Reviewer: James Hatton
Story Title: State of Emergency: Conclusion
Written by: Brian K. Vaughan
Penciled by: Tony Harris
Inked by: Tom Feister
Colored by: J.D. Mettler
Lettered by: Jared K. Fletcher
Editor: Ben Abernathy
Brian K Vaughan. The man is slowly moving into everything. His greedy writing tendrils are on a Bendis like path of destruction. The Hood. Swamp Thing. Y: The Last Man. Ultimate X-Men. And this title, Ex Machina. Whether you know it or not, he is one of the new voices of the industry. Do you like it? You should, because it rocks hard.
This is the last issue of Ex Machina’s first arc, so going through the entire story at this point in time seems a bit unnecessary. I’ll do my best though since you took the time to read this review. It’s only fair.
Mitchell Hundred is the Mayor of New York – he is also former super-hero vigilante “The Great Machine”. A very long time ago, he was imbued with the power to talk directly to all machines. The rub there is his inability to use those same powers as Mayor. It’s a great dichotomy between his (pardon the expression) power and his (you guessed it) responsibility.
Two subplots all come to a dramatic climax in this story. The Abe Lincoln painting and the Snow Plow Murders. What’s great is that the Abe Lincoln subplot has very little to do with him as a superhero. It almost doesn’t even pertain to Mitch as much as it does his newly promoted intern. That’s what makes this book great – realistically a mayor would spend a brief period of timing fretting about an issue, he’ld come up with a plan, and somebody else will execute it. That’s at least how I assume it works – I write reviews, I know crapola about politics. Either way, that’s what happens, and all is solved neatly and tidily.
The Snowplow murders is another case altogether, with an ending that will assumedly have repercussions felt in later issues. I don’t want to reveal who did it, but let’s just say his meeting with former mentor Kremlin doesn’t go down as you would expect it. Along the way, we get another glimpse into “The Great Machine’s” past.
The cover is a depiction of Mitchell as Shiva, the six-armed Hindu god of destruction and recreation. At least, I am going to assume that is the depiction. If anyone wants to clarify that for me, I’d love to know – just drop me an email. Anyway, aside from trying to dissolve it theologically, just the 3 faces of Mitchell are important. That of super-powered hero (the two arms eminating power) – that of political figure (the hands in ponderous thought) – and provider to his people (that of the hands holding food). It does nothing to tell me what’s inside, but it’s a beautiful cover.
Internally, Harris and Feister have continued to give us a realistic New York. The building facades and the way it looks in the midsts of a dirty winter are both lock-on. Added to this, the flashback sequences are breathtaking in how different and clean they are.
Vaughan is doing three books that should be on everybody’s pull list. Ultimate X-Men, Y: The Last Man, and Ex Machina. They each have their own voice, their own style, and are written fantastically. Vaughan should be considered the future of this industry, and if he isn’t – I’m not sure I want to be a part of what is.