Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Y: The Last Man (Brian K. Vaughan)

A series so good that on the front of every volume is a different exclamatory quotation from a different, highly-regarded member of the upper echelons in the literary community. Stephen King calls it the greatest GN series he’s ever read. Which is both a huge smack down to the rest of the community, and utterly true.

You can think of it as my number one, desert island, eyes are about to be gouged out forever pick. So let's get it out of the way first.

Y is a Shakespearean in magnitude (and, often, in reference) recount of the last man on earth, Yorick, and his journey across the globe in a world of suicidal, tortured, drug-addled, samurai-sword-wielding, hormone-befuddled, grief-stricken ladies, all of whom are trying to move on in their futureless society, unknowing that the key to human survival is being carted around in secret by a group of American interests, all bent on keeping megalomaniac Amazons, and logical militaries, and ruthless ninjas, and, yes, even pirates, from severing that chance at survival for good.

Brian K. Vaughan has penned two other series (Ex Machina and Runaways) as well as some one-offs (Pride of Baghdad), each with a similar tone and artistic execution, but only in Y is his vision so thoroughly exacted, rich with timeless social commentary. Who else in the biz knows how to pack in pop culture references to make even the most outcast social misfit feel like an insider?

Art by Pia Guerra and Jose Marzan Jr. is at worst very competent, and at best stop-you-in-your-tracks arresting. At least once per volume (if not per issue) does the scene arrive where you remember everything that makes comics great in a single page-filling panel.

In expectation for the upcoming film version, Vertigo is releasing the series in five collectible editions, the first of which is already available through Chapters and your local, and much more deserving, comic boutique.

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