New Review: Y: The Last Man, by Maura McHugh
Marina Strinkovsky // 21 July 2011
The premise of Y: The Last Man is simple: on a summer day in 2002, every mammal with a Y chromosome in the world dies at the same moment from a mysterious plague. The only exceptions in this universe, conceived by US writer Brian K. Vaughan and Canadian artist Pia Guerra, are Yorick Brown and Ampersand, the male Capuchin monkey he is training. Yorick, an amateur escape artist who was drifting in jobless limbo in New York before the plague, is only interested in reuniting with his girlfriend Beth, who is stranded in Australia.
But Yorick and Ampersand have become the most important creatures on the planet, a fact not lost on Yorick’s mother Jennifer, a Congressional Representative and one of a cast of interesting women surrounding Yorick.
Vaughan is obviously aware of the irony of having Yorick as the key player in the story, and that the entire future of the world hangs on solving his immunity to the plague. Despite the radical social changes, and of being surrounded by capable women, Yorick often acts in a self-righteous, rash and privileged manner. Thankfully the smart, assertive women around him call him on it on nearly every occasion.