Channel Awesome
Youngblood #8

At4w youngblood 8.png

February 8th, 2016
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Blood, yes, but considering how many lines everyone has on their faces, are they really "young?"

Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. For any newcomers around here, today is the day we celebrate the first time I wrote a review of a terrible comic book waaay back in 2007. Nine years later... I am nine years older. (he becomes sad as he massages his temples)

(Cut to black)

Linkara (v/o): Previously on "Youngblood"...

(Shots of "Youngblood #7" are shown as Linkara gives a recap)

Linkara (v/o): In a world of people who all uncannily look like one another, and some look like Wolverine, we have Youngblood, a government-sponsored superhero team that is super-realistic because, like, they go on talk shows and ski trips. Like all black ops teams.

(Cut to a clip of an episode of Power Rangers RPM)

Dillon: Because nothing says "covert" like red, yellow and blue spandex.

(Cut back to the comic)

Linkara (v/o): Last time in particular, Shaft had a nightmare that seemed to indicate he had an eating disorder.

Linkara: Hey, guess how much impact that has on this issue! Here's a hint: (sotto voce; irritably) it doesn't!

Linkara (v/o): What else happened? Uh, Shaft was bringing more Youngblood members to go help Team Youngblood. Oh, by the way, apparently, we needed to read "Team Youngblood" to know what was going on, because it makes so much sense for the spinoff to come out more frequently than the main title! Badrock got into a fight with somebody he apparently had a rivalry with while going skiing, and Chapel was going off to fight Spawn, because why not add another crossover into this Gordian knot of storytelling?

Linkara: Also, Troll got naked and showered, but I've repressed the memory of that panel, so I don't (points to his eyes) gouge my eyes out. So let's dig into (holds up today's comic) "Youngblood #8" and see what they've got for us this time.

(AT4W title theme plays, and the title card has sad piano music playing in the background. Cut to a closeup of the comic's cover)

Linkara (v/o): Our cover is full of, quote-unquote, "action", because there are speed lines coming out from the center and lots of people screaming and flying at the reader, most notably, Knight Sabre front and center. Unfortunately, even if this didn't have the standard hallmarks of Liefeld's artwork – lines, pouches, overmuscled bodies, and questionable anatomy and foreshortening – he just can't seem to be bothered to fix the little things, like, say, the fact that despite Knight Sabre being at the front, means that Shaft on the left should be behind him. Of course, his leg and arm are clearly in front of Knight Sabre! Unless Shaft is in front of Knight Sabre, and he actually has shrinking powers. Or maybe Knight Sabre has growth powers. He's Australian but huge! And let's not forget Masada, who we got a more formal introduction to in "Team Youngblood", who has decided that instead of charging forward, she's going to land on somebody and hope her ass defeats them. Or perhaps she's adopting the approach of Diehard and attacking people crotch-first. Speaking of, I won't really criticize that there are three Diehards on this page, since we've established he's a robot or something.

(The comic opens to the first page)

Linkara (v/o): We open with Shaft onboard Youngblood's jet flying over the Eastern Seaboard.

Narrator: Jeff Terrell is thinking about life and death...

Linkara: (as Shaft, thinking) I wonder if Six Feet Under is on Netflix.

Narrator: And experience.

(Cut to a shot of a Klingon on Star Trek: The Next Generation)

Klingon: Experience BIJ!

(The image freezes as the words "Experience BIJ" are shown, then back to the comic again)

Narrator: When he was much younger, his father liked to joke that experience was the name most men gave their mistakes.

Linkara: (as narrator) This ended up causing some confusion when they all ended up at the same class at school.

Narrator: A cheery, optimistic youth, Jeff didn't fully understand what his father meant at the time. Now, he knows all too well.

Linkara: (as narrator) It turns out (makes an "air quote") "mistake" was his father's favorite brand of booze.

Narrator: Mere hours ago, Terrell--known publicly as Shaft, field leader of the government super-team called Youngblood--dispatched four of his best agents to investigate a possible disturbance in the Nevada Desert.

Linkara: (exasperated) For the ninth time, I liberated Kickassia and returned it to its lawful government! Why does nobody believe me?

Linkara (v/o): The four members of the team who were sent – Vogue, Combat, Dutch, and the original Diehard – apparently were outmatched by what they found there, and one of them is now dead. It doesn't say which one has died, nor do I really care, since, let's face it, none of you are in any way invested in these characters. And I see Shaft has cured his Youngbloods Disease, or at least it's in remission, based on his eyes in this panel, although a side effect seems to be that his legs have stretched considerably. And yet, we can see his feet, which is a much more amazing thing. As we move into the two-page spread that's next, we see he's not even the tallest guy here. Or the widest, given that now everybody looks like they have lungs the size of a couch! Just look at Shaft, Knight Sabre or even Troll!

(Cut to a clip of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 gang watching The Phantom Planet)

Crow: So people are just balloons?

(Cut back to the comic)

Linkara (v/o): I joke with that clip, but it's really how they look. I've seen cartoon parade floats with more realistic anatomy. Oh, except for Masada, of course. Being a woman, she needs to wear the least amount of clothes as anyone, but also be condensed into a stick figure. Dear Lord, we can see her ribcage! And we can see why, given how she's standing on her tippy-toes. This poor woman has been starving herself for her ballet lessons! Oh, actually, my mistake, that is not Masada. You can see why I was confused, though, since they are both scantily-clad women whose focus color is green and they're wearing headguards that shove out their hair above their heads. No, no, she's yet another new character!

Linkara: You know, when Liefeld called this ("air quote") "the next generation of heroes", I didn't think he meant an entire generation of PEOPLE!

Linkara (v/o): And this character's name? Psilence, with "psi-", as in "psychic", at the beginning.

BECAUSE POOR LITERACY IS... actually that's kind of a clever pun. Never mind.

Linkara (v/o): But of course, we need another new character while we're at it. Thus, meet Task, as in "You're not even trying with this task, are you, Rob?" Dude looks pretty much like Shaft, but with long hair, blue instead of red, and it looks like, from that headgear, that he's ready for his wrestling match to begin.

(Cut to Bone Button)

Bone Button: Aaah, Task! You say you're gonna make me black and blue, brother! But the truth is, my task is to put you in the button press and then... YOU'RE gonna be blue, brother! (growls as he brings hands together in a wrestling move)

Linkara: (annoyed) Wrong kind of wrestling!

Narrator: Surveying those around him, Shaft sighs with discontentment.

Linkara: Comic Book Writing 101: Narrate what your characters are doing instead of actually showing it.

Narrator: No matter which way he turns, he's flanked by unfamiliar faces and those he barely knows.

Linkara: All around him are unfamiliar faces, brand-new places, brand-new face-e-es.

Linkara (v/o): Shaft is upset because a lot of these people are fresh recruits, and they're taking on something powerful enough to defeat one of their seasoned members, whom Badrock reveals to have been Combat. You know, the warrior guy with the giant pink gun. Badrock is eager to get into the fight to avenge him, but Troll just mocks him a little bit, because Troll is the worst.

Troll: ...But when you've been around as long as me, ya learn to put death into perspective. Heck, we could all die today.

Linkara: I would settle for just you.

Linkara (v/o): Task says the new recruits are up for the... task, and that since they're all Youngblood, they'll take out the ones responsible for Combat's death. (the panel of Shaft shows a creepy smile on his unusually pale face) Shaft responds– OH, DEAR GOD, SHAFT IS POSSESSED BY A DEMON!!!

Linkara: (visibly uncomfortable) Uh, I'm the last person in the world to express this kind of sentiment, but, uh, Shaft, you look prettier without makeup.

Linkara (v/o): We cut to New York City, where– Oh, good Lord. You know, we talk so often around here about how bad Liefeld is at drawing people that we forget that he's so bad at drawing everything else.

Narrator: And, on that slightly somber note, we shift our focus from the Youngblood Hyper-sonic Transport as it streaks through the star filled sky above New York City...

Linkara (v/o): Oh! Yeah, just look at how many freakin' stars there are in this panel! We got so many stars, it's like I'm playing Mario Galaxy here! Eric Stephenson is credited for both script and as editor here, so you would think, as the editor, that he'd be able to Rob and say, "Hey, dude? I specifically said there were stars in this panel. Could you draw some stars?" And Rob was all, "What, dude? Don't you see? The moon is there. The moon's a kind of star, isn't it?" And then there'd be this really long pause, and then Eric would be like "Sure, Rob, whatever, as long as I get paid." And then Rob would say, "Yeah, right, paid." This panel is so beautiful in its utter laziness. This is Power Rangers Super Megaforce-level extra effort to be lazy! Liefeld couldn't just draw some dots. No, no, instead, he drew the moon! A huge moon that takes up the entirety of the sky, and no doubt causing massive gravitational problems due to its proximity, with detailing on it that, of course, probably took longer than if you'd just drawn some dots! Oh, but why stop there? Hey, this is New York, right? What do buildings in New York at night look like? Oh, yeah, it's just the same generic rectangular prism shape with crossword puzzles drawn in them, right? I'm sure that's fine.

Linkara: Rob Liefeld. (shrugs) We don't know why he still gets work, either.

Linkara (v/o): So, why are we cutting away from Youngblood? Because if there's one lesson this book has shown us, it's that it doesn't actually care about its own damn characters. For you see, now we can check up on Spawn. Spawn is in an alleyway with some homeless people, and for some reason, he's stuck a bunch of Scotch tape on his face. Oh, I'm sorry. Clearly, those are supposed to be Band-Aids or something.

Linkara: Spawn, did you think they were kidding when they said, "It won't heal if you don't stop picking at it"?

Linkara (v/o): The homeless guy who did that is apparently drunk and trying to get Spawn to join in on their hobo festivities. Also, his crotch is on fire. Might want to put that out. One of the other homeless says he's clearly not in the mood for his shenanigans. Homeless Doctor or whatever says Spawn wouldn't do anything to him.

Homeless Doctor: I mean, you're talkin' to the guy who stitched old Hamburger Head up, here!

Linkara: (giving a thumbs-up) Bang-up job there, man! I can't understand why you don't have a medical license anymore.

Linkara (v/o): Aaand bullet through the head. I won't show you the panel that actually happens since it's pretty gruesome, even if poorly drawn.

Linkara: The other bums have Spawn confront who's responsible: Chapel, whom we saw at the end of last issue coming for Spawn. Oh, and despite us knowing from last issue that he was coming, and Spawn saying his name in this panel, the next two pages are a spread that we have to turn on its side, as if this was a huge reveal. Also, to keep himself from having to draw stuff like, you know, an actual background, Chapel now has his back to a wall to talk to Spawn, despite a second ago walking down the alley. So maybe he's talking to another wall? I should also note that Chapel in continuity is the one who killed Al Simmons, Spawn's humanity identity before he became, you know, Spawn. His leg is also bloodied up for some reason, despite it being fine in the last issue. I'm sure this is to simply imply he got into lots of fights before finding Spawn, but I prefer to think he just kept tripping, thanks to all the smoke on the ground meant to hide his feet.

Narrator: Emerging from the smoke and shadows, he looks like the devil himself...

Linkara (v/o): (scoffs) Oh, yeah! Behold the face of evil incarnate: some dumbass with two bent pipes stuck to the side of his face! Also, despite killing that bum with a regular bullet, we see that Chapel is holding some kind of futuristic-looking gun with a pink glow at the end of it.

(Cut to the obligatory clip of Zordon from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers)

Zordon: Too much pink energy is dangerous!

(Back to the comic again)

Linkara (v/o): Hey, want to see another thing about Rob's terrible artwork? He can't keep that tape on Spawn's face consistent; the shape and positions of the Band-Aids keep changing. Chapel and Spawn posture at each other for a bit; lots of snarling; Chapel apparently drooling, too – yecch! – and basically, it comes down to Spawn saying he'll listen to whatever Chapel wants to say. We cut over to Baffin Island in Canada.

Narrator: Beyond the farthest reaches of civilization, the Youngblood cruiser breaks through the crowd breaks through the clouds and begins it descent. Downward it plunges, moving swiftly and surely toward its final destination... and toward destiny.

(Cut to the MST3K gang again as they watch The Deadly Mantis)

Tom Servo: Canada calls to ask, what are you guys doing up there?

(Cut back to the comic)

Linkara (v/o): Oh, my mistake, actually. It says, "...twoard its final destination...".

Linkara: I shouldn't be surprised to find spelling errors. I don't think anybody actually ever read this thing.

Linkara (v/o): Apparently, the leader of the villains, Maddock, is sitting in his big comfy chair when an even bigger dude shows up, the two discovering that Youngblood has arrived. Badrock is dropped down onto the villains, and the narration finally tells us Badrock's friggin' origin story. I did actually skim through "Team Youngblood" issues to see if they ever gave it over there. And it turns out they did – NINE ISSUES IN!! Admittedly, they gave origin stories for a few other members, too, but then again, maybe if they spent some time developing characters INSTEAD OF INTRODUCING NEW ONES AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY, we wouldn't have this problem! So, what's his origin? When he was sixteen years old, he was struggling because he was clumsy and awkward and, well, you know, a teenager, and decided to drink a vial of science that his father had been developing for the government in the hopes that it would help them. I'm guessing he knew enough about what his father was experimenting with to not just randomly drink whatever chemicals were in his lab, but it's hard to say with this book.

Linkara: It's honestly not a bad origin story. Pity that yet again, we only know something because (scowling) the narrator told us!

Linkara (v/o): Anywho, Badrock smashes through the roof.

(As Badrock smashes through, the sound of a Kool-Aid commercial is heard: the Kool-Aid Man smashing through a wall)

Kool-Aid Man: OH, YEAH!

Linkara (v/o): He attacks the dude who is Liefeld Body Type Number Three; a huge guy.

Narrator: Brief hours ago, he was enjoying his first real vacation since joining Youngblood, gleefully skiing the slopes of Vail, Colorado.

Linkara: (as narrator) He ran smack into a James Bond ski chase also happening, and it was frankly much more interesting.

Narrator: That all came to an end, though, when he was attacked by the cyborg assassin called Overtkill. And when Overtkill ultimately escaped, Badrock was equal parts anger and frustration.

(Cut to a clip of Half-Life: Full-Life Consequences)

Offscreen voice: And he was mad and angry.

(Back to the comic again)

Linkara (v/o): By the way, I looked up the issue of "Team Youngblood" where the end of that fight happened. Badrock was pretty jovial about the whole thing, actually. And before you ask, yes, they were both scripted by the same guy!

(Cut to Phelous)

Phelous: Great continuity! (gives a double thumbs-up)

(Cut back to the comic)

Linkara (v/o): Turns out the huge dude fighting Badrock is named Blackrock, and he is supposed to look like Badrock, since they both took the same science formula Kool-Aid Badrock's dad made. They fight for a bit, and eventually Blackrock is knocked out, but more guys show up. This time, cyborgs, I guess, given they speak like robots, but clearly have skin behind their armor.

Badrock: What're you guys-- Pez dispensers?

Linkara: (worriedly holding up a set of Star Trek-themed Pez dispensers) Does that mean my four-year-old Pez is going to attack me?! (stops abruptly then as he looks at the Pez dispensers) Oh, hey, Star Trek: Next Generation's 25th anniversary! (looks up) I feel like I should be reviewing something this year.

Linkara (v/o): The other members of Youngblood fly down, and this time, it's Task who's apparently got possessed by the ink demon. In addition, he's wielding two swords, but only one of them gets a cool glowy effect. It's not even like Rob forgot to add it because most of the sword is cut off. The next time we see him, it's the same deal. What, did he forget to change the batteries on that one?

Narrator: Seeing Knight Sabre in action is all the confirmation Task needs to realize the time has come to get down to business. He's already heard about the enigmatic Australian before coming to Youngblood...

Linkara (v/o): Knight Sabre: Australian, but enigmatic! And of course, Psilence, like how she was on the cover, prefers to attack her opponents in leapfrog position before creepily staring at the reader. With the cyborgs destroyed, they surround Maddock, the demon beginning its possession of Knight Sabre now. Or maybe he just has really sharp, jutting cheekbones creating a shadow. And after some more posturing, our comic ends with the arrival of, of course, another new character!! (...who is Warwolf)

Warwolf: That all depends-- on exactly where everybody's favorite WARWOLF fits into yer scenario!

(Cut once again to the MST3K gang as they watch Werewolf)

Woman in movie: Werewolf?

Crow: No, werewolf. "Were-", say it.

(Back to the comic again)

Linkara (v/o): Take a look at this guy. Apparently not content to rip off Wolverine's design and half a dozen characters, Rob has now moved on to ripping off Sabretooth.


Linkara (v/o): Wait, number ten?!?! What the hell happened to Issue 9?!

(Cut yet again to the MST3K gang as they watch The She-Creature)

Mike: Space is warped and time is bendable.

Linkara: (realizing something) There's a lot MST3K in this episode. However, unlike MST3K, (closes comic and holds it up angrily) this comic sucks!

Linkara (v/o): I should note that there's another epilogue page, with a guy standing on a boat coming towards something and the narration says that they're approaching and... I think it's Shaft's dad from a previous issue, but honestly, I really couldn't be bothered to do anything with this. But just WOW! It is amazing how much this comic took a step backwards with this one. Sure, Issues 6 and 7 were still awful, but it felt like there was actually an attempt, for the most part, at developing its original premise and giving the characters some focus. It wasn't very well done, mind you, but the effort was there. But here, there were a few points where my eyes actually hurt from looking at the clashing colors and terrible artwork. However, we have yet again seen that Rob is more interested in creating new stuff than actually doing anything with those creations. And the fact that the book can't stand on its own is bad enough, since we need to read "Team Youngblood" to understand most of the plot. But now, apparently, this plot just hit the brakes for an issue for no adequately explained reason!

Linkara: Dear Lord, that was bad! Well, at least next week can't be much worse. (A shot of the final issue of "All-Star Batman and Robin" is superimposed, much to Linkara's disgust) Ohhh... GOODY! (throws down comic, gets up and leaves)

(End credits roll)

Let's all move twoard better comics together.

Team Youngblood IS actually a better book than this. It's still not a GOOD book, but just skimming through it I could see more attempts at character development.

(Stinger: Bone Button is shown again)

Bone Button: You're gonna be blue! (growls as he flexes his muscles) That was an email!