In Review: Lady Mechanika: Sangre #3

This is the definition of a WOW! comic book.

The covers: Four covers to pick up and each is a winner. The A is by by Joe Benitez & Beth Sotelo. This has the title character wearing a coat that sweeps behind her as she raises up her left leg to possibly kick at the reader. Her right hand is open to balance herself and she wields a gun in her left. Behind her is one of Benitez’s trademark metallic circles that make her coat seem as if it’s swirling about in a circle. Awesome. The B by Brian Chin & Sotelo has an action scene from the tops of the roofs in Spain. Mechanika is in the lower center, turning to look to her left — away from the reader, pistols in both her hands. Capturing her attention is La Dama de la Muerte who’s leaping at her with blades in both hands and her cloak splaying out around her as if she were a Dark Knight. Great action on this, the characters are good, and the setting excellent. Plus, the colors by Sotelo make this creepy as all get out. The C, the Retailer Incentive, is by Benitez and is the A cover without any colors or inks. I’m a fan of Benitez’s art, so this is one I would definitely track down. The final cover, the D, is the NYCC Edition by Benitez & Sotelo. This is a Halloween themed cover with Mechanika dressed like a witch. Uh, yes, please! This is another to track down. Overall grades: A A, B A, C A, and D A+

The story: This issue starts like the previous issues, in the past. Malintze and her children at at the body of her husband who’s been killed by an unknown creature. As the beast approaches her she grabs her husband’s spear and raises it at the creature. The beast grabs her by the throat and her weapon in its other hand and then shows its horrible visage: pasty white skin, large eyes, and sharp teeth. It roars at her, revealing a long pointy tongue and a mouth full of sharp teeth. The monster is ordered to stop by the Reina, a flying female vampire dressed like Spanish royalty. Learning that Malintze is an interpreter for the village, the Reina states, “Good. Tell your people the new gods have arrived. Worship us and send us your sacrifices, and we will shall grant you patronage. Defy us, and you will all be destroyed.” Malintze is granted permission to leave to inform her people, however two must stay behind, making this woman hate these new gods in the worst possible way. M.M. Chen and Joe Benitez then move to the present with La Dama de la Muerte confronting Mechanika. The fight is furious and only stops when the antagonist makes a realization about the title character. Mechanika is left with several questions about her foe and goes to Doña Rosa to get some answers. The small woman sends her to a new character who reveals even more. This is capped by Mechanika being invited to speak with La Reina Roja, but after this individual is shown the book pauses for it to be continued in the next issue. This has outstanding action and a lot of information given. This is riveting reading. Overall grade: A+

The art: The Prologue is by Joe Benitez and Martin Montiel, with the Main story by Brian Ching. Digital inks on the book are done by Studio J-13. This book continues to look stunning. The opening four pages are beautifully horrific. The power of Malintze in the second panel on the first page is sensational. I love her! The creature’s face that almost kills her would stop anyone in their tracks. Reina gets a full-paged splash for Page 2 and it’s a show stopper — and it’s only Page 2! She is gorgeous and terrifying. The fourth page isn’t graphic, but what’s insinuated will create shivers. The fourth and sixth panels are absolutely brutal. The last image of the page will mirror the reader’s sentiments. This is flawless storytelling told through visuals. The fight between the two combatants on 5 – 10 is brilliant. I love the moves of each character and how acrobatic each is. The exit on 11 is epic. I love how the lead tried to pursue her, but it was just not going to happen, as evidenced by the final panel. The next two pages have very little next as Mechanika searches for clues in the room, trying to get ahead of the antagonist (Yes, I wrote that line purposely. When you read the book, you’ll get this…). Page 14 has something I’ve not seen before in a Lady Mechanika book and it’s awesome. Once again, very little text is needed as the visuals succinctly tell what’s happening. Horrific goodness! The third panel introduces a new character on 16 and she looks amazing. The next three pages have two characters sitting in a room talking. This is not a situation that presents many opportunities for vivid visuals, yet Ching makes it work. Each time a character was pulled in to, I realized something important was being told. When a character was pulled away from, I heard the deliberate choice of their words. The final new character gets a slow introduction that starts on 20 and it’s done at a deliciously deliberate pace that builds so much anticipation to the reveal on the final page. And, oh my, what a final page this is! It’s a full-page splash that’s jaw-dropping with the detail on this killer. Fans of this series are going to be going insane waiting for the next issue to see what Ching has this character do. I know I will. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Beth Sotelo does a superior job with the colors on this book. So much of this book is set during the night or inside buildings. Given how dark these settings should be, Sotelo creates the dark locations without making the art get obscured by the colors. Truly, Sotelo is an awesome colorist. I love the colors of the gear borders that surround some of the panels on the opening four pages. The pasty whites of the vampires match the color of bone. The reds the creatures wear not only represent their country of origin, but serve as a reminder of the Sangre in the title. The bright red border that surrounds two panels on the fourth page increases the horror of specific actions. The battle on 5 – 10 is given brown and red colors to match the decor of the room and the fury of the fighting. I love the white and dark violet on La Dama’s face. It was neat to read that the color of Mechanika’s eyes led to this confrontation, and they’re shown soon after so the reader can be reminded of this fact. The crimson on 12 and 13 stands out like a gunshot, and serves as foreshadowing to what 14 has in store. I like how the dialogue on this page is also in a vivid red, punctuating the sequence. Notice that when the protagonist meets a character on 16 the colors are dark, and begin to lighten as they speak, lessening the tension between the characters and with the reader. The final three pages are dark, but necessary. The white hand that ends 21 is awesome, but still doesn’t prepare the reader for the visual that closes the issue. I love how much of this character is kept in the shadows, but is lit with an orange light that reveals her to be in a deliciously red curtained conveyance. Just killer work! Overall grade: A+

The letters: Michael Heisler is the letterer creating sounds, the prologue title, scene settings, dialogue, screams, narration, nightmarish dialogue, and the three word tease for next issue. The sounds on this book are perfect, with the majority of them occurring between the fighters: THWAK, WHOOSH, and KLANK. That final sound is wonderfully metallic. The prologue title is in a great font, looking like a formal opening from a novel. The screams come in several sizes and fonts, making the variation in each easily identifiable. The narration is in italics, setting it apart from the dialogue, which I take as a sign of an expert letterer. The three word tease for next issue is dramatic, leaving the reader hungry for more from this series. Overall grade: A+ 

The final line: A great fight, new information is learned, and two new supernatural characters spin this series to new heights. I’m loving everything about this book. Seriously, this book needs to be read by everyone that loves comics. The story is riveting and the visuals are jaw-dropping. This is the definition of a WOW! comic book. Highest possible recommendation. Overall grade: A+

To order a digital copy go to https://www.comixology.com/Lady-Mechanika-Sangre-3/digital-comic/805004?ref=c2VhcmNoL2luZGV4L2Rlc2t0b3Avc2xpZGVyTGlzdC9pdGVtU2xpZGVy

To see the covers visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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