I find myself mystified that this particular Empowered vol. 1 story strikes me as noticeably better drawn than most of the other chapters. On this page, I find panel 3 especially strong, but the others have held up almost as well—including panel 1, which I believe features my very first attempt to draw the half-Japanese Thugboy with at least vaguely discernible epicanthic folds. Not that the attempt was successful, by the way, but I feel this was a commendable effort nonetheless. (I should hasten to clarify that Thugboy's ethnicity isn't actually mentioned in the series until a fair bit later on in vol. 1, in case new readers are puzzled by this reference.)
Alas, I have no explanation whatsoever as to exactly why this story might boast such unusually solid character depiction. I can guess, however, that this is almost certainly a second-generation redrawing of an earlier, shorter, cruder version of the same story. Presumably I was rocking a comics-artist version of the fabled “eye of the tiger” during the week I spent on this chapter, huh? Gotta say, inexplicably optimal production flow is a very real thing that can happen during a long-running project, even though I’m almost never able to figure out why the hell said “peak experience” awesomeness might be seizing me.