Y: The Last Man,
#7: Paper Dolls

by Brian K. Vaughan,
Pia Guerra
(Vertigo, 2006)

In Paper Dolls, the seventh volume of Y: The Last Man, the story jumps across the globe -- and the timeline -- with reckless abandon.

It begins in Sydney, Australia, where Yorick and his team are aboard a sub bound for Japan, where the other last surviving male -- Yorick's monkey, Ampersand -- has been taken for reasons unknown. But Yorick's girlfriend Beth may also be in Australia, and so too is a tabloid reporter eager to find evidence of the last surviving man. Who knows what mayhem will erupt if Yorick is, ahem, exposed?

The story then flashes back 13 years to Ethiopa, where Agent 355 is in training, then back to Sydney where love is in the air for Dr. Mann. One balcony, one airplane, one jealous confession and one possible assassination later, Yorick's sister Hero -- a former Amazon turned cowgirl -- arrives at the California church/home of Yorick's brief fling, also named Beth, who has indisputable evidence of the last man's recent visit. Here, of course, the Catholic Church gets involved, seeking a new pope, while Yorick and company run afoul of cannibal women in New Guinea and Agent 355 has some quiet reminiscences about her early years in Detroit, Boston and parts unknown. Flash to Japan five years ago, then to New York shortly thereafter, somewhere in the Rockies and finally back to Japan -- and you get the point that Paper Dolls is not just furthering the story of Y, it's also filling in a lot of missing backstory along the way.

Paper Dolls provides more questions than answers, however, and if you're like me, you'll finish it even more eager for volume eight. The story is coming together like a vast, global puzzle, but the pieces obviously aren't all on the table. Meanwhile, writer Brian K. Vaughan keeps dangling enough plot twists to keep readers on the hook; not since Neil Gaiman's Sandman series have I looked forward so much to the next book in the series.

by Tom Knapp
19 August 2006

Buy it from Amazon.com.