- Writer: Vita Ayala
- Artists: Raul Allen, Patricia Martin, Scott Koblish
- Colors by Diego Rodriguez
- Letters by Saida Temofonte
- Cover by Adam Pollina
This is a review of Livewire Volume one: Fugitive Trade paperback. Here’s a summary of the trade before we hop into the review.
Accomplice. Mentor. Savior. And now, Enemy of the State. Seeking to protect other vulnerable superpowered psiots like herself, Livewire plunged the United States into a nationwide blackout, causing untold devastation. With the whole world hunting her, what kind of hero will Livewire be…or will she be one at all? As with all Valiant Vol. 1 trade paperbacks, this is being offered at the special introductory price of $9.99.
Now, I went into this series knowing nothing about the character Livewire, but after reading volume one I feel as though I have a great understanding who they are. To start, Livewire is a psiot who is able to control and manipulate technology. What drew me into the first issue is there is enough information available for me to feel as if this is a great jumping on point. Here, Livewire is coming out of an incident where she caused a blackout throughout the United States, which ties into another series. This incident alone has me interested in reading the other title, or that other event too afterwards. Nevertheless, Livewire talks about her reasoning as to why she felt justified in causing the blackout; the explanation given makes me agree with her, but to an extent though. Livewire created the nationwide blackout to essentially protect the psiots, as the governments have begun to execute them due to fearing the psiots potential. However, the result lead to several accidents and deaths to average people, as well as her own kind.
Further into the volume, readers being to meet other influential people in Livewire’s life. Ironically, these people that Livewire considers as her family do agree with her actions. In addition, while these people are on the opposite side of the argument/ morale debate, each character seemingly has a different perspective. What I love is how their involvement with the overall reaction to the blackout adds to Livewire’s character from personality to thought process. Each character’s perspective in criticizing Livewire adds multiple layers to our hero’s moral compass, and ultimately raises several questions about her. Thankfully as the volume proceeds, readers learn how Livewire’s life being controlled by the government and black op organizations helps to explain her judgement in that moment. Yet, once Livewire is forced to come face-to-face with ghost from her past, that being her “brother” Pan, she realizes her mistake! Livewire is able to admit that the blackout ultimately did more harm than good, and that she must learn how live with it moving forward.
So, throughout this trade we, the readers, receive amazing amount of background information, regarding Livewire and the world she lives in. We come to understand that all Livewire was trying to do was to protect her own kind, the psiots, while still remaining everyone’s hero. However, when she decided to fight for the psiots like a civil rights activist, she ultimately went to the extreme to prove her point; essentially Livewire became a Magneto, since there are some similarities with psiots and mutants. Yet unlike Magneto, Livewire seeks to still be a noble force of justice for everyone, and at first does not realize the impact she made. We see the course of her realization through Livewire learning her friend Avi’s cousin died in the blackout, to her own fight with her villainous brother. The flashbacks during Livewire and Pans fight showcases, how Livewire has made all her past mistakes due to how they were raised by a ‘lawful evil’ man in Harada. What adds to their backstory is how Pan hated being seen as the second fiddle to his sister, leading towards his immense hatred for Livewire. Pan’s quest for vengeance feels so realistic in terms of toxic sibling relationships that it ultimately adds to Livewire’s realization, and opens the door for her path to redemption. The cherry on top for the volume is how Livewire and her friend Avi begin to reconcile over her drastic actions.
Now, the artwork by Raul Allen, Patricia Martin, and Scott Koblish is wonderful. Each issue they are able to deliver clear-and-consistent artwork that never made me, the reader, lose my focus. The team’s artwork is easy to follow, so readers will never be confused with where the action, or dialogue is going. Also, a huge shout out to Diego Rodriguez with his work on the colors for this series. He has done a fantastic job with picking and choosing his color pallet for this series; it helps makes the series stand out with its cooler colors compared to the more “pop colors,” if that makes sense. Furthermore, Saida Temofonte doing the lettering is great, as I think I only had a bit of confusion in the order of dialog only once. Yet, outside of that small issue, everything is placed well throughout the book. Also, I must recommend that readers should read the page by page commentary with Vita Ayala, as it further flushes out our narrative and characters.
Overall, I feel as though this book is a great jumping on point, as it gives the readers a chance to come into a comic book series without having prior knowledge to its previous incarnations. This honestly is easily accessible to someone like me who has no prior knowledge of this character or this series for that matter. I could not recommend anymore as to why people should pick up this trade; especially if this is someone’s first attempt at begin their journey into the Valiant comic universe.