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Worm: The best supervillain web serial that you aren't not reading yet.

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Truthseeker

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The kidney issue would be a rather large problem for anyone who happened to be holding her captive and was thus responsible for seeing that nothing too bad happens to her under the unwritten rules. Or Panacea fixed it years ago, or Coil's medic Brooks can handle dialysis like a snap, maybe.
 

Walker

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Im going with government sponsored transplant and panacea helping,

her obesity being a sign that she probably uses food as an sublimation of her disgust with supers and now herself.
 

Wolfwood2

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Im going with government sponsored transplant and panacea helping,

her obesity being a sign that she probably uses food as an sublimation of her disgust with supers and now herself.
It's a bit unclear whether Panacea can actually regrow missing body parts. She didn't grow back Armsmaster's arm after the Endbringer attack, though possibly she was just stretched too thin to do so. On the other hand, being able to whip up Atlas from scratch suggests few limits to her power.
 

Wildbow

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She can regrow missing body parts. She can't conjure material out of thin air, however. Even donor material is tricky because the body is liable to reject it unless she invests the time to alter it on a deep level. This is time she wasn't able or willing to spare when Armsmaster was in custody.

Atlas was made from an abundance of raw material. One key hurdle that they didn't have to cross.
 

Wolfwood2

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One thing I have noticed about the story is that while Taylor cares passionately about Dinah Alcott (to the point of being able to risk everything to help her) we the readers have been given much less reason to care about her. I mean, I can appreciate on an abstract level the horror of Dinah's situation, but it's kind of remote. Barring interludes we see through Taylor's eyes, and Taylor hasn't had enough interaction with Dinah to make her seem like a person with personality.

I can't help but think that might be deliberate, though. It would be easy enough flesh Dinah out a little more, give use readers some emotional ammunition to feel outraged and want her to be saved at all costs. But because that hasn't been done, I constantly feel ambivalent about the lengths to which Taylor is going. I don't want Dinah rescued at all costs; there are costs where I would say, "Leave her to her fate." Mostly costs that involve Taylor destroying her own future and those of the Undersiders and other characters around her.

I am guessing I am supposed to be ambivalent. Supposed to be wondering if all this is worth it. It's kind of like when Grue explained why he became a criminal, way early on in the story. It's not that Grue doesn't want to be a good guy or doesn't have moral standards. It's just that he puts his family and himself first, and he's willing to do whatever it takes to secure a comfortable and secure life for them.

So I'm left questioning why Dinah should be the person Taylor 'puts first'. What about her father or her teammates? What about people she might hurt working for Coil, like nearly killing Triumph? If he had died, would she have decided that Dinah wasn't worth it any more or would she have doubled down?
 

Lost Demiurge

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The kidney issue would be a rather large problem for anyone who happened to be holding her captive and was thus responsible for seeing that nothing too bad happens to her under the unwritten rules. Or Panacea fixed it years ago, or Coil's medic Brooks can handle dialysis like a snap, maybe.
Or Piggot simply doesn't have as much time to exercise due to being assigned a desk job. Or her genetic line runs to fat. Or she gave up and simply does not care, because she works with capes who can bench press volvos without having to work for it and is annoyed by the fact. No point in overthinking it.

I was just struck by the oddity of a former-spec-ops person getting fat. Most of the ones I've known keep up with some kind of regimen and diet, at least until they're too old to do it without nutritional problems or medical risks.

Mind you, I haven't known MANY. Eh, moot point until we get more info.
 

Noliar

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I doubt she'd have asked Amy for help with her kidneys - Panacea wasn't one of hers. It's not uncommon for very active people to get fat if they get injured and can no longer maintain that activity level and she had serious leg injuries as well as the kidney damage.
 

Truthseeker

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So I'm left questioning why Dinah should be the person Taylor 'puts first'. What about her father or her teammates? What about people she might hurt working for Coil, like nearly killing Triumph? If he had died, would she have decided that Dinah wasn't worth it any more or would she have doubled down?
Wow, what a text-wall this turned out to be. Apologies in advance, but I had time to kill and got a little philosophical. :D

Dinah is a little girl kidnapped and kept drugged to the gills by a crime lord; it's hard to show a lot of personality under those circumstances. Taylor's concern for her isn't because she personally knows and likes Dinah, it's more to do with Dinah's status as blank-slate potential-person. People get like that about children (and sometimes even pets --abuse a dog and there are a lot of people who will be genuinely willing to destroy their own futures to retaliate against the abuser beyond the boundaries of the law). It's about injustice towards innocence. We all have experience with how harsh and cruel the world can be, but we try to protect the undeserving from the worst of it. It's exactly the sort of thing Taylor wanted to be a hero for in the first place. Further, Taylor's very first outing as a supervillain served as the diversion that allowed Coil to pull off Dinah's kidnapping, so Taylor feels an extra dose of extremely personal responsibility for Dinah's fate.

Why not her father as primary focus? That's complicated. Firstly, there's the split between harassed, bullied, troubled Taylor and confident, competent Taylor-Skitter. When around her dad, she has to be Taylor and can't be Skitter without coming out to him, and she's afraid to do that (she might even be right to be afraid, by this point). Further... he never quite found the means to help her over the bullying situation, eventually got desperate, took some bad advice from a friend and did exactly the wrong things, pushing her away. So there's a bit of a rift between them. It's not at all irreparable, but it's making her keep her dad at arm's length right now. Further than arm's length, even; out of sight and out of mind, almost. There was a recent step towards reconciliation, but... no way he can outweigh Dinah in Taylor's mind right now without him being placed in some extremely imminent danger.

Why not her teammates? Because at the end of the day, they're her friends, a couple of them are even fairly decent people, but they're supervillains. They're able to take care of themselves. They're also not entirely undeserving of some fates that might befall them as a consequence of their actions. Dinah, though, as a little girl, can't possibly deserve what she's gotten, cannot fend for herself at all. That eats at Taylor and keeps Dinah a primary focus. That Taylor's teammates were unable to give much ground and show concern for Dinah is one of the major factors that puts emotional distance between Taylor and the rest of the Undersiders, in fact. Had events not conspired to put her back with them as the only path she could see to Dinah, she wouldn't even be with them any longer, because she feels that strongly about it.

In some ways, Taylor is the poster-child for "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." Every now and then there's a major escalation, a big slip in her public image, her reputation with the heroes, or even a stretch in what she's personally willing to do to advance Dinah's cause. I have no idea where she'd go if Triumph had died --she might have turned herself in, or she might indeed have doubled down on needing to rescue Dinah. I'm leaning in the latter direction: We have to remember that Taylor's every interaction with the heroes has been negative and hostile in some fashion, dating back to before she can be said to have deserved such. We as readers see that there are actually plenty of well-meaning heroes in interludes (Triumph himself being a shining example), but Taylor's own view of them has to be pretty dark by now.

I don't know what sort of ending Wildbow has in mind. It could very well be a pure, "And that's how you get to be a full-on supervillain starting with only the best wishes" story. Orrrrrr.... Taylor could be set to burst the bounds of the Wormverse's handy labels for everything. Heroes, Villains, Rogues, and "Monsters" are narrowly-defined within the public consciousness. Taylor is more heroic than the heroes on some days but, at this point, can never fit into the public "hero" label. She's sided with the villains because some of them will have her and are good pals, but even as she slips and slides, she doesn't want money, power, territory, any of the classic villainous things except where they can be applied as tools for helping people. She's active, so she can't be a rogue, and without another major trauma she's never going to be in the monster category either. So it could be a story about hammering out your own way in a world that can't quite fit you into its categories. Guess we'll see. :D

Short version: Dinah's a little girl who's suffering, and Taylor doesn't feel like anyone else can match up to that in terms of need. And she blames herself for that situation existing to begin with.
 

Wolfwood2

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Wow, what a text-wall this turned out to be. Apologies in advance, but I had time to kill and got a little philosophical. :D
Well the one thing missing from your response was a discussion about how we as readers feel. I understand on an intellectual level why Skitter cares so much, but I personally as an audience member, am not emotionally invested in the fate of Dinah. If in the next update a rock fell and squashed Dinah like a bug, I wouldn't feel sad that the character was killed off. My question is:

1. Am I an outlier and most readers have an emotional investment in Dinah?

2. If most readers don't, is that simply a failure in the writing, or are we supposed to not give a shit about Dinah?

Do you care about the character?
 
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Truthseeker

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Well the one thing missing from your response was a discussion about how we as readers feel. I understand on an intellectual level why Skitter cares so much, but I personally as an audience member, am not emotionally invested in the date of Dinah. If in the next update a rock fell and squashed Dinah like a bug, I wouldn't feel sad that the character was killed off. My question is:

1. Am I an outlier and most readers have an emotional investment in Dinah?

2. If most readers don't, is that simply a failure in the writing, or are we supposed to not give a shit about Dinah?

Do you care about the character?
Hrm! Good questions, too. I do care about Dinah, to some extent. I don't care about Dinah as much as Taylor does. I don't think Dinah's as "real" to me, you're right about that. If Taylor died saving Dinah right now, I would probably be disappointed that the journey ended there, as a reader. It doesn't fit my hopes or expectations for where the story goes.

On the other hand, I'm not bothered by Taylor's course in pursuing her motivation so far. It has plenty of dangers and it will be tragic if some other undeserving person gets badly hurt in the process, but I think.... she's not necessarily doing the best possible thing with what she knows, but I can understand and forgive the chain that got her here. And I don't know for sure what I would do differently, if anything.
 
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