[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
The year is 1963, and the place is America on Earth X. The Nazis won the war, but a resistance group called the Freedom Fighters have been keeping the fight going. They are led by Jesse Owens, the Olympic athlete who humiliated Germany at the 1936 Olympics. Human Bomb, Doll Man, Black Condor, and Uncle Sam himself are the notable members of the team, but they just lost the Ray and Phantom Lady. Worse yet, the Nazis have tracked down their meeting location, and the Freedom Fighters must make one last stand.
Freedom Fighters #1 may be my favorite comic to hit the stands this week. That’s quite a bold and forthright statement, I know, but it blew me away within the first few pages. Everything after that just took the comic to further heights.
It busts out the gate with its bleak alternative history but balances it with some old-fashioned “Hell yeah! America!” patriotism reflecting one of the few things this country seems to consistently get right: tenacity and fighting other tyrannical regimes (we still need to work on fighting our own).
It hits the sweet spot also occupied by the recent Wolfenstein games showing stereotypically American qualities being used against genuine evil.
That’s not even talking about the characters and dialogue, both of which really take this comic to the next level. Both Uncle Sam and the Human Bomb immediately become stars in this book, though it’s pretty cool to see Jesse Owens as a character in the book.
It really is a bleak book though, and it’s a lot more gory than one might expect from a non-Vertigo or Young Animals DC book.
Eddy Barrows knocks it out of the park on the artwork. His highly-detailed and shadowed style is perfect for the world presented by Freedom Fighters. Yet, quiet resolve and determination as well as action scenes are easily his forte too. It’s a downright beautiful book. Inker Eber Ferreira and color artist Adriano Lucas go a long way in accomplishing that too, with Ferreira’s inkwork really enhancing the atmosphere while Lucas’ color work puts you in the mindset of this dystopian realm.
Freedom Fighters #1 is an ass-kicking and resilient reminder of how to fight back against tyranny. Uncle Sam and his allies return in a comic that is all at once dower and uplifting. The art team flawlessly bring this alternate history and present to life with brilliant visual work. This one gets a strong recommendation. Give it a read.
Freedom Fighters #1 comes to us from writer Robert Venditti, artist Eddy Barrows, inker Eber Ferreira, color artist Adriano Lucas, letterer Deron Bennett, cover artist Eddy Barrows with Adriano Lucas, and variant cover artist Ben Oliver.