After another captivating mission from Livewire, now is the time for a new arc. This one got me a bit more excited than the others just because this one was titled ‘Hero’. A lot of what Amanda has been doing up to this point is behind the scenes work. She’s managed to gain some spotlight here and there, but nothing so bold as to endanger herself as the world’s most wanted. It would be an exciting shift in pace for her to risk going public, and interesting if it is for political purposes.
From the start of this issue there was a bit of reflection for Amanda given her recent experiences. The great thing about a lot of these Valiant books is that they can make the start of a new story arc feel like you are reading the first issue. When I say this, I mean the way that they ease you into the story in such a way that if you were just to pick up this issue, you would at the very least understand where she is at currently. You know that she has had her fair share of obstacles since becoming wanted, you know what made her wanted in the first place, and you know the way that this has influenced the way she now looks at the world. It made sense that especially after her recent encounter with PSEP, that she could begin thinking harder about the choices she makes and what kind of impact they can have down the road. This is a world where the consequences actually matter. Particularly when you are seen as a walking weapon, and need the world to be able to see that not everyone with powers is someone to fear or gun down on sight.
After that, they jumped right into the direction that this next arc is taking Amanda. What I admire about this book so far is how they are bold in the approach to go political. Some readers out there will quiver at the word and hide from the fact that these books can reflect the world around us. The world for Amanda is one where people fear difference and use that as a stepping stone to manipulate the public opinion. Just enough so that a political candidate can cruise by with ease as long as they seem like they have the people’s needs in mind. There was one bit that stood with me more than anything else, and I’m glad a writer was able to address this. Too many times in these worlds, difference simply means having powers. This is one of those rare moments where someone took it a step further to show that this is just the next evolution in fear mongering. Race was still a thing, as well as other ways of discriminating.
The offer made to Amanda was also a point of interest. Not for the shock that someone was actually audacious enough to try to use her as a platform to fight for candidacy, but just for the conversation in general when she was approached. It takes a special kind of person(s) to plead a political case to someone who you can’t hide your personal information from. They knew what they were doing, and they said all the things that would make the average person ready to fight back against those who abuse their political power as seen in this story. The only question is if this was hook line and sinker for Amanda. Part of her growth would be being able to know where this could go right, or wrong. I’m glad they didn’t give us too much to go on so that our interest is still there for what happens in the next issue.
There was only one concern for this issue, and that was how the interiors would turn out with a change in art teams once more. Fortunately for us this has never been much of a problem with Valiant books. Even when some books rotate through artists, they don’t leave you feeling as if they are cheating you out of quality visuals. Tana Ford and Kelly Fitzpatrick were just as good as any of the others. The personal engagement was the same that you got from these characters. Not to mention they got creative with giving us another issue where Amanda’s powers could be presented in a unique way. I loved the one page where she has hacked into a system and they make it look like her hair is reaching out while creating panel borders at the same time. The colors were a bit more tame, but still carried over the same atmosphere that is produced from when we enter the digital world. Given the kind of books this is too, Saida Temofonte did a standout job with the lettering as well. Solid style, good placement, and got creative when it came to the way that Amanda herself reads things when her powers are active.
Overall, Livewire #9 was a solid start to Amanda fighting this war on a different front. Still managing what lines she is willing to cross to make a difference, and discovering new enemies along the way. My hope for this new arc is that they really think outside the box when a political is not really her comfort zone.