Continuing my five-part review of the Vertigo series, Y: the Last Man, I roll into collected editions seven and eight, which covers issues thirty-seven through forty-eight. During this stretch Vaughan and Guerra continue the adventures of their fateful trio as they stomp around the globe.
As the story picks up, the Australian submarine that picked them up (after said sub sank the heroine-carrying cruise-liner they had been on) is back in Australia docked in Sydney. You may have seen this coming but Yorick is hell-bent on getting off the boat and searching high and low for Beth. But he doesn’t know what’s waiting for him…
A reporter hungry for proof of the world’s last man.
The reporter has a bit of Lois Lane in her and ends up snapping a naked photo of Yorick (finally some male nudity in a book that has been riddled with boobs for nearly forty issues!) which turns out to generate a massive blowback. Yorick had the brilliant idea to let the picture go to print, arguing that he was going to be exposed at some point and “why not now” is the mentality he takes with it.
Let it never be said that Yorick Brown is a genius.
Yorick and Agent 355 track down some information on Beth’s whereabouts and it turns out she’s not even in Australia any longer. She’s left, after having an epiphany about Yorick, and headed for France. To the spot they had off-handedly said they would meet some undisclosed time in the future. (Yeah…rather idiotic of her, but something that seems romantic, right?)
The undercurrent story of this arc is the relationship between Dr. Mann and the Australian naval crew-person, Rose. There are secrets brewing, however and Dr. Mann is about to put some skin in the game on this grande adventure.
In the final two issues of the seventh collection the stories are dedicated to looks back at the lives of Agent 355 and Yorick, respectively. We get in-depth insight into the history of how 355 became an agent, how her family died when she was young and she was eventually recruited by the Culper Ring because she showed promise. We even see how she went from being called Agent 86 (her original name) to Agent 355 and the circumstances surrounding that. Yorick’s back-story involves a bit about Ampersand as well, giving more perspective on how the monkey came into the hands of Yorick. Vaughan also opens some old wounds when he takes the reader all the way back to when Yorick first gathered the courage to venture out of his apartment and to his friend’s house. What he finds undoubtedly set him back decades in the mental fragility field.
Book eight opens with the group having landed in Japan in search of Ampersand. Dr. Mann is still under the belief that her mother is behind the whole Ninja situation, which creates friction in the group. 355 wants to head to Tokyo, which is where the last tracking signal on Ampersand came from, but there’s a lag and Dr. Mann believes he’s with her mother in Yokogata. The foursome splits up: Rose with Dr. Mann, Yorick with Agent 355.
Each party leads to their own adventure, filled with death and destruction.
Here’s what we learn along the way: Dr. Mann’s mom doesn’t have anything to do with Ampersand, at least not the theft part. Rose isn’t all that she seems and tries to tell Dr. Mann…after she gets stabbed that is. Yorick and Agent 355 confront a pop-star whom has somehow managed to become leader of the Yakuza in an effort to retrieve a monkey they believe to be Ampersand. And, Yorick and 355 share a moment.
Right on queue Vaughan uses the last two issues of book eight to give more character back-story. The penultimate issue covers the history of Dr. Allison Mann and how she left Japan with her parents at a young age for America, mostly due to the infidelity of her father. It was in America that she truly broke away from the Asian mold her parents had hoped to keep her boxed into, and where we see her roots as a lesbian take hold.
The final issue looks at the history of Israeli soldier Alter Tse’elon. It shows how in her youth her sister was killed in a Palestinian attack, leading Alter to take up a life filled with conflict. We get a glimpse into her rise to prominence even before the plague and how she set herself up to take over the military swiftly in the absence of men. The issue concludes with her back in the United States, attempting to track down Yorick, using the members of the Kansas laboratory as leverage and pawns in this game of world-wide chess.
Clearly this segment of the story is meant to begin the process of wrapping up the story, as there is only a handful of issues remaining before the conclusion of this classic tale. Vaughan is masterful in leading the reader along just enough and filling in the holes in the history that a person like myself loves to have plugged with knowledge.
Keep your eyes peeled to 8daysageek.com for the thrilling conclusion to my review of Y: the Last Man!
This is your Bin Fodder Guru Tim Blacksmith signing off.
p.s. There’s an addition to the playlist now…the songs where I could find valid links to videos or at least the song on YouTube, I hyperlinked them so you could get the full experience!
Playlist: Weezer – “Glorious Day”, American Hi-Fi – “The Art of Losing”, The Red Hot Valentines – “You Sang to Me”, Damnwells – “Star/Fool”, Alkaline Trio – “Sadie”, Radiohead – “Fake Plastic Trees”, Bad Religion – “Quality or Quantity”, R.E.M. – “Leave”, Stabbing Westward – “Throw”, Snow Patrol – “Chocolate”, Cave In – “Rubber and Glue”, Guster – “The Prize”, Jimmy Eat World – “Just Tonight…”, Foo Fighters – “New Way Home”, Unwritten Law – “How You Feel”, Counting Crows – “Why Should You Come When I Call?”, The Bravery – “No Ring on These Fingers”, The Get Up Kids – “Keith Case”, Sparta – “Assemble the Empire”,