Comics – Ex Machina : The First Hundred Days Vol 1

7 06 2007

Ex Machina : The First Hundred Days Vol 1

Originally uploaded by swftoys

I’ve looked for Volume 1 of Ex Machina on numerous occasions in the past and was always unsuccessful in buying it. So when I saw ‘The First Hundred Days’ on the shelves some days ago, I just had to get it. Written by Brian K Vaughan, the same person who gave us ‘The Pride of Baghdad’, Ex Machina was a former multiple Eisner Award winner.

Ex Machina is somewhat of a political work of art. It’s protagonist, Mitchell Hundred (what a name huh?), was a former superhero who has retired from the costume days. His high flying(literally) days over the city of New York has opened his eyes to how he could help more people in New York. It requires a greater role than the Great Machine(the name of his alternate persona). It is the role of a Mayor!

And this is where the political elements come in. Somehow voted by the people of New York into office, we now follow Mayor Hundred through the new problems that besiege our former hero. And these problems often will not be resolved by the fist or super powers. Herein are the new challenges of the new mayor.

The pencils of Tony Harris are really superb. Every frame is drawn beautifully, every character in realistic motion and every face full of expression. It’s really my kind of art for comics where I do not have to interrupt my reading to scrutinise a weirdly drawn frame!

The First Hundred Days also has some powerful images. For one, its world is set in post-911 setting which has one World Trade Centre Tower standing. Where Tower One once stood, a single beam of light now lights the New York sky. No doubt the Great Machine has a hand in Tower Two standing. Such is the background of our new Mayor as he performs his duties towards people whose memory of his heroic costumed exploits change as the rise of the tides.

He was the man of the moment when he saved people’s lives as the Great Machine but the problems of people’s daily lives can make the him a villain when he manages the city as a mayor. He can be the unmasked superhero but an artist will not think for the mayor’s benefit when she puts up a controversial work for all New York to see. Life out of the costume is also not easy even with a huge reputation.

Vol 1 also jumps back and forth chronologically to tell the ‘birth’ of Mitchell’s super powers, how he rounded the first member for his political quest as well as some of his exploits as the Great Machine. The First Hundred days is a compelling read for a comic with a unique premise. I’m certainly buying the next volume to delve more into Ex Machina’s story. Mind you, I do not buy comic sequels automatically. Only those that warrant it!

Till Vol 2!




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