Monday, December 10, 2012

MISC. MANGA, *Clockwork Sky

Another steampunk tale from Madeleine Rosca, this follows the dark but meant for younger readers theme that her previous manga-styled series of Hollow Fields did. Clockwork Sky(no relation to the RPG)takes a new look on the Victorian Era in England, but without that pesky Sherlock shoving his ego into it.

Set in 1895 London, the celebrated scientist Erasmus Croach is the creator of a brand new line of mechanized substitutes of the ever-increasing rebellious lower class for the convenience of the snobby upper class twits. His first working model for the police forces is the steampunkish Astro Boy clone, Sky, that the police hope will help them solve the mystery of the city's missing children . Croach's is also "burdened" with having to take care of his inquisitive niece Sally, who is just as much of a genius that her uncle is. She rigs a motorized velocipede(19th Century motorcycle), and enrolls in special underground racing done in the sewers by vagabonds with not much to lose. Sky is sent after her, and causes her to crash into hidden chamber. There, the two of them discover a mound of childrens corpses which are being used for parts of Croach's automatons.

This isn't a bad manga, although I personally think it's a little too much trying to cash in on the whole steampunk phase that a lot of the American manga publishers seems to be going through lately. It's separate from what Rosca did in Hollow Fields which had a Tim Burton-meets-The Muppets feel, and this a Girl Genius taste to it. It would be helpful to expand more on Sally's background and how she instinctively knew how to put together her own working Victorian motorcycle from scratch. Anyway, it's more than likely to develop with further volumes, and possibly worth waiting for a collected edition.

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