Fighting the good fight — a look at ‘Freedom Fighters’

Must be a heck of a couple of years politically for popular culture to be making broad claims against fascism. Not that we shouldn’t be standing up for our beliefs on the regular, but what can one person do, really, when the forces of evil seem so overwhelming?

This month of presidential birthdays is the perfect time to see an America that never was, and one may hope will never be. Writer Robert Venditti and artist Eddie Barrows give us a glimpse into a Nazi-occupied America with some frightening implications. But the good guys are here to save the day.

While the events in “Freedom Fighters” (a new 12-issue maxi-series from DC Comics) happen on Earth-X, the similarities across the Multiverse are eerily striking. A secret meeting of the American Resistance Underground takes place on November 22, 1963. In Dallas. In the Texas School Book Depository.

The Human Bomb, Doll Man and Black Condor attend the meeting with intent to overthrow the Nazi regime, alongside resistance leader Jesse Owens. Yes, that Jesse Owens. Heroes, indeed.

Plasstic Men are in attendance at the meeting (notice the double ‘s’ spelling to recreate the ‘SS’) capturing our heroes and execute them on live television. Dissidents have now been shown what happens when the fight back against the system.

Uncle Sam had been conveniently missing from the line-up, but appears later, distraught, watching the proceedings take place, staring on in disbelief. Plasstic Men are upon him, however, and Uncle Sam goes down swinging with a well-placed quip in “You want one last piece of apple pie?”

As the Plasstic Men descend upon him, Uncle Sam disappears in a wave of pale blue light, reminiscent of Obi-Wan’s defeat at the hands of Darth Vader in A New Hope. What will be come of Uncle Sam? What will become of the Freedom Fighters?

Fast-forward 55 years and the Freedom Fighters are alive and well, sticking it to the “ratzis” as the enemy has placed a Victory Day Museum on the site of where the original incursion in Dallas took place. A new iteration of the Human Bomb pulls no punches, bringing down the Nazi haven, killing all those inside. As bystanders grapple with the devastation, there are but a few hopefuls who remember the original Freedom Fighters and that for which they, and America, once stood.

As issue No. 2 opens, we find this all-new iteration of the Freedom Fighters facing off against a giant Nazi robot and complacency of the former American people. Though issue No. 2 was all action, there are hints at a pretty deep storyline across the next ten issues, as well as a nice hook as to where Uncle Sam has been these last few years that may prove integral to the rest of the DC Universe.

“Freedom Fighters” had originally been spawned under Quality Comics, though never in a group until the introduction to DC Comics in the early 70s. The current run is two issues in, with issue No. 3 premiering Feb. 27 at comic shops nationwide.

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