This is an in-universe article with out-of-universe material.
The Freedom Fighters are a team of American super-heroes led by Uncle Sam. They were formed during World War II to fight against the Nazi army, although their adventures fighting evil have continued into the modern era whenever the nation needs them.
The Freedom Fighters operated as a kind of sub-division of the All-Star Squadron. They remained together over the course of the war, picking up a number of other members along the way; these members, by and large, were not considered part of the core group (Firebrand was seemingly the exception to this). Some time after the war ended, Uncle Sam disappeared, and the Freedom Fighters faded into obscurity.
Our Worlds at War
More recently, a new rite was performed to create a new incarnation of the Spirit of America, this time embodying the ideals of all who lived in America—the Patriot. Like Uncle Sam before him, the Patriot went on to create a team of Freedom Fighters in time of war—in this case, the Imperiex event. This team consisted of Damage; Iron Munro; Ryan Kendall, the second Black Condor; Dee Tyler, the second Phantom Lady; and Ray Terrill, son of the original Ray.
After Imperiex, the team underwent a few changes, as the Patriot reverted to his Uncle Sam identity, and the Human Bomb joined up. This iteration of the team worked alongside the Justice Society of America, and took on a role as agents of the United States government.
It came to an end, as did so much else, with the beginning of the Infinite Crisis. The Freedom Fighters were sent to investigate reports of activity from the Society, but found it was an ambush. Black Condor, the Human Bomb, and Phantom Lady were all killed, Damage was left hospitalised, and the Ray was captured as part of the Society's plans, later escaping. Uncle Sam, too, was apparently killed, but no body was found.
As things turned out, the Spirit of America refused to die so easily. Uncle Sam rose again a year later, baptized in the waters of the Mississippi, and summoned Andre Twist, the new Firebrand, to him. Uncle Sam had seen the future, as he had during World War II, and America was once more in danger—but this time, the threat came from within. There were those in power who sought to make the country a dictatorship, serving the whims of power—men like Father Time, who headed up SHADE, the Super Human Advanced Defense Executive.
SHADE managed to capture Firebrand, but Uncle Sam still eluded them. For Father Time, Sam was a threat to his plans; Time meant to kill Sam and what he represented, but to do that, he needed to bring Sam in.
There was a certain measure of irony in the team Father Time chose to do this, since the team's members had secret identities taken from members of the original Freedom Fighters—Lester Colt, the Doll Man; Andy Franklin, the Human Bomb; Stormy Knight, the Phantom Lady; and Stan Silver, the Ray.
However, Uncle Sam convinced Time's team to join him as the new Freedom Fighters. The new team launched an attack on SHADE to rescue Firebrand, then set out to find the new Black Condor. However, an encounter with First Strike, a team designed to take out the Freedom Fighters, saw Black Condor intervening to save the Fighters.
The Fighters, recovering from the fight, launched an attack on SHADE facilities for necessary resources, before recuperating in the extra-dimensional realm known as the Heartland.
Father Time's plans continued apace. He had had Stormy's father, Senator Henry Knight, killed and replaced by a mechanical replica, controlled by an alien creature which called itself Gonzo, the Mechanical Bastard. The Senator had been running for President, and Gonzo took over his campaign easily, winning the Presidential race.
Uncle Sam knew the Senator had been replaced, and readied the Freedom Fighters to unmask Gonzo to the public, launching an attack on the President's aeroplane.
Gonzo, however, was ready for them, initially sending First Strike against the Fighters, and then, as the Fighters defeated them, bringing in a new Miss America, who broke the Fighters' confidence in themselves and their powers.
The powerless Fighters were hauled in to SHADE headquarters, where they were tortured by Father Time and his agents. Uncle Sam had set up a contingency for events such as these by recruiting a number of Fighters from outside the team, ready to help out if the Fighters needed them. Jenna Raleigh, grand-niece of Richard Raleigh, the Red Bee, and Ken Thurston, grandson of Kent Thurston, the Invisible Hood, set out to free the captive team, Jenna drawing the SHADE agents' attention with a direct assault, and Ken slipping into the base to release the imprisoned Fighters.
Jenna's attack was halted by Miss America, who was halted in her turn by Joan Dale, the /first/ Miss America. Joan fought and destroyed her double, revealing her to be another mechanical replica.
The freed Fighters, along with their new recruits, fought a rearguard action against SHADE agents, injuring Father Time in the process, before withdrawing back to the Heartland. There, they began to formulate new ideas to unmask Gonzo. While they did so, Sam sent John and Stormy to Arizona, to recruit an old friend of his.
Ken bowed out of the Fighters' plans, feeling that being a superhero wasn't for him. Before Ken could be returned home, though, the Ray revealed himself as a traitor, killing Ken, and standing as vanguard for Gonzo's latest weapons against the Fighters.
The Fighters managed to hold off the weapons, sending them on a one-way trip into a black hole. Stan's taunting of the Fighters was cut short when Sam's old friend showed up—Ray Terrill, the second Ray, who proceeded to beat Stan into the ground. Sam then sent the defeated Stan back to his masters.
Meanwhile, Gonzo pressed on with a program to have everyone in the USA fitted with an ID chip that would, in actuality, enable him to control them. When Father Time learned that Gonzo had chipped everyone in SHADE, and planned to use the general populace's chips to foment chaos, violence, and destruction, he turned on him, leaking the video of Gonzo's murder of Senator Knight to the Freedom Fighters.
Gonzo called a press conference to announce the creation of a new metahuman government task force. However, the metas in the task force had all secretly received chips placing them under Gonzo's control.
Uncle Sam showed up at the conference, presenting the video of Senator Knight's murder, and unmasked the fake President for what he was. The enraged Gonzo ordered his team of metas to kill Sam. The Freedom Fighters, however, intervened just in time.
As the Fighters fought the chipped metas, Father Time confronted Gonzo, capturing him in a trap derived from an Atomic Knight's armor, destroying Gonzo's consciousness, but maintaining his existence as information.
In the course of the confrontation, Time revealed that he had wanted a metahuman team to defend America's interests, and had chosen the Freedom Fighters. He had deliberately given his agents the identities of the original Freedom Fighters. He had enabled Gonzo to become President precisely so that he would threaten the US—and bring Uncle Sam out to confront him, for both Sam and the Fighters would be needed for what was coming.
Father Time then withdrew into the timestream, taking the brainwashed metas with him, leaving the field to the Fighters.
After the dust had settled, the Acting-President, recognizing the need for a team of metahuman government agents, asked the Fighters to take over SHADE, to overhaul it and clean it out. The Fighters accepted, apart from Lester, who wanted to return to civilian life.
Sometime afterward, Red Bee was captured by an alien insect swarm and transformed into a human/insect hybrid. At the same time, S.H.A.D.E. has planned to make the Freedom Fighters into media darlings to help increase faith in the government following the Amazonian incident.
Uncle Sam, Firebrand, Doll Man and Human Bomb refused to go along with the plan, and return to the Heartland. For a time, the remaining Freedom Fighters became celebrities, part of a new group called the Crusaders. Red Bee later collapsed in her apartment, and a swarm of insects rose out of her body.
Phantom Lady, unable to cope with the media attention went on a binge spree, culminating in her drunkenly slicing a criminal in half on national television. Stormy was brought to the Heartland, where her body was cleaned of toxins by Miss America.
Sam and Doll Man recruit the original Doll Man (Darrel Dane) from a micro-environment within the Pentagon. After the head of the Crusaders program, Robbins, tried to kill Red Bee, the Freedom Fighters confronted him. It was revealed that Robbins had mental powers that he had used to control the Crusaders — and Stormy, leading to her binge.
While the Crusaders and Freedom Fighters battled, Red Bee was overtaken by her insectoid side, and used her pheromones to enslave the Crusaders and Freedom Fighters, and prepared to create a "hive" on Earth. Meanwhile, an attempt to cure the Doll Men and several other micro-sized individuals went horribly wrong, and all of them were merged into a single mutant form. The mutant went on a rampage until Emma Thompson reached Lester. Red Bee was cured of her affliction by Langford Terrill, who had gained the powers of Neon the Unknown. The team then prepared to fight off an invasion by the insectoids. After their victory, the group went their separate ways, but Sam declares that they will be needed when the Crisis begins.
- The Freedom Fighters were created by Len Wein and Dick Dillin and first appeared in Justice League of America #107. The Post-Crisis New Earth version first appeared in Crisis on Infinite Earths #11 by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez. The modern-day Post-Infinite Crisis version was created by Grant Morrison in a twenty page outline, and further developed by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, first appearing in Brave New World #1.
- 60 Appearances of Freedom Fighters (New Earth)
- 11 Images that include Freedom Fighters (New Earth)
- Team Gallery: Freedom Fighters (New Earth)
- Crisis on Infinite Earths #11
- All-Star Squadron #60
- Brave New World #1
- Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters (Volume 1)
- Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters (Volume 2)
- Freedom Fighters (Volume 2)