Wednesday afternoon, I’m done working for the day and I head to my local comic shop. I’m about to cash out when I see a logo peaking out from the racks. A logo that I oddly love despite the fact it usually disappears within a few months. The logo of Youngblood. The book? A brand new Youngblood #1.
Ah, Rob Liefeld, I just can’t quit you.
Well, sort of.
I’ve gone on record numerous times that I am a fan of Rob Liefeld. I’m a fan of his art, I’m a fan of the amount of passion the guy has for his comics (despite that passion leading to an online argument between the two of us), and I’m a fan of Youngblood which I think was a concept ahead of its time.
In a brief summary, Youngblood is a government team of superheroes that doubles as celebrities. Liefeld’s theory is that superheroes in the real world would be celebs on par with pro athletes or movie stars. I’ve always loved the concept and thought there was a good amount of potential in the characters and stories.
The problem, however, is that Youngblood has been revamped (not rebooted mind you) so many times that it’s hard to keep the characters and what has happened to them straight. Not to mention the amount of time between the different series. I’m not talking months like some of the Marvel revamps. I’m talking years.
The creators that have worked on Youngblood over the years are also a solid mix, including the likes of Alan Moore and Mark Millar. Each has tried to bring their own sensibilities to Youngblood with varying degrees of success.
With all that being said, should anyone bother with a new Youngblood #1?
If you like superhero books, I’d say yes.
Youngblood #1 has managed to do something tricky: Revamp Youngblood but keep it as a somewhat fresh start. Writer Chad Bowers introduces us to a new team that seems to haven taken the reigns on the Youngblood name. Meanwhile, the older characters are dead, in jail, just not doing well or are in the White House (more on that in a bit). If you don’t know Youngblood, you can drop in and understand the story, no problem. But for us longtime followers, there are some good hooks in there that’ll take you back.
It's Youngblood Day! Here's one of my favorite moments in issue one — pick it up today at your local shop or online! pic.twitter.com/nAw99uvjxM
— jim towe (@jimtowe) May 3, 2017
The artwork is provided by Jim Towe, who got his gig in part to a tweet at Rob Liefeld and in part to his solid skills. Towe is still getting his style down as any new artist working on a new book would be but there’s a lot to like here. His redesigns of the characters are pretty solid. The new characters pay proper homage to their older Youngblood counterparts and the older characters look good with a fresh coat of paint. Interestingly, Towe’s style is very different from Liefeld’s but it fits the story of this perfectly.
This book comes quickly on the heels of another classic Image reboot: Jim Lee’s Wildstorm. I don’t think the timing is on purpose. Just a happy accident. It’s interesting to compare and contrast the two books in terms of tone and style. The Wild Storm is aiming to be more of a real world approach. Youngblood is fully embracing its comic book status. Take Diehard, for example. He’s a WWII vet in a cybernetic body. In this new Youngblood series, Diehard has become the President of the United States. He’s dressed in a suit but you can still see his cybernetics. He even puts on a helmet while in the suit. Yet, it oddly still makes sense. This is a comic with a giant rock guy who is sick and coughing up mud. Why can’t a combat cyborg be president?
This issue leaves you asking questions. Why are most of the old school Youngblood guys in jail or not around? What’s up with the Rob Liefeld back up story that features what appears to be Badrock’s kids from the future? And monthly comics should do that. They should pull you in, making you want to read the next chapter to find those answers. Youngblood #1 has achieved its goal. I’d read a miniseries about President Diehard any day. Hell, I’d write that miniseries. Part West Wing, Part John Wick!
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!