Y: The Last Man Omnibus

Y: The Last Man
Written by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra
Art by:
Pia Guerra
Goran Sudžuka
Paul Chadwick
Jose Marzan Jr.

(Amazon's link to all things YTLM)

Chewin' through it...

Of the 1424 pages I'm up to 512.

The irony is that while this book is so thick and filled with very well plotted and drawn pages I have less to talk about it. Everything about YTLM is well-ordered, timely, and logical in the sense of Yorick and his monkey Ampersand, along with Agent 355 and Dr. Mann trying to achieve their goal.

They want to get Yorick and the monkey, the last surviving males on earth, to a special research facility in San Francisco. On top of that Yorick wants to get to Australia to see his girlfriend. Plot-wise that's a good device for him to avoid the obvious and become solely responsible for the propagation of the planet. Interesting too is how there are only beautiful women left, at least they are in the forefront of the tale. Comic book logic.


The pleasures I'm getting from reading this is the deeper background of Yorick as a person; his remembrances, his past, what motivates him. That does go a long way towards compensating for the lack of believable 'world building' involved here. It's still a very clean world. Characters drift in and stick around just long enough for them to service the story.

So almost halfway through this door stopper (the joke might be 'this is a book you can't pick up') I can reside in the fact that there probably will be great person-to-person drama but don't wait around for any catastrophic compare/contrast to our world.

Let me explain what I mean.

The first book I read about a post-apocalyptic future was Pat Frank's excellent 'Alas Babylon.' It was written in 1958, about a near future where the USA and USSR did indeed launch a thermonuclear war. Mr. Frank didn't know about Nuclear Winter (the effect of all the burning cities' ash being added to the world's atmosphere). He only concerned himself with radioactive fallout. Like YTLM AB had the chain of command in the USA wrenched apart until -get this- the acting President of the United States was a woman, the former Secretary of Education.

Where Alas Babylon got it right and where YTLM, The Walking Dead, get it wrong is in the broader, behind-the-scenes world building. After a nuclear exchange, just exactly how long will it be until the US helicopters arrive in the town square? Or... how long until the Soviet tanks roll up Main Street? The people in that story save their meager resources of gasoline to power up the generator that -every first Tuesday of the month- operates the Ham Radio announcing The News of the World. They huddle near the speaker because they're desperate to make sense out of the whole thing.

I imagine if you're going to write a post-apocalyptic anything you should have a big white board and map out in a massive sense what would happen to the world itself. World War Z did a good job of that: Israel and Cuba fared well in a Zombie Apocalypse, due to their strict borders and massive militarism. Iceland was destroyed (sorry, Bjork).

(slight spoiler follows)

As a last note to AB, the most moving part of the book was at the very very end when indeed the US Army at last visited the small Florida hamlet that survived. After showing the General the water purifier and the gardens, etc. they asked him the one burning question they had on their mind:

'Who won the war?'

The General laughed. He said, 'Why, WE did, of course!'

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