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Y: The Last Man, Vol. 4: Safeword Paperback – December 1, 2004

Book 4 of 10 in the Y: The Last Man Series

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Y: The Last Man, Vol. 4: Safeword + Y: The Last Man, Vol. 3: One Small Step + Y: The Last Man, Vol. 5: Ring of Truth
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Vertigo (December 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401202322
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401202323
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.4 x 10.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,919 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Vaughan and Guerra have crafted a frequently funny, sometimes compelling, postapocalyptic American road story with a twist. A mysterious plague has wiped out every man around the globe, except for one: a sardonic 20-something romantic named Yorick. Poor Yorick, however, has to conceal his identity from man-hating Amazons, renegade separatists and all sorts of other female factions who want to use him for one thing or another. He's on the run with a government agent and a geneticist as they hope to figure out what caused the plague and how Yorick survived. This volume focuses on the character development of Yorick and geneticist Dr. Alison Mann. Vaughn spends three chapters on Yorick's past and present psychosexual traumas, as he encounters a very eccentric therapist; the next three chapters follow Dr. Mann down some dangerous roads. Vaughn is an excellent episodic writer, able to sustain a suspenseful arc of plot, themes and realistic characters from one moment to the next. Guerra's art is unremarkable but competently conveys all kinds of action. Most important, Vaughn makes readers care for his characters. In the tradition of much good sci-fi writing, his fantastic plague backdrop is a very clever way of isolating and expanding on simple human themes of love, loneliness, fear and, of course, gender relations.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

If the story tacked on to One Small Step [BKL My 1 04] was seventh-inning-stretch comic relief, the fourth installment of Y: The Last Man gets back to the game in high style. California-bound Yorick Brown, agent 355, and cloning expert Alison Mann reach deep-rural Colorado, where 355 leaves Yorick with former associate 711 while she and Mann get antibiotics for the only other living male, Yorick's monkey, Ampersand. Yorick isn't just getting stashed out of harm's way. Unbeknownst to him, 711 is to play with his head to curtail his penchant for life-threatening heroics. The treatment involves testing his sexuality as well as his will to live. Though lurid (think Kitten with a Whip meets The Evil Dead), it seems to work, and when Yorick's fellow travelers return, the little troupe heads further west. In Arizona, they encounter survivalist secessionists as dangerous as the self-proclaimed Amazons still pursuing them. The action blazes before a foreboding jump cut back to Kansas. Still artfully written and plainly drawn, Y remains a helluva trip. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

Graphic novels work the same kind of way when you have never seen a t.v. series.
C. J. Wesley
It blended together a lot of really interesting story lines, and you can't help but get attatched to the majority of the main characters.
Paul Polonskiy
Not only do I recommend this volume, but I urge you to read the rest of the series as well!
Will Carper

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By N. Durham HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 19, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Safeword, the fourth collected volume of Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra's smashing Vertigo title Y: The Last Man, continues the journey of Yorick Brown, the last man on Earth. When his pet monkey Ampersand (who is the only other living male mammal left on the planet) gets sick, Yorick's cohorts Dr. Mann and Agent 355 drop him off with 355's old partner, the sexy Agent 711. What happens next tests everything that Yorick has come to known, and he makes a startling discovery about himself in the process. The second storyarc finds Yorick and co. stuck in the desert and up against a crazed militia who have their own agenda. With tough choices and revelations abound for everyone involved, the direction that the series will go in is shaped more clearly now than ever before. Like previous reviews have stated, Safeword is easily the most mature of the series so far, with Vaughan's storytelling getting better panel after panel. Pia Guerra's artwork serves it's purpose as it has before, but it's Vaughan who steals the spotlight here. If he keeps this up, his name will be in the same breath as modern day masters Ennis, Ellis, Morrison, and maybe even Moore.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Thomas D. Feeps on January 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
I'd heard great things about Y: The Last Man and picked up an issue (I think #28) to give it a shot. The premise seemed pretty far fetched to me, and the issue left me a bit confused. The dialogue and art were OK, but I decided not to keep up with it.

Then I started with the first TPB, and COULD NOT GET ENOUGH OF IT!! You really have to start back at the beginning with Yorick, or else you won't know who Agent 355, Dr. Mann, Hero, or Ampersand (sp?) are--and you should! I went through all four tpb's in two days!

This is a journey saga, and as we travel with Yorick across the country we find that his friends, allies, and enemies are ALWAYS more than they seem and despite my earlier concerns, always very well written. Vaughan does an excellent job of pacing the story with physical action, mental intrique, and pschological probing. The dialogue that I thought was "OK" before, I now see as natural and envigorating. He teases us, releasing information at just the right time--in this tpb we learn why Yorick isn't just bedding down with every women he meets. It's not an earth shattering reason, but somewhat unexpected and yet profoundly believable.

I've heard this series is supposed to last sixty issues. Although I'll be sad to see it go, the fact that this story has a beginning, middle, and end certainly shows. The focus is refreshing, and adds a level of realism.

I'm not sure how much you'll enjoy book 4 if you pick it up cold, but try the first tpb (or the comics) and I guarantee you'll still love the story by issue #23 (where this one ends).
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Andrew on February 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
Things never seem to go right for Yorick Brown, the last man on Earth. Nearly two years ago, a mysterious plague wiped out every mammal with a Y chromosome except for Yorick and his pet monkey Ampersand. Along with the mysterious Agent 355 and geneticist Dr. Allison Mann, the trio is going to California in order to get to some research that could be mankind's last hope. After the mysterious events of the mini-arc known as Comedy & Tragedy, 355 and Dr. Mann leave Yorick in the care of one of 355's former colleagues, Agent 711 (remember that the numbers are pronounced Three-Fifty-Five and Seven-Eleven, making for a great one-liner) while the two ladies go to a hospital to help the wounded Ampersand. Of course, something unexpected occurs, and Yorick has to question certain things that he once believed. We also get a glimpse into the history of the Brown family, including a hint at a traumatizing event in his sister Hero's past.

Furthermore, yet another militant women's group makes an appearance, though this one has a much different political agenda than ones previously seen. The end leaves Yorick in a strange place emotionally that will be very interesting to explore in future issues.

As usual, Brian K. Vaughan doesn't disapoint. The story remains engaging, and the humor is great, while the overall dark tone remains. The art is great, and may even be improving. If you haven't started Y yet, get on it soon!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Raymond M. Rose on April 3, 2006
Format: Paperback
So now things are getting a little weirder. As if being the last man on the planet (along with your pet monkey) and having half of the women want to kill you for what you represent, having a quarter not want you at all because they are playing for the other side, and having the last quarter want to jump your bones wasn't weird enough, let's make it weirder. We now get into Yorrick's head and man, it isn't pretty.

Vaughan, the genius that he is, dials it back for a second or two in the area of action and the usual one-thing-after-another-after-another plotting that comic book series fall victim to. Instead he takes a moment to dive into the head of the main character and give us some reasons for some of the crazy crap that he does. It's great, peeling away his layers, because when he's whole again, Yorrick is a totally different character. Trust me, you'll know what I mean when it happens.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robert Beveridge HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on September 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
Brian K. Vaughan, Y: The Last Man: Safeword (DC Comics, 2004)


Y: The Last Man has been good so far-- straightforward action-adventure with an unlikely hero. Sounds like a Hollywood action flick, doesn't it? Well, yeah. Turn your brain off and have a good time. Safeword, however, blasts Y out of the good and into the stratospheric.

One thing I'm noticing about the graphic novels I'm encountering that are truly excellent-- Preacher, Sandman, Bone, Watchmen, etc.-- is that the story goes off in directions you'd never expect, and yet it all manages to tie in without seeming overly artificial. (Well, okay, you suspended disbelief from the first few panels, but it all makes internal sense anyway.) At the beginning of this episode, the unlikely hero, Yorick, is delivered into the hands of one of 355's old workmates for safekeeping while 355 and Dr. Mann head off into Denver to get some antibiotics for Ampersand, who's developed an infection. All seems to be going well, until... well, basically, saying anything about this episode is a spoiler. Trust me, though, it's worth it.

It almost seems as if, somewhere between books three and four, Vaughan grew up. Don't get me wrong, inane jokes still abound, but where the other books have overall had an action-movie tone of juvenile humor about one man on earth with three billion women, Safeword develops a tone from the get-go far more intimate than its predecessors. You care about the characters more by the time you've finished the first chapter than you have before, and that makes all the difference.

If Vaughan continues at this clip, this will rival Watchmen and Preacher as one of the best out there. ****
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More About the Author

Brian K. Vaughan is the Eisner Award-winning writer of Y: THE LAST MAN, EX MACHINA, RUNAWAYS, and PRIDE OF BAGHDAD. His newest work, with artist/co-creator Fiona Staples, is SAGA, an ongoing sci-fi/fantasy series from Image Comics that The Onion's A.V. Club called, "the emotional epic Hollywood wishes it could make." Vaughan lives in Los Angeles, where he works as a writer and producer on various film and tv projects, including three seasons on the hit series LOST.

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Y: The Last Man, Vol. 4: Safeword
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