cover image Clock Striker (Clock Striker #1)

Clock Striker (Clock Striker #1)

Issaka Galadima and Frederick L. Jones. Rockport, $13.99 paper (224p) ISBN 978-0-7603-8157-1

Cast Striker—a take-charge teen scientist portrayed with dark skin, locs, and a robotic left hand—dreams of becoming a SMITH, one of the legendary skilled engineers and fighters who dedicate their lives to protecting others. But no SMITHs have been seen for years, and Cast’s teacher refuses her request to enter a competition that tests for SMITH potential, even after she builds herself a prosthetic hand from scrap. Frustrated, Cast looks for ways to continue improving her engineering skills beyond conventional education. Meanwhile, her older brother Fender becomes embroiled in a scheme smuggling ancient war tech. A chance meeting with Philomena Clock, a supernaturally powerful, pale-skinned older woman and the last known SMITH, leads to Cast becoming her apprentice. Intricately detailed art, overflowing with steampunk-esque tech and unique characters portrayed with varying abilities and skin tones, evokes the energy and exhilaration of classic shonen manga. Galadima and Jones deliver an immersive reading experience complete with pulse-pounding action sequences and an amiable supporting cast led by a resilient protagonist. This tech-driven graphic novel series opener promises deeper lore and mysteries in subsequent volumes. Ages 13–up. (Feb.)