Coffee-slinger by day/animal-rescuer by night Damon gets a partner (not a sidekick!) this issue in Jeanette, activist extraordinaire. Together, they're hatching plans to go after some of the worst offenders, including a cruel furrier and a university lab that conducts inhumane animal testing. The stakes are higher now, too -- the arson from last issue made the news, and Jeanette isn't the only one who knows about Damon's extracurricular activities.
LIBERATOR has "thought-provoking" all over it -- it poses that passively being "for" animal welfare isn't enough, and challenges the way we think about following the rules in the face of harmful situations. Jeanette guides us to the notion that protesting isn't effective enough, and her determination in the face of her activist friends' criticism Are we all expected to torch a building or dump acid on a lab's servers? Certainly not; but the extreme examples are there to show us that there is a contrast to apathy or complacency, even if everyone isn't inclined to put on ski masks and get their hands dirty.
But, beyond being a social statement, LIBERATOR is also an interesting comic book with an engaging story. It's populated with characters that have lives, day jobs, relationships, and opinions in addition to their vigilante extracurriculars. It's visually on-point, with a refreshingly realistic take on both "superhero" costumes and destructive action -- no spandex or meta-abilities needed!
I find myself wishing that the scenes involving Randy the coffee shop bully were shorter, and that the page space spent on them could go to more Damon-and-Jeanette-being-badass or some of the other plot threads that Miner and Aranda are seeding. I suspect that those exchanges might be building to a bigger moment with Randy, but for now, it feels a bit like eavesdropping on an argument between strangers.
Miner and Aranda continue to balance a socially-conscious message with a tension-loaded vigilante story. Damon and Jeanette aren't playing things safe, because the safe path just doesn't get results, and there are innocent animals at stake. LIBERATOR is as educational as it is engaging; between the story itself and the essays included at the end of each issue, I'm learning a lot about animal welfare, and doing a lot of thinking. I'd like to see more about what happens to the animals after they're rescued -- Damon and Jeanette, as admirable as their intentions may be, can't possibly adopt every single puppy and rabbit that they save, and learning more about the adoption side of animal rescue would be a great way for readers who aren't quite ready for arson or B&E to feel like they can help.