UNITY has basically felt like a big budget action movie, but with this third issue, Matt Kindt tones down the action (only slightly, action junkies) to instead focus on one specific character: Livewire. If you don't read HARBINGER, your impression of her in this book is probably something along the lines of, "Oh, she's the one who can control technology, right?" The decision to shine the spotlight on her is very needed and thankfully, it's a legitimately interesting read, too.
Kindt finds a natural way to throw in her origin story/give us a clear look at her personality while also moving the overall narrative forward. He does a solid job juggling who Livewire is and why the X-O Manowar armor is so important. And speaking of the armor, this issue's a great insight into what it's like to "bond" with the armor and this produces some really impressive page layouts. And then there's that cliffhanger. Man oh man, it's a good one.
Doug Braithwaite does a completely awesome job illustrating the assorted locations and effects. There's so many books where backgrounds will randomly vanish, but there's none of that here. Braithwaite puts an impressive amount of detail into every scene to help keep us immersed in the story. For example, the opening scene begins just outside of Earth and begins to zoom in, taking you from the cold of space to the relaxing clouds and then to a jet speeding over the ocean before crashing us back into the conflict. Creative decisions like that really stand out and are totally appreciated -- and that's just the first page. There's also a moment where Livewire's flooded with memories and they do a solid job hitting us with the rush she's experiencing. Colorist Brian Reber also does a fine job bringing each of these drastically different locations to life and the effects are vivid. The moment between Livewire and Harada has a gorgeous contrast and her scene shortly after is one that'll definitely leave an impression. There's a good amount of eye candy in this one, folks.
Sometimes Braithwaite's attention to detail tends to feel a bit overdone with faces. The amount of wrinkles, lines and shading can be a little distracting and make characters appear older than they actually are at times. The action's also a bit stiff in a few cases. For example, when we see Gilad in action, he has a bunch of enemies around him and it's unclear what's going on. Sure, we know he's taking them all on and that's certainly cool, but you can't really appreciate the action and one panel later they're literally just tossed aside. There's also one panel of Aric through Livewire's perspective and the position he has with his arms comes off as a bit awkward.
Using this many iconic characters from the publisher's universe is a double-edged sword. On one side, it's awesome to incorporate all of them and see how they'll all get involved/work together. On the other side, there's a safety net with certain characters who are critical in other ongoings, so that takes away from some moments where there should be more tension or a sense of danger.
UNITY has proven it's a great book and it's only on the third issue. The intensity never really slows down in this series, even when Kindt decides to dial back the action and focus on a lesser-known character. Then there's the hook for the next story. It's pretty much guaranteed to make you want the next issue right away. UNITY technically isn't a "big event," but it absolutely feels like a damn good one.