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review 2017-08-19 21:36
Lady Mechanika - Vol. 1
Lady Mechanika, Volume 1: The Mystery of the Mechanical Corpse - Joe Benitez

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]

Set in an alternate Victorian (circa 1879) England, this comics deals with Lady Mechanika, a private investigator/adventuress whose limbs are actually mechanical, and who’d like nothing more than to find out who made her like that and where she comes from; all the while being pitted against the sinister Blackpool Armaments Co. and both its shady employer and soldiers. In this arc, Mechanika investigates the death of a mysterious young woman with mechanical arms similar to her own, only to realise that a lot more players are involved, including Commander Winter and a circus full of characters each with their own secrets.

The drawing style itself is, in general, well-balanced and elegant, and the colours match the mood of the various panels and situations. It’s probably a little overkill on the steampunk aesthetics (in that at some point, there’s going to be a lot of leather and corsets and goggles on top hats etc.), so depending on one’s mood about that, it may not be a selling point. On the other hand, there’s a lot of attention to details, which makes it a joy to look for those in panels, and even if they’re of the, well, aesthetic persuasion in spite of usefulness, there’s plenty to keep your eyes busy. (I usually tends to like steampunk aesthetics, so count me in the second category, even though I tend to criticise lightly. ^^)

Not bonus points on the boobs, though, and some of the extreme ‘female body poses’ that I see in a lot of comics. Eye candy and all that, I get it. It’s just... it detracts from the overall badassness of the characters. (And large boobs are seriously not convenient, especially since they easily hurt during stunts. Whatever.)

The characters as a lot were likeable enough: from Mechanika herself, with her doubts but also her resourcefulness and her desire to do what’s right, to Lewis the inventor whose bottle problems hint at dark events in his past. And the little Alexandra, with her gimmick ‘you’re an impostor’atttitude, which made her quibs with Mechanika quite funny—apparently some authors in the comics write stories about M, and the kid thinks these are the truth. There seems to be a current of underlying relationships that beg to be developed in later issues, creating a sense of an over-plot that will be gradually revealed (which I sure hope will happen in later issues because if it doesn’t, I’ll be disappointed). So far I’m not too happy with the two enemy women apparently becoming enemies because of a man (as it’s a pretty boring reason), but it may still turn out to be something slightly different, so we’ll see. I could do with a little less wordiness, though—it doesn’t fare too well in some panels, making pages difficult to focus on—yet I’m also torn about that because some of that dialogue was of the banter kind, and I think this fits well with Victorian/steampunk themes in general.

Conclusion: 3.5 stars, going on 4.Quite an enjoyable comics in spite of the (typical?) eye-candy. I still liked the artwork and additional covers no matter what, as well as the story and its slight cliffhanger/ominous tones at the end.

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review 2017-04-14 08:00
The Tablet Of Destinies
Lady Mechanika Volume 2: The Tablet of Destinies - Mike Garcia,Ben M. Chen

This second volume was even better than the first! The artwork, as I'd come to expect after the first volume, was still great. It is amazing and really one of the best things about this comic. I liked this story better than the first, even though it is not that original (typical ancient treasure kind of thing). Still it was a pleasure to read. There is still a lot of text on some pages, but I had the feeling it was slightly less this time. Lady Mechanika makes a really nice lead in this steampunk comic.

Looking forward to more!

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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review 2017-04-13 08:00
The Mystery Of The Mechanical Corpse
Lady Mechanika, Volume 1: The Mystery of the Mechanical Corpse - Joe Benitez

The art is what drew me to Lady Mechanika at first. It's really colorful and nice, for me it adds a lot to the comic. Lady Mechanika herself is also an interesting characters, as she herself is trying to figure out her past as much as the reader, who at the beginning is still completely in the dark. My only complaints would be that the story was sometimes a bit hard to follow, and that I thought some pages were very dense with text for a comic book.

I admit I haven't read a great deal of Steampunk comics before, but this would definitely rank high among them. Looking forward to the next volume!

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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review 2017-02-27 11:26
Wraithborn
Wraithborn - Marcia Chen,Joe Benitez

[I received an e-copy of this comics through NetGalley.]

This first volume collects issues 1 to 6 of the 'Redux edition. Most of the book is actually a flashback (explaing what led to the events of the first pages), but reads as a full story nonetheless. It introduces us to the main characters of 'Wraithborn', starting with Melanie, a normal and shy teenager who only wants to go through high school life relatively unscathed and unbullied, and thus does her best to remain invisible and not attracted unwanted attention. Only that's what she does when she accidentally receives the power of the Wraithborn, intended for another, and finds herself pursued by an antagonist who wants nothing more than this power for herself.

I found the art in general fairly good, with dynamic action scenes and vibrant colours, although (as often in such cases) the women's clothing is nothing too practical, and Melanie's features seemed maybe too... mature? Including when she's still a clueless teenager. So at first I thought she was more like 25 instead of 15, which felt a bit weird.

Some characters were likeable, like Zoe, with her weird fashion sense and the way she helps Melanie. Mel herself was more subdued, so it took me more time to warm up to her. Val... well, I still kind of wonder if he's going to tell Mel the truth, or if he'll do the not-so-nice thing. Could go either way. He didn't act like the vindicative, jealous type he could've been, all circumstances considered, so bonus point.

The story itself was interesting enough, albeit not too original compared to other works with similar themes. The villains are ruthless, the heroes may or may not be set up for betrayal later by those they trust most, and there's the lingering mystery of why the original 'carrier' of the Wraithborn was outside, instead of preparing for the ceremony (and therefore had to give his power to the first passer-by who happened to be around): either there's something fishy here or it was a plot hole, and I really hope it's the former... but, of course, this is the kind of information that is likely to be revealed only later.

Conclusion: I may pick the next volume in ebook, but probably not in paper version.

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text 2016-07-12 22:06
My Introduction to Comics
Lady Mechanika #0 - Joe Benitez

I've always found the idea of broaching the Comics/Graphic Novels genre as daunting.  There are so many options and I know so little about any of them.  But the other day, my husband and I were out on a quest.  A quest to find expansion card packs for Munchkin.  Does anyone know this card game?  ADDICTIVE.  Our search drove us to new-to-us local comic shops.  As I eyed the rows of comics on my way to the back of the first store, I found I could hold out no longer.  In particular, this comic caught my eye.  I bought the first three in the series.  Dark and steampunk and paranormal?  Yes, please.  Can't wait to run through these.  The artwork is gorgeous. 

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