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Mike Aragona - Freelance Writer / Editor

Off The Rack


One Man's Views — Freedom Fighters: Issues 6 - 10 (DC Comics)


Issue #6 - February 1977, $0.30
W- Bob Rozakis, A- Ramona Fradon & Bob Smith, E- Tony Isabella

If you remember, when we last left our heroes, they were fugitives from justice. Well, this hasn't changed. So, as a means of not being hounded, they headed off for Rutland Vermont where every Halloween, the town celebrates with a SuperHero Parade. Now, at the same time, a coven of Warrior Wizards were meeting in order to summon an evil spirit to help them take over the US by taking over the President! Well, of course, they need a Sacrifice. And who better than the Doll Man's new girlfriend? :)) Don't worry, it doesn't happen. The Freedom Fighters save her, but one of the Wizard's henchmen does die (ack! Another death!) And HOMILUS is free! But, the Human Bomb strips down to his underwear and explodes him away (shrug)

Issue #7 - April 1977, $0.30
W- Bob Rozakis, A- Dick Ayers & Jack Abel, E- Tony Isabella

We do find out that the Black Condor has been developing some kind of telepathic ability ever since HOMILUS attacked him with his mental powers. However, whenever he tries to focus, he loses all control. All he can recall, though, is something to do with SantaLand, a place in upper New York. (Ok, listen carefully now (g)). At this SantaLand, there's an evil ELF (one of Santa's naughty helpers, it seems) who plans to rotate the Earth on its axis so they become the NEW North Pole. Why? To get revenge on "a world that scorns anybody who is different". Anyhow, the Elf thought the Freedom Fighters were on to him and so he sent out his army of powerful toys to deal with them (even using toy JLA members who have powers similar to their counterparts!) So, a maniacal Elf with the brains and abilities of Lex Luthor and the Toy Man? Sheesh. Let's move along, shall we? Because another group has come forward. They want the go-ahead from the DA to go after the FF. Who are they? Barracuda, Fireball and Sparky, Rusty and the Americommando... better known as The Crusaders! Out of action since World War II and ready to come out of retirement to kick butt! So why do they still look so young?

Issue #8 - June 1977, $0.30
W- Bob Rozakis, A- Dick Ayers & Jack Abel, E- Uncredited

I know what you're thinking: weren't the Crusaders comic book characters? Well, you're not alone. The FF were thinking the same thing! Like all good super-team meetings, the fight was long and hard and everyone was put out of commission except for Americommando! And then, he took off his mask and revealed himself (to Doll Man's hidden girlfriend) as being none other than.... (Dramatic pause) The Silver Ghost!

Issue #9 - April 1977, $0.30
W- Bob Rozakis, A- Dick Ayers & Jack Abel, E- ???

This issue has one of my favorite covers of my young reading life. It's a Buckler/Abel piece which shows Americommando pointing to a WANTED poster of the Freedom Fighters on a wall, lecturing angry kids while the FF come marching around the block. Why do I like it so much? A few reasons: it's nice, it's well drawn, it's colorful, and mainly, I remember reading this way back when I was 10, sitting in my room dreaming of being a superhero... And now, on to the story.

Some interesting happenings. The Ghost's plan to electrocute the unconscious team fails while he's away and the FF heads back to New York after him. On the way, they defeat the Crusaders (who turn out to be comic book fanboys who were recruited and altered by the Ghost in his guise as Americommando). Newswoman (and Doll Man's main squeeze) Martha Roberts convinces Doll Man to go talk to DA Pearson and explain how they're not really criminals. However, he walks in as the DA is gunned down and then picks up the gun as the cops rush in to see him with the smoking weapon! Not a smart cookie this hero-man!

Issue #10 - October 1977, $0.35
W- Bob Rozakis, A- Dick Ayers & Jack Abel, E- ???

The Ray fought the Ghost and was winning when cops showed up in helicopters and shot him down! Back in NY, Doll Man told Martha his secret ID (basically, it happened by him drinking a chemical concoction). In Minneapolis, the rest of the team tangled and beat Cat Man (you remember him right? Batman foe? Once almost killed Catwoman?). Short and sweet summary, eh? But that's all that happened!

My Thoughts So Far:
So what do I think so far (after the first 5 issues)? Well, the stories have picked up and the art has definitely improved. The series seems to be picking up speed now that it has somewhat of a direction! Future issues promise more secret identities, too! Wrap-up next Comicopia!


(Off The Rack (c) Mike Aragona. All rights reserved. No reproduction or retransmission of this article is granted without written permission of Mike Aragona)

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