Panic. Confusion. Tears of devastation. Yells as crash carts streak down sterile hallways. This is just the start to the latest Empowered Special One-Shot from Dark Horse Comics.

This looks like a messy one.

Empowered is a superhero/comedy/drama/action/adventure/ecchi comic series from Adam Warren that follows the title character Empowered as she tries to carve out a place within the superhero community — all while trying to overcome body image issues and constantly being tied up and gagged by every villain that exists. She is a super powerful woman surrounded by other flawed individuals that are coping in their own way with shortcomings. It is a series that does not take itself too seriously, but at the same time has very sobering and serious undertones that we all can relate to.

Warren starts the first few pages of the issue in the middle of some great catastrophe that has many mortally injured, dead, or in complete shock. Our heroine is left speechless in the hospital hallway, shaken and devastated. Shortly after we see Empowered (Emp for short)  reeling from the trauma happened around her, we get what appears to be a flashback into the events leading up to the massive catastrophe, which is all drawn and colored by *Drum roll* … Brandon Graham! An awesome treat for this one-shot special is the guest artist/colorist Brandon Graham, who has also done the cover art for this issue. Where Warren does tone of hues of grays, Graham adds eye-popping color as contrast with well done penciling.

Non-Adam Warren Image

Emp and Ninjette have to stop a gigantic, floating alien mother from destroying everything (the city at least) by submitting to the request from Dr. Big McLarge Huge (admit it, this name is kind of awesome) to do surgery on her much smaller infant baby who has an expansive “universe” inside of it. There is also a pretty cool elevator that may defy and bend space, time, and temporal realities. This elevator is very complex and firm advice is given to not get off on the wrong floor. DO NOT GET OFF ON THE WRONG FLOOR. Cannot tell you how that pans out for Emp and Ninjette, as it would just spoil the carefully crafted story, but I can say that it really made me wonder how it all was going to connect at the end of the issue.

What I can say is that the end of the story brings us back to Emp and Ninjette in the elevator where we get a  very cerebral, emotional, unsettling, and memorable ending. I can honestly say I’m still somewhat haunted by the conclusion and hope that the main cast manages to see another day.

Final Impressions:                  

Warren makes this one-shot a well crafted story that manages to be satisfying from start to finish and come full circle, all while making great use of the talents of another artist. While I expected to see more of Warren’s artwork presented here, I did not feel disappointed at any of the exposure to Graham’s artistic talents.

Reading the Empowered one-shots is a great way to introduce any new reader to the series so they don’t need to wade in issue after issue of content. That fact that Warren adds a nice recap page of all the vital things you need to know allows readers (both new and seasoned) to enjoy the story off the bat. In addition to this, like all the other one-shots, it adds a little something extra to the overall universe and characters. However you don’t need to read the one-shots to enjoy or fully understand the rest of the universe, like some other comic titles and publishers may do.

If you want a fun read that can either act as a sample of the series for the new or more welcomed story for current veterans, then you need to pick up this issue and brag about it to everyone, even pets … or a belt on the coffee table that has a all-powerful cosmic demon with an incredible vocabulary (If you read any of the series you would know more about this one).

It is interesting to not see Emp getting tied up and gagged at least once. Like to think it helped her self-esteem a little, even with the body image issues still holding true.

If you want to pick up this series, do so from the following outlets:
Comixology, Comic Shop Locator, TFAW, My Comic Shop, Dark Horse Digital, and Midtown Comics

Overall Score
95 %

Fun in an alien life form is just darn good under the pen of Adam Warren. A solid One-Shot to read!

Story 90%
Art 90%
Pacing 100%
One-Shot Awesomeness 100%

About The Author

Blake writes reviews for DestroyTheCyborg! on all manner of fun and geeky things. He is a unique mixture of snark and sarcasm sprinkled atop an extensive knowledge of pop culture, particularly in the way of comics, music, and literature. He has amassed a collection of books and comics large enough to land him a starring role in an episode of "Hoarders" and often requiring a trip to close out furniture stores for yet another bookshelf to house them all. But with all that collecting comes knowledge…of damn near every character or story arc in all things comic related (even the stuff he hasn't read... at all). Seriously, just ask him. When he's not writing reviews or reading comics, usually he can be found with his other love, music, particularly of the jazz and blues variety. Or regaling those around him with completely random yet super detailed stories or factoids picked up from god only knows where.

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