Pick of the Week

June 16, 2004 – Ex Machina #1

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Avg Rating: 4.0
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Story by Brian K. Vaughan
Art by Tony Harris
Inks by Tom Feister
Colors by J.D. Mettler
Letters by Jared K. Fletcher

Published by DC Comics/Wildstorm | $2.95

Brian K. Vaughan is my champion these days. I’ve been feeling a lot of stagnation in comics lately, as publishers try to keep up the quality which appeared in comics in the late 90’s and a few years back. Vaughan on the other hand, is one of those writers who is consistently making good comics, and seems to be blossoming from all his work rather than burning out. Therefore, like Bendis before him, Vaughan gets an automatic buy for any new project he comes out with.

So it was with Ex Machina, a new series about a civil servant who has freak accident, giving him power over and communications with all machines. Now I know we’ve all been here before with origin stories and all that, but one thing that separates this story, other than the style, which I’ll get to, is the characterization of the main character. There’s a realistic palpable change in his attitude and confidence as we see him in various times in the 5 or so years since his accident. The basic story, told through time jumps, both backwards and forwards, has him get his powers as a civil engineer, become a short lived superhero, then use that notoriety to become mayor. The story mixes modern dirty politics with the idea of fame and of course superpowers. It feels very modern and relevant.

And may I also revel in the sweet thing that is the art of Tony Harris. Harris is easily one of my favorite artists out there. I fell in love with his unique lines of Starman, and have been waiting for a great series for him to draw for some time. This style isn’t as dark as his work on Starman and Obergeist, but it’s excellent as always. It mixes stylistic lines with almost photorealistic images. I can’t even think of any other artist who draws anything like Harris.

Finally, I should note that something happens in this story, which you don’t expect to see, and I don’t want to ruin it, but it’s a bold and likely controversial choice which I hadn’t seen approached in any fiction yet. I’d love to hear what people think.

Josh Flanagan
Watch that last page in Vaughan’s stuff
josh@ifanboy.com

Did you read Ex Machina #1? Add a comment and tell everyone what you think about this week’s comics!

Comments

  1. Hmmm… maybe I’ll pick this up next time I’m at the store.

  2. I really think you should. I’d like to know if you think this is a credible story.

  3. I definitely will pick it up, assuming they have copies left.

  4. “I should note that something happens in this story, which you don’t expect to see, and I don’t want to ruin it, but it’s a bold and likely controversial choice which I hadn’t seen approached in any fiction yet.”

    Bold is the right word. Ballsy would fit too.

    I loved it. I bought it based on some message board hype and I think I’ll keep reading. I’ve never read a book by these creators, so I was pleasantly surprised. I’m always broke so I tend to stick to creators I know.

    I don’t know where else to mention this, but I bought an issue of Gotham Central because of you guys, and it was fantastic. I’ll keep reading. thanks.

  5. GOTHAM CENTRAL is very excellent. If you can scrape together the cash, I’d pick up the first trade if I were you.

  6. Okay, I swung by my local store today while I was out and about and I picked up EX MACHINA.

    Wow.

    The ending was definitely something that I didn’t see coming (until the very end when I started to suspect it), and something that hasn’t been delt with in the world of comics, though it was something that was speculated about (in relation to the world of superheroes) a few years ago.

    I’m not going to spoil it because I’m glad it wasn’t spoiled for me… but wow.

    Good stuff. POW strikes again.

  7. Boom!

  8. picked it up last night.
    not bad, i think it will be interesting to see what happens next. i really got into it, and liked the moving through time explaining who’s who.

    see and i never would have picked this up if it wasn’t POW.

    thanks

  9. Boom Boom!

    Lightning strikes thrice.

  10. I’m really pleased that I got some people in on this book. It’s much easier to bring people in at the beginning than later on. But if you like this, and you’re not reading Y: The Last Man, you’ve got some good comics waiting for you.

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