Recap: Penny And Aggie Bussed Out
"I'm done being nice, I'm done being weak. I'm going to find my own way now, my own life, without help from any of you."
This three-strip arc, in which Helen runs away to Boston, serves as a transition to her ongoing, periodic storyline in Something*Positive
. On the bus out of town, Helen—rebuffing an older woman's attempt to make conversation by accusing the woman of trying to live vicariously through her—composes in her head a bitter farewell letter to Belleville. She singles out her former friend Penny and her family in particular. Although she feels she can make it on her own, her expression shifts to one of fear over the future and the unknown.
- Driven by Envy/The Resenter
- Extreme Doormat: Defied (see page quote), with a big helping of bitterness and hostility.
- Never My Fault: Helen, at this stage, still refuses to admit that her own poor decisions are partly to blame for her current situation.
- Precision F-Strike: As the bus leaves town, Helen thinks, "Fuck you, Penny. Fuck you, Belleville. Goodbye." These are the first uncensored swearwords to appear in the comic, although the first uncensored taboo word, a racial slur, had appeared previously in Pre-History.
- Put on a Bus: Literally and figuratively, and this after not having appeared in a significant way since D-Day. In a comment to a Storming the Tower blog post about this arc and her subsequent Something Positive story, Campbell explained that he'd come to feel Helen's problems ran so deep, especially given her refusal to recognize her own responsibility for them, that he felt he'd reached the limit of what he and his characters could do with her. Therefore, he gave carte blanche to S*P's Milholland—who, as the artist for Omega Sisters and Undertow, had a hand in shaping her as a character—to do with Helen as he saw fit, including but not limited to sending her back to Belleville, or keeping her in Boston indefinitely. Although Milholland has claimed she won't become a permanent part of his comic's cast, he still has more of Helen's story to tell. Note, however, that Helen does reappear in the Distant Finale to Penny and Aggie, having apparently mended fences with Penny, Aggie and Sara.
- The Runaway
- The Unfavorite: The one part of Helen's monologue that's objectively accurate is her father's having withheld love from her and favoured her older sister, as seen in The First Man I Ever Loved.
- Useless Bystander Parent: According to Helen, her mother: "Mom, thanks for sticking up for me sometimes. Oh, wait, that never happened."