I've been trying to convince people to read graphic novels for a while now, and if I could convince them to read just one, it would without hesitation be this one.
Y: The Last Man is a series of tremendous scope, such that I was actually afraid to read it for a while, afraid that it was too deep for its own good, and would either overwhelm itself or me. I knew the simple synopsis -- "unknown plague wipes out everything with a Y chromosome, except a boy and his monkey." It sounds like too much, and it's true, there are so many ways for something that big to go horribly awry.
But Y somehow eluded that fate. It's a big, big concept; its focal points are small and manageable, but never to the degree of being unsatisfying -- it never sacrifices world-building for the sake of simplicity, and most importantly it trusts its audience unconditionally, leaving it to us to follow and speculate and decide for ourselves what to make of it all.
Its first big success is how personal the story is -- for everyone. The idea of every man and boy on earth being abruptly and horrifically taken away is a powerful one, upsetting to male readers for obvious reasons, upsetting to female readers because of imagined pain of being left behind. I know the first thing I thought of was just how many, many dear people I would lose to such a disaster. That kind of nightmarish scenario stays with you, and forces you to imagine what you would do -- as a woman, left behind, how would you cope with the loss and what would you go on to do with yourself -- or as a man, identifying with the last of your kind as he struggles to find a place for himself in a world that's rejected everyone else like him.
Continuing along this line, the series beautifully and delicately handles an enormous number of social issues -- it's a story about women without being exclusively FOR women, and more than that it's a story about people, and how gender divides us while at the same time exploring how it doesn't have to be a division,
And let's not forget the other side of its success -- social ramifications aside, it's a wildly exciting story peppered with action and violence, comedy, tragedy and romance, plot twists and hot chicks getting it on, while never losing integrity of vision.
A real work of genius and something that'll be relevant for a long time to come, I think.
I am not really a fan of graphic novels (another word for comic books) but there have been a few that have been special. This is one of them. Imagine how you would feel if, suddenly, every being with a Y chromosome died in a very bloody manner, except for one young man and his male monkey. That's the premise for this novel. It is 10 volumes long, so it has a lot going on, and it is never boring. Some of the women left behind cope well, and some don't. A few, in … more
(from Wikipedia) Y: The Last Man is a comic book series by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra, about the only man to survive the apparent simultaneous death of every male mammal (barring the same man's pet monkey) on Earth. The series was published in sixty issues by Vertigo and collected in a series of ten paperback volumes. The series' covers were primarily by J. G. Jones and Massimo Carnevale.