Sarah's Reviews > Y: The Last Man, Vol. 3: One Small Step

Y by Brian K. Vaughan
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's review
Mar 13, 2009

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bookshelves: comics
Read in March, 2009

I had hopes that this volume would improve on the hit-and-run romance briefly explored in Cycles, but it proved too scattershot at points to fully capture my interest. Of course, my lack of connection had a lot to do with the two-shot story that happened right as the volume reached its climax. But that's how comics work sometimes; the artists are telling a free-ranging story, they have the time and issues to devote to side characters or themes. You as the reader must travel with them if you feel it is worth the effort.

As two male astronauts (and one female one) plummet to Earth, and Yorick, 355 and Dr. Mann meet yet another good fellow traveler in the form of Natalya, I began to wonder if the blame game was to be as far as the exploration of this series would go, in terms of male-female relationships (i.e., men were wiped from Earth for a reason, due to their oppression of women world-wide). Not that I think this isn't valid territory to explore. It certainly is, as victims of a holocaust will turn to whatever meaning they can find in chaos. But I feel such thoughts must be linked specifically to each character in order for the outlook to seem a feasible emotional leap. This is why the twisted feminist warriors, the Daughters of the Amazon, work so well. Deep scars warrant their crusade. The same should be true of other characters we meet, if they are to hold our interest.

So, suffice it to say, the theatre troupe at the end of the book didn't hold my attention as much as it might have. Though I did enjoy Vaughan's play on art as a symbol of hope also serving as a symbol of immense pain for others (specifically in a world where women must play all the roles, onstage and off). The emptiness felt by the absence of another gender is not played sexually in these two chapters (minus a few jokes), but rather, as a hole that can be filled by either hope or despair, via the land of pretend. It is up to each woman to make her choice.

But you have to read pretty closely to get there. More promising is the conversation between Israeli agent Alter and her second-in-command Sadie. Alter has plans to steal the last man from 355 to repopulate Israel and bring peace to a now-torn nation. External threats are necessary in order to stave off internal ones, she points out; when conflicts appear from without, nations unite. In many ways, that's what many of the women in these stories are looking for: unity in the face of missing something, a half--maybe not something they, as twenty first century women, need for meaning, but for another outlook, a challenge, someone to say, "Well, I experienced life this way." Something to give them the other half of the story.
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