Review: Liberator – Vol. 1: Rage Ignition

Last year, I had the opportunity to read simply a wonderful comic mini that exposed animal rights activism to the extreme. It was one of my favorite mini-series and independents of the year. And had I had been writing reviews for Comic Bastards at the time, I surely would have been singing its praises. If only they could reissue it or distribute it in a way that would allow me to offer up my approval? What? Really? Really really? Well sweet.

I am happy to report that I offered up a wish and now my wish has come true. Black Mask Studios have rode the wave of Kickstarter super success and now they have a full-fledged trade paperback ready for consumption. And by full-fledged, I mean full-fledged. This volume has nearly 200 pages of the original four issues, over ten companion stories from a slew of creative talent, sketch cards, news stories, and more. And, it's just $14.99. $14.99 man. That's it.  If you didn't know anything of Liberator the comic before, you certainly will after you go through this perfectly put together tome of heart, passion, and yes, love of animals to the point of hardcore live responsive action. It kicks lots of ass. And not just scummy animal hater ass. This comic is a movement that is captured in a beautiful art form.  It is great to read. It is great to look at. And as an added bonus, you might just get a little bit enlightened to some of the cruel and sadistic shit that is going on out there in the world all in the name of science, in the name of economics, and in the name of progress.

Liberator Vol 1 CoverWith the super perfect title of "Rage Ignition", Liberator is the story of animals, their suffering, and their pain at the hands of authority. They don't really have a voice. But in the characters of Damon and Jeanette, they sure as hell have champions. These two have been in on the struggle, desperately hoping that their activism and protests will change the course of things. So far, it hasn't as those forces of cruelty hold all the power. It's time for a power shift though. It's time for a war. Enter Liberator. Damon and Jeanette's waging of that war.

Batman, these two are not. They don't have any cool gizmos, lots of backup, or even a super cool lair to plot their strategy. They are average folks. Maybe a little prettier than most of us, but just average. Damon works at a corner coffee store called Hella Beans for God's sakes. But what they lack in equipment and strength, they more than make up for it in heart and soul. Their tools are simple, but they are wholly determined to make a difference. A hammer does just fine here and so do our heroes. Reading their story will entertain and inspire. One's desire to make change is only limited by their own determination. It is pretty awe-inspiring.

Okay, that's enough about the story. You need to buy this trade and experience it for yourself. You won't be disappointed. Let's talk a little bit about the creative team. First off, Matt Miner is a hell of a good writer. His four issues of Liberator displayed in this trade is a super character study of a man, a woman, and a movement. Our characters aren't perfect and they deal with all sorts of obstacles both in their day-to-day world, as well as in their more secretive underworld of activities. Miner relishes this and he portrays Jeanette and Damon in this way. His flow of story is a nice buildup of small, larger, and largest assaults on the enemy. Their gusto is strong, but it always is about the animals. That is their concern and focus. It is a real sincere portrayal that does allow the reader to feel the struggle and support it as well. Or, if you don't support it (it is pretty intense), you can at least respect what it is all about. Liberator doesn't play around. It means business.

Okay, now what can I say about Javier Sanchez Aranda and the art presented here? I can think of lots of colorful four letter words to express the intensity portrayed though these pages. But I am not. You need to see them for yourselves. All I can say is that I offer huge thumbs up to the work with the addition of my big toes too. Man, it's extremely good. Stoic at times, vulnerable at others, with absolute kick ass action cutting through the middle. It matches Miner's intensity perfectly well.

Now I don't know if it was adjusted for the trade or what, but I have to give additional high props for the amazing color all through this volume. Joaquin Pereyra blows it up. Red and black tones with bold and powerful design is the final touch to a trifecta of perfection.

I loved this trade. It is quite fitting to the masterwork that this volume is. As I have said, it's a movement portrayed in comic form. And it is just awesome. Liberator Volume 1 would make a great addition to any comic collection. Plus, purchasing it allows you to contribute to the cause. How can you beat it? You can't. Nothing to do now but buy and enjoy. Oh yeah, it's only $14.99 too.

Score: 5/5

Writer: Matt Miner Artist: Javier Sanchez Aranda Publisher: Black Mask Studios Price: $14.99 Release Date: 4/9/14 Format: TPB - Print