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Steampunk is a genre that seems to be continuously rising in popularity. Steampunk has influenced games such as BioShock, movies like Wild Wild West and comics such as The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Comic artist and writer, Joe Benitez, mentioned that he was intrigued by the genre, and thus hurriedly went to work on his next creation.
Lady Mechanika is set in London, 1878. We are first shown a strong looking woman with a gun on a rooftop. She is listening in on her transceiver that some people have shot a demon; she then follows in hot pursuit. The woman fights the demon, only to find out it is a half mechanical creature and according to the “demon”, they share a past (the woman has no recollection of her own past). A man named Lord Blackpool is also after the creature, he wishes to make an “Age of The Machine”. It is revealed that the woman goes by the name of “Lady Mechanika” as she is half mechanical. Believing he can use her to his advantage, Lord Blackpool wishes to capture her.
As this is only an issue zero, not a lot happens. Fair enough though, as we are only supposed to get a preview into this world and be introduced to main characters and whatnot. But buying an issue zero, I feel slightly ripped off. The price is not much cheaper but the story is only half as long. Joe Benitez fills in the other pages with some notes and sketches, but it still feels lacking. This issue could easily have had a few extra pages and just been made into the first issue. The fact that an issue zero has four different covers seems a little over the top, although they all look very good.
Joe Benitez’s pacing for this issue seemed extremely rushed, but then again that may be because they are trying to compress a story and introduce characters and start a background story in fourteen pages. Within those fourteen pages, Benitez tried to jam all he could in, and that really shows. This slightly lowers the enjoyment of reading as the reader may feel overwhelmed with just too much to absorb.
Joe Benitez’s artwork on his characters is well done. He continues what he normally does for his female characters; busty and elegant but with a sense of feeling strong and confident, similar to his Weapon Zero work. His character work is amazing and detailed, diverting your eyes to each character thus taking in this artwork. A lot of the panels have a lack of a background; maybe too many, giving a feeling that this comic may have been rushed to have it out on time. The background artwork that is shown comes across as rushed and slightly sloppy.
Peter Steigerwald opposes this with making great use of vibrant coloring, similar to his work on Witchblade. He knows how to bring life to the page and this brings what was needed to this comic.
This issue zero has succeeded in doing its job with me; I am going to continue reading this series. However, I recommend if other people wish to read this comic series, do not worry too much about issue zero.