By Brian K. Vaughan (Author) and Pie Guerra (Illustrator)
Vertigo/ DC Comics (Publisher)
> Review by Michael Hoffert Jr.
In Brooklyn, a xNew York Police Department officer puts her firearm to her temple and says “All of the men are dead.” This is the final panel of the first page of creators Brian K. Vaughan and Pie Guerra’s career-defining epic Y: The Last Man, a comic book that follows the last two creatures to carry the gender-defining Y chromosome on planet Earth. Those two creatures are amateur escape artist Yorrick Brown and Ampersand, his helper monkey-in-training. Vaughan utilizes this concept, which at first sounds more like the description of what should be a 1970s Charlton Heston film, to tell a story about gender, politics and, ultimately, humanity. He shows a society where roughly half the population dies and just how much chaos that brings, but without a sense of gender bias, and this is demonstrated best in the main character of Yorrick. He is not the atypical hero; in fact, he is nerdy, slightly effeminate, and at times recklessly impulsive. But these qualities, often so negative when considering the “standard hero type,” actually make him endearingly relatable to the reader. Co-creator Pie Guerra brings this world to life with her pencils, which are simple, yet elegant. Her art, which never over-complicates scenes, still manages to create a narrative flow that effectively ratchets up tension with every turn of the page. By the end of the first chapter, you will not want to stop reading as this fully realized world of rich characters and ideas continues to unfold and envelope the reader. Part science fiction, part action thriller, and part character study, Y: The Last Man delivers in spades.