Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Y: The Last Man - Brian K. Vaughan & Pia Guerra

In the opinion of this recent comic-book-junkie's mind, there are two kinds of comic series': those you read one of, and those you follow on a continual basis.  "Y" definitely falls into the second category for me.  In the last three months I have read a wide variety of comic books, and "Y" got me hooked quicker than any of the others.  Although the series has concluded, there are more than enough trades to keep you reading for a while.  And while I am a little disappointed that the series has finished, I am also glad that they turned out such a great final product instead of following in the steps of "The Simpsons" or "The Wheel of Time" books.  In other words, "Y" doesn't milk the cow until the udders fall off...and that's a very good thing.

The story of "Y" takes place sometime in the near future, in the United States.  A massive plague has hit the world, killing every living creature with a Y chromosome.  If you are scientifically challenged, that's every male on the planet.  Of course, I'm assuming you noticed the sweet cover art picture I included in the top left corner here, so you know there are a couple exceptions to the rule.  "Y" follows the story of the last two living males on the entire planet Earth: young twenty-something Yorick Brown, and his pet monkey Ampersand.  Yorick has his mind set on getting to Australia to reunite with his girlfriend, Beth. Unfortunately for him, he is soon accompanied by a couple different women, both of which have much different plans for the last man on Earth.  Agent 355 and Doctor Allison Mann team up with Yorick to begin a long journey to discover why Yorick is immune to the virus, and to protect him as they make their way through this new and unfamiliar world. Foreign military organizations, roaming bands of Amazon women, mercenaries, and everyday ordinary women desperate to have a man all join in the adventure, further complicating an already delicate journey.  Of course anyone who's taken a trip across the U.S. knows that it can sometimes be pretty uneventful (Indiana anyone?), so all these groups only serve to move the story along and bring the adventure to life. 

The best thing about "Y: The Last Man" is it's perfect blend of humor and social relevance.  Yorick brings a sense of nerdiness and humor that kept me laughing out loud on a page-to-page basis.  I almost want to compare the style to that of Scott Pilgrim, although the two books are nothing alike.  If you put Scott Pilgrim's sense of humor into the world of Mad Max then you might have a close comparison.  The pop culture references, nerdy jokes, and sarcasm flow freely.  At the same time, the book tackles numerous socially relevant topics that really make you think and develop your brain muscles.  Topics like men and women's roles in society, morality vs. governmental obligations, the divine vs. evolution, science vs. "natural order," and many others are all discussed.  Amid all the action, drama, and comedy, there is a very thought-provoking story here.  Fortunately, neither the comedy nor the social relevance ever dominate the story.  The comedy never distracts from what is really going on, and the social commentaries never become preachy or in your face.  It's like eating a piece of cake with the perfect amount of frosting.  If you are looking for the perfect blend of humor, thought provoking topics, great action, and beautiful artwork, then "Y: The Last Man" might be just what you are looking for.

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