Post-Apocalyptic Graphic Novels (Comics): Y The Last Man

By | September 23, 2011
*This whole post contains spoilers for most of Volume 1 of Y: The Last Man*

In Y: The Last Man Yorick is the last man alive on Earth after a random, sudden thing kills all the men in all the world, and shit if I don’t wish he’d just kill himself so those poor women could just wither in peace.

Never before have I been so against a protagonist’s survival. He’s so dumb in a gross know-it-all way that I want him to get shot by the heavily stereotyped Republicans’ wives. I want his poor monkey, Ampersand, to run away and maybe be the father of a new human-monkey hybrid species of the future. I want anything but for stupid Yorick to continue being a walking, preachy, tropey, asshole.

Frist there’s: “Wahh, I’m in love and that’s important.”

Then he’s all: “You women need to band together and act like civilized last people alive and do our forefathers proud.”

(Lady President promptly shut him up saying: “These women have suffered more than you can imagine. They don’t deserve to be lectured by a self-righteous child.1“)

Then he’s like: “I get that people are actively trying to kill me but I don’t want to hide from them. They’re just angry women. Is that a bear? Let’s poke it with this stick to check.”

It’s pretty much the end of Humanity2, the women left in the world get that and they’re coping with it in whatever way they can, grouping together with whoever will have them and then he comes along and tells them they’re assholes for living in a way that causes him mild annoyance because he refuses to look away or stay on course. It makes no sense.

He has no sense of not only self preservation but also decency. Really, Yorick?  These women are lashing out and you, the failed armature magician who just happened to not die, are the only person who can save them from their wicked ways and restless hearts and loss of fraternal loyalty? Go fuck yourself.

Just like I prefer my protagonists to be less preachy and self-righteous, I also prefer my stories to have less-overt real-world biases. The first three issues pretty much demonized Republicans, especially the women who might align with the party. This was so blatant that even I, a Black woman from New England, winced a bit. Leave the politics aside or be specific about the issues that are being argued over and draw your fictional alliances there but: “Who the hell is shooting at us? Terrorists?” “Worse… Republicans.”3

I’m typically a big fan of Vertigo. They’re behind my beloved Fables; Sweet Tooth; and I, Zombie4. And for you apocalyptic fiction fans, the first is about a diaspora (of fairytale characters from their worlds to ours), the second is about a plague and mutants, and the third, unsurprisingly, is about a zombie.

I gave Y a chance based on the premise, the publisher behind it, and it didn’t look like shit or like it had a decades long history and fan-base to familiarize myself with. Oh, and issue #1 was free on comixology! I have the app on my iPod5 and I’m a sucker…

The thing with individual issues is you don’t feel bad spending two dollars here and there as opposed to $15 on a trade paperback. Buying all five of the issues in volume one only set me back $8 (issue #1 was free). I almost didn’t even buy four or five but figured I’d finish the arc.

I say, try the free issue. Maybe be a freeloader in a bookstore and flip through a few more pages to see how you feel about. Definitely don’t think, “I like apocalyptic fiction and the last man on Earth premise sounds interesting… I’ll buy the first three trades.”

Unless my friend finds the trades she had already read to lend to me, I do not plan to buy any more issues in any format. And I’ll happily imagine that in book two and for the rest of the series Yorick and Ampersand swap brains/bodies and Ampersand is awesome and the story is too an Yorick just meeps around as a monkey.

  1. That, unlike the others, is actually a direct quote from issue #3
  2. No men = No next generation = Once this crop dies off we’re done
  3. Quoted from issue #3
  4. Preview that mess. It’s good and the five page preview will let you know if you like the voice and plot direction.
  5. Comixology’s app for the iPod is really good and they have a great selection. I’m in no way affiliated with them or being sponsored, just saying. I also have the Darkhorse, DC, and Marvel apps.

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