Y: The Last Man Vol 1: Unmanned

Y: The Last Man Vol 1: Unmanned 

Brian K Vaughan, Pia Guerra & José Marzán (DC/ Vertigo)
ISBN 1-84023-708-2

An old, old science fiction concept gets a new and pithy updating in the Vertigo comic Y: The Last Man, as a mystery plague destroys every male mammal on Earth including all the sperm and the foetuses. If it had a Y chromosome it died, except, somehow, for amateur escapologist and slacker goof-ball Yorick Brown and his pet monkey, Ampersand. One night the guy goes to bed pining for his absent girlfriend (who’s an anthropology grad on a gig in Australia) and the next day he’s the last man alive.

His mother, part of the new – for which read Female-and-Still-Standing after a failed power-grab by the widows of Republican Congressmen – Presidential cabinet, is by default a Leader of the Free World until The New President can get to Washington and take office. Once Yorick makes his way to her through a devastated urban landscape – the plague hit during rush-hour on the East Coast and we all know that chicks just go to pieces in a crisis – he escapes from her half-hearted attempt to lock him a bunker and immediately announces he’s off Down Under.

Mum and Madam President then allow the world’s only known source of the next generation to undertake a cross-country trek rather than subjecting him to some more rational project… such as milking him for IVF resources. Off Yorick goes with a lethal and ambiguous secret agent known only as 355 to the secret West Coast laboratory of Dr Allison Mann. The good doctor is a geneticist who thinks she might be the cause of all the trouble, but even so… come on. His mom is a US politician, for Pete’s sake! Surely he would at least have a platoon of armed guards for the trip!

Also out to stake their claim and add to the tension are a crack squad of Israeli commandos with a hidden agenda and mysterious sponsor, plus post disaster cult The Daughters of the Amazon who want to make sure that there really are no more men. Throughout all this Yorick remains a contrary cuss. Defying every whim and Guy stereotype all he wants is to be reunited with his girl trapped in Oz.

Although this is mostly set-up the main are characters are engaging and work well to dispel the inevitable aura of familiarity and cliché this series can’t help but struggle against. This volume collects issues #1-5 of the monthly comic series for adults.

© 2002 Brian K Vaughan & Pia Guerra. All Rights Reserved