Review - Lady Mechanika #3

Just because it seems like Lady Mechanika is a slow-moving detective, the reality is that this is a crazy dense tale. Each issue is jam-packed with dialogue, so it's only fitting that Lady Mechanika #3 is finally making its way to store shelves on December 21.

The third issue is written and illustrated by Joe Benitez, colored by Peter Steigerwald and lettered by Josh Reed, and it's looking to set up some good stuff. It's probably easiest to describe it in two distinct acts.

The first act features Lady Mechanika still on the hunt for the individual(s) behind the Mechanical Girl, a woman who, like herself, has robotic implants in lieu of the more human features. Her travels take her to the Cirque du Romani, a gypsy circus whose employees have a penchant for standoffs.

It's at the Cirque that Lady Mechanika meets a whole cast of characters, none of whom seem to know anything about a missing Mechanical Girl. They do, however, happen to know about a missing girl in Seraphina, a performer for the Cirque who recently left the troupe. The Cirque is a strange cast of characters and Benitez has done a great job characterizing them as such.

The second act shifts gears to the Eighteenth Annual Mechanika City Convention of All Things Innovative, Scientific and Industrial. Or--as the locals like to call it--Mechanicon. It's a gathering of some of the best and brightest minds the world over, including Lady Mechanika's colleague Lewis finding a kindred spirit in Dr. Littleton.

And it wouldn't be a Lady Mechanika issue without Abraham Linc...I mean, Lord Blackpool making an appearance. He's on hand to unveil what will surely be a device of sheer terror later on, the Helio Arx. It's a grand reveal by one of the most understated villainous characters I think I've ever seen.

Lady Mechanika #3 is, again, jam-packed with dialogue. The first few pages are incredibly dense, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Benitez clearly has a detailed story in mind, but a lot of the first few pages were somewhat circular in dialogue. The exchange went something like this.

Lady Mechanika: I'm not here to hurt you.

Cirque: Why are you here to hurt us? (Attacks)

Lady Mechanika: I'm not here to hurt you. (Defend, counterattack)

Cirque: How dare you attack us here!

Lady Mechanika: I'm not here to hurt you.

The constant dancing around seemed to go on longer than it actually did and made the first few pages seem to drag on. After that though, the story moved along a very brisk pace, filling out lots of details about the Mechanical Girl, Blackpool and even Lady Winter.

The art by Benitez is probably the strongest point of Lady Mechanika #3. He's crafting a beautiful, steampunk universe that really engages the reader and throws them smackdab in the middle of it. All the main characters are depicted with poise and present an air of nobility about them, which is nice. Even the Cirque looked like royalty. All the illustrations are accented by the phenomenal coloring of Steigerwald, giving each character their own unique feel.

It feels like its been so long since Lady Mechanika #2 hit stores. Lady Mechanika's quest to find the culprit behind the mystery of the Mechanical Girl has been slow moving at best, but when it does get to that next issue the tight-knit story continues to please. Benitez really has a feel for Lady Mechanika and it shows.

Lady Mechanika #3 hits stores December 21. Interiors are below.