The Irksome & Problematic Politics of Rob Liefeld’s ‘Youngblood’

I found a history item on CBR describing how the story in the premiere issue of Rob Liefeld’s Youngblood is written. I’d like to think the idea of this team battling a fictionalized take on Saddam Hussein is impressive, but, there’s fishy problems to be found here. For example:


One of the members of the team, the telepathic/telekinetic Psi-Fire, broke loose from the rest of the team and murders Kussein/Hussein for fun


If this makes any sense, it’s disturbing they want to frame the execution of a tyrannical despot as a literal murder, and maybe more disturbing if the guy who does it was doing it for fun. Because that risks dampening the impact of the subject. Saddam, when he was around, was guilty of some of the worst violence against humanity, with many women, children and Kurds victims of his savagery, so why must it be made to sound like the character in Youngblood murdered the stand-in for the despot, or, why must it look like he did it “for fun”?

No less troubling is the cover-up involved by the rest of the team, and then, there’s something in the following illustration that was irksome:



Let’s see, the headline in the imitation of USA Today says that the US was involved in “Israeli occupation”? Now that sure is pretty fishy, suggesting some kind of revolting moral equivalence between the US/Israel and the fictionalized variation on Saddam, implying Israel wasn’t allowed its own birthrights in Judea/Samaria, one of the most common anti-Israel tropes in history, because according to the Orwellianists, they’re allegedly “palestinian”. Something the Trump administration recently put an end to. If Liefeld was invoking leftist ideology here, that was even more regrettable than the mediocre artwork he’s notorious for from the past 30 years. Maybe the biggest irony is that at one point in the published issues of Youngblood, there was an Israeli character named Masada, who could turn herself into a giantess. But if Liefeld’s politics are as much to the left as his work on Youngblood suggests, then that spoils it.

From what I know, Liefeld admitted the stories in Youngblood were poor, but wouldn’t take direct accountability for the artistic failure and late shipping. It was reportedly the first comic Image ever sent to press, so no wonder it clouded any better items they were offering at the time. His use of potentially leftist political allusions is one more reason why Youngblood is such a dismal artistic example, and Image did not need to begin their business putting Liefeld at the forefront. Ignorance may indeed be the issue here, but it’s still wrong in my opinon.



Originally published here.

Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1