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An early Image comic book written by our old friend Rob Liefeld, based on ideas he had for the Teen Titans that he never got to use. A Superhero team funded by the government kill indiscriminately and have no obvious sense of morals. It was later rebooted by Alan Moore in Youngblood Judgment Day, which is generally regarded as an improvement (which isn't saying much, it's generally ranked among Moore's worst work).
The series is incredibly stubborn and refuses to stay dead. A 2008 relaunch of the series has elevated the series to levels of decency. Unfortunately, this only lasted nine issues.
A new relaunch of the series began in 2012, published by Image comics, along with Glory, Supreme, and Bloodstrike.
Most likely not to be confused with the 1980s movie of the same name.
- Animal-Themed Superbeing: Cougar and to a lesser extent, Troll.
- The Archer: Shaft's primary weapons are bows and arrows, but he's also very proficient with firearms.
- Though for some reason his bow doesn't always need a string...
- That's because he's using magnetic technology to propel the metal arrows from his metal bow.
- Badass Normal: Shaft.
- BFG: It is to be expected, being an early 90s Image comic made by Liefeld.
- Captain Ersatz: Most of the characters Liefeld created (most notably, Shaft was clearly Speedy from the Titans. There were MULTIPLE Wolverines, like Cougar and Troll).
- Cloudcuckoolander: Johnny Panic, "the world's first post-modern superhero" (though he would later insist he's now post post modern).
- Corporate-Sponsored Superhero: A sub-theme in the series was based on Liefeld's hypothesis that superheroes in real life would be treated just as celebrities and athletes are.
- Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: ...sort of. Diehard has been a cyborg since the 40s, but in one of the later series he undergoes a series of upgrades to better perform his duties and comes out of the experience behaving much less human.
- The Dark Age of Comic Books: Generally considered one of the faces of the era.
- Dark Age of Supernames: Typically regarded as one of the Trope Codifiers, with the original team featuring Diehard, Badrock, Combat, Riptide, and Psi-Fire; a healthy chunk of its 13-man roster, all told.
- Darker and Edgier: Duh.
- Dysfunction Junction: Youngblood is, infamously, one of the least stable teams in comic history. Badrock and Troll once got into a deadly battle over who got to be on a cereal box.
- Legacy Character: Doc Rocket, the daughter of the original Doc. The 2012 relaunch also has Shaft quitting the team and getting replaced by a government-appointed successor.
- Lighter and Softer: Alan Moore's run.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Johnny Panic discovers his father is Darius Dax, the world's most prolific villain.
- Most Common Superpower
- Nineties Anti-Hero
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: The first issue feature a dictator (who's most definitely not Saddam Hussein) getting his head exploded.
- One-Man Army: Shaft and Chapel. Interestingly, they're the only two unpowered members of the original team.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Played with in the relaunch. The heroes are briefly lead to believe that they won't be fighting crime any more. The government assures them that this won't be the case (though it's still not necessarily all real).
- Proud Warrior Race Guy
- Really Seven Hundred Years Old: Troll is thousands of years old, however much he'd like to keep it a secret.
- Retool: A hideously stupid one. In the penultimate issue if the rather decent 09' series, the issue featured a backup by Robert Liefeld inwhich Barack Obama set up his own Youngblood team. Seems perfectly fine, until the next issue completelt replaces the main story with the backup, giving a minor handwave to ONE plot point from the previous story and inventing an apprently long time enemy organisation for the team. Needless to say, no more issues came after that.
- Schedule Slip: One of the trope codifiers for comic books.
- Shared Universe: Youngblood has ties to virtually every major Image title in some form or another. Chapel is the man who iced Al Simmons and sent him on the road to becoming Spawn. Doc Rocket and Johnny Panic both owe their existence entirely to Moore's Supreme - they didn't appear directly but are related to characters introduced therein. Diehard did appear in Supreme, as a member of the Golden Age Allies of Justice (along with Superpatriot from Savage Dragon). And Suprema and Twilight, the series' Supergirl and Robin stand-ins, were members of the team during Moore's run.
- Shoulders of Doom
- The Smurfette Principle: Averted in Moore's brief run, where the team was split evenly between the sexes; three boys, three girls.
- Token Evil Teammate: The first issue of Youngblood has Psi-Fire explode an unarmed dictator's head... after telling him he admires what he's accomplished.
- Too Many Belts
- Trapped in TV Land: The Televillian goes on a rampage using the miracle of TiVo and ends up trapping a recent addition to the team on the set of Oprah. Shaft and Cougar go after her and briefly end up on a number of different shows, including a rerun of Seinfeld
- Twofer Token Minority: Big Brother from Alan Moore's run, a paraplegic black kid.
- West Coast Team: "Home" and "Away" teams. Later "Youngblood" and "Team Youngblood".
- Who Would Want to Watch Us?: Invoked in the most recent revival, where the team was reformed and given a reality TV show.
- Writing Around Trademarks: In the team's first appearance, Badrock's codename was "Bedrock". One legal threat from Time-Warner later, the name was changed.
- Younger Than They Look: Badrock is a 12 foot tall rock monster. At the start of the original series he's in his very early teens.
- Your Head Asplode: A Saddam Hussein analogue suffers this fate in the first issue.