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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 158

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we take a look at the first volume of Ex Machina, by Brian K. Vaughan and Tony Harris…


Besides being an interesting comic filled with compelling characters, an intriguing premise and great artwork, what stands out to me about Ex Machina is just how well CRAFTED the whole thing is. Brian K. Vaughan, right from the get-go, had a complicated intricate plot in mind for this series and as he told the whole thing through flashbacks from varying time periods, it must have been really difficult for him to coordinate it all in his head to make the over-arching narrative work, and yet he pulled it off with seeming ease.

The book opens with this, as we learn that the entire story is going to be told via flashback…

But very quickly, we learn that he could flash back to ANY time in the lead character (Mitchell Hundred)’s life.

Isn’t that an endearing scene?

Anyhow, the basic gist of the comic is that a civil engineer named Mitchell Hundred gained superpowers (the ability to “talk” to machines) and became a real-life superhero, with the help of his two best friends, Bradbury and “Kremlin” (an old family friend). He ultimately decides to quit becoming a superhero and run for Mayor of New York. His candidacy is a joke until he saves one of the Twin Towers on 9/11. He then becomes so popular that he wins election. The comic then tells the story of his term as Mayor of New York.

After that flashback to his childhood, #1 also shows us how he got his powers…

In the next issue, there’s a great scene showing the naivete he had back when he was a “superhero,” as he tries to have a sit-down with the commissioner, Batman-style…

Finally, a glimpse of Mitchell at work as Mayor…

Ex Machina is a great comic that had a particularly good opening – Vaughan and Harris create a vibrant world filled with characters that we want to know more about and want to see what happens next.

It’s also interesting, with the ending of the series coming soon, to see how everything was set-up way back with this first collection. Nicely turned.


I just recently picked up the 1st volume (mostly because I knew John Paul Leon did a couple issues later and rather than start with those issues I wanted to know how it began), and what surprises me is how much politics and day-to-day governing made it into the book. Like the early days of Spin City or the fantastic West Wing series. It’s a great juggling act by Vaughan. He hooks you in with a superhero and teases you with a “supervillain” but at the end of the day it’s a really just a good story about the mayor of New York.

I like reading Ex Machina more than Y: The Last Man.

Yeah, I said it.

Tom Fitzpatrick

June 8, 2010 at 12:05 pm

I’m with Mario.

Plus 50 issues chock full of Tony Harris uninterrupted art doesn’t hurt at all. Not at all.

The mini-series, and one-shot specials is pretty good, too.

I had forgotten the commissioner made a bow and arrows comment so early on. Interesting to see how the pieces were in place the whole time. You know, as opposed to claiming that the last 7 years were all set up to one story, when it’s painfully obvious there was never a master plan.

Yeah, way better than Y: The Last Man.

I’m reading this series in trade and found myself losing interest progressively with each one. I might need to go back and re-read them though, as I find it’s harder to keep up with the momentum of Vaughan’s series when you’re not reading them monthly in cliffhanger format (i.e. Y).

I’ve been interested in this for awhile, but never bothered to check it out. Dammit, yet another new book to add to the stack!

You must read #50, if you haven’t done so by now.

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