But what is a Rob Liefeld? He's become something of an ur example for everything that went wrong with mainstream comics in the 1990's, to the extent that many people will dismiss the decade out of hand thanks to him and his Image cohorts, despite all the really good stuff that DID exist during that time. Maybe I should let Grant Morrison sum up Mr. Liefeld for me, he absolutely nails it better than I can in his book Supergods.
Grant Morrison: "Rob Liefeld was the poster boy for Image... If Rob could get away with his barely original characters, his blizzard of crosshatched lines, the heroic legs that tapered to tiny screwdriver feet, and the multitudinous array of new muscles he’d invented for the human forearm alone, anyone could do it…. His drawings never missed any opportunity to inflict some elaborate new deformity upon the human physique. His ideas were secondhand, his research nonexistent, his vision eccentric and quite unique in every detail… [Background detail] would only get in the way of another shot of a clenched-teeth hero crashing through a window in a shower of unconvincing glass shards, to disembowel foes with names like Stryfe, Carnyge, and Myrdy’r."
Liefeld's critics however, were less kind. But if you want a TL:DR version of that quote, Rob Liefeld is the artist who drew Captain America looking like this:
|I think this could be classed as "treason".|
He awakes to find Badrock, Vogue and Masada looking down at him. They start questioning him about Riptide and his intentions towards her. Knightsabre gets mad, and asks if she's accused him of anything improper. But it turns out she was in the next room, battered to death. Vogue starts planning a cover-up of the crime, Badrock asks what the hell she thinks she's doing.
If I didn't know better I'd say Moore was being sarcastic, because "stepped from legend" in no way sums up the members of Youngblood. But anyway, Shaft is called in and won't be party to a cover-up. Sentinel, also arrives saying he was on duty that night and only remembers Knightsabre coming in drunk. Shaft decides it's time to call in "the dragon".
|It's the Hulk with a fin on his head.|
Supreme was created by Liefeld as a Superman rip-off who killed people, but Moore rebooted him as a love letter to the Silver Age Superman era (and I'll be covering Supreme at a later date). He lends usage of his flying fortress, the Citadel Supreme to hold the trial in. A Judge and prosecution and defence attourneys are found. For the defence is Toby a sidekick to an obscure older hero, but fully qualified in law. He asks for the recordings Diehard's artifical eyes make constantly, hoping that exonerating evidence can be found on them. Then after a time skip the issue ends with Shaft and Sentinel travelling to the Citadel Supreme for the trial.
|Not Superman, Supreme right?|
The prosecution start by laying out their case, which is simply that Riptide spurned Knightsabre's advances and murdered her for it. During a recess Badrock comments on the strangeness of the situation:
Badrock: "Y'know this is so weird. Shaft said this was like a fairy tale gone wrong. The princess died, the knight accused and the dragon restoring order. And now we are in a magic castle in the sky."
The court then reconvenes for the defence case. Toby calls Glory to the stand. Glory is Liefelds Wonder Woman rip-off. A demi-god half Amazon, half demon who has lived for millenia. I reviewed the two excellent books rebooting her for the modern audience a couple of months back. Toby asks her about a gift her mother received long ago, before humanity even existed. The gift was a book from Hermes.
Hermes: "I have invented something for your earthly realm that I have called a book. The template for all stories is within this tome. All tales that are, or were, or ever shall be."
Glory's mother took the book and placed it in an enchanted cave on Earth, where " it's immortal pages could endure the aeons". Glory said she saw the book again twice, once in the forties and most recently when Toby showed a photograph of it in Riptide's room.
|Aah, Glory! Where are your internal organs kept?!|
After all the weird and wonderful witnesses have given evidence, including a woman from the future who tells them the trial ends with a member of Youngblood being found guilty of the crime, the Judge calls it a day for now. Shaft meets with a man called Graves, who reveals Knightsabre is his son, but also that the bad press this trial is getting has caused the government to pull it's funding of the team.
Graves: "I'm saying that as of noon today, Youngblood ceased to exist. I am saying that it is over".
|Note Liefelds skillful backgrounds (!)|
Toby then reads a letter from an elderly woman who was married to Smith during that time. He didn't just fight crime with the book, he wrote his own life as well. He planned to have a daughter and that she would have superpowers of her own. But the book was stolen before he could make that happen and he sank into alchoholism. His wife left him, but later discovered she was pregnant with a girl That girl was Riptide herself and she did gain superpowers of her own just as her father had written it. Her mother told her about the book and she had always been secretly searching for it.
Then Sentinel's wife appears in the courtroom escorted by two Suprematons and Toby reveals that the book was found earlier that day at Sentinels house. Sentinel is dumbstruck and won't say anything to defend himself, but Toby says that doesn't matter, his story is here in the book. Sentinel's story is that he was the first modern superhero, founder member and leader of Team Youngblood the world's premier superteam.
|Sentinel turned himself into a Mary-Sue.|
Toby: "Working a dreadful reverse alchemy, Marcus Langston [Sentinel] let our world slide from a Golden Age to a Silver Age and finally to a Dark Age...Our universe had been sucked into a bad action movie of constant, meaningless mayhem."
Well, where to begin with that? This is Alan Moore not only being critical of the darker more violent comicbook era the Image gang brought in, but also criticising himself for ushering it in, in the mid-80's with Watchmen. It almost feels like he took this job specifically to pass his own judgement on then modern sensibilities in comics that he felt responsible for. The bleakness and death that ran rampant in comics after his seminal works of the 80's bought those themes to the forefront of peoples thinking about comics.
|The actual murder.|
|Bye bye book.|
Rob Liefeld: “He once called us up to tell us that he had just been in the dream realm and talking to Socrates and Shakespeare, and to Moses, dead serious, and that they talked for what seemed to be months, but when he woke up, only an evening had passed, and he came up with these great ideas. And I’m tellin’ ya, I think it’s shtick, dude. I think it’s all shtick. I’m gonna start saying that stuff. Cuz you know what? It makes you instantly interesting. Like ‘O yeah, last night I was hanging out with Socrates. Came to me in a dream. We played poker. We dropped acid.’ That’s the kinda stuff Alan would say all the time, and he’d say ‘Oh, I’ve been practicing dark magic.’”
Oh no, Mr. Liefeld, you do not diss my hero like this. Alan Moore gave the world, amongst other things, The Ballad Of Halo Jones, V For Vendetta, Watchmen, and Promethea. YOU are the man who drew Captain America looking like this:
|Kawaii Captain! (source: Fuck Yeah Liefeld)|