This post of Y: The Last Man by author Brian K Vaughn has been adapted from two previous posts. First is the spoiler free review, followed by the spoiler full review and summary.
Spoiler Free Review
Y: The Last Man is an acclaimed 60 issue graphic novel series by Brian K Vaughn. This series came highly recommended to me by several trusted sources. I’m sorry to say that I am the outlier with a dissenting opinion.
Y: The Last Man is about a genetic sex based apocalypse in which every living creature with a Y chromosome spontaneously dies. The only two left are a man named Yorick and his monkey Ampersand. It is unknown why these two are the last ones left or what caused the wide spread death to begin with.
The series follows Yorick as he attempts to reunite with his girlfriend Beth. Other characters such as a secret agent and a scientist are more interested in using him to figure out what happened and how to restore humanity. Yorick’s priorities are off throughout the entire series.
Yorick is a loser. He’s an out of work escape artist with no prospects whose only personality setting is sarcastic. And yet, his is the story we follow. We have here an entire planet filled with competent women. Women who survive and thrive during and after a cataclysmic event and we still have to follow some dumbass white male instead.
I went into Y: The Last Man expecting Yorick’s story to be worth telling. It’s not. I expected the series to have at least a couple of profound things to say. It doesn’t. I at least expected some controversy or discussion worthy plot points! Nope. The most controversy I could find in this completely toothless tome is some outdated not politically correct language. Yawn.
I don’t understand the fascination with this ultimately pointless book. It has nothing to say and even the basic story is dull. The timeline jumps forward so dramatically it feels like all of the meat of the story is in between issues, nowhere present on the page.
I was really expecting greater things from Brian K Vaughn. I’m glad he’s upped his game since this book. I would actually love to see the premise of Y: The Last Man written from the female perspective. Written also by a woman. Someone who understands the female motivations a bit more than Vaughn seems to.
Before I close my argument on this overrated series I must mention the most baffling scene within the 60 issues. There is a scene in which a former secret agent holds an intervention for Yorick. She does this by donning her sluttiest dominatrix outfit, breasts completely out and exposed, and performs some sort of sexual torture on him.
Look, if that’s not nonsense male fantasy for a misguided audience I don’t know what is. It makes zero sense and seems to only appeal to straight males completely out of touch with how women actually behave. And that basically sums up the whole series.
Y: The Last Man Summary
Y the Last Man begins with an apocalypse that kills every living creature with a Y chromosome except for one man named Yorick and his monkey Ampersand. Every other male human and animal spontaneously dies.
Yorick has no idea why he’s the last man standing but he does know that he wants to find his girlfriend Beth. She’s been in Australia and he wants to find a way to get to her. Yorick’s mother, a congresswoman, thinks he has different responsibilities to take care of first. I agree with her.
So mom sends Yorick off with a super secret agent who is only known as 355. They are to find a scientist who may have a clue as to what happened. On the way they are attacked by Amazons, a group of angry man hating “feminists” who think all evidence of male life should be erased entirely.
Yorick’s sister Hero has joined the Amazons since the end of man occurred. She doesn’t yet know he’s alive.
Hero has been brainwashed by this cult and hunts Yorick down. When she finds out the last man is her brother she still threatens to kill him. She does kill a woman in the town they’ve been hiding in and they place her in their prison.
Then it becomes known that there are still two genetic males alive on the space station, unaffected by whatever plague happened on Earth. A Russian spy is sent to meet them upon landing and return the Russian male home.
Meanwhile, Yorick’s mom has hired a faction of the Israeli army to hunt her son as well. I was never completely clear as to the motivation behind this. The whole Israeli plot gets kind of muddled and I didn’t care for it the whole way through the book.
The space station has a crash landing and of course both males are killed, leaving only a pregnant female survivor. Yes, of course the female was sleeping with both of them. That’s how it has to be right? Can’t trust astronauts to be professional unless we separate the genders. Sarcasm!
Actually, that brings me to an overall criticism of this book. The language is very dated. It is certainly not politically correct by today’s standards. The words “retard” and “faggot” are thrown around pretty liberally. Additionally, this is a book about women, being written by a man. Keep that in mind.
That brings us forward in the story to Yorick, 355, and the scientist Dr Mann. They’ve been traveling for a while now and for some reason they have to temporarily leave Yorick with another agent. This is the most bizarre scene in the entire book.
This agent performs a “suicide intervention” on Yorick. By sexually torturing him… Complete with dominatrix outfit, tits out. This makes absolutely no sense and seems to be on the ridiculous end of the male fantasy spectrum. Serving no other purpose except to get a female character into a sexy outfit.
Then the timeline jumps ahead again. Time does not flow naturally in this book. Sometimes an issue takes place directly after the one before it and sometimes it jumps ahead as much as two years without so much as a “two years later” heading. It gets confusing and damages the flow.
Yorick, 355, and Dr Mann are still trying to get to the doc’s lab in California. We learn that the astronaut has given birth to a male. And somehow Hero conveniently stumbles across this super secret compound containing the astronaut.
Yorick finally actually has sex with a woman in this world of only women. He feels guilty for cheating on the girlfriend who doesn’t even know he’s still alive and hasn’t spoken to him in years. Get over yourself.
A gang of bad ladies steal Yorick’s ring that he’s been holding on to to propose to his long lost girlfriend Beth. He gets immediately sick and they all wonder if maybe it was some kind of magic ring. Nah, he just has food poisoning.
But 355 had set out to retrieve the ring anyway. Hero somehow finds her. Convenient again. 355 retrieves the ring and Dr Mann discovers that Ampersand the monkey is really the key to why they are still alive. Ninjas steal the monkey. Cause of course.
Now, suddenly everyone is on a ship to Japan. There’s some pretty dumb love drama on the ship with people hooking up and the captain of the ship is drawn way too sexy for comfort.
They detour to Australia to finally find Beth. Instead of finding her a reporter finds Yorick and publishes his picture for everyone to see.
Then a quick series of more plot goes down. Dr Mann sleeps with an Aussie spy. The Israelis kill Yorick’s mom. Yorick discovers that Beth went to Paris to find Yorick even though she has no reason to believe he’s alive or would know to meet in Paris. And the one other lady Yorick slept with is now pregnant.
In a flashback we learn that Yorick received the wrong monkey back then. Ampersand was actually supposed to go to Dr Mann. Another coincidence!
Now we’re back in Japan looking for that monkey. Which they find being cared for by a white popstar who is now a Yakuza leader because that’s how much sense this book makes.
Then we get another plot dump. Dr Mann gets sick so they take her to her mom where they find out that her dad is also still alive. He and his mistress might have caused the plague but have definitely made several clones of Dr Mann using the now dead mistress as a surrogate.
His theory is that they figured out aesexual reproduction with the cloning which rendered men obsolete so they all just sort of died. That… makes no sense at all… But it is why he now wants to kill Yorick and himself.
On the other side of the planet Yorick and Beth find each other in Paris, because of course they do. Beth confesses she was going to break up with him back then. Yorick is offended that she only wants him now that he’s the last man on Earth. Like a bad joke.
Hero and Yorick’s other baby mama with baby conveniently appear in Paris now. I have no idea how they are doing this traveling or how they find each other at all.
So then Yorick finds 355 again and confesses he actually loves her. Then the Israelis kill her. I swear, the Israelis are just a plot device to kill people off. They serve no other purpose in this story.
There is a brief mention that 355’s agency might have actually caused the plague when they attempted to cause China to not be able to produce male heirs but it went awry. This makes more sense than the other thing at least.
But never mind any of that now! Let’s just jump forward 60 years to a Yorick clone who is visiting original Yorick in an sanitarium cause he’s still suicidal. He escapes, the end. Oh year, I never mentioned that Yorick is an escape artist by trade. Well he escapes, the end.
So that’s it. That’s most of what happens. And how freaking lame is that?! Here is a whole graphic novel dedicated to a world of women and the only story we hear is that of some loser white guy who’s still hung up on the only serious girlfriend he ever had. An unemployed loser who lucked his way into surviving the apocalypse only to do nothing with the opportunity but skulk and annoy people.
This book should have been so much more interesting. So much more controversial. But it’s just kind of boring, too coincidental, and utterly toothless. Don’t buy into the hype.
2/5 last males 🐒🐒
For a better gender based apocalypse story check out Girls.
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Buy it here: Y: The Last Man Omnibus