Today’s nominee comes to us via our forums from Tekwych. We’d gotten into the habit the last few weeks of nominating entire lines and wanted to get to some characters that are missing from current lines. Tek responded with a nod to one of DC Comics coolest teams: The Freedom Fighters!
Separately, the original Freedom Fighters were Quality Comics characters that were acquired by DC Comics in the 1950s. In 1973, Len Wein and Dick Dillin placed the characters on Earth-X, a world where the Nazis won World II and the remaining heroes – Uncle Sam, Phantom Lady, Human Bomb, Black Condor, the Ray, & Doll Man – gathered together as the last beacon of justice. The JLA & JSA would end up on Earth X via a teleporter accident and helped the Freedom Fighters to free that world from tyranny. A few years later, the Freedom Fighters would relocate to Earth-One, add Firebrand I to their ranks, and receive their own series. It ran about 15 issues before being culled in the DC Implosion of 1978.
The team went unused until the early 80s when Roy Thomas retconned the heroes into his All-Star Squadron. In that title, they were now Earth-Two heroes who had travelled to Earth-X instead of hailing from their originally. Also, an earlier group of Freedom Fighters was added to the history. This group consisted of lesser known Quality characters: the Invisible Hood, Magno, Miss America, Neon the Unknown, Red Torpedo, and Red Bee, as well as the Justice Society member Hourman. Originally, Uncle Sam was the only survivor of the team’s first mission – trying to prevent the attack on Pearl Harbor. Later comics, have either resurrected most of the characters or clarified how they actually survived. All except Magno. Poor guy.
After that, the characters go largely unused again. Earth-X is smashed into the DCU during Crisis. Uncle Sam is briefly turned into the Patriot in the pages of Spectre, a new Phantom Lady debuted, a new Black Condor and a new Ray (son of the original) receive their own titles in the early 90s. The team was resurrected in 2001 with Uncle Sam gathering the Human Bomb, Phantom Lady II, Black Condor II, the Ray II, along with Iron Munro and Damage in a new group. With the exception of Munro, this incarnation stayed together until they had the misfortune of falling prey to Geoff Johns. Johns used the modern version of the team as cannon fodder to show how menacing the new Secret Society was. Sinestro killed Condor II, Deathstroke impaled Phantom Lady II, Bizarro beat the Human Bomb to death, Damage was horribly disfigured, and the Ray was taken as part of Alex Luthor’s scheme.
Grant Morrison’s designs on a modern version of the team would be handed off to Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray. These guys are some favorite writers of mine personally (we’re never going to get a DC Classics Monolith and I’ve accepted that), but I haven’t followed the happenings of this modern team as closely I would like. Their book’s team consisted of Uncle Sam as well as a litany of new new legacy heroes (II’s, III’s, and a IV!) and it’s received good reviews. Their adventures are available in a couple of trade paperbacks and a new ongoing series is slated for this Fall!
If I’ve counted right, and if not I’m sure a brilliant reader can swoop in and correct me, there have been about 40 characters that have had membership on at least one of the Freedom Fighters teams, but the stalwarts have always been the originals and their legacies: Uncle Sam, Phantom Lady, Black Condor, Doll Man, the Human Bomb, and the Ray.
For DC Classics, I’m not sure what I’d like to see Mattel do. In some cases, I prefer the originals (like Human Bomb), but in others I love their legacies much more (like the Ray & Black Condor). What Freedom Fighters characters would you like to see make it in the line? Let us know below…
Here’s the rosters for the different teams:
The Original Team: Uncle Sam, Human Bomb, Phantom Lady, The Ray, Doll Man, Black Condor, Firebrand.
The “pre-team” additions:
Hourman, Invisible Hood, Magno, Miss America, Neon the Unknown, Red Torpedo, Red Bee.
The 80s Team additions: Alias the Spider, Blackhawks, Jester, Manhunter, Quicksilver (Max Mercury),
The 90s/00s Team additions: Black Condor II, Damage, Iron Munro, Patriot (Uncle Sam), Phantom Lady II, Ray II.
The Modern Team additions: Firebrand IV, Doll Man II, Human Bomb II, Phantom Lady III, Ray III, Black Condor III, Red Bee II, Invisible Hood II.
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25 thoughts on “Most Requested: DC Classics Freedom Fighters”
Geoff Johns sure did a number on Phantom Lady II and Black Condor II after James Robinson featured them so nicely in his venerable Starman series. But Robinson’s killed his share of fan favorites, too. So he’s no saint, either.
Multiple versions means variants, at least two of each character. I nominate Phantom Lady I and II, Black Condor I and II, classic Uncle Sam, classic Human Bomb, The Ray I and II, Quicksilver/Max Mercury, Firebrand I, Damage, Iron Munro, and Manhunter I.
I think you should cross out Plas as well seeing how he’s the SDCC exclusive and July’s DCUC Matty offering.
Great catch on Plas, Clutch! I was tired when I put this together. LOL
Those characters were so great in Starman. I liked them before, but he made me really love them. Made the GJ-fodder all the harder for me. And Starman #38 is hands down my least favorite issue of that run. And his return to DC? It’s hard having been such a huge Starman fan, but I won’t touch those books.
Also, great point on the variants! The Rays, Phantom Lady, and Black Condors would all be great as twofers. I wish Mattel would do more alternate characters variants and less gimmicky ones.
I most definitely want Ray II in his new outfit he used to beat the snot out of that punk Ray III….That new suit is made of win and awesome.
I do like his new one, but that 90s one is a soft spot for me! I need him to hang out with Atzek, Zauriel, and… wait…
Great selection! I want all those guys of course. Can you imagine how insane it would be if we actually got a DCUC Jester??
That would be fantastic! LOL
The original five with Dollman included with Condor would be great! The Ray & Max Mercury are probably the only other characters that need a spot.
I need so many more than that…. LOL
I’d want some of these guys, but we need to get the Doom Patrol & the Metal Men done first. Then they could alternate thesecwith the Seven Soldiers of Victory.
Seven Soldiers would be another great team to do!
I’m so torn talking about this this week because I really, really want some 90s influence, but the early 70s era is another love.
I want Phantom Lady II. Starfire was reserved for online sales. Powergirl was posed to avoid scaring the moms and exciting the boys. I want to see Mattel squirm around posing this particular burlesque character for wide market/retail release.
If they do Ray in a metallic gold paint, I’ll buy him too.
I had thought of it that way, but you’re right. Power Girl’s packaging as hilarious.
Metallic Ray would be cool.
Definitely need a Ray and Uncle Sam!
But can you stop at just two FFs?
I just need Uncle Sam and I’ll be a happy camper.
The good thing about Sam is that he’s mostly done! The GG/Joker body will just about sew it up.
Oh, man I don’t know. Some of them really don’t need to be in the line. I’d say Uncle Sam, Ray, Phantom Lady, and Damage as the main four.
I agree that some don’t, but I do dream of a giant room full of DCUCs. Where they’re all together in a giant group shot.
Except Ambush Bug, of course.
I love the idea of the Human Bomb.
I had no idea he was beaten to death by Bizarro, but that’s kinda cool.
I know there is gonna be a new book about the Nazi world, and I thought the Freedom Fighters would be in it, but who knows.
Anywho, The Ray II is a great look so I’d love a toy of that.
I actually think the Phantom Lady from DC Direct is nice, so I don’t know if I need another one from DCUC that’s just gonna be on a body I already have. I like my toys to be unique, like people are. I’m sure DCUC can improve on Uncle Sam, but I don’t think I’d want that garish thing as a toy, plus, to be, the real Uncle Sam is Col. Sanders with his chickeny goodness. Now there’s an action figure I want!
Man, I wish the Colonel had gotten into Hasbro’s Star Wars line back in the Phantom Menace days along with the Pizza Hut Girl and the Taco Bell Chihuahua
It was cool?? LOL
It was sad too. He kept exploding every time until he finally died though Bizarro kept going. Definitely wasn’t an open casket. And of course he was like 90 at the time…
The Nazi world is part of multiversity, but it surely could be the modern team going there. I haven’t heard, I should read up on it.
I do like the DCD Phantom Lady, but I’m horrible at mixing. It just bugs me. 🙂
And a Colonel Sanders figure? I think we have a Most Requested…
I wonder what Mattel would have to call Miss America if they released her?… I’m sure that the pagent people have the toy trademarks tied-up “just in case” they can get someone to license fashion dolls again.
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