Sunday, July 10, 2011

Review: Ex Machina v6 Power Down

The sixth volume of Ex Machina is aptly titled Power Down as it covers Mayor Hundred dealing with the massive 2003 blackout that had much of the eastern seaboard out of power.

The loss of electricity isn't Hundred's only worry, as the blackout appears to have also taken away his ability to speak with machines.

Both situations might have something to do with a strange guy in a strange outfit named Zeller, who might be from the future, or maybe just a different version of earth.  (I never was quite sure...)  Anyway, Zeller has turned up, and taken certain members of Hundred's family hostage, claiming he has a message to deliver to the Great Machine.  As usual, Mayor Hundred is pulled in bunch of different directions as he's forced to deal with multiple issues at the same time.

Also featured in this issue, finally, I might add, is the back story of how The Great Machine saved the second World Trade Center on September, 11th.  Its been known from the very first volume that he had used his powers to stop the plane from crashing into the second World Trade Center, but the how's have been only hinted at, and I've been anxiously waiting to see how it was done.  Well, I don't have to wait any longer.  It is pretty awesome, and worth the wait.

Again, consistency has been a hallmark of the Ex Machina books.  Once again, the writing and the art is at a high level and there is very little to say that I haven't already said.  Simply put: great art, great writing.

I know from experience that the middle of any long series of stories can often be a tad dull, but that isn't really the case here. The story told in this volume is pretty interesting, and Zeller was such a wild card that he spiced up the story quite a bit.  After reading this I feel like I don't have a totally firm grasp of what his appearance was all about, or what he was intending to accomplish, but I feel like it will be important later on.  I wouldn't be surprised if I have to reference back to this volume later on in the series so I can figure everything out.

My one let-down about Ex Machina: Power Down is that it only contains 4 issues worth of comics.  To flesh out the volume they include some extra material about the process Tony Harris goes through to create the covers and interior art.  It turns out he often uses live models to nail down body language, and facial expressions...two of the best qualities in his art for my money.  This is pretty interesting stuff, but I think I'd rather have the volume include a 5th issue. 

So, yeah, more high-end comics stuff here.  As I said, Brian K. Vaughn's writing is great, each story arc has been interesting and well written.  The art by Tony Harris is very high quality, and steadily some of the best I've seen so far in the comics medium.  This team can seemingly do no wrong for me at the moment, and I'm excited to move ahead in this series.

Grade: B

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