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Allison Mann

Art by Massimo Carnevale
Art by Massimo Carnevale
Dr. Allison Mann is a geneticist. When first seen in issue Y: The Last Man #1 she is in a hospital and on the verge of delivering a baby. Resident Michael Gilman, one of Mann’s former students, is on call when Mann comes in. She confides with her former student that she is pregnant with a child cloned from her own cells. After brief concerns about the legality of cloning, Gilman agrees to deliver the child, but he notices something isn’t right just before a plague strikes that wipes out all the males (with a very few mysterious exceptions). The presumption is Mann’s baby has died from the plague.

Yorick Brown, presumably the last human male, made his way from New York to Washington DC in search of his mother, a US Representative. She and other women in Congress and the President believe Dr. Mann may be able to help humanity with her cloning experience. The President agrees to let Yorick find Dr. Mann but only by putting a woman referred to only as Agent 355 in charge of protecting him. Yorick and Agent 355 find Mann’s Boston lab (issue #5). Mann tries to attack 355, thinking she’s being robbed. 355 explains her reasons but Mann at first declines to participate in more cloning, spilling her story about the cloned baby. Meeting Yorick, and Ampersand, the male capuchin helper monkey, changes her mind. Unfortunately, her lab is destroyed while they’re briefly away, setting them on a cross-country journey to reach her contingency site lab in California.

On the first leg of the trip Mann talks a little about herself and we learn her parents met at a conference in Taiwan. Mann’s ethnicity is Chinese and Japanese and she changed her family name to “Mann” as an insult to her father. 355 sustains a concussions during a surprise ambush and is nursed back to health by Mann in a hospital in the small town of Marrisville, Ohio, now populated with convicts from a nearby prison. Mann is at 355’s bedside when she starts talking deliriously, saying “I want you,” Mann’s reply (“I’m not sure what to say. I mean, obviously you’re a very –” is the first clue that Mann is a lesbian. Too bad for Mann that Yorick is really who 355 wants. (Issue #8)

On a short break after continuing their trek, Dr. Mann tries to bring up 355’s comment about Yorick with her, but 355 shoots the idea down, sayin she’s only trying to keep him out of trouble. Later the three of them are talking. Dr. Mann mentions the tests she’ll want to run on Yorick when they reach her alternate lab, and she refers to her “daughter’s embryonic cells.” Something isn’t quite right, as Yorick replies, “I thought the clone you gave birth to was a male.” Mann glosses over the slip, and it’s forgotten as an emergency arises.

That emergency involves a Russian agent, Natalya, who, once matters settle, reveals that a Soyuz escape pod will leave the Space Station to return to Earth, bringing with it one woman and two men. Her goal is to find the level four bio-hazard hot suite hidden in Kansas, where she intends to take the men. The normal Russian landing facilities are no longer available as a consequence of a nuclear accident. Yorick makes an off hand comment to Mann about possibly making a love connection with one of the male astronauts, to which Mann replies, “I find that highly unlikely.” (Issue #13) Tragedy strikes when the two men are killed in an accident upon landing.

Mann and Yorick have a conversation in which Mann says one of 355’s fellow agents reminds her of an ex. Yorick is confused by the comparison he makes with the female agent and Mann’s presumed ex-boyfriend, but Mann corrects his misunderstanding. (Issue #18).

In issue #21 Mann again talks about her cloned daughter. Yorick and 355 fail to get her to talk more about the gender confusion of the baby though Mann reveals the truth to 355 in issue #22. Dr. Mann was pregnant with a clone of herself, which died because of complications unrelated to the plague. In the following issue, Mann also confesses to 355 that she has a crush on the agent.

The trio finally arrives at Mann’s alternate lab in San Francisco (issue #27) and Yorick mysteriously falls sick shortly after his ring is stolen in a fight with members of the Setauket Ring. Mann convinces 355 to find the ring while she watches over Yorick and continues her research on him. A delirious Yorick gets Mann to tell him her family name is Matsumori (issue #28). Mann discovers the reason for Yorick’s illness is a sever case of food poisoning and serendipitously discovers the reason for Yorick’s survival is connected with antigens produced by his monkey Ampersand (issues #30 and 31).

A sword-bearing woman clad in black that works for someone referred to only as “Dr. M” steals ampersand. With the key to survival lying with Ampersand, the trio learn by happenstance that the thief and Ampersand are likely on a ship bound for Yokogata, a small port city in Japan where Allison’s mother lives. They secure passage on another ship bound across the Pacific. Mann and 355 are alone in a cabin and the situation quickly turns intimate between them, especially when 355 asks Mann if she can wear her glasses (issue #32). It leads to kissing, making out, and when the scene picks up again in the next issue, Yorick thoughtlessly walks in to the cabin to find Mann and 355 having sex. The incident becomes complicated by 355 wanting to forget about it, Yorick being upset over it with clues pointing to more 355 than to Mann, and finally by the appearance of Rose Copen, a spy for the Australian Navy who’s stabbed by a crew member and to whom Mann offers medical help.

Art by Pia Guerra

After a horrible fight at sea, Mann, Yorick, 355, and Rose end up on the Australian submarine that stationed Rose. With her crewmates shunning her, Rose tries to have a conversation with Mann while she tends to the wounded, and confesses that she too is a lesbian (issue #35). Their nascent friendship continues in issue #37 during some rare free time after the submarine puts in at Sydney. Allison misinterprets “mate” when Rose says she has a “Japanese girl for a mate.” Allison and Rose share a touchingly romantic time flying a kite at a beach at one in the morning (issue #38) which leads to the two having sex. Unfortunately for Allison, Yorick, and 355, Rose is still working as a spy for her Australian captain, and getting close to Allison was the quickest method of achieving her mission (issue #39).

The quartet arrives in Yokogata and the device tracking Ampersand begins to work again, indicating that the monkey is in Tokyo. The four split up with 355 and Yorick traveling to Tokyo while Mann and Rose making the short trip to her mother’s lab/ home in the countryside. Before splitting up, Yorick asks 355, “Is it just me, or are those two…?” and 355 replies, “Fucking? Yes.”

Near her childhood home Allison impetuously decides to kiss Rose. The chapter ends showing the lab in blazes (issue #43). They check the remnants of the building after the fire has burnt out, but find no trace of Mann’s mother. The pair returns to town in the hopes that Mann’s mother has gone to a secret location housing a greenhouse/ lab that Allison discovered as a teenager. Mistaking the voices for intruders, Mrs. Matsumori stabs Rose in the stomach with a sword (issue #44).

Mrs. Matsumori makes up for her mistake by operating on Rose, but she also mentions something about Yorick that understandably shocks Mann since she believes her mother doesn’t know anything about him. During the operation, her mother reveals her friendship with Margaret Valentine, the woman who became US President after the plague. Yorick came to Valentine’s attention when he traveled to Washington to meet his mother, a Representative, after the plague. Matsumori reveals that she strongly urged Valentine and Mrs. Brown to send Yorick and the monkey to her daughter’s lab in Boston. Rose regains enough consciousness to mumble a “death bed” confession about being a spy for her naval captain (issue #45).

If that isn’t distressing enough, Toyota, the ninja who stole Ampersand, arrives at the lab with sword in hand threatening Mann’s life if her mother doesn’t help her find Ampersand, who escaped his cage. While Toyota is momentarily distracted, Mann grabs the sword her mother stabbed Rose with and in a change from her normally passive behavior, decides to fight her. Mann inadvertently comes out to her mother when Toyota taunts her with “Have you ever seen a sword fight before, Doc?” and Mann replies, “I’m an Ivy League lesbian, bitch! You honestly think I’ve never fenced before?” Even so, Mann gets stabbed in the arm, and Toyota kidnaps her mother, heading for her employer in Hong Kong, a woman both mother and daughter detest for being Mr. Matsumori’s mistress.

Vaughn concentrates on telling Mann’s personal story in issue #47. It begins with her early childhood and the incident in which she accidentally witnesses something amiss between her father and his assistant, Dr, Ming, who is really her father’s mistress. After learning about her husband’s mistress, Mrs. Matsumori decides to leave Yokogata. Ayuko (Allison) assumes they’ll move to live with her grandmother. Instead, the mother and daughter move to Los Angeles. Flash forward a number of years and Allison is college age. She’s rebelled against parental values and adopted a punkish look and attitude though she hasn’t abandoned her interest and knack for science because she tutors chemistry.

When Allison is first seen as a young adult in this story she’s standing outside of Mann’s Chinese Theater and a friend runs into her on the street. Karla’s roommate, a woman named Mercedes, is with her, and Mercedes takes an interest in Allison, inviting her to see Dangerous Liasons. The next scene is of Allison and Mercedes having sex in Allison’s cheap Yugo, parked on a hill overlooking the city lit up at night.

Allison has an angry encounter with her father in his lab, and comes out as a lesbian to him, partly out of spite. A comment from Allison implies that her parents have reconciled, but that her father is looking for an excuse to start his affair with Dr. Ming again. Her father tries to offer some cautionary advice about relationships, but she interprets it to mean she’s being disowned, and rather than explain himself, he returns to his project.

His words come true, as all first relationships don’t stand the test of time. Three weeks before graduation Mercedes is in Allison’s room, breaking up with her. Flash forward again. Allison’s traded her punkish dress and demeanor for more standard clothing. She’s also teaching biotechnology at Harvard when a young man named Sunil comes to talk about cloning with her. She tries to keep her distance from the student until he mentions rumors about Dr. Matsumori, not realizing he’s talking about her father (she’s known as Allison Mann now). The story skips ahead again and shows Sunil giving an ultrasound test to a very pregnant Allison. This scene would take place not long before we’re first introduced to Mann in the series’ first issue. This issue closes by showing Mann hemorrhaging, blood soaking her legs, and Mann talking to herself about her “miscarriage” possibly having long term complications.

She tries to keep this incident a secret from the others, but knows she’ll need help. That help will have to come from Dr. Ming, her father’s mistress, and being at the Bioethics Institute in Hong Kong also makes her the closest bio-geneticist. It’s also where her mother was taken to when Toyota ended their fight in Yokogata. They’ve arrived at a safe house in China by issue #49. Mann and 355 are out shopping for food when 355 brings up questions about events in Yokogata and Mann reveals that Rose admitted to being a spy while delirious during her operation. 355 rushes back to the safe house to check on Yorick, angry that Mann didn’t mention that Rose is a spy. Unseen by 355, Mann has a minor complication on the street, and returns on her own. Later that night Rose, believing she’s alone, contacts her Australian commander, and informally resigns from her mission and post. But Mann has been standing in the doorway and overheard everything. It leads to a heart to heart talk that is cut short by another episode of Allison hemorrhaging. Before passing out, she implores Rose to take her to Ming at the Bioethics Institute. (Issue #49)

Rose has to persuade 355 that she hasn’t hurt Mann in order to get her help from Ming. After stealing an ambulance and wild ride through Hong Kong streets, the four arrive at the Institute and are ambushed by Toyota. Allison awakes some time later to be greeted by her mother. Mrs. Matsumori tries to clear up her daughter’s confusion, informing her that she performed a hysterectomy in order to save her life. As if the surgery isn’t enough of a shock for Mann, Mrs. Matsumori reveals that Dr. Ming had also suffered the same complications (a fibroid-like tumor) from giving birth to a genetic clone. Unfortunately, Ming’s age (50) had additional adverse effects and she died afterwards. Even more of a shock for Mann and Yorick is the seemingly inexplicable presence of her father, the doctor whom Toyota the ninja referred to as “Dr. M.” The two Drs. M worked together to clone a child, but the biggest surprise is that the genetic material for the child was taken from Mann herself years ago by her father, and that there is not one young Ayuko, but seven.

Dr. M reveals his secret and complicated attempts fueled by a perverse sense of pride to prevent Mann’s successful cloning, including injecting a capuchin monkey with a chemical compound he discovered that adversely affected the genomes of clones. Instead of arriving at Mann’s lab, the capuchin ended up in Yorick’s hands to be trained as a helper for a disabled person, ironically keeping him alive. Dr. M also relates his theory of a morphogenetic field connecting all life on earth as the conductor for the “plague,” which in his opinion was really an evolutionary response to his successful human cloning. (Issue #51)

After a lifetime of disappointment resulting in bitterness, Dr. M decides there is no place in the world for he and Yorick. He plans to inject Yorick first with a poison and then himself. For the second time Mann comes to defend a compatriot, and in the resulting scuffle her father is accidentally injected with the poison. Jump ahead a little in time after her father’s death. Mann and 355 are having a heart to heart talk. Mann tries to get 355 to admit she’s in love with Yorick. Instead she says “I love you” in pig Latin to Allison and hugs her. The final scene reveals that the unlikely quartet, actually now a quintet, is splitting up. Allison and her mother are staying in Hong Kong and will go to work trying to clone Yorick. Rose will be the surrogate mother. Before Yorick and 355 leave to continue the search for Yorick’s girlfriend, Mann and Yorick share a touching scene in which he tries to get Mann to smile after all their years and adventures together. Instead, she starts to cry, offers him cautionary advice about not getting his heart broken, and hugs him closely.

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