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Advanced Review: Livewire #1


Accomplice. Mentor. Savior. And now, Enemy of the State. Seeking to protect other vulnerable super-powered psiots like herself, Livewire plunged the United States into a nationwide blackout with her technopathic abilities, causing untold devastation. After choosing the few over the many, she must now outrun the government she served – and those she once called allies. With the whole world hunting her, what kind of hero will Livewire be…or will she be one at all?

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. That phrase stuck with me as I was reading this comic, for rather obvious reasons as we see, perhaps the first time, Livewire’s more human side since the events of Harbinger Wars II, and the catastrophic loss of life resulting from her effective nation-wide EMP pulse. Livewire #1 opens with several pages of soul searching in Livewire’s internal monologue as she justifies her actions, the end result of those actions, and her intentions. That Vita Ayala has  been able to give Livewire an almost sympathetic slant after all she has done recently in the Valiant Universe is no mean feat. The character’s desire to protect and save young psiots at any cost brings to mind both her mentor Toyo Harada, and one of Marvel’s most compelling villains in Magneto.

This is a fantastic way to approach a very complex character, one that could easily be viewed as Valiant’s new premier villain. It’s this angle that makes Livewire #1 so interesting to read. Although the audience knows what Livewire has done, you can’t help but feel for her as she struggles to justify her actions to herself and to her (former?) team, the Secret Weapons (if you haven’t read the four issue miniseries these characters originated from, the simply named Secret Weapons, then you’re missing out).

Livewire #1 is a very intelligent read, and Ayala has already established a book with a lot of promise going forward, but a comic is more than just excellent writing; it’s a combination of words and art. The art team of Raul Allen and Patricia Martin are perhaps one of the most visually interesting and dynamic art teams I’ve ever seen in a comic book. The colours of the pages are either predominantly a pale blue, almost cold in its technical and clinical usage, or a red that has the frustration and anger palpably emanating from the panels. This is a book about cold frustration, and it shows in all the subtleties in the art.

Allen and Martin give us a powerful performance that in every way matches Ayala’s writing, and sets Valiant’s newest series up for a huge amount of success – hopefully success that will be reflected in the sales charts as well as the critical reception.

This is, frankly, a fantastic comic book. I can’t wait for the second issue (I also can’t wait to see this in print, either).

Story: Vita Ayala Art: Raul Allen & Patricia Martin Letters: Saida Temofonte
Story: 9.1 Art: 9.2 Overall: 9.1 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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