Freedom Fighters #3 – Robert Venditti, Writer; Eddy Barrows, Penciller; Eber Ferreira, Inker; Adriano Lucas, Colorist
Ray – 6/10
Corrina: Nazis Bad
Ray: I’m starting to lose interest in this maxiseries, as it seems like it relies far too much on violence and explosions layered over a disturbingly nihilistic take on a world ruled by pure evil. Eddy Barrows’ art is strong as always, but it matches the tone – shrouded in darkness that often covers a lot of his work. That’s the case for the opening segment where a shriveled Hitler yells himself into a heart attack in 1963 when he realizes that all the Freedom Fighters were killed BESIDES Uncle Sam. His meek, useless son is immediately pressed into service as the new Hitler, and we flash forward again to the present. There, the new Freedom Fighters are continuing their sabotage campaign against the regime, returning back to their underwater secret base to plan their next attack. This issue focuses on Black Condor, the team’s flying warrior with a personal grudge against the regime.
While the last two Black Condors have been Native, the new one is black and grew up in the slave-city of Detroit where black people are forced to toil in the factories. He feels like a stock character, unfortunately – filled with justified anger at the Nazi rulers and guilt over being forced to leave his family behind when he escaped on his self-built wings. He still has more character development than the majority of his team, but his focus this issue leads to his showpiece action sequence taking on the Nazis in the air – upon which he gets shot down and possibly killed off. I doubt he’s gone, but the ending still raises that specter that all his spotlight was for nothing. Overman, the Nazi Superman, is name-dropped this issue and a third, even more insane Hitler family member makes his debut, but overall this story just isn’t developing how it needs to. It feels like a generic action comic that has nothing to say about the threat of Nazism.
Corrina: I was worried from the beginning that this series lacked nuance and that’s proving to be true in the first three issues of Freedom Fighters. Again, I don’t think you can tackle an alternate history where Nazis take over America without showing that a decent percentage of Americans, due to systemic racial and other prejudices, are part of the problem.
Here, the only problem seems to be that those evil Nazis are in control of America and once everyone believes in America again, thus resurrecting Uncle Sam, they can be defeated. This doesn’t address that America was a racist society in the 1940s and that the America First popular movement was sympathetic to the Nazis. The descendants of that racially divided society, particularly in one ruled by Nazis, are going to believe in a much different kind of freedom than Uncle Sam personifies.
Which doesn’t mean there can’t be freedom fighters or those who believe in America’s ideals. But it’s not so cut-and-dried as this series makes it seem.
The action sequences are well-drawn and while I like what I could see of this Black Condor, the foreshadowing of the Nazi Superman makes me think this will all come down to a punch-fest between him and Uncle Sam.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.