Thursday, July 5, 2012

Femme Fatale Moment

In a world that is nothing short of parody of some of the most popular Super Heroes/Heroines, Empowered is the epitome of every Damsel In Distress Heroine out there and her series has no qualms showing off her perils and rope burns. In an entertainment medium that is hard to muster something original anymore, Empowered is merely highlighting the very large underground following of the Bondage/D.I.D community. She is bondage prone, her suit seems to fail on her at every living moment of her crime fighting which is the main reason for her constantly getting into a bind, and then of course the wacky casts of villains that seems to adhere to her ever so infamous reputation of always being trussed up. Take away some of the more blatantly sexual and crude means of bondage, Empowered had (and is) experienced the whole lot of positions. From chair ties, to pole ties, hog ties, upside down. Her captures had also exposed her to duct tape, chains, BDSM bindings, and of course ropes. Of course what is all of that tying up without gags right? Cleave gag knots, over the mouth, holly wood cleave gag (the one that doesn't work), ball gag... Empowered is a fan service character to say the least, and Adam warren had illustrated her and all her perils with that said intention.

With that out of the way, I can now add the details as to why she is a femme fatale in my book. I mean, a femme fatale should spend more time kicking ass than actually getting her ass handed to her, right? Yes and no, actually. While in the general definition it would be just that, my definitive of a femme fatale doesn't exactly fall short in just their prowess, how potent their powers are, and their 'natural' good looks. A lot of the factor as to why Emp is even in this category for me is because she is entertaining; her world and her interaction with it. Now yes, as a D.I.D/Bondage fan myself I rather do find it enticing that she is a service to that genre, however, putting it pass that now, Adam warren not only draws her well, but also writes her with bar none humor in this medium.

The compelling part of Empowered doesn't always fall into her distressing positions, but the world around her and the characters that plays into her life. Suffice to say, how she reacts to them and her rapport with some of them creates a unique, sometimes soft hearted, lustful, and crude vibe that grows potent and even offers some twists in the six issues I have read. While I will not exactly spend a huge amount of time delving into every tedious detail of what had transpired the last few issues, I will flat out say that our plucky and less than lucky heroine started out with very little to zero support until she met her boyfriend known as Thugboy and then much later on she is chained and gagged by a kunoichi who is currently her one and only best friend, Ninjette. Other than that she was usually bombarded by scrutinizing and far less than gratifying words from her 'teammates'. The more obtrusive one of the bunch is none other than Sistah Spooky. Unknown to Emp, this sexy little sorceress and mistress of the dark arts had always had a thing against well endowed blonde bombshells, which of course Emp herself fits the description, but not the attitude.

There are many others, villains and heroes/heroines alike who would give Emp her everyday strife, and the collection of these casts shifts drastically (or not at all, depending on how Mr. Warren wants some of these folks played out) through out the volumes. Some are even a black and white contrast rapport, Sistah Spooky being one of them as she becomes Emp's more cordial team member in the more recent issues. Of course the dialogue between Emp and her characters are what makes it the definitive core of just how entertaining it is. Just the vocabulary alone of The Caged Demonwolf! While the use of rather less than prominent words through his conversations is rather impressive enough, the fact that his interaction with Emp, Ninjette, and Thugboy brings nothing short of laughter. Sexual, sports team debate, or even sometimes his tirade even brings a confidence booster to Emp's less than confident self is what usually comes out of this once omnipotent Lord of Darkness.

I can go on and on about how amusing her rogue galleries of friends, villains, teammates, and misc characters can be, but that would take out far more than enough space in this rant. Let me delve into one of the main compelling thing about Empowered and that is obviously her bondage scenario. Adam Warren makes no illusive methods to hide the fact that this is indeed a fan service graphic novels as well with the heavy emphasis on Emp's distressing positions. I can posts pictures left and right about all her different bondage exploits, however that would take too much space and it would do more justice to check them out in Mr. Warren's deviant art page (Adam Warren: Empowered), or buy the graphic novels themselves. Trust me, there will be no harm done if you have a fascination for manga, comic books, loves humorous vibe in your readings, and of course if you have a fetish/interest in the bondage genre. What I am here to highlight is the more than artistic way Adam makes the whole Damsel In Distress genre have some sort of logical reasoning. Some, but you can only go so far to explain a certain fetish of course! But Mr. Warren's explanation does indeed offer a very feasible reason in regards to the why and the whats in Emp's world and her bondage.

Basically in a nutshell, Emp's powers comes from her less than reliable suit (origin is still quite vague, all we know is that it was mailed from the sky. Haha!) which rips and tears so easily. even the tiniest hole will strip Emp of (most) of her super strength, her ability to throw her signature 'vorp' beam, her durability, and other things there suit seems to be capable of (later on we find out that she has x-ray visions, HER SUIT can turn invisible which seems useless at first but it has a rather helpful use later on, the ability to stick to walls like Spider-Woman, and perhaps other things that has yet to be revealed). Needless to say, Emp has some super powers that can topple a few baddies with no problem, however the damage prone suit very often fails which gets her tied up left and right! Now there is an unwritten law in the Emp universe where the villains can't murder the heroes after beating them otherwise Emp would've been long gone a long time ago. That cardinal rule is rarely broken but to deal with the meddling heroine, well, we all know the result, don't we?


Does whatever... A Spider Woman can?

These little act of valor don't usually last...

See what I mean?

The more impressive part of Adam Warren's work on Empowered is that his creativity seems to be infinite for it has been seven issues and every single book still holds its potency of being hilarious, action packed, tragic in some sense, and of course sensual for those who see bondage in such light. But to avert back the attention to the main gal of the series, Empowered herself isn't short on a personality. While she can be your typical good hearted, save everyone, super friendly, and plucky heroine, Emp has some major issues that goes on with her daily indulging of her bondage shenanigans. Constantly a laughing stock of her own super hero team and the community in general, Emp struggles with the idea of being noteworthy of being a heroine even though she constantly puts on the costume with very little hesitation when someone is in need. Despite her knowledge of probably being another hostage or just to be a prank of the super villain community (or her own teammates for that matter) she still fights the good fight. As her boyfriend Thugboy would had stated to her, she is the essence of a real hero. She goes out there with all her vulnerability and her helplessness to save those who are in need of saving. Her courage, her perseverance and her durability (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually) is what makes her even more of a stand up person than her teammates.

Now Emp isn't always a damsel in distress, mind you. 10% of her career (or maybe I'm just being plain nice, it's probably less, but hey! Give the poor girl her credit, alright?!) does have some pretty badass moments. The pity of those said moments is that barely anyone ever sees them! And sometimes her own quality for serving the greater good has ramifications against her already tainted reputation. A good example of this is in Issue 4, the whole dilemma at the Super Hero awards. Ninjette's capture also led to her most prominent and probably most ass kicking moment is when her suit (debatably a sentient being) turned into this demon/angel like form with wings and blasted the living hell out of the ninjas after her Kunoichi friend. For some reason, she doesn't remember that. And her greatest victory now backed up by the words of her former greatest rivalry and very respected member of the Super Homeys comes from Issue 6 and the problem carrying over to Issue 7. So needless to say, she does have her moments... but, again, we go back to the idea that her real savoring moments for the sake of fan service is of course on her bondage scenarios.

Now one more thing to add to Emp's personality. She might be the sweetheart and whole 'I'll save everyone' kind of girl, but her mouth (probably why it's gagged... among other reasons) is potent with smart aleck comments and some real sass when needs be. While she rarely let that out in front of her teammates, Emp can be a very intimidating individual when she needs to be. But her more friendly side and her lack of self confidence does over take that side of her more often than not.

And on a closing note perhaps on the matter of Empowered herself... Can we see the similarities between the two Femme Fatales please?

A very adamant proof that Spider-Woman influenced Emp.

As a whole, Empowered offers more than just bondage girl action. While yes on cover that it's leaning in to the community of D.I.D and bondage fetished geeks, but inside all seven volumes are something far more intricate than the knots that holds Emp hostage (boo yah! good pun!). Again I could keep digging to the events that makes this series note worthy, but I believe it's worth a buy! Anyone who is into the genres Adam Warren is targeting will get something out of Emp! She is just lovable and for those who want to go that direction, she could be something else (I jest). So... here are my closing pictures in this topic of Femme Fatale!

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