Joe Benitez – Writer, Artist, Creator
Peter Steigerwald – Colorist
Aspen – Publisher
I bought five comics this week. Three of which were brand new books and, man, I was not impressed with any of them. I could have spent $7 and gotten the two I knew I would enjoy, but I decided to give Deadpool: Max, Uncanny X-Force, and Lady Mechanika a try. It was not ten bucks well spent.
Were any horrible? No.
Were any fantastic introductory issues? No.
Will I buy any more? No.
I’m not going to get into Deadpool and X-Force because this review will become a mess, but let’s chat about what’s wrong with Mechanika and the comic industry at large.
The honest to goodness worst things about comics today are the prices and over publication by Marvel and DC. These two companies set the bar for the industry and clog the walls of the local comic shops with so many pricey titles that it’s hard to find much beyond sporadic offerings from other publishers unless you go to the very biggest comic shops or buy your books online. I remember during the ‘80s buying all kinds of wonderful books that weren’t published by the Big Two. There were tons of lousy ones too, but it never really mattered all that much. Now with prices so exorbitant and the masses of books Marvel and DC churn out featuring mutants, Lavender Lanterns, and D-listers it’s difficult to discover new titles off the rack–At least in my neck of the woods.
I in no way blame the comic shops for the lack of indy or small press titles. They can’t waste overhead on books nobody cares about. Especially when they are run of the mill wastes of time like Lady Mechanika. I was pleasantly surprised to find something different on my comic shelf. Aspen is not small press, but I don’t usually find their stuff on my rack. I leafed through and was intrigued enough to buy the last copy. At least I saved someone else the time and money. Zero issues can be cool introductions to concepts or utter wastes of time. How do you think I feel about this comic?
Is the comic book bad? Absolutely not.
Is the artwork well crafted? Definitely.
Does Steampunk serve as an interesting basis for a comic? Probably.
Is there any reason to pick this comic up? Nope!
First off, let’s talk about the cover price. $2.50 for a zero issue that features 14 pages of story if you count the fact that page one bleeds onto the inside front cover. Not cool, gents. If I had paid a dollar for the chase sequence contained within these pages that wouldn’t be so bad.
Second is a question for the minds behind Aspen: Why did you release this zero of an issue?
I understand the purpose for a zero issue. It’s to get the concept out there and build up sales for the ongoing. Make it cheap and people will sample it. They are trying to tweak the sales of issue number 1 which comes out in less than two months. It’s priced at $2,99.
Why did I get only a forty-nine cent discount for a vastly shorter product?
What’s my biggest contention?
This whole zero issue could have been folded into issue one. This is at most three pages of story in a just world. It’s dragged out to fill a “comic” and try and squeeze a few extra bucks out of fans for a concept that probably will only last a handful of issues. Beyond the chase all we get is some vague background on a character we know nothing about and have no reason to care where she came from. There’s nothing else here, folks.
I can’t imagine anyone that isn’t a huge fan of Joe Benitez is going out on a limb for this. Is this going to be marketed for the growing group of Steampunk fanatics? I doubt they’ll care especially at this price point.
Now I have one final question for Aspen and Joe Benitez:
Why didn’t you create a slightly longer issue #1, if this sequence, was necessary, and skip this waste of paper all together?
For future reference, put your best foot forward next time and try to serve a little meat with my filler if you want me to care about a new concept.
Hey, at least there’re four different covers to NOT collect!