Empowered, Vol. 6
By Adam Warren
Dark Horse, 208 pp.
The sixth volume of Adam Warren’s sexy, superhero comedy has finally arrived! It picks up hot on the heels of the previous volume as Emp and the cast are forced to deal with the fallout from the disastrous Willy Pete mission. Accusations are thrown around as Emp finds herself under an increasing amount of scrutiny from her allies. If that weren’t enough one of the superhero communitie’s darkest secrets is revealed!
I’ve been in love with this series from the get go and volume six doesn’t really seem like it’s going to change that all that much. What has changed however, is the tone of the book. While it’s still full of comedy and humor, not to mention fantastic and believable moments of emotional intimacy and strong characters, this volume does take a distinctly darker turn. Whether it’s Emp and Spooky dealing with the loss of a mutual friend, or Emp dealing with accusations of betrayal from a colleague, or the return of Death Monger and the superhero communitie’s secret involving, well, death, this volume ramps up the darkness meter considerably. Despite the focus on death, at almost no point did the volume feel as if it were wallowing or being excessively shocking for shocks sake. One moment aside, even when Empowered is detailing and dealing with some intensely twisted concepts, Warren manages to give it all a humorous edge, usually through the sheer absurdity of what’s being presented. If all this wasn’t enough, several subplots intertwine and move forward in some rather unexpected ways which hint at bigger things to come.
For those just joining us, the artwork consists of Adam Warren’s uninked black and white pencils. The artwork continues to be incredibly beautiful and detailed. Jo Chen and Emily Warren also make brief contributions as Warren returns to the yaoi/slash gag once more. I also can’t stress enough how well the artwork meshes with the content. Adam Warren does a great job at keeping things clear but interesting to look at. The scenes flow across the page wonderfully. One of the things that has really come through with this series is Warren’s amazing eye for character designs. Every character, even minor ones look fantastic and give the impression of being a fully realized character with their own history and story, despite the fact that some may only appear for a few brief panels.
After six volumes Empowered continues to be one of my most anticipated purchases of the year, and while this volume has a decidedly grim tone to it, it was still an intensely entertaining and enjoyable read. Ultimately this has easily been one of my favorite pieces of sequential art this year and probably my favorite American comic of the year.
Empowered, Vol. 6 is available now.