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Comic Book / Freedom Fighters (DC Comics)
aka: Freedom Fighters DC

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Even Patriotic Heroes can't catch a break!

The name's Uncle Sam, and we got work ta do.
Uncle Sam

The Freedom Fighters are a team of American super-heroes in The DCU, made up of characters bought out from Quality Comics and led by the nation's spirit Uncle Sam. Originally they were written as the only heroes on Earth-X, a universe where the Nazis won an extended World War II and had completely taken over. They fought against tyranny and oppression in a completely authoritarian world. Eventually, they were integrated into the main Shared Universe. They still operate together in the modern era mostly using Legacy Characters and fight against contemporary problems that face the country such as corruption and terrorism.

The team first appeared in a crossover, featured in Justice League of America #107-108 (September-November, 1973). This tale was written by Len Wein, and drawn by Dick Dillin. The team featured familiar characters, Black Condor, Doll Man, Human Bomb, Phantom Lady, the Ray, and Uncle Sam. All were characters from The Golden Age of Comic Books. They lay dormant for a few years. Then they got their own series "Freedom Fighters", which had them relocating from Earth-X to Earth-One. Their title lasted for 15 issues, from March, 1976 to July, 1978. This series upgraded the powers of some of the featured and added fellow Golden Ager Firebrand to their ranks. The series then fell victim to the so-called DC Implosion, the cancellation of much of DC's line of comic books. Two wore issues were by then complete. They got printed in "Cancelled Comics Cavalcade" #2 (Fall, 1978).

In the 1980s, the Freedom Fighters got a couple of retro tales in the pages of All-Star Squadron (which shifted their universe of origin to Earth-Two), a couple of modern tales, and participation in the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Individual members got revamped in The '90s, and some were replaced by Legacy Characters. Then, most active members died in the Infinite Crisis #1 (December, 2005), to be replaced by even younger Legacy Characters, and new recruits. The newer version/s of the team received a couple of mini-series over the following years, but so far haven't been more successful than their predecessors in maintaining an ongoing series.

In the New 52, Justin Gray and Jimmy Palimotti (who wrote the previous reinvention, based on notes by Grant Morrison) seemed to be re-reinventing the Freedom Fighters a step at a time, with linked miniseries introducing even newer versions of the characters (The Ray; Phantom Lady and Doll Man; and The Human Bomb). The third of these ended at the start of 2013, and there's been no further development, so it's probably an Aborted Arc.

A version of the team appeared in Grant Morrison's The Multiversity. They also appeared in Convergence. The team also appears in Freedom Fighters (2018).

Not to be confused with either the video game or the other team of comic-book freedom fighters (they started in animation first, then became a comic book).

Freedom Fighters provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: There were three miniseries released during DC's New 52 period that featured new versions of the Ray, Phantom Lady, Doll Man, and Human Bomb, alongside versions of Uncle Sam, Miss America, and Neon the Unknown. By the end of the Human Bomb miniseries, it was blatantly implied that a new version of the Freedom Fighters was being formed but no follow-up series was ever released and the new versions were all forgotten.
  • Action Bomb: The Human Bomb, whose superpowers are exactly what you'd expect. They're superheroes who generate massive explosions. This dangerous condition requires them to constantly wear containment suits.
  • Animalistic Abilities: The original version of the Black Condor gained the power of flight by studying the birds that raised him.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Uncle Sam is the "Spirit of America."
  • Appearance Is in the Eye of the Beholder: Or voice, in Uncle Sam's case. To Emma Glenn, his voice sounds like "children singing". To Doll Man II, he sounds like a leader of great compassion and integrity (and a little like Ike Eisenhower). Doll Man II hypothesizes that this is because Sam is born of all the individual perceptions of America, and may sound different to everyone.
  • Arch-Enemy: Silver Ghost, a Nazi who has opposed them on multiple occasions. The Silver Ghost has special animosity towards Firebrand, who pretended to be a Nazi collaborator.
  • Armed Females, Unarmed Males:
  • Atrocious Alias: In the 2006 miniseries, the Ray III derides the Invisible Hood's codename, saying that it sounds like "an ultra-thin condom".
  • Badass Boast: Black Condor rocks at these. Not just because they sound great, but because he can and will live up to them.
    Windstorm: I see the one in black, but what happened to the winged shaman?
    Black Condor: I am no shaman! I am Black Condor! Empowered by the goddess Tocotl with the swiftness of the wind and the power of the ground! And I am a god killer!
  • Bee Afraid: The second Red Bee underwent a brief Face–Heel Turn after she was mutated into a human-bee hybrid by an alien insect colony, which made her want to colonize the entire earth. She wound up retiring from superheroics after this was reversed.
  • Cannon Fodder:
    • The new Invisible Hood debuted in the first mini-series, then killed the issue after he was introduced.
    • Likewise, S.H.A.D.E.'s policy on metahuman teams operates like this. If one member of a team dies, their name, power, and gear can easily be given to a replacement. Between Battle for Bludhaven and the first miniseries, there have been three versions of Lady Liberty.
  • Canon Invasion: The original Freedom Fighters were all characters owned by Quality Comics before DC bought out the company. There were several cross-overs with the team, who were said to live on Earth-X. Eventually, Canon Welding set in and the team was established as having been a part of the All-Star Squadron.
  • Captain Patriotic: Uncle Sam, the Anthropomorphic Personification of the United States of America.
  • Character Name and the Noun Phrase: Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Black Condor has the ability to fly. Nothing too out there for a superhero, right? Oh no, unlike other flying heroes like Hawkman, the Falcon, or the Angel (who all either rely on specialized flight suits or are Winged Humanoids), Black Condor learned to fly from years of studying vultures. Yes, apparently watching birds long enough will allow you to defy gravity and basic laws of physics. When the character was incorporated into The DCU, retroactive continuity was invoked to credit the power to irradiation by Magic Meteor.
  • Clingy Costume: The various Human Bombs have to wear suits at all times to keep from, well, exploding.
  • C-List Fodder: Black Condor, Phantom Lady, and the Human Bomb were killed in the opening pages of Infinite Crisis.
  • Color Animal Codename: Black Condor.
  • Confronting Your Imposter: In the mini-series, SHADE deploys a fake version of Miss America to de-power and demoralize the Freedom Fighters, and she almost succeeds before an old woman shows up and declares that she can't possibly be Miss America... because she is Miss America. Cue Curb-Stomp Battle...
  • Continuity Nod: Two new members of First Strike were field leader Americommando and the fish-like Barracuda. In the 1970s series, the Freedom Fighters fought against the Crusaders, an Expy of the Invaders from Marvel Comics, which include Captain America stand-in Americommando and Namor stand-in Barracuda.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Quality Comics character the Black Condor adopted the identity of murdered Senator Thomas Wright. Who just happened to look ''exactly'' like him.
  • Defector from Decadence: In one version, the last survivor of Krypton landed in Nazi Germany and became Overman. Overman steamrolled the Allies and defeated Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters, leading to the Nazis ruling the United States. However, Overman grew increasingly horrified and became disenchanted with the Nazis, leaving for space. His absence gave the Freedom Fighters a chance to return.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: During the miniseries, Lester Colt grew disillusioned with working under the Administration after being sent to kill an Intergang drug runner at his five-year-old grandson's birthday party.
  • Evil All Along: Stan Silver was introduced as the third Ray and spent most of the Freedom Fighters miniseries with the team while Ray Terrill was mysteriously absent and Sam didn't comment on it. It turned out Sam suspected Stan was working as Father Time's mole so he got in touch with Ray (who assumed Sam had been killed alongside the previous team by the Secret Society) just as Stan launched an attack to wipe out the rest of the group.
  • Evil Counterpart: Gonzo the Mechanical Bastard is a modern reworking of the Golden Age character Bozo the Iron Man. Likewise, there is Uncle Sam and Father Time for most of the first miniseries until Time's appearance changed and his true loyalties were revealed, the two Miss Americas, one being the genuine article and the other a robot, and Ray Terrill and sociopath Stan Silver.
  • Fan Boy: The second Human Bomb was this to Hal Jordan as a boy. He even refuses to attack him during the Battle For Bludhaven miniseries.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: Uncle Sam's power is directly proportional to the American People's belief in freedom and liberty. Whether American protectorates like Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands' people's belief in freedom and liberty counts towards this is never specified.
  • Having a Blast: The Human Bomb, who made his original appearance in Police Comics #1 in August of 1941, is the original super-powered explosion maker. He literally could cause anything he touched to explode... the bigger the object, the bigger the explosion. When Quality Comics went out of business, DC Comics purchased the rights to its entire stable of characters, and the Human Bomb became a member of the Freedom Fighters.
  • Hazmat Suit: The Human Bomb has worn one since the Golden Age.
  • Heal It with Water: The waters of the Mississippi River apparently revived Uncle Sam (the Anthropomorphic Personification of America) after his apparent death in Infinite Crisis.
  • Invisibility: In the 70s when Phantom Lady joined the Freedom Fighters she gained this power.
  • Just Following Orders: Lester, Stormy, and Andy (Doll Man, Phantom Lady, and Human Bomb) all had to be broken out of this mindset before they joined Uncle Sam. The three of them repeatedly received shit from other heroes like the Teen Titans for working alongside psychopaths such as Major Force. It's telling that after everyone watched Force rip off Major Victory's arm and beat him to death with it, Lester, Stormy, and Andy were all visibly disgusted and even offended when Robin called them out for allying with Force while their other teammate Bigfoot thought it was funny.
  • Legacy Character: While Uncle Sam has technically been the same in all its incarnations, the other members have passed the moniker to successors due to retirement, death, retcons, or alternate universes.
    • Phantom Lady: Sandra Knight => Dee Tyler => Stormy Knight => Jennifer Knight => Sophia Becker
    • Black Condor: Richard Grey => Ryan Kendall => John Trujillo => Marcus Robbins
    • Human Bomb: Roy Lincoln => Andy Franklin => Michael Taylor => David Mathis
    • Firebrand: Rod Reilly => Danette Reilly => Alex Sanchez => Andre Twist => Janet Fals
    • The Ray: Langford Terrill => Raymond Terrill => Stan Silver => Lucien Gates
    • Red Bee: Rick Raleigh => Jenna Raleigh
    • Doll Man: Darrell Dane => Lester Colt => Dane Maxwell
    • Doll Girl: Martha Roberts => Donna Caprese
  • Legacy Team: The team usually consists of Phantom Lady, Human Bomb, Firebrand, Black Condor, Uncle Sam, The Ray, Doll Man, and Doll Girl. With various people using the identities on the team. There have been at least 4 incarnations.
  • Let X Be the Unknown: Earth X, where the Axis won World War II. According to Word of God, this is because editorial nixed the idea of calling it Earth-swastika.
  • Magical Native American: John Trujillo received his Black Condor powers from an ancient Native American spider-goddess. In a subversion of the trope, he is the angriest and most violent of the Fighters, at least the current ones.
  • The Mole: Stan Silver, the third Ray.
  • Naked People Are Funny: In the 2006 miniseries, Phantom Lady robs Lady Liberty of her powers by destroying her costume. The Ray then dumps Lady Liberty on a nearby nudist beach, supposedly to lessen her awkwardness and embarrassment. It appears to have the opposite effect, judging by how quick Lady Liberty is to use her arms to hide her chest and groin from the nudists.
  • Nations as People: Uncle Sam is the literal embodiment of the Spirit of America, created by the Founding Fathers using a magical talisman. He originally took the form of a Minuteman, before becoming Brother Jonathan, then split into Billy Yank and Johnny Reb, before finally taking his current form (apart from a very brief Audience-Alienating Era where he became some kind of star-spangled spaceman called the Patriot).
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: How the first Human Bomb died. See, Bizarro likes the lights he made, which were released every time the Bomb blew up, and Bizarro didn't know his own strength...
  • Older Than They Look: Averted and later played straight with Miss America. To be with her husband she used her powers to simulate the aging process, but drops the facade after her husband died so she could get back in the field.
  • Patriotic Fervor: Uncle Sam, Anthropomorphic Personification of the American Spirit, is literally composed of this trope. No, really: his strength is directly proportional to the faith of the American people in America and its ideals, to the extent that if nobody had any such faith he'd cease to exist.
  • Perpetually Shiny Bodies: The Stormy Knight version of Phantom Lady displayed this a lot in the mid-2000s version of Freedom Fighters. This was particularly notable since the artist didn't do this to any other character in the comic, leading to a fan theory that she was actually an Auton.
  • Power Creep, Power Seep: In The '70s Phantom Lady's power was increased from creating darkness, to invisibility and teleporting herself and the team. The last one fluctuated in the comics and in a lot of subsequent experiences as it was a Game Changer, that let them all get out of jail free. Her appearances out of Freedom Fighters have rarely brought up teleportation at all.
  • Power Incontinence: The Human Bomb has to stay in his containment suit, or he'll blow up everything around him.
  • Pretender Diss: In the 2006 miniseries, Miss America contemptuously tells each Freedom Fighter that she fights that the people they are Legacy Characters of are dead and that they are pale imitations. This gets turned on her when the real Miss America shows up and reveals that the one serving Father Time is an imposter who knows nothing of true heroism.
  • Right-Wing Militia Fanatic: A version of Americommando showed up as the second leader of First Strike, President Gonzo's superhero team.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Dee Tyler, Ryan Kendall, and Roy Lincoln are all mercilessly slaughtered by the Secret Society at the beginning of Infinite Crisis just to show how dangerous the villains are.
  • Stripperific: Phantom Lady. Not that anyone is complaining, mind you. The current Phantom Lady, with her shirt that's basically a tube top, is actually less Stripperific than previous incarnations.
  • Stupid Jetpack Hitler: The Earth-X stories take place in a world where the Nazis have access to more futuristic technology.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: During the Quality Comics years, The Spirit was published there as a compilation of the newspaper comics. During the years Will Eisner went to war in WWII, a copycat was created as Midnight, a similar pulp vigilante as The Spirit that even became part of Freedom Fighters during a time. Later in The '70s, Midnight came back as a temporary member of Freedom Fighters and All-Star Squadron.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: In the 2006 miniseries, Americommando is a sadistic Bad Boss and Black Shirt. However, Uncle Sam recalls how when Americommando was ten, he wanted to be an astronaut like Neil Armstrong (which Sam knows due to how he can sense everyone’s American dream). In the present, Sam makes that wish come true by throwing Americommando into outer space, causing him to slam into the moon at high speed.
  • Wild Child: The Black Condor is a human man who was raised by condors. Who taught him to fly (yes, without wings). And then he became a US Senator. A later retcon gives him the power of flight naturally, which makes the character very slightly less loopy.
  • Will Not Tell a Lie: Uncle Sam is very big on telling the truth and avoids lying.
  • Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Uncle Sam and Miss America both wear American-themed costumes.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: The series uses this as a recurring theme with the team usually viewed in a negative light. Their earliest stories featured them as the only heroes in a world controlled by Nazi rule, which makes this trope very obvious. More recently they are antagonists of the black-ops government organization S.H.A.D.E. which leads to Uncle Sam, the living embodiment and spirit of the United States, being declared a threat to national security and put on their most wanted list.

Alternative Title(s): Freedom Fighters, Freedom Fighters DC