Today, we will observe the grande finale of DC/Vertigo's long running Y: The Last Man series. It lasted 60 issues; I only made it to #8 myself. The concept was a fairly fresh one, especially for comics, but Vaughn's writing style (with a few exceptions, such as his recent Doctor Strange mini) has always struck me as undistinguished, and the art was passable in its bland sort of generic Vertigo house style way- in my opinion, of course. I just got bored with it pretty fast- it seemed like Vaughan had thought it through pretty well prior to beginning, but as I recall it just seemed like all the situations he placed his hero (Yorick, not his sister) in were somewhat contrived and clichéd, and it began to come across to me like he was spinning his wheels towards the end, so I dropped it. Thousands of other readers obviously disagreed with my lukewarm take, and much commemorating and commiserating is taking place in the title's wake. Since I am freely willing to admit that I might have been hasty, I thought it would be interesting to go waaaay back into the JBS Archives and exhume the capsule "too short to be real" reviews I wrote back when I was a committed buyer.
And I'm a little surprised- I never gave it a grade lower than B, which indicates that I thought it was somewhat enjoyable, but just not particularly exciting. I could only find capsules of #'s 5-8; I started blogging back in 2002, and #5's piece was from the very first review column I wrote for this blog. The reviews I wrote for the first four issues were on the old DC Message Boards, where I started inflicting my opinions on other people; I suppose they're archived somewhere but that's a lot more trouble than I want to go to right now. Anyway, here they are, such as they were:
Y: THE LAST MAN 5: I still say that this doesn't deserve half the praise it receives, but in spite of myself I actually enjoyed this chapter. Guess I'll be buying #6 after all. B (Nov. '02)
Y: THE LAST MAN 6: Overpraised and underwhelming, this continues on in its not-bad but not-outstanding way. I'm still interested in where it's all going, so I still buy and shall continue to do so for the time being. B (Dec. '02)
Y: THE LAST MAN 7: How the heck did this make top three? Can't really say, guess it just grabbed me more than it usually does, or maybe the rest of the stack wasn't all that great. But here it is just the same. B+ (Jan. '02)
Y: THE LAST MAN 8: No better or no worse than previous issues, this title has sort of settled into a bland complacency. It's not poorly done, and it's readable, but I'm losing interest fast, and I'm thinking that this will be my last issue. I really didn't buy Yorick's reaction at the end, either, especially considering the circumstances. B (Feb. '02)
Alas, poor Yorick- I didn't know him very well at all, it seems.
For more on Y, check out Heidi's overview at the Beat- she was the original editor when the book launched.
ETA: I suppose I could have gone back and reread them, to see if I liked them any better a few years on...but I sold them on the eBay a month or two ago for about six times what I paid for each issue! Sweet. Maybe someday I'll buy a trade or two, if I find them on the cheap, and read beyond #8...