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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)

3.9  ·  Rating details ·  3,437 Ratings  ·  91 Reviews
Set in the 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. Recommended for mature readers.
Paperback, 120 pages
Published March 7th 2007 by WildStorm (first published March 1st 2007)
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Mad Tom
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it

This series is killing it. Marijuana, terrorism, psychopathy, gay marriage, assassination, capital punishment. It's comic book violent while tackling serious issues. And wonderfully illustrated. A fantastic series.
Feb 28, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
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
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
All the chickens...

All the subplots are finally coming to a head. The weird one about some dirty secret, the Russian frenemy who wants Hundred to fly again, even the "what will he do after mayor?" will-he-or-won't-he silliness. And what happened to that ranting dude from an alternate timeline?

Doesn't matter. Good ending. Not great, but good. Like we went through something together, got a little dirty, maybe learned more than we wanted to about each other, and won't be able to look them in the ey
Griffin Youngstrum
Feb 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love this series so much. It continues to impress me.
Jimmy Williams
Dec 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel, series
Vol. 5 of 10

This one was all about weed, smoking it and making it legal.

Recap to remind me what this was about. ****Possible spoilers ahead****:

--Mayor Hundred is considering legalizing smoking weed.

--A mother of a criminal The Great Machine once helped put in jail, self-immolates on the steps of city hall.

--Journal's sister, January, joins the team but seems to have ulterior motives.

--There's an FDNY impostor going around the city knocking on people's doors and killing them when they open the d
Robert Beveridge
Nov 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Mayor Hundred tokes up, a colleague is working against him, and a man posing as a firefighter is slaughtering people and in all this is the theme, this go round, and that is drug legalization, in particular, marijuana - yes I am lucky to be a Canadian right now, for even doing drugs as light as weed when illegal still makes people feel like criminals when they are not and that, and many other points are brought up in the pages of Brian k. Vaughan's reliably consistent series "Ex Machina" and the ...more
Nadine Jones
Jan 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Another great volume in the Ex Machina series. This one felt a little less multi-dimensional. Mayor Hundred lets slip that he has, in his past, smoked pot once or twice. Then a woman immolates herself on City Hall steps. Then a guy dressed as a fireman is breaking, entering, assaulting, and robbing. In the midst of all this, a new team member appears, January (Journal's sister), and she may not have Mayor Hundred's best interests in mind. A lot of stuff is happening, but I didn't feel a lot of c ...more
David Schaafsma
Eh, okay collection, this one: faux firefighter breaking into homes, legalization of marijuana stuff, a standalone on the deputy mayor… okay.
Jun 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017
I am a HUGE Brian K. Vaughan fan, but... I don't know. I'm just not feeling this series so far. Still seeing it through to the end though.
Mar 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
So far this series has been alternating in quality. I really enjoyed Volume 4; Volume 5 started off interesting enough by picking legalized pot as its topic du jour but Vaughn never really does much with it. The best Ex Machina stories tie the political hot button issue to Hundred's heroics and weave them together seamlessly.

In Volume 5 the legalization of pot is only marginally tied to other parts of the story and there are a few other subplots that don't amount to much. Pages are devoted to J
Sarah T.
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
Argh! I'm pretty sure I've already read this volume as part of a larger work. :/ It's annoying how I can't seem to keep the stand alone volumes straight from the larger collections, but I guess I don't mind a re-read of this series. I still love it (I'd still vote for Hundred to be my mayor)!
Nov 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
(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
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
Sep 26, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Dec 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
Meh, this one didn't really do much for me. The 'issue of the week' approach is wearing a little thing and the whole pot issue is so benign as to be pointless (and weakly resolved - it all just feels like a throw away idea to fill some time). Still, there are some interesting character developments and an odd villain of the week who has a slightly different relationship with a machine.

The standalone issue based around Bradbury is ok but not revelatory.

I'm committed now but I want a little more t
Zan G
May 24, 2007 rated it it was ok
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
Apr 03, 2008 rated it it was ok
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.
Feather Mista
Dec 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Los mismos.
Recommended to Feather 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).
Jul 20, 2011 rated it liked it
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.
Sep 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
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.
Nov 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
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.
May 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Still lacking in subtlty, still a tad chauvinistic, still a fragmented set of parallel storylines. Vol. 5 manages to hold onto enough of the positive aspects of previous volumes, and even improve on some of them. A lot of the same issues are here as well, but this volume also does more to set up a larger forthcoming conflict, and it's that larger storyline that keeps me coming back more than anything else.
May 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
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.
Sep 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
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.
Jun 25, 2008 rated it liked it
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.
May 30, 2009 rated it liked it
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.
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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 about Brian K. Vaughan...

Other Books in the Series

Ex Machina (10 books)
  • Ex Machina, Vol. 1: The First Hundred Days (Ex Machina, #1)
  • Ex Machina, Vol. 2: Tag (Ex Machina, #2)
  • Ex Machina, Vol. 3: Fact v. Fiction  (Ex Machina, #3)
  • Ex Machina, Vol. 4: March to War (Ex Machina, #4)
  • Ex Machina, Vol. 6: Power Down (Ex Machina, #6)
  • Ex Machina, Vol. 7: Ex Cathedra (Ex Machina, #7)
  • Ex Machina, Vol. 8: Dirty Tricks (Ex Machina, #8)
  • Ex Machina, Vol. 9: Ring Out the Old (Ex Machina, #9)
  • Ex Machina, Vol. 10: Term Limits (Ex Machina, #10)
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