Much like Grover, I was afraid of the monster at the end of this comic book series


There was a point in Y the Last Man: Whys and Wherefores where I knew what was going to happen and much like Grover in the The Monster at the End of this Book, I just decided I wasn’t going to turn the page. If I didn’t turn the page the bad thing that I knew was going to wouldn’t happen and all the characters I had learned to love over this 10-volume series would live happily ever after.

Y the Last Man is a comic series by author Brian K. Vaughn and artist Pia Guerra. It tells the story of poor Yorick Brown the last man alive after a mystery plague sweeps across the planet killing everything with a Y chromosome be it man, beast, or plant. All of the male of all the species — wiped out in an instant.

And while every good feminist would like to think we’d handle everything just ducky, in Y we don’t do so swell. The story is harrowing and it follows the next four or five years as Y, his secret-agent bodyguard 355, and Alison Mann, a brilliant geneticist try to find out what in the hell happened and why Yorick and his male monkey Ampersand seem to be the only two males to survive the plague.

I first picked up this series because when my friend Tony recommended it. Only, he described it as a story about all the men dying off and how the women have to figure out how to fix the power grid.

I was pissed, because that sounds like the most sexist tripe I’d ever heard. Really, I said to him, only the men know how the power grid worked? I was so incensed that I had to read the series myself. Hooboy, I am so glad that I did.

Not only does Y the Last Man challenge you to think about gender roles and feminism, it also makes you think about the supernatural, violence, sex, science, and ethics. It’s amazing. So amazing.

The storytelling is vivid and compelling, the art is colorful and beautiful, and like any great stories seeds planted early in the series come to fruition later. It’s so, so, so good. SO GOOD.

This is the kind of comic series I want all my female friends to read so I can talk with them about it. So far all i know are males who have read it and while their perspective is interesting, I really would like a female point of view.

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1 Comment

  1. Jason 06.Feb.09 at 3:50 pm

    You made me start rereading these and you’re right; I hadn’t realized how much was set up right at the start. Since I was reading it in monthly installments it was tough to keep all of its parts in mind.

    My wife and I both loved this series. I’m glad you embraced it – I remember reading a Salon article a few years ago by a feminist who considered it something of a guilty pleasure. And you heard that a lot as the series continued, that they were not necessarily anti-feminist but un-feminist, I guess- like women are not that great after all, look, see, they are just as bad as men. But I always read that as pro-feminist; even apart from the strong female characters, the idea that if women ran the world there would be no violence or petty disputes reinforces sexist ideals about women/mothers.

    Rob Schneider wrote a movie he is trying to get made called “The Last Man,” where all of the men on the planet are wiped out except for him (after he proposes to his girlfiend, no less). I think it may depart a bit from these books…


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