Livewire #1: Actions, Reactions, and Consequences

Livewire #1 Cover B. Written by Vita Ayala, drawn by Raúl Allén and Patricia Martín. Published by Valiant Comics. December 19, 2018.

Livewire #1

Vita Ayala (Writer), Raúl Allén (Artist), Patricia Martín (Artist), Saida Temofonte (Letters)
Valiant Comics
19 December, 2018

Amanda McKee, a.k.a. Livewire, used to be a hero. She worked alongside the U.S. government to save those in danger using her teletechnopathic powers. But the government turned against her and her people—psiots, people with abilities. To save her fellow psiots, Livewire plunged the U.S. into darkness, but that act caused several unintentional accidents and the deaths of many, turning Livewire from a hero into one of the country’s most wanted.

Livewire #1 Cover A. Written by Vita Ayala, drawn by Raúl Allén and Patricia Martín. Published by Valiant Comics. December 19, 2018.Now on the run, Livewire wants to make amends and go back to doing what she does best—saving people. But for that, she needs her old friends back. She uses her powers to send messages to her group—Nikki, Owen, and Avi—asking them to meet at a museum.

The meeting doesn’t go as planned. Nikki still wants to hear Amanda out, but Owen is furious, because psiots are now persona-non-grata thanks to Livewire’s actions. Avi is even harder to convince. Livewire’s blackout caused the death of his teenage cousin, and he can’t forgive Livewire for that, no matter how good her intentions were.

Livewire tries again to reach out to her friends, but unbeknownst to her, someone is on her tail, and this time they’re prepared to negate her powers. Can Livewire fight her way through this?

I have never read about Livewire before, but I’m definitely intrigued by her now that I’ve read this comic. You’ve got to love a misunderstood hero on the run, and Livewire’s conviction is what makes her such an interesting protagonist.

Livewire truly believes she’s a hero, and she can’t understand why even her closest friends won’t believe her. There is a long scene, spread over a fair few pages, of Amanda speaking to Nikki, Owen, and Avi. The bulk of the exchange takes place between Avi and Amanda, and it’s absolutely fascinating. I know this is meant as exposition, but the dialogue is so natural that I don’t feel like I’m being given backstory. Coming in with no knowledge of this character or this universe, I was concerned that I would be lost, but in actuality, everything is laid out in these panels to ease a new reader into this world. I really hope they manage to keep this up for the rest of the series.

What I also appreciated about the dialogue was how much it brought the characters’ personalities to the fore. You can see how Nikki wants to side with Amanda and how frustrated Owen is about them being left on their own. And, more than all the others, you see Avi’s sense of betrayal and how much he’s hurting from the loss of his cousin. This just goes to show you that you don’t need action to power through a comic—great dialogue makes for an excellent story as well.

Writer Vita Ayala seems to already have a great grasp on this story and character. From the opening pages, they’ve given us an essence of what drives Livewire and what her arc could be in this limited series. Plus, there’s that denouement, which did not go how I expected it to. It’s a great cliff-hanger to close the first issue on, while also introducing readers to the possible series villain.

I was initially concerned that the two female characters—Nikki and Amanda—weren’t interacting enough, but Ayala has a reason for that. They have obviously mapped out these relationships, and I’m excited to see how the group dynamics develop over the series.

There’s a ton of diversity in the characters that really made me happy. Amanda is an African-American, Owen appears to be Asian-American, and Avi is Indian-American. Nikki is the only white character among the main group so far. Even the background characters tend to be diverse, which is good and I hope it continues.

I loved the art! Artists Raúl Allén and Patricia Martín grab your attention with their detail and colour from the get-go, and keep you engaged right through the end. I adore their characters, all of whom are so distinct and whose expressions are so vivid. This is the kind of comic book art that I love looking at, and it made me want to go through the pages over and over again.

Livewire searches for a meeting place in Livewire #1 page 5. Written by Vita Ayala, drawn by Raúl Allén and Patricia Martín. Published by Valiant Comics. December 19, 2018.
Loving this art!

The night fight at the end of the book is a particularly notable highlight. It’s really hard to convey the lack of light while still clearly showing readers the action, but the artists manage to do an amazing job here. The way they use light and shadow is remarkable and beautiful, making me enjoy the comic that much more.

The only problem I really had was with the emphases on certain words in the speech bubbles. There were far too many, and it didn’t work for me. I know this is a lettering technique, and I’ve seen it in other comics, but for some reason it was really distracting here and took me out of the story. I would prefer it if there were fewer words emphasised in upcoming issues.

This is a great start to this new series. I love the protagonist, I am fascinated by the supporting characters, and I am intrigued by the story. I can’t wait to read how Livewire gets out of this scrape she’s in and whether her friends will finally join her fight.

Louis Skye

Louis Skye

A writer at heart with a fondness for well-told stories, Louis Skye is always looking for a way to escape the planet, whether through comic books, films, television, books, or video games. E always has an eye out for the subversive and champions diversity in media. Louis' podcast, Stereo Geeks, is available on all major platforms. Pronouns: E/ Er/ Eir