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<chapter num="1">
<page num="1">
really dad
is there some sort of problem max
yes dad yes there is
why the heck is our new house some cruddy old convenience store
<page num="2">
what's this are you somehow surprised at this fact
dad you dropped a box
all you said was that we were moving to your old hometown i heard nothing about living in a flipping 7/11
ah but max it's been my life's dream to own a store like this one
you dropped another box and you're in the middle of the street
what since when
well i think it's kinda cool my friends are gonna be jealous 'cause i'll be able to get candy and stuff whenever i want to
ha ha that's true zoey
oh wait
we moved you don't have any friends
you tryin' to make me mad maxie boy
<page num="3">
now now you two this is no time for fighting
you're in mayview the town on two hills with nothing but a pristine lake and friendly people in between
did you say behold
don't ruin this for me max
<page num="4">
honestly max you're not supposed to be so cynical until you're at least thirteen act your age kiddo
what was that about acting your age
ha ha check it out guys
check what out i can't see anything
<page num="5">
it's all right i guess
hwoah i'm going 'splorin
is that a cash register
huh looks like all the shelves are empty
ah wait you dropped the boxes
don't tell me you forgot stores are supposed to sell stuff
chillax max everything's being shipped in tomorrah
c'mon dude i'll show you the upstairs
<page num="6">
you guys are gonna like the upstairs it's way better than our old apartment
gasp do i get my own room
does it have padded walls
not too shabby huh
<page num="7">
looks like all our old stuff is here and unpacked
yeah the movers did all the heavy stuff for us
your room's over at the end of the hallway max
huh oh ok
it's perfect
it's got everything
actually zoey i think it needs one more thing
now the whole family's here
<page num="8">
who wants pizza
oh me
<page num="9">
c'mon max calm down
it's not like it's haunted or anything
<page num="10">
i guess i was just being paranoid
<page num="11">
howz the new house
my dad was so happy about its automatic doors that he ran in and out of the house for half an hour so yeah i'm pretty sure all of our neighbors think we're insane
rofl same old max but do you like it
<page num="13">
ah it was just a dream
like heck it was that was way too vivid maybe it was something i ate
gotta think back
oh dude don't forget new school tomorrow
you should probably get up around seven o'clock if you wanna be ready in time to make the bus
<page num="14">
in a hurry maxwell
i don't have time to make fun of your shirt zoey
i'm gonna be late for school
yo toss me that backpack
<page num="15">
why didn't you wake me up i missed the bus on my first day
i got distracted playing with the cash register and am very sorry
grumble worst dad ever grumble
would the worst dad ever give you candy for lunch
probably yes i'm gonna be so late
i need wheels
two specifically do you know where my scooter is
uh in the back
<page num="16">
ride my child to the top of the hill
to your education
cut it out dad
have a nice day
<page num="18">
u spacin max do u like the house or not
induces vivid nightmares in its inhabitants most likely due to slow leak of subterranean mind altering gases i fear for my family's sanity said fear unrelated to previously mentioned toxic fumes
<page num="19">
and then the sunnova baker comes at me from behind swingin' a baguette like some kinda psychopath
heh only a coward would attack a man with his back turned
a coward or someone confident their bread's stale enough to take me out in one hit
so what happened then johnny
what do you think happened i ducked the loaf and gave him the ol' one two finish
he's gonna need a whole lotta yeast to rise after one-a your punches
nobody ever gets the drop on me
<page num="20">
what the
oh man
ah johnny
he's out cold
r.j.'s in shock dude
oh snap is he like okay
who do you think you are landing on our friend like that
that was your friend i could have sworn he was freshly cut bright red plot of grass
<page num="21">
stephen he's coming around dude
you ok bro
i'm i'm
perfectly fine
wait how is that even possible i saw your face like indent
no idea yo i just feel kinda tingly
ok kid listen up you just landed on a very important face
mumble name's not kid 's max mumble
johnny's face
my face
but seeing as i'm in a good mood i'll let you off with an apology and fifty cents
gosh that's awful merciful of you
hehe we're gonna get fifty cents we can buy chips or something
whenever you're ready
fine i'm so-
why'd you stop
<page num="22">
w-what is that on your head
um my hair
oh jeez what is that slime stuff
well it's gelled so
yo he's just trying to distract us dude
i dunno man i think he's making fun of your 'do
he wouldn't dare
w-what are you guy guys talking about can't you see it this is it's it's not natural
punk it's dyed
wait what
just like you're about to be
get 'im
gah stay away from me
<page num="23">
he's duckin' into th' gutter get in there ollie
i am the wind
nyeh heh
that thing came off
gimme yo' bones punk
i think i'll keep running though
<page num="24">
haha hey kid you're in for it now
friendship fusioooon aaaoooaaa oooaaah
stop it you don't make any sense
that does it
oh my face
whoa johnny don't tilt that w-
get back here you jumpy little circus freak
the friendship fusion defeated i-imposs-
<page num="26">
yeah you walk under that bridge
that punk kid using food as a weapon that's a recipe for the collapse of society
he'll get his just desserts oh yes
he will feel the fire of my wrath
hey hey you're getting soup on me
haha suckers
woah woah
what th-
ah aah
<page num="27">
um it's eight o'clock
he'll be here
wait a sec a thought just struck me
we have no idea what this new kid looks like
i'll know him when i see him
'cause i totally jacked his file from the principal's office
suzy are you crazy are you trying to get us detention or jail time
maxwell puckett white male four foot eight brown hair uh
you didn't have to steal it you could have just looked at it and realized how useless it -ermanent records
i don't c- -ewspaper there is a
ethics you have adhere to i should-
-ang out with you
oh shoot this could be anybody there's not even a photo
darn it collin i'm a terrible journalist
whoa hey no you're not you're just a terrible person
who's that
huh oh uh i dunno
<page num="28">
hey are you maxwell
just max
great i'm suzy and this is my assistant collin
i'm more like a slave
oh uh nice to meet you
i'll bet listen i run the school newspaper
it's more like a pamphlet
you being here being you being new present the both of us with a unique opportunity
sorry i'd love to chat but i'm late and it's my first day so
late you're not late school doesn't start for at least another half hour
more like fifteen minutes
you'd better be ready by eight o'clock zoey in mayview they send tardy kids to the mines
it's 8:15 my bus isn't here yet and you're a liar dad
you've got the time max and we've got the know-how we'll give you a tour of the school if you'll answer a few questions along the way
um ok i guess
ok cool first things first welcome to mayview middle school
thoughts does it look crime infested to you dangerous perhaps
<page num="29">
so max you must've just moved here right where did you live before mayview
there's the nurse's office
um baxborough
ah the big city excellent spectacular superb
that's the cafeteria over there
oh i see
hey uh suzy do you mind if i ask you a question
well it's unorthodox but all right ask away
have you ever um seen anything strange
like in the general area of the school
there's the library
you're going to have to be a bit more specific inspectooorr
um like weird purple see through uh nevermind
oh hey your locker should be right over there
i hear the lockers in this hallway open on their own if you kick 'em right
seriously lemme try
this isn't a tour or an interview anymore is it
<page num="30">
oh oh max the best room in the building is right around the corner
the chamber of absolute silence is on this floor
that was uncalled for
there's no time to slack off d our readers are expecting some cold hard journalism
but we don't have any readers
nice place
oh this is max he's new max this is dimitri he's the newspaper's editor or whatever
the three of us make up the journalism club but i've a feeling it's going to be four pretty soon
<page num="31">
is better than my old school in that way
right right
what's this article going to be about anyways me
nope it's about getting a fresh look at our school i've interviewed teachers janitors
ohh is that a journalist's curiosity i sense are you interested in joining the club
uh i'm not sure it's my thing
nonsense you'd fit right in
ah class time who's your first period teacher
whoa hey don't panic i should have your schedule
here we go mr. garcia nice guy this one time
hey uh
hey suzy hey
could you slow down i'm kinda stuck in a crowd here suzy
the entire pizza
<page num="32">
huh crowd
but this hallway's practically empty
well i'm off to class here's your schedule
don't be a stranger 'kay
h-how did i not a-and i touched i f-felt
<page num="33">
uh mr. garcia
maxwell right just sit wherever
so then he goes into the ice cream store and there's another shark
hey who's that
nnnnnziggazigga new kid no way no one told us or nothin'
oh you absolute dork there's a first impression you'll never live down
teehee zigga
haha hey i'm max
say what new kid
i thought i caught a wiffa that new kid smell
heya i'm jeff
i'm lisa how do you do
i'm hungry and ed mostly hungry
nice to meet you
my name's violet
my name's cody nice to meetcha
<page num="34">
so what do you think of mayview max
adjectives fail me
you know what fails me mr. garcia 'cause i don't laugh at his bad jokes
it could be that jeff or it could be you writing the wrong answers on his tests
second bell kids time for class
but before that we've got a new student young maxwell over there so like don't bully him or whatever
ok so last time we were discussing the subatomic nature of popcorn which it turns out is
write aliens next
h-hey what gives man
eeheeheehee kinda jumpy there new kid heehee
<page num="35">
so here's your textbook and you can jeff get a haircut finish this packet at your leisure so that you're caught up
one class down gotta get this day over with so i can figure out what's going on around here
no see q isn't even a number
huh-hey max got an open chair for ya
and it matches your hat
ah jeff cody thanks
just a tip ms. baxter looks normal but she's kinda secret nuts watch out
this pencil it it matches the yellow and pink warmth i feel within my soul this fine morning
well kittens and puppies i'm starting to think crazy is the norm in mayview
and the inside of this desk 'tis a fine symbol for the dark underbelly of childhood sticky with sorrow and chewing gum
ok everyone take your seats today we're going to dive into the fascinating world of long division
excuse me
o-oh my
hi there
<page num="36">
heya teach sorry i'm late the trip over was murder
oh you gotta be kidding
what are we learnin' maths
just take a seat johnny
well well well well well well well well well well well well well well well well well well well well well well well well well well well well well
max is he bothering yo-
you shut your pansy mouth cody
what's your problem man
oh you mean besides the whole covered in soup thing
i missed first period lookin' for you which is bad 'cause i deeply value my education
lawd have mercy
i just thought a meathead like you would go well with some soup
you should've told me you were hungry punk i'd be more than happy to share a knuckle sandwich
you are a spiky jerk
shuttup baldy
what i'm not bald
i'll bet you've got one-a those monk haircuts under your hat
be sye-lent
<page num="37">
soon as this class ends punk you 'n me gonna hafta work out our differences in a friendly manner
oh not again with the
jeff cody slow 'im down
later johnny
now that's my kinda new kid
new kid
excuse me
<page num="38">
hello the door was unlocked
hello isaac
oh sir i didn't see you there what with the lights off
ah yes sorry about that isaac i was just checking the room for night lamps
they're very shy little spirits you see and only reveal themselves in the dark
ohh i see were there any
a few
what was i oh right sir i think i found another person like us
there was this kid i'd never seen before aaand he was talking about seeing see through purple things and then i could've sworn i saw him mistake some of them for real people those are the textbook signs he's gonna become like us right
i-indeed someone you'd never seen before
we have to get this guy right i'll find isabel and
you don't have to do anything
huh b-but if this guy starts seeing everything and we're not around he's gonna flip his nuggets just like
i know isaac i know but if what you said is true he's only in the early stages
we've got time and besides
there's a good chance this kid you'd never seen before will be coming straight to me
<page num="39">
lunch time
stand up straight simmons you're more bent out of shape than your sorry excuse for an instrument
fitzgerald a limbless chimp could play a better triangle than you
clubs huh wonder if i should take suzy up on her offer
haha how vague can you get
erg c'mon max focus gotta figure out
if those purple things
could actually be
what am i doing
some kind of storage closet
alas my marbles have been irrecoverably lost
<page num="40">
go away i can't talk here
young lady please wait
we're in graaave danger
what again go bother isaac
mmnph there'sh a shpirit a shpirit on th' shecond flar
it's eating things
which is exactly what i'd like to be doing so if you don't mind
it's eating ghosts and spirits slurping them up like spectral spaghetti
please young lady have a heart
hey c'mon you know i'll help but you ghosts have to fend for yourselves a bit y'know can't you defend yourself with your spectral energy's abilities
it makes butterflies
i i see
i don't have my tool at the moment but the guys and i can look into this later just stay dead until then okay
<page num="41">
whew finally found it
hey max
oh no you don't maxitrillion you're gonna break bread with the j club no two ways about it
<page num="42">
i haven't decided yet there are a lot of clubs
being with us is like being in all clubs 'cause we spy on everyone else
suzy i will call the police i will call them and they will take you away
oh yeah well then uh what's the activity club do
good question
pandora's box max you just ripped it in half
let me tell you a story max it was the start of sixth grade
my first assignment as a new member of the journalism club was to write an article about the school's organizations
i went to every club every team figured out their purpose meeting times their number of members except for one the activity club
every time i tried to interview them the jerks'd give me the slip i couldn't even figure out what they do
i was forced to turn the article in incomplete
they're not so bad
they're a bunch of nerd mooching off of the school budget dimitri
gosh that's swell
yeah well i'm over it i could care less if they're a cult or some kinda crime ring
nice lunch
huh oh uh yeah
do either of you have a can opener or a microwave
<page num="43">
hey max right mind if i give you some friendly advice
uh ok
don't sit in the front row mr. s is big on class participation the unpleasant kind
oh violet i must disagree his gesticulations alone vastly expanded my vocabulary you'll enjoy being up close max
yeah well oddity loves company lisa
wait why are you sitting up front then
i need the stars
<page num="44">
afternooon it'stimeforenglishyesitis
good afternoon mr. starchman
what's this a new mind to mold
that's spectacular
tell me student would you like to win a starchman star
they can be exchanged for a plethora of prizes
just answer one question what
is your name
um max
that's the best name you've earned a star
oh uh thank you
<page num="45">
too surreal to be awake to exhausting to be asleep
i don't know how much more of this weirdness i can take
nice star commodore stupidhat
whose face 'ja land on to get that
johnny that doesn't even make sens-
shutchur mouth hole punk we talk you listen
no matter how hard i try max no matter how hard i try i can't shake the stencha tomato
it's a hollow smell max leaves me cravin' cravin' red i need it on me all over me you bleed what i meeean
this beast needs feedin' max it needs closure
so gimme dat fifty cents
buzz off i don't have time for you
'ey it's fiddy or fight punk you gonna run away again
fine you wanna go
<page num="46">
well that cleared my sinuses
glad i could help
but man man how'd you learn to do flips like that
yeah that was pretty diesel
s'kind of a hobby do you have change for a dollar
oh sure nothin' like facing your problems head on huh with your fightin' brain
boy johnny you're really all stem aren't you
try putting it in sepia oo-hoo niiice
no seriously i mean why take the maze when you can bust on through the walls
that's dumb
you're dumb
says you new kid c'mon r.j. stephen ollie let's go bribe the faculty
see ya 'round loser
one more class one more class one more class one more class one more class one more class one more class one more class one more class one
<page num="47">
you must be maxwell i'm mr. spender please sit wherever you'd like
uh ok
sunglasses why sunglasses
ah hey jeff sorry about lunch
oh don't worry about it man s'my fault
it's not like i can expect a cool kid who does flips to join our table after like one conversation
i didn't think we were tight or nothin' so it wasn't like you sitting elsewhere was a crushing blow to my psyche buddy
ha ha what i mean i wanted to
i was kind of forced against my will to sit with that weirdaaaaaaaarling girl reporter suzy whatever light of my first day
tsk tsk max a good journalist can't worry about who they offend
say max you should
swing by the club room after school check out the latest issue
<page num="48">
now then kids let's begin
last time we explored the possibility that the aerodynamics of cortez's helmet
what no stars no yelling or jumping around boooring
hnn haah
well maxwell
augh y-yes
my question were you not paying attention
n-no i just don't know the answer my good pal jeff looks like he might though heh heh
see me after class
<page num="49">
woo day's over
mr. spender there might be something a situation that
understood we'll talk upstairs
chin up shoulders back chest out charm to the max engines full power you got this
see you later not so later
room three o' fooourrr across from the libraryyyy
don't worry you're not in trouble you had every reason to be distracted maxwell
just max
a sudden change in environment can be confusing even terrifying yes
will you be taking the bus home
oh uh no my house it's pretty close gonna walk scoot
excellent then if you'd please swing by room 313 before you go i'll have your textbook and some info to get you up to speed
you may go
oh 'kay sweet can do bye my name dr. free dr. scott free no autographs
hey-o isaac
oh isabel
<page num="50">
oh isabel listen this kid
awesome scoot over i gotta check on the second floor
oh criminy
save yourself
that ghost seems distressed
the horror of eternal undeath
wishful thinking i'm guessing it's fear of the chased by a hungry spirit variety
sounds serious
and how long were we aware of said spirit without stopping it from prancing about the spectral buffet that is our school
oh mr. spender
my tool was in the club room it was one of those ghost who cried ghost wolf situations
look got my tool me and isaac can go investigate now
isaac and i
one of you stays we're expecting a guest
who mr. walker
no someone your age
oh you mean him great
i gotchur message izzy what're we meetin' abou-
ah ed good timing care for a little solo spirit hunting
wh- but i did morning patrol i even missed breakfast
ghost eater second floor go with grace and a walkie-talkie
pssh fine
tool at the ready ed be discreet with your powers but as always your safety has priority over our secrets
yes my king fair princess should i die of beast or boredom bury me with my cds
i shall brave knight godspeed
squire boy isaac do my homework while i'm gone
aye sir i mean no no way
<page num="51">
heya max
oh hey
dum dee dum
ay dios mio
help meeeeeeeeeeeeeoooooo
aw jeez hold on i'm comin'
<page num="52">
feh small fry
hey how many of you are in there
i can't feel my legs
ectoplasm gross
kee chaw
ed report i need a danger assessment on that apparition
it has the power to destroy us all
i'm going
weak but zippy sir
understood isabel's on it back her up
<page num="53">
come in creepy weasel this is papa dragon king
target's trail is showing evidence of poltergeisting
property damage imminent requesting danger level change to code delta 3 orange soda
that's not a thing ed
look just join up with isabel ok she can handle a spirit poltergeisting or not but she's not by any of our tapped cameras and i'd prefer to stay in constant contact
hey are you chasing that purple thing can you see it
huh wha purple
gasp you're seeing shades
hey stop stop here ok i can't fight and protect a newbie at the same time
what no way i want answers right n-
i don't have time to explain but i'm locking you in here
i'll be back in a minute ok
<page num="54">
don't bother getting up you'll be back on the floor in a few moments
kree chaw
are you trying to scare me
that's going to be hard
<page num="55">
blaaam busta cap in that sucka pull out all my knives an' put some holes in that sucka
hey doghouse what's shakin'
it's been too long bro sam said you're all moved in and sending her mopey text messages
it's been two days and i'm not mopey
so wuhssa word bro anything good to climb and or jump off of
well there's like these gulley sewer things uh it's pretty bad
listen doghouse buddy i can't really talk right now i'm at school in a closet a locked closet
huh d'joo scone the local protein already
it was a small cheerful girl that did this actually
so i guess i'm like waiting for help now
what that's not what we do if there's an obstacle we find a way around it you goin' bones on me bro
heh why take the maze huh
i dunno what that means but break down that door man
hm feels tied not locked with the proper tool maybe
<page num="56">
if i knew
you were so dedicated to this whole not getting beaten up by me shtick
i'd have stretched or something
<page num="57">
hey izzy you beat that spirit yet
sacre bleu
a-dur hur hur
give chase you clown
drat the beast escapes
working theory isaac enmity of starving animals sealed in school's walls during construction produces vengeful hungry spirit
isabel scares the figurative pants off spirit spirit becomes a grudge what now sir
now now we join the action
so corny
<page num="58">
urk not like this
oh no
<page num="59">
someone want to tell me what's going on
maxwell back away from
sweet mother mackarel the new kid's a spectral
black spectral energy that's
fairly common
m-mr. spender that bat's a tool
yes i think we've all figured that out isaac kids
o-ow my head
<page num="61">
did you see that he just one shotted that spirit
izzy i'm freaking oout
now someone's gonna tell me what
is going
muscles weakening wit fading
we're free free
haha who am i
what whaat
not of the spectral sort i don't think most in our young friend's situation begin their foray into the supernatural by blowing up buildings or worse we should be thankful the only thing worse than a rampaging spirit is that spirit's powers in the hand of a hyperactive tween all right there maxwell
all i've eaten today was like three apple thangs
that explains it
merci mon ami
stop being evil
isabel ed back to the room
my veeesst
just tying up loose ends mr. s
<page num="62">
look maxwell this is the world we have the privilege of being a part of
a world teeming with life unbound by the laws of reality
you can see them right all of them
my brain is activating all of its denial circuits simulta-
huh wait was that
oh oh
<page num="63">
you'll be wanting answers then
faint purple wisps that appear and disappear in a heartbeat seeing them is how it begins
we call these visions shades
they'll appear more frequently and in greater detail until eventually you see them for what they really are
some of them yeah
that creature that attacked you wasn't a ghost it was a spirit
unlike ghosts spirits were never alive for lack of a better word
those drawings are horrendous for lack of a better word
isaac you're embarrassing the whole club
<page num="64">
people like us we've gained properties normally reserved for apparitions producing the tinted vapor we call spectral energy for example it's like we're dead without being dead
ok so ghosts are real hot dog why can i see them
a near death experience prolonged exposure to supernatural phenomena a diet obnoxiously high in citrus
irrelevant what matters is what you do with your talents now that you have them
become a middle school teacher
a comedian how charming
hrm well introductions you know me of course
right mr. splendid
ahem moving right along this is ed
we've met
over here we have isabel
sorry about the whole closet thing
and lastly we have isaac who is desperately trying to claw his way up from his position as club mascot by undermining my authority
i will dance on your grave sir
<page num="65">
and together we are
the activity club
oh yeah how'd you know
it's written on the door along with paranatural whatever that means
it's the words paranormal and supernatural combined because that's what we what we're concerned with paranatural activity yeah the paranatural activity club
yeah but only we can see that first part 'cause i done painter'd it
come again
show don't tell
aye sir
you too isabel let him see the tools of the trade
<page num="66">
oh god what
you're lucky you know
a privileged few are granted the ability to observe the world of the supernatural
and fewer still are given the tools to shape it
as you have been
i believe that baseball bat is one of the rare supernatural objects we call tools
it engineered its encounter with you and jump started your development as a spectral
where is the bleeping door
what no don't go superpowers it gives you superpowers
<page num="67">
yes yes like controlling paper cool huh
the coolest
you're saying i'll get superpowers if i join your club that seems sketch
what no the bat will give you some sort of power regardless of whether
oh cool i just won't join the club then
wh- n-no you
you need us to keep you from being eaten 'til you powers come in
is that a thing is that a thing that happens
the activity club's primary purpose is the pacification of evil spirits
b-but it's also a way for spectral youth like yourself to learn about the supernatural
mostly we just mess around though
onion onion un-yun
i-i'm gonna go
i'll think about it joining that is maybe probably not unlikely that i won't join
we gotta go too or grandpa will be ticked
at least he took the bat
<page num="68">
crime of all crimes
max ignores my invitation and then starts flitting about with the activity club
no no no they're exchanging contact information
so ghosts are like totally a secret ok
we saw him first no don't wave goodbye spit in their faces
o-oh i get it he's infiltrating them to do some hardcore muckraking yeah
i'd shatter that sad illusion but it's probably the only thing keeping you from blowing up his house
collin dimitri the betrayal demands an investigation
is this going to end with you blowing up his house
this is going to end with her blowing up his house
<page num="70">
fiendish rogue i'll end this fight with a knee to your guts zoey
rogueish fiend i'll fight to the end and gut your knees father
the loss is yours daughter of mine my knees have no guts to gut
ah max
what took you we were i was worried
how was school buddy bear
pretty cool i guess
<chapter num="2">
<page num="2">
haunt me will you
mercy mercy i don't want to die
heh heh
answers who are you what are you doing here
augh p.j. i'm p.j. i live here
ohh p.j. i get it
that was my name before i died in my pajamas
ok p.j. listen up i don't want any trouble
<page num="3">
oh that is so clicheyerrfp
lefty no
lefty noooooo
you're dead i mean like again you're double dead
<page num="4">
i'm not buying it pj
your grin was at least an 8.3 on the international scale of creepy
i was just flexing my face mr. max sir gotta make sure my muscles are ready in case i'm ever happy again
here's the reality of it mr. max lefty and i saw your family moving in and got super stoked
oh awesomeboss
lefty saw
that night i decided to get a closer look maybe pass through you a couple of times for kicks then you screamed and totes fainted
then i found out that i couldn't pass through you what's more i could touch you like i was an alive person so i did and tonight i came to try again
sweet gingersnaps lefty
dude you are creeping me out
see no harm meant or done
hissing there was a weird hissing noise last night too
why that was prolly just ol' hissin' pete he gets really loud when he thinks he's in danger
i don't know what his deal is
<page num="5">
so being able to touch me that's weird
oh yeah dude it's super weird usually i just pass through things i've seen a few ghosts that can touch stuff buuut that's only when they wanna like lefty who passed through the floor a while ago
hey what finger is that
you know what's even weirder talking to the dead how are you doing that
oh that's because
i'm a zombie and also i have superpowers cool ones
lefty be cool this guy's hot gravy what about that baseball bat that touched us too
hm oh this bat is
oh wizard i can touch it and hold it and it's cold and heavy and oh wow wow
watch those tears i don't want that thing all oxidized
i'm a-rustlin' your blankets i'm a rustler
easy cowboy
<page num="6">
oh oh you can be our liaison to the world of the living rent us movies and stuff
pj bat
<page num="7">
i swear hissing is the worst defense mechanism for things without poisonous fangs
it just gives your exact location away to things that do have them
you mean like you're doing right nooooow
or it could be nothing
man pj how am i supposed to know which of these ungainly little freaks set hissing pete off
w-what if none of 'em did pete could've just realized there's a lotta scary stuff in the world like meteorites and the elderly
<page num="8">
pj take the lantern i want lefty's hands i want his hand free
dude's got a mean left hook
i-i already told you i can't hold things like lefty can mr. max
well why not
well i i can't speak for those creatures but for dead folks from my experience to interact with the world we need the will to like you need the sense that you can touch things should touch things you need need
self worth
heh heh hmurrrr
wait so you're saying lefty's a ghost are you sure he's not a hand shaped spirit
oh my them's tendons
wun hud po-cent fleshblood brother well not really 'cause he's a ghost but you get what i mean
<page num="9">
so pj have you been uh dead for long
too long
too long you planning to to pass on soon
not my choice ghosts get all white n' forgetty after a while then they just fade away
well how long is a while
well it depe-
five years
my mom she if i could talk to
was hers a sudden grisly sort of death
c-come agai- i mean i gue-
all the more reason for your mother's phantom husk to still be haunting this torturous plane
ha ha
<page num="10">
what's wrong mr. max did lefty do something to offend you
don't worry ab-
yoyoyo back the flip up turn off the lamp turn it off
goodnight i love you
i hate you lamp i hate yoouu
<page num="11">
that's iiitt that's our guy
pete was looking down it's downstairs and nothing else is 'cause them other critters a-scared
is it looking at its own reflection
good it's a narcissistic monster that makes me feel better about its impending braining
lamb on a ham sandwich that thing has superpowers just like you mr. max
haha right just like me
<page num="12">
mr. max how do your powers stack up against bringing reflections to life
oh it's no contest pj
w-well what sort of non-contest would it not be you never said what powers you have
ghost sight the ability to conjure an impenetrable wall of cynicism the potential to have actual superpowers in the future
i thought you were a hero
don't gimme that pj that frog thing's no threat i'll just whack it like i
ok that's a little out of my comfort zone gonna call for some backup
<page num="13">
hello isabel it's max we met earlier uh yesterday
i recall vaguely
yes well i was just wondering how you felt about amphibian monsters because there is one in my house help please help
easy newbie easy is it aggressive are you being aggressed
it has chosen to wage psychological warfare by repeatedly eating itself in front of me
is this a prank call we only pacify violent spirits
ohhh don't you dare do not play the skeptical slasher movie cop i am in clear and future danger
fine fine just give me your address
mmhm ok we'll be there but you better be able to prove this thing's ferocious byyye
if you want proof you can examine its humours after you juice it with that magic book hello
<page num="14">
oh no it's coming this way why is it coming this way
quickly upstairs
no the beast will see
very well then i must become the shadows
max what are you doing
gonna loop around the store and sneak smack it with my bat don't talk to shadows
<page num="15">
hnn hrrrrrghost child brrave to be so close
rrrraway with you i am feeding and have no patience for the dead
help help help help help help help help help
um uh i'm not a ghost
you will be soon
<page num="16">
jailer parasite
tell me spectral have they chosen which of my kind's fallen you'll cheaply imitate
or is it a yet empty prison i now destroy
you speak no sense prepare to die
ba ha a spirit making humans fight a human a glorious reversal
<page num="17">
<page num="18">
maybe not the best idea
oh gob by nodse deffibidly nodda bedt ideeuh
lefty nooo nooooooo
just let the uglies kill each other you beautiful fool
<page num="19">
that thing should have passed right through me
hey man i don't know why you're attacking me or why you think you're legally allowed to assault a child but uh hey so can you stop
ah you're that sort i could just disarm you then
oh oh in that case please do i don't really want to see ghosts or be a ghost see there were these weird kids at school
still you die
hey hey bro bro
those are really terrible last words
you shut up pj
<page num="20">
yo what
<page num="21">
thanks for phasing through that glass polite of you
you're all gonna die
<page num="22">
don't worry max i'll save you from whatever
s'not me ed it's a clone
i hate when that happens
choose your last and second to last words interloper i will crush you and then devour your ghost
i've got 80 pounds of face breakin' spectral muscle standin' between you and the rest of your life not to mention there's an irate magical girl outside likely t'be half as merciful with you as i'm not gonna be so i need you to hurry up n' choose before i acquaint you with your internal anatomy are we gonna do this the easy way or the i kill you way
what was that couldn't hear you over my imagining the sound of your bones snapping fleshghost
<page num="23">
<page num="24">
you dare
oh gawhahawd this didn't have to happennnn
man that is eerie you are so lucky you don't have to see this
<page num="25">
w-what y-you
welp i guess you could say he's
<page num="26">
i-is that it
spectral lesson number like one or whatever git 'em 'fore 'ey gitchu
you're a git
oh nice burn
aah ghosts have ghosts
spectrals drooool
no it's just a spirit on its last legs
i don't even have legs dumbert
haha you're killin' me
oh uh you don't have a family do you
what kind of question is that
<page num="27">
what i do now is a shameful necessity but will it lead me down a path of revenge
or of servitude
you know what nah
baby doll where you get all them swords
oh thank godness pursuit pursuit
what just happened teach me as we go please
fading quickly must possess nearest object
achacha we're tool late
because that's a tool now bam taught howmai doin'
awfu- wait why do we stock toilet plungers
<page num="28">
hey hey you gotta pay for that
izzy there wuzza bad spirit and i cut it real good but then it tooled up
ah well one more for the archives
nice horse
nice face
here max-o we snagged you some doctopi they won't heal you but
just put 'em where it hurts and they'll drain the pain in twain
if you were interested in me avoiding pain you could have both fought y'know
we flipped a coin to see who'd risk going in
i lost
i don't think you're taking my situation seriously enough
<page num="29">
hey you ran away yesterday and we did warn you you were in danger
so i wasn't told about frog men or or giant time freezing snakes i needed need like a manual or
wait giant time freezing snake oh that's just
nyurrhgg so frustrating
isabel were you not terrified when you started seeing gho-
what what are you staring at
seems you're being haunted max
shall i fix that for you
no but feel free to fix the glass ed broke throwing that can
huh i din't throw nuffin' bubs
cans don't throw themselves
they do in our world
<page num="30">
so those guys can see ghosts too
i don't like them very much
you're kind of new at this huh
first day on the job heh heh heh
hey i um know i wasn't super cool tonight but uh we're cool right
<chapter num="3">
<page num="1">
that that is an awesome superpower
i guess this makes me a hero now huh
well historically that's a villainish sort of ability
hey eat fluff buddy there's no history of superpowers
you are creating one this is your first villainous act
welp this villain's gotta go evil on over to school goodbye men
more like badbye am i right
wow how about never talk again pj ugh awful
<page num="2">
ok theory number six
in some sort of diabolic housewarming ritual mayview's local death cultists use an improvised splash n' slide
to repeatedly slam their faces
into the number eleven written in goat's blood
because eleven is a prime number that's a math thing zoey look it up death cultists love math
i don't get it
ha ha you'll understand when you're smarter
don't you mean older
don't you mean older
<page num="3">
is that a friend max
in the loose sense of the word sure
it's ok to have standards you know
not in this town
<page num="4">
hey how did you find my house did isabel send you
no i just happened to this is your house
well then i don't know what's worse that you're not here as a bodyguard after last night's debacle
or that every single one of you activity club weirdos now knows where i live
wait what happened last night
a ton crazy supernatural things and no one's telling me what i want to know
man join the club
why will that help
what no i meant
like join the club of not not being told what
no joining the activity club will not help no
<page num="5">
i thought learning was half your club's purpose
i mean in theory sure but mr. spender's favored teaching mechanism is
for the last two years i've been taught in sparse little prose nuggets and then only when the information was contextually relevant
you know this reminds me of a curious little anecdote about spectral ethics
the context usually involves mortal peril
isaac fun fact ectoplasm has semi-corrosive properties
the others they don't care ed likes what isabel likes and isabel only likes fighting
that thing with the paper and the sunset probably rehearsed
probably choreographed by demons
you're really not selling me on the whole activity club lifestyle bro
<page num="6">
hold up you've got questions that i have answers to
why isn't every inch of the earth filled with the ghosts of dead bugs
and i've got questions mr. spender has answers to
why haven't you sold your magic students for mad black market greens yet
mr. spender wants you to join the club
wants it bad
so you use that as leverage to get him to answer my questions and i'll answer yours
ah ha one of those you scratch my back
i threaten a teacher situations
forget waiting for the bus we can take my secret shortcut
<page num="7">
your shortcut is downhill the school is in the opposite direction
at the opposite elevation
just trust me max it's a
spectral thing
yes that
does it have something to do with that key you were fondling dramatically
yeah we'll wha where'd it did i drop it
give iiit don't be a jerk
haha watch those hair spikes i don't want gel poisoning
<page num="8">
you're mad because this key's your tool right
nope don't have one
what i broke my brooding persona for nothing
so what you do the club's laundry taxes
please i'm not useless i could completely destroy ed and isabel together
well that's a dark thought to've thunk ya creep do you assess the murderability of all your friends
it's just a fact
sooo completely destroy them at chess competitive laundry
shut uuup max
<page num="9">
look you don't need a tool to be powerful let me explain
when a resilient spirit is mortally wounded
it can stop itself from disappearing entirely by hiding inside an object
the possessed object lures a suitable spectral into finding it then feeds off of their energy
in return the host spectral gets to wield the spirit's powers through the object that's a tool
once it's absorbed enough energy the spirit emerges from the tool completely restored
huh i uh don't think i'm old enough for a symbiotic relationship
there's more
if they can find one in time spirits will possess a host directly
that works the same way except the host gets to use the spirit's powers all on their own
that's me i'm possessed
ha you're a tool
shut up
<page num="10">
i'm not a tool max i'm a medium
yeah i'm a large bazowzow huh ha
hehe so you're trying to tell me ed's spirit just happened upon a huge stretchy paintbrush to possess
a normal one tools start to look like their spirits as they recover mediums too
is your spirit a big ol' dork
cut it out max you wouldn't like me when i'm angry and all that the only physical manifestation of my possession is my hair which is
spiky all on its own
uh-heh ha huh-ha ha hahaha
don't laugh it's serious like what am i gonna do when this hairstyle goes out of fashion
pfft yeah whenever that happens
it still seems coincidental that a spirit with paint powers ends up in a paintbrush and that a spirit with paper powers ends up in
<page num="11">
heheyyy if it isn't the frown prince of wails
how them bruises healing
sigh just fine johnny doctor says to avoid fists
yeah boi yeah gimme dat skin
do you know these guys max
hey there buddy long time no see
who the heck are you
<page num="12">
don't point your hair at me you chump elf
don't start fights so quick johnny words before murds
ernghetsome yeah c'mon rrg brrg ok ok ok i'm good
thanks for keeping me people bro
duhmension it
polgies for my outburst friends some mayview academy wannaboos were 'croachin' on our west hill turf so we had to brawl i'm still in fight mode
there's no cheeks more punchable than rich cheeks am i right ollie
sure reeeeal soft sometimes they spit out change
how is it you're able to talk without saying anything it's like verbal moonwalking
wuh-oh snark attack close the beaches
that enough words
yeah ok
we're gonna beatchu both up now for because
you must be jok-
nope he's serious we should go
<page num="13">
boost me boost me
wha- ok
punk's gettin' away
take his friend hostage
oh shoot i just ditched isaac
jumpin' over
here johnny get on my shoulders and climb
the friendship fusion is not a ladder it is a union of souls
quit gawking and follow me
max what are you doing
a moment comrade i've jerks to taunt
hey johnny
stupid kingdom called they want their lord and sovereign back
<page num="14">
no you
nyeh heh heh heh
what meatheads you sure attract some strange company max
ghost sight and spirit powers makes you strange company's ceo johnny's middle management at best
you fence jumping phantom freakshow you
this just in future pot calls kettle black
boy undergoing horrific transformation into pot correctly identifies color of kettle
after your powers come in and that bat starts summoning sentient metoers or something in your eyes i will be the patron saint of normality
i already gots powers
what since when
this morning well last night i guess
wow you must have had a pretty boring first encounter with your spirit if me jumping a few extra feet still sets off your strangeness sensors
<page num="15">
flying awful low little ghosts you court consumption
no hold on what's this still lugging around some meat spectrals isn't that just delicious
i can bounce this guy easy so we might as well try and talk things out
if you wish to cross my bridge you must correctly answer 2 out of 3 of my riddles now then
what has 4 legs in the morning 2 legs in the afternoon and 3 legs in the evening
it's man
the answer is that guy
get one more incorrect and i eat you both
max loop around to the road while i spray bottle this sucker
but i wanna hear the second riddle
<page num="16">
whoa hold your horse d'joo hear that
it sounded like a loser being thrown over a fence
why you creepin' in people's yards ya weirdo is that how you get your kicks prostratin' on strangers' lawns like some kind of pervert lizard
have you considered instead getting your kicks in the form of actual kicks cuz i know a guy
it's me i'm the kick guy let me kick you
johnny i am picking up real subtle hints that you are a huge ludicrous oaf
i take it you still want to fight me
on a scale of yes to no
wow you just went full zen bully there pretty sure i'm enlightened now and therefore a pacifist and therefore can't fight you
i'll pass a fist through your face
why you gotta play hard to beat up
<page num="17">
<page num="18">
collin this story is golden
yellow you mean yellow
oh hush we're not being paid to tell the truth
we're not being paid at all we are an unofficial middle school newspaper
right the truth is one of the many many things we aren't being paid for
hey it's max he's got a lot of nerve unknowingly appearing in my line of sight
just the kind of nerve we could've used in the field
gotta get his attention
what why suzy just
jeez dude knows his gestures
was that your phone
does he really think he'll catch up t- oh my word
collin give me your phone
<page num="19">
what in the what was up with that
d-d-d-drop the bass
wow chicka chicka wow wow nyeeerr
hey there buttliege do any activities lately
suzy it was you you psychopath you nearly chipped my flipping skull
oh chin up scrub i'm sure it's nothing that dumb hat of yours can't hide
no but seriously keep your chin up and maybe also put some ice on that
you are a menace
yes well know that i'm just as sorry about denting your forehead as you are about ignoring my invitation to hang with us journalism folks yesterday
which is to say not very very a lot sorry you tell me
i don't want to join your stupid club you crazed goblin
i'm trying to help you find a new passion max a life without passion is like a fish without a bicycle in a parallel universe where fish ride bicycles
you giving me advice is like an idiot giving me advice
haha so charming
<page num="20">
you barely know me so i can forgive you for not picking up on this but i'm kind of out of your league
i possess a plethora of popularity prerequisites
a natural aloofness good taste in music
a lack of interest in school clubs
you're a scooter skater max you're not too cool for us
yikes chipped my ego a bit there
also i'm calling beans on your stated apathy for sch'lubs did you or did you yes spend yesterday afternoon with the activity club
wha- i didn't i didn't join or anything they just
it's notchur business suzy leave me alone
haha squiiiirrrm squirm like the mole i will compensate you to be
no but seriously i will pay you for information on the activity club
what n-
<page num="21">
is it that thing
all life is suffering
no it's an airplane god you are so dumb at riddles
now you're food
why did i even bother
don't pass out or something'll come along and eat you
hrrff hack c-curse yooou spikeboy
nyeh heh heh heh hehhh
guh what the
having failed to solve my riddles you cannot cross my bridge heh heh
<page num="22">
h-hey you best pop off bro i've got a bad attitude and i know where your knees are
i'm just goofin' ya i ain't gonna beat you up
ha ha ha
this is just as bad
listen we're not so different you n' me like our faces are very similar
i'm kind of on the phone so
point is max we live in a world of similar things lots of stuff is the same as other stuff
can i have my scooter back
i forget where i was going with this but the takeaway is your parents don't love each other
<page num="23">
johnny i will scalp your whole body
thug lieeefe
aw man no no
eat you up
gah back off i will hurt you
hey man what's good
<page num="24">
suzy are you there
d-did we crash
i need you to open the emergency window across the aisle from you wide
what why
suzy what are you doing
oh well excuse me
<page num="25">
oy what's goin' on back dere
here catch
hahaha what even the heck
this is all rather traumatic
my god you're crazy like the rest of them
hey man i'm being perfectly logical
dude jacked my bat
who is that i'll write you up down and around
collin i got pics with both phones do you know what this means
3d blackmail
<page num="26">
you're dea-
i don't understaaand
it is overtime at the horse hockey world cup johnny
gettin' real mad
what sabotage
you did that
<page num="27">
dangit johnny this avant garde bullying chase shtick's for the birds
you're the birds
how are you still riding that thing
grit n' grace boyo
gah my loot
<page num="29">
that is never going to stop being cool
oh uh johnny there's a perfectly logical explanation for this that happens to be none of your business
unholy molies i've killed him
no there'd be a ghost he's probably just unconscious
well that's incredibly convenie- whoa wait where'd you come from
um the woods
what have you been doing this whole time
you know woods stuff
<page num="30">
so um what exactly happened here and should we call an ambulance
i got a little carried away with my
magnet powers whaaat
oh hey wow
a big magnet in the form of a big magnet that's not lame at all
cool right it's weird i can sorta aim it too
dang that could be useful shame any junk you toss around with that thing will probably pass through the spirits we deal with
<page num="31">
whoa uh thanks for the save
that's 3 strikes fool sports law says you're dead
how is it you are able to resist me
uh i'm not really a cat person so
um the strength and reflexes of a small child
you joke
you played against me and lost the losing conditions must come to pass such is the power of the sphinx of games
do you know how many times i could've popped you
isaac i sphinx you should calm down
i'm just saying you seem a riddle bit mad
ok ok point taken we can still be smart about this
what oh yeah
<page num="32">
<page num="33">
i-it doesn't matter answer my riddles or be devoured those were the rules once you agree to play my rules are law
i didn't agree to anything
participation is tacit agreement
then you're about to agree to get hit with a bat
your game's rigged you shoehorned in eating us after the first riddle
wait seriously
i'll be going then
the others will hear about this
tell them about how i shoot lightning
tell me about how you shoot lightning
i can create and manipulate weather
can we stop tumbling down hills looking for shortcuts and instead just make it a snow day
i can't do big stuff like that only what you saw even then sometimes it's
hard to control
shut uuup
<page num="34">
well then ready for the shortcut
wait i feel like i'm forgetting one or two things
does 911 work in mayview or is there some wacky and random alternative
like should i tap my heels together and believe in ambulances
no need my power's half external materials so it can be seen felt and heard by non-spectrals
what's your poi- hey whoa no amateur defibrillation
my point is that his fleshy follower probably heard the lightning and is on his way
speak of the devil he can help
uh are you referring to ollie or was that imperative 'cause i'm not really down with satanishenanigans
what have you done nerderers
let him deal with it c'mon
what dude
bro are you ok
yeah man i'm just chillin'
see he's fine let's go
dude you're bleedin'
oh this ain't blood my impakt krimson deluxe hair dye liquefies upon collision for easy post-tussle reapplication
but that's neither here nor theer
i just seen some freaky sights yo
<page num="35">
so just ask those questions and mr. spender might let something usefull slip
uh ok those are things i'd have asked on my own
lo the slanted manse herein lies our shortcut
it certainly looms
bizarre right i love it
i can see why an architectural tribute to bad posture
max scared max lash out max words
wow that last burn was really enhanced by your bad posture
ease up max there's nothing to be afraid of here it's abandoned pretty cool huh
eh not my kind of place too much fung not enough shway
i like to come here to think and also teleport
master have you succeeded
<page num="36">
young master isaac i was expecting someone else
max meet the shortcut shortcut max
you refer to me by my function how human
oh uh i didn't mean anything by it doorman
if its name is an occupation how is that not also referring to it by its function
shut up max
did you not in exchange for my assistance promise to keep me and my location a secret when first we met
don't worry max won't tell he's new and
young master isaac you have spoken of your vow to not use your powers to destroy and to use violence only to defend you do not swear these things lightly or without cause this i know
you broke the promise between us because you did not fear the consequences of doing so i have not the strength to stop you should you decide to reduce me to mere function to make a tool of me you have the storms you have my secrets
in your heart you knew these things and allowed them to influence your behavior this was in itself a small act of violence thus our bond withers into a power relationship
or it's just a man who looks like a door that doesn't actually function as a doorman despite dressing like one in which case its name isn't its function it's a description interesting
you have seen the damage a lightning bolt can do if you wish to be truly just you must understand the destruction wrought by the shadow of a stormcloud
<page num="37">
do not forget that your oaths of restraint are a means to an end not the end itself learn to appreciate darkness in its more subtle forms lest its influence deny you the redemption you seek
i'm sorry doorman i wasn't thinking i
no i was but only about showing off with your power not about my promise to keep you secret
what is done is done
now then where shall i take you and your friend today
huh but i
i am always willing to assist
a true agent of justice
it is because your heart serves justice young master that such missteps as this torment you so
ha ha well
i've got the key right here
and i the door
<page num="38">
let's go
the absurdity of this situation just hit me all at once
look at yourselves
i'm sensing the implications and scale of this ghost stuff and it is making me queasy how do you people take all of it in stride
it helps that i am not people
oh jeez everything's tilty
isaac tell your magic therapist to turn around light's makin' me dizzy
you're fine quit stalling and come on through it's perfectly safe
what if the other side is a simulation in this guy's stomach what if he's eaten us and we live out our lives mistaking extremely slow digestion for the aging process what then
a moment friend human i am afraid our mutual companion's introduction did not take you were young master
oh please young master is my rapper name call me max
i must discuss something serious with you max
can i just get like the thesis statement
<page num="39">
for my own and others' safety i am in hiding please swear that you will tell no one about me or this place can you keep this promise
i'd laugh
but i didn't end up with the sense of humor
your return changes nothing schemer my master does not fear broken gods
she should would if she could the comedy your ignorance breeds is wasted on my ears well not my ears exactly
arrogance your power is nothing to be afraid of riddles and word games
from which speaking esoteric languages won't protect you and i wasn't referring to my faction though you do underestimate us
we'd better hurry the buses are pulling in
rolling tubes of screaming children each as worthless as this sanctimonious fool's approval if you must be pious boy choose a proper priest
sorry were you saying something
n-no please proceed
thanks doorman i'll visit you later
<page num="40">
so the doorman's power is
plug any key in his face and he'll take you through its door
the key you have is to this room then are students allowed to have those
is a school club allowed to bring couches up into a class room
um probably not no was that your point or
absolutely not
since when did b.l. start caring about the gut feelings of vigilantes
if the cousinhood wants to trail their greasy trenchcoats all over my town the least they could do is habeas a gosh dang corpus
excuse your language texas
hide max hide
from mr. spender whyy
mr. walker darn i can tell this is juicy shop talk but it's all greek to me
pretty sure that was latin
i'll half swear all i want you scallion
outrank my fist
hey hey isaac did you know that eavesdropping is in itself a small act of vi-o-lence
sshhhhhhut up
<page num="41">
there are no monsters in mayview the cousinhood has no business here i don't see why this warranted a phone call
honestly it's bad enough seeing you in my dreams every night
i do declare
how'd you two get in here
through the door man
ah umm that was
exactly what it sounded like i suppose
aw jeez isaac i think you broke my your principles of nonviolence uh gland
maxwell you are uninjured
yeah i'm fine isaac's fists are like wet bagels
i was referring to the incident last night ed mentioned something about a fight with a spirit
oh that turned out all right too
<page num="42">
well i am glad no one was hurt
i don't know about that you should see the other guy
he's a toilet plunger
i'm sorry
apology accepted you sent me home to a house full of spirits you know
i sent you home with a weapon and a warning not to mention my best fighter's phone number fair safeguards given your premature departure
best fighter i shoot lightning
still i am sorry considering the situation running was a realistic if not well reasoned reaction
i can't stay mad after all that alliteration can you
you two seem to be getting along friends already i hope
in the loose sense of the word sure
wow rude golden rule isaac
i am sure maxwell will round out our little group rather nicely then and quads again means squads again spectactical ho ho
ah you have decided to join the club yes
oh sure
but i have a few questions first
<page num="43">
i will answer to the best of my ability and or the limits of your authorization
wow sounds promising first off what's a good place to learn about spectral stuff
you're looking at him
well it
whatever place i am in
is a good place
because of me
i am as it so happens something of an amateur spectral scholar i possess a respectable knowledge of possession the ins and outs of the grudge process studied what little supernatural history there is to study even dabbled in spirit linguistics
blah blah
which is to say we have come full circle and you may ask any questions and i will answer to the best of my considerably significant ability
and or the limits of your significantly less considerable authorization
no no i mean like besides you
that's what i mean right
i do own a small personal collection of scholarly volumes written by spectrals but
w-what since when
since most of my adult life and leading up to when it was eaten
haha don't explain that i want it as is
<page num="44">
still though wouldn't it be logical to test your queries out on me before worrying about other sources
didn't you have a question for mr. spender about mr. spender max
did you
i did
hate you
who do you work for
the government
i am after all a public school teacher
i must say maxwell these are strange questions for a beginner to ask
his questions make sense i know i wouldn't want to unwittingly be doing spec work for some evil syndicate
the purely hypothetical organization i may or may not work for is an unequivocal and entirely figurative force for good
then why not acknowledge its obvious existence i've seen mr. walker seen others in the same weird suits seen those mooks at isabel's place
isaac i know you're frustrated and i feel very <lang lang="censored">bad</lang> about that but <lang lang="censored">i am not allowed</lang> to <lang lang="censored">discuss such matters</lang> with <lang lang="censored">you for the duration of your possession</lang>
stop doing that
<page num="45">
these are questions you have posed in the past if you wanted to test whether only you were being kept in the dark about certain things you should have had maxwell ask me them in private and report back to you later
i don't know what you're talking about
i'm saying your subterfuge is lacking
heh you have a lot to learn before you can trick information out of me isaac
bit of a catch 22 there sir
this club seems like a positive learning environment
that being said answers i can't give you answers you can't read in a book with evidence and insight they can be assembled safely somewhere else can they not
that's figure stuff out on your own in enormous jerklord is it not
are you on the drugs
more than just that employ your imagination
that was in response to isaac i am perfectly lucid exceedingly lucid at times next question
actually about last night there was a moment during the fight where like time froze for everything but me well not just me there was this big black spirit i guess came out of nowhere right outside the window
or what was left of the window everything was ruined and covered in junk and it was sunset all of a sudden or something then all that stuff disappeared and time started moving again so like
time did not freeze you were just in a state of heightened perception had you remeained in communion with your spirit for longer you would have noticed objects moving albeit very slowly
ah yeah that's
my spirit
whatever being you saw at that time is the spirit inside your tool yes
<page num="46">
heightened perception so i'm seeing hidden things like with ghosts
no no it's in your head like a vision sort of
isaac could you demonstrate
hmph i could
why are you sitting like that
you heard him pull me in alread-
should be
how long was that for you
umm little less than a minute
so you see time feels warped because your body and brain are moving so fast your percieved reality is similarly warped by your spirit's influence hence junk ruins etcetera however oh er may i see your backpack maxwell
uh sure
thank you
however the vision is essentially real to you so if you were to say get your head bitten off by your spirit that carries over to real life
whaat h-h-how is that
it's a supernatural thing i wouldn't worry about it
about how it works i mean you should definitely worry about getting your head bitten off
<page num="47">
isaac could you demonstrate
hmph i could
why are you sitting like that
you heard him pull me in alread-
wow what's your problem
take a guess
uh you've got a short temper and a long list of things that make you angry we're just playing visual aid to mr. spender's talk it's no big deal
i command you to stop doing the glasses man's bidding
i'm not making a habit of it our interests just happen to align while he's helping out the new spectral if you don't like it you can bum off someone else's spectral energy
no vessel of my power will be some puppet's puppet
oh hush up ya blowhard
<page num="48">
i don't care how minor the request you will refuse the glasses man's orders as a matter of principle
ooh you have principles now
i don't understand isaac child boy why does my fearsome might not inspire the same respect you give the door creature for outlining your inadequacies in vapid sermons
don't insult doorman he's helped me unlike you
ha it is easy to preach nonviolence
when you are weeeeeeaaak
we are not so different you and i
the door's lessons weren't with you when you let loose lightning to scare that sphinx nor when you expressed your annoyance toward the glasses man with electricity though you knew it harmless you may be reluctant to bite but you bare your fangs readily
your fury is righteous your anger divine oaths of restraint are not for you you are an agent of judgement
now hear my sermon let it have few words as befits a god's commandments
good is that which evil fears
and justice is when you make those fears a reality
i'm beginning to think i've already been giving you more respect than i
should be
<page num="49">
morning patrol reporting in
ah just a moment isabel i believe i've accidentally traumatized the new recruit
i've never gotten my head bitten off before man i don't wanna take that risk
now maxwell there is nothing to be afraid of if you feel you are in danger while in a spirit trance simply distance yourself from your tool and the vision will end
the basis of your connection with your spirit is a mental link if it can't get at your mind it can't hurt you or help you for that matter
that is why i threw your backpack all the way over there while you're close to that bat your spirit will be sharing your senses so it's wise to not give it any ideas it may not already have
about murdering you i mean
yeah i got that thanks
but look on the bright side
since your spirit can see what you see it'll know the sort of tough customers it's going to have to deal with if it messes with you
edward where is your face
oh it got erased it'll come back mine did
still waiting on some fingers though
how is he breathing
i am going to die
so aren't we all life's about doing good with
<page num="50">
but look on the even brighter side
meeting your spirit is a sure sign that its link with you is reaching maturity which means you'll be getting a power of your own any day now
i already got magnet powers which is cool and all but not like to die for y'know
but think of all the loose change you could find and then return to the people who dropped it
magnet powers you say that's stupendid
isaac is that an injury
thank you
ah it's just a scratch don't
you're anxious about all this spectral business i get that really i do
you've had a startling new world appear in front of you and there's a lot to learn you don't know where to start or who to trust
still at the same time it's exciting ghosts and spirits and powers a part of you wants to immerse yourself in it all and just see what happens
but whether or not everything turns out for the better you don't want to go it alone
to which i say join the club we all felt the same way still do you won't find anyone more understanding of what you're going through than us
<page num="51">
so what do you say max care to throw your hat in with the activity club
i'll stick around for as long as it's logical the hat stays where it is
yesss new member
max you and me are gonna spar
spar means fight
yaaah ink on my eyeballs
wonderful decision maxwell welcome to the team
we understand i'm a reluctant member right mostly too cool for this
ah drat there's the bell
i'll write you a late pass who's your first period teacher
umm mr. garcia but you should probably make it out to whom it may concern
very cool isaac very brooding antihero
you think
<page num="52">
we can discuss your responsibilities later for now all i ask is that you keep everything you learned a secret naturally
late pass where's that pen
is a pencil ok
ah thank you
is a possessed pencil ok
please refrain from bringing tools near me until we've confirmed they aren't yellow my mind is in a delicate balance and
relax it's the erasy spirit from morning patrol it was frosty pink
also ed and max made this last night grandpa didn't want it 'cause it isn't red said to give it to isaac
your grandfather does not have rights of first refusal on tools secured by this clu-
i don't want that
<page num="53">
before i go i've got one last question
are you more likely to find a ghost where it died or where she was buried or elsewhere
the place of death is one's best bet since that is where the ghost is produced
thanks later
that wasn't very subtle
four stars dead mom
you're on
and here i was hoping for a low-maintenance member like ed
you say that sir but you haven't watered me in weeks
we'll help him however we can
<chapter num="4">
<page num="2">
pizza's here
oh boy
ah zoey i hope you don't mind i played for you while you were gone
don't worry
i only lost twice
i was downstairs for two minutes
we're playing monopoly
i may have made a few risky investments
he tried to build a and i quote tower citadel worthy of my sorcery out of like twenty stacked hotels on jail
<page num="3">
excuse me hello
i don't mean to bother you i mean i know i am bothering you
umm but there are some customers downstairs
who appear to be shoplifting glitter and energy drinks
but that's you know no reason to think they won't buy something afterwards
in the world do we sell glitter for
it's used as a spice by deep vegans or so i'm told why do you ask
huh oh uh no reason
that's my soda
since you are busy max i p.j. shall deal with this single handed
i just um have to find my hand first lefty takes walks
<page num="4">
you missed the target's center by nearly nine centimeters
you call that a spectral energy compression projectile burstshot
no i call it a spec-shot i'm a martial artist not a martial scientist
no one cares what your attack's phylum is grandpa
<page num="5">
you can rename my techniques
you've improved theeem
that's exactly what renaming them does
the manipulation of spetcral energy for combat requires absolute mental precision the slightest imperfection in your technique will limit its potential perfect your mind and know limitless power
a single strike becomes three
wow sir
a swift jab becomes two dolphins
we are but worms
i'm crying sir
as my granddaughter you must master these techniques and uphold the martial tradition of my style spectral fist
that was lame
a lame attack
i think tradition's kinda wack
don't you rap at me young lady
<page num="6">
i don't need spectral fist i can make whatever i want out of paper just by deciding to
hrnph you have a lot to learn isabel you are a fool to rely on borrowed power
i shouldn't have given you that book it's been a bad influence on you
should have stuck to more wholesome gifts like candy and video computer games
i'm only training to please you grandpa so it'd be nice if you'd act grateful every once in a while
nnrgh arrogant girl
how could such an immaculate and majestic being such as myself produce a descendant with such a flaw
i am free all mankind shall bleed
somebody grab that spirit those targets are useless if they're intangible to spectral energy
sir yes sir
our lives for the targets
<page num="7">
i have an alibi
how are you doing i'm doing angry
do you want me to draw up a chair
no thanks i'll stand
relative to the wall
which i believe will be my autobiography's title
didjur grandpa chew you out again
ha i doubt he's capable of that
'cause he's old and old people have teeth problems
well he doesn't
but he deserves to
wow you're really smacking that puppy
that would actually be a demon but i understand the mix up
<page num="8">
you skipped training
i chose to train at something i'm passionate about getting better at namely my focus attack dash pause quit restart cancels
grandpa's gonna get mad
he seems happy as long as i can defend myself
why can't he be like that with me i'm the best at defending myself
the best defense is a preemptive offense
why does he care that i missed a target by eight centimeters
missing a target by seven centimeters isn't that big a deal
same reason you care he cares
that's probably wishful thinking
wanna play we've got infinite continues so no matter how strong our opponent is they'll ultimately be at our mercy
now you're speaking my language
i've been speaking english this whole time
<page num="9">
how do i look
analogous to one million dollars
then let's get this party started shall we
<page num="11">
it's not that i don't appreciate being a lizardman
i'm just worried people see the lizard before they see the man so from now on i i
wanna be a manlizard
oy spender
walker's waitin' fa youz on da fifteenth floor his room
o-oh i am aware thank y-
he ain't alone
ya little meetin' of da mindless is bein' minded by boss leader
youz sure getta lotta juicy hweeyermz for a caged boid must have yaself a real pritty voice
juicy what
heh so i've been told
just now
by you
thank you for the compliment
it was sah-post t'be an intimidatin' metaphor
<page num="12">
hey hey spender too long no see
we are stationed on opposite sides of the globe
distance doesn't matter here you just have to take more naps
i don't approve of wanton slumber
hey hey don't judge my team isn't sleeping
we were all three of us knocked unconscious by a large spirit
it had beamray eyes no joke
ha ha 'cause we poked them out
yes that is
that is what i was alluding to
all right back in the fight
that or she got eaten
<page num="14">
ugh it's it's not even a practical
a goatee would work maybe but even then siiiiigh
yes come in
wussa matter ricky boy were you expecting'
<page num="15">
a fart joke
i what
the doorknob fool
pull my finger you were thinkin' it was a set up for a fart joke wurntcha
it's a push door
wisecracker huh i'll have you know that there door swings both ways
should i read into that
if this room is to some extent a manifestation of my subconscious mind it's only natural that stuff should exit as easy as it enters
i'd like to assume that was self deprecation but this door is making it difficult
maybe don't interrupt while i'm queuin' a swig
<page num="16">
my point was if anyone wants t'come on in this here dream room all they gotta do is knock politely i ain't got no secrets
you wanna know the last time i cried fine last week when i passed some roadkill on the highway
you wanna know what cologne i use fine it's poise by chafresh
i don't want to know either of those things
but honesty's a door that swings both ways you gonna pick my brain i'm gonna speak my brain an' i'll tell y'right now ricky boy
i don't like ya an' i don't trust ya
i don't like how you won't let no one inside your room not even the boss
an' i don't trust yer word when y'say yer flocka lambs ain't got no wolves mixed in especially when you won't let no sheepdogs near your pasture
you're not that dog's master texas it's liable to take a few sheep itself
farmanalogies aside i'd prefer to have this conversation once b.l. arrives
what which of those rats told you about that was supposed t'be
a secret
please do forgive walker's hypocrisy i asked him not to tell you i'd be here
<page num="17">
you know how much i enjoy appearing unexpectedly
it lets one see others' true faces if only for a brief moment
boss leader
it also makes me seem
which is fun
and what pray tell did my true face look like
pray tell jeezis
<page num="18">
but let's not get off track you were saying something about an extended metaphor
it's just i was under the impression that the collective opinion of our organization was that the cousinhood of man
is icky
i don't know what business this fellow who approached walker thinks he has in mayview but whatever his reasons are they aren't good enough for me
i completely agree
i wouldn't let those weirdos near any populated area if i could they're dangerous and gross
like really super icky
then why would you do what would you what what
i wanted to see how you'd react
it was informative
why were ya keepin' me in the dark about this i put my full weight behind this cousinhood nonsense
i wanted to see how you'd react
it was entertaining
hee hee hoo hoo hee ha ha ha
<page num="19">
don't worry rick i would never let a stranger onto your turf without your permission
which is why we'll send one of our boys to mayview to look into the cousinhood's concerns they might find something you missed
so that's your game
faced with the threat of frenzied vigilantes being set loose in my town a visit from a fellow agent sounds like a reasonable alternative
getting my consent for an internal investigation was your goal all along
did you set it up this way to spare my feelings it's touching you'd bother though i'm a little insulted you hoped me too dull to realize when i'm being strongarmed
the cousinhood was that a lie were they even interested in mayview in the first place
no no they definitely were you just seized the opportunity they presented that's why walker was kept out of the loop
whatchy'all whisperin' about
if he's not in on the trick he has no reason to lie about the cousinhood approaching him and i can't claim the whole thing's one big fabrication
i'm thoroughly trapped even having figured all this out i can hardly refuse a cordial inspection without appearing suspicious not with outside experts raising red flags
heh well played boss
don't whine so much rick it's inelegant there's no consolation prize for describing how you lost
i can't call it a loss that would suggest an internal investigation gives me something to lose
so would your entire monologue you ridiculous nerd
<page num="20">
so when can i expect a drunken cowboy on my doorstep
ho ho nice try i'm not sending someone you can outsmart ricky boy
no i'll send walker if i end up needing something broken
please stop staring at my knees
agent day will arrive in mayview tomorrow night do be cooperative
achacha no time to dust
should i take agent day's selection as a sign you'd prefer all this to end in hugs and sunshine
hey rick
why're you hitting yourself
no that's not me
ha ha but seriously come to the fire we'll discuss the little mission i have for you and your kids
come come i've strained our friendships
let's roast some imaginary marshmallows
<page num="21">
don't mind if i do
hello cops police
it's me yes some pasty fooligans are lifting my shop
ha ha i don't know how they must be really strong
better bring one maybe two grenades god bless america to you too ma'am thanks bye
listen you
cool it we're leaving
fine little brat
<page num="22">
great hero
there's nothing heroic about protecting stuff pj and i didn't even do a good job of that
you are being modest mister max it is very brave to stand up to people older than you
if i were you i would have just told your dad
my dad it would be my dad
if i were you
yeah well i couldn't do that dad thinks everything in mayview is perfect you should have heard him on the ride down here
max zoey
everything in mayview is perfect
i wouldn't want to ruin that image for him so quickly
sounds to me like you were protecting more than just stuff after all
yes my father is an innocent flower
that i must shield from the world's evils
a great hero needs a great hero name um like
yeah that's taken
<page num="23">
thank you great hero
by gathering all 7 scepters of salutation you have broken the ancient curse that so tormented my people now we must return to the kingdom of kindness
though i can give you no prize worthy of your deeds know that you will be remembered always as our champion
that won't do your majesty
oh but i really do have nothing to give
i would have you remember me as a friend
i will never forget you friend human
nor i you
did i miss something
nah stuff like this happens every morning you get used to it
<page num="24">
how's it going newbie
can't complain
oh wait
yes i can
i stayed up like all night waiting for a ghost to get tired
ooh beginner's mistake ghosts can't sleep or eat
or do any other exciting stuff ghosts are boring spirits are where it's at
sleeping and eating are exciting for you
oh isaac's coming this way
is he
that is abnormal
suuure is c'mon let's go let mr. spender know you're still alive
oh hey max
yeah heyyyyyy
<page num="25">
if it's revenge you hunger for pest you're starting awful high on the food chain
now then perish
i'm expecting a guest you see
hm hm hm
hm hm hm
i can't have vermin running amok
<page num="26">
oh my goodness isabel i am so sorry
it's fine i
here let me dissipate
jiminy cricket the heck man
aah i'm sorry i'm sorry
's'not like you to be so jumpy if it was anyone other than me who
i know i know i'm just a little on edge work pressure
s-still though nice reflexes i'm sure your grandfather would be proud
<page num="27">
well at least no one was hurt
aaah irony
but we already beat this guy
not enough
guh my bat's stuck
hrrff same here
oh god it's not a poltergeist anymore it's going right through to my skiiin
isabel no mercy kills
<page num="28">
rick about that form from yesterday
i can explain
they're helping me
i wanted this to happen
e-excuse me
class go
mission after school
details then
<page num="29">
so there i was mindin' my own business
well actually we were chasin' those nerds though
right ollie beating on nerds is my business it is my main source of income
s'how we got that grape
and those golf cards
that's not income if we can't get cash for it
hey hey this stuff's gonna appreciate in value over time
what are you
an out of work doctor
have some patients
johnny i just lost a lot of respect for you
these things are gonna be worth quadrouble what we stole them for once these suckers kick the bucket and golfers are notoriously mortal
use yer brain stephen
ya don't sell yer chickens before they hatch
that's you do do that it's a whole it's a big thing
we're off topic what matters is what i saw yesterday
<page num="30">
he shot what from his what
lightning mang from 'is leg like krrkowbzow ollie was there he'll tell ya
i din't see no lightning legs
but i heard a loud noise i guess
that's not all yo i was watchin' that new kid through a fence and he went all shoop like this
good god
excuse me
what are you doing
arts n' crafts
this is an english class
we reject your labels man
those punks are mutants or somethin' bro i know it we're gonna figure this biz out
i'm fixin' to persuade the new kid to share some info what say you do the same with his friend he's the ginger with the hair know 'im
sure i know who you're talking about i'll check 'im out
do you want to know what we do to artists
<page num="31">
i don't know anything i swear
shut up and start talking
i can't do both those things simultaneously
can it dweeb i know all about what you do with your legs
that's not really privileged information
i'm not leaving 'til i see you shoot some lightning
but don't uh shoot it at me ok
excuse me
i think it would be a good idea to stop assaulting my friend
you were in detention twice this month correct according to the code of conduct another offense will result in a suspension
hmph this isn't over ok we're gonna figure out what the deal is with you and that new kid
my friends and i don't like things we don't understand they scare us so we lash out at them violently
you ok jeff
i'll get to the bottom of this
that's my line what was all that he was going on about
noo he stretched my shirt
<page num="33">
heya max
just f.y.i. ya prob'ly shouldn't walk through there fully exposed with no shield i mean
well without clothes either this is a school max gross
some of these spirits are crazy poisonous
who told him that
purge the ranks
hm oh don't worry peeps won't deduce the whole spirit ghost secret spectral superpowers club thing from a bit of weird behavior
they'll just think yer crazy
and if ya really own it they might even like you ha ha
<page num="34">
why am i here
max asks the deep questions
i'm supposed to be in study hall
study hall's for dweeblings and geekaboos
are you either of those things
are you smoking a pretzel
i'm eating a pretzel obviously but great guess you know just really good job
listen wise guy we can't have you prancing naked through every dangly ceiling entity that catches your fancy kapeesh
yeah that really won't be an issu-
face it you're not gonna last much longer if someone doesn't teach you some basic spectral self defense techniques which is to say
welcome to study hall
<page num="35">
ok first get a lot of spectral energy flowing out of your arm
how do i do that
flex without flexing
so like do nothing
no no there's no physical motion but yo go like hrrrrrrrrgh
that looks like actual flexing
now concentrate the energy focus on your finger
accept its faults
and acknowledge
its strength
<page num="36">
this is the spec-shot let's go fire together
it's like an egg sac
don't worry max i had just as much trouble with that move 'til izzy's granda shamed me into gettin' it right
not that we'd um need his help
max that was a bad spec-shot
ed it's f-
i will step on your weird egg and crush your malformed offspring
your grandfather's a spectral too
well he look i'd rather not talk about
say who wants
to meet my spirit
<page num="37">
w-what are you doing
changing the subject
<page num="38">
this is eightfold she's kind of the coolest
i am eightfold devourer of words
gimme a kiss
what no
ahh it feels good to stretch my legs again
all eight of them gyeheheheh heheh
that's not a joke why are you laughing
here babe i got you a snack
ah i love you
mmf snrf too many krnch
<page num="39">
hey you do you know what my power is
i eat the words right outta books then weave whatever i wanna with the waste weft bweehind
ah cute
that was cute
wike so
do you think then if i possessed you and made you my medium your power would be to
control your poop
idabell whyyyy
free tip max sometimes you gotta have a firm hand with your spirit
the c-
those words have a familiar flavor
the col-
the color of your spectral energy has t'match the spirit's if you wanna feed it an' use its powers i'm tellin' you now max 'cause eightfold asked me the same thing an' i was real upset when i finally realized i'd never be an excrementalist
<page num="40">
so wait since your spirit is out of your tool didn't you just lose your powers
my powers
i mean for now yeah it's no big deal
eightfold only takes a few days to recover 'cause she's so small and weak
hey you say that like it's a bad thing
small's good i fit in places and isn't healing quickly a really great thing
strong and weak perfect and imperfect you can't rank complex beings so simply
if you start underestimating meeeee
i'll eat your favorite book
ok ok we hear you
time to tool up chatterbug gonna need your powers for whatever spender wants us to do after school
if you say so isabel
mr. spender didn't tell you what the mission is he told me
what did it just do
<page num="41">
we're takin' the ghost train outside the barrier t'pick up some consortium person
really who
who's got two thumbs and is feeling alienated by all those new concepts you just dropped
this guy
iono he didn't say prob'ly another agent gonna learn from your grandpa
ugh they're endless whoever it is better bring their own toothbrush they're not using mine
the six of us who already are won't stand for that
well then again we've never done a full club welcomin' party fer anyone before y'think it could be some real important person
please it's mayview
no one important ever comes here
<page num="42">
hail friend
up here
well met doorman sends his regards
<lang lang="high spirit">you're late</lang>
yes sorry about that i had to shake my tail
shake your tail
teehee i mean i had to escape my pursuers silly
<lang lang="high spirit">you failed</lang>
w-well i thought it was funny
yeah i did
you serious types are the most fun to crack just wait
<lang lang="high spirit">no look</lang>
<page num="43">
tch i thought i ditched these creeps
don't bother it's pointless
vile spirits
minions of our enemy
supposedly they seek out and obey the most evil being who'll let them
roll over
h-huh w-what do you think you're doing
l-like that would work we're the good guys remember
<lang lang="high spirit">
you're here why to kill me
you are too weak
<page num="44">
hey hey did you forget
you're standing right outside mayview's barrier they can't hurt you and you can't hurt them
our priority right now should be getting you in to our side
<page num="45">
they're trying to provoke you we need to talk strategy so ignore them and stay calm ok
<lang lang="high spirit">
i am calm
what did i just say
it went through you were lugging around a corporeal object this whole time
you're one serious poltergeist huh
well i'm not so there's no getting it back you could've used that metal you oaf
the plan was to have you forge a door we could pull you through if you've got no materials there's no easy way inside
<lang lang="high spirit">then tell me the hard way</lang>
<page num="46">
you're assuming there is a hard way listen the barrier stretches around the whole town and completely blocks out spectrals spirits and everything their powers can throw at it
ghosts and possessed things pass through just fine so we could smuggle you in via an object overlapping the barrier but
<lang lang="high spirit">i'd be trapped</lang>
right and we'd have no ethical way to restore you from whatever twig or boulder you'd be stuck in
and before you ask the unethical way's too slow trust me
then there's the ghost train it passes right through the barrier near every night problem is it's guarded human passengers only
i am
big and bad and more than a match for blah blah blah
so say sorcerers storm gods and all the other arrogant dead
the only difference between you and them is me warning you right now
if the sunglasses spectral is involved fighting is not an option you're big and you're bad but we've seen him take out the biggest and baddest singular the spirit the strongest one
you hitch a ride on the ghost train and he shows up you're over
the easy way is fine then
yeah i thought so coolguy
<page num="47">
you'll have to find enough metal in the surrounding area to make a you sized door and a matching key shouldn't be hard for a master blacksmith the making part at least
within the next 24 hours doorman will open up a mini portal to you with the usual method he said you'd know what he meant
<lang lang="high spirit">i do</lang>
once that's open you drop the key you made through to us and we use it to open a portal to the door you made which you'll use to enter mayview it's simple
with you on our side we'll be one step closer to our goal
i am not on your side
my service comes at a price i have a debt that must be paid
do not lead these creatures to her as you have led them to me not before she has given me what i want
<lang lang="high spirit">destroy them</lang>
not possible we're an awful match up the fight would take forever
wait for night then flee in the darkness
please i make my on darkness
<page num="48">
what the heck was that
there it is again that sound
here's a headline for that news chick nerd drug into alley reveals secrets innards
not a chance the past tense of drag is dragged and the editor will probably catch that so
i know
i just like to say drug because it disappoints authority
you're evil
wait one two three
where's jerk the fourth
oh no
ah right you guys aren't smart enough for ambush tactics
stephen's off witcha boy all points bully ton extractin' some hot facts
he's prob'ly gettin' sick air off yer pal's ramp hair right this now
<page num="49">
whatever isaac can take care of himself
'cause he's got that lightning yeah
h-how did
i m-mean uumm there's no such thing as lightning i-idiot
see ollie ish be mad 'spish
sure be johnny wonder what secrets he's hidin' inniz loser brain
lick me please
ok now listen up you little punk
i heard all that you woke me up
mr. garcia where did you come from
from the blighted womb of your worst nightmare quivering on legs innumerable soaked in the black ooze of your greatest fears i rear back my heavy head and howl deteeention
for aaaalll three of you i swear i'm the only one around here that doesn't find threats and violence to be charming kids these days
now scram go go go
ok now listen up punk
<page num="50">
you haven't told anybody what you saw have you
what i saw
you mean you floating in a brook on a random mayview hillside
i don't know what you're talking about
oh did you mean something else then
what no the thing you just said
the thing you don't know about
i don't even want to hear rumors about this ok that'd be enough for look it's in your best interest to keep quiet ok kid
h-how so
please don't tell
i'll do anything you ask
there you are garcia i've been looking for you
we need to talk
spender when'd you uh ok
the teacher's lounge then
y-yeah whatever
listen max
ah what
um i just wanted to say we didn't get to talk earlier but if you ever do want to talk about anything you can come to me
anything wow dude you must be really lonely
um right i'll uh see you after school then
<page num="51">
our mission is a straightforward one
a friend of mine will be arriving outside mayview this evening we'll be the welcoming party and her escort into the town proper
a friend of yours
that's right
we'll take the train out to meet her this is a noncombat mission
our objective is to make a good first impression
did you catch that
um no
what'd he say
it's kind of hard to hear you when you're talking with your back to us
-ou all up- -o get yo- -ork done e- -rly
man what a pain
<page num="52">
hey mr. max are you
not now pj i'm busy
if you want to help come look for more metal junk with me
metal junk
yeah to weaponize
i'm just gonna run with the magnet powers thing theme myself up some
chuck scrap around maybe get some cool piercings
this will result in injury
hmm are cds metal
they are shiny
that one seems very metal
i too enjoy music
wow small world well i gotta run peace
say max
<page num="53">
you must think i'm pretty boring huh
you and those kids from the other night you're like superheroes with special weapons and and powers like spirits have
you're going on a superhero mission right now aren't you
uh yeah i guess
that's so cool
i've read a lot of comic books y'know
i can tell i'm not like you i'm not important at all
how do you figure
heroes don't die
not before the story starts
<page num="54">
i don't know what comic books were like in your time
but these days superheroes die all the time usually more than once
and like most of the time it only makes them better heroes
um that's nice and all but i don't see how i'm any better off
w-well you can fly right and pass through walls and you're invisible to 99.9% of people
each of those is some heroes' only power you're three superheroes combined
oh oh
so maybe if you didn't have such a bad attitude about having died
w-what whoa
g-ghosts are cool i wish i was dead
keep trying
you're good and not bad
thank you max that's relatively inoffensive of you
also you've got spectral energy so i don't see why you couldn't wield a special weapon of your own given it matched your color
oh my stars really
y-yeah i'll ask my teacher about it tonight ok
you see you're as real as anyone else death doesn't have to mean the end of anything
<page num="55">
hey dad i've got a question for you
ask ye mine sweet loinsfruit
can you never ever call me your loinsfruit again ever
how did you know to ask that before i said it are you some kind of weird psychic
that's not what my question was dad
i was going to ask if we could visit baxborough soon like maybe this weekend
we've only been out of the city for a few days y'miss your friends huh kiddo
well yeah
i'll see when a trip's feasible in the meantime you can sext or meme them
you don't know what those words mean dad
i'd still love you even if you were a weird psychic y'know
i'm not a weird
that's good to know
<page num="56">
oh what
what the aych
oh god it is spender
oh god he's driving in sunglasses at night
oh god he's wearing driving gloves
<page num="57">
did we really have to take our shoes off in your car
no but you don't have to not punch bears either
was that a death threat
how'd a teacher afford a car like this anyways do you get paid for ghostbusting
do we
the precious memories you'll make on the job are their own reward
aaand the only reward
we are not paid
if i'd know i was doing volunteer work i would've told my dad that instead of saying i'm studying homework theory at a nocturnal friend's
you should have let me introduce myself you can't make a bad first impression with a vehicle this classy
make a good last impression in a wall
if you gave this thing a woman's name i'm quitting your dang club
i did not
se llama giancarlo
i heard that
<page num="58">
hey isaac by the way i gotta tell you about something serious
like super serious
that guy johnny
wait max if this is a secret tell me later mr. spender can definitely hear everything
no i can't
oh good
<page num="59">
in 3 blows
it will be your victory
<page num="60">
i don't need you to count for me
good job
next time win in two
you did that on purpose
that or he didn't actually know who was gonna win
shut your impudent trap freeloader
<page num="61">
i want a rematch
that's enough isabel i do not expect a mere child to defeat an opponent twice their age
but you expect me to
so are you trying to teach me something or are you just punishing me for not being a prodigy
i wanted you to see your overconfidence as i do
an embarrassment
what then i'm too weak to be proud what's the alternative you want me to be some meek flower like dad you hate hi-
i want you to be strong to earn your pride and your blood
i am strong
<page num="62">
is that so well then
impressive isabel using a tool at such a distance is no easy feat why even i
i can't understand you when you clap and talk at the same time
hm oh
is he on my roof get off my roof
ow jesu-
greetings my master
to what ill twist of fortune do i owe this unexpected visit from my brightest pupil
aha a clever allusion to my sunglasses' ability to manipulate light very nice
that's what that was right
well i wasn't calling you smart
<page num="63">
i'm here for your granddaughter and your ward consortium business
feh damage them and know true pain
we will talk later isabel
gonna say anything about that last construct i got grabbed with
it was needlessly elaborate
if you know your weaknesses face and eliminate them
why did she know my weakness
hmph one day you will thank me for honing your edge
that's not
that's not fair
this has nothing to do with
master if i may be so bold
you may not it's about time someone asked permission
wait up izzy
that infernal book without its power she wouldn't spurn my lessons so a lord is granted a fiefdom and thinks herself king
hmph why are you still here
we've got trouble
<page num="64">
that johnny guy saw me use my weather powers
yes that's what i just said i don't know why you're repeating it back to me as a full sentence
oh man oh jeez
so what do we do
i don't know this is completely unprecedented
mr. spender about this blank piece of pape-
oh my stars
it's cgi
oh ok
completely unprecedented
chill dude no one johnny tells will believe him and if they do there's no laws on the books against controlling the weather
so let's just tell spender and have him erase johnny's memories with lasers problem solved
n-no we need to deal with this by ourselves can't tell mr. spender
you can tell mr. spender didn't come up with the rule about keeping everything spectral a secret it's dogma passed down to him by some authority
all i heard just now was you can tell mr. spender
look they already exclude me ok i can't afford to break a central tenet of whatever they're called
<page num="65">
the activity consortium
is sending another agent to mayview yes why did you repeat activity consortium so dramatically
i don't know it felt appropriate
another mouth for me to feed that is trouble
this one's not meant to be your student
not meant to be and not going to be are two different things son
it's an internal investigation
agent day low level grunt young walker's pupil uses a tool with cupid's arrow powers
we've been introduced she's physically disabled and impossibly naive
no threat at all
listen to yourself spender is that any way to talk about a coworker
you've said worse about me
well i'm retired
i dont' like sounding callous master but it's a natural side effect of working pragmatically for the greater good
and of being a callous servant of evil you'll perish choking on the words greater good with some hero's blade in your gut mark my words
now sit back down we're not done here
<page num="66">
it's concerning that you speak of treason so freely with me we've got trouble do you think me your co-conspirator have you forgotten whose soldiers i train where is your caution boy
m-master i thought but you wouldn't tell the boss i've treated you as a confidant told you all my secrets
which has made me a better enemy fool not a better friend i'm not threatening you spender but know that relying on others' fidelity is just as dangerous as relying on the power of spirits
and i don't recall paying a steep price to earn your trust keep that in mind when dealing with this agent day
if you do anything of questionable morality and the wrong person finds out you will be stopped your mission will end and it will be a just end despite all your good intentions
solve mayview's mystery and find the enemy lurking within protect the people i care about and save the ones we've lost all without getting blood on my hands that's a lot
i don't know if
master if i ever go too far towards darkness please i would only trust your judgement be the one to bring me down
that was the worst sentence ever
i'm i'm being serious
hmph very well then i dare not ask the same of you you're a terrible judge of character
haha you have my thanks
ahh spender if you weren't such a lone wolf i could do great things with you
heh my apologies master but i can't devote myself to martial arts i'm hopelessly multitalented
i hate that nerd
<page num="67">
i don't get it dude why do the others keep you in the dark about stuff
was it something you did
well i
what's up dorks you two ready to punch some spirits
it's not a fighting mission isabel are you going to be ok
booooooring guess i'll punch one of you
if i cry it's a general thing like i'm sad for the world that punching exists
hey you guys don't think i
hey gang sorry for the wait i lost track of time in a conversation
what were you talking to my grandfather about
oh um just some problems of my own
truthfully i
hi guys
oh sorry did i interrupt something import-
probably not let's just go
it's time for us to catch a train
<page num="68">
ok there's definitely a story here but we need more than a story to fill a paper can't we find anything other than this
i mean we could ask lisa
that girl is a witch and an enigma and her dark powers are to be used sparingly
if she knows we're relying on her info she'll start asking for souls collin and those are harder to harvest than starchman stars
dee you've got a got something face whattaya got for me baby
i got that thing you wanted get ready
oh god suzy your face do i want this file on my computer
no you do not
ok boys keep spreading chatter that a kid from our school jumped through a moving bus we'll run it as a story once the rumor's too large to source back to us
no one cares what we write anyways
we'll make it sound so cool the principal has to threaten the culprit with endless detention to keep bus jumping from becoming the next hoola hoop battles
hhbs were really popular
of course we won't say who did it max just has to think we will if he refuses to be my spyyy
are you ok with this
if i weren't i'd do something about it would you
huh oh i was talking to my cat she's um picky about the spoons she eats from
just you wait activity club i'm gonna crack you wiiide open
<page num="69">
you punks coulda just gone home y'know
folks're wit' my sis di'n't wanna bother 'em for a ride anyways
i didn't want my parents t'know i got detention
we wouldn't ditch you johnny
why don'tcha sleep over my house t'night we can all watch
lots of murder island fooour
all right things are lookin' up i can't even remember why we had detention in the first place
them them's the why
was that sunglasses teacher
somethin's up follow that car
shoot we lost 'em which way d'we go
all roads lead to rome
but we ain't goin' to rome
<page num="71">
doctor zarei this is unexpected they're not wasting you on guard duty are they
oh there isn't really a they for me i'm here as a visitor and you richard
we're here to ride the ghost train of course
i'm afraid that's not possible the cars haven't been checked for stowaways if you'd called ahead
worry not the kids and i can sweep the train ourselves
welp that's my limit
if you say so
i must say i've no idea how you tamed such a formidable spirit
ufufu a girl has her ways
you seduced the train
what no
do i not get an explanation as to why you need my vehicle
in present company that would be unwise
come along children
ahh wisdom always getting in the way of good sense
if you value your position
oh can you fire me i lose track of who's in charge of who out here in the boonies
always a pleasure doctor
<page num="72">
ok clubsters we need to make sure we're the only passengers any and all stowaway spirits get the boot
we'll split into two groups
let's paint 'em red
all i got is black
we fight as one brother
literally just met you dude
ed you're with isaac max isabel with me
max is new isabel's old it makes sense you and isaac should be better friends than you are anyways
nooooo he's a nerd
just keep your eyes peeled for enemies
let 'em peel 'em themselves
why do we have to ride this thing to meet your friend anyways why couldn't we just drive there
there's a barrier around mayview that spectrals and spirits can't pass through
the ghost train is an exception its power warps anything it wants out of its way including the barrier
wait but if i tried to leave mayview in a normal vehicle
um you'd be squished i suppose
<page num="73">
the barrier could've killed me why didn't you warn me earlier
there's lots of things that could kill you max do you want i should list every lethal disease
i am so sorry
it slipped my mind
it's fine
why's there even a barrier around mayview in the first place
it was created with a spirit's power by a colleague of mine some time ago
um that's not really the why i was looking for
he knows you got whatch'll get
what if i was planning a trip
take the train out of town drive from there
how am i supposed to explain that to my dad
i dunno mine's a spectral and i've never really had to leave mayview so
mr. spender let me
isaac could share some excuses he's used i'm sure and i'll help if i'm able you're just going to have to trust me when i say it's a necessary inconvenience
um now do you trust me
that's not how trust falls work
<page num="74">
looks like we're moving we must hurry we'll have to resort to more drastic measures than tossing spirits overboard if our sweep lasts past the barrier
oh look my shoe's come untied what is this treachery
oh mr. spender a a friend wanted me to ask can ghosts use tools
technically yes but practically no they cannot use a spirit's power as we do
spectral energy is immaterial matter in its loosest form it's for this reason that spirits are able to rebuild their damaged bodies by absorbing it
we are flesh and specter in one body devour our energy and flesh remains we live on to produce more energy
when a tool forms a link with a ghost there is nothing to stop its body from being broken down into energy and absorbed
er was that too confusing think of it like this
spirits are creatures that eat yarn
and spectrals are people in sweaters um regenerating sweaters
well i guess you can't take the sweater off so they're more like people with yarn body hair
and ghosts are people made of all yarn which um also regenerates just not as fast as spirits can eat it
and spirits would also be made of yarn actually
in this metaphor
what i'm trying to say is ghosts absorption is their most common fate it's how most tools heal eating ghosts and small spirits symbiosis with a spectral is a rare luxury the mental connection for ghosts it's a lure it's
ghosts are fickle beings max they're not just floating people
they're absorbed they fade they
don't stick around for long
<page num="75">
behind me children
<lang lang="cursed words">
the sunglasses spectral we can use him
i will go kill the children
w-what foul language is this
we we just passed the barrier
blast can't let it escape
stay put kids i'll be back before the train reaches its destination