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"Empowered & Sistah Spooky's High School Hell #5" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Dark Horse Comics

Empowered Sistah Spooky High School Hell 5 00

Written by Adam Warren
Illustrated and Lettered by Carla Speed McNeil
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on July 4th, 2018

Review:

Empowered and Sistah Spooky continue their journey through the high school hellscape, battling blonde bimbos in every class. These Ashleys and Beckys are after Sistah Spooky's power. If they knock her out, they'll share in the vast amount of witchy energy she holds. Meanwhile, the Infernal Service Provider that doled out the powers to begin with is raging away, hoping Spooky is killed once and for all.

What is most unsettling about Empowered & Sistah Spooky's High School Hell is how close to home it hits. Just about everyone has been a victim of bullying in some shape or fashion, especially during their high school years. It is taken to an extreme in this series in some really disturbing means. I mean, these bullies are backed by a demon, so you can imagine just how horrible they are.

Empowered Sistah Spooky High School Hell 5 01Empowered Sistah Spooky High School Hell 5 02Empowered Sistah Spooky High School Hell 5 03
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Despite this seemingly never-ending barrage of insults and physical attacks, Empowered and Sistah Spooky have pushed through. They've risen above their foes to persevere and have found a new appreciation for each other. They came into this as unlikely allies, but now they're closer than ever before.

Artist Carla Speed McNeil absolutely kills it in this comic. She handles the artwork and the lettering and they work so incredibly well together. The word balloons flow with the action on the page, changing size and shape based on the intensity of a given scene. I particularly like the fun captions to introduce some of the villains, such as, “Ashlee 1 of 1 (remaining) – Witch-hunt coordinator,” which appears like something you'd find on a Lisa Frank folder, which is a juxtaposition to her heinous actions.

McNeil's artwork bounces between stark reality and fun cartoons, which helps break the tension of some of the more uncomfortable scenes. I'm very impressed by her art direction too, as no two pages look alike. The layouts flow and change based on the needs of a given sequence, often appearing in non-traditional shapes and sizes.

Empowered Sistah Spooky High School Hell 5 04Empowered Sistah Spooky High School Hell 5 05
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The eerie sameness of the blonde bimbos creates an army of peppy cheerleaders who would fit right in at a white supremacist rally. They see nothing wrong with the horrible things they're saying and doing, even when they're outright racist. This is just another day for them and that's what makes them so creepy as villains.

My favorite character design is the Infernal Service Provider. He appears as a fiery demon in a plaid suit. His head is an animal's skull perpetually on fire, so he brings this frightening quality to any scene when he shows up, often to make Empowered and Sistah Spooky's lives even more miserable. His dialogue is more than a little silly though, so he ends up being inadvertently hilarious.

Empowered & Sistah Spooky's High School Hell presents some real-world terror through supernatural means. While no one has had their back broken posing for an art class, they have been teased, taunted, and ridiculed. Seeing these two face this non-stop adversity is inspiring. It makes every one of their successes mean even more as they fight back these brats.

Grades:

Story: Fourstars Empowered Sistah Spooky High School Hell 5 Cover
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Art: Fivestars
Overall: Fourandahalfstars

About The Author
Spez Bio 2
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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