Matt Miner’s “Liberator” continues this month is a more focused and driven chapter. An important and engaging story, Liberator proves that real world issues can be explored thoughtfully in comics. “Liberator” is a book with deep understanding of its subject matter. A world most of us are familiar with. Few of us have more than a surface level understanding of animal cruelty. As such there are times where the story borders on preachy. Yet, at its best “Liberator” is a hard-edged exploration on real world heroes.
WRITTEN BY: Matt Miner
ART BY: Javier Sanchez Aranda
PUBLISHER: Black Mask Studios
RELEASE: July 31, 2013
I use the term hero, since I find the word vigilante carries certain connotations. Yet, make no mistake that heroes and vigilantes are practically one in the same. That being said. Miner’s Damon is as focused and driven a hero as you can have.
The series is grounded in reality. The characters in “Liberator” never feel sensational and the conflict very much exists in the real world. Comparisons to “Kick-Ass” are sure to be made, due to Damon donning a mask. Yet, Damon takes the streets with a cause that defines him, and defines his actions. Ultimately giving the book a moral conscience that is missing from most vigilante justice stories.
Damon is firm in his beliefs about animal rights. His job sucks, and he won’t stand for injustice. His temper can get inflamed rather easily but it doesn’t prove to be a problem just yet. Damon’s arrival to the McMartin Fur Farm is dramatic and interesting. Miner’s script favors the small moments to build character.
The issue kicks into high gear when Jeanette joins Damon. Our heroes are clearly established and their goals become clear. The banter back and forth about the Batman and Robin dynamic was fantastic and funny. Miner’s script allows for some levity in moments that should be tense.
Miner continues to cement his heroes’ motivations with a vivid script. Aranda’s art depicts some acts of animal cruelty that are hard to look at. Which is surely the point. The art allows us to immediately sympathize with Damon and Jeanette’s goals.
The issue is surprisingly light on action. However, the story doesn’t succumb to any pacing issues. Aranda’s art uses the slower, more expositional script to dive into the characters. Intimate facial expressions and big panels are on full display here. It invests the reader and the face work conveys almost everything a character is going through.
The hooks set up for the future of the series are great and engaging. I was worried as I saw Damon’s face on page 17, and I can’t wait to see how this thread pays off. The issue ends with a bang, and allows us just to see what our heroes are capable of.
Miner’s script is incredibly strong and well constructed. The story ebbs and flows ensuring there is never a dull moment. If you ever sympathized with animal rights in the slightest I urge you to pick up this book. There are worse ways to send an important message. Not to mention the book is really well written. The entire thing is poignant and refreshing.
“Kick-Ass” with a cause.
Reviewed by – Jimbus_Christ