Freedom Fighters #5 – Robert Venditti, Writer; Eddy Barrows, Penciller; Eber Ferreira, Inker; Adriano Lucas, Colorist
Ray – 6/10
Almost halfway through the series, Freedom Fighters continues to look great but its story doesn’t live up to the weighty ambitions of a modern antifascist superhero tale. When we last left off, the Fighters’ rebellion and the growing support among the public grew strong enough to bring Uncle Sam back from a long sleep, and the old warrior wastes no time taking the fight to the Nazis. This is vintage Sam, speaking in old-fashioned homilies and fighting primarily with his first. There’s a certain old-school charm to the character, but having him in the middle of such a grim and hopeless comic sort of causes mood whiplash. His narration of the “Spirit of ‘76” doesn’t totally gloss over all the nastier bits of earlier American history, with Sam acknowledging the mistakes made and the people left behind. It’s just a few panels before it’s back to gleefully punching Nazis, though.
The comic continues to try to rouse its readers into a patriotic cheer, but Sam is really the first character we’ve been given a reason to connect to. The others are limited to watching and cheering in the background with occasional bickering. Human Bomb eventually enters the fray to help Uncle Sam when the Nazis unleash a giant War Wheel against him. This battle segment delivers the issue’s biggest thrills, as the wheel is a Kirby-esque larger-than-life creation.
When that fails, it’s time to unleash the secret weapon that won the Nazis the war. I’m glad the comic makes clear that Overman is a brainwashed prisoner of the regime, not a willing accomplice. A Nazi Superman shouldn’t be a thing. But overall, this continues to be a series that tries for epic scale and delivers in gorgeous art and splash pages – but lacks the compelling foes and characters needed to make it click.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.