Y The Last Man Vol I: Unmanned by Brian K Vaghan
I like scifi fiction, but there’s one subgenre I really don’t like. It’s the last man (or woman) Earth story. It’s something that should be good. But for some reason, it’s always executed terribly. If it’s the last woman on Earth, typically the men are all portrayed as barbaric rapists. Then if its the last man, the all the women want him for their own or are so independent that don’t need a disgusting man. They disregard entirely that these two sexes need to work together in an intelligent was to try save the human race. Other than The Screwfly Solution, the stories that I have read/watched have been written with a strong biased against one gender and are quite sexist. But there’s one series. It’s a graphic novels series that I have been told time and time again, that is the best of that sub genre and does not fall victim to the tropes I just discussed. It’s called Y The Last Man. I was on the fence about it. But then when the TV show came out, the series went on sale. So I grabbed the first volume and gave it a try. So here is my review of Y The Last Man Vol I: Unmanned. It is written by Brian K Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples.
So what is it about? The story begins with a simple enough plot. One random day, all the men drop dead. And not just men. The male counterpart to every living species dies. If it has a Y chromosome, it’s dead. And that’s a huge problem. One is because every species on Earth is doomed to die. Second, when men drop dead, it’s half the population. Planes drop out of the sky because pilots die. Numerous men and women die in car wrecks because men are driving. And half the government is gone. Half the work force, food industry, and everything else is affected. And when half the population dies, it becomes chaos and a unique apocalypse ensues.
But there is one catch. One man did not die. A random college student and his male pet monkey are fine. His name is Yorick Brown, and he knows he has a situation on his hands. As the last man on around, some ladies may have some very bad ideas about what to do with the last guy. He wants to reconnect with his girlfriend in Australia, but knows the safest thing he can do is find his mother, who is a senator. But things can never be simple. He soon finds himself paired up with a special agent body guard provided by his mom, to help him find a scientist who may know how to save the human race and possibly every other species as well. But that is hard to do with a cult is roaming around looking into rumors that a man may still be out there somewhere. They are determined to be sure the extinction of man remains the way of the new world. They called themselves the Amazons.
So the good and bad? Let’s start with the good? This is a well-written book. It is surprisingly smart and well written. I was waiting any moment for it to become sexist as hell, but it remained quite respectful all around. It was just was so darn clever. I found myself loving it. The characters are great and layered. The action is good. The pacing is good. And it was just one heck of a ride.
Now the bad? Yorick is a bit of a goof. He loves magic and because he studied Houdini and the slide of hand, he has plans that work in quirky, unexpected ways and escape tricky situations because of this knowledge. But he also makes dumb decisions that match the number of smart ones. The side characters are essentially babysitting him in some scenes. So I can see that getting on people's nerves. Then there’s one thing that bothered me personally. The Amazons are a cult of men hating women whose can be identified easily because all the members cut off their left boob much like the real Amazons of the past. But the apocalypse has only existed for two months. They talk about how women are being abducted and brainwashed into the group. But I think it would personally take a lot more than a couple months to convince a woman that all her male loved ones were demons and to mutilate her own body. I just can’t buy that. It’s a plot point I struggle with. I know cults can be powerful, but no cult is powerful enough to do that is two months. It’s just unbelievable to me. The art is also good and generic, but lacking style.
Overall, despite the odds. This is a great book. I enjoyed it from beginning to end. The characters are layered and likable. Action and pacing are great. The story telling is great here, and it’s worth the read. And even if you don’t like graphic novels, this is just as good as any written book out there. Also, if you hated the show, give this a try as well. I haven’t seen the show, but rumor has it, the show was an awful adaption.
Overall Rating: A Wonderfully Told Tale About The Last Man On Earth
5 Smoothies out of Five