Pick of the Week

April 9, 2008 – Young Liars #2

What did the
community think?

Avg Rating: 4.2
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 0.6%
Users who pulled this comic:

Size: pages
Price: 2.99

I don’t know about you, but I’m addicted to that feeling. You know the one I’m talking about, that feeling you get when something hits you just the right way, it feels so right and it clicks in every possible way. Be it a movie, music or a comic book, whatever the medium, as you experience it you just want MORE and you want to tell everyone about it. No? Just me? Oh. Well, fuck it.


There has been an increased amount of talk and enjoyment of the noir style in comics, and while that’s all very well and good, to be honest, I’m pretty sick of it. All those shadows and the brooding has just taken its toll on me. I didn’t realize this until I read Criminal #2 and Young Liars #2 back to back and I realized what I wanted. I wanted a comic book that was ROCK N ROLL. A comic book that was a little bit punk and a little bit hardcore and a whole lotta rock. One that left you panting and wanting more. And that is exactly what Young Liars #2 is.

David Lapham has been one of those perplexing creators. It’s hard to believe I first heard of him from his work at Valiant, but it’s his creator owned work, Stray Bullets, that stands as one of the great indie comics of the 90s. A mix of violence, crime and sex that was eerily believable in this crazy world we call America. For whatever reason, we don’t get more of Stray Bullets. Instead we’ve been given project after project of okay comic books from various publishers. But nothing, and I mean nothing, that ever had the energy or vitality of Stray Bullets. Until now.

I’m wrestling with finding the proper words to describe his new series from Vertigo, Young Liars. I raved about the first issue on our podcast when it came out, and that raving was followed by the hope that the energy, vitality and momentum would carry through from the first issue to the rest of the series. I love it when a creator is able to deliver the quality that you know they’re capable of.

In case you’re unaware of it, let me explain. David Lapham is both writing and drawing this series. He’s got some all star support with colors by Lee Loughridge and letters by Jared K. Fletcher, but other than that, this book is all him. And guess, what? It’s a monthly. Look at your calendar. It’s been one month and 3 days since the previous issue came out. That’s skill, folks. But is it any good? Well that’s where the talent comes in. Skill and talent makes for a mighty fine comic book experience.

The first issue was an explosion of characters, settings and what seems like the direction of the story. In a genius move, Lapham takes issue #2 to slow things down (mildly), go back in time and start giving us the story from it’s beginnings. In the first issue we were introduced to Danny and his crazy world in New York which is centered around Sadie, a crazy girl with a thing for action. Issue #2 turns the clock back three years and we’re shown Danny’s not so glamorous beginnings. Aptly titled “Suicide Dreams,” we watch as Danny deals with his sad life in Texas, working a crappy job, failing at getting a band together, and ultimately being betrayed and abandoned by his only friends and family emotionally. He’s teetering on the edge of suicide and we are treated to his personal fantasies both morbid and hopeful at the same time. Events get set in motion that change Danny forever and, presumably, push us closer to that world we saw in issue #1.

If there was any ever doubt to Lapham’s skill as both a writer and a penciller, its obvious to see that he saves it for his creator owned work. The manner of which Lapham is able to set the tone in this book is remarkable. You can actually feel the frustration, anger and other range of emotions of Danny in both the words and images in the comic. The use of narration by song lyrics is done so elegantly, it helps to push the story along, pace the action and also apply emotion to the character. Like I said, I cannot praise Mr. Lapham on this comic enough.

Of course I’m a big music fan, and I appreciate the role music plays in this book, especially with the recommended soundtrack songs at the beginning. But it’s the words under those songs, “Cuz life sucks, kids, learn it young!” There. They simply set the tone for the book and you know by reading it that the story isn’t going to be one of happy endings and easy going for the characters.

I’ve been recommending this title every chance I get, and I will continue to. A couple of people didn’t agree with me in my adoration of the first issue, saying it seems cliche’ and predictable, with its troubled girl and the puppy dog eyed boy following her. While I can see that point, my retort to that is, “So? It’s done well! It’s about the ride” And while two issues is hardly enough to prove either point, no one can argue that Young Liars isn’t a fantastic ride and I will continue to urge you and anyone else within ear shot to give it a try. If anything, it will be worth getting a sample of what rock n roll comics is like.

Ron Richards
Sometimes he forgets

Did you read Young Liars #2? Add a comment and tell everyone what you thought!


  1. So whose pick was it? And I didn’t know Geoff Johns wrote Young Liars? Just Kidding. I will definitely pick this up in trade.

  2. I agree with whom ever the pick went to (ron?). This book is very strong. There was some allure to it that was hard to put your finger on. Though i did find some of the parts with lyrics confusing at times. The spacing between them seemed to be off on a few pannels. But even with those minor criticizims, this book was fantastic.

  3. Didn’t have a clue about this book but now I can’t wait to see it for myself.



  4. Sorry about that folks, was so excited I forgot to sign the review – the pick was indeed mine!

  5. Yes, Yes this is great.  Didn’t expect it thanks.

  6. I thought this issue was alright.  It’s only the second issue and and this point it’s making me ask many questions, and that’s about it.  I enjoyed the first issue more and I will definitely give this book another chance with the next issue.  It just isn’t doing anything for my personally.  

  7. I really liked this issue,b ut my pick of the week was Echo #2.  The art in that comic was fantastic and the story was fun.  I now feel ashamed for having never picked up Strangers in Paradise.

  8. Didn’t read this.  My pick would’ve been Green Arrow-Black Canary, if only for that hilarious scene at the beginning. 


  9. Yeah, I haven’t read this series, but sounds like its worth reading. I definitely would’ve gone with JSA this week. Johns is on fire.

  10. Sounds interesting, though I have to admit that even after the discussion of the first issue on the show, and after reading this review, I still am not sure about the premise of this book.  Maybe that’s not a bad thing — not everything should sound like a movie pitch from ‘The Player’ when you describe it. That said. . .can somebody give me the movie pitch for this one?  Is it ‘Reality Bites’ meets ‘Reservoir Dogs,’ or what?

    As for me, I read ‘Criminal,’ ‘Wolverine,’ and ‘Green Arrow/Black Canary’ this week, and both enjoyed and had issues with all of them.

  11. Is Chiang off Green Arrow/Black Canary for good now…?  If so, what’s he doing…?

  12. There goes the DC streak…

  13. I was really excited about all my books this week for what seems to be no particular reason (granted, it IS finals week and I was excited for anything that wasn’t work). That said, I think I loved every single book I read this week, and thus, the pow is split between GLC and Criminal. GLC brought us back Peter Tomasi, and more of the "buddy cop" relationship that I wanted this series to turn into, can’t wait for the next one. And criminal was just awesome this week, finally meeting Teeg(ar) Lawless and seeing what the hell was happening off panel in last issue. Loved the use of blank panels to represent his booze blackouts, and somehow the fact that he did it all for his kids makes it all the more, I don’t know, painful? powerful? something like that. 

    Liked Titans, thought JSA was amazing, and decided that Geoff Johns shouldn’t be allowed to leave Booster Gold in a few issues. All in all, another good week to be a comics fan

  14. Wow! I hadn’t heard of this book ’til now (well, I’m sure I heard you mention it on the podcast, but I apprently forgot about it instantly) and I gotta say, I’m quite excited for it. I didn’t pull this book originally, and luckily I missed my trip to the comic store on Wednesday; now I can pick this book up when I go tonight or tomorrow. Hopefully there are still some issue 1’s remaining. Thanks for the recommendation.

  15. @Superyan It’s Vertigo.

  16. Ron, if you like this i think you might also like The Vinyl Underground (also by Vertigo). It’s a bit more noir, but it has an english-indy music vibe to it. I’ve liked it so far, but have heard little to no buzz about it!

  17. @Jim – Yep, Chaing left the book.  I believe he said somehting about having family issues that were keeping him from putting out a monthly book on time.

  18. Yeh a few weeks ago I decided to dive in to ‘Young Liars’, ‘Echo’ and’Rasl’ as they were all #1 issues from highly recommended indie creators. The one I liked least of the trio was ‘Young Liars’, mainly because all the characters seemed so deeply unpleasant & disconnected – there seemed to be no one to root for.

    But #2 was truly amazing, emotional cluster bombs going off every other page. Fantastic stuff!

    With ‘Echo’, I still have no idea where its going & whether I want to be going there too. I’ll stick with it until the end of the first arc and see.






  19. I picked up the first issue, and wasn’t really a big fan of it.  As many know (because I complain about it non stop), I’ve had to cut back on books, so I didn’t pick up the second one.  It sounds like if it conintues on this pace it will really have it’s feet and might be looking at in trade format. 

    My week was very good as I highly enjoyed <b>Nova, Serenity, Wolverine, and JSA</b>, but my pick this week is…

    <b><i>Criminal 2 #2</b></i>!  This book is pure eye sex with it’s pretty pictures and wonderful words.  I loved this issue and wished that it came out forever.  Also, the back up material by Jason Aaron was great, and strangely on topic with this week’s pull list. (He writes about great TV cops…)

  20. Hmm…apparently the HTML doesn’t work anymore?  Oh well, call me silly. 🙂

  21. I’ve come to realize that I just… cannot stand David Lapham and his sensibilities.  It started slowly as just not caring about his work then slowly grew into a seething ball of spite.  It’s no longer apathy.  I very actively despise his work and by association the man himself.  This is not logical or fair, but it is the truth of the matter.

  22. @gineration – true.  My comment was intended to mean that the DC Universe streak had ended.  However, as you point out, this is a Vertigo book, which is owned by DC.  And in that my comment could then mean there goes that DC streak as in its continued.  Either way, i’m covering my bases, though, yes originally I meant DCU with Green Lantern #29 and Action Comics #863.  I’m haven’t read my books yet, as I’m on last weeks still, but I did pick this up book up on Ron’s choice of it as POTW.

  23. I read the review first before reading the comic and actually i wasnt too excited about it. after reading it on break during work however, this was the best comic of the week indeed. i have read it twice already. much better than the first issue. you really get to know these characters a little more, the art is good and i like the whole music as a backdrop/soundtrack thing going on.

  24. I actually was able to pick up this week’s comics…and last week’s–slowly plugging away on four weeks.  So frustrating, I hate having to just plow through books but the stack is so high!  and now, now–I am officially running out of room for my boxes and need to figure out what to get rid of.


    no matter–very pleased with the pick, looking forward to reading it.  but I gots a question–I got Titans #1 and it says it’s part 2 of some story…was there an issue 0?  or are they just messing with me?

     happy friday,


  25. I’ve always Dug Lapham’s stuff–this said, I can see a "seething ball of hate" for it too. Totally muchismo sexist stuff. Is this book like that too?

  26. @marbles, i had a similar outlook on echo, but the price tag and low page count clinched it for me. i sadly reshelved it today when i went to pick up my books. i enjoyed the first ish, but maybe if i had read and enjoyed strangers in paradise, my actions might have been different. that said, im definitely sticking around for rasl, and im rather impressed with myself for taking some major risks these past few months on some (strongly recommended) "off-the-beaten-path" books like proof, dan dare, and rasl. young liars isnt much of a risk for me, as i’m a huge fan of lapham’s stuff. i also dropped a few x-books when i wasnt that pleased with them, which is VERY unusual for me. specifically, x-force. 

  27. Went to the store just to pick up Young Liars. Looked at it, thought is looked lame and bought All Star Superman #10 in stead. 

  28. @mikeromo-  I think if you check the thread about Titans #1 (under the comics section, then find the issue) someone mentioned that it’s a continuation of a story from a Titans East Annual…or something like that. 

    Where’s Conor when you need him?

  29. I finally re-logged in (sigh), to make a few comments and rate this weeks books.  I loved the first ish of Young Liars, but #2 seemed to me that it would make a better #3 or #4 than a #2.  It was great, but I just felt we needed a better grip on the characters as they are now, before we got that wrapped in their past.

    I guess what I’m really trying to say is that this issue would have worked better in a trade – or in a continuous read – than a month later floppy.

  30. Anyone know if this series was named for the TV On The Radio song/EP? It would stand to reason considering this is a very music-oriented book.

  31. Hey guys,

    I was a relative latecomer to the show but have been catching up with back episodes and enjoy your show immensely. For the most part, I’ve found your picks of the week to generally be deserving and, although I may not always agree that the POTW is THE best read of the week, it’s usually among the top of the stack for sure. 


    I am baffled that Young Liars is getting the cred it seems to be from this community and, in particular, that Ron choose it for his Pick of the Week. Seriously? Of the 200+ comics I’ve bought over the last two months, Young Liars #1 and #2 were easily my least favorite. I tried to give the series a 2nd try after loathing the first issue, and it only served to reinforce just how ridiculous the whole thing is. Cliches and stereotypes wrapped up in a nihilistic romp with nothing to say other than "LOOK HOW CRAZY PEOPLE ARE!" 

    Thanks but no thanks.

  32. Add me in with those that actively despise Lapham’s work. I hate to say that but after being pummeled by his arcs on Detective & the Spectre I’m just enraged whenever I see his name (& I tend to like dark stories). No way would I buy this. Never.

  33. Issue #2 blew me away. I had that Suicide song Johnny stuck in my head the rest of the day. I’m almost willing to go out on a limb and say that this could be as-good-or-better then Stray Bullets. I can’t wait for next month.

    BTW – I was really impressed with the Silverfish hardback.

  34. This book kicks a$$!

  35. as good as bullets maybe…

    better than?

    we’ll see. 

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