(Image Comics 2015)
Created by Brian Wood, Danijel Zezelj, and Dave Stewart
Lettering and Production by Steve Wands
Class discrimination has always been a convenient screen to show the sins of the past in a futuristic setting. Films like Blade Runner and Total Recall highlighted what one man can do to change the dominant paradigm, to reset the classes in a way that is more fair and equitable for everyone.
Brian Wood, creator of such epic comics series as DMZ and The Massive, is no stranger to basing creative fiction around politics. He knows that all it takes to make an interesting dysoptia is a decade and a small twist in history. His newest series, Starve, does that same thing, but in the celebrity kitchen.
Gavin Cruikshank is the best. The absolute greatest chef the world has ever known. Like many geniuses, he rose to the top of his profession, made a name for himself culinarily and then on a hit television show, and then dropped from sight. In the past several years he’s spent all of his time trying to forget the past, live in the moment, and suck at the very marrow of life.
The end result of such behavior is exactly what you would expect. He’s ended up with an ex-wife who owns the majority of his creation, a daughter who barely knows him, and a former rival who has taken his place and will do anything to keep it. Gavin has two things going for him. One, an impeccable sense of taste, and two, the ability to cut right to the bone when it comes to his audience.
Issue 2 drops us into the stew pot; the second episode of Starve is a rush job, with Gavin coming onto the set after an all-night bender and with seconds to spare. The task, to secure bluefin tuna, a nearly extinct species, and prepare it so that the judges can scarf it down.
Wood comes through once again with an intriguing setup in a “nearly now” world. Like DMZ, I find Starve to be particularly wordy, with lengthy word balloons, but it doesn’t take away from the artwork, nor does it seems too much. At first glance the pages seem full, but as the story goes on you find that you’re looking for more, wishing there were a little more exposition, hoping that the issue won’t end. Wood has a talent for sucking you into a story with those long paragraphs, and it works just as well here as it has in previous outings.
The art by Danijel Zezelj is great, dark and brooding, a perfect match for Gavin’s overall state of mind. There are heavy blocks of shadow with Dave Stewart’s gorgeous colors make for stunning pages, weather they be bloody hacking of a carcass or the contentious moments of arbitration between Cruikshanks and his ex-wife.
Take Anthony Bourdain, and a shot of science fiction and a dash of intrigue, and you’ve got Starve. Brian Wood is at the top of his game, and with fellow creators Denijel Zezelj and Dave Stewart on board, there’s no way this banquet is less than all-you-can-eat.
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