After six months, Aspen is finally ready for the release of the second issue of Lady Mechanika. The question is, was it worth the wait? We reviewed the book early to help you determine whether or not you want to purchase this issue. Also, be sure to check out six exclusive preview pages of Lady Mechanika #2 below!
Lady Mechanika makes her return with the self-titled second issue of Lady Mechanika, a steam punk tale published by Aspen MLT. More than anything, Joe Benitez is known for his incredible artistic ability. Benitez has an unparalleled and incredibly unique style -- one that is rivaled by many artists and his work on the second issue of Lady Mechanika is, without question, breathtaking.== TEASER ==
It's obvious that more than anything Benitez strives to ensure that the art is perfect, and while his Lady Mechanika may not be a realistic interpretation of the female anatomy, she's certainly nice to look at. Benitez is also setting up Lady Mechanika's adversary to be a very elusive and mysterious character, something that will definitely keep the reader interested.
Unfortunately, the second issue of Lady Mechanika is lacking some structure. Following a six month hiatus you would think that the writer would include a preface that would catch the reader up on the events that took place in the previous issue. This is something that many publishers do very briefly by adding a blurb to give the reader some context. Benitez chose instead to include some relatively obscure narration which does not (at least at first) aid in the understanding of the story's events.
There is a scene within the first few pages of the issue where we are re-introduced to a character who appeared briefly in the first issue. A discussion ensues between Lady Mechanika and this other woman and the two prepare to spar -- yet, that's where it ends. This scene would have been a perfect opportunity for the artist to display Lady Mechanika's unparalleled physical abilities as a fighter and heroine. If she is the best gunslinger in all of England, I would have liked to see that. Her amazing abilities are only spoken about and (unfortunately) take place entirely off panel. While this issue is definitely very pretty, it still doesn't compare to the many scenes we saw meticulously illustrated in the previous issue. Benitez went with a lot of pretty pin-up poses instead of fully detailing the backdrop of his panels.
Is it worth your $2.99? I think it's safe to say that Lady Mechanika is a property that definitely piqued the interest of many comic fans because it is indeed so different from so much of what we see out in the market today. Joe Benitez's attention to detail might also be his greatest curse, and his struggle for perfection might lead him to lose fans if issues continue to be released once every six months. So has the book lost it's steam? Unfortunately, yes. This second issue did not feel cohesive to the previous issue; probably partially because the reader isn't reintroduced to the story's characters and events -- they are just thrown into it.
The reader is also very briefly introduced to a new set of characters; something that happens very quickly toward the end of the book. This introduction happens too fast and feels erratic, almost out of place from the rest of the story. A little bit of dialogue explaining what is happening would have been beneficial in these scenes. It's still gorgeous, I can't deny that. So to answer the previous question about whether or not this book is worth the purchase, I say yes. It's certainly different from any other title in our highly over-saturated superhero market, and it's a property that, I believe, holds a lot of promise. It's still an interesting story and the mysteriousness of the Lady is certainly a characteristic that will make you want to continue reading. My only advice to the writer would be to be more clear. Remind the reader of what's going on, add narrative that will make the transitions from one scene to the next less jarring, and maybe get a little help getting this book out sooner and on a more consistent basis.
Lady Mechanika is created, written and penciled by Joe Benitez, colored by Peter Steigerwald and lettered by Josh Reed. If you are interested in purchasing this issue, make sure to order the book at your local comic shop. Lady Mechanika #2 hits stores on July 13th, 2011.
You can read our review of the first issue here.