Review: Freedom Fighters #9
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Robert Venditti
Art: Eddy Barrows & Eber Ferreira
Colors: Adriano Lucas
Letters: Andworld Design
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Black Condor frees everyone in Detroit, everyone. But, what will this do to Freedom Fighters’ larger plan…?
I guess there’s a little Eel O’Brien in everyone. Or, at least as this issue suggests, those Plastic Man powers are pretty useful! While he doesn’t appear in the issue, Freedom Fighters #9 makes a case for the fact that Eel O’Brien’s powers are no joke, despite the often whimsical and humorous tone of his adventures. One can only hope he makes an appearance by the end of this mini-series. He’s without a doubt the most well-know of the Quality Comics characters and it would be a nice touch for him to show up here.
Why all this talk of Plastic Man? In Detroit, Black Condor makes a decision that alters the team’s plan of stealing the Plastic Man serum from the Nazis. He uses it on himself to free the entirety of the enslaved Factory City of Detroit. Venditti really allows Condor’s character to drive his actions. It’s a very emotional issue. It’s not just Condor either. The enslaved of Detroit are prepared to go down heroically as some of them persuade Condor to try and stick to the plan. However, he can’t. His regrets about leaving years ago have haunted him, and he seizes the moment to make it right. Once he gets the serum, he uses it himself to free the city, and save them from reprisal for the uprising that began last issue.
As he has done before in this series, Venditti effectively creates the sense of freedom in the human spirit. It touches the reader on a personal level that is not dependent of nationality. However, at the same time, he also touches on the American spirit. The idea is predicated on the notion of freedom, and no matter how that’s played out in reality, it must be acknowledged as an ideal. These characters were all originally created and published during the Golden Age of comics which owes much to the zeitgeist of the era, most specifically World War II and troubled times that led up to it. The reintroduction of these characters as the Freedom Fighters on Earth-X is perpetually connected to World War II. As such, it only makes sense that they thrive in this type of conflict. It’s easy to imagine the world back then as it struggled with the ever widening yoke of Nazi oppression and the emotional response it evoked. While Venditti doesn’t preach it heavy handedly, these types of stories always contain at the very least a subliminal reminder that good men and women cannot stand idly by in such situations.
There’s a beautiful textural quality to Barrows and Ferreira’s art. It’s reminiscent of Alex Raymond in his Flash Gordon days. It’s simply beautiful to look at. While it isn’t always present to the same degree in every panel or on every page, when it is there, it is magnificent.
Some might find that this series has slowed down a bit in order to delve into some great character work. I believe this is forgivable. Its a situation that may have been remedied by a longer mini-series or an ongoing with a long introductory arc.
If you like great character work, then Freedom Fighters #9 is a book for you. It’s not often that comics are able to get into deeper emotional and philosophical exploration, but the very title invites creators to do so with this concept. What is freedom? How does one attain it? How does it slip away? This title consistently wrestles with such questions through some fun, thoughtful, entertaining and beautiful looking stories. It will make you think.