One thing that never ceases to annoy me in comics is when we get an extended sequence where people are talking in a foreign (or even made-up) language without a translation. Yes, O great writer, we see that you’re proficient enough in this language to write in it for an extended period, but it doesn’t add anything to the story and creates the feeling in the reader that we’re missing out on key parts of the plot. I’ve seen it in “100 Bullets,” “Queen & Country,” and now the first “Empowered” miniseries which has the title character mixing it up with a magical girl who has an axe to grind with the power of love. After entering into a contract with a magical armadillo as a girl, the adult Soldier of Love is now out to show the world what crock the concept of love is. Unfortunately for Emp, the Soldier has accepted a commision to show all of the capes in her town just how aggravating love and the many, many hook-ups it leads to can be.
Gripes about writer Adam Warren’s need to show off his fluency in Spanish aside, this is still another quality “Empowered” tale. While the setup does provide some on-point jokes about superhero hookups, what winds up resonating are the emotional stakes at the end of the story. Particularly those of Ninjette as she confronts her daddy issues in a way that leads to hatred and vengeance saving the day. The absolute best part of this miniseries, however, is the art from Karla Diaz. While she’s not the first artist who isn’t Warren to tackle “Empowered,” she perfectly captures the manga-influenced slapsticky glee of the series in her own distinct way without being slavish to the style of its creator or manga in general. She’s done a lot of webcomic work according to the volume’s backmatter, so I’ll have to check it out in the near future.
The volume is rounded out with a Warren-illustrated one-shot, “Pew! Pew! Pew!” which is mainly an excuse for him to draw lots of big guns being fired off by some angry supervillains, and then his heroine. Or is it? As always there’s a bit more going on here than it appears as Emp finds out that maybe she’s not as well-adjusted to the rampant supercape douchebaggery she encounters on a daily basis. Which, when combined with the title miniseries, adds up to another spin-off volume of “Empowered” action that’s as enjoyable as the main volumes.