By The Comic Bastards
Welcome to a Comic Bastards group review! If this is your first, then allow me to remind you how this works. Each of the participating writers from Comic Bastards will give a score and their thoughts on the issue. This time it’s Rob Liefeld’s Youngblood #1, rebooted by Chad Bowers and Jim Towe.
“YOUNGBLOOD REBORN,” Part One DEBUT ANNIVERSARY ISSUE! 25 years ago, YOUNGBLOOD launched the Image Revolution and turned the comics world on its head! Now the original blockbuster hit series returns with an all-new cast and a brand-new mission! When a young hero goes missing, his friend’s search for answers leads to some unexpected allies. Together, they'll do whatever it takes to find him…even if it means resurrecting the world’s most infamous super-team. Gear up, strap in, and get ready to rediscover comics’ most extreme universe with creators CHAD BOWERS (X-Men ‘92, Deadpool: Bad Blood) and newcomer JIM TOWE!
I remember the first time I tried to read Youngblood. It was well after its prime when Kirkman was writing it, and he was still a relatively unknown name. This was before his manifesto and Rockstar status that lead to him becoming an Image partner.
It was terrible. The art was dated and shitty, the story made no sense, and even though the issue said “#1” on the cover, I was completely lost.
Enter the 2017 version of Youngblood… it’s okay. It’s not great, and you still need to know a ton of backstory for the world, but it’s okay. I have been reading superhero app stories since the goddamn iPhone came out and they’re not going away. I wish they would, but they’re not. The dialogue was stiff; the pacing was awkward at times. In a way, it was very 90s and not in a good way.
The art was the selling point for me, but it fell short. It’s okay, but the promo art was so much better that this is pale in comparison. It has an unfinished amateur look, but not all of that comes from the pencil work. The coloring is flat, muted and doesn’t fit the vibe of the story at all. It probably would have benefitted from an inker because it’s not a great look to have the coloring on top of the pencils, but I get that a lot of publishers do it to save money.
Overall, I wouldn’t read the next issue, but it was an okay issue. Not as good as I hoped, but not as bad as it could have been.
Wow, this issue sure is something. And by something, I mean nothing, because this book is five kinds of mediocre. I mean, I went in with practically no expectations, and there was still maybe only a single panel in the whole damn thing that got me to muster anything beyond boredom and indifference. Seriously, there's so much dawdling around with characters we have absolutely no reason to care about, and that really doesn't change when members of Youngblood start showing up. Furthermore, the plot is so concerned with telling over showing, jumping around to show whatever the hell it feels like, and somehow also leaving out at least half of the pertinent information to make any of that actually land successfully and work. Stuff happens, but I don't know why, and the more I think about it, the more I really don't care.
The art is fine, I guess. It's not all that inspired, but at least these aren't the worse designs we've seen depicted for these characters. Well, that is until we get to the backup story, and everything gets worse. Yeah, I wasn't privy to the fact that Liefeld was going to inject himself back into this shit (although, in retrospect, it's hardly surprising), but here we are. And, both the art and the writing are about as bland, contrived, and worthless as Rob gets. All it really amounts to is superfluous bullshit trying to aggrandize his terrible characters. I would be insulted that someone thought something so meager constituted a worthwhile backup story, but then this is Rob Liefeld.
Please, don’t buy this book. Just... don't. If not for your own wellbeing, then at least do it for the children.
I went into this book completely blind. Seriously I didn’t know shit about it before I started reading. I’ve never read any of the older Youngblood stuff, so I’m not even familiar with the characters or the world they live in at all. Did that affect the book for me? Probably, yeah. Because I don’t have anything invested in these characters yet. They’re strangers to me, and I’m just dropped into their world like nothing. But even though this is an already well-established world, the writing in the first issue is solid enough and gives just enough information about who these characters are that I didn’t feel too lost. I think balancing a newer class of “millennial” heroes with the old-timers helped me have something to latch onto. The old-timers have a history together, and I’m so far behind on what it is that without the new, younger characters I probably would have hated this book.
Jim Towe’s art pushed this issue over the edge for me. I thought it was great. It had the feel of your standard superhero book from Marvel or DC but with a little something else added to it. And I think that something was Juan Manuel Rodriguez’s colors. The art and colors were bold and bright and breezy. I dug the page layouts and the feeling of movement that came through in the art.
I didn’t know what to expect going into Youngblood, which is maybe both a good and a bad thing. It was a decent enough first issue, and I’m sure I’ll check out at least another few issues. But overall there was nothing here that I found groundbreaking or particularly great.
I had no idea what to expect, but Youngblood turned out to be a very pleasant surprise! It's a lot of fun, a lot of weird, and plenty humorous. Right up my alley. It envisions a superhero-infested world in a way that felt fresh (the integrated Yelp-style "Help!" service for instance, which I found charming). I like the focus on young superheroes. When they're well written, they can bring a joyous energy and optimism to a genre that is often too serious. A rather intense quantity of characters are revealed in this first issue, many of which I assume are returning from the original series, but I found myself initially liking them all thanks to some pretty sweet visual designs from Jim Towe and Juan Manuel Rodriguez. Though actual character development is nonexistent, which is to be expected when the book is at once throwing so many of them at you.
The only character I have a problem with is Man-Up or Horatio, and it's for two perfectly good reasons. He texts Gunner "JKing" to abbreviate "just kidding," and it's perhaps the dumbest add-on to an already perfect abbreviation I've ever seen. Is Horatio implying that "JK" only abbreviates "just kidd?" Or is this the text-message equivalent to "ATM Machine?" I'm not sure if I even want to know. Finally, what infuriates me most about Horatio is the way he threw his shoes separately while he's running, and then somehow they end up tied together on the telephone pole after he jumps. Does he have an additional power to screw up art-continuity? Or does he just wear a very common pair of shoes? I'm not so sure, but I don't like this kid, and I think he should stay missing.
Writer: Chris Bowers
Artist: Jim Towe
Publisher: Image Comics