Valiant’s Livewire is not just another superhero comic. It’s a contemplation on public perception and identity, where saving innocent lives doesn’t automatically result in widespread acceptance.
Vita Ayala, Raúl Allén, and Patricia Martin are not the first creators to tackle this subject, but they are amongst the few to really dig into the personal sufferings of a hero character with such raw emotion. Livewire’s backstory is accompanied by a decision that required risking lives for the greater good, which involved causing a nationwide power outage. Branded a terrorist, and confronted by her closest friends with questions about her methods, Livewire turns inward to find strength in her own ideas as to what it means to protect the world. Even if it means making decisions few will actually understand.
Ayala’s writing really elevates the character’s moral philosophy into a kind of inner conflict that serves as the story’s main drive. In the process, Livewire becomes a more technologically-focused Dr. Manhattan-esque figure that can certainly become a heavy hitter in future Valiant events. The series is more than capable of justifying its own event further down the line.
I caught up with Ayala at this year’s Black Comic Book Fest at the Schomburg Center in Harlem to see talk a bit about Livewire #2. Ayala stated that this issue is about “how it feels to come face to face with the people that hate you for doing the right thing.” Expanding on this point and on how Livewire compares to a character like Dr. Manhattan, Ayala added that “the character just comes face to face with the gritty reality of having powers that can change things at a larger scale, whether people like it or not.”
Ayala seems to be building a character that doesn’t fit into a world where superheroes can actually change the status quo. In the process, Livewire presents herself as a challenge to the traditional superhero formula, subverting it to get a proper look at why our classic superheroes go full stop just as real change comes into view. Truly an important read.
Here’s a look at Livewire #2, in stores January 23rd, 2019.
Official PR follows:
Written by VITA AYALA
Art by RAÚL ALLÉN, PATRICIA MARTÍN
Cover A by ADAM POLLINA
Cover B by MEGAN HUTCHISON
B&W cover by ADAM POLLINA
When the superpowered psiot codenamed Livewire plunged the entire country into a nationwide power outage, she made more than a few enemies – and now she’s about to meet them face to face! But these mysterious foes aren’t simply interested in bringing her to justice…no, they have other far more nefarious plans for the most wanted woman in the world…
Dazzling writer Vita Ayala (The Wilds, Submerged) and unforgettable art team Raúl Allén (WRATH OF THE ETERNAL WARRIOR) and Patricia Martín (SECRET WEAPONS) back Amanda McKee into a corner as the most anticipated ongoing series of 2019 rages onward!
Ricardo Serrano is a Social Studies teacher with a Master’s Degree in Comic Books from the University of Dundee in Scotland. He’s also the co-creator of Se Habla Comics, a Puerto Rican podcast geared towards Spanish-speaking comic book readers.