Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Ex Machina Issue #50 (Last Issue)

Written by Brian K. Vaughn
Art by Brian Harris
Review by Dan Tres Omi

The first issue (which WildStorm Comics has republished for a $1 comic price!) pretty much points out that the series would have an end since it begins with Mitchell Hundred aka Ex Machina explaining how he ended his super hero career to become the mayor of New York City.

At this point, Hundred is not running for re-election. Due to his past as a super hero and his current policies as mayor, his popularity polls plummet. Yet Hundred was in it to do what was best for the the people of NYC.

Ex Machina's powers, if you didn't know, didn't provide him with super strength, or speed, or even telepathy. Ex Machina can talk to machines. He couldn't even fight that well. He lost more than he won. So unlike the usual super heroes, the readers come to find that Hundred wasn't really cut out for it. However, he finds that he can do much more as a politician than as a superhero.

What I always liked about the story was how it centered around Hundred's failure to stop the second plane to hit the tower. In this alternate history, only one tower fell. It was this event that convinced Hundred to give up his life as a super hero and become a politician. It has eaten him up since.
Vaughn never exploits the tragedy. Instead, he uses the decisions, friendships, and enemies Hundred has made in his past as a super hero to make the story flow well.

While many consider Ex Machina a super hero comic, it comes off as a non super hero one. Hundred relies on wits and the power he has a Mayor of a metropolitan city to fend off against his enemies. He squares off against unions, corrupt politicians, estranged citizens, and yes an arch nemesis or two. Even some members of his administration had sinister motives. That is where Brian Vaughn brings the reality to the story. Hundred could have easily used his powers on several occasions but he doesn't. Ironically, he is accused of rigging the ballots to win his office.

What makes the story even better is the fact that it takes place between 2002 until 2005. So the story takes place in the past versus the present or the future. It allows the writer to avoid writing about current events. Vaughn has room to breathe. Brian Harris' art is New York. It is metropolitan for a lack of a better term (help me out here). Harris captures the feeling and the rudeness. Together it works.

While this is the last issue, and yes it is unlike me not to do spoilers, Vaughn ends it well. Hundred's vice mayor fills in his spot. The traitors are revealed to Hundred. Kremlin goes off the rocker. Bradbury, the very loyal assistant and body guard, takes the fall. The ending will surprise you and make you laugh. I think the last issue is worth the price of admission. And like Lauryn Hill once sang, all good things come to an end.

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