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Ex Machina, Vol. 5: Smoke, Smoke (Ex Machina, #5)
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Ex Machina, Vol. 5: Smoke, Smoke (Ex Machina #5)

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3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  2,460 ratings  ·  64 reviews
Set in our modern-day real world, Ex Machina tells the story of civil engineer Mitchell Hundred, who becomes America's first living, breathing superhero after a strange accident gives him amazing powers. Eventually tiring of risking his life merely to help maintain the status quo, Mitchell retires from masked crime-fighting and runs for Mayor of New York City, winning by a ...more
Paperback, 120 pages
Published March 7th 2007 by WildStorm (first published March 1st 2007)
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Punk
Graphic Novel. Mayor Hundred takes on marijuana. At this rate we'll be having a very special episode about abortion next. I just don't feel like Vaughan's saying anything with these hot button topics of his, though he did make a few nods to past events in the series, so there was a hint of continuity. Also some intrigue as he sets things up for the next big conflict. Still, Vaughan seems to be having trouble striking a balance between stories about being a mayor and stories about being a superhe ...more
David Schaafsma
Eh, okay collection, this one: faux firefighter breaking into homes, legalization of marijuana stuff, a standalone on the deputy mayor… okay.
Robert Beveridge
Brian K. Vaughan, Ex Machina: Smoke, Smoke (DC Comics, 2007)

Vaughan continues to impress with everything he puts out. The most recent Ex Machina collection takes on the thorny (well, where legislators are concerned) topic of drug legalization. A new character pops up: January Moore, the departed Journal's sister, who Hundred appoints to step into Journal's shoes. As usual, there's a relatively dismissable mystery arc, but they're starting to tie in much better with the overarching themes found i
...more
Jimmy Williams
Grown man topics is something you gotta deal with, No matter how many super powers you love it ain’t gonna equal up to this real shit....

Let me just start by saying this is the best “Graphic Novel” I have ever read. I wouldn’t even call this a comic. I know that there is a difference between a comic and a graphic novel but I’ve also seen the terms use interchangeably but this piece of work is too great to be called anything else. I read “Y The Last Man” so I was a fan of Brian K Vaughn (Although
...more
Martin
(1) "Smoke, Smoke"

The weakest "Ex Machina" book so far, the trademark Vaughan writing is here, and so is the incredible art by Tony Harris, but the plot lines of Mitchell's powers & purpose takes a back seat to:

- a guy posing as a firefighter who breaks into people's homes. This constitutes the "mystery" part of the book, but it doesn't play a big aprt in the overall arc.

- January, blaming Mitchell for her sister's death (Journal, in the events of Ex Machina, Vol. 4: March to War) becomes an
...more
Reenie
This series is a little like some of the weird flavour pairings that restaurants that fancy themselves innovative like to dream up... two independently interesting concepts (superheroes and the trials of running NYC) shoehorned together, with uncertain results. Sometimes it's like the NYC mayor thing adds a lot of cool new layers to the superhero's past of mystery, a flavourful zing to the mash-up, and sometimes it's more like strawberry and roast beef crudites... i.e. 'Why did seem like a good ...more
Gphatty
I've enjoyed the first 3 in the series, and my library doesn't have volume 4, so I skipped ahead to read this one.

I don't think I missed a ton -- maybe I have read volume 4 in a Border's somewhere. This plot centers on a series of crimes committed by someone dressed up as a firefighter. In the wake of 9/11, where everyone deified firefighters, this is a darkly funny take on U.S. culture. The subplot -- which is alluded to in the cover art -- is about Mayor Hundred's stance on marijuana. Initiall
...more
Timo
Oct 16, 2014 Timo rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: comics
Art by Tony Harris is truly unbelievably great in Ex Machina. So fluent and the faces are so full of expressions
But the clear winner is the writing and story telling. Vaughan tackles with one political hot potato / collection and evenly spreads that with drama and action bits. Good stuff.
Stewart Tame
From the cover, this volume would appear to have something to do with marijuana reform. Just saying. As usual, we learn more about Mitchell's pre-mayoral exploits as well as Bradbury's past. On to the next volume!
Jdetrick
Have I mentioned the great supporting characters in this series? Because there are plenty of them. It's hard to keep saying how great this series is.
Jake
This one had a theme, and it felt like filler, but it read well. I enjoyed it, naturally, and the politics stuff is still ruling.
Michael Bacon
Better than Vaughan's better known later works (Y The Last Man and Saga.)
Zan G
Ex Machina is a great series with a really interesting concept, but unfortunately it's been getting a bit bogged down lately. The original quirky idea of combining Iron Man with the West Wing worked great at first but lately we are getting into super villains and alternate dimensions that detracts from what made Ex Machina really interesting in the first place: a modern realistic world reacting to a person with powers. The more they add superpowers the less this series is separated from the herd ...more
Frank
Solid volume. Looks like they're setting up some significant story lines as we hit the halfway point of the series.
Monica
So the Mayor of New York is a huge stoner? Hmmm. Okay, so not really, but you get the idea. I should have known when I picked up a volume titled, "Smoke, Smoke" with psychedelic marijuana-print vests and stuff. Next time I'll pay more attention. For as security-centric the story was a few issues ago, this volume leans more towards social issues like, surprise!, the legalization of marijuana. It's interesting and idealistic and about as real as watching a really good episode of "The West Wing." I ...more
Minxycampbellstein
I felt the marijuana motif was a little heavy-handed. In my mind, it was only made viable by the entwined storyline about the push-in burglar who mascarades as a firefighter. My favorite stories in the series continue to be the crime-related ones, then again, I'm not exactly looking for Law & Order: Ex Machina here.

Odd to conclude with, but why not: the cover art bugs the hell out of me. It lacks the usual subtle juxtaposition that Harris' other covers have and seems sort of ham-fisted.
Kitchengrrl
This series doesn't seem to be going anywhere. It follows the same formula each time - flashback, related event happening in present, a new villain, villain killed by end of novel, Kremlin still doesn't like Mitchell being the mayor. Nothing in the larger story - powers, relationships, etc. changes. I've got a couple more that I already checked out of the library that I might read, but Greg has already given up on the series because he said it doesn't divert from this pattern ever. Bored now.
Lakshana
After four addictive volumes I had high expectations for this one. But "Smoke smoke" really just fell flat, at the hands of poor pacing, no suspense and a really boring and uninspiring story arc. Story wise, the only redeeming asepect was the introduction of the character January. The art as usual is stunning, detailed, expressive and extraordinarily masterful. But other than that, this took me a distressingly long time to finish, as it became more of a chore.
Aurora
I find it hard to understand where this series thinks it's going. I like superheroes and pushing the liberal political agenda as much as anyone, but they go together like ice cream and sauerkraut. Especially as it becomes clear that this series has little or no intention of actually explaining any of its larger mysteries. I hate to make this accusation, but it really seems to me that they're never going to give us any answers because there are no answers.
M
As is the case with most discussions of pot in politics, this volume gets bogged down by the "smoke"screen of legality issues. As Mitchell Hundred discusses his stance on marijuana, a string of violent buglaries committed by someone in a FDNY costume adds more fuel to the fire. Overall, despite the valiant attempts to discuss the topic, this volume falls short on both stories. Here's hoping the next one doesn't get "weed"ed out.
Katie
I'm still enjoying this series, but the stories have gotten a little more graphic. Or rather, explicit. It's definitely an adult book & I had to read it when the girls were in the room & there wasn't a chance they might look over my shoulder. Mayor Hundred now gets to tackle the issue of legalizing marijuana along with a man dressed in a New York Fire Dept uniform who is using it to force entry into homes in order to rob them.
Bevans
This continues the streak of excellence of the previous 4 books, and I can tell that something big is building up. This seems to be the "calm before the storm", though I don't think you can ever call New York City politics calm, even on good days.

Also, I love the cover art for this volume. It's hilariously psychedelic imagery, especially for how seriously the issues of drug use and drug policy are handled here.
Alicia
I read the first 5 volumes in one session. Another interesting concept from Brian Vaughan that starts strong and peters out. After reading all of Y: the last man, Pride of Baghdad, several volumes of Runaways, the first volume of Saga and these 5 volumes, I've now realized that his repeating societal themes and plot devices and gender tropes are never gonna float my boat. So meh, and I don't have to do that again.
David
Ex Machina has a great vibe going on. And after waiting far too long to read Vol. 5. It was much easier to get back into than I expected. Having said that, Smoke, Smoke is not as visceral as the previous books and feels somewhat like a filler arc. I am not ready to say that the book is going downhill as some other reviewers have said; it is too early to say that. May be after reading Vol 6. I'll be able to tell.
Alexis
Very impressed with this series. It took me awhile to finally start reading it, but now that I've started it's very difficult to stop. Since Y the Last Man ended I've been searching for something equally addictive, and Ex Machina is also done by Brian K Vaughan! Can't really go wrong with a ex-vigilante-but-still-dons-the-suit mayor of New York City who can talk to machines. I think it's going to get crazy...

Federiken Masters
Dec 27, 2011 Federiken Masters rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Los mismos.
Recommended to Federiken by: Lo mismo
Tomo muy interesante y entretenido. Aunque no tiene la historia más atrapante ni las escenas más impactantes, sí tiene varios de los debates más interesantes de la serie, con datos (que, al igual que los que arrancan con Y The Last Man, supongo que serán ciertos) que te dejan pensando. Y los dibujos son muy lindos. Y hablan del faaaaaaso (señala el libro moviendo el índice mientras afirma con la cabeza).
Bryce Holt
The only part I truly found riveting in this segment was the final (I think it was the 5th) segment involving Bradbury. Everything else is fluff compared to that small segment on what this one character's life has been like. That alone earned 3 stars by itself, despite it being so short. Sadly, the rest really didn't warrant any stars which is too bad...it was just getting good.
Steve
Two plot lines involving smoke, a home invader posing as a fireman and Hundred's views on drugs and drug policy, are told with intermingled episodes from the Great Machine's past and a sense of frustration on the part of all of the characters. I think that's why I didn't like this volume as much as the earlier ones, the lack of optimism that Hundred has had through this story.
arjuna
Mmmmm well this one felt a bit like treading water, to be honest... nothing new to say about the characters or situation or themes or... anything really. Enjoyable, but not a lot to chew on, which is a shame because I feel like I should be much more invested in what-Kremlin's-up-to (but am finding it hard to care at this point). Feels like its losing its way a bit.
Rob
Standard Ex Machina volume: lukewarm plot about a hot-button political issue, more successful flashback and action-oriented plot, frustrating glimpses of a myth-arc that, halfway through the series, has yet to really go anywhere. Vaughan manages to keep things punchy and enjoyable, but I'm starting to worry about where this all is going.
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Born in Cleveland in 1976, Brian K. Vaughan is the Eisner, Harvey, and Shuster Award-winning writer and co-creator of the critically acclaimed comics series Y: The Last Man, Runaways, and Ex Machina (picked as one of the ten best works of fiction of 2005 by Entertainment Weekly).

Recently named "Writer of the Year" by Wizard Magazine, and one of the “top ten comic writers of all time” by Comic Boo
...more
More about Brian K. Vaughan...
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