[[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]].

----
!!Tropes:

* AnotherDimension: [[spoiler: Source of Mitchell's powers]]
* 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 "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 [[spoiler: the title of a Music/{{Nirvana}} song released 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.
* {{Asexuality}}: One interpretation about why Hundred doesn't pursue anyone of either gender.
* 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
* 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. 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.
* BodyguardCrush: [[spoiler:The final issue reveals that Bradbury has been in love with Mitchell]].
* 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.]]
* ComboPlatterPowers: [[spoiler: Suzanne]] receives super strength, flight and CompellingVoice.
* 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: Just as Mitchell is telling his mother that the gun he confiscated from the local hick sheriff wasn't loaded, it goes off. It drives her point home.
* CosmicHorrorStory: [[spoiler:The invaders from the other dimension seen in Hundred's dream are basically cosmic horrors, though it's unclear whether this is just a nightmare or a real vision]].
* 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]].
* 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 Phearson tries to use this logic to recruit the commissioner to help him fight Hundred. It doesn't work.
* 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]].
* FailureKnight
** [[spoiler: 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.
* 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.]]
* GilliganCut: Used frequently. In one instance, Hundred is described as a gentle soul. The next panel has Hundred angrily swearing about someone.
* 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]].
* 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.
* 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.]]
* 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 which 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.
* MindControl: [[spoiler: The White gives Suzanne this power, and this is possibly how Mitchell won the election through the White Box.]]
* MundaneUtility: Frequently. Mitchell describes using his powers to change TV channels while holding the remote as a "new low in sloth."
* 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: While the Police Commissioner is walking from her gym, the Great Machine grabs her and takes her to a rooftop to talk. She reaches inside the bag and he says he could make her gun jam. Then she pulls out a baton. He has enough time for an OhCrap before she hits him in the head.
* 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.
* SecretIdentity: Mitchell went public when he ran for mayor. However, most of his abilities are still secret, as a matter of national security.
* ShownTheirWork: Vaughan, as a matter of style, peppers his dialogue with quotes and references to a wide variety of subjects, from popular to very obscure. He also goes out of his way to debunk a number of urban legends and common misconceptions. The obscurity of his references is occasionally lampshaded.
* 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.]]
* 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.
* StraightGay: [[spoiler: Bradbury]]
* 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.
* Sucksessor: Automaton. [[spoiler: Leon is a loser and mentally disturbed]].
* 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.
* 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
* 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: At least Mitchell has friends with fire extinguishers
* 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]]
* UnwinnableTrainingSimulation
* 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.
* VicePresidentWho: [[spoiler:Mitchell, at the end of the series.]]
* WeekendInventor: Mitchell.
* WhamEpisode: The last issue, in which [[spoiler:Mitchell's character takes a sharp turn into villainy, and the threat of the Makers is implied to still be present]].
----