Chapter 5, Page 24

read the roooooom

The MI book Kickstarter has less than 2 weeks left! Yesterday I posted an introduction to our 5th guest artist, the science-artist Franz Anthony. I’m a huge fan of his beautiful science/ animal illustrations, especially for his strong focus on aquatic animals and invertebrates. I’m forcing him to use his knowledge of real animals to create a new illustration of our favorite flap-flap and I’m really excited about it :] Stay tuned for a preview of his work on that~

See you tomorrow with another page!


  • Jadeity

    When your friends pressure you to own up to your biases and be a better person. Good job, Levi <3

  • Spark

    “You can’t abandon your kids,” says the guy who basically sent his kid to die in the Martian depths.

    On another note, LEVi looks especially adorable in panel 3

    • Lilian

      Given the zoom on LEVi’s eyes at panel 2, I’m inclined to think Shing is trying to point that parallel out.

      • DukeBG


      • Madeleine

        Given how Mike looks at LEVi in the last panel, he might have gotten that point as well.

        • DukeBG

          His look is more in general. Like, “wait, you don’t show approval. Do you, like, not agree? Oh…”

          • DukeBG

            Ugh, that didn’t sound right. Better: he’s giving “why are you not saying anything?” look

    • MikeLinPA

      Levi should reply with the tail slap maneuver.

      • JJ

        Tail defense in defence of Bex!

  • Xain903

    Ahh yes the good old fashioned ‘I’ve been a dick, but it’s because I can’t stand people like you’ excuse. Lotsa projection too, after all he’s making a lot of assumptions about her merit as a person based on one decision with little outside context. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to get that deep into his thought process. Excellent use of framing too, really emphasizes the isolation.

    • Trevor Gale

      I’m still kinda hung up on that thing he said a couple weeks ago about how he doesn’t see the difference between liking someone and not being a dickhole to them.

  • Trevor Gale

    Yeah, Mike, you’re not doing a lot to get me off of team “Bex is probably making a good decision here.”

  • Lilian

    Here’s the thing, Mike. You don’t have to agree with someone to care about them or help them. You can be profoundly opposed to their decisions for all sorts of reasons and still believe in their inherent dignity.

    You don’t even have to *like* someone to *love* them. You know, like your mother probably felt about teenage you.

  • Lilian

    Also, does Mike look like some sort of body-horror “Thinker” here?

    • David

      I was thinking the same thing!

  • Margaret Hogg

    Woof “Can we just admit she’s not exactly a perfect human being?” Miiiike that’s what she’s trying to say. It’s not fair for you to hold others to a model of perfection when you’re no you and no one else is there. Imperfection isn’t an excuse for treating someone as less-than-human[/martian/thrip]

    I love all these imperfect characters and I want as many of them to survive as possible but TBH I really hope Bex has had it and isn’t waiting for him right now. And I know that probably seems to go against that first paragraph I wrote up there, but at this point she’s given him several chances, and he’s still sitting contemplating whether or not he should give her, what… a second one? Maybe even a first?

    • David

      From experiencing my own issues, I can say that I usually hold people up to a higher standard than I hold myself.

      That sounds hypocritical, but it’s not the way it feels to me. It’s more like “Wait, I’m the piece of garbage. The normal people should be doing better than me.”

      • Margaret Hogg

        I mean, I think it’s totally a understandable and hugely common human habit, but part of being an adult is (hopefully) letting it sink in when it’s pointed out to you. Or trying to be aware enough that if it’s something that basically ruins all your relationships, you start to address the common thread. Or at the very least not letting your expectation of perfection be a thing that puts other people’s lives at risk.

        But then I have my own issues too, so I understand when that doesn’t always happen. Doesn’t mean I don’t want to swat him in the back of the head right now. XD

        • David

          Actually, I think he might be on the cusp of figuring it out right now. Of course, there’s still plenty of time for him to screw it up again :-P

    • Ellie

      Well said Margaret!

  • Solanuma

    It looks like Threvi is looking directly at the reader in the second to last panel.
    …Yes i can’t believe this guy either lil thrip

  • Blue

    Mike entire mindset about parents: if a parent is unavailble to their child, the child becomes vulnerable to people who are cruel. Therefore it is the parent who is bad.
    His myopia towards cruelty itself is very well portrayed.

  • Bethany

    Just what kind of human people can you deal with, Mike?

    • DukeBG

      Good question!

    • Lilian

      Very few, methinks. Robots and Wollaria have more success.

      • Bethany Persons

        Hence the human qualifier in my question

  • Luces

    He’s actually thinking about other people. Too bad the occasion is somewhat restricted now!

  • Pylgrim

    Ah you are so close Mike, just pay attention to what you’re saying! “You have to protect your kids”. Please realize that your inherent dislike for her is all about you.

  • Kuggur

    I really feel both of them have very, very weird priorities in this situation.
    They are confronted with an alien intelligence,(the discovery of which should be mind blowing ) whose nature and motives are very mysterious, and has shown hostile tendencies.

    And instead of pulling together and dealing with that they waste time and energy on stupid relationship drama. Their childish bickering is putting them in even more danger than they already are.

    This behaviour of the protagonists is putting a severe strain on my suspension of disbelief…

    • shingworks

      Yeah, I can see that argument! Then again, I can also see it my way, which is the way I chose to write it, haha. Personally, I don’t know if I could personally put aside my differences to work with someone I felt threatened by and didn’t trust at all, given that there’s almost nothing that we can actively do even if we did stick together. And, when there’s a few other unlikely options open (like the option of living there as an honored guest vs going home to nothing in particular). Also both characters are meant to be portrayed as responsible, functional adults who still wind up making mistakes now and then, which was sort of the point of the story. I suppose it would not serve my point very well if I made them people who did things exactly right on the first try, though that could be a good story too.

      • No One

        Bex is responsible and functional. Mike was suicidal and delusional when the story started and only now seems to be in a better mental state. Bex keeps trying to save him even though he’s a mess and an ass on a good day. I get that she now needs him as a companion to help her in the mare, but she didn’t have to save him when he tried to remove his helmet in the cave. Her compassion for her fellow human is her undoing, in this case.

    • skellagirl

      It is interesting, I think, because their personalities seem to be so COMPLETELY incompatible lol. It’s fun to imagine how this first contact might have gone IF our two protags were more compatible.

      Also keep in mind that they were definitely not prepared for a First Contact situation, or expecting to find anything down there at all. It might stretch some people’s suspension of disbelief but I personally like the different spin on First Contact (in that one of our two protags isn’t even/doesn’t have time to be interested but maybe she’d return in better circumstances with other people, and one is letting himself be assimilated into it with no regard for letting anyone else know it exists)

      It’s a fun take rather than the traditional First Contact scenario we always run into in sci-fi, imo.

    • I dunno. From what I’ve seen, people are *pretty good* at focusing on interpersonal conflict and whatnot to the exclusion of dealing with larger issues at hand…

    • Ben

      Mike is disturbed, if not actually mentally ill. He was introduced in the context of a failed suicide attempt, was already under severe stress (and probably knew it could only get worse). He has destroyed his medication, and may have been doing this for some time. He had a further failed fugue/suicide attempt when he was trapped in the collapse.

      He simply isn’t a rational actor in all this.

      Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if Bex HAD left him behind. Just about the last contact she received from the Hab, was a direct order to do exactly that, because that was the protocol. She will receive more of the same, when she comes back into range; she knows that she would be doing that with full sanction from her command/supervision structure.

    • Yeah, I’m pretty baffled as to why they don’t seem too curious about this alien life and environment that they’ve found inside Mars. At the very least, at least from Bex’s perspective, I’d think that understanding what you’re up against would help you to deal with the problem/situation you’re in. She seems to have spent a lot of time just lashing out and reacting instinctively, instead of thoughtfully.

      At the same time, it’s certainly more realistic in the sense that real humans put in this situation may not act predictably or rationally. If I was there, for example, my curiosity might indeed be blunted by fear and uncertainty, indecision, and maybe out and out panic.

  • Cara

    That moment when Mike becomes the comments section.

    • shingworks


    • AGV

      You win it all

  • AGV

    The look on poor LEVi

  • awhorl

    This is awesome. How many lifetimes have you lived to be able to write this?

  • DukeBG

    This is one of my most favorite pages of the comic now.

  • LostYooper

    Wait until Mike finds out he is sitting in a large Martian turd that was left behind by one of those ginger-root guys we say back in Chapter 4.

  • Ellie

    Good heavens. I hope Mike realizes how hypocritical, childish and whiny “You KNOW I can’t deal with these kinds of people” sounds as soon as it’s out of his mouth. Especially with that transparent “I’m not wrong” tagged onto the end.


  • Artie O'Dactyl

    I suspect the un-muted colors on this page will turn out to be symbolic …

  • Nate

    This is one of those so real and relatable (to me) emotional moments that make me love your comics. It feels like I could be sitting there right now, the whole weight of reality against you, and you can’t quite make that shift to see yourself as wrong.

    You can do it Mike, it’s better on the other side!

    • Margaret Hogg

      I love that it’s giving me “Mike ya dingus” feels and “I know that feel” feels at the same time.

  • Jojo

    Thoughtful Mike expressions are good

  • No One

    Self-reflection time. Mike is the sanest he’s been in quite a while ever since coming to the mare. Good.

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