60 Last Men: #3

Considering Brian K. Vaughan has sixty issues to play around with, he spends a surprisingly small amount of time dealing with the high-end politics of his world. Even when we start to see other countries like China, there is little discussion of how things run. It’s simply passed on that Israel and Australia are now the two most dominant nations on the planet, and everyone else is going to have to catch up to that. To that extent, issue #3 sees perhaps the most political issue of the entire run, as the Democrats and Republicans start to bicker over how to deal with America now there are no founding fathers – no fathers, period – left.

Yorick’s Democrat mother happens to be a Senator, which means his trip to find her leads him straight to the White House, which is mostly abandoned and shelters only a few panicked Democrats. There are some obvious points for Vaughan to make about America’s imbalanced political system, which allows only two main parties, neither of which have many women in elevated positions. Whilst three out of every four women in either the Senate or the House are Democrats, that’s still only a very small percentage of everybody who is meant to be present. Without men, there are only sixteen women in the Senate. Hardly enough to get America back up and running so quickly after almost three billion people are wiped off the Earth.

Having said that, the highest-ranked woman left alive after the manpocalypse turns out to be the Secretary for Agriculture, a Republican who is forced to take charge and sort out the squabbling ranks beneath her. While Vaughan is fairly critical of the Republican party – as well he should, because the most recent polls I could find during a fairly blasé search on Google suggests that there are twice as many female Democrats in the House/Senate as there are Republicans – he is quick to make it clear that he isn’t attacking the women who do make it to power. After all, that wouldn’t be very feminist of him. It’s a slight blip on his radar which is actually echoed by Yorick, who gives a woefully unprepared and poorly-worded speech towards the end of the issue. Clinging to the old ways which centred around the Declaration of Independence, he tries to patronise the women who are incredibly more knowledgeable than he is, and is swatted away with no effort whatsoever.

Yorick still believes that masculinity is important and gives him authority, even when it has no effect on society and gives him no ‘special clearance’. It’s a little like a female writer who believes her gender makes her qualified to talk about feminism, or an African-American writer who thinks they can discuss racial issues even when they are under-informed on the topic. If you don’t know what you’re talking about, it doesn’t matter what race or gender or sexuality you are. You’re uninformed. This won’t be the first time that Vaughan is quick to make it clear how inexperienced Yorick is, but it’s one of the most lasting and enjoyable ones.

There are also a few entertaining jabs at politics, and how self-important it can be. Whether intentional or not, it’s rather funny to see Yorick and 355; the day after President Valentine comes into the White House and invites them to the oval office; wearing visitor’s passes granting them entrance. There is barely any security left in the building, hardly anyone is ever there, and – oh yes – society has crashed. But heaven forbid people don’t wear their passes, and submit to the rules of office. We won’t get to see much of The White House after this issue, which is a shame, but let’s just take a quick look at how Vaughan leaves things. While America bickers between itself, Israel has armed itself – set up by Alter, who now claims herself to be Chief of Israel’s General Staff. She’s already started manoeuvres to secure the surrounding countries, and looks set to become the next great Despot. While one nation stumbles, another takes its place…


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