Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Every day this month, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today’s page is from Ex Machina #26, which was published by DC/Wildstorm and is cover dated March 2007. Enjoy!
Ex Machina #26 is written by Brian K. Vaughan, pencilled by Tony Harris, inked by Jim Clark, colored by JD Mettler, and lettered by Jared K. Fletcher. This first page is somewhat SOP for the book – the issues begin at some crucial point in the past and then catch up to the main characters in the “present” – whenever that happens to be. We don’t get a lot of information about the characters from this page, but given that Vaughan tells us that it’s 11 September 2001, we can figure out what’s going on. Of course, the smoking building in the background of the bottom panel tells us that too. Vaughan is establishing that the military doesn’t like the superhero (we don’t know his name yet), who claims he can help more people. It’s a simple enough premise.
Harris’s art, which is heavily photo-referenced, is very odd. In the first panel, the pilot is making a bizarrely overdramatic hand gesture – make it yourself and see how unnatural it feels. I assume he’s gesticulating for effect, as he’s actually talking to Mitchell (the superhero’s name is Mitchell), but it’s still a bit dramatic. You’ll notice also that he seems to be looking on the wrong side of the plane. He’s looking up and to his left, but in the second panel, Mitchell flies beneath him and to his right. The jet stream from Mitch’s back pack doesn’t seem to indicate that he came from the other side of the plane. Perhaps this is because of Harris’s predilection for using posed models – he found someone making that gesture and looking that way, but in the second panel, he wanted Mitch flying left to right and wanted him in the front of the panel. The placement is very odd nevertheless.
Vaughan uses 9/11 in this comic fairly skillfully – Mitch saved the second tower from coming down and used that cachet to get elected mayor, which is the main focus of the series. Vaughan does a nice job here showing the tension between the official responders and Mitch, as well as showing how heroic Mitch actually is. There’s not a lot of information on this page, but it’s a good way to kick off an issue and draw people in.
Next: Our run of DC books ends, I swear! Such are the vagaries of randomness – you might get a bunch of DC books in a row. But not tomorrow!
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