Thursday, February 25, 2016

Review - Freedom Fighter #1

In the face of terrorist cells springing up left and right, law enforcement must do all it can do to stem the tide. Most of that involves monitoring communications, playing on hunches and continuing to fight the good fight. Sometimes that's not enough and that's what Freedom Fighter #1 from Outpouring Comics focuses on. The issue is written by Michael Heitkemper, illustrated by A.J. Fulcher, inked and colored by Rohvel Yumul and lettered by Micah Myers.

The Freedom Fighter is the world’s first government owned and funded super hero. The stories not only tell about his missions and adventures but also share his struggles with the corruption of the bureaucrats who control him. Add this to the mystery and secrets surrounding the original Freedom Fighter and you have one heck of a spy thriller. Jame Bond meets Captain America.

From the opening pages of Freedom Fighter #1, it's very clear that Heitkemper isn't shy about touting the inspiration for the book in being Captain America. The problem with Freedom Fighter #1 is that Jason Blume comes across as more of a Superman-like character being dispatched across the globe to fight terrorists. This is further compounded by some inconsistencies in the presentation of the Freedom Fighter program--for instance, Heitkemper plays up the NSA-like approach to Freedom Fighter's work, but the book opens with a tour of the science facility where Freedom Fighter is created. Further, Blume is approached to be the Freedom Fighter because of an encouraging record of service, but what would happen if he refuses? Heitkemper doesn't really address this--instead, it's somewhat clumsily used to set up the premise of the series, which is there's always got to be a Freedom Fighter to keep up appearances.

The artistic style in Freedom Fighter #1 is inconsistent. Fulcher takes an approach that first and foremost gives all the characters nearly flawless appearances, illustrating the characters in ways that emphasize toned physiques for the male characters and voluptuous physiques for the female characters above all else. Despite this, there are a few instances where an arm looks a little unnatural in terms of an action its meant to be performing. The backgrounds of the panels are pretty boring for a character who travels the world to exotic locales in the name of fighting terrorism. And while Yumul's colors are fairly basic in their palette, there are a few instances where the colors seem more vivid than others.

Freedom Fighter #1 wants to be a book in the vain of Captain America, but unfortunately it's a little messy. There's a twist at the end of the issue that forces Jason Blume to reassess his position as the Freedom Fighter, but getting there is a little convoluted. Heitkemper clearly has a well-defined path in mind for all the characters, even if the introduction to them comes across a little hurried. Fulcher's artwork is largely effective at keeping up with the action, but there are points where the sense of moment is broken by a jarring image of a hand out of place. Freedom Fighter #1 is pretty rough around the edges and could be improved if the characters felt more unique and the story's twist plays a more prominent role going forward.

Freedom Fighter #1 is available now via DriveThruComics and Outpouring Comics.


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