Tuesday, January 24, 2012


There's a parental advisory sticker over
Ninjette's crotch on my copy...
Empowered. Not really anything about becoming empowered, or equal rights, or anything like that. It's important to state that right up front, because if you think this book is at all about "serious" issues, you're in for a rude shock. And Adam Warren wants you to keep reading. Amazon just want you to give them about $13 USD.

Empowered tells the story of, well, Empowered: a laughable super-heroine who gains her powers from a terribly useless super-suit. Useless how? The suit provides powers as long as it's intact. As in not in any way damaged. Meaning that 90% of the time it's less useful than a lycra bicycle get up. So, yes, Empowered gets her ass handed to her on a regular basis. And that brings us to another core part of this book: bondage, and sex jokes. If that's not got you hooked so far, there's also profanity, romance, comedy, a 4th Wall made of tissue paper, and generally high levels of entertainment.

In all honesty, this book is probably a "better" (read: more accessible) version of Garth Ennis' The Boys. It has the core elements of The Boys with far less gore, and obvious malice. It's still not a book for the young kids, but I guess if they're headed that way, they might as well enjoy themselves.

Typical Empowered action. But normally
there'd be a gag. And less mockney accents.
While the ongoing book as a whole is thoroughly enjoyable, Volume One (apart from a great starting point),  introduces the core Empowered cast in a clear narrative, with wonderful Manga stylings. We meet Empowered, the super-heroine with low self esteem, body image issues, a raging sexual appetite, and almost no luck. Her boyfriend by the end of the book, Thug Boy is a generally agreeable former henchman  for hire to super villains. Her new gal pal Ninjette is a drunken ninja chick that seems to do very little of anything apart from loafing. Her Super Homey's teammates (a collection of generally lame super hero tropes) are essentially used to highlight the hopelessness of Empowered's super-hero attempts. And of course, the Caged Demonwolf - an intergalactic overlord trapped in equally intergalactic bondage gear and left to suffer the indignities of life on Empowered's coffee table.

The content is riveting, the illustrations are great, and best of all, the stories are short and succinct while building overarching plot threads. Possibly the best part of the book, though, is the writing itself. I imagine that if Aaron Sorkin were sat down to write a comic book (and give a deadline) he'd turn out the dialogue we get here. It's roughly that good.

I highly recommend this book for more or less anyone that's not under 15, or a prude.

Next time, we dine in hell.
Geraaaaard Butler Freeee!

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