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

Y by Brian K. Vaughan
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's review
Aug 17, 2009

did not like it
Recommended for: comic fans
Read in August, 2009

In this volume, the series pursues a boring and not completely relevant subplot involving Israeli soldiers who are trying to kidnap Yorick so he can repopulate the Jewish homeland. Why is Yorick’s mom ok with selling him out to these people? How and why does Israel have any part in this story AT ALL? (Did the authors just play "Pin the Plot on the Country" while standing in front of a map of the world?) And why should we, the readers, give a crap about the future of Israel when the future of the entire world is at stake? These are all valid questions that, unfortunately, you won’t find an answer to in this volume.

There are three plot devices – I mean, astronaunts – who show up in this volume. Apparently two male astronauts, one American and one Russian, survived the Y-chromosome plague and are floating up in space with a female astronaut who is in love with them both (of course). By introducing two males and then having them both die, the authors essentially wanted to tease the readers with the possibility that Yorick was not in fact the last man alive, but then snatch away that possibility and say, “Oh wait, yeah, he is - sorry for the detour, time to carry on with the story as planned!”

So this volume alternates between chronicling the adventures of the Israeli soldiers in their quest to steal Yorick from a decontamination facility (oh, the drama! The cat-fighting! The insubordination!) and the astronauts’ attempt to land safely in the middle of a nearby field. There’s some ripped Russian lady who’s been sent on a mission to rescue the Russian astronaut, and somehow she gets involved in this meandering plot as well, mainly through her skill at shooting people.

There's also one gag-inducing moment when one of the Israeli soldiers says, in response to Yorick's comment that he thought America and Israel were supposed to be friends, "This is what happens to friends when a man comes between them!" GAG. Do we really need an extended metaphor about countries being catty women? And do we really need to focus even more attention on Yorick as some kind of demi-god who can make entire countries go to war just for little old him? Again, the plot development in this volume bears a disturbing resemblance to a kind of masculine fantasy about women - and even entire nations! - falling all over themselves to win the man. This entire series is an extended thought-experiment about how women would play the mating game when the stakes become insanely high. And it turns out that women remain just as focused on men as before, but become even cattier, more violent, and more selfish. The authors had an entire host of possibilities before them based on the initial premise of a female-only world, and none of the possibilities they chose are particularly interesting or palatable to me. The few female characters who do envisage a change to the status quo and a turning away from the constant obsession with men are portrayed as perverse and dangerous (the Daughters of the Amazons) or just plain weird (the feminists in the acting troupe).

Aside from my problems with the way the authors portray gender politics, this series is quite heavy on the melodrama despite the fact that nothing ever really happens. By the end of each comic, the status quo is more or less the same, plus or minus a few supporting characters. The readers feel no closer to Yorick, Agent 355, or Dr. Mann than they did at the beginning of the series because nothing of importance has changed in their goals, personalities, or relationships. Dr. Mann is still an overly-cautious, uptight scientist with a Secret, Agent 355 is still a government agent with a Past, and Yorick is still a self-righteous, snarky kid with a Pet. Three volumes is enough of an opportunity for a series to prove itself, so in my opinion, Y is a disappointment.

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