X-treme Corner Reviews: Youngblood #71
- Published on Sunday, 27 May 2012 12:00
- Written by Jordan
- Hits: 745
Story: John McLaughlin
Art: John Malin and Rob Liefeld
Colors: Ross Hughes and Matt Yackey
Letters: Rus Wooton
Edits: Eric Stephenson
Story Rating: 8 pouches out of 10
Art Rating: 6 pouches out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 pouches out of 10
Synopsis: Youngblood returns to round out the Extreme Rebirth. The team has fallen on hard times becoming a joke of themselves and hated by the public. The story follows Gail Cook, a PR reporter, as she tries to turn the teams image around. The team is in strife as their leader has retired and was replaced meanwhile missing what you could call their heart and soul in Badrock.
Commentary: I was dreading this comic based off of the previews. The other Extreme relaunch titles proved to be amazing and as closer we got to this book the more dread I was filled with. The preview pages were not strong and were just bad all around. The art was weak and hard to look at. The dialog seemed clunky and just felt bad. This turned out to be the worst section of the comic and the rest was actually functional. I would go far to say I actually liked this book. It has a lot going for it, but it does have its fair share of drawbacks.
The story was actually good. Better yet, the direction this Youngblood book seems to be headed towards is one of the strongest directions Youngblood has ever seen. The notion that the team has fallen out of favor in their own universe much as they have here in our world is superb. The last few Youngblood titles struggled to find their voice and direction. The best part of the Youngblood was the fact it was based in the real world and they dealt with the cult of personality they obtained. The fact there is an actual direction to this comic is fantastic. Several websites and comic readers online will go on to blast this comic for the story, but let me tell you as a reader of Youngblood (I actually make it out to be a hobby to read books of this nature afterall) that this is really good for Youngblood standards. Compared to Glory, Prophet, Supreme, and Bloodstrike, this is the weakest. Compared to other comics this is a weak story, but for Youngblood this is on par with Dark Knight Returns. Okay that might be an overzealous claim, but it is something to have actual direction for once.
The direction with Youngblood being these joke of heroes does have a self-awareness feeling to it. In this day and age of the internet, many readers are familiar with Youngblood as a joke. With the likes of Cracked, Linkara,a litany of webcomics, critics, and even retailers, making jokes at Youngblood’s expense. They are not familiar with Youngblood as the product of a superstar artist with a unique feel to it (for the time). It does let the new reader jump into the comic with this bizarre sense of continuity that they are indeed big jokes in the comic. Whether or not I like this, I am still up in the air. I do like this as a part of the direction but it is too early to tell if it could work.
Another favorite thing about the comic has to be the inclusion of the Youngblood comic within the book. Sure, it was a straight homage to Uncanny X-men #94 first two pages. All the way down to the dialog and composition of the panels, but it was nice to see Youngblood, a multimedia superhero team, actually have a comic book is good to see. It does sell the size of Youngblood in this universe to the reader.
The decision to have the story progressed and have the team go through changes does set up some interesting time lapse moments for old readers and the casual reader that is familiar with some of the bigger characters namely the original Shaft and Badrock. There was no mention of Chapel, which I find odd since he is up there with Badrock in popularity. Not all of the changes work but I will cover those in a minute.
The Bad: The things that work succeed big but the things that do not work, fail miserably. The biggest thing in this comic that hurts it and guarantees that other reviews will be negative is the inconsistency of the art. Liefeld has a style about himself. I shouldn’t have to explain it but it just stands out amongst the two artists.. It is startling. Arguing the quality of Liefeld is difficult because it is a love it or hate it style. Personally, I like it though I know many that don’t though. The art is not the best from Liefeld, which is saying a lot, but it is definitely not his worst. The Malin segments are the problematic areas for the comic. The art style clashes against the style of Liefeld and doesn’t even match up with the artist. If a book is going to have two artists then the two should at least complement each other. You can say what you want about Liefeld, but I would rather take a whole comic penciled by him than this. Malin has promise but he needs a lot of work. I would read the comic if he illustrated all of the pages, as well, if only because it gives a better sense of continuity.
Next flaw is the continuity gaffs. I never thought Youngblood continuity would irk me like this yet after reading a bulk of the series; I do find myself scratching my heads at a couple moments inside of this comic. First being that this team that objects to the New Shaft as the leader, because of age and inexperience, is the same team that accepted the old Shaft as leader after the events of Youngblood #0 (never thought I would be citing that comic). In Youngblood #0, we learn how old Shaft became the leader of Youngblood and why Battlestone (awesome character, please bring back Brigade) was removed from the leadership role. This is back when the old Shaft was still a rookie himself and this veteran team of Superheroes willingly followed him. It bothers me that this team is constantly opposing the new Shaft when they followed the old Shaft under similar circumstances.
Second continuity gaff is during the scene where the FBI team is investigating a dead body and watch Youngblood’s aircraft fly to the incident. It is during this scene it is revealed that the old Shaft is now the leader of the FBI team and is not practicing heroes. The other members of the team are talking somewhat positively about Youngblood, but old Shaft is brooding over it. The other FBI members are perplexed by this and don’t know what his problem with Youngblood is. This is a continuity gaff because Shaft’s secret identity wasn’t secret at all. Heck, in the early issues of Youngblood Shaft had to contend with attempts on his life in public and with the paparazzi because of this. I have a hard time believing members of the FBI, who are fans of Youngblood, wouldn’t know he was the former leader and he left for some unknown reason. That might likely be the reason for the spite against the team.
Yes, I understand that this is a relaunched series and it is meant for new readers. It does that job fairly well, but for the longtime reader the continuity is somewhat important when it involves character motivation. Remember, Youngblood #71 is still in continuity of Youngblood #0 and Youngblood #1. There is a need to respect the basics of the continuity because if they aren’t respected it changes the character’s motivations.
Other miscellaneous flaws, the dialog is rough in most places and shows some inconsistency, especially any line that Vogue speaks. I never liked her character and I still don’t. She is annoying in the bad way and contributes nothing to the book. The female version of Photon is bizarre and there is problem I am sure no one on the internet will latch onto. She makes comments regarding humans, much like Starfire did in Red Hood and the Outlaws #1. The very comments that made the internet explode in rage. In addition, the line “I am anxious to experience Sex in this new body” piles up evidence against this character change. It just comes off as slimeball line and it didn’t click with me too well. It is almost like they needed to include more gender diversity to the team and they converted a character to a woman. Yet, it has no propose but to be sexist in terms of the lines given to her. How the internet hasn’t latched to this moment is beyond me. Then again, Photon isn’t exactly Starfire.
Overall: The fact that it has an actual direction and the story idea is brilliant for the title helps this comic from being lowly rated from me. The art was too disjointed and rushed for my taste. I am giving this a rating of a check it out, but only as a fan. It is a serviceable issue and by Youngblood standards, it is majestic. I hope the quality improves and the characters once again become prominent.
Official explanation of the review grading scale. It is much like the American Grading scale:
0-5.9: is a failure. The lower the number, worse it is. Any issue that receives this rating is a definite DON’T BUY. In some cases, Burn.
6.0-6.9: This is a D on the grading scale. It is passing, barely. Usually displays some promise or a strong point that is hard to ignore. Issues in this range receive a “Wait for the price drop” rating. Wordy, yes. Still an accurate explanation of the system. Basically pick up on DCBS or in the Bargain Bin.
7.0-7.9: This is a C on the scale. Strictly speaking, the books are average within this range and are serviceable books. One that is worth picking up as a fan.
8.0- 8.9: This is a B on the scale. Shows lot of promise and is overall good. It is receives a strong Buy rating, especially if you have room in your comic budget for it.
9.0-10.0: This is an A on the scale. Excellent book and receives a MUST BUY rating. You make room for this title.
In the coming weeks I will be releasing more reviews under the X-treme Corner banner. It is a continuation of the XHE style but with more range than just single issues of comics. This can cover large arcs, tv shows, movies, and more. Be on the lookout for the new articles every week. First article will be on the Punisher goes black arc.
Jordan is a child of the 90's and as such is an avid fan of the dark age of comics. He parlays this into writing reviews related to this era in addtion to any new reviews. Is currently writing articles for the X-treme Corner, co-host of the Comic Book Revolution podcast, Image Revolution with Andrenn. He is enganged to be Wed soon to an amazingly supportive woman.
Can be found muttering about on Twitter at