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Goat Heads and Sand Burrs, P. Kirby's Reading Blog

The good, bad, and fugly books I've read.
Y: The Last Man, Vol. 4: Safeword - Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, Goran Parlov, José Marzán Jr. It is so fortunate that Yorick Brown, the last man on Earth, is a young, virile pretty boy and not a balding, grumpy old man with erectile dysfunction issues.

So...Yorick, Agent 355, and Dr. Mann continue their cross country trek to California, destination, Dr. Mann's lab. Travel plans, however, are delayed by Ampersand the monkey's infected wound. Ampersand, being the only other male thing on Earth and therefore valuable not only for his cute animal-ness, but also his chromosomal makeup.

Agent 355 decides that she and Mann will sneak into a nearby hospital to steal antibiotics, without Yorick and his need to blunder into near-fatal heroism. Because the last man can't be trusted to look after himself, 355 leaves him with a fellow agent who lives in the area. It is soon apparent that Agent 355 should never have children because she clearly doesn't put much effort into vetting her babysitters. Yorick's adventures with the babysitter from hell comprise the first story arc.

The second, beginning after Mann, 355, and a healthy Ampersand return, is centered around a group of militia-women (Sons of Arizona), who have blockaded I-40, shutting off all trade and generally being assholes in much the same way as the male versions of militias. Yorick and company debate their options -- a detour through Mexico, perhaps? Or Utah? -- but ultimately, are forced to confront the Sons of Arizona when one of their party does something stupid. And, no, it isn't Yorick being the bonehead this time around.

This is followed by a short vignette which generated, in me, an "Oh, crap, she's baaack."

Of the two main story arcs, the second is the strongest, culminating in what is probably a life changing event for Yorick. Asses are kicked, blood is spilled, action-y stuff ensues.

The first storyline, with its weird, psycho-sexual torture as "intervention" premise, felt vaguely exploitative, in the kind of overly self-conscious manner of a Quentin Tarantino film, but without the inglorious blood splatter. And no, even though I'm entertained by his violence, I'm not a fan of Tarantino.

The point of this story was to reveal something about Yorick to himself and the reader, but frankly, the whole thing felt awkward and inconsistent, in particular Yorick's attitudes toward sex. Really, the only plot-advancing action happens in the last few panels, where three mysterious people pay Yorick's babysitter a visit.

Definitely not the strongest entry in the series, but enticing enough to read more.)