I’ll admit, I was pleasantly surprised when Youngblood #1 was so entertaining and refreshing. Writer Chad Bowers and artist Jim Towe introduced a young bunch of heroes who live in the world where Youngblood was a superhero team people looked to as their heroes. Now they’re attempting to use their powers for good and taking advantage of the times by using apps to save folks. Oh, and one of their friends disappeared…
Writer: Chad Bowers
Artist: Jim Towe
Publisher: Image Comics
So what’s it about? The official summary reads:
“YOUNGBLOOD REBORN,” Part Two The ‘Blood is back, baby! But for how long? Shaft arrives in Baltimore with a warning for the team of rookie heroes calling themselves “Youngblood,” but will it fall on deaf ears? Meanwhile, President Die Hard meets with the architects of the popular Help! app and struggles with just how far he’s willing to go to protect the country. All this, plus Badrock keeping secrets? Seriously, Badrock…already? What the hell, dude, it’s only the second issue?
Why does this book matter?
The creative team has done a great job introducing new characters that feel natural in a world where Youngblood was the primo super team. They’ve also created multiple dynamics that work, like the original team hanging up the tights and not wanting to be heroes (or wanting but not being allowed to be heroes) and looking back on their heroics with mixed emotions. It creates a complex look at superheroes.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Sweet opening page!
At face value this book is a fight comic as Shaft takes on the young heroes and tries to calm them down as they recently fought off a bird empowering villain. There’s a mix of emotions though that make it more than that. The young heroes are new to this game and they aren’t used to being manipulated via gas or mind tricks. Shaft certainly walks among them with a lot more know-how, but you gotta learn the hard way sometimes. That puts them at odds and makes for some fun action. It all leads to a surprise that makes the entire action sequence feel fresh.
Bowers also mixes in cut away scenes with the old Youngblood characters well which further informs the reader what is going on with them and where they might be going. There’s a bigger story going on that will assuredly require the young heroes later on in the story arc.
Artist Jim Towe does a great job on art, starting with a fantastic full page splash to open the book. This page shows off a young hero with a mech suit of sorts, complete with chest cavity shooting out yellow electric energy. He may look like Iron Man in a way, but it’s all kinds of dynamic and original. While there’s plenty of dialogue in the issue, Towe keeps the panels eclectic and always moving. You’re never bored and there’s always different levels of things to ogle. When a gas hits the young heroes they see Shaft like some kind of multi-armed demon. It’s a cool look and sold well due to the sharp art. It’s also sold well with some interesting abstract backgrounds that really lift the images off the page. There’s also some excellent layouts, one where Shaft gets his face punched a hundred times over with an diverse arrangement of panels, that help pace the book.
Getting to know you, getting to know all about you.
It can’t be perfect can it?
This issue felt short, maybe because the character work is at a minimum here, and by the end I wasn’t sure if I missed some pages! It’s a solid outing though–and maybe it’s a good sign I want to learn more about these characters–but it seemed to miss the character work of the first issue.
Is It Good?
Youngblood is turning out to be the surprise hit of 2017. Not just because it’s a sequel/reboot of sorts, but because it’s so damn smart. I haven’t felt this interested in a group of young heroes since the 90’s X-Men!