Thursday, 16 December 2010

New Beginnings - Lady Mechanika #1

Lady Mechanika is the comic offspring of Sleepy Hollow wining and dining Steamboy then embarking on an illicit affair.

Set in the turn of the century, Lady Mechanika is Joe Benitez’s newest creation to fill the appetites of steampunk fans everywhere. Not only created, but written and drawn by Benitez; you can feel the heart and organs in the issue, not just the blood, sweat and tears that have gone into the pages.

The story opens with an unknown character on the run from well armed assailants who have only one thing on their minds - capture, dead or alive. All the way through there is an internal monologue, adding to the tense nature and state of confusion being suffered. Her pursuit leads us to the city of Mechanika much to the annoyance of a somewhat stereotyped Nazi-esque bad girl.

Our strangers’ arrival in the city sparks a lot of interest, including that of our heroine, who all want to know more. Lady Mechanika's own past appears to echo this new situation, though sadly I missed the zero issue that elaborated on this.

Mechanika herself was apparently found in an amnesiac state amongst a plethora of bodies, parts and corpses having also had her limbs removed and replaced with mechanical ones. Understandably she wants to find out more about this new stray and potentially her own background as well - and thus begins “Lady Mechanika in the Mystery of the Mechanical Corpse”, almost like the opening of a blockbuster film. Did I mention that she’s a private detective too?

There are plenty of clichés and casual conveniences throughout, but the occasional cheese is so easily forgotten because it is simply beautiful, new and different. As an indy comic it doesn’t need to conform to the conventions of Marvel or DC and I’m glad it hasn’t even tried. Not being part of the norm means that it can appeal to its own specific audience and not simply the masses, or have to be 'appropriate' for all comers.

The art work is pin up and risqué, with some great line work and the colouring is suitably muted creating a fantastic mood. In fact the only the only brightness is used to highlight the innocence of youth in one character. A lovely touch in itself.

My advice is forget the need for mainstream. Go out, visit Proud Lion, smile and ask Ben nicely to let you buy this (and order issue zero at the same time). Then smile childishly all the way home and treat yourself to this comic. It is and will be worth it and not just for the recipes in the back! Yes, you read that correctly - recipes!

Matt Puddy is risqué baker. 'Nuff said.

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