The third book in the Ex Machina series shows yet more of Mayor Mitchel Hundred’s human side. Despite having the bizarre power to talk to machines and make them do his bidding, Hundred was once an ordinary idealist, and we find out a little of how his upbringing has a lot to do his liberal attitudes. But we also find out where his fighter spirit comes from, making this a kind of pre-origin story, but done with a significantly lighter touch than most superhero efforts.
The political side of the plot revolves around Hundred getting called for jury service and deciding that it’s his civic duty to partake in it. Despite his best intentions however, there are other people in the court who understand his position and want to use it to their advantage. To make matters worse, another masked vigilante has hit the streets, claiming an alliance with Hundred’s alter ego, so someone’s got to sort that out while Hundred’s locked up with his jury.
As with the previous volumes, the writing is smart, sassy and grown-up – nothing less than you’d expect from Vaughan. Harris and Feister continue to knock out solid work, rising to Vaughan’s challenge of mixing the humdrum day to day life of City Hall with sex, violence and superheroics.
With the character of Hundred continuing to expand, fans of the first two books are clearly going to enjoy this – it’s more of the same. If you haven’t already sampled it then start at the first book, but if you liked The West Wing but thought it could have been improved by adding a bit more action, this is the comic series for you.
Other titles in the Ex Machina series: