Y: The Last Man Vol 4: Safeword
Genre: Science Fiction (Graphic Novel)
Series: #4 in the Y: The Last Man series
Publisher: Vertigo Comics
Publication Date: 2004
The Short Version:
The post apocalyptic story of the last male human to survive a sudden plague continues with Yorick Brown and his companions all discovering hidden truths about themselves and each other.
Why I Read It:
The story lagged a bit in the third volume but I had to continue to find out what happens and I’m glad I did.
This volume 4 is a compilation of issues 18-23 of the comic series.
From the publisher:
Now more than halfway across the country, Earth’s sole surviving human male (Yorick Brown) and his companions (cloning specialist Dr. Allison Mann and government agent 355) are preparing for the final leg of their journey to San Francisco, where Dr. Mann’s most important experiment awaits. But before they leave, they need to get antibiotics for the planet’s only other living male – Yorick’s monkey, Ampersand. For Yorick, that means an enforced stay in the back country of Colorado with one of 355’s former associates, the retired agent 711.
But Yorick is in much more than a quiet weekend in the woods. Of all the dangers that he faced in his travels, what awaits him in 711’s small cabin will be the hardest to confront – and will also prove to be the difference between life and death for the world’s last man.
I thought that the previous volume and story arc was a bit weaker than the first two but things definitely picked up in this one. There are two major stories compiled in this volume.
In the first Yorick is left mostly on his own as Agent 355 and Dr. Mann seek out treatment for Ampersand. He’s a little Capuchin monkey but as far as they know he’s the only other surviving male mammal so they need to keep him alive. Conveniently they’re near where a retired fellow agent of 355’s lives in the Colorado woods. She subjects Yorick to some rather unconventional therapy but he ends up learning something important about himself.
The second section finds our little band of travelers reunited but between them and their goal of San Francisco is a militia made up of women sworn to defend the State of Arizona “even if it means lettin’ the rest of the Union die.” Yes, another band of militaristic survivors for Yorick and his friend to get by. This section has a bit more action and the balance of drama and humor is back.
Yorick is a bit less of a dork now (thanks to Agent 711). Agent 355 and Dr. Man have their back stories filled in a bit and turn out to make a great team in a pinch. I’m liking them both more and more with each volume.
The final two pages are a teaser for the next volume in which it’s clear that some characters who have been missing for a while will be returning. I’m looking forward to it.
The artwork in these is good but not spectacular. It’s got to be hard to come up with distinguishing looks for such a large cast of all female characters. The first half is drawn by Pia Guerra who has been the penciller of the series so far. The second half is drawn by Goran Parlov and it’s always rough when characters suddenly look different but from what I can find out this is the only story arc he did and Guerra remains the illustrator for the rest of the series.
This is still a fun series and I’ll be getting the next volume from the library soon. I have to know what happens next.