Admittedly, women are the superior race even in this Steampunk setting at the end of the century. Lady Mechanika and her protégée Winifred (commonly called Fred) make fast friends with Akina and her Desert Wraiths. There is no need for the typical brawls due to a misunderstanding then solving the differences. Akina and her tribe of sisters have no respect for the male species. They exhibit large amounts of mistrust.
That being said, women can be just as viperous. There was an enemy within Lady Mechanika’s crew. She sets off a noise-emitting device that brings a rhino charging through the jungle. Akina attempts to pacify the beast but Lady Mechanika manages to subdue the colossal beast due to her enhanced body. While they are distracted, Fred is snatched.
Lady Mechanika is viewed with awe by Akina when the metal prosthesis is exposed through her clothing. Akina unquestionably accepts her. The same cannot be said when she is brought before Lorisa, the Queen of the Babirin. She is immediately cast aside and is left to her own devices to retrieve Fred. Luckily, Akina knows a good soul when she sees one. The two will adventure together.
There is one scene relating to the titular object. Professor Thomsen and his colleague Mr. Strassman analyze the writings on the Tablet. Mr. Strassman determines the alchemical origin and elucidates the elderly scholar on the findings. The token villain, Lord Blackpool, orders his goons to pry open the priceless artifact. Within are sophisticated armaments. Professor Thomsen is condemned to activate them. He flatly refuses. He is safe from being killed but the same cannot be said for Winifred, his granddaughter. They are reunited but Fred may see her throat slit.
I am acutely aware of Joe Benitez’ innovative and attractive creation. Despite not having obtained any of his work, I enjoy the hyper-realistic style. The character made her first appearance five years ago and fan reaction is so well-received that the first three issues of the first volume led to instant sell-outs. Joe Benitez is at the helm of his own publishing company now, free of any red tape. I never minded for steampunk but I appreciate the aesthetics and admire the mash-up concept. It is such a versatile genre that it can connect to any other established literary type.
Who is M.M. Chen? The mystery has me in a tizzy. It is not that important to determine the gender but I am inquisitive. Frequently, women writers employ initials. At any rate, the story flows at a leisurely pace. The female bonding is unforced. Not only is it natural but purely logical. I find this setting to be a combination of Raiders of the Lost Ark meets Tomb Raider with slight variations. Lady Mechanika is not quite as unique anymore since Helferin Kralle, Fred’s kidnapper has some improvements of her own. I applaud M.M. Chen for creating the language of the Desert Wraiths. Let us see if the Rosetta Stone can decipher that one.
Martin Montiel gives an assist to Joe Benitez’ pencils. The women are undoubtedly curvaceous without any sexualisation. The flock of birds is meticulously minuscule but painstakingly accurate. The two-page spread of the rhino gave me a minor anxiety relapse.
Mike Garcia accentuates the fiery red of Lady Mechanika’s eyes. Her goggles are not of the same colour. Her eyes are what make them glow. The aridness of the desert, the lushness of the jungle, the semi-darkness of the cavern: all depictions are emphatic.
I do not know whom to acknowledge for the gear-filled borders in some of the panels. I did not notice the first time around. As Michael Heisler keeps busy with the dialogue, the narration boxes, and the sound effects. The bubbles are spacious allowing for easy reading. The onomatopœia are not ridiculously made-up but authentic.
A cogwheel has a varying amount of teeth. Acknowledging the mechanical aspect of it all.