Panel 1: The line “An unconscious Emp’s subconscious” amuses me still, for some reason. Pity I didn’t have the space to expand it to “an unconscious (and self-conscious) Emp’s subconscious.” Just noticed a flaw, though: That last word should, of course, been “subconsciousness,” not “subconscious.” I realize that the technically incorrect use of “ness”-less adjective “subconscious” as a noun is slowly sneaking its way into common usage—and might hence be a valid usage in dialogue—but I’ve no excuse for using it in a caption.
Panel 1: That Emp profile shot at left really did not work out well at all. Bad show, 2006-Era Me! Not sure why this side-view shot went so far awry, either, as I wasn’t bungling such drawings all that frequently back then. Mysterious!
Several interesting bits—subsequently forgotten by me, for the most part—in the “subconscious” panel. Spooky whipped Emp’s behind in public previously, it seems? Emp is scared of spiders? No one really loves her? The reference to “those pictures” from Emp’s sophomore year in college seems an ominous one indeed. Keep in mind, though, that when I wrote this page in 2006, Emp’s college years would’ve predated the emergence of both the smartphone and the social-media explosion, so the opportunities for “embarrassing picture” issues would’ve been rather more limited back then. (Of course, now that her college years have timeslipped forward to fall within the timeframe of camera phones and social media, might be a different story.)
Panel 2: I rather like the slang term “supered” for cape-caused collateral damage, which would of course be a highly relevant issue in Emp’s suprahuman-infested—and, as always, unnamed—city. Have to try to remember this neologism for future use in the series.
Slightly puzzling issue: Presumably, the magic spell that Spooky used to fling these characters into the distance must have lowered them safely to the ground, otherwise they’d have been injured or killed. (Though, I suspect, some readers wouldn’t have minded seeing “future Ocelotina” splattered across the pavement, given her inexcusable handling—literally—of Emp. Then again, as I’ve exhaustively discussed earlier, that problematic scene was more my fault as a writer than the character’s.) Ah, but the leaves in their hair strongly hint that they crashed down through a tree upon landing, which seems at odds with such a non-lethal spell. On second thought, just occurred to me now that Spooky might have devised exactly such a “rollercoaster”-like spell to screw with the heads of non-superpowered opponents, that would launch them terrifying skyward and, seemingly, to their certain deaths before lowering them harmlessly to earth.
And yes, Treacherous Girl and Goatee Boy will return in Empowered vol. 3, but in rather different roles. Next time around, they’ll be victimizing Emp in a far more abstract manner, by ripping off her unfortunate reputation as a bondage-prone superheroine instead of literally ripping off her costume. (Hello, Ocelotina!)
Anyhoo, that’s the end of the often-problematic story “The Aryan Ideal of Shoulder Candy.” Tomorrow, onward with the vol.2 story “Wahh, Wahh, Wahh,” which presents a far more proactive role for our long-suffering heroine. (Maybe a little too proactive, in fact, given that Emp almost kills an obnoxious dude who underestimates her at his peril.)