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  • Aquarius Delamar

    Oh noooooo. Poor Ben.

  • AI

    The truth will set you free. Literally!!!!!

  • Hominid

    Super Mega Self Hatred Bomb! Activate!

  • pingo1387

    This page nearly brought me to tears…
    edit: scratch that “nearly!”

  • Maria Gerasimova

    A little almost imperceptible tear in Ben’s eyes, panel five…
    It’s heartbreaking.

  • Ocean Burning.

    Oh man. Considering how much I identify myself with Ben, Rachel McGonagill’s comment on the last page about schadenfreude for oneself is really starting to hit home. This page is equals parts rejoicing and kick-in-the-guts…

    • Maria Gerasimova

      === schadenfreude ===
      I’d say rather some sort of catharsis, perhaps?

      • Ocean Burning.

        Catharsis doesn’t quite cover it. It really is a feeling of appreciation for, even enjoying the knowledge of, your own suffering or disadvantage in a particular situation. Maybe it’s like self-pity for the melodramatically-inclined or something.

        • Maria Gerasimova

          === self-ruthlessness ===
          As Heylir has just pointed out to me privately – based on his amazing ability to focus himself on rising problems without allowing himself to be distracted by emotions.

          • Ocean Burning.

            That is also a thing. If I’m right about Ben, I suspect his emotions mostly tend to be kept inside himself, ignored, and practically locked out of conscious thought.

  • Maria Gerasimova

    I wonder what has Vee to say – to break that mirror of hers?…

    • Heylir

      Mmm… “It is my fault that Harry breaks off with me”? :) Or, at least, “Maybe, she had good reasons for it”?

      • JWLM

        “I’m really not that good a hunter. All I’m good for is coming up with clever gadgets, and I’m not even as good at that as Lei is.”

        • AJ

          Let’s just leave her in there. *nodnod*

          • JWLM

            Sounds like a plan to me…

  • Heylir

    Oh, yes, it feels so right.

    Ben has been tempted by pride and overcomes it (but put off his glasses, just in a case), Sidney wants to support him and stops himself (yes, lad, you did that, well done! you don’t hear it), and one should break these mirrors from inside, certainly.

    Now, Ben openly says about his feelings of being inferior to his friends that he denied before Envy, unsuccessfully. Surely, “there were healthier ways to do this”, but using against another enemy the weapon one enemy used against you is… a good tactic, I guess.

    And Ben definitely needs… not to be hugged, but to got the idea that it is useless and senseless to compare himself with others. Especially with your friends which you are good enough for. But it can wait until defeating Pride. :)

    • DragonBlood87

      Sidney’s comment looks to me as if he’s starting to say “That’s not what I meant” but getting talked over. I think he’s sort of upset that his admission seems to have stung Ben so much, even if it DOES seem to be working against Pride.

      • Heylir

        I see it as he didn’t get talked over, but stopped himself, deliberately. He clapped his mouth with his hands, it seems to me.

        And if he did, I think it is quite a feat for Sidney, with his impulsive nature and kind heart. :) And proof of his capability to learn. :)))

        • Maria Gerasimova

          Besides that I think also it’s rather new, overwhelming and terrifying to him to see such a breakdown in a man throughout restrained and fully controlling himself thus far.
          Sid is of sunny disposition himself and rather labile in his moods. He usually drains his frustrations the next moment they fall upon him. He doesn’t accumulate them, unlike Ben. So the sight of Ben crying has to scary and hurt his good soul.
          That’s how I’m interpreting his terrified look.

        • hariman

          Sidney also probably realized that reassuring Ben would guarantee their downfall, because only Humility can defeat Pride today, and reassuring Ben would have made him feel… well, proud.

          • TheGorram Batguy

            I feel compelled to point out that what Ben is doing here, is not humility. It’s self-emotional-abuse. Humility is when a person knows they are talented, but it doesn’t go to their heads because they know how much they owe to the others in their lives who enabled them to reach where there are. An attitude of – it’s not about me.
            Ben is demonstrating mental illness, if anything, not humility.

            • JWLM

              That’s a good observation, particularly since the pattern causes him discomfort and interferes with his social functioning.

              I think that it’s still not pride, however, and it’s triggering others, who aren’t so hag-ridden, to accept their own misdeeds and be humble. That’s still going to weaken Pride, even if Ben isn’t doing so himself.

            • CountSessine

              You’re right about this not being humility. That quiet virtue comes from an altogether-different, calmer, more centered place.

              But this is a story. Calling Ben’s massive hidden feelings of inferiority a mental illness rather jars on me, somehow… suggesting that what he needs is an outside expert — treatment by a therapist or a course of the right pharmaceuticals! Apologies — I’m sure that’s not what you meant. It’s just that this butts up against one of the profound differences between stories that work, and real life.

              In a story, character development rules. Characters need to struggle and change based on their own strengths and weaknesses and their interactions with other characters and the circumstances they’re in. It’s not satisfying to have somebody else who has not been in the story from the beginning move in and magically fix them. The only time “treatment” can work in a story is when that is what the story has been about from the start.

              In Ben’s case? Because of his recent experiences he has been developing
              as a character to the point where we now feel he has way more options open to
              him than he did at the beginning. How will he choose? Where will he go from here?

              His tears are painful. Yet he is grinning wildly as he lets it all out. That is a promising sign!

              • TheGorram Batguy

                Well, even in the case of a therapist in the real world, the real fixing is done by the patient.
                The therapist is there to open the patient’s eyes to other ways of framing his/her experiences that can paint a less self-destructive picture. But that process of internal growth, of overcoming the negative impact of the traumas of the past, and so forth, is done by the patient.
                Yes, I acknowledge that bringing in a therapist would seemingly not fit this story. In this case, a pep talk by his friends will probably be all it takes to fix this.
                Although…Kate has hinted that the next story arc may take a psychoanalytical bend.

                • Heylir

                  As someone said about a very different character, “Deadly Sin therapy has its place I’m sure”. :)

            • hariman

              He’s also breaking himself down to give Pride nothing to latch onto, as ANY Pride will cause them to lose.

              And I’m pretty sure that they’ll be talking him back up a bit after Pride is banished and sealed.

    • Michael Brewer

      Are there therapist wizards in this setting? Like, ones that could let you literally commune with your Jungian archetypes and stuff? Because I think Ben could maybe use some of that.

      • Haha, considering the next book, it’s funny you’d ask..

        • Sabreur

          Normally “watch people deal with their messed-up issues” would be a complete turn-off for me. But your work isn’t exactly normal (in a good way!) and I’m *really* excited to see what you do with this…

      • CountSessine

        I think maybe this IS therapy for Ben. It’s why he’s smiling through his tears. He’s not only-just-now recognizing his weaknesses because the situation demands it. This is what his inner voice has been saying all along. There’s a kind of freedom, a release from prison, in finally getting to say out loud all the secret inadequacies you’ve been berating yourself with.

        • non_canon

          Hopefully afterwards he takes the next step and moves from faking self-assurance to actually developing it.

        • Maria Gerasimova

          If I could upvote this many time, I would!

  • John

    Time to go, you gaudy mutant peacock!

    • Maria Gerasimova

      It looks very much menacing in the last panel.

      • Heylir

        I wonder whether Ben can see it coming for him, without his glasses.

      • JWLM

        That’s what I thought, too. I am amazed that Kate has managed to convey chagrin, annoyance, and then outright rage in a character with no mouth and no eyebrows.

        • Euodiachloris

          It’s the feathers. *nods sagely*

    • Nonesuch

      I’m glad that epithet is catching on. :D

  • Darkoneko Hellsing

    He done snapped

    • hariman

      But… they’re beating Pride in the process, and I think there’s a lot they WILL be proud of, or at least happy about, once this is all over.

  • Greenwood Goat

    Does Vee have a total annihilation device that she’s prepared to use?


    Every looking glass in the building: *shatter*

    Pride: *collapses into pile of anguished dust*

    Vee: *swings out of frame* *strides up to pile of Pride-dust* *crouch* (whispers to dust) And I suspect that Harriet Barber might actually be *shudder* a better hunter than I am. *sag*

    Pride-dust: *dissolves away to nothing*


    • AJ

      Have it? Perhaps. Willing to use? I doubt it.

  • Nonesuch

    Oh, Ben…. :'(
    Sid, you need to say the right thing. Do your best.

    • Maria Gerasimova

      (We hope Wolfe’ll do it) :)

  • Jess

    Pride trapping a bunch of academics was funny. Most of those academics escaping because their Imposter Syndrome was activated? Gold.

  • MoeLane

    …Say your name, Ben Thackerey. At this point, it is a killing word.

  • Emily

    I think the only time we’ve seen Ben without his glasses before this was when they fell off as he and Mal tumbled out of the barrel:

    • non_canon

      There’s an ask wherein Ben hands his glasses to Wolfe to demonstrate how bad his eyesight is without them.

      • Emily

        Ah, right! I forgot about that one.

  • threadweaver

    “We’re definitely not doing the right thing, but it’s too late now.”

    HMMMMMMM Someone’s doing a stinky deed.

    • Anne-US

      I think that has to do with the couple doubting if they should get married.

      • Ocean Burning.

        I think it could refer to a lot of things, perhaps even their inability to deal with Pride prior to getting trapped in the mirrors.

  • Dud

    So: When you break a mirror that’s seven years’ bad luck. But when you break a hundred or so is that seven hundred years’ bad luck or just seven years’ *reALLY* Bad luck?

    • It doesn’t count if you break them on purpose.

    • Darkoneko Hellsing

      Oh, I didn’t know that was a saying in english too.

      • AJ

        What else is it a saying in????

        • Darkoneko Hellsing

          French. “7 ans de malheur”

          • AJ

            Oh, well that’s probably where English got it. :P

            • Maria Gerasimova

              In Russia we have it too.

              • AJ

                Oh, neat! I wonder why… Was there really something mystical enough about mirrors to make them unlucky to break, or was it just that glass was absurdly expensive?

            • Darkoneko Hellsing

              or vice versa. Hard to know for old expressions

    • TheGorram Batguy

      It’s bad luck for Pride, in this case.

  • JWLM

    So I guessed Ben’s line about “even without a degree, you’re still a better wizard than me”, because it was the only way he could avoid being proud of doing better than Sid. Should have posted it here.

    *sigh* I’m not even good at guessing punch lines.

  • M. E. Gibbs

    There are going to be hugs after this scene, right? I’m still on the hug bandwagon here.

    • Del

      The girls in this story whom I want to hug…. aren’t very huggable.

      Perhaps I could just get Harriet to smoke a pipe with me.

      • M. E. Gibbs

        That’s basically the same thing for her, I’d say.

        And I don’t know if Vee is on the list of ladies you want to hug, but she seems like a total SECRET HUGGER, I mean note how she greets Ben.

  • Brother Nightmare

    Hey, As long as it works, it works for me!

  • JWLM

    It appears that Ben is the world’s best anti-wizard: he repels spirits so well that he can banish them better than anyone else ever could. That’s why he’s done so well with the Widdershins clean-up crew.

    • Ocean Burning.

      Well, he is good at cleaning…

  • JWLM

    …and Pride doesn’t even rate as many pages on their way to destruction as losers like Envy did. Poor, pathetic Pride.

    • hariman

      I’m sorry if this is trite, but… Pride Goeth Before A Fall.

      • AJ

        Somebody had to say it.

  • rhapsha

    Oh poor Ben. He’s having a self-doubt fueled nervous breakdown. Which is really unfortunate, and also the strongest weapon he could have here.

    • Emily

      It probably doesn’t help that he’s sleep-deprived and exhausted. Everything feels more overwhelming when you’re in that state.

  • Tikatu

    And the biggest mirror of all cracks–the one Pride was admiring itself in. I hope Mal and Harry have the next circle ready. Mal might not have much pride but Harry has some!

  • Eva Schiffer

    Ouch… I think everybody might need a crying hysterically break after this. O.O

  • J.B

    This page hurts a lot, but I think it might be one of my favorites now..

  • Liz

    A list of things I hope are said to Ben once this is over:

    1. O’Malley and Wolfe would’ve gotten jailed, fired, and/or killed several times over on their buggerup-catching job were it not for you, Ben.
    2. Everyone on this team wishes they were more like everyone else in one way or another. Sid probably wishes he had your competency to finish wizard school. Wolfe probably wishes he had your quick thinking. O’Malley probably wishes he had your ability to fit in when you go anywhere, and code switch to your environment. You’ve got way more going for you than you give yourself credit for.
    3. You don’t have to be the best at a particular skill to be utterly critical to a team’s success. And if this encounter proves anything, it is that you are absolutely crucial, Ben.
    4. Go have some chocolate and hug the purple hippo of happiness.

    • Heylir

      I would add,

      0. Your friends value you as you are. “Even O’Malley”, you know.

    • Darkoneko Hellsing

      and every team need a comic relief.

    • non_canon

      5. Thanks to your quick thinking in getting The Hippo to stop the fuse, you saved the lives of everyone at Voss’s party.
      6. Had you not spent the night before researching, Isabelle would have either had to leave Henry to come with the team or waste valuable time drawing the circles out for Mal.

      • Sir. Orc

        She did wind up drawing out the circles though

    • i love that you all have immediately snapped into a pep talk, it is very heartening :3

      • JWLM

        I can make a case that Ben is the single bravest of _Curtain Call_. Go through the party. Harry starts out too arrogant to consider the possibility of failure. Vee is too self-absorbed to notice. Mal is too misanthropic to genuinely care. Sid’s too happy-go-lucky to compass the magnitude of what they’re attempting in any but the most shallow way.

        Ben *knows* that they can fail, and, worse, he knows he can fail the party. He knows that things are going to be really bad if they fail. He *doesn’t* have a great natural talent. He’s not able to drop that burden off his shoulders. Yet he keeps going and going despite that.

        • Maria Gerasimova

          You’ve forgotten Wolfe :)
          Nevertheless I agree with you here.

          • The Wing

            Wolfe’s so optimistic, he probably doesn’t even believe that they CAN fail, and if they do, it probably wouldn’t be so bad!

    • Emily

      Continuing the pep talk:
      7. You charged into a burning building to desummon Sloth without a moment’s hesitation, because it was your summoning and your mistake to fix.
      8. You threw yourself at Voss to try to stop him working magic on Mal, despite being about half his size.
      9. Even though you’re more comfortable with by-the-book methods, you came up with a perfect way for Mal to use his own particular talents to bind Wrath, and you did it on the spur of the moment.

      • non_canon

        10. You refused to leave a burning building because that would leave your friends to fight the remnant of wrath alone.

  • kuku

    I LOVE IT! Especially all the academics confessing their secret doubts.

    Ah, poor Ben. You’re building something to be proud of here – hope you finish the job before you notice!

    ETA- let me clarify that what I love is the academics confessing and breaking free. The depth of Ben’s despairing self-abnegation is heart-breaking. But very effective, and it’s both heroic and clever of him to uncover it here.

  • D. Schwartz

    Welp that does it. After this adventure, therapy for everyone.

    • Grey_Moment

      I think a lot of adventurers could benefit from regular post-adventure therapy. But you’re right, some more than others.

  • Emily

    >>”Everyone I know is better than me…even O’Malley!”

    “Oi! Th’ hell does that mean, EVEN O’Malley?!”

    • Heylir

      It is a good thing that Mal didn’t hear that, for more than one reason. :/

  • Dvarin

    Ben’s talent for turning anything into self-deprecation is somewhat alarming.

  • Sarah Hardister

    Oh my god, Ben’s crying. I can’t. I love him so much right now.

  • Thursday Violist

    Note that his glasses came off.

    He’s no longer immune to the basilisk.

    • Emily

      I thought having his glasses off would *make* him immune in this case, because he can’t see himself in the mirror to get trapped in it.

      • tbh they’re mostly off because crying while wearing glasses is basically an extra reason to cry

        • Thursday Violist

          Ugh, yes. You try to wipe your eyes BUT WAIT! Your glasses are in the way! You can’t even cry properly, it’s so frustrating.

          • then you take off the glasses to wipe your eyes but you can’t see so you put them back on and they’re now all smudgy so you *still can’t see*

            • Euodiachloris

              It’s like steaming up in the middle of a snowfall while wearing gloves. You need to see, but gloves are terrible to wipe glasses with; yet, if you take them off to sort the glasses out, you can’t see well enough to a) place them down properly and b) fumble about for the tissues effectively or c) not get wet while a or b. :P

              • AJ

                My brother bought gloves with little squeegees on the thumbs to wipe glasses with.

        • Khlovia

          Yep; your eyelashes flick your tears up onto the lenses, and then you’ve got salt-water stains you have to wash off, as pretty much the next order of business before you can do *anything* else.

  • megan

    there’s nothing I love more than when an author decides, “yup, this is when I torture my characters and make them break from pressure and self hatred”

    • Tsapki

      I am pretty sure that there is a saying somewhere that if a storyteller truly loves a character, they will put them through the emotional wringer.

  • Jasmine DeLynch

    Ain’t no party like a pity party, cuz a pity party BREAKS EVERYTHING.

  • R. A. Meenan

    MY HEART! D=

  • Working in a University, I can’t help feeling that there will be some academics whose pride and arrogance would only be increased and enhanced when confronted by someone who regards themselves as a worthless failure. Then again if said academics were to be permanently trapped inside a mirror while their elan vital was slowly drained by a deadly sin, this would not necessarily be a Bad Thing.

    • Heylir

      I wonder if people in mirrors in the second panel (which start to talk before others) may remember Sidney – or, at least, his situation.

  • Rachel McGonagill

    That wavery, watery “smile” in panel 5 makes me think Ben has just about lost it. Someone’s going to have to pick up the pieces later.

    • non_canon

      If Wolfe and/or Verity can hear him right now, I have no doubt they will have a go at it. Judging from Sidney’s expression in that same panel, I have the suspicion he’s probably going to have a try at it as well.

      • Emily

        I’m really hoping that when Pride is fully defeated, Wolfe and Vee will come rushing in with the rest of the freed mirror people: “Ben! You have saved us, my friend!” “Good one, Benji! I knew you could do it!”

  • hariman

    I’m reminded of this line from Dan and Mab’s Furry Adventures:

    “Last time I checked, Pride was a deadly sin!”
    “It’s a sin you should be proud of!”

  • Tsapki

    False! Fakes! Faithless! The lot of you!

  • Rulebook Lawyer

    You’re proud that you have no pride…

    Runtime Error!
    Does Not Compute
    Redo From Start

  • william mcneil

    i use the power of depression! yep its strong :P