningful. They were nowhere near as connected or committed as Monica and Kevin or, especially, Allen and Jin.
Which makes you wonder just why Heather, Shelly’s prior love interest, was recently reintroduced to the comic.
Heather was never a love interest for Shelly. Just a good friend. For her part, Heather was more hot for Shelly, than in love with her.
Well, as much a love interest for Shelly as any other we’ve seen. TB/Shelly was pure lust that tried to be something more and Owen/Shelly was a one-way crush that never started.
At least with Heather/Shelly, there was both mutual attraction combined with an actual relationship. Shelly just failed to launch for multiple reasons.
Just thinking out loudly really. Even if this incident doesn’t end the OfficerTB/Shelly relationship, it could cause a temporary void. And we’ve seen Heather is doubting her relationship with Vicki. Perhaps mutual relationship woes cause the two to reconnect, to whatever end.
OUCH!!! (For both of them).
Great, now I’m gonna be bummed out until tomorrows strip. And I didn’t even like those two relationship to begin with. Thanks Paul.
I think this is a perfectly normal reaction. There is often a very fine line between fear and anger – the one can easily transform to the other, in fact, fear is often why angry people are that way.
I take issue with the last panel, though. Under the circumstances, I don’t think he would be leaning toward her that aggressively. Backing away, yes, leaning forward, not so much. If he is the “get scared, get angry, be aggressive” type, Shelly is better off without him. As someone said, I think this will eventually end up a positive thing for Shelly.
Still, it is painful to watch.
Justin is also a cop. With training around people who attack him. Has to have some bearing on the situation as well. Ouch for both of them.
Bar for a drink and to go clear his head, wanting something normal. In comes Bud. Scene 40 Take 1 *ACTION*
I can just imagine that conversation:
Starts out friendly (he may even recognise her)
He needs someone to confide in and, as he already has her pegged as “crazy”, feels able to open up to her
Bud is sympathetic and about half way through his story realises who he’s talking about and what may have happened
Bud makes an excuse to go to the ladies and poits to Shelly to speak to her
Justin realises she’s ducked out on him and/or wonders if she was there in the first place
I swear, if this turns out bad for Shelly, I will stop reading Wapsi altogether. Shelly’s gone through too much to heap one more thing on her….this could break her a lot worse…
How do you know it won’t be better for Shelly in the long run?
One of the quickest ways to the ‘Dark Side’ is through rejection. Something tells me Shelly may lose her head over his.
Shelly’s clearly in shock, too, just as Justin is. Look at her, shivering. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a character in Wapsi portrayed as being that shook up and shocky before.
I’m really torn on this one.
Shelly was blind-sided, and not yet up to snuff on her sphinx control. OK, she nearly killed her boy-toy, but in the crisis she successfully pulled her riposte to merely wound him (how bad we, and she, don’t yet know), and once she had time to take in the situation, she immediately turned to remorse and trying to help the situation. I really don’t blame her for any of that, except maybe her control (or lack) in the first place. And she seems to be trying to work on that, except Justin didn’t give her the time to get her training in.
And she’s still maintaining control, despite Justin’s reaction. (Her face and teeth may betray traces of the stress she’s under, but not her hands.)
Justin, on the other hand, attempted a friendly pat on his girl-toy, and got a wildcat in response, complete with a wound. He’s facing something he really didn’t expect, has no background (as far as we know) to even begin to understand, and he’s responding with, I’m guessing, fear-driven panic covered by anger and rejection.
Justin does, I believe, bear a bit more blame for starting this sequence, but it has spun far out of his control. So I don’t blame him for this crisis either.
Now, though, they both need to come to terms with what they’ve unleashed. Shelly is doing better–but then she already knows what’s happening. Justin, though, could really break both himself and her if he’s not able to cope.
All that is taking this scenario at face value. I’d suspect that something else is going on here. Best case: Perhaps this is Shelly’s training program under Phix’s guidance, Justin is not really there, and Shelly didn’t just nearly kill him, still has a chance to have “the talk” with him, and now knows why it’s essential, and why she really needs to gain control of herself.
I’d like to think this is what’s going on, because of Phix’s appearance and what she told Shelly a little while back.
So, the situation is frightening and potentially very tragic, but I also see some hope.
If this is a Phix holodeck training program somehow, I ‘d consider it to be unnecessarily cruel, for two reasons:
1. Phix would have had to spring it on Shelly at a time Shelly did not know it was taking place. If Shelly knew it was a simulation, she would not have reacted with the sort of shock and dismay we see her exhibiting… the poor lass is trembling and looks ready to collapse. She truly believes that she almost killed her lover.
2. Shelly did not need a wake-up call from Phix to get her to realize how important it is for her to remain in balance and keep control of her sphinx reactions. She already knows how dangerous she is in her current state… the three-racist-drunks barfight simply reinforced what she already suspected from what happened when she and Justin hugged at the studio a day or two before. Heck, Shelly even mock-threatened Monica when M didn’t take Shelly’s worries seriously.
Shelly really didn’t need more instruction about why she needs control. She needed instruction about how – and it’s just incredibly unfortunate that Justin showed up and swatted her before Shelly and Phix had had time for enought teaching sessions of whatever sort.
So, as much as I would like to think that this is a sim, with no effect at all on the real Justin… I really doubt it, at this point. It’s one of those times I would love to be wrong.
I think the manure has hit the wind turbine, big-time.
I’m with Dave on this one. The more we see, the less and less I think it’s possible that this is some “training simulation”. For one thing, I think that it would have ended right after the clawed attack and Shelly crumbling. There wouldn’t be any need to continue it to this point.
For another thing, while people have made the point that for a training simulation like this to work, Shelly would have to not be in the know, I’d think she’d figure out that the person in front of her wasn’t Justin fairly quickly (assuming that someone was subbing in with shape-changing skills). That individual’s reaction wouldn’t be this kind of primal fear for one thing, and also, I’d bet that when sphinxy, Shelly’s senses are better. She’d probably scent a fake (once she calmed down enough).
So yeah…I think it’s real. The only plausible alternative to reality would be a dream sequence, and that seems unlikely at this point, too.
I thought about it a bit more this morning, and I could see one scenario in which it could be a simulation, is consistent with Shelly’s horrified reactions Friday and today, and in which my “needlessly cruel” issue might be dealt with.
Specifically: it’s a “trance simulation”, probably in the Library, in which Shelly has been placed in some sort of hypnotic state – one in which she’s instructed to take things at face value, and to temporarily forget that she’s in a trance / training.
The specific intent here would be to present her with a truly terrible traumatic emotional shock… because (in this scenario) that is known to be the only way to impress the necessary control upon a sphinx-hybrid’s nervous system. In other words, what has just happened would not be “needlessly cruel”, as I suggested… it would be “just as cruel as necessary.”
This could deal with the fact that Shelly seems to have jumped from talking with Phix in Mucho Mocha (and Phix saying “We can practice in the Library”) to the gym, without our ever having seen anything in between. If we take this jump (and Shelly’s words) at face value, Phix just talked with Shelly about her situation, but has not as yet done any actual training on control at all… no “practice in the Library” has occurred. Adding an element of hypnosis or other mind control could make it plausible that what we’re seeing is the first actual practice session.
The gotcha here is that this scenario would require that someone (Phix?) have the ability to put Shelly into a very thorough hypnotic trance, in order to suppress her knowledge that “it’s all a dream”. I don’t think any such power has ever been portrayed in the Wapsiverse to date?
(Speaking of hypnosis… and this may be what kicked off this line of thought… did anybody here watch this last week’s episode of The Finder? Did you catch the really careless verbal mistake that Dr. Sweets made? None of the show characters caught it… but I imagine it’s going to be the forcing function of at least one episode’s plot, Real Soon Now!)
Hmmm (scratsching goatee, trying to look pondering, the result, however, being “ponderous”)
Shelly is all about rejection and agression.
She still, deep inside, feels that her Mom left her, rejected her.
She’s scared bloodless of being left alone. 80,000 years of banishment didn’t really help, however important in the big pucture.
So, what do we have:
– abandonment issues
– fear of own physical strength
– a relationship of convenience
– Shelly clearly being ( or seeing herself as..) the alpha in the relationship
– “Justin” suddenly going authoritarian
– Demon psychologist
– A underlying culture of dream quests and sjamanism
( adds 1+1)
You could be right. It all makes sense in that way
I like the hypnosis idea. It explains a lot, like the sudden transition from “We’ll train in the Library” to the gym, and with all her experience, I am sure that Phix is very good at suggestion.
We can only hope that it is something like that, otherwise I fear for Shelly. I’ve never really liked Justin, but Shelly is a sweetheart and deserves to be happy. If that happiness is Justin, so be it.
If this is real, maybe Phix can use suggestion to help Shelly.
I dreaded Monday. I knew it wasn’t going to be good a pleasant scene. I actually read Wapsi last today instead of first. If it is a training situation, it isn’t unnecessarily harsh. Training situations have to be as realistic as possible to provide optimum benefit. This would instill in Shelly just how important it is to control her Sphinxness. To another statement someone said, Shelly has always been a sphinx and it has always been a driving force in her life. It’s just now after 80,000 years as being a sphinx in sphinx form doing sphinx things, it has a upper hand. If this is the real deal, it is sad because we like Shelly and this is going to hurt her.
I hope it is NOT a simulation of some sort. That would just ruin the whole thing. An author can go to that well only once, maybe twice in exceptional cases before the water becomes bitter and his readers tire of it. Investing so much emotional capital in this sequence only to find it never happened (again … shower scene) would be a real letdown.
We haven’t had any set up to expect hypnosis, but we are set to expect a training exercise–right up to when Shelly got smacked. So it’s not like a dream or daydream which pulls the rug out at the end.
But this sure ain’t some movie montage, either. If this is part of the training, it is designed to break her heart first. So you might as well enjoy the ride either way.
Poor Justin, unlike Kevin, who had a more gentler introduction into the Mythical World, Justin’s is anything but. It is going to take sometime for his rational mind to catch up and take control again; hopefully hi Police training will help with that.
Oh yes, I was gonna add: Justin seems to be a bit more of a “typical” male who wants to be in control than most of the males we’ve seen here so far. Let’s hear it for strong men and strong women!
I agree, and let me point out that I have had a similar reaction to a battery and I’ve seen others do the same.
Considering how much emotional charge Paul has put into this I suspect he has too, or at least is very good at walking in another man’s moccasins.
The girls were going to run into a person with a hostile view of nature sooner or later and this guy has had a problematic behavior pattern from the beginning. People with problematic behavior frequently become a problem for themselves and others sooner or later. This letch is no exception. It sucks for Shelly, but she didn’t exactly pick a winner to start with.
What was problematic of his behavior pattern initially? I don’t recall having any real concerns about him.
And where are you getting ‘letch’ from?? Justin has never made a comment or had an action that shows him as a letch.
I can only hope Paul doesn’t read comments this week. I’m hoping to see this progress in a way that makes sense to him (and, by extension, to his characters) without considering our compulsive dissection of the comic.
That’s one of the weirdest things about the Internet and modern creativity, especially with regard to episodic stories. Depending on the size of your following, you can see feedback within seconds of posting the latest installment, and if that feedback *doesn’t* affect your decision-making process as a creator, well… you’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din.
+1 Kipling points.
Paul has definitely displayed his ability to deep-fry his audience. And we love him for it.
We know that Paul does read the comments regularly. Whether he’s chosen to not do so this week, we don’t know (it’s hard to prove a negative). He hasn’t commented within the last few days… might not do so until the drama moment is over, I suppose, for fear of reducing the emotional impact.
I do think that he may occasionally tweak some of the character dialog he writes for one day’s strip, in order to clarify some points that were unclear to readers in previous days and which have elicited comments and debate. Either that, or he’s infernally good at writing dialog in advance which first muddies, and then clarifies the waters. Both alternatives seem quite plausible.
I haven’t personally seen anything which would lead me to believe that he actually changes the plotting significantly based on comments posted, though. Again, only he knows for sure.
The overriding cause of Justin’s response may be the vicious attack and expression on Shelly’s face – quite clear, however briefly it may have shown. I am not afraid of my sweetie, but if she suddenly showed pure rage and socked me as hard as she could, I would find it very upsetting.
Simultaneously, the heavy bag exploded. This is equivalent to firing a shotgun near your ear when you didn’t even know there was a shotgun in the room.
Plus, Shelly’s face has changed inexplicable (are her ears changing?). And his body is in shock, if only from his mental state. I have been injured and not known how badly immediately.
This has been baffling, unexpected, frightening, infuriating, and completely inexplicable. He is being hit with multiple emergencies from multiple direction at once, and is trying to sort it out.
Whoa, this is going to sting a lot more than a few cuts across the chest… still, Justin will probably not get any chance to tell anyone, with the MIB as backup crew around.
He was tenacious. I’ll give him that. Patient until he became a patient, I suppose. Let’s hope in his extremely flexible spirit, he doesn’t have an option for revenge…. while he may not get far, it will certainly get ugly.
That one will cost you at least a nominal payment to the Pun Jar!
Poor kids… I’m betting they’ll work it out, but it may not be fast.
I read all your comments before looking over the strip again.
First, I am sure this is NOT a PHIX fix (though I hope I’m wrong).
Second, Justin’s anger reaction is NOT immediate. Looks to me he stood in mental shook perhaps a dozen seconds before actual movement.
Third, he is experiencing physical shock (ANY physical trauma can cause shock, ask any ER intern or nurse).
His first reaction was fear (he pulled back)
and then shock as the body reported the damage (he stiffened)
and finally his law enforcement training helped guide his natural reaction (he took over a situation of violence with concentrated aggression).
I doubt he would actually attack (it is against his training and against his masculine instinct to actually attack a female); but he will strive to control the situation.
Then he will collapse from the adrenalin drop.
I rather hope tomorrow’s comic is Justin collapsing, followed by a poit to the ER and some bs about a car smashing the gym.
Oh my god, poor Shelly…
Guess the cat’s outta the bag, huh?
I find myself wondering if Justin’s reaction is because he thinks this is some creature that has disguised itself as Shelly and he wants to know what it has done with the “real Shelly”.
exactly what I feared would happen.
This is definately NOT going to end well.
This is… odd. Justin knows how strong Shelly is. Now he’s found out she can slash lightning fast, too, and with enough force to go through cloth and skin. Even if he’s filled with rage, he should be retreating to get away from her, not trying to physically intimidate by getting in her face. And therefore closer to her hands and claws.
This is really sad. Not what i wanted to see happen. I get the feeling that Justin isn’t going to react like Kevin or Monica’s boyfriend. The chances of finding three guys who just easily accept the supernatural is extremely low.
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