Written by John McLaughlin
Art by John Malin & Rob Liefeld
Colors by Ross Hughes & Matt Yackey
Letters by Russ Wooton
Edits by Eric Stephenson
Covers by Rob Liefeld & Matt Yackey, Ryan Ottley & Jordie Bellaire, and Chris Giarrusso
Release Date: May 23, 2012
Cover Price: $2.99
Astonishingly, Youngblood #71 is something that falls into the “things I didn’t know I wanted or needed category,” like Rocky Balboa — who knew we needed an official ending to the Rocky story? Not me, but it sure was awesome. Also, the film Rambo. The last scene where John Rambo walks down the driveway to his family’s farm was, again, an ending that I didn’t know I needed. But again, I was surprised and satisfied that I got it. Truth by told, I stopped paying attention to Youngblood about a couple years after it started coming out, so why then was I excited for this issue? Some would say nostalgia (who, me?), but most of all, it’s because I have been impressed by the other Image titles that have came back for the 20th anniversary that have been fantastic! And out of all those titles, Youngblood was the only one that I cared about originally.
Straight out of left field, here comes writer John McLaughlin with a story that both updates the team and gives you a sense of continuity at the same time. Pretty impressive. While I don’t remember just who was in Youngblood the last time that I read it, McLaughlin puts together pretty much the same team as the original line-up with one or two exceptions. They’re problems are brought into modern day, real world problems, but there’s a fantastic element of fun that underlies throughout the whole issue. Now, granted, there are a lot bigger Youngblood fans out there than me, but it really seemed to me that the characters stayed true to who they were 20 years ago, while maturing and growing at the same time. And that’s a pretty fantastic achievement for a writer. It’s not like these characters have had a constant presence like Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, etc. The story itself is a fun, action packed “catch-up while we’re on a mission” story that’s got a great pace that hits the ground running and doesn’t stop until the last page shocker. VERY well written issue and I look forward to reading more issues in the future.
Artwise, this book is just plain out awesome. Say what you will about Rob Leifeld, but you have to give it to the man for recently stepping up his game. I mean, he’s in charge of HOW many books now? I can’t even keep track anymore. What’s great about this book is that it gives you the sense of revisiting old friends. I gotta say, twenty years later, he’s still got it. I know he has his fair share of detractors, but there are PLENTY of fans that love his work, and I’m not ashamed to be one of them. The only thing that I was confused about is what pages that John Malin did. The art here is truly kinetic, and most of all, fun. Which is what the art in this comic should be.
Even though this is issue #71, it’s a covert #1 and a great jumping-on point. I really hope comic fans give it a shot, because they will NOT be disappointed. I think the greatest thing about this book is that it’s a return to the classic Image Comics STYLE. It used to be that when you picked up an Image comic, you knew what kind of book that you were getting. You can’t say that about today’s Image Comics. There’s no longer an “Image Style” for better or worse, that’s not for me to say, but this comic is a great return to that style. PICK THIS UP!!!