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Atari and Oliver, a latter-day Tom and Huck, wander their way through urban Japan in Liew’s ode to the iconography of pop culture. Manga, comic strips, and robots big and small figure prominently in Atari and Oliver’s daily fish hunts, bike thievery, and action-movie simulations, all cast with a slightly harder-edged tone than might be expected at a first glance of the overtly whimsical fare. Liew’s art plays to this edge and displays a strong sense of modern grunge in the malleable figures and cityscapes, which echo Shaun Tan’s semi-grim industrialism. Liew’s loose, experimental craftsmanship is very engaging, but the five stories (along with two galleries) featured here lack a cohesive narrative thrust. “New Year’s Day,” about the long journey of a tiny robot, and “Stinky Fish Blues,” about the hunt for a supposedly extinct fish, best capture the charm, melancholy, and quiet of urban wonder. A good read for those willing to take a lackadaisical but enjoyable journey through someone else’s imagination. Grades 9-12. --Jesse Karp
"A book so full of wonders and treasures it feels like you should need a pirate's map to find it. A stunningly gorgeous mix of urban fantasy and charming adventure." --Gail Simone (Birds of Prey, Secret Six, Deadpool, Wonder Woman)
"Brilliantly mixing influences... a pure moment of happiness. With drawings full of nuances and subtleties, this collection sets the foundations of an engaging world whilst daring to experiment with formal elements." --Canal BD (France)
"Sonny's art in Malinky Robot is so full of life that, if you stare at a page long enough, the characters might just walk right out of the book." --Skottie Young (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Marvelous Land of Oz)
"Malinky Robot is the real deal, the kind of book that should go not just on the must-buy list, but on the must-buy-for-friends list...a story of gentle tragedy, a near-future sci-fi comic with heart... The design is brilliant, and the storytelling is resonant in all the best ways." - Wendy Holler, Newsarama