It’s time to check in with everyone’s favorite technopathic hero, Livewire. Where we last left her, she had stopped being a fugitive and had fully come out on live TV as a guest of Definitely-N0t-Ellen, where she debated with Senator McCoy, the notorious anti-gay Senator her benefactor and (apparent) ally Congressman Wright is running against for California Senate. After a heated exchange and, yes, more talking, the issue ended inconclusively with Amanda learning a bit more about Wright and his assistant Gwen while forming a human connection with them. Until, as always with this series, they just undermine it all at the last second. So that takes us to #11, where a charity ball is being held and guess who’s invited…
Like previous installments, this is yet another talky issue. Then again, I’m beginning to wonder if maybe there was always this much talking in comics and I never noticed it. Or maybe I just read too many trades. Anyway, the charity ball Amanda is attending is largely a way for her to meet some people face to face for the first time while having her hair in a ridiculous tower. While they convey well here the suspicion some of the public has about Psiots and Amanda in particular, people seem…fine. At worst they’re being creepy about her showing up. McCoy ends up putting on a big show of yelling at Amanda and arguing with her about the deaths she caused. These are usually the best parts of these comics because while McCoy is a bit of a stereotype, he’s not a total strawman. But it’s refreshing that his constant jibes and anger don’t bother Amanda, who just attacks him right on back while defending her actions. Considering how quickly the X-Men like to jump to weird “um, actually” when debating anti-mutant folks, it’s nice.
Things get less nice later on as masked men, like on the cover, suddenly shoot up the place and take hostages. This is where the comic is a bit of a tease. The “hook” for this comic centers around this moment, our first taste in the new arc of Livewire kicking real ass as opposed to cyber ass (look for Cyber Ass #1 on April 1st). What it really amounts to is a giant curb stomp by the still very OP Livewire that is actually really fun (Livewire’s ability to manipulate tech is put to creative use), but pretty clearly is a setup. Because while she’s taking down the criminals, a burglar breaks into Senator McCoy’s house and is discovered by his family. Once Livewire beats the bad guys, the burglar is gone and it’s revealed that they were Gwen the WHOLE TIME, and she’s “got everything.” So, yeah, for the like fifth issue in a row we’re pretty much NOWHERE closer to resolving any plot threads while the comic piles more and more on top.
As much as I’ve been enjoying the political intrigue and maneuvering, and the way Amanda cuts through all of Wright’s Buttigieg-esque politics…it’s starting to edge into frustration. We’re being intentionally made to question everyone’s motives, which is good, but we’ve learned exactly nothing that either defies or reinforces our questioning. Instead, we’re just getting more secrets piled on while the comic seems to scramble and make even the anti-psiot bigot seem sympathetic.
As an additional note, this is the first time I’ve noticed some weird art choices by Tana Ford. While she continues to create extremely expressive characters, I wonder if maybe she’s going a bit hard on them. There’s A LOT of frames where someone, sometimes just a random side character, is making a goofy face. It is becoming distracting. Also, I really cannot keep track of skin tones and considering the narrative they’re telling, making Wright and McCoy SUPER WHITE added to their effectiveness.
All in all, it’s a good continuation for the mysteries, and it’s not so bad that I want to drop it. So stay tuned in November for Livewire #12: And Justice For All.
Writing: VITA AYALA
Art: TANA FORD
Cover A: STACEY LEE
Cover B: TULA LOTAY
Cover C: ANNIE WU