Review: Livewire #9
In Livewire #9, wanted fugitive Livewire has been on the run for months from the authorities for shutting down the country’s power in an effort to protect people gifted with powers.
Valiant‘s Livewire #9, written by Vita Ayala and featuring Tana Ford‘s artistic talents, and Kelly Fitzpatrick opens a new arc. It finds Livewire as the target of a campaign manager who wants to improve her image. It’s a story arc that has the potential to write a scathing commentary of the way we interact with media. Based on the first issue, Ayala seems more than ready to talk about that. That makes this a comic that I’m really interested in, especially given the current climate.
What’s interesting about a campaign manager looking to improve Livewire’s public perception is that we’re going to see how the media and the public will react to Livewire as the campaign manager manipulates the information available – and how it will be done.
We’ve seen what Livewire has done and why she’s viewed as a terrorist by the public. If you don’t know, she intentionally caused a nationwide blackout for several days as a reaction to the murders of young psiots. In so doing she caused the deaths of those who relied on the nations electrical grid. We’ve also become familiar with how Livewire feels about her actions.
Perhaps one of my favorite things about this series is how Vita Ayala has yet to explicitly cast Livewire as a hero in her own book, and that’s what makes the newest arc in the series so interesting; do you see the title character as a hero, a villain or something in between? Ayala is able to challenge our views on what makes a hero a hero without ever really coming out clearly on either side of things.
One thing is for certain, though; under Ayala’s deft hand Amanda McKee has become one of the most interesting characters in comics.
Unfortunately, despite a strong showing from Ayala, Ford seems a little inconsistent with the visuals in the comic. Art, obviously is very subjective. You might read this book and think it’s great. If you do, I’m pleased for you. But for me the comic felt like it lacked a certain polish in more places than not. One of the early scenes in the comic involves a fight. There’s three panels that don’t flow as well as they could have. A different choice in the choreography, a left hand instead of a right hand, would have made a world of difference. Unfortunately, this was early enough in the comic. That took me out just enough to pay attention to the art with a harsher critical eye.
My feelings on the art and the writing live in an odd dichotomy; I’m not a huge fan of one and love the other. This leaves me to think about the product as a whole, and overall it’s still a very strong one.
Livewire has been one of Valiant’s better series over the last few months. It’s one that has been gaining momentum in the quality department. So it can afford a stumble or two without and loss of faith from yours truly. Really, this stumble is entirely down to arguably the most subjective aspect of the comic. Ayala’s willingness to play with the superhero tropes whilst continuing to write a compelling story should not be missed.
Story: Vita Ayala Art: Tana Ford
Colorist: Kelly Fitzpatrick Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Story: 9.1 Art: 7.1 Overall: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy
Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review