Saturday, June 18, 2016

Y, The Last Man (A Graphic Novel Quick Recap)

Y, The Last Man (Book 1)

Y, The Last Man is a graphic novel that fits into the apocalyptic, dystopian science fiction genre. Told through jumps in timeline and geographic location, the story depicts a scenario in which all humans and mammals with a Y chromosome - in other words, all boys and men - suddenly die unexpectedly in one instant. There are just two exceptions to the mass extinction: Yorick “Y” Brown and his male Capuchin monkey named Ampersand, both of whom add a lot of whimsy to the story. As is typical of the genre, readers follow how the remaining society react in different ways to survive, from the wives of dead congressmen who storm the White House to the Daughters of the Amazon who celebrate the demise of men. The range of characters who span the globe are differentiated seamlessly with simple shorthands such as enclosing dialogue translated from other languages within < and > angle brackets, and time and location are clearly announced as headings at the beginning of each transition. While the adventure tale is humorous and entertaining, it also raises questions about the status of women by drawing attention to the fact that men continue to hold the majority of leadership positions as “99% of the world’s landowners...95% of all commercial pilots...85% of all government representatives” and so forth. I think this would be an easy book to sell to my high school students since it is an engaging read and transfers well from other popular stories such as The Walking Dead; a bonus is that it might also get them to think about gender issues at the same time.

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