For those of you who follow the antics of the gang here at Graphic Novice on Twitter you know that Nickel and I argue about comics… a lot (I blame his Canadian-ness or perhaps his insane love of Marvel’s Civil War). However, just because Nickel is wrong approximately 87% of the time doesn’t mean that he isn’t occasionally, but rarely, right. So when Nickel’s Twitter feed suddenly started gushing in the squeaky joyous voice of a ten year old girl about Brian Wood’s new Image Comic Starve I expected to once again have the opportunity to shout at him from a thousand miles away that “No!!!” he was once again “Wrong!!!” and that this new comics was “Bad!!!”.
But, then of course, he had to go and be right instead, darn it.
While it may not look like it on the surface, Brian Wood’s Starve is a Sci-FI book. Set in our immediate future, Starve doesn’t take place in space, it doesn’t involve cloning, robots or some super cool newfangled technology. Instead Starve presents to us a world in which economic disaster and global warming have led to an America even rifer with economic inequality than the one we find ourselves living in now. After a long self-imposed exile a chef returns to America to find the cooking show he created before he left has become the number one show in the nation. However he finds his show and the nation have taken a dark cultural turn and with eight episodes to go to fulfill his original contract he sets out to burn both the show and the culture to the ground.
Now even with that glorious plot description I’m sure the idea of this comic sounds silly to many of you, I mean who would have ever thought to do a comic book about a cooking show? But Wood has created a dark and sinister Sci-Fi tale in Starve that succeeds in creating a world that is radically different than ours, but one which seems like only a couple of years and a little bit of bad luck would be required to create. Starve is not for the faint of heart and that extends to the art. As I flipped through the first few pages I didn’t think much of Danijel Zezelj’s art, it’s spotty at best, with both figures and backgrounds which often remain indistinct and unclear. I really want to say that this style was dirty, rushed and subpar, however as the story of Starve unfolded before me I began to see that these choices by Zezelj are intentional, Wood’s world is dark and dirty and Zezelj doesn’t want us to forget that at any point. Atmosphere is the godhead in this book and the godhead is GOOD.
Starve will be a “Love it” or “Hate it” book and is sure to stir a visceral response in any who read it.
Be sure to pick up a copy of this issue so you too can be a part of the debate.
4.5 out of 5 Stars