Overview

Ex Machina #7

Review

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Ex Machina #7

Credits

  • Words: Brian K. Vaughan
  • Art: Tony Harris
  • Inks: Tom Feister & Tony Harris
  • Colors: JD Mettler
  • Story Title: Tag - Part 2
  • Price: $2.95
  • Release Date: Dec 15, 2004

As Mayor Hundred and his advisors debate the issue of gay marriage, a more personal crisis begins to brew...

Taking a stance on a hotly debated topic, Mayor Mitchell Hundred desires to perform a gay marriage ceremony for the brother of one of his staff members. Mitch considers the concept a complete non-issue and wants to stand up for what’s right. His staff is convinced, however, that this is not as simple as it seems and is bound to have repercussions for Mitch’s political career. Elsewhere, mysterious graffiti symbols begin appearing throughout the city, symbols remarkably similar to the ones that granted Mitch his unique abilities….

Ex Machina has proven to be a very impressive series, striking an assured balance between politics and science fiction. It’s refreshing that Brian K. Vaughan is willing to address issues that are pertinent to our own political climate in the process of telling his tale. While some series that utilize politics can come across as heavy-handed, Vaughan has generally been able to avoid this by presenting the issues from different perspectives and keeping all the characters very human and likeable. The pros and cons raised by the dialogue make for a truly fascinating read. The only downside to this kind of topical writing is that to be so relevant to current events, it takes the reader out of the story. I don’t think Ex Machina has quite reached that point, though the danger is there. Rather than only focus on the issue at hand, the series wisely uses the issue to reveal more facets of Mitch’s personality, allowing us to get to know him better. This is not solely a character piece or political drama, though; as the continuing mystery of the (alien?) symbols adds an air of menace that makes me anxious to read the next installment.

While Vaughan has me engrossed in his writing, Tony Harris does an equally spectacular job on the visual elements of the comic. His characters and settings look true to life and credible. He meticulously renders the faces, posture and even hand gestures of each character, adding immeasurably to the storytelling process. I’m particularly drawn to the eyes, which make Harris’ characters seem like living entities. At first I was caught off guard by the soft glow of J.D. Mettler’s colors, but I’ve since adjusted to it and found it to be a distinctive and beautiful approach. Like other aspects of the book, it’s quite different from the techniques on display in other series.

Ex Machina is a continually innovative comic with a thought-provoking and entertaining story. Mayor Hundred gets my vote for one of the best new series of the year.

-Eric Lindberg

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