PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.

Y: The Last Man Vol. 7: Paper Dolls

Greg Oleksiuk

It is always interesting to see Vaughn, Guerra, et al.'s vision of an apocalyptic world and how it is a mirror to our own.


Publisher: Vertigo (DC Comics)
Writer: Brian K. Vaughn
Subtitle: The Last Man Vol. 7: Paper Dolls
Item Type: Comic
Contributors: Pia Guerra (Artist), Gordan Sudžuka and José Marzán (Artist), Jr. (Artist)

A boy and his monkey. That is what Y: The Last Man is really all about. And over the course of sixty issues on a globe-trotting adventure to find out what happened to everything with a Y chromosome, they become a man and a�monkey. This, the seventh book in the series, is broken down into two parts. The first being a three issue tale about Yorick and his group of merry women in Sydney. The second half are three stand-alone tales concerning Yorick's sister Hero, the origin of Agent 355, and the origin of Yorick's pet monkey, Ampersand. Vaughn's blend of smart, pop-culture savvy dialogue, likeable characters, and killer cliffhangers makes this one of the best reads out there.

In the first half, entitled "Paper Dolls", Yorick and company finally reach Australia, where he hopes to find his fiancé, Beth. While there, Yorick is ambushed by a photo journalist who makes her trade in telling stories about men surviving the plague. It's interesting to see that even when the world undergoes a crisis, there are still a few tabloid newspapers to fill everyone's gossip and escapist hunger. Needless to say, it shows either that tabloids fill a niche in today's world, or a pessimistic view of how the world would react if our society came to an end.

The second part of the collection consists of three stand-alone issues. The first one is about Yorick's sister, Hero, and even answers the question of what happened to the Catholic Church after the plague. The next two are origin stories. In Agent 355's origin, we see someone who's been connected to the American Government, even as a child, and is trained to be a killer from an early age. The final issue is the origin of Yorick's pet monkey, Ampersand. It is with this story that pieces start to fall into place about the nature of the plague, and the issue hints at what is to come as the group heads to Japan.

It is always interesting to see Vaughn, Guerra, et al.'s vision of an apocalyptic world and how it is a mirror to our own. In this collection we see our society's hunger for gossip and tabloid journalism, if not as entertainment, then as hope for the masses in a time of crisis. In the Catholic Church they show an institution that is so archaic that it could not attempt to update itself even with a fresh slate because its rules and traditions govern it exclusively. Even in a time when everyone should be working together to help repopulate the planet, people still are driven by their own selfish needs. In other words, Y: The Last Man pulls no punches and shows that even the end of everything as we know it would not change some things.

While some questions are answered in this collection, many remain, and that's part of the fun. It's not just seeing these characters go through one situation to another, but finding answers to questions that people have been asking since the first issue came out over four years ago. The artwork by Pia Guerra and Gordan Sud�uka is similar and thus does not distract from the change mid-way. It's nice to see such a simple style of art that's clean and not over-done as many comics can be, particularly those of the super-hero variety.

Those who are unfamiliar with Vaughn and Guerra's world are not likely to enjoy this collection, as it builds upon past issues, and thus it is necessary to have read the first six collections first. For those who have been enjoying the tale however, these stories will continue to please readers, as well as leave them wanting more.

Comic publishers are constantly complaining that it's not drawing in new readers, particularly women. Perhaps instead of trying to introduce new readers to the garden variety superheroes, the publishers should be trying to push books like Y: The Last Man and other non-superhero title, even if it limits the readership to adults only. More people would be willing to try comics if they knew of ones such as this. In an age of mindless, summer blockbuster movies, it's rare that something that's fun as well as smart comes along, and Y: The Last Man certainly fills both of those criteria. Maybe instead of offering just free superhero and Archie comics on Free Comic Book Day, they should start offering free non-superhero books. At least Vertigo's recent budget priced first issue collections are a step in the right direction. Now if only you could find those and any Y: The Last Man trade paperback as easy as the latest Stephen King or Dan Brown novel.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.





Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.


15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.


Sixteen Years Later Wayne Payne Follows Up His Debut

Waylon Payne details a journey from addiction to redemption on Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, his first album since his 2004 debut.


Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.


Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.


Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.


Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.


The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.


British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.


Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.


​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.


The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.


Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.


How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.


Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.


CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.


Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.


While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.