Saturday, October 14, 2017

Youngblood #6 Review

Help! I need somebody! 

Written by: Chad Bowers                 
Art by: Jim Towe
Colors: Juan Manuel Rodríguez
Letters: Rus Wooton
Publisher: Image
Release Date: October 11, 2017
Reviewer: Andrew McAvoy

This was my most anticipated book of the week, and I was concerned that I may have set my expectations too high. I needn't have worried as the issue brilliantly closes off the 6 issue Youngblood Reborn arc. I have been continually impressed by this series so far, and how the team dynamic has taken shape so well, in such a short space of time. So let's find out what went down.

The issue opens by treating us to an advert for Byrnetec's new app entitled Help! which provides users with a tailored superhero service to meet their individual needs. The fact that the Byrne brothers have abducted and reprogrammed those superheroes is left out of the advert. They don't care though, especially with their new found backing in high places (that's right President Diehard to you) which will ensure State-sponsorship.

We are then quickly dropped into the action and see Dolante and Vogue coming under heavy fire from a couple of Byrnetec flunkies who are armed to the teeth with tech and weaponry. They are guarding the Byrne brothers who in the last issue have became hideously intertwined (I'll refer to them henceforth as the Byrne-monster); now more machine than men (to misquote Alec Guinness). The tables are turned though when the Byrne-monster gobbles up one of the aforementioned flunkies, thus robbing the other flunky of his all consuming desire to defend them. The odds evened out, those Youngblood members who are in situ turn to full attack mode against Byrne-monster.

Outside the building the action is just as fierce. Shaft is coming to terms with the fact that his current combat situation has led to a loss of his lower arm. He's getting no sympathy from President Diehard though who wants to put his ass in permanent lock-up. Diehard's attention is however captured by Badrock who comes on the scene to mete out a little street justice to POTUS, solidly tossing him about like a rag doll. I particularly delighted in Badrock's line, "You've known me since I was 15 dude, have I ever been good at anything beside kicking ass". It really is a delicious fight scene, that ends when Badrock throws himself at Byrne-monster to be consumed. What Byrne-monster doesn't know is that Badrock is ill, and that illness may lead to Badrock repeating on our hungry little Byrne-monster in a very unpleasant fashion.

Repeat he does and after sustaining another attack there is a massive explosion (and I mean a one page BOOOOOM which is brilliant) and that's the end of old Byrne-monster. Laddie we hardly knew ye. The aftermath sees President Diehard emerging from the carnage holding a young man caught up in the explosion. Everyone is looking for Thomas John McCall, aka Badrock...but they don't suspect that the young man with the rock-free visage is in fact...Thomas John McCall! Dun-dun-dun! The book closes by tying up this arc where it started off, with Vogue's search for her friend Man-up who had fallen foul of the Help! program. She finally tracks him down to Morrocco and delivers the closing line of the book, "We're Youngblood asshole. We've come to take him home".

Bits and Pieces:

If you have been searching around for a team-based comic book but find some of the current DC and Marvel titles struggling to achieve balance between fresh characters and older characters I would highly recommend this book. Between them Bowers and Towe have delivered a modern classic with the Youngblood Reborn story, as well as setting up many great story threads for the future that should keep this series ticking over like a finely tuned Porsche.  It would be wrong not to give a special focus to Towe's art, which manages to capture the feel of the older Youngblood comics; while establishing a fresh clean style unique to this series. The coloring from Juan Manuel Rodríguez deserves credit for this too. His selection of colors brings a vibrancy and modernity to the book which sets this up as a brand new title; not simply a reproduction of an older one.  I just love this book, and my high expectations of this closing installment weren't only met, they were exceeded.


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