60 Last Men: #4


It’s taken four issues, but Brian K Vaughan has now finally managed to set his journey into motion, with Yorick and 355 taking to the roads in order to find Dr Mann, who is somewhere in Boston. After an initial mini-arc which saw Yorick meet his mother and affirmed everybody’s interests for the rest of the series, we’re now able to see the formula which Vaughan will be sticking with for most of the next fifty-six issues: Yorick and 355, walking, bickering.

But there are other elements starting to drift into the world of Y: The Last Man. We see the first appearance of the much-debated ‘Amazons’ team of women, who have decided that this is a chance to assert feminine dominion over the world. Which, when all the men are dead, seems a little bit like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. But fair play to them, they’re radicals and Vaughan wastes no time in presenting them as an extremely muddled, uncertain lot. Led by Victoria (whose name, like most of the characters in this series, will become more important as time goes on), these women spend their time destroying sperm banks, leaving anti-male graffiti everywhere, and trying to induct more women into their cause.

Let’s focus a little on Victoria this week, who’ll be exposed more and more over the next few issues. For now, we get to see her stood on a podium, addressing the rest of her Amazons. She’s eloquent, but seemingly obsessed with the idea of chess analogies. After boasting about her ability to beat a man at chess, she then goes on to labour her point with more references to the game. On she goes, establishing as she does that she sees things from a black and white, simplistic perspective. Mankind are a mutation (biologically true: all foetuses are initially female before some mutate into males) which have now been ended by, you guessed it, Mother Earth. Her ambition now is to make sure that women take advantage of this event and make certain that no men will ever be born again.

Which makes it rather unfortunate that Yorick reveals his existence to her after only a few days on the road. Again we see that Vaughan isn’t afraid to assert his main character’s weakness, with an opening page of Yorick getting taken apart by some Amazon punches. It’s his big mouth what starts all this trouble off, as he visits a ‘shrine’ to masculinity (in a wonderfully phallic bit of silliness, this role is played by The Washington Monument. Just imagine all the nonsense that’ll be going on by The Leaning Tower of Pisa right now, eh?) and meets the Amazons for the first time. Instigating a fight for the second time in two issues, we find that Yorick isn’t much of a fighter and 355… is. The issue is clearly working to set scenes in place that’ll pay off later down the line, but it’s interesting to see 355 affirmed so quickly into the run.

I wonder if she’s got a secret past. Best wait and see, I suppose.

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