Sunday, June 17, 2007

Not If He Was the Last Guy on Earth? Really?

Title: Y: The Last Man, Vols. 1-3
Authors: Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, and Jose Marzan, Jr.



Recently, this blog has been debating the qualities a man should possess. Must he be wealthy, handsome, sarcastic, brilliant? Must he swashbuckle like Errol Flynn aboard a pirate ship, or be suave like a young Sean Connery? Should all real men, if they can manage it, be half-fish?

Well, sometimes, a guy need do only one thing to make the ladies swoon:

Live.

In Y: The Last Man, a mysterious plague kills the planet’s entire male population, except for a young man named Yorick and his monkey, Ampersand. Lucky guy…so one would think.

Civilization descends into chaos. Planes crash, markets collapse, and the Secretary of Agriculture becomes the United States President. Some women, claiming that the plague was an act of God, form a motorcycle gang, cut off their left breasts, and call themselves Daughters of the Amazons. Oh, the horror, the horror.

The plague’s origin remains unexplained. The only clue is that it had something to do with an ancient artifact called the amulet of Helene and a geneticist named Dr. Mann, who impregnated herself with her own clone. All the men died while Dr. Mann was giving birth, including her baby. Science fiction is so damn cool.

A smart-mouthed slacker before the plague, Yorick suddenly finds himself the world’s most valuable commodity. He teams up with Dr. Mann and Agent 355, an operative for a secret government agency. The three of them set out for California. Dr. Mann has a lab there, where she will experiment on Yorick in an effort to determine how he survived.

Along the way, they clash with roving bands of man-hating Amazons, who know of Yorick and are determined to kill him. The Israeli military is also trying to kidnap Yorick, for reasons not yet been revealed. Small surprise then, that Yorick and company have only made it to a small Ohio town by volume 3 – a small Ohio town comprised entirely of escaped prison inmates!!!

Ok, ok, enough with the socio-political mumbo-jumbo. I’ll get on to the fun stuff.

Naturally, every woman who meets Yorick wants to jump his bones. Even Agent 355, beneath her icy operative exterior, has a yen for him. She calls his name in her sleep.

But Yorick – and I’m sorry to disappoint everyone – steadfastly refuses to provide “stud services.” (His phrasing, not mine.) His only goal is to find his overseas girlfriend, Beth, who has been frolicking through the Australian outback in Daisy Dukes, a bikini top, and combat boots. In other words, she’s an anthropologist. As Yorick’s constantly explaining, he’s more than happy to get to work preserving the future of mankind, but the only person he plans to do that with is Beth. Selfish little bastard.

Yorick does have a brief fling with one of the ex-prisoners, a former drug addict named Sonia. They both know the correct lyrics to “Fame,” and so indulge in some chaste lip-locking while chopping wood in the forest. But Sonia demurs, claiming that Yorick is too good for “someone like her.” Soon after, Sonia is shot by one of the Amazons. The killer, in fact, is Yorick’s own sister, Hero. She used to believe in free love, but apparently has had a change of heart. This all goes down in Volume 2. In Volume 3, Yorick mopes and has a beard. I guess this means the experience left him tormented or something.

Overall, The Last Man is great dystopia fun, with an added twist of gender politics and social commentary. I’ve never read a graphic novel before, but I’m intrigued by this one. I won’t buy the future volumes, but I’m willing to sit in a bookstore coffee shop for a few hours reading them. Is that wrong?

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posted by Elizabeth at 10:03 PM

5 Comments:

Blogger Kat said...

Of course it's wrong! You should be at a library! They have graphic novels. Some even have coffee shops. There's bound to be some good libraries in D.C.

Sigh, it's so hard to compete against bookstores.

6/18/2007 11:17 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Kat, I'm disappointed in you. DISAPPOINTED. I throw out so many interesting topics for you to discuss -- mass death, motorcycles, and sex -- and you choose to answer a hypothetical question about, of all things, ethics. Sheesh. You're such a...librarian. : )

6/18/2007 6:56 PM  
Blogger reyn said...

That was exactly my problem--there was so much on which to comment that I couldn't decide. Like that cover art--is the monkey radioactive?? Is anyone else named after punctuation? How the hell does an amulet cause a plague? How does Mad Max figure in to this? If the Amazon crazies kill off the last man, how do they expect to repopulate? When do Mann and 355 have a 3-way? Daisy Dukes, bikini top, and boots--who WOULDN'T want her (plus, she's brainy and adventurous--gotta love that)? An Ohio town full of female prison inmates--Marysville? And is he really a man if he knows all the lyrics to Fame?

Too many issues, elizabeth!! Too many!!

6/19/2007 6:43 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

And just think of all the fun things I left out! Like the widows of Republican congressmen who stormed the White House with grenades and AK-47s. Awesome..

6/19/2007 8:38 PM  
Blogger reyn said...

Naturally, it was the Republican widows. NRA members to the last!

6/20/2007 6:20 AM  

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