Ex Machina 2: Tag

ex machina volume 2 tag cover mitchell hundred
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10

Better balance than the first volume

The mystery killer aspect could wear thin

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Ex Machina

Publisher:  DC Comics/Vertigo

Writer:  Brian K. Vaughan

Artist:  Tony Harris

# of Issues:  5

Release Date:  2005

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Ex Machina #8

Reprints Ex Machina #6-10 (January 2005-June 2005).  There is a killer loose in the city and the killer has ties to Hundred’s origin as symbols from the device that gave him power begin to pop-up…and drive people mad.  Hundred is also dealing with political problems.  The school system is struggling and Hundred has decided to take on the fight of gay marriage by deciding to wed the brother of his Deputy Mayor Wylie.  Hundred might not even make it to the ceremony as he finds himself the target of the killer.

Written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Tony Harris, Ex Machina Volume 2:  Tag continues the award winning series.  Following Ex Machina Volume 1:  The First Hundred Days, Ex Machina 2:  Tag has also been collected in Ex Machina Deluxe Edition—Volume 1 which reprinted Ex Machina #1-11 and Ex Machina:  The Complete Series Omnibus.

This collection starts to get to the nitty-gritty of Ex Machina.  It is a good blend of politics (gay marriage/school system) and Hundred’s past as a super hero.  The first volume didn’t feel as balance, but this volume despite improvements shows that the series still has room to expand.

The story for the volume is a bit more compelling than the first volume.  The balance between politics and action is necessary for the series, but it doesn’t always balance out.  Probably as an older reader, I enjoy the thinking aspect of the series a bit more to the action-action, but it still is a good (and better blend) than the first volume of the series.

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Ex Machina #9

Vaughan begins to dip into dangerous waters by making this a politics book (which can potentially isolate half the audience).  Despite this, Vaughan also does a rather fair job of trying to represent both sides of the argument within the pros and cons of all the arguments.  It is simply “gay marriage is good and fair”, but some of the legal and social ramifications are explored.  The same is true about the crumbling school system in America, but I hope that this idea is continued in future volumes.

The mystery behind Hundred’s origin isn’t doing much for me.  It was slightly implied in this volume that we may never know…and I think I prefer it.  It is what it is, and the crazed killer concept could wear a bit thin if the series progresses in this direction.

I like the concept behind Ex Machina and I think this volume really builds on it.  I had some problems with the quick and simple wrap-up of Ex Machina 1:  The First Hundred Days, but this one gives a bit more depth (though I did feel the “mystery killer” was a bit easy).  I do think I prefer the political questions of the series to the action of the series, but you can’t have one without the other.  Ex Machina 2:  Tag is followed by Ex Machina 3:  Fact v. Fiction.

Related Links:

Ex Machina 1:  The First Hundred Days

Ex Machina 3:  Fact v. Fiction

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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