| on April 16, 2010, 08:16:00 PM
The Freedom Fighters Should Be...
by Gardner Grayle
Uncle Sam isn't the best known of the many Quality characters DC has access to. Plastic Man is a way bigger star, and Blackhawk was much more popular in the Golden Age as well. But Sam is my favorite. Leader of the Freedom Fighters and the embodiment of American patriotism, but more importantly, the American Spirit.
Uncle Sam was created by Will Eisner in 1940. Pretty good pedigree, huh? His first appearance was Quality's National Comics #1. He's had many aliases like the Minuteman, Brother Jonathan, Johnny Reb, Billy Yank, and the Patriot. In his Golden Age origin, Sam was a white haired soldier killed in battle during the American Revolution. As he lay dying, he envisioned the ideal of American freedom so powerfully, his soul merged with the Spirit of Liberty and remained on earth to fight for the cause. Sam manifest himself repeatedly in times when America needed him. He was even split into two beings during our Civil War. Sam reappeared a year before the bombing of Pearl Harbor to fight fascist "purple shirts" who were working as saboteurs and even took a sidekick named Buddy. That's the Quality part. After this, it gets a little hinky. BTW, Sam is very strong and fast, has limited psychic abilities, can leap like the Hulk, and can't be photographed. He can also grow to an enormous size.
Quality was bought out by DC in the 1950's. Most of the characters didn't show up in any DC Comics until the 70's for some reason. Sam and the Freedom Fighters appeared in JLA vol #1, #107 in October of 1973. I remember seeing that issue on the spinner rack. The Freedom Fighters lived on Earth-X where the Nazis won WWII. The JLA, JSA, and the Freedom Fighters teamed up and defeated the android Fuhrer and liberated Earth-X from Nazi oppression. The Freedom Fighters later got their own book which lasted for fifteen issues in the mid-70's. They were later ret-conned into the All Star Squadron in the early 80's by Roy Thomas. They participated in the CoIE and hung around the edges of the DCU until Infinite Crisis where the remaining Freedom Fighters were slaughtered by Luthor's Society.
Sam emerged from the defeat with a new purpose. He rebuilt the Freedom Fighters with new members. Most of whom happen to have connections and the same codenames of the past Freedom Fighters or at least other Quality Heroes. There have been two minis for a total of sixteen issues. Pretty good stuff IMO. No idea what DiDio has in store for Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters, but I'll probably be there to pick it up when it comes out.
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