cover image Youngblood, Vol. 1

Youngblood, Vol. 1

Joe Casey, . . Image, $34.99 (152pp) ISBN 978-1-58240-858-3

In 1992, when writer/artist Liefeld launched his original Youngblood series, hypertrophied superheroes with enormous guns and costumes covered in leather pouches were all the rage, and Liefeld was the master of the style—the first issue of the series reportedly sold around a million copies. The story made no sense at all, but who cared about that when you could look at a really dynamic drawing of a dude with a totally rad hairstyle and biceps three times the size of his head? For this “re-mastered” edition of the first five issues, Liefeld apparently decided to go back and fix his mistakes. He didn't correct errors of visual storytelling or basic anatomy—that would've required redrawing the whole thing—but writer Casey has resequenced the original pages and rewritten virtually all the dialogue in an attempt to give the chaotic assemblage a comprehensible plot, a touch of characterization and even some hints of a theme (about the culture of celebrity and the effect of constant attention on public figures). There are only so many things even a gifted writer can turn a sow's ear into, and the story's still a violent mess. Liefeld's relentless, this-one-goes-to-11 artwork is amusing as a nostalgia trip. (Dec.)