Reviewer: Chris Delloiacono
Story Title: Ring of Truth: Chapter One
Written by: Brian K. Vaughan
Penciled by: Pia Guerra
Inked by: Jose Marzan, Jr.
Colored by: Zylonol
Lettered by: Clem Robins
Cover by: Massimo Carnevale
Assistant Editor: Casey Seijas
Editor: Will Dennis
Publisher: Vertigo > DC Comics
Y: The Last Man has been one of the most talked about titles for more than two years now. In those two years Brian K. Vaughan has gone from a little-known writer to one of the most respected in the business. I enjoy Vaughan’s work on Ex Machina and Runaways, but Y is Vaughan’s best and one of the books I most look forward to each month.
Vaughan’s kept the series moving along, but has avoided answering any of the big questions, thus far. Our heroes, Yorick (the titular Last Man), Agent 355, and Dr. Mann have been traveling across country from the Washington D.C. area in an effort to reach Mann’s laboratory in San Francisco for most of the series. Each arc has built up the characters and a bit more of this world almost completely devoid of men. Two of the biggest question marks, though, have been the fate of Yorick’s girlfriend Beth, and why Yorick and his monkey Ampersand appear to be the only living males on the planet. Vaughan touched on Beth’s situation in issue #25, and he appears ready to nail down the “why” very soon.
This month, Vaughan starts us off with a flashback to events that happened prior to the apocalypse. We get a fun, yet poignant, sequence with Yorick buying an engagement ring for Beth from a magic shop he frequentsÃ¢â‚¬â€yes you read that right. The story moves forward with an exciting confrontation as Agent 355 and Yorick square off against a splinter group from 355’s own Culper Ring.
It’s nice to see Vaughan expanding the cast of enemies with the Setauket Ring. There are a nice variety of factions running around this world. Clearly, Vaughan is doing an excellent job building up the world and the foes lining up against Yorick and friends.
That’s not all that Vaughan is doing well, though. We also get a hilarious sequence with Yorick in a mascot’s outfit inciting the crowd at a basketball game. Shame to any of you so sexist that you’re wondering how a series with no males could have pro basketballÃ¢â‚¬â€it’s a reality in the sheltered world you currently live in! Vaughan also has time to continue building the impending confrontation between Yorick and his sister, Hero, who has been closing in on her brother’s whereabouts. The issue ends with a neat little cliffhanger that starts to explain things.
On the artistic end, Pia Guerra continues to hold up her end of the bargain. The series has been lucky to have a strong crew of fill-in pencilers when necessary. Still, the book never shines quite as brightly when Ms. Guerra is not giving us her trademark approach to the characters. For the most part we’re talking about a post-apocalyptic world that is rather mundane. In most places it looks not-unlike our own world. Yet, Guerra gives everything a stylish, memorable look. Few titles look as good as Y. Thank you, Ms. Guerra!
Topping off the wonderful efforts of Vaughan and Guerra this month is the fantastic cover by Massimo Carnevale. Carnevale has only been covering the book for a few months now, but each piece is stunning. This one tells you everything that you need to know about what’s going on insideÃ¢â‚¬â€an absolute rarity these days. Check out the cover image above one more time, and then feast your eyes on the sketch below to see one of the finest covers this year. I’m in love with that shot of the Golden Gate Bridge reflected off of Yorick’s gas mask.