In honor of Comic Con this week, I’m sharing some of my favorite comic series for the next five days.  Yesterday I talked about Scalped by Jason Aaron, a dark, gritty tale about life on a Native American reservation, and today I’m going to talk about the first of two series that I’ll share that are created by the brilliant Brian K. Vaughn.

Y: The Last Man written by Brian K. Vaughn

(via Goodreads) In the summer of 2002, a plague of unknown origin destroyed every last sperm, fetus, and fully developed mammal with a Y chromosome–with the apparent exception of one young man and his male pet. This “gendercide” instantaneously exterminated 48% of the global population, or approximately 2.9 billion men.

Now, aided by the mysterious Agent 355, the last human male Yorick Brown must contend with dangerous extremists, a hoped-for reunion with a girlfriend on the other side of the globe, and the search for exactly why he’s the only man to survive.

What could easily be a silly male fantasy realized, Y: The Last Man instead is a funny, grim, thought-provoking, and just a flat-out fascinating tale.  Over ten volumes, and five years (within the story) you see characters grow and change, adjusting to this new world.  Unconventional, but a perfect duo, Yorick (along with his pet monkey Ampersand) and Agent 355 quickly became a delight to read even against this dark backdrop.  They’re a great duo; Yorick’s sly sense of humor is perfect against Agent 355 stoicism.

I was slightly annoyed with the ambiguity as to the cause of the plague that wiped out mankind, but I grew to love the characters so much that I was able to set aside any issues I had with some convoluted plotting (it was also hard reading this with months in between, having to go back and remember what had happened in the previous volume. Lucky for you, all ten volumes are available for purchase and you won’t have to wait for the next installment).  Vaughn created something special with his ability to tackle issues on a global scale with the political and sociological ramifications of losing all the men in the world (save one), while making it very much a story about a boy in love.  Vaughn uses Y to explore issues of morality, humanity, and gender, but is never preachy. Y: The Last Man hits all the right notes of humor, drama, and action, making it a pleasure to read.

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