Review: Liberator #1 (of 4)

I’ve been trying to keep up with Black Mask Studios and their line of titles. The collaborations are refreshing and different compared to anything else in the industry. The stories they produce have no comparison to any other comic on the market. When I read Liberator, I got the sense that I was reading a message as much as I was reading a comic. Sure it’s a work of fiction, but there is a lot of reality injected into these pages. I don’t know what the series long term goal is, but I’m curious. The story kicks off with our main character telling us about his life. He rescues animals from animal abusers of all kinds. Currently he’s invaded a dog fighting operation and has gathered up all of the dogs. From there he begins dump gasoline all around the farm house and trailer. He sets up a bomb of sorts and sets both buildings a blaze! After that he drops the dogs off at an animal rescue.

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From there we see our main character whose name is Damon, head to work at a coffee shop. He rolls in and his co-worker instantly gives him grief for being late. He goes to clock in and finds that the same co-worker has punched him in already. They seem friendly for an entire minute before the coworker Randy starts talking dirty about a female customer. Damon tells him to lay off which only puts him under attack from Randy.

There’s more of the story, but it’s basically character introductions and plot building for later. Damon is not stop with his animal heroics and it lands him in some trouble, but his kindness towards animals also helps him in the end.

The thing about the plot is that it’s very much like a superhero story. That is to say that there is a ton of animal abuse and farm houses performing unspeakable acts, much like New York always being attacked by super villains. Granted, it’s a comic book and the message is more important, but with it dealing with so many real world situations it seems unlikely that so much animal abuse would happen on such a large scale in one city/town. It could be that I just don’t know enough on the subject, but at that point the comic could have helped me out with that information. It’s really not something that hinders this issue, but it may in the future unless the story takes a different route.

The writing is otherwise pretty good. The narration is a bit thick at times, but it’s the first issue so I can see why the writer felt he had to cover so much. Even still the art did a great job supporting the story so some narration could have been dropped. The dialog was believable for the most part, but occasionally the dialog came across as forced together.

Like I said the art fit the story. The world that it’s crafting is corrupt and dirty and the art reflects that. The line work is very thick and there is an artic flair added to each panel. It’s almost as if the page was intentionally well worn. The story is very graphic at times and has one scene showing skinned animals lying in a pile together. If you’re faint of heart or can’t bear to see animal cruelty depicted (even if it’s in protest against it) then tread lightly.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a comic like this before. It was interesting and definitely worth a read. I hate to say something as cliché as it’s not for everyone, but it’s really true. The fact is that most comic book buyers are going to skip right over this, but maybe a few will check it out. Maybe they’ll be moved by the message and look at what they can do in their community and at the end of the day that makes this a pretty important issue.

Score: 3/5 (It’s a very strong 3)

Writer: Matt Miner

Artist: Javier Sanchez Aranda

Publisher: Black Mask Studios

Price: $3.50

Release Date: 6/19/13