By Brian Wood, Danijel Zezelj & Dave Stewart
Brian Wood is known for his socially/politically conscious work and Starve, pleasantly, is no exception. An Anthony Bourdain-esque character, Gavin Cruikshank, has dropped off the grid in Southeast Asia, enjoying the “simple pleasures” the shady area has to offer. Of course, this doesn’t last long and he is pulled back into the realm of televised cooking, but the world has changed in his absence…
Right from the start, this comic was off-putting, Danijel Zezelj’s artwork combined with Dave Stewart’s bleak coloring makes readers sit-up and pay attention. It’s a very unique presentation. Then, Brian Wood’s writing makes one focus even more. Each sentence seems to have significance that the audience doesn’t want to miss. Dystopian society stories have become prevalent, but Wood and the creative team are able to make this comic fresh and rich with content. Honestly, of all the anti-hero protagonists to choose from, a self-serving celebrity chef. Who would have guessed? It’s an instant hook and that is the genius conceit of the book. Readers are thrust into a dense, but intriguing exposition, forcing them to being active participants in the material. It also looks like this book will be deliciously morbid and macabre. Some may not be able to stomach that, but it may be time for them to get over it.
Zezelj character’s are a bit hard to make out, especially some of the facial expressions. Yet, when a key female character is introduced, she is rendered as a stunning beauty, almost straight out of noir fiction. Perhaps the somewhat undefined character designs are intentional, hinting at some subtext? Regardless, the artwork is a fascinating study. Those who like Sean G. Murphy or Alex Maleev will appreciate this book. The color contrast between the low and high-class worlds is also worth noting; it really conveys the vicious, cutthroat nature of the upper echelon. Also, the color red seems like it will be of particular importance in this series. I can’t wait to see what this art team delivers in future issues.
Starve is a simple premise, but a complex narrative. This is definitely on track to be another strong Image title. One may try to note direct influences or pigeon-hole the comic, but it’s difficult. This creative team was able to deliver something that feels familiar, but still refreshing. It’s dark, dramatic and definitely is all about “elevating the mundane”! This is a comic absolutely worth picking up and trying.