Wednesday, June 29, 2022

On the Coffee Table: Y: The Last Man

Title: Y: The Last Man, Vol. 1: Unmanned
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Penciller: Pia Guerra
Inker: José Marzán, Jr.

via Amazon

In a flash, every male mammal on the planet dies, except for one - well, two really.  Yorick Brown and his pet monkey Ampersand have both been spared, though no one is sure why.  Can Yorick survive long enough to help perpetuate the species?  Will the extremist Amazons - of which his sister Hero is one - kill him first?  Will he ever be reunited with his girlfriend, Beth, currently stranded in Australia?  Will his mother, one of the few surviving members of the US Congress, succeed in helping to re-establish law and order?

Unmanned is the first trade for the Y: The Last Man series, collecting issues #1-5.  First published in 2002, the series has since inspired a television show of the same name, released in 2021.  Unfortunately, it was canceled after one season.  Poor timing, I'm guessing.  Perhaps the world had an understandably limited appetite for post-apocalyptic narratives last year.  No, I haven't watched it.

The storytelling is effective and the premise intriguing.  Yorick is a tolerable idiot - clever enough to stay alive, foolish enough to keep things interesting and goofy enough to provide occasional comic relief in a necessarily heavy narrative.  The story raises ethical questions as well as concerns about the limitations of lines of succession within government.  My one gripe: the treatment of time is unnecessarily awkward.

As we leave matters at the end of Unmanned, Yorick, his bodyguard Agent 355 and geneticist Dr. Mann are trying to decided on their next best step.  I'm definitely up for finding out which they choose.


  1. I own the first few issues of this from their original release. They gained quite a bit of value at one point, but I don't know if that has held. The movie promised back in the 90s (when the series was originally released, I'm pretty sure) never came about, and I think people lost interest, especially once the series ended.

    I did watch the TV series on hulu. It was fine enough. I wouldn't say it was great, but it was better than most shows in that category of programming.

  2. Interesting story theme! Not generally in the genre I read, but I like to see what others find interesting to read.