‘Youngblood #1:’ Comic Book Review

Twenty-five years ago, Image Comics vaulted into the comic book world with titles such as WildC.A.T.S. and Spawn, and now, one of its debut series has come back. Youngblood, originally created by Rob Liefeld, is now reintroduced into the modern world, including all of its technological novelties. Writer Chad Bowers directs Youngblood #1 and all of its characters with as much ease as downloading a phone app or sending a text message.

Bowers starts this new tale with a phone notification through an app: “Help!” As it turns out, finding help in an emergency has never been quite so simple – and your everyday superhero will show up and save the day. Well, that’s the idea; however, superhero stories aren’t usually that simple. In this particular instance, at least for the introductory character, Horatio, it’s not such a great app to have. In fact, it appears his last message has left him missing, and either no one knows he’s missing or no one even knows his name to mention it for a missing person’s report. The life of a superhero has never been so glamorous.

Artist Jim Towe and colorist Juan Manuel Rodriguez craft this story with a unique design and balanced colors. Varying sized panels, sometimes up to fifteen on a page, do not feel cluttered as other panels land on top of a larger image, while other pages’ larger-than-life scenes or characters, or battle sequences, seem to move the story along, while also wanting to stay and check out all of the details. One particular page showcases these tilted panels, as our hero runs across a rooftop, while blackish-green skies and millions of stars glow from the prevailing background. Before the reader gets a full understanding of this “Help!” app and why this character is running across the roof, you soon realize you’re already interested to know where he’s going, and then what details can be found about his disappearance.

Is it worth stirring up the past to potentially “save the future?” In this case, the new band of young blood will need former team members to do just that, as described in the short, “As It Should Be,” which Rob Liefeld himself adds after the conclusion of chapter one. It’s not entirely clear how original members will impact the story going forward, but as the new team deals with strange villains and the mystery surrounding the missing hero, it appears Shaft’s skills are quite useful and still on point.

Youngblood Reborn: Chapter One is now available in print and digital form.

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