Home > Comic Reviews, Reviews > Livewires, vol. 1: Clockwork Thugs, Yo

Livewires, vol. 1: Clockwork Thugs, Yo

Written by Adam Warren, Art by Rich Mays
Marvel Comics, 144pp
Rating: T+ (13 +)

Originally release in 2005 Livewires was the first series to really bring Adam Warren to my attention. It’s a sci-fi action tale featuring a group of androids, designed to look like teenagers naturally, from Project Livewire who are tasked with hunting down and eliminating rogue black ops groups and projects. The series originally ran for fives issues and was eventually released in this dirt cheap, digest sized collection!

Livewires starts off with a bang and it doesn’t really ever let up. It kicks off with a new member, Stem Cell, joining the group in the middle of a mission. Adam Warren does a fantastic job at using her to introduce us to the entire team and continues to use her as the audience point of view character throughout most of the tale. Her curiosity about the group’s past leads to flashbacks throughout the volume, and it’s really the tale of her becoming a full fledge and actuated member of the team. While Stem Cell is a little innocent, naive and unsure of herself, the rest of the team is made up of seasoned pros, including the weapons specialist Hollowpoint Ninja, the group’s muscle Gothic Lolita, tech man and hardware guru Cornfed, and Social Butterfly who specializes in human interaction. What’s really fascinating is that the group, comprised of specialized androids, actually comes across as just that, but without the stereotypically serious and dry attitude. Their dialogue, rife with the techno-babble and the quirky slang that marks Adam Warren’s work, doesn’t feel odd and unnatural here but it feels like the kind of thing that would develop if a group of androids spent a large part of their time simply interacting with their own kind. It’s not just the dialogue either. Their personalities, while fun and relatable at times, are marked with a distinct otherness. While they all come across as individual characters and look like super powered teens, Warren never really lets you forget that they are a group of inhuman machines designed to destroy rogue black ops groups and, if necessary, kill or otherwise manipulate their human operatives into silence.

My understanding of the artwork is that Adam Warren provided the rough pencils and layouts and Mays did the rest. Mays’ artwork here is very complimentary to Warren’s, but with a slightly more simplified and streamlined look to it. The action sequences are fast paced and nicely over the top, featuring all sorts of hi-tech weaponry and goodies. The action sequences are well drawn and easy to follow while maintaining a thrillingly fast pace throughout. The coloring is a bit of an odd duck. Livewires was originally was published as a monthly comic on glossy paper which did a fantastic job at emphasizing the blacks and the glowing LED’s and explosions wonderfully. Unfortunately for the collection they chose a different paper stock, probably to keep the price down to a measly $8, and the vibrant colors end up looking a bit dull at times as a result. Also, the caption boxes are often accompanied by a small picture and the codename of the team member talking, but when they shrunk it down to a digest sized collection the name’s can be a bit difficult to make out at times.

Livewires was probably my first introduction to Adam Warren as a creator and to this day it remains an enjoyable, over the top, action packed, sci-fi adventure. The characters are fun and playful, the concept is unique and incredibly interesting, and the whole thing is a blast. It’s been five years but I still enjoy cracking it open and giving it a read every now and then. If you come across this on the shelves, definitely give it a look.

Livewires: Clockwork Thugs, Yo is available now.

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