Library Trades for 2-20: Y The Last Man and BPRD

cover by Massimo Carnevale
Y: The Last Man Volume 6: Girl on Girl
by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra
collecting issues #32-36
(Amazon, $10.19)

The adventures of the last man on earth continue! In Volume 5 (reviewed two weeks ago), a group of ladies kidnapped Yorick's pet monkey Ampersand, which turned out to be the key to the survival of the last man. Volume 6 tells the story of their voyage to Japan to reclaim Ampersand. Yorick and his traveling buddies, Agent 355 and Dr. Mann are on board a cargo ship to Japan, which is threatened by Australian pirates!

There's a juicy plot twist with the Australians, and there's an interesting political dialogue that arises: the cargo ship is transporting opium to the world, which has ravaged Australia's productivity as a people. The pirates raid the ship on this premise, but is it their right? The world has gone into despair, and the ship's crew has taken it on themselves to soothe it. Brian Vaughan engages with real world decisions in this finely crafted piece of speculative fiction.

from Y: The Last Man Vol. 6: Girl on Girl, by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra
Oh, and there's some hot lesbian loving for a few pages. The last issue of the trade focuses on Yorick's girlfriend, Beth. The ongoing premise of the story is that Yorick has to reach Beth (backpacking in Australia), and here we get some of their backstory: how they met, why they love each other. Yorick is a man's man, hooking up with a new lady every 5 issues or so, but the issue justifies why they need to see each other, even in a post-apocalyptic world without men.

cover by Mike Mignola B.P.R.D.: 1946
by Mike Mignola, Joshua Dysart and Paul Azaceta
collecting the five issue miniseries, with a Hellboy FCBD story and a sketchbook with comments
(Amazon, $17.34)

I'm not such a big fan of Mignola's Hellboy-verse. Volume 1 left me hanging, and I haven't touched anything since, but 1946 is one hell of a comic book. Trevor Buttenholm, a British academic and caretaker of a young Hellboy, investigates post-WWII Berlin in search of one of Hitler's final solutions: Projekt Vampir Sturm. It's exactly what it sounds like, and it's awesome.

Trevor teams up with a disgruntled group of US soldiers stuck in Berlin, as well as the colorful leader of the Soviet Union's own bureau for paranormal investigation. They work their way up, from leftover Nazi soldiers to abandoned warehouse plans to unravel a terrifying alliance between Adolf Hitler and Count Vladimir Giurescu. There's a brilliant payoff at the end that involves Nazi mad scientists, robot gorillas and sending a rocket filled with rabid vampires across the ocean into America.

from BPRD: 1946, by Mike Mignola, Joshua Dysart and Paul Azaceta
The miniseries was five issues, and the first was far too slow. It's composed of step-by-step introductions to the characters, and they would have been better off just starting from the second issue, which contains a chilling peek into Berlin's first vampire. This is one of the advantages of the trade paperback: if I were picking this up serially, I would have surely dropped the title by the first issue. Since it's in paperback form, I get to read through all of it. Unfortunately, this trade is priced at an appalling retail of $17.95. Most trades containing this amount of comic book would run for $12.99 or $14.99. It's hard for me to justify this price point, and this kind of stuff is why I turn to my libraries every week.


lil' Hellboy!

from BPRD: 1946, by Mike Mignola, Joshua Dysart and Paul Azaceta 
Enhanced strength through years of chicken-chasing!

 lil' Hellboy!

from BPRD: 1946, by Mike Mignola, Joshua Dysart and Paul Azaceta
Even as a child he had rampant facial hair!

from BPRD: 1946, by Mike Mignola, Joshua Dysart and Paul Azaceta
Lil' Hellboy!

THIS WEDNESDAY: Peter Panzerfaust #1, Daredevil #9 and more.

THIS FRIDAY: We start our look at Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne.

NEXT WEEK: Challengers of the Unknown Must Die! and The Flash: Dastardly Death of the Rogues.

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