The Liberty Project

With ever-growing lines of Essentials and Showcases, it’s no longer rare to revisit a superhero series of a previous era. The Liberty Project, originally published by Eclipse Comics in the 1980’s, is more entertaining than many. It has been reprinted in a manga-sized black and white digest, a format I found very readable and suited to the pulp nature of the material.

The Liberty Project cover
The Liberty Project
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There are a couple of spots where it’s obvious that the series is from another decade or that it was originally in color, but for the most part, it’s a nice chunk of escapist reading, done by craftsmen who know their game.

The Liberty Project gave four (later five) superpowered criminals the chance to earn parole by working with the government in the law enforcement capacity. Over the course of the eight issues (and one special) reprinted here, we see the characters get to know each other and themselves. There’s plenty of action and attitude, especially when it comes to the teenage Burnout and her punk/new wave look. Alliances change, although the team manages to stay together (or there wouldn’t have been much of a series).

There’s a retrospective afterword by Busiek in which he talks about the series’ importance to him as well as why he thinks it wasn’t more successful at the time. It’s a fascinating overview of the kinds of considerations any creator should be aware of when working in comics, including ownership, marketing, and business concerns.

For more information, visit the publisher’s website.

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