Reliable. Predictable. That’s what Empowered stands for. You get your damsel-in-distress fix and then your relationship angst to make you feel less of a pervert. There is a bit of a dark undercurrent with Thugboy’s past which may never come to the fore too. Occasionally you get a glimpse of Warren’s potential with some incredible art or thesaurus exploding wordplay.
It isn’t until the last story in this volume that you get to see Empowered shift into a higher gear. This is the longest story so far and leaves the kink behind for a mainstream cape tale which is actually very enjoyable. It has some touching revelations about a secondary character, moves the Thugboy plot forward, and finally lets Emp kick some, using her brain once more to save the day.
Before this there is the usual juxtaposition of weird themes. A cancer boy whose make-a-wish is for a bit of bondage? Yep! Willy Pete gets even more sinister? Yep! Sexual tension in the household? You know it! Compared to the fetish-fest that was volume three this one is a lot tamer. Apart from the gratuitous busty nurses.
The main art is entirely pencil which is Warren’s undoubted strength. There is a bonus story taken from the Dark Horse website which is in full colour. Like putting Usagi Yojimbo into colour there is something fundamentally awkward about this. Having your kink in colour makes it a little more uncomfortably voyeuristic.
This is a step up from the previous volume. The more mainstream direction really works so it will be interesting to see if a balance can be found in the next instalment. Thumbs Up!
Tomorrow: Empowered Volume 5 – Adam Warren