Youngblood has been one of my favorite superhero adventures of 2017 as it has offered a story that has blended new with old well. Youngblood is also exciting in the way it offers an interesting modern look at superheroes and how apps would most likely augment how they’re used. Plus it looks great doing it.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
“TEAM YOUNGBLOOD,” Part One Mission accomplished. Now what? Following the events of “Reborn,” the team begins to reevaluate its purpose while lying low in Japan. Elsewhere, a new threat approaches in the form of a Youngblood-obsessed serial killer.
Why does this matter?
Chad Bowers and Jim Towe have basically restarted a classic 90’s comic with a level of modernity and maturity you just don’t expect these days. The comic was originally a visual feast, but a bit vapid, and the two have recharged the new series with plenty of food for thought to balance it out.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Well that’s brutal.
Picking up where the last issue left off, this issue is all about Diehard and the trials of dealing with the fallout of the first arc while being president. It’s not so easy, as the world has realized a superhero app is actually something they want. It opens with Diehard being against any government activity with such a thing and ends in…well I’ll let you see, but know that it’s a nice bookend to the opening. It’s clear this issue is setting up a new arc, but also bringing Diehard into the story in a more meaningful way. That’s great, especially since he was mostly an outside villain and it’s fun to see how Bowers is making this character learn and develop.
The modernity of being president is on display here, from pardoning a turkey to attending news programs to being the talking head. It’s clear the first arc–and its conclusion of Diehard kicking ass–has gotten to the character. He’s realized his superpowers being unused is a bit pointless and no fun. Along the way, he realizes things are afoot and an app for people to call on superheroes may be needed.
The art by Towe is strong, as always at this point, and while there isn’t much action he does well to probe Diehard and get us inside his head. In an excellent Thanksgiving scene, Towe closes in on Diehard in such a way to make us realize the chatter around him is driving him wild. He can’t get his mind off something and change is needed. In another, he looks depressed and annoyed having to be on the Conan O’Brien show. These subtle scenes go a long way to show his internal conflict.
The plot thickens.
It can’t be perfect can it?
As I mentioned above there’s little to no action in this one. It’s all about Diehard contemplating what happened and what to do next. That also means you won’t be seeing all the new characters Towe and Bowers created, which is a bit of a surprise given they were the main characters. It’s unclear if Diehard is the main character of this arc or not, but a lot is unclear at this point since it focuses solely on him.
Is It Good?
Youngblood is one of the more interesting superhero stories in some time. It delves into what it means to be a hero in the modern age of cell phones and apps but also ties into the Youngblood mythos well.