July 15, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Characters Case File #485: The Force Of July

A team that might be heroic, or they might not. They seemed to fight the Outsiders a lot.

So, I figured I wanted to cover the Force of July next, and then I realized that I needed to take some time off because, well, there was no way I was going to get that many articles out a week in advance.  Besides, it turns out that if I did take the week off, I could schedule this patriotic team of maybe-heroes for the actual Fourth of July, and that sure seemed extra appropriate.

Anyway, here’s the Force of July.

The Force of July are a hero team…maybe.  They sure saw themselves as the good guys, but they might fall more into the villain category based entirely on the fact that they mostly fought other heroes, starting with the Outsiders.  First appearing in Batman and The Outsiders Annual #1 in September of 1984, the team was the creation of writer Mike W Barr and artist Jim Aparo.  Essentially, they were a team working for a government spy agency, this one called the American Security Agency, and they were supervised by a billionaire named Abraham Lincoln Carlyle.

Essentially, the key to understanding these guys is to just realize that, though politics was never referenced directly, they were a government team during the Reagan years, and that implied a certain way of looking at things.  Regardless, they were incredibly patriotic and wore the various symbols of America as names and costumes, and since the Outsiders weren’t “American” enough for one reason or another, they tended to lock horns with them.

Anyway, their membership included:

  • Major Victory, the superstrong team leader
  • Lady Liberty, the pyrokinetic that shot flames from her torch
  • Silent Majority, the guy who made doubles of himself
  • Mayflower, a woman with plant powers
  • Sparkler, a juvenile member with flight and light-based powers

The Force would fight the Outsiders a couple times, once with Infinity Inc along for the ride, until a storyline called The Janus Directive that ran through multiple titles where various DC superhuman espionage groups all went to war with each other.  That meant the Suicide Squad took on the Force, during which Sparkler and Mayflower died.  The survivors would join the Squad, during which Lady Liberty and Silent Majority likewise died.  Major Victory would hang around for a while, finally dying himself at the hands of Eclipso in the bad guy’s self-titled series’s infamous issue #13 where a bunch of heroes went to fight him and died.

That would seem to be the end of the Force.  Newer versions of Major Victory, Lady Liberty, and Silent Majority would appear later as part of a team called Freedom Ring before being absorbed into another DC spy agency called S.H.A.D.E.

By the by, if you’re thinking DC has a lot of fictional spy agencies, you’d be right.  One of the few things I think the overly long Dark Nights: Metal did was show the leaders of all the different agencies try to coordinate a response to an invasion of evil Batmen from the Dark Multiverse.  Now there’s a sentence that only works if you’ve read enough comics.

That said, the Force resurfaced recently as powerless former heroes that the Penguin manipulated one by one to be his new muscle.  He just had to promise them all different things, and I think the most interesting was Mayflower just wanted to meet Poison Ivy while Sparkler actually had a normal life and had to be peer pressured into coming back.

So, that’s the Force of July.  Were they heroes?  Well…they might have been before they went to work for Oswald Cobblepot if nothing else.