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Fanzing Secret Files:

The Force of July
An inside look at one of the DCU's lesser known teams

by David R. Black

    When dealing with super-teams, the first question that comes to mind is often: Is it a super hero team or a super villain team? The Force of July doesn't fit well into either category, but rather somewhere in between. In the Force's first appearance they played the role of villains, but the next time they were heroes, then they went back to villains, and then back to being heroes. The comic book equivalent of a yo-yo I suppose.

 So who are the members of the Force of July? The team consists of Major Victory, Lady Liberty, Silent Majority, Mayflower, and Sparkler. The team operates as part of the American Security Agency, which acts in the best interests of the US government. Each member of the Force is extremely patriotic, and their code names are based on American ideals or history. Lady Liberty, for instance, is a dead ringer for the Statue of Liberty.

The Individual Team Members

    Major Victory, secretly Major William Vickers, is the team's leader. He's also the only member of the team whose secret identity is known. He has a height of 6 feet 3 inches, weighs 205 pounds, and has blue eyes and blond hair. The Major can fly and has super strength and endurance. Eventually, it is revealed that his powers are in his costume; remove it and the Major is powerless.

 Lady Liberty can fly and fire energy blasts. She focuses her powers through the torch she carries, but her powers are within her. She stands 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighs 120 pounds, and has blue eyes and black hair. She speaks with a French accent.

 Silent Majority can produce an endless number of identical duplicates of himself, and he only speaks in one syllable words such as "Yep," "Nope," and "Huh?". Like most of his teammates his secret identity is unknown, but his teammates have nicknamed him Gabby. Silent majority stands 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighs 160 pounds, has brown hair, and his eye color is unknown because he always wears dark blue sunglasses.

 Mayflower has the ability to control plant life and accelerate its growth. Her height in 5 feet 5 inches, weight is 115 pounds, and she has blue eyes and light brown hair. She speaks with a British accent.

 Sparkler is a young boy who can fly and generate firework-like effects. He stands 4 feet 9 inches tall, weighs 95 pounds, and has green eyes and black hair. When he grows up, Sparkler wants to be just like Major Victory.

Team History

    The Force of July first appeared in Batman and the Outsiders Annual #1. Under the orders of ASA chairman B. Eric Blairman, the team is ordered to aid and protect the launch of a top secret government satellite. The satellite is so top secret that most government officials are unaware of its existence. Needing a prototype computer chip for the satellite, Blairman has the Force break into STAR Labs and steal it. This arouses the suspicion of the Outsiders, and soon afterward, the Outsiders split up into groups to stop the Force. The Outsiders are defeated, and thinking them to be traitors, the Force takes them to Blairman's mountain headquarters. There the Outsiders learn that Blairman's satellite is really an "omni-cast" which allows the ASA to reverse television signals (making a two way TV in essence), and spy on any home in America! Blairman's idea is right out of George Orwell's book 1984, and incidentally, Orwell's real name was Eric Blair. Of course, the Outsiders manage to escape, and battle the Force of July to a standstill. Their battle causes the mountain over the headquarters to collapse, and only the Outsiders get out, leaving the Force of July and Blairman trapped. Geo-Force destroys the omni cast satellite, ending the threat.

 After a brief cameo in The Outsiders #2, showing the team escaping from the mountain cave in, the Force of July next appears in The Outsiders #3 and #4 (which are reprinted as Adventures of the Outsiders #41 and #42). The Soviet Union's operative the Bad Samaritan steals printing plates used to print the United States' and Markovian currencies. The ASA is investigating the theft, and they send Major William Vickers (aka Major Victory) to inform the Markovian consul, Prince Brion (aka Geo-Force). Both the Outsiders and the Force of July decide to investigate, and the two teams bump into each other just as the Outsiders prepare to apprehend the Bad Samaritan. Thinking the Outsiders are in cahoots with the enemy, the Force attacks. The battle allows the Bad Samaritan time to escape in his airplane, and soon afterward he is followed by planes carrying both teams. The Outsiders and the Force of July still haven't realized that they're working towards the same goal. Abandoning his plane for a Russian submarine, the Bad Samaritan manages to shoot down the Force's plane. Escaping from the plane, the Force teams up with the Outsiders to stop the sub, but they fail and the Force is taken prisoner after being knocked out by a weapon called the "enervator." Taken to Russia, the Force is analyzed and tested by Russian scientists, and the data obtained about them turns out to be more valuable than the printing plates. When the Outsiders arrive to free the Force of July, the Russians put up a fight, but eventually Gorbachev ends the battle by handing over the plates to Geo-Force. Gorbachev explains to the Bad Samaritan that the data gathered about the Force of July members' powers will allow Russia to create its own "cadre of Soviet super agents." The Russian super teams the People's Heroes and the Red Shadows are created using this data.

 The Force of July next appears briefly as part of the "Outsiders Trading Cards" backup feature in The Outsiders #7.

 The Force returns in The Outsiders #23, this time as part of a three team team-up. The Force of July and their Russian counterparts, the People's Heroes, agree to work together to stop a rogue Soviet meta-human named Fusion from destroying the Statue of Liberty. The two teams are nervous about working together, and everything hits the fan when the Outsiders stumble upon them. Despite trying to convince the Outsiders that they were on a secret, classified mission (which it was), the Outsiders are unconvinced that the Force of July have truly changed their ways and become heroes. The three teams duke it out, but everybody loses when Fusion shows up and mops up those who are still standing. All three teams are captured, but they escape by working together. They stop Fusion, and the Outsiders and the Force of July declare a temporary truce, but only for a short while…..

 The Force is back on the villain side of things for their appearances in Infinity Inc. Special #1 and The Outsiders Special #1. B. Eric Blairman has been replaced as head of the American Security Agency by Abraham Lincoln Carlyle. Carlyle ran for president of the USA in 1984 but lost, and now he wants to obtain the presidency in any manner - legal or illegal. Carlyle allies himself with the Psycho Pirate, whose Medusa Mask will persuade the American public and leaders to install Carlyle as president. In the meantime, Psycho Pirate has launched a coup in Markovia and kidnapped the visiting Skyman (of Infinity Inc.) in the process. Batman uncovers the link between Carlyle and the events in Markovia, and the Outsiders and Infinity Inc. team up to stop the coup and rescue Skyman. Using the Force of July as his unknowing pawns, Carlyle has them attack and capture half of the combined Outsiders-Infinity Inc. team. The Psycho Pirate captures the other half of the two teams. To make a long story short, the Outsiders and Infinity Inc. manage to stop Carlyle, Psycho Pirate, and the Force of July, who now realize that Carlyle tricked them.

 The Janus Directive - a crossover between the Suicide Squad, Checkmate, Captain Atom, Manhunter, and Firestorm titles - marks the beginning of the end for the Force of July. In Suicide Squad #27, Suicide Squad head honcho Amanda Waller learns from an anonymous source that one of the US government's superhuman agencies is made up of traitors. Waller narrows it down to either the Atom Project or the American Security Agency. Checkmate is sent to contain the Atom Project's personnel, and the Suicide Squad is sent to stop the ASA's personnel - the Force of July. Quite frankly, the Force's questionable past behavior probably helped Waller come to the decision use the Squad. The Squad's leader, Bronze Tiger, is leery of attacking a team which might not be the traitors, and he orders the Squad to use non-lethal methods to capture the Force of July. The villains on the Squad don't seem to understand the concept of non-lethal combat however. In the ensuing battle, Mayflower is strangled by Ravan, and Sparkler is killed by Dr. Light. Still fresh from his infamous defeat by Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys, a hysterical Dr. Light explains that he murdered Sparkler because he told "them not to send any children against me ever again." Also, Abraham Lincoln Carlyle is killed by mental feedback between the Medusa Mask and Shade's M-Vest. The remaining members of the Force are imprisoned and Major Victory vows he will get revenge on Dr. Light and Ravan. As it turns out, neither the Force nor the Atom Project were traitors. The anonymous tip was just a ruse planted by the villain Kobra.

 The Janus Directive continues, and in Checkmate #18 and Suicide Squad #30 Major Victory, Lady Liberty, and Silent Majority join the group of superhumans gathered to attack Kobra's space arc and destroy his pulse cannon - which has enough power to destroy the world, or something like that. A tremendous battle royale with Kobra's troops ensues, and the remaining members of the Force of July prove that they're truly heroes. Silent Majority makes the first move to destroy the pulse cannon, and even as his duplicates are shot down by Kobra's gunners, he keeps advancing. Silent Majority can't make duplicates fast enough though, and halfway up the pulse cannon's ladder he is killed. The battle is far from over yet, and Kobra seems to be on the verge of winning. Lady Liberty then decides to sacrifice herself in order to destroy the pulse cannon. At point blank range, she unleashes a full power energy blast, which destroys the pulse cannon but the resulting explosion and debris kills her. The Force of July helped save the world, but Major Victory is left broken hearted. The price of success was the lives of all his teammates.

 The only member of the Force of July left, Major Victory joins the Suicide Squad. He appears in Suicide Squad #31-37, 39, 58, and 59. He leaves the Squad in issue #39, but returns in issue #58, the War of the Gods crossover to help the Squad stop Circe. In a cameo appearance in Suicide Squad #59, Major Victory is appointed the leader of an even more obscure team called the Captains of Industry. First appearing in Firestorm #87, the Captains of Industry were put together by Vandermeer Steel CEO James Hancock Finch. Finch organizes the team in order to protect the interest s of the industrial sector from being "terrorized" by pro-environmental heroes such as Firestorm. When Major Victory joins the Captains of Industry, his only known teammates are Maser (the former Air Wave II) and Catalyst (a reformed Blue Beetle villain). Unfortunately, with both Firestorm and Suicide Squad soon canceled, Major Victory is never seen in action with his new team. The Major reappears a few years later in Eclipso #11 as part of the ill fated group sent to stop Eclipso, and in Eclipso #13, Major Victory is killed.

 And so with all of its members now dead, this ends the story of the Force of July. Having been in the DCU for only nine years, from their first appearance in 1984 to Major Victory's demise in 1993, they are little more than an interesting footnote in the overall history of the DC Universe.

David R. Black is Fanzing.com's magazine editor and chief archivist. A big fan of "The Warlord," he has a cat named Shakira and is looking for a girlfriend named Tara....

 
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