Reading Ex Machina vol. 1

We all know that I like to take the Monday every week to review a trade, mostly from the library, but I don't usually tell people how many trades I've read. Sometimes I'll read a bunch of trades and not bother to review them, either because they don't need any reviewing (Watchmen) or I'm just so lazy. Recently, I've gone through Asterios Polyp and Parker: the Hunter. The former is a visual masterpiece, and every line means as much as the word bubbles. The latter, not so much. I'm not so accustomed to the murky colors, so it was harder to get through.

Anyways, now that my library's out of The Goon trades, I'm moving on to another series.

Ex Machina vol. 1: The First Hundred Days
by Brian K. Vaughan and Tony Harris

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Collecting the first five issues of Wildstorm's Ex Machina, the trade centers on Mitchell Hundred's "first hundred days" as the Mayor of New York City. Sweet. During a wild snowstorm, a string of murders plagues snow plowers, and a controversial art piece opens at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. At the same time, Mitchell has to deal with his past as "The Great Machine," NYC's first superhero, and one who can talk to machines at that.

WHAT I LIKED: The pacing is positively excellent here. Scenes shift from flashbacks (The Great Machine performing superheroics) to political sidewinding really well, and running through the five issues is a breeze. You really get a sense of all the crap that Mayor Hundred has to go through. Tony Harris plays a huge part in this: his linework is really sharp and defined, and everyone has a clear expression.
There are a lot of political tidbits in here too. I especially like the fact that the Mayor's bedroom in Gracie Mansion used to be a toilet. Ex Machina is a book that's tied to reality, which is a nice getaway from the fantasy of superhero comics.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: Well, there's a lot of adult language here, so Ex Machina probably isn't appropriate for kids.

EXTRAS?: Oh man, at the end there's a small gallery of Tony Harris's process and sketches. He shows his photo reference, the pencils, then the inks and then the colors! Guy is a total pro.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This'd make a great gateway comic for anyone. Especially if you're into New York Politics, and hey, even if you're not, you'll learn something new. I know I did.

1 comment:

Sea-of-Green said...

I liked Ex Machina for the first few volumes, but then it got to the point where the creative team obviously ran out of ideas. Still, the first four volumes or so are worth reading.

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