Review: Y the Last Man

To get the ball rolling, after months of waiting I finally received my copy of the final Y the Last Man collection, Whys and Wherefores, and in order to get the most out of it I decided to reread the entire series while I was at it.

Y the Last Man is the most recent Vertigo series to attain classic status (along with Sandman, Preacher, and to a lesser extent Transmetropolitan), and for the most part the praise is very well deserved.  Brian K. Vaughan (who was offered a writing job for Lost based on his work in this comic) and Pia Guerra have crafted one of the best pieces of long form speculative fiction to have appeared in any medium in years.

The story revolves around the aftermath of a plague that wipes out every male on the planet with the exception of amateur escapist and grammar nazi Yorick Brown and his pet monkey Ampersand.  The two embark on a globe trotting journey to find Yorick’s missing girlfriend and hopefully the cause of the plague.  It’s a fairly straightforward set up, and it’s to Vaughan’s credit that he focuses Yorick escapades on the changing face of the world around him and goes out of his way at many points in the story to emphasize that the cause of the plague doesn’t matter (except in that it creates an excuse for many of Yorick’s travels).

It would have been so easy for a concept like this to produce a b movie plot.  But the craft on display has made it essential reading.  Between this, Ex Machina, and Pride of Baghdad Vaughan has become one of my absolute favorite writers in comics, and throughout the course of the series Pia Guerra has grown into the best comics artist in terms of character acting to come along since Steve Dillon.  This book is simply a must have for any comics collection, I just wish I had the foresight/patience to wait for the new hardcover editions that DC is releasing now, they’re much nicer than the trades.

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4 Comments on “Review: Y the Last Man”

  1. JasonT Says:

    Yeah … but I still want to know what caused the plague. 😛

  2. geekylibrarian Says:

    There was something like a dozen different explanations given for it. I kind of like the idea of going with whichever one sounds best on a given day.

  3. JasonT Says:

    I’d be okay with that if it weren’t for the fact that BKV specifically admitted that one of those explanations was the one he considered “right,” and that this should have been made apparent in the series. I am sick of postmodernism and poststructuralism! Just tell me what the authorial intent is or put it on Wikipedia for me to check later.

  4. geekylibrarian Says:

    I must have missed that comment from BKV, that definitely changes things. Damn now I can’t go back to my prior reading with the deliberate ambiguity and I liked that take so much better. Thanks a lot.

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