Freedom Fighters Pt. 3: Freedom Fighters #1
Times Square: crossroads of the world! What better place on our Earth for the Freedom Fighters to appear -- as if out of nowhere? But in case you’re wondering just where “nowhere” is… and are curious about who our heroes are… hang loose!
The Freedom Fighters are immediately thrown into action when there’s an explosion and they battle the supervillains King Sansom and the Silver Ghost. Their efforts, however, lead to their arrest. Sam explains to District Attorney David Pearson what we learned in Justice League of America #107 & 108.
We call ourselves the Freedom Fighters. But don’t worry -- we fight for freedom, not against it. We’re from Earth-X which is what you call your parallel-world. It’s a lot like Earth, except that there, Nazi Germany won World War II. Two years ago we finally beat the tar outta them Ratzis and got our country back… That’s when our troubles began…
Apparently, with democracy restored, the team had nothing to fight for and became bored. “With the help of a scientist friend…
Meanwhile, Raphael Van Zandt admonishes his men for failing their mission.
The next day, District Attorney Pearson provides the Freedom Fighters with new headquarters inside “the ancient brick walls of an east-side armory building.”
It isn’t long before the villains strike again and the team is dispatched to stop them. However, Silver Ghost turns Phantom Lady, Black Condor, and Doll Man to solid silver. As Ray and the Human Bomb argue about their other team members’ whereabouts…
To find out, friend, return next week for Freedom Fighters #2!
On the first issue page that will become the letters page, the editor answers the question:
Why add another superhero group to the DC line?
Simple… because no one knows the Freedom Fighters, they’re new, different, and free to change and evolve.With only two previous appearances as a group, the inter-relationships of our characters are not yet defined, and there’s plenty of time for their personalities to develop.
So, how are are their personalities presented in issue #1?
Human Bomb (Roy Lincoln) is cocky. During the first fight, when Uncle Sam asks him if he’s bragging or complaining, Phantom Lady says that, knowing him, it’s probably both. I get the impression the others don’t completely trust him, perhaps thinking he’s reckless. During the argument at the end of the story, the Ray accuses, “We leave you in charge for five minutes, and people disappear right from under your atomic nose.”
Black Condor (Tom Wright) is also cocky, but in a different way. On Earth-X, he was a senator, if that’s any indication. He’s principled, though, believing that a criminal is a criminal, whether super-powered or not. Will his tendency to see things in only black and white present any problems for him in the future? He’s also well aware that he brings brawn, not necessarily brains, to the table, reminding his teammates that he’s not a scientist.
Uncle Sam calls the Ray (Happy Terrill), “the kid with the smile,” emphasizing his youth and energy. The villain comments about the Ray, “You got a smart mouth, fella.” At one point in battle, Uncle Sam tells him he’s talking in riddles. The Ray then calls him a “senile old coot.” He’s cocky, too, I guess, and must be a hit with the ladies. One in particular, Phantom Lady, is quite smitten with him. They seem to be in a romantic relationship.
Speaking of Phantom Lady (Sandra Knight), she’s perhaps a bit naive and a victim of a mid-1970s portrayal of women. She thanks the D.A. by planting a kiss on his cheek and calling him “cute.” Of their new headquarters, she exclaims, “I’d have to spend a year just cleaning first!” In the team’s inaugural outing, she discovers a new power, while at the same time being reminded that she has to be careful when using her old power.
We learn the least about Doll Man (Darrell Dane) in Freedom Fighters #1, other than the mention that he shrinks to six inches “through sheer will power.” He’s the first to jump into action and seems like he may spend a fair amount of time defending his contribution to the team. When Black Condor complains about trying “to deck some due twice my height and weight,” Doll Man says, “He’s four times mine.”
Uncle Sam is the fearless leader, and with the friendly bickering of his team members, it seems like he has his hands full. Perhaps he’s a bit too serious? He tries to shut down any nonsense the instant it begins. He’s actually absent for the second battle and appears just in time to tell the Ray to “stow it” when he’s accusing the Human Bomb of being careless. This generation gap could become interesting, as the Ray responds by calling him an “old-timer.”
All in all, the Freedom Fighters seem like a typical DC superhero team. They argue, but they have each others’ backs. They have relationships to be explored. There is more to learn about every one of them. We’ll eventually see if fifteen issues is indeed “plenty of time” for their personalities to develop, as the editors promise. Of course, they probably hoped the series would run longer.
Title: Freedom Fighters
Issue #: 1
Cover Date: March/April 1976
On Sale Date:
Cover Artist: Ernie Chan
Writers: Gerry Conway, Martin Pasko
Penciller: Ric Estrada
Inker: Mike Rover
Editor: Gerry Conway, Paul Levitz