Home > Wildstorm > Ex Machina #2

Ex Machina #2

July 18, 2004

Quick Rating: Average
Title: State of Emergency Chapter One

Mayor Mitchell Hundred faces a new foe… a painting.

Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Pencils: Tony Harris
Inks: Tom Feister
Colors: J.D Mettler
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Editor: Ben Abernathy
Cover Art: Tony Harris
Publisher: DC Comics/Wildstorm Signature Series

Last issue we got introduced to the Great Machine, a superhero with the power to control complex machinery. After stumbling around for a few years, he hangs up his mask, goes public and wins the mayorship of New York City. The first issue, to me, seemed to be part shock value and part political posturing, which is sure to make it a darling of a lot of critics, but doesn’t particularly endear it to me.

This issue Mitchell Hundred, now mayor of New York, faces the first crisis of his stewardship. It’s not any high-flying threat, though… it’s a much more benign crisis – an artist has created a scandalous piece of work and the wrath of the public is liable to come down on him.

I absolutely love Brian Vaughan’s work on Y: The Last Man, but I don’t like feeling like a comic is preaching to me. The first issue of this series tread that line very carefully. This isn’t isn’t as bad on that front, but it winds up committing a far more egregious crime: it’s kinda boring. Sure, the issue of using taxpayer money to fund offensive pieces of art is an important one worthy of debate, but it doesn’t make for a very good comic book. It isn’t easy to work a civics lesson into a comic book, but it could certainly have been done better than it was here.

Harris and Feister do a very good job with the art chores. They have a very nice (if all too brief) action sequence at the beginning, and manage to make each character distinct and unique. They also deserve a lot of credit for a fantastic, eye-popping cover that will get the attention of anybody passing by the comic book rack.

A great cover can only take you so far, though, and the story within just isn’t gripping enough to hold my attention. Vaughan has done a lot of really great storytelling. Just not, so far, in this series.

Rating: 5/10

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