Back Issue Bin to the Future: Youngblood #1
Oct 15, 2012 by     3 Comments    Posted In: Back Issue Bin to the Future, Reviews

At one time, this was the HOTTEST book out on the market. Everyone had to have it. It was the flagship title that introduced Image Comics to the world. It was the highest selling indie comic at the time of its release. Critics HATED it! Is that still true now? Probably, and what with all the noise Rob Liefeld’s making in the comics world today (his drop of titles at DC and twitter battle with Scott Snyder), I wanted to take a look at the early days of Rob’s career. He had already made a name for himself at Marvel with New Mutants and then later with X-Force. What happened to him after that, you ask? Well, it’s this fine and dandy book right here! Did it help to set the standard for the Image universe of heroes? Was it good? Why are there no feet on the cover? Follow me as we smash our way into what is labeled as starting the ’90’s spectator boom and subsequent crash! I’m talking about Youngblood #1!

It’s a flip book with stories from the state-side Youngblood team, and the international team. The American team, lead by Shaft, gets tons of publicity and get shot at on a regular basis in the Mall. While all this is taking place, overseas the international team take on the likes of Hassan Kussein (right?) and his evil regime. That’s pretty much all you need to know here, and I’ll tell you why.

With the exception of some cool character ideas, this book sucks. A few weeks ago, I finally got to read Liefeld’s work on X-Force (you know, the issues he did before he had his tantrum and left Marvel), which were all fairly good. I enjoyed them, and having never read Youngblood when it first came out, I had the chance to see the transition like I did with the likes of McFarlane and Jim Lee. Whereas Spawn and Wild C.A.T.S. were both great respectively, Youngblood left me really disappointed. Not only does Rob Liefeld’s story hold no weight, but artwork here is even less. Let’s go with story first.

To me, it just makes no sense. Shaft gets attacked at the Mall, then he calls in the Youngbloods.  That’s it. Sentinel (who looks an awful lot like G.W. Bridge from Marvel) battles the evil forces of Hassan Kussein (ugh!) with lots of destruction. That’s it. This would have worked so much better if it weren’t a flip book double story extravaganza. It should have been one solid story giving us the reasoning behind Youngblood and why they’re so popular with the Masses, and just who everyone is. Instead, it’s all bits and pieces of cardboard copies of characters from Marvel. Am I being too harsh? Maybe, but you sit there an honestly tell me that Badrock isn’t like the Thing, or Cougar doesn’t smell of stale Wolverine cigars. How about Shaft? Can we say Hawkeye or even Green Arrow? Bingo.

Now, how about that artwork, huh? I know there are some diehard Liefeld fans, and some people that really do not like his work. I can safely say that I fall in the catagory of people that don’t like his work. His heads are too small, his eyes are very squinty, his bodies are too massively big, and his thighs look like Thanksgiving hams! Do we really need to go into the feet? We’ll take that one to the comments section.

I can honestly understand why this book was so hot back in the ’90’s. It was Rob Liefeld, the man behind the awesomeness that was X-Force. At the time, he was the hottest man with a pencil. With that being said though, when he left Marvel to help c0-found Image, Youngblood just fell way short of his work on X-Force. Maybe it was the structure and use of a good editor over there, but here, It just didn’t work.

At one time, this was the hottest comic on the planet, but with shoddy writing, and barely fair artwork, I’m surprised it did as well as it did when it came out. Today, it’s an issue from a by-gone era of the comics boom. I’m glad those days are over. Rob, where ever you are, and if you probably never read this, I’m not knocking you as person, just as an artist and writer. Regardless of it’s impact on the comics scene, it wasn’t good, and I think you know that. Maybe if you put the right creative team on some of your titles (Bloodstrike, anyone? Or even Prophet?) this could actually become a good book. Until then, well… I think we all know.

Art: 3/10
: 1/10
Parental concern
: Not any, at all.


3 Comments Add Comment

  • Panji October 17, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    I used to like Liefeld’s art, somewhat. Having been 12 years old during his hey-day of New Mutants, X-Force and Youngblood, I bought a lot of his stuff, paying no particular mind to drawing skills, technique, composition, why his characters don’t have feet, why they have so many pockets, etc.
    Although, out of all the Image founders, he was my LEAST favorite artist, along with Jim Valentino.
    Now, in my current age, looking back…I honestly don’t understand why I ever liked his art in the first place.
    It’s beyond terrible hen I look at it now.
    And even with today’s digital advancement, where some artists can actually hide their deficiencies behind technology, he CAN’T. His art is still terrible, no matter who inks it, which computer program colored it, and so on….
    If I can be blunt, I think he should just stick to covers, because that’s the only part of the comic where, I think, he puts most of his effort and attention to…

  • Tim Morse October 17, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    Agreed, Panji, and thanks for the comment.

    I had high hopes going into this (as I had just read Liefeld’s work on X-Force and was honestly content with it)but when I read it, it just made no sense to me, at all. There was no backstory, no history, no nothing. We were just tossed in to this world, knew next to nothing about it, or the characters, and were left to wonder just what the hell happened. If you’re going to do that in a book, at least make those 13-17 pages for each story count for something.

    Have I read the rest of the series? Nope, and based on this one issue alone, I don’t think I’ll be rushing out to get any other copies of Youngblood. Rob Liefeld had a few good ideas here, Chapel being one of them. The story that McFarlane told with Chapel was great, even though the character is Rob’s.

    The point is, I, as a reviewer and critic, have an opinion of books I read, good or bad. If it’s good, I’ll praise it and do what I can to get other people to enjoy what i just read. If it sucks though, (case in point) I’m not going out of my way to tell anyone not to read it, but I’m not going to “sugarcoat” any of what I have to say about the book either. It’s not about the person that wrote or drew the comic, it’s about their work. It’s not about the site that reviews a book that’s 20 years old. You can’t place blame on SMC for that. If anything, go after the person that wrote the review (Me) and talk bad about me. I can take it. Rob should be able to take the heat too. It’s nothing hasn’t heard before, so why now does a review of work he did 20 years ago grind his gears, or his loyal fanbase for that matter? I don’t know, but they can put it here in the comments section and we can hash it out here.

    This is in no way directed at you, Panji. :D

  • Cervie August 22, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    I agree with your review whole heartedly, but I would like to add that, as a company, the image creators were all very inept at producing on a consistent schedule. Looking back on it now, their ambitions very much outweighed their desire to create something of real substance. Youngblood was by far the biggest “empty calories” comic of the lot, but even, as good as it was, spawn still suffered from a lack of creative drive, I deal, in the first few years.

    I still get a feeling of boyhood joy from the core marvel and dc characters, never really got the same from image. I’m sure that it’s mostly because I’ve grown up with those characters and for my money, or rather, my dad’s money at the time, I had to stick with what I could afford. Between the constant delays and the empty calorie feel of most of the image line, I stuck more to spidey and the X-Men.