Okay, I know this seems like a bit of a jump in the conversation, and it is, but it’s also made worse by the fact that I forgot to add a line at the end of the previous page. If you don’t feel like jumping back to check it, the last panel had Max saying “So, about that drink.” I’ve added “But first you gotta tell me about that moustache.” (I also fixed one of the Russian words, apparently I had the verb for “respect,” not the noun, so hopefully now it makes more sense if you can actually read Russian.)

It’s still a bit of a jump, even with that lead in, but I’m trying to compress this scene a little without leaving out any particularly salient exchanges.

If you’re a superhero with a secret identity, you enter into any relationship with a pretty major omission already on the books. In Superman’s case, he really is Clark Kent and he really is a reporter. He just leaves out the fact that he’s also Superman. In Max’s case, she is a superhero and that is her identity. Her civilian disguise here is a total lie, which is definitely worse than the omission route. She can defend this by saying she’s just looking to spend some time around normal people. She doesn’t want to say  it outloud, but she’s realistic enough to know that most guys wouldn’t get tooooo upset about being tricked into getting to second base with the most powerful superheroine in the world.

I can promise you that Max isn’t going to take some guy to bed only to find out first thing the next morning that he’s the president of the “Humans First Anti-Superhero League and also We Hate Powerful Women and We Hate Being Tricked into Sex Because for Us Sex is About Dominating Women Because We’re Terribly Insecure but Can’t Ever Admit That to Ourselves or Others Because We Stopped Developing Emotionally Somewhere in Our Early Teens.” It’s been done. And while I can definitely think of some ways to play that for laughs, it’s honestly not the direction I want to take the comic.

Previously it was established that Max’s Harper identity is “CIA-grade” (which is probably not proper spook talk but I needed an easy to understand reference point) and that identity comes with tax and employment records. At some point, Harper’s career was discussed, and they settled on “Professional Stuntwoman.” In some ways, it’s a slightly easier cover to maintain because unlike in, for example, True Lies, Max doesn’t need some intelligence operator sitting at a switchboard waiting for someone to check on her credentials like what might happen if she said she had some office job. Presumably a lot of stuntwork is word of mouth through other industry people. A deeper dive into movie production insurance records might turn something up, but again, Max just needs a passable ID, she’s not about to take Harper into deep cover.

Max knows something about what it takes to flip/blow up/shear/toss cars around, and she has military experience with explosives. She’s also a pretty skilled fighter. Not Math/Jabberwokky skilled for sure, but she knows a lot more than just how to punch hard. Add to that a few 20 minute stuntman behind the scenes videos on youtube and she knows enough to fake a conversation about it. Well, unless she happens across an amateur enthusiast, then she might get caught out, but she just wants a night out, dang it!

Honestly, I don’t know how realistic it is that someone could actually be a doctor and a firefighter. Let’s presume he has his own practice and has some control over his hours, and he’s a part-time firefighter, and the two things take up nearly all his free time. I feel confident that what someone couldn’t do is one of those insane hospital residencies with 40 hours shifts and literally anything else. So we know he’s past that stage of his career, at least.

I recently watched Tacoma FD, (helmed by 2/5ths of Broken Lizard (the Super Trooper guys)) doing a firefighter workplace sitcom, and like most workplace sitcoms, there’s very little actual work going on. Maybe I overestimate the downtime, but maybe Rowan station is in a very damp precinct and there consequently aren’t a lot of fires? Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

  • I keep forgetting to mention, but Binding Words 10 is out, both kindle and audio, which is my favorite Daniel Schinhofen series.
  • Also out is All the Skills 2, an entertaining Deck Building LitRPG which I’ve enjoyed so far.
  • Of special interest to me is the Kickstarter for Tamer, King of Dinosaurs book 9. One of the add-ons is a short story about Sheela’s arrival in dinosaur land, which sounds entertaining. I say “of special interest to me” because if you’ve somehow missed it, I have written two full length Tamer novels of my own. I hate to call them fanfics, because to me ‘fanfic’ just means canon characters doing extremely non-canon and usually out of character things. My books just use the same setup, but are wholly original beyond that. I don’t know if there’s a word for that, so I tend to fall back to calling them fanfics. Anyway, check out the sidebar for links to those.

The June vote incentive is finally up! Maxima is prepping for her night out.

And in the Patreon variants, she gets (un)dressed and takes a look through all the makeup options.




Double res version will be posted over at Patreon. Feel free to contribute as much as you like.