A postapocalyptic comic book that’s NOT about zombies! Hooray!
I saw this recommended in an Anime News Network post about graphic novels, and it triggered some ancient memory about this being good, and I found it included on some best of sites as well, so I headed down to the library to pick up some copies. Of course, my library being ridiculous, only has v. 1-5 and 10. So I checked out 1-5, read them, and now have 6-9 on request and will pick up 10 when the others come in. Hopefully all at once…
Yorick is just your average guy (who’s gifted in escape artistry) with a pet male monkey. One minute, he’s on the phone in Brooklyn proposing to his girlfriend in Australia; the next minute, the phone’s dead, along with every single male human and animal on the planet… except for Yorick and his monkey.
I don’t really like postapocalyptic works–they tend to be depressing as all hell as humanity freaks out and becomes the absolute worst in efforts to survive (see my entry on The Walking Dead, where the humans are worse than the zombies). This is no different, except this time it’s only women who are being horrible. A group calling themselves Amazons mutilate themselves and are on a quest to make sure men never come back and destroying any signs of perceived male power and oppression. Others, once they figure out what Yorick is, attempt to kidnap him for their own purposes. And still others want to make sure Yorick remains the one man on the planet (as who controls Yorick will control the power), even if it means possibly killing any other men who may still exist. Even Yorick’s remaining family is acting suspiciously and may have ulterior motives.
Yorick is desperate to find out what happened to his girlfriend, and along with his monkey, picks up several traveling companions on his way to Australia–a government agent and a doctor. Yorick seems to have a very good knack at getting himself into terrible situations. Several groups are actively hunting them, and not always for Yorick… his companions have their own secrets and problems they are running from.
Now at the halfway point, the little ragtag group has made it to San Diego and are planning to get to San Francisco where Dr. Mann’s lab is. She may have just figured out why Yorick and his monkey lived when every other male died. Except a key part of her discovery just went missing, and she has a horrible feeling she knows who is behind it.
While this world is terrible, it doesn’t feel as terrible as The Walking Dead‘s zombie world. Maybe because even though half the world died, the women are attempting to make do for the most part and not fighting for their lives. They are not under the threat of zombies; whatever happened was very specific and only targeted the men. That’s not to say this is a paradise; there is a lot of violence, survival of the fittest brutality, etc. But many women are just trying to get life back to as normal as possible and live quiet lives.
The art looks like standard classic comic book art. These are not the hyper-sexualized contorting women of today’s superhero comics though. These are your average ordinary realistic women of all shapes and sizes.
Despite this not being a happy comic, I am still compelled to read it (and with more enjoyment than The Walking Dead). My motives are similar–I need to see if they figure out what exactly happened and what happens to our “merry band of heroes.” But while The Walking Dead I read with dread (and sort of with the feeling of half my face turned away, like I can close my eyes quickly and look away if anything too horrible happens), I feel more of a sense of plain curiosity with Y the Last Man. It helps that there’s a nice touch of humor, occasionally.
I really do hope they find a lost band of men out there somewhere, otherwise Yorick’s going to have his work cut out for him at repopulating the human planet–of course, the rest of nature is pretty much doomed. Except for maybe one species of monkey. I also hope there’s not some kind of reset happening. I always feel like that’s cheating.