Sunday, 20 September 2009

Flip The Page Review: Youngblood #9

Okay Flip, you can do this. Just suck it up, knuckle down and do the review. Sure you never saw this day coming but you've been naive, assuming that even the worst comic people can't improve. Let's blame that on the ones who are still awful. What matters here is growing a pair and admitting that time can change things...



.... Okay... I'm ready.

*inhales deeply*

... Rob Liefeld... Has created... A pretty good co-


Okay, I think I'm good now. It's just the shock of it all. Rob Liefeld is like an icon of hate to most comic book readers and looking at his history you can see why. He was the spearhead of the comics dark age, with his EXTREME style and stock errors that were imitated by people who were capable of so much more. Liefeld was responsible for so much shit. Though to be fair I'm sure if we all sat and thought about it we could level hate at most comics creators at that time. After all, the dark age of comics isn't a one-man show. Still, his New Mutants work was awful as all hell, followed by the even-worse X-Force. That'd be bad enough if it wasn't for stuff like Heroes Reborn: Captain America, X-Force & Cable, X-Force: Shatterstar, his writing on Heroes Reborn: Avengers (fairly sure he didn't do the god-awful art as well. Must research harder) and of course Youngblood.

"Youngblood?" I don't hear any of you say because there's no-one reading this, "But isn't that the comic you're trying really hard to admit is good right here right now?"

Yes. It is. But that's the point. If you've ever actually READ the old Youngblood comics you can understand how painful it is to admit it's good now. In fact I refer you to the overlord Linkara's review of the first issue for a quick and easy way to understand why this is so painful. Seriously watch that then come back here.

You done? Okay. The writing flaws of Liefeld are pretty much escaped here. It's still a bit caption heavy but the visual style of the captions make it clear that it's almost like a chronicle of events being told after the fact by Speedy Shaft. That and they provide a fair bit of the information that would otherwise be provided by pointless exposition in speech bubbles, which is something I never wish to see again. But then the improvement in writing isn't the big deal here. It's all about the artistry.

I'm not up on the methods employed by Liefeld now when he's drawing but I don't think I've seen anything quite like it. I've been wracking my brains to think of what it's like and the closest I can think of is it's like the sort of bold crumbly lines you'd get with crayons, but drawn with the sharpness of a mechanical pencil. It creates a weird effect that whilst seeming to be patronising in description is chunky, detailed and perfectly suited to the now ever-so-slightly-less exaggerated look of Liefeld's art. It's like after all those years (only 3 years past Onslaught Reborn actually) he's finally found that style that is not only perfectly suited to him, but doesn't cause pain to those reading. I'm impressed, and that hurts like a bitch to admit.

Again I have to big up the colours here by Matt Yackey of.... um... Well, he's done a fair amount of work with Liefeld lately, and even when Rob's work has been bad his colouring has been more than up to scratch. This only continues to improve here and I can only see big things for him in the fu- Image United? REALLY? Well, kickass!

Final note on the text-heavy part here, Liefeld's staple drawing errors are more than 90% gone. I KNOW. I may be pointing out that less than 10% here a lot, but then I'm being a critic, pointing out the bad parts is the main point of it all. With that in mind let's... yeah let's get into the moments.

1. Opening Page
This is an eye-catcher and a half. It's nothing big but the layout of this opening page is pretty unique, enough so that I took note and admired how unique it was for a second... Why am I starting to feel ill?

2. Cool Spread + Wait What
The opening spread throws the characters at us in a dynamic and interesting way (never thought i'd say THAT) and whilst I COULD pick on it for apparently smashing through nothing that would hardly be a sign of the comic itself being bad, as with Batman & Robin #3. In fact the only issue I have with this page is trying to figure out what the hell is going on with that purple pale-faced woman (I'm assured she's called Vogue). I mean everyone else has smashed through and she's what, levitating down facing the other direction? What little research I DID do indicated she isn't a telekine so I have to ask, WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!


3. Badroc, Badass?
Okay, whilst a pretty obvious Thing/Rage amalgam is guaranteed lameness (especially whenever the references come into play) I have to admit him letting himself be shot to show how awesome he is is a step in the right direction towards coolness. A flippin' moment, loathe I am to admit it. Ugh, I'm feeling strange.

4. Shaft Is Insane

Look into those eyes. That face. All before he sees red and slaughters some motherfuckers. Shaft is detailinghis thoughts quite calmly in the caption boxes, yet is clearly insane and full of rage. Kinda terrifying. But it's not a moment 'cause of that. No, look closer. EYES! This is Youngblood, without Youngblood's disease. WHAT THE HELL? WHAT CAN I HATE NOW?!

*cough* *wheeze* Sorry feeling a little... light-headed... It'll pass...

5. Ultimate Truth
Wait... He's right.. The IS always a big bad to appear at the end of a fight! WHAT THE HELL?! That's a pretty good piece of insight into lazy comics writing! QUICK SOMETHING BAD! UM.... OH! A Liefeld art flaw sneaks in with Maddox having 151 pokémon teeth and... That's all I've got... It might be enough to keep me from dying for now.

6. Quit while you're A HEAD AHAHAHAHAHAHA! OW!
Die Hard beheading someone is probably kinda cool, I don't really care about his iphoneyness or whatever reference is being thrown in here. In fact here's a good point to say that this comic tries WAY too hard to be referential at times. It's not a dealbreaker but it's certainly a bad point after a while. Anyway the thing that makes this a flippin' moment is simply how happy Maddox's head is. Because when you're beheaded it just feels SO good. Kinda entertains me and until I know if it was intended to be funny or not I can't say if it's good or bad. Oh and Maddox still has loadsa teeth. Perhaps as he appears to be a monster creation or something it's actually INTENDED to be that way. I can't bear to think about it.

Mainly because I can feel my synapses shutting down.

Ooh suddenly I'm feeling a little better! Vogue (who appears to be the weak point of this issue) has managed to contract Youngblood's disease (which it's worth reminding people is characters either having no eyes, pupils or just having their eyes closed all the time) AND 'broken female back', another long time Liefeld trait. This supplies me with just enough negativity to keep me going AND reminds me that some things can always sneak back in. Hopefully when more women appear in future issues I'll have more to moan about. Outside of that, gotta love the ultimate nullifier mentioned on the monitor.

8. Drugs
This is your Obama

This is your Obama on drugs
"I'm on some reeeeeaaaal good shit"

9. Nathan Summers, Young(blood) Again?
Not that Cable was ever a Youngblood, I just needed a title. Jeriko (because poor literacy is kewl?) is the very spit of a young Cable, or a young Nate Grey if you want something more easily googled. It's not really lazy or anything, it just irks me after what had been a good issue with no cause for concern save a few errors. But then the major issue here is Madrock. I mean... WHAT? REALLY?

Ah I'm feeling good now, revitalised a bit. I think I might get better.

10. Ever So Slightly Epic

Teleporting the White House AND the President away? That's awesome. Epic even. A good lead-in to a future epic storyline perhaps? Maybe this'll even relate to Image United somehow (unlikely). *cough* *wheeze* *hack* OW OW WHYYYY?!

11. Protect the president fail
Good looking image sure (save Vogue, on tiptoes it seems) but that's not what I'm on about here. This is a pretty epic fail, to take just long enough to get to the President to COMPLETELY FAIL TO PROTECT HIM FROM ANY THREAT AT ALL. Great job Youngbloods, maybe you won't be completely buttfucked for that.

So... That was a pretty good issu- *cough* *cough* *cough* *cough* BLOOD?! WHY BLOOD?! IS THAT MY LUNG?! WHAT'S GOI- AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH! *slump*

[automated review system implemented]

[analysing pros and cons of file:Youngblood 09]

[rating pending]

[rating approved


[implementing protocol: 5 days of death]

[information on protocol incoming eta 20/09/09 evening]


1 comment:

  1. actually this may come as an even bigger shocker
    but the orginal youngblood 9
    yes that youngblood the one from 1994

    no i am not joking

    is actually actually ...decent

    probably because liefeld is not involved and its a complete and utter pistake its played absolutley for laughs as badrock gets optioned and is yanked through the hollywood circus and development hell resulting in a complete disaster of a series ( wonder if this is a meta commentary or maybe im giving this comic a bit too much credit )

    it also features pretty much the whole image universe up to that point guest starring and its absolutley hilarious
    okay maybe thats over selling it
    but its a lot better then its title suggests

    and the characters actually have personality !

    ( and there are also a few copyright licious cameo's i spotted spiderman black cat
    iron fist and what i think is vincent from that beauty and the beast tv series )

    anyway this youngblood 9 ? ..liefelds art improved it actually looks halfway ...good !
    ...egads !

    it is that its 2013 otherwise this would be a harbinger