Freedom Fighters #2 – Robert Venditti, Writer; Eddy Barrows, Penciller; Julio Ferreira, Inker; Adriano Lucas, Colorist
Ray – 7.5/10
Corrina: All Action
Ray: The first issue of Freedom Fighters, Venditti and Barrows’ maxiseries set in a Nazi-occupied America, didn’t quite set up the series as a whole. That’s because it spent most of the issue showing us the fall of the previous generation of Freedom Fighters, before flashing forward to a world that’s lived under the Nazi boot for decades just as a new generation of heroes emerge. So this issue is the first time we really see the main characters – but even in Freedom Fighters #2, Venditti seems to be less interested in his supposed protagonists than he does in the world they inhabit. The Freedom Fighters – Human Bomb, Doll Woman, Phantom Lady, and a ridiculously souped-up Black Condor – still mostly come across as stock heroes, but their story is driven by the plight of the world they live in and the powerful impact their return has on the civilians who may have given up hope. I just wish we were given a bit more reason to care about our heroes – only Black Condor makes a big impression on me here.
But that’s not to say there isn’t a lot to like here – starting with the fantastic art by Eddy Barrows and his team. Visually, this is one of the most epic comics I’ve read in a while, and that’s a genre Venditti excels in. The threats are big and terrifying – starting with a killer Nazi robot who reminds me of the Iron Giant gone horribly wrong. Even when it’s partially destroyed, it keeps on coming and it takes a joint effort of large and small to stop it. The issue also makes clear that the Freedom Fighters aren’t afraid to kill Nazis, but I’m fine with that – these aren’t heroes fighting colorful supervillains. They’re soldiers in a war, and their battle has much more in common with Sgt. Rock than with Superman. The return of the Plastic Men at the end of the issue is a great, horrifying way to leave us for a month. This title has more in common with Venditti’s work on Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps than it does with his spectacular Hawkman so far, but it’s an exciting read.
Corrina: The art is, indeed, spectacular, featuring not one but two detonations of the Human Bomb, and a truly disturbing panel of Nazi Plastic Man at the end.
I’m still uncomfortable with this idea that Nazis conquered America but if only people had hope, all would be well.
That ignores the entire history of Nazis in America, including the America First movement that was inherently racist. Japenese immigrants and citizens were rounded up in WWII, while German-Americans suffered no such mass round-ups. I also know the images of people of color in the crowd, watching the Freedom Fights battle the robot, is meant to be a sign of multi-cultural America but if a Nazi takeover had occurred a generation before, racism in America would no doubt have gotten worse, perhaps even leading to Black Americans being rounded up.
That means the heroes of color would face a further obstacle in providing hope to those who are white–this generation would’ve been indoctrinated in those racist beliefs.
So, yes, this is an excellent action issue, fast-paced with terrific art, but, so far, the concept it present has been simplistic, at best.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.