Freedom Fighters #12 (1978)

In honor of the 4th of July, it seems appropriate to talk about this comic. It featured Uncle Sam as one of its main protagonists, and of course had an extremely provocative title. The term "freedom fighter" is such a weighted term these days. One man’s "freedom fighter" is another man’s rebellious scum out to subvert national unity and peace. But of course the world of 1970s super-hero comics was a much more innocent world. The term "freedom fighter" could be used to designate a series of mediocre heroes from the 1940s Quality Comics line rather than the Sandanistas or the Russian samizdatski.
These Freedom Fighters were a bunch of second-raters (raise your hand if you remember the Human Bomb, Firebrand or Doll Man – you, my friend, are a true comics geek) who, through some very convoluted storytelling, lived on a parallel earth where the Nazis won World War II. In that earth, these Freedom Fighters kept battling for America’s freedom, finally attaining the freedom in the early 1970s with the help of the Justice League of America on our earth.
It might actually have been an interesting story to depict their world’s recovery from Nazi tyranny. I’m a sucker for parallel earth stories, especially ones that have provocative premises. But such was not the world of comics in that era. Instead, this group of Freedom Fighters decided to leave their war-ravaged world and travel to Earth-1, where the Justice League lived, in hopes of finding high adventure and fun. Unfortunately, though, through some convoluted plot threads too bizarre and obscure to explain here, the team was branded as criminals and hunted by the police. In fact, in this issue, Doll Man is about to be executed for a murder unrelated to the main plot.
You probably are beginning to see why this series was an abject failure. Instead of taking the core qualities of their characters and producing a fun action book, writer Bob Rozakis instead chose to dwell on the problems the heroes had in getting by. The story, for want of a better word, was Marvelized – the heroes have problems, and fight among each other, and have problems fitting into society, and are hated by the police. It sounds a little like an issue of Amazing Spider-Man, doesn’t it? Except that with Spider-Man it made sense for the hero to have these problems. In a comic that features Uncle Sam – not some dude in an Uncle Sam suit, but the actual physical incarnation of America’s national symbol – isn’t angst just a little bit out of place?
I know it seems silly to go out of my way to pull out and condemn an extremely obscure 27-year-old comic book. Maybe I need to chill out just a little bit. This is a fun little comic book for what it is, and I’m sure I didn’t pay more than a dollar for it. I’m also a bit guilty of applying 2005 values to a 1978 comic book. The world, and the comics industry, have changed a hell of a lot since then. But, you know, I just wanted it to be better.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: