Wednesday, February 25, 2015

27 Reasons You Should Care About... Agent 355

As Black History Month transitions into Women's History Month, I can't think of a better character to write about than all-time badass Agent 255 from Brian K. Vaughan's most-excellent Y the Last Man. Three-Fifty served as Yorick Brown's protector and traveling companion on his journey across the globe in search of his girlfriend and a way to reverse the near-extinction of the Y chromosome. Along the way, she dropped a lot of fools. A lot. In honor of that, rather than list just five reasons why 355 is awesome, here's all of the reasons.

Issue 1: Has no problem capping mofos from the get-go, killing Jordanian terrorists in the very first issue.

Issue 3: Hijacks a trash truck, gate-crashes the White House, and defuses a gunfight between legislators holed up at the White House and the widows of Republican congressmen who demand to succeed their husbands (Vaughn's eye for sorting out the logistics of a world dominated by women is astounding).

Issue 4: Saves Yorick's life for the first time, vs the Daughters of the Amazon.

Issue 6: Beats up two boxcar butches trying to extort Yorick, 355, and Dr. Alison Mann aboard a train bound for California. Throws Mann and herself from the train after the extortionists throw Yorick.

Issue 7: Gives Mann a gun, tells Mann to leave her bleeding in a field to find Yorick.

Issue 11: Fights a Russian agent atop a moving train.

Issue 13: Shoots an Israeli solider in the head, runs through gunfire and tackles another, shoots that one point black with the soldier's own gun.

Issue 14: Arranges a deal with Alter, the Israeli military leader, for Yorick in exchange for two astronauts headed back to Earth from the International Space Station. Threatens Natalya, the Russian agent they have befriended, to make it look convincing. Claims to be in love with Yorick (Or is she really?) to sweeten her case. Never has any intentions of making the trade.

Issue 18: The issue opens in media res with 355, Yorick, and Dr. Mann riding ATVs away from shooting cowgirls. At one point, 355 threatens to rip off Yorick's penis with a claw hammer.

Issue 22: Infiltrates the Sons of Arizona militia camp to rescue Dr. Mann, sneaks up on Dr. Mann's interrogator/torturer, knocks her out with a hypodermic needle, takes out another militawoman's eye with her baton.

Issue 23: Shoots another militiawoman up the jaw, and their leader right in the forehead.

Issue 27: Lets Yorick disguise himself as a mascot and heckle a basketball game as a birthday present. Sets up two members of the Setauket Ring to get hit by a San Francisco trolley.

Issue 28: Setauket Ring leader Anna Strong, arranging a MacGuffin swap: "You know where Candlestick Park is, yes?" 355: "Yeah, it's at the croner of f*** you and go to hell."

Issue 29: Finds out the Setauket Ring killed her friend, charges them as they fire at her, positions herself so one Setauket gets shot in the face by the other’s gun, then shoots the second Setauket in the face with the dead one’s gun. Then cracks their leader’s neck with her bare hands.

Issue 31: Gets in a gun, baton and sword fight with Toyota, the ninja assassin hired by Dr. Mann’s father to steal Ampersand the monkey, on the Golden Gate Bridge. Survives getting cut by Toyota’s sword.

Issue 32: Slaps the gun out of a ship crew-woman’s hand with a crowbar, kicks her in the stomach. Also, 355 and Dr. Mann … um … exchange insurance info.

Issue 34: Picks a brig lock with knitting needles. Uses the same needle to knife the ship captain in the shoulder, then cracks her across the skull with her own rifle.

Issue 37: Beats up a bunch of Australian junkies, knocks one into a glass display case.
Issue 38: In a flashback to one of her first missions with the Culper Ring, shoots up a band of Eritrean soldiers. Plunges off the balcony of an Australian high-rise with a tabloid journalist who took photos of a naked Yorick.

Issue 39: Grabs a balcony railing on a lower floor and pulls herself and said journalist to safety. Later socks her in the jaw, grabs her by the throat and knees her in the stomach.

Issue 41: In a flashback to her adolescence as an orphan, takes a baseball bat to two white teen boys who call her a bunch of racial slurs. Later, as a young Culper Ring agent, rips out the throat of her former mentor with her bare teeth to thwart an assassination attempt on President Clinton.

Issue 43: 355: “I’ll never understand your obsession with Presley. Heartbreak Hotel? That s--- is unlistenable.” Y: “It’s not his songs, it’s his life. I just think he’s interesting.” 355: “No, the Mata Hari is interesting. Elvis is nothing but pills and co-opting black music.”

Issue 45: With an ex-Japanese cop named You, pulls a The Raid-style assault on the hotel stronghold of a former Canadian pop star turned Yakuza lord in search of Ampersand. Gets caught after her gun runs out of bullets, just as she was about to shoot an armed girl.

Issue 50: Steals an ambulance to get Dr. Mann, who is sick and bleeding, to her mother.

Issue 51: Picks herself out of handcuffs, charges Toyota through a high-rise window. The two then engage in a naginta duel on a rooftop. 355 jams the busted-off end of a naginta into the side of Toyota’s neck, killing her, but not before taking the blade end in the stomach. It doesn’t kill her, but it severs her fallopian tubes, meaning she can’t bear children if the effects of the plague are ever reversed.

Issue 55: Beats up some Russian guards assigned to Lenin’s body, which is being moved by train, after the guards search 355 and Yorick and find Yorick’s “F--- Communism” lighter.

Issue 58: Gets shot through the head by an Israeli sniper right after confessing to Yorick her real name. Live badass, die badass. 

Dan Grote’s new novel, Magic Pier, is available however you get your books online. He has been writing for The Matt Signal since 2014. He and Matt have been friends since the days when making it to issue 25 guaranteed you a foil cover.

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