Rated | Alphabetical
Y: The Last Man Book 4: Safeword
Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, Goran Parlov and Jose
Y: The Last Man might just be the best contained series since
Preacher. Brian K. Vaughan's tale of Earth's sole surviving male and his
companion monkey gets better with each issue, maintaining a fevered momentum
while slowly unfolding its secrets with each new installment. Safeword,
the series' fourth collected volume, extends the post-apocalyptic road trip with
new perils and complications, and provides unexpected insight into the story's
characters along the way.
In the wake of an unknown plague that has wiped out every male mammal on the
planet, only young Yorick Brown holds the key to Earth's salvation. Joined by
his helper monkey Ampersand, the enigmatic Agent 355 and cloning specialist Dr.
Mann, Yorick sets out for San Francisco in the hopes of unlocking the secrets
behind his survival, and in the process, saving his species from an early
extinction. So far, this motley crew has faced off against bandits, violent
feminists and a team of Israeli commandos, but Yorick's biggest obstacle still
lays ahead -- an internal showdown with his darkest fears and insecurities at
the hands of a brutal dominatrix.
Safeword displays Vaughan's careful balance between intense action and
psychological depth through skilled plotting and profound character development.
The first half of the volume takes place in a single setting, yet propels
readers through a disturbing and revealing examination of Yorick's inner demons.
For the first time, our protagonist is exposed not just as a smart-assed slacker
stumbling his way through a complex situation, but also as a conflicted
individual with deep-rooted sexual anxieties and a nearly suicidal tendency
toward depression. It's a moving and unexpected journey to the heart of an
established character, and one that makes him all the more human and accessible.
Meanwhile, the remainder of the book is centered on a climactic confrontation
with a deluded and dangerous female militia in the midst of the Arizona desert.
Between the bullets and the bravado, Yorick and his companions are forced to
once again learn the true meaning of sacrifice.
Echoing Preacher's finely woven blend of genres, Y: The Last Man
is a swift and clever combination of science fiction, complex character drama,
action, humor, suspense and commentary on politics and gender roles in society.
Vaughan has realized his unique premise to its utmost potential, exploring new
repercussions around every turn and driving home the reality of the grim
situation he's created. In the past, we've seen men treated as a commodity and a
threat in a global power struggle, and viewed a throwback to Shakespeare in the
form of an all-female theater troupe. Safeword further develops Vaughan's
world by examining the environmental implications of the chromosomal plague, as
species with shorter reproductive cycles begin to disappear forever.
With each new volume, this series earns its status as one of the most
talked-about books on the market. A high-energy monthly serial with a mysterious
foundation and crisp, realistic artwork, Y: The Last Man tells an
intriguing and well-developed story, and Safeword carries it confidently
toward its inevitable conclusion.
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