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August 19th, 2016

August 19th, 2016 published on 82 Comments on August 19th, 2016

This is probably the happiest I’ve ever drawn Mal.

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  • Winger

    What a marvellous pick of faces on this page. And a marvellous load of backstory for Ben! I remember thinking a little while ago that he stood out as one of the few we had no family details about – and lo and behold, here they are.

    I’ll bet Verity would be a devil of a babysitter.

    • Basil Sage

      Now O’Malley is officially “the mysterious one”. Hopefully, this chapter will tap a fountain of backstory.

      • Winger

        Well, Mal’s always been one of the main protagonists and thus has had tantalising hints to his past dropped in here and there, whereas Ben’s just hasn’t been relevant until now beyond being a struggling university graduate in a frustrating job (hashtag relatable). “What’s up with Mal?” is a plot-driving question second only to “What’s up with the Barbers?”, and with the last chapter clearing up the Barbers and half of Mal – yes, I do think we’re going to strike oil soon enough.

        • Euodiachloris

          I’m still recovering from finding out a bit about what’s up with Sid. Clepto Pica-pie. xD

  • Jeff Eppenbach

    Well, that’s a different “exes vs. currents” exchange than we were expecting. But, we do get an “embarrassed by family in front of the boyfriend”, as a bonus.

    • LSKollt

      Wait, whose boyfriend? I’m lost. He’s her cousin, right? He’s not dating anyone on the page that I’m currently aware of… unless I missed something huge …

      *edit* this is entirely possible, but I still can’t place it.

      • Jeff Eppenbach

        Ben and Mal have been… spending a lot of together time. Ostensibly, to learn Mal some magic. But, they seem to be more into spending their time together, together.

        • And arguing a lot.

          Like a little girl who tells the little boy she likes that he’s a poopy-head, after which he pulls he hair so she’ll notice him some more…


          I never had that thought, before … but … it fits …

        • MAL. IS. ACE. Also, I would categorize the trio as more of a “boy’s club” than pairing off two of them. Why not just say “embarrassed by family in front ‘o his Droogies” and be done with it.

          • Xanthipe

            To be fair, ace and aromantic are two different things and not mutually inclusive – but I concur that at most it’s a bromance and more likely an acknowledgement that the other isn’t so bad really (aka the British Friendship).

            • He’s aro ace! I took the original comment to be a joke, I wouldn’t worry too much about it, guys :) really it’s my fault for not putting in anything to fully confirm his orientation yet, but it’s on the way.

              • Del

                Just don’t disorient them, please!

              • Jeff Eppenbach

                Ah! Word from on high! So, then it is with Mal, as you say it is. But, how does Ben feel on the subject?

                FYI Namesake is a buzz with a similar discussion, although intentional. The page for today is their FlameCon image, and shows where a larger part of the cast falls.

              • Basil Sage

                I knew this, but now I wonder about how it will come up in canon: in casual conversation? With one of the deadlies looking into his soul? Or will someone (y’know, SOMEONE) actually try something with him? Curious.

                Also, it seems… very non-coincidental that the guy who’s asexual and aromantic is the same guy who doesn’t see color (in the physical world) and isn’t interested in food (beyond the need for sustenance). The food thing is tied to the color thing, and the color thing is tied to his being a witch, but is the aro/ace thing also part of the same deal? He did not report any strange new feelings in that area when he briefly lost his powers, but then, a lot of strange new feelings were competing for his attention during that brief period. So… would you say these traits are related?

                • It’s a Mal thing, not a witch thing. The only other witch you’ve heard of summoned up Lust, after all! Also there are plenty of ace people who aren’t witches :)

                  And as for that first part, yes, it’s a little tricky to confirm it in cannon, which is why I haven’t yet- mostly everyone has been too busy fighting monsters to deal with relationship issues- but if you think about who he’ll be meeting this chapter, it’s pretty inevitable.

                  • Basil Sage

                    So, coincidental, then? This does fit better with chapter 5.

                    In my justification, I don’t know whether color blindness is an obligatory witch thing, either — just because it’s tied to Mal’s ability doesn’t mean it’s an inevitable side-effect of every witch’s ability. (Is it?) I guess I’m trying to say that “a Mal thing” and “a witch thing” didn’t seem like the only two options.

                    • Haha, fair! The colourblindness is part of the sight, which, for him, is part of the witch thing.

              • John

                I don’t recall anything in the comic itself, but I’m pretty sure you’ve mentioned this in a previous comment.

                • I have yeah, but not everyone reads the comments!

              • Alétheia

                Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!! Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou, a thousand times over! Ace people are so. damn. rare. in comics (or anything, really), so it’s really nice to find some confirmed representation here! Thank you! :D

                Now my icon’s fitting for two reasons, hah. XD;;

        • LSKollt

          Woah, woah, woah. If someone wants to do some slash shipping, that’s their fun, yeah? I got more of a friend vibe, but I can see that they do spend a lot of time together. Thanks for answering my question :)

  • JWLM

    Annnnd…after Vee humiliates Benj…I mean Ben, Sid, likable Sid, humiliates Vee.

    • Tikatu

      Green-eyed envy right there!

  • Verity’s smile this update is literally as big as mine was last update. ^_^

  • Jenna Thorne

    she has….. a tiny spanner in her hair……
    has that always been there? i never noticed it before! :0

    • Jenna Thorne

      i just went back and checked and it has always been there!!! so cute!!!!!!!

      • MoeLane

        Heh. ‘Cute.’ That’s a relic from when she had to sort out a particularly confused spirit of Disagreement that had managed to get itself entangled in an entire French bootmaking factory; at the end of THAT mess, Verity swore a mighty oath that she’d never again be without a symbolically-significant set of miniature tools about her person at all times.

    • Didn’t she use it to escape from Ms Feng’s evil mechanical minions the last time she had to step in and save Ms Barber and Widdershins?

  • Tikatu

    They probably need more firepower beyond Verity (like Sid’s friend, Tim, or even Voss). Harriet needs to lay out for Vee, Wolfe, and especially Mal, what’s going down and just hope Mal doesn’t nope out of there again. Hopefully they’ll all contribute their bit about which of the Deadlies they’ve encountered so we won’t get into a situation where we wish they’d just talk to each other. It’ll be difficult enough if they do explain and a nightmare if they don’t.

    • Tsapki

      I think Voss is pretty much putting as much distance between him and Widdershins after the whole mess with Envy (to say nothing of possibly getting locked up if Captain barber catches him). As for Tim, I’m not sure but I sort of got the idea that he sort of runs a circuit and so might be out of range for help too.

      • Which leaves us with… Alexa. She is far away also, for sure, buuut…

        Edit: @CountSessine: And… this would make them seven. Ah, how satisfying, wouldn’t it?

        • Winger

          Does Alexa count as a spiritual contributor given her phone is a crucial component? Fifty years in the future she gets an attack of the warm fuzzies out of nowhere.

          • Rather more than fifty, assuming that technical development in this world ran anywhere near the pace it did in ours – in our world’s history, that’s a twenty-first century phone.

    • John

      Looking at the cast page and ignoring those who have been deliberately removed or were enemies there don’t seem to be many choices left for a seventh. There’s Tim who doesn’t feel like the adventuring type, Alexa who doesn’t have an obvious way to time travel back to them, Sam who seems more likely to show up as an observer than as an actor, the other time travelers who all feel less plausible to me than either Sam or Alexa, and Voss who should be running away as fast as he can.

      My best guess is that something went wrong with Voss’s escape attempt and he’ll wind having to help despite the fact that he would rather run. After all, why should he be more competent at running away than he has been at anything else so far? And this may be a week or two after the point where Voss started running away in a country where 6 of the deadlies are already free which seems like the sort of thing that would bad luck to his general incompetence.

      • Basil Sage

        If having been an antagonist doesn’t rule Voss out, why should it rule out Lei? Councilwoman Fairbairn from chapter 2 is dead, Macavity from chapter 1 is trash, but Lei is a brilliant engineer and a wizard (though a fairly meh one). If she could cut a plea bargain or something and show up to help it would be both great and delightfully awkward.

        • Winger

          Well, they never found Fairbairn’s body… But if she does make a reappearance I rather doubt it’s going to be on this side of the line.

        • John

          Voss repented his association with Envy before he started running, Lei repented nothing. She might be capable of helping but I sure wouldn’t want to have to guess which side she would actually help if she was given the opportunity to make a difference.

      • SandstormSinger

        Ooh, it would be loads of fun to see Voss again, especially since Wolfe is the only one who can stand him. I think it’s unlikely, considering how many characters have already gathered, but then again Vee’s reappearance came as a complete surprise to me, so what do I know?

      • Tikatu

        I just thought of one, possibly two more: Elodie and Tilde. If Acedia is still alive and kicking, one or both of these two might be as well. They seemed to have softened near the end and stepped in to do what they could to stop Luxuria’s plot.

        • John

          I am hoping to see Elodie and Tilde again at some point, but I can’t see adding either of them to the party without adding both of them which would take the good guys to eight, and seven to match the seven deadly sins just seems more appropriate somehow.

      • Dud

        Try thinking like a cheap tv-sitcom writer – there are loads of possibllities:
        If Henry doesn’t make it two formidable females may return seeking vengeance, Vee’s grandad was described by Henry in the past tense *as a collaborator* – the failure to return the sailfin in good condition might have soured the relationship but there’s no reason to assume his death and now he has family involved…
        …The entire faculty of Widdershins University have a stake in the outcome.
        Nora? She has form – pregnancy need not be an impediment.

        The bloodline is, presumably, no longer required by the deadlies so those scales have shifted too.

  • Eve

    Be careful Verity, best to avoid envy when the deadlies are on the loose.

  • Sir_Krackalot

    Ah, Verity. Ever in the throes of sidekick envy.

    • Jeff Eppenbach

      Heh, more like thigh lick envy.

  • Columbine

    Mal and Wolff sniggering in the background is my favourite thing.

  • CountSessine

    Ahahahaha! Every single panel on this page is priceless. I bet it was a riot to draw.

    Edit: I just counted who’s on this page. Ben. Mal. Harriet. Verity. Wolfe. Sid. That’s six. Does the party need seven members before it’s complete? If so, who will join?

    • Margot

      Hmm.. that made me wonder if they need to match up with a Sin each to defeat..
      Mal might be able to fight Lust because he’s ace? (and also a witch..) Wolfe is invulnerable to Envy, and I reckon Sid could do pretty well against Pride?
      Dunno about the others though. Probably it won’t be that simple.

      • Mr Thackerey, who is tirelessly working to desummon malforms and clear up after O’Malley, would be the ideal antagonist for Sloth. And they’ve already been introduced.

        • M. Peach

          Hariet and Verity might be proof against Greed and Gluttony, respectively, but that would leave Wrath. You’d need someone pretty calm for that one.

          • Euodiachloris

            Gren. Because, why not? :)

          • svartalf

            Wolfe. He was used before to deal with Wrath, remember…

          • MarriStenberg

            i’d put wolfe against wrath

        • the Amazing Mister Moriarty

          It would be a good match as Thackerey was the one to summon the Sloth for Fairbanks back in the second storyline!

      • Gwennafran

        Florence might be able to go against wrath? Even if she’s not much for adventure.

        There’s always a chance Samuel might reappear, though…

        • Andy Nguyen

          Given that Florence’s spark of anger was used for Envy’s summoning of Wrath, she might not be a good candidate:

          • Gwennafran

            Oh man, you’re right. it does however suggest that Wolfe would be ideal against Wrath, though.

            • svartalf

              He was used before, remember?

            • 703 Noemi

              Well, I’ve never seen Sid get mad, either…

  • tali

    Poor Ben just can’t get a break, can he? I think in this particular moment, he’d rather be facing all of the seven sins together than be here :)

  • Ah yes, laughter is the most life-affirming, soul-saving sound in the world; unless you are the one that’s being humiliated in public in front of your peers of course. :-(

    • Euodiachloris

      By family — the retaliation for which one must plan for and execute with subtly to have a chance of it not backfiring even worse than the initial embarrassment. It’s that extra little kick in the shins. ;P

  • Cousin.


    • Basil Sage

      Meh, it was known already. As Kate pointed out in last page’s comments, Verity’s grandfather, as seen in chapter 6, is a wizard, and looks like a copy of Ben to boot.

    • AJ

      You shoosh.

  • Middle panel: “Oh, god – everybody knows now. I’ll never live this down…”

  • John

    Ben, you’re in trouble if even Wolfe (who is unfailingly polite) is laughing at you. You’ll never live this one down. At least Harry can commiserate with you about how annoying Verity is.

    And then Verity has to deal with the disappointment, anger, and jealousy of discovering that Sid’s relationship with Harry is more successful than hers was. Of course Sid’s mix of both a professional relationship and a romantic relationship (even if they haven’t quite admitted that last part to each other yet) gives him an advantage that Verity could never have competed with.

    • Basil Sage

      …or could she?

      • JWLM

        Well, we could always start shipping her with Nicola. After all, Vee does have a life of her own, which appears to have been a problem btween Nicola and Polly:

        • Jeff Eppenbach

          Oh, what a tangled web we weave,
          When we ship all the characters, with all the other characters.

        • svartalf

          The problem begins if either of the two of those aren’t attracted to each other.

          • JWLM

            Since when has that deterred any of the professional shipping companies?

  • Nightsbridge

    Even Wolfe is giggling, even though Benji is unhappy. That’s how you KNOW It’s hilarious, when he can’t keep his cool.

  • Sanjay Merchant

    Mal in the first panel is like “TOTALLY WORTH NOT GOING TO FRANCE!”

  • Sanjay Merchant

    Verity Cunningham: can throw 8 different varieties of shade and still take a full move action.

  • GalPals

    I’m really trying not to have shipping goggles on–I really appreciate that the characters’ sexualities are made very obvious and out in the open so there’s almost no point in guessing–but I’ve been diving through the archives for hints on what Harry and Vee’s relationship used to be like and I’m so invested in it being at least semi-romantic now arrrrghhh. Especially because their mom singled out Nicola AND Harriet about finding nice men to settle down with–I assumed that she was just upset that Harry was still single, but Harry’s reaction to the “How nice that you have such a close FRIEND” makes me think that she also heard that line….There’s a few other hints here and there, like how she can make Harry smile even when she’s worried about the safety of her grandfather (when Sid couldn’t..!), but even so, the non-romantic interpretation still makes sense. I just want to know!

    • Alétheia

      I’d guess a romantic partnership (if not full-on lovers) for Verity and Harry. Very early on, Harry acts snippy (even for her) riiiiight after throwing a very Verity-like smokebomb, much like most(?) people would after a not-so-great breakup. :)

      (The comic I’m referring to is here: ; the smokebomb was thrown on the previous page :) )

  • Nonesuch

    Oh, Heavens… Poor Ben. >.<: He does NOT deserve this much grief, nor what's likely coming…

  • S.K. Ren

    So I’m trying to guess what the foci are for each of the deadlies. The Amulet is Lust, Harriet’s Pipe is greed, Alexa’s Cellphone is Gluttony, I’m betting Verity has the Automaton’s Mask for Pride, and then the Smoking Gun is for Wrath. I don’t recall if we still have Voss’ Eye for Envy. And this still leaves me guessing for Sloth. Were there any artefacts collected from the lamplighter case?

  • Basil Sage

    Oh hey, I just realized upon reread: Victor Cunningham wore his hair long and in a ponytail. That is the reason Verity thinks Ben’s mother/Victor’s daughter would hate Ben’s new haircut… maybe?

  • Chris the Blue

    Oh man, I can’t breath!

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