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Headscratchers: Empowered
  • At the end of Vol. 5, Spooky was literally just a few seconds too late to save Mindf██k. Had Emp gone through the portal immediately, rather than waste time by having to be forced through, she would have been able to alert the others sooner, giving Spooky the few extra seconds she needed. By trying to be noble, Emp actually ended up ruining Mindf██k's chance at rescue.
    • Did she have any way of knowing that Spooky would be right there when she arrived, though? I figured that was just lucky (or almost lucky) coincidence.
      • Seriously. The only one with an ability to see the future is Sistah Spooky, and even she couldn't get anything more than "three seconds too late." Not to mention that Mindf██k was already ready to die. Cut Emp some slack, will you?
      • Let's also not forget that if Sistah Spooky had let the whole 'Flaxen-haired Aryan Conspiracy' go, and been a good teammate and positive force of support for Emp, then Emp would have believed in herself much more and Mindf██k would have jumped through the portal, no arguments made.
      • There is also the 'unescapable prophecy' aspect of the situation. Sister Spooky was always going to be 'three seconds too late' because that's what her prediction had told her.
  • Was it Emp's mind or the suit that gave Mindf██k the impression that it was false confidence about surviving the destruction of the space station. I've re-read it a lot, and wonder about that.
    • It was the suit, unquestionably, absolutely without a doubt. The Caged Demonwolf lampshaded it earlier on with a heavy dose of Foreshadowing ("And given the happenstance dire due to transpire in the future very near she would be especially interested to learn about your more exotic secrets, such as your hidden ability to mimic a human mind's so-called "thoughtstream"). It knew full-well, even if Emp didn't, that it DIDN'T have enough power for her to survive re-entry, so it mimicked Emp's brainwave pattern to fool Mindf██k. Read Mindf██k's description of Emp's "thoughtstream" just before she forces Emp through the portal ("No, I can't! I'd be committing suicide! Please, save me!") That doesn't sound like Emp at ALL. Emp was frightened but she believed there was at least a chance she'd survive re-entry so, being a hero, she was willing to take that chance rather than force Mindf██k to sacrifice herself. The suit had to save her from her own heroism.
  • What would happen with the suit... if you tore it apart and threw away the bits? This definitely happened once, when that girl future-Ocelotina stripped Emp. The suit regrows, we know that, but what happens with the other bits? Do they "die"? Do they grow into another full suit? Or does it only regrow if it contains the mask?
    • They probably act like normal pieces of plastic or whatever the suit's made of. And since volume 3 shows the suit acting autonomously of Emp's involvement, it probably regrows based on where the suit intends.
      • Most likely, the suit regenerates from the portions remaining on Emp herself.
  • Why doesn't Thugboy just teach her how to snipe? The girl's got a variety of super-vision powers, strength enough to use guns much larger than he can, no real code against killing, and access to SuperHomey resources (which probably includes some really good gunsmiths). Combined with the fact that her suit apparently doesn't lose its abilities notably when she's just wearing bandolier-sized straps over it (like the gear that she caught the Caged Demonwolf in), and she'd seem to be a natural at it, and being effective in any way at all would do wonders for her confidence. Though as Ninjette can attest, girl does still need to work on her aim.
    • My guess is that she wouldn't feel comfortable. The suit is, for Emp, her source of super-powers, but a sniper rifle would be, for Emp, the thing she's supposed to use for killing people, and ONLY for killing people. She'd be nervous around it. Still, Thugboy ought to TRY to convince her at least.
    • Besides, the SuperHomies are probably really tight-fisted — her associate membership just gets you medical, training facilities and (limited) use of the portal network. If she has to have a day job to pay the bills, her heroing salary's probably minuscule. Guns and ammo aren't cheap.
    • All that aside, there's probably some Unwritten Rule about Superheroes using real firearms — laser-eye-beams and lever-action plasma guns, sure (and the guy with an artillery piece for a head), but using a mundane slug-thrower would be out of the question. This could be for some practical or legal reason (A laser could hypothetically have a non-lethal setting, but a .50 cal doesn't, and since Heroes and Villains generally don't actually kill one another...), or just be because the classic concept of Superheroes doesn't include mundane modern firearms.
    • Given she used Phallik's spear to try to kill DeathMonger (er, again) in a surprise attack, then left him to die in a nuclear explosion, I'd say her code against killing has been amended to 'only in the case of Complete Monsters'. She could keep the spear.
      • None of which answers the question of why Thugboy, who's a crack-shot verging on the superhuman, doesn't give Emp some lessons in markmanship. Combine literal point-and-shoot non-ballistic attacks with enhanced vision, and if she ever thinks to ask for it, probably a targeting reticule, and she'll finally be hitting her targets reliably. This would be very good for her self-esteem.
      • I have a really good grasp (I think) on why she doesn't: Remember MacGyver? WHAT'S THE ONE THING HE WON'T USE? Guns. EVER. The only time he does is to... Shoot. Down. A. DOOR. I would swear to God that's the same reason. She's noble, honest and incorruptibly pure. She's a Friend to everything determinator who will take NO CRAP from anything even remotely hostile.
      • There's a couple reasons, better than just a no-gun policy. Becoming an expert sniper would both take a lot of time and practice, and she wouldn't be able to use any of her other powers when doing so. She *has* saved the day and taken out plenty of tough foes with her super strength, and sniping puts her out of range to use any of that. Also it's not very on-the-fly, it requires retreating to a sniper's perch, not so go when needing to rescue someone inside the villain's lair or otherwise do door-busting action, which is likely common. Sure, it's a useful skill to have but it requires carrying around a rifle and is situational. For close in work she'd require pistols, which is quite a bit more training. Also she'd probably lose all benefit of villains or thugs not trying to kill her. Emp doesn't have a no-kill policy, but she limits her kills to those who do likewise, all those thugs and such she takes out en mass end up with plasma burns and a trip to the prison hospital. So, lots of training requires to get good at it, losing options, doesn't complement her existing abilities, and sets a take-no-prisoners situation for both sides.
    • In other words, sniping is not only hard to learn but extremely situational. Is not an all-killing-technique that many fanboys proclaim it is, since, by its definition, is an ambush weapon and is completely useless in close combat. Not to mention that it would be useless against many superheroes, supervillains and Ninjas (remember that Thugboy and his group used not only snipers but extremely heavy weaponry and even he accepted that they never went against an above C-class) and would make the act of heroing completely useless. While Emp is not above killing when is necessary, sniping is about only killing unless you are extraordinarily good. Just compare how many Dictators (Hitler, Staling, Castro, Mussolini, Mao), criminals and enemies where put against professional snipers and came without so much a dishevelled hair for example.
      • All of this is true, but none of it answers the question of why Thugboy doesn't try tho give her marksmanship lessons. Not sniping, marksmanship. There is a great deal of difference.
      • Because it'd be completely wasted on her? Emp is not going to use guns, she doesn't have anywhere to store those guns on her suit, it's a purely lethal option which wouldn't fit with Emp's fighting style, and it would raise questions that Thugboy would rather not answer (like how a "Witless minion" got to be so good with guns). Plus he chewed Ninjette out (albiety more jokingly) about how making criminals think Emp was more dangerous than she really was could result in them being rougher and put her life in danger. If she pulls out a gun there's a chance that someone might decide that it's better to break one of the unwritten rules than end up with a bullet in the face.
      • Let's try this again. Marksmanship does not require the use of firearms; it is the skill of precise targeting with a ranged weapon. One can be an expert marksman with a gun, or a bow, or a crossbow, or one's hypermembrane-generated energy blasts. How can it be bad for Emp to be able to hit her targets reliably?
      • ... Let's try this again: Learning how to shoot well does not ADD to Emp's hero efficiency in the short term, and even if she reaches Thugboy's competency level (aka super-sniper), will STILL NOT ADD to Emp's hero efficiency level in at least about half the cases she comes across. Also, even at super-sniper levels, (a) she can still accidentally kill, something she really don't want to do except for certain, rare cases (remember, she's a HERO, not an ANTI-HERO), and (b) she really don't want to DIE, and having a gun means the other guy will be so much more willing to "off" her. On top of that, (c) learning how to fire energy blasts is different from learning how to shoot anti-material sniper weapons (Thugboy's supposed specialty) as much as said sniper weapon is different from pistols. Now that you understand this... please remove this natter.

  • 1. Ninjette has already worked on marksmanship with EMP. Since EMP primary uses hand fired beam weapons, Thugboy's experience with shooting doesn't apply as much. 2. Remember what happened when Thugby tried sniping in a heavy hitter battle? He took out three grunt targets, then got incapacitated. A .50 cal sniper rifle certainly wouldn't have helped EMP out when she took out Deathmonger or Dwarf. 3. Sniping tactics would work best on thugs and low level capes...the thugs and low level cape who predominantly stick to the "unspoken rules". Even for a regular cape, wantonly killing off those guys would be bad mojo in terms of super heroics, and would bring about an escalation of violence from villain capes. That last bit is a LUDICROUSLY big deal for EMP, as low level thugs and bad guy capes constantly capture her. What do you think they'd do if they knew she'd been sniping and killing off thugs and capes? I think we can reasonably conclude that "Sniper EMP" is a bad idea.
  • What about Emp's wings? It is strange... they look like the "bones" of bat wings, but there's obviously nothing in between. How could she fly with that? And can her supersuit get hard and stable enough, so they could be used for that purpose in the first way?
    • My theory is that they're a kind of gravity-nullifier, rather than wings per se.
  • Emp's suit rips very easily, as we know. How does that work when she walks over a somewhat coarse ground, like, you know, an ordinary tarred street, or stony ground? She doesn't (and can't) wear footwear over it, and it's never stated that the soles are more solid than the rest of the suit.
    • The suit protects her physically even when damaged. It was already torn up when the shark bit her, and when she got stomped into the ground by the huge robot thing in an early issue. The suit was trashed, but she didn't squish. And it was mostly shredded when she went out into space carrying Mindf██k. It only seems to work against gross physical damage; she can be safely bitten by a shark, but gets ropeburn from nylon rope. I'd say it's probably mundane power utility (can't remember the trope name exactly. :P ), because if just standing up robs you of your superpowers, what's the point?
    • In addition, the suit would only tear if rubbed against the abrasive area, and maybe not even that. Merely stepping on rough surfaces does not provide sufficiently high pressure to pierce the suit, fragile though it may be.
      • But running (or maybe even walking) would. Think about the kind of wear and tear an average pair of running shoes go through from constant use and abuse. Now imagine if those running shoes had the consistency of soap-bubble-latex.
      • Aha ha, but what about the constant suggestion that Emp's suit and its powers are based on her self-esteem and what she's thinking about at the time? She doesn't even consider that the suit might tear at the bottom and her feet wouldn't be protected, so it doesn't, everything else, the blasting powers, sticking to things, showing every inch of skin it can, she worries and obsesses over, so it feeds off that.
      • Maybe, but that assumes the self-esteem hypothesis is actually true. At the moment, we have no idea if it is. All we know is the suit tears at the slightest provocation, yet for some inexplicable reason this does not apply to her feet. And even if the self-esteem hypothesis were true, why would her feet be exempt? Why would she be concerned about showing skin everywhere except her feet? We've seen the suit get ripped up on her calves, her forearms, her hands, and her fingers. If the suit gets ripped up in places where she is most self-conscious about, wouldn't that imply that she's self-conscious about her goddamn fingers? Why on Earth would that be?
      • As seen in volume 7, if she isn't aware of the tearing and missing fabric, she doesn't lose the powers. Before anyone brings up the weightlifting or wall-climbing instances where she "couldn't" have been aware of the ripping, they are both accompanied by an audible ripping sound. While, logistically, the bottom of her costumes feet should tear, if she isn't aware of the tearing, it doesn't affect her powers.
  • Okay, so the Witless Minions tried to do their usual scam by pretending to be Willy Pete's minons, and it didn't work out so well. But here's my question; why did Willy even need minions? From what we've seen of him, he doesn't really do any "super crime," he just rapes people to death and eats them. He's more a super powered serial killer than a regular super villain. So what did he need a gang for?
    • He probably just contacted them so he can screw with them... literally.
    • I thought they contacted him as part of their scam. Perhaps he initially thought minions would help him capture heroes for death raping.
    • For that matter, in the off-chance that he didn't intend to skull-fuck them to death once they'd outlived their usefulness, how did he intent to pay them? He obviously can't handle money without incinerating it. Not saying that he ever intended to keep his end of the deal, but the fact that he literally couldn't if he wanted to should have been a big red flag for them when they took the job.
      • Actually, the fact that he can't handle anything without incinerating it is the perfect reason to hire minions, if you think about it. Someone has to physically manipulate things for him.
      • In the flashback Willy Pete does say he was using them for Superhero bait.
  • So...yeah, Capitan Rivet. What is he exactly? A robot? A living suit of armor like that kid from Fullmetal Alchemist? Some kind of golem? Also, why Capitan Rivet? Is he latino?
    • I can't say anything about the name, but he is a kind of robotty thing, he was transformed by a swarm of nanomachines he contracted from sex with another robot superhero, additionally at one point he was ripped in half, but was fine later, so presumably he repaired himself, which wouldn't be possible if he was just a guy in a suit.
      • That wasn't the Capitan in the superhero STD group, it was a totally different robot-like hero. Reread the "Love Changes Everything" chapter, the guy doesn't look ANYTHING like Rivet.
    • In the latest one-shot, Rivet calls himself a "stainless steel golem."
  • Adam Warren's pop-culture sensibilities are very firmly set in the mid-90s. Reading his dialogue is about as jarring as a comic set in 1990 that constantly used disco slang would be.
  • This may be a personal thing, but Emp considers Ninjette's butt to be better than hers, since it's more muscular and toned. But it's also smaller and less soft than hers, so how is that better?
    • She's a woman with body image issues. It doesn't have to make sense.
  • Anglerfish claims that his son never did any "serious crimes." Apparently he doesn't think rape is a serious crime. (Even if Anglerfish himself has a skewed perspective about lurelight-based consent, Emp doesn't call him on it.)
    • Mind, it's quite possible the threshold of consent gets quite screwed around here. The Lurelight hallucinations are definitely sketchy, but it's shown that they're not a total hypnosis, just something that people project their innermost desires onto. Quite possible that Anglerfish Jr. didn't bother with the whole tie-up/kidnapping deal and simply used his lurelight to give the girls what they wanted to see, or otherwise simply misrepresented himself to get them to give it up willingly. Low and unethical, but avoiding the line of rape under most law.
      • If such a thing existed, it would be rape under the current law. Consent given under mind-altering effects isn't valid.
      • Not necessarily. In most jurisdictions, at least in the United States, there would be a serious question of how mind-altering the effect was. For example, someone who is completely drunk is usually considered legally unable to consent, but a person who has had a glass of wine, which would be a mind-altering effect, is able. Moreover, plenty of people engage in very drunken sex with no rape charges ever being filed or even contemplated; this happens all the time, in fact. For that matter, a jury is free to say, yes, the two of you clearly had sex, and you were clearly drunk, but we are not going to convict the defendant of rape because of whatever circumstances we think are relevant. If Anglerfish's powers are just to create illusions, a jury might conclude that a person who had sex with whom was tricked into doing so, but that that does not amount to rape.
    • It's possible that Kid Anglerfish was perfectly upfront with women about his power, and they agreed to have sex with him because it would appear to be someone else, most likely someone they fantasise about but couldn't actually sleep with. Black capes with Foe Yay towards white capes, for example.
    • I'm pretty sure that Emp just doens't want to kick a man who's lying down, and that's why he doesn't call her on what counts as "serious crimes". Anglerfish himself just doesn't like to regard his son as a bad person. I's kind of how people always say that "h's in bad company" — it's always the company that's bad.
  • At one point Thugboy tells Emp that most capes aren't like the Superhomeys, and act more like cops than anything else. It's also pretty clear they're pretty commonplace in this world (amongst other things, Emp did her major in superhuman studies) and mostly likely every major city has at least a few. Point being, there are a lot more capes out there she could work with and probably several superteams she could join. Maybe the Superhomeys are the big leagues, but if there are other options for Emp to still be a superhero, why is she sticking with a bunch of media-obsessed asshats who mostly hate her guts?
    • I got the impression that Emp's reputation is so damaged by her constant humiliations that she couldn't get in with any other group. The Superhomeys, to an extent, act like they are stuck with her.
    • Emp does point out that the reason that she moved to that city at all is because it's basically a Super Human Mecca. Going to any other team might mean moving away and losing a lot of the immediate close by benefits.
    • OTOH if Thugboy thinks most capes aren't as bad as the Superhomeys why does he seem to hate capes so much? I can understand a criminal disliking cops but, at times, he seems one 'good reason' away from repeating the San Angelo Massacre.
      • "Not as bad" is not the same as "good". Thugboy sees the good in some capes, like Emp and Maidman (and maybe Ninjette, depending on whether he considers her a cape). The rest can go take a long walk off a short pier as far as he's concerned. They are all, to a man, arrogant power-mad assholes in his opinion. The Superhomeys are just the worst of the lot.
  • Why doesn't Emp wear a bodysuit under her costume? I know she's said she can't wear anything under the suit, but since she did wear panties in one of the earliest strips, it's because any clothing would show and not because it would stop the supersuit working. With a full bodysuit underneath, though, only the seams would be visible and it would probably just look like costume detailing like many post-reboot DC superheroes have on theirs. It would (a) give the poor girl some more modesty when the supersuit inevitably tears, (b) provide a little figure shaping, (c) stop the suit from fritzing out so much since its powers are supposedly linked to her self-esteem due to the first two points, (d) avoid the 'wire-wool' problem and (e) possibly provide some extra protection depending on its material when the supersuit fails.
    • She can probably wear SMALL amounts of clothing under the suit (i.e enough for a pantyline gag) but if she tried to wear a full bodysuit she'd definitely short the suit out. It's a living biosuit which enhances her physical abilities, it DEFINITELY requires body contact to work for her.
    • Also, keep in mind the pantyline gag was the very first chapter of the very first book. It's likely Warren didn't have the specifics worked out yet.
      • Or that Emp hadn't worked out the specifics yet, since it was also early in her career with the Superhomies. Perhaps at some point she decided to go with the embarassment visible underwear instead of the em-bare-ass-ment of being naked when her suit gets ripped up, only to find out the hard way that her suit powers isn't compatible with underwear.
      • Or on the flipside, why not wear clothing *over* the suit? If the suit gives her powers only when its in contact with her skin, why not wear it as an inner leotard to a far less form-fitting outfit?
      • She can't. The suit fails when it's covered.
  • If Thugboy hates superheroes so much, why does he go by a superhero-style name?
    • Maybe it started as a nickname that stuck to him, and later on he just went with it. I could see one of the other Witless Minions or someone giving him a "super" name as a joke about how much he hates them.
    • Considering that Thugboy used to be a cape-killer and stole from supervillains, using a codename rather than his own seems like a very smart idea.
    • Also his 'super style name' is actually a pet name given to him by Emp. As for why he continues to use it see above.
  • Was Emp's Capey really a fake humiliation thing, or was Spooky messing with her again?
    • It sure appeared to be a set-up. dWarf/Fleshmaster says it was when she confronts him backstage, and seeing as he was part of the "in" crowd then, he probably overheard.
  • To what extent counts as clothing, as far as Emp's powers care? Would toilet paper on her heel short out the suit? That sounds stupid, but if not then couldn't something else not clothes — say, what they make towels out of — work great without any ill effects?
    • It would appear from book 7 that the suit is powered by Emp's self-esteem. But paradoxically, anything that covers her up doesn't count and short-circuits the suit. So my guess is that the TP would short out the suit, if she knew it was there, because it's humiliating.
  • How does Empowered have body issues when she's pretty much the Western ideal as far as appearance goes?
    • Many reasons. Her teammates only see her AS a body, and Western society has very rigid ideals of beauty most of the time.
    • The same way some real-life women can be unbelievably beautiful, yet when they look in the mirror they see a fat cow and run right to the bathroom to purge. Emp isn't anorexic or bulimic (so far as we know) but she does seem to have all the distorted body image bugaboos that go with those disorders.
    • Setting aside the "Western ideal," a lot of good looking people would have self-esteem issues if they were constantly getting captured by criminals while butt-naked, tied up, humiliated, and then had all that experience mocked on the internet. Repeatedly.
    • Because she may be the sexual ideal for a whole lot of men, but by celebrity media and fashion standards she's still got too much flesh.
    • Also, it's in the nature of things that beautiful people worry more about their appearance than do ugly people.
  • How exactly does the Superhomeys' trademark licensing and profit-sharing work, anyway? We know that Emp, as an associate member, doesn't get a share of any merchandising profits, but we also know that the Superhomeys use Emp's image in at least some of their promotions, as with the Superhomeys Experience. So is Emp not entitled to a share of the profits from merchandise or promotions that use her image? Do the Superhomeys control the rights to Emp's distinctive likeness? And if so, how could she agree to appear in Ocelotina's promotional videos using her own distinctive likeness? Did she have the Superhomeys' permission to do so? That seems unlikely, since contracts in which a person fully signs away the rights to his or her own distinctive likeness are generally held to be unenforceable in the United States as a matter of public policy. So did Emp license the use of her distinctive likeness to the Superhomeys without getting any share of the profits therefrom? Because if so, that contract might be unenforceable owing to want of consideration. So what is going on there?
    • Someone taking time off from studying for their 1L Property final? In any event, in practice any contract is "enforceable" so long as the parties are acting in accordance with it. Either Emp or whatever stands in for the NLRB in this universe would have to challenge the contract, and there's no indication that Emp would want to do that (her position in the hero community is tenuous enough) or how the court system would function without Emp revealing her secret identity to demonstrate standing. Further, one can sell their likeness rights without receiving a direct cut of the proceeds - that's the basic structure of college athletics.
  • Why is Mindf██k in hell? What could she have possibly done to deserve that?
    • She called herself a 'cruel big sister' when describing what happened to her brother. While it may be more than a little self-loathing of her own, she may have truly been a bad person before the 'incident'. Or maybe it's a matter of choosing hell because she believes she belongs there.
    • Also, we don't know exactly what we should make of that last panel of Mindf██k in volume 8. It might just be that the cubicle-demon made a bunch of Mindf██k-automata to screw with Spooky's head, and that one was just acting on its programming. You're also assuming that hell is necessarily permanent, but not every religion that believes in hell or something like hell believes that; some hold that hell is more like what you might think of as purgatory: the soul is punished in accord with its sins in life, after which it moves on to the remainder of the afterlife. Or, and this may seem harsh, maybe Mindf██k is there by her own choice because, as she herself said, she is an agnostic, and, having rejected G-d, she is in hell by definition. What is hell but the absence of G-d?
      • Agnosticism isn't a rejection of God. If it's a rejection of anything, it's of organized religion. It just means generally having an "I don't know" stance and mostly leaving it at that. The ISP seemed to be very clear on the whole "eternity" aspect of it, especially in regards to his own situation, so this isn't likely the temporary kind of Hell. I suppose it is possible, if horrifically depressing, that Mindf██k chose this destination for herself since she sees herself as a bad person. But considering the ISP's plan REQUIRED her, it seems he wouldn't leave that to chance. Perhaps he forced her soul's destination somehow. There are a lot of veriables to consider. Of course there is the chance that the Mindf██k at the end is another copy, but the way the scene is framed makes that doubtful. Though I definitely prefer to think of it that way, given the alternative is just awful.
  • Why does whoever edited most of Mindf██k's entries consider her to be seemingly as bad as her brother? I'm sure I've seen a handful that state she 'edited' herself to be better, but that's never stated in the book as being because she was actually as bad as her brother, more that she was afraid of becoming like him, so she edited out anything in her that could lead to that possibility. This is pretty much confirmed in Volume 8.
    • It's a wiki. If you disagree with how an entry is written, just fix it.

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