Lady Mechanika: La Dama de la Muerte Review
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The Lady of the Dead sees Lady Mechanika in Mexico, trying to overcome personal loss from a death and showing up in the middle of the local celebration of the Día de los Muertos, during which locals put on colorful costumes and make-up that makes them look like skulls.

As such, Lady Mechanika makes a good figure here. Her red irises and black cornea give her an otherworldly effect at the best of times, when her face is chalk white, her eyes and mechanical limbs fit her in the role perfectly.

As usual, the colors are rich, the art is excellent, and it fits the mood of the story well, with death masks and bright colors mixing together. Seeing Lady Mechanika drawn in white makes me realize how her creators have made her so endearing to the reader. They shorten the face so you’re not certain of her age. She seems to be an adult, but she has some elements of a young adult, so you normally get the idea that she’s in over her head. Since we live in a society that sympathizes with the underdog, this puts you on her side in any fight—including this one. In this small town, which Lady Mechanika largely chooses because it is obscure and away from things, the obvious issue comes about: who will protect the town?

  
 
A group calling itself the Jinetes del Infierno, or Hell Riders, chooses this day to make a tour of small towns in the area. Each town must provide goods and involuntary services to keep the town from being attacked. The locals call it a tithe, which is a minor mistake. A tithe is technically a tenth, and nominal Catholics probably wouldn’t use the term so loosely. But if that’s the worst mistake I can find (yep), that’s a sign of quality writing.

The Riders glow, and the townspeople seem to think they are supernatural. They glow in the dark, they appear suddenly, they disappear, and they are a threat.

The Riders take the goods, and if they are not good enough or plentiful enough, they give a warning. In this case, they carve up a child. He’s left alive, but he loses enough of his face that he looks a bit like a blood-red skull. These are confronting panels, and they set the tone of the story.

We have never seen Lady Mechanika lose her temper like this before. She attacks the Hell Riders forcefully. But just when she seems to triumph, she realizes that the group is larger than she thought. She is not facing individuals; she is facing a group. Groups can attack a flank. They collect from multiple towns on one night. And they’re going to attack the town she’s protecting.

As always, this installment in the Lady Mechanika series is good—but this is not a light read.

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