Joe

Sep 272014
 
HFS

“…if not now, then when?”, asked Emma Watson, in a speech she gave at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City last Saturday. Surely, the quote is one that many of us have heard in our lives, one that is meant to foster courage in the face of fear and uncertainty, to prompt a feeling of personal responsibility when presented with an imposing task. Watson, the UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador, introduced the quote near the end of her speech, when she admitted that she had been quite nervous prior to her speech.

And why shouldn’t she be nervous? As a graduate of an International Relations program, the prospect of giving a speech at the UN is simultaneously exciting and incredibly intimidating one. But, in such a situation, my nervousness would stem only from the pressure I placed on myself, whereas Watson was likely nervous for additional, more serious reasons. She was introducing a UN campaign called HeForShe - “A Solidarity Movement for Gender Equality,” and if you have already read Mystie’s and/or Cassi’s posts on TLo42, or, really, if you have been following the news at all for the past few weeks, then you know that it is a frightening time for women. Hackers recently stole and released personal, nude photos of several prominent female celebrities; Anita Sarkeesian was forced from her home after receiving death threats for, well, doing nothing wrong at all (I refuse to craft a sentence that even begins to describe a “rationale” for these threats); several of Sarkeesian’s supporters have been similarly targeted. And, of course, this does not even include the sexual abuse and discrimination women continue to experience on a daily basis. Plain and simple, women are, at the very least, not afforded the same opportunities as men anywhere in the world. At worst, they are explicitly denied basic human rights. Sadly, as Watson noted in her speech, “No country in the world can yet say that they achieved gender equality.” Indeed, Watson’s deeds did not go unpunished. She, too, was threatened with a leak of personal nude photos (and, no, the fact that the stunt may have been fake does not diminish the meaning of the underlying threat).

This reality is why another quote Emma Watson used in her speech is so important to me: “Statesman Edmund Burke said all that is need for the forces of evil to triumph is for good men and women to do nothing.” All I have to do to allow the denial of human rights to women to continue is to do nothing. Combined with her questions of “If not me, then who?” and “If not now, then when?”, the quote has provided an incredibly strong motivator for myself and men around the world to take this opportunity to speak out, stand up, and offer our support in the fight to secure an equal future for men and women alike.

There can no longer be any question as to who this issue affects or involves, either. Watson extended what she called a formal invitation to men to participate in the conversation, explaining that “men don’t have the benefits of equality, either.” And while I’m not personally inclined to complain about the male sex lacking in equality in the face of recent events, I’d be flat-out lying if I said that I hadn’t taken notice of the cultural norms affecting men, as well: we are supposed to be strong – even aggressive – and keep our emotions in check, to mention only a small subset of the cultural pressures men face. And as Watson so rightfully said, this has an immediate consequence of shaping the norms that affect women.

In the past, I struggled with identifying the best way to get involved and show my support for women’s rights, other than to continually try to participate in conversations that make me consider the topic on a regular basis; thanks to my wife and the wonderful friends we have that make up TLo42, these conversations usually crop up often enough to meet that requirement. But I recently realized that the current climate in gaming and the world in general, as caustic as it may be, demands only the simplest action as a first step – and I’ll leave it to Slate writer Phil Plait to put it in words (emphasis mine):

This isn’t about [loathsome knuckle-dragging Men’s Rights Advocates and their ilk]. It’s about women, and men supporting them. It’s about all of us. And doing this isn’t white-knighting, it isn’t mansplaining, and it isn’t weak, or unmanly. It is, quite simply, doing what’s right and standing up for others.

I have no claim to solutions for these problems; I cannot hope to know how to stop the hatred and violence and oppression and othering of women on the Internet and in the world.

But I know how to stand up for my friends. I know how to write, and how to make myself heard. And I can hope that other men will do this as well, because while I don’t know the whole solution, I know a part of it, a significant part of it, is just showing that we are listening, that we care, and we want to help.

And that’s why I stand with Emma Watson.

I, too, intend to do what’s right. I, too, am going to stand up for others. I, too, stand with Emma Watson. And Anita Sarkeesian. And women everywhere. And I stand with the 148, 137 other men who have already visited heforshe.org (at the time of my commitment) and resolved to support them. That’s one of the most beautiful things about HeForShe: it’s so simple. So, my fellow men and boys, make yourself heard, be counted as a HeForShe, as I have:

HeForShe

 

The fight will go on, probably, sadly, for years to come. But this is where we make our initial stand. Click the picture above to head over to heforshe.org. Because, if not you, then who? If not now, then when?

Jun 192014
 

Welcome to the second installment of June’s JUST GO SEE IT: Review and Rethink Edition! Up for another look this week is How to Train Your Dragon 2, the sequel to the animated adventure that featured…you guessed it: dragons! I’ll try to avoid any spoilers again, though to be fair, the trailers for this movie are quite spoiler-y on their own!

While the first How to Train Your Dragon focused on the emerging peace between the people of Berk and the dragons they had seen as mortal enemies for so long, the second movie begins with a scene that quickly illustrates just how integrated into Berk’s existence the creatures have become since Hiccup and Toothless befriended each other. In the scene, several of the characters from the first movie are taking part in a competitive game where they ride their dragons around the island, collect live sheep, and throw them into baskets for points. The island is conspicuously empty in the first few frames of the movie, but as the characters begin to score points, we see that the only reason for this is that all of the Berks (Berk-ites? Berkies?) are gathered in the grandstands around the goal area, cheering on their favorite dragon-Berk team – it’s clearly a popular community event.

CastBuncha cool kids.

Other scenes showed the dragons taking part in daily life in more constructive ways that don’t depend on their ability to fly. One such scene features a big, fat, lazy dragon, who we find plopped down, slumbering in the middle of the blacksmith’s shop. The blacksmith walks into the area, and playfully shouts at the dragon for falling asleep and “allowing the forge to go out.” Sleepily, the dragon sits up and hawks a massive fireball into the forge, and, in true hilarious family movie fashion, he nearly ignites the whole shop in the process! I liked both the blacksmith and sheep-game scenes because they represent a cleverly imaginative way of thinking about how dragons could possibly be integrated into human life. Not that I’m necessarily expecting that to happen anytime soon.

It’s hard to point out other *particular* aspects of the movie that were fantastic, because the entire thing is just incredibly heartwarming and fun. There were a few particular plot points that I was not a fan of, but that wasn’t due to poor writing. I freely admit that I am just hard to please when it comes to character and story development at times. Other than those brief points, though, HTTYD2 is quite fantastic. The animation is beautiful as it was in the first, and the characters are ridiculously lovable. Toothless continues to somehow remind Mystie and I of our cat (we’re not the only ones, though – a friend recently told me he thinks the same regarding Toothless and his cat!), and the baby dragons are so freakin’ cute. A soundtrack that includes Jonsi of Sigur Ros can’t hurt, either!

PosterMeow.

Therefore, overall, I’d say there is no need for a rethink here. JUST GO SEE IT! And take your kids, friends, and family with you – this one is definitely great for everyone, at any age.

Jun 132014
 

Hello readers! It’s been six days since I gave you your movie viewing assignments for June, and I’m ready to follow up with the first ever “Joe’s JUST GO SEE IT Review and Rethink Edition!” Mystie and I just got home from seeing Edge of Tomorrow, which, as you’ll remember from my earlier post, is an alien-battling sci-fi action movie co-starring Emily Blunt and Tom Cruise that is based on a Japanese novel called All You Need Is Kill. I’ll do my best to keep any spoilers out of this article, and I’d ask any commenters to do be conscientious and advertise any of their own with full-on caps lock and asterisks so that each of our readers can form their own opinion! (NOTE: Linked images may take you to other pages containing spoilers.) EoTPoster First up: I loved this movie. As I previously mentioned, I was a bit apprehensive about the possibility that Tom Cruise could ruin a film that I felt had great potential, but from where I was sitting, Mr. Mission Impossible did okay. It did feel like Cruise had a much larger number of speaking scenes as compared to Oblivion, however, and the writers of Edge of Tomorrow didn’t do us any favors by making his character, William Cage, all that likable – at least not immediately. I did my best to chalk that up to the character’s development, though, and tried not to concentrate too much on Cruise himself. After a short time, I came around. 

CruiseEoT“What do you mean you ‘came around?’”

However, I had no problem immediately loving Emily Blunt’s character, Rita Vrataski. What. A. Badass. Holy hell. In a war with missiles soaring all over the battlefield and machine guns shooting off thousands of rounds per minute, what is our fearless heroine’s weapon of a choice? A freakin’ giant sword, that’s what. It’s eerily reminiscent of Cloud’s sword, though I don’t think the prop artists meant it to be a slap-you-in-your-face reference or anything like that. We meet Rita early on, when Tom Cruise, befuddled and thrown to the ground in the middle of an attack by the alien army, looks up and sees her taking out several baddies.

BluntEoTOh yeah, also: her nickname is the “Angel of Verdun.” Epic.

Luckily, neither Cruise’s nor Blunt’s characters get too trope-y in the film, which allows the viewer to enjoy the spectacular scenes playing on screen. As I have seen some mention, the “Live/Die/Repeat” plot device calls to mind the one used in Groundhog Day, but it is hard to fault the writers for employing such a fantastically interesting tool here, particularly when considering how they twist it to fit the mold of Edge of Tomorrow. Visually, too, the movie is great, although I don’t necessarily mean that in the sense that the imagery specifically was great. Several of the shots of the desolated environment are incredible, sure, but what I found especially extraordinary was the artistic development of both the aliens and the mechanical suits used to fight them. I thought that the aliens in particular were fantastic; they were creative without becoming overcomplicated, and are deeply deadly and fearsome.

I’ll close this article out by introducing the “Rethink” part of “Joe’s JUST GO SEE IT Review and Rethink Edition,” where I will decide whether I was right to being excited about a particular film on the month’s original list. In Edge of Tomorrow‘s case, I think it’s pretty clear that there isn’t a whole lot to rethink, given that I started off with “I loved this movie.”

JUST GO SEE IT!

Jun 022014
 
Edge of Tomorrow

Welcome to Joe’s JUST GO SEE IT for June 2014! This is the first post of what will become a monthly column where I, your eponymous host, discuss a handful of movies in the sci-fi, fantasy, or otherwise nerdy genres that I am excited to see. These lists are not meant to be exhaustive – on the contrary, we want you to leave comments about movies you are interested to see as well! We may also exclude some (*coughtransformerscough*), because, after all, this is Joe’s JUST GO SEE IT!

Anyhow, without further ado, here are my JUST-GO-SEE-ITs for this month! They are sorted chronologically, from the nearest releases to the furthest. Trailers are included so you don’t even have to leave the page!

Edge of Tomorrow - June 6

If you’ve been a reader since the inception of TLo42, then you know that I had nothing but great things to say about Oblivion, a simultaneously post-apocalyptic and futuristic sci-fi flick starring Tom Cruise. If you haven’t been a reader since that post, then you might not already know that I absolutely loved that movie, despite the fact that Tom Cruise is often an overly intense actor that often camps up an otherwise good movie.

Such is the situation I’m hoping for with Edge of Tomorrow, in which Tom Cruise repeatedly fights aliens (or, at least, advanced machines) in a battle that seems to be reoccurring. The film co-stars the fantastic Emily Blunt, who looks to be both Tom Cruise’s trainer and love interest. The trailer, which I beg you to watch, all at once reminds me of elements of Inception and Elysium, and, weirdly, both Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Groundhog Day, though I doubt that Edge of Tomorrow will be as dramatic or hilarious as those films (respectively, of course). The basic concepts that you see in the trailer are mind-blowing, and even though I consider myself clever, I’m not completely sure I know which world we’re seeing is real. Or is that even the right question to ask? I don’t know, but I know I want to see it.

The Signal - June 13

This is one I have been excited about since I first heard about it on Reddit and looked up the trailer, which starts with Laurence Fishburne, and almost immediately features the incredible question, “Are you from Earth?” Fantastic visuals follow, evoking both fear and intrigue. There is some amazing cinematography at the end, and the music is perfect.

One of the most striking parts of the trailer, though, is that one critic, Joey Paur of Geek Tyrant, calls The Signal “a mind-bending experience.” That is a fantastic–in the literal sense of the word–description if I’ve ever heard one, and if I hadn’t already been sold, I would have been at that point. This movie looks incredibly interesting, and is easily the one I am most excited about on this month’s list.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 – June 13

Rounding out this month’s list is the follow-up to How to Train Your Dragon, an incredibly wonderful and entertaining animated film released in 2010. If you haven’t already seen the first one, I’d suggest you do so ASAP in order to establish the back story for the second one. Here’s a hint: there are dragons involved.

As with many of DreamWorks’ films, the first How to Train Your Dragon was a heartwarmer, and the second looks to follow up on that, emphasizing Hiccup’s family. New dragons are introduced, too, however, and even Toothless gets a few new characteristics. I’ve been waiting for this follow-up the minute the credits started rolling after the first movie; How to Train Your Dragon is a great franchise that can really bring out the kid in anyone. And I mean, come on. Dragons!

That’s all for this month – you have your assignments! But as I said, we’d love to hear from you about what you’re excited for this month, so leave us a comment or tweet at us @theleagueof42 if you’ve got some suggestions of your own! In the meantime, don’t forget the popcorn!

May 032014
 

Last weekend, Mystie and I had the pleasure of going to the World Championships of the Vex Robotics Competition in Anaheim, California, where two of my cousins were competing. Simply described, the Vex Robotics Competition is a fantastic way for students ranging from elementary school all the way through college to engage in hands-on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education. Students build and program robots to perform certain tasks, which they then use in competition with other robots at varying levels of Vex competition.

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Allow me to stress again – VRC is fantastic. I had known that my cousins were involved with VRC for some time, and had even seen their robots at one point during a family visit. But it wasn’t until Mystie and I walked up to the Anaheim Convention Center that I started to get really excited. Instantly, the atmosphere was intoxicating. Thousands of students and coaches rushed to make their next match. Teams furiously retooled their robots in the pit areas and crowded around practice arenas to further hone their strategies. Vendor and sponsor tents dotted the convention center floor, and Vex officials had even unveiled a sneak preview of next year’s game. There was just so much to experience – it was easily the highest concentration of robots in one area that I have ever seen, and the energy was utterly contagious.

It was amazing to see how excited all these kids were about STEM, but there are a few specific positive facets of the event that I want to be sure to point out. First, Vex provides an engaging, encouraging, and insanely fun (as far as I can tell) community for students who might otherwise consider their STEM-related interests to be “not cool,” and therefore for students who might otherwise hesitate when weighing the opportunities presented to them in the early stages of their lives. I truly believe and have been convinced in the last few years of my life that interests once considered “nerdy” are beginning to be seen as “cool,” or perhaps that being “nerdy” is “cool” in and of itself. Probably more correctly, though, is the idea that being a “nerd” or whatever else you are labeled as doesn’t matter, as long as what you’re doing makes you happy. As Wil Wheaton so eloquently put it when he was asked by a young girl how to deal with being called a “nerd”:

When I was a boy I was called a nerd all the time — because I didn’t like sports, I loved to read, I liked math and science, I thought school was really cool — and it hurt a lot. Because it’s never ok when a person makes fun of you for something you didn’t choose. You know, we don’t choose to be nerds. We can’t help it that we like these things — and we shouldn’t apologize for liking these things.

That being said, bullying still happens on a daily basis, and, largely, STEM-related hobbies aren’t part of mainstream media or advertising. Vex might not change that trend in the near future, but it goes a long way in showing students – especially young ones – that that doesn’t matter. It also gives students the opportunity to meet and build friendships with others who share their passion for STEM, and indeed, we saw several teams exchange contact information with each other throughout the day.

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Second, and to take the first point even further, Vex demonstrates that it’s more than okay to enjoy STEM-related hobbies, regardless of your gender. Mystie and I saw several young girls and women on the teams assembled at the Anaheim Convention Center. As a shining example, one of the high school division champion alliances had a young woman on each of its teams, and they did not appear to be singled out or treated differently in any visible way. I can only go so far as to say that there was no visible evidence of this because I am only an outside observer, and therefore I am not privy to the actual dynamics of being involved with Vex. But what Mystie and I saw last weekend shows that Vex may someday take its place next to Goldieblox among the pantheon of activities available to young girls that don’t involve dressing up a doll in pink clothes. A “someday” is necessary here too, however, simply because the demographics of the event seemed to show that there is still some work to be done in this area. I would have liked to have seen a greater number of young women involved. We did see quite a few girls at the elementary-level throughout the pit areas, but women were underrepresented at the high school and college levels. Still, we were very happy to see those that were involved with such an inspiring STEM event.

Finally, it was impressive to see how international the competition really is. There were numerous teams from non-U.S. countries present at what was appropriately called the “World Championships.” A Canadian team was set up just across from my cousins’ pit area, and the Finals featured several teams from countries like Mexico, China, and New Zealand. I am a firm believer that seeing the world from a point of view other than your own is important, but the opportunity to meet citizens of other nations can sometimes be rare, especially for younger students. Undoubtedly, the Vex World Championships give students the chance to interact with people of all ages from other parts of the globe, with robotics acting as the catalyst. I was very impressed by how seamlessly groups of students from different countries worked together during their matches, and I think that is a testament to both the elegant simplicity of Vex’s games, as well as the fun you can have while competing.

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But don’t take my word for it – check out the Vex websites at www.vexrobotics.com and www.robotevents.com. On those websites, you can find information on how the competition works, watch videos of previous competitions, and see what next year’s game will look like. If you catch the bug, you can even register a team from your own school or sign up to volunteer at a future competition!

Apr 082014
 

CyclesWell, I have finally finished the second paperback of Y: The Last Man, and there is certainly a lot to catch up on since we left our dear Yorick and his companions with several paths ahead of themselves at the end of Unmanned. We begin book two still in Boston, with Yorick bartering for passage on a freight train, though the group’s destination is still not immediately clear to the reader. After some “resourcefulness,” all are safely on board, and quickly discover that they will be sharing the space with a fully-stocked pigpen. And yes, don’t worry, fabulous puns ensue.

We soon learn that the chosen destination is Dr. Mann’s lab in California, which Yorick is none too happy about. Agent 355 seems concerned, too, and apparently rightfully so: after a short interlude (in which we find out that Yorick’s sister Hero has gone a bit off the rails [ha, my own pun!]), a pair of armed and apparently racist thieves show up. Caught off guard, Yorick is not wearing his disguise, and the thieves immediately discover that at least one male has survived the plague. The thought seems to barely register, however, before Yorick takes action despite (yet again) Agent 355’s warnings to stay back. He tackles one of the thieves, but it doesn’t go well: the thief quickly judo-rolls and throws both Yorick and shoulder-perched Ampersand through the open boxcar door and into the night. Worse yet, Agent 355 bashes her head when she dives after him.

Yorick is discovered, unconscious, on the side of the train tracks and given safe haven by Sonia, a woman from nearby Marrisville. After waking up, the two instantly bond, and Yorick finds himself describing his relationship with Beth as “complicated.” It is a surprising turn of events, given his fixation with traveling to Australia thus far. Still, he quickly recognizes the need to find Agent 355 and Dr. Mann, and prepares to leave. Before he is able to depart, however, he runs into the other sixty-six women of the town, who represent yet another important group of women that we have not yet seen in Vaughan’s post-apocalyptic universe: a no nonsense faction that rationally tends to their own basic needs. Sure, in the first book, Vaughan introduced us to the congresswomen searching for the next President, but here in book two he also acknowledges the distinct likelihood that a group of individuals would be able to overcome their differences in order to react to the distinct and immediate needs of a day-to-day order. It is an impressive feat considering we find out that the group is made up of convicts who escaped from a nearby prison, but it is not unrealistic.

Despite this positive note, a rather unfortunate development comes to pass, as Yorick’s love life becomes exponentially more “complicated.” First, he kisses Sonia in the woods, and second, in a concussed haze, Agent 355 weakly mutters, “I want you…Yorick.” While I was angry that Vaughan has contradicted his main character’s previous statements, and I personally hate Yorick’s decision, I am simultaneously impressed by the statement Vaughan is making: Yorick is the last man on Earth, but that doesn’t make him the smartest or best one. A similar idea applies to Agent 355, as I see it. She is one of the smartest women on Earth, but that doesn’t mean she can’t (mistakenly?) fall for the imperfect eponymous character.

Speaking of heroes (More puns! I regret nothing!), Yorick’s sister has now discovered that her brother is the man they have been following, and thanks to a tip from the woman who got him and the group onto the train at the beginning of book two, she knows just where he is. You might not consider a sister finding her long lost brother a bad thing, but unfortunately for Yorick, Hero is just as complicated as the rest of the cast. Brainwashed, she and the rest of the Daughters of the Amazon show up just as Yorick is having self-righteously berating the residents of Marrisville for their colorful past. Luckily, they are not as petty, and refuse to allow the Daughters to take the last man in the world into custody. Again, however, Yorick puts himself in extreme danger by turning himself over to them (Agent 355 is a bit too unconscious to disagree with his decision this time), and he is rewarded with a gun to his head, held by the leader of the Daughters, Victoria. In a tremendous show of violence, Sonia steps outside and deftly launches an ax into Victoria’s head, only to receive an arrow from Hero’s bow in her chest. After Sonia dies in his arms, it is Yorick’s turn to be angry, and he stops just short of executing his sister, demanding instead that the residents of Marrisville lock up the Daughters in the old prison.

The real fireworks come just before the end of the book, however. Hero reveals that it wasn’t the Daughters of the Amazon that attacked Dr. Mann’s lab. Cut to the Daughters of Israel, stealing a Blackhawk helicopter and receiving intel from a shadowed individual in a Secret Service office: “The boy is in a small town in northern Ohio called Marrisville.” We further learn that Hero is already on her way to escaping from prison, and, not that it’s a big deal or anything, there are at least two men other than Yorick alive. They’re just on the International Space Station!

Overall, I was less fond of the second book than the first. While I understand the literary need for it, after being presented with a fantastic and imaginative post-apocalyptic, nearly all-female future in the first book, the complications presented in the second made it more difficult to love it quite as wholeheartedly. Still, in my opinion, the work is probably quite a realistic view of such a future, and I would be doing a disservice to our readers to say that you shouldn’t pick up a copy.

Mar 012014
 

Y UnmannedI knew very little about Y: The Last Man before I began reading it, other than the fact that it is written by the same author, Brian K. Vaughan, that wrote Ex Machina (and, of course, currently writes Saga). My very limited knowledge did not even include much about the plot itself. But the comic had come highly recommended, and this past Christmas, my lovely wife and our very own talented author Ben purchased the first four trade paperbacks for me as gifts.

I dove in immediately, and a difficulty I have grappled with since I began reading comics last year set in right away: I wanted to read the whole work all at once. Indeed, just the first page of Y was enough to get me hooked, and made me glad that I knew next to nothing about the work, as my ignorance lent even more power to the revelation that “All the men are dead.” Similarly, I was immediately drawn to Yorick’s character (despite the dramatic name), who is simultaneously obviously very intelligent and charming, but impulsive and, perhaps, even reckless in his decisionmaking processes. Although I have not yet begun reading the second paperback, it seems clear that Vaughan intends to continue developing these traits of Yorick’s, as evidenced by some of his more rash actions later in the first paperback, which is aptly titled Unmanned.

Quite a bit takes place throughout Unmanned, making it difficult to cover every aspect of its plot as well as the introduction of the main characters. But Vaughan’s treatment of the time leading up to the sudden onset of the plague is worth mentioning, as it provides a dearth of backstory for our characters in only 29 minutes of comic-time without feeling at all contrived. Even the final five seconds of the countdown – each of which is given its own panel – is riveting, and in no way does the artistic treatment by Pia Guerra (penciller) and Jose Marzan (inker) take away from that. In fact, they reproduce the effect you feel when frantically flipping through pages at a particularly gripping moment, but without actually requiring you to do so. This is a real achievement in my mind, made all the more special to me because of my unfamiliarity with comic books as a medium more generally.

However, it isn’t just the treatment of the plague’s onset in Unmanned that makes me glad I received several paperbacks for Christmas. Although one of the more obvious characteristics of the work is that there are only (mostly) women left in the world, Vaughan stays away from old, tired, stereotypical treatments of a post-male society, repeatedly demonstrating that women are not fragile beings and would be more than capable of caring for themselves after such an apocalyptic event. Indeed, it is Yorick’s mother, a congresswoman, who tricks him by luring him into the panic room so that he will be safe, not the other way around. Even more refreshing is the group of GOP widows, who take up the political mantles of their dead husbands, and are literally up in arms in an attempt to defend their beliefs amidst the chaos. Just in case readers didn’t get the message, though, Vaughan erases any doubt that his intention to write Y‘s female characters realistically was anything but purposeful. Just before Yorick’s mother heads out to deal with the GOP widows, our eponymous last man, who is shocked that these women have so brashly attacked the White House, asks, “When the hell did women get so petty and…and power hungry?” Yorick’s mother replies, cleverly, “Didn’t you vote for Hillary?” A hilarious joke, yes, but it is more than just that; Vaughan isn’t telling us that the plague made women petty and power hungry. He’s telling us that some of them already were.

Regular old intrigue sucked me in as well, though, with the fast-traveling Daughters of Israel chasing down Yorick’s trail. And, naturally, at the end of book one, I was dying to know where Agent 355 would take us next. I’ll leave that much for next time, though! Let us know what you thought of Y‘s first book if you’ve read it. If not, pick up a copy soon!