Freedom Fighters #12 review

It’s the final push against the Third Reich by Uncle Sam, Phantom Lady, Black Condor, Doll Girl, Human Bomb and Cache. Throughout the United States, the hope of the people feeds Uncle Sam in his battle with Adolf Hitler III’s Overman.

Seeing the tide has turned against him, Hitler flees his mountain base, starting a nuclear countdown – he’s going to get the Freedom Fighters even if it means sacrificing his military machine, in the hope of crushing America’s newly revived fighting spirit.

The Human Bomb comes up with a counter plan – avert nuclear conflagration by exploding the mountain himself – and likely dying in the process…

It’s tough to resist saying it, so I won’t – this is an explosive end to the Freedom Fighters maxi-series. Do the good guys win? Well, that cover line is a bit of a clue, but the journey is certainly worth taking – and after following the ragtag team for a year as they battle the Reich, it’d be a real bummer if they didn’t prevail. Writer Robert Venditti, penciller Eddy Barrows and inker Eber Ferreira have produced a series which, if there’s any justice, will become a perennial seller for DC – I can easily see it sitting on the shelf as a Black Label collection.

This series has had everything – new twists on old characters, a world desperately in need of saving, vile villains to boo, passion, sacrifice, social comment, cheesey mid-fight lines that somehow work and, vitally, surprises. OK, there was no romance in the traditional sense, but there is the romance of fighting for a dream. I’ll take it.

The finale is another remarkably consistent issue, as the now recognisable personalities struggle to find a way forward, to liberate not just the United States, but a world that’s been ruled by Nazis for generations.

And so far as big moments go, Venditti develops the notion of Uncle Sam as an avatar of the people that’s extremely pleasing to this comic-loving Brit.

The writer ties up his tight narrative with a very satisfying bow, while Barrows and Ferreira again produce powerful pages containing some of the best storytelling around. Everyone behind this book (and that includes editors Paul Kaminski, Dave Wielgosz and Ben Abernathy) looks to have had a ball – this would make a terrific DC animation offering.

Kudos, too, to Adriano Lucas and Andworld Design for sterling colouring and lettering.

So where do the Freedom Fighters go from here? Presumably they’ll be involved in the rebuilding of society, each to a greater or lesser extent – I could see one or two wanting to take a long beach break – and I’d be delighted were the creative team of this 12-issue treat inclined to tell us.

7 thoughts on “Freedom Fighters #12 review

  1. I’m glad that this series worked for you. I wanted to like it, but found it to be mostly underwhelming. I mean, I guess there was enough there that I stuck with the series through to the end, but part of that was probably the completist in me.
    Part of the reason that he series didn’t work is on me. We’ve had some great looks at the concept of the Freedom Fighters in the past and I really enjoyed those takes. The original team is cheesey but fun. Gray and Palmiotti had brilliant runs and fully realized characters. Morrison’s vision for the team and the characters is less interesting to me, but I was hoping that Venditti could breathe some life into them.
    He didn’t. For me, anyway. Most of the characters I was interested in had little to no personality, and the ones that did receive a good chunk of the screen time (Human Bomb and Black Condor) were far far less interesting than some of the versions that came before. I agree that the villains were a piece of work. He did great work with that part of the story.
    The other part of the series that didn’t work for me was the art. It was consistently dark and muddy. Maybe they were trying to match the artwork to the theme or the tone. I don’t care. I much prefer comics with a brighter, softer palette. So many shadows. So many black lines. So many dark colours. Even the moments when bright colours were used were obscured by hatching lines and the like. It’s a shame, because Barrows has some dynamic sequences and poses for the characters. It’s not a knock against him, as much as it is something that doesn’t tickle my fancy.
    But no worries for me. The Freedom Fighters tend to get rebooted as often as the Legion or the Doom Patrol these days, so I just need to wait around for the next version and see if it’s more what I’m looking for. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really liked this series. Barrow’s art suited the mood of the story, and Vendetti writes the best Uncle Sam dialogue I’ve ever read. (“Stand up and do it, if you’re gonna.” LOVE that!) Like you, Mart, I’d love to see more of this down the line.


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