Ex Machina: The Deluxe Edition Book 3
Previously, on Ex Machina…
Mitch Hundred is realizing that his life as the Mayor of New York City is just as perilous as his former life as the costumed superhero The Great Machine. With him facing problems concerning the death penalty, gay rights and more, Hundred tries to navigate through his job as mayor to get something positive done while he still has the platform to work on.
I said in one of the previous Ex Machina reviews that I don’t like politics and was worried that these books would tether too close to the subject, making me want to put them down. Well, this book came pretty close and I actually found myself getting bored at one point, but things really picked up at the end to keep me interested in seeing what comes next in the story of Mayor Mitch Hundred.
The story here picks up with the drug questions that most people of a certain age remember plaguing Bill Clinton when he was President of the United States. Mitch is asked in an interview if he ever did drugs in his life and he admits to it, which causes a huge controversy because of the Governor’s war on drugs. A lot of concerns also come when he considers changing the laws when it comes to drug punishments in his city.
This is not the first time that Hundred comes across as a hypocrite and lies to those who trust him. From his days as The Great Machine, he smoked pot because that helped quiet the voices of the machines as they called out to him. What is most shocking is that he still smokes pot in the present day, once again to silence the machines. That makes his fury and desire to stop drug dealers in the past as The Great Machine very hypocritical. It also makes it tragic when a woman kills herself on the stops to the capital by dousing herself with gasoline after her son, who The Great Machine helped put in prison for selling drugs, was killed by another prisoner.
There is also a man posing as a firefighter is murdering people and putting real firefighter’s lives in danger. This story is fairly interesting, but is just there as Mitch decides to do something to overhaul the drug laws.
We also meet January in this book. She is Journal’s sister (the girl who worked for Mitch but died in the peace march). While it looks like she might be planted in the office for someone who wants to bring down Mitch, it turns out she is working with Kremlin to make sure that Hundred will never win a reelection so he can – in Kremlin’s mind – return to being the Great Machine.
After this, we get a nice story about Bradford, which was a nice break from things. In this story we get to see where he came from, what he went through in life before finding his calling to help Mitch Hundred.
Finally, we get the awesome story of the mysterious traveler. As is the case a little too many times in Ex Machina, the police and security teams in these books like to shoot first and ask questions later. Earlier in this book, The Great Machine was trying to turn over some criminals and the police opened fire on him without a second thought. In this instance, the traveler appears and the security open fire on him, which causes all the lights in New York City to go out (and causes Mitch to lose his powers).
All the traveler seems to want to do is explain to Mitch what happened to him, where his powers came from, and what the beings who gave him his powers wants him to do. Mitch only sees that the traveler has Kremlin and Mitch’s own mother held hostage to force him to listen. Instead of listening, Mitch attacks and, as a result, never gets the answers that the readers wanted to hear. It seems that, way too many times, Hundred makes the dumbest decisions possible.
That makes this book frustrating sometimes. It is still great writing, but when you start to consider the hero stupid, it really hurts the enjoyment factor of cheering for him. This is also our chance to see that the citizens of New York City have already reverted to a selfish, self-destructive manner and the goodwill of 9/11 has already diminished. If there is one allegory here, it is that Hundred’s goodwill might be dying as well. People tend to forget their heroes, especially when they seem as self centered as Mitch sometimes.
The book ends on an interesting note. We first see how Mitch really saved the second tower on 9/11 and then the final issue sees Mitch figure out how to deal with the Ku Klux Klan when they want to demonstrate in Central Park. In that final story, there is also the flashback to how Mitch first realized he could not only hear machines but also control them. Mitch’s speech at the end about why he will allow the demonstration to take place is some of the best writing of the series so far.
Next Week’s Preview
Mayor Hundred has to deal with racism, African American burials and a woman who is infatuated with him, all while considering the Presidency.
As always, if you have any ideas for books you want to see reviewed in the Renegade Rack or you are an independent comic book creator with a book you would like considered, feel free to get in touch with me either in the comments or drop me an email.
Until next week, keep reading.