In 2002, writer Brian K Vaughan (Lost, Saga, Runaways), alongside artist Pia Guerra (2008 Eisner Award Winner) brought to life a story about a man ‘Yorick Brown’ and his monkey ‘Ampersand’. On July 17th 2002 a virus simultaneously kills every living mammal possessing a Y Chromosome; except for the main character Yorick and his faithful companion Ampersand.
Apocalyptic scenarios thrive in sci-fi stories and as the name suggests, this book will be adding to the trend. With all men now dead, society is plunged into chaos as the surviving women try to cope with the tragic loss of all men on the planet. The wives of the now dead senators and men in government take up their spouses roles in the world, this includes Yorick’s own mother who herself is a US Senator. Whilst some women try their best to rebuild the world, others form an Amazonian cult who believe the virus was a godsend, and react poorly to the knowledge that Yorick has been left alive.
Yorick leaves New York with his capuchin monkey and heads to Washington D.C to meet his mother, mainly to let her know that he is okay, but to tell her that he’s going on a cross-country journey to find his fiancee Beth DeVille, who was in Australia at the time of the apocalyptic event. He doesn’t just have his monkey for company (but it would be giving away too much to say why). The mysterious Agent 355 is sent along as Yoricks bodyguard. A bodyguard that he will need given the danger he faces in his goal to reach his fiance, with gas (petrol) and food becoming scarce and a lack of public transport.
This series is yet another hit from under the Vertigo umbrella and is well worth a read. Of course there are a few questions that remain unanswered or seem foolish to me. For instance, why let the last known man in existence travel on a dangerous cross-country journey instead of test to see if he’s able to produce male babies. However, I believe that Vaughan’s writing is good, the story strong and, unlike some, doesn’t outstay its welcome – with a mere 10 graphic novels, or 5 hardback deluxe editions. My only concern is the actual ending of the entire series, it won’t harm your reading pleasure of the story but has left many, for want of a better word numb. Nobody is quite sure if they like it or not, me I really enjoyed it but that’s just one persons opinion.
However if you’re somebody who needs more than one reviewer’s thumbs up, this series has collected two Eisner awards, one in 2005 for Best Writer and another in 2008 for best continuing series. If you see yourself as a graphic novel fan then I do believe you need to read this series.