Ex Machina
Smoke Smoke

Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Tony Harris
Titan Books
RRP: 8.99, US $12.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 84576 518 7
ISBN-10: 1 84576 518 4
Available 22 June 2007

As former superhero and current New York mayor Mitchell Hundred debates the legalisation of marijuana with his staff, a horrifying protest takes place outside his office. Meanwhile, a thief-turned-killer masquerading as a fireman is causing panic in the city, with deadly consequences. Will Hundred be able to quell the rising tension, while coping with bizarre and frightening developments in his own abilities?...

Smoke Smoke is the fifth Ex Machina collection to be released. This volume sees trouble brewing for Major Hundred as a new member of staff is planning something sinister in a bid to bring the major down. Although, it looks like they needn't bother - Hundred seems to be doing a pretty good job of discrediting himself alone. His stance on marijuana, and the fact he has admitted to the press that he once smoked it in high school, may well cause more trouble for his career - especially after a woman sets fire to herself in front of Hundred, as part of a protest. It seems the suicide will bring Hundred's stance on marijuana under the microscope once again.

And if that wasn't bad enough, a crazed killer is breaking into people's homes and one of the suspects is a gay man that Hundred allowed to be married under a law he passed. It's not like the guy hasn't got an alibi though - he was in bed, cheating on his husband. Not the best advertisement for a law that was passed to ensure two men could show their love for one another.

This collection weaves some intriguing plot strands and there are more than a few surprises in store for those that have been following this collection.

This series just keeps getting better and better.

Pete Boomer

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