This book right here is the Valiant book I’ve been looking forward to most next to the return of Shadowman. Valiant has been off to a good start giving us a lot of staring roles in ongoings that set the bar for superhero stories, but where they have been lacking is an ongoing staring a black female lead. And not just that, the very one who has sort of been left out in contrast to the other characters who made up the former Unity team back when. It always stung that they all had their own series but Livewire who continued playing guest appearances. So this #1 debut was a long time coming.
As with most starts to a series like this, I enjoyed the approach to introducing us to Livewire. When Valiant has such a strong commitment to making sure that these stories are accessible to all readers, it is key that a debut like this is welcoming to all readers. It wasn’t a big information dump, or a bunch of flashbacks. It was a smooth scene putting Amanda in her element, while at the same time summing up everything that she has accomplished up to this point. I think I was even a bit caught off guard by the scene they chose to start this on for the fact that she was doing a lot without the need of her usual suit. Small moments like that are good for defining what she can do with her powers. Hopefully much more of this ongoing will find time to push the boundaries of her powers.
Now the big thing for this issue was jumping into this new chapter for Amanda after the events of Harbinger Wars II. It was heartbreaking how they didn’t pull punches to show how far she has fallen from simply trying to do the right thing for psiots around the world. You can’t argue with her choice to send a message to the world that killing kids and psiots for being different is wrong, but at the same time it was hard to overlook the many who suffered or died from the worldwide blackout she caused. It was the opinion of her from people she considered family that hit the hardest. I think that was where they brilliantly drove this point home. Beyond that, her character writing was captivating for the inner struggle captured through this leader who wants to believe she did the right thing for the people, even when the cost was too high. Duty versus ethics comes into question here, and they really made you question where you stand on this issue. You could be right or wrong, and that is a perfect place to stand for the very things that plague Amanda’s mind from that initial scene to the last.
As they also said, this series is also one one that serves as a re-evaluation for Amanda. Right or wrong, she obviously was going to have to find some way to turn this situation around for herself, unless spend the rest of her days on the run. These days the hero rise/fall trope would be bold, but it works in the case of Amanda.
The dangers she faced in this first issue really set the bar for what we could be expecting as a whole. This is a world where it is neither safe to be Livewire or Amanda. The kind of trouble she ran into felt fitting for her unique situation. This isn’t Toyo Harada who you send assassins, super soldiers, and superhero teams to take down. The kind of line that Amanda crossed opened the floor to much more that she would have to watch her back for.
Honestly, you couldn’t ask for a better art team to tackle a book like Livewire than <br>Raúl Allén and Patricia Martín. These two are more than comfortable with psiot stories and the kind of appeal that readers are looking for who following the books like Secret Weapons that came before.They both have a unique approach to the layout of panels, the way they capture Livewire’s powers in use, and how they tackle big action sequences. More important than that, they have a personal touch to these characters that reminds you of how grounded this is supposed to be in contrast to other stories. I love the way they emphasize facial expressions and body language to give you a believable performance from these characters during key scenes. <br>In terms of colors, I enjoyed that a bit more liberties were taken to step outside of the usual blues and pinks. Not that this combination doesn’t work, but there’s obviously some things that you would want to stand out that would require a different shade of color from everything else. This was very important for that opening scene for all the objects involved and the fact that this was set during the day. Sometimes it is important to be able to see that distinction.
Color me impressed by this Livewire #1. It was satisfying and lived up to the hype for the one Valiant hero who has needed this chance for a solo series more than most. I will give this creative team credit that it probably couldn’t have been this engaging if this took place at any point other than now. Welcoming to new readers, great introduction to this new chapter of Amanda’s life, while also creating some new threats along the way. At this point you can say that for better or for worse, she is getting the full hero treatment.