By: Joe Benitez (writer and artist), Peter Steigerwald (colors), John Reed (letters) & Vince Hernandez (editor)
The Story: We are introduced to Lady Mechanika, a half-human, half-mechanical woman who is trying to learn about her past.
What’s Good: This issue was really good all over. The story mostly just lays the groundwork. We are introduced to Mechanika: The City of Tomorrow. Mechanika is kind of a steam-punk metropolis in Britain during the late 1800’s. I guess the story said it was in the “British Commonwealth”, but that is picking nits. We pick up the story by seeing a teenage girl who is half-human/half-mechanical running from some goons who work for a nefarious (and nameless) overboss. She gets away and finds her way to Mechanika where we meet Lady Mechanika herself. Lady Mechanika is a kind of noir-ish adventure heroine who is half-mechanical herself. Although she goes on adventures to kill werewolves and the like, she is mostly driven to find out who made her the way she is and why. Naturally, this will bring her into conflict with the nameless overboss, but that will be a story for a later issue.
Benitez walks the tightrope of giving us just enough information to keep the issue interesting while not telling us the whole story and he does it well. There is a lot of mystery here and you want to learn more, not only about the Lady, but about the world she lives in.
The art is very impressive and uses a nice blend of styles. Mechanika herself is foxy in a Lara Croft kind of way. Cute, but able to kick ass and she is drawn in a mostly realistic style whereas other characters are more cartoonish. Benitez’s linework is very detailed and tight and he doesn’t skimp on the backgrounds. It is a very professional looking comic book. Steigerwald gives everything a very moody and somber tone that is interrupted by brilliant reds and blues here and there. I love this effect and it must be difficult to pull off or we would see it more often. Even the lettering is artful and professional. Bravo!
What’s Not So Good: Only one rock to throw…. At one point we meet a bad lady by the name of Commander Winter. She is drawn in a very striking way with the brilliant shock of red hair against the gray background. That part is great, but her right thigh is enormous. It’s almost like a line got missed or perhaps erased during the coloring, but it looks weird and drew my eye on an otherwise great looking page.
But, if that’s the only flaw I could really find in this issue, it tells you that the quality is quite high.
Conclusion: Nothing to not like here. We have a good story with a mysterious hook, steampunk atmospherics and great art. Give it a try.