Rebecca's Reviews > Y: The Last Man, Vol. 2: Cycles

Y by Brian K. Vaughan
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's review
Jul 30, 2009

it was ok
Recommended for: comic fans
Read in July, 2009

This volume is really heavy on the Amazons, which is unfortunate, because in my opinion, the Amazons are to real feminists what blackface performers are to actual black people. The Amazons are the authors' completely un-subtle representations of everything that people (especially men, but even some women) fear about feminists: They want to castrate men (and not always figuratively)! They want to rule the world! They hate childrearing, domesticity, common decency, and basic morals! Aahhhhh! Hide your children! In the mouths of these Amazons, words like "patriarchy" and "oppressors" sound laughable, even ridiculous. The Amazons are basically an over-the-top mockery of everything that feminists supposedly stand for.

Yorick, the main character and only surviving male in this post-apocalyptic world, claims to be as liberal as they come, but he hates the Amazons with a fiery and unexplained passion (even before they started trying to kill him). Also confusing are Yorick's many macho comments about women, including the following: "Made me wonder if this whole thing happened for a reason. 'And the meek shall inherit the earth,' and all that..." He says this, by the way, to the woman who has been saving his ass throughout the entire series. Whenever someone calls out Yorick on his condescending attitude towards women, he always says something like, "Oh, you know what I mean." That's just it, though - I don't. Is Yorick actually a conservative blowhard masquerading as a liberal because it's "cool"? Do the authors think they're making him a liberal character but just getting it horribly wrong?

At one point, another character calls Yorick a sanctimonious brat, and I couldn't agree more. He's a petulant, rash, and arrogant child, and unless he grows up fast, I'm going to lose interest in what happens to him. I find it incredibly frustrating that in a world where virtually all the men have died, the most interesting story that the authors could come up with was having all the women in the world chasing after/protecting/wanting to mate with/wanting to kill the last surviving male. Rather than challenging the status quo, this series seems to be reinforcing men's self-importance and power -- after all, despite a female/male ratio of 3 billion to 1 (and despite being surrounded by people who are much stronger and wiser than him), Yorick still seems to think that everything is naturally going to go his way. Rather than accommodating them, Yorick expects every woman he meets to accommodate him, and really, isn't that less "speculative fiction" and more "real life"? And having the Sonia woman develop an insta-crush on Yorick is just silly. I'm beginning to think that this series is nothing more than an extensively thought-out description of a masculine power fantasy.

I have two other minor complaints. One: The Israeli side story is very boring and seems completely irrelevant at this point. I'm sure all will be explained later, but really, do I want to wait for it? I'm sure it's some conspiracy having to do with some kind of arcane object, yadda yadda yadda. Can we just cut to the chase?

Number two: Yorick being an escape artist and owning a monkey are also completely irrelevant at this point. This hobby and pet of his just seem like a quick and dirty way for the authors to give him a personality, but it's not enough, since neither factor ever plays a significant role in any of the action. I'm sure that his escaping skills and/or his monkey will save his life at some point, but right now, it just seems like a transparent ploy to make him seem interesting or exotic.
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