I won't lie, I am relatively new to the "oh so expansive" world of comics. After reading my fair share of the essential Batman series (Year One, The Long Halloween) and other critically acclaimed works such as Watchmen, I finally wanted something a little new and fresh, that doesn't really involve the concept of a "superhero".
And oh man did I get it.
But enough of my life story, let's hit this review.
VERTIGO - the publisher of this incredible series - is a subdivision of the renowned DC Comics, whose main focus is providing more adult orientated franchises than DC do, so first of all, let me comment on the adult nature of this book. There is a lot of swearing (albeit extremely necessary) and some fairly graphic violence, so this is definitely not one for younger children.
But now I've shooed away the sensitive, let me praise the incredible force that is, Y: The Last Man.
The story revolves around the unexplained death of every male on earth. Humans, animals and anything with a Y chromozome (including sperm cells) mysteriously dies. However, there are two survivors in this "gendercide": the protagonist, Yorick Brown (get it, his name starts with Y. ZING!) and his male pet monkey, Ampersand.
Now in a world in which 48% of the population are gone, as are 99% of the worlds landowners and 85% of all government representatives, writer Brian K. Vaughan (who has written for the television series 'Lost') explores a bleak, but realistic view of an incredible scenario.
Ignorant criticism that has been made about the series, claiming that it is chauvinistic...it isn't. So little in fact, that many of my female friends who have read it agree that it definitely lends itself to a strong feminist reading (Practically every character is female!)
The series hits you hard with its intense themes, excites you with it' incredible twists (the dude wrote on 'Lost'. I mean what can you expect) and still manages to get you to laugh out loud, with its often hilarious dialogue.
Finally, let me talk about the graphic novel itself. The series began in 2002 and finished early last year in 2008. I am reviewing the fairly recently released Deluxe Edition Book One (Deluxe Book Two was only released in May, and there are still three more to be released.) This collects the first 10 issues of the series, which is the equivalent of two of the paperback releases in one, and is really great value.
Artist Pia Guerra's artwork is fantastic, and a collection of her original character designs can be found in the back of this supersized deluxe edition. My only criticism however would be that this is really all the extra content there is in a collected omnibus, which is slightly disappointing considering the inclusion of many extra features in other series' collected editions. The beautifully designed dust jacket boasts an awesome illustration by Massimo Carnevale, and when removed, reveals the sleek, black vinyl bound hardcover including an excellent screen print of the series logo.
Y: The Last Man is a witty, sexy and all round thrilling adventure, with excellent character development. This Deluxe Edition is a beautifully designed publication, and is far better value than any of the paperback releases of the series.
This is one of the best comic book series going around at the moment, and I highly recommend anyone who has never read a graphic novel, to begin with Y: The Last Man. If you already are a fan of graphic novels, you are doing yourself a great disservice in not reading this excellent series.
"The best graphic novel I've ever read." - STEPHEN KING