“Ex Machina, vol. 1” by Brian K. Vaughan and Tony Harris

Ex Machina vol 1Title: Ex Machina, vol. 1: The First Hundred Days
Authors: Brian K. Vaughan, Tony Harris, Tom Feister, JD Mettler, Jared K. Fletcher, and Larry Berry
ISBN: 9781401206123
Pages: 136
Release date: February 2005
Publisher: Wildstorm
Genre: Comics
Format: Paperback (trade)
Source: Library
Rating: 4 out of 5

Mitchell Hundred is a superhero turned politician struggling to shed his vigilante past and step into his position as mayor of New York. Yet politics may prove far more fraught than heroism ever was.

Hundred, a civil engineer who picked up his powers in a strange encounter under the Brooklyn Bridge, is soon faced with a rash of murders during a blizzard. Is it the resurgence of his arch nemesis, or a new threat?

In an alternate history with a timeline that jumps from Hundred’s childhood to the acquisition and deployment of his powers to present day (2002), the first volume explores vigilantism, responsibility, politics, freedom of speech in art, and more. It’s a compelling start to a promising series that somehow blends superheroes and political science.

Brian K. Vaughan is something of a legend in comics, and this team–with Tony Harris on pencils and Tom Feister on inks, among others–does not disappoint. The storyline is complex and exciting, only offering as many clues to Hundred’s past–and future–as the reader needs to keep going.

All of the characters are multi-layered, and the most complex of all is Hundred, the main character. Will he prove heroic, or will he fail? Other supporting characters also have histories that I want to learn more about. There’s Kremlin, Hundred’s father-figure; Amy Angotti, the hard-as-nails police commissioner who misses nothing; Journal Moore, a naive intern who comes through in a key moment; even Bradbury, who seems like just the muscle, hints at more to his story.

I’m definitely checking out the next volume!

Don’t just take my word for it! Buy Ex Machina for yourself from an independent bookstore. Each sale from this link helps support Melody & Words.

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