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Saturday, July 05, 2008

cover of Unmanned

This is the first volume of the acclaimed Y: The Last Man series, and it is engaging right from the start. Some unknown disease (or something) kills off all the males on the planet (not just humans but every species), and it happens all over the world at the same time. The only male survivors are Yorick, an out-of-work street magician and escape artist, and his pet monkey Ampersand. Vaughan presents a compelling picture of what the world might be like and how people might respond to an abrupt change like this. Some women form a new gang of Amazons, insisting that the world is better off without men; others mourn the incredible losses of all the talented musicians, scientists, and other great men that were taken away all at once. Even the political aspects are compelling: Congress is left with mostly Democratic politicians and the wives of the dead politicians demand their share of the power. The title of the series works beautifully on so many levels-- Y for Yorick, the last man on Earth, but also for the Y chromosome, as well as a play on the question, "Why?" since no one knows the cause of this disaster (although Vaughan offers a couple of possibilities in some of the different storylines).

The artwork is great, and so many little details-- in the art and in the story-- are delightful. Yorick's father is a literature professor who named his children after characters in Shakespeare (Yorick's sister is named Hero). The opening of this volume grabs you immediately because it shows the catastrophic event and then jumps back a little bit and gives you some of the different events in the storylines that lead up to the moment when all the males on the planet drop dead. This technique is very effective for this part of the story, but it began to seem a little overused when I saw it in the other sections of the story, at the beginning of some of the other issues in this volume, where it really wasn't needed to tell the story effectively.

Overall, very interesting and engaging. I will be looking to read more of this series.

Title:Y: The Last Man - Unmanned
Author:Brian K. Vaughan
Date published:2003
Genre:Graphic Novel
Series:Y: The Last Man
Number of pages:128
Notes:gift from Jane (from my wish list)


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