Waiting For The Trade – Ex Machina: Dirty Tricks

Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Pencillers: Tony Harris, John Paul Leon
Inkers: Jim Clark, JD Mettler
Colourist: JD Mettler
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher

The time was when the arrival of a new Ex Machina trade was a cause for celebration and I would tear into as soon as it arrived, this volume however I read over the apace of a few nights…that’s very, very rare for me for a trade of this size. I just struggled to get back into it. It’s been a long while since an Ex Machina trade has come out (well over a year in fact) and that gap was long enough that while I remember the characters I didn’t remember the status quo.

The time setting of the story has Mayor Hundred dealing with a visit to NY by President GW Bush but in this post-Bush world this all feels a bit old hat. Jokes digging at the now ex-president are passé.

Artistically Tony Harris continues his great work on the series. The thing I find most interesting is that he manages to draw characters with all sorts of body types without falling into parody. This sounds minor I’m sure but it’s a rare thing in superhero comics where physical perfection or mocking imperfection are the norm. Unusually in this volume we get some non-Harris art and it feels weird, it’s not bad but I didn’t like anywhere near as much.

The plot is okay bit feels a little disposable and the motivations of characters is a bit lost, particularly those of Kremlin. I like the character of Trouble (featured on the cover) and there’s a natural chemistry between her and Mitchell but once again she feels disposable.

I know the series is wrapping up soon and I really hope Vaughan can get lightning in the jar again before it does.

Reviewer: Dave Williams

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