December 6, 2023

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Bento Review: Youngblood Volume 1: Focus Tested


One of the most popular articles on Gabbing Geek is Jenny’s Geek Box Rankings.  I took advantage of that to try one or two for myself, and the Comic Bento box appealed to me.

So, what did I get for my first box?  Well, four graphic novels, all tied to the theme of the past.  I’ll be reviewing them in the order the card in the box had them listed in…which is about the only way I’d ever read a Youngblood volume first…or at all.

Review after the cut.

To start, Youngblood never appealed to me all that much.  The original flagship title for Image Comics’ superhero line, Rob Liefeld created this bunch, a group of, I dunno, extreme celebrity superheroes.

Thing is, most of the members look kinda familiar…

Oh yeah...
Oh yeah…

Even when I was a kid with poor taste that liked Liefeld’s X-Force, I never really had much interest in Youngblood.  An awful lot of Liefeld’s numerous characters looked a lot like his Cable.  Or Wolverine.  Or a Cablized version of Wolverine.

I did sample a couple other early Image books, and the Youngblood team were popular guest stars, so I learned they were a superhero team that worked for the government and were super popular with the general public.

Even then in the 90s, there was something in me that really doubted a group called “Youngblood” would really be that popular.

So, what was this trade I got?  Well, it was a Youngblood revival of the team, written by Joe Casey and drawn by Derec Donovan.  Liefeld’s anatomically questionable art and plagiaristically inspired writing were limited to covers of tense-looking people with tightly pursed lips.

I honestly didn’t know what to make of the book.  I wasn’t particularly familiar with any of the Youngblood members featured on the team, or the bad guys hired by the government…or the network, it was never really clear…and that limited what enjoyment I might have gotten out of the series.

Which is odd, because I remember enjoying Casey’s run on a completely different Liefeld character, namely Cable over at Marvel.  Casey did something that just about never happened on any X-book and integrated the main character into the rest of the Marvel Universe.

But this book seemed like a lot of warmed over commentary on reality television and how fake it is, with the celebrity stuff looking like stuff I had seen or read many times over.

Five out of the ten Marvel Comics references in an Image book.  It wasn’t bad or incompetent; it was mostly nothing I’d never seen before.

NEXT:  I got this big hardcover biography from Dark Horse called The Fifth Beatle, the story of the Beatle’s manager Brian Epstein.  The listed price on that one is twice the monthly subscription, so I think the box already paid for itself.