‘Empowered Vol. 1’ review
By Brittney MacDonald, Senior Columnist
Empowered employs a very manga-influenced aesthetic to tell the story of Emp, a female superhero who’s just a little less than super. The stylization in the art and unique approach to the common superhero narrative provide an interesting premise, but it comes too late as the episodic and mundane sexual humour of the earlier pages presents a near impossible barrier to overcome for female readers.
Created wholly by Adam Warren, the series began as several commissioned pieces. He later built on the character he developed, and slowly Empowered took form. This unusual conception is evident in the earlier pages, which seem disassociated from one another and rely on gutter humour to entertain the reader.
If you move past all that, an actual plot does take form. Empowered follows its titular character, a member of the “Super Homeys,” as she often finds her powers failing her, putting her at the mercy of all sorts of villains—including her later love interest, Thugboy.
The novel also pokes fun at many aspects of superhero culture, such as “What is a spandex-clad heroine to do about panty lines?” and what life is like for the evil minions of all those madmen and geniuses.
Artistically, Warren is very different. Empowered is not inked at all, setting it apart from traditional comic books. The pages are well-laid out, and all the shading is done by hand in greyscale. The character designs are diverse in that they incorporate many different body types, not just the perfect feminine or masculine ideal.
Despite enjoying the later portion of the graphic novel, it does not make up for the earlier pages, which is why I can’t recommend this book to anyone.