It’s been a long time since I picked up a Youngblood title. In fact, it’s been one of those titles that I really enjoyed back in the early days of my comic collecting experience that I’ve wanted to get back into; but for some reason avoid. Youngblood was the Image universe equivalent of the Avengers; just without the recognizable characters. There have been numerous iterations of the team over the years; a decade plus of storylines have passed since I read the book. I was really curious about what I would find when I cracked this bad boy open.
Quick Disclaimer: Because I have not been following this series I can only speak on the merits of this issue alone. I can only tackle this review as a new reader coming into the series fresh.
President Diehard is facing some big dilemmas while in office. Youngblood has reformed against Diehard’s wishes. Shaft and Badrock are deployed to put a stop to Youngblood’s reformation, but instead of squashing the group, two of the original founding members have joined up with the new heroes. Now Diehard is faced with denouncing the team in front of the nation.
I don’t immediately think of political intrigue when I think of a Youngblood comic book, but this issue dives deep into Diehard’s presidency. We get an extensive look at the behind the scenes machinations that Diehard is dealing with; from spinning the story in front of the press, to pillow talk with his Russian lover, to a strategic move to have the government take over a popular superhero app called “Help”.
The glaring omission in this issue is Youngblood doesn’t make an appearance… at all. This is a solo issue devoted to Diehard’s presidency. We get an in-depth look at how former superhero turned leader of the free world handles a crisis that focuses on his old team. The lack of the team itself is glaring, off-putting, and makes for a very different reading experience than what I expected when I picked this comic up. I was waiting for a superhero comic to kick-in and take over but it never happened. Instead I was left with a really poor superhero version of “West Wing”.
The story that is here is slow and involved. While I give Bowers credit for taking the title in a new direction, his choice to focus so heavily on the political aspects of the series tend to drag. I quickly lost interest about two-thirds of the way through. What action that does take place is very short-lived. While I’m sure that this installment has its place in the overall storyline it made for some tough reading for a new reader like me.
Towe’s artwork is reminiscent of Ryan Ottley and Cory Walker. There is a real Invincible vibe to the book. The line work is clean, slightly cartoony, and easy to follow; which makes the lack of action all the more noticeable. Towe needed more to do on this issue. With such a talented artist it seems a waste to devote so much of the plot to exposition.
While this comic wasn’t what I expected when I picked it up, it wasn’t a total loss. There is a detailed plot of political intrigue, that I’m sure enriches the storyline over-all, it’s just not what I wanted from a Youngblood comic.
Final Score: 2 ½ out of 5 stars.
“Man of the Year”
Story: Chad Bowers
Art: Jim Towe
Colors: Juan Manuel Rodriguez
Letters: Rus Wooton