A world where food is the center of society and chefs are the biggest celebrities. What’s not to love about the premise of Flavor #1? Is it good?
The new series by Joseph Keatinge and Wook Jin Clark centers around Xoo, a young woman (with a wonderful companion in her dog, Buster) working to save her family’s restaurant (and their livelihood) in a world where food is truly king.
Additionally Flavor #1 introduces a number of eccentric supporting characters, including Xoo’s uncle, Geof, who has a giant sword that would make Cloud proud. Then there are the mysterious guards who hint at the true power in the city. It’s clear from Keatinge’s script that there’s a lot going on under the surface, and it will be fascinating to see how these levels are revealed in future issues.
At the same time, the structure to Flavor #1 can’t quite provide a new angle on the first issue structure. The book introduces us to the protagonist, their personal problems, and a larger threat in the same rhythm that most comics do. This isn’t necessarily a problem, but it will be interesting to see if Flavor can provide a story structure that pops as well as its characters do.
But what truly makes Flavor #1 special is the artwork. Wook Jin Clark’s linework is fantastic, capturing a beautiful sense of motion. The design of the world and its characters gives the book a sense of unbounded imagination. Xoo has a scrappy build, her leanness hinting at her time spent in the kitchen. Small details like Buster’s goggles really add to the feel of the book and the world within. The use of “textured” backgrounds also helps the characters pop from the page.
Tamra Bonvillain’s color art is essential to the book’s sense of fantasy. The tones and colors read as natural but are more saturated, heightening every detail in the book. The clever use of purples and pinks in shadows makes everything just a bit more vibrant.
A nice supplement at the end of the book is an interview with chef and Culinary Consultant Ali Bouzari. The interview establishes Bouzari’s involvement in the series but also how Bouzari got into comics, and it’s a nice touch of extra content.
Is It Good?
Flavor #1 introduces a fleshed out world and a nice cast of characters. Joseph Keatinge’s script might follow the typical structure of a debut issue, but the characters pop off the page. The book’s attitude belongs to artist Wook Jin Clark and color artist Tamra Bonvillain. The book is very pleasing to the eye, making it a very entertaining read.
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