Taking place around ten years after the original comics, the titular Youngblood have been denounced by the public as overly-violent murderers who were only brought together by money and fame. Original member Diehard is now the President of the United States, with Nikola Voganova aka the first Vogue now his wife and First Lady. The other members have been ordered to cease operations or be prosecuted, and new superheroes as a whole are now managed by the "Help!" app.
Help! allows one to contact any nearby superhero to solve crime, with a 5-star rating system given based on their performance. Secretly however, Help! is just a front used to find, capture and experiment on superhumans. The disappearance of one hero in particular, the Sizeshifter Man-Up, kicks off the plot when his friend Petra Gomez, aka Vogue II, sets out to find him. This leads to the reformation of Youngblood, consisting of its two most classic members with four newcomers. They set out to be a Redeeming Replacement to the old team.
That team is:
- Shaft (Jeff Terrel) - The original leader of the team, now leading the new one. No superpowers but a damned good archer.
- Badrock (Thomas McCall) - The most iconic member, now stricken with an illness related to his condition.
- Vogue II (Petra Gomez) - A new superhero who took on the identity of the original Vogue following her retirement to become the First Lady.
- Sentinel II (Dolante Murray) - A young tech-genius who built his own Power Armor and becomes the new Sentinel, not that he likes being called that.
- Suprema (Sally Crane) - Adopted sister of Supreme and an all-around Flying Brick powerhouse.
- Doc Rocket II (Rachel Richards) - Granddaughter of the original Doc Rocket, she's a speedster who talks very fast.
Together, they set out to be the next generation of heroes.
Youngblood was officially cancelled after Issue #12, in part due to Jim Towe leaving the project to work for Marvel, and according Liefeld, the story became too big for the main book to handle. Liefeld announced that the series would be relaunched as an event called Bloodwars, but a year later announced that he'd in fact lost control of the Youngblood property, and the series would once more be left with No Ending.
Youngblood (2017) has examples of the following tropes:
- Action Politician: Diehard is now the US President, but is no less badass for it. And when push comes to shove, he takes matters into his own hands.
- An Arm and a Leg: Much like the man he was based on, Roy Harper, Shaft loses an arm.
- Art Shift: Though not the first Youngblood to completely abandon Liefeld's "extreme" art style, the change to a cleaner, fluid and more natural look is nonetheless significant.
- Bland-Name Product: The 2017 relaunch introduces an app called "Help", which is Uber mixed with Yelp, allowing people in trouble to contact a nearby superhero, and afterwards provide them a out of five-star rating based on how much they rated the rescue and the hero.
- Broken Pedestal: Dolante Murray, the new Sentinel in the 2017 series, was a childhood fan of Marcus Langston, the original Sentinel. After Sentinel was revealed to be a murderer, Dolante hates his former idol to the point where he makes clear that he may be taking Sentinel's place in the new Youngblood, but he won't take the name Sentinel and was part of the hacktavist group "Bloodstream" who revealed the original Youngblood's dirty secrets, destroying the team.
- Bullet Catch: Suprema catches one of Vogue's bullets to stop her shooting the Crime Condor's condors.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Much of the original's Loads and Loads of Characters are nowhere to be seen or heard, and it's only assumed they're laying low.
- Continuity Nod: In issue 2, Badrock brings up his old "Yabba Dabba Doom" catchphrase.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: In Youngblood #2, Shaft has to fight a mind-controlled Doc Rocket. He's a Badass Normal, but she blindsides him and has Super Speed. He's only saved by Vogue distracting her long enough for a gas that clears Doc's head to work.
- Didn't Think This Through: Petra realises that fellow vigilante Man-Up has mysteriously disappeared... so she goes to the police to report a missing person. The police try to be helpful, but since Petra doesn't know Man-Up's secret identity and so only has a vague idea of his age, what he looks like and where he lives, there's not much they can do.
- Do Not Call Me "Paul": Inverted. Dolante does not like being called "Sentinel" due to the original being a murderer. He only reluctantly accepts the name from his teammates, and never does he actually call himself that.
- Fad Super: The series superheroes using an Über-like cellphone app called "Help", with which they get paid for their "services" and even subjected to the star-grading model.
- Genre Deconstruction: The '90s Anti-Hero and the public's view of them is thoroughly deconstructed, with very few remembering the original team fondly. The main goal of Shaft and Badrock is to show that for the tropes of the '90s Anti-Hero, they were genuine about their heroics and want to make up for being part of a group as publicly scorned as the original Youngblood.
- Legacy Character:
- Petra Gomez is the Vogue after Nikola Voganova stepped down to be the First Lady to Diehard.
- Dolante Murray is (reluctantly) the new Sentinel after Marcus Langston.
- Rachel Richards is the second Doc Rocket, though she's been around since the '90s, and inherited the title from her grandfather unlike Petra and Dolante.
- Let's You and Him Fight: Issue 2 has Shaft having to take on Sentinel, Suprema and Doc Rocket, who have all been hypnotised to see him as a monster. He fares pretty well, all things considered. It took Doc Rocket blindsiding him and overpowering him with her speed to take him down.
- Lighter and Softer: The overall tone sheds much of the grim 'n' gritty of the old series while being a commentary of it. The art itself matches, being the first to ditch the "extreme" style it's known for.
- My Greatest Failure: Both Diehard and Shaft see the original Youngblood as this. Badrock plans on the new team being Shaft's chance at redemption.Diehard: Youngblood's legacy exists as a cautionary tale, and a reminder that privilege and arrogance will go unchecked for only so long before the populace learns the truth.
- Mythology Gag: Badrock introduces Vogue, Doc Rocket, Sentinel and Suprema to Shaft and refers to them as "The next generation of heroes". That was the tagline of the very first issue of Youngblood.
- On Patrol Montage: Youngblood #1 has a short, three-panel one for Petra Gomez/Gunner, showing her answering calls for help on her Help app, complete with (mixed) reviews of her heroics.
- Our Presidents Are Different: Diehard is the President. Since he's retired as a superhero, he's mostly President Personable, rather than President Action, but he's still a cyborg with 70+ years of experience kicking ass.
- Photo Doodle Recognition: In Youngblood #1, Petra realises missing teenager Horatio Megalos is also the missing vigilante Man-Up after seeing his missing poster and drawing a rough sketch of Man-Up's mask on it.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: President Diehard, who upon learning about a new, unsanctioned Youngblood team, chooses not to overreact.Diehard: I may be new to this office, Keever, but I'm old enough to have seen my share of executive mistakes. Let's not ruin my first one hundred days by arresting a handful of millennials playing dress-up.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Petra, the new Vogue gives Shaft a short but succinct one when he refuses to listen why she reformed Youngblood.Vogue: You don't want to know what's going on here, do you? You fucked up, and it's so much easier to bury your head than remember what Youngblood was supposed to be.
- Redeeming Replacement: The new Youngblood sets out to clear the tarnished name of the old.
- Retired Badass: Founding Youngblood members Diehard and Vogue have retired from being active superheroes, now having become President and First Lady.
- Ripple-Proof Memory: No one remembers Suprema (now calling herself Supreme), but she remembers them and makes a few references to her time with Doc Rocket and Shaft.
- Shout-Out: Shaft gets an arm ripped off. Considering he was based on Roy Harper, it's hard not to see this as a blatant reference to Justice League: Cry for Justice.
- Soft Reboot: A Time Skip, a new team lineup, a new art style, a different tone, a story that stands as a criticism of the old Youngblood, and the numbering has been reset to #1. It feels like a reboot, even calling itself Reborn!, but it's still fully in continuity with the old comics.
- Suspect Is Hatless: The series begins with a character trying to report her missing friend to the police. The problem? They're both superheroes, and she doesn't know his real name or what he looks like without a mask. The best that she can give is his hero name (Man-Up) and the fact that he's tall.
- Three-Point Landing: Issue #2 has Suprema landing like this on a car, crushing it and using the shockwaves to knock Shaft backwards.
- Time for Plan B: In the first issue, after Petra's plan A to find the missing vigilante Man-Up (going to the cops and reporting him as a missing person) fails, she tries Plan B, contacting the Help app he'd been using for more information, which also fails, since the people behind the Help app aren't very helpful. Plan C, hitting the streets for information at least gets her Man-Up's real identity, but she finally goes straight to Plan "Y": using a new Youngblood team to help find him.
- Trick Arrow: Played straight for the first time. Shaft uses an explosive arrow to take down Suprema, and an arrow that releases a gas to break a villain's mind-control over Sentinel, Suprema and Doc Rocket.
- Your Days Are Numbered: Badrock in the 2017 run, who is dying of McCall's Disease, a disease named just for him. (It's heavily implied that the experiment that gave him his powers is now killing him). This is what inspires him to help found a new Youngblood team.Badrock: I just want to be remembered for something more than "Yabba Dabba Doom". This is as close to a legacy as I'm likely to get, and I aim to make a difference before I... well, you know.