Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Insert Shakespeare joke about Yorick Part 1

So the final issue of Y The Last Man has arrived, issue number 60. Will everything be blowed up real good? Will things be resolved, will BKV actually have a rational explanation for all that's happened? Will the internets be cracked in half? Let's take a look....

Before I do, let me first talk a little about the strengths of this series and why it's a big deal. First, it's about Yorick and his pet monkey Ampersand, the only two living males on the planet after some sort of mysterious instant death plagued all creatures with y chromosomes. Agent 355 of a mysterious branch of the government is tasked with taking Yorick to Dr Mann, the world's expert on cloning. Perhaps the three of them can figure out why this happened and how to repopulate the Earth. The series is stunning well thought-out. Every possibility of what society will look like has been shown to us.

BKV, as he's known to the fans, put so much effort into the smallest details. That is the major strength of the series. When a writer asks you to join him on a crazy "high concept" journey such as this, you're trusting that the writer knows what the f*%$ he's doing.

I trust BKV, because even in the very first issue of "Y", he shows that he does know what the f*%$ he's doing. Look at this. The main character's name is Yorick, after the deceased court jester in Shakespeare's oft-overlooked and forgotten play called Hamlet. Hamlet raises his skull and says: "Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest".

Yorick was named by his university professor father who also named Yorick's sister "Hero" after another obscure Shakespeare character from "Much Ado About Nothing". But see what BKV is doing? This is really the most superficial of things that's happening too. Yorick has a Y in his name. It's the Y chromosome that's been made virtually extinct. This is one of those SEE? SEE? moments we all have that we're guilty of. It's not like "Y The Last Man" is a thinkpiece™ or anything. It's very dramatic and epic and twisting.

We follow Yorick, Mann and the mysterious 355 as they travel the US and then the world as they seek answers for what has happened. All three of them are not stock one dimensional cardboard talking heads that spew exposition like Regan and pea-soup - I'm looking at you Dan Brown, you criminal against humanity. The major characters and a good chunk of the supporting cast are all fleshed out and grow and change and are shaped by their experiences. Yorick is a man of infinite jest, always joking. His name is the nomen omen (where the name shapes your destiny - like Oedipus' origin). But the overarching story is how Yorick becomes the hero.

It's a great tale and when I can, I will read the end of the story and tell you what I think. Okay?

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