Freedom Fighters No. 3 review: Burning down the Reich


The Freedom Fighters culture jam with American flags and Irving Berlin, calling out Hitler Jr. and his regime.

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

Freedom Fighters chapter three, “Burning Down the Reich,” begins on November 25, 1963. The Nazis are gathered at a party celebrating the execution of Uncle Sam and his allies. Then Adolf Hitler dies. That’s the good news; the bad news is, his eldest adult son Adolf II is immediately sworn in as the new leader of the Reich.

After rejoining contemporary Earth-X, Venditti and Barrows show off the high-tech Freedom Fighters headquarters, the Blue Tracer, hidden deep in Lake Michigan, and introduce a new member to the squad: a tech expert codenamed Cache. This character is the first brand-new addition to the Freedom Fighters roster since they debuted in DC continuity in the 1970s! This version, as well as the rest of their appearances from past decades, have all consisted of rebooted versions of classic Quality Comics characters.

Cache is a tech expert with a plan to stick another thorn into the Nazi overlords of America. While readying his attack, Black Condor uses their submarine’s vast technology to peek in on the family he left behind as part of the American Nazi slave workforce. Black men and women, marked as property with unsubtle tags through their ears.

This is the first issue of the series to have any breathing space. The first two parts were largely one battle cover-to-cover, but here Venditti finally slows down a for a breath. He dedicates a solid two pages to Phantom Lady and Black Condor’s backstories.

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

While they’re still mostly sketches, it is at least a way to make their resistance to the American Reich heartfelt and personal—beyond the obvious reasons. We also get a couple of character-defining scenes with Adolf the Second, first as a coward being sworn in to leadership at the feet of his dead father, and later a more grown, confident leader intent on proving his singular power.

In a brief conversation with Phantom Lady, we learn about her former civilian life as the daughter of a lawyer who sided with the fascists. Barrows does solid work showing Marcus’ seething anger, and how he unleashes it upon a squad of jets. Black Condor passionately cuts them to ribbons while Cache uses the airborne rebel as a low-orbit satellite to hack into the national digital infrastructure– leaving behind an unending replay of Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America” to further taunt the Nazis.

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All is not well for our heroes, though; before the issue ends, we’re briefly shown Hitler the Third: a sadist covered in blood and gore. It is a disturbing image to entice us to pick up issue four.