The Freedom Fighters. I have to say that this is one of the more interesting re-interpretations in DC in recent years. It involves politics without being blatantly political, and Daniel Acuna’s art is amazing. The Freedom Fighters originally started out in 1973 as the focal element of an amazing JLA/JSA teamup in Justice League of America #107. I’ve only read it because after getting my best friend back into comics in 1997 by lending him Kingdom Come, he went on to rabidly collect every pre-Crisis JLA story he could get his hands on.
The Freedom Fighters were created as a group of Quality Comics characters that DC had acquired. They resided on Earth-X, where Nazi Germany had won World War II (a similar parallel Earth now exists, labeled Earth 10, so there is most likely some type of Freedom Fighters group on that Earth). The team consisted of members like the Red Bee, Miss America, Manhunter (Dan Richards), Plastic Man, and surprisingly enough, Max Mercury (Quicksilver). Other well known members were Uncle Sam, Phantom Lady, Doll Man, Firebrand, and Human Bomb. According to certain issues of All Star Squadron (a great book), the Freedom Fighters actually were not natives of Earth-X but went to fight there and help fight the Nazis.
Recently, a new team has arisen amidst the drama surrounding the city of Bludhaven in the Crisis Aftermath: The Battle for Bludhaven and the Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters mini-series. In this team are new versions of most of the previous members, as envisioned by Grant Morrison (barring a few changes made by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti). Originally working for a corrupt government, Uncle Sam has brought the members around to a greater purpose.
The Calculator first appeared in 1976 in Detective Comics #463. Since calculators were a new hot gadget back then, I suppose this was just the natural progression of villain shtick. His costume was apparently rather absurd, with a numerical keypad on the chest and a flashlight on the headpiece. He would type on the keys and make constructs appear from the light, a la Green Lantern. Each time he would lose a battle, he would press a button that would keep him from losing to that person again in the future (how convenient!). Sounds like Prometheus!
In 2004 (wow, has it been that long?), he was retooled and featured in Identity Crisis as the counterpoint to Oracle (see how this works? I give you Oracle one week and Calculator the next! There’s a method to this!), supplying villains with intelligence and resources, but of course charging for the assistance. He later joined The Society, which he now leads.
I could go into Eclipso, but I think I’ll leave that for a future week when she/he appears more prominently! See you next week!