Reading this with the Miracleman thread discussion in mind was an interesting experience. It opens with one of the most visceral visual gut-punches you'll ever read: A lynched black man, his eyes put out with stakes, has his genitals set alight as a final humiliation. Does it work? Well, unlike the Divided States of Hysteria, the book isn't marketed using the image and the act is by Klansmen. The story is set in 1900, so the barbarity being shown is entirely plausible - as is the everyday use of the n-word by the racist bastards the story brings in as villains. The story also doesn't linger on that panel, the poor bastard dies very quickly and the story moves on, as a black gunslinger inflicts some very just vengeance on the lynchers.
Glanzman's art is superb throughout the volume, but I'm not convinced by the genre-splicing later, though it does allow for some very sharp comments on the nature of racism. Nor did I care for the final resolution of the conflict, I wanted that bastard dead by gunshot.
The extras are very good, with a retrospective on the history of black gunslinger characters in movies and the initial response the story had 18 years ago.
Empowered: Volume 10
The joke should have stopped ages ago by now but somehow it hasn't. Warren has no shortage of entirely deserving targets in this utterly subversive satire of superheroes. The combination of bad taste gags, jokes, sex, superpowers and skewering all manner of popular notions is still as effective as ever. That Emp remains probably the most sexually active and loving superhero going is testimony to how Warren casually breaks with superhero convention. If you haven't read this, Volume 10 isn't the place to start but for those following the series, this is another great instalment.
Having just read this, I can see the difficulty you describe, due to the fragmentation, but for me, due to how my head works, I found it very effective.
I'd agree it perhaps isn't quite as strong as its predecessor, but that opening volume was one hell of a shot.
This is a rare combination where art and story are equally strong - that Maika just so happens to have a gangster Tiger as a Goddess-father is one of its best, but by no means only, curveballs.
I mentioned the now infamous Divided States of Hysteria above, purely as a comparison point in marketing terms, but it'd be a great shame for this book to suffer due to the idiocy of that entirely separate series. (Ditto Lazarus, Autumnlands, The Tithe, Think Tank, Postal and there's a few I've probably missed.)