Y: The Last Man - Brian K. Vaughan & Pia Guerra
Volume 4: Safeword
Volume 5: Ring of Truth
Volume 6: Girl on Girl
Volume 7: Paper Dolls

"I swear, you bigoted American men are all the same. And by that I mean, deceased."

The next four volumes in the Y series came in at the library all at once, so I zipped through them. Not being a serial comics buyer, it's hard for me to imagine reading only one issue per month and having to wait months or years for storylines to resolve. For example, these four volumes cover issues 18 to 42. Assuming it was published at one issue a month, it would have taken two years for this entire storyline to play out. I got to read them in a week. I suppose that's why a lot of comics, regardless of how innovative the writing is, tend to look the same: it's hard enough drawing that much that quickly, but to create new comics innovations while you complete a storyline?

Anyway, the story is still holding my interest, but as I said in my review of Volume 3, things are getting a little strange. I mean, I can see why you'd want to keep things interesting, but don't Yorick and pals meet anyone who's, well, normal? It feels like everyone's part of a militia or spy ring, and pretty much all of the women we encounter can fight like Buffy. Here's a brief rundown of the plotlines for the four volumes: spoiler alert!

Safeword: 355 leaves Yorick with an ex-associate, 711 (leading to some numbers-related jokes), while she and Dr. Mann try to get some supplies from a hospital. 711 is just kind of creepy, putting Yorick through some bizarre psycho-sexual therapy. Then we move to Arizona, where the "Sons of Arizona" militia has set up a roadblock, blaming the plague on the US Government. 355 gets involved, and lots of people end up dead.

Ring of Truth: Yorick finds a woman named Beth hiding out in a church and they have a moment. Then there's a section called "Hero's Journey" which is a fast-forward look at Hero's life, from picking on Yorick as a child to becoming an Amazon to her "deprogramming" in Marrisville, and then finally tracking down her brother. Meanwhile, Dr. Mann theorizes that Yorick's pet monkey Ampersand is the key to his survival ... and then Ampersand is immediately snatched up by the Japanese ninja chick and whisked off to Japan.

Girl on Girl: Yorick and pals get passage on a modified cruise ship heading to Japan and are tracked by some Aussies in a submarine. It turns out the cruise ship is running heroin and the Aussies are out to stop them. And in the land down under, Yorick's fiancee Beth has been captured by some aboriginals who perform some sort of magic, and she has a series of dreams, conveniently flashing back to her and Yorick's past.

Paper Dolls: A bunch of short plots this time: Yorick and 355 try to track down Beth while they have a short stop in Australia, but end up spending most of their time chasing down a tabloid reporter who snaps Yorick's photo. Hero finds the other Beth in California who, as it turns out, has gotten pregnant ... and is kidnapped by the Catholic church with some bizarre theories. We get a few flashbacks of 355's life, including her early training, her mentor and namesake. And then finally we have a flashback about Ampersand, this Dr. M in Japan who's been in communication with ninja chick, and then Ampersand escapes as the ship reaches Japan.

Of these four, Volume 5: Ring of Truth is the meatiest (and longest). The others feel a little more like summer blockbusters: full of explosions and fighting, sex and romance. I'm not sure how many more volumes there are before the series concludes, but I do know there's at least two more and the story does end eventually.

Fed to jonathan's brain | May 12, 2007 | Comments (0)


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