Hey guys, welcome to Part 1 of Billy (foilball) & Mandy’s (kidginger) review of Y: The Last Man. The series in question recently concluded and we thought, what better time than now to rehash the entire thing? First, some background info. I was there for the beginning and the end, so this will be a second read through for me. Mandy, however, is a Y virgin. This will be her first time through the Y epic. We are both very excited about this and I hope you guys enjoy our musings and off topic ramblings.
In this installment, we will be picking apart and commenting on issues 1-12. We hope to make this a weekly thing, to run a total of 5 weeks. WARNING: there will be spoilers in these articles, so if you don’t want to get spoiled, please read the issues before you read the articles. Or, read them along with us! We welcome your comments and hope that you enjoy the show.
Billy Z: Hey Mandy, first, why don’t you introduce yourself and your recent relationship with comics. You’re usually not a massive comics reader, are you?
Mandy P: This is true. In fact, prior to Y, you would give me comics and they would sit on my dresser until you demanded I return them… on pain of death. So yeah, me and comics… it’s a new thing. We’re taking it slow.
BZ: What was different this time? What made you say “shit, I guess I’ll read Y: The Last Man.”
MP: Because you promised that this time you chose something I would actually like… unlike the time you self-centeredly suggested that I might LOVE preacher.
BZ: Just because I was using Preacher to try and force you to renounce your faith, doesn’t mean I was being selfish.
MP: Um. Yeah?
BZ: Okay, maybe it does.
MP: Anyway, and then page one, his name is Yorick and my English major’s heart leapt.
BZ: Cool. Since I’ve been done this road already, it’s really interesting for me to see this series through a new pair of eyes.
MP: YAY! A little like watching Dylan (Billy’s nephew) discover the world.
BZ: Yes, the eyes of a child. I guess, this time, I put your taste in literature before my needs.
MP: Which, I think shows SOME personal growth on your part…
BZ: But there was some selfishness. The ending is somewhat controversial, and I wanted your take on it, so…
MP: Yeah, I can’t wait.
BZ: So, let’s jump right in… issue 1, page 1—BOOM! Some chick, all bloodied up says, “Something’s wrong!”
MP: OBV BITCH. Her face is wrecked.
BZ: And the final panel of the page has this policewoman putting a gun to her head… “All the men are dead.” What did you think when you read that?
MP: First thought? No more blowjobs? Sadface.
BZ: HA! Like, for me, I loved how it was just BANG and we’re in it. In the shit.
MP: YES. I like reveals like that… the kind that make you think WTF? And then you know the payoff is coming… or you hope it is… and then I felt like I was watching season two of LOST.
BZ: Yeah, except it’s “Lost” before Lost. Also, fuck Lost.
BZ: Then you turn the page, and Yorick mentions that Elvis had a twin, right there on page two, Vaughan sets up destiny as a major theme of the book. We get Yorick’s view on it, and by the end he finds out if he was right or wrong. Throughout the rest of the series, Vaughan takes out ideas about destiny and deconstructs them, flips ‘em and reverses ‘em.
MP: WOW. Stop being smarter than me.
BZ: Then take better notes next time, tardblog.com. So anyway, the Elvis story, at the time, I had no idea what that meant or what it was doing in the story. It’s only upon the second reading, knowing the end and all the middle action, that I even deciphered it in all the throwaway dialogue.
MP: Yeah, well, I saw it right away. I was like “whoa, did I write this story?”
BZ: Vaughan is kind of a genius. I never gave him enough credit before this.
MP: What about the feminist junk?
BZ: I had no idea that that was what the book was going to be about. But he sets it up by page six with Yorick’s mom as a congresswoman and the sexism she has to deal with on Capital Hill.
MP: I sort of had that feeling though. Like, obv, there was a TON of researched stuff. Like that Day Without a Mexican movie…. there was that one page where they just rattle off the effects of all the men being gone.
BZ: Yeah, he’s said that he spent like a year reading all this feminist literature to prepare for it.
MP: It was pretty serious from the beginning… although, I will say that’s the one place where the dialogue gets a little heavy handed for me. Every time someone starts rattling off statistics. Ugh.
BZ: Yeah, it can be pretty in your face.
MP: But, it’s necessary in a way, so, whatever. And I mean, if all the men were suddenly gone, the people with intense political agendas would sound like that… I just wouldn’t be hanging out with them.
BZ: Hey, when Beth says, “Hold on, I have to tell you something” in issue one, what did you think she was going to say?
MP: Did I think she was going to drop his ass? Yeah, I think I might have.
BZ: See, I don’t think I thought that the first time. I don’t know what I thought. Maybe that she was cheating? Or a closet lesbian? But, like in a “lets work it out” kind of way. If that makes sense.
MP: Or like, “I’m not coming home.”
BZ: So in the first issue, Vaughan sets up three possible reasons for the plague, the amulet, the clone baby and the magic ring Yorick was going to propose with… which do you think is the cause?
MP: None of the above? Scientific accident?
BZ: 5 years ago, I thought it was the amulet. The cloning thing didn’t seem feasible. There had to be some kind of magic involved.
MP: To me, this whole thing is too grounded in reality… if that makes sense. I’m just saying that my initial thought was that it was some sort of scientific medical catastrophe… like in I AM LEGEND or something…
BZ: But other than god or magic, what could kill all the males on the planet in the same moment?
MP: ME. OBV.
BZ: Dude, only thing that bugged me was Yorick losing reception at the end for NO REAOSN! They never explain it.
MP: IT’S DRAMA BILLY.
BZ: It was a lame, cheap plot device.
BZ: No logical reason for it to happen, as if God did it. And no one ever says anything about it. It would have been fine if He did do it, but someone needed to credit him. A single line of dialogue, like “and my phone went dead, for no reason… weird” would have been fine.
MP: Over it yet? Anyway… obviously he’s chasing after her right? That was my favorite thing, the entire world is falling apart and he’s dead set on getting to Australia to find Beth.
BZ: But he’s so completely hateable and immature about it.
MP: I think that’s necessary though.
BZ: Yes, it is, but there were times during the first read through that I was so annoyed with how lame Yorick was being.
MP: Because he’s completely unworthy of being the last man?
BZ: Maybe. Anyway, he does a lot of growing up by issue 60.
MP: I hope so, otherwise… waste of time for us, right? Like Spike moving into the Playboy mansion… fuck you Joss Whedon.
MP: HA. Sorry.
BZ: The line in issue two where the supermodel says, “Whom? What are you an english major?” I thought of you.
MP: I THOUGHT OF ME TOO. Oh, and then also, I knew it was lights out for Hero long before they brought her back…
BZ: Lights out meaning she’s going to go psycho and cut of her tit?
MP: Yeah, like it was going to be bad… just because Hero is the brainless wonder in “much ado”.
BZ: See, I didn’t know that about Hero in that play. See, smarter than me.
MP: I was humoring you before.
BZ: When I first read this, I as 22. I was very surface with it. Young and dumb.
MP: Yes, we have established that my brain is bigger than yours. Also, that’s why else I knew that his immaturity will be short-lived. Because Yorick was the clown. So, CONGRATULATIONS VAUGHAN. You’re conversant in both tragedies and comedies. I’m impressed.
BZ: Are you finished being nerdy? Hey, how about the crazy republican wives on the White House lawn?
MP: Obv, I thought, “THESE ARE MY PEOPLE.”
BZ: Would that have been you too, as a Republican?
MP: SHUT. UP.
BZ: I see a lot of myself in Yorick, my self from 5 years ago. Just another expression of Vaughan’s intelligence. He wrote this great universal make hero that crosses the generational gap.
MP: I can see that.
MP: I think the choice to make him an english major is perfect.
BZ: My favorite moment from the first 12 issues was the Hobo Pirates scene. They were too Chronicles of Riddick. Not only was it funny, but it’s that scene in the beginning of every odyssey, where if not for one stupid mistake, everything would have gone according to plan. If Yorick isn’t so dumb, rash and immature, he doesn’t get himself tossed off the train. They make it to California, Dr. Mann saves the day and Yorick gets the girl. But alas, poor Yorick, then we wouldn’t get treated to this epic story.
MP: What about the junkie girl?
BZ: Oh, yeah, and then the junkie girl doesn’t die… which, ironically is what finally forces Yorick to stop being so lame and start moving toward growing the hell up.
MP: Speaking of, Yorick hooking up with the junkie chick didn’t scan with me.
BZ: Really, why?
MP: I would think you would have a problem with that as well… it’s so casual
BZ: Not really. It’s what I would expect from a guy like this who has never been with another chick and he’s in an incredibly stressful situation. It’s real. I liked that part of it. Is it right morally? No. First, it makes him a liar. Second, what about Beth’s feelings? Yeah, it’s not cool, but expected and real. Good drama!
MP: DRAMA!!! Alright, fair enough.
BZ: What about the hobos!?!
MP: SCARY BITCHES. For reals.
BZ: They were so awesome, how they just swung into the car? I couldn’t stop laughing. It was Riddick!
MP: Thoughts on Yorick’s self righteousness?
BZ: The White House Lawn speech and the condemnation of the former inmates?
MP: Yeah, WTF at that. That was my attitude. Dude, why is he screaming at them? And then, I keep trying to think too about what it must be like to be him. He’s Harry Potter and Buffy all rolled into one. DIE CHOSEN ONES!
BZ: HAH, yeah. Ugh, and what about super femi-nazi Victoria?
MP: Stupid gingerkid.
BZ: Every time she started talking, I wanted to punch her in the uterus. Is that wrong?
MP: That is completely right. You get the sense she sat at home as a child and thought, “MAN. HOW CAN I GET RID OF MY BROTHER… AND MY DAD… AND FIDO OUR DOG AND HIS PENIS?”
BZ: The penis thing with hero was weird as fuck.
MP: Um, YEAH. Messed up brother issues much? She was projecting. And then I was like, “DUDE, STOP CALLING HERO “SISTER”, YOU WANT TO BONE HER!” …so to speak.
BZ: I think a little too much of how Vaughan really feels about feminists came out in Victoria’s speeches.
MP: Yeah, that was obvious.
BZ: It’s funny because Vaughan gets so much credit from the feminists for being such a strong supporter.
MP: Um. True facts, “feminists” sometimes have a hard time recognizing the misogyny. It’s true.
BZ: The big cliffhanger of issue 8? Is Yorick gonna kill his sister? ZOMG!!! What went through your head in the two seconds it took you to open the next book?
MP: Hey, I had to take it out of the bag.
BZ: …the guys should always do that.
MP: MAN, WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?
BZ: Don’t even know.
MP: Anyways, I thought she was a goner… AND I’LL TELL YOU WHY. I never would have thought he would kill her… if he hadn’t just taken apart the ex-convicts in his self righteous diatribe. That whole explosion made me feel like Yorick had no anchor? Obviously, this was a by-product of his confusion and immaturity but at this point he’s all buckled in with Dr. Mann…heh MANN… and Shaft, er…355….
BZ: Please explain in complete sentences?
MP: DIE IN COMPLETE SENTENCES. I’m just saying that the whole screaming at the convicts thing made me question him. I kind of thought his sister was done for… which irritated me because it was against what I was expecting for her character. So, I’m glad she’s not dead.
BZ: Speaking of Dr Mann… let’s talk about her lack of Asianness. I like the art, but the ethnicity of two of the leads is questionable. 355 and Mann look white most of the time.
MP: Well, Mann SAYS she’s Asian… and I was like, “OH, UM, DOES SHE KNOW SHE DOESN’T LOOK ASIAN?” Then I saw the cover of 11 and I was like, “WHO IS THAT?” Also, 355 looks like a man… in 50% of the panels she appears in. FYI.
BZ: Yeah, I noticed that too.
MP: And the story about her changing her name to MANN… I don’t think she was really Asian when she was first introduced. Because, who would tell a story like that? That was lame ass exposition if you ask me.
BZ: So you think Vaughan changed his mind midway?
MP: Yeah. He must have. She’s NOT Asian….
BZ: The thing with his mom being the informant was some last minute shit. It never made sense to me.
MP: Yeah, because I didn’t get the impression that Alter was working for someone else either… at first.
BZ: I love that Russian chick. She is one of my favorite characters of the entire series. The page where Yorick is talking to her and she’s taking off her shirt and she says to him, “I’m sorry, I didn’t understand anything you just said.” Awesome.
MP: And I was thinking, “OH, SLUTTY GUY DRINKING GAME! Let’s do shots every time Yorick almost macks on a random!”
BZ: HA HA. Okay, wrapping up, issue 12 breaks in the middle of a storyline, the space pirates and astro-bastards are about to crash land… thoughts on the first year of Y?
MP: DUDE. I think Hero’s my favorite. Does that mean something is wrong with me?
Stay tuned for Part 2, covering the second year of the series, coming soon!
If you haven’t read Y yet, you can pick up the Trades at your local shop or order them online from Amazon.com at these links: