Y: Last Man Volume 1 – Unmanned

Do you sometimes feel that you are lagging far behind the rest of the world when it comes to TV series / movies / music and graphic novels?  I feel like this practically all the time.  But, having said that, I love playing catch-up.  Like recently I’ve discovered a deep abiding love for 30 Seconds to Mars as well as the Dave Matthews Band.  Frank only know where I’ve been but you know what? I don’t mind all that much because now I can catch up at leisure and be all retro about things.

Last week Thursday we popped over to Forbidden Planet for another author’s signing…I ended up strolling around the bookshelves in the graphic novels section and stumbled across Y: Last Man.  I have heard such amazing things about this series and yet, I’ve never picked it up to read.  So I bought Volume 1 and devoured it in one sitting.

I don’t read graphic novels fast – I always get sidetracked by the artwork and what’s going on in the background.  But with Y v 1 I just blazed through it because of its compelling story telling and accompanying complimentary imagery.

Written by Brian K Vaughan (wiki page here) Y follows escape artist Yorick Brown and his Capuchin monkey Ampersand (the coolness!) when they both wake up one day and find that they are the last males (across all species) still alive after a mysterious illness cuts down the entire male population on earth.

So, this could easily have become some kind of porn dream for most men, but instead of going that obvious and trite route, Brian K Vaughan gives us a measured first chapter that reveals a tiny bit at a time a world that has been turned upside down.  On the one hand you have a group of vigilante type females who model themselves on the legends of the Amazons of old, complete with the cut off the left breast thing, going on.  You also have a group of women who mourn the loss of their male counterparts, husbands, brothers, uncles and fathers.  Naturally the Amazons clash heavily with the “sypathisers”, seeing them as weak and stupid and not standing up for themselves, grasping what is rightfully theirs. 

Yorick wears a gasmask and travels incognito by wearing a rainmac.  The world hasn’t quite come to an end but things are distinctly unpleasant for him and Ampersand.  He knows that there are risks if he gets picked up by any of these groups so he does keep to himself quite a bit but is not entirely succesful.

After a bit of a fracas, Yorick is accompanied by a secret service operative and sets off to find a scientist who may have some answers about the illness and how to ensure the human race.  He’s a deeply conflicted person though and can appreciate the overall terrifying responsibility of being the only man alive, but he is also in a place where all he wants to do is get to Australia to find his girlfriend who he proposed to over the phone when the whole “event” took place.

Y: Last Man is clever writing.  I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.  There is a steadiness to the writing that comes from confidence at being able to do things well.  Mr. Vaughan is already pretty much a legend in my eyes, but this, this series I think may turn out to be one of my favourite of all time.

There are many strands that are left hanging at the end of volume 1 but those strands are teasers.  I really want to know how this pans out. Please, if you’ve read the series, only comment good things and no spoilers, okay?  Let me get through this at my own pace, I beg of you!

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One comment

  1. matt pease /

    I’ve got all of the volumes and just finished a re-read a few weeks back! it’s a GREAT series and you’ll love it!

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