Y: The Last Man
Vol 4: Safeword
Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, Goran Pazlov & Jose Marzan Jr.
This one’s a tale of two halves, the first half sees Yorick left in the care of 355’s friend, fellow culper ring agent 711. When 355 leaves however, 717 drugs Yorick and chains him up.
This arc is good as it opens up Yorick’s character a little. We get to explore his psychology and learn a lot about him. We learn that the reason he has refrained from any sexual activity following the plague is not so much out of respect for Beth, as it is the result of his troubled relationship with sex following, among other things, a priest telling him it is a sin and a homosexual encounter he experienced as a young boy.
The story also delves somewhat into Yorick’s guilt at being the only survivor of the plague and reveals he attempted suicide after seeing the devastation left in its wake.
It’s good to see the pace slow down, to have time set aside for some strong character development. We get to see Yorick opened up and, rather bravely, what we get to see isn’t a courageous hero, but a coward. We also get to see Yorick strengthen his resolve and vow to change his ways for the sake of humanities future. It’s good stuff.
The second half, I didn’t care for as much. The group come across a road block manned by a group of radicals intent on separating Arizona from the US and starving the rest of the country in the process by blocking off the highways.
This arc has it’s moments, it allows Dr Mann’s character to be fleshed out a little and showcases just how much Yorick has been changed by his experience with 711. For the most part though, the storyline is just uninspiring and it feels like we’re rehashing the same old plot points. The group meet a friendly woman, then some crazies, something bad happens to the friendly woman, the group beat the crazies and hit the road. We’ve seen it all before.
Overall, this one’s a mixed bag. The first time I read through this series, this was where my interest started to wane. It didn’t break my interest completely but the story began to feel a little repetitive and the fact that the group continued to get in these adventures no matter where they go started to feel completely unbelievable. It still has some good moments, but, unless you’ve got this far and loved every page of the first three volumes, I’m not sure if I’d recommend picking this one up…