By: Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti (writers), Travis Moore (penciller), Walden Wong (inker), Allen Passalqua (colorist)
The Story: By the power of Paul Revere’s lantern, General Sherman’s sword, and the Arcadians’ helmet of war, I summon the spirit of America!
The Review: The sad truth is cancellations never have a direct relationship to the title’s quality. Even if an ongoing series is awful, as long as it brings in good money, it’ll survive. Cancellations only happen when a title doesn’t sell, whether it’s so infamously terrible, hardly anyone can stand it; so flavor-specific, its audience isn’t enough to support it; or so underexposed, it never got on its feet to start with.
Freedom Fighters honestly falls in the middle category. As a title that enthusiastically embraces its “Rah-rah-America!” nature, it winds up very niche. We live in an era in which most people aren’t much interested in everyday patriotism except for special occasions. Comic book readers, being increasingly older, more intellectual individuals, are even less likely to take nationalism seriously, so this title can’t help but come across endearingly sincere, but inescapably silly.
Gray-Palmiotti also make their work harder by attempting to bring in actual politics to the story, which always risks messiness. The more experience you have in real politics, the more you realize that it’s way more complex and rich than the divide between liberals and conservatives, security versus democracy, which gets played up here. Being so oversimplified damages the title’s integrity: thoughtful readers dismiss it, naïve readers get misled by it.
No wonder the dialogue comes across cheesy and overdone most of the time. For every honest, low-key moment (Miss America’s confession of inadequacy as leader is a pleasantly surprising turn), you get a half-dozen lines like: “I believe in the tenth amendment’s admonition that all powers should not be delegated to the federal government because they are reserved for the people!” It does nothing to build character or advance story; it’s just something for the characters to do as they brawl on each other.
The series also continues to suffer from confused plotting. This issue has an especially annoying logical gap: Jester demands the Fighters bring the final artifact, but when they get to its location, he already has it. Presumably, he’s just baiting them to get Uncle Sam (who only everyone by now knows has died), but this point never gets addressed. Miss America’s mood/power swings get a lot of attention, but with no payoff, they just distract from an already jittery storyline.
Flawed as the story may be, the art deserves a lot of praise for making this title more appealing than it otherwise would be. I never noticed before how Moore’s art resembles Dale Eaglesham’s style: simple, clean, and old-school, though Moore’s is actually a little more detailed and fluid, making the many action sequences seem that much more energetic. It’d be great if he can apply his work elsewhere in the DCU after this title’s finished. Wong’s inks bring out the details in Moore’s lines without obscuring them, and Passalqua’s warm colors never fail to attract, but not overwhelm your eyes.
Conclusion: Consider this title is still in its infant stages, it’s kind of a disservice to shut it down before Gray-Palmiotti can refine it. Still, there’s no doubt the team’s been a hard sell from the start, and little has been done so far to keep you invested if you’re not a fervent America-lover.
– Minhquan Nguyen
Some Musings: – Human Bomb: “You’re gonna pay for what you did to Stormy!” Consider the Jester basically just clocked her on the chin, I’d say you’re overreacting a bit, H.B.
– Doll Man’s kid is blonde. His wife is a brunette. Therefore, Doll Man, despite baldness, must be a blond. QED. But it’s incredibly difficult to imagine Lester with locks of gold.