Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Ex Machina Volume 1

Ex Machina Volume 1
(The First Hundred Days)
By: Brian K Vaughan
Illustrated by: Tony Harris
Paperback: 136 pages
Publisher: Wildstorm
Language: English
February 2005, $9.99
Genre: Comic

When a strange accident gives civil engineer Mitchell Hundred amazing powers he becomes America’s first living, breathing super-hero. Eventually tiring of risking his life merely to help maintain the status quo, Mitch retires from masked crimefi ghting and runs for Mayor of New York City, winning by a landslide. And that’s when his real adventure begins…


I am sure you are tired of hearing about my latest obsession with Brian K Vaughan, but I can’t help it. Have you read his stuff? So far there hasn’t been anything that I’ve gone meh over or regretted spending money on. Ex Machina won an Eisner for this and to be honest I think it was well deserved.

Mitchell Hundred was a simple civil engineer until a mysterious object exploded in his hands and giving him the ability to speak to machines, ultimately controlling them. Being a superhero, “The Great Machine”, has its pitfalls and triumphs. After all how would you react if a masked vigilante that looks vaguely like a futuristic Rocketeer comes swooping in to save the day? You’d probably call the cops. And Hundred discovers that there is a downside to being a hero in our society. However, he does some good too, most importantly he saves one of the towers during 9/11. But after he hangs up the costume, he searches for another purpose, another way to use his powers for good. His eyes eventually settle on the Mayor’s office and he runs for mayor of NYC and he wins. So what now?

Like Alan Moore’s Watchmen and others there is a realism in this comic and this alternative universe New York City feels reel. There is more to being a superhero or just a hero in general in the modern world. Mitchell Hundred wants to be a good man. He wants to be a hero, but is that really possible when the masses decide what is heroic and what is good? I like that Mitchell and the vast cast of characters go beyond your usual comic superheroes and characters. It’s a great what if. Just because he is now mayor, Hundred still has problems and some of them still rely on his ability to speak to machines. I can relate to Hundred. He has flaws, he has doubts and he has fears despite being able to do things that the average Joe cannot.

It reminds me of the Rocketeer meets West Wing. Vaughan is laying out some nice political commentary and as one of those wacky people that leans towards liberal, I can’t help but nod my head. Even better you get some great art to go along with a great story. I look forward to reading more.

3.5 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks

Have your own review? Let me know and I will post it.

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