Y : The Last Man #36

Title : Boy Loses Girl
Writer : Brian K. Vaughan
Penciller : Pia Guerra
Inker : Jose Marzan Jr
Letterer : Clem Robbins
Colorist : Zylonol
Editor : Will Dennis
Publisher : Vertigo Comics

In an issue eerily reminiscent of ‘Hero’s Journey’, we get filled-in on choice parts of the back story concerning Beth, the lady who so much of Yorick’s story has been centred around.

What can I say regarding Vaughan? He’s my fave writer in the medium at present, and this issue he once more knocks it out of the park. Jumping from past to present, Vaughan succeeds in making Beth more than a cypher, and more than the stereotypical ‘princess’ that Yorick is destined to save.

We rather get a picture of a complex, troubled woman, coupled with an idea of just how difficult her current situation is.

As an Australian, props to Vaughan for his portrayals of the native Australian people. Shown as being people in their own right, and neither brutes nor idealistic ‘noble savages’, the natives holding Beth captive clearly have their own independent agenda and complex motivations, complete with disagreements and personal quirks.

The use of key phrases to segue between the various flashbacks is an intriguing device which gives us a hint as to Beth’s psychology. Something that readers have overlooked is that Yorick’s troubled existence would no doubt be mirrored by that of Beth, who is in a foreign land and no doubt believes that her partner has perished, along with every other man on the planet.

The references to the Aboriginal myth of the Dreamtime have real resonance here, as Beth’s visions begin to take on more and more meaning as the issue progresses, moving to a quasi-cliffhanger which, as usual, leaves me hanging out for the next issue.

As for Pia Guerra’s art…well, there’s a reason she’s on the credits as a co-creator, and she doesn’t let the side down here. From a disturbingly sexy shot of Beth captured on the initial page, her lines (together with the inking of Jose Marzan) succeed in portraying a wealth of subtle emotions in the faces of the characters. Couple that with some wild designs of Beth’s various visions gives all the talents here full range to display their wares.

With 24 issues to go, one can only wonder what Vaughan will get to next.

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