Saturday, March 24, 2012

Freedom #1

by Seamus Heffernan

This comic caught my eye on the stands this week.  At 8" by 12", it towered over the other comics, looking more like a European comic, yet in soft cover.  Curious, I picked it up and was delighted to see that it was an historical comic with nice art.  I quickly decided that it needed to come home with me.

Freedom is an ongoing series (I have no idea when the next issue is to be published) that has been given a Xeric grant, a sure sign of quality.  It is set in 1779, two years after the Americans lost their revolution.  The star of this comic is young Adam Farr, who looks to be about twelve or thirteen.  He lives with his mother and brothers on a farm a ways outside of Boston.  As the comic opens, we learn that he is to go to Boston to be apprenticed to a Tory merchant.  It doesn't take long for Heffernan to establish that all of the Farr boys are strong-willed and fiercely independent.

Post-Revolutionary New England is still a hotbed of Patriot terrorist activity and brutal repression by the British soldiers.  At a checkpoint before entering the town, Adam throws an apple core at a soldier who is roughing up a young lady, an act which almost finds him shot by a firing squad.  It's clear that this is not a safe town, and Adam does not seem too willing to listen to the advice and commands of his older brother.  It's not long before conflict finds the brothers again, in this exciting debut issue.

I've often been fond of alternate histories, when they are done correctly (ie., not by Newt Gingrich).  I don't think Heffernan is pushing a political agenda with this comic, he's just telling a very good story.  The larger pages give his art plenty of room to breathe.  His style is similar to Guy Davis's, but a little cleaner.  He is quite deft at developing characters, and I'm very happy that I picked this comic up.  I will definitely be watching the pages of Previews for more of this series.

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