The Crusaders then appeared "for real" on Earth-One during the 1970's, offering their services to New York City District Attorney David Pearson to help capture the Freedom Fighters, who were at that time fugitives because they were believed to have been working with the villainous Silver Ghost. Pearson gave the Crusaders the authority to pursue Uncle Sam and his group after a report that they had caused a blackout in upstate New York.
After a lengthy fight, at the end of which the Crusaders are defeated, the Freedom Fighters ask the Crusaders how they became the comic book heroes of World War Two. The group revealed that the Americommando had approached a group of young comic book collectors at a convention (Marvin, Lennie, Arch, and Roy) and had offered to recreate them as his former teammates, using a special device to transform them into their superpowered identities.
Meanwhile, the others had caught up to the Americommando and Martha. The villain dropped Martha, but The Ray was able to save her. He left Martha with Doll Man and headed off after the Americommando. The Ray again caught up with him, and the sky battle between them burned off the Americommando's mask, revealing him to indeed be the Silver Ghost. The fight also attracted the attention of some state trooper helicopters, which swooped in to arrest both of them. The Ray accidentally hits one of the helicopters with an energy blast, prompting the Troopers to open fire. The Ray was wounded and fell to Earth. The Silver Ghost gloats and leaves him to die.
The Ray was later rescued by Rod Reilly,the Golden Age Firebrand who had emigrated to Earth-One some time prior to the Freedom Fighters.
The Crusaders fought among themselves until finally, after being deserted by the Americommando, they reveal their origins. They disappeared at the end of the adventure and there was no sign that they have lost their powers, but they never appear again. There was never an explanation of how the Silver Ghost gained super-strength or developed the technology to turn comic fans into superheroes.
Equipment: None known.
Transportation: None known.
Weapons: None known.
- The Crusaders is the name used by two teams of superheroes, one group appearing in DC Comics and the other in Marvel Comics, at around the same time as part of an informal crossover. The DC Comics team was created by Bob Rozakis and Dick Ayers in the pages of Freedom Fighters #7 March (1977). The Marvel Comics version of the Crusaders first appeared in Invaders #14, written by Roy Thomas and drawn by Frank Robbins.
- The names of the DC team are actually taken from relatively obscure Golden Age DC Superheroes. The characters have counterparts in Marvel's Invaders:
- The Americommando - (based on Captain America, actually the Silver Ghost)
- Barracuda - (based on Namor)
- Fireball - (based on the Human Torch)
- Rusty - (based on Bucky)
- Sparky - (based on Toro)
- Updated versions of Americommando and Barracuda have since appeared in the miniseries Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters 2006-2007, as part of the team called First Strike. However, it's doubtful that their Pre-Crisis history is still canonical.
- According to CBR, Bob Rozakis recounts: As I recall it, I had come up with the idea of using the Crusaders (Americommando and Rusty, Fireball and Sparky, and the Barracuda) in Freedom Fighters and joked with then-editor Tony Isabella that it would be really funny if Roy Thomas used a version of the FFers in INVADERS and called THEM the Crusaders as well. I believe it was actually Tony who spoke with Roy and suggested the unofficial crossover… but neither Roy nor I got to see these alternate-reality versions of our teams until the books were published.
- No trivia.