Y: The Last Man: Unmanned

September 18, 2013 at 9:00 am (Reads) (, )

UnmannedY: The Last Man: Unmanned by Brian K. Vaughan, et al.


I’ve heard a lot of good things about this series, so when I was killing time at a bookstore this week, I decided to go ahead and take a chance on the first collection.  I read it over lunch today, and I’m a little disappointed.  Maybe my expectations were too high, but it just didn’t impress me like I thought it would.

Part of it was the theme of Yorick being, as the title suggests, the last man on Earth.  Something happened that killed any mammal with a Y chromosome, except for Yorick and his pet monkey, Ampersand.  From that point on, the world tries to carry on as best it can, with one scientist thinking about cloning as a means to save the population.  Then folks discover that Yorick is still alive, and wonder why and what it means.  This is the beginning of the story, and, honestly, pretty much all that this collection covers.  There are a couple of asides in the plot — his mom is in Congress and wants to protect him, and there’s a roving band of Amazons who want to kill him (which struck me as being sexist and, honestly, stupid) — but Unmanned is really just as expository collection.  In fact, I’d be willing to read the second volume in the series, just to give it the chance to get better before I give up on it.  The Unwritten was another series that took two arcs to really get going, but at least with that series, I knew from the first volume that there was enough there to keep me interested in reading more.

One thing I did find to be effective in the series was the structure of the timeline of the events that took place.  The opening page of the collection is the reactions from a handful of women to every man spontaneously dying, and then the rest of the story is told through flashbacks, starting at twenty-nine minutes before the deaths.  It jumps around from one character’s story to another, filling in the gaps along the way.  It’s not a new way of storytelling, but it worked.

Look, Children of Men took the same rough idea — a savior in a world with very little hope — and did a much better job of translating that into a plausible scenario.  I never questioned the motivations of any of the characters, and the events unfolded logically from one point to the next.  Y, though, just seems melodramatic and over the top.  But I’ll give it one more chance.

1 Comment

  1. Y: The Last Man: Cycles | Veni Vidi Verkisto said,

    […] I mentioned after reading Unmanned, I gave volume two of this series a go to make sure I wasn’t missing anything about it.  It […]

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