Being a Psiot in the Valiant Universe is a dangerous thing these days. Because of Livewire’s own actions during the Harbinger Wars II, the world sees all of these super powered beings as dangerous threats that either need to be contained or killed outright.
Suddenly, the Psiot Security and Education Program (PSEP) appears almost out of nowhere promising a way to help young superhumans contain or control their abilities. Livewire lets herself get apprehended by PSEP as part of a gambit to infiltrate and save the young Psiots in their custody.
The book starts off with her in conflict with Jada, a Psiot with enhanced strength and fighting skills, after she finds out that Livewire hacked into their networks. The fight is absolutely brutal with Livewire holding nothing back. Kano draws this as a knockdown, drag out fight with heavy impacts that draw blood to strikes that crack the walls and other parts of the environment.
Their commotion is heard by the entirety of the facility, so the kids and head of PSEP, Serena Byrne head to Livewire’s temporary room and stop the fight. Serena says that this sort of violence is not allowed in her “sanctuary.” Amanda responds by revealing that it is being funded by OMEN, a company contracted to hunt and kill Psiots.
Livewire proclaims that she is there to save the kids and cites the other young black girl in their custody. She cites Phoebe Daniels, as an example of someone who’s there without her parents consent. Serena asks Phoebe to maybe have a talk with Amanda, to show her that she is there of her own accord.
The conversation between the two is weird in a fantastic way. Livewire appeals to her emotions by telling her how much her family misses her and we see these small vignettes next to Phoebe’s head of nicer times with her family. Livewire explains her plans to free the other kids, thinking that Phoebe is on her side.
Phoebe activates her ability, decks Livewire in the face and chokes her out while we see her actual interactions with her parents. We see the other side of the flashbacks where they abused and berated her for using her powers. She did not have the good and healthy family life that Amanda though that she did. Livewire couldn’t see through her own ego.
Jada finds and congratulates Phoebe for protecting the facility, dragging an unconscious Amanda way to who knows where and she is visited by Serena, telling her that they need to be honest with each other.
This book was fantastic in showcasing the idea that no good deed goes unpunished. Livewire’s heroic nature and the ego that comes with it doesn’t let her see the full picture of things. She never took the time to fully understand Phoebe’s situation and why she may have actually run away from her parents. She chose to see kids who have been scared into saying nice things about PSEP when they may actually be helping them.
On the other side of the coin, there is absolutely something nefarious going on with Serena and PSEP in a way that reminds me of Toyo Harada’s Harbinger Foundation. This has been something of a running theme during this run of Livewire’s book with the last arc seeing her face off against one of Harada’s other top students.
One thing that I do have a bit of a problem with is how frequently Livewire has gotten her ass handed to her in this series. First by mercenaries/black ops guys that wanted to neutralize her powers, though if I remember right that was also just a ruse. She was also beaten up by Jada in another ruse to learn the PSEP facilities security system. Phoebe, however did indeed whip Livewire’s ass.
Livewire is still one of the most overpowered super heroes in comics right now, but these repeated defeats have a way of souring even that. We know that she’ll come out on top in the end, but it never helps to get taken out by a child that’s half your size.
This issue was a good enough read and definitely deepens the mystery behind PSEP and their leader, Serena Byrne. The art is fantastic and I definitely hope to see more action, especially if the next issue ends this particular arc.
You can purchase it today on Comixology or at your Local Comic Book store!
How do we rate this? 4 Sodas
The Artist formerly known as Tyson Yurai fancies himself a fan of capes, dumb 90s trash and great horrors/thrillers!