When stories are set in the steampunk genre, they usually take place in some major metropolis. Blade Runner, took place, in Los Angeles, in in what Philip K Dick believed 2019 was going to look like. In Hugo, the movie is set in 1930s Paris, where he invention of automaton is centerpiece to the story. The recent Netflix adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events, has a Neo- Gothic feel which screams steampunk.
Anime studio have been working in the genre for years. Take the aptly named and brilliant Steamboy, taking place in 1860s Britain, an inventive young man is caught up in a huge conflict in an advance in steam power. The glaring omission amongst all these examples, are anything involving satires taking place in Third World or barely having people of color. These omissions are not lost on the creative team behind Lady Mechanika, as they venture into Africa in Lady Mechanika Volume 2: Tablet of Destinies.
In this storyline, Mechanika, is visited by an old friend, whose Grandfather, gets himself into a bit of trouble. They go throughout London, try to find out clues as to what happened to him, and find themselves in a globetrotting adventure. They soon end up in Africa, where her grandfather has been kidnapped so he can find an ancient artifact which holds secrets to an prehistoric race. By book’s end, Mechanika has rescued her friend (a few times) and her friend’s grandfather, while saving the world from impending doom.
Overall an excellent story arc, which thrills and addresses subjects which other writers would otherwise bypass. The story by M.M. Chen shines as it reminds me of those swashbuckling serial adventures of yesteryear, and the fact it takes place in Africa, is a major plus, as the characters introduced especially Akina, are fully fleshed out and well developed, as lesser writers would just make them background characters, instead of integral to the plot as Chen does here. The art By Benítez, Montiel, Garcia and Heisler, is lush, detailed, and remarkable. Altogether, another excellent story arc, in this ongoing series, which most come for the art, but will stay for the well-developed stories and characters.
Story: M.M. Chen Art: Joe Benitez, Martin Montiel, Mike Garcia and Michael Heisler
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy Now!!