[I received a copy of this book through Netgalley.]
Not sure where chronologically this volume is set, among the other ‘Lady Mechanika’ ones. In this story, Mechanika travels to Mexico without a goal, grieving for her friend Dallas, and finds herself taking a room in a village whose inhabitants are about to celebrate the dead.
The characters she meets throughout the pages were in general endearing and friendly, passing along their traditions and encouraging Mechanika to have fun for the sake of fun itself, and teaching her of a different way to celebrate her departed ones. To be fair, I don’t know that much about this specific tradition, but from what I know, the comics seemed to respect it and try to delve into it deeper than just ‘oh hey let’s paint skull faces’—a welcome addition.
Less steampunk-oriented than the previous volumes, the story follows some typical western codes: a village terrorised by bandits, and a lone vigilante stepping up to defend them. Not an unwelcome change, although in terms of scenario and plot twists, it was easy to guess where this was going, and that made the story unexceptional in that regard.
The art and style remain very good in this volume, too, mixing Victorian and steampunkish aesthetics with more traditional ‘Día de Muertos’ ones, including costumes and face paint. The latter somehow contributed to keeping the ‘outlandish costuming’ toned down, in that apart from one short corset, Mechanika appears in clothing that looks more tribal, but also easier to move in (much as I like the style, the ‘tiny corset + narrow sleeves’ combo is an awful one for fighting, so I’m all for graphically striking options that are also convenient). If just for the art, this series is definitely worth reading.