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Uncle Sam

Plastic Man Sings Yankee Doodle Dandy to Summon a Reincarnation of Uncle Sam

Plastic Man joins the Freedom Fighters in Batman: Brave and the Bold season 2.

225px-Unclesam_comicsPromotional artwork from DCU Brave New World #1 (Aug, 2006) by Daniel Acuña.

Uncle Sam is a fictional character, a DC Comics superhero based on national personification of the United StatesUncle Sam. Uncle Sam first appeared inNational Comics #1 (July, 1940) and was created by Will Eisner.

Publication history – Quality Comics

Nationalcomics3National Comics #3 (Sep 1940). Cover art by Lou Fine.

Uncle Sam first appeared in National Comics #1 (July, 1940), which was published by Quality Comics during the Golden Age of Comic Books. He was depicted as a mystical being who was originally the spirit of a slain patriotic soldier from the American Revolutionary War, and who now appears in the world whenever his country needs him. The character was used for a few years from 1940 to 1944, briefly receiving its own series, Uncle Sam Quarterly. During this time, he had a non-costumed sidekick named Buddy (Buddy Smith).

DC Comics

DC Comics acquired the character as part of its acquisition of the Quality characters in the 1950’s, and he was used as a supporting character in Justice League of America in the 1970’s. This established Uncle Sam as the leader of the Freedom Fighters, a team of former Quality characters that briefly received its own title.  This team was initially based on a parallel world called Earth-X, where World War II had lasted into the 1970s.

images-3Uncle Sam’s origin was rewritten somewhat in The Spectre, where Uncle Sam is described as a spiritual entity created through an occult ritual by the Founding Fathers. This “Spirit of America” was initially bound to a powerful talisman and would take physical form by merging with a dying patriot. The new origin states that the Spirit of America had taken human form as the Minute-Man during the Revolutionary War, Brother Jonathan in later conflicts and, during the American Civil War, had been split in two as Johnny Reb and Billy Yank.

The Spirit first assumed its now familiar Uncle Sam incarnation in 1870, when it resurrected a political cartoonist who had been killed by Boss Tweed. The second host of Uncle Sam fought in World War I. A third (the character’s Golden Age incarnation) was a superhero during World War II but vanished at the end of the war, erasing any subsequent appearances from the fictional history of the DC Universe (although most of them had already been erased by the Crisis on Infinite Earths.) In The Spectre, the Spirit is resurrected in a new costumed form called the Patriot, but later reverts to Uncle Sam in a Superman issue.

A 1997 Vertigo series features the character with the persona of a street person.[3] A similar notion was suggested by Alan Moore in his 1980’s crossover proposal Twilight of the Superheroes; this interpretation was inspired by the satirical novel The Public Burningby Robert Coover, which also features a superheroic version of Uncle Sam.

images-1In Infinite Crisis #1, the Freedom Fighters are attacked by the Secret Society of Super Villains. Three of the Freedom Fighters, Human BombPhantom Lady, and Black Condor are killed in the battle. Uncle Sam himself seemingly dies at the hands of Sinestro. The other team members are brutally injured but survive. Uncle Sam is seen face down in rainwater.

However, when the dead heroes are found strung up on the Washington Monument in Infinite Crisis #2, Uncle Sam is missing.

The character’s latest incarnation appeared in the first issue of Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters, and spends the first few issues of this new series attempting to form a new version of the Freedom Fighters. This new Uncle Sam emerges from the Mississippi River at the same time as Father Time is elsewhere planning the future of S.H.A.D.E. with new incarnations of the Freedom Fighters members. Uncle Sam, disturbed by the deadly force used by the new versions of Phantom LadyThe Human BombDoll Man, and others, successfully recruits these metahumans into his new Freedom Fighters team, which results in Father Time ordering his remaining S.H.A.D.E. personnel to pursue and kill Uncle Sam and his team. Although Uncle Sam is shown to be against killing, particularly rebuking Doll Man for murdering a crime lord in front of the man’s young grandson (in issue #1), Uncle Sam is not against using deadly force when necessary.

images-4He is also seen in Final Crisis #4 and classified as Corrupted when Alan Scott is looking for remaining superhumans to fight Darkseid’s forces.

Uncle Sam shows up in the Blackest Night crossover, helping many other superheroes fight the returning dead. This includes the slaughtered incarnation of the Freedom Fighters.

A human African-American version appears in The New 52 title Human Bomb. One of the S.H.A.D.E leaders he calls delivers an order to capture Michael Taylor.

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