Welcome back to my continuing review of Y: the Last Man. This week I move into collected editions five and six, which covers issues twenty-four to thirty-six. Let’s jump right in.
As book five opens the trio has finally made it to California and Yorick has found his way to the doorstep of a church. But instead of salvation he finds a stewardess and the damaged memories of two horrorstruck people just trying to survive in a world that is, indeed, gone mad. Like many of the recent story arcs this two-parter has a series of great twists including: Amazons, infidelity, patriarchical discussions and magic.
Vaughan follows that arc up with a stand-alone issue, the story of Hero Brown. It covers not only how she wound up a brainwashed Amazon but goes all the way back to her youth where she was a pimple-faced girl finding solace in the embrace of a boy. The story speaks to Hero’s desire to fight against her parents influence and blaze her own trail in the world. It also shows her redemption as she finds her way back to her mother in Washington and the demons she still carries with her in the voice and image of her former leader, Victoria.
The next issue has possibly the biggest cliffhanger of any issue to date. But that’s not where it starts, of course. It starts with the origin of the engagement ring Yorick has been toting across the country, destined to place on the finger of his betrothed, Beth. And then pushed the story ahead to the point where the trio has been in San Francisco for several weeks. Dr. Mann has been running test after test on Yorick with no success. The issue gets action packed as members of the Setauket Ring and the Ninja lady make reappearances. During a scuffle with Ring members, one of them swipes Yorick’s ring and as the issue concludes he starts to spew blood from his mouth…just like every other man did when the plague hit. This issue is a launching point for the rest of the collection.
As the rest of the stories in this arc unfold we find out a host of things imperative to the story. But because I really want you all to experience and enjoy as much of the book as possible I’m only going to lay them out for you in a group and give you as little details as possible…and so it shall be.
Hero has tracked Agent 355 across the country under the belief that she has been holding Yorick against his will. Agent 355 has been holding on to an artifact that may have caused the plague. Ampersand is the reason Yorick is alive. Dr. Mann’s mother may somehow be involved with the Ninja that has been stalking the group. Hero has a lot of demons. The Setauket Ring is a bunch of bitches. The story officially leaves America.
When book six launches, pun intended, the trio are onboard a luxury cruise liner that has been re-commissioned as a transport ship; the cargo is not what the group believes it to be, however. As is prone to happen in nearly every disadvantageous time and situation, Yorick is discovered and determined to be a living male. (I feel compelled to interject an opinion here: Vaughan could have gone a lot of ways in this book, overall, with how Yorick would act and how many people would really know about him. I think the fact that he gets uncovered by hosts of people is a clever way to go about it. If he somehow managed to remain undiscovered throughout the entire trek that would have been improbable and downright impractical. So once again I must applaud Vaughan for his realistic approach to a very unrealistic situation.)
All the issues in book six, save the finale, are all part of the story-at-sea. Uncovered in this story arc is the fact that Australia has been flooded with drugs since the plague hit, and the crew of the ship Yorick, Agent 355 and Dr. Mann find themselves on is a major contributor to this fact. In an effort to take a stand against the tragedy ravaging their homeland the Royal Australian Navy decides to fight back; they have a spy on the boat.
The covert operative sends a signal to a submarine that has been patrolling the Pacific Ocean, constantly searching for ships trafficking drugs. This ship, as it happens, is bound for Japan…to the town where Dr. Mann’s mother lives. As this section comes to a close we are reintroduced to Alter Tse’elon (the Israeli militant) and she is freeing herself from the bondage of her captors. Oh…and did I mention there’s some hot lesbian action going on within the trio? I’ll let you figure out who’s involved in that.
The final issue of book six takes us through the history of Yorick & Beth. We discover how it all started and are given a glimpse into a loving relationship that is the basis for so much of Yorick’s actions for so much of the book. One could argue that coming in at issue thirty-six this story is long overdue, and I would probably agree with you. But like all good things, this is worth the wait. The issue also gives us a glimpse into what is happening with Beth in the here and now. Not a spoiler…she’s still alive, still in Australia and is dealing with some very strange people.
These two collections are definitely the best to date. If I was grading on story arcs, these two would rank incredibly high. Sadly there are only four more collections left, two more weeks of reviews and then I will be on to some grand new adventure!
Keep your eyes peeled to 8daysageek.com for the continuing review of Y: the Last Man!
This is your Bin Fodder Guru Tim Blacksmith signing off.
p.s. Starting tomorrow (Thursday) my new weekly review launches. In this new undertaking I will be picking a different new release each week to read, analyze and review. What’s it all mean? Why’s it going to be worth reading? Check it out tomorrow and judge for yourself!
Playlist: BT – “God Speed”, The Format – “Let’s Make This Moment A Crime”, Modest Mouse – “Paper Thin Walls”, Third Eye Blind – “Camouflage”, Counting Crows – “Have You Seen Me Lately”, The Devlins – “Wide Open”, Armchair Martian – “Fired – Dealing With”, Dishwalla – “Coral Sky”, Dashboard Confessional – “Again I Go Unnoticed”, Old 97’s – “Just Like California”, The Ataris – “Connections Are More Dangerous Than Lies”, Motion City Soundtrack – “Indoor Living”, The Junior Varsity – “The Sky”, Rise Against – “Whereabouts Unknown”, The Get Up Kids – “Never Be Alone”, A New Found Glory – “I’d Kill to Fall Asleep”, Mute Math – “Stall Out”, The Misfits – “Dr. Phibes Rises Again [demo version]”, Deftones – “Beware”, Kenna – “Siren”