YMMV / Empowered

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Just how accurate are Sistah Spooky's recollections of her youth? Was every other girl in her school really an Aryan uberhotty? Or was that just how Theresa perceived them? How much was she bullied? Clearly she was bullied, but was it really by everyone, or did it just feel that way to her? And was she really bullied for her looks, or because she was gay? In one of her flashbacks we see one of her schoolmates angrily accusing her of having tried to kiss her. For that matter, just how gay is she? We know she had sex with a man on one occasion, but that was to hurt Emp, at least primarily. Is she basically straight, but Mindf██k was the exception, or is she bi, or is she gay, and Mindf██k was her type? Could it be that her issues with blondes are, in a sense, sour grapes? That is, blondes are her type, but because of her experiences in school, she so fears rejection by them that she compensates by hating them before they have a chance to reject her?
  • The Chris Carter Effect: There are quite a few plot threads that develop throughout the series, and some that are put on the backburner for several volumes. As entertaining as the series is, some fans are nervous that not everything will wrap up properly. This is acknowledged in the afterward of book 8, where Emp gripes about people always asking the author if he has an ending planned.
  • Complete Monster: For such a lighthearted series, Empowered sure manages to get a lot of brutal villains:
    • Willy Pete is a fire elemental, and darkens the comic's tone significantly. But he still has a man's appetites, which he satisfies with rapehe favors the eye sockets—and killing, which, in his case, are one and the same, thanks to his constantly superheated body. Because all normal food is incinerated on contact with him, he resorts to eating superheroes and supervillains. He doesn't even need to eat; he just does it because he likes the taste. At the end of Volume 5, he incinerates 8 of the 10 supers sent to stop him, and then For the Evulz followed by throwing as much fire as he could through the portal they came through without even knowing what was on the other end, thereby forcing Mindf██k into a Heroic Sacrifice to save Emp.
    • Ninjette's father only appears for a few panels, in Volume 7, but manages a lot of evil, and is likely the reason that Ninjette herself is an alcoholic like her father. He starts by putting her through Training from Hell, and emotionally abused her to the point where she still has self-esteem issues. Later on, when she is still underage, he betrothed his daughter to a Dirty Old Man of an allied clan, Ninjette tried to lose her virginity, as the deal was for a virgin bride, but her clan was too frightened of her father to take her up on the offer. Instead, she slept with her childhood friend who was prince of an allied clan. Her father's reaction was to slaughter his bodyguards, castrate the prince and stuff his genitals in his mouth before ripping his head off, fully knowing there'd be a war, despite being formerly allied with the clan. He then proceeded to beat his daughter so that for some she wouldn't "be able to walk…or eat solid food, or piss without blood…" In addition, he's been shown as raping Oyuki, a genin around his daughter's age—-in a way "anatomically unlikely to induce pregnancy"—and hires another clan to drag his runaway daughter back to the clan without hands or feet to serve as a broodmare. Ninjette's father, despite only being a human with no superpowers, is one of the most vile characters in the series.
  • Crack Pairing: The author himself has stated that he didn't expect the relationship between Ninjette and the Caged Demonwolf to become so... supportive.
  • Crazy Awesome: The Maidman's a MALE Ninja Maid, and being a Ninja Maid is awesome all by itself.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: The Jerkass-to-genuine-good-guy ratio leans pretty hard in the Jerkass direction and Cerebus Retcon is also on a high ratio (at least Volumes 7 and 8). The titular heroine being a Failure Hero with an elephant-sized dose of Dude, Where's My Respect? (and other Dysfunction Junction issues) balancing out her Determinator attitude can also trigger this. And then there's the fact that the biggest Complete Monster villains are still running around...
  • Iron Woobie: Emp takes all the horrible luck and daily humiliation brought about by her unreliable supersuit. She cries, moans, bitches, gets scared... and then she will get back up again, because she is a hero.
  • Les Yay: Ninjette towards Empowered. And Three-Drink Bisexual Emp towards Ninjette, or Maternal Instinct Emp towards Ninjette. Also, Sistah Spooky and Mindf██k, though those two actually HAD been together.
    • As with most things, this happens in-universe as well. Apparently there's a fairly sizable Empowered x Sistah Spooky fanbase (apparently for the exact reasons there'd be one out-of-universe: antagonism = hot sex). Empowered is quite annoyed at discovering said fiction, and has to use the "Well that's different!" defense when it's pointed out that she's an ardent fan of slashfic involving male heroes.
      • It's not just in-universe. When Ninjette asked Emp if she had ever really been spanked by Sistah Spooky, Emp refused to answer. And we have evidence that Emp is Spooky's type (Spooky may hate blondes, but she's clearly attracted to them too).
  • Moe: Empowered. Part of what attracted ThugBoy to her in their first encounter.
  • OT3: The series keeps dancing on the edge of making the three main characters (Emp, ThugBoy, and Ninjette) into an outright threesome. Emp is a three-drink bisexual who hits on Ninjette when drunk, Ninjette is barely able to hide her attraction to ThugBoy ("Aieee! Me canoe be swampin"!). Not sure if Ninjette has ever shown any attraction to Emp or ThugBoy to Ninjette, but it wouldn't take much prompting. Anyone's guess if this ends up as a love triangle or a ménage à trois... but the Demonwolf definitely has an opinion on how it SHOULD BE.

    And for additional rampant speculation fuel, witness Volume 5 in which Ninjette encounters a fellow (female) ninja disguised as ThugBoy, who proceeds to passionately kiss her until detected. Ninjette then claims the disguise was obvious because the ninja "kisses like a girl". A) This is yet more evidence that Ninjette has some interest in ThugBoy and B) Saying someone kisses like a girl implies the speaker actually knows what it's like to kiss a girl! So... yeah.
    • Ninjette's done more than kiss a girl: a little earlier in that Vol. 5 story, we learn that Ninjette consummated a woman's marriage disguised as her new husband.
    • Oh, ThugBoy's attracted to Ninjette: seeing her drop her panties or having her cuddle up against him gets his elephant trumpeting.
      • And then there is 'Jette's flushed contemplation on how sexy Emp is. It seems all the linkages are there.
  • Hollywood Pudgy: Somewhat subverted, considering Emp is drawn like most comic superheroines boob- and booty-wise, yet she still considers herself chubby as all get out. Lampshaded when another character dismisses this as "grenade-fishing for compliments".
  • Periphery Demographic: While the large amounts of Fanservice are ostensibly geared towards a young adult male audience the comic has a lot of female fans who enjoy it due to the interesting writing for the female characters and the presence of relatable themes such as empowerment and body image.
  • Ship Tease: Ninjette & the Maidman, Ninjette & ThugBoy, Ninjette & Empowered - I think we found our Launcher of a Thousand Ships.
    • Yup. And you can add Ninjette & Caged Demonwolf. The author himself has said he didn't expect her relationship with the Caged Demonwolf to develop so much. Example: He notices she's drinking more (pointing out that she's breaking her own rules of drinking) after a horribly close call and reassures her that her friends won't abandon her. Even if it's because he wants to see her in her tight shorts once more.
      • When Volume 7 hits, he takes a break from his usual speaking style to talk to her gently (which she won't remember because she's blackout drunk, and has happened before) about how his memories of her will live on past the end of the universe and into the next one.
  • What an Idiot: Seriously, Ninjette's father, starting a war with an allied clan over your daughter's virginity? Where is the sense?
  • The Woobie:
    • Anglerfish, who laments on the murder of his son (Kid Anglerfish), Katastrophe, and Baby Bird and how the Superhomeys didn't care just because they were villains.
    • Mindf██k, who essentially mindraped herself in order to force herself to be a good person. To make matters even more tragic, this contributes to her reasoning behind her Heroic Sacrifice: Empowered is a genuinely good person, whereas Mindf██k (in her mind) isn't because she had to force herself to be one.
    • Empowered. Almost every single act of competence and badassery and happiness she gets throughout the series gets actively denied by the Jerkass part of the cast (who have more of an influence over All of the Other Reindeer than the reasonable part of the cast... doesn't helps that they are still smart enough that they manage to pull a Jerkass Has a Point even on the most blatantly unfair of moments), and then we find out stuff like her having seen her dad die of an aneurysm in front of her when she was a child, while he was preparing breakfast for her, and the constant implications that she would be even more badass if she wasn't so absurdly fraught with self-doubt. It's not "one step forward, two steps back" with her, it's more like "one step forward, ONE MILE back".