|Comic hardcover, 282 pages|
Published 2010 (contents: 2005-06)
Borrowed from the library
Read May 2011
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Pencillers: Pia Guerra, Goran Sudžuka
Inker: José Marzán, Jr.
Letterer: Clem Robins
The overall plot of Y: The Last Man advances very little in Book Four of the series. The first story, "Paper Dolls," sees Yorick and company finally make it to Australia, the object of their quest-- but as you might guess from the fact that it is only the beginning of Book Four, the object of their quest has changed. Yorick's girlfriend has left the country.
But that's okay, since I am enjoying the series on the whole. Most especially I must give a thumbs up for that old hobby-horse of mine, humor. There's no story of postapocalyptic catastrophe that can't be livened up with a few jokes, and Brian K. Vaughan understands that perfectly. "Paper Dolls" mostly concerns Yorick and 355's efforts to stop a reporter from making off with a photo of Yorick, revealing his existence to the world, and as you might imagine given that the Yorick is photographed in the nude (the first male genitalia in a series that has shown a fair amount of breasts by this point-- what a great moment to save it for!), there are more than enough laugh moments amidst the usual scenes of people untrained in combat somehow getting the drop on the United States's best secret agent. (I think TV Tropes calls this the Worf Effect.) It's good fun.
However, most of the stories in Book Four are side stories to the main plot. "The Hour of Our Death" fills in what Yorick's sister is up to in the States as she encounters Other Beth, "Buttons" gives us the secret history of Agent 355, "1,000 Typewriters" reveals the convoluted history of Ampersand, "The Tin Man" tells us the hidden past of Doctor Mann (seriously, why are none of these people ever just straight with one another?), and "Gehenna" even depicts the story of recurring villain Alter. It's a bit much, especially when I wish the backstory had come out more organically. None of the other characters really know the information we learn from these tales; it's only presented to the reader at useful junctures.
The other tale to actually advance the plot is "Kimono Dragons," which shows us the gang's adventures in Japan. There's a lot of finding-the-monkey nonsense as usual, and a lot of fighting and escaping. To be honest, the main plot, which features a deranged popstar, is not exactly riveting or now. Far more interesting is the side story about Doctor Mann (whoo!) going to see her mother, where we begin to discover there's an even bigger game being played than we'd expected.
The art is good as always, but "fill-in artist" Goran Sudžuka actually pencils nearly half the pages here, making you wonder by Pia Guerra gets her name so much bigger on the cover.