Uh oh he went there

Ooh, a kind commenter just linked this fanart of Rana with some suspiciously warm hands, created by Harveydont. I love it! By the way, if you’d like a Meek fanart linked here, don’t be shy to post to the comments and I’ll make sure to share it :]

One thing I have found interesting, and which is possibly my fault, is that readers tend to be sort of critical of my female characters. I didn’t say anything in MI since I suspected it was because of a lack of deep backstory for the character (compared to other characters), but I think we know Rana well enough? I’m surprised that many people are angrier at her for supporting this idea of violent, vengeful action than they are at Luca for actually carrying it out. Maybe it’s because we know more about Luca and can internally justify it? because Suda is more likeable by comparison? or is it her unruly eyebrows, haha? Anyways, just a neutral observation for now, I’m looking forward to seeing if anyone changes their mind about it as the chapter progresses.

Anyways! The comparison and notes page is up here, a general update post will go up for Patrons/ non-Patrons tomorrow, and thanks again for reading and commenting, I am really enjoying your discussions :]


  • Spark

    Perhaps it’s because people tend to hold women to higher standards of existing, and are more likely to condemn them for certain behaviors/attitudes than if a man were to do the exact same thing :/ Internalized misogyny and all that

    • Spark

      Also I think there’s a typo in the fourth panel. Did you mean “You know you could’ve said something” or “You could’ve said something?”

      • gdi, I ran the spellcheck and everything. BUT IT WAS GRAMMAR

        (thank you I will get that fixed XD)

        • Anton Kooistra

          Grammar is what my British friend calls her grandma.

          • MikeLinPA

            That’s great!

    • Shweta


      I’m p sure if it was the sister standing by not knowing what to do, and wanting everyone to like her/being likeable most of all, and the brother advocating violence, people would be angry at… Rana.

      Honestly, I’m having a bit of “Rana no you know better” myself. But she *doesn’t*, how could she? That’s my internalized misogyny speaking.

      We internalize this idea that women have to be perfect or they’re monsters, and then the only way to write a likeable woman is to have her be perfect except for a couple of Acceptable Female Flaws so she’s not too perfect, so that’s what most people, do, which reinforces the idea that female characters just aren’t allowed real flaws or even understandable reasoning from a flawed premise and…

      (basically shing is awesome n i’m grateful)

  • Vert

    He totally went there. I suspect that’s not going to go over well.

    • Asterai

      Or maybe it will be an inciting incident for character change in Rana.

  • Lilian

    Beautifully written, beautifully drawn. As usual!

  • RyanApple

    Golly, I’ve been thinking about that last shot from Chapter 2 for almost 7 years now. Now I’m just thinking of this thing my friend made a few months ago.
    Excited to see where she goes from here.

    • Oh nice!! I hadn’t seen that actually :O I’ll throw it in the blurby section, thank you for linking!

  • Quix

    Regarding people being mad at Rana: I wasn’t one of them, even though what she was saying did rub me the wrong way a little. For me, at least, it definitely wasn’t a gender thing. But if you are going to compare Rana and Luca in terms of what they can get away with, Rana hasn’t had nearly as much time put into justifying her opinions as Luca has.

    Luca has seen some shit. Luca’s been tortured as a result of a war, and a lot of care has been put into showing how that affects him both physically and mentally. His relationship with Phe was developed far more than Phe’s relationship with anyone else, so when it comes to people lashing out as a result of her death, one is inclined to give him the most leeway as a result. Despite Phe being their mom, we really didn’t see Suda or Rana interact with her much. Also, Luca’s been getting manipulated by a drooly tiger monster in some kind of long-game scheme.

    I’m not saying that Luca is right in what he’s doing, but everything in the first chapter was about explaining why he’s a mess. Rana, however – most of all we’ve been shown of her is her bad sides, at the moment. Do we have reason to sympathize with her? Sure we do. But honestly some of the most sympathetic things I’m aware of is stuff that’s been on the Wiki or in your page descriptions, more than anything that’s been in the actual comic. We’ve seen a lot more of Rana’s flaws than we’ve seen her sympathetic angles. She’s impatient with her siblings, slow to show affection, and fairly dismissive of other people’s problems and the servants in the castle. Luca seems to have these traits also, but again, the Lady and the Tiger was basically a big ol “dang Luca’s fucked up” explanation.

    I think people’s opinions of Rana will change once more of her sympathetic traits and vulnerabilities are shown.

    Also, last but perhaps most important: you’ve said yourself that the current bizarro world politics situation is particularly stimulating for the subject The Meek covers. I think it’s resonating with a lot of people that way, which means that Luca falls into this category where he is the old man, set in his ways, who you can be mad at but are inherently more hopeless about. Rana is in a situation where she feels like that peer of yours that, despite being part of the younger generation, is embracing that same rhetoric. So I think people are going to have more vitriol towards a younger character who is more similar to them for making what they perceive as the wrong choices, because theoretically they should know better.

    Anyway I love this comic and I’m interested in all the characters and would love to see more Rana. But since you expressed interest in the subject of people’s reaction to Rana I figured I’d give my take on why it’s been so angry. I don’t THINK it’s primarily a gender thing but, of course, the “women are bitchy” double standard can sneak its way into most kneejerk opinions whether you want it to or not.

    Buuut at least in my case I think there is some nuance to why people are finding it easy to be frustrated with her.

    • Squarish_Emu

      Preach it!

    • Yeah, I think that’s a completely reasonable guess… like I said above, I suspect it might be partially my fault, having introduced certain characters with a depth that other characters haven’t received yet. And, people seem pretty neutral about Angora (at least, I haven’t seen many negative comments about her, though ostensibly she is as annoying as Rana is in some respects). Thanks for the thoughtful reply :]

      • David

        I look at it that Luca has made his decision, but Suda and Rana are only just now becoming adults, and they’re still deciding what kind of people they will be. Rana seems to be leaning toward the dark side, but I think there’s still hope for her. The other thing I keep in mind is that there’s a lot of racism within the empire. She can be cruel to the Carissi because she doesn’t really think of them as people. That, in turn, is due to the way she was raised, rather than anything inherently bad in her.

      • das-g

        Angora may annoy her co-characters very much, but I don’t think she rubs many of us readers the wrong way. Indeed, her (in-universe) annoying behavior is often what makes her interesting and entertaining to me and, I presume, the rest of the audience.

        Of course, while Rana’s opinions here might annoy us, the readers (and probably much more so than they would annoy some of the Empire’s subjects) that is also some kind of hypothetical annoyance that makes her, too, more interesting and entertaining and, as is often the case with flaws in fictional people, even more likable in some sense.

        The same is true regardless of gender: Suda isn’t the perfect hero. (Actually, as far as we know, he isn’t a hero at all.) While (probably) good and rebellious at heart, he can be quite selfish and childish and he’s often too weak-willed to put his inner rebellion into action or even words when it matters.

        These ambivalences are what makes the characters realistic, relatable and real. Your storytelling with and about them makes this comic art, literally literarily. (Your artwork also makes it art, but visually.)

      • Darcy

        Angora has been living out in the wilderness for a while so we know her manners are going to be… ah… lacking.

    • DukeBG

      > Rana, however – most of all we’ve been shown of her is her bad sides, at the moment.

      Am I in a minority of readers who remember how in previous deSadars chapter Rana went to check up on her mom while Suda was “whatever, they’ll deal with it, I’m more interested in these cookies”?

      We haven’t really been shown her from the bad sides only in the comic as a whole. In this chapter – sure, but common, one scene of her justifying violence that she was disconnected from isn’t really enough ground to judge her character (Suda’s too, by the way).

      The last paragraph was not to Quix, but to people labelling a strict dichotomy “Rana = cold-hearted, Suda = softie” on the previous page.

      • Shweta

        I was remembering that too :/

        I feel like people aren’t rly getting how much Rana has had the caretaker role shoved on her, and how much she *does* care, but that’s a heartbreaking position to be in, esp as a grieving kid, because nobody remembers to support you, only to lean on you.

        It’s on the page to resonate with me a lot, IDK about others. But perhaps it’s just that it was on the page so long ago that a lot of people have forgotten?

  • Ouuuch.

  • Squarish_Emu

    I would imagine that, in this particular case, it’s because we haven’t seen this side of Rana before. Sure, she’s kinda grumpy, but we haven’t seen her support anything that could be seen as cruel before. I would imagine negative feelings could be had if a reader saw her as a generally nice person and this came as a big shock to who they thought she was. With Luca, even if we disagree, his actions aren’t beyond what we expect from him at this point. While we may not like what he did, we weren’t caught off guard.
    (Also, as a side note, I personally feel like I know and understand the MI characters infinitely better than the TM characters. Perhaps it’s because MI focuses on significantly fewer characters and you get much deeper into their psyches much faster, whereas I still feel like I’m getting introduced to all of the TM characters and am only starting to see who they are [with perhaps one or two exceptions].)

    • also because Bex totally beheaded our nice friend ;__; I take some responsibility for that one

      • Squarish_Emu

        Yeah, but I can’t help loving Bex anyway…

      • Android 21 3/7

        Bex at least had an excuse. “I’m stranded here all by myself! I gotta live! What looks edible? That thing does! Biggest chicken wings I’ve ever seen!”

        • ;___;

          • LeDayz

            Oh God, now I’m picturing her pouring lobster sauce on Thrip…

      • Cthulhufish

        “I take some responsibility”

        Is there a non-awkward way to bring up the concept of “death of the author” when speaking to the author?

  • Mal-L

    I like how you got Suda stepping on a platform before the big fight with the tank test providing ominous background sound. Neat staging.

    Hmmm… alot of prestige tv dramas these days seem to be “Sad toxic men behaving badly” and I do have some sympathy for Luca after he goes from Autocrat to murderous genocidal Autocrat. So maybe as an audience we’re primed to sympathize with flawed male characters even after they become complete monsters?

    That’s actually kind of a scary thing to think about.

    Alot of Rana’s views are understandable. I was also young and had alot of dumb opinions about the world. And unlike Suda she didn’t actually get to develop a rapport with the man and then see him die.

    Anyhow not sure how much that added to the conversation.

    • lol that is another good guess. I’m totally guilty of “oh no this poor complex man” sort of feelings towards fictional characters that do nothing but fuck things up for the other nicer characters. And probably guilty of writing like that at times though I try to check myself. I agree it is scary the degree to which we’re influenced to feel certain ways simply by passive immersion.

    • also thank you very much for noticing my staging :’]

    • PositronicGirl

      I second the praise for the layout of this scene! I read the BOOMs much differently before and after the flashback. The visual symmetries on this page, the expressions and the angles and the poses… good stuff.

    • Fridge_Logik

      “…maybe as an audience we’re primed to sympathize with flawed male characters even after they become complete monsters?”

      I think that gender norms and biases are extremely complicated and nuanced but you’ve definitely got something here. There is a certain disposability of the man. As a species we send the men to war, to sea, to wander the earth looking for fortune and glory. They get traumatized, broken. They die, or become shells of humanity that are barely fit to be serve as a role model for their children, redeeming themselves only their the quality of their works, through what they can provide with their ill gotten gains.

      And just as men are treated as disposable women are prized as fine commodities. Spoils of war…property to traded in markets or protected in glass cases, some day to be presented to a man of power, “never removed from box.” The woman is prized not just for her body, but also for her tender mind that might raise children with love and care needed to have a shot at being healthy adults, or whatever passed for that before psychological medicine.

      Both sides are hurt by these identities and we see the consequences everywhere. Women who are hurt complex figures capable of committing terrible acts of violence and murder are viewed as wicked and unfit for their role as caregivers. Whereas with men who perform the same we first ask why he did it before we judge. Because with men we believe that we need them sometimes to be terrible destroyers, beasts of war.

      • Lilian

        I like this comment.

    • LeDayz

      Skyler White in Breaking Bad

  • Darcy

    Guilty as charged (but I think her eyebrows are fab!). I’m terrible at sussing things out and take a lot at face value when I consume media. TM may be too subtle for that style of consumption. *winces* Though it seems Suda’s judged her as harshly as we have? Oops.

    Going into the flashback, it was pretty clear Suda wasn’t happy with the events he was about to talk about. Rana was harder to pinpoint because I couldn’t tell why she was being antagonistic. It’s clear she’s carrying anger but who knows how she’s changed since Phe’s funeral? Hatred and other negative emotions can warp you – Luca being like Exhibit A. Maybe she cares. Maybe she doesn’t. Maybe she just wants to watch the world burn because she’s not getting any kissing action. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    I don’t know that knowing more about Luca makes it somehow better. I do feel bad for his suffering but I see it more as he’s a lost cause and any hope for peace may very well rest on the next generation. It’s like I love him for becoming (or at least looking like he’s becoming) a complete trainwreck for the sake of story-telling but I desperately want his children to NOT follow in his footsteps. Let him go full Godfather or whatever but save the children!

    • Asterai

      I’ve actually thought for a long time that Rana ought to be the heir in any sensible world. Suda’s been showing, in this chapter, that he is actually really good with and kind to people, that he has an abundance of empathy. But in Ch 2, all I saw in him was a privileged brat. He’s good-looking, rich, coddled, promoted well beyond what he’s earned; a kid who’s never struggled to find a hookup or a buddy or a mentor invested in his development. A great show has been made of “preparing him for leadership” when in actual fact he has no competition to beat, not even any basic standards to meet. He will be the next monarch, full stop.

      In the meantime, Rana has the caution and distrust necessary to actually defend something of value. She has Luca’s steel in her bones. But she will never be considered for monarchy, not even for lesser positions of leadership within the realm, because she has ladybits. She is in the unenviable position of being on a ship steered by madmen with her hands tied behind her back. I’d be awful grumpy too in that position.

      She’s being a dick right now, but overall I find her a lot more relatable than Suda.

      • Darcy

        As folks have pointed out previously, both of them have lived a privileged life. Suda has more opportunities due to his gender. Rana may have the strength Suda lacks. Or Suda could develop his own in time and Rana’s is a facade hiding great uncertainty. I think it’s too early to tell right now.

        I have absolutely no idea how this story is going to turn out but it’s possible you could get your wish of Rana as the next monarch. If Phe had lived and Luca wasn’t chatting with a certain kitty cat, then Suda would have likely inherited the throne in due time. But now? The winds of change are blowing.

  • Cthulhufish

    Possibly because we KNOW Luca is a bit… unhinged. “At least he didn’t melt that guy’s face.”

    Whereas this is a new thing we’re learning about Rana.

    • PositronicGirl

      Plus he’s being influenced by a giant demon tiger?

      • Fridge_Logik

        Yeah, to a certain extent I think we as an audience have been primed not to judge Luca as a person but instead to see him as a victim of his circumstances be they related to the lady or the tiger.

  • Andrew B. Six

    As for why people hate on Rana more the Luca, it’s probably because Luca fits neatly into a trope: he’s the insane, evil dictator. He’s the villain of the story. And from popular media we’re conditioned to cut the “bad guy” a little slack; we judge them from a lower standard simply because they’re the villain, and will forgive them easier for the bad things they do.

    Rana, on the other hand? She’s practically a main character. Main characters are supposed to be the good guys. And you can’t have one of the “good guys” say “Oh yeah, torture and murder are definitely okay as long as they’re done for the right reasons” without people disliking her.

    In other words, we’re judging Luca as an evil dictator, and Rana as a normal person. As far as evil dictators go, Luca is not the worst. But Rana is pretty crap at being an empathetic person.

    Luca might be analogous to, say, Fidel Castro. Evil dictator, sure, but not an awful one as far as evil dictators go. Definitely no Hitler or Stalin. Rana, on the other hand, is like having a sister who’s an insufferable Trump supporter (or, in keeping with the analogy, Castro apologist). Castro is distant, but that sister is close, so you care more, judge them more harshly, etc.

    • I like this one! The burden of expectation, haha… at least that means folks maybe have higher hopes that she’ll behave better than the people who raised her, I hadn’t considered that.

    • Fleece

      I think you´re spot on.

  • DamnedScholar

    I think it might be because it’s easier to accept a middle-aged man in a position of power as being morally ambiguous. We can justify it for ourselves as Luca being a product of the war in his youth or his dealings with Freaky Tiger Demon or just having to keep an empire under his thumb. Rana grew up in comfort, and the fact that she resembles a less-hardened version of her father (while Suda definitely takes after Phe) not only reveals to us what she might be capable of, but it also suggests that Luca’s ruthlessness might not be a mark of trauma. Instead, his ability to do things other people would find inhuman might have been the reason why he survived.

    We want to like the charmers like Phe and Suda, but when the chips are down and the barbarians are at the gate, it’s Luca and Rana who will do what needs to be done.

  • Strangeshapes

    It’s funny, I read this slightly differently. I think Rana close to hates her dad right now. I think she believes he’s gone mad, killed her mother because he thought she would leave him and then used it as an excuse to go to war. She’s furious with Suda because she knows he’s the only one maybe in the entire kingdom who has a chance to sway Luca (only son AND his mother’s looks), and he won’t act on it. I think she’s being maybe more antagonistic than she actually believes, because she’s mad at both of them.

  • I’m still not one hundred percent sure exactly how Rana feels about this whole thing, to be honest. She supported the captain’s murder, but she did it with her back turned and without looking Suda in the eyes- heck, her eyes were shut in that panel, so I’m reading a lack of complete confidence in what she’s saying there. I’d say she was rationalizing it, but I can’t imagine why, when she has every reason to want to think of her dad as a murdering bastard. I guess this is the general antagonism towards Carissi talking here on top of Rana’s less sympathetic nature.

    And when she said murder was justified sometimes, I feel like she was thinking of her dad a little there, being angry enough for believing he was behind the murder of her mother to want him dead.

    That said, in context here it looks like she said what she did last page at least partially to piss off and provoke Suda, who she seems disgusted with for his inaction. Which, in a way, might also link back to some self-hatred over her witnessing her mother and father having a violent fight and her cringing away, hiding, and then running off. Is she seeing herself as the same kind of moral coward here, or is she being a big old hypocrite without realizing it?

    I am really enjoying this conversation! (Also I love Rana! She’s my favorite favorite and I’m always happy to see more of her.)

  • Luces

    Because of some cloudy ideas of femininty beeing so soft and caring part of humanity, people constantly underestimate how extreme women can get in any kind of radicalism, religious or otherwise.
    Beeing forced by society to stay in the background, they are only to often the ones who force the guns into the hands of withholding men and push them forward.
    As she is missing the sparkling personality of her siblings, Rana has all to often been left to brood, helples, in the midst of displays of power. No wonder she is falling in for the “strong man”, regardles of his faults!

  • TimesNewLogan

    I think it’s because we kind of expect it from Luca by now. Rana, however, witnessed his fury firsthand and was clearly horrified by it, and yet now she laughs it off and says his actions were justified.

    Of course, she did say she had an idea as to who would want to kill Phe…

  • William

    Those last two panels sum up the problem for me. Rana knows her dad is messed up. And Suda knows she knows it. Neither one of them would deny it (in private company, anyway) because they’ve both seen with their own eyes just how unhinged he is. That they’d throw around “You’re acting like Dad!” to take it and mean it as an insult shows just how grievous this family dynamic is.

    Remember, we saw Luca go off like a maniac on his wife — the only person he loved enough to maybe hopefully kinda hold him together — and Rana was right there to see the whole thing. Moreover, it was plain to see in that moment how utterly terrified she was of her own father. And speaking of Chapter 2, it ended in a way that Rana seemed to know her dad was getting played and this whole war was a farce.

    As such, I have a terribly difficult time believing that Rana would encourage her father to go even further off the deep end, or do anything that would support this war. It would be one thing if she was playing devil’s advocate or trying to understand what was going through everyone’s head at the time, but to be so vocal in support of her father over this? Yeah, that took me by surprise.

    Luckily, there’s still a lot more time to develop the three royal siblings, all three of which could definitely use more development while their father’s away.

  • I thought it was strange that Rana was supporting her father so strongly, but then I remembered the context. Her mother was of course presumably just killed by Carissi spies…

  • Glavos

    Suda just got real up in here!

  • Gobo

    We’ve known Luca is a terrible, cruel person for literally seven years. Only now are we learning that Rana is following in his perverse logic.

    Seems pretty obvious to me why folks might be more vocal about a “good” person turning “bad” as opposed to a “bad” person continuing to be “bad”. Of course Luca is still the perpetrator, and is ultimately responsible not only for the murder, but for his influence on Rana, but, y’know, don’t be surprised that people react more to changes in character than to the exact same type of behavior a character has displayed for the better half of a decade.
    Heck, not even counting Luca’s previous horrid acts- I think everybody burned out their anger over this particular murder back in, like, October of last year.

    Anyway, like I said, I don’t usually read comments, so maybe people were being nasty before Rana started defending her psycho-dad, in which case, I don’t know why they’d be frustrated with her. Same thing with MI. It seems mindblowingly obvious why people would be mad at Bex right now (I know I am). If they were mad at her before THAT THING, then I really don’t have an answer.

    But if I’m totally off-base, somebody please let me know.

  • Wow harsh words! Great page though, as I read it, I couldn’t help but hear it in a raised angry voice!

  • Nat

    I think that it’s more surprising that Rana supports this. Her Dad carrying it out is kind of expected?

    I don’t think it’s a problem with your female characters, I think it’s good that we’re having a reaction to them.

  • SatanicDeathGoat

    I just realized how much Rana does look like her father. It took me until that last panel to realize that, which made it really land for me!

  • hey

    People are often like that about female characters in media. There was Skyler in Breaking Bad, then even fantastic Caitlyn in ASOIAF, who I was surprised to learn people hated even before the TV series. People want their women in very specific, gentle boxes, and it’s very easy to condemn those who step outside them. Your female characters have always been top-tier and are only getting better. I feel like, um, Thingy (About page won’t load, argh) in Mare Internum in particular breaks ground I haven’t seen broken by a piece of media before, where childbirth and motherhood is often seen as something unilaterally fantastic and, worse, integral to womanhood and leaving people incomplete without it (fuck Prometheus, ugh).

    So yeah, keep being awesome and writing fantastic characters, and don’t let the tendency for groups to react on average in a sexist way stop you. Though it’s cool to make those observations. We shouldn’t ignore it.

  • Corbie

    I’m not angry with Rana. She’s completely naive towards life outside of the palace walls, and since she as a female being is treated like a failure every day in her culture (I’m expressing this a bit over the top maybe, but that’s the problem of patriarchy, so … a low hit means to hurt), her not knowing anything else, being unable to learn and “fight” the way her mother did, she lashes out at everything that threatens her position and the (for her) assumed positive, strong part of her self-perception, for which she clings to values established and valued (by the mighty, which means, men). I doubt she is aware of it, but I hope she will be confronted with this angle of the problem, because it sounds terribly interesting.
    What I’m angry with is her attitude, and more so, its reason.

  • elm

    that’s interesting how people have been reacting to rana.. given her upbringing, her responses make total sense to me. Suda’s actions make total sense too; they’re both excellent foils to one another. they both deliver good reality checks to each other.. well, as far as they’re able given their circumstances ;) i totally feel that rana would follow in her father’s footsteps completely if suda weren’t an influence, which is an even scarier prospect since the only person that could keep luca in line.. well……..
    (….please don’t kill suda)

  • dream-piper


    • CosmicStresshead


  • normaschtehwanderer

    I think people are more angry with Rana than Luca because it looks like Luca is being set up as a major villain. Plus if the second chapter is to be believed he has a demonic entity goading him into stuff like this.

  • OHHHH but i like how you played with Suda looking down at Rana… I’ve always loved when storytelling play on positioning like that.

  • Jules

    I read your little blurb, and was surprised that people felt that way about Rana. I remember reading the strip and being angry, but after reading this strip I realized her point. Sorry, a nonsensical comment. xp

  • Crestlinger

    Seems like part of a prophecy:
    ‘Salvation comes for the progeny of the tiger’s chosen on high with the mouth of a cannon. Take heed when it does, for it will only happen once.’

  • Katlamos

    So maybe it’s just me, but it totally looks like Suda is about to be hit by rocks falling from near the top of the second to last panel where the boom sound effect is.

  • Deadbolt

    I haven’t ever commented before but as far as being critical I don’t really hold characters in works of speculative fiction to the same standards as real world people. She’s a princess of a late 19th century/early 20th century seeming empire. It makes sense that she and most everyone around her would think that way. Suda is the odd man out here.

    As far as the Bex thing, I was mostly just shocked when she killed Kalla. I did expect her to have some hardcore survival skills but like, not THAT hardcore. It was a really gut wrenching moment and honestly I admire the storytelling finesse to get such a reaction out of me. Honestly don’t listen to those folks. It’s fiction, no matter what is done therein, no actual people are being harmed.

  • Fleece

    I think it’s good that you get this reaction because that means the story works as a story. Rana is the antagonist of this scene. Right now, the audience is Suda, he views the events as we do, and Rana is built up as his (and therefore our) foil and his (therefore our) opposition. We view Rana’s aggressive, mocking words towards Suda (our hero at the moment) as unfair and hurtful (she starts with literally laughing at him), while Luca never did anything to hurt Suda (and therefore us). We the audience were never that poor captain, so while we KNOW that what was done to him was terrible, we don’t FEEL that. And that’s why that didn’t get as strong an emotional reaction.
    In fiction, all characters are never created equal.

    Plus, Luca has this badass (read: violent) villain thing going on that is always popular with audiences. He’s Darth Vader.

  • Rachel

    Only now do I see the physical resemblance of Suda to Phe, and Rana to Luca. How did I miss that?

  • Bitchface

    Eh, Rana has no empathy. She’s a product of her father. While I understand the circumstances that doesn’t mean she isn’t a shit person. You can acknowledge the why but at some point acknowledging the why and not holding them to the standards of decency enables the shit person to keep being shit.

    Rana is shit. Suda needs to gtfo before his dad decides Suda is the enemy and snaps.

  • CosmicStresshead

    Suda’s a poet
    And he didn’t know it

  • Little Brit

    I think perhaps people tend to hold women in higher regard in terms of violence, due to the same reason they do with say murder or infanticide. Biologically speaking we tend to see women as pillars of nurturing, and men as pillars of protection, both in very strong and (to a child) almost god-like degrees. I think subconsciously when we see a woman acting in a, too our eyes, less empathic way, a very primal part of us tells us this is not right. Not saying it’s an ok thing to make people adhere to, but it’s just my two cents on the issue! I’m sure there’s a myriad of other factors there too!

  • Xain903

    I would say considering how they have acted in the past couple of pages Luca definitely gets a lot less slack from me than Rana does. Luca has shown through the flashback that while he may be influenced by an evil tiger spirit thing he has some pretty cruel elements to his personality in general. Sure he may have been compelled to kill, but he didn’t HAVE to be cruel, he could have ordered the man’s execution, instead he spouts quips as his son is traumatized. Luca may have his reasons to act the way he does, but the way he does them and the choices he makes show that the evil he does isn’t always someone else manipulating him.

    Rana on the other hand is in the perfect place honestly to believe how she does, Luca is the king and a murderer on a good day, no political dissent will EVER be said in her presence unless it’s by someone who has a death wish. Not only that but her father is currently in the throes of a psychotic break and takes all of his hatred out on their mortal enemy. Combine that with her own loss and the fact that she hasn’t had the chance to meet Carissi on an even foot like Suda would in war and honestly it makes sense she mirrors Luca. She is in a vacuum of hatred and propaganda, and everyone around her is too scared of her dad to ever change her mind. It doesn’t change her cruel words or the choices she makes, but it does provide context for her cruelty and show that with a different context she might not feel this way.

    • bunghole

      Thing is, we don’t know the political state of affairs in this world at this time. Suda himself somewhat agreed that it was somewhat JUSTIFIED, with his complaint being only that it was cruel. I would think such a display wasn’t how Luca always felt or acted, and being a king of a military nation would likely be full of questionable calls morality-wise while being ‘the firm hand that keeps the nation still standing’. As much as we wish it were so, nations cannot run on warm smiles and happy feelings, and sometimes a strict plan of action in harsh political times is what’s needed.

      So I for one definitely still feel for Luca; he’s being the BAD GUY for the better of his nation. His actions are a responsibility for his people, and he will never stop being seen as an asshole for it. He’s likely so broken emotionally from having to make tough calls his whole life and enduring the backlash he receives from it that he’s developed a callous acceptance of it.

      If you do what you know is right and everyone hates you for it, yet they reap the rewards from every action they cry foul about, it’ll make you a bit of a bitter asshole.

      • Fleece

        Do you remember the Soli chapter? Luca is not only dragging his nation into a war, he is rounding up Carissi children based on their race and killing those kids who resist. His actions are not a responsibility for his people, it’s revenge. “I’m doing what’s best for my nation” is the lie he tells himself, the way he wants to see himself.
        We do know quite a bit about the state of affairs, the first Luca chapter gave us the information necessary for getting our bearings (Caris wants peace, Luca harbors deep hatred). And I definitely wouldn’t quote Suda as an authority on politics.

        • bunghole


  • bunghole

    I don’t feel either of them are unlikeable, especially with how relateable the dynamic is. With the overbearing father figure, the two oldest kids cope in different ways; one tries to remain aloof and resorts to escapism through his long military departures, the other copes by attempting to rationalize her father’s immorality and thus becomes more accepting of it for the sake of keeping the family bonded.

    While Suda is a goofy happy guy, he’s pretty much ditching his family so he doesn’t have to think about the problematic father in his life. Rana is therefore stuck with the burden of raising Hyla who is prone to freakouts and tantrums which has had an understandable drain on Rana, making her the grumpy sourpuss she appears to be.

    This page in particular shows the misunderstanding the two sibilings have for each other, with the underlying resentment that bubbles under the surface. “Yeah keep complaining while doing NOTHING, Suda.” “Yeah keep being daddy’s little CLONE, Rana.”

    This is pretty much my childhood in comic form, and I love it. Pretty sure Hyla becomes an evil lich queen or something tho. Kid ain’t stable.

  • Some_Douchebag

    I don’t understand why people are *mad* are Rana. I also don’t understand why people seem to think that a protected little princess agreeing with her daddy *isn’t* within the bounds of traditional gender roles. Both sides of this spat seem to want to talk about ideology, and end up looking foolish to me.

    Something we need to remember for this scene is a) Rana is a mopey teenager, and b) she didn’t see Cpt Tovat be forced to strip naked and drown himself. Someone on the last page posted a horribly punctuated comment expressing contempt for “two rich white kids talking about ethics”. As much as their typing style made my teeth itch, they have a point.* Rana only knows about these things in the abstract. It’s easy for her to talk tough about executing people, because she hasn’t had to see the results in person. I should also point out that Suda is likewise very green and pampered. Tovat man’s execution was probably the first time he’d seen his dad deliberately kill someone. Aside from Phe being poisoned, none of the kids have really been out of their lavish comfort zone. We’re seeing them both trying to come to terms with this and work out where they stand.

    *That comment was probably referring to representation in webcomics – and the fact that we’re witnessing a common trope, rather than anything pertaining to the plot. It still turned out to be relevant.

  • mmmk

    *Love* this arc.

    In this current panel alone:

    1. Just looking at the placement of Suda and Rana. Suda, standing on high near a tree, almost…angelic? Rana pacing back and forth on the ground yelling up at him.
    2. The background *BOOMs* from a tank, accenting their conversation.

    3. The complexity of the conversation they’re having. These are complex characters! Yay!

    Geez man…Shing…this is an awesome scene.


    I *think* that the *only* panel that might have been done better was the one with Suda, with his mouth open during the captain’s execution.

    I *think*…there might have been an attempt at capturing a fine balance of horror and shock which is…just super difficult to achieve. Props though…I love his complexion throughout that sequence.

  • mmmk

    correction: the *only* panel in this *entire arc* that **might** have been done better

  • zellgato

    I wasn’t critical of her (other than kind of being short with everyone, but thats just a personality thing and like others in her family so it makes sense) before.

    I am kind of critical of her now though. But mostly because I didn’t see him as taking out his guilt at her. I saw it as him talking to his sister about something that disturbed him.
    Now that he points it out and i reread the alst couple. It does seem like she takes it oddly personal shortly after he finishes the story. Almost like shse finds him being critcal of the choice offensive, which would make sense-emperor and she finds his death justified. But then she flips on him and repremands him about not takinga ction and being a coward.
    Now that he said that about being like the dad. it makes it sound like the word Cruel struck a chord with her and put her on the extreme defensive because she identified with her dad’s choice as perfectly fine

    • zellgato

      Granted neither probably have seen much death and such. Until recently and that is a big diffference between them now

  • FrozenFocus

    People are disappointed in Rana because we never had a basis for what she thinks is right. No interaction with her father to show that she supports his line of thinking, or any kind of interaction with say servants or whatnot to show *her* way of thinking, her upbringing or her approach to different situations. Basically, this is the first time we get to see what she thinks of others actions, especially her fathers.

    Also, people like to see characters that aren’t complete assholes, but do that and everything’s same-y. So yeah, while you showed Rana before, you never showed her as someone who is a dick to people just for the sake of being “superior”, considering she is daughter to the king.

  • that punk boy just,,,,yikes,,,

  • x_expat

    That last panel and those eyebrows. I see what you did there.

  • Nessa

    Ooogh checking for the next update is like watching two guys at the other end of the bar argue, and they’re probably gonna start swinging shortly Dx I’m excited but very nervous lol

  • Catpunting

    Honestly I think the disconnect people are talking about in the comments are more to do with us seeing the male characters actually doing far more than the female ones are right now. Luca has killed how many people outright that we got to see? And what has Rana actually done other than sort of… been there? Even Suda got to witness how crazy his dad was being and form an opinion/change his mind on things, but Rana’s been denied that, which means a lot of character development was all for Suda.

    Not saying you’re being bad at writing female characters or anything, but from my memory you’re dropping a lot of time in with Pinter/Suda/Luca’s views and not much of the girls doing anything beyond pushing it forward. Angora just kind of looks upset at Pinter while he acts like a raging asshole and provides conflict and Rana just looks kind of upset at Suda/Luca while he acts like a raging asshole and provides conflict lol.

    Obviously you know what you’re doing and where you’re going with this, but to some of us (like me) this is the only impression we’ve got so far of some of these characters.

    • Hm, I would agree with parts of that… I’d say that Rana has been a little bit more background than her brother as far as their screentime is concerned, but I would also argue she has been a lot more ill-tempered/ defiant than he is through their chapters. He’s mostly been letting his dad summon him to various meetings whereas Rana actively decides to do things. And that Angora’s monologuing and general frustration/ confusion has been (hopefully) established (in addition to reacting to Pinter being a raging asshole, haha). But those are some good points for me to keep in mind. I like leading with the male characters and then breaking them down as the story proceeds, for whatever reason.

      Anyways, this was definitely the Rana-centric chapter, so I’m looking forward to filling in more of the holes XD

  • I think I expected it of Luca. I didn’t expect it from Rana. I mean Luca is insane and does insane things but the fact that it doesn’t bother Rana is a new aspect of her personality that we haven’t seen (or it was so long ago I forgot) and I was surprised. I like it though. It definitely gives her a new dimension for me :)

  • skudplastr

    Oh man, he went there.
    But even in the literal sense, she looks *just* like her dad! Especially in that last panel.

  • Jordan179

    This is the classic debate about loyalty to cause vs. universal humanity, which dates all the way back at LEAST to Classical Greece. The details change, but the meat of it remains the same — and it doesn’t always have a clear answer. These two, after all, owe loyalty to the Emperor not merely as their leader, but also as their father. On the other hand, Luca is behaving in an increasingly cruel and erratic manner.

  • theroastedmushroom

    It isn’t about gender for me. Rana almost comes across as of those unquestioning rule thumpers, if not for the fact I think she is harsh as she seems afraid of confronting her father.

  • Frances

    My take on why people would be angrier at Rana – they see Luca as a lost cause, so any energy spent bemoaning his actions or trying to hope for him to change seems wasted. Also, he’s old, and probably more of your readership is young people who find old violent politicians unrelatable and unredeemable. But a young person of the next generation? Isn’t it their role to break the cycle of violence? I think that’s the perception anyway.

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