And thus ends the story “Smart Girl” and the tale of Sexy Librarian Emp, though this colorful riff of eyeglasses-centric cosplay will return in Empowered vol. 3. Next up is the longer and surprisingly action-packed story “Dire Peril,” in which a very different form of cosplay leads to mayhem and shenanigans aplenty.
Panel 1: Behold, one of my favorite types of—ahem—“action panels,” in large part because it is actually the easiest possible action panel imaginable. That is, we’re seeing a shot in which the “action” is occurring off-panel and is conveyed solely by dialogue. Note, however, that most versions of this panel type use sound FX as well as dialogue to convey the unseen action, but that concept wasn’t quite applicable in this context, without resorting to the goofy-ass, theoretically humorous “literal” sound FX I so dislike. (As in, “GRAB!” or “PAW!” or the even more awkward “FLING OVER SHOULDER!”)
Panel 2: Note that the brawnier Thugboy seems a tad more convincing when over-the-shoulder-carrying Sexy Librarian Emp than the scrawnier Idea Man.
Panel 4: Amused to see my long-discarded, 2006-vintage Hewlett-Packard computer speakers immortalized in this panel. (Or they might’ve been Gateway speakers, though apparently not plastered with the “Holstein cow” markings otherwise inescapable from Gateway products of the era.) No offense to those old speakers, but I think the SuperHomeys could’ve afforded something at least slightly more impressive for the ultra-tech HomeyCrib.
Panel 5: My apologies for readers unprepared for the possibly unsettling sight of Major Havoc’s obvious arousal, though his blobby teammate clearly seems unbothered by said sight. By the way, Havoc and Protean—or “Glorpp”—seem to share a remarkably casual and shame-free friendship, as the next volume will show in rather more alarming detail.
Panel 6: The concept that Emp apparently studied French in college was not one that I bothered to explore very much—or, indeed, at all—later on in the series. Or perhaps she just took reasonably advanced French classes in high school? Still, Thugboy seems to find this to be a notable “smart girl” characteristic—though, come to think of it, asking Emp to gasp and moan in French does seem rather sexier than having her rattle off “smart girl” chatter more relevant to her actual college degree. “That’s it, hit me with some highly technical sociopolitical jargon from your suprahuman studies courses, baby!”