Monday, April 25, 2005

EX MACHINA #10

This was great fun. It was also Brian K. Vaughan doing what he does best: answering some long (and not-so-long) standing questions all while asking a half-dozen more. For every can of worms closed, two more got opened up here and that's just fine.

As with the first arc, Mayor Hundred is faced with the possibility that someone he likes and trusts has gone bad. Jackson Georges, dedicated family man and good NSA agent has never quite forgiven either himself or Hundred for not saving more lives on 11 September. When all of the signs point to Georges as being behind the alien graffiti and copious gore that has suddenly started cropping up in subway tunnels... Flashes of Kremlin, just a bit.

As with Kremlin, however, Jackson Georges isn't the real problem... or, rather he is, but not in any way that's actually his fault. Driven to desperation by Jackson's breakdown and looking to find the cause, it is his wife Connie who is transformed into the bloody messenger of the aliens who gave Hundred his powers -- and who are unhappy that he has not done with them what he was supposed to do. Considering that the Georges family were basically disposable characters, they were fantastically rendered and you laughed and cried with them. Wonderful stuff.

Also wonderful was the confrontation in the Gracie Mansion master bedroom, both on the character and action level -- faced with someone who is immune to his powers, Hundred has to get creative. And in doing so, he proves himself so very much the engineer who became The Great Machine: his apology to the jetpack is more heartfelt and less hesitant than his later one to Suzanne Padilla. We've seen Hundred curse at and argue with technology before, but his ease with technology as opposed to his awkwardness with people... Vaughan is so subtle and deft with this that it never slides into cartoony caricature. Hundred wants to be good with people --he's just better being intimate with machines.

The gay marriage and school vouchers business, both killer issues (not literally here, at least not yet), are in their proper place -- everpresent, neither overwhelming or getting lost and going away. Tag may have ended, but we haven't seen the last of those hot-buttons. And as for Hundred's apology to Suzanne... we know the answer isn't as simple as "yes" or "no" or "it's all a moot point because the aliens took my gonads".

NYC Fangirl moment: Vaughan went the extra mile for gratuitous geography references, so I'll lay off the improper subway semantics. (The B,D,F, and Q are four lines and require a plural because while in 2002 they are the Sixth Avenue local and expresses, they are never all on the same track and don't go to the same places and it would take a lot more than one body to shut down all four.)

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home