That's why Mechanics, along with the rest of the work that the Brothers Hernandez have been perpetrating within the pages of Love & Rockets, comes as such a bloody relief. There's enough style, content, and persistent narrative ingenuity to satisfy the most wild-eyed and slavering progressive, but somehow it's been accomplished without sacrificing and of the sheer silly-arsed vitality that gives the medium so much of its appeal. In Mechanics, Jaime Hernandez seems to have somehow synthesised a complete and satisfying comic-book world out of all the things that, for whatever reason, he loves about comics.
There's a sense that the world inhabited by Maggie and her friends exists in the backstreets of the regular funny book universe. You know that if you took the crosstown bus from Barrio Hoppers 13 you'd find Riverdale High School, sheltering out in the more sedate residential districts uptown. You know that somewhere far away there's a Metropolis where the super-people are punching each other through buildings, even though the sound of conflict seldom filters down to street level. All the familiar icons dotting the comics landscape are filtered through a unique and lucid personal vision, providing a rich, evocative backdrop for the meticulously observed and vividly human characters to perform against, and the mix is as perfect as it is consistent.
Relentlessly charming despite its hard cutting edge, Mechanics is a comic strip for the future with a keen grasp of what was valuable about the strips of the past. If there's a more exhilarating or compelling book on the market at the moment, I haven't heard about it.
Fantagraphics: How to Read Love & Rockets