Renegade Rack: Ex Machina: The Deluxe Edition Book 5

Ex Machina
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Ex Machina: The Deluxe Edition Book 5

Ex MachinaBackground

Previously, on Ex Machina…

Mitch Hundred has decided that he wants to run for President in order to make real changes instead of fighting for everything. However, Kremlin finally gives evidence to an old flame of Mitch’s that might incriminate him for fixing the original mayor election to force Mitch back into action. It is time for the big finale.

Review

I’ll be straight up honest. I loved Ex Machina and I was not excited about heading into the final issues of the series. With that said, I am both disappointed with the fact that I have finished reading the books and honestly I am disappointed with how it ended. It is not the final resolution of the story that bothers me, but what Mitch Hundred does at the end to the people who care about him the most.

In The Dark Knight, Harvey Dent made a comment about dying a hero or living long enough to see yourself become the villain. Mitch Hundred may not have become a villain at the end of this series, but he sure as hell was no longer any kind of hero. Let’s get into a look at the final issues of Ex Machina.

Things start off fine here, with The Great Machine still battling his arch nemesis Pherson. However, it is in this flashback that I want to touch on something that has bothered me for the entire series and really exasperates me in this final book. Mitch Hundred is the most stubborn, short sighted character I have seen in a long time. For someone who has spent a lot of time in this series solving problems in an intelligent manner, he refuses – absolutely refuses – to allow anyone to explain to him where his powers comes from.

Sure, this is a character trait that I am certain Brian K. Vaughan meant to focus on. There is no other reason that he would write the character to attack anyone who is trying to explain the mysteries of his powers right before they try to tell him – EVERY TIME. The fact is that he could have prepared for the upcoming invasion if he had just shut up, calmed down and listened to what he was being told. Honestly, it is in this final issue that the book pounds the message home that Hundred is the dumbest smart man on the entire planet.

I also can’t get behind January wanting him destroyed for “letting her sister die” since Mitch did everything he could to stop it. January is too much of a plot contrivance for a book as smart as this one. It also makes her “redemption” at the end not mean that much.

But, before things really spiral down the drain, we get some great storytelling where rats start to eat people and Mitch thinks that Pherson is still alive. Of course, what other reason could there be – unless of course he had listened to the people who were trying to warn him of what was happening. But despite Hundred’s stupidity, it was still a nice story.

The final battle was also pretty great. Suzanne (the reporter that Mitch dated for a short time earlier in the series) is following up on the lead that Kremlin gave her, which makes it look like a small white box that Mitch created rigged the election to allow him to win the Mayor’s job. Not only would that get him kicked out of office, but it would kill his future political career. Bradbury sets out to destroy the box, but Suzanne follows him and then all hell breaks loose.


Mitch turns into the Great Machine again to face off with Pherson, who happens to be from a parallel world like the traveler from earlier. Finally, Mitch listens to what this version of Pherson tells him about an upcoming invasion, but it is too late because the white box turns Suzanne into the ultimate evil and the gateway for the invasion to begin. The voices that the invasion needed was Mitch’s to control machines, Pherson’s to control animals and now Suzanne’s to control humans. When she gets on the radio and orders all humans to “raise hell” that means Mitch has no other choice but to put his costume back on.

I am just going to mention here things that really bothered me. Mitch pushed Dave away, the one man who really helped balance him to make sure he did the right decisions. Suzanne killed Mitch’s mother in gruesome fashion. Mitch put his costume back on and saved the world, only for Commissioner Angotti to set out to throw him in jail for – once again – doing her job. And then Mitch kills Suzanne to save the world.

By the end, Mitch tells the world that there are no happy endings in real life and everybody loses. What Mitch lost was his soul. By the end of the battle with Suzanne, it was Bradbury who pulled off the mask as The Great Machine and took the fall for Mitch. He became a hero, but that didn’t last as he fell badly over time and Mitch turned his back on him by the end, pushing him away and losing his closest friend and protector. But, before the story can complete, Mitch commits one more cold blooded murder, finally killing his past completely before selling out and becoming the Vice President of the United States under John McCain.

Maybe that is the point of this story – absolute power absolutely corrupts. Or maybe it is that the Great Machine became just a clog in the political machine. A hero died in this final book and the man who remains is not the man we cheered for this entire series. At the end of the series, this is nothing more than a Greek tragedy and Mitch Hundred is right – in the world of this book, there are no winners.

Next Week’s Preview

We head in a completely different direction next week when we start our look at American Vampire.

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.


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About the Author

Shawn S. Lealos
Shawn is a film critic with over 25 years of experience in print and online media. He is a member of the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle and loves everything from critically acclaimed movies to B-level action flicks.
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