"I've never thought being human was anything to brag about."
American Freak
A Tale of the Un-Men
American Freak 1
Title: American Freak
A Tale of the Un-Men
Publisher: DC Comics
Imprint: Vertigo
Type: Limited series
Published: February-June, 1994
Total issues: 5
Featuring: Damien Kane
Creators: Dave Louapre; Vince Locke; Chris Chuckry; Clem Robins; Karen Berger; Alisa Kwitney; Shelly Roeberg; Gaz; Richard Bruning

American Freak: A Tale of the Un-Men is a five-issue limited series published under DC's Vertigo imprint. It tells the story of Damien Kane, a second-generation Un-Man coming to terms with the revelations about his origins. Written by Dave Louapre and illustrated by Vince Locke, it focused on a completely new set of characters of the Un-Men mythos created by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson, offspring of the original Un-Men from the Swamp Thing series.

"A Post-Modern Metamorphosis"Edit

Per this miniseries, the Army conducted painful, inhumane experiments on the captive Un-Men, toward the goal of "mating" them and then producing a "serum" that would eliminate deformity in the offspring. The serum proved unstable and all the offspring except for Damien Kane died. Kane developed normally until he turned 23 years of age, at which time (the beginning of this miniseries) he began to horribly mutate. The story follows Kane's painful transformation into a freak, and his escape (with the assistance of a telepathic, still-at-large-in-the-swamps first-generation Un-Man named Crassus). Crassus tricks Kane into traveling with him to Romania, promising the lad that his "creator", Anton Arcane, might be able to help reverse the mutation. Of course, it's a trick: Crassus knows that Arcane is no longer in his castle redoubt. Crassus's secret goal is to make Kane rescue a gaggle of other next-generation Un-Men from the clutches of a depraved millionaire who forces them to perform in a private sideshow.

The next-generation Un-Men recognize Kane as "the One" they have long prophesied to deliver them from captivity. Kane reluctantly helps his cousins revolt and slaughter their tormentors. The Un-Men then board a private jet for America, where they proceed to set the captive, cryogenically frozen original Un-Men, free. Army soldiers and guns are involved, and ultimately Kane's love interest -- a bald, legless and psychically powered second-generation Un-Woman named Scylla -- is mowed down with bullets. The original Un-Men -- mute and apparently retarded -- toss themselves into a vat of acid, thereby making a statement about the tragic pathos of freakdom. Meanwhile, Crassus vanishes into the darkness of the swamp.

The military experiments are exposed, and Kane and his fellow survivors become celebrities, gracing the cover of LIFE magazine and appearing on TV talk shows. An embarrassed federal government grants them their own reservation settlement (on a former nuclear bomb testing site) and goth teens pay homage to the freaks at the camp perimeter. Ironically, the Un-Men have become caged curiosities yet again. At the end of issue 5, Kane has mutated into a brooding endomorph, a veiny elder statesman narrating his tale from a private cave high above the new Un-Men encampment.


Annuals & Specials

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Notes & Trivia

Recommended Reading

See also

External Links


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