Publisher Website: Brian K. Vaughan (Author), Pia Guerra (Artist)
In this era of pandemic I thought it'd be fun to review one of my favorite bio-based apocalyptic comic book series
Hints of: Really its all on its own this one, bit of politics, bit of suspense, bit of conspiracy.
Warning: Moments of anti-feminism
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 bio-engineer 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 re-population of the planet.
In this time of pandemic a global medical apocalypse type comic book just feels right to review yea?....
Ok I know, you don't want to keep reading about this stuff, but seriously this was what I had planned on reviewing from the beginning. I was handed this book back in 2014 by a former coworker of mine. I instantly fell in love because of the plot.
"Last man on Earth".
Its one of those plots that gets tossed around in the apocalyptic literature and this one hits the nail on the head. A modern take on what would actually happen in this scenario. In my opinion, the author gets some of the aspects of what would happen right on the money. Others? Not so much.
In this series we begin by meeting Yorick, a struggling young adult man who has ambitions of being an escape artist but is falling flatfooted on finding anyone to pay him. Shocking. Took make end's meet he's accompanied by a monkey of which he acquired by signing up for a medical study. Yorick is introduced while talking on the phone with his girlfriend who's taking a gap year in Australia (must be nice). He's trying to ask her to marry him when the connection drops and shit starts to hit the fan outside his apartment window. Planes falling out of skies, cars crashing randomly on the streets below, chaos.
We have just entered into a world where no men are left except Yorick and his male monkey counterpart.
Meanwhile on Capital Hill, Yorick's mother, the US Congresswoman, has just watched her male intern fall flat to the ground and bleed out. Unbeknownst to her this has happened everywhere to all male subjects of Earth. She has unwillingly just become the President of the United States even though she's at least 18th in line.
Yorick eventually meets up with his mother, Madam President, to her shock of course, and asks for her help to reunite with his girlfriend down under. Of course the one thing on his mother's mind is babies. But not just grandchildren this time. Yorick however, never signed up for this, neither did his pet monkey. A debate begins when all of a sudden all the ranking republican member's wives approach the White House. Fully armed.
I have to take a brief break here to fully laugh at that series of events. The political wit of Vaughan here is genius. Sorry...please continue.
Yorick is locked in the nuclear bunker, Madam President pleads her political case, Republican wives start shooting, its a cluster. However once the dusts settles Yorick is revealed to be what he said he was. An expert escape artist. After his introduction to the Republicans, he's assigned a secret service agent to find out what happened, and why Yorick survived.
Rumor has it a bio engineer may have an answer. She is hold up in her lab running tests and grieving the loss of her genetically cloned nephew she tried to birth when the tragedy struck. Yes it was illegal, yes the doctor didn't want to perform the birth, but in the end it didn't matter, both infant and doctor fell flat on the floor. End of story.
Fast forward a couple of weeks. There are mass funerals, mass memorial services, mass everything for fallen husbands, fathers, brothers, sons, etc. However, one group of women "The Amazons" see this as judgement of the Y-chromosomes. This is the time of women and as the Amazon's of old, any woman who stands in their way will be dealt a similar fate as the men. One such woman is Yorick's sister. And when the Amazon's find out a male has survived this ordeal, the leader unknowingly tasks the male's sister to finish the race of men off.
The plot itself feels like one of those obvious plots that's been written before but it truly hasn't. Vaughan and Guerra do a wonderful job at creating all sorts of twists and turns like any classic comic book story. It shouldn't surprise anyone that another of Vaughan's great works is Saga which was our first comic book review here at G&T.
This comic book is also just fun. That's really the review. There's a scene where a garbage truck comes careening into Yorick. The driver comes out and begins conversing with him and reveals that she was a supermodel before everything happened. She had just gotten breast implants and says the line "Fat lot of good that does me now". Like I'd mentioned before, the clever wit that Vaughan produces in this series is quick and hilarious. It pulls at your feminist tendencies and challenges some values you may have. But end of the day, its fun. There's not much controversy and the art reflects that. This is a book to get lost in and a comic to not gawk about the artwork. Guerra does great but its a real world-esque comic book so there's nothing too crazy to draw about.
I think one other thing that I appreciate about Y: The Last Man is its not your classic comic book superhero novel. The protagonist doesn't want to be a hero, the antagonist isn't your typical villain, and the plot isn't fighting crime. I wanted to write a review about this after some superhero reviews because it shows the diversity in the comic book world. There are plenty of series out there that challenge what you initially thought what a comic book should be.
I highly recommend cracking this series open. Especially since we all have so much time on our hands now.
Drink Pairing: A Quartini, obviously
Stay home. Stay healthy. Stay safe.