Friday, February 24, 2012

Empowered Volume 4 Review

Empowered Vol. 4
Dark Horse Comics
Graphic Novel
208 pages
$15.99 (2008)
ISBN 9781593079949

Contributors: Adam Warren

Synopsis: Empowered is a self-conscious superhero with a fragile hypermembrane super-suit giving her enhanced abilities at the cost of her self-esteem. It's super-flimsy, becomes unreliable when torn and fits ultra-tight giving everyone a free peek at all her nooks and crannies.  She's a laughing-stock in the superhero community for being regularly captured and tied up. Despite her abysmal reputation she manages to keep a plucky attitude with the help of her former minion boyfriend, Thugboy, and her best friend, Ninjette. 

When Sistah Spooky loses her
powers she becomes
Lil' Spooky
Emp and Thugboy help Ninjette recover from the brutal beating she suffered at the hands (and feet) of her ninja clan members in the last volume.  They were trying to reclaim her after she ran away several years ago to avoid a dreadful clan life (it's in New Jersey).  The sexual tension between her and Thugboy heats up while she recuperates at the apartment he shares with Emp. 

Meanwhile Willy Pete pops up again to jam his raging hot boner (literally hot enough to pop your skull like a grenade) into the skulls of more hapless victims. He's still pissed about losing to Thugboy and wants to make sweet love to his head.  Emp spends some time at the Suprahuman Medical Center and befriends a young boy who wants to be a supervillain. 

The superheroes have their own awards show and Emp is nominated for a Capey - 'Suprahuman Most Deserving of Wider Recognition', but something is fishy about the nomination - will this be a Carrie moment where everyone ridicules Emp? 

Pros: Warren's art is top-notch as ever, Thugboy and Ninjette being guiltily attracted to each other was hilarious, story was more coherent, nice ending, some color pages, Emp actually saves the day, and Sistah Spooky gets shown up

Cons: Digest-sized (like all those manga books filling the shelves at your computer programmer friend's house - you should tell him about the bald spot), black and white, price increase over previous volumes, Willy Pete is pretty disgusting

Mike Tells It Straight: I think this volume has been my favorite so far - Warren steps up his writing by giving us an actual story running through the separate chapters and resolving it at the end of the book.  It's a major improvement over the scattered storytelling of previous volumes and the slow progression of supporting character sub-plots.  Example is the Thugboy/Willy Pete showdown which has been agonizingly plodding along.  Willy Pete gets even more nasty in this book and it's time to give this loser his comeuppance already!

The sexual innuendo and beautifully drawn women are still a great draw, but Warren delivers a compelling tale to make this a successful series progression.   You'll need to be up-to-speed on the storylines from all the previous volumes in order to enjoy it, but Empowered continues to be an amusing read.

TO BUY and Recommendations: