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5.0 out of 5 stars I can't find fault with it, 27 April 2013
There is a reason Olympians are given medals. There is a reason people go to the ballet. There is a reason to buy comics. Talent. Brian K. Vaughan of Y: The Last Man fame crafts an incredible work in what may be the most sublime execution of the storyteller's craft ever.

The world's first and only superhero gives it all up to go into politics, becoming mayor of New York, and inherits a whole new set of problems. The story skips forwards and backwards in time showing you both his career as a superhero and that of a newly elected mayor. This gets you straight into the action and gives you two lots of exhilaration at the same time.

There is politics, racism, current affairs, ethics, as well as mystery and excitement. Both the story and its method of delivery are top notch. There is a diverse range of believable characters as well as a large dollop of social commentary. This is American and the international reader may have to Google a couple of the contemporary and historical figures being bandied about. It is a clever and intelligent work that makes you jog to keep up but won't leave you to fall behind.

The art is solid stuff but the colouring is bizarre. It has been digitally graded and each scene has a particular colour tint to it. Sometimes the whole page is done and sometimes just the background making the characters pop out and giving depth to the whole thing. In isolation this looks peculiar but as a whole this tonal wash is very effective with some wonderful blue-green night scenes.

There are seven pages of behind the scenes art showing that each panel is posed by actors, photographed, pencil traced, inked and then coloured. This is quite an unusual process and a real learning experience to view.

Because I can't find fault with it, and can clearly see why it won a whole bunch of awards, this gets the coveted Double Thumbs Up!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A superhero political thriller? Why, yes - If the retired superhero becomes mayor of NYC!, 28 Aug 2010
Hadourien68 (Langen (Hessen), Deutschland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Ex Machina Deluxe Edition HC Vol 01 (Hardcover)
This book collects the first 11 issues of Y The Last Man/Lost writer and executive producer Brian K. Vaughan's second ajor comics work: Political thriller Ex Machina.
Mitchell Hundred is a 13th generation New Yorker, working as a civil engineer for his town until a freak accident involving a seemingly alien artifact gives him the power to telepathically talk to machines of al kinds. Inspired by comics and by his very passionate father figure, Coney Island technician "Kremlin", he becomes the first costumed hero ever, The Great Machine. Until he realises he could do ore good as a public servant than as a vigilante, s he goes public and runs for Mayor as an indipendent, eventually winning by a landslide because on September 11th he stopped the second plane from destroying the second of the Twin Towers.
Life as an indipendent Mayor, as well as a retired superhero with a dark, horrible secret, is not easy. Glamourous and dangerous and successful as Hundred may seem, the book actually starts with him telling us this is the story of his rise and fall during his 4 year term...
And you know it won't end up well, you see him being as much a naive idealist as an arrogant prick, but still: There you are, roting for him! Mayor Hundred is a most human figure, despite all this science fiction, fanta-political setting. Human and life-like are also all of his supporting cast, frm the young and soon promoted intern, to his police Commissioner, to his Deputy and to his Chief Of Security... All in different ways strongheaded and indipendent just as much as their boss, and so dedictaed to him that you feel for them much more than for him, as they ultimately are more the victims of Hundred's not-guilt-free past and present than the mayor himself.
The thrilling stories contained here (the volume an be easily read on its own, in case you end up not liking it enough to go on) are multilayered epics, which deal with politica issues as well as science fiction ones and bring you deep into the stories and characters. Honestly, unless you hate it from the start I bet you'll want to know more.
Vaughan is aconsumed writer and I can see him using some of the tricks that made his previous opus, Y The Last Man, such an engaging read. Still, they are adapted here to the different subject matter and tone of the book. Though bot works are political, although on different levels, YTLS is more high-adventure, while Ex Machina is more explicitly a political thriller. The secrets, the intrigue, the obvious fact that the main charater is a Mayor... Combined with Vaughan being a television writer as well, make Ex machina work like a TV show, slightly reminding of 24 in the change constant change of setting (which obliges the reader to pay extra attention, while rewarding him with deeper and more entertatining storytelling) which is also change of time here, as the story bounces back and forth between Hundred's politicam present and his pre-Mayor superhero and retired superhero days.
Every issue ends in an emotional and/or suspence charged splash page, though you will find more inside for narrative impact and teaser/misdirection - as the real blow always is at the end nonetheless. A notable exception is issue 10, the endof the second major arc in this collection, as this is sort of a wrap-up and a bit of a subdued, private moment for our main character...
Speaking of whom, it must indeed be said that it's kind of hard to make up your mind about a man who behaves as a master tactician, a clever and sometimes ruthless politician, while also being such an idealist and a non-conformist. He and this series may not be the most original things ever, but their story is masterfully, engagingly told...
... and drawn as well! Tony Harris is well deservedly a multi-award winner artist, and he is also a very integral part of the book's success. If the characters come so strongly to life, it's also in huge part due to his skills at visual characterisation and depicting facial expressions, for one. His page layouts and pure drwaing technique is enhanced by the lavish and always poignant palette of colour-god JD Mettler too.
In closing, a few comments on the collection itself.
It is a beautifully bound book, ad abeautifully designed one too.
The artwork for the non-comics pages is well chosen, chapter art pages are very poignant chapter headngs, and splitting the book into chapters corresponding to the story arcs (be they single issue ones or mulitple issues ones) is a very good idea for such an hardcover edition.
Novelist Brad Meltzer's introduction is also vry well written, and including the series' original proposal at the end of the book is the icing on the cake! Only minus point: The covers to the original issues are only reprinted when at the beginning of a chapter, when at least a gallery featuring them in smaler size would have also been nice... but maybe only for completists, so that is not really a big problem.
The bottom line is quite simple: if you lke wll written, well thought, emotion charged political thriller, yu can't really afford to miss this one sitting atop the genre with the very best!
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superhero politics, 11 Aug 2006
Paul Tapner (poole dorset england) - See all my reviews
Here's a novel scenario: the world's first superhero gives it up to become a politican.

Engineer mitchell hundred comes into contact with an alien device, and it gives him the ability to talk to machines and to make them do what he tells them. He becomes a superhero. After a while he decides he can do more good in politics, so he runs for election as mayor of new york.

Something happens to boost his popularity [a stunning development. I won't spoil it]. And he wins the election.

The story - and this is just the first volume in an ongoing series - flashes back and forth between his experiences as mayor, as he tries to run the city from the viewpoint of an engineer rather than a career politician, and his days as a superhero.

Mitchell is an appealing and likeable character who tries his best to do the right thing, and he is surrounded by a well drawn supporting cast.

This is a very original and different comic, and it has some excellent artwork. Highly recommended
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Ex Machina Deluxe Edition HC Vol 01
Ex Machina Deluxe Edition HC Vol 01 by Brian K. Vaughan (Hardcover - 25 Jun 2008)
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