Note the “forehead tear” on Emp’s bedraggled supersuit, a rarely seen image indicating that it deflected or absorbed a straight-on headshot. I’m not sure why this specific bit of suit damage is never, ever seen again; perhaps it indicated a little too much hostile intent on the shooters’ part? As opposed to the comparatively harmless targeting of our heroine’s body, perhaps? Your guess, I’m afraid, is as good as mine. In any event, after glancing at this page for the first time in years, I’ll very likely revisit the idea of Emp-mask damage in future Empowered volumes.
As for panel 1’s dialogue reference to “superblonde,” I should note that, at this very early point in the series’ development, our heroine did not yet have a name, whether superheroic or civilian. One of the (many) running jokes in Empowered is my extraordinary stinginess in fully identifying the characters; for example, even as of Empowered vol. 10, I’ve still not yet deigned to mention the real name of key character Thugboy. During this initial run of throwaway-joke short stories, I’d already dubbed the nascent project Empowered, as a theoretically ironic reference to our unnamed heroine’s status as a frequent, far-from-empowered “damsel in distress.” I hadn’t yet garnered the insight that her superhero name—or “supranym,” to use Empverse parlance—could, in fact, be Empowered. So, early on, one of my artist friends who’d seen the first round of strips did, in fact, refer to her as “Superblonde,” a reference forever immortalized by this page. (Thankfully, I never actually considered using that as her supranym.)