Monday, January 17, 2011

Empowered Volume 5 (2009)

After finally having the time and energy to knock out my review of Empowered Volume 4, I was reminded how much I enjoyed it, and wanted to jump right into the next edition. Predictably, I was disappointed, and I'm frankly starting to wonder if there's a mild form of the "Odd Numbered Star Trek Movie" rule beginning to form here. In fact, I'm starting to break down the series' formula.

The first chapter seems like a standard opening that allows Emp to show off some newish power, as well as introduce some characters and detail the workings of the Justice League Satellite Joint Superteam Space Station. This all seems fairly innocuous, but as we learned last time, Adam Warren is already scheming from the get-go. The second chapter partially deals with the repercussions of the previous volume, but it's really about restoring Emp's status quo as her teammates' doormat, as well as furthering a subplot which may be important later. "When Titans Fornicate" is a leftover from volume 3 that was cut for space. It is a 22 page long softcore sex comedy that could have been stuck anywhere, but is good for what it is, and titillating to boot.

Having dispatched with much of the filler, the main plot starts to really flesh out. The Superhomeys finally take note of Willy Pete, the big bad the series has been building up since the beginning. The team is of course dismissive of the skullfucker's threat, so you know this will end one of two ways: another red herring, or with skulls getting fucked. Either way, hints are already dropped about another big bad to potentially replace Willy Pete at a future date, but we're not anywhere near there yet. Actually, a lot of groundwork is laid in this edition, to the point where this is clearly the first half of a TV season arc you just know won't pay off until later. There is however a 53 page final epic where fans meet shit, but unlike the serpentine mystery of the last volume, it's a series of terribly predictable turns of events that (here we go again) will hopefully build to a more satisfying later edition.

Empowered Volume 5 is a reliable workhorse edition. There's humor, there's sex, there's some crazy shit, and there's drama. It is not the volume you would hand over to the uninitiated, but it stands as a unit, even with the multiple unresolved subplots taking up a noticeable amount of space. Most of the chapters hang around past their freshness date, but they're still better than most else of what's around.

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