So here’s the thing, I’ve fallen behind a bit lately. With everything. Laundry is scuffing the ceiling, texts and emails remain unanswered, and comics are piling in every corner of my ever suffocating apartment. But these are only effects of an oh-so-wonderful cause: my wife and I closed on our first house. I’m sure the NBC! team just read that last line and rolled their eyes. “Again with the house thing,” they will huff under their breath. I don’t blame them, I do mention it quite a bit. Needless to say, buying and, in our case, fully renovating a house is a lot of exhausting work. (Just ask Patrick, who just recently went through this same process.)
Anyway, after skipping my last turn for TWF, I knew I needed to get back in this comics game. But where do I start? The pile looms, and my eye twitches ever so slightly at the sight. I’m instantly reminded of my first days as a comics reader. There is an entire geeky microcosm here and I’m inching my way back in from the fray. Thankfully, this time around I know a whole hell of a lot more. I start with what I’m sure to enjoy.
In Brian Woods post Vertigo years, the writer has showed flashes of brilliance that he displayed on his best creator owned work that made him one of the premier writers in the industry. There were moments in his work for hire times on X-Men, Star Wars, Moon Knight & Conan The Barbarian where you’d see flashes of the guy who did DMZ, Northlanders & Local. Often though, the limitations of intellectual property never allowed Wood to flesh out his full talents. At his best, Wood is able to observe a futurist idea of politics with an eagle eye observation of the personal and big picture view that is endlessly fascinating and enduring. On the debut issue of Starve, Wood has created something that fully utilizes his vision, writing, creativity & ideas as well as anything the writer has ever done in a way that evolves on the style of his best work for a sharp and biting critique of western civilization in 2015.
Starve takes place in a post economic collapsed world economy where celebrity chef Gavin Cruikshank has gone off the grid in the third world urban jungles of south east Asia, spending his days drunk on Soju, high on weed & fat on the local cuisine. His television network forces him to return to the United States for the show he originally created that’s been mutated from No Reservations to Chopped on steroids. It’s a dirty and cutting piece of world and character building that goes right to the heart of a complicated protagonist and the crumbling world around him. Artist Danijel Zezlj does extraordinary illustrations creating large scale and highly detailed urban dystopia that translates the epic and grimey hellscape with just the right amount emotional beats at the right moments to endear the stories actors and give them life. Zezlj is the perfect artist for the world and story Wood is writing.
With Rebels, it felt like Wood fully got his voice back; on Starve it feels like he’s evolved that voice into something new and daring. It’s a debut that is smart, unflinching and engaging. This is the Brian Wood that fans fell in love with in the Vertigo years and he’s doing a comic like nothing we’ve ever seen from the creator. Starve is doing something new with something old, what else could you ask for at this point?