Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Review of "The Last Man: Unmanned," by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra and Jose Mazan Jr.

 Review of

The Last Man: Unmanned, by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra and Jose Mazan Jr. ISBN 1563899809

Five out of five stars

Much more reality based situation where a gender nearly dies

 The premise of this apocalyptic tale is that nearly all the men suddenly die. They are struck by a fit of coughing up blood and are dead within seconds. The deaths are not confined to humans, most mammalian males also die, including most of the livestock.

  When all of the mass dying is over, Yorick is the only male known to have lived. The stage is set for the dramatic change of events by introducing a female super-agent known as 355, a woman about to give birth to her own clone, Yorick’s sister named Hero that works as a medical professional and Yorick having a phone conversation with what he believes is his girlfriend that is in Australia. Yorick’s mother is in politics, a member of the House of Representatives and Yorick lives in Brooklyn, New York.

 The mass dying takes place and the presidency of the United States falls to the female Secretary of Agriculture. Agent 355 is dispatched to escort the new President back to Washington. With most everything failing due to the rapid deaths and not enough competent people left to run the technological infrastructure, society is struggling.

 What I like about this story is that there is no grand process where the women band together in order to restart society. Factions emerge, one of which is made up of Republican women, wives of Congressmen that are armed and ready to take over the White House. A more fearsome group are known as the Amazons, their premise is that the world is better with the men dead. They are so radical that they engage in the self-mutilation ritual that the mythical Amazons were known for and they have no love for the women that do not follow their lead.

 This splitting of the women into factions with various levels of intensity and propensity for violence is what makes this story work. It is ridiculous to believe that with the men gone women would all come together in a wondrous moment. While there would be significant leftovers, it would only be a short time before things would run out and there would be a battle for what remains.

 Yorick is also a bit of an outlier. When he realizes that he may be the only male left and somehow immune to the deadly disease, it is clear that he may be the only hope for the survival of the human species. Rather than being eager to fill the role of the father of the human race, all he can think of is somehow reuniting with his girlfriend. Given that she was in Australia and nothing is flying, and little is floating, this comes across as incredibly foolish. Which actually works to enhance the story. He is an unusual combination of wise and foolish.

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