I have a pretty big statement to make: Y – The Last Man is easily the best comic I have read for Comic Virgins.

[CV is a recurring series where Amanda reads comics suggested by Ben and Mike.]

The storyline, written by Brian K. Vaughan, follows Yorick – the last man alive after something wipes out every other male on the planet. It began publishing in 2002, and it’s FANTASTIC. The writing is flawless, with a perfect pace that had me speeding through six issues and scrambling for more. On top of that, it’s easy to understand, which, if you’ve been following CV from the beginning, is a point I often hound. Why are comics, especially new arcs or even entirely new characters, so hard to understand? With Y, there was no problem getting the plot and tiny nuances from the get-go. 

I think the most powerful driver for the pace was the countdown-time element used at the beginning of “sections” within the individual issues (for lack of a better term). This time awareness (36 hours ago, 24 hours ago, 3 hours ago, 5 seconds ago) made my focus move from person to person and held my attention much better than a traditional linear plot. I could hear the beeping countdown of some disaster clock in my head as I read through the untimely demise of all of the planet’s males.

So. Much. Suspense. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP.

So. Much. Suspense. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP.

When it comes to the characters, I’m excited to learn more about Yorick, Beth, his mother and the geneticist that cloned her nephew and then gave birth to him (maybe?). I was left with a lot of questions (what killed all the dudes? Why is Yorick safe? Will they ever find Beth or Hero, Yorick’s sister?), but not so many questions that I felt disenchanted to continue (unlike my time spent with Sweet Tooth, where I had questions galore).

Also, I’m a sucker for dystopias. Maybe I’m a sadist, but I really like seeing what happens to the human psyche (even if it’s just fictional) when it’s placed into high-stress and unusual situations. This future, where every male (not just human, every animal male, too) is gone is interesting from many angles. Politics crumble, as do many important fields like sanitation, engineering and other male-dominated jobs. Women turn on each other, some forming Amazonian gangs, others hiding and some still fighting to give a functional society somewhere between the two. The mad scientist in me can’t wait to continue reading to find out what happens.

And yes, that brings me to another first with Comic Virgins. This is the first time I’m actually going to continue on reading one of the series I’ve been introduced to. I’ve said on a few occasions with these posts that I could see myself continuing on, but I’ve never picked up another issue. Y is a different beast, and I’ve already begged Mike for more. I’m not letting myself read any more until I get this post done, either, which is just great motivation to type.

You know, this image might not mean much for you, but it made me scream because it was the end of the last issue of Vol. 1.

You know, this image might not mean much for you, but it made me scream because it was the end of the last issue of Vol. 1.

If there’s any weak spot, it comes with the artwork drawn by Pia Guerra. It’s not necessarily weak, but it’s also not standout. As I sit here typing, I don’t have the comics near me. I can’t really recall any standout frames, save one where Hero comes out as an Amazon, having cut off her left breast.

You know, when I wanted to join a girl's group, I had to learn a stupid song and braid my hair a certain way.

You know, when I wanted to join a girl’s group, I had to learn a stupid song and braid my hair a certain way.

That’s not to criticize it, or the other visual presences in the comic. If it does anything, it speaks to the strength of the strength of the story and dialogue when they’re so strong in a primarily visual medium that it can make the reader forget the images. It’s very realistic artwork (if blood bursting out of every orifice is realistic), and the coloring helps emphasize the mood of the writing. I’m torn between wanting splash pages and being content with their absence – I love what two-page splash pages do with pacing, but I don’t think they’d work with what I’ve read.

On a last point, I want to talk a smidgen about the cover art of these issues. Why is cover art so vastly different from the actual comic’s art? Not in style so much, but they are often worlds apart when it comes to the situation depicted. For example, there’s a cover where Yorick is strung up and injured, but in a way that looks like it’s fresh out of a nightmare, not the reality-based universe that this comic is set in.

Sexy in that chained-up-and-near-death kinda way.

Sexy in that chained-up-and-near-death kinda way.

Also, though not as bad as Iron Man or X-Men (which I’m still angry about), some of these covers are still sexualized. I know sex sells – but does it only sell because we perpetuate that notion? What if we just decided to not sell by sex, but by some strength? Some food for thought.

Let me know what you think about Y – The Last Man! Did you enjoy it as much as I did?

About The Author

Hey there! I'm Amanda, and I'm the managing editor for DetroyTheCyborg! I come to the job with a background in journalism, English, American culture and all-around interest in what makes up our site.

For a living, I'm a government reporter for a newspaper my hometown. Seeing as that can be a bit monotonous, I welcome the opportunity to write occasional book (and other) reviews for DTC. If you see a book coming up I should review, let me know!

My interests are many and varied. I love table top games, bad movies (and good films!), music of all genres and the occasional graphic novel. Ben P. is trying his hardest to increase my interest in comic books - stay tuned for the outcome of THAT adventure. When it comes to books, I've yet to find a genre that I won't read. I have a particular affinity to Lord of the Rings and non-fiction first-person explorations - see Mary Roach's Stiff or Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals for examples.

My other abilities? I find that I make a mean batch of cinnamon rolls, and I can (most of the time) keep the crayon inside the lines.

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