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Thursday, May 31, 2012


After an agonizing twenty months between full-length volumes, Adam Warren's EMPOWERED returns and proves more than worth the wait. Much like the previous volume, this one's hard to review without spoilers so I won't even try, but I will cite some particulars of interest and ask regular readers of the series to bear in mind that the new books takes up more or less where Volume 6 left off. Here we go:
  • The current volume surprisingly shifts the majority of its focus away from its titular character and spotlights Ninjette, Empowered's hard-drinking kunoichi best bud, as she handles her New Jersey-based ninja clan's escalating efforts to kidnap her, remove her feet and relegate her to an horrific existence as a martial arts broodmare. 'Jette's my favorite character, so this huge helping of her was a real treat for me, and we get a few intimate looks the family history that made her both incredibly tough and more than a bit of an emotional basket case who relies on alcohol to perpetually numb her considerable pain.
  • The martial arts fights scenes involving Ninjette against her clan are truly spectacular and read like the most blistering live-action examples of this kind of stuff that I've seen to date.
  • The already creepy Oyuki-Chan's creepiness goes up several levels by the time this volume concludes.
  • The entire volume is pretty much framed with Ninjette's in-the-moment-versus-her-family narrative that skillfully weaves its storytelling between past and present without ever once becoming confusing. It's compelling and a testament to Adam Warren's skills in his chosen medium.
  • Some of my previously-cited theories about the Caged Demonwolf in regard to suspicions raised in earlier volumes have proven to be more correct than I would have predicted...
  • Empowered's abuse at the hands of her team, the rather douchey "Super-Homies," continues, but this time Empowered discovers she's gained an unexpected ally.
  • The "counter-factual scenarios" that occasionally crop up are both psychologically revealing of the characters and more often than not rather funny.
  • I continue to relate to Thugboy as the superheroine's nurturing boyfriend that I imagine I would be, provided such a situation were to present itself in my reality.
  • Any appearances by Mindfuck are always a welcome element.
  • Sistah Spooky's understandably dire current mental/emotional state bears close watching.
All of this is laced with the series' signature lashings of comedic bondage, semi-graphic sex, blacked-out-but-obvious profanity, rich characterization and stunning black & white artwork that culminates on rather an ominous note that's sure to make the fans howl with frustration until whenever the next installment hits. I, for one, will DEFINITELY be there with bells on. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION.

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