So, I re-read Empowered Vol. 2 and read through Vol. 3 tonight. As usual, I loved it, and it's great to see some of the subplots coming to a head. Hopefully next issue (September?!) will give us the Weregiraffe-By-Night, because few things would be awesomer.
But I was thinking, I don't see many of the illustrious feminist bloggers talking about Empowered. Granted, I don't see many bloggers of either gender or any political philosophy talking about the series. Sure, Chris Sims does, and he reads great feminist titles like Anita Blake and Tarot, but what about everyone else?
When I read Empowered, what I see is someone trying to do something more worthwhile with fan service. After all, that's how the book started: Adam Warren drew some heroine-in-bondage commissions, and eventually turned them into a real story with fleshed-out characters. That seems to be the mission statement for the series; even when it delves into blatant fan service, it does something clever with it. In the latest volume, one passage was used to give us the lowdown on the unwritten rules of superheroics, while another was narrated by the always spectacular and amazingly alliterative Caged Demonwolf.
But gnawing at the back of my brain, borne no doubt of a healthy dose of liberal guilt, is the lingering question: isn't it still fan service? Doesn't it still just boil down to fetish porn? Sure, Warren's using it to poke fun at superhero tropes and the objectification of women in comics, but he's still using objectification and fetishy fan service to do it. Does a good story excuse what might otherwise appear sexist?
I'm not exactly asking for an answer, because I doubt that there is one. And I'm not looking for validation, for Lady Feminist to drop by and say "I grant thee permission to enjoy the books of Sir Adam of Warren, who doth verily draw women of the bootylicious sort." I'm just curious as to why there seems to be so little conversation about a book that ought to be pushing buttons all over the place. Seems like fan service and objectification are some of the blogohedron's favorite topics, and Warren attacks them head-on. Why isn't this book causing more waves?
Whatever your more philosophical musings on the subject, I recommend picking the book up. At least from my point of view, it's fantastic, albeit a little too brief. I polish these things off in a half-hour, then curse the heavens that another installment is six months away. Damn you, Warren!