Indie Comics Reviews, Interviews, and News!

Created by Issaka Galadima and Frederick L. Jones
Published by Saturday AM

Clock Striker, now in graphic novel format, follows Shonen manga’s first Black female lead hero, Cast, in her quest to become a member of the SMITHS, the legendary warrior engineers. Cast dreams of being a SMITH, and though she’s rather handy with her tools, no one in her small town ever realizes their dreams. Besides, these legendary warrior engineers haven’t been seen in years and were never known for having female members. Fortunately, Cast meets one surviving member named Ms. Philomena Clock, who agrees to take her on as her apprentice, or striker.

Now Cast is thrust into one deadly adventure after another! From cybernetic desperadoes to technology thieves and more, Cast has to use her mind and her remodeled robotics-lab prosthetic hand, which offers unfathomable offensive power in the form of scientific experiments. Need lightning? Cast can generate it from her hand! Cast’s mentor seeks to uncover an ominous mystery that explains what happened to the SMITHS and shines a light on a hidden power that may be within Cast herself. Can Cast become a new member of the SMITHS? More importantly, can Cast survive the process to become a SMITH?

This is the third manga I’ve read from Saturday AM and I am loving what they are creating here. This story is crafting a truly inspiring tale that many people will be able to connect with. Cast lives in a town without many resources and doesn’t have a left hand. Despite this, she wants nothing more than to join the Smiths – an elite group of warrior engineers. However, her teacher discriminates against her for this very reason, despite her showing just how brilliant she can be. This is one of the best origin hero origin stories I’ve read in a while.

There is a ton of character growth throughout this first volume which shows how well Issaka and Frederick understand their characters and what hardships and setbacks will push them to become better. As fantastical as some elements of the story are, it is all very much grounded in real-life scenarios, including the teacher Mr. Tucker being discouraging and putting his students down. Cast’s resilience shines during her origin arc and displays just what she is capable of in a short period of time.

The artwork in this is fun and dynamic, keeping a great balance through the battle sequences and dialogue alike. The pacing of the story has been phenomenal so far, with a great mix of heavy action and lulls in action, allowing the reader to decompress or ramp up to the next bit. That’s the fun with the Shonen manga still being employed in Clock Striker! If you’re looking for a different take on manga that features a diverse cast of characters, both in race and disabilities, Clock Striker is definitely a great place to start!

Rating: 8.5/10

Clock Striker, Volume 1 releases on February 7th!

I also highly recommend Yellow Stranger and Saigami from Saturday AM!


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