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It’s finally here. The final volume of Brian K. Vaughan’s epic story about a superhero turned New York City mayor. It is with great joy and sadness that I read this volume. Joy, because I stopped reading the single issues back in the 30s and this is the first time I got to read these issues. Sadness, because as far as I know this is BKV’s last work in comics. I’m not sure what the guy is doing or what the future might hold for him, but count me in! I guess all I have to say is: Happy endings are bullshit!
If you have no idea what the book is about here is a quick recap: The story focuses on the life of Mitchell Hundred, who is the world’s only superhero (well for the time). Following an explosion of a device attached to the Brooklyn Bridge, Mitchell Hundred found himself able to hear, understand, and control all technology. He was known as the Great Machine and he also happens to be the current mayor of New York City after the events of 9/11. Vaughn uses the interruption technique of current events through a series of flashbacks telling of his days as The Great Machine.
We start this volume with a plague of vermin that threatens Times Square as New Year’s Eve 2004 approaches. Mitchell proposes some controversial measures to balance the City budget and improve public school graduation rate. background into Mitchell’s past and get teased a little about how he got his powers. It was an interesting way that Harris and Vaughan get written into the story and almost reminded me of Grant Morrison’s run in Animal Man. There were a few great scenes in this book, but the one that stands out the most to me was Mitchell’s final encounter with Kremlin. Mitchell is interrupted from a presidential campaign stop by a sudden text message from Kremlin, he returns to New York. Kremlin threatens to reveal evidence that Mitchell fixed the first vote that elected him as mayor of New York to intimidate him into returning to the life of a costumed crime fighter. Eventually in the volume we do find out why Mitchell got his powers and how his nemesis came back from the dead. As it turns out the same powers that be that were responsible of Mitchell’s abilities are also causing a threat to the planet. However, we may never know if Mitchell made the right decision or is keeping humanity safe from anything at all. Most of the loose ends get wrapped up by the finale, but I will warn you: This is definitely not a happy ending.
Well, with the final volume comes the rest of the covers we didn’t get in volume 4 and in addition to that, we get the covers to the Deluxe editions. Now, how is that for service? That was my main gripe about the Hardcover collections and now it seems that DC has answered our pleas. What can I say about Tony Harris? He was fantastic on Starman, but his art is unparalleled in this series. Mettler’s use of color is fantastic and the book is printed on good quality paper that showcases it well and makes it more vibrant. The artists achieve the level of painstaking detail they create through acting certain scenes out physically before drawing. The book is hyper realistic and thought provoking. It’s tightly plotted, has well thought out dialogue with nods to pop culture, and it moves in a classic fast pace style that Vaughan is notorious for. It’s not a book for everyone. If you are picking up the book and hoping to find Superman, Batman, Iron Man or Green Lantern kind of stories; well you might be disappointed. However if you want some political drama with just the right amount of super heroics, well look no further. B