The presence of a taped-up Emp and a little-fanged Ocelotina should give readers a hint that, yes indeed, we are now approaching the “Damsel-in-Distress” portion of Empowered vol. 5. As I mentioned in vol. 4’s commentaries, the “DiD” bondage imagery that originally spawned the series (as a string of “superheroine-laid-low” commissions) was largely sidelined by this point as overarching, long-term plotlines took over the volumes. Howeva, as DiD fans still made up a possibly substantial part of the series’ readership—maybe?—I kept working with the trope, but mainly in isolated stories such as this one. Ah, but said discrete episodes tend to feature a lot of such imagery, so stand by for frowniness (as Emp might put it) if you’re not a fan of the ol' distress.
return of Cartoonishly Big-Headed Emp in this shot, a periodic
stylistic flourish which has vanished entirely from my current-day work.
Nowadays, I lean very much in the opposite direction, with present-day,
softer & heavier Emp usually sporting a proportionately smaller
head—to the point that I have to guard against accidentally turning her
into a veritable Robert Crumb girl in some excessively stylized shots. Whoops!