by Matt Kindt, Pere Perez

(Spoilers Below)

The current arc of Unity has dedicated an issue to each of the existing members and focused on the aftermath of a grueling battle. Book three of a four part arc, Unity #17 features the final member of  Unity to get the spotlight treatment, team leader Livewire. They saved the best for last.

I’ve enjoyed writer Matt Kindt’s run on Unity, especially of late, and this book is one of my favorites. I’ve often felt that Livewire has been overlooked, and I appreciate finally getting to know more about one of the most important women in the Valiant Universe. Livewire joined the ranks of Unity during her Harada-imposed exile. Despite having been Harada’s second, she showed us that she would do what was necessary for the greater good, even if that meant opposing her mentor. While we know that she was taken in at a young age by the Harbinger Foundation, little has been shown of Livewire outside of missions. This issue gets behind the calm exterior of Livewire and lets readers get to know Amanda.

There’s a great many personal insights revealed such as her feelings about her place within Unity, the struggle to adapt to “normal” life when one is both a psiot and part of a highly active response team, her subsequent burnout, and her attempts to maintain human connections. We also see that she has a sense of humor, ala her telepathic diary. It was refreshing to see her interactions with others beyond the battlefield. The companionable relationship with GIN-GR, who shows a level of consideration for her well-being that one doesn’t expect of a “robot”. Her nurturing of and empathy for the children at the orphanage. Her flirtations with men. Livewire acting coy in a coffee shop was not something I expected to see in this book, but I highly approve. One of Livewire’s greatest fears is becoming a machine, and seeing her lose the shackles of “calm and collected” and behaving like the young woman she is was overdue. Even more interesting, it’s revealed that Livewire has Ninjak on her mind. Here’s hoping that doesn’t turn into something that breaks up the band.

The reveal of her Exo-Nano suit was another boon. Readers have speculated on the mechanical-looking addition on the back of her uniform that she’s been sporting lately, and we finally discover its purpose. The morphing quality is fantastic. I find it very interesting that the suit has both X-O and nanite capabilities, plus a feature that I’m willing to bet that the Aric’s X-O armor doesn’t. It’s an easy panel to overlook, but let’s just say that her suit is “equipped” to handle her every need apparently.

Kindt teases more information about the battle that will be revealed in the next issue. We know that it was one of the hardest battles that the team has undertaken, and each member has struggled under the weight of it. It is revealed that GIN-GR is hidden a mile under the ocean, charged with securing a “package” and keeping it docile. Next month promises the addition of Charlie Palmer from the original H.A.R.D. Corps team, but in what capacity? From the cover, it also seems that Livewire’s “machine gun hand” will be making an appearance, which seems very likely now that we now what her suit is capable of. I’m looking forward to the culmination of the latest saga.

It would be remiss to not point out the wonderful work that artist Pere Perez has done. He draws an attractive and realistic Livewire, with clean lines throughout the book. Her eyes seem especially expressive to me. Brian Reber’s colors were lovely and effective, particularly in the case of the rose tones used to illustrate her memory of a moment with Ninjak.

I give Unity #17 my highest rating. Kindt and team created an illuminating character piece that humanized one of the most enigmatic and wondered-about characters in the Valiant Universe.


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