Graphic Novels (2): Y: The Last Man vols. 1 & 2

My second graphic novel post is all about Y: The Last Man, a series which sounds exactly like it’s title. Yorick and his monkey Ampersand are the only two known male survivors of a plague in 2002 which wiped out every mammal, fetus and sperm with a Y chromosome. It’s an intense story and one I’m incredibly addicted too.

 

Y: The Last Man – Unmanned
by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra and José Marzán, Jr.

In the summer of 2002, a plague of unknown origin destroyed every last sperm, fetus, and fully developed mammal with a Y chromosome – with the apparent exception of one young man and his male pet. This “gendercide” insantaneously exterminated 48% of the global population, or approximately 2.9 billion men.

Now, aided by the mysterious Agent 355, the last human male Yorick Brown must contend with dangerous extremists, a hoped-for reunion with a girlfriend on the other side of the globe, and the search for exactly why he’s the only man to survive.

I was unsure what to expect when I first picked up Y: The Last Man. It was recommended to me by a female friend, although her boyfriend said it may end up depressing me (obviously he doesn’t understand how much I like end-of-the-world scenarios). It didn’t depress me, it blew me away. Hands down my favourite graphic novel series yet, Y: TLM is a rollercoaster ride of amazing.

The artwork is very well-done and expressive; it adds huge dimension to the story. Y: TLM would make an amazing dystopian novel, but it’s the art – the visualization of the characters and the world – that let it become so much more than just a story. Graphic novels are like the happy medium between books and movies.

The story for Y: TLM is incredible. I flew through this first volume because I wanted to know what happened: why did the males die? Why did Yorick and Ampersand survive? What’s up with Agent 355 and why are soldiers from across the world concerning themselves with one man in America? Yes, the story is depressing, but it’s also intense, action filled and hope filled. There’s also a huge revelation regarding Yorick’s sister, and you just know it’s going to be a tear jerker scene in later volumes.

I bought volumes 2 and 3 immediately after finishing this one!

 

Y: The Last Man – Cycles
by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra and José Marzán, Jr.

It’s 2002, and a plague of unknown origin has killed all the male mammals on Earth – all except an amateur escape artist named Yorick Brown and his surly helper monkey, Ampersand.

As the last remaining Y-chromosome carriers on the planet, Yorick and his pet hold the fate of humanity in their hands. To ensure the survival of the species, they’ve teamed up with a gun-toting government agent and the world’s premier bioengineer to discover the secret behind the plague. But while they ride the rails across a radically transformed America, the man-hating Daughters of the Amazon are right behind them – and an unplanned stopover in the seemingly utopian town of Marrisville, Ohio may mean the end of the line for the Last Man.

Volume 2 was just as intense as volume 1! Yorick, Agent 355 and Dr. Mann are making their way towards California by train when they get sidetracked in Ohio. They find a community that seems perfect (except for the lack of men) – it still has electricity and food. It isn’t as perfect as it seems, though, and the twist is awesome.

Yorick and his siter finally meet up, and it does not go smoothly at all. I felt so bad for the both of them, and even though they part ways at the end, you just know that Hero (Yorick’s sister) is going to show up again later.

Oh, have I mentioned the awesomeness that is Yorick’s name? And his sister? Apparently their father taught English at an all girl’s college and named them after obscure Shakespeare characters. Yorick I knew (the skull from Hamlet), but I had to look up Hero. Hero is the name of the daughter of Leonato in Much Ado About Nothing, I play I’ve yet to read. I love Shakespeare references in novels/graphic novels/plays/movies so this is a ton of fun. I really like that Yorick is an escape artist, and the Yorick from Hamlet was supposedly the court jester; both entertainers.

Anyway, the plot is thickening and there was a major revelation at the end of this volume that promises to become quite interesting later on. Volume 3 is waiting for me, and I just might have to read it tonight!

 
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