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January 16th, 2015

January 16th, 2015 published on 42 Comments on January 16th, 2015

Time to figure out whatever the heck it is you do, and do some of it.

If you’re interested, I was answering some quizzes for the characters on my Tumblr page earlier, it ended up a lot of fun! Have a look if you like!

Also, this seems like a good time to remind everyone that you can support Widdershins and see some exclusive sketches if you donate a just a couple of dollars monthly via Patreon!

  • Darkoneko Hellsing

    Hmm, once this big segment ends, I’ll really want to discuss what happened when the “gifs” were returned with y’all :D Ben being the one with the halo head an’ all

    • =Tamar

      The “halo head” is how Mal perceives wizardry, but it was unusual for it to be so purple.

      • Darkoneko Hellsing

        hmmm

  • Euodiachloris

    You know… there are less fraught ways of learning things. But, Mal has always prefered the hands-on method when forced to learn anything, so I don’t know. :D

  • Sanjay Merchant

    And suddenly Mal understands wizardry.

    • Euodiachloris

      Well, it’s more like wizardry learning to use his language a little, and using it to communicate. :)

      • Sanjay Merchant

        Exactly. When Ben was trying to explain all the technical details like chants and symbols, it was lost on Mal. But getting him to focus on the feelings and energies involved is exactly the way he needed to see things to understand them.

        • Wombat140

          Chants and symbols come under the heading of “Stuff Mal Doesn’t Want To Know”.

          • AJ

            Anything you can read in a book comes under that heading.

  • AJ

    I love how Ben keeps referencing his new understanding of Mal’s abilities, but it’s still sort of personal so he can’t quite bring himself to say it.

  • kuku

    Yay Mal for learning how to work with the energy, and yay Ben for learning how to work with Mal, and yay Wolfe for always being a source of calm serenity!

    I wonder if exuberant hippo joy is also borrowable?

    • svartalf

      Tag-team Wizardy!

  • Morgothy

    I like that Ben is able to guess how Mal can help due to having experienced Mal’s powers himself- a great way to make Ben’s stint with Mal’s powers count for something and bring their stories forwards, as well as furthering a greater ‘understanding’ of sorts, between Mal and Ben! And both of them have now experienced the wondrous serenity of Wolfe and are able to direct it against wrath! Not so much summoning his virtue as using his existing spirit, which is a nice way to do it. Of course, whether they’ll succeed is questionable!

  • JWLM

    Will Ben become superfluous now that Mal can work with spirits directly? Will Mal still require Ben’s help to figure out how to do the rituals? We know that Ben is technically brilliant but operationally useless — is it that Mal is Ben’s counterpart, technically useless but operationally brilliant? Has Ms. Ashwin set us up for the ultimate buddy cop drama?

    • AJ

      Would you guys cool it with the buddy cop drama? :p

      • Euodiachloris

        Nope. They investigate the malpractice of malforms and misfiring summons… occasionally even on the taxpayers’ penny. So, it’s a trope that’s bound to come up. :)

        • AJ

          I just re-read the entire archive plus all the comments, and pretty much every time anything plot-related happens the buddy-cop tropes come out of the woodwork. So I am amused.

          • JWLM

            New on NBC: “CSI Widdershins” (Pan to heroic pair shot of Ben and Mal, back to back, foreground, with Wolfe behind them, fact to camera, arms crossed. Ben is wrinkling his nose at how Mal smells.)

            • =Tamar

              This _would_ make a good TV series.

    • DLKMusic

      The way I see it, ben’s more important than ever now. he doesn’t have the gift that O’Malley has, but he has a personal understanding of it, and can guide it. even once O’Malley does understand somewhat how to use his powers, he would be lost without Ben pointing him in the right direction…. Or goading him in the right direction, as the case may be…

      • svartalf

        Yeah, Mal’s got the raw ability- with no knowledge or inclination to fully learn how to do it. Ben’s got the knowledge… Like I said…Tag Team Wizardy!!

    • Ben mentions that he will say the words, so seems like it’s a two-party job.

    • kuku

      Ben also figured out how to use the Purple Hippo of Happiness to stop the fuse. He’s not useless. He’s good at figuring out how to use the powers others have, but he’s not trying to grab them for himself – he didn’t go the Envy route. He may get annoying because he’s annoyed, but he is directing other’s powers (and his own) for good.

  • Aaaaahahaha, everyone guessing that Wolfe was some spirit of Calm were NOT far off after all, were they?! XD Yaaaay, they’re workin’ together right, after all! See, Mal, you have more talents than you give yourself credit for!

  • cake

    Mal is gonna end up as a demigod, isn’t he?

    • Sanjay Merchant

      He’d be more like Ronson than anyone else.

    • =Tamar

      Or worse.

  • Sessine

    The last two panels are in Mal-vision, and yet he himself is in
    colour! Blue coat, red scarf, skin-coloured skin. It’s not just a way of showing that he now
    knows what “blue” looks like, because the last time we saw Mal-vision —
    when Ben had the gift — Mal’s coat showed up as grey, and Ben certainly
    knew how to recognize colours:
    http://www.widdershinscomic.com/wdshn/december-30th-2014/

    I think it’s a visual sign of Mal’s gift developing.

    • rhapsha

      Nice theory, but I think the person in color in Mal-vision is a visual method of telling us as the reader whose eyes we are looking from. If you notice back when Ben had the sight, Mal appeared black and white, while Ben did not. Now that Mal has his sight again, he’s the one in color to indicate to us that it’s what he is seeing.

    • Darkoneko Hellsing

      I was thinking Ben kept a bit of the things.

  • Apvogt

    Wolfe: If you need me I’ll be over here. Being calm and stuff.

    • Darkoneko Hellsing

      Looking glorious and all.

  • Del

    This story is not done with Voss yet. And he’s still inside the circle.

  • So Mal’s figuring out how to do a sort of “active empathy” thing (not just reading emotional states, but manipulating the emotions themselves) . . . it’s a good thing he’s not a bad guy, ’cause that could be a rather devastating talent . . .

    • svartalf

      Hell, just the reading of emotional states and overall thoughts is a weapon (remember they were doing the cheating at cards game before they got busted…in Widdershins…)

    • kuku

      But do we know if he could manipulate (as in change) the emotion a person is feeling? He can tap into people’s feelings, but here he was directing them against another emotion (Wrath). I’m not sure that means he could change how a person is feeling, unless the tapping reduces their supply….

      • Ben instructed Mal to channel Wolfe’s peaceful calm into Wrath as part of the de-summoning ritual. What effect this might have on Wolfe (perhaps a temporary bout of irritability?) we do not yet know, but clearly the intention is to weaken Wrath using the calm. So it is logical to assume that Mal can affect the emotional state of his target, changing it, to a lesser or greater extent (depending on time, available emotional resources, and just how good he gets at this), to suit his purposes.
        If, for example, a more nefarious fellow with that power decided he really wanted to have sex with a particular woman at a bar. He could draw on all the feelings of attraction from all the other people in the bar and pour them into her while chatting her up. He could get what he wanted without paying much (if anything) on alcohol, no drugs, take off before the effects wear off and she’d be left with all the shame and humiliation.
        And if the same or a similar character wanted cold hard cash, he’d be one hell of a conman.

        • kuku

          Yeah, I’m just not sure that we can assume that it makes no difference what kind of a target it is. Wrath is different from a human being. I agree, if Mal can monkey around with people’s emotions that easily it would be a dangerous power.

  • Einstein

    Throughout the whole storyline, panels drawn in aura-vision are black-and-white (except for auras, malforms, and Mal himself) even after Ben gets the ability.

    But on page 105 (2014 Dec 30), in the panel in Ben’s aura-vision, Ben is in color, and Mal is in B&W. I wonder if that’s an art error or a subtle clue to something or other? I’m leaning towards error, since it went back to the other way around.

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