Welcome, webcomics readers, to one of two key contributions that Empowered vol. 2 made to the series as a whole: namely, the dawn of a narrative trend that I’ve dubbed as “Big Action!” As you’ll recall, Empowered vol.1 occasionally featured brief action scenes, but largely relied on oodles of goofy superhero jokes, sexy shenanigans and sitcom-ish wackiness. With this opening story, though, I began to realize that the initially humor-oriented premise could support longer and more intense action sequences, which were one of the few things I missed from the mainstream comics work I did before Empowered. Even so, vol. 2 boasts nowhere near as much action as later books in the series—this story’s battle with King Tyrant Lizard and a later Ninjette fight scene are the volume’s only lengthy “action interludes.”
Still, the emergence of Big Action was a critical change in the series, and one that drove my long-term interest in continuing work on it. As I’ve said before, I would have abandoned Empowered long ago if the series could only be a comedy; the open-ended narrative and tonal flexibility of the premise are what compel me to keep it rolling onward. Empowered vol. 2’s other—and equally important—innovation is, of course, the dawn of what I call “Big Emo”—but that tearjerking tendency won’t make its first appearance for another 180 pages or so. Stay tuned, folks!
King Tyrant Lizard’s “critter design” is an interesting melange of several different elements. His skin texture and subtle tiger-stripe patterning is taken from an old Jurassic Park toy based on his Tyrannosaurus Rex namesake, but his head—and teeth, especially—are loosely derived from a depiction of the nothasaur, a Triassic-Era amphibious reptile. Can’t recall for certain, but I think that said depiction might have been in Chased by Prehistoric Monsters, a coffee-table book accompanying the old BBC TV miniseries.
In panel 2, enjoy a rare Empverse depiction of shattering safety glass and its relatively small (and same-sized) pieces; most of the time, I elect to draw breaking glass in the more visually striking mode of sharp-edged airborne shards in wildly varying sizes. ProTip: Stay the hell away from shattering glass if you happen to be a non-powered civilian in Empowered’s alarmingly violent setting.