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Book Review: Y: The Last Man: Safeword by Brian K. Vaughan (Series, #4) (Graphic Novel)

Man floating in blue water.Summary:
Agent 355 and Dr. Mann drop Yorick off at another agent’s house while they bring the monkey, Ampersand, to an animal hospital to see after his cut.  The agent forces Yorick to confront his own inner demons.  Then the band continues on toward California, having to take a side-trip through Arizona where they run into a band of militant, anti-federal women.

Review:
The two plots contained in this entry in the series don’t flow together as well as other entries do.  Although the two plots are equally interesting, they feel odd being packaged together.

The first half features an…unconventional therapy method to get Yorick to confront his inner demons.  This section is excellently done and necessary to better understanding him.  So far, we’ve only seen him within the situations, but really have no idea what’s going on in his head.  That’s one of the interesting virtues of this particular graphic novel.  We see Yorick interacting and hear him speak, but we only rarely glimpse inside his mind.  Better understanding what is up with the, surprisingly abstinent, last man is key to continuing the plot.

The second half is far more humorous.  There’s something eloquent and smart about the Arizona state militia of women who even go so far as to call themselves “The Sons of Arizona.”  The strong reaction in the southwest to the plague with the idea that it was all arranged by the federal government is a very astute observation of the mentality of that area of the country.

So, although the two individual storylines were good, the plot just didn’t flow as smoothly this time around.  It feels like that classic in-between book syndrome.  It’s there to set things up for the next one.  We’ll see with the next entry if I’m right.

4 out of 5 stars

Source: Public Library

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Previous Books in Series
Y: The Last Man: Unmanned (review)
Y: The Last Man: Cycles (review)
Y: The Last Man: One Small Step (review)

Book Review: Y: The Last Man: One Small Step by Brian K. Vaughan (Series, #3) (Graphic Novel)

December 28, 2011 1 comment

Skeleton in a space suitSummary:
Our trio of the doctor, Yorick, and 355 have resumed their attempt to reach the west coast, but get side-tracked when they stumble across the Russian woman looking for the spacemen.  Upon learning of the imminent arrival of the astronauts, they decide to join her in journeying to the landing location, which just happens to be nearby.  Meantime, the Israeli soldiers, unbeknownst to them, are hot on their tails.

Review:
Many different plot lines collide in this entry in the post-apocalyptic series.  We finally find out why the Israelis are following Yorick and meet the astronauts.  We get to know the Russian lady, as well as a couple of new scientists at the secret government location.

Most interesting in this book is Yorick’s growth as a character.  Although he, to a certain extent, has that slacker mentality that can be so difficult to change, it appears an apocalypse just might succeed in doing so.  He takes more assertive action and starts to doubt maintaining his loyalty to his girlfriend/fiancee on the other side of a world full of just women.  In a way the story feels like a coming of age one.  Yorick going from a boy to a man.  Which is kind of hilarious given the setting, but it also works.

The Israeli soldiers storyline question a lot of gender norms thinking.  I watched a lot of war movies in my childhood, and here we have soldiers doing basically the exact same thing, only they’re women.  Just seeing that impacts gender norm preconceptions of the reader.

Finally, we have the astronauts who have developed an interesting relationship in their extended time away from earth.  Their presence and the surprises they bring are the final kick that makes this the best entry in the series so far.

The art continues to be colorful and easy to decipher, plus the last chapter is a bit of a meta romp featuring primarily Yorick’s monkey that ends the book on a light note, but also moves the plot forward in a key way.

Overall, this is a well-drawn, creatively plotted entry in the series that manages to amuse and cause thought-provoking responses simultaneously.  Readers of the series will be instantly begging for more.

5 out of 5 stars

Source: Public Library

Buy It

Previous Books in Series
Y: The Last Man: Unmanned (review)
Y: The Last Man: Cycles (review)