Saturday, March 14, 2009

Ex Machina Special #4

Written by Brian K. Vaughan
Art by John Paul Leon

So I really admire the way Vaughan has basically written this one-shot issue of Ex Machina to call out the comics industry, and DC in particular, for their use of paper. The story is about a gardener who murders a newspaper publisher after he has a confrontation with Hundred over the mayor's environmental policies.

There is some hinting that this Gardener character, who can communicate with plants, has a link to Hundred, the other character who speaks to animals, and the strange intimations of a parallel world that keep showing up in the series. And of course, he's linked to Hundred's past as the Great Machine, as are all new plot developments in this series.

That alone makes for a good comic, but it's the sniping at the comic industry, and its "virgin paper going into virgin hands that tuck them away into poisonous plastic. Forever." Later, Hundred talks about how he has pressured the newspapers in NYC to convert to recycled paper, but has done nothing about the comic industry. He also refers to the need for comics to be using paper stock 'certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, not the logging industry's shills," which is, of course, is a comment on DC's recent decision to use paper certified by questionable means.

It amuses me that DC published this form of self-criticism. At the same time, it's Wildstorm, and they seem to have a lot of freedom (mostly because no one reads them).

This book made a nice companion to The Amazon published by Dark Horse this week.

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