Page 45 Review by Stephen
From the writer of EX MACHINA, SAGA and PRIDE OF BAGHDAD, this new edition reprints the first two softcovers.
Gripping premise in which everyone on the planet in possession of a Y chromosome haemorrhages in an instant. Think about that - Vaughan certainly has.
"495 of the Fortune 500 CEOs are now dead, as are 99% of the world's landowners. In the US alone, more than 95% of all commercial pilots, truck drivers, and ship captains died... as did 92% of violent felons. Internationally, 99% of all mechanics, electricians, and construction workers are now deceased... though 51% of the planet's agricultural labour force is still alive.."
Then there's the religious and governmental significance of this sudden shift in power. Oh yes, and the military. Planes drop out of the sky; the fields, cities, roads and oceans are full of corpses. And although this is itself a damning indictment of the current state of gender play, if you think that the world would be a more peaceful place with women in charge, this series soon puts paid to that. Amazon cults emerge, severing their left breasts, seducing the impressionable and imposing their own bigoted militancy on others. Others wrestle for power, and it's up to one agent and a lone scientist to escort the sole surviving males - escape artist Yorick and his pet monkey - to a laboratory where the doctor was working on an illegal process she suspects had something to do with the catastrophe when she tried to give birth to her own clone.
An earlier work than EX MACHINA, SAGA or even PRIDE OF BAGHDAD, although some of the dialogue reeks of exposition in the first half, I can assure you it improves swiftly and dramatically, plus Vaughan follows up on more repercussions than so many would have thought of.
The pace of the plot - the twists and the turns - constantly kept me on my toes, and Vaughan really knows when to slip those surprises in. He also threw characters down some unexpectedly dark dead ends, including the protagonist's sister, and here introduced a town whose inhabitants share a secret they cannot afford to divulge.
Then there's the matter of a space station, manned when disaster struck but unable to make a safe re-entry. Did the dudes drop dead there? Toss in international espionage, a missing girlfriend and a mother at the top of a precarious political ladder and you have a recipe for ramifications it took Brian K. Vaughan 75 issues to cook through.