Y: The Last Man Vol 1: Unmanned by Brian K. Vaughan with art by Pia Guerra
Genre: Science Fiction (Graphic Novel)
Series: #1 in the Y: The Last Man series
Publisher: Vertigo Comics
Publication Date: 2003
The Short Version:
When something kills every male mammal, Yorick Brown and his pet monkey are the only ones to survive.
Why I Read It:
Kailana at The Written World has been one of the major enablers in my introduction to graphic novels. During a conversation on Twitter a few weeks ago she mentioned Brian K Vaughan as an author to check out. This series sounded interesting.
This volume 1 is a compilation of issues 1-5 of the comic series.
From the publisher:
This is the saga of Yorick Brown—the only human survivor of a planet-wide plague that instantly kills every mammal possessing a Y chromosome. Accompanied by a mysterious government agent, a brilliant young geneticist and his pet monkey, Ampersand, Yorick travels the world in search of his lost love and the answer to why he’s the last man on earth.
This one is fun. It’s an interesting mix of social commentary, science fiction, and humor. I guess the fact that I already have picked up the next two volumes from the library is an indication of how much I enjoyed it.
Yorick is a twenty something son of a powerful congresswoman. He doesn’t have a job but has skills as an escape artist. He’s taken on training a monkey named Ampersand to be a service animal. He’s about to propose to his girlfriend over the phone (she’s in Australia) but before he can get a clear answer out of her, things go awry.
When every male mammal (except for Yorick and Ampersand) suddenly dies society soon develops into a dystopian world and this comic follows a few key groups. In Washington, the government is reduced to the female members of congress and appointed offices. Yorick’s mother is part of the group trying to restore order. In a somewhat hilarious yet scary development a group of widows of Republican congressmen show up armed and dangerous to demand appointment to their husbands’ seats. Yorick and a secret agent set off to find a noted geneticist to try to find out why Yorick survived. In the meantime, Yorick’s sister has joined up with a group of women who are glad to be rid of men and want to revive the supremacy of the Amazons of Greek Mythology.
The artwork is good but I’ll admit that there were a couple of brief moments when I had trouble distinguishing between some of the women in the parts of the story that took place in Washington. That was my only issue, Overall it was a interesting and well done.
This volume is clearly the initial set up of the background and major story elements so there’s a fair amount of jumping around from place to place and in time, but the foundation is established and there’s a lot of directions the story can go.
There are definitely adult themes and it gets fairly violent in places but there’s also a lot of wry humor and fun along the way. I’m looking forward to continuing with this series. You really should give this one a try.