Let it go, Rob. Let it go.

Bloggified by Jake on Saturday, January 14, 2006

Taking shots at Rob Liefeld is the comic blogger's equivalant to when TV reporters cover the "breaking news" that a lot of people go shopping on the day after Thanksgiving. It's not news, everyone else is doing it, you're pretty much a hack when you resort to it, but if you don't do it, readers/viewers wonder what's wrong with you.

I'd hoped I could put off Liefeld mockery for a while, but as mentioned in previous posts, until about two weeks ago, I hadn't organized my new comics in more than a year and a half and found several things I either have no recollection of picking up in the first place or that I can't believe I've held on to for this long. In that latter category falls Youngblood: Bloodsport #1.

First, I bought this at the 2004 San Diego Con while in line for a sketch from Rob Liefeld because there Rob was doing "free" sketches for anyone who bought at least ten dollars worth of Youngblood books. Semantics aside, his complimentary sketches were very nice, so I waited in line and bought a copy of Bloodsport and one of Genesis (which credits Kurt Busiek as a co-writer despite Busiek's insistance his name be removed from the book) both of which were a year old and neither of which had yet published a second issue.

I didn't even read the book until a week or two later when I was too lazy to get off the couch and find a decent novel or a magazine. It was bad--not that anyone should be too surprised by that review--and I'm not sure how it wound up back in a short box of "to be filed" comics instead of the trash. Anyway, a few weeks ago, I found it again and leafed through it. I remembered the overall plot, but had forgotten about Rob Liefeld's bitterness toward Marvel that oozes from the book. I explained it to Robby and Chris and when I realized they'd never seen the book, I wagered most decent comic fans hadn't unless they'd picked it up for the sole purpose of meeting a sawbuck quotato get a free Rob Liefeld sketch at a convention.

For those who don't know or don't remember, Youngblood members are superstars in their world. This book opens with Seahawk and Battlestone relaxing in a hot tub on the balcony of a penthouse apartment, snorting coke while surrounded by dozens of top-heavy bikini girls. Battlestone also informs us they are also getting their "cocks sucked by two up-and-coming super-teens." Seahawk, however, is bored.Yes, that subtle reference I've highlighted is exactly what you'd expect. In fact, just a few frames later, Liefeld makes sure anyone who didn't catch the written words doesn't miss out.Yes, Rob, we get it. Marvel's heroes suck your heroes' dicks. Very clever.

The next scene involves Shaft fighting the reanimated corpses of Dr. Martin Luther King and other civil rights leaders who have stolen a strand of Supreme's pubic hair from the museum. It's enough to make even thirteen year old boys everywhere roll their eyes, and, in comparison, the secretary from Fell talking about her husband fucking the dog seems discreet and refined. Once Shaft defeats the bad guys and recovers the... sigh... pubic hair, he heads off to meet with Badrock before they go to a top secret meeting for former Youngblood members.

The meeting is held in a secret underground fortress beneath a porn shop, but not just any porn shop...... a porn shop run by Stan Lee and frequented by Ben Grimm! And what's the password to get in? "Great power requires great responsibility and all that shit, dude."

A short elevator ride later and they are reunited with Wolverine, Deadpool, Cable, Jubilee, Stryfe, shorter Cable, Domino, Firestorm, Domino without a spot on her eye, dark haired Cannonball, Sabretooth, Wolverine/Oberon, Bishop, Boom Boom, Psylocke, and the Thing (sans neck).Actually, to reduce confusion between the Youngblooders and the characters from whom they were ripped off inspired, convenient name labels are attached. Among the things that stuck out to me:

  • The girl I thought looked like Psylocke is named Psilence.
  • How much do you think the black guy in the wheelchair paid to keep his name out of this?
  • There's a Die Hard 2.0?
  • Are Seoul and Doc Rocket thrusting their bare ass cheeks toward one another on purpose?
  • Seriously, Rubble? I mean, how does Jack Kirby's ghost not go poltergeist on Liefeld's house after that?
The reason everyone's been called together is that the government has decided to pit them all against one another in a fight to the death. The ultimate winner will join a cross-dimensional super team that will keep a thousand Earths safe.

Seahawk refuses to take part and gets his head blown off, prompting Battlestone to call the government representative who announced the deathmatch a "faggot." It's not often you find a homophobe who's just hours removed from getting blow jobs from two guys, but that's the rich character depth you've come to expect from Youngblood.

The book finishes with a two-page ad for Bloodsport #2 and another ad pointing out that whichever cover you purchased, there are four others, because apparently someone confused the date of publication and thought it was coming out in 1993 instead of 2003. Interestingly, two of the alternate covers are made to look like they are Marvel Ultimate books.

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