Perpetual problem with the chapter-break “Metatextual Emp” pages like this: Emp’s face often ends up getting sucked down into the bottom gutter—symbolic, perhaps?—as I didn’t leave enough bleed space on her artwork to avoid getting trimmed in the final stages of print preparation. As I am so frequently wont to opine, "Oh, well."
As Metatextual Emp helpfully warns the reader, stand by for a strong dose of “Damsel-in-Distress” imagery—or “DiD,” for both euphemism and abbreviation—in the following story. In fact, Empowered vol. 3 as a whole represents arguably the high-water mark for sheer tonnage of bondage imagery in the series, in part because of a desperate and badly misjudged deadline decision I had to make later in the volume. Ah, but I’ll no doubt address this bad call in detail when we reach the story “Mysterious Dumbass” in 80-odd pages or so.
Speaking of misjudgments and poor decisions on my part, stand by also for a high degree of implied skeeviness in this story as well, to a degree I presently find unacceptable. This bad call hinges on an interpretation of the so-called “Unwritten Rules”—which govern interactions between Empverse bad guys and superheroes—that I rethought almost immediately thereafter. Much as in two not-dissimilar Rules-related missteps in Empowered vol. 2, I needed a while yet to iron out exactly how the Rules worked, and this less-than-ideal planning shows quite clearly, I’m afraid. In any event, I’ll address the issue at hand in a few pages, when the aforementioned skeeviness raises its ugly—and, also, confused—head.
I didn’t want to spike this story, though, as it contains a nice scene between Emp and Thugboy, even though part of said sequence may be pretty g-d emotionally brutal for readers sympathizing with poor Emp. (Which is, I hope, most readers of the series.) Also, as Meta Emp mentions, “Heroine Hold ’Em” features strongly high-contrast, Sharpie®-marker-based artwork, some of which still holds up quite well to my jaundiced, present-day day eye.