Panel 1: Note that I always use “SHRIPP” for a sound effect when Emp’s suit tears—and never something like “RIPP,” which to me veers dangerously close to a literalistic sound FX like “RIP.” I have an overwhelming and not entirely explicable antipathy for literal, concept-based sound FX like “LEAP!” or “POINT!”—even in a theoretically humorous basis. This might be because I was rubbed wrong by early parodies of manga that leaned heavily on the misbegotten, misguided joke of “LEAP!” and its ilk, which completely miss the point that manga sound FX are, in fact, sound FX and not conceptual in nature. That is, we’re “hearing” a phonetic katakana approximation of the noise made by someone leaping—akin to the sound FX “THAPP” I often use for someone launching off the ground—and not a g-d kanji character representing the concept of a leap. Note also that the crappy exclamation point in “LEAP!” adds a crappy cherry on top of the crappy sundae, as I also despise punctuation in sound FX with the fire of a thousand suns.
Wonky Emp drawing in Panel 2, alas, with just a touch of the ol’ Torso Glitch combining with some flawed figure proportions. Tragic, really, how Past Me never fails to disappoint Present Me. Then again, as I’m grinding through a especially difficult, challenging and disheartening workweek right now, Present Me is also doing a pretty good job of disappointing Present Me.
While I’m banging on poor ol’ panel 2, I should also note also that, whoops, Emp’s hair suddenly grew way too long here. This is an exaggerated stylistic flourish which recurs through the early volumes of Empowered seemingly without rhyme or reason—though I suspect it had something to do with the background behind Emp being either boring or nonexistent.
Panel 3: “Rip it good,” of course, is a straightforward and obvious Devo "Whip Ity Good" reference, as opposed the next, seemingly puzzling line. Ah, but “I don’t think so, Roy!” is, as we’ll eventually see, not quite as cryptic as you might think. (You might well be wondering, “Who’s Roy?”) In fact, the line might not be cryptic in the slightest—if you happen to recall a very particular episode of a certain TV show from 20-odd years ago. More on this later, of course.
Panel 6: As you might guess, “Bring it on through, sweetcakes!” is yet another obscure reference, the source of which will soon be revealed to you poor, benighted and unenlightened lot who have no idea what the hell I’m babbling about.
Panel 7: “Rips ahoy!” Not a old TV-show callback but, apparently, a reference to the chocolate-chip cookie Chips Ahoy!—and don’t forget the exclamation point, dagnabbit!