Youngblood again?! Yes, Cat-Scratch takes a look at the third Youngblood series.
Alan Moore's Youngblood issue #1 volume 3.
Published by Awesome Entertainment in 1998
Story Written by Alan Moore
Penciled by Steve Skroce
Inked by Larry Stucker
A secret government experiment goes wrong, very wrong. Twilight has arrived on the scene of the crash of an unusual aircraft in the middle of Star City. The aircraft is from that secret government lab, but our heroine doesn't know that. She reports in to her team leader Shaft, as he works out with a giant robot at their headquarters. Johnny Panic and Doc Rocket, other members of this new Youngblood team, watch alongside Shaft as they see Twilight begin to act out of character, on her motorcycle's remote camera. She's about to execute a policeman she just disarmed with his own gun. Doc Rocket, the resident speedster goes into action, she races to the scene as she changes from her civvies into her tights while giving a message to explain what she's doing. Shaft and Johnny begin to head out to back up Doc Rocket, Shaft goes to collect fellow member Big Brother, to reach the scene. Doc Rocket quickly realizes that Twilight's possessed.
As Doc ducks and dodges Twilight's attacks and attempts to infect her, Suprema arrives, completing the team's roster. Suprema plunges in at Twilight, but before Doc Rocket can warn her, Suprema is infected while Twilight is left unconscious. A major Baron contacts the remaining team members as they head for the action, he tells them of the experiment and how it had gone wrong. A government containment team is on its way and for Youngblood's newest incarnation to stay out of the way, but Shaft's having none of that. He and Johnny Panic leave the confines of the Big Brother giant robot that just brought them to the fight. There they meet up with Doc Rocket and the still unconscious Twilight as Suprema attacks. Big Brother engages Suprema, but the fight is not long, as Suprema overpowers the giant. Twilight comes too and begins to explain what she had felt while possessed. With the knowledge that this is an entity that's seeking out a powerful organic form to occupy, a plan is quickly hatched. Johnny Panic uses his illusion abilities to appear, as Suprema's older brother Supreme. The entity is lulled into believing that Supreme is superior to Suprema in power and ability and it moves to the disguised Johnny. Shaft reacts quickly and shoots Johnny with a tranquilizer dart. Major Baron arrives with a monkey restrained in a metal box, the occupant's method of transfer through touch is used to move it to the poor little simian. The Major leaves with only more questions on Shaft's mind, but, the team has done it's job as far as they’re all concerned, well, except for maybe the sleeping Johnny.
This was a great read for me back when it first hit and it still is now. Alan Moore hits another one out of the park. It's a beauty to look at and a great restart to a franchise that wallowed for several years. The only sad part was this "Awesome" series was short lived no thanks to money and not because this under sold (Yeah, yeah, it was a bad pun on the publishing company's name). I was already hooked on Youngblood and Alan Moore and Steve Skroce and Suprema (Thanks to Alan Moore's Supreme), but this was a triple threat of joy for me. It was worth it.
The story was a well paced with terrific dialog fleshing out more than one new character and helping give background on the environment our heroes were in with quick quips about the past. The plot was a lovely pastiche of an Outer Limits episode and a typical super hero tale, but peppered with modern takes. A great synthesis of
old and new I think. Add to this foreshadowing, perhaps for a future adventure or more with the character of Major Baron.
The art was pure eye candy with Steve Skroce continuing with after images to show many of our heroes in acrobatic action as he had with Gambit and other titles prior to this. His line work is clean and solid, details aren't lacking nor are they over powering to the eye. Every one of the team looks great, the girls are gorgeous, the guys are handsome and the costume designs are terrific while not being over simplified or with Shaft, ignoring previous designs. Beautiful stuff that with the layouts, gives depth and tone to Alan Moore's story. The coloring is wonderful too.
I came out of this title becoming a fan of Doc Rocket and loving the new takes on Suprema and Twilight. Suprema had been a Supergirl type straight out of the silver age while Twilight had been a Bette Kane Bat-Girl. Here, both became, visually, updated and without leaving you wondering what was happening. Their characters still fit what had happened and been done prior with them and expanded on. Terrific! And then there's Doc Rocket. Seriously how could you not like a character like her? She had an almost Jack Cole like quality of being a super speed Bugs Bunny like Jack Cole's Quicksilver had been, but add to that the feminine quality of a girl that likes her clothes plus an attitude that matches almost any comic reader. Johnny Panic, nice. Big Brother, not a bad concept at all, but I needed more to see more of him to really begin to like him. Check this issue and series out, it's some of the best super-hero team comics you could find.
For more info on Youngblood - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Youngblood