In Review: Lady Mechanika: The Clockwork Assassin #3

This is an outstanding conclusion that every comic fan should read. Highest possible recommendation.

The covers: Five frontpieces to find for this final issue. The A cover is by Joe Benitez & Beth Sotelo and it, like all the others for this series, is a stunner. Lady Mechanika is wearing a corset and low tight pants, complimented with several Steampunk accessories, including a terrific pistol. She’s standing within a large metal ring, making this cover look dated, yet futuristic. The coloring makes the metal bits of her clothing awesome. Just great. The B is Benitez and Peter Steigerwald. It has the title character fighting this series’ villain. Lady M is twisting out of the way from the antagonist’s attack, who is using the blade in her right arm to impale the heroine. Again, there’s a cool metal ring behind the characters. This looks great, with Mechanika looking fierce with her pale skin and vibrant red eyes and lips. Killer! The same image is used for the C cover, though without the contributions of Steigerwald. I like this, but I prefer the colored version. The D, the L.A. Comic Con Edition, is by Benitez and Sabine Rich and it’s a terrific Dia de los Muertos cover, with an image of Mechanika from the hips up wearing a lavish dark violet, low cut dress. She’s holding a candle and sporting an elaborate feather with four roses in her hair. Her face is decorated for the holiday. This is great. The final cover is the E is Pulp’s Comic Edition by Benitez & Sotelo, limited to 500 copies. On this cover, a woman looks as though she’s performing at the Moulin Rouge. She has a beautiful blue and white dress on, with feathered headdress. Her right leg is bent up, showing her stockings and high heels. Fantastic! Overall grades: A A, B A, C A-, D A+, and E A+

The story: This concluding issue begins with Dr. Littleton finishing up on Mr. Duval, who was attacked by the Clockwork Assassin last issue. Lady Mechanika wonders if magic is involved instead of science, but Inspector Singh shoots that theory down. Archibald Lewis is questioned if he knows of such technology existing, but he’s never seen such a creature. Duval deduces a way that the assassin could have found its victims, and the team discovers one. This leads them to suspect a character from an earlier issue and Mechanika and Singh go to this person to ask some questions. Meanwhile, Lewis has a suspicion of his own and is proven wrong and woefully correct, with disastrous results. This ending, written by Joe Benitez and M.M. Chen, ends in slam-bang fashion, with a pair of surprises and an epilogue that leaves the door open for more terrors from the true killer. The conclusion is strong and leaves me wanting more from this hero and her allies, as well as secretly wanting to see what horrors are on the horizon. Overall grade: A+

The art: Joe Benitez and Martin Montiel provide the pencils and digital inks are by Studio J-13. Every page of this book is jaw-droppingly detailed. The borders of every panel are composed of metal bars and gears, a constant visual reminder of the science that this world employs. The first page is a full-paged splash of Dr. Littlejohn in the reader’s face, with an enormous magnification glass before his left eye so that he may examine Duval. This image definitely thrusts the reader into this story. What follows is a conversation between the characters as they try to discern who’s responsible for the assassin. The characters look incredible, the settings is fantastic, and the borders are wonderful. In fact, the gears on these pages seem to be imply that the characters have all their motors running as they discuss the killer. Mechanika looks incredible throughout, even just standing still, she’s amazing, but I have to draw attention to Lewis’s hat. It’s just awesome, with its goggles and the fabulous point in its front. Page 6 is a reintroduction to a character who looks fantastic — talk about making an entrance! The page that follows this has several close-up panels of characters that increase the tension of the conversation. The setting on 8 is gorgeous, which is followed by an equally resplendent locale on 9. The interior of this locale is shown on 11 is incredible; an entire book could focus on this, but it serves only to contain the item revealed on 13. The final panel on 16 is small, but every reader knows what it will begin. The action in 18’s second panel is shocking, and the panel is titled to show how this goes against the normal layout of the book. The double-paged panel on 19 and 20 has a great action sequence, but this isn’t the end of the fracas, as it continues on the next three pages. The book ends with a awesome close-up of an individual whose decision is not in doubt. This is an incredible looking book. Overall grade: A+

The colors: As stated in the art comments, gears and rods make up the borders of the panels and Beth Sotelo colors them brightly in copper yellows. Beyond the borders is a wallpaper pattern that’s colored accordingly to the intensity of the action on the page: if there’s a conversation the colors are subdued, but during the closing action sequences they become bright yellows. Mechanika’s pale skin and blazing red eyes make her a scene stealer whenever she appears. The colors on 6 – 8 take place outdoors, but in the shade, so everything is colored so that a cool environment is established, which suits the owner of the property well. The parlor room on 9 and 10 is wonderfully bright, but once the workshop is entered the colors go dark and ominous. Bright oranges and yellows appear during the fight sequences and they make the action pop. Sotelo does an outstanding job on this book. Overall grade: A+  

The letters: Michael Heisler is responsible for dialogue, a scene setting, sounds, yells, groans, the epilogue, and the book’s final two words. The font for dialogue is strong, giving good voice to each character, and increasing in size when one yells. The sounds make the horror and action of the conclusion bound off the page, with SHNIKT and GZZZT being my favorites. The epilogue and the final two words of the last page are very time appropriate for this era. Overall grade: A+

The final line: This is an outstanding conclusion that every comic fan should read. This, as well as all the previous Lady Mechanika stories, belong in every collector’s cache. The story is a page turner and the visuals the envy of all other books. This earns my highest possible recommendation. Overall grade: A+

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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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