Y: The Last Man
by: Vaughan, Brian K.
F/X recently announced a new TV series simply called “Y”, which immediately appealed to me because I am a sucker for “last man on Earth” survival type stories, which is what the show is about. When I discovered it is based on one of the most revered graphic novels of all time – one I admittedly had not even heard of until said discovery – I knew I had to read them as soon as possible in order to be ready to go when the series debuts in early 2020.
The graphic novel is known by its full name: “Y: The Last Man.” It is my assumption that F/X shortened it to just “Y” in order to avoid confusion with a recently canceled FOX series called “The Last Man on Earth” (a show which I absolutely adore and have rewatched multiple times already). It also makes it seem a bit more mysterious, as there is no elaboration on anything. It is also fitting because the series is about a man named Yorick, who often goes by “Y” as a means of helping to hide the fact that he literally is the last living man on Earth.
“Y: The Last Man on Earth” is literal in its title. Yorick (Y, going forward) somehow manages to be the only male immune to some mysterious and sudden plague that kills every living creature with a Y chromosome on the planet. Humans, mammals, animals…every male creature dies within seconds on one fateful day…except for Y and his pet Capuchin monkey named & (the series bounces around between calling him &, Amp and Ampersand, as many readers do not know the & symbol is called an Ampersand). As to why they are both immune to whatever disease has taken hold…it hasn’t been explained yet.
Yes, I am attempting to review a book series before I have actually finished reading said series! There are 10 compilations of the graphic novels and I am at the literal halfway point as of this writing, and the “reason” as to why Y and & are the last living males has yet to be revealed. As a fan of getting answers when I watch or read something, I am hoping they do reveal this at some point! While I do enjoy the mystery of what happened and why, I also want a reason because it is your job as an author/writer to explain things!
Y and & are in their home of Brooklyn when everything happens and Y quickly realizes he is not safe. The two set out to traverse the country in an effort to eventually get to Australia to be reunited with Y’s fiancée Beth. Of course they are immediately met with obstacles and opposition on their journey and their shared secret of being the last living males on the planet becomes less and less of a secret in the process. They both constantly battle hordes of women that have banded together after inheriting the planet. Each group they meet has different motives as to why they either want to capture or kill them.
While I am enjoying the series, I must admit it is becoming a tiresome. I say this because every single issue contains the exact same plot line: Y and & manage to make it to some new “safe zone” only to be ambushed by women. Again and again! It has gotten to where, any time they reach somewhere safe, I immediately say to myself as I am reading “Ok, time for an ambush…” Right on cue, sometimes not even one page later, an angry female with a weapon appears and tries to take them out.
I am enjoying the writing and the storyline itself, I am just growing tired of the same essential plot point over and over. Now that I am entering the second half of the full story I am hoping it starts happening less.
I really like the character of Y. He is a pop culture obsessed smartass that maintains his sense of humor despite his ongoing circumstances, which is exactly how I know I would be if I was in his shoes. He is always quick to fire off a joke, a reference to a movie, or song lyrics. His ability to do this keeps the story light while everyone else around him (the women) all express nothing but anger and resentment over their ongoing situation.
Women everywhere are upset about all of the men that they have lost from their lives, combined with jealousy over the fact that this guy somehow got to live. Many simply want him dead so that women officially inherit the Earth entirely. Many others just want to capture him and keep him as a slave so that they can fulfill the sexual desires they have due to the lack of men in their lives and to also hopefully re-start the human race. All while poor Y just wants to make it to Australia and reunite with Beth.
I’m curious how true to the graphic novel the TV show will be, but that remains to be seen as it won’t arrive until early 2020. As with many book-to-screen adaptations, I am expecting what has become the norm: change as much as possible while retaining only a few core things. I really hope that this is not the case, but I do know already that much of the story will be toned down for TV. If books were to have ratings, “Y: The Last Man” would be a hard “R” due to language, violence and sexual content. F/X, being a cable channel, can make it TV-MA which is the equivalent of an “R” rating. But that still only allows so much when you’re on cable television. Unless you’re a premiere channel like HBO or Showtime, you can’t do everything you want and make something truly rated “R.” This means that “Y” could lose some of the translation from the books.
No matter what happens with the show, I am enjoying the graphic novel series and am looking forward to soon finishing it. I recommend you check out the graphic novel section in the Adult Department and start reading it yourself!