Released: January 2nd 2003
Warning: Death (human, animal)
It’s time to start a new series for Throwback Thursdays! I’ll admit I had a bit of trouble picking a new series that’s on the older side. It wasn’t until I started taking a look at the publishing dates at the books on my TBR list that I realized most of them are (relatively) new. Then I remembered I’ve been meaning to read Y: The Last Man for years, and thus the perfect idea was born. And it’s pretty appropriate timing too, considering the latest volume in another of Vaughn’s series just released this week (Saga vol. 8, for those that are curious).
Y: The Last Man is brought to you by Brian K. Vaughn (Runaways, Doctor Strange: The Oath, Saga, Paper Girls), Pia Guerra (Doctor Who: The Forgotten, Simpsons Comics), and Jose Marzan Jr (Action Comics, Final Night, Nightwing). Yorick Brown (AKA “Y”) finds himself to be the last male alive, along with his pet monkey, Ampersand (love the name). Every other being on the planet with a Y chromosome has very suddenly dropped dead, and to our knowledge these two fellas are the only exceptions.
This series is a little bit of everything; we have the dystopian aspect (probably don’t even need to explain that one), romance/adventure to save love (Yorick’s fiancé is somewhere in Australia, which may as well be another world away at the moment), political commentary (probably pretty obvious, but more on that later), action/violence, sass, and more. It makes for a very well rounded and interesting series.
Warning first: This is probably insanely obvious, but just in case. Half of the world’s population suddenly (and somewhat graphically) dropped dead at the same instant. Not only is this a tragedy in itself (obviously), but it also leaves for a big…mess. Think about the number of bodies that would have to be gathered. This is all portrayed in the series. It’s not terribly graphic if you don’t let yourself think about it too much, but it is still certainly a thing. So you’ve been warned. So far the bodies have mostly been humans, though there’s a small puppy scene that’s sad (being held by a little girl too boot) as well as some farm animals.
Okay, so the first issue or so is a bit odd. We’re given some time to get to know Yorick, as well as the world he lives in, before the event (I don’t believe it’s been giving a name yet) occurs. Granted it’s less than a half-hours time, but I’ll take it. Yorick (I’ll start calling him Y after this) is pretty much a shut-in ever since his girlfriend left for Australia. It seems like he just lost the drive to go out, though maybe it’s a little bit anxiety. His attempt to do what his peers are all doing (charity work) ended him up with a stubborn monkey named Ampersand. I’m pretty sure he only barely listens to any commands.
Now, we can theorize all day about why Y (say that ten times fast) is one of the two known male survivors, but to be frank we’re just too early in the series to be given an answer like that. It could be his being a shut in did the trick, but if that’s the case statistically there should be other survivors (unless there were other factors that also contributed). His theory about the ring could be correct, though my bet is if that is the case, it isn’t because it’s magic but for some other (scientific) reason. Hopefully we’ll have an answer by the end, as I imagine the viability of his offspring may depend on that.
While we’re at it, we don’t even really know why all the males died. At least, not yet. There’s a doctor who blames herself for it; as her clone baby was born and then died at the exact moment to make it all look pretty damning. It could have been a coincidence, especially since I don’t know what that infant could have had in him that would carry across the globe nearly instantly. So while it looks plausible at first, I’m ruling this one out. The other presented theory (so far) is the necklace. Again, unless there’s a scientific reason for it (say that necklace leaving a certain range triggers a computer system to release a gas or some such thing) I’m not sure this is it either. Though the creative team did feel the need to show us both of these events, so they likely tie in somehow, even if it is just to confuse us.
While reading Y: The Last Man I had to keep reminding myself that this series was started back in 2003, instead of just this year. The political commentary is so on point that it feels like it is being written about today’s time. I won’t go into too much detail (I think I’ve done enough of that already), but it’s pretty telling that the highest ranking survivor of the United States Government is the Secretary of Agriculture. Think about that.
There’s a whole lot more I haven’t covered, but I feel like most of what I’ve glossed over is still in the early development stage, as far as plotting is concerned. Obviously the Amazons are going to become a huge threat for Y (and probably Ampersand as well, should they note he’s a male) as is Hero and her status as an Amazon. I can’t wait to see where things lead to next. Luckily for me I have the next nine volumes on hand and ready to read.