Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Y - The Last Man

I've featured the work of Brian K. Vaughan around here before, and I will continue to do so until he somehow makes his work suck enough to ignore -- but that seems unlikely to happen. His magnum opus, Y - The Last Man, published by DC/Vertigo comics, is a bizarro travelogue in a post-apocalyptic world where all the mens on Urf suddenly up and died horrible, hemorrhagic deaths, leaving the world to women. Oh, but there's one strange wrinkle -- Yorick, a young escape artist dude from Brooklyn somehow survived (with his little boy capuchin monkey pal Ampersand, too). As the title connotes, he is the Last Man on earth, and he has no answers as to why he was spared death.

Considering the grim underpin, the series has a light, sexy tone that mixes with the serious and emotional. He travels incognito with a pair of female protectors -- better to hide his sex around the cults of women who have demonized anything male in the wake of the cataclysm -- as they make their way across the country looking for the cause of Yorick's immunity and a way to clone him (perpetuating the race all chaste-like, of course).

The series arcs in five-issue storylines, and the continuity builds a little more conclusively from arc to arc, dealing out a better picture of just what happened to all the men in the first place. There are moments where the series descends into male wish-fulfillment theatre (think of the sexual license Yorick has in this Brave New World), but for the most part, Vaughan keeps his protagonist crackling with clever banter and mental acuity. Vaughan's world may be a harsh reality, but I'll be damned if you don't want to keep going back to it again and again.