The CW Seed has rolled on their new animated series, Freedom Fighters: The Ray, and while I'm enjoying the new series and curious what is going to happen next, I am left with one question. Where are Uncle Sam and the Human Bomb? When the Freedom Fighters were created back in 1973 in the pages of Justice League of America #107 by Len Wein and Dick Dillin, they had pulled together six characters originally created for Quality Comics. The team consisted of Black Condor, Dollman, the Human Bomb, Phantom Lady, the Ray and Uncle Sam. And while other characters showed up over the years including Red Bee, Miss America, Plastic Man, Firebrand, Manhunter and Quicksilver, the core of the team has been pretty much consistent.
The animated series spends more time focused on the Ray, which makes sense with that particular title, but they take the time to introduce some of the Freedom Fighters in the very beginning. We get to see Phantom Lady, Dollman, Black Condor and Red Tornado… now Red Tornado has never been part of the Freedom Fighters nor Quality Comics. There was a Red Torpedo and of course Red Bee, but no Red Tornado. On the other hand, this was an established character from the Supergirl show and he was used well in the Crisis on Earth-X crossover.
I go back to the original question, where is Uncle Sam and the Human Bomb? I am hoping that the reason has to do with something story wise, like plans to use the characters later or they needed to use Red Tornado to set up something later in the season. I am hoping that the decision was not based on today's political climate. I could see the writers being hesitant to introduce a character that can blow himself up in a time when folks are worried about suicide bombers. But it wasn't that long ago that Agents of SHIELD introduced the character of Nuklo who wasn't all that different other than he was a bad guy. Maybe that was the reason, they didn't want to use a hero that blew himself up in the name of justice.
As for Uncle Sam, I can't really think of a good reason. Too goofy? They're doing Elongated Man. Too over-the-top patriotic? They're literally punching Nazis. Too obscure? You saw where I listed Dollman right? Uncle Sam is a character about hope and in a world where the bad guys are in charge, you'd think that character would be desperately needed.
The series isn't over, so we could still see these characters coming up. But I do feel kind of disappointed that we didn't get to see Uncle Sam in the crossover… especially if they got Paul Blackthorne play him. That would've been epic.