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Youngblood #1 Review

There may not be a series more 90’s than Youngblood and it’s back this week from Image Comics. One might wonder where the team has been, but it looks like the series is aiming to answer that question.

Youngblood #1
Writer: Chad Bowers
Artist: Jim Towe
Publisher: Image Comics

So what’s it about? The official summary reads:

“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!

Why does this book matter?

The coolest aspect of this series I can see right off the bat is how it’s integrating a younger class of hero with the older heroes. And boy are those heroes older; it has been 25 years since the original series debuted and time is an element being used to develop them.

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

Chad Bowers opens this issue with young adults living vicariously through their phones. What’s new right? The only thing is, they’re using a app called “Help!” to fight crime. It’s a cool idea and it makes sense within the world as heroes aren’t something the government sanctions anymore. Much like the sprouting of new apps today, people can create an app due to a need even if it’s not necessarily allowed. Using captions to showcase their profiles in the issue, Bowers introduces the characters and links the younger heroes well. Because these heroes don’t know each other necessarily, it also creates a distance between them so that when one of the heroes disappears the mystery is even greater.

Really cool layout here to introduce a heroes powers.

Just as we start to feel acquainted with a young female hero, Bowers integrates the old Youngblood characters. To say I’m surprised by the way they’re developed is an understatement; there are some interesting new directions for the older heroes which should appeal to older readers. These characters have certainly aged, but their personalities haven’t changed much.

Overall the plotting of the issue is quite strong, closing out with a good cliffhanger, a nice action sequence, and a surprise or two too. This is mostly a character drama, but with action on the side, and so far that drama is quite intriguing.

Jim Towe draws this issue and I quite like his layouts here. He takes a few chances, slanting the panels to showcase a hero changing into his powers who we seemingly thought was just a regular kid. In a strong page introducing one of our young heroes, Towe draws 12 smaller panels to show the difficulty of reporting a missing person you’ve never met. The internet separates us and the cold reaction of the police is made stronger via this layout. In another excellent page, Towe draws the introduction of a fan favorite Youngblood, panels empty to show they are doing sit ups, having them pop in and count, and then empty again. It allows us to read the newspaper clippings and get a little more detail as far as what is going on with the old team.

Love the captions here.

It can’t be perfect can it?

This issue introduces every element quite well, although the missing hero subplot seems to be short on detail. It’s introduced, but then brushed under the rug so as to introduce the old Youngblood and bring in some action. It’s not a huge issue, but by the end of the comic I wasn’t sure where they were going with that as the story seems to drop it.

Is It Good?

This is a great first issue introducing heroes new and old quite well. Youngblood #1 is more of a character drama than an all out action-fest, which might surprise fans of the original series, but it’s a welcome surprise as it takes the heroes and the world they live in quite seriously.

Youngblood #1
Is It Good?
An excellent first issue that introduces things well and is going to be a hit with readers who like character dramas.
Great art, with some exceptional layouts
Excellent introduction of the young heroes and the old Youngblood characters for new and old readers alike
The issue sort of loses the thread as far as a subplot introduced at the start

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