Y: The Last Man
One Small Step

Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Artists: Pia Guerra and Paul Chadwick
Titan Books
RRP: £9.99
ISBN 1 84023 805 4
Available 23 April 2004

A mysterious plague has killed every male creature on the planet. Except, that is, Yorrick Brown. And whilst being the only boy in a world of women may seem like heaven to some men, for Yorrick, it's become hell. Being hunted by his own murderous sister and her Amazon extremists, and by Israeli special forces is not what he'd hoped for. But his prayers may well be answered from on high. Overhead, 220 miles above Yorrick's head, two male astronauts are about to return to earth...

One Small Step is the third volume in this extraordinary collection. Yorrick and his pet monkey Ampersand are the only two creatures left on the planet that possess a Y chromosome. Some women want to bed him, others want to mother him, and there are those that want to kill him.

This collection sees the possibility that two other male members (snigger) of human society may still be alive. Two male astronauts are amongst the crew of the International Space Station. It looks unlikely that they will be able to make it back to Earth, but they have to try. Assuming that they can pilot their craft towards Earth, don't burn up on re-entry, and manage to survive the landing, they may triple the number of males living on our planet. That is, if the plague that wiped out the rest of the male population doesn't kill them as soon as they set foot on soil.

It was while reading this collection that I noticed the slightly sexist slant the writer was pursuing. Are you honestly trying to tell me that if all men where wiped out overnight that food production and distribution would stop (most of the inhabitants live off tinned rations, which are running out)? It does play to the stereotypes a little - men are described as warmongering, competitive types, while women are shown as been unable to even open a jar on their own. Would all wars really cease if women were totally in power?

The only other real complaint I had was that events in this collection don't really progress the main storyline in any noticeable way. While the narrative that unfolds in this collection is totally gripping, the conclusion moves everything back to square one. All the new characters that we meet are left behind at the conclusion and our hero and heroines move onto the next town. There is a distinct flavour of The Incredible Hulk television series going on here.

You could quite easily skip this story (although you'll be missing some damn good story telling if you do) and wait for the next collection to be released and you won't realised you've missed anything.

But, on the whole, Y: The Last Man series is turning out to be a bit of winner.

Darren Rea

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