psiqueue (psiqueue) wrote in trubookreviews,

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Y-The Last Man

The past two weekends, I have spent my Saturday evenings reading the Y:The Last Man graphic novels, by Brian K. Vaughan.  I am not sure what possessed me to decided to read them; chances are, it might have been one of the Unshelved strips that mentioned the series and I thought it sounded interesting enough to give it a try.  (I am a sucker for natural disaster/ Man against Nature/ mass destruction or death stories, be it movies, books, or TV shows).
Now, since I read the books back to back to back (5 the first weekend, the last 3 the next time around), then all seemed to blend together into one story, so I will review the series.

In the saga, on July 17, 2002, a world wide event occurs- ALL THE MEN ON THE PLANET DIE.  This gendercide is not just limited to humans- dogs, cats, horses, monkeys, everything with a Y chromosome is suddenly extinct.  No one is sure why this has occurred- some thing it is the Rapture (that they weren't kidding when it was said God made Man in his image); some thing it was a genetically designed plague that attacks the Y chromosome; other think it is the result of a curse placed on a special antique necklace that is NEVER to leave its country of origins.  All the ladies know is that there are no longer any men....

Except for Yorrick Brown and his pet monkey, Ampersand. For some unknown reason, Yorrick is the last surviving man on the planet.  Fearing for his continued existence, Yorrick dons a gas mask and a cloak, and makes his way from NYC to Washington, D.C., hoping to find his mother, who just happens to be a member of the House of Representatives.  However, this trek is not as easy as it sounds- for you see, with the loss of 49.5% of the population, the very fabric of society is thrown into chaos.  And this is the result of one thing- society's demand that MEN, and not Women, hold positions of power, of education, of knowledge and wisdom.  It is men who help control and run the power plants; it is men who drive the trucks which take products across the country; it is men who are soldiers fighting in combat zones.  And it is MEN who have a hand in making babies. 

Now, from this chaos rises up various groups and cultures- ladies who become Amazons (right down to the voluntary removal of their left breasts) to those who suddenly feel that there is no competition from Men for the pick of the ladies(and in some cases, willing to go the extra.....9 inches to have the pick of the ladies) , to the ladies who are having to realize that there are now having to rely on each other for support, in all sense of the word.  

Once Yorrick reaches NYC, he manages to find his mother, and has what was suppose to be a happy reunion...except suddenly, the newly appointed Madame President assigned Agent 355 (pronounced "three-fiffyfive") to escort Yorrick to Boston, where the nation's leading authority on genetic cloning- Dr. Mann- is suppose to be located.  Hopefully, with the aid of Dr. Mann, the reason for Yorrick's continued existence can be discovered and that a cure can be made so that cloning of Yorrick can help repopulate the human race.  (Come on- one man is NOT up for the challenge of restarting the human race, no matter what "they" say or how much they brag).  But all Yorrick cares about is trying to get to Australia..for the moment the plague hit, he proposed to his girlfriend Beth, and was disconnected before he ever got an answer.  So, while the heart wants to go one way, the mind says to follow the Secret Agent with the gun and the wicked attitude.

Well, at the same time this trek back north is occurring, there is trouble with Yorrick's sister- Hero.  (Yes, that is her name...)  She has managed to join up with the Amazons, and is trying to track down the rumored "last male" and kill him, so that the female gender can once and for all be free of male domination.   Now, as if that wasn't bad enough, there is a group of Israel female spec ops team also trying to track down this surviving male, in the hopes of capturing him and bring him back to Israel.  (Yes, instead of the Arms race, there is a race for another body part...).  So, the question is- will Yorrick and Agent 355 make it to Boston?  Will Dr. Mann find a way to cure the plague and help Yorrick repopulate the male species?  Or Will the Israels get Yorrick first and made him do horror, terrible, awful things that he hasn't doe ne since he was a teenager?  And what about the Amazons- are THEY going to be the first to get to Yorrick and will Hero have the (pardon the pun) balls to kill her own brother and free womankind from men?


What I am going to say is that this series is probably one of my favorites in the past 5 years.  The art work is decent- the artists don't try anything fancy or high tech or anything, nor are you having to wonder- what the HELL is that?  You look at the the images and know that nothing artistic is needed to show a gun shot..or a fight scene...or even the occasional tasteful girl on girl action.

The dialogue is....well, it goes to show that once the men are all gone, the ladies have the ability to swear with the best of them.  (One scene in particular addresses the issue of the word "Fuck " in a comic book, and how it is not suppose to be said in a comic book....).  But while it is salty, the discussion between the main characters is rather interesting.  Yorrick is a typical male geek- be quotes Shakespeare, Mel Brooks, Douglas Adams, and various other pop culture icons; think "What if Kevin Smith was to write the dialogue for a comics about the last man" and you have an idea of what Yorrick is like.  He isn't afraid to try to made a funny at the most inappropriate times.   

The storylines are interesting and makes one thing beyond the basic story.  "What would the world be like if there were no men?" (I HEARD THAT!!!  Stop cheering.... stop it......::points to you: You too...).  And how far would one person be willing to go for love?  Or does the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few...or the one?  And what the HELL was going through the parents mind when they named the children   YORRICK and HERO?!?!  (Oh wait..that is me...nevermind).

And there is plenty of other exciting stuff too... like ninjas, lesbians, astronauts, twins, monkeys, pirates, secret agents, guns and  explosions...and lesbians (HEY- in a book like this, of COURSE you are going to mention lesbians twice).  If you are looking for a good story, then I would DEFINITELY say read this series.  And try to hold down the yelling of "GIRL POWER"; some of us still have some fragile male egos.

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