Lady Mechanika 0 & 1
Lady Mechanika 0 & 1
Writer: Joe Benitez
Artist: Joe Benitez
Colorist: Peter Steigerwald
Letterer: Josh Reed
Cover Artists: Joe Benitez and Peter Steigerwald
Every now and then I like to try out a new comic when I’m at the comic shop. Typically it takes an artist or writer I know to get me to try something new, but sometimes I’ll grab something spur of the moment. Last week I saw a cover that looked totally steampunk. It was really close to Kanan, so I picked it up and took a peek at the artwork. The artwork looked really nice. Not knowing anything beyond that, I started digging in the stack of back issues to see how many I could get and ended up grabbing the first five issues. Thankfully Lady Mechanika did more than just catch my eye.
Lady Mechanika 0 & 1 happened to be bundled together in a special collected issue, which is really nice as it’s only $3.99. Unlike a lot of #0 issues, this one is a full fledged story. It introduces readers to the main character, Lady Mechanika, a heroine in a steampunk world who is out to unravel the mysteries of her past. Unlike normal people, she’s part machine, hence her name. She also doesn’t know how she came to be this way. She was rescued from a laboratory filled with corpses and body parts when she was only a child. The identity of her “maker” is a mystery. In issues #0 and #1, she pursues clues to her origins. Each story also sheds light on the world and the people who inhabitat. The setting is a fantastical 1870’s world of technology, top hats and corsets. It’s a mixture of old school and modern touches. It certainly captures the mystique of steampunk. Myself, I’m not crazy about steampunk, but I love imaginative worlds and characters, and this series captures both. Lady Mechanika proves to be an interesting and capable character. She’s more of an anti-hero than a straight up good guy as she’s not above meting out some justice when it’s well deserved.
In issue #0, readers get the story of “The Demon of Satan’s Alley”. In issue #, it’s “The Mystery of the Mechanical Corpse”. The artwork in both is top notch. The layouts of the panels are intelligently done, maximizing the artwork for two page sprawling spreads, yet dynamically squeezing in panels to simulate the action of the story. There’s tons of detail, beautifully crafted characters in their lavish outfits, and a nice touch of horror to add just a little bit of a creepy factor to the comic. Considering the artwork is what drew me in, I wasn’t let down.
Yet artwork is only half the battle with a comic, and with Lady Mechanika, Joe Benitez met the challenge of pouring out a great little story. Part of the fun is the balance between storylines. On one hand, there’s the current mission Lady Mechanika finds herself on in each issue, either finding the demon terrorizing the city or investigating the strange girl with mechanical hands like hers. Each story goes hand-in-hand with the greater plot thread: where did Lady Mechanika herself come from? Layered within those threads is the sinister Blackpool Armaments Co. and their secretive agenda to create living weapon machines, as well as the history and nature of the world itself. It all comes together in an imaginative setting with colorful, well written characters and beautiful artwork.
If you’re looking to try something new, I highly recommend checking this series out. Whether you’re a fan of steampunk or not, Lady Mechanika has something to offer. I give it a five out of five metal bikinis and look forward to reading the rest of the issues I picked up. If those turn out to be as good as these two, I’ll certainly be picking up more.
For those interesting in checking out Lady Mechanika #0, it’s available for free on Comixology.