From Black Mask Studios comes the next chapter in the Liberator comic series. Liberator/Earth Crisis: Salvation of Innocents sees band Earth Crisis joining Liberator creator Matt Miner and artist Javier Aranda in telling a story that acts as a companion piece to Earth Crisis’ latest album, but also is contained within the pre-established Liberator world. Animal rights and animal activism get a bit graphic as Miner and Earth Crisis dive into the world of animal testing and the underground of animal activism.
Sarah is just trying to get a job and the only one to hire her just so happens to be at an animal testing lab. Each day and night, Sarah has to brave a crowd of protesters to get to work, which she doesn’t mind at first since she’s not really bothered by it all. But as time goes on and she forms a bond with some of the animals and really see what happens in the building, Sarah begins to question it all and meeting Jeanette, one of the protesters, only makes her question it even more. It’s only after she reads about the underground animal activists, the ones that break animals out of the buildings rather than just protest, that she decides to take action.
With the first volume of Liberator Matt Miner and Javier Aranda proved that there was a place and audience for a comic about animal rights activists. Salvation of Innocents adds the talents of Earth Crisis to the mix and continues to tell the story of the people who speak and act for the animals who can’t. This issue immediately makes the story just a bit more graphic than what I remember the previous to be, but it has added effect. Aranda’s art continues to be good, featuring clean lines and overall good character work, with all of them being very expressive. The story is a bit jarring at first, jumping immediately into Sarah arriving at the animal lab, giving the reader no real backstory. It also feels a bit more “hardcore”, for lack of a better word, about the animal rights aspect of the story. This could turn some readers off from the story, but many can surely be interested in the message.
While the story might feel a bit rushed in places, Miner and Earth Crisis write something that makes you think, which so few comics do. Even as someone who isn’t involved in the culture depicted, it’s an interesting read and one that ultimately functions as more than just a simple comic story. While it isn’t perfect, it’s a solid comic that has a message and accomplishes more than most, all while it manages to be an enjoyable read. For anyone interested, print and digital copies can be purchased at the Black Mask Studios store.
Parental Concern: Definitely not for the kids.