Matt Miner is an avid animal rights activist and he makes no attempt to hide it. He’s passionate, driven, and outspoken. He brings these traits into “Liberator/Earth Crisis: Salvation of Innocents” #1 to tell a new story in the battle against animal horror. It follows a new beginning for vigilante justice in the world of animal testing. It’s grisly, frightening, and enlightening. Miner doesn’t shy away from the real terrors of the world, and in turn gives us a comic with a powerful call to action.
The ending of “Liberator” changed everything for the characters involved. It smartly put the plight of the protagonist ahead of the crisis of the situation. It dealt with the horrific scenery of animal cruelty but brought it back to the human condition. “Liberator/Earth Crisis” begins the other way around, and is arguably more powerful.
Sarah is the new janitor at an animal testing facility. She keeps her head down, and is constantly terrorized by her atrocious boss Dr. Reznik. Who may be the book’s biggest weakness. She is monstrous and abominable. She makes you hate. She’s never given any redeeming qualities. I understand the depiction, but even bad people do things for what they believe to be the “right” reasons. However, the longer she’s on the page the more your hatred for her builds. She’s a pretty great antagonist even if she’s a little one-dimensional.
What Sarah first considers just a “job” slowly takes a toll on her being. After a warm exchange with an activist Jeanette, Sarah slowly starts to change her mind. Earth Crisis lyrics kick in at the call to action. They take the form of Sarah’s inner monologue and empower her speech into an anthem. Sarah is going to lead a charge, even if she has to do it by herself.
Miner’s script lingers in the small moments. Making Sarah’s transition all the more powerful. Her indifference is the biggest enemy at the beginning, but small things like tears in her eyes as Reznik screams in her face show that something has changed. Where larger ones like her accidental witness of animal “surgery” will burn into your retinas for eternity.
Aranda’s art is vivid and emotional. He is able to capture anger almost perfectly. Screaming faces are overly abundant in this book, and you really feel the anger behind them. When it comes to gore, the art doesn’t shy away at all. In fact some of the depictions here will be hard to stomach, but it helps to sell the statement. You may not want to see these things, but think about for a moment. You’re perfectly fine with human decapitations, why are animal entrails so much more difficult to handle?
That’s almost the mantra of the book. There is serious awareness about animal rights issues, but there is hardly anyone doing anything. When confronted with the bleak realities of the situation Sarah can no longer stand idly by. Rightfully so. Earth Crisis reminds us that breaking unjust laws for a cause might be the only way to get things done.
Or you know, you can make a stellar comic book like this. “Liberator/Earth Crisis” is an empowering read that will shock and educate you. It doesn’t shy away from hard issues and it takes a powerful stance on standing up for your beliefs. I’m so happy Kick Ass with a Cause is back!
Rating: 4/5 Skulls.