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Y: The Last Man: The Deluxe Edition, Book 1 by Brian K. Vaughan

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A mysterious plague kills every being with a Y chromosome, except for a boy named Yorick Brown and his male pet monkey Ampersand. Once it's known that one man has survived, secret agent 355 is assigned to protect Yorick as he finds his way to cloning expert Dr. Mann in Boston, while other groups try to grab Yorick for their own purposes. I was a bit wary of this since I have read something else by the author that I didn't care for at all, but with recommendations coming at me from all directions, I thought I should at least give one a try and I wasn't disappointed at all. There is, of course, a multitude of things to be said about an all-women society depicted by a male author, but I'm going to leave that to those more interested in gender issues than me. The dystopian angle is what I really liked, particularly the issues of day-to-day living. There are a couple of things that irked me slightly (e.g. that the Amazons hack off the "wrong" breast and that Yorick goes nuts in Marrisville without a reason considering the whole world is in mayhem), but it's absolutely a series I plan to continue. The "Deluxe" versions of these books include two of the collected volumes as well as the script for one of the issues. ( )
  -Eva- | Jul 22, 2014 |
Interesting concept and interesting story. Every male creature on the earth is dead, except Yorrick Brown and his male monkey, Ampersand, appear to be the only ones alive, the world is in chaos and women are coping in different ways with the situation. Some have become amazons, trying to eliminate all traces of men from the world, some are grasping for power. He has to survive, find some answers and throughout it all he wants to find his girlfriend who said yes just as everything went wrong.

Interesting and quite readable. ( )
  wyvernfriend | May 2, 2013 |
Hmmm... I rather enjoyed this. It had a sort of 'Lost' feel to it underneath its growing post-apocalyptic setting that I dug. Pacing seems about right and it doesn't bring in TOO many characters; wondering all over the place. (i.e. The Stand)

Well written, looks great... pretty fun over all. ( )
  ninjoblio | Mar 30, 2013 |
(this review is for all five deluxe books in the series)

Y: The Last Man is one of the best graphic novels I've ever read. Funny how this should mirror Stephen King's review found on the cover. It's a well-deserved claim. A mysterious plague instantly kills all male mammals on the planet except for a young twenty something and his pet monkey. The chaos and confusion that ensues makes this such a innovative and memorable dystopia. There's Amazon gangs, lesbian encounters (with all the men gone, why not, right?), ninja assassins and just enough plausible science fiction to make the plot cohesive without being convoluted. The characters are memorable and likable, if not flawed. Inventive and original, this book transcends its own genre and can be easily enjoyed by non-comic book readers. Erotic without being gratuitous, coarse without being obscene, and graphic without being gory. It's definitely aimed at adults for several reasons but isn't so risque as to detract from the readability. All in all, I highly recommend this series. ( )
  matthew254 | May 9, 2012 |
The first issue of Y: The Last Man is a nice piece of comics writing, and one of those things I think you could only do in comics-- or at the very least, it works really well in comics. We open with a women freaking out that something's wrong with her sons when she runs into a cop. But the cop isn't listening to her. "It's the men..." she says as she raises a gun to her head. "All of the men are dead." Such is the premise of Y: The Last Man. Some unknown factor has killed every mammal with a Y chromosome on the Earth, all at once.

As comics like to do (this was done really well in the first issue of Identity Crisis), the comics moves to "Twenty-Nine Minutes Ago." A guy named Yorick is hanging from his ceiling in a straitjacket in New York, talking to his girlfriend Beth in Australia. Beth is skinny, blond, and wears short-shorts and a bikini as she frolics in the Outback. She's maybe the one weak spot here-- she just doesn't have any depth as a character, and though this issue tries to explain to you how important she is to Yorick, it doesn't quit hit home. But anyway, this conversation is interrupted by a call from Yorick's mother, who wants to know if he got a job he interviewed for. (The caption tells us that it's still Brooklyn and it's still twenty-nine minutes ago. This is wrong.) They have a brief conversation, but when the conversation's over, we stay with Yorick's mom, who is a congresswoman. (From Ohio!) She's arguing with her party leader.

We go back to Yorick, who's explaining to his girlfriend that he's raising a monkey named Ampersand. Said monkey turns on the TV, which is showing a report about military action in the West Back. Suddenly we're in the West Bank, too ("Eighteen Minutes Ago"), following an Israeli woman soldier talking to the TV reporter.

Then, back to Yorick and Beth for a page. Then we're in Jordan (no nice transition this time, but it is "Thirteen Minutes Ago"), watching a black woman called "Agent 355" take an amulet from another woman just as she is shot.

Then back to Yorick and Beth again. Beth says, "Before you say anything, there's... there's something I should tell you." "I'm having a baby," picks up an Asian-American doctor in a hospital in Boston ("Seven Minutes Ago"). She's cloned herself... and is having her own baby.

"We can't do this here," says the physician helping her, and then we're in an ambulance, also in Boston, where Yorick's sister Hero is having sex with a man when she's interrupted by a phone call from their mother.

Back to Yorick and Beth again. "Five Seconds Ago." He proposes.

"Four Seconds Ago." His mother talks to her aide.

"Three Seconds Ago." The TV reporter begins to ask the female solider out.

"Two Seconds Ago." Agent 355 makes her escape in a helicopter.

"One Second Ago." The birth is going wrong.

"NOW." All of the men on the previous page drop dead, blood coming out of their eyes and mouth. We cut across the world: Tokyo, the Vatican, Idaho, Amsterdam, Sao Paulo, Johnson Space Center, Leningrad, Kenya. Every man is dead. Lots of quick transitions. Then, back to that cop.

"All of the men are dead." BANG.

Yorick hears the shot from her gun. "Hello?" he asks. End of issue.

Okay, that was a lot, but I really liked it. The structure, moving from the conversation of Yorick and Beth into each side story, usually semi-linked, worked. A large cast is introduced quickly, and we get to see a wide range of effects from the "gendercide" in a short time.

No other issue in this volume does anything like that again, but I suppose it's best to be sparing with your clever structures in writing. (Steven Moffat never really learned this in Coupling.) The rest of the first story, "Unmanned" picks up two months later, as Yorick has learned that he and Ampersand are the only male mammals (or near as much) left alive. They make their way to Washington, D.C. amidst a strange new world, and thence back to Boston in the company of Agent 355, where they hope to find Dr. Mann, the doctor working on cloning. There's not really an overarching plot, just a number of individual incidents: 355 gets the Secretary of Agriculture to be president, Yorick meets his mother and helps fight off crazy wives of Republican congresswomen, Yorick fights Amazons (no, really) next to the Washington Monument, and Yorick and 355 meet up with Dr. Mann just as the Israeli soldier woman burns down Mann's lab. Thus setting up the main plot for the series: Yorick, Agent 355, Dr. Mann, and Ampersand making their way across the country to Mann's other lab in San Francisco, to hopefully find out what protected Yorick-- and maybe even make them immune.

The second story, "Cycles," sees the group falling off a train in Ohio (yay!) and encountering an almost utopian community of women... but all, of course, is not as it seems. Also, the Amazons catch up to them.

Like I said, there's no super-clever structure stuff again, but it is pretty consistently enjoyable. Yorick is a wise-cracking protagonist who makes a lot of pop culture references-- he's right out of a Joss Whedon show-- but he works well enough. Agent 355 is a bit inscrutable, but good for a joke, and Dr. Mann is one of the most beautiful women in comics for reasons I can't quite explain. There's some good laughs, though a few too many moments where people are able to give long important speeches in tense situations. (Which is really only a thing you can pull off in comics, where everyone literally does stay still while someone talks.)

There are a couple problematic bits. For a super-spy, Agent 355 sure does let schmucky old Yorick get the drop on her one too many times. How did she fight America's enemies abroad with reactions like this? And though I understand that things are tight, would you really send only one agent with the last man alive? You'd guard that guy ridiculously! Also I can't decide if I like the angry feminist characters or not.

On the other hand, there are some nice little moments that make the whole thing work. My favorite one here is when Yorick runs into an ex-supermodel. What does she do now? For canned goods, she rounds up men's corpses in a dump truck.

Speaking of which, there's a great text page after the first issue: "Welcome to the UNMANNED World." It lays out just exactly how devastating such a gendercide would be: not just 48% of the world population, but 495 of Fortune 500 CEOs, 99% of landowners, 95% of pilots, truck drivers, and ship captains. Almost no military officers are left. This is the real success of Y: The Last Man, I think. Getting us to reflect on how male-dominated our world still is, despite whatever pretensions we might have to the contrary.

Y: The Last Man: Next in sequence »
3 vote Stevil2001 | May 11, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brian K. Vaughanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Guerra, PiaIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Marzán Jr., JoséIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Yorick Brown, an unemployed and unmotivated slacker, discovers that he is the only male left in the world after a plague of unknown origin instantly kills every mammal with a Y chromosome.

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