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Review: Livewire #7

Livewire #7

The masterminds behind the Psiot Security and Education Program are uncovered in Livewire #7! Can Livewire save Phoebe and avoid being captured? Plus: Phoebe’s backstory is revealed!

You know that feeling you get in your gut when something isn’t quite right? It’s like when you know you’ve forgotten something. You leave the house to take the dog for a walk, but can’t quite place it. You pull up to the dog park and the pooch is being unusually quiet? It’s only then you realize that something isn’t quite right (I don’t have a dog, by the way).

That’s the feeling I got when reading Valiant’s Livewire #7 written by Vita Ayala and featuring Kano‘s artistic talents.

And speaking of talent, Kano is a tour-de-force in this issue. There’s a brutally intense fight scene early in the comic. As the scene progresses the colors become more and more red as the anger and rage between the combatants increases. And then it stops suddenly, the fight over. There’s a flash of the anger red hue a moment later. How Kano has framed the action and facial expressions the intensity never leaves the comic. Then there are the softer yellows and colder blues of the later comic. Kano matches the color scheme to the emotional content of the story. You’re never explicitly told how to feel. You know how the characters are feeling because of the backgrounds and the panel layout before you ever have to look at the art itself.

Ayala’s pacing with Livewire #7 leaves this as one of the better issues in the series so far; we see beneath Livewire’s reputation and get to glimpse the woman who just wants to help people – despite her actions in the past, we’re being reminded that at her core, Amanda McKee is still a hero. But the characters within the Valiant Universe may not realize that just now. This series may not have had the immediate connection with me that some of Valiant’s other series have, but the deeper that Ayala dives into Livewire’s psyche, the more I am enjoying the series.

Livewire is one of the rare series Valiant has right now that has more than five issues, and Ayala is proving why a longer run with a character can pay dividends in the long run. This is an incredibly enjoyable comic on every level, and it comes highly recommended from yours truly.

Story: Vita Ayala Art: Kano
Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.2 Overall: 9.1 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Livewire #7

LIVEWIRE #7

Written by FRED VAN LENTE
Art by KANO
Letters by SAIDA TEMOFONTE
Cover A by KENNETH ROCAFORT
Cover B by FRANCIS PORTELA
Cover C by BECCA FARROW
On sale June 19th, 2019
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | Full Color

The masterminds behind the Psiot Security and Education Program uncovered! Can Livewire save Phoebe and avoid being captured? Plus: Phoebe’s backstory is revealed!

LIVEWIRE #7

Review: Livewire #6

Livewire #6

In Livewire #6, Amanda finds herself face-to-face with a brand-new foe and things are beginning to get personal. The Psiot Safety & Education Program welcomes Livewire into a supported safe haven for psiots. Is Livewire willing to let the same government that once hunted psiots house her family of outcasts?

The last issue of Livewire introduced a new organization to the Valiant Universe in PSEP. Livewire was apprehended and taken in by PSEP, which sets up Livewire #6. Writer Vita Ayala gives us a more cerebral comic than we’ve had before. Livewire is focused on trying to gather information on the organization that may or may not be holding her captive.

Kano‘s style is visually impressive as he makes use of every ounce of space in the page. His focus on the security cameras tells you more than anything that Ayala says. The art to draws your attention and tells you all you need to know. His panels, angles and framing in this comic are once again subtle and yet strangely exciting. It gives the comic a much more traditional feel with the panels and grids. That style works exceptionally well in this issue again.

There’s an awesomely choreographed action scene that is one of the focal points of the book. It works both in terms of how Kano lays it out, and the dialogue that surrounds on page action. One gets the sense that the real fight isn’t necessarily the one happening on screen…

Livewire #6 is a strong, cerebral issue that adds a lot to the story by focusing on the title characters mental and physical assets. Livewire may be an incredibly powerful psiot, but she’s also more than capable without her powers. This issue reminds you of just how compelling that combination is.

Story: Vita Ayala Art: Kano
Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Story: 8.8 Art: 8.9 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Livewire #6

LIVEWIRE #6

Written by VITA AYALA
Art by KANO
Letters by SAIDA TEMOFONTE
Cover A by KENNETH ROCAFORT
Cover B by JOHN K. SNYDER III
Cover C by JUAN DOE
On sale May 15th, 2019
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | Full Color

Amanda finds herself face-to-face with a brand-new foe, and things are beginning to get personal. The Psiot Safety & Education Program welcomes Livewire into a supported safe haven for psiots. But is Livewire willing to let the same government that once hunted psiots house her family of outcasts?

LIVEWIRE #6

Preview: Livewire Vol. 1: Fugitive TPB

LIVEWIRE VOL. 1: FUGITIVE TPB

Written by VITA AYALA
Art by RAÚL ALLEN, PATRICIA MARTÍN, SCOTT KOBLISH
Colors by DIEGO RODRIGUEZ 
Letters by SAIDA TEMOFONTE
Cover by ADAM POLLINA
On sale April 24th, 2019 
$9.99 | 112 pgs. | T+ | Full Color

For the first time, Livewire takes center stage!

Accomplice. Mentor. Savior. And now, Enemy of the State. Seeking to protect other vulnerable superpowered psiots like herself, Livewire plunged the United States into a nationwide blackout, causing untold devastation. With the whole world hunting her, what kind of hero will Livewire be…or will she be one at all? As with all Valiant Vol. 1 trade paperbacks, this is being offered at the special introductory price of $9.99.

Collects LIVEWIRE #1–4.

LIVEWIRE VOL. 1: FUGITIVE

Livewire #6 Gets an Extended Preview as a New Foe Appears!

To celebrate the final order cutoff of Livewire #6, Valiant has released an extended preview of the upcoming issue by writer Vita Ayala and artist Kano !

LIVEWIRE #6

Written by VITA AYALA
Art by KANO
Cover A by KENNETH ROCAFORT
Cover B by JOHN K. SNYDER III
Cover C by JUAN DOE
On Sale May 15
FOC April 22

Amanda finds herself face-to-face with a brand-new foe, and things are beginning to get personal.

The Psiot Safety & Education Program welcomes Livewire into a supported safe haven for psiots.

But is Livewire willing to let the same government that once hunted psiots house her family of outcasts?

$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On sale MAY 15th

LIVEWIRE #6

Review: Livewire #5

Livewire #5

New story arc! “GUARDIAN,” Part 1. 

Investigating the disappearance of a young psiot girl, Livewire stumbles upon OMEN’s answer to the psiot “problem,” a facility where young psiots are taken and taught to control their powers. Is this facility the safe haven Livewire’s dreamed of or is there something more sinister to this sanctuary?

The first four issues of Livewire took us in a uniquely framed redemptive arc for the title character; redemptive not because she is suddenly viewed as a hero in the Valiant universe (she isn’t), but because she seems to have come to terms with her choices and actions during the events of Harbinger Wars II. Vita Ayala was able to acknowledge these actions and bring us very organically past the elephant in the room.

After a slight dip in the series with the previous issue, I’m more than happy to report that the series has returned to its earlier highs – if not more so.

This issue is perhaps one of the best starting points for new readers; indeed there can be arguments made that this is actually a more accessible place than the first issue because of the focus on new character Phoebe Daniels rather than on the title character. It’s a bold choice by Ayala, but one that pays off as we develop an attachment and understanding of the young psiot who is bound to play a bigger role in the series in the future (and possibly the Valiant universe as a whole).

Joining Ayala on art duties this go around is Kano, whose style is visually similar enough to the previous art team, while still be able to deliver an injection of freshness to the series. This is ultimately irrelevant to those starting with this series, unless they choose to pick up the first four issues (and you should do such a thing), however what isn’t is that Kano is a brilliant visual storyteller. His panels, angles and framing in this comic are subtle and yet strangely exciting, lending the comic an odd technological bend at times without relying too heavily on digitized flavours.

Livewire #5 is a return to the quality that Ayala established early in the series, and it’s a comic that adds a lot to the Valiant universe when you look at the potential opened up by Ayala in this issue. A new arc means a new jumping on point, which means potential new readers; thankfully, with this comic those new readers are going to be able to embark on a fantastic journey with one of Valiant’s more complex characters.

Story: Vita Ayala Art: Kano
Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Story: 8.8 Art: 8.7 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Vita Ayala Talks About Livewire

Livewire #5

Livewire #5 kicks off a brand new story arc “Guardian.” Investigating the disappearance of a young psiot girl, Livewire stumbles upon Omen’s answer to the psiot “problem,” a facility where young psiots are taken and taught to control their powers. Is this facility the safe haven Livewire’s dreamed of or is there something more sinister to this sanctuary?

Featuring art by Kano and covers by Kenneth Rocafort, Will Conrad, and Grey Williamson, the comic is written by Vita Ayala and edited by Heather Antos.

We got a chance to ask Vita a few questions about the series, creating comics, and what it’s like to work on one of Valiant’s biggest names.

Livewire #5 is out in stores April 10, 2019.


Graphic Policy: The first arc felt very personal, and dealt heavily with Amanda’s image as a villain in the post Harbinger Wars II landscape, but this one gives me the impression of her trying to be a hero regardless of what people think of her. Is there a general theme you’re exploring with each arc (that you can share)?

Vita Ayala:: The core of this story arc is about self-control.

For Livewire, having had to take responsibility of the consequences of shutting down the country and moving forward, the question of self-control is especially important. It’s at the forefront of her mind as she navigates a world that views her as a terrorist and the ultimate threat while trying to be a hero.

There’s also a juxtaposition that will go on between Amanda and the other women in the book. We were interested in touching on some of the “path that could have been” sort of ideas, between Amanda and Serena especially.

GP: Despite being very accessible for new readers, the series also plays heavily with what’s gone before. Is it difficult to keep the balance as well as you have so far?

VA: It can be tricky to navigate, yes! Especially in the first and fifth issues, because they both begin story arcs and have the heavier burden of hooking new readers.

I think it helps to approach the stories as if they are sort of the start to a television show. When you begin a series, you want the characters you introduce to have weight—to feel real and rounded and like they existed before we jumped into their lives—even though we have never seen them before.

Hopefully, we succeeded!

GP: With Livewire being one of the bigger names in Valiant’s warehouse, does that add any pressure when you write?

VA: You know, it doesn’t. That SHOULD be a factor, but I think when I pitched the character, I purposefully didn’t think about it or incorporate that weight into how I approached Livewire, if that makes sense.

That doesn’t mean I wasn’t nervous, though! Having it be the first time she has her own solo title—THAT was daunting. Collaborating with [arc 1 artists] Patricia [Martín] and Raúl [Allén] following their run on Secret Weapons with Eric Heisserer? Terrifying! Writing my first ongoing book? I can’t think about that without getting anxious.

But I think when it comes down to it, I want to write the best possible story no matter WHO the character is. That it is Amanda, who I fell in love with in
Secret Weapons, actually makes me more determined to succeed than scared to fail.

GP: One of my favorite things about this series is how you’re looking at the actions of “heroes” in less than positive ways. In a book with so many grey areas, who do you find yourself rooting for?

VA: At the end of the day, I root for Amanda. She is striving to help people and keep the more malicious powers that be from succeeding.

But, rooting for Amanda doesn’t mean always agreeing with her methods, or thinking she is perfect. Sometimes, rooting for someone means you want someone to knock some sense into them (metaphorically), because they are not able to see the bigger picture in a way that is ultimately harmful to them and their goals.

So, I root for Amanda, as a character, and also, I root for her continuing to learn better and do better.

GP: With Livewire #5 opening the door to another group training and developing psiots other than those we’ve seen in previous series, what are the chances this one is more benevolent than the others?

VA: You’ll have to read to find out, haha!

GP: Last time we got a chance to chat, you mentioned you tweaking the comic three or four times. How do you know when a comic is “done”?

VA: It’s done when my editors are happy, haha.

No, but seriously, I think it is done when the editors and I agree that the comic is serving the story we want to tell, in the way that we want it to. This process is a long one—even after art is locked in, there are tweaks to be made in lettering that can change the entire meaning of an issue.

GP: You’ve been able to make it out to some conventions recently; how has the reception been for the book from the fans?

VA: People have been incredibly supportive and wonderful! I was a little nervous, because I know Valiant has a very tight-knit and dedicated fan base, and I was a newcomer on a high-profile title, but everyone was super welcoming! They really are some of the absolute best fans in comics.

GP: Finally, perhaps the most important question of all: Which is better, pirates, zombies or ninjas?

VA: Oof, hard-hitting question! Well, I am happy not to live in a world with the living dead, so I’ll leave the zombies to others.

And, while I am low-key obsessed with pirates (I am a total mark for swagger, cool coats, and swashbuckling rogues wielding cutlasses), I enjoy not having scurvy, so, I’m gonna go with ninjas.

Full disclosure, my first tattoo ever was the symbol from Flame of Recca, a manga about ninjas with elemental powers, so I am a LITTLE biased…

Preview: Livewire #5

LIVEWIRE #5

Written by VITA AYALA
Art by KANO
Letters by SAIDA TEMOFONTE
Cover A by KENNETH ROCAFORT
Cover B by WILL CONRAD
Cover C by GREY WILLIAMSON
Pre-Order Edition by KHARY RANDOLF
On sale April 10, 2019 
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | Full Color

New story arc! “GUARDIAN,” Part 1. 

Investigating the disappearance of a young psiot girl, Livewire stumbles upon OMEN’s answer to the psiot “problem,” a facility where young psiots are taken and taught to control their powers. Is this facility the safe haven Livewire’s dreamed of or is there something more sinister to this sanctuary?

LIVEWIRE #5

Review: Livewire #4

Livewire #4

No friends, no teammates, no mentor…and soon, no hope!

Once, Livewire dreamed of devoting herself to the betterment of humankind. Now, her most steadfastly held ideals are about to be tested like never before as she struggles to stay alive in the clutches of a fearsome new foe! But who is the mysterious psiot mercenary hunting her…and more importantly, who do they work for?

After Livewire effectively turned off the electricity for pretty much the entire United States, Livewire #4 finally has our hero (or villain depending on which way you’re looking at it) acknowledging her actions during a fight scene that lasts the full issue, interspersed with flashbacks to highlight certain parts of the dialogue.

This is an issue that left me with mixed feelings; on one hand it had to happen so we could move on to the next phase of Livewire’s story, but on the other it fell a little flat after the previous issues.

Possibly because the fight scene was against a character I’m not familiar with other than his appearances in this series (whether that’s because I don’t remember him or he was only recently introduced I don’t know). It’s difficult to feel any real emotional weight with the confrontation that hadn’t already been played upon last issue, and so consequently the comic left me wanting more.

Raul Allen,and Patricia Martin are nothing if not consistent. The pair have a distinctive and very unique style to their work that brings the script to life. The focus on the chip in Livewire’s head builds to a wonderful visual payoff, and leads in to the culmination of the arc as a whole. The artistic team are on top form once again, remaining deliciously consistent in the quality as they veer from super detailed backgrounds to panels with a blank background that highlights the action within – especially with the focus on the bright blue items/things within the comic’s pages.

Livewire #4 takes a bit of a stumble along the way, but it’s still worth reading. So far, this book is the exception to the rule when it comes to the quality of the series, and as such I’m hopeful for a return to form with the next issue.

Story: Vita Ayala
Art: Raul Allen and Patricia Martin
Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Story: 6.5 Art: 8.3 Overall: 7.6 Recommendation: Read

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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