Y: The Last Man, Vol. 1: Unmanned by Brian K. Vaughan

 

Cover of "Y: The Last Man, Vol. 1: Unmann...

Y: The Last Man, Vol. 1: Unmanned

 

While there are plenty of stories revolving around the idea of being the last survivor or group of survivors of some cataclysmic event, Brian K. Vaughan‘s story is a little different. What if you weren’t the last human, but the last MAN? In this first volume of the series, Yorick Brown finds himself in just such a predicament (along with the only other known male survivor of any species, his pet monkey Ampersand).

 

This first volume sets up the series and the immediate aftermath of the death of all the males. There are a LOT of angry women. Some Republican Senatorial widows attempt to storm the White House in an attempt to take over their husbands’ now vacant seats. The Amazons are reborn. And there is a supermodel/actress driving a garbage truck. Somehow through it all, Yorick, whose mother just now happens to be POTUS, cares only about finding his girlfriend…

 

An intriguing beginning to the series. Am interested to see where it leads…

 

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The Dirty Parts of the Bible by Sam Torode

This was a really fun read. It has drawn a lot of comparisons to Water for Elephants but I think that’s an insult to Sam Torode. I can only imagine the reason is that The Dirty Parts of the Bible is also set during the Great Depression, that parts of it also happen on a train, and the story is set in motion by an automobile accident involving the protagonist’s father. The similarities end there, however.

First of all, Tobias Henry is a much more likable fellow than Jacob Jankowski on almost every front. For all that he is almost as helpless as Jankowski, Tobias at least realizes as much. And when push comes to shove (and in all fairness to JJ, it does take a few pushes and shoves to get him moving) Tobias does at least take control of his own fate.

Secondly, it’s just a much better story. The characters and events are all more believable.

The story was an enjoyable one with real humor and just a touch of pathos. If I had to nitpick anything, it would be with the character of Craw. I don’t think that his role in the book was all that realistic for the time and place. While certain elements were plausible, others were just a little far-fetched, more so even than the ‘fantasy’ elements of the story. But that’s a rather small nit in an overwhelmingly good book.

Superheroes: The Best of Philosophy and Pop Culture, William Irwin (ed.)

Logos for Marvel Comics and DC Comics, two of ...

Building on a growing trend of “Philosophy and…” books that run the gamut of pop cultures, Superheroes is a great way to introduce people to philosophy, especially those who might not be otherwise inclined. A series of essays, the work covers both the Marvel and DC universes as well as philosophers from Plato through to Derek Parfit (b. 1942). It would be easy to dismiss this series as nothing more than philosophical fluff dumbed-down for the masses, but I think one would be missing something to do so. As William Irwin states in the Introduction, “Ultimately, this book aims to shed light on the hidden depth of superheroes, while at the same time illustrate the importance of philosophy. Superman and Batman are not replacements for Plato and Aristotle, but they can inspire you to read Plato and Aristotle, who will challenge you to think deeply.” And after all, isn’t that what we ask of any good book?

Through the Killing Glass: Alice in Deadland Book II by Mainak Dhar

English: Image shows three young Chinese Red G...

Pretty decent follow-up to Alice in Deadland . The former residents of the Deadland have formed a community (Wonderland) and humans and Biters are building a fragile peace. Of course, the Red Guards are not so quick to forget the ragtag bunch that bloodied their noses. Alice must hold together this coalition in the face of new enemies, both internal and external, while at the same time receiving help from unexpected quarters. Definitely a zombie tale with a twist.

The Dark Monk by Oliver Potzsch

Oliver Pötzsch

Oliver Pötzsch (Photo credit: Lutz_ek)

The Dark Monk is the second installment in Oliver Potzsch’s “Hangman’s Daughter” series, and was just as enjoyable as the first. The setting is 17th century Bavaria and the main characters are members of the Kuisl family, Jakob, the titular hangman, and Magdalena, his daughter, as well as the son and apprentice to the local doctor, Simon Fronwieser. This time centered around a Dan Brown-esque religious mystery and race against time and treasure thieves, the book is full of historical fact and authorial fancy.

In fact, the one knock I have against the book is that some of the situations in which he places the characters and the means by which he extricates them are just a little too far-fetched, in an otherwise brilliantly researched and historically accurate novel.

Definitely looking forward to part 3.