Anyone feeling that Lost writer Brian K. Vaughan's Y: The Last Man wasn't quite science-fictiony enough will no doubt be happy with the book's sixtieth and final issue, released today. Featuring at least two sci-fi staples along with, you know, actually taking place in the future, the epilogue to the whole story didn't sacrifice character for last minute shock or spectacle. And even though it answered a few lingering questions, the issue still managed to provide a fitting conclusion to the popular series. Minor spoilers and thoughts on the end of Yorick's era after the jump.
For all Vaughan's other failings - improbably named characters and pop-culture-heavy dialogue, anyone? - he's certainly a writer who knows how to do attention-grabbing openings, and the couple of surprises he throws into the first few pages (Flying cars! Clones!) certainly count as some of the more unexpected moments of the series. Happily, though, they're just there to provide an introduction to a future in which eighty-something year-old Yorick Brown is locked in a straitjacket, just as he was when we first met him years earlier.
Despite using the elder, melancholy, Brown's flashbacks as a device to show us what happened to the main characters of the story - they all die, for the most part, although Beth and Hero both find love - the issue manages to avoid being a downer in part because of its upbeat final scenes (which you knew were coming as much as you didn't think Vaughan would actually go for it), and because Vaughan didn't wuss out in his final steps. There is no magic turnaround resurrection of the male species, no "it was all a dream" headfuckery. Life continues on, different, but with the survivors trying to rebuild their lives as best they can. Unusually for a popular comic series, the end comes exactly as the creators (Vaughan is joined here by series co-creator, artist Pia Guerra) intended, quietly and surprisingly gracefully.
If - as USA Today's Pop Candy blog suggested - the series is to be adapted into a trilogy of movies, here's hoping that they manage an ending as successful as this one. Now, of course, let's wait and see what Vaughan has planned for the conclusion of his other long-form series, Ex Machina...