I’ve been looking forward to this issue because of all the role players on the Unity team, Livewire is the one that puzzles me the most. With Livewire I’ve never gotten the impression that she was indispensable like the other characters. It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed her character, quite the opposite as I’ve followed her since Harbinger, but with the Eternal Warrior he’s a name and a brand. With Ninjak he’s a name and a brand and with Livewire, she’s a name. She’s always felt like a Geomancer or supporting Harbinger character all the way up to this issue of Unity. She didn’t feel indispensable like the rest of the team or even the major players that she’s been working with. I don’t know why that is, but that’s the way it’s felt. It’s almost like she was in a supporting role, but the fans latched on to her and so she was pushed into the spotlight and has stayed there since.
And we should be very fucking happy about it.
What Matt Kindt does with Unity #17 is just about the same thing he did with Ninjak and the Eternal Warrior’s single issues; he makes them all complete and full characters while he develops the hell out of them. Seriously there has been more character development for these three characters since Unity #15 then the previous fourteen issues. Livewire’s issue though… is remarkable. Kindt doesn’t just develop her character he reveals it. He shows us what there wasn’t time to show us in Harbinger, and what there hasn’t been time for in Unity. He shows us exactly what Livewire’s nuance is rather than just “talking to machines.” Though he does that too.
Livewire doesn’t just talk to machines, she creates them and that’s something that’s never been said or explored and it’s so damn good because in this she invents some Tony Stark type stuff, but in a very Valiant way. That is to say that her tech game is on Stark’s level, but fits 1000% with Valiant’s way of being. I’m not going to say more than that because it’s just really cool, but that extra layer of character makes her indispensable from this point on.
Kindt also shows us how cool Livewire’s power can be when she stops a bank robbery without ever getting involved. So many superhero books could do this, but they always go for the punch and banter. Instead Livewire shuts everything down and just sends them a snarky message. It’s so fucking cool and better than anything superhero related that I’ve seen in years.
Kindt also does another thing in this issue that’s different from the previous two; he establishes why Livewire is the best pick for leader. While each of the last three issues have explored the different characters, Ninjak’s and Eternal Warriors were very much about what they want out of being on the team. Whereas Livewire’s has been about the team. About what she can do for people and the world. That’s what occupies her thoughts and really gives her the presence and mindset of being a leader.
Pere Pérez is once again outstanding on the art. This has been his best work to date at Valiant, but definitely his and some of the best on Unity. In particular I enjoyed the illustrations for Livewire’s new suit as it changed to event matching attire each time. It was a nice touch and again very “billionaire genius” of her to do that. If you had clothing that could be anything you wanted would you change ever? Especially when they self-clean? I don’t think so.
I was looking forward to this issue, but also nervous. Again the other two issues have followed “big heavies” in the Valiant U and while Livewire has been getting there she hasn’t had her time in the sun. She hasn’t had an issue like this one, but now she does. Now she can continue to grow and dominate in the Valiant U and let me tell you… I’m hoping she gets what she desires out of this issue because she’s become my second favorite character at the moment… right behind her “desires.”
If you’re not reading Unity any of the last three issues have been a great place to start, but this is definitely one of the better ones to jump on to.