Sunday, February 27, 2005

Y: The Last Man #31 - A Review

Written by: Brian K. Vaughan
Penciled by: Pia Guerra
Inked by: Jose Marzan Jr.
Colored by: Zylonol
Lettered by: Clem Robins
Editor: Will Dennis
Publisher: Vertigo > DC Comics

There are some books it is painful for me to review. Brian K. Vaughan writes most of them. Is this because his books are painful to read? Hell no! Far from it. Vaughan is, in fact, my favorite writer at the moment and the most consistently excellent one in the business. Is there any other writer who writes such a wide variety of titles and writes them all so well? I think not.

No, the pain comes from within my own dark and twisted soul. Because I know that there is very little I can say about this book to influence my audience regarding it. I do not know anyone, not ONE single person, who has read this book and not enjoyed it. I have not heard one negative comment, sarcastic jab or even so much as a discouraging word about Y: The Last Man. It lends a certain beautiful futility to my job, let me tell you. Heck, the only reason I haven’t stopped now is because I’m hoping to get a nice blurb printed in Previews Magazine with my name under it because of that first paragraph.

Still, for those of you who haven’t started reading “Y: The Last Man” yet, let me tell you why you should start. Simply put, this is the most realistic science-fiction story I have ever seen in any comics. Yorick, and his pet monkey Ampersand, are the only males to survive a plague which has killed every male, animal and human, upon the planet. The two survived for reasons which are just now becoming revealed. They are traveling with a federal agent known only as 355 and Dr. Mann, whose research may enable the human (or should that be hu-woman?) race the ability to have children without sperm until the population can replenish themselves. In this issue, Amepersand is kidnapped by a ninja working for a mysterious employer and the book ends with our trio of heroes stuck looking for a way to follow her.

That’s just plot though. As always, Vaughan’s strength lies in characters and knowing how people work. The book works at its’ best when dealing with the idea of how a world run by women would really work and what it would be like to be the one man stuck in it. With little touches such as a group of feminist actors traveling from city to city in the medieval tradition and finding that their risky plays aren’t wanted and that there are women who want them to act out their favorite soaps, the book can be just as much a comedy as it can be an epic about the end of the world.

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