Ex Machina was created by Brian K. Vaughan, the Eisner Award-winning brain behind series such as Y: The Last Man and 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 Super Hero, "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 flashbacks to his superhero days.The series wrapped up with the planned 50 issues in 2010.
Also, midway through the series it's revealed that other universes exist, with technological Eldritch Abominations 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 American Idol and The Other Wiki still exist. That universe is later revealed to have been subsequently conquered, with an allusion made to the extermination of its native human population.
Asexuality: One interpretation about why Hundred doesn't pursue anyone of either gender.
Author Filibuster: 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.
Bat Signal: Poked at when Angotti puts a gear symbol on a searchlight, but Mitchell doesn't see it.
Because Destiny Says So: 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.
Blessed with Suck: 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 extradimensional invaders who want to eradicate humanity.
Bodyguard Crush: The final issue reveals that Bradbury has been in love with Mitchell.
Convenient Misfire: 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.
Cosmic Horror Story: 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.
Different World, Different Movies: One of the first clues that the green devise is from another dimension is when it sends a broadcast of a Beatles song that never existed. There is, however, a lot of crossover with some other dimensions
Downer Ending: It's implied in the final issue that Hundred rigged his own election to get elected. He then turns his back on Bradbury and kills Kremlin to protect his political career. The sudden descent into 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.
Empty Shell: Mitchell at the end. He's Lonely At The Top as the Vice Presidential candidate, has driven off or otherwise lost everyone who was close to him, committed murder, and is haunted by the thought that the invaders will try again.
Enemy Of My Enemy: Jack Phearson tries to use this logic to recruit the commissioner to help him fight Hundred. It doesn't work.
Evil Me Scares Me: Hundred is confronted in a dream by evil versions of himself from other dimensions.
Face-Heel Turn: In the very end, Hundred coldly turns his back on Bradbury and straight-up murders Kremlin to protect his political career.
How Mitchell feels about only diverting one of the 767 on Sept 11.
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.
Fallen Hero: 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.
Gilligan Cut: Used frequently. In one instance, Hundred is described as a gentle soul. The next panel has Hundred angrily swearing about someone.
Gorn: Lots of characters both minor and major die horribly gruesome deaths, and the artist is not shy about showing them off.
Government Procedural: Much of Mitchell's day-to-day life is political minutiae, minutiae well executed according to the editors of Law and the Multiverse.
The Handler: An NSA cryptologist is assigned to be Mitchell's handler as his powers are regarded as a national secret. It doesn't work out well. Who knew keeping an alienartifact 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.
Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Author Avatars 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 fourth wall stuff like Grant Morrison.
Meaningful Name: 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.
Mundane Utility: Frequently. Mitchell describes using his powers to change TV channels while holding the remote as a "new low in sloth."
Only Six Faces: 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.
Psychic Nosebleed: Mitchell suffers these if he overexerts himself. It happened while redirecting the second plane, and when he had to communicate with the police from across town.
Reality Ensues: 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 Oh, Crap before she hits him in the head.
Secret Identity: Mitchell went public when he ran for mayor. However, most of his abilities are still secret, as a matter of national security.
Shown Their Work: 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 lampshades.
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 Nixon administration in the novel Jailbird by Kurt Vonnegut, and BKV is known to be a fan of Vonnegut's work.
Stalker Without a Crush: 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 tries to sabotage Mitchell's career, all out of the belief that he knows what's best for Mitchell better than Mitchell himself.
Strawman Political: Notable in its aversion. As with Vaughan's other work, such as Y: The Last Man, 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.
Surrogate Soliloquy: At first the fireman killer seems to be telling his philosophy to a lover, until it's revealed that he's speaking to the vacuum cleaner that he uses to masturbate.
Talking Is a Free Action: Parodied in Mitchell's training exercise. The fight scene is filled with expository dialogue and Bond One Liners. Afterwards, Kremlin chastises Mitchell for taking the time to spout witticisms rather than finish the fight.