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"It is kinda skin-crawly to think that, right now, some guy with "specialized tastes" might be getting, um, turned on by images of me all bound 'n gagged 'n distressed... or even, ick, you-know-what-ing to those images...! Brr...!"
"Y-You're not like that, right? R-RIGHT?! Tell me you're not... p-PLEASE! You seem r-REALLY NICE, okay?"

Empowered is a graphic novel series written and drawn by Adam Warren; its chief protagonist is the eponymous Empowered ("Emp"), a Damsel in Distress-prone heroine. Empowered contains numerous deconstructions of superhero comics alongside healthy doses of bondage, fanservice, and comedy. Indeed, be forewarned, this is a very NSFW series full of a lot Gorn, strong language and sexual context.

It's unusual among both Western comics and manga in consisting of uninked pencil art (apart from the comics-format specials). (Adam Warren has said that this is less of a work-saver for him than you might think, as it means that he has to do all the shading and textures in pencil, instead of leaving it to the inking or colouring stage.)

Empowered is a plucky D-list (at first) superheroine who means well, even though she's generally hopeless when facing down villains. No matter how much she prepares or trains, she's inevitably betrayed by the fragile source of her superpowers: her outrageously skin-tight super-costume (which Emp is less than happy about, as she has numerous body-image issues). Emp's suit gives her immense power only while it's fully intact — and since it's made from a material that tears easily and can't be worn with anything over or under it, Emp is seldom in a position to benefit from it for long.


She spends most of her time being tied up by supervillains — a fact which has made her a laughing stock amongst her peers — and either naked or near-naked. Emp's confidence gets shredded as frequently as her fragile super-suit — and yet, she persists.

At the end of 2015, the creator started serializing the books online, complete with commentaries. The site updates daily, Monday to Friday. As of February 2021, they are currently part way through volume eight of the eleven volumes published. (Naturally, they are NSFW.)

Note for anyone reading the online version - these pages contain spoilers for the printed volumes that have not yet been published online, peruse at your own risk!

The series also has two mini-series: "Soldier of Love", (one of the few times the series is completely colored) in which Emp and Ninjette fight against a Magical Girl trying to destroy love and "Emp and Sistah Spooky's High School Hell" (Drawn by another artist but still written by Adam) where Emp and Spooky are taken to Hell and forced to survive against the Alpha Bitches that tormented Spooky in her youth who're trying the steal her power.


Empowered provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parent: Ninjette's violent, alcoholic father.
  • Achilles' Heel: One of ThugBoy's former employers had a suit of near-impenetrable power armor, but still needed air vents in order not to suffocate in it. He was smart enough to hide them under his cape, but not smart enough to armor them better. Not to mention that the armor was impossible for the wearer to remove if the power was disabled.
  • Action Girl:
    • Ninjette, like when she's beating up a room full of mooks.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Multiple:
    • When Emp pokes at King Tyrant Lizard's Fang Thpeak Berserk Button with it in Volume 2 Page 20 with a Tongue Twister like:
      "Self-Starter Sally Sensibly Sells Scavanged SeaShellS by the Sandy SeaShore!"
    • The Caged Demonwolf loves this. Most of his speech is alliterated.
      Caged Demonwolf: Aye, fools, tremble before the might of a 7-word chain of alliteration combo.
  • Affably Evil: Manny, a Littlest Cancer Patient who's a huge fan of Emp's, wants to be a supervillain — but he's just so nice about it. He talks about like a kid would talk about being an astronaut. When he actually succeeds, he's still pretty nice about it, politely requesting that no one resists so that he doesn't have to hurt anyone.
  • Agent Peacock: Maidman dresses like a French maid but is an extremely effective hero.
  • Aliens in Cardiff: Ninjas in New Jersey. Even in this universe, the characters find it odd enough to comment on. Possibly because even though they're from NJ, they still do everything possible to act like stereotypical Japanese ninjas, including having Japanese names and using honorifics even in English. A ninja from an authentic Japanese clan calls Ninjette a weeaboo, reflecting the wider perception of this behavior. But subverted, in that Ninjette is on the run from her clan, and mostly acts and dresses in a Western manner. It also appears that she CAN speak Japanese if necessary, but doesn't use Gratuitous Japanese.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Empowered is constantly ridiculed by her so-called teammates.
  • Alluring Anglerfish:
    • A supervillain who uses his lurelight to hypnotize people.
    • And his dead son, who uses it mostly to commit rape via mind-control.
  • And I Must Scream: Downplayed. A cosmic Eldritch Abomination is trapped in "energy-draining bondage gear" and has to be kept at Emp's house. Hilarity ensues when he complains that he has nothing to do, and then she leaves NPR on when she has to go out. He's not isolated so much as just bored, though. He can still communicate, both with the reader through the fourth wall and with the characters... something he uses to narrate the story. Aloud. In-universe. He's also immortal and temporally omnipresent, so he experiences his imprisonment at the same time he experiences his freedom in the past and future.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: Discussed by Maidman, in a bit of Dramatic Irony on the character he is a clear Expy of.
    Maidman: I'd be far more embarrassed to dress up like, say, an animal. Now that would be silly. Face it. The hundreds of would-be badass capes who practice species crossdressing as various theoretically intimidating animals? That's one step removed from being a furry. Talk about embarrassing.
  • Animesque: Lampshaded by Emp in one meta-text panel where she laments that a manga-influenced superhero comic won't have it easy when most manga fans have zero interest in western-style superheroes, while most superhero fans hate manga and anything that looks like it.
  • Anti-Climactic Unmasking: Happens to Emp, who then proceeds to try to buy time by convincing them that she's a cross-dressing man.
  • Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: Empowered is menaced by a robotic "Pimpotron" who intends to deliver her to a galactic harem. When his sensors detect that her butt is too big for the Emperor's tastes, he apologetically leaves her behind. She's more upset about the insult than relieved at her good fortune. Incidentally, this is the first time readers get to know about Emp's body-image issues.
  • Art Shift: Certain dramatic flashback scenes are shown in high-contrast inks instead of the usual pencils, including an attack by Willy Pete in volume 1, and the destruction of San Antonio in volume 8.
  • A Taste of the Lash: The entire schtick of The Lash (now Rum, Sodomy and The Lash, after the other two members left). He's about to whip Emp, but realises they're outside of a fabric store, which brings up painful childhood memories of being bored while his mom bought fabric, so he calls it a draw and runs off.
  • Atrocious Alias:
    • The standout example in a cast full of this would have to be "Sodomy", who was once part of a trio of villains called Rum, Sodomy, and The Lash. In spite of repeated insistence that he only represents heterosexual sodomy, he got sick of being Mistaken for Gay and quit. Given the origin of the name, Emp's in-universe description of them as "under-informed Anglophile doofuses" seems to be pretty much right.
    • This is also a problem for the Superhomey Protean. His friends keep referring to his old name Glorpp, while villains keep mishearing it as "Protein".
    • Non-character example: Project Slappy.
  • Audience-Alienating Premise: In-Universe: One of the meta-textual breaks in volume 1 has Emp worried that the comic's manga-styled artwork will turn off the superhero fans who despise manga, but that manga readers won't like the book's focus on superheroes.
  • Audience Monologue: Most volumes begin and end with a few pages of Emp Breaking the Fourth Wall by directly addressing the reader about the events of the current or previous storylines (or sometimes just ranting about the author).
  • Author Appeal: Bondage, ultra-technology, gratuitous labeling, Woobies, etc. And Metahumans with random objects (hand, gun, cinderblock, etc.) for a head. Possibly subverted: Warren received several requests for superheroine bondage pieces, which became Emp. If this is to be believed, the kinkier aspects of the comic are from those initial fans, and the appeal for the author comes from trying to get away from the creepiness. Maybe.
  • Author Vocabulary Calendar: Despite his convoluted speech, the Caged Demonwolf has a noticeable fondness for saying "jackanapes" and "much-vaunted". "Brobdingnagian" shows up a couple of times as well.
  • Auto Erotica: In Volume 3, Page 21 "depict[s] Emp and ThugBoy having sex in the driver's seat of a compact SUV".
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: Doctor Big McLarge Huge. (He is, too; half again as tall as most of the normal characters, and three times as wide.) It also doubles as a bonus Mystery Science Theater 3000 reference.
  • Badass Beard:
    • Willy Pete, due to his elemental nature, has a massive beard of fire. (In Volume 6, it is mentioned that he has "seized the #1 ranking for Suprahuman Facial Hair".)
    • Weirdbeard too (not of fire though, but prehensile).
    • Phallik. The beard is so badass that it survives when Phallik himself is burned to a crisp by Willy Pete.
  • Badass Normal: Ninjette; ThugBoy; Maidman.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Sistah Spooky; Ninjette. True for Emp too as soon as her costume gets damaged.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Among Empowered's powers is the ability to survive in a vacuum.
  • Batman Gambit: Maidman uses it at least once, on Blitzcraig / Gotterdammeruffian.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Subverted in volume 8. Ninjette seems to be her usual pretty self after her big fight with the Ayakami clan... but then she drops the ninja illusion magic and is revealed to be covered with cuts and bruises.
  • Bed Trick:
    • Ninjette is renowned in Ninja circles for having pretended to be the spouse of Mitsunori, princess of a rival clan, in order to steal that clan's secrets. This included consummating their marriage — i.e. rape by deception — which she still feels guilty about. In volume 7, it is revealed that in her wilder moments, Ninjette has considered performing a similar feat with Emp or ThugBoy in order to get laid.
    • Also strongly implied to be Kid Anglerfish's MO.
  • Berserk Button: King Tyrant Lizard does not like it when his speech impediment is ridiculed, or the little crown his mother gave him is damaged.
  • Best Known for the Fanservice: Emp is usually known In-Universe for getting tied up and wearing a very revealing costume... and not much else.
  • BFG:
    • ThugBoy's .50-cal Sniper Rifle, although it gets destroyed during a fight.
    • The B.F.Gunnaz are named after this trope.
    • The hero Heavy Artillery, whose head and neck have been replaced by an artillery piece.
  • BFS: Phallik's "Mighty Phallospear".
  • Big Bad Wannabe:
    • Irresistimmovable. That Byzanium-powered force-field generator that he won't shut up about? It's a rental.
    • Manny is a literal big bad wannabe. He's a kid who wants to be a supervillain. And he's ever so polite about it too. He stops being a wannabe in volume 4, but despite being one of the more competent villains, he's still pretty polite.
  • Big Ol' Unibrow: There's a superhero who's even named Unibrow. Of course this trope applies to him. We don't learn much about him, except that he's a Superdead and apparently fires laser beams from his eyes. Or eyebrow.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Some aliens in Empowered's verse have two left kidneys. And one kind of alien (maybe the same one) has kidney equivalents that filter the bloodstream using coherent light — essentially, Frickin' Laser Beams.
  • Black Comedy Rape:
    • The girl who will later adopt the Ocelotina identity groping Emp in the boot of the car, which is implied in dialogue to include forcible digital penetration. This is something of an in-universe example as well, because when Sistah Spooky comes to rescue Emp, and sees obvious evidence that future-Ocelotina had been in the process of sexually assaulting Emp, she is only upset because she thinks this means that Ocelotina thinks Emp is hot, and not because one of her teammates has been sexually assaulted.
    • Also the backstory reference to Ninjette having successfully impersonated the husband of a rival ninja on her wedding night.
      Ninjette: It wasn't one of my prouder moments as a ninja. Or as a human being.
    • Early on Empowered is captured by Imperial Pimpotron Alpha, an alien robot whose apparent purpose is to restrain women and evaluate their aptitude for "erotiservitude in the Cosmolactic Emperor's Harem". Aside from the whole situation being played for laughs (Empowered is spared a life of sex slavery because her butt is too big for the Emperor's standards and she's more upset about that than being kidnapped) there is also a joke about her potentially being the first human in the harem since Amelia Earhart.
    • Subverted here. A man wearing a "INT: 19 (Supra-genius)" T-shirt dazes Empowered with halothane (a chloroform substitute because the author thought it cliché) and starts to remove her clothes as she screams through her gag, only to be even more horrified when it turns out he wants to wear her costume.
    • At the end of volume #1, Major Havoc and dWARF! are in the hands of a villain "fond of the oeuvre of Quentin Tarantino".
  • Bland-Name Product: Lots of this: "YouToob", "Grant-a-Wish Foundation", you get the idea.
  • Bleached Underpants: Maidman would have some criticism as to how well they've been bleached, but it's a respectable try, anyway.
  • Blessed with Suck: A form-fitting supersuit is anything but ideal for someone insecure about her body. The fact that it almost always fails when most needed is pretty sucky, too. Then note that the suit's effectiveness is based entirely on Empowered's self-esteem and factor in the above.
  • Body Horror:
    • The general result of contracting a Super-STD. Yes, those exist.
    • In volume 8, Sistah Spooky gets her lips burned off!
    • The effect of the Mayfly alien serum: It has a less than 1% chance of granting super intelligence and will turn you into a festering mass of cancerous tumors with less than 24 hours to live even if it works.
  • Bold Inflation: There are barely any speech bubbles in this comic that don't have a bolded word or two!!
  • Boldly Coming: Not one, not two, but three of the Superhomeys obtained their powers from sex with non-humans. In fact, they met in a support group for it. One of them (Protean) gained power from an alien STD, the second (Mechanismo) was turned into a mech by nanomachines contracted through sex with an advanced android, the third due to sex with an unknown superhuman whose dialogue suggested he was made by a certain Doctor.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: The Ayakami clan capture Ninjette twice in the series at a high loss of life, but despite her In-Universe reputation of being a dangerous, slippery, and difficult to kill ninja, they let both chances of killing her slip away by wasting precious panels describing to Ninjette what they plan to do to her. They've been hired by Ninjette's clan to capture her to be a "breeding mare", as one of the few female ninjas they have left. It's mentioned that they are planning to cut off her arms and legs to prevent her escaping again since she won't need those to squeeze out kids...
  • Bound and Gagged: Empowered, all the freaking time. See also Author Appeal.
  • Bowdlerization: In-universe, when Emp and Ninjette sing "Insane in the Brain" at karaoke night, they replace a certain word with "ninja".
  • Boxing Lessons for Superman: Empowered's suit is powerful but extremely fragile and doesn't work unless it's intact, so Emp has been stranded in many dangerous situations, requiring her to develop a pretty impressive set of survival skills.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: From Volume 6 Page 123: Empowered: Joke... or Menace? Or... Menacing joke?
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Lampshaded in the collected volume, with Empowered talking about how annoying it can be.
  • Breather Episode: Aside from Ninjette's plotline with the Ayakami Ninja Clan, most of Volume 7 is this, coming after Volume 5's superhero-massacre by Willy Pete and Volume 6's Super Dead/Deathmonger storyline, and before Volume 8's trip to Hell. Aside from some training, Emp herself doesn't really do any actual fighting, which she comments on in the Audience Monologue sequence at the end of the book.
  • Briar Patching: Used in an Imagine Spot by guess whom.
    "Ninjette": Cast not this helpless rabbit of a wench into the figurative briar patch of the fabled orgasms multiple!
  • Bridal Carry:
    • Emp with a traumatized Ninjette. ThugBoy thinks we shouldn't read too much into it. The Caged Demonwolf thinks differently.
    • Also, sometimes ThugBoy with Emp, and (in a dream / Imagine Spot) ThugBoy with Sistah Spooky.
  • Bring My Brown Pants:
    • Syndablokk reveals that he would have wet himself if he could in his first big encounter, and a lot of supers wear low-profile incontinence products.
    • In #2, the Caged Demonwolf mentions that Major Havoc soiled himself when encountering him unbound.
  • Broken Bird: Mindf██k is about as much this as she can be. She's only good because she rewrote her personality to be so. While she may be smiling and kind even as she tells this story, it's pretty clear that she doesn't consider that enough to make her a good person.
  • Brought Down to Badass: Sometimes, Emp is more dangerous when her suit's torn. Instead of trying to use its notoriously flaky powers, she has to improvise, which she's proven surprisingly adept at.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": And then some; most supers have their entire name on the front of their costume.
  • Buffy Speak: Mainly from Emp in the Meta breaks — and occasionally in the main story as well.
  • Busman's Holiday: Kind of. In her spare time, Ninjette likes to play video games, where the hero is... a ninja.
  • Bust-Contrast Duo: The friendship between the voluptuous and adorable Emp and the skinny and abrasive Ninjette.
  • But Not Too Foreign: ThugBoy claims German and Italian ancestry to "balance" his more obvious Japanese heritage. This fails to impress one Nazi employer. It is unknown if this was just him trying to fast-talk the villain.
  • Call-Back: Quite a few.
    • For example, in volume 1, a guy knocks out Emp by smothering her with a rag drenched in halothane. In volume 3, while arguing about how many times she's been chloroformed, she mentions that she was halothaned too.
    • Emp can't wear panties under her suit because they're visible, but she didn't know this until Sistah Spooky mocked her for it in the first story. During a flashback where she first meets Sistah Spooky, Emp's panties are visible.
  • Car Fu:
    • The superpowered version is deconstructed in Volume 1.
    • The normal version proves more efficient in Volume 4.
    • Explored in great detail in the short issue Animal Style, including recommendations for using parts of a car in a superpowered fight.
  • Carry a Big Stick: Ninjette takes a mook's billy club and starts attacking with in on page 117 of Volume 2.
  • Cassandra Did It: In volume 5, the Superhomeys (especially Major Havoc) blame Emp for the trouble dWARf! caused at the Capeys, since she "so obviously" could never win a fight against a supervillain on her own and must have planned it and may even be a closeted villain herself. Mindf██k pointed out that she had read Emp's mind and seen what had happened, but Havoc still thinks Emp had something to do with it and issued a gag order on all public discussions on the matter, leaving Emp unable to defend herself publicly against the already-started rumors.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: Mostly averted, as Adam Warren believes it prevents readers from being invested in the action, but there have been a couple of justified examples:
    • Ninjette spends most of Volume 4 in a funk due to her traumatic experience at the end of the previous volume. So when she finally does get her mojo back in the climactic battle, she can be forgiven for having a little too much fun.
    • Word of God states that Emp's wisecracks to herself during the scarier moments of Volume 5's finale were her attempts to allay her own anxiety.
  • Catching Some Z's: In Volume 1 Page 116, a sleeping Emp has SNZZZs as her vocalizations when she's sleep talking.
  • Cat Girl:
    • In Volume Two, ThugBoy imagines Emp as one: "Schrodinger's Catgirl!"
    • And later, we get Ocelotina.
  • Catholic School Girls Rule: Subverted. They're indeed very hot, but also the biggest bitches you can think of. Poor Theresa. (They all — yes, all — got their beauty from a Deal with the Devil, what did you expect?)
  • Cat Smile: Ocelotina in #4 (see p. 155).
  • Censor Box: Mostly shows up on dialogue; also used to cover naughty bits a couple of times.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Emp's propensity to be caught, tied up, and humiliated is Played for Laughs for most of the series... and then, in Volume 8, it is revealed that Sistah Spooky actually cast spells to plant the idea in villains' minds so they would break Emp's spirit.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The first three volumes are mostly comedy, with occasional hints at more dramatic plot developments and backstories. Volume four goes all out, opening with Ninjette apparently dealing with PTSD. Five sees Emp's Crowning Moment of Awesome from the previous book being not only papered over by her Jerkass teammates but outright turned against her and the death of one (maybe two) main characters plus a horde of C-listers. Six takes the dark note at the end of five and runs with it, and is quite frankly highly disturbing. Also thoroughly lampshaded. The fifth volume ends on a Fourth-Wall Mail Slot with the characters hoping the next book will be Lighter and Softer. The sixth volume ends with them complaining that it wasn't. Book 8 is by far the darkest yet, with downright nightmarish imagery.
  • Character Development: Emp started the series as a neurotic mess. By Volume 9 she's grown enough to assert herself before the Supracommunity Executive Council, albeit with her insecurities still present.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Ninjette & co. using Chi to alter their appearance.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Emp's suit, which is a lot more powerful than it appears, is sapient, and had a weird glowy... something... appearing over it when ThugBoy was cheering Emp up.
    • Volume 1 has the alien bondage gear later used on Caged Demonwolf.
    • Volume 4 has Chekhov's Alien Liver Infected with Alien Parasites.
    • Volume 5 has Chekhov's Duct Tape.
    • The pile of equipment and files ████ing Oyuki-chan gave to Ninjette.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Several.
    • A female hostage Empowered tries (and fails) to save from ThugBoy in Volume 1 appears again in Volume 2, trying to kidnap Empowered for ransom (and Les Yay) related reasons. She then becomes a recurring character as a deliberate model for the fetish crowd that Emp keeps unintentionally feeding.
    • Deathmonger is mentioned in an early volume, but when he does appear in volume six... Hooboy. Hooboy.
    • As Volume 9 clarifies, Deathmonger is actually a she.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • Emp's embarrassing and apparently useless parlor trick of turning her suit invisible is demonstrated in a one-off story from the first volume (she is not affected, cannot wear anything over or under it, and was trying to affect only her mask instead of everything but). Turns out it had a use after all, as mentioned below. Fridge Brilliance sets in, too, when you remember how the rest of the suit's powers are tied to Emp's self-esteem, uncharacteristically rock-solid in that moment....
    • In Volume 8, Emp is shown training to dodge multiple attackers by the Super Dead. In the finale of that book, she uses those tricks to dodge the Hell worms.
  • Chilly Reception: Emp is treated like a joke or an annoyance by the other Superhomeys, if not outright bullied, as with Sistah Spooky. It turns out Spooky used magic against Emp to make this worse, making herself look better by comparison.
  • Cliffhanger: A massive one at the end of Volume 10, which Emp complains about in the fourth-wall-breaking epilogue. After their worst argument for a while, ThugBoy is apparently taken over by something and violently attacks Emp. Suddenly, Mind████ mysteriously appears to warn Emp that her brother has arrived and wants to painfully kill Emp.
  • Clothing Damage: Empowered experiences this quite a lot due to the nature of her suit.
  • Cluster Bleep-Bomb: All swearwords are covered with Censor Boxes, which just makes it funnier. Special note must be made of the kunoichi so foul-mouthed that she's referred to as "████ing Oyuki-chan", who seriously cannot go for a single ████ing line without swearing.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Empowered demonstrates this quality in the introductory chapter of Volume 4 by explaining that throwing a car at someone is not as effective as ramming someone with that car at seventy miles per hour, as she demonstrates the technique's effectiveness on a supervillain. And then, since this is Empowered, the resulting crash takes her out of the fight, encases her in seat belt bondage, AND gives her Jerkass teammates time to wake up and take all the credit. Note that she had already tried the car-throwing trick in an earlier issue. She threw out her back with it, and felt guilty when the nice old couple who owned the car came to get it.
  • Contagious Powers: Literally; several superheroes got their powers from alien STDs.
  • Continuity Creep: It all started with a few "throwaway" comics which "grew".
  • Convection Schmonvection: Makro in her TV show (volume #6). Maybe justified because she's, well, a superheroine.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: When the Caged Demonwolf mocks ThugBoy for being pussy-whipped, ThugBoy gets revenge by making the Demonwolf watch Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood all night long.
  • Cop Killer Manhunt: The reason Emp is merely tied up a lot. The oft-referred-to "unwritten rules" against killing or raping a superhero means that the majority of mooks, henchmen and lower-tier villains do not want to get branded as a "cape killer", because it will drive the rest of the hero community to come after them with extreme prejudice. This is why the disastrous attempt to capture Willy Pete at the end of Volume 5 is such a huge deal, and causes the entire caped community to stamp down very hard lest criminals and villains think the unwritten rules can be broken with impunity.
  • Corner of Woe: Ninja video games — Serious Business.
  • Cosplay: Empowered's latest-known day-job was cosplaying as... Empowered.
  • *Cough* Snark *Cough*: Major Havoc continues to prove that he's an asshole
    Major Havoc: [koff] Bitch.
  • Crapsack World:
    • The vast majority of superheroes are assholes, and while most villains abide by the "unwritten rules" and are up to mostly Silver Age level antics, there are four villains (in only six volumes) who have the power to be a very real threat. The "kindest" of those villains "only" rapes people to death. The rest are worse.
    • About the superheroes... The previous leadership, currently known as "The Retirees", could be said to be worse. Why? Well they accidentally created a supervolcano on the site of a city with a population of over one million people, nearly destroying the whole North American continent in the process, by losing control of an alien WMD they had grown reliant on. That's why they retired. For comparison, it took Willy Pete for the usually collateral-damage insensitive Major Havoc to call for risking that, and the rest of the Capes say that that Godzilla Threshold hasn't been crossed yet.
    • Volume 11 turns this up several notches, although it's as part of incidental dialogue during an intense sequence, so a lot of fans don't seem to have noticed: Earth in this universe has been seeded with much of its superhuman activity in order to carry out what Rivet describes as a "slow-motion apocalypse," because apparently, there's at least one alien race that finds it more entertaining to watch humanity devour itself than it would be to simply destroy it outright. The council of superheroes is entirely aware of this, is terrified of it, and is desperately working behind the scenes to try to figure out some hail-Mary that will let humanity survive, including the selection of human candidates for seemingly random origin stories.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Maidman. Planning ahead, and being ready for everything, are his main weapons (as he does state himself).
  • Cross Player: Of Phallik Spear, of all things.
  • Cross-Popping Veins: As part of the animesque package.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • "... guess th' white capes might be underestimatin' ol' Willy Pete jus' a li'l bit less, next time around."
    • Emp vs. the Ayakami Ninja. She arrives literally bathed in light like an avenging angel and obliterates two of them with her VORP blasts.
    • Also Emp vs. dWARf! She outsmarts him, tricks him into opening his defenses, then beats him senseless with her super-strength, despite her costume being torn to shreds
    • Applied literally with Syndablokk. Although he has super-strength and durability (and a cinderblock for a head), his real power is telekinetic control over concrete. Cue villain getting stomped by the curb, and the street, and the sidewalk, and the highway overpass. The reason he doesn't use it very often? MASSIVE property damage.
  • Cursed With Awesome:
    • One of the suit's side effects that Emp "worries" about is the fact that it supercharges her orgasms and libido. Gee, what a burden. ThugBoy actually theorizes that the suit is intentionally giving Emp an unambiguously good side effect in an effort to keep her from just throwing it away. Emp, being the overly self-conscious girl she is, found a way to be disappointed anyway.
    • Turns out that there is actually a price for some power, though. Some people who make deals with otherworldly entities for power — some, not all — find that the power continues to animate their bodies after their demise, leaving them as the Superdead.
  • Cute Little Fangs: Whenever a character's feeling especially determined or cocky. Especially Ocelotina, of course.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Caged Demonwolf offers to use his precognition powers if Ninjette touches herself in Volume 8. This is also apparently a common feature of their relationship in the preceding volumes. "Ninjas do it stealthy" indeed.
  • Dating Catwoman: Empowered & ThugBoy started off this way.
  • Deadly Disc: The Maidman throws deadly doilies.
  • Deal with the Devil: Sistah Spooky's origin. (She made a deal for "supernatural hotness" and accidentally gained mystic powers out of the deal.) It's outright stated in volume 6 that many more heroes got their powers this way, and the "going to hell" part may not even be the worst bit of the deal. Although the exact nature of "bargainer" super-powers is left unclear, and some certainly come from deals with the devil, it's implied that there are more benign entities that make deals for super-powers.
  • A Death in the Limelight: On one metatextual page, ThugBoy is uneasy about getting too prominent a role within a volume, in case this trope comes into play.
  • Death Is Cheap? Unclear. We'll see in volume 6. Apparently, their bodies die, but their superpowers don't.
  • Delusions of Eloquence:
    • Yes, Imperial Pimpotron Alpha could give Marcus a run for his money. (With plenty of Bold Inflation.)
    • Caged Demonwolf is also a prime contender.
  • Depraved Bisexual:
    • What Willy Pete does to anyone he can get his hands on (although supers, being more durable, last longer) isn't pretty.
    • Inverted with Sistah Spooky. The only times she approaches being a decent person, or even using sex for something other than a weapon or to prop up her own self-esteem, is when she's with her on-again, off-forever girlfriend, Mindf██k. Everyone else buys the image, but Mindf██k loves Spookums for Spookums. Spookums can't handle it, and dumps her. Leads to a dark, dark Tear Jerker.
    • Emp herself is apparently "three drink bisexual".
    • Ninjette also has some Unresolved Sexual Tension with both Emp and ThugBoy
  • Depth Deception: Blunt Trauma is attacking Emp! No, it was just his action figure that Ninjette threw into the air to train Emp.
  • Determinator:
    • This is how Emp's friends see her, if you can believe it. Hey, think about it: would you keep going in her position? Hell no — anyone with any sanity and her issues would have incinerated the suit long ago and gone back to a superpower-free, clothing-undamaged lifestyle. What keeps her going (day after day, as opposed to during any one outing) is anyone's guess, but it cannot be stopped.
      Empowered: I do this stupid job because I'm ████ing Driven to do it! Unlike You, ████, I do this stupid, Stupid job because—Because... This... Is... What... I... AM!!!
    • Another case is where ThugBoy had to shred her suit to keep her from donning it when she was very ill. As of volume 4: DAMN.
    • The goddamn Maidman definitely qualifies, especially considering he's a Badass Normal.
      Empowered: You're not too hurt to do some caping are you, Mr. Maidman...?
      Maidman: Let me think... level-one concussion, couple broken ribs, burst eardrum, a few lacerations for a couple ounces of avulsed tissue... hmm. In other words, I'm good to go, Miss.
  • Did You Just Have Sex?: Sistah Spooky instantly recognises Emp's "new hairstyle". For oncenote , she looks ready to cry.
    Sistah Spooky: Just look at her. She's all, like, happy. Bitch.
  • Disability Superpower: Mindf██k's brother tried to invoke this intentionally by forcing her to cut out her own eyes and tongue.
  • Disappeared Dad: A lot of Emp's issues have to do with her dad, whom she loved very much andwho she watched die of an aneurysm when she was ten.
  • Distressed Damsel:
    • Empowered, despite her best efforts.
    • Ninjette also plays this trope bone-chillingly straight in Volume 3 vs the Ninja assassin squad sent to cut her limbs off and take her back home so she can be a brood mare. Although she did manage to kill or majorly wound most of the attackers before the last two blindsided her.
  • Don't Say Such Stupid Things: After a particularly bad day of superheroing, Emp ends up on the receiving end... from The Caged Demonwolf, no less. He basically points out that, while he was able to inflict a Curb-Stomp Battle on the rest of the Superhomeys, it was Emp, not any of her teammates, that ultimately put him down... using bondage gear from a situation about as humiliating as the day she'd just gone through.
  • "Double, Double" Title: From Volume 2, the story, Wahh, Wahh, Wahh.
  • Double Entendre: Any superhero name that isn't Totally Radical or Jive Turkey. Probably the best example is the female hero with the ability to grow to giant proportions: "Size Queen".
  • Double Standard: A recurring theme is that Emp is unable to have her difficulties taken seriously, because she's female. A notable instance of this is when she tries to show a number of male superheroes how it feels to be seen as a sex object by showing them gay pornography of themselves... only for them to turn it around into "So all these girls think we're hot and want to have sex with us, huh? Awesome!"
    • Similarly, the Chloroformaster, a guy who commits sexual assault by chloroforming female superheroes and masturbating over them, was largely dismissed as "a nuisance" because none of his crimes were lethal. Sistah Spooky grumbles to herself that were he to do the same thing to male superheroes, he'd never be considered such.
  • Downer Ending: Volume 5. Mentioned in the meta-interlude summing things up. That the series features more of these is something of a Running Gag in the recaps and epilogues.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Willy Pete becomes an in-universe example of this after video of him massacring nearly a dozen superheroes leaks to the internet.
  • The Dreaded: Maidman is easily the superhero supervillains fear the most in the Empowered Universe because he will find you.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Willy Pete receives this treatment in-universe after the events of Volume Five.
  • Drop-In Character: Sistah Spooky says that Mindf██k (a mighty telepath) acts just like this. "Like a wacky sitcom neighbor!"
  • Duct Tape for Everything: Volume 5 has two separate Duct Tape moments. First there's the time when Emp lets Ocelotina interview her, only to be caught off guard and bound up with duct tape. Ocelotina finishes her big discussion on how great duct tape is as a bondage medium with the comment "Can you imagine using a pair of handcuffs or a ball gag to do, like, plumbing repair or whatever?" The whole thing was just a complex preparation to Emp being spanked for underestimating duct tape. This also helped her to use it as a Chekhov's Gun. Then later after Willie Pete blasted the space station, MindFuck's spacesuit had a big chunk torn out of it, and Emp successfully patched the big hole with duct tape.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Emp cannot wear anything underneath or over the suit without affecting the suit's powers or ripping it. The suit is sensitive to the point that even pubic hair affects it. In volume one however, Emp wears panties underneath the suit, and is bullied by Sistah Spooky.
  • Ecchi: It's manga-styled, starts out hugely suggestive, and goes from there. By now, the whole thing skirts the decency line as closely as it dares.
  • Eggshell Clothing: One-shot villain Baby Bird. See also the WMG.
  • Empathic Weapon: The hypermembrane, Empowered's suit.
  • Epileptic Trees: In-Universe — so, a Ninja clan created all those Bishōnen, yaoi and moe girls, to lower Japan's birthrate? Note that the person describing this doesn't believe a word of it.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: The Ayakami ninjas also have (at least) one girl fighting in their rows. So do the Kaburagis.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Played with. Despite Emp constantly being powerless, bound, gagged, and at the mercy of her enemies, no villain yet has, er, taken advantage of the situation. Notable in that the standards the villains are upholding are not their own, but a code of "unwritten rules" governing hero/villain conduct, among which include not killing or defiling the heroes. Any villain foolish enough to break these rules would have a huge mob of pissed-off superheroes out for his blood. note 
    • After Emp has a depressive episode after being captured once again, Ninjette decides to kick the ass of the last villains she encountered while impersonating her... which makes ThugBoy absolutely furious, because he is afraid that the villains would remove all standards they may have if they now see Emp as a real threat.
    • ThugBoy brutally killed a previous employer who was about to commit genocide with his superweapon (as opposed to using it for ransom purposes, which everyone else assumed).
    • Used interestingly with the Caged Demonwolf. While we have no idea just what he has done, on the basis of his first appearance and his constant claims and his title (The 'Molester Of Worlds'), it's quite possible he's caused havoc and destruction on a planetary, if not galactic scale, and considering how he perceives time, he might do a lot more of it in the future. Yet he still seems capable of empathy and fondness, informing Ninjette while the latter is blackout drunk that he will always remember her, and in that perfect memory make her immortal, for she is worth remembering. This provides an interesting contrast with Ninjette's father, who is completely human and an absolute and utter bastard, to the point where he might be the most vile villain in the comic.note  When you make a possible world-destroying/molesting Eldritch Abomination look like he has standards, you have gone so far past the Moral Event Horizon you've probably hit the edge of the universe.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Implied to be the case with Emp. Ocelotina definitely seems attracted to her, and the Caged Demonwolf has suggested more than once that Ninjette's love for Emp is less than purely platonic, which Ninjette has repeatedly not denied. It has also possible to read Sistah Spooky's hostility to Emp as sublimated attraction.
  • Evil Laugh: Emp's laugh, when she was hatching her plot to introduce the Superhomeys to yaoi (see Springtime for Hitler example), chilled even the Caged Demonwolf.
  • Exact Time to Failure: Used to chilling effect in Volume 5.
    Sistah Spooky: Well, I'll be damned... though, in fact, I already am damned... but that divination spell I did, two weeks ago, it was right! I did wind up being three seconds too late, after all...!
    Sistah Spooky: Too late...too late...
  • Explaining Your Power to the Enemy: Emp told ThugBoy how her suit works (NOT!).
  • Expy: A few of the characters appear to be based on mainstream comic book characters. Glue Gun Gil = Paste Pot Pete, etc. Most notably, THE GODDAMN MAIDMAN! who is basically Batman as costumed by American Maid.
  • Extraordinarily Empowered Girl: The title heroine.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Strapping Buck thinks about getting one at the end of #6.
  • Eye Scream:
    • The grotesque murders preferred by Willy Pete.
    • Mindf██k's brother removed her eyes so she would have to use her powers to see. Sorry, made her dig out her own eyes with rusty kitchen scissors.
  • The Faceless:
    • Emp's father (in flashbacks only).
    • Ninjette's father, too.
  • Facial Dialogue: The "intra-couple communication stealth mode" (between Emp and ThugBoy).
  • Fake Boobs: How Ninjette impersonates Empowered.
  • Fake Brit:invoked Supervillain "Rum, Sodomy and the Lash", formerly part of a "trio of underinformed anglophile doofuses" until Rum wound up in rehab after multiple DUIs and Sodomy got tired of explaining that he represented purely heterosexual sodomy.
  • Falling-in-Love Montage: For Mindf██k and Sistah Spooky. Followed shortly by a breaking up montage.
  • Famous Last Words: Anything to add more woobies and tear jerkers.
    Mindf██k: I love you, Theresa! I'll always love y—
  • Fan Disservice: Don't even get started on the Ninjette bondage at the end of Volume 3... Let's just say that the fanservice is pretty effectively killed by the fact that she's in very real danger. We like Ninjette. We want her to keep her limbs.
  • Fang Thpeak: King Tyrant Lizard; Homunculoid
  • Fanservice: Just let it be known that, in a comic that is all about the Fanservice, "Schrödinger's Catgirl" still manages to stand out.
  • Faux Paw: Emp as Schrödinger's Catgirl.
  • Fetish Retardant: An in-universe example: getting tied up in serious situations makes bondage a SERIOUS turn-off for Emp and ThugBoy.
  • Fling a Light into the Future:
    • An ongoing tactic of the Hero's Council to try and stave off the apocalypse. They've been throwing any powerset they have access to at a bunch of artifical humans they have one of their members create. Yeah that's right. They had Brainbow/Neurospear create Willy Pete to try and save the world.
    • Captain Rivet meets a little girl who's father had died but wants to be a superhero. He tags her to recieve one of the last remaining superpowers the Hero's Council has access to: an Alien Membrane Suit
  • Flowery Elizabethan English: The Caged Demonwolf combines this with Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness and Purple Prose (also, thesaurus abuse) for some truly remarkable dialogue.
  • Foe Cooties: Emp finds out her boyfriend, ThugBoy, once slept with Sistah Spooky. She asks ThugBoy who is better in bed. ThugBoy thinks if he says Sistah Spooky, he's in big trouble, and he better not say they're interchangeable in bed either. He said Emp was better. Emp's response? "Huh. Guess that's cause she's so GREAT and BEAUTIFUL and WONDERFUL that she doesn't even have to TRY, does she? She's not a desperate, pathetic little HO like ME, is she?!" She refuses to talk to ThugBoy for about a third of the volume after that.
  • Foe Yay:
    • Invoked and Parodied in a Show Within a Show Slash Fic about Empowered and Sistah Spooky.
    • In-universe there are evidently quite a number of "Willy Pete massacre" yaoi dojins.
  • Food End: Emp caps off her epic victory over Deathmonger at the end of volume 6 by raiding the Superhomeys' stash of snacks.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In a dream sequence, ThugBoy remembers Spooky prophesying that he and Emp would be "separated by death". Though what was actually shown to the audience is "separated by D..." and the rest is cut off. Also: Does he really remember, or is it just a nightmare after all?
    • Anytime Fleshmaster is mentioned and the humiliating incident similar to the Carrie prom when he won a Capie award, dWARf! is quick to mention that it was "before his time."
  • Forgot to Gag Him: Our heroine finds herself in this position quite a lot, though she sometimes accidentally reminds the baddies to apply a gag. At one point, she tells her captor that he needs to get to a hospital, right away. She's NOT bluffing, and manages to save his life. She's later seen in the waiting room later with his wife and daughter, no longer tied up. Sometimes, there's a reason to listen to the people you forgot to gag.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: The comic started with several more or less unrelated one-shots, but with time, some plots started to emerge: So far we have ThugBoy's plot (his past, and everything Willy Pete-related), Ninjette's plot (involving the other ninjas), the Fleshmaster/Capeys/Manny plot, and of course the romantic plot for our OTP / OT3. And even now, there's time for some smaller stories.
    • There are also some seemingly very important revelations that have been dangling for quite a while now:
      • Maidman being a split personality. Never commented on again.
      • A scene at the end of volume 6 which reveals ThugBoy has started cape-killing again. Never commented on again.
      • A scene in volume six which heavily implies that Emp actually died during her first mission and is an unknowing Superdead. Referred to in one of the chapter breaks but not in the story itself.
    • And hinted at in the meta-text breaks, why Emp's suit doesn't show camel toe, despite being described as so clingy as to show pubic hair as "latex covered steel wool".
  • Freeze Ray: One of the villains ThugBoy used to Witless Minion for had one of these. It saves ThugBoy's life when it allows him to (briefly) immobilize Willy Pete when he discovers the Minions' scam.
  • Freudian Excuse:
    • Sistah Spooky has serious issues with blonde girls like Emp.
    • Also inverted with Mindf██k, who mindf██ked herself to be more kind and caring so she wouldn't be anything like her brother.
    • Deconstructed in Volume 4, where the villain thinks he's justified in taking his Carrie-style revenge, but Emp is having none of it.
      Emp: Yes, our colleagues are jerks! No, they don't deserve to die because they didn't kiss your ass enough!
  • Freud Was Right: The supervillainess Hardpoint has a chip on her shoulder about men not showing her enough respect. It may therefore not be completely by accident that she has a robotic sidekick in the form of a talking missile that she's programmed to be fawningly servile to her...
  • Fun with Acronyms: The pirate-themed Advanced Restraint Research.
  • Fur Bikini: Emp as Schrodinger's Catgirl. So good we mentioned it twice.
  • Future Loser:
    • In a kind of Imagine Spot, where kid Emp meets her future superheroine self.
      Kid Emp: Why do I have such a big butt as a grownup...? How did I wind up so old and f-fat...?
      Current Emp: Thanks a lot, younger version of me.
    • And again in another Imagine Spot, this time with a version of Emp from 18 months ago who isn't at all impressed with Present!Emp's supposed accomplishments since they don't live up to the hopes and expectations she had at the time. And who complains about how much bigger her butt has gotten in the last year and a half.
  • The Ghost: Emp's mother.
  • Giant Foot of Stomping: A Humongous Mecha flattens Emp this way early in Volume 1. Her suit saves her from harm but disintegrates in the process, leaving her stuck in the ground.
  • Gilligan Cut: Emp wants to see ThugBoy in his Spartan 3K costume. At first he resists, then this trope happens.
  • Girls Love Stuffed Animals: Emp and Mellow Mr. Monkey.
  • The Glomp: Even as a sound effect.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Sistah Spooky gets a pair when she is really angry. Such as when Empowered comes across her after Mindf██k is killed.
  • Godiva Hair: Something has to cover the naughty bits when the suit gets wrecked....
  • Good People Have Good Sex: Emp and ThugBoy, a lot.
  • Gratuitous French: The White Knight, complete with absolutely horribly mangled gender agreement with articles and adjectives. Notably, Emp gets it right when she talks to him in French, suggesting that it's a deliberate implication of his incompetence rather than accidental on Warren's part.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: Complete with Kanji. For that matter, Ninjette's very name counts; she was born and raised in New Jersey and is as white as the driven snow, but her parents named her "Kozue Kaburagi" to try and make up for three Americanized generations back in Japan.
  • Gratuitous Spanish:
    • Emp and other superheroines are often referred to as "superchicas".
    • "Capitan" Rivet.
  • Grave-Marking Scene: Emp often visits the grave of her father.
  • Gray Goo: The third floppy issue has a gray goo eruption that turns all matter into Sexbots, due to one of the dumber heroes abusing powerful alien technology for self-pleasure.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: Princess Arkashia; the not-yet-Protean sleeps with her, catches an alien STD, and thus turns from a human into the Blob Monster we know him as.
  • The Grim Reaper: In a kind of Imagine Spot. He's watching Emp and ThugBoy having sex.
  • Hand Blast: Emp can do this. If her suit works, which is optional.
  • Have You Come to Gloat?: Played for tragedy when Empowered walks in on Sistah Spooky moments after the death of the latter's ex-lover Mindf██k. Within seconds Emp is bound, blindfolded, and surrounded by far too many levitating sharp objects as a grief-maddened, guilt-stricken mage demands to be gloated at, so she has an excuse to hurt or kill Emp.
  • Heel–Face Turn: ThugBoy and Ninjette were originally bad guys before switching sides.
  • Heroes Gone Fishing: Or rather, watching Dancing with the Superheroes.
  • Heroic BSoD: Two, possibly three even, at the end of volume 5: right after another. Sistah Spooky snaps upon being just a few seconds too late to save Mindf██k, something her powers warned her about but she didn't recognize the significance of at the time. Immediately afterwards, Emp breaks down as well, explaining to a murderous Sistah Spooky that if she had only been just a little bit more confident, maybe Mindf██k would have let her try using her powers to survive re-entry into Earth's atmosphere... the same confidence Sistah Spooky had been shredding to bits since issue #1. This reveal causes Sistah Spooky to BSOD again (and not hurt/kill our protagonist)
  • Heroic Suicide: Avoided in the nick of time in Volume 11 when Mindf██k's brother takes control of ThugBoy's mind and orders him to kill Emp. Thugboy is pointing one of his guns to her head and is ready to shoot her, but he briefly regains control of the other arm and of the gun that it is holding. He quickly points his gun under his chin to kill himself before shooting Emp. Luckily she hits him before he can pull the trigger.
  • Hidden Depths: A few characters have them — Emp herself is the most notable example, of course, but Sistah Spooky is probably the most surprising one.
  • Historical In-Joke: It is implied that Imperial Pimpotron Alpha abducted Amelia Earhart for a cosmic emperor's harem.
  • Hot Librarian: Emp wears said outfit (as bait), and wonders if anyone would be fooled by her "librarian-from-a-porn-movie" getup... apparently, yes.
  • Hope Bringer: Emp. Captain Rivet could see it in her even as a child. It's why he had her suit sent to her in the first place.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Emp's in-universe case of New Powers as the Plot Demands is often followed with a period of her trying to work out how to control them. She gradually gets more control over the suit's originally-known functions as well as the story continues.
  • Humiliation Conga: And the dance goes on, and on... But partly averted in volume 4... by Sistah Spooky of all people.
  • Husky Russkie: The guy "tower head girl" got her superpowers from appears to be one, though nothing else is known about him.
  • An Ice Person: Icy Mike, a one-shot supervillain who ThugBoy worked for and killed him when Icy Mike wanted to kill 50,000 civilians with his cryobomb.
  • I Don't Know Mortal Kombat: Ninjette and videogames about ninjas.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: This happens to Emp all the time. Lampshaded with the "unwritten rules" that keep villains from going "too far". Gets a subversion in one of the first volume's stories. Emp is getting stripped naked, but not for that — it turns out the villain wasn't interested in her, but in her supersuit. He didn't know it only works when Emp wears it.
  • Imagine Spot: Lots of them in volume 7.
    • ThugBoy imagining Emp as Cat Girl.
    • The Caged Demonwolf imagining Emp, ThugBoy and Ninjette having hot sex together.
    • Demonwolf's are especially easy to spot because everyone uses his bombastic speech patterns in them.
      Ninjette: And you're telling me this is exactly what happened, word for word?
  • The Immodest Orgasm: Caused by her suit. ThugBoy calls it "her getting in sexual Super Saiyan mode".
  • Incredibly Lame Pun:
    • Crowquet is a crow-themed supervillain who fights with a croquet stick. Psst, he's really the goddamn Maidman. But don't tell the bad guys.
    • Also, the Lotus Nodes network — might be a pun on the widespread Lotus Notes software.
    • An early villain is time-themed... only instead of using time manipulation, he fights using clocks and watches strapped to baseball bats and throwing stars. He's described as fighting with "the power of time".
    • The TV programme Superdirty Jobs presented by — wait for it — Makro.
  • Indulgent Fantasy Segue: Several of them in volume 7, usually when someone says something they've been holding back, only for it to be retracted as never happening in the subsequent panel.
  • Instant Humiliation: Just Add YouTube!: Emp's escapades would be humiliating enough as they are, but the fact that they almost all end up on the internet (sometimes so quickly she doesn't even have time to be rescued first) just makes it worse.
  • Instant Knots: Ninjette used a chain to catch Emp the first time they met.
  • Instant Sedation:
    • Emp gets knocked out... a lot.
    • One notable example features the Chloroformaster soliloquizing while Emp "samples" his "wares".
    • Averted, though, when someone jabs a needle into her — it takes roughly the time you'd expect to work.
    • Emp has had a lot of experience with chloroform-happy bad guys, so she purposely goes limp as soon as the rag is on "like you see in the movies or on TV" to stop it happening for real — or worse, accidentally killing her. However when the Chloroformaster captures her, it takes more than two pages for her to lose consciousnesses, implying she really was out that time.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: Minor supervillainess Hardpoint, when complaining about condescending male supers putting her down:
    Hardpoint: Those pricks even claimed that I didn't have an appropriate supervillain laugh! Hyuk hyuk hyuk *snort*!
  • Ironic Echo: Spooky + Mindf██k. "I know how much you love blondes..."
  • Ironic Name: Empowered is beset with self-confidence and body-image issues, frequently ends up in objectifying bondage predicaments after being defeated, and still gets no respect even when she succeeds in saving the day. Even the more generic "superpowered" interpretation of the word is ironic, given how often Emp's suit fails.
  • It's a Long Story: Why the lily-white Ninjette has a Japanese name.
  • I Want My Mommy!: In Volume 2 Page 31, King Tyrant Lizard cries for "Mommy—!" and "Mommeee".
  • Jerkass: Most of her team, and indeed, most superheroes. Maidman, Syndablokk, and Mindf██k are notable exceptions. Capitan Rivet is better than most as well, even though he cannot always resist laughing at Emp's predicaments. Really, most of everyone. The world of Empowered seems to be chock-full of heartless jerks.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Possibly Hardkore. Being dead tends to make one a bit testy and when Emp proves herself to not be the bitch he was expecting, he looks embarrassed and more or less backs off.
    • Also Ocelotina, who initially seems to be a nothing more than a money-grubbing fake superheroine cashing in on the way Emp popularized the "helpless bondage superchica" theme. Turns out that she really does respect and support Emp and is willing to speak out about one of her Crowning Moments even after a gag order was placed on the incident. Doesn't stop her exploiting Emp for profit at every opportunity of course, but at least she's happy to share it with her.
    • One interpretation of Mindf██k. According to her, she used to be just as evil and twisted as her brother. She used her mental powers to completely rewrite her personality, because she didn't want to be anything like him. The heart of gold comes in when you wonder why she would care about being like her brother if there wasn't any good in her in the first place.
  • Jive Turkey: Major Havoc, dawg. Occasionally, other Superhomeys as well.
    Caged Demonwolf: "You be peepin'..."?
  • Jumped at the Call: Empowered jumped at the chance to be a superhero, even after learning about the drawbacks of her suit.
  • Jump Scare: Another one called by name by Ninjette, book 7, page 54
    Ninjette: Jump scare booty!
  • Karma Houdini: Lots! Villains will often (not always) escape any punishment or retribution for their exploits.
    • Deathmonger is still at large.
    • Empowered was once kidnapped to use as a poker bet amongst gangsters and then nonchalantly dumped when no one accepted her as payment.
    • Major Havoc never really got any comeuppance for being such a jackass towards Emp.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Volume 11, full stop.
    • Mindf██k's brother Neurospear begins sending waves of superhumans at Emp starting with the Superhomey's leadership counsel that wanted her executed and/or frozen forever for being able to hack the Lotus Nodes. She makes good on her taunt from two volumes back and beats them seven colors of tar out of them.
    • Upon arriving at the Superhomey's HQ Neurospear sics Major Force on her. he is full conscious for the ensuing Curb-Stomp Battle.
    Emp: Now you can tell people you finally satisfied a woman!
    • Willy Pete arrives, but doesn't take kindly to being mind controlled into doing what Neurospear wants and tries to kill him. As Willy Pete's creator, Neurospear erases him from existence
    • Neurospear attacks Emp because he blames her for Mindf██k's death. He's killed because, when he attempts to invade her mind he finds out Mindf██k left a copy of herself to defend Emp from him specifically, and her copies hold him in place long enough for Emp and Sistah Spooky to blast him to paste
  • Katanas Are Just Better: See Captain Katana, who has one stuck in his head... and had his arms and legs replaced with some... and carries one on his back.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Mindf██k is killed this way.
    Mindf██k: I love you, Theresa. I'll always love y—
  • Kinky Spanking: Oh so very often. In bed, in daydreams, in fanfics; on one occasion on pay-per-view TV by Ocelotina over not respecting duct tape, of all things. You may guess which member of the main cast gets this treatment. Hint: it's not Caged Demonwolf.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Willy Pete is a horrifying individual who is rarely, if ever, played for laughs. His standard method of killing? Literally skull-fucking people to death, because the skull is the only part of the body strong enough to not be incinerated by his powers before he, uh...finishes. Oh, and he's a cannibal. Just because he likes to taste; he doesn't need to eat.
    • Deathmonger's first mentioned as a generic "heavy hitter" but by Volume 6 it's clear what this really means; Deathmonger doesn't hesitate for a second to use lethal force on enemies, and keeps other superheroes as And I Must Scream body-puppeted slaves.
  • The Knights Who Say "Squee!": Emp, towards Capitan Rivet and other superhomeys. Seen when they meet for the first time.
  • Large Ham: The Caged Demonwolf, He of Many Nicknames and Thesauretorical Abusivetoriness.
  • Latex Space Suit: One of her hypermembrane's many abilities is providing life support in outer space. Including radiation protection, and even allowing Emp to speak.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Once or twice a volume, Empowered will take down impressive threats single-handedly.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: The author got the name for a future villain from the front cover of an old magazine.
  • Look Behind You: Emp uses this trope successfully against a number of villains, claiming Maidman has appeared. The only ones it doesn't work on is the B.F.Gunnaz. Unfortunately for them, Maidman actually does show up that time.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Anglerfish has a super power just like this, and used it to capture Emp and the group of cosplayers she was working with. The dream-vision that Emp sees is being at an award show, where she finally gains the long sought-after respect from her Superhero team mates. When used a second time, it is upped to Emp's dead father coming back to life and attending the awards show, but this throws Emp into a rage that allows her to break the spell and beat Anglerfish.
  • Love Triangle: Starting to develop between the Power Trio. Specifically, a third person hoping for a deeper relationship with Emp, who has a boyfriend, or possibly an deeper relationship with both of them.
  • Ludicrous Melee Accuracy: Ninjette can cleave a mosquito in half with her sword!
  • Made of Plasticine: The super-suit is more like Made of Soap Bubbles and Spiderwebs.
  • Madwoman in the Attic: Referenced in Volume 6 Page 117, referring to the treatment of the Super-dead:
    Rubbernecker: We used to be heroes, and now [...] grotesque embarrassments that have to be h-hidden away, like a b-bunch of crazy aunts in the attic
  • Magical Girl: The "Soldier of Love" special has the titular character as a parody of the whole genre, complete with a transformation sequence that she's thoroughly sick of. When the soldier finds that her powers don't work against other magical girls, the reader discovers that Emp herself is one, though she doesn't know it.
  • Make It Look Like a Struggle: Spooky invoked this trope at the start of her suicide run to save Mindf██k from Hell, spoofing the security systems at the HomeyCrib into recording her magically seizing Empowered by force and making her hack the portal network when in reality she was begging for help. That plan went south when Emp insisted on coming along.
  • Make Sure He's Dead: Emp and ThugBoy rescue Ninjette from a gang of Ninjas with extremely potent stamina and pain-suppression abilities, allowing them to get up and keep fighting after receiving horrific injuries. In an utterly nonchalant fashion, ThugBoy empties two handgun rounds into the head of every downed Ninja to make sure they're dead.
  • Man Bites Man: Emp bites people when her suit doesn't work anymore at the beginning. Later she stopped it doing, because bitten mooks tend to have grudges.
  • Master of Disguise:
    • All of the ninjas. One even disguises successfully as a dog.
    • And Ninjette disguises herself as the Groom well enough to trick the Bride during their honeymoon... words simply fail. Even the ninjas considered that to be an impressive feat. They still mention it in training. 'Jette wishes they didn't.
    • In the first issue, Emp convinces a group of rather dumb criminals she was really a man and so was Sistah Spooky, Captain Rivet was a menopausal woman and Major Havoc was a cocker spaniel. When she's rescued, she explains she is in fact a woman... but doesn't mention her teammates, who are later seen reading about these claims in tabloid papers.
  • A Match Made in Stockholm: Amusingly, all of Emp's circle met like this. ThugBoy and Ninjette fell for her after they captured her, and Caged Demonwolf appears to have befriended them after being imprisoned on Emp's coffee table.
  • McNinja: Ninjette and her clan of ninja from New Jersey.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • "King Tyrant Lizard" is the literal translation of "Tyrannosaurus rex".
    • "Willy Pete" is the (US)-military nickname for the extremely-hot-burning white phosphorus. "Willy Pete" is doubly meaningful in a really sick way.
    • Empowered's actual name? Elissa Megan Powers.
  • Mechanical Lifeforms: At least one of them exists. She has the shape of an attractive human woman and is anatomically correct. One of the Superhomeys sleeps with her, and her nanites turn him into a mecha.
  • Meet Cute: Empowered and ThugBoy. She was a captured superheroine, he was the minion tying her up. Sparks flew. They don't like to talk about how they met.
  • Meganekko: Lampshaded in Emp's Sexy Librarian stakeout.
  • Mental Affair: Sistah Spooky and Mindf██k were "mindfriends with benefits" at one point. Well, they also had a physical relationship, but it wasn't as satisfying as the mental one. For one thing, Mindf██k has no tongue.
  • The Merch: In-Universe, there are official Superhomey ringtones and themed T-shirts, plus action figures of their Rogues' Gallery. Not to mention the Capitan Rivet panties Emp often wears when out of uniform.
  • Meta Guy:
    • Empowered regularly breaks the fourth wall when she appears in the title pages of stories; Ninjette and ThugBoy lampshade this when they appear and have no idea who she's talking to.
    • The Caged Demonwolf breaks the wall at the end of volume 1, filling us in on the story's aftermath. Lampshaded in a later story, when he seems to be going meta, but is actually him talking to Emp's powersuit. Later still, he appears to go meta again, by referencing plotlines that haven't happened yet... but we eventually discover that he can see the future.
    • ThugBoy gets in on the act later on when he gives us a "tour" of Empowered's sleeping habits. Lampshaded when we find out ThugBoy is talking to his average mook friend.
  • A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: Mindf██k admits being tired of reading the filthy minds of lunatics.
  • Missing Mom: Ninjette's father blames her for her mother's death, and shows it in awful, awful ways.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • The first major example came in volume 1 when the chapter 'Witless Minions' (where ThugBoy is forced to wear the 'Spartan 3000' outfit) is followed by the chapter 'Willy Pete' (where we get the details on exactly WHY ThugBoy is the last of the Witless Minions).
    • Especially volume 6, which inserts jokes in between dealing with some seriously dark material.
    • The Caged Demonwolf's paean to mortality in volume 7.
    • The one-shot "Internal Medicine" is a wacky Jette and Emp romp through an alien dimension. It ends with a vision of the future that pretty much confirms Ninjette is going to die.
  • Mooks: ThugBoy's old gang, the "Witless Minions", who stole from the villains they worked for.
  • Most Common Superpower: Averted. Besides Ninjette's snark about her bust, none of the heroines sport anything bigger than a C-cup, except the superheroine Jugganaut (and this seems to be justified in her powers). Called out by name in volume 7, when Ninjette and Emp switched outfits.
    Ninjette-as-Empowered: And I'm a super-heroine tragically lacking the most common superpower for girlcapes! As in, well, boobs. Super-boobs, whateva.
  • Most Fanfic Writers Are Girls: Emp not only reads yaoi slash fan fiction about her male teammates in the Superhomeys, but writes it as well.
  • Mr. Fanservice: ThugBoy is a shining example, albeit possibly a spectacularly misplaced one. Especially when he's wearing the 'Spartan 3000' outfit.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • Emp is a Deconstruction.
    • Ocelotina is an in-universe example.
  • Multipurpose Tongue: Superheroine Mother Tongue has one.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
  • Mundane Utility: Remember that Emp's suit turbocharges her orgasms? They once used a piece of it as a condom. But it worked too well — ThugBoy could barely last ten seconds.
  • My Greatest Failure: Both Emp and Sistah Spooky over the death of Mindf██k.
  • My Sensors Indicate You Want to Tap That: The Caged Demonwolf is very susceptible for things like this.
  • Naked Apron: Is a sign things are going well for Emp and ThugBoy.
  • Neck Lift: One of ThugBoy's employers did this with one of the Witless Minions. And then, ThugBoy killed him.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Emp hasn't quite figured out how her suit works. Outright lampshaded towards the end of volume 4 — Emp discovers her suit can let her cling to things and she's as shocked as the people watching.
  • Nightmare Face: The deep sea creatures they're chumming with anti-putti.
  • Ninja: Ninjette, obviously. And several clans of them.
  • Nipple and Dimed: Fully bared breasts are frequently blocked by hair, ragged strips of cloth, shuriken pasties, and so forth.
  • No Dead Body Poops: Averted. Emp witnessed this happening to her daddy when she was a little girl.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Several storylines were (presumably temporarily) cut from the books, moved between books, etc. These are brought up during the meta-pages, with the characters warning each other not to talk about that stuff yet cause it wasn't in this book.
    • Notable examples are ThugBoy cosplaying (particularly bad because the author didn't have time to remove reference to it from the back of one of the books), ThugBoy wearing Empowered's suit, etc.
    • There's also the question as to why Emp's extremely skintight suit doesn't show any camel toe, this was lampshade-hung in volume 3 and by the end of volume 6 still hasn't been explained (and is lamented as possibly never will be). In the commentary for one of the pages posted online, Adam Warren himself mentions the lack of camel toe as being one of the subtle things the suit does to ensure that Emp keeps wearing it.
  • No Respect Guy: Empowered receives very little respect from the suprahuman community at large and is mostly considered a joke.
  • Not Right in the Bed: Since Emp started wearing her suit, she climaxes "at the drop of a hat". ThugBoy theorizes that the suit gave her an increased libido so that she could get something unambiguously good out of the deal, in an effort to keep Emp from just throwing it out. Emp, of course, found a way to be embarrassed anyway.
  • Not So Different:
    • dWARf!/Fleshmaster calls this between himself and Empowered, but she proves him wrong.
    • Before the final battle with the Ayakami, Ninjette makes a point of having a drink, explaining to Oyuki that she won't walk "into a scenario likely to result in [her] death and/or dismemberment without first getting good and solidly buzzed...." Oyuki responds that Ninjette's father often says something very similar before going into battle. Ninjette is not thrilled to have it pointed out that she has this in common with her father.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: The Superhomeys think Willy Pete is just some D-list nobody. Turns out that's only because he likes to keep a low profile and go after mooks and D-list villains. The 10-man team sent to get him (for a PR boost) finds this out at the hard way, as he wipes them all out with ease in a matter of seconds by using a blast of flames so powerful it's like hitting them with a nuke.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: Once, Ninjette fell from a high house, but used a chain to get hold of a street lantern.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: In-universe. The dead superheroes whose powers live on are zombies, but no-one calls them that. (Ninjette does, but Emp promptly lets her know that they hate being called that.)
  • Not What It Looks Like: Narrowly averted. Emp bursts into her apartment just as ThugBoy is giving a depressed Ninjette a comforting hug on the lounge. The pair scoot away from each other so quickly they leave a dust cloud, with ThugBoy crossing his legs.
  • Oh Crap! There Are Yaoi Doujinshi of Us...: At one point, Emp even turns to them.
  • One-Liner: In #2, Emp discusses the Pre-Asskicking One-Liner trope with ThugBoy and Ninjette. In #6, she tries one, but goofs up:
    Emp: Karma's a bitch, isn't it? Well, so am I!
  • Only Known by Their Nickname:
    • We still don't know ThugBoy's real name. Also, we learned Emp's and Ninjette's real names as late as #3.
    • In fact, the only names of the superheroes we know are: Theresa (Sistah Spooky), Tommy (Protean), Bob (Phallik), Julie (Plutonium Blonde) and Maria (not totally clear but probably Mother Tongue). Along with a couple of the supervillains, Aaron (Kid Anglerfish) and Jerome (King Tyrant Lizard). But all other real names of supers are unknown either.
    • Even some of the supers are only known by Fan Nicknames, like "Tower Head Girl". The one time her name is going to be used, it is blocked by another speech bubble.invoked
  • Only Six Faces: Amplified by most of the cast wearing eye covering masks, characters can sometimes be hard to tell apart unless you look at their clothing and hairstyle.
  • On the Next: Much like Arrested Development, the "in the next issue" back pages combine genuine teases at plot elements with outright lies for Rule of Funny.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping:
    • In her civilian guise, Emp affects a patently false Southern drawl.
    • Also the villain Rum, Sodomy and the Lash (formerly a trio) who Emp describes as an "underinformed anglophile doofus":
      Rum, Sodomy and the Lash: HEY! You made me slip out of character. Enough of this shite!
    • The caged demonwolf loses his usually loud and blusterous style of speaking when he talks with a drunken Ninjette about her abusive childhood, instead calmly and gently describing to her how painful it is to be an immortal out of step with the normal flow of time, watching her life simultaneously as they meet for the first time and also as he sees her for the last time at the moment of her death.
  • Origins Issue: Averted until volume 6, where we learn how Emp got her suit. It came in the mail. That raises even more questions!
    • Explained in Volume 11: Aliens who want to watch the human race devour itself for entertainment sent her it after Capitan Rivet tagged her as the recipient of its particular power set. Which he did because he thought her kindness and determination would make her the savior of mankind and stop the world from killing itself with superpowered beings.
  • Pants-Positive Safety: ThugBoy sometimes carries his gun like this, although he at least has enough sense not to have the hammer already cocked. He also learns the hard way that doing a Bridal Carry on a cute girl while having his gun stored this way is still painful, but for other reasons.
    ThugBoy: Oh, and it wasn't an incredibly f██king bad idea just 'cause I got turned on almost immediately. Oh, no. It was a bad idea 'cause I got turned on while I had a bigass semiauto shoved down the front of my pants. Ouch. Go figure, literal blue steel doesn't interact especially well with figure-of-speech blue steel. The More You Know, right?
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Emp cosplaying as herself. Bonus irony points for the PVC disguise being much thicker than the thinner-than-body-paint supersuit.
  • People Puppets: A standard psychic power in this 'verse.
  • Pig Latin: Once used by the very dorky supervillain in #1.
  • Plenty of Blondes: Happened while Sistah Spooky was in high school.
  • Plot-Driven Breakdown: It is easier to list the times when Emp's Hypermembrane does work correctly.
  • Police Are Useless: In a world dominated by superheroes and supervillains, this is nearly inevitable. When Ninjette is fighting a bunch of enemy ninja out in the open, in a public park, no police show themselves.
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: Wet Blanket personifies this trope. Strangely, working together with supervillains is no problem for him. His teammates on the other hand....
  • Politically Correct Villain: Again, Wet Blanket is one of the straightest examples you can imagine. Volume 9 also includes one scene where Emp gets out of a tight spot by getting a one of these and one of the other sort to start fighting over politics while she escapes.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Unsurprisingly, quite a few of the villains are this.
  • Portmanteau: Adam Warren really loves using these for world-specific neologisms, like Supranym.
  • Power Incontinence: Poor Mindf██k can't speak outside of telepathy (which has the side effect of leaking brutal honesty with every sentence), and has to avoid crowds as all the excess thoughts cause headaches. (Note that Mindf██k's lack of vocal speech has nothing inherently to do with her power... she doesn't have a tongue anymore.) And to top it off, Volume 8 reveals that the road goes both ways when she's asleep, after Spooky gets a peek into her nightmares.
  • Power Nullifier: Wet Blanket's superpower is being one of these.
  • Power Perversion Potential:
    • Lampshaded when Emp even admits she uses her suit for this. Subverted when she gave ThugBoy a part of her costume to use it as a condom. The sensation was great, but he could last barely ten seconds.
    • Sistah Spooky also did this, using her ability to see the future to sleep with ThugBoy the day before he would meet Emp so that it would hurt Emp when she found out. She even laughs about the look that Emp will have on her face while having sex with ThugBoy
    • Also used extensively by Mindf██k. In fact, she's terrible at sex when not using her powers.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Emp and friends discuss the best way to do this, or whether you should use it at all.
  • Prehensile Hair: Weirdbeard's beard is prehensile.
  • Pronoun Trouble: Emp's suit insists to the Caged Demonwolf that it's not technically female, despite its feminine shape, but he doesn't care about technicalities.
  • Protagonist Title: Empowered.
  • Psycho Serum: A variant — Mayfly gives you Mad-science level genius, at the cost of filling your brain with tumors that kill you within forty-eight hours. And that's only when it works — which is point two percent of the time. Mostly it just kills you.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "Her. Boobs. Are. '''Faaake!'''"
  • Punctuated Pounding: "THIS! IS! WHAT! I! AM!!!"
  • Punny Name: Many. Stigmata Hari, Gnümetal, Plutonium Blonde, Valkyrie Eleison, Eye Eye Sir, Gooey Samaritan, Ubiquitease, Blitzcraig...
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Emp in a meta-panel begs the reader NOT to look at her bare butt in the next story.
  • Purple Prose: Lo, the Caged Demonwolf doth speak in a hue most violet! Adam Warren writes his dialogue with the aid of a thesaurus.
  • Qipao: Ninjette wears one to the Capeys Awards.
  • Rape as Drama: Rape, cannibalism and burning people alive as Drama — by Willy Pete, as mentioned under Knight of Cerebus.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: For as often as Empowered ends up bound, gagged, and nude in a room full of villains, they rarely attempt to assault her because this would violate the "Unwritten rules" between heroes and villains. In volume 7, Major Havoc explicitly threatens Emp that if they don't find and kill Willy Pete for all the heroes he's murdered, then all the rules might be gone — including this one.
  • Real Men Wear Pink:
    • He may wear a dress, high stiletto heels, and pretty, pretty white panties, but everyone's heard of the goddamn Maidman.
    • Also, Hardkore is a case of Real Men Are Pink.
  • Red Shirt: For one of their employers, the Witless Minions had to wear shirts with an emblem looking like a bullseye. Wow. Now that is...
  • Repeat After Me: Doomsloth proves that he's not very bright.
    Protean: Call me "uncle", Doomsloth!
    Doomsloth: [cough] Uncle Doomsloth!
  • Required Secondary Powers: Several examples.
    • Captain Katana, who has a magic katana stuck in the top of his head down his spine, as well as others replacing his limbs. At the Capeys when the Power Nullifier was taking effect, he was disabled by the pain.
    • Several that are implied if not outright stated; Heavy Artillery has a mounted cannon for a head. How does he breathe? And the "tower head girl" with a hat that seems to be taller than she is not breaking her neck.
    • The aforementioned Power Nullifier's effect implied several of these; e.g. it caused the "tower head" to topple over, and at least one hero with no visible eyes went blind.
    • And, of course, the fact that Emp's naughty bits never show through the costume despite it being described as more closely fitting than body paint.
  • Reverse Grip: Ninja like to hold their blades this way.
  • Roof Hopping: Ninjette trains Emp in this.
  • Rule of Funny: The blocked-out swearwords? Edging closer to the line between titillation and pr0n than previously thought possible? All for giggles. Really.
  • Samus Is a Girl: As we find out in Volume 9, Deathmonger of all people.
  • Sand In My Eyes: *sniff* No, Mom, Emp hasn't been crying *sniff* she's just coming down with a cold or something.
  • Save the Villain: Volume 2's "Wahh, Wahh, Wahh", for example. Emp is genuinely distressed at the prospect of her adversary dying at her hand.
  • Say It with Hearts: Sometimes, Empowered does this. Such as in Volume 3, Page 23:
    ThugBoy: But we didn't actually, uh, make sweet love in Frank's truck, as I recall...
    Empowered: Maybe not...
    Empowered: ... But I totally would've, if you'd asked...! ♥
  • Say My Name: Used by Emp during sex.
    Emp: What's... my... name?
    ThugBoy: Uhhh... which one, baby?
  • Scarpia Ultimatum: Empowered receives one of these in the volume 4 finale. It accomplishes not a whole lot more than pissing her off.
  • Scenery Censor: Flat out abused.
  • The Secret of Long Pork Pies: Almost every single one of the attendees of the superhero event the Capeys eats the catered food. Some even comment on how delicious the food is. The villain dWARf formerly Fleshmaster has laced every single bit of food with the processed remains of Wet Blanket. Wet Blanket nullified any power in proximity. Even the vegetarian options were laced.
  • Self-Made Man: A heroic variant: Mindf██k, who used her psychic powers on her own brain to surgically remove her non-heroic impulses. The way she explains it, she was a villain in all but name before she did so.
  • Sensual Spandex: Empowered, for the short time it actually stays on her.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: With made-up and wiki words, no less, leading to Delusions of Eloquence.
    Imperial Pimpotron Alpha: For I, Imperial Pimpotron Alpha am scouticruiting you for priviligious erotiservitude in the Cosmolactic Emperor's Harem!
  • Sexy Santa Dress: Emp, in some bonus material.
  • Shapeshifter Guilt Trip: Kind of, with Anglerfish. He pretends to be Emp's daddy who never really died. She's not happy.
  • Shipper on Deck: Demonwolf ships Emp×ThugBoy×Ninjette.
  • Shout-Out: Plenty...
    • In Volume 2, Ninjette is playing Tenchu. She remarks it's not effective to stand around doing cool poses after taking out your target, and eventually her character dies due to poor camera angles, which as an issue in the actual game.
    • Dungeons & Dragons:
      • 2nd Edition, with shirts sporting "INT. 19 (supra-genius)" or "STR. 18(00)", as well as "+5 Holy Avenger".
      • The space station is even called "The d10" (the D&D method of describing a 10-sided die) and looks the part.
    • Maison Ikkoku: Emp's "Piyo Piyo" apron.
    • Mystery Science Theater 3000: Dr. Big McLarge Huge
    • When Ninjette tells Emp how her suit sprouted wings (which Emp can't remember), Emp pictures herself as a devil. Her mental picture looks quite a bit like she's cosplaying as Etna.
    • ThugBoy wears a T-shirt with the King of All Cosmos on it at one point.
    • The pirate-themed A.R.R. have a distinct resemblance to Alex and his Droogs in A Clockwork Orange.
    • The Superhomeys' undisclosed meeting location is room 3B, a reference to the imaginary lecture hall where the wizards of Unseen University in Discworld pretend to have class.
    • It's the goddamn Maidman!
    • A shout-out to 4chan even made its way into one of the books.
    • In the early chapter "It's Like This" when Emp is explaining the weaknesses of her suit to a gang of thugs (which includes ThugBoy) there's a brief flashback of Sistah Spooky yelling for help while being held by what appears to be an Evangelion unit (judging from its silhouette).
    • In volume 7, Caged Demonwolf sings "Baby Got Back" in his own style. It is glorious.
    • Volume 9 sees Emp meeting a character named Ghost Writer, who immediately starts imagining Emp's memoir as a lurid fanfiction, with direct references to Fifty Shades of Grey and Emp's "Inner Goddess".
    • The first issue of Empowered and the Soldier of Love features an appearance from a weather-manipulating heroine who looks exactly like Priss Asagiri from Bubblegum Crisis. Her codename is even Konya Wa Hurricane, a nod to the show's theme song.
    • The Soldier of Love is herself a parody of Sailor Moon, complete with her transformation phrase being "Love prism power, make-up." The connection is explicitly referenced in her origin story, where she says "Al igual que en Sailor Moon!" ("Just like Sailor Moon!") when first meeting her Mentor Mascot.
    • From volume 2's opener, "There's no crying in superheroing" and "That was badass, in a Capcom-y kind of way.".
    • In the battle against Demonwolf, an incapacitated Capitan Rivet calls for an oilcan.
    • Weirdbeard's gang includes villains named Laserbrain and Hand Cholo.
    • Ninjette's arrival on the d10: "Capes...In...Spaaaace...!"
  • Showing Off the New Body: Sistah Spooky did this after she received it.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: "No, you should wear that outfit (tee hee)!" — "No, you should wear that outfit (tee hee)!" No wonder the Caged Demonwolf imagines a scene with better dialogue, in his usual flowery style.
  • Sissy Villain: The galactic emperor from the in-universe Fan Fiction who forces Major Havoc and Syndablokk to have sex together.
  • Slash Fic: In-universe, even. Emp reads slash about two of her male teammates. They're delighted.
  • Slouch of Villainy: See Sissy Villain.
  • Slow Clap: Emp gets it by her fellow superheroes at the Capeys. ThugBoy lampshades it. But it's just an illusion made by Anglerfish anyway.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Imperial Pimpotron Alpha graces all of six pages yet leaves two major legacies: Emp's body image issues, and the Imperial Cosmichains that Emp later uses to subdue and seal a similarly sesquipedalian supervillain whose stay proves significantly more substantial.
  • Smoke Out: Used by Ninjette, naturally... in book 2, to avoid embarrassment before ThugBoy before fleeing through a window. (And note that logically, since she leaves the tattered remains of Emp's suit behind, she's buck naked.)
  • Smug Super: Most of the other superheroes we meet are little more than overpowered and overgrown high school bullies deeply in love with their own superpowers. And a lot of the villains are pretty much the same.
  • Something Else Also Rises: Male and Female versions used at once: one chapter is called "Elephants, Cups and Canoes".
  • Speech-Bubble Censoring: Not a few panels avoid full frontal nudity thus.
  • Speech Bubbles: Syndablokk has cinderblock-formed ones, for one example. Also, Adam Warren often uses speech bubbles containing the heads of characters which are off-panel so you know who said what.
  • Speed Lines: Japanese-style, with the characters in focus.
  • Springtime for Hitler: Emp tries to give the sexist males in the Superhomeys a taste of their own objectification by introducing them to yaoi doujinshi of themselves. When they find out it's written by girls, it's taken as a compliment. Oh, and then she finds out one of the guys is gay, and immediately turns perverted as well.
  • Starfish Aliens: We have seen only one of them. They're huge (their liver weighs 700 kilograms alone!), have three eyes, and their veins seem to be on the outside of their bodies.
  • Stepford Smiler:
    • Depending on how you look at it, either subverted or taken Up to Eleven by Mindf██k: she reprogrammed her mind to be warm and compassionate.
    • After Mindf██k's death, Sistah Spooky uses sorcery upon her expression and voice to play it tragically straight.
  • Stock Ninja Weaponry: The Ayakami ninja use shuriken, kunai, senbon, various swords and gama.
  • Stop Being Stereotypical: Sistah Spooky chews out Emp for crying, because she is "reinforcing stereotypes about female superheroes" or so.
  • Stripperiffic:
    • Emp describes her own costume as "Painted-on Slutwear", and it was voted most "Sluttastic and Do-Me-Riffic". Consequently, she is not happy about it in the least.
    • Ninjette and Sistah Spooky aren't overdressed either.
    • Even the nurses in the Suprahuman Ward are stripperiffic — female and male.
  • Stupid Statement Dance Mix: After Willy Pete destroys the squad of Super Homeys sent to capture him, leaked footage from the perspective of one grievously wounded member shows Willy Pete advancing on him with bad intentions. This is then turned into a YouTube video, with Willy Pete repeating "Yeah, I'll f██k a robot." Over music.
  • Stylistic Suck: The fanfiction in volume 1 is a pretty mild example, all considered.
  • Superdickery: The first full page of volume 7 is composed of alarming excerpts from the rest of the comic. They're either taken out of context, or they're from imagine spots.
  • Superheroes Wear Capes: By several; not by Emp however, to her chagrin.
  • Supervillain: A whole sub-culture of them, most of whom have captured and tied Emp at some time or another. And most of them treat her with more courtesy than her own teammates (not that the bar is set very high there).
  • Super Window Jump: In hindsight, not one of Emp's brighter ideas, given the ensuing state of her outfit.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Was Emp ever spanked by Spookums? She doesn't want to comment.
  • Suspiciously Specific Tense: In volume 7, Sistah Spooky accidentally slips to the mental projection of Mindf██k that the real one is dead. The projection is pissed.
  • Sweat Drop: Part of the animesque package.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Subverted; Emp once tries to fool some thugs into believing that her suit "gynocamouflages" her (in other words: that she's really a guy) to buy some time.
  • Take That!:
    • Maidman may be a crossdresser, but at least he's not a furry. Because that would be embarrassing.
    • Caged Demonwolf is a fan of the New York Yankees, and makes it fairly clear he's a bandwagoner.
      Demonwolf: Are they not widely renowned as an "Empire of Evil" like unto his own matchless malevolence!?
  • Take That Me: The aforementioned Ghost Writer is a perverted fanfiction writer, who Emp herself breaks the fourth wall to mock as an Author Avatar. She also dutifully conveys a Suspiciously Specific Denial from Adam Warren of being anything at all like Ghost Writer... which has him using the same Verbal Tic that Ghost Writer has.
  • Talking Your Way Out: Emp manages this on a few occasions.
  • Tampon Run: ThugBoy has to do it. The Violator of Worlds suggests one to Ninjette as an excuse to get out of the vicinity of Emp and ThugBoy's knock-down drag-out.
  • The Tease: The author won't be showing any full nudity anytime soon.
  • Teeth Flying: Emp and Anglerfish. Compare how long his teeth were before and after Emp beat him up.
  • There Are No Therapists: Emp starts out a blatantly neurotic mess, and the more the supporting cast is developed the clearer it is that she is not alone. Except Mindf██k, in a way (and a slightly disturbing way, at that). But she only therapizes herself.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: Used by many characters, including Emp.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Noted almost word-for-word when a training session ends with a multi-story drop.
  • Threatening Shark: One of them bites Emp during one of her training sessions from hell. Since she's wearing her suit at the time, it affords her a chance to launch into a hilarious rant against the shark.
  • Threesome Subtext: involving Emp, ThugBoy, and Ninjette, often hilariously unsubtle.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: There is one, just one panel in volume 5 where Emp, after being kidnapped along with a bunch of the Superhomeys' celebrity doubles, donning her super suit (which she'd wrapped around her waist) and telling off the double who insulted her earlier, actually smiles in anticipation, because the mooks have no idea what's coming.
  • Title Drop:
  • To Hell and Back: The main plot of volume 8.
  • The Topic of Cancer: The drug "Mayfly" has a 1 in 200 chance of giving you super intelligence, but will kill you within 24 hours from brain cancer. Unless you manage to use your newfound genius in order to survive... as a horrible, grotesque mass of cancerous flesh.
  • Toplessness from the Back: Provided mostly by Emp herself with generous Ninjette assistance.
  • Training from Hell: Well, more of a Workout Session from Hell, but still...
  • Trrrilling Rrrs: Katastrophe. (It's not an accent, rather him purring to fit in with the sabertooth theme. Although sabertooth tigers probably are unlikely to purr.)
  • Universal Translator: Through her mask, Emp can see translations of at least some alien languages. Subverted in that the translations tend to be... odd.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Between Ninjette and ThugBoy for certain, and it is difficult to rule out the thing between Ninjette and Empowered as something wholly in the Caged Demonwolf's perverted mind.
  • Vaporwear:
    • Nothing can be worn over or under the suit. Including pubic hair. The fact that it doesn't show off her nipples or "camel toe" is a Running Gag Noodle Incident in the series.
    • Ninjette doesn't wear underwear, either. Unlike Emp, she could if she wanted to.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Subverted when we see a group of ninja hacking a body into 100 pieces (per the client's request) whilst one ninja is monitoring and idly browsing the web in the next room.
    Ninja One: 85. [hack] 86. [slice]
    Ninja Two: I'm telling you, Opera is the ideal choice for a ninja's web browser.
    Ninja One: 87. [schinck] 88. [gchonk]
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Early on, before ThugBoy and Emp are openly together, some of his fellow thugs have him tied up and are about to kill him. He stalls them for a while by telling them how much he doesn't care, since life with Emp is so much better...long enough for her to show up, and to demonstrate why kidnapping and threatening a superheroine's boyfriend is a BAD idea.
  • Virgin Power: Variant — the "Seiseiryoku-henkan-sentou no jutsu" transforms sexual frustration into fighting power.
  • Visual Innuendo:
    • More common for males, curiously enough, with ThugBoy as the primary target. Notice his gun on the cover of volume 1.
    • "Aieee! Me canoe be swampin'!"
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: For both Emp and ThugBoy.
  • Wall Crawling: Emp eventually discovers this as another of the suit's minor powers, much to Ninjette's chagrin.
  • Wall Jump: Ninjette — 'cause, you know, Ninja.
  • Wasn't That Fun?: Demonwolf's hostage, reacting to Emp's defeat of him.
  • Weaksauce Weakness:
    • Empowered's supersuit gives her powers — unless it's ripped or damaged. Which always happens. Good thing it can regenerate. This is very likely to be psychological rather than an actual weakness. After all, the suit was in tatters when she curb stomped dWARf!/Fleshmaster at the end of volume 4. Confirmed as of volume 7. Ninjette tears off parts of Emp's suit without her knowing, and Emp remains just as combat effective. Then Ninjette reminds Emp of her failures, and Emp's powers disappear. Thus, while it is likely there is still a critical mass of costume required for powers, almost all of Emp's power-drains are psychological.
    • Also, Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash, too... a crippling phobia of fabric stores will suck the menace out of any villain.
  • Whatevermancy: Ninjas in Empowered's world can learn all kinds of cool magic, like kyonyujutsu (fake boobery magic), sosuijutsu (fast/quick/early to be drunk magic), sekushi nyanko "Monroe walk" jutsu (sexy cat "Monroe walk" magic), and more.
  • Wham Episode: Volume 11:
    • Capitán Rivet is killed by Willie Pete, who is then killed by Neurospear.
    • Mind████'s brother finally appears, and is also killed off.
    • The Earth is probably doomed due to too many overpowered and unstable supers, the Executive Council were responsible for creating Willie Pete, and Emp herself was set up with her powers by a Council black op.
  • Wham Shot and Wham Line: Volume 10 ends on the massive cliffhanger of ThugBoy suddenly viciously beating Emp off a building with a club and a ghost? vision? telepathic imprint? of Mindf██k telling Emp "My brother is here, and he will torture and destroy you unless you listen to me."
  • What Measure Is a Mook?:
    • Defied at the end of volume 2.
    • Played for laughs at the end of volume 3 however: "Okay, okay, a bunch of ninjas did wind up getting killed... But, pfft, WTFEVA. ████ 'em." These guys totally deserved it though.
  • What You Are in the Dark: With the exception of ThugBoy, Ninjette, The Caged Demonwolf, Ocelotina, Maidman, Sistah Spooky, Mindf██k, Syndablokk, Manny, and the Superdead basically no-one believes Empowered is an effective superheroine — in fact, thanks to Major Havoc, some people think she's a villain in disguise. And yet she still throws herself into being a superheroine unreservedly, because of this trope.
  • Whip It Good: Rum, Sodomy and the Lash.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Maidman is a very large man that dresses in a very small skirt and kicks lots of bad guy ass.
  • Witch with a Capital "B": Emp calls Spooky "a literal witch. Boo, hiss."
  • World of Jerkass: Almost every single person seems to be rude, crude, selfish and amoral. Even most of the protagonists are implied to not be particularly stellar people normally, it's just that hanging around Emp brings out the best in them.
  • Worst. Whatever. Ever!: Major Havoc's fanfic about himself is derided by the internet folks as WORST. HAVOCFIC. EVER. And not just anyone: his fanfic, with its tragic lack of homoerotic undertones, is panned by one Elissa P.
  • X-Ray Vision: Another one of the suit's cool-but-useless-in-a-fight powers.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: dWARf! — and yes, the exclamation point is part of his name.
  • Yaoi Fangirl: Empowered has tried to sell ThugBoy on the idea of a three-way involving another guy. So far it hasn't worked. A few of her female team-mates (Yummy Mummy and another one, unnamed as yet) have also gotten interested ... possibly even more than Emp herself.
  • You Bastard!: About once a volume, Empowered will let the reader know how much she hates that someone is enjoying her bondage scenes. She also gets mad when she suspects a reader is staring at her butt. Really, starting in about volume 2, the comic itself starts going out of its way to make the reader feel terrible for being aroused at all by it.
  • You Need to Get Laid: Repeatedly from ████ing Oyuki-chan to Ninjette.

END Counterfactual scenario

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