Animal Rights Activists Get Their Own Heroes with Black Mask's Lab Raider

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Lab Raider 1

Sarah and Jeanette have a calling. They are animal rights activists, willing to take things up a notch if it comes to hurting people in their pursuit of zoological justice.

The main story sees the pair breaking into an animal experimentation lab. We don't know why they experiment on animals. We learn they've recently begun to develop weapons for the government -- "Military contract from the new administration. You know." -- but whether they were a drug facility or something else isn't really important and extraneous to the fact that animals are being hurt. Let's assume it's for funsies.

As Sarah and Jeanette make their way through the facility -- conveniently left unsecured by an insider friend -- we are shown bits of their life through flashbacks. Which gets more confusing when the flashback has a flashback. Suffice it to say we are shown that they have had deadly run-ins with hunters, and have used seduction to trap and beat seal hunters for information.

The characters fall into standard classes. Sarah and Jeanette are both badass best friends, who have two other female best friends whom they hug every time they come into the plot. The men on the other hand are rapists and abusers, or inoffensive and ineffectual moral supporters.

The plot takes a turn from activism to science fiction however, when the girls discover the secret sub-basement of their target, where their badass personalities are anything but prepared for what they find -- the escaped protagonists of Darby Conley's GET FUZZY strip, given some Dr. Moreau makeovers.

Despite the cringe-inducing tropes, Matt Miner's dialogue is realistic, and the plot has a definite direction. Artist Creees Lee is playing way under his league, with phenomenal linework, anatomy, and background details. Expect to see him on a top-tier book in the near future, and pick this one up so you'll have some of his early work later on. LAB RAIDER is worth following into a second issue to see if there will be any moral character development in Sarah and Jeanette as they push past ethical and legal boundaries to follow their conscience.

4.0 / 5.0