By Brian Wood, Danijel Zezelj & Dave Stewart
The culinary comic book delicacy that is Starve begins its second story arc. Gavin Cruishank was a brilliant celebrity chef who went into self-imposed exile. After being forced to participate in the show he created, now a decadent form of entertainment for the high class, he aimed to reconnect with his daughter and to undermine his adversaries. The end of the last issue showed him well on his way to accomplishing his goals, but at a price…Now, as he recuperates in the hospital, he realizes some major changes need to happen with himself, those around him, and society itself.
The shocking, stunning cover to this issue screams (pun intended) that Gavin is about to embark down a path that may leave a scorched Earth in his wake. Brian Wood, in a way, does this with the new storyline. Cruishank was seemingly attaining everything he wanted and the story was flowing as one would expect, but this book takes a very different direction for the characters and plot that had started in issue five. It makes the material a fascinating read because Wood shows that nothing about this comic is cookie-cutter, which perfectly describes the main character.
Danijel Zezelj’s very stylistic art is a welcome sight. His thick lines/details in characters really show the lives they live(d) in the comic. Perhaps what’s most intriguing though is his use and depictions of their eyes. Every time they are shown, whether it be a reflected face in a mirror or a close-up sliver panel of said organ, it has an odd, yet transfixing attraction to them. Zezelj truly makes them a window to the soul for everyone in the comic. This is accomplished in no small part to the coloring of Dave Stewart. His minimal use of bright and warm colors throughout the work, intentional or not, make for a stellar contrast with the clear, white emotion of people’s sclerae. Overall, their continued collaboration makes beauty out of the bleak, disturbing world.
Something to note in this issue, as well, is the inclusion of possible subtext of the state of the comics industry, in particular creator-owned work. There are a couple pages where Gavin is at a fish market with a colleague and their discussion of chefs attaining status and fortune eerily resonates with some the “rock-star” creators in comics today. This may be totally off-base, but knowing Brian Wood, it’s not as far-fetched as one would think. Regardless of the nature of the subtext, it makes for an interesting examination of the “celebrity”. Read and decide!
This latest installment of Starve reminds its readers why the comic is so strong, despite being wrapped in a premise that is a bit esoteric to the core audience that the medium caters to. Now, this is not the first series to do this, but it is one that executes and elevates the material. Those just now learning about this Image title are in luck because they can just pick up the first trade and this issue. Current readers/fans will be pleased with the fresh direction that the creative team is taking with the plot. Issue six is a necessary ingredient to Starve.