Writer- Brian Wood
Artist- Danijel Zezelj
I walked into the first issue of Starve knowing nothing about the concept. I appreciate Brian Wood as a writer, and had a feeling that there would be his usual stamp of quality storytelling no matter the subject. After checking out the first issue, I’m pretty sure I would have skipped reading it had I known the premise, and that would have been too bad. The lesson to be learned here is trust a good storytelling team, they can make even the oddest ideas work.
So what is this book about? Starve takes place in the near future, where the economy has collapsed, and the dividing line between the rich and the poor is wider than ever. Gavin Cruickshank is a former celebrity chef, living his life in a self-imposed exile in the slums of Asia, running from a failed marriage, and still licking his wounds after losing his luxurious lifestyle at the onset of the crash. After quite some time away, he is found by an emissary from the television network he had worked for. The travelogue food show he created before he left, Starve, has been turned into a cooking competition program, and subsequently become a huge hit. In order to collect his pay, he must go back to America, and compete on a season of his former show to fulfill his contract. He also faces his ex-wife who wants every dime he stands to make and an estranged teen daughter with whom he wants to repair his relationship with. By issues close, Gavin has decided on a course of action that will potentially redeem him or end his career for good.
Wood crafts a believable future, where class lines are in two categories, the super rich, and everyone below. His mission with Starve is to take a character like Gavin, who is not a white hat hero in his own right, yet make him relatable and get the reader behind him in his goal to take the life and show he once had back. Daniel Zezelj’s pencils deliver a gritty look, accentuated by colorist Dave Stewart’s use of various hues of green, orange and blue to saturate the pages and differentiate locales and time periods in the story. There is definitely a feeling of synergy between these three creators that help give Starve a unique identity.
Even in today’s age of celebrity chefs and endless amounts of food porn being delivered on multiple cooking channels, I really couldn’t picture a story about a chef and his personal journey engaging me, but it certainly did. What will come of this tale in the future is up in the air, but this first issue does a great job of cementing the reader’s interest and curiosity. Brian Wood again proves his ability to turn the unusual into gripping stories, and Image may just have their next hit on their hands. I’ll only be starving until issue two comes out.
4 Pok Pok Noodles of 5
Reviewed by- John Amenta