web stats

CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 190

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 look at another arc of Ex Machina, this time the storyline “Ex Cathedra,” where Hundred is called to the Vatican (written by Brian K. Vaughan and drawn by Tony Harris)…


In this four-part storyline from Ex Machina #30-33, Pope John Paul II (this is set in 2003) requests that Mayor Mitchell Hundred come to Vatican City for a meeting. Meanwhile, a group of bad guys plan to use this meeting as an opportunity to kill the Pope and frame Hundred for the killing (well, frame him in the sense that they plan to hijack his body to have him actually DO the killing).

Vaughan uses the story to do some interesting discussions about religion with the various cast members of the title, like Hundred’s Chief of Staff and a priest he’s friendly with…

Strong work with the dialogue.

The bad guys make an imposing entrance when we learn how they plan on killing the pope, by taking advantage of the mechanics within Hundred’s body (through a device invented by two nerdy guys) – they are suitably scary in their introduction when they let the nerdy guys know that they are not leaving here alive…

However, Vaughan has a cute twist on the whole “bad ass Russian agents” trope when he shows that one of the duo is prepared to be betrayed…

Finally, we meet the priest who specifically asked for Hundred to come…

If all of this doesn’t have your interest piqued in how it turns out, then I guess you just don’t like Ex Machina!

Tony Harris, as usual, does a wonderful job with all of the characters in the story, delivering emotions and expressions like they are real people, practically!

There’s tons more little asides within the story, of course (Vaughan uses flashbacks often to give more detail background information about characters, mostly Hundred, by showing them in situations in the past that relate to their current situation).

This storyline is collected in a trade paperback. Well worth seeking out!


John Trumbull

July 11, 2010 at 8:44 am

Ex Machina is my favorite book being published right now. Can’t believe that no one else has commented on this yet.

I stopped following Ex Machina around this time, but that two page spread that you didn’t show was one of the coolest things I’ve seen.


Madly excited for the last issue!

I have been rereading this in trade as we approach the final issue. What an amazing ride this series has been. Far superior but less celebrated than Y the Last Man.

Has anyone else noticed a drop in art quality as we approach the finish line? I’m not sure if it’s a stylistic choice by Harris to symbolize everything going to hell, or if he is just rushing to complete issues. If it’s the latter, it is truly disappointing. Comparing the art in #49 to Smoke Smoke (my most recent weekend reading) hardly looks like the same artist. Honestly, I would rather get one issue per year of Ex Machina than have the finished product be rushed, because it will live on after issue #50 for a long long time.

Far superior but less celebrated than Y the Last Man.

I completely agree. I really like a lot of Vaughan’s work, but Y was just okay for me.

Cisco, several of the later issues are inked by Harris, maybe you prefer it when somebody else inks it. Inkers make a big impact in how the art looks.

Great series – Brian knows how to get the juices flowing.

Leave a Comment



Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives