Y the Last Man, Books 5 and 6, by Brian K. Vaughan

Ring of TruthI read the first four books of this series, um, a while ago, and I was so disenchanted by the fourth that I didn’t make a concerted effort to find the next one. I would wander by the graphic novel section every so often, see books 6-10 but not 5, and go on my merry way. But then the universe was like it is time for you to read these and so a shorter while ago I found these two books practically jumping off the shelf and into my bag. You don’t argue with the universe and its italics, people.

Girl on GirlI still didn’t bother to read them until right before I had to give them back, though, because I am stubborn. And… well, now I’ve read them. I certainly wasn’t as creeped out by them as by Book 4 up there, but neither did I find them particularly exciting.

In Book 5, Yorick meets a bunch of ladies, confronts some emotional demons, confronts a probably-no-longer-demonic sister, and does some really really stupid stuff that somehow manages not to go badly for him. Meanwhile, Dr. Mann may or may not have figured out the whole man-alive thing, 355 kicks some serious ass, the aforementioned sister plays at kicking some ass, and Yorick’s girlfriend shows up just long enough to get kidnapped or something.

In Book 6, basically the same stuff happens except that there are also pirates and ill-advised sexytimes and a literal boatload of heroin.

So here’s the thing about this series: I definitely want to know what happens. I want to know how Yorick survived, I want to know what’s up with all this secret-political-cult shit, I want to know who gets to live happily ever after. But I really don’t want to expend any more effort finding out.

Part of this is the fact that in every book there are like eight million things going on β€” I didn’t even mention the ninja or the Amazons or the Israelis above β€” and most of the plotlines don’t do anything more than remind you that they exist and probably set up something that’ll happen in a future issue but at the moment I would like to focus on what’s going on in this issue, thanks. I don’t know if this would be better or worse if I were reading this in issue form, rather than the trade collections.

The bigger thing, though, is that I am just so over Yorick. If I have to watch him run into ostensible danger to save some lady or other at which point the lady is saved and the danger is disappeared, or especially if I have to watch him walk around in a gas mask to hide his Last Man status only to have the mask ripped off for one reason or another and then the only repercussion is that he has to tell some surprised woman his whole life story… it’s not appealing to me, is what I’m saying.

Luckily, the husband is totally willing to expend the effort to finish the series, so one of these days I’ll know how it goes. Even more so if the rumors I hear about a movie or a TV show come true; those are the kinds of things that appear on my Netflix queue when I’m not paying attention. πŸ™‚

Recommendation: I’m giving this series a pass, but if you’re more forgiving of this odd-to-me, possibly normal-for-comics pacing and plotting, I say go for it.

Rating: 5/10 for the both of them.

Y: The Last Man Book 4, by Brian K. Vaughan

I ended up reading this one pretty quickly after the last because I seem to have gotten Scott interested in the series and thus I didn’t want him stealing this before I got a chance at it. Because I’m territorial like that. But now I think Scott’s going to end up reading them first…

Okay, so, book the first was all exposition-heavy and kind of annoying, but then book the second was a lot better with the action and the plot moving forward, and then book the third was pretty equally okay. But then I got completely squicked out and a little derailed by this book, and I can only hope the squicky stuff NEVER COMES BACK AGAIN.

I’m sure it was at least a little on purpose, but these weird scenes in which repressed sexuality is made unrepressed and some odd form of torture happens really made me cringe. It was just so… weird and awkward and so seemingly completely irrelevant to the story (which is actually how I feel about the Israelis in this series, too, now that I think about it) that I just wanted that half of the book (yes, half) to be over now!

Luckily, once it’s done you can see that there was, in fact, a point to all the awkward and it actually makes me feel a little less annoyed with Yorick because he becomes a slightly less annoying person. So that’s a plus. And the second half of the book is fairly interesting, with yet another set of crazy people and an equally crazy throwdown between them and our heroes (who are still Yorick, Mann, and 355).

So… I think I’m going to put this series away for a little bit and come back to it once I can repress those unrepressing scenes. Makes perfect sense, yes?

Recommendation: Ehhhhhh… let me get back to you on this. If it makes sense in the overall story, I’ll give it a thumbs up.

Rating: 7/10
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See also:
[your link here]

Pass me yours, if you’ve got ’em.

Y: The Last Man Book 3, by Brian K. Vaughan

More Yorick! Good times! Well, good for me. Not Yorick. Or anyone else, for that matter.

Let’s see, who’s a player in this book? We’re still following Yorick, his monkey Ampersand, 355, and Dr. Mann on their journey to California. But there’s a quick detour in Kansas when a terribly accented Russian shows up ready to rescue some male astronauts (well, one is obviously a cosmonaut) on their Houston-unsupported return to Earth. Which would be going fine, except…

The strange Israeli army people are back, apparently following the orders of Yorick’s mother who thinks that 355 is going to do something terrible to Yorick… or something. It’s not terribly clear. What is clear is that the Israelis’ leader is bent on kidnapping Yorick for herself… not like that. Maybe like that? Okay, not as clear as I thought.

Who else, who else… there are some geneticists, which is cool. Oh! Right! And a troupe of actors who stage a play about the last man on Earth, make meta-commentary on this series (“If there’s one thing I hate, it’s crappy works of fiction that try to sound important by stealing names from the Bard”), introduce me to a work by Mary Shelley called The Last Man (which is on my TBR pile effective immediately), and piss off a bunch of Kansas ladies who really just wanted someone to continue their stories (you know, soap operas) for them.

OH. And then there is someone called Toyota who for some reason wants Ampersand. I imagine that will come back again quickly.

So all in all the series remains on a high level of ridiculousness tempered by an intriguing question and some fine illustration.

Recommendation: Yeah, you should probably pick up this series. It’s pretty cool.

Rating: 8/10
(Support Your Local Library Challenge)

See also:
Rhinoa’s Ramblings

Pass me yours, if you’ve got ’em.

Y: The Last Man Book 2, by Brian K. Vaughan

This is definitely better than the first collection of the series, mostly because there is nearly 100 percent less exposition. So relaxing to just read a story!

The plot is still generally the same, of course β€” Yorick is probably the last man on Earth, making him a very hot commodity for many groups who want him in varying levels of alive. A government operative called 355 and a Dr. Mann would like to figure out why he’s still alive and possibly clone him, because that would be useful, but the group farthest to the “dead” end of the aforementioned spectrum is hunting this little group down as they travel from Boston to California. They make it as far as Ohio in this book and stir up quite a bit of trouble in the process.

This series continues to provide an interesting answer to the “what if we got rid of all those pesky men” question, though the focus on the Daughters of the Amazon in this set got pretty tedious pretty fast β€” I get it, they’re a cult, they’re quite crazy, can we move on now? But of course we can’t, because Yorick’s sister has gotten herself caught up in the crazy.

With any luck, things will get crazy in a different direction in the next book.

Recommendation: Read the first set; if you like it, read this!

Rating: 8/10
(Support Your Local Library Challenge)

See also:
[your link here]

Pass me yours, if you’ve got ’em.

Y: The Last Man Book 1, by Brian K. Vaughan

I’m getting smart on this A to Z Challenge thing and picking books to read from my long TBR list on GoodReads. Birds! Stones!

This book is the first volume of the collection of Y: The Last Man comic books. In this set we learn that some mysterious and possibly ooky thing has eliminated all of chromosomally male creatures on earth (humans, monkeys, chinchillas, whatever), except for one human, Yorick, and his monkey, Ampersand. Yorick has no idea why he’s still alive, but he’s more worried about finding his girlfriend slash possible fiancΓ©e than pretty much anything else.

Of course, there are other players in this new world β€” at the beginning of the comic we are introduced to a woman with an amulet that too many people want to get their hands on, an Israeli army officer who gets a quick promotion after all the dying, a scientist with a cloned fetus that dies during birth (the fetus, not the scientist), a secret agent known only as 355, a group of “Amazons” who cut off their breasts and fight with bows and arrows and generally want to kill men and also women who don’t follow their path, and a majority Democratic government under siege by the wives of the Republican congressmen who died.

There is a lot of stuff going on here, and I am intrigued to see how it plays out in the future, but I’m not terribly thrilled with the characters or the storyline thus far, probably because everything is in big-time Exposition Mode. I think I’ll give the next volume a chance and see what happens.

Recommendation: Good for fans of apocalyptic and other generally problem-ridden universes, and those with an eye for pop-culture references.

Rating: 7/10
(A to Z Challenge, Support Your Local Library Challenge)

See also:
Rhinoa’s Ramblings

Pass me yours, if you’ve got ’em.