Leonardo da Vinci laid siege to the city of Volterra while his apprentice Isabel and her robot companion were trying to rescue someone inside. Although the siege has ended, violence has erupted in the streets. This will be a true test of the machine’s capabilities, as well as Isabel’s experiments with its memories.
Monstro Mechanica contains some impressive character work. Writer Paul Allor and artist Chris Evenhuis work well together to create these engaging people. Although da Vinci is somewhat emotionless, there’s a peculiar charm to him. He is always a few steps ahead of everyone else and he doesn’t have time for everyday human relationships. On the other side of the spectrum is Isabel, who brings a bit of heart to the situation. She knows how far she can trust da Vinci, but still has to work with him.
You can learn so much about them by how they interact, particularly with their facial expressions. They remind me a bit of the characters in Archer as they argue with one another. Evenhuis and colorist Sjan Weijers create piercing eyes for each character in the book. There are subtle differences in their expressions that can emphasize the emotion of a scene. Isabel is often softer and more comforting looking while da Vinci is harder and sterner.
A telling moment comes when Isabel eventually tracks her boss down. Da Vinci doesn’t ask how she is or if she’s hurt. He jumps right into questions about the machine. Meanwhile, Isabel’s life has been threatened numerous times since she’s entered the city.
It’s interesting to see how the machine deals with all of this action. Da Vinci’s instructions were to wipe its memory every day, but Isabel hasn’t been doing that. Instead, she’s curious as to how it can learn and evolve. It has developed a bond with Isabel, which results in a fun scene after the two are separated and then reunited. In its efforts to find her, it grabbed a number of women that somewhat resembled Isabel. This group looks on, confused by the presence of the robot.
Later on, as it’s in the thick of the fight within the city, the machine silently dispatches its foes. Evenhuis illustrates some awesome choreography here with some dynamic panel layouts. The action is intense and exciting, which is saying something considering the machine at the center is devoid of any facial features or emotion. Weijers gives this scene a red hue, making it appear more fierce and extreme.
The stakes are raised considerably in Monstro Mechanica #3. What started as a battle for one city could escalate into further violence both inside and outside the walls. At its heart is a young girl and her robot companion, not to mention one of history’s greatest inventors. This unlikely trio has to work together to quell the impending storm.