Vita Ayala (Writer), Raúl Allén (Artist), Patricia Martín (Artist), Scott Koblish (Artist), Saida Temofonte (Letters)
13 February, 2019
Amanda McKee, a.k.a. Livewire, needs a break. She’s been on the run for a while, ever since she used her teletechnopathic powers to shut down the U.S., unwittingly causing the deaths of thousands of people. She was doing it to save her people—psiots, who were being hunted and killed by the government, and had nobody to help them. Livewire stood up for them, or so she keeps telling herself. Now, she is about to be reminded of who she really is.
Having escaped a band of mercenaries who got the drop on her and captured her, Livewire is now depowered and still running. She’s discovered by a gun-for-hire, someone from Livewire’s past. Forget about saving her fellow psiots. Can Livewire even save herself?
Though I have been enjoying this series, I was disappointed in the previous issue of Livewire, which seemed to revel in needless violence. This issue is virtually one long fight scene, but what I like about it is that Livewire more than holds her own. She has more agency, and the violence appears to be more necessary than gratuitous.
We also learn a great deal about Livewire, which is something I’ve been waiting for since the start of her series. We learn where Livewire learned to control her powers, and to fight, and how her mentor betrayed her and her people, showing himself to be a monster. I am genuinely intrigued by this snippet from her past. As someone who hasn’t read much from Valiant Comics, these little insights make me want to read the rest of what Valiant has to offer. It helps that the character Livewire mentions will also have a comic series of his own. It’s a great way to get readers invested in a universe instead of individual characters.
I am also intrigued by Livewire’s adversary in this book. He shares a past with Livewire—he even calls her “sis”—and it seems that the two were rivals in their attempt to be their tutor’s right-hand. Clearly this enmity has been stewing for years, and Livewire’s adversary enjoys showing off his skills, much advanced from their childhood when he was simply doing “parlour tricks.” I do want to know what his powers are. It isn’t entirely clear, but he seems to have some affect on people’s memories. Nonetheless, despite being powerless, Livewire does give him a run for his money. No wonder she did well at their dojo instead of her “brother.”
But, having read Livewire #3, I am beginning to wonder whether Livewire is actually deluding herself about her motivation. Yes, psiots were, and still are, in danger from the government, but did Livewire have to shut down an entire country to save them? Almost every single person Livewire has met since this series began has reminded her of the immense loss of life she caused, but somehow Livewire herself seems to think her hand was forced.
In this issue, Livewire gets a wake-up call and is brought face-to-face with her actions. She still insists on her line of reasoning, but the ground is shrinking beneath her. Sooner or later, Livewire is going to have to face the music. The question is, are we the readers going to be on her side or against her?
Throughout the Livewire series, the art has been a highlight and continues to be so in this issue. Livewire artists Raúl Allén and Patricia Martín are joined by Scott Koblish for this issue, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at the art (that’s a good thing). I love the details of the characters’ faces, as well as the interiors of the few locations showcased in Livewire #3. One gets a real sense of place, and space, in this series, and that really enhances the reading experience. The various hues that the artists use is even more effective in this issue, as a number of panels depict Livewire’s past. By changing the palette slightly, the artists are able to convey the change in era.
I do have one small niggle: at the start of Livewire #3, when Livewire is disguised, the headscarf she has on is made up to look like a hijab. From my research, it doesn’t look like Livewire follows the Islamic faith, so there should be no reason for her to wear a hijab. If she is depicted wearing a hijab to hide herself, that is immensely disrespectful.
As much as I am enjoying the story and art of Livewire, I can’t help but wonder what the goal for this series is. Livewire herself is a fascinating character, and full of depth and determination. But it is quickly beginning to look like she is the villain in her own story. Can the remaining issues of this miniseries change our minds? For Livewire’s sake, I sincerely hope so.