Starve #1 Review: What a Tasty, Tasty Comic!


Starve #1
Writer: Wood, Brian
Artist: Zezelj, Danijel
Cover Artist: Stewart, Dave
Published by Image

When I first heard about Starve, I was not sure what to think. On one hand, it described itself in part as an examination of reality show culture by way of a competitive cooking show. While a good cooking show can be fun, I had a hard time imagining a solid comic coming out of the premise. On the other hand, Starve is helmed by Brian Wood. Most recently a hot writer for his work on X-Men titles, he is probably better known for his long-running DMZ. And while I did not love that title, there was a lot I did like. Mr. Wood’s ability to build a unique and interesting world is pretty impressive. He also always seems to have much luck in teaming with talented artists. I found myself looking forward to Starve.

I was not disappointed. Mr. Wood has succeeded in building yet another dense and entertaining world for us. His collaborator and artist, Danijel Zezelj, gives us fine work both in his cinematic approach to visual storytelling and his detailed work on characters’ faces, imbuing them with a range of subtle emotions. Together, they have fashioned a story that is at once one of the more grown-up comic stories that I have read in a very long time, as well a potentially straightforward tale about loss and redemption.

From an interview with Previews, Mr. Wood had this to say:

"What the story is about is this aging chef who emerges from his self-imposed exile into this world of foodie culture he barely recognizes.  He gets back on his old TV show Starve and vows to tear it all down, this blasphemy to what he considers the sacred art of cooking.  Along the way, of course, he has troubles, from both his peers and his family.  He has a lot of burned bridges that need mending."

For me, the fact that the story takes us from southeast Asia to China to New York before plopping us down under the

bright lights of television cameras is a big part of its attraction. Gavin Cruikshank, our prospective hero, navigates all of this with aplomb and grungy efficiency. In one scene, he casually prepares a Bloody Mary that his companion finds to be a work of art. In another, he stares across a conference table at his estranged wife, competently navigating corporate waters. From the slums of Bangkok to eventually standing on stage in front of a huge television audience, Gavin commands the room with a humanity and depth that we too rarely see in comic storytelling. He has the feel of a character with some staying power.

We all dream sometimes of traveling the world, getting on TV, having success. What Starve seems to be reflecting on is that there can be a cost for such desires, both individually and as it effects larger society. It takes us from the poorest of the poor to the excesses of the wealthy. It also explores the inner workings of the human experience: sometimes what we dream of is not, in fact, what we want. This exploration is fascinating, the travel partner totally hardcore, and the world we are running around in a pleasant mix of terrifying and electrifying. Kudos to Image for producing this book, and kudos to you and your team Mr. Wood.

From the publisher:

"UTENSILS DOWN, HANDS UP! WELCOME TO STARVE! Once the world’s most famous chef, Gavin Cruikshank’s been in a self-imposed exile for years. His little foodie television program has since evolved into STARVE, an arena sport that pits chef against chef for the pleasure of their super-rich patrons. It’s a stain on a once-noble profession, and Chef Gavin is ready to go to war to stop it. Two things stand in his way: his arch rival Roman Algiers, and his adult daughter Angie, who probably just wants her dad back and acting normal. Whipsmart world-building and a creative dream team (DMZ, The Massive, Star Wars, Loveless, Hellboy, The Sandman) come together for a brand new monthly series!"

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