This week on the Major Spoilers Podcast, the trio take a look at Adam Warren’s Empowered Volume 1.


Empowered is an original English-language manga written and illustrated by Adam Warren. Described by Warren as a “sexy superhero comedy”, Empowered began to take shape in 2004 with a series of commissioned sketches of a damsel in distress; these illustrations became the basis for short comic stories that helped develop the characters for the Empowered series.

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The Author

Robot Overlord

Robot Overlord

Warning: Pregnant women, the elderly, and children under 10 should avoid prolonged exposure to the Robot Overlord. Robot Overlord may suddenly accelerate to dangerous speeds. The Robot Overlord contains a liquid core, which if exposed due to rupture, should not be touched, inhaled, or looked at. If Robot Overlord begins to smoke, get away immediately. Seek shelter and cover head. Do not taunt the Robot Overlord.

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  1. November 15, 2010 at 12:38 pm — Reply

    I have only read the short story from the Myspace Dark Horse Presents TPB, but I liked what I read, maybe this review will give me the reason to go out and buy some more of Empowered.

  2. Tyler Dobbs
    November 15, 2010 at 12:58 pm — Reply

    Oh God, Empowered was one of the biggest piles of crap I’ve ever read. It made my eyes bleed. It the over sexualized and fetish aspect of it was just to much. I only barely finished the first volume and considered it some horrible character building exercise.

    • November 15, 2010 at 2:11 pm — Reply

      Good to hear a guy saying that they didn’t like it, since most of the complaints I’ve heard have been from other women. I wanted to like it – I was a big Adam Warren fan – but this feels like reading his well-used spank material. In fact, knowing that he’s so into noncon B&D and (in one of the later volumes) think female-on-female molestation is funny makes me respect him a lot less.

  3. aerspyder
    November 15, 2010 at 2:19 pm — Reply

    You know what, I agree with everything you say Tyler, but I still like it. I admit it gets goofy and silly but sometimes you want some goofy/silly fun.

  4. Ricco
    November 15, 2010 at 3:15 pm — Reply

    Meh, it’s good for a laugh. Demonwolf quoting “Airplame” is the highlight of the 1st volume, that talking alien bondage restrain demon lord is awesome!

    I don’t see what’s wrong with the oversexualisation of the book, the whole point is to make fun of the standard comic book situation: “evil guy beats and temporary captures heroine and restrains her in a barely veiled fetichistic fashion” (check your books kids, every superheroine has had her bondage moment) I like how they keep talking of the unwritten rules of how they can’t actually do anything too sexual or the other capes might, you know, kill them all.

    I’de rather have something like this then say, something like “insert comic book here that has a female lead half naked all the time, but nothing to sexy because it tries too look profesional” type of comic. You know the type, sexy heroine with clothes that rip in every fight, wears clothes 2 sizes too small and keeps bitching about “men not taking her seriously”.

  5. Damascus
    November 16, 2010 at 1:03 am — Reply

    Besides occasionally looking like a carp, Empowered herself is usually drawn very well and she does look sexy. I really do like the pencil work in this volume; the pencils have that sloppy look but yet really show detail on guns and outfits and even ketchup bottles. It’s a whole cheesecake factory throughout, but I thought it was fairly entertaining. I wouldn’t buy the book, maybe borrow from a library if it looks good to you. My problem wasn’t really with the hyper-sexualized nature of the book, probably because it was pretty obvious that that was the tone set for the book, it bothers me more when sex is thrown into a story and it really makes no sense for it to be there. My biggest problem was the super short story nature of this volume. The chapter breaks and story jumps were almost overwhelming; it was hard to feel like I was getting any real substance especially in a comic which is so light and shallow. I have my personal tastes which may be every bit as weird as this or as anyone else’s but Bondage doesn’t really do anything for me so that’s more of a running (ball)gag that she’s constantly being captured and tied up. I find the character to be more appealing in simpler terms, when she’s just wearing a t-shirt, pouting with her big carp lips, things like that. For me, I can look at a cheesecake picture by Adam Hughes or any other guy who likes to draw pretty doe-eyed girls and think, “pretty picture/cute girl”, but that’s about it. When a little bit of personality is injected into that picture and we get a bit of a story to go along with it, then it does a lot more for me. I still see a lot of it as simple cheesecake, it just comes in a format that works a lot better for me. It’s not perfect by any means, but if I want a goofy bit of sexy cheesecake, I like to have the story with it. I’d give it 2 1/2 slices of meatloaf, and I’d probably go a little higher if this volume felt more like an ongoing story more than a series of vignettes.

  6. Bob T
    November 16, 2010 at 9:17 am — Reply

    Empowered is great and different to all the bland stuff in the comics market. I’d rather read this than the 17th Bat or Spidey book.

  7. Lee Goldberg
    November 16, 2010 at 6:01 pm — Reply

    I’d like to remark that as the series goes on, it becomes more and more serious, and the chapters become longer. Also, I appreciate it’s relatable heroine and it’s humorous take on Superhero Cliches. In my opinion, the merits of Empowered are better judged when viewed as a whole series, rather than a single volume where the writer is still finding the “voice” of the series.

    • Ricco
      November 16, 2010 at 8:04 pm — Reply

      True, Spooky’s origin story goes from joke to tragic, Deathmonger lives up to his name and Ninjette brutaly kills other ninjas. It’s still funny, but has more to it then cliches and bondage gags.

  8. Damascus
    November 19, 2010 at 9:51 pm — Reply

    I just finished reading volumes 2-5 after reading volume 1 in time for the podcast, and I have to say that I really did start liking the series the more I read it. The bondage stuff does go down a little, and there is some decent character development and genuinely good moments throughout. I’m interested by what’s going on with EMP’s suit, it seems to have a mind of it’s own and is exhibiting some new powersets, especially when her friend’s are in danger. Instead of the simple little vignettes, the stories start getting a little longer and get a bit more involved. Sistah Spooky gets a nice reveal as well. The most tiresome thing about the whole series for me really becomes the Demonlord belt thing, I started skipping his dialog for the most part. It was difficult to constantly read long lines of alliterative text. I would reccommend for those who didn’t hate the first volume, but had some minor complaints to give the later volumes a shot. If you really hated the first volume, then I really doubt reading any more will change your mind, but it did take me from thinking it was just ok to actually kinda liking it. I also like that the book makes fun of itself, at one point in volume 5 I think, EMP looks herself up on Google and people are making fun of her for being “fish-lipped, and bondage prone”; the funny part being that that was first and foremost my thought in my above comment. They haven’t really dealt with it much, but I like the plausible idea that her costumes’ fragility is in direct proportion to her mental fragility; the idea that the more confident she becomes, the more durable and useful her costume is. Anyhow, we’ll have to wait for later volumes to answer the burning question that’s been carried over for 5 volumes now, “why doesn’t the super suit’s ultra-clingyness show off super camel toe?”

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