“Lady Mechanika Vol. 2: The Tablet of Destinies” by Joe Benítez

Lady Mechanika Vol. 2: The Tablet of Destinies (The Tablet of Destinies, #1-6)(Author: Joe Benítez) + (Year: 2016) + (Goodreads)


Review:

Not as good as the first one.

My general problem with Lady Mechanika, after two volumes, is that it doesn’t follow through. In the first volume she was decided on finding her maker. In this volume that story is completely forgotten and something completely different is happening on a different continent.

Not to mention that this is Lady Mechanika and the tablet of destinies, except that Lady Mechanika is not even in the story line with the tablet. So to call it like this would be something like “Aragorn and the One Ring”. I mean… uh… they are in the same world?

I firmly believe that this could have been much better, had the story been more condensed and had there been fewer sub-plots.

Much like the first volume, there is a recipe in which there is a male mastermind who has a bunch of generic soldiers and a female assistant, while Lady Mechanika on the other team finds unlikely friends and a mysterious guy who helps her from afar. Maybe if they hadn’t followed this already used story, it could have been much better.

I continued liking the art, however. It was very intricate and detailed, and also pleasant to look at. The more female characters come in, the more obvious it is that they are all the same when you remove the colors. But I will choose to disregard that and enjoy the general feel of the book which was pretty good.

“Lady Mechanika, Vol.1: the Mystery of Mechanical Corpse” by Joe Benítez

Lady Mechanika, Vol.1: the Mystery of Mechanical Corpse(Author: Joe Benítez) + (Year: 2015) + (Goodreads)


Review:

*** 3.5, but not enough for 4 ***

I enjoyed Lady Mechanika a lot more than I did Wraithborn. Considering my immense disappointment with the latter, I was almost scared to start Lady Mechanika.

But as I received both of these, and the 2nd volume of Lady Mechanika, from NetGalley, I had to finish it. I am glad I had this incentive, because ultimately, Lady Mechanika is by far better than Wraithborn.

Lady Mechanika is the epitome of steampunk. Everything about it is highly detailed and intricate. If you look at the illustrations, you would notice that there are layers upon layers of art and attention to detail and I can’t not admit how impressive that is.

The art, in general, was much better here than in Wraithborn. If you remember my review, I was aghast at the depiction of women. They are still very sexual in Lady Mechanika, but it’s done a lot more tastefully, to a point where I can agree that this is the wet dream of a classy high school boy.

I also found the story more intriguing. I enjoyed the main story arc about the mechanical people a lot. The part that didn’t impress me as much were the sub-plots and hints at other relations between the character that just add fluff to a story that could go without. Almost all characters are related in pairs and have common past. These two are siblings, those two worked together, the two men know each other, etc. etc. As far as the story about the Frankenstein-esque doctor who creates the mechanical people goes, there’s already enough suspense that everything else is just micromanagement of pages that need to be filled.

And speaking of, my major issue with Lady Mechanika: the writing. Literally. The author really wanted to write a book, didn’t have enough material for that, but he obviously had too much for a comic book. There is just SO MUCH DIALOGUE. It doesn’t go harmoniously with graphic novels. A book rat such as myself can tell you as much: when you are reading a book, you can take as many pages of text as there are; but if you are reading a comic book, you are not prepared for the insane amount of dialogue that is just out of place and both disjoints the story, and distracts the reader.

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Looking at this, I remember what I thought when I was initially reading it: This is honestly outrageous.

“Shutter, Vol. 1: Wanderlost” by Joe Keatinge

Shutter, Vol. 1: Wanderlost(Author: Joe Keatinge) + (Year: 2014) + (Goodreads)


Review:

*** 3.5 stars ***

I previously reviewed the first issue of Shutter, and I stand by my prediction that this book has a lot of potential.

Shutter is a nostalgic journey back into the stories of our childhoods: Indiana Jones, The Mummy – adventurers, unknown lands, suave villains. With one exception. Shutter is not limited to our small planet.

The main character of the book, Kate, is a retired explorer who is trying to lead a normal life, but even if she’s not looking for trouble, trouble sure finds her.

That is not to say that Shutter is a book for kids. It’s more like all of the adventures you dreamed of having when you were a child, but seen through the mind of an adult. Including the cursing.

I found everything about Shutter very charming: the characters, the setting, the story, and even the space-time continuum. As I mentioned in my previous review, the first issue gives little away about the world Shutter is set in. From the rest of the volume it becomes clear that this is our planet, and nation states such as Brazil and the UK still exist. Also, it seems that the story is not set in the future, so it seems to be set in an alternate reality instead. One that is full of endearing absurdity. Such as Kate’s best friend, her clock.

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However, don’t be mistaken that the story of this book is one that’s easy to understand. Having finished the first volume, I can tell you that in no moment is it explained why it’s called Shutter. Or anything much beyond the prelude. The book leaves a lot to be answered in the future. Where I usually draw the line here for books that take too much time to get to the point, I found myself interested enough to go on. There are many things that I would still like to learn, and I am willing to sacrifice some patience for that.

And also for the fact that the art of Shutter is beautiful! The art style is very specific and there’s something quirky about it that I can’t exactly put my finger on, but I do thing that it’s very pleasing and adds to the story.

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“Nowhere Me, Vol. 1: Fates Worse Than Death” by Eric Stephenson

Nowhere Men, Vol. 1: Fates Worse Than Death(Author: Eric Stephenson) + (Year: 2013) + (Goodreads)


Review:

I will go with No. This is one of those books where the characters are over-hyping themselves and each other, because otherwise it would be hard for the reader to realize that something supposedly important is happening.

“Oh, these guys are rockstars!”, “He is a legend”, “Their research changed the world!” Okay then, if the author made his characters call each other brilliant, then we must be reading about truly amazing individuals. Not.

Nowhere Men is a very confusing, messy, and unconvincing attempt at sci-fi. There is no science anywhere in the entire volume, just a bunch of characters that make things happen and you are supposed to buy into the idea that they did it thanks to science. However, considering that the author doesn’t bother to give any information about the level of actual technological development in this world, or on where humanity was before the science Beatles came into the picture, this so-called “science” could as well be magic, for all the reader knows.

There is a large jumble of seemingly important individuals, including 4 interchangeable scientist gods, who did… something, and then… something happened, and some substance was created somehow. Sometime in the past someone somehow decided to put it on a spaceship for some reason, which created some kind of a virus, which is not actually a virus. Now you know as much as I do, having read the first volume.

If you stripped the story to its bare bones, you would find a striking resemblance to the Fantastic 4, including the design of the characters on the space ship. The science rockstars remain a mystery, as does their importance, however, the reader must be aware that even though they seem like a bunch of squabbling, greedy old assholes, apparently all of them are geniuses.

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It’s really hard to find any characters to care about, or to be convinced to believe in any part of the story. The self-explanatory articles and interviews with the characters don’t help. On the contrary, they make the story even more dragged out, and they nudge the reader into the land of “Who cares?”.

The part that I did like, more or less, was the art. It was solid, well-made, and comforting. I was glad to see that they didn’t go for anything more experimental, because that would have added to the overall ridiculousness of the volume.

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Thanks, Nowhere Men, see you never. 

“Morning Glories, Vol. 1: For a Better Future” by Nick Spencer

Morning Glories, Vol. 1: For a Better Future(Author: Nick Spencer) + (Year: 2011) + (Goodreads)


Review:

The good news is, it doesn’t totally suck. The bad news is, it’s confusing, weird and not very memorable.

I would not deny that there is a story somewhere there behind all the teenage angst drama and the glorification of the main character based on reasons unknown.

The story of Morning Glories is set in a prestige private boarding school where something dark and bloody is going on. The story is interesting enough to push you to read forward, but ultimately, there is not much satisfaction in it, because none of the important questions are answered. The volume ends on a giant cliffhanger, with no explanation about what happens to any of the characters or why.

More so, the characters seem to be more of a moving power for the story than the story itself is, as the two are far away from being linked as of the end of this volume. And the said characters are such sad cliches that there’s no fun in watching them do anything.

  • Exhibit A: A nerd. He who shall fall in love with the main character and will always follow her around.
  • Exhibit B: Emo-goth sad teenager who cries for her boyfriend a lot and always needs saving.
  • Exhibit C: Heroine. She knows all, everyone is after her, they love her and love to hate her. She is always behind every plan and the mastermind behind every escape.

I gave myself a day to mull it over and decide my final verdict. But I don’t think I have the patience or desire to keep on reading this series. I’m mildly curious about the main story, but there’s so much unnecessary fluff around it, that it kills my interest. This book is incapable of anticipating the emotions of the reader and of finding original ways to keep the reader’s attention. None of the characters acts like a real person would, that’s probably one of the main reasons it’s hard to care about them.