We present a rigorous mathematical framework for analyzing dynamics of a broad class of Boolean network models. We use this framework to provide the first formal proof of many of the standard critical transition results in Boolean network analysis, and offer analogous characterizations for novel classes of random Boolean networks. We precisely connect the short-run dynamic behavior of a Boolean network to the average influence of the transfer functions. We show that some of the assumptions traditionally made in the more common mean-field analysis of Boolean networks do not hold in general. For example, we offer some evidence that imbalance, or expected internal inhomogeneity, of transfer functions is a crucial feature that tends to drive quiescent behavior far more strongly than previously observed.