Y: The Last Man
Vol 6: Girl On Girl
Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, Goran Sudzuka & Jose Marzan Jr.
I once read an interview with the creator of The Mask series, in it he described the concept of “the big lie”. Basically he said, that in a series grounded in the real world, you’re allowed one big lie. One huge suspension of disbelief. However, this big lie allows you to tell several smaller lies as long as they work in tandem with the big lie.
In the case of Y: The Last Man, the plague is the big lie and the smaller lies are things like the amazons and the idea that men could still be alive on the international space station.
The problem with the series though, is that while the smaller lies are all more or less believable, it tells too many of them. While the reader can suspend their disbelief at the plague and then accept the amazons and the culper ring, they will struggle when they’re then forced to also accept the astronauts and the Israeli soldiers and the union separatists and the ninja and now…the pirates…..
This volume sees our heroes hitch a ride on a ship to Japan in search of Ampersand. On the way, they are attacked by an Austrailian submarine and learn the truth, that the ship is run by pirates who are shipping opium around the world.
It’s easily among the weakest stories in the series so far and just feels completely unnecessary. The long voyage could have been used to slow down the narrative for a bit, focusing on the characters and generally calming the tone ahead of whatever adventure undoubtedly awaits them in Japan. Instead we’re given more of the same, yet more action and scenarios that stretch the readers belief in the series to breaking point.
During the voyage, 355 and Dr Mann find themselves in bed together. This was a shock as 355 is definitely straight and it was hinted previously that she may have had feelings for Yorick. It’s an interesting moment and one that’s glanced over instead of being used as the main focus of the story. It would have been interesting to delve deeper into the psyche of 355 after the event and could have explored the questions of what becomes of traditional notions of sexuality when someone is forced through extreme situations and extreme loneliness. Would they hole steadfast to their usual views of their sexuality or would they succumb to the extreme need for comfort in whatever form it can be taken? It’s a far more interesting situation than yet more fighting and explosions.
The first time I read this series, this is as far as I got. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. I just couldn’t accept the situations that were being put in front of me any more. This time around I have to say, nothing much has changed, I still feel the same way, that the series continually declines and strays away from where it should be heading. Ignoring the interesting issues and drams the plague would provide in favour of unrealistic action scenarios that feel like pandering to a wider audience.
I think this time I will persevere and pick up the remaining four volumes in the series. I still enjoy the characters enough to wonder where the story is headed. But while I’ll pick up the remaining books in the future, I don’t see myself as being in any hurry to do it.