Panel 2: I recall, a few weeks back, being nonplussed by a commenter weighing in on an Empowered character's profile shot by describing the image as resembling a Dark Crystal gelfling. Where the hell have you been, Randomly Snarking Commenter? The type of profile view seen on Spooky here has been a commonly recurring trope of manga and anime character design for as long as I've been reading and watching both. Hell, I first picked up the riff while copying character designer Tsukasa Dokite's profile shots of Kei and Yuri from the 1985 Dirty Pair TV anime series out of an imported issue of Animage magazine, so this ain't exactly some uniquely idiosyncratic new flourish inherent to my artwork. Get educated, Randomly Snarking Commenter!
Panel 3: I might get into this in more detail later on, but one of the "Retirees" Spooky mentions was originally slated to make an appearance later on in Empowered vol. 9. Alas, I ran outta pagecount, so no-go on that score.