Monday, 24 October 2016

Y: The Last Man, Vol. 1: Unmanned, by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra and José Marzán, Jr (Vertigo) | review

Every man and boy in the world starts throwing up blood and drops down dead, all at the same time. Is it because the Amulet of Helene has been taken out of Jordan, bringing on an ancient prophecy of catastrophe? Or because Doctor Mann gave birth to her own clone? Or because Yorick Brown proposed to his best friend with a ring he bought in a magic shop for half the money he had? The only man who might find out is Yorick himself, because he’s the only man to survive (at least so far as we know from this book). All the male non-humans died too, except for his capuchin monkey Ampersand. Others might have seen the resulting situation as a golden opportunity for a healthy young man, but not Yorick, he’s in love with Beth, and she’s in Australia, so like James Garner in Support Your Local Sheriff that’s where he’s heading, whatever else distracts him in the meantime. It’s a dangerous world for a man, where anyone he meets could want to sell, kill or enslave him, but his mother asks him to go with the awesome Agent 355 to find Dr Mann – together they might be the best hope for the world, especially if they can figure out why Yorick survived. This is an excellent book. It has a great premise, and this volume begins to explore the ramifications of that premise in fascinating ways. For example, Yorick’s mother is a representative in Congress, and because the Democrats have more female representatives there than the Republican, they become a majority when the men die. Pia Guerra and José Marzán, Jr’s art is perfect, reminiscent in its clarity and structure of Steve Dillon’s work on Preacher for the same publisher, but with character all of its own. The book’s weakest link is probably Yorick himself, who isn’t half as interesting and charismatic as the female characters that surround him. Stephen Theaker ****

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