Trick question: what happens when you combine the forces of Adam Warren and Brandon Graham? You get one sexploitative comic, that’s what! That’s right kids, sex drips from this comic, so who cares if the answer is “no” to the ultimate question: is it good?
Empowered Special: Internal Medicine (one-shot) (Dark Horse Comics)
What you need to know: Empowered is a chick with body image issues who unfortunately has a super costume that gives her amazing powers. Why unfortunately? Because as she battles and uses them, her costume becomes more and more torn and shredded revealing her voluptuous body. It’s a tongue-in-cheek look at superheroes really (we all remember the 90s, right?), but it’s got its fair share of cheesecake. This issue sets Empowered on a mission with her friend Ninjette. They must battle their way through a alien hospital to save the world from a giant black hole-like alien mommy whose baby is filled with parasites.
The issue is bookended with Adam Warren, with the recap, first two pages and last four opening and closing the issue. The remaining 25 pages are rendered by the glorious and amazing Graham. Okay, if it’s not apparent I’m a huge fan of his, partly because of the fluidity of his lines, but admittedly because his stuff drips with sex. Which is one reason why I was a bit surprised how subdued this book was. This guy draws anal sex into his books for crying out loud, so I was a bit surprised when there was only one penetration reference. Color me a bit disappointed, because its that sex that usually keeps things on the nose and titillating. Instead we get some horsing around in an alien hospital, which is all fun and good, but didn’t capture his usual themes.
I’d love to learn how this book was written, because the way it’s bookended I’d swear Warren got bored and handed Graham his opening and closing and said, “finish it.” Things go off the rails in a good way here and there and there’s plenty of weird stuff to look at, but the plot doesn’t mean much beyond sending our heroes on a wacky adventure. Not much is learned, the characters don’t advance and by issue end it’s like none of it needed to happen.
That reduces this comic to art for art’s sake, which it nearly pulls off. I say nearly, because I think both guys’ art is a taste issue. Not everyone will like it, partly because Warren’s is overtly sexual and mostly because Graham’s is so weird and crazy.
Is It Good?
I’ll admit my expectations were high for this pairing of super artists and that expectation brought me much too high for the quality of the book. That said it’s a fun, albeit pointless, adventure.
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