‘The murder of a former colleague forces Lady Mechanika’s associate Mr. Lewis to confront the ghosts of his past. But will the incidents in the present haunt is future forever – as well as Lady Mechanika’s?’
Written by: Joe Benitez & M. M. Chen
Art by: Joe Benitez (pencils), Martin Montiel (pencils), Beth Sotelo (colours)
Publisher: Benitez Productions
Released: 5 July 2017
I first came across the Lady Mechanika series in 2015 when I grabbed a prelude issue #0 as a free edition (with Benitez alone on all counts as creator/writer/artist). It had good artwork and an engaging plot and characters – including an ass-kicking yet compassionate cyborg lead – but it also had a case of ‘Amazing Anti-Grav Tits.’ Interesting overall, but a little too much eye-rolling (that’s one of my criteria for evaluating something, how often I end up rolling my eyes at a plot point/stereotype/trope/costuming etc.) at the lead’s rampant bustiness to keep me going. With an opportunity to give it a second chance, and some just as engaging pages at first glance, I’m taking another look.
The artwork is lovely. Series creator Benitez is a professional and the slick style shows. The steampunk setting is in full force, and the decorative touches make it immersive. Something that the main series incorporated at some point that continues here is decorative clockwork panel edging in many places. The linework is also a little softer, likely due to using just pencils and a colourist with no inker, and the effect suits it well considering the great work on all fronts there. Even the steampunk Victoriana clothing, with its layers, ruffles, leather, and multitude of buckles, is drawn in amazing detail. There’s an excellent amount of detail to the steampunk theme overall in the costuming and settings that make this a treat, and with more female characters comes a bit less focus on the AAGTs.
As this is the start of a miniseries within a series that’s already four volumes in, the characters are already established; but despite several side characters being introduced early on alongside the mains, the plot’s easy to follow. It’s a murder mystery involving shady industrialists, dark pasts, and unknown assassins, promising some intriguing plot twists as it goes. Violence is obviously included in a tale of assassination, though so far relatively discrete with minimal blood and shadowed slicing outside of some punching. I know the series has flirted with goriness before so I don’t know how red this story will get as it runs its course. The characterization is displayed well through costuming and dialogue, giving a good sense of personality to characters early. Basically, despite including some unavoidable expositiony conversations, the writing’s good, and I think the complete story will be good too. Hopefully there’s not too much bustiness once it’s complete either – in the extras at the end of the 2015 #0 Benitez said “I love drawing strong, sexy female characters” but I’d love a bit less focus on the ‘sexy’ part since it tends to be the priority for female characters as standard. The ‘strong’ shines through though, and the combination of character cast, setting, and plots help stop any of them becoming clichéd.
Lady Mechanika is definitely a definer of the steampunk genre, and this miniseries is no different. Even just going on the first issue of The Clockwork Assassin I’d recommend it as a good jumping-on point for the series as a whole, whether you’re a fan of the genre, mysteries, action, or ass-kicking yet compassionate cyborg leads.
Thanks to Comixology.com for supplying ‘Lady Mechanika: The Clockwork Assassin #1’ for review.