Move over Marvel, there are new superheroes on the graphic-novel stands.
In this thought-provoking comic series, readers meet Amanda McKee, aka Livewire, a black former government agent whose powers enable her to manipulate technology. Amanda and her fellow psiots are now on the run from U.S. officials who want to control their powers and who fear their influence. Amanda is currently public enemy No. 1 after causing a blackout that resulted in mass casualties. While evading agents out for blood, she struggles to reunite with her psiot friends who feel betrayed by her actions. The narrative begins in media res, and Ayala (Twisted Romance, 2018, etc.) and artists Allén and Martin do a credible job of creating a world that feels realistic and visually fantastical while also orienting readers within the story. Amanda’s trio of friends are a multiethnic bunch (East Asian, Sikh, and white), and through their dialogue, readers confront uneasy truths about superheroes that other, more fantasy-based, characters are able to avoid. As much as superpowered beings are revered, on some level we fear and resent them for reminding us of our own powerlessness, a tension explored here.
Given how technologically dependent society has become, few superheroes can feel more timely—or more threatening—than these. (Graphic novel. 13-18)