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August 24, 2010 12:56 AM   Subscribe

The comic series Ex Machina [PDF preview] was started in 2004, created by Y: The Last Man writer Brian K. Vaughn and artist Tony Harris. The main character, Mitchell Hundred, is an ex-superhero who hangs up his jetpack and successfully runs for mayor of New York City in an alternate post-9/11 timeline. The last issue (#50), released this week, concluded the series with a harsh yet wonderfully written view of Hundred's political fate. BKV talks about the final issue with IGN [Spoilers].
posted by benzenedream (11 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I stopped reading after that wretched self-insertion issue (#40), but from what I understand #41-49 just ignore #40. I'll probably pick it up in collected form some time down the road.
posted by longdaysjourney at 4:44 AM on August 24, 2010

Loved that book. The last issue hit like a punch in the stomach in a lot of ways (none of which I can discuss here because of spoilers and all).

I always wondered why this comic never got more publicity. Oh well.
posted by HostBryan at 6:34 AM on August 24, 2010

IIRC, #50 shipped last week. (Checks closet.) Yup, it's in my stash.

ExMa was a good book, though it got prosaic during this last year or so.

Journal Moore's death was a tragedy in ways that the Mayor Hundred's mother's recent death just wasn't.

It made me sad to finish this book because I suddenly realized that I haven't bothered with any other of BKV's books since he stopped writing Runaways.
posted by vhsiv at 6:53 AM on August 24, 2010

I just finished this series, and lord, the last issue knocked me about. Even now, the issue is sitting on my desk making me sad. I'd talk more, but massive spoilers would be unleashed.

I didn't mind the authorial insertion because I thought it was consistent with the previous MO of the work: this is a real world where there aren't superheroes, people read comics, and all your favorite celebrities and politicians are themselves. It was really a minor note and gives you the chance to see what Ex Machina would have been like if another artist and writer would have worked on it (which falls inline with the whole "what if?" feel of the series).
posted by Lord Chancellor at 7:41 AM on August 24, 2010

Journal Moore's death was a tragedy in ways that the Mayor Hundred's mother's recent death just wasn't.

Son of a bitch. I should have learned my lesson about reading threads about things I'm just starting to get into from all the Wire posts.
posted by tylermoody at 7:58 AM on August 24, 2010

I always wondered why this comic never got more publicity.

Perhaps because it is a creator-owned title published by DC's WildStorm imprint, a semi-independent subsidiary beneath the Time-Warner banner. (n.b. Creator-Owned titles are getting more play than the DC Universe these days.)

BKV's revenge is that 3 of his comic book projects -- for both DC and Marvel -- are in development as feature films right now: Still, he's a great writer and I often feel as though I'm missing something if I don't walk away from the LCS each month with one of his books.

But yeah -- I think all the television work took him away from the final 10 issues of ExMa.

@tylermoody: Sorry for the accidental spoiler. If you've read up to #47 or #48 you should be covered, but BKV was probably working harder on the Lost finale than he was ExMa.
posted by vhsiv at 8:17 AM on August 24, 2010

I just started reading this series! (Vol. 2 is waiting for me at home.) Can't wait to get to the end.

On preview: And sonuvabitch, there's been a spoiler already. ROT13, MOTHERFUCKERS. DO YOU USE IT? I'm not terribly spoiler averse (I like the journey, not the surprises), but still. It's 2010. Learn to use the internet already.
posted by Eideteker at 8:46 AM on August 24, 2010

I had to stop reading when I could no longer ignore the stark difference between panels where Tony Harris had a good photo reference and panels where he didn't. I've seen some of his other work, and I know he's not a talentless hack, so I figured he must be making an intentional decision towards ugly and awkward. I think I've read through #39. Maybe I'll pick up the last two trades and get over my dislike of the direction the art was going.
posted by hades at 9:32 AM on August 24, 2010

Did anyone else feel that the series wrapped up really abruptly? It seemed to be taking its time right up until the last couple of issues where everything happened all at once.

I think that the eventual fate of You Know Who and That Guy were meant to be tragic, but with zero build-up I found it hard to care. It was so out of character for everyone involved that, intervening years or no, I couldn't take it the least bit seriously. And I gather the final revelation was meant to be a twilight-zone-nightmare twist? Meh.

Shame. I'd been enjoying the series. I honestly expected something to come up in the interview about how he was forced to end it suddenly because of [insert reason here].
posted by Lorc at 11:07 AM on August 24, 2010

Spoilers in vague terms to follow.

I found the tragic end to You Know Who to be incredibly poingent. When he first says, "But I love you" when he's being sent away, and when told to wait, he without reservation says, "I have."; that actually rended me pretty well as you can understand at last where this constant loyalty has come from, how each action that he's taken since 1999 has shown that total, unwavering devotion. I once wondered about You Know Who and why he always seems to go along with his friend, how he follows him from his super-hero career to his political career and at one point even says that he doesn't care if Mitch stole the election. I felt that there was plenty that built into that the entire series, but we watch it as Mitch does, taking it for granted and never questioning the heart-felt love and devotion people give to him. The look on Mitch's face when he realizes that he loves him, and also the fact that Mitch probably does to but cannot risk his ascent to power is heart-breaking, but perfectly in keeping with his character. Mitch goes from being one of the bravest people in New York (who didn't care what he risked or what people thought of him) to being a moral coward that can't risk public perception for someone that undoubtedly loves him and that he loves back.

That, along with the last look at the picture of him and his closest friends, probably is one the most emotional scenes in the series for me.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 11:17 AM on August 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

I loved this comic. Not only were the characters great, but the writing and the artwork really seemed to support each other in a cool way.
posted by sneebler at 9:26 PM on August 25, 2010

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