Panel 3: Yikes! That’s some serious shuriken damage—or boken, meaning stick-shaped projectiles—to that hapless dude in the background, huh? Ouch! (This ninja clan’s fondness for shuriken barrages does become a bit of a plot point later on, as you might guess.)
Panel 4: This was a reference to the then-popular(-ish?) website “Hot Chicks with Douchebags,” which I was often browsing for photoreference back then—both for the “Hot Chicks” (as Emp or Ninjette ref) and the “Douchebags” (who, if “ripped” enough, were occasionally decent Thugboy ref). Alas, I hadn’t yet devised the evocative term “douchecapes” circa the first printing of Empowered vol. 2, and instead initially used the clumsier term “CapedDouchebags” for the website name.
Panel 5: Yeahp, as we’ll see later on down the road, Ninjette is indeed a “Ninja Princess,” but this has seemingly aristocratic status poses some distinctly ominous implications for her...