Comic for November 6th, 2019: Growing Apart

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Comic for November 6th, 2019: Growing Apart

#1 Post by CrRAR » Thu Nov 07, 2019 2:17 am

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Panel 1 Zen: “Ha, Natani, that scamp. Alright, time for a nice cozy nap”
Panel 2 Zen’s brain: “How about ALL THESE conflicting feels!?” ;_;

Good to see Zen get some needed comfort for “his” mind and tummy. Rest will come much easier I sense. Natani’s day may just yet continue undaunted. Very warm lighting to match the warm chit chat. Wonderful page.
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Re: Comic for November 6th, 2019: Growing Apart

#2 Post by SpottedKitty » Thu Nov 07, 2019 2:55 am

Hmm, now that's interesting. Have we ever seen Zen's eyes go dull like this? It's happened to Natani a time or two, I think, but not Zen. Come to think of it, isn't this a bit like Rose's eyes before Trace lifted her restrictions? Curiouser and curiouser...
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Re: Comic for November 6th, 2019: Growing Apart

#3 Post by Rafe » Thu Nov 07, 2019 4:47 am

In the first couple of panels, Zen is still mentally with Natani. If you look close, his smile in the first panel leaves his face, as if he's realized something. His surprise when Kat walked in shows how absorbed in it he was.

His last communication [http://cdn.twokinds.keenspot.com/comics/20191019.png][/url] showed he's getting used to the idea of Natani and Keith being together, or at least has gone from full panic to fairly tame teasing about it.

One wonders if his "never really being apart" from Natani is getting him closer to Keith - emotions flowing both ways and all. (Remember Zen's "I don't care how cute you are!" slip a while back.) Let's just leave it at "things could get pretty strange " with Zen the more used to Keith he gets. He might even purposely shut himself off from Natani mentally if he's afraid of getting a little too involved in their emotions. Could be embarrassing, could be funny, could also be depressing for Zen not being needed in the way he was anymore.

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Re: Comic for November 6th, 2019: Growing Apart

#4 Post by amenon » Thu Nov 07, 2019 5:33 am

Hm? I think the sequence is pretty clearly 'Zen is putting on a brave face, then hangs up on Natani and lets his sad-sackiness out.'

But like, what's he doing here? He doesn't want to talk to Natani about what he's feeling, and wants to keep what he's feeling from Natani... but he's got no problem talking about it with Kat -- even though surely that's just another way it's going to / in Zen's eyes easily could or even should get to Natani. So basically he's just being a sulky teenager at this point :P

And of course, Natani for his part isn't pushing against Zen's "I'm totally fine" facade, because of some combination of: doesn't want to have any difficult conversations / happy to take a break from Zen after how he's been behaving / doesn't want to question his big brother / pretending things are fine is his brand.

Just... talk things all the way out for once in your life, you doofuses. They were almost there talking about Natani's situation earlier, but they barely even touched on any of Zen's [censored], and that's the real live wire.


And unrelatedly, is that meat soup?

Edit P.S: To be sure, life is coming fast at Zen right now. It's good that he's got time to think and someone to talk to, and it's probably even good that it isn't Natani, yet. Just... get there at some point, would you.
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Re: Comic for November 6th, 2019: Growing Apart

#5 Post by Insomniac » Thu Nov 07, 2019 6:23 am

Oh man, Kat is such a treasure.
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Re: Comic for November 6th, 2019: Growing Apart

#6 Post by themunck » Thu Nov 07, 2019 8:58 am

What exactly is that food? He's drinking it like it's soup, but there's a bone with meat on it sticking out. (That seems to have disappeared by the time he starts drinking from the bowl).

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Re: Comic for November 6th, 2019: Growing Apart

#7 Post by BadJoke » Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:01 am

That moment you miss the good old times where you were with your brother, memebers of an assassins' guild murdering people who had done no wrong to you or may even be innocent all for money... Luckily, here you have some chicken stew made with the second transformed templar we didn't see reappear.

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Re: Comic for November 6th, 2019: Growing Apart

#8 Post by Shockwave07 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 4:55 am

Kind of wonder if Zen feels his younger sibling is advancing in life faster than he is. It can be tough especially if you put yourself in a certain mental position. A bit from my own life, have a younger sister who is out of the house and has a decent job, youngest brother married with his first child on the way, and me the oldest... And I have a job and am supporting my dad at home, yay?

But you take the opportunities given to you and try to make the best of them.

As far as the food goes, could be something along the lines of a pot roast. Depending how they are cooked could end up with something that could be eaten like a soup.

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Re: Comic for November 6th, 2019: Growing Apart

#9 Post by amenon » Fri Nov 08, 2019 6:12 pm

Been thinking more about the page, and I wonder if Kat is going to start to lose her patience with that last line of Zen's. She (probably!) isn't under as much active stress as she was on the ship, but she is fond of Natani so she's probably not happy with Zen putting him down like that just for the sake of his own self-pity.

Well, and because he's a condescending twit about Natani in general. But Kat probably doesn't see it like that, at least yet? Though, she could have her own bones to pick with 'big brotherly' behavior, what with Eric...

Anyway, Kat could be about to establish a track record for calling wolves on their [censored], whatever it may be :P
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Re: Comic for November 6th, 2019: Growing Apart

#10 Post by Warrl » Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:40 pm

amenon wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 5:33 am
Hm? I think the sequence is pretty clearly 'Zen is putting on a brave face, then hangs up on Natani and lets his sad-sackiness out.'

But like, what's he doing here? He doesn't want to talk to Natani about what he's feeling, and wants to keep what he's feeling from Natani... but he's got no problem talking about it with Kat -- even though surely that's just another way it's going to / in Zen's eyes easily could or even should get to Natani. So basically he's just being a sulky teenager at this point :P
I see room for disagreement there. Now - while Natani is out at a pool party with Keith - is NOT the time for Zen to talk with Natani about Zen's feelings. That doesn't mean that he doesn't want to have that discussion with Natani. He could be willing to talk freely about it with Kat because he knows that conversation with Natani is coming up... or perhaps Kat is currently on track to be the 4th member of the pack...

Although - I am not saying you're wrong, because it isn't that clear.

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Re: Comic for November 6th, 2019: Growing Apart

#11 Post by SilentYay » Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:24 am

amenon wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 6:12 pm
Been thinking more about the page, and I wonder if Kat is going to start to lose her patience with that last line of Zen's. She (probably!) isn't under as much active stress as she was on the ship, but she is fond of Natani so she's probably not happy with Zen putting him down like that just for the sake of his own self-pity.

Well, and because he's a condescending twit about Natani in general. But Kat probably doesn't see it like that, at least yet? Though, she could have her own bones to pick with 'big brotherly' behavior, what with Eric...
Not that Zen isn't a little overprotective of Natani, but I disagree that his statement was condescending. He's the older sibling. It stands to reason that he'd hit life milestones (including starting a family) first, even if that's not always how it works out in real life. And given the additional challenges Natani is facing, it's even more understandable that starting a family would be difficult. One, they were assassins. Not exactly conducive to raising a family. Two, Natani is physically female and was pretending to be male. Yes, I understand that he identifies as male. That's not what I'm arguing here. While an assassin, Natani also had to pretend to be physically male, hence the bandages. That also limited his options.

And while, yes, Natani is in a very different situation now, it's still very complicated. And Zen's been absent for most of it only really catching up now. He's gotten updates before, but it hasn't been "real" to him. He said it himself in this most recent page. He expected to go right back to how things were. In his mind, nothing had really changed. Now it's all hitting him and he's trying to absorb it. Saying he never expected Natani to be the first to have a family isn't a put down. He's saying it as the older brother and as an acknowledgement of the truly screwed up situation they were in.

And all of that ignores the fact that their parents died when they were both young, Natani in particular. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Zen practically raised Natani from that point on. Or, at least, he felt like he did, which also affects his mindset. We tend to put Zen down for the way he treats Natani, but I feel like we forget that he's a completely inexperienced parent and brother, also growing up and trying his best to get them through a really bad situation. Sure, he made mistakes. But it seems to me Natani turned out pretty well, not in spite of Zen, but because Zen was there for him.

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Re: Comic for November 6th, 2019: Growing Apart

#12 Post by aitaituo » Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:18 pm

I've never understood the hating on Zen. His conduct as an older brother turned surrogate parent is both normal and good. It's not really overprotective when he doesn't actually stop Natani from making her own choices or in any way punish or retaliate for making choices he disagrees with. It would be pretty hard to argue he's paternalistic towards her. He doesn't immediately agree with every choice she makes and offers his advice and opinion. It's like criticizing someone for not clapping enthusiastically enough or the classic, "You should smile more, Zen!"

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Re: Comic for November 6th, 2019: Growing Apart

#13 Post by amenon » Sun Nov 10, 2019 8:42 pm

Warrl wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:40 pm
I see room for disagreement there. Now - while Natani is out at a pool party with Keith - is NOT the time for Zen to talk with Natani about Zen's feelings. That doesn't mean that he doesn't want to have that discussion with Natani. He could be willing to talk freely about it with Kat because he knows that conversation with Natani is coming up... or perhaps Kat is currently on track to be the 4th member of the pack...
Reasonable enough, but this is immediately on the heels of Zen putting up a front for Natani. Zen's essentially shooing Nat away, and then waxing melancholic about how he isn't really part of Natani's life anymore -- but at the moment Zen's the one that's creating that exclusion, on his own terms, essentially in anticipation of Natani wanting to distance himself. And then he's turning around and talking to Kat about it, which is self-defeating if the purpose is anything other than to be pathetic.

(Ignoring the meta-level point that the scene might exist primarily for the benefit of the audience. As always, the characters still have to live with the consequences of Tom's actions :P)

SilentYay wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:24 am
Not that Zen isn't a little overprotective of Natani, but I disagree that his statement was condescending. He's the older sibling. It stands to reason that he'd hit life milestones (including starting a family) first, even if that's not always how it works out in real life.
Your mileage may vary, but for me the double-emphasis on Natani's name in that sentence takes it from the kind of statement that you're describing over to something less level-headed and maybe likely to not go over well with Kat. Try reading his line out loud -- do you see what I mean?

SilentYay wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:24 am
And all of that ignores the fact that their parents died when they were both young, Natani in particular. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Zen practically raised Natani from that point on. Or, at least, he felt like he did, which also affects his mindset.
My perception is that it's 'felt like he did', disproportionately to the actual reality of it. Natani was for sure dependent on him at the start, and that's what formed Zen's enduring perception, but we do know that by the time they were both in the guild Natani was much more independent than Zen ever gave him credit for. Possibly more independent than Zen still would have given him credit for a few weeks ago, in comic time.

SilentYay wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:24 am
We tend to put Zen down for the way he treats Natani, but I feel like we forget that he's a completely inexperienced parent and brother, also growing up and trying his best to get them through a really bad situation. Sure, he made mistakes. But it seems to me Natani turned out pretty well, not in spite of Zen, but because Zen was there for him.
I think it's a really interesting case, in that the worst thing he ever did -- the strain he put on Natani due to his misperception of who he had been, that has colored his life for the 6-7 years since until very very recently -- wasn't really anybody's fault, as such? It's a perfect tragedy, in that nobody make a conscious choice, nobody gained anything, and everybody lost. I'll definitely agree that Zen being there was more of a positive than a negative -- there would not be a Natani without him! -- but... how would things have turned out if he'd understood youngtani better?

To this day, Zen has no idea that he had a totally kickass sister. He had no idea who she was, and has no idea of what that lack of understanding cost Natani. That's what I'm waiting for him to clue in on.
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Re: Comic for November 6th, 2019: Growing Apart

#14 Post by AndreRhineDavis » Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:24 am

I don't feel like Zen has done or is doing anything wrong.
He's been separated from Natani, and he comes back to find that Natani has undergone a huge amount of personal growth and is really a different person to the one he knew. Zen assumed that he and Natani were still living the same life as they always had, but suddenly something new has come along that Zen had not yet really absorbed the reality of. I don't think Zen was being belittling or insulting in saying that he never imagined Natani would start a pack before him; the impression I get is that Zen and Natani were struggling to make ends meet, they were just trying to survive day by day as the "Magi brothers". That neither of them really had time to think of having a relationship or settling down and having a family. And it's implied that they didn't really have any friends other than each other. Moreover, with Natani's sex/gender issues, the idea of a relationship would be just out of the question. In fact, until recently, if you had asked Natani if they would ever have a relationship with anyone, they themself would have said "not in a billion years". Natani wanted no part of the whole world of sex and sexuality; not to mention that being close enough and intimate enough with someone to tell them their secret or open up about their feelings was also something that Natani would be like "nup, not gonna happen". Zen knows that Natani is like this, it's totally reasonable for Zen to be shocked at the idea that Natani might be serious about Keith. Hell, *Natani* was shocked at the idea that they might be serious about Keith. They didn't intend for this to happen, it just sort of... happened, and before you know it Natani feels comfortable with Keith in a way they've never felt about anyone before, and with some help from youngtani is able to seriously consider moving things in a new direction.

So yeah, I don't blame Zen for telling Natani to go have a good time. Zen probably realised he overreacted in the fight they just had, where he reacted out of shock and his gut instinct rather than being a supportive brother. So it makes sense that he doesn't want to be a burden on Natani, that he's like "go have a good time, don't worry about me", while he has some time alone to come to terms with it himself and work out whats going on and stuff. And yeah, it makes sense that it unsettles him that Natani is suddenly living this life without him, Zen has had to be there for Natani for years now as the older brother / surrogate parent. And they are close as close can be, with their souls merged and everything. This is all a huge shock for Zen, he needs time to come to terms with it and work it all out. Obviously I'm not saying that Zen *should* be possessive and overprotective of Natani, but it's understandable that he's in shock and his instinct is to feel like this and he and Natani really need to have lots more talks about it all, especially when Zen has calmed down and thought about it more. Natani has had weeks and weeks already of being in this relationship with Keith to process it all both consciously and subconsciously, Zen still needs to catch up on all this.

But yeah, clearly he doesn't want to be like "Natani we need to still talk about this stuff", he feels he needs to think about it himself, so he's like "go, have fun, I don't want to burden you" while he thinks about it himself. And as Kat is talking to him, he's just sharing his thoughts out loud with her about everything. I don't think Zen is malicious, I think he really wants what is best for Natani. This is just a huge thing for both of them.

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Re: Comic for November 6th, 2019: Growing Apart

#15 Post by Technic[Bot] » Mon Nov 11, 2019 3:13 am

As I have mentioned before I do not think we can qualify Zen as a "good" brother. After all last week, in comic time of course, he rendered Nat unconscious because he was not really paying attention when Raine and co put the magic suppressor on his ankle. And if the incident had been a couple years prior, or if Nat was not such a beloved character. His soul might have not been healed enought to exists without Zen support....

Alas I do not think Zen shortcomings as a brother com from malice, disinterest in Natani or even incompetence. He was simply thursted in a horrible and very complicated situation. Overnight he and Nat were orphaned and homeless. Since that day he has tried to provide, protect and raise his younger sibling to the best of his capacity. No wonder he has had a couple, dozen, missteps along the way, becoming basically child mercenaries is not a good idea no matter how you frame it. And despite all this he has manage to keep himself and his brother alive and somewhat healthy, of course a lot of that is because Natani turned out to be more capable than expected.

And then we get today. His whole world got turned upside down in a couple months. Thankfully he did not murdered his brother and he is alive and well. Very well In fact, he found love in, in the battefield*. But there is always this nagging feeling of loss when you see the world going forward. Of things that were and that now are gone, even if replaced by something better. On top of that there is the feeling of being left behind by everything else: He is slowly realizing he is not the big bro he hoped to be, that , thankfully, his lil bro does not need him anymore and that he is doing better than anyone expected. I mean for a lot of reasons, already mentioned by others, most people would be surprised that Nat is the one who started a family, not only first, but at all. And so now he is sulking about the life that is no more and being feeling a bit left behind by his peers. A very human situation, the kind of complex character stories that are actually hard to come by, not only in comics but in media in general.

Of course he also strikes as a whiny self-pitying teeneager but he is still cronologically just ten years old so i think it is on character.

*Kojima would be proud

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