A Useful Column on the Freedom Fighters

Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters cover
Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters
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I’d like to say thank you to J. Caleb Mozzocco for providing some valuable background information I didn’t know I was looking for. I was surprised to note last week that DC is relaunching a Freedom Fighters comic in September. Caleb has posted two lengthy essays on the characters and their recent comic history.

First up is the 2006 eight-issue miniseries Uncle Sam and The Freedom Fighters, complete with a look back at some of the other titles the characters — The Ray, Black Condor, Phantom Lady, Human Bomb — had appeared in. This is the kind of long essay that you don’t often see in blogging, and it could have easily been a (personally flavored) magazine article.

His second piece covers the 2007 miniseries by the same writers of the new book, Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti. Unfortunately, he hated it.

… it is the worst comic book series ever published. … But here’s the thing — as terrible a comic book series as Ultimates 3 was, I was able to at least read it. I could make it through every single panel of the thing, look at all the images and make sense of them, read every single word.

I just could not do that with this book. It wasn’t simply a lack of desire. I tried about a half-dozen times, and made it maybe 40 pages in. I would pick it up and read a panel or three at a time later. As I said before, I liked the characters, I had no specific objections to writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, and the plot did seem sort of awesome — a mind-controlled and newly empowered Red Bee II is the main antagonist, there’s an empire of giant super space-bugs invading earth, Neon The Unknown’s in it…but, man, I could not make myself do it.

… See, artist Renato Arlem — who apparently did all of the art, as no one else gets an artist credit, not even a colorist — didn’t draw the comic so much as assemble it. The background and props — every single one of them — look like a photo ran through a filter to make it look slightly less photo-y. True, the characters look drawn, and are cut-and-pasted over the backgrounds, but Arlem doesn’t draw them very often, and uses the exact same drawings of the exact same characters over and over again.

Visual examples follow. I appreciate the work Caleb put into these columns, even if the end result is unfortunately killing my interest in the new series. At least it has different artists, Travis Moore and Trevor Scott.

3 Responses to “A Useful Column on the Freedom Fighters”

  1. Sigma7 Says:

    And as Rich Johnston pointed out, apparently Arlem’s something of a fan of Steranko’s Silver Surfer work — enough so to, er, homage it relentlessly in the Annihilation: SS mini he illustrated:


  2. Sigma7 Says:

    Oops, make that Buscema. My bad.

  3. Joshua Says:

    Yikes. After reading Mozzocco’s piece on the 2nd mini, I’m so very glad I never bothered to follow up on it. That art. Sheesh.

    While I don’t necessarily disagree with his criticisms of the first miniseries (especially the point that it basically functions as a pilot for an on-going), I do think it’s worth a read if you haven’t already. Especially if you just happen to like Morrison revamps of legacy characters, which is easily the highlight of the book.




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