Y : The Last Man

Written by: Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra

First published: 2002


What would you do if you were the last man on the planet?

It’s one of those questions men have talked about at length, sat around a pub table, at home whilst gaming, at the dinner table, well, anywhere really. What would you actually do if you were the last man on the planet?

Y: The Last Man follows the story of Yorick Brown, a down on his luck escapologist who has this hypothetical question made a reality. He wakes up on July 17, 2002, to find that he is the last man on the planet. A plague has hit that has wiped out the Y chromosome, killing off every male species on the planet, save for Yorick, and his pet monkey Ampersand. The world is plunged onto chaos, as societies collapse, and the survivors are faced with the reality that, if an explanation and cure to this ‘plague’ is not discovered, humanity is doomed. Yorick realises his importance, and sets off to try and discover what caused this plague and see if he still has a place in the world.

That is essentially the premise of the comic, and it’s very hard not to get spoiler heavy by saying much more regarding the story, so I won’t. Because, in short, this is one of the best comics I’ve ever read.

Now I know what you you’re thinking. All the men on the planet are dead except him. It’s just poor little Yorick, and all the women on the planet? It would be a man’s dream come true surely? Initially you would think so, but Y: The Last Man does the genius thing of not making it about that at all. That’s the obvious plot line, but so seldom does it even come up throughout the entire series. That’s not to say it never comes up; it would be pretty ignorant to not add this story element; to look into the desires of men and women in such an extraordinary scenario. What’s so refreshing about this comic though, is that yes, he could go on a massive spree of bedding women left right and center, but he doesn’t. From the outset, Yorick has 2 goals. 1. Find out what caused this plague, and find out if he’s doomed to share the same fate as his species, and 2 get to the other side of the world and find the love of his life, Beth. This is what makes is such a great story and what makes Yorick a fantastic character. He could literally have anyone he wants, but he’s set on his goal and his girl, and nothing will move him from it.

Yorick is surrounded from start to finish by some fantastic supporting characters, including Agent 355, a woman sent to protect Yorick and aid him in finding out what caused the plague, and Doctor Allison Mann, a geneticist desperately seeking to find out what caused the plague and why Yorick survived. Yorick needs some serious protecting on his journey. He has to contend with newly formed military factions, governments, hardcore fanatics the ‘Daughters of the Amazon’ who believe that this plague was a deserved fate for the ‘oppressive species’, and hundreds of women that basically just want to jump his bones.

I don’t think anything I write will do Y: The Last Man justice. I thoroughly enjoyed every second of the 60 issues.. It’s funny in places, deep in others, it has scares, shocks, and some genuinely heart breaking moments. The end had me legitimately in tears. My only minor criticism is that some of the issues tend to be fillers that I felt didn’t really need to be there. Looking back though, as a complete story, they had their place in their own right, and so it’s forgivable.

Y: The Last Man is a beautifully written, stunningly drawn comic, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves comics, someone new to them, or anyone who likes a compelling story. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. It is a real story of trial over adversary, of a man who chose what was right, over what was easy.

So what are you waiting for? Go read it. You’ll be nothing short of amazed.

Rating: ★★★★★★★★★☆

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