Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Tradio #3 - Ex Machina: The First Hundred Days

This week's edition of Tradio offers up the first trade in Brian K. Vaughan and Tony Harris' epic Vertigo series, Ex Machina.  This will also be my first blog give away, but more on that at the end.

Ex Machina: The First Hundred Days collects the first five issues of Vaughan and Harris' 50+ issue Vertigo series which chronicles the life and times of Mitchell Hundred, a former super hero turned mayor of New York City.  The five issues included focus on his earliest days in office as he struggles with attempted blackmail, a blizzard, a racist art exhibit, and two connected murders.  All these plots are woven around Mitchell and his close advisers and many of the details needed to show what he was as a super hero and what he could do are shown through flashbacks.  Not to give away any of the twists and turns, but we see how the existence of Hundred has changed the history of NYC and how someone with a checkered past such as his, could be elected major over better funded and arguably better trained candidates.  By issue five, we see how the twists have led you and Hundred to the same conclusion, which may not be the right one, and we get to see the pressures that his new job have on him.

Ex Machina is very well written.  Vaughan has a wonderful ability with dialogue that seems very natural and makes you really connect with the characters.  Additionally, he exhibits very good use of restraint as well, not explaining all, but letting you come to conclusions along with the characters as they do in the story.  The art by Harris is amazing; expressive and realistic, it really gives you a sense that you are watching a television drama as much as you are reading a comic book.  All that should work so well together and it does...just not for me.  At the end of the five issues, I honestly didn't care.  I mean, I did care about the characters, but not in the overall mysteries surrounding Hundred's powers.  To me, it felt too much like I was watching a television drama about a mayor who can talk to machines.  The flashbacks were also a problem for me.  They happen a lot.  They chop up the story so much and though they explain a lot, I felt more often than not that Hundred was reacting in the now and not acting to stop or even really handle anything.  As a first trade, it just didn't hook me into wanting to read more and that is what a good first trade needs to do. 

Now...the first Tradio giveaway.  Between now and the next Tradio next Wednesday, anyone who emails me at will be entered into a random drawing for both the first trade in the Ex Machina series that I just reviewed and the second trade entitled Tag. 

Just include your name and address and I will draw one person at random and send those two trades out to you.  I will post the winner in next week's review.  Easy enough...right?  But you might ask why anyone would want two trades of a series that I didn't like and I would understand your concern, but in the end, it is a good series by two talented creators, just not the right series for me.  So why not take a chance on something free and see if it is something you would enjoy more than me. Hope to hear from you soon.  Till next time, imaginary readers...

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