I have to admit that this volume was a hard one to get through. That’s because it starts off with the title character in such a good place: She’s finally become a full-time member of the SuperHomeys and her relationship with Thugboy is downright shagadelic. Yeah, her self-confidence and body-image issues are still a thing, but Emp is in a better place than she’s been in this series since ever.
The problem with all this goodness is that it creates a lot of unwelcome tension as you fully expect the other shoe to drop before the end of the volume. Which it will because that’s always the way it is when things go great for a superhero protagonist (and it basically says as much on the back cover). Even though creator Adam Warren does his best to throw the reader off with more good news about Emp’s CTS issues, Ninjette working out her own issues with the Caged Demonlord, and an (eventual) gratifying triump over a chauvanistic White Knight, you’re still left feeling that it’s all going to go away in an instant.
Does it happen? Of course it does. But to Warren’s credit it happens in a completely different manner than I was expecting. Given the way the back cover text set things up, I was prepared for Emp to find out about Thugboy’s capekilling past. That’s still a deep dark secret of his, but the threat that Warren replaces it with is arguably worse. No, it’s not Willy Pete. You’ll just have to read vol. 10 to find out and then brace for the shock at the end when the final double-page spread sets up something this series has never done before now. Granted, there’s a really good reason for that. I just hope that what Emp says about the progress of vol. 11 turns out to be true.