There’s no better way to say it, Livewire is a must read if you are looking for a book right now that properly represents what it means to suffer from inequality in a superhero world. Along the way, the X-Men stories lost some of their core values for the sake of being wild and out there. You only get a compelling story from that kind of world when you write with a mission statement in mind. For Livewire, that is making sure that the same thing that happened to her growing up, never again happens to other young psiots, or any psiots around the world.
That is what has made this story arc so brilliant, and intense for Amanda. You ask yourself how far are you willing to go and fight for your ideals, and Amanda is the very definition of the drive which you never let go of. This has only been issue eight of the series, and she has been knocked down more times than I can count. Only to somehow be able to dig down and stand right back up. Especially in the face of the Psiot Security & Education Program. Initially this issue set you up with chills. After one too many squandered chances to understand what Selena has been trying to do, there was no telling what would be done with Amanda now that she has proven to be too much trouble for them. Would they turn her over? Brainwash her like some of the other kids seem to have been? Or maybe just kill her? There was no telling what her fate would be, and that only made the anticipation greater to also see how Amanda might get herself out of this one.
The answer to this was actually quite impressive. Where this book tends to catch you off guard most is when Amanda is underestimated. It’s safe to say at this point that most people assume that they have her figured out because they know her powers, and have seen what she can do on TV. However, this never makes up for the lack of knowledge in what Amanda has experienced behind the scenes and what she has already thought of to overcome her current limitations. Beyond that, I continued to find myself floored by the way that most at the same time see her as only someone who relies on her powers. This was once again another issue where the art team nailed a memorable action sequence.
I think that what captivated me about this chapter in particular was the way they addressed different viewpoints for what it means to fight for the future of psiots. It didn’t matter that Serena used to work for Omen, or that Jayda is willing to kill in order to protect this program. The crucial element to this story was the understanding that right and wrong was fairly subjective in this situation. Now surely enough most of us want Amanda to be right. It only stings when she thinks that she might be doing the wrong thing. One of her actions was definitely in the wrong this time around, but there was no denying what she sees as a danger to these young psiots from her experience, versus what the PSEP sees from their perspective.
Aside from this, how they wrapped up this story for Phoebe was interesting. She was pretty much the only young psiot that was explored in this program. While you may have wanted to get to know more, there is only so much time to allocate towards something that doesn’t further the overall plot. So with that said, I enjoyed the way that Phoebe’s mind was open to the things around her that aren’t challenged. The most dangerous thing for someone her age is to ask too many questions,
What made this issue visually entertaining was all the ways that this art team found to toy with Amanda. When you strip Amanda of her toys, this forces her to reach further out to get creative. They nailed the visual of what it means for her to think outside of the box. Not the first time we have seen her play with wires, but the way they tangled and coiled around her gives you goosebumps. That as well as the warm glow to them. The colors they use for her powers make her feel powerful. Which is why I do appreciate it when this is done sparingly. Now the best thing about this chapter was as I said, getting that one last fight between Amanda and Jayna. This has been the highlight of every issue where they clash. Their movements are fluent, their hits have impact, and they both actually look like they are fighting as two individuals experienced in combat. Lastly, this was probably the first time you saw a lot of red, and again it made a big difference that it looked more natural than splashed over for effect.
The climatic final issue of Livewire Arc 2: ‘Guardian’ was captivating. If you forgot that this mission for Amanda is personal, this was your wake-up call. She stood her ground, she challenged was not right, and she let nothing get in her way. Even if the part of her that forgets how to rein it in gets the best of her. But this is a growing experience. Amanda is growing into a better person every step of the way, and we want to continue that journey with her too!