Y: The Last Man #20
Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Safeword Conclusion
Yorick is at Agent 711’s mercy. So what will she do with him?
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Pencils: Pia Guerra
Inks: Jose Marzan Jr.
Letters: Clem Robins
Editor: Will Dennis
Cover Art: Aron Wisenfeld
Publisher: DC Comics/Vertigo
I knew there was more to it.
Over the last two issues our hero Yorick Brown, has been drugged and restrained by Agent 711 the woman charged with keeping him safe as his friends left him for a time. She teased him with threats of (and equipment for) some kinky S&M games, but instead she just wound up making him relive some of the most painful memories of his life. This issue we see what Agent 711’s real agenda was, and it’s something completely unexpected, totally logical and incredibly satisfying. In other words, it’s a textbook example of what makes this such a great comic book month after month.
In addition to shedding more light on Yorick’s past, we also get a new mystery thrown at us (in a book that’s already loaded with them). Yorick makes a discovery this issue, but we don’t get to see what that discovery is… I suspect it’s going to be a McGuffin in this series for some time to come. It’s the sort of thing that will drive a character, and will keep the reader coming back to find out what’s going on.
We get a lot of insight into Yorick in this issue, even moreso than in the first two issues of the story arc, and we even go back to the two-part “Comedy and Tragedy” storyline that preceded this one. It seemed a bit of an unnecessary side-trip at the time, but it comes to fruition here at least in a small way, helping to establish Yorick, a character who has been well-established from day one, but who keeps proving he has more layers than the reader even knew.
Pia Guerra is as solid an artist as she has ever been. We get chilling flashback sequences, disturbing water battles and even a few quiet moments in this issue, and she handles them all cleanly and with great talent. This title has been pretty good at getting solid guest artists whenever Guerra takes a little time off, but she owns this book as much as writer Brian Vaughan, and things never seem quite right until she comes back.
This is one of the best sci-fi titles in comics now, and it’s a fantastic mystery as well. There’s no mystery why it’s one of Vertigo’s top sellers every month.