Critical Hit #3-4

Critical Hit #4 cover

When I reviewed the first two issues of this miniseries from Black Mask Studios, I was most intrigued by the cause portrayed. Sarah and Jeanette were aggressive defenders of animal rights, to the point of sabotaging a hunting camp. This put them in life-threatening danger when the drunk, redneck, two-dimensional hunters returned and discovered them.

Unfortunately, the second two issues, as written by Matt Miner, turned into a standard showdown that was more blood-soaked than I was comfortable with, interwoven with flashbacks to bad family moments.

Critical Hit #3 cover

Sarah, a couple of years ago, left an abusive husband who stalked her. Jeanette had a drunk, neglectful father. These stories aren’t unusual, sadly, and they explain the girls’ quest for justice for creatures without anyone to look out for them. They’re also intended, I think, to show their previous losses driving their determination to survive their captivity, but it made me wonder instead why they’d be so cavalier as to put themselves in such danger again.

Jonathan Brandon Sawyer’s art is straightforward and well-paced. It tells the story, but without flourishes or a strong style of its own, although I like how expressive the faces are.

Critical Hit #4 cover

Issue #4 puts their escape plan in motion, although it winds up being a lot more direct confrontation than seems prudent. I don’t really believe that these two are as bad-ass as they’re shown being, particularly once facing down the barrel of a gun. It seems a lot more wish fulfillment than I expected from the start of the series.

In between, there’s a roller derby flashback, leading to an early mission together. I wonder if this makes more sense to those who read the prior comics with these characters, since some of the scenes feel as though they’re included to connect up with previous mentions or allusions or something.

I would rather have had more time with the core conflict, since the resolution struck me as rushed and abrupt, as though the last page came up more quickly than planned. We don’t, for example, find out what happened to all the hunters or how the girls dealt with the consequences or whether the raid was successful in getting more information out or changing anyone’s mind. (The publisher provided digital review copies.)

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