Thursday, February 20, 2014

Y: The Last Man - The Deluxe Edition Book OneY: The Last Man - The Deluxe Edition Book One by Brian K. Vaughan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Original Publication Year: 2002
Genre(s): Graphic Novel
Series: The Last Man Series
Awards: Eisner Award
Format: In Print
Narrated By: NA

Recommended subtitle:  This Just In - Men are actually really useful.

NOTE: This is book two read for the eclectic reader challenge hosted by Book'd Out and fits the Graphic Novel category. 

One day in 2002, everything with a Y chromosome drops dead. Everything that is, except the unfortunately named Yorick (22 year, unemployed escape artist) and his pet monkey, Ampersand. On one level this is the story of Yorick as he tries to deal with the fact that he is the last man on Earth and how he and a few others approach saving the human race. It’s an apocalyptic adventure, complete with a stone-faced secret agent, a wisecracking magician and a band of violent feminists. Israel is in there too though this in this first volume that part of the story is still pretty murky. The ultimate question is what caused this gender centric plague? Book one ends on an awesome little twisty cliffhanger.

On another level this is the ultimate ‘what if’ tale with a side of social commentary. Beyond the obvious problem of reproduction, there are some other repercussions, like industries collapsing because they are so heavily dominated by men (garbage collection, energy production, flight travel). Many of the scenes in the book manage to be satiric and tragic at the same time. Early on, the wives of republican congressman storm the capitol because there are so few women representatives and ¾ of them are democrats. They demand to be give their husband’s seats so that the government will be representatively two party again but there are no elected officials left to appoint them (because 90% of the nation’s Governors are dead). The scene ends when one of the republican wives accidentally shooting one of the secret service agents in the head. Satiric, darkly funny and tragic.

Overall, for an apocalyptic tale, it manages not to be too terribly grim though it is violent in places. While I found it a really interesting idea and thought the story intriguing enough, it did not grab my attention as well as other graphic series I’ve read (namely, The Fables). I found Yorick a little hard to take though he is only 22 so that could explain that:-). Despite not being totally in love with it I liked it enough that I will definitely continue with the series.

Final Verdict: A pretty engaging exploration of an interesting idea. Will be continuing on with the series.

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  1. Sounds like a very interesting idea, but more idea-driven than character-driven. I haven't read many graphic novels -- I tend to prefer to "see" the scenes inside my head -- but I'll be interested to hear where this goes.

    1. I'm not a huge graphic novel reader either and just read my first in the last couple years. I noticed that I didn't even mention the artwork (which was great) which I think is probably expected when reviewing a comic. I think this is because it's still really about the story/characters for me and you're right this felt more idea driven though it does have a definite plot. I kind of have a feeling it's going to continue to get better but I'm not dying to get my hands on the next in the series.

  2. I also wasn't in love with the story when I was one volume in, but I thought it got better and more interesting as it went along. There were a couple of story arcs that didn't work for me. Overall, a really good comic, though!

    1. Good to know that sticking with it will be rewarded!