We’re starting you off today with a look behind the covers of Lady Freedom #1 after a successful Kickstarter means it will sonn be available as a physical copy and created and pencilled by Larry Spike Jarrell, with inks by Bill Marimon, written by Art Bellfield and lettered by Hector Negrete.
And I must say, from first impressions right through to the reading experience, it’s a very professional looking comics from top to bottom. Behind the dynamic cover depicting our eponymous hero, the Native American hero, Lady Freedom – a combination of Captain America and Wonder Woman – is a story set in a shared universe that feels like it’s been around forever, thanks to the dialogue shared between the main players of this debut issue. That, and Jarrell’s use of public domain superheroes, although you wouldn’t necessarily know that. But, they won’t be too unfair to you either with skill sets, names and even costumes that will all feel somewhat familiar, even with the contemporary tweaks made by the creative team.
Thanks to some clever exposition dressed up as casual conversation we get to hear about many of the other superheroes in the ‘Freedomverse’ we’ll no doubt be seeing later on in the series while also hinting at the origins of Lady Freedom and her partner, the super powered Sgt. Camille Abhorghast. It certainly smacks of some kind of super soldier serum-like experiment like the one that transformed a skinny, sick Steve Rogers into a wartime fighting machine. But, I’m sure there’s more to it as layers begin to be unravelled even before the end of the final issue when Lady Freedom and Camille go after the Black Valkyrie, who clearly has some link to Lady Freedom somehow. Was she also part of the program that spawned Lady Freedom and Camille? But, weren’t they the only two survivors of that program, as we are told in the comic?
The heroes in here are tough looking female furies who wouldn’t look too out of place in a wrestling ring, and it’s great to see such depictions of such powerful figures. After all, like Camille, Lady Freedom – aka Sgt. Natalie Cloudrider – was in the Army before she gained her super powers, so the body matches the profession. But, while many of the characters to be used in this series are old school Silver Age also-rans, the creative team prove once again that there are no bad characters, just bad writing, as we are given a super villain in Black Valkyrie that you can’t quite dismiss as all evil. It’s complicated t say the least and prevents this from being yet another battle between the fires of bad and good. There is a lot of grey area here to be explored in future issue.
Like they say, someone who is seen as a terrorist by many can also be seen as a freedom fighter to others, and in Black Valkyrie’s words there are revoked core values we can all relate to. Well, until she orders her acolytes to murder innocent bystanders as she attempt to blow up the Statue of Liberty. She reveals that she too revenge on her former employers who were, as she puts it, “fed off of prejudice and xenophobia to terrorise the world”. Surely she can’t be all that bad, right? So, why blow up the Statue of Liberty and all it symbolises?
Will this be a story of redemption, I wonder? Or, will Black Valkyrie open up Lady Freedom’s eyes to the realities of the world? How will our Native American female lead deal with a villain who fights against the very same things Lady Freedom does; xenophobia, prejudice and racism. They’re both pursuing the American dream, but with very different ideologies and very different methods.
Lady Freedom #1 will be available to buy from Brass Ring Comics here.