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The battle of star-spangled attire – Freedom Fighters #4

July 4, 2011

It’s Uncle Sam vs. Wonder Woman in a knock-down, drag-out fight to see who has the best patriotic accents! Or something! What better way to celebrate the birth of the star-spangliest of star-spangled nations?

In “The Left Hand of Oblivion” (Martin Pasko/Ramona Fradon/Vince Colletta), the erstwhile Earth-X Freedom Fighters, with Uncle Sam uttering his usual “fellers” and “consarn its,” march into the United Nations to demand their rights, a move common to super-people:

They’re in bad graces because of a disastrous, property-wrecking battle with the Silver Ghost, and Wonder Woman has been put on the case of tracking them down. Here she is getting her marching orders from old white guys, who are portrayed, perhaps fittingly, as chauvinistic worms:

Cue up the obligatory “good guys fighting good guys” stuff, including heroines from two eras with clashing views on societal norms:

Our friendly neighborhood Wonder Woman corrals the Phantom Lady and the rest of the Fighters, and when they’re brought before the authorities we get a quick lesson in the hygiene problems associated with crimefighting:

Now I’ll never again be able to look at the Human Bomb without thinking of his vicious, nostril-scalding body odor. Excelsior!

There’s some more stuff about a villain called King Samson and a powered glove and Wonder Woman teaming with the Fighters to battle him. It continues into the next issue, and I’ll spoil the ending: Good triumphs over Evil.

I can’t say that this is the greatest comic I’ve ever read, but it’s definitely a better graphic treatment of the Uncle Sam image than that torpid Alex Ross mini from years ago. Consarn it, this is genius compared to that! And speaking of artists, I always enjoy seeing a lady’s name among the creative credits. Ms. Fradon is sort of like Wonder Woman — both ventured into a “man’s world,” but Fradon did it without the benefit of a magic lasso or red boots. Or star-spangled undies.

Have a happy Fourth.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. art.the.nerd permalink
    July 4, 2011 5:34 pm

    > Ms. Fradon is sort of like Wonder Woman — both ventured into a “man’s world,” but Fradon did it without the benefit of a magic lasso or red boots. Or star-spangled undies.

    Dare I ask how you know about Ms. Fradon’s undies?

    • July 6, 2011 1:29 am

      I’ll give you two choices.

      A. I was making an uneducated guess.

      B. She and I share a love that transcends our ages. It is deep. It is pure.

  2. July 5, 2011 9:00 am

    Freedom Fighters has to rank as one of the most disappointing books of my younger days.

    Here you have a great, colorful group of heroes from the Golden Age, and what does DC do? Write them in the prototypical Marvel mold of sad-sack, misunderstood, pursued-by-the-cops-despite-their-innocence losers. (If memory serves, they never did clear their names, they just slunk back to Earth-X in disgrace at series’ end). With so much potential in Earth-X…a world rebuilding itself after three decades of Nazi rule…somebody decides to move the team to Earth-1, already crowded with spandex-types, where the team is guaranteed to end up a bunch of also-rans. WHY?!

    I still enjoy the old Quality material (how can you miss with the likes of Reed Crandall and Lou Fine on the job?) and I actually liked the “Ray” series from the early 90s (at least I think it was then). But the FF mag itself was a classic example of potential wasted.

    • July 6, 2011 1:35 am

      This Freedom Fighters run was well before my time (hence the utter lack of perspective in the post, I guess) so I can’t get too worked up over their handling. I’ll definitely agree that Earth-X always has held untold gobs of storyline goodness. It’s the mother of all “what if” scenarios (Fatherland with superheroes), and I’d much rather see characters from Earth-1 or -2 or whatever travel there than vice versa.

      • July 7, 2011 11:30 am

        I don’t know, maybe I shouldn’t have been so surprised. After all, these are the super-heroes who managed to *lose* WWII, so maybe it makes sense to write them as screw-ups. It’s just weird to see Uncle Sam, of all people, being as put-upon as Peter Parker. Isn’t he supposed to be a symbol of hope or something?

        For that matter, I never liked Captain America as a sad sack, either. I remember an old issue of Tales of Suspense where Cap ends a video call to the Avengers and Hawkeye says, “He was smiling, but I can tell he’s in another of his depressions.” You know when other superheroes start talking about how you’re constantly down in the dumps, it’s time to get help.

        But yes, the least they could have done was make the FF losers on their own Earth. I love how in issue 1 Sam relates that they’ve come to Earth-1 because there’s nothing left for them to do on Earth-X after the Nazis are beaten. Yet earlier in the same book, Black Condor remarks that Earth-1’s version of New York City is unlike theirs, which was reduced to rubble by the Nazis. So in other words, there’s nothing FUN to do on Earth-X. They could always, oh I don’t know, maybe use their powers to rebuild a nation in ruins, but that’s not as fun as splitting for Earth-1 to play cops and robbers. Creeps. With those guys on the job, I guess we should just be grateful we weren’t all speaking Russian by 1980.

        And thanks for making me feel old, BTW. 🙂

      • July 8, 2011 12:26 am

        I think I’d like my Uncle Sam to be more of a ballsy hard-ass, and to refrain from the “goldarnits” and such. He should be a pissed off bastard, like the guy pointing a finger at you on countless posters. I think.

        If it’s any consolation on the “feeling old” front, hot young ladies in their early twenties have taken to occasionally calling me “sir.” I don’t remember signing up for that.

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