Fantasy Mystery Romance Comics Non-Fiction

Ex Machina Vol 2: Tag

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Ex Machina Vol 2: Tag (2005) Brian K. Vaughan

Tag continues the story of Mitchell Hundred, also known as The Great Machine, and current mayor of NYC.

Like the first volume, the story jumps back and forth in time. This time the past focuses upon his campaign for mayor of NYC, and how he became involved with the NSA. We still know little about the time between when he had his power thrust upon him and when he began to use those powers.

The current time line looks at some of the issues that Mitchell Hundred is dealing with, including public education and vouchers, and same sex marriage.

I like the way that the series tackles politics–even when I don’t agree with the views–and it’s good to see Mitchell Hundred being a true independent and having views on both sides of the political fence. Whether this series will actually cause people to consider their own views? Hard to say. But I like it.

I do find frustrating the fact that we still know very little about Mitchell Hundred’s history, and how he dealt with the power to control machines he received in the explosion under the bridge. Has his biology fundamentally changed? Has his brain changed? The government did lots of tests–what did they find? Is he even human any more? How long do I have to wait before I get more of his back-story?

As far as the non-political aspects of the current time line, I have to admit that I found them somewhat frustrating. Is there something that would make more sense if we knew more about Mitchell Hundred’s past and the changes he went through? It’s not that I’m opposed to time lines that jump back and forth, I just find them more frustrating to read.

I also missed Kremlin in this story. He was one of my favorite characters in the last collection, and he’s not around in this collection. Bah!

And the gruesome levels were up for this story, so be prepared all ye who are faint of heart and squeamish of stomach. (That would pretty much be me.) It wasn’t too bad, but there was a bit more detail than I needed in one or two places.

All in all, I was more drawn into this story than the first collection. I’m a little more used to the skipping back and forth in time, and the current time line story was full of questions about his powers and whatever caused them.

I don’t think I could recommend starting this series at book two. I’m sure it could be done, but there is a good deal of back-story covered in the first book, and as I said before, the constant shifting back and forth in time took some time to get used to it.
Rating: 7/10

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