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Advance Review: ‘Liberator’ # 3

Matt Miner’s ‘Liberator’ continues this month with Damon taking his cause further than ever before. Things ratchet up as Miner backs his characters into a corner. Issue 3 explores the difference between fiery passionate revenge and calculated justice. Miner warns us that inflamed revenge is much more liberating but so much more detrimental.

WRITTEN BY: Matt Miner
ART BY: Javier Sanchez Aranda
PUBLISHER: Black Mask Studios
PRICE: $3.50
RELEASE: Sept 11, 2013

Damon is a passionate creature. He is driven to don a mask and take justice into his own hands. This month, he completely goes off the chain. At the beginning of the issue we’re reintroduced to his efforts when he is on the verge of arrest. After getting off relatively easy, Damon doesn’t count his blessings. Instead he condemns himself further.

Jeanette offers the sensible calculated counterpoint of Damon’s efforts. She wants to help, but wants to do so with every conceivable angle of danger taken care of. She spends most of the issue trying to reel Damon in, to calm him, and to control his passion. Damon can’t be controlled. He makes that clear. He lets his passion push him to do something borderline insane in the name of his cause.

I’d be lying if I said Damon’s crazy actions weren’t the best part of the issue. Although it pains me to know how dearly he’ll pay for them. ‘Liberator’ is about finding the line in justice and the right ways to step around it. Sometimes the grand scheme of everything is much deeper than it appears. Damon blindly thinks he has it all figured out. Miner makes sure to remind us that he doesn’t. Damon has condemned himself.

However, Damon’s moments of action are expertly executed. The voiceover narration feels like Batman at the best of times. Damon speaks with such confidence that he seems to have it all figured out. As he was talking candidly about searching through a person’s garbage I believed that he was in control. Miner makes you buy into Damon’s false confidence, and you feel as fucked as him by the final pages.

Aranda’s art is the strongest it’s ever been on the series. The panels of Damon going off are filled with so much energy. Particularly strong are the forced perspective panels of Damon smashing windows. The glass shattering around him, and the rock propelling out the page is just fantastic. Aranda draws Damon with a newfound confidence this month, a straighter posture, and a smirk on his face. His passion has empowered him.

It’s interesting since ‘Liberator’ defies convention by offering no fixed antagonist. There is a cause to rally behind, but nothing more menacing than butchered animals. It’s fantastic for defying convention, and shows that the evil of a book doesn’t need to be embodied by some physical presence who appears in every issue. Which grounds ‘Liberator’ so much more than other books out there.

It’s hard to speak about the meat of this issue without spoiling anything. Yet, ‘Liberator’ # 3 seems to make a case for causes left behind. Damon doesn’t save a single animal in this issue. He seems to forget about what made him don the ski mask in the first place. His pride is carrying him into dark territory, and it’s incredibly fun to read. Miner’s taken some time to explore the vices and virtues of taking justice into your own hands, and effectively creates the most compelling chapter in his series thus far.

Rating: 4/5 Skulls.



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