Ex Machina (comics)

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Ex Machina

Cover art for Ex Machina Vol. 1: The First Hundred Days
Art by Tony Harris
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics/Wildstorm
Schedule Monthly
Format Ongoing series
Genre Superhero
Publication date August 2004 to present
Main character(s) Mitchell Hundred
Rick Bradbury
Ivan "Kremlin" Tereshkov
Dave Wylie
Creative team
Writer(s) Brian K. Vaughan (#1—)
Penciller(s) Tony Harris (#1—)
Chris Sprouse (Ex Machina Special #1-2) John Paul Leon (Ex Machina Special #3 Masquerade)
Inker(s) Tom Feister (#1-26)
Jim Clark (#27—)
Karl Story (Ex Machina Special #1-2)
Colorist(s) JD Mettler (#1—)
Creator(s) Brian K. Vaughan; Tony Harris
Collected editions
The First Hundred Days ISBN 1401206123
Tag ISBN 1401206263
Fact V, Fiction ISBN 1401209882
March to War ISBN 1401209971
Smoke Smoke ISBN 1401213227
Power Down ISBN 1401214983
Ex Cathedra ISBN 1401218598

Ex Machina is an American creator-owned comic book series created by Brian K. Vaughan and Tony Harris, and published by DC Comics under the Wildstorm imprint.

The series details the life of Mitchell Hundred (also known as the Great Machine), the world's first and only superhero, who, in the wake of his actions on 9/11, is elected Mayor of New York City. The story is set during Hundred's term in office, and interwoven with flashbacks to his past as the Great Machine. Through this, the series explores both the political situations Hundred finds himself in, and the mysteries surrounding his superpowers.


[edit] Publication history

Ex Machina launched in 2004 as part of DC Comics' Wildstorm imprint. Vaughan has stated that the series will run for fifty issues.[1][2]

The title of the comic comes from the Latin phrase 'deus ex machina', and is also a reference to Hundred's superhero persona, the Great Machine, in that he is now an 'ex-Machine'. In the first issue, Mitchell explains that he chose the name "Great Machine" based on a quote about society by Thomas Jefferson. Accordingly, one of the series' recurring themes is the tendency of citizens to become overly reliant on their government and constantly expect it to save them.

Vaughan has said that the comic was "born out of my anger with what passes for our current political leadership (on both sides of the aisle)".[3]

Vaughan has admitted seeing the series as a means to explore real-world contemporary politics as well, but states that discussing themes overtly is not something he prefers. [4]

[edit] Characters

[edit] Mitchell Hundred

Before becoming a superhero and mayor, Hundred was a civil engineer. His colleagues say that he knows more about the Brooklyn Bridge than anyone else alive. He was raised by a highly political single mother; this, and his being a keen reader of DC Comics, inspired his life choices. There is an "is he or isn't he" aspect to his sexuality; on several occasions, characters ask him directly if he is gay, and Hundred does not directly reply in the affirmative or the negative.

As the result of an explosion from a suspected alien device at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, Hundred is left permanently scarred (he has markings on the left side of his face and body remniscent of a circuit board or electrodes); and develops the ability to communicate with and command mechanical devices. This includes anything from guns, to cellphones, to cars (but not, as Hundred discovered, a device as simple as a bow-and-arrow). At times they will not necessarily obey him, and even have the ability to lie to him. The reason for these abilities is unrevealed.

As the Great Machine, Mitchell Hundred utilizes many devices he designed after his accident. He wears a rocket backpack that allows him to fly, and uses ray guns and taser gloves as weapons. He has entrusted Kremlin and Rick Bradbury with possession of machines which disrupt his powers. He built them based on a dream (along with some of his crime-fighting weapons), and expects them to be used as a contingency measure in case he ever goes mad with power.

In the end of the "Smoke Smoke" arc, Hundred is seen smoking pot in order to drown out the constant stream of noise from the machines.

Hundred is visually based on a real-life friend of Tony Harris. In fact most of the panels in the comic are storyboarded using posed photographs of various stand-ins for the characters).[5]

[edit] Supporting characters

  • Rick Bradbury: Mitchell's best friend, retired Marine (he claims to have fought in "one and a half wars"); and head of security. As a lieutenant on the Harbor Patrol he witnesses the incident that gives Mitchell his amazing abilities and goes on to assist his career as a crime fighter and politician.
  • Ivan "Kremlin" Tereshkov: A mechanic on Coney Island and family friend. He acts as a mentor for Mitchell, inspiring him to don The Great Machine uniform. The Russian immigrant is not pleased Mitchell gave up his superhero career to pursue a profession he does not think highly of. Though disillusioned by the Soviet Union, he still believes in the dream of communism. Kremlin believes that it was Mitchell's cosmic purpose to become the Great Machine, and he is covertly working to ensure that Hundred is not re-elected.
  • Commissioner Angotti: As police commissioner of New York City, Amy Angotti often finds herself dealing with bizarre cases linked to Mitchell Hundred and his powers.
  • Dave Wylie: Mitchell Hundred's deputy mayor and good friend is a lowly councilman who got talked into running with that "nut." Thinking he was only going to help the Republican party spoil the democratic candidate he was treated to a surprise landslide victory and now finds himself the recipient of complaints by many critics of the administration.
  • Journal Moore: A former City Hall intern, she was promoted to "Special Advisor on Youth Affairs" by Hundred and is now seen frequently assisting him in many of his duties. She is hospitalized after a ricin gas attack during an anti-war demonstration and succumbs to her injuries.
  • Candice Braving: Mayor Hundred's fourth Chief of Staff after the former three resigned after only two weeks of Hundred in office.
  • Jack Pherson: Mitchell Hundred's nemesis as the Great Machine, first appears in the Ex Machina Special. Pherson is a sound technician who tries to figure out the secret of the Great Machine's power so that he can make money from it. He captures a sound bite of Hundred in action, and studies it carefully to determine the source of the power of the Great Machine's "voice." After Pherson hears his pet African Grey parrot repeat the recorded phrase (duplicating frequency and timbre in a manner Pherson's audio gear cannot) he suddenly (and violently) gains the ability to hear and talk to animals. He learns a means for disrupting Hundred's powers and utilizes it in pursuit of his cause of extremist animal rights. He goes on to draw out Hundred; however, Hundred turns his powers against him, resulting in his death by mauling by a pack of dogs, followed by an explosion which brings part of a building down on him. Despite this, Kremlin asserts that Pherson is still alive. Pherson's parrot, which has been seen in the present time of the book, also appears to have both an increased intellect and some of the same powers.
  • Trip: An employee of the governor of New York. At his employer's behest, he tries to blackmail Hundred into subordinating himself to the governor; knowing that the blackmail was false, Hundred confiscates it and threatens to stop Trip's pacemaker if he ever tries something similar again.
  • Jackson Georges: An NSA cryptologist who works with Hundred to try and better understand his powers. Prolonged exposure to the fragment that gave Hundred his power, as well as the shock of the September 11 attacks, makes Georges lose his mind.
  • Connie Georges: Jackson's wife. Driven insane by exposure to the fragment, she stabs herself with it and gains Hundred-esque powers. She goes on a killing/mutilating spree in the subway before Hundred kills her in Gracie Mansion.
  • Leto: Owns the comic book store that Hundred frequented as a kid. After seeing Hundred's success, he decides that he could be a superhero too. He dons insectoid full body armor and a government surplus jetpack and begins prowling the streets as "Automaton", leading people to speculate that he is a robot built by Hundred. He is shot by Kremlin after violently reacting to Bradbury and Kremlin's discovery of his secret; over a year later, he is seen to have become homeless.
  • January Moore: Journal Moore's sister. After her sister's death, she becomes an intern for Hundred's office at the invitation of Wylie. Along with Kremlin, January is actively working to subvert Hundred's administration and ensure that his re-election will fail.

[edit] Timeline

[edit] pre-2000s

  • 1968 - Mitchell Hundred is born to Thomas and Martha Hundred.
  • December 15, 1969 - Martha Hundred kills Thomas Hundred in self-defense.
  • October 18, 1999 - Mitchell Hundred, now a civil engineer, is caught in an explosion from an unknown device at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge. He discovers that he is able to control and communicate with machinery in the hospital.
  • October 31, 1999 - Mitchell Hundred is robbed in a convenience store right after being released from the hospital. He begins to experiment with the use of his powers.

[edit] 2000

  • February 4, 2000 - Ivan "Kremlin" Tereshkov talks Mitchell Hundred into becoming the world's first superhero.
  • April 10, 2000 - Mitchell Hundred starts his superhero life, calling himself "The Great Machine."
  • April 17, 2000 - The Great Machine has his first fight.
  • December 24, 2000 - The Great Machines tries to deliver toys to an orphanage on Christmas Eve but crashes, destroying his jetpack.

[edit] 2001

  • March 4, 2001 - Jack Pherson gains the ability to control and communicate with animals.
  • March 10, 2001 - Jack Pherson meets "The Great Machine" and learns he is Mitchell Hundred.
  • May 8, 2001 - Jack Pherson unleashes a multi-pronged attack against The Great Machine. Pherson and Hundred meet for the last time as Pherson is apparently killed when an exploding building collapses on him.
  • May 19, 2001 - Monica first sees The Great Machine as he chases after a criminal in a jetpack.
  • June 2, 2001 -Monica chases after The Great Machine as he is being chased by the NYPD
  • June 30, 2001- Mitchell Hundred talks to Dave Wylie about retiring The Great Machine and running for mayor.
  • July 24, 2001- Mitchell Hundred unmasks in Central Park and announces his candidacy for mayor.
  • July 24, 2001- Mitchell Hundred meets Jackson Georges, an NSA cryptologist, for the first time.
  • August 11, 2001- Mitchell Hundred tells Jackson Georges that he gave up his helmet and jetpack to the NSA.
  • September 11, 2001- The Great Machine stops United Flight 175 before it crashes into the south tower of the World Trade Center.

[edit] 2002

  • January 9, 2002- Mitchell Hundred is elected Mayor of New York City.
  • March 23, 2002- Jackson Georges and his wife Connie develop symptoms of severe schizophrenia due to exposure to the fragment of circuit board that gave Mitchell Hundred his powers as well as increasing emotional stress in their marital life. Connie stabs herself with the fragment and cuts her left arm off, then kills Jackson and their daughter Emily. She gains Hundred-esque powers. Over the next several days, Connie Georges moves to the Manhattan sewers, wearing a hazard protection suit and spray-painting glyphs that resemble the one found on the fragment. A commuter views several of the glyphs and goes into seizures, finally killing herself.
  • March 28, 2002- During an assassination attempt, Mitchell Hundred discovers that a bow-and-arrow is too simple for him to command. Later that night, Connie Georges infiltrates Gracie Mansion and confronts Mitchell Hundred; he is forced to kill her in self-defense. She makes several coded references to string theory and Edward Witten, and implies that Hundred is a christ-figure, calling him 'carpenter' and saying he should 'spread the gospel.'
  • March 30, 2002- Mitchell Hundred presides over a gay marriage ceremony.
  • October 9, 2002- Leto starts his superhero career in full body armor, calling himself "Automaton".
  • October 10, 2002- Kremlin attacks Leto and destroys his armor.
  • November 7, 2002- Martha Hundred tells her son the truth about his father's death; he had previously been told that his father died in a cave-in.

[edit] 2003

[edit] 2004

[edit] Post-2005

  • Hundred recounts his story "... my four years in office, from the beginning of 2002 through godforsaken 2005." he is shown sitting in an unknown location looking dejected.

[edit] Collected editions

Ex Machina has been collected in the following trade paperbacks:

Title Material collected ISBN
Ex Machina vol. 1: The First Hundred Days Ex Machina #1-5 ISBN 1401206123
Ex Machina vol. 2: Tag Ex Machina #6-10 ISBN 1401206263
Ex Machina vol. 3: Fact V. Fiction Ex Machina #11-16 ISBN 1401209882
Ex Machina vol. 4: March to War Ex Machina #17-20 and Ex Machina Special #1-2 ISBN 1401209971
Ex Machina vol. 5: Smoke Smoke Ex Machina #21-25 ISBN 1401213227
Ex Machina vol. 6: Power Down Ex Machina #26-29 and "Inside the Machine" Special ISBN 1401214983
Ex Machina vol. 7: Ex Cathedra Ex Machina #30-34 ISBN 1401218598
Ex Machina vol. 8: Dirty Tricks Ex Machina #35-40 ISBN 1401225195

In addition, Ex Machina Deluxe Edition Volume 1 was released on July 15, 2008. This hardcover collection encompassed the first 11 issues.[6]

[edit] Awards

Ex Machina won the 2005 Eisner Award for Best New Series.

[edit] Film

On 14 July 2005, New Line Cinema announced that they have picked up the rights to make a movie version.[7]

[edit] See also

[edit] Notes

[edit] References

[edit] External links

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