Friday, November 7, 2008

Thoughts on Empowered, Vol. 4

So, I've been a trifle remiss in my reviews (I know, nary a Haiku in sight for months now), but I can't let Empowered, Vol. 4 come out without giving it a glowing, mildly in-depth review. While others have stated the obvious - that Empowered is, as ever, a solidly wonderful series - I feel like I must add a bit to what others (okay, just Chris Sims so far) have said, given my previous opus on the series.

Empowered, Vol. 4 is decidedly the least titillating of all the volumes and this is not a bad thing. Adam Warren forgoes a great deal of playful sex jokes (but not all of them, don't worry) in order to expand Emp's universe into a uniquely Warren-esque world of giant alien organ transplants, Make-A-Wish supervillains and most undeniably, the Goddamn Maid Man. The Gleeful Mad Scientist Adam Warren of The Dirty Pair, Iron Man: Hypervelocity and the tragically unappreciated Livewires is back and in full effect here. The man who brought us the Proust Bomb, Schroedinger's Wankerboy and Hyperintelligent Killer Whales throws out several new bits of Sci-Fi crazy that, while not as immediately geektastic as the volumes listed above, fit as comfortably and organically into Emp's universe as the Caged Demonwulf lays upon her coffee table. He even leavens the fun and games with a few downright gruesome moments but to describe them would take away from the shock of seeing them for yourself. We'll just say that the oft-foreshadowed Willy Pete finally appears in the context of a particularly nasty "Supervillain Team-Up" and leave it at that.

Along with those darker moments mentioned above, there's several surprising character developments that pave the way to a verrrrry interesting Vol. 5 but I'll save that for a later date (or if anyone asks for spoilers in the comments section). I will say that this entire book was beautifully done and the ending made me genuinely grin. Adam Warren gives Empowered and a plethora of her supporting cast character beats that more than make up for any flaws or missteps that he may have made in Vol. 3, adding even greater depth and humanity to the most interesting cast of characters I've read in a superhero comic in years (which reminds me - pre-order the end of Hero Squared). Additionally, never has the reappearance of customized booty shorts been made into a moment deserving of a heroic rock montage.

In short, Volume 4 of Empowered made want to do this:

Thank you and good night!

(Additional videos from Mr. Galifianakis can be found here and here, if you're so inclined.)


From Mr. Warren's Deviant Art Page, I must present an amusingly apropos Rock Band video of Empowered and friends responding to their critics:

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