Madness: July 31 – August 5, 2006

Give Madblood credit: he immediately recognizes the seriousness of the situation. Maybe I drew his expressions and poses a little too extreme, but what the hell, he ought to be freaking out.

“Complain to Helen” was previously the strategy devised by Madblood, Dave and Artie way back in Doppelganger Gambit. It’s usually applicable.

Madblood’s unusually quick on the uptake this week. Also, he makes some excellent faces.

I don’t have much to say about this strip, but I do like it. Doing a four-panel strip like this, you don’t get a lot of chances to just have the characters talking, but all the dialogue in this one is good. Plus it gets in a surprising amount of plot. So good work, me.

Helen is so shocked by this news that her hair pops out of the bun it was in through the previous strip.

The big failure in Helen’s plan is that she never really understood how much Dave enjoyed being with her and the lab. She always thought of the mad-science life as something she dragged him into, and she thought that once she set him free he’d get away from it. She was very, very wrong about that.

Plus, you know, there’s Mell’s argument.

This is a plot detail that never really pays off. Based on the inventions he’s built or helped build with Helen, especially the teleporter, Dave is primarily a mad physicist rather than a mad computer scientist. But this doesn’t particularly come into play in this storyline, since–SPOILERS–Dave wreaks havoc through Madblood’s computer system anyway. Oh well. It’s a nice little sinister moment, I guess.

Apparently Madblood’s standard reaction in a crisis is to move into someone’s basement.

Okay, I admit it. Helen preparing to battle Dave was just awesome to write.

29 thoughts on “Madness: July 31 – August 5, 2006

  1. Yes, madness is much more comforting than Genre Savvy. And Madblood must have some suspicion that Helen let Dave go to Madblood so that she would be out of blast radius….

  2. Seeing someone else go Mad forces you to relieve your own Descent into Madness. (DC 15 Will save, modified by a GM-decided value for intensity of your own Descent)

    • That’s only if you’re playing Pathfinder, though. For oldschool gamers, it’s a Madness Check (as per Ravenloft 2nd Edition Boxed Set rules) with a difficulty determined by your DM depending on the severity of your own Descent into Madness.

      Now, if you play Call of Cthulhu, it’s a SAN check with effect of -1d6/2d4 or more, depending on your Cthulhu Mythos and/or Mad Science score, with a -2 penalty for every full 10% in whichever of the two skills is higher.

      Now, if we were using BESM, it would be a Soul Stat Test with difficulty modified by -1 for every level of Mad Science attribute you have…

  3. (tune: Michael Jackson’s “Bad”)

    Don’t sit and whiiiiine, Professor, dear
    We’ve got a maaaajor problem here
    Your henchman Daaaaaave is going nuts
    The aftermaaaaaath’s gonna kick our butts
    Come on

    Come on
    Snap to it
    Right now

    I really want to be a sport
    But I’m afraid for Davenport
    I cannot give your arms a shake
    So come around, for heaven’s sake

    Well Madblood started thinking
    (he can do it when he tries)
    He has got to fix his henchman
    ‘Cause you can see his eyes

    Which means he’s mad! He’s mad! Oh no!
    Good lord, he’s mad! He’s mad! It’s awful!
    My henchman’s mad! He’s mad! Oh no – oh no!
    There’s a floating base of hamsters outside
    But I tell you once again – Dave’s mad!



  4. This seems to be the point at which Madblood figures out the Tinasky charade.  Even the black-hole-enhanced coffee maker hadn’t tipped him off to Dave’s latent madness.

  5. actually I think madblood knew at least subconciously that dave was mad after the coffe maker, beacause thats when he started to remember dave’s name.

  6. I wish I had more problems that could be solved with an annoyed “I’ll load the grenade launcher”.*

    *As someone who could in theory be assigned to a problem where that would be one possible answer, not really. I just want to overpower regular problems with grenade launchers.

  7. (TUNE: “Don’t Rain On My Parade”, Jule Styne & Bob Merrill)

    Who’s gonna get to work and do some evil?
    Who’s gonna do some perpetrating?  We will!
    But first, we’ll have to load and launch a few grenades!

    Who could be calling at this hour?  Don’t ask me!
    Who’s calling to complain about Tinasky?
    Who’s gonna be the target when we launch grenades!

         That clever lad, now,
         Has lost his mind!
         He’s going mad now!
         He’s wreaking havoc … in Wolf’s la-bor-a-tor-y!
         No shock … that now he’s coming for me!

    It’s time to have a big dramatic showdown!
    It’s time to put my foot and ev’ry toe down!
    It’s time to lock and load, and launch a few grenades!

  8. Madblood’s bit of dialogue is really jam-packed full of information — it tells Helen and Mel exactly what’s going on with Dave and exactly what Madblood knows.

  9. I like that everyone has compatible big round viewscreen communicators. I wonder if there’s some kind of Mad RFC to define their protocols, or if they make connections on an ad hoc basis by hacking each other. Or maybe they just use Skype.

    Mell in the last panel seems like Dr. Pim, for some reason. I think it’s the eyebrows.

  10. “There is no problem so tough that it cannot be solved with the suitable application of high explosives.”

    Car won’t start?  High explosives.  Buy new car.  Problem solved.

  11. Ed: Now I’m going to hear Helen talk in Barbra Streisand’s voice instead of Miss Piggy’s.  That seems entirely more appropriate,  Besides, when it comes to evil, Miss Piggy could never outdo Mecha-Streisand.

  12. @John: The eyebrows do complete what is an unusually calm expression for Mell.  One might get the impression that loading the grenade launcher is just one of her daily tasks.  Which, by now, it could well be.  There’s no telling how many towns of ant-headed dudes there are in the area.

  13. Does showing tatas to someone influence their evilness?  We need a controlled study!  For science!

  14. It’s probably just as well Dr. Narbon didn’t try the same Ta-Ta-tactic when she had the chance.

  15. Thursday:

    Mell has no bones about describing Helen’s relationship in the least flattering light and company possible. It was always an annoyance to her.

    Madblood’s final line is very good – the implication that Dave has become some non-sentient, figurative black hole of electronics.

  16. (TUNE: “I Saw Her Standing There”, The Beatles)

    Now Dave’s going mad!
    The situation’s bad!
    How unforeseen, it’s quite a complication!
    He took it hard when you broke up,
    ‘Cause he saw your ta-tas too!

    Yes, Dave went up there,
    Up to Madblood’s arctic lair!
    Now Madblood calls, raving with consternation!
    “Knew this would come,” Kelly spoke up,
    ” ‘Cause he saw your ta-tas too!”

        He went down the tubes
        When he touched your boobs,
        And then you two went and gooiiiiiiinked!

    Dave’s mind just broke through!
    Now he’s coming after you!
    And after that, true global domination!
    Dave’s latent genius just woke up,
    ‘Cause he saw your ta-tas too!

  17. I wonder about the impact of this misunderstanding of Helen to the scientific quality of the parts of the Tinasky study published up to that point.  The released data did not reveal much to the Mad Science community, at least according to Dr. Ellen Fowler (Narbonic, 2004-12-23 issue).

  18. Given all the things that Helen did to Dave, and the objections he raised to them, her impression is understandable.  Of course, all that changed when the ta-tas came out to play….  But her parting comment to him, alluding to the Cheshire Cat’s line that finally opened his eyes (“.. or you wouldn’t have come here”), seems to suggest that, deep down, she sensed that he was naturally drawn to mad science.

    In any case, Helen is so shocked by this latest news that she has scared away Friday’s installment.

  19. Is there a term for “Joy at one’s own inevitable destruction”? Like schadenfreude, but reflexive? ‘cuz that’s Helen’s expression in the last panel.

  20. @Adam:  With a little help from Google Translate, I come up with “Selbstzerst?rungfreude”, the joy of self-destruction.

    (TUNE: “Ode To Joy”, Ludwig van Beethoven)

    Feeling Selbstzerst?rungfreude!
    Happy that she’ll be destroyed!
    Now Dave’s wrath they can’t avoid, he
    Seems to be a bit annoyed!

    Brain is broken, he’s awoken!
    His potential’s at its full!
    Off to hell, she might as well be
    Killed on her own sche-du-le!

  21. Re: Friday’s strip… okay, what IS Dave’s mad specialty?  Or is he omnimadcompetent?

  22. I’m confused, did Beethoven set “Ode to Joy” to music, or did he set “Darling Clementine” to music in his 9th?  I get the lyrics a bit mixed up sometimes…

    Jonathan Fisher

  23. I kinda have to dispute Madblood’s terminology here – I think what Dave is experiencing is a breakthrough, rather than a breakdown.

  24. Why Helen thought Dave staying away from Mad Science would work even if he had done so, I have no idea. The entire plot of “Angels” hinges on him being well past the point of no return already.

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