Monday, August 26, 2013

Comic offers cosmic redefinition of machine politics

Readers of this blog know of my interest in cultural manifestations of term limits as well as the political ones. Usually these show up in novels.

Our sighting today is a comic book -- er, I mean graphic novel -- published by DC Comics under its Wildstrom imprint. Ex Machina is a series that ran from 2004-2010 and tells the story of Mitchell Hundred, formerly a superhero called the Great Machine and currently the mayor of New York. Gathered into a 10-volume book format, the final edition is titled, that's right, Term Limits.

This is a well-written (Brian K. Vaughan) and illustrated (Tony Harris) series that is infused with informed politics and avoids clumsy advocacy. The title refers not so much to the reform championed by this blog, but instead to the final days of  Mitchell Hundred in office.

It is also a sly slap to real world Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who had the New York City council nullify voter-approved term limits to stay in office for a third term. Hundred, by contrast, lives up to a self-imposed term limit and is voluntarily relinquishing office.
Brian K. Vaughan
Vaughan is quoted by Wikipedia as saying the comic was "born out of my anger with what passes for our current political leadership on both sides of the aisle."

But don't worry, the comic also includes people with super powers, aliens who wish to destroy all human life on earth and ray guns that open portals to hell. It is first and foremost a comic and a good one.