One Justice League Elseworlds Tale Predicted Y the Last Man With Superman

Y: The Last Man imagines a world where anyone with a Y-chromosome -- so most biological men -- die from a mysterious disease, leaving all the women of Earth behind to pick up the pieces. Recently adapted from the critically-acclaimed Vertigo series of the same name for television, this isn't actually the only time an event like this occurred in comics.

In fact, in the Elseworlds story JLA: Created Equal by Fabian Nicieza and Kevin Maguire, a similar virus quickly wiped out all but two men on Earth -- setting up a radically different DC Universe where Thymiscara became a major leading power in the world.

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A cosmic storm descends upon the Earth, quickly blanketing the planet in a deadly gas cloud. It quickly spreads a deadly disease across the planet, which targets men across the world. Regardless of health or power or even world of origin, it's almost no time at all before every male across the planet dies from the disease. Only two males survive the spread of the virus -- Superman (due to his unique Kryptonian physiology making him impervious to the disease) and Lex Luthor (who hid in isolation). While Superman tries to maintain a level of heroism and leadership, he's heartbroken by the massive loss of life -- and concerned that a child with Lois will only risk her life and the life of any child they have.

Superman and the female heroes of Earth quickly try to pick up the pieces, attempting to discover a means for humanity to survive. Thanks in part to the large roster of united female heroes, the world is largely stabilized -- especially after Wonder Woman brings the Amazons out of hiding and officially makes Thymiscara the new capital of the world. Wonder Woman leads the League in these times, with an expanded roster that even sees Barbara Gordon receive a Green Lantern Ring. But the attempts to discover more about the virus fail. Zatanna's pleas to the magical forces of the universe fail, and Poison Ivy's ventures into the Green searching for answers left her mind shattered. In hiding, Luthor's attempts to cure the disease also go nowhere, leaving him enraged at his isolation.

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Luthor gains some semblance of revenge when he apparently discovers that it's Superman himself who's been carrying the disease, his powers making him a unique carrier for the virus. To protect the Earth and his loved ones (including a pregnant Lois), Superman departs into the cosmos. He leaves DNA samples from which the world can begin to repopulate the world with males -- but without his guidance, the ensuing generation of super-powered children proves incredibly dangerous. Even Superman's son Adam loses control of his newfound powers at the age of six and accidentally kills Lois -- setting off further chaos across the planet. Luthor -- capturing and lobotomizing many of Earth's greatest remaining telepaths to turn into a living weapon he can use to mentally corrupt the new generation into his followers.

Sending them loose, the young men lash out with misogynistic fury against the Amazons and the other heroes -- unaware they're just being manipulated by Luthor, who then plans to slaughter the half-Kryptonians with Kryptonite and allow his own genetically-modified infants to become the next generation of man. But Adam's reluctance to fight any more -- and the return of Superman himself -- help cease the conflict. Luthor is left unresponsive by a heart attack, while the heroes use a new vaccine Superman found while visiting an alien race to help protect the new generation. It's an interestingly similar ending to the comics' version of Y: The Last Man, which saw a new generation of males born from the DNA of Yorick, adding to a largely peaceful future.

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Brandon Zachary (4208 Articles Published)

Brandon Zachary is an Associate Writer with Comic Book Resources and has written for CBR since 2018. He covers breakouts on comics, film, television, video games, and anime. He also conducts industry interviews, is a Rotten Tomatoes certified film critic, and knows SO MUCH about the X-Men. For requests, comments, or to hear his pitch for a third Avatar series that incorporates robots, you can contact him through [email protected].

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