Murder, Mystery, and Steampunk: A Look Into the Soul of Joe Benitez’s ‘Lady Mechanika’

The illegitimate love child of Kate Beckinsale and Darth Vader.

Finally, a female character has emerged from the comic universe worthy of our admiration and love. Joe Benitez’s Lady Mechanika is like nothing we have ever seen before. The stage is set in a historical turn of the century England seething with innovation, science, murder and the paranormal. Move aside scantily clad latex wearing dames chasing after some of “Batman’s” affection! Mechanika is the leather clad, corset wearing, gun toting, embodiment of style, independence, sophistication and lethal cunning. However, the element that makes Mechanika truly mesmerizing lies in what she truly is.

One part human and two parts steampunk demon this mechanical vixen rises from the pages to engulf the reader in her world. The only survivor of a mad man’s 3 year killing spree; Mechanika, was found by the authorities lying amidst severed body parts and corpses. Dubbed “Lady Mechanika” by the tabloids, her arms and various other organs were removed and replaced with mechanical components. One can’t help but notice that Mechanika closely resembles what I envision to be the love child of Kate Beckinsale and Darth Vader.

Having no memory of who she is or how she came to be a mechanical horror, we follow Mechanika as she investigates the mysteries and paranormal nuances surrounding her past. Armed with a deep knowledge of weaponry and the sciences with which she does so using all the tenacity of Sherlock Holmes himself.

What I love most about the character and the series is its ability to combine so many elements into one perfectly written and illustrated creation. Often I find in comics that I will love the story line, but feel the illustrations are somewhat lacking or vise versa. Joe Benitez has mastered the art of visual storytelling, fully immersing the reader in the plot. I feel the elements of steampunk, horror, science and the paranormal give originality to both the comic and its leading lady.

Lady Mechanika has quickly become my favorite female comic book heroin/villain, which is no easy feat! My top 10 include Harley Quinn, Catwoman, and the Phoenix to name a few. Her superior intellect, independent spirit, and devilish charm are but a few of the traits that made her top my list. Mechanika’s search for her own identity and purpose makes her a character that is easy to relate to and fun to watch in action.

Lady Mechanika debuted in Fall of 2010, through Aspen Comics, and after a three month delay Aspen recently released the third (technically fourth) installment on December 21, 2011. Joe Benitez writes and illustrates with colors by Peter Steigerwald. This series is an absolute must have! The illustrations are breathtaking and the storyline is riveting. Rumors are issue No. 4 is set for release 02/25/2012.