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.