Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Napalming the Barrel the Fish Are In: Youngblood Bloodsport #1.2

I warned you there was more, I did, but did you listen? No, you came back for more, sucking up pain like some kind of punishment sponge. Standard Grown-Up Eyes Only Below disclaimer applies here, but nothing this time out is nearly as bad as last time. However, Johnny DC loves warning people, so here he is:

When we'd last left off, Shaft had saved Supreme's pubic hair from a gang of zombie civil rights leaders. Seriously. That's what happened.

While handing off the hair to the local constabulary, Shaft is besieged by the legion of super-powered types looking to make it big - all of whom are thinly-veiled references to existing characters, none of whom were funny enough to bother scanning. Shaft points out that none of them will make the morning papers - it turns out he works for a company owned by former Youngblood member Troll wherein he gets paid to actually do the crime-fighting and Troll gets all the media credit. Which doesn't seem like it would work, as Shaft is a six-foot-three redhead with a bow and arrows and Troll is a dwarf Wolverine with goggles, but that's neither here nor there.

We rejoin Shaft, now in his civilian identity of Roy Harper Jeff Terrel, eating lunch with former teammate Badrock. Jeff, as mentioned, is working for Troll, but Badrock's hurting for cash.Tee hee, a Gold Surfer! Purple Hulk! Also Purple Arrow! Lara Croft tremendously out-of-scale compared to the closer-to-us-in-panel Batman! Commander Steel, of all people!

See what I mean about the thinly-veiled references being un-scan-worthy? They're not even jokes, it's just a copyright-infringing Where's Waldo.If you're keeping track, this is the second time Millar's written a "Two Former Youngblood Members Discussing Joining the Mysterious Secret New Youngblood" scene in the space of ten or so pages. Also, Badrock has, at some point between panels, grown to about three times his average size.

The two are interrupted by their waitress, who tries to beg her way onto the team by bringing up her "power-resume" (she also hyphenates "eye-balls" the sentence prior, because the letterer is still taunting me with superfluous hyphenation), all the while looking straight out of the page and at the wall behind me. Two panels in a row, she's gazing soullessly dead into the camera to the point where I find myself turning around to check what the Hell she's looking at.

Moving on, we check in on a full page of Johnny Panic's answering machine messages - all geeky in-jokes ("it's Hollis down at the auto-shop, kid. You still owe me five hundred bucks for fixing the Panic-mobile and I got bills to pay, son," et cetera). Panic, if you don't remember, was supposed to be a central character in Alan Moore's aborted twelve-issue Youngblood relaunch - Moore called him "the first postmodern superhero," if I remember right - but since only two issues came out, I don't think he ever really caught on. He (Panic, not Moore) and his girlfriend apparently lounge about their apartment in full costume (which, now that I think about it, Moore might do, too, if you call "wacky Victorian dandy-style garb" a "costume"), one presumes because they've never had model sheets drawn for their civilian identities. They, too, discuss joining the Mysterious New Youngblood for a couple bubbles, and scene.
I think Liefeld was really trying to draw Stan Lee, there. When your Stan Lee ends up looking more like a mustachioed Jim Lee, you should probably avoid likenesses. Just sayin'. Anyway, the entrance to the secret Mysterious New Youngblood Headquarters is in a porn shop. Specifically, in the "masturbation-booth" of a porn shop. I swear, it's like The Great Gatsby, or something.

Just oozing class.

Badrock and Shaft head down an elevator that might also be a teleportation device - it's not clear from the art, shockingly - and walk straight into a two-page spread.
(Click to make with the bigness.)

You'd think that a shot like this would force Liefeld to notice that he's got four characters (Diehard, Sentinel, Battlestone and Task) in the same panel wearing pretty much the same costume - and with Shaft coming in a panel later, the count goes to five. Seriously, what do the little thigh-straps even do?

Next time:
The Moderately Thrilling Conclusion.


Adam said...

You know, whenever editors and publishers defend Leifeld's art, they always describe it as exciting and energetic. This is the only comic of his I ever thought was energetic, not for the art, but for the contstant throwing "shocking" things against the wall, trying to see what would stick. Every panel tried to stick in at least a few crappy "Top Ten Universe, but if it was crappy" style references. It made it feel like such a waste when the rest of this never came out. Like Millar had all these crappy ideas that he couldn't use on the Big 2 or even all of his own Millarworld releases, and wanted to spew them all out on one comic book.

Rob S. said...

Too much hideousness will make you blind, masturbation booth or no...

Jeff Rients said...

I assume one of Tiny Thing's powers is that he rolls his head at villains, like a clobberin' bowling ball.

Isaac said...

What's up with the tiny guy in the wheelchair, under Diehard's arm? Seriously, the more I look at him, the more wrong he looks. Because, you know, if that wheel is resting on the floor, and those people in the background are standing on the same floor, linear perspective would suggest that he's, like...

Ow. My eyes just imploded. Thanks, Liefeld.