Y: The Last Man, #10: Whys & Wherefores
by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra (Vertigo, 2008)

Y: The Last Man has been an absolute thrill ride, one of the strongest, most fascinating comic-book series to come down the pike since Neil Gaiman's The Sandman (which was, it must be noted, also from the Vertigo line). The plot by Brian K. Vaughan has been deliciously tantalizing, keeping readers guessing through 60 page-turning issues. The characters -- primarily Yorick, the eponymous last man, and his bodyguard 355, but also including a full stable of diverse people and personalities -- have been rich and detailed. And the art by Pia Guerra has matched Vaughan's work every step of the way, pulling together a package of action and exposition that I never wanted to end.

But things do end. Y is over, and I just read the final volume, Whys & Wherefores And I'm ... oddly disappointed.

For those who haven't gotten here yet, I don't want to give too much away. But I put down this volume feeling oddly unsatisfied -- a feeling I'm not accustomed to having after reading a Vaughan book, I can assure you.

It's not that I'm opposed to unhappy endings in general, and I'm definitely not against a story taking a few shocking turns. But this book is a complete and total downer. Happy endings don't turn out the way we expect. Beloved characters die -- and at least one goes down in a case of bad timing that defies logic. And, in a world almost entirely without men, it might make sense to assume women would spontaneously become lesbians, but to switch one's affections for the sister of the guy you used to date? That's not too likely.

Vaughan made us care about these people, then gave them short, unhappy or unlikely lives. I can't help but wish that something had gone right for poor Yorick.


review by
Tom Knapp

19 July 2008

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