[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Ex_Machina_comicbook_8879.jpg]]

''Ex Machina'' was created by Creator/BrianKVaughan, the Eisner Award-winning brain behind series such as ''ComicBook/YTheLastMan'' and ''ComicBook/{{Runaways}}'' and drawn by Tony Harris. It depicts the life of civil engineer Mitchell Hundred, who gained the ability to communicate with machines. He used his powers to become the world's first and only SuperHero, "The Great Machine". After using his powers to prevent the fall of the second tower in the 9/11 attacks, Mitchell has since retired from the role and is currently the mayor of New York City. The series contains the events of his term in office, with frequent {{flashback}}s to his superhero days.

The series wrapped up with the planned 50 issues in 2010.

Has nothing to do with either the [[Film/ExMachina 2015 film]], or with the 2005 [[VideoGame/HardTruckApocalypse post-apocalyptic truck driving game]].

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!!Tropes:

* ActionGirl: Monica in her "Trouble" persona performs a number of dangerous stunts and beats up a naked woman.
* AnotherDimension: [[spoiler: The source of Mitchell's powers is a legion of interdimensional invaders who colonise worlds.]]
* AlternateHistory:
** The second tower didn't go down.
** [[spoiler:Hundred ends the series as the veep for President John [=McCain=].]]
** Also, midway through the series it's revealed that [[spoiler: other universes exist, with technological {{Eldritch Abomination}}s systematically conquering them. One alternate universe is described as being a place where the Cold War never ended (the USSR reverse engineered technology from a device similar to that which granted Mitchell's powers and grew in power, leading to a US-Middle East alliance against them), the "son of Reagan" became president instead of George W. Bush, but ''Series/AmericanIdol'' and TheOtherWiki still exist. That universe is later revealed to have been subsequently conquered, with an allusion made to the extermination of its native human population]].
* AnimalsHateHim: A side-effect of Hundred gaining his powers is that animals are now extremely hostile to him. Pherson beleives it's because they can tell that he is failing to use his powers to help him, but his judgement is heavily skewed by his insanity.
* AntiHeroSubstitute: Automaton is more unbalanced than the Great Machine, and at one point shoots a prostitute's client with a less than lethal round.
* ArcWords: "The Stars are Down". First introduced as the title of a (non-existent) Music/{{Nirvana}} song that is played on an old radio, near the shard which gave Mitchell his powers. [[spoiler: It's implied the song is being sung [[spoiler: in one of the {{Alternate Universe}}s]].
* ArchEnemy: Jack Pherson, the closest thing to a true "supervillain" Mitchell fought before retiring. He's a PosthumousCharacter whose story is told in out-of-order flashbacks, but his presence is still felt through most of the run.
* ArmoredClosetGay: [[spoiler:Bradbury talks a lot about banging girls, acts overly macho, and uses many gay slurs, but is actually a closeted gay man with a crush on Hundred. When Bradbury finally comes out to Hundred and gets rebuffed, Bradbury goes right back into denial, punching Hundred and calling him a faggot]].
* ArtShift: The single page of the comic that gets made of Hundred's life is drawn by a different artist and written by Creator/GrantMorrison. The art looks completely different, and the writing is all in first-person narration, something that ''Ex Machina'' never uses otherwise.
* {{Asexuality}}: Hundred never openly pursues anyone of either gender, and not for lack of opportunities. He does go on a date with Suzanne, but gets accused of doing so only to further his political clout, and then does not call her back for months. His lack of romance is so noticeable that people frequently wonder whether he's gay, to which he never responds. It's ultimately a part of his characterization as being more like a machine than a man.
* AuthorAppeal: Mitchell is a comic book fan, and comics take a prominent role in the plot.
* AuthorAvatar: Both Vaughan and Harris appear as themselves in "Ruthless." Doubles as LeaningOnTheFourthWall.
* AuthorFilibuster: While most of Hundred's outspoken political views might or might not actually be shared by Vaughan, it's clear that the lengthy subplot involving Hundred's legalization of gay marriage is based on Vaughan's actual beliefs, and it's pretty easy to hear Vaughan speaking through his character.
* BackFromTheDead: Defied. Although Kremlin and even Mitchell believe that Pherson may have managed a true super-villain stunt and returned from the dead, he didn't.
* BatSignal: Poked at when Angotti puts a gear symbol on a searchlight (as a gesture of friendship, well after his 'retirement'), but Mitchell doesn't see it.
* BecauseDestinySaysSo: A fortune teller tells Mitchell he will become the Great Machine again. He also receives a vision from God telling him he will be President of the United States.
* BigApplesauce: Takes place entirely in New York.
* {{Blackmail}}
** The unnamed New York governor, working through his minion Trip, tries to blackmail Mitchell, but Mitchell turns the tables on him and keeps their evidence for use as possible blackmail later.
** [[spoiler:Kremlin threatens to send proof that Mitchell rigged the election to authorities. When Mitchell asks if anyone else has seen the evidence, Kremlin confesses that he hasn't shown it to anyone and is in the process of admitting that he never really had any intention to, but Mitchell kills him first]].
* BlessedWithSuck: Mitchell's power manifests itself as being able to command machines, and also to "listen" to them. He can't turn it off and lives in New York City, so the noise is constant, and he at first believed he was going insane. Also, his power comes from [[spoiler:extradimensional invaders who want to eradicate humanity]].
* BodyHorror: Mitchell's accident gave him glowing green flesh under his skin that looks like circuitry. It's revealed after the accident when he has a good chunk of his face blown off, including his ear.
* BodyguardCrush: [[spoiler:The final issue reveals that Bradbury has been in love with Mitchell]].
* BookEnds: Hundred begins and ends the comic telling his story to his jetpack.
* BondOneLiner: Hundred quips, "I hope you guys aren't afraid of the dark!" before shutting off all the lights in a fight. Afterwards, Kremlin tells him how stupid he is for saying that.
* BroughtDownToNormal: The blackout.
* ChekhovsGun: The Failsafe, [[spoiler:the White Box]]
* ChekhovsGunman: [[spoiler:Suzanne Padilla]]
* ChestInsignia: And also possible leitmotif, a gear. [[spoiler: All of Mitchell's alternate selves have variations of this insignia.]]
* ClusterFBomb: Both demonstrated by the series cast and Lampshaded as well.
--> '''Mitchell''': Candy do you really think I'm the first politician with a potty mouth? There are probably old recordings of Lincoln calling Congress a bunch of douchebags.
* ColourCodedForYourConvenience: Hundred's green speech commands machines. [[spoiler: There's also the "Violet" for animals wielded by Pherson and the drone, and the "White" for people wielded by Suzanne. The alien probe mentions that there's also a Red for plants.]]
* ComesGreatResponsibility: Subverted. Mitchell tries to help people by ''not'' using his powers.
* TheCommissionerGordon: Mitchell tries to establish a police alliance, but it doesn't work out so well. It's not the first time this former comic-book geek wasn't more GenreSavvy.
* CompanionCube: The fireman killer treats his oxygen tank, which he [[ADateWithRosiePalms attaches to his penis]], as a lover.
* CompellingVoice: Mitchell's, Pherson's and [[spoiler:Suzanne's]] powers.
* ConvenientMisfire: Mitchell is confident that a hick won't shoot him during a fight. When the hick does try, nothing happens. Afterwards, Mitchell reveals that the gun had already told him that it was empty. He pulls the trigger to demonstrate, but it fires. It was loaded the whole time and lying about it. The misfire saved Mitchell's life.
* CosmicHorrorStory: [[spoiler:The invaders from the other dimension seen in Hundred's dream are basically cosmic horrors]].
* DatedHistory: A member of the Department of Defense states that if Mitchell's staff had read the classified intelligence that he has, they would know how closely Saddam Hussein and Al Quaeda are linked. At the time of the story's publishing in 2005, this was still an issue in dispute. However, later investigations and intelligence declassification would reveal that Saddam Hussein and Al Quaeda had no functional relationship, and Hussein had no involvement in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
* DifferentWorldDifferentMovies: One of the first clues that the green device is from another dimension is when it sends a broadcast of a Nirvana song that never existed. There is, however, a lot of crossover with some other dimensions. Also demonstrated with the series' own alternate timeline: apparently, Creator/MichaelMoore made a documentary about the Great Machine at one point.
* DoubleMeaningTitle: A few examples.
** "The First Hundred Days" is about Mitchell Hundred's first days in office as Mayor, but it also alludes to an old adage about politics (that a politician's first 100 days in office are the most important).
** "Smoke Smoke" is about Mitchell and co. investigating a string of crimes apparently committed by a rogue firefighter, but also about the administration getting into a debate about marijuana legalization, ending with the revelation that [[spoiler: Mitch smokes marijuana himself]].
* DownerEnding: [[spoiler:It's implied in the final issue that Hundred rigged his own election. He then turns his back on Bradbury and kills Kremlin to protect his political career. The sudden reveal of villainy in our seemingly idealistic hero is a major downer. There's also the ambiguous threat of whether the extra-dimensional invaders will try again. This is lampshaded in the end, when Hundred says that most comics never end, which prevents them from becoming a tragedy]].
* DramaticIrony:
** Hundred states that sometimes he can't see things right in front of him. Behind him is an unnoticed graffito of the villains' mysterious green glyph.
** Hundred complains about feeling "alone." Behind him is a masked intruder about to swing a baseball bat at his head.
* DreamingOfThingsToCome: Mitchell's dreams. Few of them are pleasant, as [[spoiler: many imply that his world will be invaded and destroyed by cross-dimensional legions of hell]].
* EmptyShell: [[spoiler: Mitchell at the end. He's Lonely At The Top as the Vice Presidential candidate, has driven off or otherwise lost those closest to him, committed murder, and is haunted by the thought that the invaders will try again]].
* EnemyOfMyEnemy: Jack Pherson tries to use this logic to recruit the commissioner to help him fight Hundred. It doesn't work.
* EvilAllAlong: [[spoiler: Mitchell rigged his election, rendering any moment in earlier issues where he professed admiration for democracy and the sanctity of elected office wholly hypocritical.]]
* EvilMeScaresMe: [[spoiler:Hundred is confronted in a dream by evil versions of himself from other dimensions]].
* FaceHeelTurn: In the very end, [[spoiler:Hundred coldly turns his back on Bradbury and straight-up murders Kremlin to protect his political career. There are hints all along that Hundred is not as nice a guy as he often seems, but it isn't confirmed until the final issue]].
* FailureKnight
** How Mitchell feels about only diverting one of the 767 on Sept 11.
** [[spoiler: How Mitchell feels about not being able to save his handler and wife from the effects of the superpower shard.]]
** How Mitchell feels about a lot of things, including his career as a superhero.
* FallenHero: [[spoiler:Hundred turns into one in the final issue. After a whole series of heroism and trying to do the right thing, it's revealed that Hundred wasn't as clean as he presented himself, and by the end he's just another ruthless politician doing bad things to further his career]].
* {{Flashback}}: Mitchell tells the story of his time as mayor as a flashback, so his flashbacks to his time as the Great Machine are flashbacks within flashbacks.
* {{Foreshadowing}}:
** One of the first things we see Hundred do is turn the tables on Trip, trying to blackmail him by threatening to blackmail the politician, then threatens to murder the man. It seems to be establishing Hundred as shrewd and tough on corruption, [[spoiler:but it also foreshadows the final revelation that Hundred is crooked and murderous himself]].
** Jack Pherson says that he could bring the city to its knees by talking to a single species. Much later, the city is wracked by a sudden rash of rat attacks.
** Mitchell mentions the Beach Pneumatic Transit beneath New York City. It plays a part in later events.
** Bradbury riffs on Meatloaf's "I Would Do Anything for Love," saying he'd do anything for Mitchell, but not that. He later reveals that [[spoiler:he's in love with Mitchell]].
* GenreSavvy: Mitchell was a massive comicbook fan, as was Kremlin, so they both anticipate tropes.
** [[spoiler: The most relevant display of savviness is that Mitchell guessed that his KryptoniteRing could be stolen from its safekeepers, so it's just a dud.]]
** Hundred figures out the origin of the ghost because of his familiarity with EC comic books.
* GilliganCut: Used frequently.
** In one instance, Hundred is described as a gentle soul. The next panel has Hundred angrily swearing about someone.
** During the blackout, Hundred claims that New Yorkers now pull together during catastrophe in this post-9/11 world. The next panel is a violent confrontation between two New Yorkers.
* GlowingEyes: A sign of someone using their powers. If they were gained any wounds when granted their powers, they glow too.
* {{Gorn}}: Lots of characters both minor and major die horribly gruesome deaths, and the artist is not shy about showing them off.
* GovernmentProcedural: Much of Mitchell's day-to-day life is political minutiae, minutiae well executed according to the editors of Law and the Multiverse.
* GunTwirling: Mitchell Hundred does this in issue 35, even though he really should know better.
* TheHandler: An NSA cryptologist is assigned to be Mitchell's handler as his powers are regarded as a national secret. [[spoiler: It doesn't work out well.]][[spoiler: Who knew keeping an [[ImportedAlienPhlebotinum alien]] [[LostTechnology artifact]] and source of Mitchell's powers would cause insanity? To be fair, his handler was also adversely affected about the Sept 11 attacks and blames Mitch for not stopping the Pentagon attack.]]
* HaveIMentionedIAmHeterosexualToday: [[spoiler: Bradbury. The amount of times he deliberately comments on women or acts homophobic start to add up after a while.]]
* HaveYouToldAnyoneElse: [[spoiler:Asked by Mitchell to Kremlin regarding Suzanne's files. In a rare lack of genre savviness Kremlin admits that he hadn't.]]
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Mitchell and Bradbury. [[spoiler:Until it's subverted in the final issue, when Bradbury reveals that he's been in love with Mitchell the whole time]].
* HiddenDepths: While in Italy, Bradbury reveals that he can speak Italian, which surprises Mitchell.
* HistoricalInJoke: Eliot Spitzer is said to be a shoo-in for the governor's seat unless he's caught in bed with a dead girl or live boy. In fact, Spitzer did win the governorship but left office soon after amid a sex scandal (with ''live'' girls).
* IJustWantToBeNormal: Mitchell describes temporarily losing his powers as being cured.
* IfYouKillHimYouWillBeJustLikeHim: Hundred asserts this as his reason for not wanting to kill Pherson. Kremlin strongly disagrees with the trope, and Hundred eventually agrees.
* ImmuneToMindControl: Mitchell is immune to [[spoiler: Suzanne's powers]], and since his mother is similarly resistant it's implied this may be either genetic or a result of being taught by Martha to be strong-willed.
* InvisiblePresident:
** Bush is discussed, but never featured.
** Then-current Governor of New York George Pataki is never seen or referred to by name, in contrast to numerous other New York politicians. He's represented by his underling Trip and always referred to simply as the governor. This is probably because the governor tries to blackmail Mitchell in the first issue.
* JuryDuty: Mitchell gets a summons at one point. While he could get out of it with ease, he figures doing his civic duty will get some good press. [[spoiler: True to his luck, it turns into a hostage situation.]]
* KilledMidSentence: [[spoiler:Kremlin, just as it appears he's admitting that his threats were empty all along]].
* KryptoniteRing: Mitchell invented two which scramble his powers, and gives one apiece to Kremlin and Bradbury. [[spoiler: They're both duds.]]
* LampshadeHanging: "Ruthless".
* LastOfHisKind: Implied, but not confirmed.
* LeaningOnTheFourthWall: {{Author Avatar}}s of Vaughan and Harris appear as comic book makers applying to tell The Great Machine's story. Harris's alter-ego starts doodling the two of them, suggesting that they appear as side-characters in the comic book, but Vaughan's alter-ego nixes the idea, saying that he doesn't want to get into that [[LampshadeHanging fourth wall]] stuff like Creator/GrantMorrison.
* LikeRealityUnlessNoted: Mitchell saving the ''second'' tower is the big reveal at the end of the first issue.
* LogicalWeakness: Mitchell is vulnerable to weapons that aren't machines. Knives and bows are too simple to communicate with, and basic bombs are just chemicals waiting to be mixed.
* MagicalNegro: Averted and Lampshaded by Dave.
--> '''Dave''': Sorry sir but if your looking for a magical negro to be all "lordy lord I can help the master speak to the spirits..." you're wasting the wrong terrible mind.
* MaybeMagicMaybeMundane: The juror who claims to have similar powers to Mitchell may just be insane, but in a much later issue it's confirmed that at least part of his story is true.
* MarriedToTheJob: Interpreted in-universe as a TransparentCloset for Hundred.
* MeaningfulName:
** Mitchell describes his last name, "Hundred" as an "integer." It's displayed as "100" when spoken by members of the other dimension. The number, composed only of binary digits, fits with Mitchell's technological theme.
** Kremlin's nickname highlights his Soviet Russian background, which drives his desire to push Mitchell into superheroism.
* MindControl: [[spoiler: The White gives Suzanne this power, and this is possibly how Mitchell won the election through the White Box.]]
* {{Motif}}: Mitchell and machines.
** He can talk to machines and uses his superpower to become a superhero called the Great Machine.
** He is described as emotionally distant and robotic, with a ridiculous work ethic, more like a machine than a man.
** He frequently talks about wanting to "fix" abstract things, such such as the "political machine" of the nation.
** Mitchell says he believes in God as [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Architect_of_the_Universe the Great Architect]].
* MundaneUtility: Mitchell often uses his abilities to do things he could do almost as easily by hitting buttons. Mitchell describes using his powers to change TV channels while holding the remote as a "new low in sloth."
* MysteriousBacker: Hundred's patrons. Their true appearance is only shown in the penultimate issue, and discerning their motivations makes up much of the plot.
* NeverFoundTheBody: Kremlin repeatedly insists that they can't write off Pherson as dead, even though he was last seen in an exploding building. In most comics, this would be GenreSavvy, but here no-one takes him seriously. [[spoiler: When it looks like Pherson really might be alive, it turns out to be something else entirely.]]
* NotInFrontOfTheParrot: Pherson uses his parrot as a spy, ordering it to follow Hundred and then commanding it to repeat what it heard.
* OldMaster: Kremlin
* OnlySixFaces: It's pretty clear that Harris draws from personally staged photographs of real-life models. Because he uses those models' faces as bases, and re-uses models, many characters look very similar. For example, the random junkie in "Fact or Fiction" happens to look exactly like a younger, brown-haired Kremlin.
* PollyWantsAMicrophone: Pherson's parrot granted him his powers, as it repeated one of the Great Machine's commands to him causing a seizure.
* PowerTrio: Kremlin, Bradbury and Mitchell.
* PsychicNosebleed: Mitchell suffers these if he overexerts himself. It happened while redirecting the second plane, and when he had to plaster an SOS message across Times Square from across town.
* RealityEnsues: Hundred grabs the police commissioner and flies her to a rooftop to have a private talk with her. Kidnapping a police officer turns out to be as bad an idea as you'd expect. Rather than hear him out, she immediately attacks him.
* ReligiousHorror: [[spoiler: Mitchell's 'benefactors']] often present themselves through religious imagery.
* RoguesGallery: Mitchell notably lacks a true one, as the only true supervillain he faced was Pherson. Any other unusual criminals he faced tended to just be psychologically unbalanced one-time enemies. He does, however, have a collection of bizarre artifacts from the various villains he's encountered.
* SecretIdentity: Mitchell went public when he ran for mayor. However, most of his abilities are still secret, as a matter of national security.
* SelfDeprecation:
** When Vaughan's AuthorAvatar shows up, he immediately starts babbling trivia, causing Harris to tell him to shut up. Vaughan is making fun of his SignatureStyle of inserting trivial facts in his writing.
** When Harris shows January his drawings, they both agree that writers do the least work on a comic, but get the most credit.
* ShoutOut:
** In a moment of LeaningOnTheFourthWall, Vaughn's AuthorAvatar states that he doesn't want to include an AuthorAvatar like Creator/GrantMorrison does.
** Mitchell gives Journal the title of "Special Advisor on Youth Affairs". This happens to be the same title that Walter F. Starbuck held as part of the [[UsefulNotes/RichardNixon Nixon]] administration in the novel ''Literature/{{Jailbird}}'' by Creator/KurtVonnegut, and BKV is known to be a fan of Vonnegut's work.
** Mitchell's parents are called Thomas and Martha, like Batman's.
** [[spoiler: One of the alternate-world Mitchells is clearly a version of the Rocketeer, and another has powers similar to Superman.]]
** Bradbury's name is obviously a reference to science fiction author Creator/RayBradbury. One character asks if he's related, and Bradbury retorts that he hates science fiction.
** There are many references to ComicBook/{{Superman}}:
*** A comic where Superman builds a robot has plot significance
*** Leto uses Superman's death (and Steel picking up the slack) to justify becoming a superhero in the absence of the Great Machine.
*** Mitchell quotes ''Film/{{Superman}}'' at Journal's hospital bedside.
** Candy is a fan of ''Series/ThirdWatch'', which eventually has plot significance.
** When Mitchell snaps, "I am what I fucking am!" he gets called ComicStrip/{{Popeye}}.
** Mitchell asks an exterminator if he'll demand payment or [[Literature/ThePiedPiperOfHamelin steal all the city's children]]. The exterminator doesn't get it.
** Bradbury quotes Music/{{Meatloaf}}'s "I Would Do Anything for Love"
** The Hundred from the other dimension quotes "I Am the Walrus."
* ShownTheirWork: The work is filled with details of New York City culture and other topics. Vaughan and Harris' Author Avatars even lampshade it when Harris tells Vaughan not to spout any more useless "factoids."
** One of Mitchell's staffers references the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirit_of_Justice#Spirit_of_Justice_and_the_Attorneys_General covering of the Spirit of Justice statue]] in 2002.
** A woman in the subway references the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Cost Cost]] [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revs_(graffiti_artist) Revs]] graffiti campaign of the mid-90s.
** Zahala's Roma cousin says in untranslated Romani, "I'll shit on you!" and then "It is God who brought you."
** Mitchell's lawyer birdwatches for [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pale_Male Pale Male]].
** Mitchell's jury duty plot arc references Rudy Guliani becoming the first sitting mayor to [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayoralty_of_Rudy_Giuliani#Jury_duty attend jury duty]] in 1999.
** In 1986, Leto is a member of the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guardian_Angels Guardian Angels]].
** When the police commissioner calls in the National Guard to keep order in a peace rally, Mitchell references "[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kent_State_shootings Kent State]]."
** An attempted assassin references the biblical king [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uzziah Uzziah]], a prideful maker of machines.
** When Mitchell contemplates legalizing marijuana in New York City, the police commissioner references the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Guardia_Committee La Guardia Committee]], which debunked many marijuana myths in the 1940s.
** Mitchell mentions tangling with Jack Pherson at [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fresh_Kills_Landfill Fresh Kills]].
** Mitchell complains that his staff leaked information to "[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WINS_(AM) 1010 Wins]]," a New York City news radio station.
** The NYC mayor's residence [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gracie_Mansion Gracie Mansion]] gets a lot of focus.
** Mitchell visits the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vatican_Observatory Vatican Observatory]] and discusses the history of the Catholic Church's relationship with astronomy, including how a [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Lema%C3%AEtre Catholic priest]] originated the Big Bang theory.
** Monica says that she climbed the "Magic Line" in Yosemite National Park without equipment to establish how capable she is. This is a real climbing route that has only been successfully climbed once, with preplaced equipment.
** When discussing a surge in rat attacks, Hundred's staff references the rat floods of [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mautam Mautam]].
** The [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beach_Pneumatic_Transit Beach Pneumatic Transit]] plays a part in the plot.
** The [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ann_Street_(Manhattan) 1979 rat attack on Ann Street]] is given as a precedent for the unusual rat attacks happening around the city.
** Kremlin tells Mrs. Hundred that Ted Kennedy would never be president because he [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chappaquiddick_incident didn't go back for the girl]].
** Travelers from other dimensions mention [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brane branes]], a concept from string theory related to higher dimensions.
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism: Constantly played with throughout the series, before hitting hard on [[spoiler:the cynical side of things in the ending.]]
* SpeaksFluentAnimal: [[spoiler:Jack Pherson, as the wielder of the "Purple"]].
* SpringtimeForHitler The Lincoln Painting in the first arc.
* StalkerWithACrush / VillainousCrush: Trouble.
* StalkerWithoutACrush: Kremlin sees the Great Machine as Mitchell's true calling, and resents him trading it for being "just another cog". As the series progresses, his obsession grows to the point that he [[spoiler: tries to sabotage Mitchell's career]], all out of the belief that he knows what's best for Mitchell better than Mitchell himself.
* StartOfDarkness: A two-issue bonus series shows how Jack Pherson got his powers as well as how he ultimately died.
* StraightGay: [[spoiler: Bradbury is a manly man, but also gay]].
* StrawmanPolitical: Notable in its aversion. As with Vaughan's other work, such as ''ComicBook/YTheLastMan'', no point of view is reduced to a strawman. While Mitchell expresses strong support of his own agenda, it's interesting that some topics, such as school vouchers, receive such a spirited argument against Mitchell's views that the character doesn't always seem to be speaking Vaughan's personal beliefs.
* StylisticSuck: The dialogue in Harris' sample drawings is cheesy. He's an artist, not a writer, after all.
* {{Sucksessor}}: Automaton. [[spoiler: Leto is a loser and mentally disturbed]].
* SuperStrength: [[spoiler:Suzanne Padilla]] gives herself super strength with the white voice.
* SurrogateSoliloquy:
** At first the fireman killer seems to be telling his philosophy to a lover, until it's revealed that he's speaking to the oxygen tank that he uses to masturbate.
** In the BookEnds, Hundred tells his life story to his jetpack.
* TalkingIsAFreeAction: Parodied in Mitchell's training exercise. The fight scene is filled with expository dialogue and {{Bond One Liner}}s. Afterwards, Kremlin chastises Mitchell for taking the time to spout witticisms rather than finish the fight.
* TechnicalPacifist: Mitchell.
* TechnologyLevels: Played with. Mitchell takes an arrow from a would-be assassin, [[WhatAnIdiot after trying unsuccessfully to "jam" it]]. His powers apparently have limits.
* {{Technopath}}: Mitchell can not only hear machines "talking," he can command them to do things. However, certain types of machines are less receptive to his commands.
* TeethClenchedTeamwork: Kremlin and January are trying to end Mitchell's political career, but they're prone to squabbling because of their vastly different larger goals: January wants Mitchell to suffer, while Kremlin wants Mitchell to return to crimefighting.
* ThereIsAnother: Two of the first few story arcs feature this as a plot point. It turns out that [[spoiler: Connie Georges]] and [[spoiler: Easy Benson]] can both control machines too, but neither of them can control their powers as well as Mitch can, and their powers end up driving them insane. There's also the revelation that Mitch's old enemy Jack Pherson was another man who got "speech powers", though he controlled animals instead of machines.
* ToastedBuns: Mitchell's jetpack can cause this.
* TurnedAgainstTheirMasters: It's shown that machines have no qualms about lying to Mitchell, especially about the presence of any hypothetical bullets in any hypothetical chambers.
* UltimateEvil: [[spoiler: The Makers]].
* TheWarOnTerror: Alluded to. Mitchell states that he is "strong on defense," which, in spite of his liberal social views, estranges him from the Democratic party.
* WeCanRuleTogether: Jack Pherson originally wanted to join forces with Mitchell, but Mitchell had nothing of it.
* WeekendInventor: Mitchell makes things he sees in his dreams.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: After getting the violet voice, Jack Pherson can "hear" animals and takes this to mean that all animals are sentient creatures. He feels morally obligated to "liberate" them from humanity. Hundred is only immune to this line of reasoning because the things he hears are machines, which are obviously not intelligent.
* WhamEpisode: The last issue, in which [[spoiler:Mitchell reveals that he's been less than moral all along and takes a solid step over the line into villainy. The threat of the Makers is implied to still be present]].
* WhamLine: [[spoiler:"I'm a politician. I lie." Hundred reveals that he's been playing even his closest friends for fools]].
* WhatTheHellHero: Mitchell gets a lot of them, including criticism of the collateral damage he causes while fighting crime as the Great Machine as well as his various mayoral actions. It all leads up to [[spoiler:Mitchell turning full villain in the end]].
* WouldHitAGirl: After getting extorted for a kiss, Hundred cold-cocks Monica in the face. As she lays bloody and unconscious on the ground, he calls for a medic... for his hand.
* WhoNamesTheirKidDude: People comment on the names of Journal and January.
* WritersSuck: Harris and January talk about how all comic writers do is "put words in the bubbles," but get credited first because "it's political."
* YourHeadAsplode: [[spoiler:Suzanne crushes Mrs. Hundred's head so violently that it explodes]].
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