The Freedom Fighters finally get their own ongoing after three years of existence. How does the new issue stack up? Click and find out!
Credits & Solicit Info:
FREEDOM FIGHTERS #1
Written by JIMMY PALMIOTTI & JUSTIN GRAY
Art by TRAVIS MOORE & TREVOR SCOTT
Cover by DAVE JOHNSON
1:10 Variant Cover by SHANE DAVIS
A new call to arms begins as Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters return in an all-new action packed ongoing series helmed by the writing team of Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti with art by Travis Moore and Trevor Scott!
A national mystery unfolds when the government learns of the existence of a Confederate super weapon intended to insure the South won the Civil War. Who built it and why wasn't it used? Find out when Uncle Sam leads the team on a quest through the hidden history of the United States! With new challenges and old threats returning to plague them, the stakes are higher than ever. Can even these stalwart heroes stand by their duty when their country calls?
The Freedom Fighters has been a work in progress since their reinvention in the wake of Infinite Crisis. Written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, the original miniseries had definite political and social undertones that tied it to the modern day. From the sinister First Strike that played on the idea of government censorship to the overarching plot of the government attempting to establish control over its citizens through a perpetual war, the first miniseries was successful in reintroducing the Freedom Fighters as a team set in the here and now. Unfortunately, some of that luster was lost in the second miniseries which dealt with the public's obsession with celebrities and aliens instead of having a more politically minded content. At the end of the second miniseries, the Freedom Fighters broke up with the promise of returning during the next Crisis.
Now the Freedom Fighters are back in their own ongoing series. Having gotten back together off-panel, the Freedom Fighters are called upon to prevent the detonation of a Confederate doomsday weapon by the president of the United States. Palmiotti and Gray do a good job of reintroducing the team members and their power sets at the start of the issue for new readers and set up an intriguing arc that has potential for a fun comic book. They also keep the issue moving and keep it free from relying on the previous miniseries to understand what's going on. It's a perfect first issue in this regard; it's accessible to even the most casual reader.
However, what's disappointing is the total lack of political subtext in the comic. What made the original Freedom Fighters miniseries unique is that it didn't shy away from taking a stand or playing with the current politics of the day. In a day where Tea Party Politics and Ground Zero Mosques rule the day, I was hoping that Palmiotti and Gray would at least mention something about the United States' current political state. Instead we get skinheads attacking an Indian casino, a Eldritch abomination attacking an Appalachian town and space rats living on an asteroid. While these are fun, goofy concepts, it's certainly not what I was expecting with this group of characters. The worst part of the story is the total neutering of Firebrand, who went from explosive revolutionary to "a guy jacked up with a super power over fire as well as great stamina and agility" as the character puts it. The Firebrand from the original miniseries wouldn't apologize respectfully when chastised by the president. They mind as well change his name to Mindless Cog, because he's certainly not living up to the reactionary personality his name evokes.
The art's solid but not spectacular. Travis Moore generally has a feel for the characters he's drawing and only has a couple of flaws in his drawing techniques. Sure, there's a panel where a neo-Nazi looks like he's missing his arms, but it's not like anyone is missing them. Honestly, my only gripe is that he doesn't really try anything bold to make this first issue stand out. I don't mind that his art is more detailed than Daniel Acuna, the illustrator for the original miniseries, but it's certainly not as bold. At least the character designs for the antagonists introduced on the last page looks interesting enough.
Overall, Freedom Fighters #1 is a fun, albeit forgettable, first issue. It lacks the imagination and boldness of the original miniseries and feels like just another superhero comic. However, if you're looking for an introduction to some of DC's more obscure characters and aren't looking to pick up a trade, then this would be a good place to start.
Review by: BlueStreak