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Y: The Last Man, Vol. 1: Unmanned Paperback – January 2, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Yorick Brown is an escape artist; has a fabulous girlfriend who's traveling in Australia; and possesses a genetic make-up that's allowed him to survive a plague that killed every male being on the planet except for him and his pet monkey. Yorick is the last man on earth, and in the resulting chaos, he must find a way to help save the human race. At least that's what the (now all-female) government thinks. Yorick would prefer to find his girlfriend, but it's hard to get a flight halfway around the world when almost all the pilots and mechanics are gone. It's hard enough to drive down the block, since the streets are jammed with the cars of men who were behind the wheel when the instantaneous plague hit. Furthermore, the entire social fabric has gone to hell, with gun-wielding wives of Republican representatives insisting on getting their husbands' seats and tribes of latter-day Amazons claiming males were meant to die. Since Yorick's mother is a congresswoman, he's protected by secret spies. And his escape skills come in handy when he's trapped first by a marauding garbage-woman and then by his mother, as she tries to keep him from doing anything stupid. Meanwhile, who are the mysterious Israeli soldiers who seem so gratified by the situation, and why is Yorick's sister so intent on joining the Amazons? With clean lines and muted colors, Guerra and Marz n invoke a frighteningly believable future; their vision of the surprise and horror to come is so beautifully ordinary, it's entirely convincing-and addictive.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
A mysterious plague has killed every man on earth except Yorick Brown, who was somehow spared. That is the provocative premise of the comics series whose first five issues make up this book. The sole Y-chromosomed survivor is an amiable, headstrong young man, the son of a U.S. congresswoman and, as it happens, an amateur escape artist. He spends most of the story on the run from a tribe of self-styled Amazons bent on eliminating the last vestige of patriarchy. He is also trying, with a bioengineer who may be responsible for the worldwide "gendercide," to figure out why he survived; hoping to reach his girlfriend in Australia; and, of course, contemplating the repopulation of the planet. Rather pedestrian artwork doesn't do much to liven the story, though its straightforwardness imparts deadpan believability to such ramifications as the female secretary of agriculture ascending to the presidency. Fast-paced anyway, the yarn introduces a large number of intriguing characters and plotlines as it lays the groundwork for what promises to be a compelling series. Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top customer reviews
The titular 'Y' in this story is Yorrick Brown. An amateur magician and literary student, he is the only man (along with his pet monkey) to survive a mysterious plague that rapidly wipes out every other male of any species on the planet. He is far from the only character in this series however, as a good 3/4's of the plot is devoted to the female politicians, doctors, EMT's, and special forces that remain in the world. Needless to say, the wide depth of characters is easily the best aspect of this story.
Dialogue is also a strength in this series. Vaughn can be both witty and emotive with his turns of phrase, and he has crammed in a boatload of statistics about women, the government, and all sorts of random trivia. This can occasionally become to obvious, but it's not a huge problem.
The one weakness in this story is the monkey, Ampersand. He causes nothing but problems and should have, at the very least, been tossed into a cage a long time ago. Hopefully this comes under control in the next volume.
However, the hostility directed against Yorick by so many vigilante women doesn't quite ring true. He doesn't know why he wasn't affected by whatever killed all of the men and neither does the government or his mother. I can't see any intelligent woman, much less his mother or the USA government, permitting him to roam about, traveling with a single bodyguard to try to reach Boston or Australia.
However, 'Y' is definitely suspenseful. I have decided to stop judging the implausible bits for now. I am curious how the series will end. Since this is volume 1 of 10, obviously there are cliffhangers left. On to volume 2!
In the process, Yorick and the people who help him encounter crazed "Amazons," who believe it is their duty to remove the last vestige of the male of the species from the planet, an out-of-control Israeli Defense Forces commander who wants Yorick for her own purposes, Yorick's mother, a Representative and one of the few members of the U.S. government left alive, Yorick's sister (with a few plot twists I won't reveal), and various others, some who try to aid him, many of whom try to kill him.
The science in this set of graphic novels frankly doesn't make much sense, so you have to turn your brain off, much as you have to do when you read Superman. Some of the depictions of life without men make sense; some less so. There are plot twists galore and *everyone* has secrets, some of which aren't revealed until the final volume.
I found the artwork in this series to be adequate but uninspiring. It reminded me a little of the old Curt Swan Superman and Legion of Super Heroes days. It's clean and uncluttered but this isn't artwork that's going to blow you away or that you'll want to show off to your friends. The real attraction to this series is the writing. To a certain extent, I think that's appropriate, as this doesn't have the grandeur and the scope of, say, the latest Avengers or Justice League space battle.
The first volume of the series is a mixed bag. In it, we are introduced to Yorick, his girlfriend, his mother, his pet monkey, "Agent 355," assigned by his mother to guard Yorick, geneticist Allison Mann, Yorick's sister, Hero, and the Amazons. After the setup, we find Yorick out and about, hiding behind a gas mask so that no one will know that he's male, a wise precaution since the first woman who finds out about him tries to handcuff him so that she can sell him to the highest bidder.
Yorick finds his way to his mother, who assigns Agent 355 to protect him as he makes his way to Boston to find Dr. Allison Mann, a geneticist whom they are hoping will be able to figure out why he's immune, and Yorick's sister, Hero (their father was a Shakespearean professor). They encounter several obstacles along the way but do find Dr. Mann, only to find her lab torched shortly thereafter, which requires a change in plans - a trip to California where she knows of an alternate lab.
My biggest problem with this volume is that Yorick is kind of a loser, always acted on rather than doing the acting. Frankly, it's hard to feel much sympathy for him. In later volumes this changes, so it's worth sticking around, but if I had only read the first volume and didn't know anything about the later volumes, I'm not sure I'd have made it past this first one. It is worth doing so, though, and you need to get the setup in this one to make sense of the rest. I can definitely recommend the series more than I can the setup.