Livewire #4 Review: Beginning Again

What’s more frightening than a near omnipotent, near omnipresent black woman losing control? That same woman who not only reclaims her power but begins to heal. Amanda McKee also known as Livewire is in the midst of fighting for her life from the parasitic psiot Pan De Santos. His ability to turn a person’s memories against them seems to be working, but instead of falling into despair Amanda gets to reflect on what she’s done.

In Amanda’s memories Harada grooms her to be a leader in his image. And Amanda realized she’s been complicit in the destruction of others. It’s not something she’s proud of, but as a maturing woman Amanda takes responsibility for her actions. With her powers still dampened she battles Santos. More importantly, she battles herself. Ironically, this is the only time in which Amanda has the ability to figure out if her taking out the world’s power grid was a necessary evil or something done for selfish reasons. Yes, psiots were and possibly still are being hunted by the government. But does that justify the deaths she’s responsible for? There isn’t a simple solution, but writer Vita Ayala isn’t making passive entertainment. In this comic-book world you must be engaged. It’s not enough to look at the well-drawn, penciled characters.

A black woman is trying to figure out her place in the world after having been raised by who many consider a god. Toyo Harada survived an atomic bomb and has the means to dominate and take over the world and possibly beyond. How do you have an identity or a sense of self after leaving a man like that? For Amanda, Harada saved her from foster care, opened up the possibilities of her life and made her realize that her being a psiot is a gift. The problem was that Amanda never had a true sense of family and when she met Harada’s throwaways she found people who she cared about. When their lives were in danger, Amanda didn’t fight for psiots, she fought for her family.

Issue four of ‘Livewire’ has fight scenes, there’s a complex bad guy who seems to be working for someone. However, the best part of this narrative is Amanda coming to terms with the choices she’s made. More than anything it’s good to have a family. Whoever that family consists of, whether it’s the people you’re blood-related to or you’ve collected along the way it’s important to feel a connection. For all of Amanda’s ability to control any and everything electronic or electromagnetic, without people you can rely on it doesn’t mean much. Along the way Amanda gets it. Perhaps from there she can begin again.

About Donna-Lyn Washington 577 Articles
Donna-lyn Washington has a M.A. in English from Brooklyn College. She is currently teaching at Kingsborough Community College where her love of comics and pop culture play key parts in helping her students move forward in their academic careers. As a senior writer for ReviewFix she has been able to explore a variety of worlds through comics, film and television and has met some interesting writers and artists along the way. Donna-lyn does a weekly podcast reviewing indie comics and has also contributed entries to the 'Encyclopedia of Black Comics,’ the academic anthology ‘Critical Insights: Frank Yerby’ and is the editor for the upcoming book, ‘Conversations With: John Jennings.’

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