Lady Mechanika #4: The Case of the Mechanical Corpse Comic Review

GameStop, Inc.

I have always been a picky person. Picky with my movies, quality of food, and comic books. What I really love is how Joe Benitez has come out with issue #4 of Lady Mechanika and the Mystery of the Mechanical Corpse.

A brief overview of Lady Mechanika is that she is a steampunk cyborg. Her torso is of flesh, but she has metal components of her arms and at least parts of her head. She is a legend in her own right of kick-assery, where she employs different steam-powered means along with mythologically-based weapons that she uses against famous enemies of hers: Commander Katherine Winter (one-eyed mercenary) and weapons manufacturer Lord Blackpool. She has no memory of her former life, but has self-employed herself as a private detective. Her demeanor is elegant and her mannerisms are most Sherlockian. Plus, she was found in a storage unit full of body parts and mechanical items – how BADASS is that?

I’m especially in love with the dialogue and the character design. The airship in this issue and character design are so unbelievably Benitez – remember his work from the Darkness and DC Comics?

Lady Mechanika by Joe Benitez

The Lovely Lady Mechanika

Yeah, that guy. I’ve had a few conversations with him during his development of Lady Mechanika and we’ve discussed as artists on the basis of character design and development. He did mention that he did pattern parts of Mechanika’s physique after Selene’s in the Underworld movies. Looking at some of the mechanic and automated parts of limbs and apparatuses in the comic– there is some influence of anime : Grey: Digital Target and Outlanders. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if some Warhammer made it in a little bit.

However, I digress. He does not disappoint with storyline and visual organization. Also, how he chooses and frames his panels well. The designs of Blackpool fascinate me along with his mechanical jaw and down to the details of Mechanika’s outfit. The dialogue is also carefully chosen. Benitez also takes care to DIFFERENTIATE the dialogue between social classes. In the portrayal of Mechanika’s sidekick, Mr. Lewis – his is more framed as a Cockney accent where Mechanika speaks of more of a formal highborn English dialogue.

The newest development in this series is that Mechanika must go and infiltrate Lord Blackpool’s airship to investigate the disappearance of a circus performer girl named Seraphina whose blood is the mystery in question, which is disclosed by her father Gitano, the knife juggler. She had apparently run away with her boyfriend Angelo, but it is soon proven that is in more than imminent danger when the couple left with an apparent circus rival who turns out to be the very dangerous Commander Winter.

As a result, Mechanika must go and infiltrate the highly elite masquerade party that Blackpool has run to “ooh” and “ahh” Mechanika city. Mechanika gets in with a simple elegance and not much fuss. She even is clever enough to bring eye pieces to masquerade her coal-black and red-tinged eyes with blue ones. Plus, she likes cats. I find that adorable. Little touches like that I do appreciate in a story and that can be missing.

I’m also going to rave about the impressiveness of the gown in the masquerade ball. How Benitez shows Mechanika in her “borrowed” gown and mask, I don’t know what books he looks at but his careful attention to detail is what I’ve come to appreciate about this artist. Sometimes what I see lacking in comics is not necessarily bad art or lines – but mostly the sameness of the overall costume and fashion design. Some might think that’s trivial, but to follow body lines and appreciate costume design and fashion are missing a lot sometimes. We get caught up so much in the “costume” that we don’t really notice that how it could fit with the body lines other than skintight – but what attention to what that character pays to their garb plus intent. This is a character for goodness sake – make them as real as possible. Of course they’re going to care about how they appear to the world as it is a reflection of their personality.

I don’t want to ruin the story as it’s going to hit the stands soon, and it will be available at the same price at his Artist Alley Booth II-06 for SDCC. It will be available at the online webstore same-day.

Anytime Costumes

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