Written by Matt Miner
Art by Javier Sanchez Aranda, Joaquin Pereyra, Yasmin Liang, Kathryn Mann
Cover by Yildiray Cinar and Rod Reis
Black Mask Studios
Release Date: July 24, 2013
Cover Price: $3.50
Picking up from setting the scene in the preliminary issue, Liberator #2 kicks into gear pretty quickly, and begins to lead into a variety of plot threads that are all heading in an interesting direction. The story continues to focus on the issues surrounding animal cruelty, and quite successfully showcases two vigilante heroes in a realistic context.
After establishing main protagonist Damon’s night-time undertakings into destroying the operations of individuals that abuse or neglect animals, he begins casing his next target. Upon entering the property he is doing a recce on, he finds he was followed by friend Jeanette, who is also passionate about the welfare of animals. The two forge an alliance, and begin working collectively on their missions.
There are a few plot threads that continue to be hinted at in this issue that were previously introduced in the first chapter. Damon, for example, seems to have an issue with an additional predatory element in society, and – rather than spoil it for you and tell you what it is – I’m looking forward to where this aspect is going. Writer Matt Miner is opening up other pathways early on for the protagonists of the tale.
Additionally, controversial issues are addresses in this issue. The concept of those who bring awareness to animal cruelty within industry being labeled as terrorists is raised in a couple of places; and the issue of animal testing is a major focus of this chapter, with this latter concept being portrayed with much predisposition. This is not a criticism of the display, for there are complexities surrounding animal testing that could forge a debate that could go on for weeks – but Miner in this issue focuses mainly on the neglect and the principles (or lack thereof) in certain cases.
The artwork by Javier Sanchez Aranda and Joaquin Pereyra continues to be of an excellent standard. The colors are rich and with the well-defined ink work, pop right out at the page at you and the traditional dotted print for shading and fading makes prominent appearances in a manner that effectively conveys the imagery. Jeanette’s hair color is suggestive symbolically in this issue, so pay close attention to her flashbacks. The art continues to be a beautiful display, making it worth picking this one up for sure.
Yet, while the message is one that I personally can get behind, there are a couple of frames in the tale depicting the university researchers in the recollections almost like the mad scientists from the cartoons of the early 20th century. While I can understand the desire and temptation to depict these individuals as the “bad guys,” I don’t believe it conveys the implication well. For example, it might have been more disturbing to see the ‘dissector’ with a deadpan expression, having been desensitized to the cruelty surrounding him.
On the other side of the coin, when you look at the counter-arguments, many in that profession or situation believe that said animal testing is necessary; so it would be reasonable to believe that these individuals should be displayed as such… in the case of issue two, the bias does affect the presentation, and I’m afraid this hurts the story more than what it does enhance it. (Side note: I’m not supporting animal testing here, rather conveying how I think the supporters of it would realistically behave/act)
That being said, Liberator #2 is still a good read. The pace kicks up after the introductory chapter, we have a new partnership between two characters, new plot threads being hinted, and stakes are raised in some significant complications – particularly with this issue’s cliffhanger ending. So far, the first two issues make for a great reading experience. Check it out if you’re after something different from what’s out there on the shelves at the moment.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5