Issa Book Review: Lady Mechanika by Joe Benítez

by: Tania Lasenburg


The tabloids dubbed her “Lady Mechanika,” the sole survivor of a mad scientist’s horrific experiments which left her with mechanical limbs. Having no memory of her captivity or her former life, Lady Mechanika eventually built a new life for herself as an adventurer and private investigator, using her unique abilities to solve cases the proper authorities couldn’t or wouldn’t handle. But she never stopped searching for the answers to her own past. 

Set in a fictionalized steampunk Victorian England, a time when magic and superstition clashed with new scientific discoveries and inventions, Lady Mechanika chronicles a young woman’s obsessive search for her identity as she investigates other mysteries involving science and the supernatural. –Goodreads

Before we get into the actual story, let’s take a moment to let the amazing artwork sink in.  Steampunk is such a delicate topic. You’re tying historical content with these fanatical technological designs that are advanced for the historical time period that the artist or writer chooses to focus on. The artwork within this graphic novel series is breathtaking. You get a quick moment of shock at how fantastic the artwork is before you begin to feel a sense of appreciation. Joe Benítez, the writer and artist, is detailed with his work. From the outfit changes to color coordination, the art stands out.

Now on to the story. There are different storylines to the Lady Mechanika series. You have the original, Lady Mechanika and then you have the branch out stories: La Dama de la Muerte, The Lost Boys of West Abbey and The Clockwork Assassin. What I have read and presented in this review is the original story.

For a lack of better term, Lady Mechanika is part detective and mostly demon/paranormal hunter. Although you are with her solving other cases, it is apparent that her past is almost if not completely connected to every case she works. Yes, this does sound like something you may have heard before but what puts this graphic novel apart from other similar stories is the action. Lady Mechanika kicks ass but is very reasonable about it.

Fighting isn’t her first go to. She tries to talk things out first because she knows that she can kill you and when looking for information, why would you want to do that. She isn’t naive but allows herself to get caught in her emotions or her side mission of finding out about her past. And that is what I like about her. If you read enough graphic novels or books, the women featured in it are either irrational, naive, allows her emotions to decide her next action or becomes smitten with love and forgets the point. Lady Mechanika is none of those things. Although sometimes her objective shifts, she makes sure she gets the job done with as little damage as possible.

The pace of the graphic novel is really good. There is a steady buildup; you are learning about her, her skills and pieces of her past but you are also seeing the fight, the grit and the development of surrounding characters.  But overall, the plot is complicated enough; where you do not feel the author is doing too much nor do you ever get the feeling the story line is too slow.

The volumes flow consistently, leaving you to want more; which is exactly what you want in any book.

Lady Mechanika is a recommend read.

  

*note: artwork can be found on http://www.joebenitez.com