(w) Vita Ayala (a) Raul Allen & Patrica Martin
If I’m being honest with myself, I haven’t read a Valiant book in just over a year. It’s not because the quality went down, but reading everything they put out week in and week out just burned me out. Looking for a way to jump in, this bright and shiny #1 starring Livewire seemed like as good a place as any. For those that have been keeping up with Livewire’s adventures through Harbinger Wars 2 and Secret Weapons, Livewire #1 rewards your loyalty. But for those of you looking for an entry point into the Valiant Universe might want to look elsewhere.
Vita Ayala makes an admirable effort in trying to catch readers up to what’s going on. There is a quick recap showing Livewire saving people from a plane with captions explaining the current state of the Valiant Universe. We are quickly introduced to a bunch of supporting characters that have history with Livewire, presumably from Secret Weapons, none of it good. Even though as an uninitiated reader I have little context as to what is going on, Ayala’s script conveys the intended emotional weight of the situation. But while the high-flying emotions are well conveyed by the script, the context is lost on readers, save for the Valiant faithful.
The artwork from Raul Allen and Patricia Martin suffers from similar qualities. Ayala’s script demands the artwork give characters expressiveness in order for the emotional weight of scenes to take root. And to that end, the duo is largely successful. Readers can feel the pain and regret of the characters. However, for the most part the artwork is simply adequate. It’s by no means bad, but it does very little to stand out from the highly competitive comic book landscape. That has mostly to due to with the muted color palette, which makes this book look 10-15 years older than it is.
Livewire #1 is by no means a bad comic. However, it is a missed opportunity to bring new or lapsed readers into the Valiant Universe. Hopefully, there should be improvement in the coming issues now that the setup is out of the way. But for now, only the publisher’s strident fans will get a fulfilling reading experience. The rest of us are best off looking elsewhere.