“The end. . .or the beginning?” That is how DC decides to deliver the wrap up of “Freedom Fighters.” That beginning/ending (middle?) leaves Black Condor and Ray searching skyward, wondering what is to become of one of their teammates. The final issue is an odd place to thread in a subplot, especially one that doesn’t really payout before the final page.
Prior to that point, the Freedom Fighters all struggle with their newly-minted freelance status, as the government has ceased funding the hero team. While most of the other heroes have a purpose or a promise beyond the Freedom Fighters, this issue focuses on the Human Bomb and his paralyzing inability to merge with society independent of the Freedom Fighters.
Travis Moore and Trevor Scott fill this issue with the same caliber of work that has been on this book from the start: solid work that borders on great in spots, but never really goes beyond that. The script calls for laboratories, meth labs, demonic attackers, and some quieter moments between all of those. Moore and Scott deliver to the script, but at points their work gets plowed over by Allen Passalaqua’s colors. Passalaqua pushes many pages towards one tonal range, which washes everything out, but allows pieces to pop, such as Phantom Lady’s purple top when the team is collected in the S.H.A.D.E. labs for a conversation with Human Bomb.
Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray put the remnants of the Freedom Fighters up against a made-for-fill-in band of nasties calling themselves Population Control. Add that to “Hot Pursuit” and it certainly appears as though originality in naming comic book characters has truly gone bankrupt. That aside, the duo give the team a last hurrah, but they don’t send out the whole team. That provides some decent dialog and character interaction, but the story just feels as though it is on auto-pilot before it closes.
Population Control puts up enough of a fight to cause some concern for your favorite former Freedom Fighters, but in the end the story just. . . stops. Yet another title thrown on the pile of cancellation. Yet another story that doesn’t end at the prescribed ending point. Yet another piece of evidence that DC doesn’t quite seem to know that stories need to have conclusions. I do enjoy stories from Palmiotti and Gray, and I hope the wide open ending on this bodes well for more stories from them, but this book feels like a sentence that got interrupted and never finished. Unfortunately, it’s a sentence that we’ll most likely forget was interrupted before too long.