Considering this is a fairly short and straightforward episode in the continuing Lady Mechanika series I had a ton of fun with it. We’re back in Mechanika City and Nika, Mr Lewis and the wonderful Winifred (who I was chuffed to see back and now consider a fixture) are investigating the deaths of a number of street children. We are also introduced to the rather delectable Inspector Singh and while (thankfully) there’s no suggestions of romance between him and Nika, they do look awfully pretty together on the page *sigh*.
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to say much about this very slim volume without giving the whole story away, so I’m going to give you the cryptic highlights only:
- Sarcasm about Mr Lewis’ ability to take care of his niece, Fred. (I like Mr Lewis a lot, from his dodgy accent to his enthusiasm for flying machines, and would like to see more of his backstory).
- A swift reminder of Lady Mechanika’s badassery.
- Nika’s nightmares. (I have to say I’m a bit annoyed that after the events of volume one, Lady Mechanika: The Mystery of the Mechanical Corpse, we’ve seen nothing more of Nika’s mystery than a couple of spooky-but-vague dreams).
- Introducing Inspector Singh *swoon* (He grew up on the streets and worked hard to become an inspector so that he can protect people on the margins of society; he looks rather dapper in a suit, and he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty. I’m hoping he’s another permanent addition to the cast).
- Of course Fred can read Hebrew!
- Singh and Nika share muffins. (If there’s cake, I’m in).
- Jewish mysticism. (This aspect of the story was the most predictable, but I’m hoping it will all feed into the remaining few volumes, so am reserving judgement).
- Jiang’s Wonderful World of Clockwork Toys. (Adorable? Creepy? I can’t decide).
- Mr Lewis’ marvellous creations: The Lewis Flyer and that Ghostbusters-style gun *two enthusiastic thumbs up*. (Seriously, this is a character begging for a fleshed-out backstory).
- A brain in a jar. (Every bad guy should have one).
- A double page spread of Oh-Holy-Crap! …
- … Followed by an “I am indestructible!” and some maniacal laughter. Of course.
- We meet Fred’s new friend, the rather adorable Monti. (Also hopefully a permanent addition because who doesn’t want an adorable sidekick with her own adorable sidekick in tow?!)
The artwork continues to be top-notch: stunning colours, exciting layouts and beautiful details (including more of those cog-work panel borders I love so much) that all add to the story’s drama, humour and fun. My only complaint is that this volume was so short, although the consequence of that is that I immediately want to order the next instalment, so it’s an excellent marketing strategy!