Advance Review – Livewire #1 (Valiant)

Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Writer: Vita Ayala
Artwork: Raul Allen
Colours: Patricia Martin
Lettering: Saida Temofonte
Release Date: 19th December 2018

Before I dig into my review of this new upcoming Valiant series, I‘d like to get a quick caveat out of the way. This series is being billed as a “brand new jumping-on point for long-time Valiant fanatics and new readers alike”, and as such I’ll fully admit that I’m coming into this one with absolutely no prior knowledge of the Livewire character, her history as a part of Unity or the actions that led to her becoming public enemy number one.

It’s also probably worth disclosing that the review copy I read started with page one of the actual story, so I’m not sure if there’s going to be a “previously…” preamble to get new readers up to speed in the finished version.  I can only hope there is, because from the opening page to the end of the issue, I found myself struggling to play ‘catch up’ and figure out just what the heck was going on.

Putting the fact that I don’t know who anyone actually is to one side, the story itself is fairly forgettable superhero fare.  Livewire has done something bad and her friends have turned their backs on her.  She wants to make amends, but they aren’t having any of it.  Oh, and she also seems to be squarely in the crosshairs of several shady organisations who want to apprehend her for various reasons.

Writer Vita Ayala does a solid enough job with the writing, but the story itself leans so heavily on the relationship between Livewire and her (former) friends that without prior knowledge of these characters, it all falls a little flat.  That said, even if I did know more about what went down, this still feels like a fairly flat issue with a lot of extended moments of hand-wringing, sighing and grudge holding.

Admittedly things do pick up a little in the final few pages, but unfortunately the action choreography from artist Raul Allen during this sequence feels awkwardly posed and disjointed, diminishing the impact of what I’m guessing should be a fairly dramatic showdown.  The artwork on the whole is decent, but aside from a slightly confusing opening sequence, it never really gets out of first gear until the cool but weird-looking conclusion.

Artistic inconsistencies aside, LIVEWIRE isn’t necessarily a bad comic as such, it’s just a fairly forgettable one, and one which completely fails at delivering on its “brand new jumping-on point!” claim.  There’s clearly some interesting history between the main characters here, but without a prior knowledge of backstory which provides the main thrust of the narrative, there’s pretty much zero reason for new readers to pick this one up.

Rating: 2/5.


ceejThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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