Review: Y: The Last Man (series) by Brian K. Vaughan

*Spoiler Free!*

From Wikipedia

Y: The Last Man tells the story of Yorick, a young man who finds himself to be the last male on the planet, aside from his pet monkey Ampersand, after a mysterious even called "the plague" results in the deaths of every creature possessing a Y chromosome.

Divided into several arcs that take Yorick and Ampersand, along with Agent 355, the woman protecting him, and Dr. Allison Mann, a genius geneticist, across the world in search of a cause for the plague and to find Yorick's girlfriend, Beth. Along the way they meet up with women some strong, some violent, some desperate and broken, but all trying to make it another day in a collapsed society after many of their friends and family die.

I had reviewed the first volume of Y: The Last Man earlier, but felt that since the series spans ten great, well-written books it was worth writing another review once I had finished.

The plague's cause isn't laid out in black and white like the apocalyptic disasters of other series. Throughout Y: The Last Man theories range from Mother Earth "cleansing" herself, an act of God, scientific accidents, government attacks, to just an abnormal one-time deal. I enjoyed how this set-up prevented the reader from developing a sense of omnipotence; we're kept in the dark just as the characters are.

I applaud Vaughan's ability to juggle so many characters, some whom we only see for a chapter or two, and give them believeable emotions and realistic lives. Not one introduced character had a boring backstory or a uninteresting exchange upon meeting Yorick, as short as many of those meetings were.

I have a hard time picking a favorite character, but even if I was to I feel that my opinion would just fall flat. I could see a little bit of myself in every character as I thought about how I would deal with my situation if I were in their shoes.

Rest assured that the ending, no spoilers given, was the perfect wrap-up to such a lofty series. I cannot conceive of another way for it to end, Y: The Last Man concluded just as it was supposed to.

A lot of thinking on my part went into reading this series. After every book I spent some time musing about Vaughan's world and our world alike, especially in regards to what it means to survive, to adapt, and my connection to other women both in my community and my world at large. This may have been easier for me because I am a woman, but I still have no doubt that men will take something away from this series too. How would you see yourself in the shoes of the remaining women, or in Yorick's?

Y: The Last Man is a mature, dystopian/ post-apocalyptic series that, despite it's frightening world-building, says plenty about the world we exist in. If you're still unconvinced, here's a fan film that a very talented group of people made. It differs from the plot of the comics, but if the fans are this devoted, just picture how fantastic the series itself is! Now double that. Yup, the comics are that good:

Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Artists: Pia Guerra (lead penciller), various
Publisher: Vertigo
Publication Date: 2002-2007
Books: 10 regular volumes, or, 5 deluxe edition books

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