Very few moments in comics have had the distinction of making me cry. There was SANDMAN #72, when Nada throws flowers into the river as Dream's funeral boat passes by; Valerie's letter from V FROM VENDETTA; Noah finding the scooter in DEADENDERS #16. And now we have the conclusion of Y: THE LAST MAN - even as I write this, I've got tears in my eyes.
Well... maybe not quite that tearful.
Anyway, Y. I'd actually been holding out on reading the last arc until yesterday, when I had all six final issues in my hands. I'm glad I did - while Brian Vaughan packed as much dramatic weight as possible into each individual issue, the sheer impact of the last storyline as a whole made it worth the long (long, long, long) wait.
There's really no way I can do justice to Y: THE LAST MAN and what it meant to me as a reader - for five years, it entertained me, shocked me, made me think, made me laugh, and yes, made me cry. It was consistently well-written and well-drawn, it was complex, and right up to the very end, it never opted for the easier storytelling choice: Vaughan always chose the less-traveled, and therefore less-predictable route, and in the end even the reader's perception of the series itself, of what Y: THE LAST MAN is supposedly about, is challenged.
Taking a broader view for a moment, I like to think Y will be remembered as the post-SANDMAN Vertigo flagship - symbolizing, if you will, a shift in trends from literature-based fantasy to a kind of gritty realism that nevertheless speaks truly and pointedly to the human condition. Not to knock PREACHER, or the still-running FABLES (which continues Gaiman's tradition of mixing myth and reality), but Y was different - more real in terms of the world presented and the way people behaved. I love that the hero of the series was just an ordinary guy; I love that there will never be one true answer to the question of the Gendercide; I love that the book took us all over the planet and really explored the possibilities of a world without men, with all the negative and positive and ambiguous implications therein. I love that the finale made me feel like I'd witnessed the end of a saga - that bittersweet sensation of a wonderful journey coming to its inevitable end.
Thank you, Brian and Pia and everyone who worked on this book. Thank you for recognizing that all tales need endings - and for giving us a conclusion that met the very high standards you set for yourselves. Thank you for five years of EXCELLENT stories.