Panel 1: My spontaneous and ill-considered decision to refer to YouTube as “Youtoobe,” here, is one that I've come to regret deeply, as I've had to continue using that variant name throughout the rest of the series. Somehow, I don't think that YouTube would really care about being referenced directly by name. My skittishness, however, might be understandable due to certain legal issues that have arisen over previous references I've made to trademarked commercial entities earlier in my career. (Such as the time I inadvisedly decided to make fun of cinematic product placement during the Gen13 Bootleg arc “Grunge! The Movie,” only to trigger legal action by one of the companies whose products I placed without proper permission. Oops!)
Besides, the idea that an Emp “drool clip” would’ve been the “MOST DOWNLOADED VIDEO OF THE DAY” seems highly unlikely; I really should’ve made up some superhero-oriented YouTube analogue where such a claim would’ve been more viable. And wait just a dang second—“MOST DOWNLOADED VIDEO”? That’s a very, very puzzling concept, perhaps implying that 2006-ish Me knew very little about how YouTube functions. Were the workings of the site that new to me back them? Apparently so! Alternate, No-Prize-ish explanation: In the Empverse, “YouToobe” allows easy such easy and convenient downloading of videos that it tracks the stats for such activity, as opposed to our own mundane reality in which one must use a browser add-on or separate program to do so.
Panel 2: Behold, an early appearance of the SuperHomey HQ’s “control room” visual motif, which would become a familiar setting throughout the series. Note that the vaguely futuristic control-room seat here is, I think, a reference to similar designs dating way back to my old miniseries Dirty Pair: Sim Hell. (Or, as originally intended, “SimHell,” for a more obvious reference to SimCity and the like.)
Panel 3: An unstated bit of deliberately planned visual wackiness in this panel is the fact that, due to the wildly varying sizes and heights of the Superhomeys behind Emp, they would have considerable difficulty fitting themselves into the positions we see here. This panel’s composition, in other words, is a bit of exaggerated, reality-defying cartooniness on my part. Gasp! Imagine that, folks—comics artwork that is not, in fact, attempting a strictly literal and true-to-life depiction of events!
Ah, but perhaps I am obliquely referencing one of my personal bêtes noires: the bizarre manner in which some American comics fans consider certain wildly unrealistic and exaggerated art styles to nonetheless be acceptably—ahem—“realistic,” while sneering contemptuously at styles they arbitrarily deem to be offensively “cartoony,” even though their favored artists’ work is no less detached from reality. “Not that I am bitter,” though, as Dave Barry used to say. At some point in the future, I’ll no doubt blather about this issue in greater length for another commentary.
Panel 4: For the record, the off-panel SuperHomey voicing that pointed jab about Emp’s oral skills is, in fact, Sistah Spooky, as even noted “douchecape” Major Havoc might hesitate before voicing such a straightforward bit of sexual harassment in front of the rest of the team. (Of course, Havoc would have no such hesitation making far worse comments “off the record,” as this early Empowered page shows.) Hard to deny that Emp is facing one hell of a hostile workplace in the ol SuperHomey HQ, to put it mildly.