Review: Youngblood #1
Writers: Chad Bowers and Rob Liefeld
Art: Jim Towe and Rob Liefeld
Colours: Juan Manuel Rodriguez
Letters: Rus Wooton
In case you hadn’t noticed, Image are making sure everyone in the comic book sphere knows that they’ve hit the big 2-5 and in line with other 25th Anniversary editions, Rob Liefeld’s creation Youngblood is getting the same treatment. Youngblood Reborn is a re-booting of a title that first emerged in 1987. The premise is an updated and younger reader friendly idea where a phone app called ‘Help!‘ has been launched so the public in need can directly contact the superhero they want to be rescued by. The action really begins when we uncover the disappearance of one of Help‘s rising stars, Man-up. His colleagues then embark on a search and rescue mission but somehow end up enrolling the assistance of the older Youngblood team, who have since fallen out of favour with the public.
A significant amount of air-space is given re-introducing the familiar Youngblood faces, such as Thing-like Badrock and now First Lady, Vogue. With this, is the chance to examine how the artwork has developed over the years. The art is vibrant with colours adding a dynamic feel, at times, to most spreads. The pencilling is sharp but at times the artists weaknesses are exposed, taking the over-similarity of the character’s facial features in a sequence at a police station as an example. That said, the pencilling, blending and shading when ominous villain Condor releases a host of birds from his sleeve, is nothing short of astounding. The lettering is compact and unobtrusive. At certain points, Wooton crams multiple bubbles into cramped spaces without taking anything away from the action.
The final six pages are dedicated to a sub-plot concerning Shaft, a Youngblood team member who found himself incarcerated (long story). Here, LieFeld’s art contrasts wildly with that of virtual newcomer, Towe. Liefeld’s lines are somehow more raw with a heavier pencilling style, and the end result is a strip with a gritty, foreboding look. These pages, however, are not the main event but a great taste of more to come, we hope.
All in all, the comic has maintained an early 90’s feel after all these years, and re-boots, which is quite charming. The youth-friendly use of the smartphone and app drag the book into the modern age by the proverbial scruff but the gratuitous female costumes are still backward gazing. A mixed bag, perhaps, but worth finding out for yourselves.
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Review written by Arun S.