Ex Machina #45


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Ex Machina #45


  • Words: Brian K. Vaughan
  • Art: Tony Harris
  • Colors: Jo Mettler
  • Story Title: Pro-Life: Part One
  • Publisher: DC Comics/WildStorm
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Sep 9, 2009

Saving perhaps the most controversial issue in a America for the final storyline, Vaughan plunges into the abortion debate. As Dave Wylie prepares to run for the job of mayor, he and Mitchell Hundred debate the merits of offering the morning after pill on the government dime. Hundred’s views on abortion are colored by an incident involving a pregnant woman on a cable car while he was still a superhero, told in a flashback sequence. Meanwhile, a global threat is introduced (someone familiar to readers) which figures to lead into a grand finale for the series.

My early encounters with Ex Machina were not favorable. After enjoying Vaughan’s run on Y: The Last Man, I had high hopes for the series. Unfortunately, while the premise was excellent, I found the political subtext to be a little too facile and populist, without the ring of truth of modern politics. This issue forces me to take another look at the series. No matter how it turns out, there is no doubt Vaughan has pulled out all the stops for the periodical’s final storyline. Leaving office is never an easy thing for a politician, bringing mixed emotions and concern for a legacy. The relationship with Wylie will no doubt change as the transition puts him and Hundred into a naturally stressful conflict of roles.

Tony Harris’ art on this book continues to dazzle. While some have criticized the photo-referenced characters as coming off posed and stiff, I find the effect very suited to the type of book this is. Comic book art comes in various stripes, and while this type of realism might not be advisable for an X-Men title or Superman, it really works here. Many comic artists rely on standard facial features, making their chracters almost indistinguishable from each other, especially the females. Harris’ art is on another level not only in the details of the facial features, but in the variation of angles on the faces. He has far greater variety than the normal straight on, side view and three quarter poses one tends to find in unreferenced artwork.

This issue was a pleasant surprise for me, and the start of an excellent final arc. With the abortion debate on the table and a world threatening foe, Mitchell Hundred’s final days in office promise to be far more exciting than the average lame duck politician's.

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