December 20, 2010

Getting Graphic: "Y the Last Man--Unmanned" by Brian K. Vaughn and Pia Guerra

Y: The Last Man--Unmanned (Book 1)
Written by Brian K. Vaughn
Illustrated by Pia Guerra, Jose Marzan, Jr., and Pamela Rambo
DC Comics/Vertigo
127 pages
ISBN 1-5638-980-9


What would happen if every mammal with a Y-chromosome dropped dead--except one? Well, two actually--Yorick and his pet monkey, Ampersand. That's the initial premise of this comic book series from Brian K. Vaughn and Pia Guerra.

Yorick Brown is hanging out his apartment practicing escapology and chatting over the phone with his girlfriend when the nearly half the human population--and every other male mammal on the planet--dies a quick but excruciating death. But we don't see the end of man through just his eyes. There's also his sister Hero, a paramedic; his mother, U.S. Congresswoman Brown; Agent 355, a member of a long forgotten security branch; an Israeli soldier; and a scientist dabbling in cloning who suspects she may be the cause of it all.

Now, I'm not sure exactly what kind of story I was expecting from Y: The Last Man, but this wasn't it. I think I was expecting a very singular, intimate story from Yorick's point of view as he navigates his way through a world populated entirely by women. Instead, this series appears to be a very convoluted epic that spends more time concentrating on the multiple conspiracy theories and plot twists. And believe me, there are a couple of plot twists that are just blatant in their attempt to drop jaws.

I didn't mind the book, but I felt it lacked a heart. Or maybe it's just that the heart of this tale, which is Yorick's, isn't a very sympathetic one. Yorick is brash, self-centered, impulsive to a fault, and frankly I didn't find him to be at all likable. If he's the last man on Earth, then I pity all women in that world. I add this though, I have heard rumors that the film adaption of this series will feature Shia Labeouf as Yorick. If that's true, then his grating screen presence will suit the character to a tee.

I'm hoping Book 2 will turn me around on the series, but so far I have no one to root for. Yorick not only has to reunite with his would-be fiance, who is stranded in Australia, but he also has to help solve why he was spared a horrible demise, as well as evade psychotic femi-Nazis and Republican gun-nuts. Yeah, the book is off in all directions, and while it does feel like it is honing in on a singular storyline, so far I'm not very interested.

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