The Clockwork Sky Volume 2 by Madeleine Rosca (book review).

April 26, 2016 | By | Reply More

‘The Clockwork Sky’ has Australian author and artist Madeleine Rosca mixing the traditional Manga conventions with the fundamentals of steampunk style, producing something that’s definitely fun and easy to read. There’s no great depth to what’s here and certainly none of the darkness and edginess that characterises a lot of what comes out of the British school of graphic novels. But, if you accept this as a book for young readers as much as adults, there’s a lot here to enjoy.


For a start, the central premise is intriguing: Erasmus Croach has found a way to convert street children from the slums of London into mechanical machines of various types including, of course, war robots! Keeping the consumption of young lives a secret, he had aimed to sell the more benign versions of his mechanical marvels to the public, but was spurned by those who feared the machines would take away jobs from human workers. So Croach decides to offer the more lethal robots to the heads of various criminal gangs instead.

This is where the two most important heroic characters come into the story, Sky and Sally. Sky is a police officer who was apparently incompletely converted into a machine and has kept his original personality but acquired mechanical super-strength and speed. Sally is the niece of the aforementioned Croach and has found out rather too much about his plans than Corach is comfortable with. So in traditional melodramatic style, he decides to convert her into one of his robots.

The rest of the story ticks over pretty much as you’d expect, including adventures in the sewers underneath the city as Sky and his police force allies search for a way into Croach’s factory. The artwork is clean and simple, which for the most part works well given the breakneck pace of the storyline. It’s a shame the lettering used is so small, needlessly small to be frank, as that’s about the only thing that diminishes the pleasure of reading the book.

While not wildly original (Sky owes a lot to Astroboy) and not as fully realised as Rosca’s ‘Hollow Fields’ series, this second and final volume of the ‘The Clockwork Sky’ series is an especially good book for young Manga readers and likely to entertain most others, too.

Neale Monks

April 2016

(pub: TOR/Forge, 2014. 160 page small enlarged paperback graphic novel. Price: $12.99 (US) $14.99 (CAN). ISBN: 978-0-7653-2917-2)

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Category: Books, Illustration, Steampunk

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