The Dave Johnson cover is iconic. I fell in like with this cover the moment I saw it and immediately nominated it one of the best covers of 2010. While the “Terror Wins!” message is intimidating and unsettling, the simplicity of the cover in composition and color defines its brilliance. Johnson has a knack for crafting spectacular images with this team. I hope we get to see more for a long time to come. Ideally a fill-in issue would be welcome too.
Like many DC series, “Freedom Fighters” steps in to investigate the legacies within the DC Universe. In this issue, the new focus is the legacy of the Jester, a story that crosses the history of the Freedom Fighters and blends in the mystery of the artifacts the Freedom Fighters have been chasing in their hopes of meeting the ransom demanded for the safety of the Vice President. This issue is an “Ah-ha!” issue as the seemingly divergent plot lines begin to weave together.
The adventure leads us to Enclave A, a metahuman prison that specializes in experimentation on said metahumans. Joining Black Python (who was introduced last issue) is Mimic, a footsoldier of the mysterious (and apparently quite fearful) King Bullet. Funerella, another inmate of Enclave A, has a disintegrating touch that Moore, Scott, and Schwager illustrate in an exciting and spectacular manner. Best part about Enclave A? A jailbreak occurs that the Freedom Fighters walk right into the middle of. Worst part? A really, supremely lame villain team name.
Uncle Sam fell in battle a couple issues ago, and Miss America has risen up to fill the patriotic void on this team. That one character makes a significant difference in the team dynamic and the interactions between the other team members. Palmiotti and Gray characterize this team as a collective of very human individuals despite their significant powers. Ray lamenting happier days when he served alongside Young Justice, and Phantom Lady getting grossed out by Funerella’s power juxtaposed with Jester’s quest for vengeance humanize these characters as their paths draw closer together.
I’ve loosely compared this comic to “Atlas,” but this comic is a whole different animal. The team is an awkward alliance similar to that depicted on the Atlas squad, but Gray and Palmiotti pump extra conspiracy theory and double-secret societal triple-crosses into this book, making it just as much unlike the rest of the comic scene as “Atlas” was in its own right. “Freedom Fighters” is a book that isn’t for everyone, but it is for readers who a looking for a more cerebral adventure that features strong art, interesting characters, and a heaping helping of conspiracy. Gray and Palmiotti are doing a nice job of world-building here, and they’re doing so with pieces of the DCU.