Friday, October 17, 2014

Review # 141: "Y: The Last Man - 'Motherland' and 'Whys and Wherefores'"

The ending of "Y: The Last Man" can be emotionally devastating. Brian K. Vaughan does an A+ job at wrapping up his story, but that doesn't mean the result is happy.

The penultimate volume "Motherland" sees several subplots reach their climax like Dr. Mann finding her adversary (it's a doozy) and 355 having a final showdown with the ninja Toyota. It also serves as the best examination of what exactly happened to wipe all males save Yorick and his monkey from the face of the earth. If you're looking for an answer, you won't find it. It's more of a "choose your own theory" scenario. The new one introduced here is quite provocative.

"Motherland" also wraps up an earlier interlude and expands on a minor character from the series' beginnings. Despite my own desperation to reach the overall conclusion, these pieces about a theatre troupe and a body collector are both enjoyable and poignant. It shows that there's a lot of room for this universe to grow should Vaughan ever choose to revisit it.

But he and artist Pia Guerra may have left it at the right time and in the right way. The images from "Whys and Wherefores" will stick with you for a long time. There are three portrait shots in particular - two that mirror each other - that burn into your brain. All three leave you sad or they leave you angry. Maybe both. Again, this is not a happy ending by any stretch, especially for Yorick.

But there is hope. In the brilliantly-titled "Alas," we see what has become of all characters in a flash-forward that is more depressing than heartening. It's nice to conclusively see the fate of the human race. And as for Yorick's exit? It's a stroke of genius.

Which is a fair way to describe this book. If you buy it a few pieces at a time or all at once, you will find yourself unable to put it down. If you're a fan of Stephen King, or want to step outside superhero books, I give "Y: The Last Man" my highest recommendation possible. It's one of my ten favourite stories ever. Without a doubt.

Rating(s): 8.5/10 ("Motherland"), 10/10 ("Whys and Wherefores")

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