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Ex Machina #10

Posted: Thursday, April 28, 2005
By: Jason Cornwell



"Tag, Conclusion"

Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Pencils: Tony Harris
Inks: Tom Feister
Colors: J.D. Mettler
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Publisher: Wildstorm Comics
$2.99 U.S. / $4.00 CAN

Plot:
After opening with a pretty shocking display of violence which also serves to let readers know the identity of the crazed killer who has set up shop in the city's subway system, we jump to the present where we find Mitch Hundred is a desperate battle for his life against this same killer. As Mitch manages use his ability kill his attacker, we see that he manages to escape a little shaken but none the worse for wear. We than see his continue on his controversy generating political life, as he presides over a gay marriage.

Comments:
Truth be told I found this issue to be a little abrupt when it came to its delivery of its big climax of the subway killer plot, as while it's a shocking display of violence and it's has a wonderful sense of urgency to it, the simple fact of the matter is that the battle barrelled forward at such a frantic pace that we never really got the moment where Mitch was forced to deal with the idea that the person trying to kill him was someone he knew. I mean it's a bit like getting the shower scene in "Psycho" without the unsettling scene that proceeded it where a decidedly uncomfortable Janet Leigh shared a sandwich with the overly earnest Norman Bates. I guess what I'm trying to say he is that while it's a powerful display of violence, and the identity of the subway killer was genuinely shocking, the scene would've packed more punch if we had gotten to know the character a little better before she was driven over the edge. Instead I got the sense that the writing was speeding through this climax so it would have room to deal with it's secondary plot, and given the two stories never really connected together, the transition from the high intensity action to the political intrigue felt a little awkward, as Mitch comes across as getting over this traumatic attack a little too easily. I mean he's just discovered that the wife of a good friend was responsible for the murder of her husband and child, and he killed her to save his own life, but one turn of the page and the character is telling jokes at a dinner party. Still, the opening page revelation was a wonderfully disturbing sequence and the battle itself was a supercharged bit of action, so I can't sing this book's praises highly enough. The political wheeling and dealing in the second half of the title was also extremely well done, so the only real problem I had with this issue is that ungainly transition between the two.

Tony Harris does a wonderful job when it comes to capturing the shocking nature of this episode's more violent sequences, as the scene where we see Connie fixes her arm was one of the most unsettling moments I've ever come across in the pages of a comic. The battle between Mitch Hundred and the subway killer was also quite impressive, as it has a wonderful sense of impact, as and it's explosive climax deserves full marks, as the art doesn't shy away from showing us the aftermath of this attack in all it's gruesome detail. In fact the one page spread where Mitch delivered his big attack was a truly amazing visual that really sticks with you. The issue also deserves full marks for it's ability to offer up a wide cast of the characters who are quite diverse in appearance, as all the characters are easily recognizable, and the art also does a nice job of selling the defining character traits of these characters, from the hyena smile plastered on the face of Mitch's press secretary, to the sudden shift in Connie's expression as she falls under the influence of the alien artifact.



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