Read Ex Machina, Vol. 4: March to War by Brian K. Vaughan Tony Harris Tom Feister Chris Sprouse Karl Story J.D. Mettler Online


Ex Machina, the Eisner Award-winning series that Entertainment Weekly voted "One of the 10 Best Fiction Books of 2005," tells the story of Mitchell Hundred, who becomes the Great Machine, America�s first superhero, after a strange accident gives him amazing powers. Eventually tiring of risking his life merely to maintain the status quo, Mitchell retires from masked crime-fEx Machina, the Eisner Award-winning series that Entertainment Weekly voted "One of the 10 Best Fiction Books of 2005," tells the story of Mitchell Hundred, who becomes the Great Machine, America�s first superhero, after a strange accident gives him amazing powers. Eventually tiring of risking his life merely to maintain the status quo, Mitchell retires from masked crime-fighting and becomes the mayor of New York City. In this volume, a shocking tragedy strikes an Iraq War protest in downtown Manhattan, and Mayor Hundred must choose between the liberty of his constituents and the security of his city. Plus, a tale from the past finally reveals the origin of his mysterious archenemy, Jack Pherson....

Title : Ex Machina, Vol. 4: March to War
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781401209971
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 144 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Ex Machina, Vol. 4: March to War Reviews

  • Aldo Haegemans
    2018-12-24 07:07

    The terrorism part was very interesting and all Still very familiar today.

  • Donovan
    2019-01-12 09:27

    Deeply intense, violent, and political. Fantastic writing and artwork continues.

  • Mike
    2019-01-01 12:16

    I've had some trouble getting through the middle portion of Vaughan's series. Took me a couple of weeks to get through book 3, and I fear I'll have similar reticence with this volume. And I think I've figured it out. It has to do with Vaughan's penchant for lecturing. He's full of factoids and historical references, and I dunno if he's a nerd about history & New York and politics - or if he's just doing lots of research and feels obliged to spunk it out onto the page. Either way, these exposition dumps aren't exactly smooth dialogue. I mean, do people regularly lecture each other when they're talking? It feels like a cross between an Aaron Sorkin West Wing episode and an Isaac Asimov "science fiction" novel. Less of the frenetic pacing of Sorkin, but also less of Asimov's page-long tangents on some unrelated trivia (or rather, the focal trivia around which the thin plot was built to facilitate the lesson).OTOH, the treatment of Hundred's "good ol days" is spot-on, like a page outta Lee-and-Ditko era Spider-Man:And hilarious little vignette of the creators showing up to interview for a job to do a comic on the main character:Plus a great little punchline at the end.

  • Callie Rose Tyler
    2018-12-22 06:22

    This volume takes on the politics of terrorism, going to war with Iraq, privacy vs protection, and the death penalty.The highlight of the plot was meeting Hundred's archenemy, a man with powers that aren't opposite but rather the other side of the same coin.This comic excels when it looks at the common superhero tropes and examines the ethics and politics surrounding them. Most superheroes are strictly non-lethal, what does that say about our ethics and is it realistic? Think of all the people that would have been saved if Batman just killed the Joker once and for all...

  • Tyler Hill
    2019-01-07 12:23

    My Vaughan-a-thon continues with this volume of Ex Machina. Volume 4, "March to War," is actually two separate storylines, neither of which feels complete, but both of which I presume will have a stronger pay-off later in the series. The first of the two stories deals more directly with the titular "March to War." In Ex Machina's timeline, we've now reached the impending invasion of Iraq, and this story deals with how Mayor Hundred wrestles with his own feelings about the war, the cities reaction to a planned anti-war rally and (spoilers, here) how he deals with a second terrorist attack that occurs during the protest. The end of this story is sudden and unresolved leading me to believe there is "more to come." But, instead, halfway through the volume we switch gears to an apparently separate storyline. In this second story, we are introduced to Hundred's arch-nemesis from his superhero days. It's a welcome change of pace from the real world politics that are this titles usual bread and butter, and not only gives us some insight into Hundred's background and powers, but also -presumably- builds to other events down the road. Despite the split up storytelling, and the too-brief nature of both stories, this is still a quick and compelling read.

  • Andy
    2018-12-26 10:05

    I'm still enjoying this though some of the faults are becoming more obvious. The initial 'terrorist' attack was interesting though somewhat predictable as was killing off a reasonably big character (one I quite liked too). The arch-nemesis storyline was pretty funny though I don't think it was intended that way and there's a sense of Vaughan not quite committing to some of the tropes here.The art is distracting me a little. A bonus feature in the first volume highlighted how real models are used and I'm not sure if this is still the case (there are a lot more artists in this collection) but some of the postures seem very forced and weird and there's poor consistency. Commissioner Angotti in particular is lumped with weird face syndrome.Plus, I don't usually have any issue with nudity but the 4 page telephone conversation with Journal with her posing in a see-through top seems entirely gratuitous, especially given what happens to her later and the serious nature of her character. Anyway, it's still engaging but the shine maybe has worn off a little.

  • Licha
    2019-01-18 05:07

    Vol. 4 of 10This volume bored me a little. Recap to remind me of what this issue was about. ****Possible spoilers ahead****:--Journal, one of Mayor Hundred's office staff decides to resign in order to protest the war in Iraq. Something goes terribly wrong during this protest.--We meet Mitch's archnemesis, Jack Pherson. Somehow Mitch has passed on his powers to him through a recording of Mitch's voice that Jack Pherson's parrot has learned to imitate. But instead of being able to control machines like Mitch, Jack is now able to control animals.I wasn't thrilled by this archnemesis. He also seemed like an afterthought, like an archnemesis needed to be added to the story just because all comic book superhéroes have at least one.I"m hoping this will start to pick up because so far I have failed to be wowed.

  • Feather Mista
    2018-12-24 05:06

    Sigue siendo una serie excelente. Los diálogos tienen toda la onda del mundo. El dibujo pinta muy profesional y expresivo (aunque duro a la vez) y además hay de bonus unas historias dibujadas por el segundo papá de Tom Stong, que es muy expresivo y atrapante. Pero Vaughan, por más que lo banque, sigue siendo yanqui, y parece que tiene miedo de afirmar que las guerras yanquis son maniobras comerciales sin mucha ideología detrás y que es más difícil justificarlas que discutir de fútbol civilizadamente con un barrabrava. Aun así, se las arregla para ser, dentro de todo, antibelicismo y anti Bush, así que se le perdona. Y el capítulo extra con el villano que maneja a los animales como Mitchel maneja a las máquinas también pinta muy interesante. Veremos por dónde se resuelve eso...

  • Jennifer
    2019-01-14 07:17

    This was probably my least-favorite volume of the series so far. `The use of 9/11 has been one of the things that's most seriously bothered me about this series since the beginning, so the increased focus on that made me distinctly uncomfortable, and I'm really not sure the terrorism plot was well done at all. I liked the specials at the end, about Jack Pherson, Mitchell Hundred's nemesis, but I didn't feel like they were quite fleshed out enough to make me really care. Still, I enjoyed bits and pieces of this, mostly in the character interactions, and while I'm still pretty sure I wouldn't vote for Mitchell Hundred, I do find him compelling. I'll definitely keep reading.

  • Ryan
    2019-01-08 11:15

    Two stories here: March to War, which looks at a second terrorist attack on NYC and the aftermath of it, and Life or Death, which focuses exclusively on Mitchell's superhero days, and his arch-nemesis from that time, Jack Pherson. Both stories were fairly interesting, but March to War felt unfinished (seriously, Journal dies and that's it? the story ends right there?) and Pherson seemed like he would have been a good character to keep around as a recurring foil for Mitchell. As a result, the story feels like a bit of a waste.

  • RB
    2019-01-05 09:10

    Another highly enjoyable edition of Brian k. Vaughan's "Ex Machina" and for this go round we get treated to a mysterious and rather interesting antagonist in a prolonged flashback scene and much more of the same that made the previous volumes such great mixes of entertainment and social and political commentary without a need to preach its themes.

  • Liara PvO
    2019-01-06 13:25

    Ex Machina: March to War returns to the series’ greatest strengths, namely exploring real-world politics through a comic lens. March to War takes place during the months before the 2003 American invasion of Iraq, centered on Mayor Hundred’s decision to allow a controversial anti-war protest in New York City. The later issues return to more conventional superhero affair, as The Great Machine grapples with someone who can communicate with animals just as he can with machinery.Overall, the politics were extremely well-depicted, even if I was occasionally surprised at the direction they took. In the aftermath of a ricin attack in NYC, Mayor Hundred authorizes warrant-less searches of commuter bags on the MTA, while also engages in his own vigilantism to track down the terrorist responsible for the attack. At first, I was expecting a kind of sideways commentary on the surveillance overreaches of the post 9/11-era. After all, whenever the superhero breaks the rules to nab a suspect, we pretty much always cheer for them, and Ex Machina seemed like it was willing to subvert the trope. But… it never entirely happened. The story seems somewhat agnostic as to whether or not systematic bag searches are worth the cost – though a few characters raise points in opposition. I was also very surprised that the terrorist mastermind turned out to be “Sammir Hallouda” an atheist scientist who nevertheless wanted to ‘finish the job’ started on 9/11. I genuinely have no idea what Vaughan was going for there. I think it was supposed to remind Mayor Hundred that not everything is about him, that mundane threats are more pervasive than the supervillains of comic fantasy. But an American, technically-competent Islamic bioterrorist is only vaguely less fantastical, more in keeping with the GWB-era rhetoric that there are al-Qaeda criminal masterminds who are too dangerous to handle judicially.The odd saga of the Sammir Hallouda arc notwithstanding, Ex Machina continues good storytelling and worldbuilding. There’s some Newsroom-esque ruminations on the validity of “ambush” questions (in this case: would an opponent of the death penalty still support executing Osama bin Laden?), and the animal-controlling villain was a perfectly functional antagonist.

  • Noah Appelbaum
    2019-01-14 09:11

    Aaaand this is where they lost me. Brian K. Vaughan seems out of his depth trying to deal with big political issues, the art is uncharacteristically sloppy, and I'm a little stymied trying to figure out how invested I'm supposed to be in Hundred's pre-mayoral superhero shenanigans. I can't tell if the characters' eyes have always been out of focus and I just glazed over them because of the tight writing, or if the politics have always been so painful to engage with (I mean, they were a little painful, but) but I let them slide because the sleek plot and intrigue made them feel less like a gouge to the face. Mostly, I think the previous volumes were better, and now it feels like all of the wheels have fallen off the hype train all at once.There is still interesting stuff going on, and I happen to know that there's a copy of volume 5 sitting in the used trades bin at my comic shop. I figure I'll get around to it sooner or later, but in the meantime I've got a stack of stuff to read at home, and more Ex Machina has been bumped with command to the back of the queue.

  • Alex Lawless
    2019-01-09 05:06

    Eh. I still just can't get into this series. I have volume 5 still checked out, and unless something radical happens, I won't be continuing. It's just not that interesting. The story seems to be a never-ending compilation of one-offs with little overarching plot lines. They're hinted here and there, but they're not exactly hard to figure out. In this volume we finally figure out Mayor Hundred's "arch-enemy", who is summarily (view spoiler)[killed off at the end of the volume, or is he? (hide spoiler)]. I think I'm just disappointed because the series has such high praise. I'm just finding it very boring.

  • Cody
    2019-01-09 07:04

    4.5/5Volume 4 bounced back from the previous entry in Ex Machina. It's more enjoyable when the heroics and politics seamlessly intertwine, which happens when Hundred is called upon to use his powers to hunt the perpetrator of an attack on an anti-war rally. Additionally, The Great Machine's archenemy Pherson is introduced in these issues. Other topics debated in March to War include the efficacy and morality of the death penalty, how far one can suspend civil liberties in the name of security, and xenophobia. Some pretty heavy lifting goes into these issues and Vaughn handles them with aplomb. Volume 4 has definitely been my favorite of the series so far.

  • Martin
    2019-01-06 08:00

    (1) March To WarThere is an anti-war protest being organised in NYC and Journal, one of the mayor’s former interns and now a junior member of the cabinet, decides to attend. The mayor tells her she cannot participate while she still works for the mayor’s office, so she resigns. Things turn sour at the protest when some protesters fall victim to a ricin attack, including Journal, who ends up in a coma, then dies. This marks the first time (in this series) where an arguably main character dies. She will be replaced by her sister (sounds like something you'd see on cable TV) who will be holding a grudge against Mitchell, blaming him for her sister's death. While Journal was, at best, a prominent supporting character, her being «killed off» showed us that Vaughan is willing to change things up and throw his readers a curve ball or two. Her being replaced by her own sister (who looks almost just like her - except mostly for the hair) might seem like a cheap tactic on the writer's part but, knowing what's coming up in the next volumes, my guess is Vaughan needed a «spy» and Journal really had no motive to become one.(2) Life & DeathA story arc spread over the first 2 of 4 Special issues, we are introduced to Pherson, the Great Machine’s ‘arch-nemesis’ and we’re treated to his origin story, which goes something like this: Working as a sound engineer for direct-to-DVD porn, Pherson hears about the new vigilante and attempts to isolate the frequency the Great Machine uses to ‘speak’ to machines, patent it and then sell it and become rich. Of course, something goes wrong and instead he ends up acquiring powers of his own, the ability to communicate with animals. The whole mystery with Mitchell's powers, where they're from (and perhaps more importantly: what they're FOR) deepens in this 2-parter. Click here for the review of the next volume, Ex Machina, Vol. 5: Smoke, Smoke

  • Jimmy Williams
    2018-12-28 05:59

    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 Under The Dome is terrible). Ex Machina exceeded my expectations. I love reading about super powers and the fight between good and evil and all that good shit but I also love seeing real issues discussed. Ex Machina does this perfectly. The parallel NYC was amazing and Mitchell Hundred is one of the most interesting characters I’ve seen.Vol 4 creates the debate about civil liberties, and the war in Iraq. I don’t want to give anything away so I’ll just say that I highly recommend Ex MachinaFYI: I’ll leave a review for all ten volumes but only change the last paragraph because the first three paragraphs were so powerful that they are relevant to all ten volumes.. LOL

  • Dave
    2018-12-26 12:10

    This book has never been able to fully engage me, yet I always pick up the trades. While the writing has never really sold me, there has always been obvious potential and the art by Tony Harris is very nice. So even if the book has failed to live up to expectations set by others, it is still better than a large number of other books that I buy (I'm not a very hard guy to sell a comic book to), so I continue to support the book.This volume experienced a noticeable and substantial improvement - particularly over the third volume (which I didn't care for). There are essentially two stories in this trade. The first deals with Mayor Hundred trying to support the rights of protesters of the Iraq war while at the same time trying to keep them safe from terrorist themed attacks. I thought Vaughn did a fine job of playing with the balance between these two sometimes conflicting goals (political freedom and physical security).The second story gives us some back story on Hundred's nemesis. This portion of the trade was not as strong as the prior story arc, but still did an excellent job of tying together Hundred's super-hero exploits with his subsequent political career.

  • Harold Ogle
    2018-12-26 05:24

    A solid effort from Vaughan demonstrating how the press of ongoing day-to-day issues could distract a person who mysteriously gained superpowers from working to discover how he got the powers as his first priority.For most comics heroes, the origin story is one of the most compelling arcs. It's interesting (and a little exasperating) how coy Vaughan remains about revealing any details of "The Machine's" origin. Interesting, because it seems intentional, exasperating because it really beggars belief that the character would be so uninterested in how he came to be what he is...particularly when not knowing the nature or source of his powers is clearly either causing multiple deaths or at least hampering the ability to prevent those deaths. I'd like to see Mitchell Hundred actually making a choice to not pursue this mystery, rather than just forgetting about it for several issues at a time.Still, the stories are good despite that glaring omission, demonstrating the perils of both politics and superpowers. I'll certainly continue reading.

  • Robert Hudder
    2018-12-27 05:18

    So, this is War. You knew with a book so steeped in post 9/11 there would be some commentary on just vs unjust wars and this is the arc that focuses on it. A protest is attacked and now the claws come out; paranoid police force, reactive population, and homegrown terrorism. At the end, a talk show interview gotcha to hit home the ambivalence and inability for politicians to do the right thing regardless of action or inaction. This puts the reader in the position to decide whether the death penalty is warranted or not. It is a bit of sleight of hand as war is different than peace time. Terrorism is problematic from that standpoint. How do y0u stop terrorism without creating more terrorists?And that is the question that we are left with. I am glad that Brian Vaughn didn't let himself off the hook. He doesn't answer the question but the lack of answer doesn't make his character look good, just jaded and pushed to answer a difficult question.

  • Bryce Holt
    2019-01-04 11:22

    This was a timepiece that, while still relevant, is seen now in a somewhat different light than it might have when first published. Without sacrificing story, "Ex Machina" returns us to a very wounded New York shortly after 9/11 over the first three volumes (especially the first two). Yet in vol. 4, the story regarding 9/11 and our view on terrorism is a bit more of a swing and a miss. The conversation we currently endure regarding terrorism has evolved, relegating this to the category of "dated" pieces of fiction. That said, much as we still can use Batman as a social commentary for generations who didn't live the experience of New York (especially that of the 70's, 80's and 90's), I still see this segment of the series introducing the next generation to a very real, albeit lost, sense of what it was like to feel toward the war in 2003. It's still good, but it's just not what the rest of the series has managed to be.

  • Daniel Stalter
    2018-12-27 09:17

    The more the story delves into the exploits of The Great Machine, the more I tend to enjoy it. Not that I don't like the present timeline where Mr. Hundred is NYC's mayor, I just find the backstory more interesting at this point. Here we get the present storyline following a protest of the Iraq War, followed by the revelation of The Great Machine's nemesis - Pherson. The artwork has it's really weak moments, again I can't tell if it's necessarily the penciling or if the coloring just washes over certain people and makes them difficult to distinguish from one another. At it's best, the art is fairly conventional (which is not necessarily a complaint) with some weak, perhaps lazy moments in regards to detail. Overall, it's hard to rate these chapter by chapter when it's distinctly possible I'll feel different about certain aspects when I finally get to the end. That being said, I'm enjoying it thus far and will definitely continue reading.

  • Punk
    2019-01-02 11:59

    Graphic Novel. Contains the Iraq war, terrorism, hysteria, religion, shrinking civil liberties, and hate crime. You may find the contents triggering, exploitive, or both. I could have got that anywhere; I don't see how the story was changed much by adding a guy like Hundred to the mix. Even the art let me down. In chapter four the artwork has a psychotic break and Angotti and Suzanne become completely unrecognizable; even the inks guy seems to have lost his mind because their hair's the wrong color too. Journal is only identifiable because of context. What's up with that? The men look fine. Did we hire someone who's never seen a woman before? And the last story, "The Origin of Jack Pherson: At long last, the Great Machine's mysterious archenemy is revealed!" Who? Is that supposed to mean something to me? Or was that sarcasm? I can't tell.Not as good as the first three trades, but still worth three stars for Police Commissioner Angotti alone. She rocks.

  • Josh
    2019-01-03 08:18

    I think I'm coming to understand my feelings on this series a little more. "Ex Machina" gives a valiant effort in trying to achieve what "Watchmen" did so well - blend super heroes and politics into a single story. But where "Watchmen" succeeds, "Ex Machina" often feels more like two or three separate stories stuck together. It's not bad, but it doesn't achieve the unity or effectiveness that it strives for. That being said, Vol. 4 continues the positive trend in which the series seems to be gaining a bit of traction. The art continues to be iffy, but the story has some interesting elements and does feel a bit more natural in this volume. I'm not a huge fan, but the series evokes just enough interest that I'm willing to keep reading, mostly to see where its larger story threads lead.

  • Craig Williams
    2018-12-26 13:08

    This was much better than the last volume! The title of this volume, March to War, could not be more appropriate considering what goes down. The best part about this volume is we finally get to see who Hundred's arch-nemesis, Pherson, was and the circumstances of his "death". Pherson is a perfectly conceived villain, in that, due to the very nature of his powers to speak to animals, he stands in direct contrast to Hundred, who's power is to speak to machines. It's the old "Nature vs. Technology" conflict personified within these two characters. What's even more interesting is the teaser at the end that Pherson may be returning. Of course, now I have to wait to see his return until the next volume comes in at work! Noooooo!

  • Rick
    2019-01-02 07:17

    It might be that this series just isn't clicking with me 100%, but I continue to feel like there are a lot of interesting political topics touched upon, but they aren't given enough focus or time to be explored. Vaughan sure does like to toss hot-button topics into the mix (just look at the description of this volume to get an idea of what he tries to cover), but he then usually has a character spout off some neat thoughts on the topic and it's sort of just left at that while another plotline is explored. I guess what I was hoping for was more depth to the topics in this series. It's still not a bad read (which is why I stick with it), but I felt that it could be better.

  • Kathryn
    2018-12-20 11:05

    Better than Volume 3 but not as entertaining as Volume 2. The bit of humor in Volume 2 has long since disappeared. There is still plenty of wit but it's almost forced down the readers throat. I've come to realize that I enjoy my graphic novels with more action, more surreal art, more violence. This series tends to lean towards a lot of talk and preachiness, something that bothers me no matter that I agree with the message. March To War also felt a little dated, rather funny considering. Still, I am enjoying this series and look forward to continuing, at least partially due to these being some of the only graphics I currently have on hand to appease my addiction.

  • Jason McKinney
    2018-12-24 13:15

    I have really enjoyed this series, but this is, by far, the weakest installment at this point. Maybe it was the fact that this seems somewhat dated now in light of Gulf War 2 being over 10 years on, but it seems more likely that my dissatisfaction came from the fact that the plots in each installment begin to feel similar after awhile. That's not necessarily a bad thing when it comes to a series that involves politics and City Hall, however, this installment just didn't do it for me. The second story here was particularly light on excitement and it even seemed a little lame to a certain extent, as far as the "arch nemesis" goes.

  • Frank
    2019-01-17 13:27

    Best volume so far, collecting 2 story arcs. First, a ricin attack on NYC during an anti-war protest. This really brings home what Vaughan is trying to accomplish with this series. How does a mayor with super abilities respond when he's up against a non-super crisis? What happens when he has to react rather than act in the face of an emergency?The second arc (after a major character dies in the first one) tells the story of Mayor Hundred's arch nemesis during his days as the high-flying Great Machine.

  • Jake
    2018-12-21 12:23

    This series continues to fascinate me. The "real-world superhero" has been done so many times, but this one calmly and articulately involves 9/11, and the topics that are discussed, dissected, and debated in the political realm are on-point. It's so subtle, even though it's the main text, and I agree with it all. It points out the fallacies in America's thinking process, and it really hits the nail on the head in just the main character's monologues. I love it. Also, the whole nemesis thing reads well. I was kind of skeptical about that, but it's legit.