This Week's Comic Book Recommendation 7/13/09: Y: The Last Man

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This is my first post in what I’m hoping to become a regular thing. Each week I’ll be recommending a new comic book series/graphical novel for you to check out. When I first found myself drifting in to the world of comic books I felt overwhelmed. Unlike movies and video games, there aren’t many internet resources for comic book reviews and recommendations. So, if you’re looking for some comics to read, be sure to check PixelatedGeek every Monday (or so).

My first recommendation is a series called Y: The Last Man. It takes place in present time and follows the story of a young man named Yorick Brown. Yorick is a smart-ass, amateur escape artist, living in New York. His girlfriend, Beth, is traveling in Australia, when every mammal with a Y chromosome (only males have Y chromosomes, for those that didn’t pay attention to Biology in High School) is simultaneously killed. Every mammal with a Y chromosome that is, except for Yorick and his pet Monkey, Ampersand. Through out the story, Yorick and his counterparts struggle to keep his identity a secret as they attempt to navigate their way through the world’s crumbled societies to figure out exactly how and why Yorick and his monkey survived.

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The “plague”, as it is sometimes referred as, occurs at the beginning of the first of 10 trade paperbacks. From that point on, author Brian K. Vaughan is able to use this backdrop to explore some powerful themes. Vaughan does a fantastic job of commenting on some legitimate contemporary issues without being ‘preachy’. Gender equality, sexuality, religion, the Middle East, stem cell research and cloning, among others, are all covered at some point in the story. They are intertwined into the story in such a way that they almost always compliment the story and characters. Which brings me to my next point, the characters.

The characters in Y: The Last Man is the series’ strongest aspect. When the story begins Yorick is a pop culture-referencing, smart alec. In many ways, Yorick maintains his likable personality through out the whole story but, at the same time, grows into a more mature, multi-dimensional character. Vaughan develops his character in a believable fashion.

Brian K. Vaughan has been a writer on Lost for the past 5 seasons of the show. Y: The Last Man certainly holds a lot in common with the show. If you’re a fan of Lost then I think you will enjoy Y: The Last Man. There was even a episode of Lost in which Hurley was holding a copy of the comic.

I picked up the first book in the series on a whim. After that, I immediately went out and got the next book. Then the book after that. I’ve never been more motivated finish a series.

Oh yeah. I don’t want to spoil anything but the series has one of the best endings of anything. Ever.