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Headscratchers: Y: The Last Man
  • I admittedly haven't read this, but what the heck is the point of The Daughters of the Amazon in a future where there are no men? Did they all start lopping off breasts and banding together to just kill Yorick, or did they just feel they needed to be Crazy-Prepared just in case?
    • They kill FtM transsexuals and other "gender traitors" as well as destroying symbols of men, such as sperm banks and monuments. Killing Yorick is just an extension of all of those things. Also, it's noted in-story that a lot of women just want their protection and food, which is stolen in raids of "feminine" women who grow or hide food.
  • Wouldn't all mammal species dying of extinction pretty soon fuck up the whole global ecosystem, what with huge chunks of the food chain suddenly missing, and so on? Yet none of the characters in the series, not even Dr. Mann, seem to give this any thought. In the Distant Finale, have they somehow managed to revive all the mammal species besides humans?
    • It was mentioned briefly when they were in Arizona.
    • The last issue mentions that the Hartle twins and The Doctor Men successfully solved the livestock problem.
    • To be fair, mammals are generally at the top of the food chain compared to non-mammals. So it's not nearly as destructive as, for instance, the death of all the plants would be.
    • If rats apparently started reproducing again without help who's to say it didn't happen with other species? Probably, several species learned to eat birds, fish, reptiles or insects in the meantime.
      • Would the male-killing virus be less virulent in non-human species? If it had been designed specifically against Homo Sapien's Y-chromosome, it might not affect the males of other mammalians as strongly. There may have been a handful of surviving bulls, stallions, rams, stags, etc.
  • How is that Dr.Mann, the lesbian, considers love only existing as a biological imperative?
    • Lesbians can't consider love a biological imperative? That argument was stupid anyway. Everything is a biological imperative. She's just bitter.
    • It doesn't make a lot of sense. If love were solely biological, why would she only be attracted to people she can't reproduce with? Homosexuality is a biological dead-end. And that's coming from a very liberal troper who wants gay marriage completely legalized.
      • Sexual desire is a biological imperative, regardless of what you get turned on by. The feeling of arousal signals a desire to reproduce, even if you're gay or autosexual. That's probably what she meant, and if humans manage to go long enough without sexual reproduction, those biological imperatives would no longer exist (or be necessary) and our genitalia would soon become small and vestigial. Eventually just atrophying away altogether.
      • If the species continues by cloning and/or artificial conception, evolution would effectively end for the species.
      • Evolution through cloning happened in bacteria in the few billion years before the evolution of sex. It's slower, has less protection against harmful mutations and doesn't allow recombination of existing positive traits in a population. Not that evolution would have any influence on a rapidly technologically advancing civilisation already capable of artificial fertilisation because of the premise of humans not dying.
      • As a biological imperative or explanation for homosexuality in a evolutional aspect - ANY sexual experience will enhance your chances of inducing pregnancy later on. Unless we're discussing love as a metaphysical/celestial entity.
  • Wait, ANY sex, even gay sex, will increase your chances of inducing pregnacy? HOW?
    • It wouldn't be the gay sex that increased the odds of passing genes to future generations but the increased likelihood that an individual not involved with child-rearing would be able to work in specialized areas in a society, boosting the value of his or her immediate family unit. A gay male might remain in a settlement while other males went off to hunt. Having a male protecting the social unit and their children might give increased rank to his brothers and sisters, allowing them opportunities to raise more children. A lesbian might join the male hunters, giving her a special status that would be passed to her family. Although the gay members wouldn't pass on their genes directly, they would share genetic similarities with their nieces and nephews. This theory called kinship selection and has been proven in species of birds but not humans. It's an accepted theory but is by no way an absolute.
  • Why doesn't Natalya's english improve during the what, three year hiatus in the heartlands where she has no-one but english-speaking people to talk to? I know, Rule of Funny but... mjeh, maybe she was busy speaking russian to Vladimir so that the Last Son of Russia didn't grow up speaking with a stupid accent.
    • It does improve. Early on in the series, she could barely understand anyone or make herself understood. By the end, while she still has trouble with phrasing, people have no problem making sense of her statements.
  • I haven't read this, but what about the obvious solution to the reproduction problem: sperm banks? Were they all inexplicably destroyed too?
    • I do believe that they WERE destroyed. Anything involving men.
    • When Church!Beth and Hero meet up and get captured by those nuns and the Swiss Guard at that Medieval Times...where was I? Anyway, they claimed that Beth was pregnant because they used artificial insemination, and that any sperm with a Y chromosome had been destroyed by the Gendercide. They might have been lying though; it's possible that whatever caused the Gendercide destroyed (or rendered unusable) any form of sperm. Or, maybe the Daughters of the Amazon went around burning or booby-trapping as many sperm banks as they could find.
    • Or, you know, they defrosted during the inevitable power failures as the infrastructure went all screwy right after the Gendercide.
      • That theory has to take into account the efforts of 355's people to preserve society where they could. Of course, the next sentence...
    • The Daughters of the Amazons burned down all the sperm banks they could find.
      • It's stated outright that all the male sperm in spermbanks died as well. Everything with a Y chromosome died.
    • It's mentioned midway through the comic that not only did all sperm with a Y chromosome self-destruct in the Gendercide, global power outages following the mass deaths wiped out pretty much everything that was in cold storage - including frozen sperm and ova.
  • It bugs me that the whole 'y-cide' happened instantaneously, across the planet, even hitting planes and underwater, and at the same time, failed to reach escape velocity.
    • If it was due to the curse on the amulet (a bit of an ask), it was probably set as "all men on Earth". If the Trojan War was the high-water mark of carnage when the curse was made, they couldn't have foreseen a space station.
    • Actually, any of the proposed causes wouldn't necessarily have hit astronauts. A disease? Evolved while they were in space/quarantine. A curse? Who curses people in space? Earth getting revenge? They're outside of the atmosphere, so presumably beyond its influence, etc.
      • One of the proposed causes of the plague deals with some kind of field common to all mammals that carry evolutionary information. Being a good way outside the atmosphere of the Earth might have helped against getting the "kill-switch" signal.
  • Later in the series, animals are implied to be reproducing again, was this asexual, or did the killer phantom just realize it made a mistake in killing all male animals, and impregnate them all, and why didn't either effect cause pass to humanity, when it was obvious the killer baby didn't live?
    • While most mammals are still screwed fish, amphibians, and reptiles have all shown examples of spontaneous gender swapping or parthenogenesis (virgin birth). While parthenogenesis would only produce female children (exact clones of the mother in fact), they would continue giving birth. Birds might have the potential for parthenogenesis, but not known yet.
      • In addition, not everything has an X-Y sex chromosome system. Birds have a Z-W system, many insects use X-O, and eusocial bugs are weird (involving haploid males and whatnot). So, even though a lot of mammals are gone, the ecosystem could survive.
      • Even among mammals there's the monotremates that have a Z-W system like birds, so at least they're fine.
  • Why didn't Dolly or any of the other cloned animals trigger the gendercide?
    • Presumably, that hypothesis was wrong.
    • It's possible that the gendercide could only be triggered by a viable human clone, not another mammal.
  • I haven't read anything past the Amazon.com sampler, but how does the policewoman on page one figure out what the hell just happened, establish its geographic scope, overcome the initial shock and disbelief, come to a conclusion about the state of the world, and sink into suicidal despair, all in less than twenty minutes?
    • This troper kinda assumed she was mentally unstable to start with. After all, few of the other characters we meet do the same, even in the worldwide montage sequence after the gendercide happens. Then again, I'm probably overthinking it.
    • Being connected to the police radio net could make her a little more informed than the average person, but that's a flimsy justification.
    • The last page needed a shocking image and a mission statement. Maybe she was psychic.
    • That woman? Yeah, it's explained pretty early on actually, that she was in love, the Gendercide hit, and she just quit. That, and yeah, police net, death of every pedestrian and male in the vicinity? Twenty minutes isn't bad holdout time if you ask me.
  • What actually caused the gendercide? We're given about three or four different possibilities as to what exactly caused it, but it's never explained. (Please note, this is less IJBM and more I'm Just Freaking Curious. I love that they left the actual cause ambiguous. )
    • Brian Vaughn said that the answer is given at some point, but it may not be the obvious suggestions. It could be hinted by some detail.
      • Also known as the "Wouldn't You want to know"-clause.
      • It's not so much that as "There's a whole bunch of possible explanations; they don't know which one it really was, and we won't force one on you. Choose the one you think is best." Vaughn's take on it is quoted on Leave The Plot Threads Hanging.
    • I might be reading too much into it, but, during the original glimpse at the theater troupe, all the talk about Mary Shelley's similar gendercide story seemed to be Vaughan laying out how to approach this question. Namely, when one of the in-comic actresses asked what the root was in Shelley's story, the director admitted that the cause was never addressed, but pointed out that the whole reason for the story was to see the ramifications in such a world, not to unravel the mystery.
  • Why, oh why, oh why did none of the official-type people he came across ever insist that Yorrick "get busy" with a few dozen fertile women, or at least hold him down and wring some man-juice out of him, or both? Yes, I know they didn't know if newborn males would be viable 1) did they think there was a better way to find out than trying and 2) were they so confident they'd get another chance?
    • Because they knew that even if he got every woman on the planet pregnant they'd still have a massive genetic bottleneck. Also, he repeatedly explains that he's got the world's foremost geneticist and cloning expert with him and that they're trying to get to her lab so that they can come up with a viable solution. All the officials they meet have stayed in power by being smart enough to realize that that probably would be the best answer. The few who don't think that way do try to kidnap him, it just doesn't work out.
      • Except that relies on a false dilemma. It's not as though they had to choose between letting him go with Dr. Mann or breeding some women. The male participation in reproduction just doesn't take that long. If they'd insist that he breed with a few women, or leave behind the material necessary to do so, before going on his merry way, then they would have a Plan B in case he died on his insane cross-country journey. In either case, breaking the genetic bottleneck cannot ultimately depend on one man, but making some "backups" along the way only makes sense and if the cloning aspect was a dead end and it turned out that male embryos were viable, the human race would have had a chance. It's just plain stupid to ignore those possibilities. The fact that the president was his mother seems to excuse the stupidity a little bit; anybody else would have likely treated him as a resource. But Jeepers H. Cripes, any sane person who was let in on that decision should have summarily executed her for treason against humanity.
      • It gets worse. Ms Brown was not the President but merely a comparativly junior surviving congresscritter. The president was letting the guy run on the basis of an old pen-pal's advice and the latter had a secret agenda... none of which ruled out milking the guy a bit before heading out.
      • Oh, and Rep. Brown was the one who called Alter down on the guy because she freaked over partial info about the Cuelper Ring (and she did not even know the woman, but simply trusted her to bring the boy home because she answered an old friend's phone number)
    • The more people Yorick has sex with, the bigger his risk of getting an STD. And it would be just awful if the very last man on earth wound up getting AIDS or something, and then he dies, and then you're even more screwed, since you can't study him anymore to figure out what caused the Gendercide. Of course, you could try to mitigate the risk by making sure he only has sex with people who have been tested clean, but there's always a chance you'll screw something up. Yorick is the last man on earth, so it's better not to take that chance.
  • Sister What's-her-name who planned to kidnap Beth's baby said it was so he could become Pope. Only problem? You can't be Pope without being ordained, and the only people capable of giving the rite of ordination are priests. This isn't a minor issue - Catholic doctrine (doctrine of apostolic succession) teaches that the chain of consecration stretches back, completely unbroken, to Jesus, from whom all spiritual authority in the Church is ultimately derived. So either you've got women priests or an unordained Pope, which are equally invalid in the eyes of the Holy See.
    • Religion's been making up stuff as they go (to some extent) for most of its existence. The Gendercide would seem like as good a time as any to leapfrog some gender equality in the church hierarchy (at least making some of the higher authority nuns officially 'ordinated')
    • They do mention a 'Vatican III' in the Distant Finale. And just a few years ago the Church made the realm of Limbo Canon Discontinuity (literally), so it's not too much of a stretch that some of the sisters would find a viable theological explanation to allow women to be ordained.
      • Not entirely apropos to the discussion, but in the spirit of preventing disinformation. The document established that "Limbo" has always been an unofficial, but allowed, belief, and that said belief was still considered unofficial, but allowed. The important thrust of the document was to indicate that unbaptized infants, by virtue of God's eternal love, would go to Heaven without the need for an explicit baptism.
  • How could anyone figure out that the gendercide wave propogated at the speed of light? On a sphere the size of the Earth, wouldn't the wave move so quickly that it would be impossible to determine where it began, especially if your only data is the reported times of death from men all over the world, as reported by people in a post-gendercide disaster area? It's not as if someone in Japan is going to say "He died at 4:30:26.432 PM, GMT" and someone in France is going to say "He died at 4:30:26.437 PM, GMT."
    • Saying so probably fit the hypothesis of morphic resonance (IIRC) as constructed before the gendercide, and Mann's father was asserting it as true. Maybe he liked to believe he was at the centre of it all. I wasn't really convinced by the idea, and neither were the characters.
  • This has to do with the ending, so obviously big Spoiler: When Yorick escapes, where exactly can he hide? Every male on earth was born when he was in his 20s or older, so he's easily identifiable as the oldest man on the planet.
    • ?? From the first issue on, Yorick was shown to have mad trickery skills.
    • I remember them mentioning "fake-men" (transexuals) He could try to act like an old transexual... and now I have that image in my head
    • Maybe Yorick will disguise himself as an old lesbian.
    • The ending is not supposed to be realistic, but symbolic. Yorick's "escape trick" is merely a symbol of him dying.
      • This - "[its] not supposed to be realistic, but symbolic" - applies to the whole damn story. Unfortunately, IMO.
  • Australia becomes the dominant naval power in the Pacific because they're the only ones left with a submarine fleet. Fair enough in theory, but do they really have enough female submariners to (wo)man a fleet of subs?
    • I think the idea is that every other country's submarine fleet is lost at sea while submerged because all the crews died and there was therefore no one to resurface the boats. Australia's subs were able to surface and return to port, at which point new crews could be trained and so forth.
  • Is it just me or did the series kind of flip-flop on the extent of the gendercide? Sometimes it says every male mammal died, sometimes every male of any species. I generally figured the former was the case and fish, reptiles, birds, insects and the like were fine, but characters sometimes seemed to act like Yorick and Ampersand were the only male beings on the planet. Am I reading it incorrectly, because from my end it just seemed like they can't just pick one and stick with it.
    • It's stated many times that it's just mammals, and nothing else. It just sounds more dramatic to say "everything with a Y chromosome".
      • That could be the literal truth, without it being every male creature. Most mammals have the XY system, and so do some other creatures (like fruit flies), but most non-mammals have a system that doesn't involve Y chromosomes at all, so they'd be fine.
  • Was it ever confirmed that the effects of the "virus" were still lingering after it initially killed all the men? The astronaut's baby boy and Yorick's clones had to be in quarantine untill the were vaccinated from the virus in the same manner that Yorick and Ampersand were, but was this just a precaution or would they have died the same way the other men did if they had stepped outside? If it was still around then why didn't the astronaut's baby die from it when he was still in the womb when his mother landed? After all every other male fetus died when the gendercide first struck. And if it wasn't around then did Yorick 17 really have to spend most of his life in quarantine? And he was in his twenties. Seems like a long time to spend in quarantine just as a precaution. Also the astronaut's son managed to get vaccinated when he was just a toddler. So why'd it take so long for Yorick 17 to get vaccinated against it?
    • Because even if it isn't hanging around in the air, you do NOT leave that up to chance. It might not be hanging around, but if it is then you lose your upcoming generation and by extension all of humanity. Better safe than sorry.
    • As for why Ciba's child didn't die in the womb when she landed, remember that Ciba was inside of a spacesuit at the time. That probably protected her child.
    • The issue with Yorick 17 and other clones is that the same Phlebotinum that saves males also kills clones. It took them that long to isolate the helpful aspects from the harmful.
  • Yorick spends two years getting from Washington D.C. to California. In all that time, why is it never winter?
    • There are many months-long gaps between stories - the first 12 issues take place over a period of a year or more, but we only see a few weeks' worth of action, at most. Those gaps just happen to cover the winter months - possibly because travel on foot would be unfeasible and they just hunkered down and didn't get in anyone's way until spring happened.
  • If a spacesuit could protect a male fetus from the "plague" then why did all the submariners die? They should have been protected at least a little because they had a separate air supply. And are we supposed to believe that not one man in the entire world was in quarantine while the gendercide was happening? The Hartle twins' facility was not the only one of its type in the world and it's ridiculous to believe that all such facilities would be entirely staffed by women. It is more plausible to say that all men currently on Earth died in an instant and later scientists were overly cautious about exposing male children to danger.
  • How the heck does Ampersand's tracking device work? Ampersand is present when the spaceship crashes to Earth. At that time, Ciba is 3 months pregnant. Later Hero follows the signal of the tracking device and arrives at that same spot, and she discovers that Ciba has given birth. So it's been at least 6 months since Ampersand was in the area, right? So...what kind of tracking device leaves a signal in the air which persists for a whole six months after the device has moved elsewhere?

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