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Ex Machina, Vol. 1: The First Hundred Days Paperback – February 1, 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
For anyone that thinks comics are about men in tights and cartoonish "BIFF! POW!" visuals, Ex Machina will set them straight. As a native-New Yorker, I'm jealous that there's no Mitchell Hundred for me to vote for mayor. As a comic book fan, I'm glad to see a book like Ex Machina being published regularly, and to much-deserved critical acclaim.
The result was quite shocking.
I loved it. If you'd told me I would enjoy a book whose main character was the mayor of New York City, I'd have told you that you were nutso. It's simply the writing and the artistry. I honestly think Vaughan and his artist, Tony Harris, could put out a comic book about an agoraphobic farmer and it would still win awards.
Mitchell Hundred is a civil servant of NYC who happens across a strange device at the base of a bridge's, er, base. It explodes literally in his face, thus granting him the singular ability to converse with machinery of almost any magnitude, the utterly simplistic to the drastically complex. For instance, he can command a gun to jam, preventing its detonation. Eventually, he dreams of a rocket pack allowing him to fly. His older friend and role model, Kremlin, helps him build it. He becomes a hero, calling himself The Great Machine. However, after only a year, he gives up the hero business, deciding that he's causing more harm than good. Instead, he runs for mayor. And he wins.
The arc of The First Hundred Days deals with a portrait of Lincoln with the n-word written across it debuted in a museum funded by the tax payers, someone killing off snow plow drivers, as well as many flashbacks to Hundred's days as The Great Machine.Read more ›
Vaughan's writing is excellent--realistic, entertaining, character driven, thoughtful--and the art is also top notch. It is easy to see why this title won multiple Eisner awards. Its realism also brings some adult content with it that potential reader should be aware of. There are a few instances of blood and sexual content, but my main concern was language. There is a large amount of profanity (which may be an accurate depiction of how many people speak), but I found it excessive to the point of distracting from the story at times. Maybe if all the characters didn't speak that way it would make more sense to me. Also note that this volume only contains part of the story, so some plot threads are left to be resolved in later collections. This just left me wanting more, but if you're looking for a short read, you may want to look elsewhere. This book collects issues 1-5 of Ex Machina, and the total story is 50 issues long. I don't know if I'll read the entire series, but I will definitely read at least one more book.
Despite any flaws, the art and story are very compelling, providing a unique and current look at super heroes and current events. If you like comics and graphic novels, are comfortable with the mature content, and want to read one of the more interesting and relevant modern series, this one's a must!
Tony Harris's artwork is, without doubt, technically impressive, but unfortunately it's also completely unsubtle. Throwaway witticisms in Vaughan's script are given slapstick treatment by Harris. Off the cuff remarks are turned into exaggerated moments of human reaction. Every bit of the dialogue is delivered by the characters in the most extreme example of human emotion. Saying something slightly amusing? Put a big smile on their face. A bit more serious? Make them look like their at a funeral. It's as if Harris doesn't understand anything about tonality or nuance.
You can even see this for yourself with Amazon's "LookInside" feature on this very page; there isn't a single subtle facial expression and, believe me, as the characters start to interact, it only gets worse. Much worse. So bad, in fact, that I think it's the reason I felt so uninvolved in the characters and story, and ultimately gave up part way through volume two.
It's odd because Harris is clearly a very talented artist and, if you removed the speech bubbles, you could rightly marvel at his skill, but sadly a comic book artist needs more than just technical skills, he also needs storytelling skills.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I liked it enough, just not sure if it grabbed me enough to take on the whole series.Published 1 month ago by tim oneill
Right now, in the background of my room, Gill Scott-Heron, Brian Jackson and Midnight Band are playing their seminal song from “The First Minute of a New Day”. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Matko Vladanovic
Having read and loved Brian K. Vaughn’s Y the Last Man series years ago, I was excited to finally get around to Ex Machina. Read morePublished 11 months ago by theten
Mitchell Hundred is a superhero turned politician struggling to shed his vigilante past and step into his position as mayor of New York. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Melody & Words
I read this after 9/11, and event that I was in middle school for. So it didn't hit as hard as I am sure it was meant to. But Brian K. Vaughan rarely disappoints.Published 17 months ago by Kav
I bought this as a gift for my future husband because we both enjoy Brian K Vaughan's other work. He didn't care for it. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Library Lady Katie
If you're reading this it's because like me, you've already read the entire Y: The Last Man series, by the fantastical Brian K. Vaughan, and are in desperate need of more! Read morePublished on February 2, 2014 by rutherford james merriwether
This book is terrific. The idea of what a superhero would do to effect real change in his community provides limitless depth to explore Vaughan is once again able to tease the very... Read morePublished on October 5, 2013 by Robert Ehrhardt