Ex Machina: Tag (Vol. 2)

April 17th, 2008 by

This is just about as good as it gets.

I have liked every bit of Ex Machina that I’ve read so far. I remember after the first TPB I wasn’t so hooked that I had to go read the next one right away, but I liked it well enough. I think I needed some time to digest it, either that, or I just had a ton of other stuff to read at the time. (This is likely, as I always have a ton of stuff on my “to read” shelf.) I waited for almost a year to read this book, and I clearly didn’t know what I was missing!

Now I see that there are six trades out already. I have one more on the shelf downstairs, but assuming that one is as good as this one was, I’m going to have to go get the others sometime in the near future. (Looks like the library has them, so I might just take advantage of that. Yay!)

Anyway, what was it about? This guy, the mayor of NYC, he can talk to machines. I’m not really sure if they talk back to him. We don’t really know. But some fucked up shit happens. And some funny shit happens! It’s all a bit complicated, and I don’t want to spoil it, so just read it, it’s GOOD.

OK, so what do I really like about it? Well, I think it mostly has to do with the main character. He’s basically about as a-political as you can be, and still want to run for mayor of a major metropolitan city. His motivation seems to be entirely altruistic, but that’s beside the point. What I really like is his no-nonsense approach. He’s basically going to do what he wants to do, and what he thinks is right. He doesn’t affiliate with any major political party, and he basically ran for mayor after coming out of the closet as a superhero. Of course all plausibility went out the window with the whole “talking to machines” thing, but it’s just incredibly fun to read!

In this book one of the sub-plots is that he decides to marry a gay couple in a civil ceremony. This is a pretty major (issue spanning) deal, and of course everyone in his cabinet is against it at first. There is an interesting quote spouted in response, attributed to president Johnson (after signing the Civil Rights Act): “I believe we’ve just lost the south forever.” I did some digging, and apparently this is really something Johnson said. On wikipedia, the quote is slightly different: “We have lost the South for a generation”, but the essential message is the same.

There is quite a bit of flashback used to tell some of the story leading up to his election for mayor. From what I remember, this is pretty much in keeping with the first volume. I think this one may have been less confusing in terms of what happens when, but again, it’s been quite a while since I read that one.

All in all, this is really excellent. The art is fantastic, but it’s really the story that keeps you turning the pages.

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