Freedom Fighters No. 2 review: Smash the Bozo


The Freedom Fighters fight a Nazi mecha, and stoke the fires of hope in occupied America!

Freedom Fighters art by Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, and Adriano Lucas (Courtesy of DC Comics).

Issue two of Freedom Fighters picks up where the first left off. Human Bomb has just blown up the Nazi museum that commemorates the murder of their predecessors. The team are now confronted with a swastika-emblazoned giant robot.

The first issue of Freedom Fighters told us all we needed to know about Earth-X, showing the arrogance of evil in a subjugated United States where all hope was lost. This chapter, “The Sleeping Giant,” is all about introducing our heroes. In combat, we meet Human Bomb, who levels the fascist automaton with his explosive power. Phantom Lady teleports rubble out of mid-air, saving civilian lives. Doll Woman journeys inside the metal man to steal its secrets. And Black Condor, who leads the team, cuts down a squad of Nazi police with explosive darts. This is an action-heavy issue, there isn’t much characterization to be had outside of a text box that tells us about Doll Woman: “Tiny package / giant attitude,” and the rest. I’m not bothered by the brisk treatment of the personalities of the cast, we have 10 parts to go and I wager Venditti is going to address their inner lives in a manner organic to the story.

The giant robot is another of Veditti’s fun reinterpretations of old comics. He’s updated the old Quality Comics character, Bozo the Iron Man, who first appeared as a villain in 1939’s SMASH Comics. Barrows’ pencils continue to be great and his redesign of the Nazi robot, a white steel destroyer that is part Gundam and part 1940s retro sci-fi, looks great as it gets clobbered by the Freedom Fighters.

Freedom Fighters art by Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, and Adriano Lucas (Courtesy of DC Comics).

There’s a lot of double-page spreads in this issue, and they look great as the battle spills across them. The inks and colors continue to work in tandem with Barrows’ pencilwork. Eber Ferreira’s delicate lines bring out Barrows’ dramatic body language and facial expressions, and at the close of the issue when the dreaded PlaSStic Men return, thick black inks take over the page reminding readers that there is horror hidden in every corner of Earth-X. Adriano Lucas uses overt effects such as blur sparingly to give them impact: when Phantom Lady opens a teleportation void, you know something abnormal is happening because it looks alien set against the rest of the page.

The outfits of our heroic Freedom Fighters have been updated a bit as well. Human Bomb still looks ominous and iconic in his white hazmat suit, no reason to spoil its simplicity with flair. Doll Woman sports a red and blue color swapped match of her predecessor’s costume. Phantom Lady gets jodhpurs and a cloak but is otherwise still pinup ready. Black Condor’s wings and tights have a more angular, technological feel, and are probably the biggest departure from their inspiration.

As the battle rages on, we’re also shown a vast situation room monitoring it. We get our first peek at Adolf Hitler II, who will hopefully be getting his comeuppance down the road. Toward the end of the comic, we also get a hint that Uncle Sam will be coming back. Juxtaposed against Americans cheering on the Freedom Fighters, his barren hilltop grave in the mystical Heartland begins to show signs of trees blossoming.

Go-Bots go to Gobotron: Issue 3 Reviewed!. dark. Next

Freedom Fighters has an old-fashioned pulp magazine feel; both installments have been high-drama and flush with devastation. The action hasn’t stopped for us to catch our breath yet. The chapters don’t end on cliffhangers, exactly, but they use startling visuals—as a comic should —that ensure I’m going to come back for next month’s chapter, “Deep-Sixed.”