It’s time for another review!
This week, it’s Joe Benitez’s Lady Mechanika #2, which was written by M.M. Chen, Martin Montiel and Joe Benitez, with colors by Mike Garcia and letters by Michael Heisler. This book was edited by Marcia Chen.
As always, this review is on the Prince song system: Adore means buy it, Beautiful Strange means take it or leave it, and When Doves Cry means don’t buy the book.
Ready? Let’s go!
The basic story of this issue is that some people come to an archeological find and threaten the archeologists that are already there with bodily harm to one of their family members. Lady Mechanika goes one place to find information on Rosicrucians, then goes to another place, gets questioned, and then goes on a trip.
This book is for readers. I say that because there is a lot of talking going on. It’s like M.M. Chen did research on Rosicrucians and secret societies, couldn’t decide what to leave out, so it was all put in—and you’re still left with a sense of “what did I just read?” Lots of talking heads that don’t say much of anything, and among all the talking, nothing really happens. That’s the biggest problem here. Tons of talking that doesn’t lead anywhere.
Now, I don’t know anything at all about Lady Mechanika, except that’s how she introduces herself to people. “What’s your name?” “I’m Lady Mechanika.” Doesn’t sound so hot when said aloud. It doesn’t sound so hot when read silently, either. I take it she’s a mechanical lady. It’s what gets told about her in one of the many info-dumps.
About midway through the storytelling part of the book, it switches from people speaking out loud to Lady Mechanika’s internal monologue, which is awkward. Really, this was just an awkward read all the way around.
Visually, the book looks good. Sometimes the characters are posed and stiff, but it’s a good looking book. The only real problem is that it suffers from what a lot of modern artists suffer from: a lack of visual storytelling. If you were to strip away all the words, you’d be left with a lot of pretty pictures that don’t add up to a lot of story because people are doing nothing but standing around most of the time. Everything looks good and is in proportion—there’s nothing wrong with the art—but the art doesn’t do the second half of the job, and that’s telling the story.
The colors are done well, except for one part with a spotlight. The colorist forgot where the light source was, and put light on something that should have been in shadow. Not a deal breaker, especially considering how good the rest of the book looks, but it sticks out.
The letterer did his job. The letters are unobtrusive and lead the eye when there aren’t walls of text to read. And there are a lot of pages with walls of text to read.
The editor needs to tighten things up a bit. By that, I mean there are some missing punctuation marks (mainly comma’s), but the walls of text are a bit off-putting. Couple that with the fact that there’s nothing happening despite all the talking, and you wonder what the editor did here. (You also wonder how bad the script was to begin with if the editor actually did work here.)
Final Verdict: Beautiful Strange (barely)