Comic Book Review: Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters #1

Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters #1 is a comic that the Revolution has been looking forward to reading. I enjoyed Battle for Bludhaven and think that Gray and Palmiotti have assembled some interesting characters for this new incarnation of the Freedom Fighters. I have some delicious fried platanos to snack on and am ready for this review.

Creative Team
Writers: Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti
Artist: Daniel Acuna

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: The issue starts with Senator Knight running for President. Knight delivers a speech to his supporters about the need to fight for freedom.

We then shift to the Freedom Fighters making a strike against an Intergang drug runner during his 5 year old grandson’s birthday part. Doll Man jams a device into the Intergang leader’s neck which causes his head to explode.

We then cut back to Knight delivering his speech. Firebrand suddenly rushes the stage and says that Uncle Sam is coming. And that Uncle Sam wants Knight to stop misleading the people. That the government should not create a metahuman Gestapo under the guise of national security. Firebrand is then subdued by the Secret Service agents and taken into custody.

We then shift to the Ray a.k.a. Stan Silver. We a little introduction into his character and personality. Basically, he moves at the speed of light, is very buff and likes to have sex. Lots of sex with many hot women. (Can’t argue with that.)

We then cut to Doll Man a.k.a. Lester Colt who is basically a 6 inch version of Ultimate Captain America. Lester is one of the most decorated combat heroes and a brilliant scientist. Doll Man is conflicted with the fact that the assassination of the Intergang drug lord was righteous, but having to do it at a 5 year olds birthday party doesn’t sit well with him. That if Doll Man resigned then he would lose the one person who means the most to him: Emma Glenn. Emma is a scientist that works with S.H.A.D.E. We see Lester working out in a small gym in this elaborate doll sized city built to Lester’s scale. (It is pretty cool.)

We then see Phantom Lady at one of her world famous swanky parties. She is being interviewed by some TV show. Basically, we learn that Phantom Lady has seen some messed up things as a member of the S.H.A.D.E. and that is the reason that every night she parties like it is the end of the world.

We then shift to Senator Knight meeting with Father Time in S.H.A.D.E.’s headquarters. Senator Knight tells Father Time that he opposes the very idea of S.H.A.D.E. and when he wins the Presidency that he will shut S.H.A.D.E. down. Suddenly, a doppelganger of Senator Knight enters the room and rips out Senator Knight’s heart.

We then cut to Father Time and Face interrogating a tied up Firebrand. Firebrand tells Father Time that Uncle Sam is coming and he is building a new team of Freedom Fighters.

We then zip forward to Father Time meeting with the members of S.H.A.D.E. to brief them on their next mission. Human Bomb enters the room and apologizes for being late. The Ray exclaims that he won’t do a mission with Human Bomb. Phantom Lady looks uncomfortable with having the Human Bomb sit next to her. Human Bomb tells them that he has developed a new 24 hour pill that helps him remain stable. Doll Man then stands up for Human Bomb and says that Human Bomb is an important member and will be treated as such. Father Time then announces that the team’s new target is a suspected terrorist known as Uncle Sam. End of issue.

The Good: Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters #1 was a fun read. I loved the scene where Doll Man poses as an action figure birthday gift for the 5 year old in order to get close to the Intergang drug runner. And having Doll Man blow the drug runner’s head off was great! Nasty, but great.

The scene where Firebrand gets caught was well done. Firebrand is Uncle Sam’s herald sent to spread the word of his return. The next scene with Firebrand where he is being questioned by Father Time was also well done. I like how Gray and Palmiotti are building up Uncle Sam to mythic proportions. That Uncle Sam is not some typical metahuman. Uncle Sam is the spirit of America. Uncle Sam is the body of the Constitutions. Uncle Sam is the will of the people. Gray and Palmiotti are doing a wonderful job building up Uncle Sam and showing what an important figure he is in the DC Universe. I cannot wait for Uncle Sam to return and open up a giant can of whoop-ass.

The rest of the issue was basically a get to know your members storyline. I liked the scene with the Ray. This is not the Ray that we all know and love. No this isn’t Ray Terrill even though he is alive. For some reason, Gray and Palmiotti have decided to give us an entirely new Ray. I honestly don’t know how necessary this was, but I don’t really mind an all new character. Stan seems pretty interesting since he can actually turn his entire body into light. Plus, he nails insanely hot chicks every night in order to unwind. That has to count for something.

The scene where Doll Man is introduced to the reader is pretty cool. I love the little city that has been built to Doll Man’s scale. And seeing the little man train like a little killing machine was neat. I like that Lester is a hard core soldier and still a brilliant scientists. He is no mere killing machine. Lester is that natural born leader and well decorated in combat. I liked the conflict raging inside Doll Man. He thought the assassination was “righteous” but the way it was carried out was despicable. I also found it interesting that this man stuck at 6 inches tall is madly in love with a normal sized woman. Poor guy. It must be tough getting a date when you are only 6 inches tall.

I found myself really liking Lester’s character. Doll Man was a character that I had zero interest in during Battle for Bludhaven. Gray and Palmiotti definitely got me interested in Doll Man with this issue. This is a cool character with tons of potential.

The scene with Phantom Lady did a good job explaining why she is such a total party animal. This scene showed that there was more depth to Phantom Lady’s character than we saw in Battle for Bludhaven.

The killing of Senator Knight was a total shocker. I didn’t see that coming at all. Phantom Lady is definitely going to want a piece of Father Time whenever she discovers this dark secret.

I liked the final scene where Father Time is briefing the S.H.A.D.E. members. Human Bomb is awesome. The Man in Black is my favorite character in this comic book. Gray and Palmiotti did a great job showing how uncomfortable Human Bomb’s own teammates are around him. The look on Phantom Lady’s face as Human Bomb sat down next to her was classic! And Doll Man sticking up for Human Bomb shows what a good leader Lester is and how he supports his soldiers.

Gray and Palmiotti deliver a nicely paced issue. The moved the storyline along well with the capture of Firebrand and the death of Senator Knight. They also set up for the return of Uncle Sam. Plus, they did the requisite introduction scenes for some of the team members in order to familiarize them with the readers. These are all necessities for a first issue of a new title.

Gray and Palmiotti also craft some pretty good dialogue. Each character has their own unique voice and that makes for entertaining dialogue to read. Gray and Palmiotti have a nice feel for these characters and are doing a nice job slowly fleshing out and developing each character. Plus, they are able to generate some nice chemistry between the team members. They don’t all get along, and they shouldn’t. But, with Doll Man in charge, I’m sure they will be effective during their missions.

Daniel Acuna serves up some pretty solid artwork. His inks are a bit thick lined and heavy for my tastes. However, the artwork is pretty good and gives the title a nice look. It is definitely an improvement over the art in Battle for Bludhaven.

The Bad: I have no real complaints. I do question why Gray and Palmiotti would introduce a new Ray while Ray Terrill is still alive. That is a very strange decision.

Overall: Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters #1 was a nice debut issue. It combined a nicely paced and interesting story with solid artwork and showcases some rather interesting characters. That is a good recipe for an exciting comic book. This title has plenty of potential and I am looking forward to the next issue.