Webcomic Wednesdays: Empowered

Female superheroes have it bad enough, trying to prove their worth.  But imagine if you’re known as that one superhero female who always ends up needing rescuing.  And ironically, your super-name is Empowered.  Welcome to her life.

Empowered should be a powerful heroine in her own right, what with her biologically alive suit that can lend her super agility and doge bullets, but her own self-consciousness get in the way, often leaving her vulnerable to attack from even the lowliest minion.  But apparently the suit is lucky as well, because despite her perceived lack of power, grace, and competence, she makes friends with Ninjette, a ninja princess, who helps Empowered up her game and lands a boyfriend in Thugboy, a once-minion who decided dating superheroines is better than fighting them.  And at times, it seems Empowered manages to make headway with the Superhomeys, her crime-fighting group, becoming close with some of the stranger-looking heroes.  However her day goes, Empowered is determined to leave her mark on the crime-fighting world, no matter what.  Just don’t annoy the Demonwolf lying captured in an alien-technology bondage belt living on her coffee table.

Empowered (bottom) and Ninjette (top) after a long day

Created by Adam Warren, Empowered is a comic about a female superhero who isn’t very good at the job.  In many ways, it makes fun, both meta and in comic, of the way women are traditionally portrayed in comics, either as sexier versions of the men they fight alongside or as pure eye candy, and in the end they always need a man to save them.  Instead of being a perfect superhero or a perfect superhero with a few flaws thrown in to show human relatability, Empowered is completely fallible, constantly trying to live up to expectations both real and perceived.  Her personality is also unlike superheroines, as she often uses Valley Girl language, such as “Ouchies!” when hurt, something most would believe demean female superheroes, but shows that all kinds of women can fight crime, even those who are girlier than most.  But when the chips are down, she display amazing physical prowess and thinks fast on her feet, once fooling a group of villains long enough for the Superhomeys to arrive.

Empowered vs. Minions

Warren’s art is a mash-up of Japanese and Western influence, a fact he’s even commented on himself.  Rather than stark black-white drawings, the art pulls from early superhero comics, using shading to highlight details, instead of line-and-fill sketches.  Even with the mutants and alien creatures, characters are drawn to scale, using normal proportions with little to no exaggeration of the features, except when displaying emotion using manga tropes.

Empowered’s take on the manga influence

Empowered is a comic that shows anyone can be a superhero, even those we think of as the exact opposite.  Read the comic at Empoweredcomic.com, where it updates daily.

SJ Pendergraft

SJ Pendergraft is a writer who enjoys webcomics, so she decided to combine the two and became a webcomic reviewer.

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